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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 3/6/2017

Guests: Anthony Scaramucci, Neera Tanden

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST:  - took place.  That Vladimir Putin over there in the Kremlin did everything he could to put guess who in the White House.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.


SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  The President`s tweets speak for themselves.                                          HAYES:  A furious President rages at leaks, at his staff and his predecessor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is simply a President who cannot separate fact from fantasy.

HAYES:  Tonight, the meltdown inside the White House with Robert Costa, the unprecedented rebuke from the President`s own FBI Director.  The origin of Donald Trump`s latest baseless claims.

MARK LEVIN, THE MARK LEVIN SHOW HOST:  This is not about President Trump`s tweeting.  This is about the Obama administration`s spying.

HAYES:  Then -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  It would be the biggest political scandal since Watergate.

HAYES:  Why President Trump`s on going obsession with more Nixonian than you might think.

Plus, meet the one man standing between democrats and a special prosecutor.

And why today`s Trump travel ban, born from the Trump Muslim ban, may already be in trouble.


HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

Good evening from New York.  I`m Chris Hayes.  We are growing alarmingly accustomed to a President of the United States who makes incendiary claims with no basis in fact and a White House that stands by those claims despite all evidence to the contrary.  Today the White House is still defending the President`s explosive and baseless allegation that his predecessor ordered a wiretap at Trump tower during the election.  That claim made on twitter in the early hours of Saturday morning was the culmination of what had started as an excellent week for the President, at least in his estimation.  Beginning with his joint address to Congress last Tuesday.  But it was all downhill from there.  While the pundits were full of praise for the toned down speech, one woman in a CBS focus group predicted what would come next.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  And where is that guy that says what he wants to say, that is loud, that says everything he`s thinking.  Where is that guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Wait, I`m going to look for -

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  I`m going to look for him on twitter tomorrow and see what he really think.  Great job to the speech writer.  But I will see Donald Trump at 12:00 a.m.


HAYES:  She was off by a few hours.  Early in the morning, a little later than 12:00 a.m. the Washington Post published a remarkable account of the President`s meltdown over the days since the speech based on interviews with 17 top White House official, members of congress and friends of the President.  According to the Post, the post speech euphoria inside the White House came to an abrupt halt on Wednesday the following night after a report emerged that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had met twice with the Russian Ambassador and failed to disclose those meetings at his confirmation hearing.  That made Sessions the second senior Trump official after former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to withhold information about contact with the Russian envoy. 

The next day less than two hours after the President himself said his Attorney General should not recuse from any investigation into Russia and the election, Sessions did exactly that.  And on Friday morning, according to the post, the President summoned his senior aides into the Oval Office where he simmered with rage.  Later on, he left for Mar-a-Lago of course for the fourth weekend in a row.  And early Saturday morning, came the tweets quote "Terrible!  Just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump tower just before the victory.  Nothing found.  This is McCarthyism."  Another one.  "How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process?  This is Nixon Watergate.  Bad or sick guy."  Later that day, Trump friend Christopher Ruddy, the CEO of course of Newsmax and a Mar-a-Lago member ran into the President after a round of golf.


CHRISTOPHER RUDDY, NEWSMAX MEDIA CEO:  I would describe him as not being a happy camper.  He was pretty upset.  I hadn`t seen him this - with this level of anger about something in a long time.  And he again reiterated what he said in the tweets.  This is Watergate level stuff.  This is McCarthyism.  It was very bad.


HAYES:  OK.  The President`s phrasing in his tweet just found out, we should be clear here.  I think initially led journalists to believe he may have gotten briefed on new information.  In fact, the coverage suggesting there might be something to that wiretap claim.  But it soon became clear where that claim first originated, with right wing talk radio host Mark Levin.


LEVIN:  There is a much bigger scandal here.  We have a prior administration, Barack Obama and his surrogates who were supporting Hillary Clinton and their party, the democrat party, who were using the instrumentalities of the federal government, intelligence activities to surveil members of the Trump campaign.


TRUMP:  OK.  There is no evidence to that the case.  Levin`s allegation got picked up by Breitbart and the rest I suppose is history.  But the President`s claim has since been shot down by a spokesperson for President Obama as well as James Clapper, who`s Obama`s former Director of National Intelligence.  And according to the New York Times, "FBI Director himself James Comey asked the Department of Justice to put out a statement publicly rejecting the President`s wiretap claim.  Notably the DOJ led of course by Jeff Sessions has declined to comply with Comey`s request.  And according to White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the President doesn`t put much stock in Comey`s reputation.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR:  Does President Trump accept the FBI Director`s denial?

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY:  You know, I don`t think he does, George.  I think he firmly believes that this is a story line that has been reported pretty widely by quite a few outlets.


HAYES:  I`m joined now by Robert Costa, National Political Reporter for the Washington Post and an MSNBC Political Analyst.  And Bob, let me start with this.  I was following your coverage rapt over the weekend because you seemed to have a sort of inside line what was going on there.  One of the things that you talked about was that Breitbart article which itself isn`t really an article, to write-up of Mark Levin.  That really does seem to be the source of all this.  And I think that`s sort of important to establish here.

ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  It`s very important to establish.  This starts about Thursday night.  The President comes back from his military event in Virginia.  He`s watched Attorney General Sessions recuse himself.  He starts to fume inside of the White House.  And it`s important to know.  I`ve been covering this President and the candidate for over two years.  Every day he gets a printout.  He doesn`t use a computer, of articles about him, about his Presidency.  And he reviews them with a marker.  It`s a large pile of paper.  And he goes through them.  He`s reviewing a lot of articles from Breitbart and other different outlets on the right. 

And he`s seen these articles that mention Levin that mention the quote "silent coup" from the so-called deep state that is going against him.  And this is echoing what he`s hearing from his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.  And he keeps reading these materials on Thursday night.  And he wakes up early on Friday.  He knows his senior staff coming in, he knows he`s heading to Mar-a-Lago.  He pulls everyone into his Oval Office.  He said, I didn`t want Sessions to recuse himself.  I keep reading all these articles about Obama going after me, there`s some kind of silent coup in the eyes of Mark Levin.  And his staff is standing there listening to an irate President.  And then he goes in a huff off to Mar-a-Lago, leaving Bannon and Priebus behind.

HAYES:  I just want to stop for a second to sort of hang a lantern on this.  Which is to say, the President of the United States arguably has access to some of the most closely guarded information of any individual on the planet, the secrets of the United States.  He`s also someone who needs to depend on reliable information in order to - in order to make decisions.  And what you`re saying is that this information didn`t come through some channel of a briefing or anything.  This was him reading a printout of a Breitbart write-up of a Mark Levin radio monologue.

COSTA:  The three things that I find are most important for Donald Trump as he digests information is that he looks at his twitter feed, not just at what other people are tweeting, but what his supporters are tweeting at him.  He thinks - he thinks that`s kind of his populous touch, understanding what his supporters are saying to him on social media.  He reads these pile of news articles.  And he also is on the phone constantly.  That`s something his staff cannot control.  The President still calls not people in the military or the intelligence community necessarily.  He is talking to a network of friends, allies, long-time business people who he trusts.  And that`s where he really threads out a lot of these arguments before he comes to his staff.

HAYES:  One of the points that Maggie Haberman made, I thought it was interesting - you know.  The accusation here, we should just be clear, if any President were to individually order a wiretap on any citizen in any condition from the White House down, that in and of itself would be a scandal because that`s not the way it works, for good reason.  Investigators go to judges to get warrants in a sort of bottom up way.  But Maggie Haberman said that despite public insistence while in Mar-a-Lago, he will be proven right.  Wiretaps, he`s sounded less certain in private convos.  And then this is important, remember, Trump knows little about the mechanics of government as well as separation of powers.  He has assumed executive branches, not that dissimilar at how he ran from tower where he was known to tape calls, etcetera.  How much of these is his mental model of the abilities of the President just being incorrect?

COSTA:  An important figure in all of this is Don McGahn and the White House council.  Because as the President began tweeting on Saturday morning, a lot of guessing began happening inside of the White House.  People thought and suggested inside of the White House in my conversations and with others, and maybe there was some kind of FISA warrant.  Maybe there was some kind of activity.  Maybe there was - whatever was out there without evidence, without fact.  And they made these suggestions because the President was making these suggestions.  But McGahn pulled people back and said, there might not be a FISA warrant.  Don`t be making these accusations.  We`ve got to be careful here, sensitive to ongoing investigations.

HAYES:  Final question here.  I thought this was such a fascinating - two details.  One is that Bannon and Miller attempt - essentially try to cheer the President up by going over his revised executive order, which I thought was sort of an interesting window into that relationship.  And also this, Reince Priebus interrupted his Friday afternoon schedule to dedicate more than an hour to calling reporters off the record to deny that the outburst - the one that you reported that many people witnessed had actually happened.  What are we to make of that?

COSTA:  Priebus is certainly following his own coverage closely.  He thinks it also perhaps has some kind of implication for the administration.  And you do see the White House very sensitive to Priebus, because there all these articles coming out about the knives out for Priebus and Politico.  It`s kind of a running theme and there is a lot of rivals in Washington who think maybe I`d be a better Chief of Staff they say to reporters.  And so there`s - people talking a lot to the press about maybe replacing Priebus, maybe he should be on his way out.  The White House knows this.  It`s not surprising Priebus is making those kinds of calls, though he is spending some time on it.  On Saturday, you see Priebus stays in Washington.  He had some family issue - some family matters.  Spending time with his family.  Bannon does fly down to Mar-a-Lago -

HAYES:  Right. 

COSTA:  And he sit there`s with the President talks immigration because they knew they had to get ahead of this travel ban.

HAYES:  All right.  Robert Costa.  Thanks for your time.  Appreciate it.

COSTA:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Joining me former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and MSNBC Political Analyst.  What do you make of all of this, Michael?

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST:  My god.  Yes, I mean, this is - this is the mind of the President.  And everyone is kind of caught up in it.  He hears something, he reads something, he sees something, he`s contacted by people who are outside of the bubble, which is the west wing, which would compromise his Chief of Staff and Senior Advisers as well as military personnel, and he takes it and he runs with it.  He deems it as news, which is an interesting sort of play on the whole concept of fake news because that`s exactly what this is. 

HAYES:  Yes.

STEELE:  And so the reality becomes - well, the fantasy becomes the reality here.  And everyone gets swept up in it.  Because of the importance of the role of the Presidency.

HAYES:  That`s right.

STEELE:  And the tenor that he brings to any of these conversations.

HAYES:  That is a great point and what has struck me over the last 48 hours.  And everybody, there is a presumptive authority what the President says.  Because - particularly when the President says I just found out and then proceeds to essentially accuse the former President of what would be a crime.


HAYES:  You know, ordering a wiretap from on high, in violation of a warrant, et cetera.

STEELE:  Right.

HAYES:  That even though it seems manifestly preposterous it happened and it looks like we can trace it back to a Breitbart write-up of a radio rant,

STEELE:  Right.

HAYES:  There`s a still vestigial sense people have - I guess there`s something there because the President said it.  People have to discard that it`s very hard to do.

STEELE:  It`s very hard to do.  And it becomes the central animus behind everything that follows.  In fact, when the President says "just received, just learned, --

HAYES:  Right.  Exactly.

STEELE:  - just found out," people are thinking, my god, he must have just been briefed.  They came in and they showed him the paperwork.  They showed him the FISA warrant.  They showed him the documentation that -

HAYES:  Exactly right. 

STEELE:  - allows him to go out and say this.  Which of course begs the question, if you`re - shown something like that, the operative thing is not to go tweet about it.  But this is how the President performs.  And I think what it does and what we`re seeing it do is undermine not just the President, but most importantly the authority for future events that come about, and his authority to speak to those events when in fact that is the real story, and people that didn`t have to go - well, is that true?  Is that fake?  Are you just exaggerating?  Are you lying?  Where is that line?  You keep moving the goalposts.  You keep moving that line of authoritative truth.  Because as we know, you can`t go out and say this because there was no FISA decision.  There was no authority for the President to do this.  And if you understand how this plays out, there is no way you can keep something like that secret ultimately because of the very nature of it.  You`re talking about a prior President and claiming that he committed a felony.

HAYES:  You know, I had - I had a professor I think it was, who once said to me that an organization is a machine to turn information into decisions.  That`s what organizations do.  It`s corporation.  Nonprofit, whatever.  That`s what an organization does.  The White House is a machine to do that.  And - it just, at that fundamental level seems broken to me.  Not about ideology here, not about the objectives, just the inputs that come into the White House in terms of information, the decisions that get made of - because of them -

STEELE:  Right.

HAYES:  - that basic mechanics to me seems unnervingly none operational.

STEELE:  Well, Chris, it`s almost the reverse.  It`s not about - you know, information creating decisions.  It`s decisions having been made on no information.

HAYES:  No, the decisions create the information.  He decides to tweet -

STEELE:  Yes.  And then creates the information.

HAYES:  - and then creates.  Now there is information to deal with.

STEELE:  Right.  And so everybody is now trying to play catch-up to that reality.

HAYES:  That`s right.

STEELE:  When in fact that`s not reality.

HAYES:  All right.  Michael Steele, thanks for your time.

STEELE:  You got it, buddy.

HAYES:  Still to come, Magacare has landed.  Republicans are finally out with their repeal and replace not really plan.  The early indication is, it won`t cover nearly as many people as ObamaCare.  It will cut taxes for rich people.  And they can`t tell you how they`re paying for it.  More details ahead.

Up next, President Obama again making outlandish and entirely unsupported claims to deflect from landing criticism of the White House.  I`ll talk with a member of Trump former transition team about an administration in chaos, right after this two-minute break.


SANDERS:  If this happened, if this is accurate, this is the biggest overreach and the biggest scandal.

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT:  But you`re not saying (INAUDIBLE) of this - The President of the United States is accusing the former President of wiretapping him.

SANDERS:  I think that this is, again, something that - if this happened, Martha -

RADDATZ:  If, if, if, if.

SANDERS:  I agree.

RADDATZ:  Why is the President saying it did happen?

SANDERS:  Look, I think he`s going off of information that he`s seen that has led him to believe that this is a very real potential.


HAYES:  White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempting to defend the President`s accusation he was wire tapped on the orders of then President Barack Obama.  Maggie Haberman, New York Times report said quote "Trump was frustrated by the Sunday shows today, felt people didn`t defend him strongly enough on his Obama claim, or close to him."  So the question is, how do you defend a President who so regularly deals in alternative facts?

Joining me now, Anthony Scaramucci, he`s been a Trump adviser, a member of his transition executive committee, founder of SkyBridge Capital -

ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, TRUMP`S ADVISER TO THE CAMPAIGN:  I mean, It`s great the way you wrote the script.  OK.  Keep going.

HAYES:  OK.  Let me start with this.

SCARAMUCCI:  So far so good.

HAYES:  Tell me this.  You - obviously, you`re on the transition team.  I know you were an adviser to the campaign.  What`s your sort of current status as regards to the White House?

SCARAMUCCI:  OK, so my current status is, I`m in the process of selling my company.  And so unfortunately I need a lot of investor consents to do that.  And as soon as those investor consents come in, then my guess is, I`ll have a role in the administration.

HAYES:  You`ll have a role.

SCARAMUCCI:  Yes.  That`s what Steve and Reines` have said to me and I take them at their word.

HAYES:  So, this claim that the President made.


HAYES:  You come from a world in financing which information is at a premium and really important.  In some ways regulated, right?  I mean, you can get in trouble if you pass along certain information, if you trade on insider information.  What does it mean when the threshold - evidentiary threshold of the President is so much lower than what you or I would use?

SCARAMUCCI:  No.  OK.  Well, let me -- let just say a couple of things.  Because it`s just very interesting the way you framed it.  I don`t know what law school you went to, but they taught you really good at trial advocacy stuff.  But, here`s the facts that I know, and I know the guy a long time.  21 years, I worked with him very closely for the last year.  He`s got great instincts, great intuition.  So much so that he is now the President of the United States.  He is 21 months into his political career. 

HAYES:  I will stipulate all of that.  Sure.

SCARAMUCCI:  And 46 or 45 days into his Presidency.  And so, if he`s out tweeting that he thinks that there was an issue.

HAYES:  Yes.

SCARAMUCCI:  And I`m watching all the journalists around the world, the print journalist, the video journalists saying blah, blah, blah, I would look at it a little more carefully, and I would - I would take the guy a little bit more seriously.  Now, he hasn`t come out and made a public statement about it yet.  And I know that Sean issued a couple of tweets about it.  Said that we`re going to wait for more investigation -

HAYES:  Wait - but - wait a second.  Wait a second.  Let me - let me -


HAYES:  Because this is important, right?

SCARAMUCCI:  It`s your show.

HAYES:  He`s the President of the United States and you`re right, clearly extremely talented individual politically.  He`s become the President, starting his career.  I want to - I want to ask you about -- Janet Yellen as a head of the federal reserve.  OK.  Janet Yellen had a - had a twitter feed and she just said out of nowhere I hear SkyBridge Capital up to all sort of fraudulent stuff.  Or I think there`s a $100 billion in bad assets on the balance sheets of Deutsche Bank.  What would that do to financial market?

SCARAMUCCI:  You could have said ABC Capital.  That would have been less hurtful, Chris.

HAYES:  But no, I`m asking you a serious question.  What would that do to financial market if someone with that authority did something like that?

SCARAMUCCI:  OK.  Well first of all, those are two very different personalities and they`re sitting in two very different seats.

HAYES:  But they both have a lot of (INAUDIBLE) authority invested in them.

SCARAMUCCI:  Yes.  But what the President of United States has done a magnificent job of, and I think you`ll also give him credit for this.  He`s used his twitter feed, OK, to help him ascend to the Presidency.  He`s also stepped over the mainstream media to communicate directly to the public on his twitter feed.

HAYES:  That`s - that could all be - that`s fine.

SCARAMUCCI:  Let me finish.


SCARAMUCCI:  Because he has a different personality than Janet Yellen and the country and people view him differently.

HAYES:  But that`s not the question.

SCARAMUCCI:  You guys in the media take everything that he`s saying very literally.  You`re analyzing every syllable.  You`re bringing 200 pundits on to talk about it.  And the truth of the matter is, the guy`s instincts are usually right.

HAYES:  OK.  So let me -

SCARAMUCCI:  Let`s give him a chance.

HAYES:  Let me rephrase the question -

SCARAMUCCI:  Let`s give him a chance then to elucidate the information.

HAYES:  Well, OK.  But, here`s another instance.

SCARAMUCCI:  Chris, I`m going to back the guy up.

HAYES:  OK.  You can back the guy up.  But here, in addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, because you`re saying his instincts are normally correct and borne out over time.


HAYES:  In addition to winning an electoral college in a landslide and on the popular vote, if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.  Millions of people who voted illegally.  Now you`re saying I`m overly - taking this overly literally, but he then doubled down on this.  This is not just a tweet, right?  That is not true and we know that.

SCARAMUCCI:  OK.  Tell me how you know that exactly?  Tell me how you know that exactly?

HAYES:  Because every - because every secretary of state that has conducted any investigation, including Jon Husted, who is the Ohio Secretary of State, who has been extremely predisposed to finding voter fraud, said he found about 50 cases in the entire state of Ohio.  New Hampshire, where you have republicans responding to the claim of Stephen Miller that people were bussed in saying that`s ridiculous.  Every secretary of state republican and democrats says it`s not true.

SCARAMUCCI:  You know what I would love to be talking about with you though, is like the beautiful rise in the stock market -


SCARAMUCCI:  - the wonderful economy, the cut in regulations -

HAYES:  I know that, but -

SCARAMUCCI:  - the best job market opportunity in 30 years.  These are stuff I`d love to be talking about with you.

HAYES:  I know but

SCARAMUCCI:  We can talk about this if you want.  I guess your viewers like this sort of stuff.

HAYES:  No, no.

SCARAMUCCI:  All I`m saying to you is that the guy is doing a great job.  OK.  He did give his communications -

HAYES:  So you`re not going to defend these things on the merits?

SCARAMUCCI:  Because I don`t need to defend these things on the merit.  What I want -

HAYES:  If the stock market is high, then it`s OK?

SCARAMUCCI:  That`s not it.  If the President`s policies are good policies for the American people, and the policies are going to promulgate jobs and create a more affluent society for the middle class and working class individuals, he`s going to win a resounding re-election.  This other stuff which is like background music and background noise to the whole thing, here is what I`m disappointed about.  OK.  He gave an unbelievable speech - OK - last week.  OK.  And even you were surprised about it.  And there were people on other networks that were falling off their chairs.  They couldn`t believe how surprised they are about it.  But that`s the guy I know. 

HAYES:  OK.  Yes.  That may be true.  Look, I`m glad that - OK - I`m glad that you -

SCARAMUCCI:  That`s the guy the American public just elected as their President. 


SCARAMUCCI:  And by the way - but your economy is going to do a lot better under his leadership.

HAYES:  You`re asking me - you asking me - I`m sitting here and you said - you guys are focused on this.  Which OK, fine.  Yes.


HAYES:  It was the President of the United States with his 20 million twitter followers who decided to accuse the former President, a man who went to Harvard Law School with and also raised money for and supported - I should note, of doing something wildly illegal.

SCARAMUCCI:  Hold on.  Let me - let me say this, I like President Obama.  I did go to law school with him.


HAYES:  And do you think he is the type of person who would order a wiretap of the President of the United States?

SCARAMUCCI:  What I - the answer to that question is I have no idea.  OK.  But here is what I do know.  I know the guy that`s sitting as the 45th President.  He`s got really good instincts.  You may think he doesn`t.  But last time I checked he is the President of the United States off a lot of his instincts.

HAYES:  Final thing on the instincts.

SCARAMUCCI:  He shifts on flat.  He`s a great - he`s a great quarterback.  He knows how to call -

HAYES:  I hope - listen.  Believe me, I hope he has great instincts.

SCARAMUCCI:  He does.  That`s why he is the President.

HAYES:  Well, he has good political instincts, clearly.

SCARAMUCCI:  He has good political instincts that promulgate great policy.

HAYES:  Presuming the President - his instincts - his instincts that the President of the United States - former President of the United States birth certificate was fabricated or wrong.

SCARAMUCCI:  Now we`re going to that.  OK.

HAYES:  You`re talking about the man`s instincts.

SCARAMUCCI:  Chris, that`s so 2011.  OK.  He has already admitted the guy was born in the United States.  Let`s move on.  OK.  I don`t understand why we got to go back and litigate something there.  That`s good for ratings, or good for viewers -

HAYES:  No. 

SCARAMUCCI:  - I get it.  But let`s talk about the here and now.  OK.  The guy is doing a very good job.

HAYES:  I`m going to - I`m going to head you back on -

SCARAMUCCI:  I think the communication -

HAYES:  - wanting to talk all about -

SCARAMUCCI :  I think the communication could be better.  And it`s starting to get better.

HAYES:  I`m going to have you back on and we`re going to talk all about policy.

SCARAMUCCI:  Yes, policy and deregulation.

  HAYES:  And particularly whether the - what the connection is between the regulatory state and the stock market.

SCARAMUCCI:  How about the eighth million people --

HAYES:  You guys are going to do well.

SCARAMUCCI:  How about the eight million people that have dropped over the poverty line, Chris.

HAYES:  You`re going to do pretty well.  In 40 days?

SCARAMUCCI:  No, no, no, in the last 10 years, 8 million people have dropped -

HAYES:  Oh yes, no.  Let`s going it get back up.

SCARAMUCCI:  Let`s get it back up.  Lets` create the aspirational middle class.

HAYES:  All right.  OK.  Anthony Scaramucci, thanks for joining us.  Appreciate it.

Still ahead.  The cruel irony of Donald Trump himself now invoking Watergate as he continues to seethe about government leaks and how to plug them.

And up next, the House GOP releases their long-awaited health care proposal and is already coming under fire from fellow republicans.  They get (INAUDIBLE) from the bill.  Why it might already be in political danger after this quick break


HAYES:  House republicans have released their long-awaited health care bill hoping to finally fulfill a promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare, something they`ve been talking about and voting for since the law passed in 2010.  The bill is called the American Health Care Act and here are some of the most important points.  It will end the mandate and exchange model, replace it with tax credits, and this is crucial, an even stiffer penalty for those who drop insurance and then try to re-enroll.  It will freeze Medicaid expansion after January 1, 2020.  Cut funding to Planned Parenthood and give a tax break to health care CEO`s making more than half a million dollars a year. 

Yes, that`s really in there.  And for what it does to the deficit, well TBD, they released a plan without a cost estimate from the congressional budget office.  CDO score.  Republican Senator Bill Cassidy told NBC News, marking up the ACA repeal replace bill without a score quote "seems problematic - pause - I`m trying to be diplomatic."  Joining me now, Neera Tanden, President, Center for American Progress, Senior Adviser to the Obama administration on health care reform.  Neera, there`s a lot in here that to sort of digest.  I wonder what your sort of top line takeaway is.

NEERA TANDEN, CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS PRESIDENT:  You know, actually, I thought it was fascinating then Anthony Scaramucci talked about how much Donald Trump has focused on working people and people struggling.  Because the great irony of this proposal is that it represents a massive shift of costs on to the backs of working, struggling people.  It`s a redirection of benefits from people who are struggling to pay for health care, people who have received health insurance from the Affordable Care Act, working families, working people, older people.  Their benefits will be slashed in order to pay, basically make it cheaper for millionaires.  And, you know, it eliminates tax increases on millionaires.  And the very people who voted for Donald Trump, older Americans, working class people throughout this country, this plan basically raises their premiums dramatically.  Will mean they lose coverage.  It`s a great irony in this whole situation we`re in.

HAYES:  Yes, I mean, this sort of - the distributional impact as far as I can tell is that it`s going to be better - the better plan if you`re healthy and wealthy.  And if you`re not that, then it`s probably worse.  And a lot of -

TANDEN:  If you`re older.  It`s just a bad plan if you`re older.  If you happen to be 40, 50, 60 years old, health insurance becomes skyrocketingly expensive, if you don`t have it now.  If you can`t, you`ve had a hard time struggling to pay for health insurance and you`re in those age ranges, you are going to have much harder time paying for health care.  And people won`t be able to afford it.  They`ll drop coverage.  Millions of people will lose coverage.  And I think, the sad reality is so many people relied on Donald Trump when he told them they would get something better.

HAYES:  Yes.

TANDEN:  And this plan shows that that - and it pains me to say this, but it was a lie.  That they relied on that and they were betrayed by a plan here which is going to be much, much worse for them.  And it`s unfortunate to say that, but it`s true.

HAYES:  Yeah, also we should see the proof will ultimately be in the pudding.  But we`ll see if they can actually get this out.  Neera Tanden, thanks for joining us.  Appreciate it.

TANDEN:  Great to be with you.

HAYES:  All right, coming up, Senator Cory Booker is here.  We`ll look at the new travel ban the president signed today and how the significant changes demonstrate all the ways the original went wrong.  Next.


HAYES:  Travel ban 2.0 is out today.  And it has two very differently phrased justifications.  The official legal one, the one they`re telling people who voted for them and raised money off of.  The new travel ban and executive order were signed today by President Trump with no fanfare.  In a separate appearance in which they took no questions from reporters, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and  Homeland Security secretary John Kelly defended it as justified and legal.

Now, the new travel ban is different.  It drops Iraq from the list of banned countries.  It does not apply to current greencard holders or those with valid visas as of January 27.  And unlike the last travel ban, this new executive order provides a separate justification for each of the six Muslim majority nations under the temporary ban in an effort to, quote, protect the nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals.

But in a Trump team email to supporter, it`s all boiled down to this: temporarily restricting  immigration from six countries compromised by radical Islamic terrorism: Sudan, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen.

The case against the first travel ban was that it was a, well, a bigoted campaign promise, a Muslim ban then dressed up to pass muster, and it failed, miserably, frankly, at that, getting struck down by the courts. 

But, the question now is, is this one any better?  Joining me now, is Cory Booker, a member of the foreign relations committee.  And Senator, it seems that some of the things that the courts objected to most strenuously have been removed.  What is your evaluation of the new proposal?

SEN. CORY BOOKER, (D) NEW JERSEY:  Well, this, again, is something that came out of that campaign promise that had very little to do about protecting residents than appealing to bigotry and hatred.  It was a Muslim ban that was its original intention.  And this is just a more finely dressed up pig that is trying to be pushed through.

And sorry for the non-kosher metaphor, but it`s a more dressed up pig trying to pass through the objections of the court.

But they`re clearly from their election and campaign material they`re sending out, all the way to what their senior advisers like Steven Miller are saying, this is still the same policy intent and it`s not going to make Americans safer.  In fact, it could potentially make us less safe.

You can see actually they dropped Iraq, which it was a chorus of people coming from the military sector saying we`ve got people standing right now fighting side by side, Iraqis and Americans, trying to liberate Mosul and you`re injecting your politics in a way that is going to make soldiers in the field who are relying on Iraqi interpreters and others who have understanding with our immigration policies, you`re going to make it more dangerous for them.

And that`s why finally they saw some light on dropping Iraq.  But when you the department of homeland security coming out and saying that country of origin is an unlikely indicator of security, and you have an already extreme vetting process for refugees that takes anywhere from a year and a half to  sometimes five or six years, this is clearly not about American safety, it`s about trying to ban Muslims.

HAYES:  Is there any political will on Capitol Hill to do anything about this?  I mean, my sense is this is going to be fought in the court, but they have scaled back things that courts have identified as most objectionable, although it`s possible they can`t redeem the ultimate intent if that`s sort of on the record.  But were it to survive scrutiny by the courts, do you in the Senate have anything to say about this?

BOOKER:  Yeah, I think that it behooves us to speak out about the real issues of security in America and how this in many ways plays into our very enemies who are trying to create a war, create an America being in a war with Islam as opposed to being at wore with radical jihadist, folks who are intent on terrorism.

So, I think it behooves us to continue to fight and speak out and not play into fears and bigotry which I think this is doing nothing but harming and whipping up within our country.  And again, please understand that this is coming after two painful weeks where we saw two Muslim immigrants be shot, where we saw a Aikh american with a turban be shot.

This is playing to unfortunately the base bigotry within our country and not when you look at what actually the threats are to our country, it`s not attenuating our efforts, our energy and our resources to what is going to make America safer and stronger.

HAYES:  Since I have you here, I want to ask you about some of the things that had developed over the weekend, we have the recusal of Jeff Sessions.  We have the president`s allegations unsupported as far as I can tell.  What is the proper avenue for investigation going forward?

BOOKER:  Well, I just want to say on what I think has been one of the more insidious distractions I`ve seen in a long time, that Donald Trump is out there doing what he is really good at.  He started his political efforts by accusing Barack Obama of salacious lies, accusing him of not being an American citizen.  And so now at a time when you see a lot of crises he is having in his own administration, he goes out on another wild accusation against President Obama.  But this one is so insidious because he is the president of the United States.  He can easily make one phone call and find out what is going on within our FISA court, easily make one phone call to the FBI and find out what they`re doing and clear up any of the propaganda he has been reading on Breitbart.  But he hasn`t done that.  He hasn`t done what is obvious and simple to do.

Instead, he is insinuating what has now been dominating the news and distracting us from the real issues he is doing whether it`s a regulatory rollbacks on Wall Street, on polluting industries or things like the health care plan that he has dropped amidst all of this which is going to hurt working Americans, make it more expensive for most of the average citizens to get health care.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Cory Booker, thanks for your time.  Appreciate it.

BOOKER:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Still to come, the most compelling comparison between President Trump Richard Nixon.  I`ll explain.

Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starting after this break.


WATSON:  Thing One tonight.  Today, President Trump and the White House, heaped praise on oil and gas giant Exxonmobil in a series of tweets, an official statement and a video. 


TRUMP:  I`m very pleased to announce that the great company Exxonmobil is going to be investing $20 billion in the Gulf Coast and the Gulf Coast region.  This is something that was done  to a large extent because of our policies and the policies of this new administration.


HAYES:  Well, as Politico notes, at least some of the investments are actually pretty old, beginning four years ago in 2013under a man named President Obama.

Exxon total Politico at least one of the projects, an aviation lubricants plant in Baton Rouge, has already been completed. 

Now, Trump`s praise for Exxon came hours after he ate lunch with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former Exxon CEO who left the company to join the administration.  The White House wouldn`t comment on whether the two discussed Exxon at lunch, but what`s strange is that White House statement on Exxon`s business plan sounds almost like it was written by Exxon`s PR department itself.  And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  Just after 3:00 p.m. Eastern today, Exxonmobil released a statement writing in part Exxonmobil is strategically investing in new refining and chemical manufacturing projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast region to expand its manufacturing and export capacity.  34 minutes later, the White House released a statement praising the Exxon announcement and the language is, let`s just say, pretty similar. Exxonmobil is strategically investigating in new refining and chemical manufacturing projects in the United States Gulf Coast to region to expand  its manufacturing and export capacity.

Actually, that entire paragraph appears to be cut and pasted with with a few tweaks noted in yellow, including incorrectly adding a space between Exxon and Mobil and changing U.S. to United States. 

Tonight, a White House official responded to questions about similarities between the two statements saying the expansion program has many different components to it, and we went straight to the source for some of our information.



SEN. LINSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA:  If this true, illegally, it would be the biggest political scandal since Watergate. 

MATTHEW DOWD, ABC POLITICAL DIRECTOR:  This reminds me, actually, of Watergate, of what happened in Watergate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  If this happened, we crossed a very dangerous line in America. It makes Watergate look like a joke.  I mean...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  This is completely insidious.  This is an order of magnitude worse than Watergate.


HAYES:  So many on the right are invoking the Watergate scandal in the wake of President Trump`s unsubstantiated claim that former President Obama, quote, had my wires tapped in Trump Tower just before the victory.

President Trump himself tweeting how low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process.  This is Nixon/Watergate.  Bad or sick guy.

It has become so routine for people to invoke Nixon and Watergate that it is easy to forget exactly what Watergate was about and appreciate how genuinely Nixonian President Trump has been over the course of his first 45 days in office.

Here is Nixon talking to reporters in 1973.


RICHARD NIXON, 37TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  Don`t get the impression that you arouse my anger.  You see, one can only be angry with those he respects.


HAYES:  President Trump has repeatedly railed against leaks and leakers in the early days of his administration.  And President Nixon was so upset about leaks that in 1971 he established a unit known as the plumbers to stop the leaking of classified information, some members of which would eventually orchestrate the Watergate break-in.


NIXON:  All this business about, you know, the plumbers operation.  But good god, that`s totally justified, isn`t it?



HAYES:  Yes, sir.

Shortly before he resigned in disgrace, Nixon had sought to block the FBI`s investigation into the Watergate break-in.  Now Trump chief council Don McGann is reportedly trying to pry away from the Justice Department a court order which may or may not exist related to a possible investigation of  Trump and his allies.  When we come back, we`ll explore the similarities from what we`ve seen and heard from these two presidents, that`s right after this break.


NIXON:  Never forget: the press is the enemy.  The press is the enemy.  The press is the enemy.




NIXON:  Never forget: the press is the enemy.  The press is the enemy.  The press is the enemy.



TRUMP:  A few days ago, I called the fake news the enemy of the people, and they are.  They are the enemy of the people.


HAYES:  Joining me now to discuss the Nixsonian nature of the Trump presidency so far, historian Rick Pearlstein.  His books include the highly acclaimed Nixonland and author Michelle Goldberg, columnist at Slate.

Rick, let me start with you, because I know you well and that you are very careful about parallels to Nixon, partly because he was such a unique figure in many ways.  So I want to start with you about - I keep reading the accounts of the leak obsession, this idea that everyone is out to get us and that, quote, deep state, that the intelligence operatives, and everyone is out to get us and we need to destroy them all, really does make me think of your book Nixonland.

RICK PEARLSTEIN. AUTHOR:  Well, you`ve had me on to talk about the comparisons, but these days, I`m beginning to wonder if the comparisons aren`t more of a distraction from really understanding Trump then they do bring us closer because, you know, Nixon, among other things, was very intelligent, very well prepared, very sensible, he did some very sane things.  Trump is completely insane. You know, he is insensible, he`s completely ill-prepared. 

I mean, among other things, that business with Nixon coming up with the idea of telling the FBI to stop investigating Watergate because it might have been a CIA operation required a brilliant understanding of the intelligence organizations and what they did and how they worked together.

HAYES:  Right.

PEARLSTEIN:  Trump is just flailing around madly.  And another thing is, you know, Trump clearly -- at least his lawyers are really good money launders, at least allegedly.  I mean, this whole Bay Rock and Soho Trump thing and all the Russian stuff, you know, we may never get to this stuff.  You know once they started looking into how Richard Nixon raised money to pay off the burglars into shutting up at their trial, you know, the thing started unraveling within seconds.

And then finally, you know, Trump takes three and a half weeks to do something that`s so insane he gets the blood hounds on his tail.  You know, but Nixon, at least we had three and a half years to wait.

HAYES:  Well, and this is -- I mean obviously the trajectory of all this seems like it`s extremely accelerated with that, that`s because the personality is at issue or the times we live in. 

But to me, I just got chills from reading about this short of level of paranoia, Michelle, because like there is this -- you know, this is one of the things I think Nixon really pioneered in a certain kind of part of the conservative self conception which is like as victims, as persecuted, and that there`s an establishment in the country, and it`s fundamentally opposed to the ideals of conservatives and therefore surrounds them and must be destroyed.

And when you start hearing, you know, that`s coming from Steve Bannon talking about like purging the intelligence agencies or purging parts of the government, as Steve King, the congressman from Iowa called for, that sounds scary to me.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE:  But again, I think what Rick said, it`s such a kind of sped up cartoon technicolor version of anything.  I mean there are these surface similarities both in terms of their general orientation, their paranoid kind of projection.  The idea that all of these devious things that we`re up to are only a response to the far worse crimes of our adversaries, which sort of justifies  anything.

You know so you have this world view that`s both embattled and incredibly self-righteous at the same time.  But -- but also -- and then you also have the surface similarities that at the heart of both these scandals are break-ins to the Democratic National Committee.

HAYES:  Right.

GOLDBERG:  But you know, this is -- I mean again, this is six weeks out, and you already have the recusal by the attorney and you already have a complete meltdown by Trump and some of the other principles.  And also, Nixon`s scandal was not a crime, it wasn`t about treason, right.  I mean, imagine if the Watergate break-in had been carried out with the support of the then Soviet Union.  And I think you get a scale, you know, the idea of the potential scale of this thing.

HAYES:  And Rick, Michelle`s point here seems crucial to me and it ties back to the president`s tweets about the wiretapping, which is that I was listening to the Nixon tapes today and there`s one point where he`s going off about how LBJ had bugged him.  And there`s this sense that you know, no one plays by the rules, that everyone basically is trying to screw over everyone else, and that creates this kind of leveling down and I do think we saw that kind of -- we see that manifested all the time in the way the president talks about this stuff.

PEARLSTEIN:  Right.  I mean, that`s an interesting parallel.  You know, there`s a famous quote on the Nixon tapes: they`re using any means we have to use any means.  And this idea that the  bureaucracy was just filled with Kennedy people.  He didn`t care about Johnson all that much, it was Kennedy people.  You know, because Kennedy, like Barack Obama, was this charismatic guy who got, you know, credit for being charming and handsome and, you know, even you could say the ladies liked him.  Nixon was the guy who, you know, drove his own future wife around on her dates with other men, you know. 

But this idea that, you know, Nixon -- Kennedy got away with everything.  Kennedy got away with appointing his own brother attorney general.  Kennedy got away with you know like putting us on the road to Vietnam, and then he hated RFK because he thought RFK was going to attack him if he didn`t escalate in Vietnam.

You know, so there`s all this kind of stuff swirling around that it gets at the same sort of psychological, you know, kind of vacuum, you know, at the heart of their self-regard and their souls.

So, you know, that`s -- that`s quite similar, but again, everything with Trump is turned up to 11.

HAYES:  Right And also less strategic.  And this idea of like...

PEARLSTEIN:  It`s stupid.

HAYES:  ...let Obama go.  Like this is how...

PEARLSTEIN:  With his tweet.  Yeah, with his tweet.  It`s like what happened with his tweet is it was literally a self-incriminating tweet.  This idea that wait, they`re spying on me, using the FISA  court, well that means that some FISA judge thinks that I might be culpable of terrible crimes.  Nixon would never do that.  He knew how to lie.

HAYES:  Rich Pearlstein and Michelle Goldberg, thanks for being with me.  Appreciate it.

Before we go, a quick reminder in a few weeks, I`ll be heading on the road on a book tour for my new book a colony in a nation, which comes out later this month.  And you can check the dates at our Facebook page,  The events are filling up fast, so don`t wait.  We`ll have more details soon.

That is All In for this evening.  The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.