Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 13, 2017 Guest: Jeff Merkley, Jess McIntosh, Philip Klein, Tim Walz, Barbara Lee, Mike Taibbi, Malcolm Nance
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight, on ALL IN.
JOHN LEWIS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FOR GEORGIA: I don`t see this President-elect as a legitimate President.
HAYES: An American icon takes a stand against Trump.
LEWIS: When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something.
HAYES: Tonight, the shockwaves from John Lewis and why Democrats are fuming after another classified briefing with FBI Director Comey.
Plus, new questions about team Trump`s explanation for their phone calls to Russia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only conversation that General Flynn had was one to wish him a Merry Christmas.
HAYES: Why Republicans are targeting the ethics office that will oversee Trump.
The house takes another step to dismantle Obamacare without a replacement in sight.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES: Repeal and replace is going great.
HAYES: And racial bias, excessive force, and reckless shootings. Today`s DOJ report on the Chicago Police Department, when ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. There is now just one week to go until Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States. He has not even taken office yet and already, Trump is historically unpopular. His transition, arguably clouded by more serious scandals and controversy than all eight years of the Obama administration combined.
As questions mount about the circumstances of Trump`s election and his alleged ties to a foreign adversary. Democrats appear to be reaching a breaking point. In an interview with our own Chuck Todd, Georgia Congressman, civil rights icon, John Lewis became the first to declare openly what I believe many lawmakers have until now only suggested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: I don`t see this President-elect as a legitimate President.
CHUCK TODD, MSNBC MEET THE PRESS DAILY HOST: You do not consider him a legitimate President? Why is that?
LEWIS: I think the Russians participated in helping this man get elected and they helped destroy the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. I don`t plan to attend the inauguration. It will be the first one that I miss, since I`ve been in the Congress. You cannot be at home with something that you feel that is wrong.
TODD: That`s going to send - that`s going to send a big message to a lot of people in this country that you don`t believe he`s a legitimate President.
LEWIS: I think there was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected. That`s not right. That`s not fair. That`s not the open democratic process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Those are remarkable words given the moral authority and democratic witness that John Lewis has bore throughout his life. Late today, the Senate Intelligence Committee, of course, chaired by a Republican, announced a bipartisan inquiry into the Intelligence Community`s unanimous conclusion about Russian`s interference in the election including the criminal political hacking. And the Committee plans to interview Senior Officials of both the outgoing and incoming administrations, including the issuance of subpoenas if necessary to compel testimony.
That is just one of the shadows hanging over Trump`s transition to the presidency. Until this week, he flatly rejected the findings of America`s Intelligence Professionals choosing instead, to pick ugly the two bird of public fight with people he`ll have to lead and rely on as President. As recently this morning, the President-elect was still attacking the Intelligence Community while seeming to take Russia at its word. He tweeted, "totally made up facts by sleaze bag political operatives, both Democrats and Republicans, fake news. Russia says nothing exists, probably released by the Intelligence," in (INAUDIBLE) quotes, "even knowing there is no proof and never will be. My people - my people will have a full report on hacking within 90 days." Trump was referring, of course, to the unverified dossier summarized in classified briefings to both the President and the President-elect.
The dossier includes allegations, the Russian government possesses compromising material about Trump and that Trump`s team and the Russian government exchanged information during the Presidential campaign. We should note, there is no evidence the dossier was leaked by the Intelligence Community. It was floating around a number of places prior to being published. Trump categorically denies the allegations contained in the dossier. But according to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, the Intelligence Community has not made any judgment, whatsoever, that the information in that document is reliable.
Then, there`s the controversy surrounding FBI Director, James Comey, and his decision to publicly disclose information about the bureau`s probe of Hillary Clinton`s e-mail server including the now infamous letter to Congress, 11 days before the election. There is mounting evidence that letter did significant damage to Clinton`s chances and the FBI`s conduct is now the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Inspector General. And that comes amid multiple reports that at the same time the FBI was investigating Clinton, it was also investigating the Trump campaign for ties to Russia. Those reports have not been independently confirmed by NBC News. At a Senate hearing earlier this week, Comey was asked repeatedly if the FBI was examining potential ties between Trump`s team and the Russian government.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RON WYDEN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR OREGON: Has the FBI investigated these reported relationships and if so, what are the agency`s findings?
JAMES COMEY, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION DIRECTOR: Thank you, Senator. I would never comment on investigations, whether we have one or not, in an open forum like this.
ANGUS KING, UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR MAINE: Did you answer Senator Wyden`s question that there is an investigation underway as to connections between either of the political campaigns and the Russians?
COMEY: I didn`t say one way or another. It`s -- especially in a public forum, we never confirm or deny a pending investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats` frustration with FBI Director Comey, finally boiled over this morning after a classified House briefing on Russia`s alleged hacking. Congressman Tim Walz told the Hill, "I was non-judgmental until the last 15 minutes. I no longer have the confidence in him, some of the things that were revealed in this classified briefing, my confidence has been shook." From Congressman Elijah Cummings, "I`m extremely concerned - extremely." Congressman Mark Takano, "I`m just - I`m very angry." Congressman Ted Lieu tweeted at the meeting, "For members of congress who attended the classified Intel briefing today, I reiterate my call that you demand Donald Trump to tell the truth." Reporters asked Congresswoman Maxine Waters about what had happened?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congresswoman, can you tell us anything about the discussion?
MAXINE WATERS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FOR CALIFORNIA: No, it`s classified and we can`t tell you anything. All I can tell you is the FBI Director has no credibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well then, joining me now, Congressman Tim Walz, Democrat from Minnesota. And Congressman, do you share your colleague`s assessment that the FBI director has no credibility?
TIM WALZ, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FOR MINNESOTA: Well, I have deep concerns, Chris. I - as I said, I went in there listening and trying to find out. This is a serious attack on our democracy. That`s at the heart of the story. We have a foreign power who`s obviously does not share our values, and attempted to undermine our most sacred institution of an election and I wanted to find out what was happening during that time and during that exchange.
I have a lot of questions that need to be answered in, and I think the handling first and foremost of what the Russians did, how it influenced our election, we can find that out. That is - that is absolutely critical. It doesn`t matter if you`re a Donald Trump supporter or not, you`ll want to know that, what have they done? The bigger question is, were they handled - are they handling these investigations equally? Are they doing according to their operating procedure, and when they talk about it, and when they don`t? And my frustration came nothing classified about it when it became very apparent to me that they were not handled the same way, and that is incredibly frustrating because not just because of the election and the election results, it undermines the American people`s faith in the non- partisan nature of our critical intelligence and that`s what came out in there.
HAYES: OK, I just want to be clear on this and obviously, I`m respectful the fact you`re dealing with a classified briefing and would not want to talk about things that are classified and I understand you can`t do that. But you just said it was not classified, the source of the frustration is what you believe is a double standard or in - a poorly applied standard with respect to the different campaigns and how possible investigations are discussed?
WALZ: Yes. And I think that`s a possibility meaning, until today, that wasn`t apparent to me. Now, it`s going to and I think what - HAYES: So, you learned that today. You felt like that was confirmed to you today that your fears about a double standard or a poorly applied one were confirmed today?
WALZ: If they weren`t confirmed, I have serious doubts. As I`ve said, my confidence was shook. I`ve been asking for more in-depth investigation into this as my ranking members and Elijah Cummings has. We need to know that. But, today, yes, coming out of there, I don`t think what should have been very simple answers were not answered in a simple manner. And the danger of this, Chris, is again of undermining the public`s credibility in this. And I know those who say, well, you`re just looking because you`re upset with the election.
In my district, Chris, Hillary Clinton got 38 percent. She was not going to win that in there, whether the Russians hacked it or not, but that`s not the point. The point is that there is no doubt they were involved. There`s no doubt that we have more to learn on that. But how we as Members of Congress and how the American public found out about that versus the e- mail situation, does not seem to me to be consistent. And I think that`s real trouble and that`s not in a defense of Hillary Clinton`s use of e-mail which I said all along needed to be looked at.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this. Given everything that you`ve told me, I wonder how you - whether you share the assessment of your colleague, John Lewis, who said today on the record to Chuck Todd that he did not feel this President is legitimate. Would you agree? Do you think this President is not legitimate?
WALZ: No, I don`t agree with that at this time and John Lewis to everyone is an icon, I respect him greatly. I know he is shook on this, too. I would say, I need to see more. I respect that next Friday, when we have an inauguration, we will have - President Trump will be my President. And as I said yesterday, when he makes a good decision like his V.A. appointment of Dr. Shulkin, I`ll praise him on that.
When he`s not I`ll work on trying to find common ground, but at stake here is there`s more to be learned and we can`t be stonewalled on this and my fear is, is that the person who tells me with that information and I make my judgments on, I have a deep concern about now and that`s what - that`s why that was so damaging to me. This is - and since I`ve been up here over the last decade, this was the most troubling to me in terms of what I had been led to believe and the expectations and how that turned out. And that`s why we need more information.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Tim Walz, thank you.
WALZ: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: I`m joined by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat from California. And Congressman, my understanding is like John Lewis, you are not going to the inauguration. I wonder, do you agree with Congressman Lewis? That do you view this President as "not legitimate"?
BARBARA LEE, UNITED STATES SENATOR FOR CALIFORNIA: Chris, well, let me say, first of all, I believe in the peaceful transfer of power and the office of the presidency. But when you look at the flawed process and Russian interference in our election and when you look at what has taken place in terms of our democratic ideals, our processes. You know, I have to applaud Congressman John Lewis, because once John Lewis says, you know, they are flawed or illegitimate - the elections were illegitimate or this is an illegitimate President, people have to really pause, and really think about this because Congressman Lewis is a moral leader, he`s a civil and human rights icon and he did not make that decision lightly.
And so, I think the facts need to be laid out. We have a bipartisan commission, legislation led by Congressman Swalwell and Cummings to really set up, commission to investigate this. And so, when you look at what has taken place, you know, I have to just say, John Lewis is right on target, you know, in terms of how this President-elect was elected and the interference and what took place as a result of these elections.
HAYES: But what are the -
LEE: Even the FBI in terms of their bias and how they conducted these investigations, what was made public, what was not made public. You know, people can decide for themselves, but there are so many problems with what took place until once again, Congressman John Lewis needs to be applauded.
HAYES: Were you in that briefing today, Congresswoman?
LEE: Yes, I was.
HAYES: Did you share the - I mean, it was - it was sort of a fascinating scene afterwards just democrat after democrat coming out saying in very strong words how frustrated, angered, you know, how many questions they had. Was that your feeling coming out of that as well?
LEE: Chris, I was angry. I wasn`t frustrated because, you know, the facts leading up to today were very clear to me, but, you know, when you`d - are in a classified briefing, of course, we can`t disclose what we learned, but my reaction was one of anger. I was very - I would say upset with the fact that the American people need to have the facts made public. We need some transparency and we need this investigation so the public will know exactly what took place.
HAYES: So, you feel there are important - there are important things for the public to know that they cannot or do not know at this moment?
LEE: I think it`s important for an investigation to be conducted that is public and, of course, there are going to be some issues that will be classified that cannot be disclosed. But I think for the most part, we need the bipartisan commission, which the house is - which I think all democrats are on the legislation. We need that so the public will know exactly what took place and make their own decisions about the outcome of this election.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Barbara Lee, thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.
Up next, the Trump transition is now admitting to NBC News that Michael Flynn spoke to Russia`s ambassador on the day the Obama administration sanctioned Russia for interfering in our election. The latest after this two-minute break.
HAYES: Amid mounting questions about potential leaks between Donald Trump, his inner circle, and the Russian government came this column from Washington Post, David Ignatius with what at first glance seemed to be a pretty remarkable revelation. According to a Senior U.S. Government Official, Trump`s pick for National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, phoned the Russian ambassador several times in December 29th. That, of course, be the very same day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials, as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking during the election.
Now, that report was followed up today by another from the Associated Press, again citing contact on that day, the 29th, again sourced to a single Senior Official who may or may not have been the same person. We don`t know. On a routine call with reporters this morning, transition Spokesperson, Sean Spicer, offered a very simple explanation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY NOMINEE: On Christmas day, General Flynn reached out to the Ambassador and sent him a text and it said, you know, "I want to wish you and - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year." The Ambassador texted him back wishing him a Merry Christmas as well, and then subsequently on the 28th of December texted him and said, "I`d like to give you a call, may I?" He then took the call on the 28th and the call centered around the logistics of setting up a call with the President of Russia and the President-elect after he was sworn in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. This all seems completely innocent, above bored. But there was something a bit peculiar I noticed about Spicer`s account. You note that he cited two dates when Flynn supposedly had contact with the Russian ambassador, December 25th, Christmas Day, and December 28th. But the White House announced new sanctions in response to Russia`s election interference the day after that, December 29th. That`s the crucial day that was alleged in the column. So, did Flynn and the ambassador talk that day or not?
This morning team Trump told The Post`s David Ignatius that the only call that happened were on the 25th and 28th. The latter, to offer condolences for a plane crash that killed the Russian Military Choir. But then, this afternoon NBC News producer Vaughan Hilliard, caught up with Spicer again and he admitted there actually was, in fact, a phone call on December 29th.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGHAN HILLYARD, NBC NEWS PRODUCER: On the 29th, that was the same day that the U.S. expelled 35 Russian diplomats that were in the county. Now, it was the day later in which Vladimir Putin said he would not retaliate, we would not push out American diplomats that were in Russia. Did General Flynn have any conversations to indicate to the Russian Ambassador that the U.S. Trump administration would either ease or roll back sanctions?
SPICER: The only conversation General Flynn had was; one, to wish him Merry Christmas; two, to express his sympathies for the loss of life that occurred during that plane crash, that took the lives of their military choir; and the two, is to commit to establishing a call after the inauguration between the two leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Obviously, that choir plane crash was tragic and we know the Trump team loves to say Merry Christmas, but how many times can you call and text the same Russian Ambassador?
Joining me now, MSNBC`s Terrorism Analyst Malcolm Nance, author of the "Plot Hack America", and Rolling Stone Contributor, Matt Taibbi, author of the forth-coming book "Insane Clown President". And Matt also wrote a really good piece on all this yesterday. So, let me start with you Matt and then go to you, Malcolm. So, you basically - so here`s a perfect example of the kind of thing that we`re dealing with here, right?
MATT TAIBBI, NBC TELEVISION REPORTER AND JOURNALIST: Right.
HAYES: So, the facts are unclear and in dispute, they seem to move back and forth.
HAYES: There is at one level a totally innocent explanation. I mean, there`s some business that has to happen between the incoming transition and the Russian Ambassador.
HAYES: But then there`s some weird dodginess around it.
HAYES: And you wrote this piece yesterday being - saying some line about how we ever known less about something more important than what we`re flying through right now?
TAIBBI: Right, yeah, because there`s -- there are two completely different narratives. There`s one where basically the Russians, let`s just say - I mean, the people that I talked to have a high degree of confidence that they were involved with the hacking of the DNC e-mails. Perhaps, passing onto WikiLeaks as well, but there`s a version where they do that and Trump is basically the, you know, idiotic, moronic beneficiary of that and wasn`t involved in any kind of conspiracy with the Russians.
TAIBBI: We don`t have any hard evidence that there`s anything more than that.
HAYES: Right, the thing of which there`s the most evidence is that - is the first order thing that they hacked it for whatever reason to sow discontent because they like Trump, they hated Hillary Clinton as a personal vendetta.
TAIBBI: Because they want to sow the division in the United States, which all the great power countries do. We do it. I mean, of course, this would be an extraordinary episode but certainly there`s no evidence that I`ve seen, that there`s this other element where it`s a Manchurian candidate, there`s a plot and that would be an order of magnitude much larger.
HAYES: In fact, as you said, and Malcolm, this is why I want to bring you in because I believe you are a - you worked obviously in the Intelligence Community for years. You wrote a book about Russia`s involvement in this election, and you are I think a believer large in the, in the, in the second theory. That there was coalition, or there`s evidence of that, but what is - what is the evidence there is aside we have this dossier but we, you know, we can`t verify any of it?
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: You know, I like to say this because Matt`s a great journalist and I love his work, but Matt`s a journalist. I`m an Intelligence Officer. And so, I look at things differently. There is no such thing as coincidence in my world. Coincidence takes a lot of planning.
Everything that happened with regards to that hack, took place in an organized bubble that indicated that there was a very large information warfare management cell being run by Russian intelligence. All of the leaks came out precisely to support everything Donald Trump said within 24 to 48 hours. You know, he talks about Pennsylvania; every Pennsylvania dossier comes out. He talks about Florida; every Florida dossier comes out. When that wasn`t flowing fast enough, D.C. leaks came out. All of this was on the basis of the systematic release of intelligence, and that`s what Intelligence Agencies do.
HAYES: But here`s the issue to me, Malcolm. Is that, and I hear you on this right? And I`ve - I`ve talked to intelligence people who keep saying the same thing to me, which is that you have not been trained in an intelligence, you are not seeing the puzzle pieces fit together the way we have and I respect that. But, the standard - part of the problem we`re dealing with right, is that standards are different, right? So, standard of public domain to basically say to someone, you know, Matt, that you`re - this person is a foreign agent.
HAYES: Essentially or colluding, like, that is a very heavy thing to say about a person, particularly the incoming President of the United States of what should the journalistic standards be there?
TAIBBI: Well, right now all we can really say is there are people who believe that. All right, I mean, that`s what we can report is that there are people in the Intelligence Community who have - apparently, have indications that they - that lead them to believe that. But we haven`t seen anything that allows us to say unequivocally that x and y happened last year. All we can really say is that there is - there are analyses that show that they were probably behind the hack.
HAYES: And so, then the question Malcolm, to you becomes, can you imagine a world in which an unclassified version of evidence could be produced through a bipartisan investigation of some kind. That could be entered into the public record that could make some determination that meets a sort of standards for amateurs? Essentially for citizens? For democratic citizens in a nation -
HAYES: -- Who want to know what the heck is going on?
NANCE: Sure. So long as we`re not talking about the original hacking of the DNC. That evidence is unequivocal it`s on the internet. A company called CrowdStrike, actually did the analysis and saw the data being stolen. The question is about these links possibly with the Trump team, the Trump administration. That data, I think you`re probably never going to see the CIA`s report which was parallel written to mine, published on the same day I published, and had came out with the exact same conclusions. You`re not going to see that certainly, after next week you`ll going to never see that.
HAYES: But how can we not -
NANCE: But our allied nations and other media, believe me I`m sure there`ll be a lot of leaking about this.
TAIBBI: Well -
NANCE: Which evidence that you`ll be looking for.
NANCE: But, this is the super bowl of intelligence crisis. I mean, if there`s ever a time where they have to break the rules and release everything they have, this is it.
HAYES: Well, I`m not part of the problem too, in terms of the leaking, Malcolm. Is that it also seems to me that if - that this sort of attrition through leak - I mean, do you think the leaks we are getting are coming from the Intelligence Community?
NANCE: No, I don`t think a lot of them are coming from the Intelligence Community. Especially with regards to that dossier, that dossier had been out there for months. I spoke to David Corn.
HAYES: Yes, right. That I heard. Right.
NANCE: But you have to understand, my book came out four months ago, and it was unclassified.
NANCE: It didn`t have anything to do with it. So, the media takes a little longer to catch up because you have that, you know, two rule verification and things like that. And information is just leaking out now about what we can see sort of nefarious, may have parameters leading towards sinister and certainly, questionable enough to demand investigation to determine if any of these people have links to Moscow.
HAYES: The only thing I feel definitive about is there has to be some sort of, official commission in which things are -
HAYES: Systematically declassified, investigated, and presented in some sort of fashion that we are not essentially, making democratic determinations - immediate determinations based on leaks and counter-leaks. Malcolm Nance and Matt Taibbi, good to have you both. Thank you.
NANCE: Thanks guys.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, as the ethical concerns pile up around Trump and his Cabinet nominees, how are the Republicans responding? That story coming up.
HAYES: One of the very first things House Republicans did when they came to work last week was to vote to gut the independent ethics office that polices their conduct. It seemed like a weird foot to get off on, for a party that had just won the National Election with a promise - from its nominee to drain the swamp. And after a public uproar, the House GOP beat a tactical retreat and promised to revisit the matter later in the term. But it turns out the Republican war on ethics was just getting started. First, despite warnings from ethics watchdogs, despite past practice.
Republicans scheduled Senate hearings for Donald Trump`s Cabinet picks even though several were yet to complete the background checks and ethics clearances that are customarily required. Then there`s Trump`s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price, who the Wall Street Journal reports traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies over the past four years, while sponsoring and advocating legislation that could potentially affect those company stocks.
Today came a report, that Price got a sweetheart deal from a foreign biotech firm that could earn him a million dollars. Trump, meanwhile, held a press conference on Wednesday, where he defied calls by bipartisan ethics watchdogs to divest or place his assets in a blind trust saying instead he would hand his business over to his sons, a relatively meaningless step that he nonetheless presented as a benevolent gesture.
TRUMP: Actually, run my business. I could actually run my business and run government at the same time. I don`t like the way that looks, but I would be able to do that if I wanted to.
HAYES: Trump`s stance did not sit well with the Director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub. And now, Republicans are responding to Shaub`s objections with a not so vailed threat, not against the President- elect to poise to potentially violate the constitution, no, no. Rather against the ethics watchdog trying to ensure that he doesn`t - Jason Chaffetz and then GOP`s ethical bullying on ethics next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER SHAUB, OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT ETHICS: I wish circumstances were different and I didn`t feel the need to make public remarks today. You don`t hear about ethics when things are going well. You`ve been hearing a lot about ethics lately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After Walter Shaub, the director of the U.S. office of government ethics delivered a speech decrying the steps Donald Trump has taken -- or not taken, to address his conflicts of interest as meaningless.
He got a letter from GOP representative Jason Chaffetz, chair of the house oversight and government reform chairman, who earlier this week had vowed to continue his investigation into Hillary Clinton`s emails.
Now Chaffetz`s letter was not a show of support to a fellow ethics watchdog, not an attaboy, it was instead a threat. Chaffetz accusing Shaub of blurring the line between public relations and official ethics guidance and hinting he may investigate Shaub for speaking out about Trump`s conflict of interest.
Chaffetz, who demanded Shaub appear for a closed-door interview cited an OGE tweet storm from November in which Shaub told Trump, quote, OGE is delighted you`ve decided to divest your businesses, right decision.
Trump, of course, has done nothing of the sort, but he`s apparently done enough for Chaffetz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, (R) CALIFORNIA: It seems to me that Donald Trump is bending over backwards to do everything he can, but he has to abide by the law. and he`s exempt from most of these conflicts of interest, so I thought it was very premature of the Office of Government Ethics to essentially be in the spin room saying hey, I hate this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer responded to Chaffetz`s letter with outright, quote, "Mr. Chaffetz`s attempt to bully Mr. Shaub out of doing his job are absolutely despicable."
Joining me now, Senator Jeff Merkley, a Democrat of Oregon. And, Senator, do you share Chuck Schumer`s assessment?
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY, (D) OREGON: Oh, absolutely. This is really a crazy situation.
First, the House tries to eliminate its own independent office of congressional ethics on Day One. And then they proceed to attack the office, the independent Office of Government Ethics that is charged with making sure that the conflicts of interests are eliminated for the president and for people who are nominated for cabinet posts.
And, boy, the president himself held a press conference to say how much he was doing and it turned out his plan was as phony as his photo props. He had all these folders piled up saying these are the contracts I`m going to divest, and then it turns out that they wouldn`t let the reporters look at them because apparently they just had blank paper in them. And the plan was simply to put his sons in control of the business. It does not eliminate the conflicts of interest.
HAYES: So, here`s my question for you at a real basic brass tacks level. The office of government ethics is an independent body. It is affixed I believe five year term, the head of that, Walter Shaub. What does the senate or the congress do when day one Donald Trump fires him?
MERKLEY: Well, he can`t fire him on day one, because of it being a five- year term, but I must say it will be very, very disturbing for a president to put someone into that office who isn`t a professional committed to enforcing ethics laws and will make --- certainly make a lot of noise about it and consider whether there`s some kind of legislation we can pass that would put some boundaries in place to back it up.
HAYES: What do you make of -- Congressman Chaffetz has carved out a role for himself in the House, the oversight committee. The idea behind the oversight commit, sort of deep constitutional idea that the tension between Article one and Article two branches of the United States government that congress oversees the executive. Do you feel that he is -- does he sound faithful to that role as he talks about what`s going on now?
MERKLEY: You know, the best way to get the House Republicans to attack something is put the label "ethics" on it. So it`s not really -- it`s oversight to try to destroy oversight, it`s really unfortunate that they`re not taking ethics seriously. And it`s happening on the Senate side where they`re trying to ram through nominees without getting the standard ethics report that Mitch McConnell himself demanded for President Obama`s nominees in 2009.
HAYES: Are you confident that all of those ethics clearances will actually happen either before -- I know some of the hearings have been postponed. It did seem that that was a mini battle the Democrats in some senses won insofar as a bunch of those hearings have been postponed?
MERKLEY: It seems like we`ve made some progress, but I wouldn`t declare victory yet because the challenge, for example, with DeVos is a vast empire that has so much -- so many challenges she hasn`t even submitted the paperwork yet.
So, is the Senate leadership going to eventually say well she hasn`t submitted the paperwork and we don`t have the ethics report, and we don`t have the divestment plan, but still we want her in the job and try to push it through? They may well do so. And we`ll try to stop it.
HAYES: DeVos, of course, nominated for secretary of education who is a billionaire, comes from a fantastically wealthy family, huge amounts of holdings and would have to go through a process -- she would have to go through a process that`s insisted upon by law in a way Donald Trump wouldn`t, which is that she won`t have any option, right, to pass over the family business to her kids or something, she actually has to divest and put it in a blind trust?
MERKLEY: This is -- that is the standard, absolutely. and by the way, this should be the standard for the president and it`s -- when we are pushing him to divest, we`re really doing him a big favor because when you own a lot of property it`s very easy to be in violation of the constitution`s emolument clause, because all someone has to do is give you a sweetheart deal and there`s thousands of deals his corporation is doing, and you`re in violation.
HAYES: Asll right, Senator Jeff Merkley, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
MERKLEY: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Still ahead, the growing questions about the Republican plans to gut Obamacare as repeal advances in the House, plus a quick check in on Rudy Giuliani is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, and that starts right after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani`s hard work for the Trump campaign has finally paid off with a brand new job. As you are sure to recall during the campaign, Rudy was the man. He was Trump`s number two, it seemed. He was everywhere -- the rallies, wearing the hats, speaking super, super emphatically at the Republican National Convention, even vociferously defending Trump after release of that infamous Access Hollywood tape in which Trump boasted of routine sexual assault.
Giuliani and Trump were bosom buddies from way back. And so after Trump`s surprise win, Giuliani was well positioned. The only question was which top cabinet post was he going to get?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The choice for secretary of state in a Trump administration is down to Rudolph Giuliani and John Bolton.
RUDY GIULIANI, FRM. MAYOR OF NEW YORK CITY: John would be a very good choice.
UNIDENTIIFED MALE: Is there anybody better?
GIULIANI: Maybe me, I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He was reported to be a top candidate for secretary of state until he got passed over, claiming he had taken his own name out of contention, and then attorney general. There`s probably nobody that knows the Justice Department better than me, Giuliani said at the time. But he didn`t get that job, either.
The former mayor receded back into whatever he was doing before he jumped on the Trump bandwagon, but now Rudy Giuliani has been given a job -- kind of -- in the Trump administration. What`s he going to do? Well, I`d tell you to check out his web site for a hint during the break, but that`s part of the problem. Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So Rudy Giuliani, one of the earliest, biggest, most stalwart supporters of candidate Trump who then seemed to be shoveled aside by President-elect Trump has now finally been given an assignment. If you missed the big announcement at Trump Tower yesterday we`ll play it for you now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GIULIANI: So, basically I`ll read you a little of the press release: "President-elect Trump is very pleased to announce former Mayor Rudy Giuliani will be sharing his expertise and insight as a trusted friend coordinating private sector cyber security problems and emerging solutions developing in the private sector."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So some cyber stuff. That`s a role so diminished as The New York Times described it, Giuliani will from time to time assemble meets between Mr. Trump and corporate executives who face cyber threats. Giuliani, afterall, has his own security consulting firm, so this job appears to be a nice opportunity to have the president of the United States help impress corporate executives who may be looking for, I don`t know, a security consulting firm.
It`s certainly an upgrade from the current situation. If any executives went looking for Giulianis firm today, this is what they find. His web sites have down all day. This after a report from Gizmodo today that Rudy`s security site is "insecure as hell." I`m quoting there. Was using outdated free Joomla software. I`m also quoting there. I don`t know what that is. And failed to follow even the most basic of security precautions that would be obvious to the most casual student of cyber security.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Department of Justice has concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe that the Chicago police department engages in a pattern or practice of use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment to the constitution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch this morning announced the results of an exhaustive report by the Department of Justice on the Chicago Police Department. The findings are simply put horrifying. I want to give just some examples. Here`s one.
A man had been found walking down a residential street with a friend when officers drove up, shined a light on him and ordered him to freeze because he had been fidgeting with his waistband. The man ran. The officers fired 45 rounds, including 28 rifle rounds, several rounds struck the man, killing him.
Officers found no gun on the man, however officers reported recovering a handgun nearly one block away. The gun recovered in the vicinity, however, was later determined to be fully loaded and inoperable and forensic testing determined there was no gunshot residue on the man`s hands.
Chicago`s independent police review authority, or IPRA, which we have talked about on the show before, found the officers -- the actions of the officers justified.
And this was not uncommon, according to the report. In many of these cases, IPRA generally accepted the officers` versions of events, which were later undercut by video evidence.
Another one, in one case officers justified using force by claiming a woman had attacked them but in the video officers can be seen aggressively grabbing the woman, throwing her to the ground and surrounding her. After she`s handcuffed, one officer tells another to "tase her ten effing times." Officers call her an animal, threaten to kill her and her family and scream "I`ll put you in a UPS box and send you back to wherever the "f" you came from while hitting the women who was handcuffed and on her knees. Officers can then be seen discovering a recording device and discussing whether they can take it."
Those officers didn`t face any discipline until after the woman came forward with the surveillance video.
Justice Department investigation also found "routinely abusive behavior within the CPD, especially towards black and Latino residents of Chicago`s most challenged neighborhoods. One officer interviewed said he had personally had heard co-workers and supervisors refer to black individuals as monkeys, animals, savages and pieces of excrement."
What we have here is a 13-month investigation by the United State Justice Department, the living document more than 160 pages long, in which the federal government corroborates what people and reporters, frankly, in the most marginalized neighborhoods of Chicago have been saying for years. And now, because of that report, the city of Chicago has promised to reform the Police Department. We`ll see how that goes.
But all this comes because this Justice Department, under this president, has aggressively pushed for reform and investigated city departments.
The man Donald Trump wants to put in charge of the Justice Department has a very different take. Jeff Sessions has criticized government lawsuits that force police reforms. So the question before us now is whether will the next report into the next department like Chicago ever even happen?
HAYES: Over the past 24 hours, House Speaker Paul Ryan has been working around the clock to try and repeal the Affordable Care Act as soon as possible. He led a successful vote, mostly on party lines in the House of Representatives on the first step toward repealing the health care law through the budget process. He defended Republican plans for repealing the ACA to a man whose life was saved by the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a Republican and I worked for the Reagan and Bush campaigns. At 49, I was given six weeks to live with a very curable type of cancer. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I`m standing here today alive.
Why would you repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement?
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Obviously, I would encourage you to go to our web site and take a look at our plan.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ryan went on to talk about a number of policy ideas from high-risk pools to greater reliance on health savings accounts, but if you took him up on that invitation to go to the House Speaker`s web site and take a look at their plan, you`d find, four bullet points promising to increase choice, reduce costs, shore up Medicare with a link to a three page snapshot PDF that basically just restates those same abstract and vague promises.
After seven years of Obamacare, more than 60 attempts to repeal it, thousands of campaign run against it across the country, that is the cutting edge of the Republican alternative right now -- four bullet points of principles.
So, what are the millions of people who`ve gained coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act supposed to do while they watch all this unfold?
Joining me now, Democratic strategist, former director of communications of outreach for Hillary for America, Jess McIntosh and Philip Klein, managing editor the Washington Examiner, author of "Overcoming Obamacare: Three Approaches to Reversing the Government Takeover of Health Care."
Maybe, Phil, I want to start with you. You know, obviously there are plans out there. Lamar Alexander has talked about plans, Tom Price, who has been nominated at HHS, but it`s somewhat striking to me that all this time they didn`t -- they knew this was coming. The fact there`s not a plan saying, no, this is what we`re going to do, and not only that it was totally absent from the campaign.
I mean, if you go back to `08, you can say Obamacare you don`t like it, you don`t like the principles, it hasn`t work, but it was intensely litigated. You had a good sense of what the contours were going to be. I have no idea.
PHILIP KLEIN, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yeah, I mean, the problem always has been not that there aren`t any Republican plans, there have been many. Paul Ryan himself when he wasn`t in leadership released one, Tom Price had one, there`s a number of different plans, but Republicans have never been able to agree on a single one and now that`s coming back to haunt them.
HAYES: There`s also the problem, it strikes me, Jess, that not only do they not agree in congress, Donald Trump has made a lot of promises. He`s talked about out-of-pocket costs. He`s talked about taking care of everybody. He wrote a book awhile back essentially calling for single payer.
Do you think they can square all the promises they`ve made?
JESS MCINTOSH, COMM. DIR. HILLARY FOR AMERICA: I don`t think they`re going to be able to do that. I think that the Republicans in the House and Senate have made repealing Obamacare a huge part of their agenda for years now. Donald Trump is new to this game. He doesn`t understand the issue. He clearly doesn`t understand the contours and what will be the controversial pieces of it. And he seems to have no interest in working with the congressional Republicans that are going to have to do the heavy lifting here.
I hope that they remember we started -- President Obama`s presidency by picking up this health care fight. It was not easy. The president spent enormous political capital getting this done because he believed not just in a set of principles but in how to do it and he worked with Senate Democrats to get it done.
HAYES: And part of the reason it wasn`t easy, Philip, is a kind of status quo bias, which is to say people don`t like the current health care system. They didn`t like it then, and there`s a lot of people dissatisfied now, I think it`s fair to say, although I think a lot of people do like the Affordable Care Act that have gotten care, but change is scary.
And so, you know, you`ve written about the fact Republicans are not being particularly honest right now about what even their principles are, which is, yes, some people are going to lose their coverage.
KLEIN: Yeah, absolutely.
And one argument I`ve made is that Republicans should avoid the same mistake as Obama, President Obama. When he was selling the health care law, as you said one of the problems was this status quo bias. People were worried about how it would disrupt their health insurance. So he over and over again repeated the infamous talking point about if you like your plan you can keep it and you`re not going to lose your doctors even though you know that -- and any intellectually honest liberal health care expert at the time would say look, if you`re making major changes to the health care system it will disrupt some people`s care, some people are going to lose coverage, and he could have made the argument, but ultimately the overall system will be better.
But he made these big promises and when the obvious happened and people lost their coverage and doctor networks got narrowed on all these changes disrupted a lot of people, it was a huge problem for him and that`s one of the big reasons why Republicans have been able to capitalize. And I`d argue now control the congress and perhaps the presidency as a result of Obamacare and these broken promises.
And now Republicans are also, I think, boxing themselves in the corner by making a lot of contradictory promises that won`t actually bear out. And I think that they should just be more honest and actually defend, which I think is a defensible position of, repealing Obamacare and replacing it with a market-based system.
HAYES: That gentleman that spoke to Paul Ryan last night, it strikes me -- he`s a particular cancer and he was a former Republican whatever, but there`s millions of people that are going to kind of discover that they`re in the crosshairs who may not have been activated for this fight before the election, but may get activated afterwards.
MCINTOSH: For sure. We`re starting with only 18 percent wanting to repeal Obamacare. You don`t get to 18 percent with Republican unity by any stretch of the imagination.
There are a number of people. We`ve seen it all over the internet as they`ve picked up this fight, people saying well, I`m on the ACA, so go ahead and repeal Obamacare, that`s terrible, my health care will be fine. They don`t realize that the ACA and Obamacare and whether that`s the media`s fault, or the president`s fault, or whoever`s fault, these people are going to know real fast that Obamacare is the ACA and that is how they get their coverage.
So, if we`re starting at a number that low that even want them to pick up this fight, and Republicans are not offering people anything. They are simply saying repeal as if there is a mandate to repeal, as if people see repeal as something being done for them.
HAYES: Right, there`s a repeal to change, there definitely is...
MCINTOSH: As opposed to being done to them. They need to -- you know, Obama made it through this because he was offering more health care to people. I don`t know what Trump or the congressional Republicans are going to be offering.
HAYES: That`s a very good point.
Philip Klein and Jess McIntosh, thanks for your time tonight. Appreciate it.
Before we go, one last very special segment to do. Both of my kids are here, and we have a house rule whenever that happens. We have a little tradition. They get to request any animal video they want. So, first up, for my daughter Ryan, here`s that black panther that you asked for. It`s - - wow, that a very cute black panther.
And for David, I present the tiger hanging out with her three cubs at theSan Diego Zoo.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END