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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 1/19/2017

Guests: Tammy Baldwin; Chris Murphy; Mo Brooks, Sherrod Brown, Matt MacKoviak, Howard Dean, Maria Teresa Kumar

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: -- good. So, beginning tomorrow at noon, I intend to keep asking the tough questions, keep burrowing in to get real answers trying my darnest to get some truth from power. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: All over the world their talking about it.

HAYES: Hours from now, Trump becomes President, and assumes all the duties of that office.

TRUMP: We have nuclear capabilities.

HAYES: Tonight, new reporting on Trump`s plans to overhaul the government with Senators Chris Murphy and Tammy Baldwin. Then, exactly who will be running the government tomorrow?

TRUMP: We have by far the highest I.Q. of any cabinet ever assembled.

HAYES: New reports that a chaotic transition is way behind on hiring. Plus, Senator Sherrod Brown is here after grilling Trump`s treasury nominee today.

SHERROD BROWN, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM OHIO: I`m pretty surprised, Mr. Mnuchin -- I`m sorry, I`m pretty surprised you don`t know these things.

HAYES: And Rick Perry learns about his government.

RICK PERRY, AMERICAN POLITICIAN: After being briefed on so many of the vital functions of the Department of Energy, I regret recommending its elimination.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

Good evening from Washington, D.C., I`m Chris Hayes. In 16 hours, around noon tomorrow, just a few miles from here, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the President of the United States of America. Just hours after having received a briefing that only 11 other Americans have ever gotten, on how to launch a nuclear weapon and potentially start a nuclear war. This was the scene tonight, Trump at the inauguration concert at the Lincoln Memorial where he took in performances from among others Lee Greenwood, Toby Keith, Three Doors Down and an act known as The Piano Guys who did a cover of a One Direction song on an open piano then performed a strong for the Trump faithful called "It`s Going To Be OK." When all the singing was over, it was the President-elect`s turn to address his supporters.


TRUMP: I`m the messenger. I`m just the messenger. And we were tired. And I love you. Believe me, I love you. We all got tired of seeing what was happening. And we wanted change but we wanted real change. And I look so forward to tomorrow. We`re going to see something that is going to be so amazing.


HAYES: Trump also addressed the concert itself and the performers.


TRUMP: I`d like to congratulate our incredible entertainers tonight. Toby and Lee Greenwood and all of the great talent, it was really very special. This started out tonight being a small little concert, and then we had the idea maybe we`ll do it in the front of the Lincoln Memorial. I don`t know if it`s ever been done before, but if it has, very seldom. We didn`t have anybody who would even come tonight, this hasn`t been done before.


HAYES: Point of fact, it has been done before, actually, by the last guy. Eight years ago President Obama held his inauguration concert, quite famously in that very same place, the Lincoln Memorial. Beyonce was there, Bruce Springsteen, U2. There is virtually no president for a transition between two presidents who are more diametrically opposed in personality, disposition and background, but perhaps the most consequential difference is on policy. We are about to see massive shift in how the federal government operates and who it helps and who it hurts.

Los Angeles Times (AUDIO GAP) today that Trump will move quickly to clamp down (AUDIO GAP) raids and more people singled out for deportation. (AUDIO GAP) is preparing from (AUDIO GAP) large (AUDIO GAP) including proposing major reductions from the Department of Commerce and Energy, the privatization of the corporation for public broadcasting, the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for Humanities. Overall, the (INAUDIBLE) reports the blueprint being used by Trump`s team would reduce federal spending by $10.5 trillion over 10 years.

As Kevin Drum notes, the Trump team`s proposed budget hues closely to a recent heritage foundation report which takes a meat axe to everything other than defense, including, crucially, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Cutting Social Security and Medicare has long been a goal for House Speaker Paul Ryan, and while Trump has vowed not to cut those programs, he said today, he`s ready to sign what Ryan sends his way.


TRUMP: I love Paul, I don`t know if Paul is here. He`s out writing legislation, because he`s got so much legislation to write. He`s never had it so good. And he`s actually got somebody that`s going to sign it.


HAYES: That`s on the spending side. Then there`s taxes. There is perhaps no issue on which there is more consensus among republicans, including Trump that cutting taxes for the wealthy, despite of course the massive increase in income inequality we`ve seen over the past 40 years. And something Trump made clear when he was caught on camera a week after being elected shaking hands at an expensive Manhattan steak house.


TRUMP: Have a good meal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is our President-elect?

TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you. We`ll get your taxes down, don`t worry.



HAYES: As republicans figure out how to reshape the country, democrats are searching for the best path of resistance. Most recent model is the GOP approach eight years ago, worked out at a dinner as Frontline reports the night President Obama was inaugurated.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three hours some of the brightest minds in the Republican Party debated how to be relevant.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKER: The point I made was that we had to be prepared in the tradition of Wooden at UCLA to run a full court press, and we had to see how Obama behaved and to offer an alternative to what he wanted to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The republicans agreed on a tough new strategy. To block the President, fight his agenda.

GINGRICH: And he could be defeated partly by his own ideology and by his own behaviors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The feeling was that if that group could cooperate and if that group could lead, that the wilderness might not be a generation away.


HAYES: Joining me now to discuss the GOP agenda and the democrats` own (INAUDIBLE), Senator Tammy Baldwin democrat of Wisconsin; Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. It`s good to have you both here. Nice to see you in person. Usually, we`re talking over satellites.


HAYES: You are both - you are both senators who are what we call in cycle, which means you will be up in 2018, it will be your first re-election for both of you, so that`s a - you know, that`s a big deal. I presume you guys want to stay senators.


HAYES: Yes. So, well - and it`s sort of interesting because like, you know, when you think about the politics of the moment and what it cashes out to is folks like yourself and how you`re going to think about, how you represent your constituents in this environment are you - are democrats going to have a dinner like that dinner that the republicans had where you all get together and figure out how to block what`s coming down the pike?

BALDWIN: Are we going to have a dinner like that?

MURPHY: I don`t know, we can go out to dinner later tonight. I mean - I mean, really, we don`t have to have a dinner because he`s making this so easy. I mean, the country very clearly is going to unite around the idea that you shouldn`t throw out healthcare for 20 million Americans without a replacement. There is no public support out there for the privatization of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And so, you know, this doesn`t have to be a fairly complicated internal strategy, he just seems to be landing on the wrong side of public opinion on almost everything.

HAYES: Here`s the - yes, please.

BALDWIN: And I think about when I ran for senate in 2012, the people sent me here to stand up to powerful interests and fight for Wisconsin`s working class, help them get ahead -- they`re struggling. And I think moving forward, you know, to the extent that Trump came to Wisconsin and promised working people things like getting rid of unfair trade deals and buy America policies, et cetera, we need to hold him accountable to those words and when he`s going to do things that harm the working people of my state, we resist with every ounce of our energy.

HAYES: What does that mean? I mean, one of the things that happened, I mean, so right now this Hill - this Hill article today was interesting to me because I think the ACA fight has taken front and center, because they moved on that first. And of course, they`re going to move that through a budget. It`s funny now we`re passing budgets again, we haven`t done that in a while. It`s been hard to get a normal budget process, but they`re going to move that through reconciliation. It`s going to mean that they could - they don`t need that -- to clear that filibuster threshold of 60. What can you do, I mean, practically, like as a senator? Can you slow things down? Can you - do you think you can win over three of your colleagues?

BALDWIN: Well, first of all, as we did last weekend, engaging the people, finding their voice, telling their own stories. I had -- there were several rallies across the State of Wisconsin, but I attended one where person after person, shared what this would mean to them, the harm that would cause. It will cause in some cases death, in other cases bankruptcies, like we used to see with regularity prior to the passage of these health reforms, and it will impact every American. So, part of it is engaging the people on this, but while --

HAYES: But those engagements have to turn into votes at some point.

BALDWIN: Absolutely.

HAYES: I mean, unless Ron Johnson hears those folks, your colleague in Wisconsin who just was re-elected, unless he hears those votes and thinks, you know what, I don`t want to vote for this ACA bill.

BALDWIN: Yes. But - so, there`s a couple of things, and I suspect that Chris shares my experience of republicans in the senate so quietly to us saying, you know, this isn`t quite working out the way we thought, and we are hearing from our constituents and they are nervous. We need to make sure because they can repeal it with a simple majority through the reconciliation process. They can`t replace it with just 51 votes.

HAYES: That`s right.

MURPHY: And Trump is - Trump is screwing this thing up for them because he continues to say that you can`t repeal it without an immediate replacement. Guess what, they cannot do that. They do not have the votes to pass a replacement so they are creating --

HAYES: This is a crucial point. They can`t do the replacement through reconciliation. They can do the repeal through reconciliation, but a replacement, they`re going to need - they need democrat votes.

MURPHY: They need democratic votes and frankly, even if they only needed republican votes, they couldn`t find the votes to pass a replacement, so they are setting up expectations for themselves that they cannot meet. And then there are things that they can`t do through reconciliation, some of the privatization of Medicare, Social Security, you can`t do that through reconciliation. They still need democratic votes, so there still is the ability to resist. And even when they need 50 they`ve set these expectations that they simply can`t find a way to get to. So this is going to be hard.

HAYES: What do you - what do you say to people -- and I want to talk about, you know, people have been -- there`s sort of a discussion happened, people look at the approval ratings and they say these are historically low and, you know, even if these polls are off 5 or 10 points they`re still historically low. Right? Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt, he`s 38, 39, 37, Barack Obama was at 65 somewhere on that. But then there are people who say, "Well, it didn`t matter in the election, the guy got elected anyway," gravity doesn`t matter. How much does public opinion matter? How much does it matter, do you think?

BALDWIN: You know, certainly, he has rough numbers going into inauguration day. I think it`s really clear from those that he has got to do a lot to earn the trust of the American people and it is going to matter, you know, I hear from people as I travel the State of Wisconsin who voted for Hillary, voted for Trump, who voted for Gary Johnson. I think he has a very short time period to make it clear whether he`s going to follow through on the promises he made to working people who in the end gave him the edge in my state. I think it`s a very short time period. And when they get --

MURPHY: To deliver for those voters.

BALDWIN: Absolutely. To - and the early indicators with his nominees for cabinet posts, he said he was going to drain the swamp.



BALDWIN: Excuse me, these are the powerful, the billionaires, the bankers, et cetera, that he`s populating his cabinet with. I think people are troubled already.

MURPHY: Hey listen, he`s made a very clear claim that only he can fix what`s wrong in your life. Right? Obama`s metric was, is Washington different? Did I change the culture? Right? So republicans kind of controlled that because if they didn`t work with him, then Obama was a failure. Trump says, no, I`m going to palpably and tangibly change your life. People are going to be able to figure out at the end of two years whether their life is better and whether what he said is true. So if he doesn`t deliver on it and nothing he`s proposing is going to actually make those people`s lives different, than that approval rating which is low today is much more dangerous for him two years from now.

HAYES: And do you think it`s dangerous for the other people in his party? I mean, because Donald Trump has a different political calculus, but the folks that you work with in your - in your body, your colleagues as they`re thinking about what they`re going to support - not going to support, they`re thinking about, you know, what their voters and their constituents want.

MURPHY: And back when this party, the Republican Party was a trickle-down party, you know, they were losing seats left and right in the house and senate. I think people think that this is a different Republican Party now. So, when they figure out that it`s the same old party, then, yes, in the midterms, I think a lot of their members are going to be in trouble.

BALDWIN: You know, the republican establishment owns Washington now.

HAYES: They do.

BALDWIN: The presidency and both houses of congress --

HAYES: Can`t blame it on you.

MURPHY: They`ll try.

BALDWIN: I was going to say. And republicans in the senate will own this cabinet and so - yes, there`s no escaping this.

HAYES: Yes, they`re going to - they`re going to blame it -- the press is now the new enemy. I think it`s going to be what`s happening. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Senator Chris Murphy, great to have you here in person. Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

HAYES: I have less than a day until Trump is sworn in. There`s a staggering number of positions yet to be filled in his administration including key appointments to the National Security Council, the chaotic transition after this two-minute break.


HAYES: Last night, Donald Trump picked former Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue to be Secretary of Agriculture, filling the last open spot in his new cabinet. Among the people he`s chosen for the 15 traditional cabinet positions, all but two are men, all but two are white, for the first time since 1988, not a single member of the cabinet is Hispanic. Trump is on track to have at most just three of his nominees confirmed tomorrow, his first day in office, James Mattis, as Secretary of Defense; John Kelly, Secretary of Homeland Security; and possibly Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. And that`s compared to seven for both President Obama and George W. Bush.

But the cabinet is only the tip of the proverbial federal bureaucracy iceberg. There are about 4,000 positions for political appointees. Of those, 690 are identified as crucial senate-confirmed post by the non- partisan partnership for public service. Trump has announced his picks for just 30 of them. Meaning 96 percent of those key offices won`t even have a nominee when he takes over the government according to Stephen Hess, an expert on transitions, the Brookings Institution quote, "It`s just - there is no other word for it, weird, for those of us who have been involved in government for decades."

Observers are most concerned about the vacancies on National Security Council which could severely hamper the Trump administration`s response to a crisis. POLITICO reports that most of the NSC`s key policy jobs are still open, including Senior Directors handling such regions and issues as the Middle East, Russia, Afghanistan, economic sanctions and nuclear proliferation.

Several different factors have contributed to the slowdown including multiple staff shakeups and before November 8th, the widespread expectation even among the Trump folks that Trump would not win. But it also appears at least in part to be political. According to The Washington Post Josh Rogin, James Mattis requested that almost two dozen Obama appointees be allowed to stay on because he did not want the Pentagon to be caught flat footed in the case of an early emergency. The transition team reportedly pushed back allowing Mattis to retain only a half dozen top officials. I`m joined by Congressman Mo Brooks, republican from Alabama who serves on the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman, are you concerned about the vacancies particularly on the National Security Council, regional directors there if there`s a North Korea ICBM, if there`s some kind of an emergency starting at 4:00 p.m. tomorrow, does it concern you that there aren`t the folks there tasked with monitoring that?

MO BROOKS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM ALABAMA: No, I`m quite comfortable that the people that we have serving America both in the Intelligence Agencies and in National Defense, Pentagon oriented, they are on watch and they are - they are to protect America`s security and they will be able to do so throughout this transition phase from the Obama administration to the Trump administration.

HAYES: Right, but I mean, it`s not the transition tomorrow, right? Because it`s - as of tomorrow, it is the Trump administration. If you`ve got the National Security Council unstaffed. I mean, I think you and I would agree that the National Security Council is pretty important, right?

BROOKS: Well, the National Security council is pretty important, but it`s more important to get the right people in the right positions, and to do so in a deliberative way, if that`s what is required than it is to rush and get the wrong people in those positions. So I think Donald Trump and his administration is being very deliberate in making sure that they get the right people in the right places even if it takes more time than it might otherwise.

HAYES: And you think even if in the case of say, General Mattis asking for folks to stay on -- even if it means getting rid of people so there are empty desks in the Pentagon because those folks may have been appointed by the previous President?

BROOKS: I`m quite comfortable with our new Secretary of Defense will be able to handle the circumstances as they are presented. And again, I have not seen anything that suggests National Security is at risk because of the way this transition is unfolding. HAYES: I want to ask you about an interesting quote I thought in POLITICO about Trent Lott, a former republican senator, of course. A lobbyist close to several people on the transition said the transition team was relying on lobbyists and others for lists of potential hires and policy recommendations. Do you think it`s a good idea to rely on lobbyists to tell you who to hire?

BROOKS: I think Donald Trump and the transition team ought to be relying on as many people as they can in order to have the largest pool of applicants for the positions that need to be filled. That`s the way that you get the person that you need to do the task that is required.

HAYES: Right. But lobbyist -

BROOKS: So it`s one thing to have an expansive list. It`s another thing if you start picking people because of special interest influence. That influence being contrary to the interest of the United States of America, so let`s wait and see who`s appointed, who`s filling these positions before we start criticizing who might be in a rather large list that`s going to be culled down to one for each position.

HAYES: I mean Trent Lott said did say relying and I would also just ask if you think it`s consonant with the general theme of the Trump campaign which was I think, and bracingly so, and many people cottoned to this, talking about the power of lobbyists, how bad they were and the power of special