All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 3/17/2017

Guests: Wendy Sherman, Evan McMullen, Jim Banks, Michelle Goldberg, Dean Baker, Robert Faturechi

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 17, 2017 Guest: Wendy Sherman, Evan McMullen, Jim Banks, Michelle Goldberg, Dean Baker, Robert Faturechi CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST:  Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  I can get around the media when the media doesn`t tell the truth.

HAYES:  An international incident caused by an angry President`s tweets.

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  I don`t think we regret anything.

HAYES:  Tonight, the President`s refusal to accept reality as he ices the German chancellor and picks a fight with an ally instead of backing off a baseless Fox News claim.

TRUMP:  That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox.

HAYES:  Then, who`s buying the hard sale on Trumpcare?

TRUMP:  These folks were noes, mostly noes yesterday and now, every single one is a yes.

HAYES:  One of the republicans who says the President convinced him will join me live.  Plus, new reporting that Preet Bharara was investigating the architect of Trumpcare before he was fired.  And about those budget cuts -

MICK MULVANEY, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET DIRECTOR:  We can`t spend money on programs just because they sound good.

HAYES:  The growing outrage over proposed budget cuts.

MULVANEY:  We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.

HAYES:  As the President heads for the links.

TRUMP:  Everybody always wants to go to the southern White House.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes, President Trump`s utterly unsupported claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump tower during the campaign.  An allegation that began with speculation from a right wing talk show host has now ascended from angry early morning Presidential tweet to congressional inquiry to full-fledged international incident.  And President Trump amazingly still isn`t backing down.  Today the President met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. 

The two leaders sitting for this pretty awkward photo-op where reporters and Merkel herself asked Trump if he wanted to do a hand shake - as a standard in such situations - the President just well, ignored the request.  Later the two leaders emerged to give statements and take questions.  Merkel pointedly opening her remarks by noting it is quote, "Better to talk to one another and not about one another."  Trump was asked twice by German reporters about his claim that President Obama wiretapped him and he responded by doubling down, referencing 2013 reports that Obama administration had tapped Merkel`s cell phone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  As far as wiretapping I guess by - you know, this past administration at least we have something in common perhaps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Before we get to the rest of the President`s answer, let`s take a moment to remember how we got here.  It was a couple of weeks ago that right wing talk show host Mark Levin speculated that President Obama had mounted a quote "silent coup against Trump" during the campaign using, and I`m quoting again "police state tactics."  Breitbart wrote up the allegation which was also picked up by Rush Limbaugh.  Now, the author of the Breitbart story Joel Pollak told Chuck Todd on Wednesday how he heard Levin`s claim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL POLLAK, BREITBART EDITOR:  It was late at night and I was washing dishes listening to Mark Levin`s show from earlier in the day.  And I thought wow, that`s amazing.  I had seen these articles but nobody had actually put the case together the way Levin had.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Pollack`s article reportedly circulated in the west wing and infuriated the President.  Though he would later claim - he got the claim from Fox News and the New York Times either way.  President Trump went on to tweet the explosive allegation that the previous president, President Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump tower during the campaign while, we should note, also calling President Obama a quote "bad or sick guy."  The claim of wiretapping went beyond what Levin and Pollack had even alleged. 

Again, there was no evidence for any of this.  But it was an allegation from the most powerful person in the world, the President of the United States, so it couldn`t just be written off as a right wing fantasy.  As White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer unsuccessfully sought to (INAUDIBLE) reporters` demands for truth, congressional investigations got under way.  Though eventually, pretty much every single last major player outside the White House said there was nothing to back the President up.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVIN NUNES, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA:  We don`t have any evidence that that took place.  In fact, I don`t believe just in the last week of time, the people we`ve talked to, I don`t think there was an actual tap of Trump Tower

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  We did get some movement on this today.  The House Intelligence Committee receiving a set of documents from the Justice Department regarding Trump`s accusation that we don`t yet know what they say.  With the White House flailing, Fox News channel Judicial Analyst Andrew Napolitano who has dabbled in the past with 9/11 Trutherism came forward Monday with a theory of his own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS SENIOR JUDICIAL ANALYST:  Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command.  He didn`t use the NSA, he didn`t use the CIA, he didn`t use the FBI and he didn`t use the Department of Justice, he used GCHQ.  What the heck is GCHQ?  That`s the initials for the British Spying Agency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  That utterly explosive claim also likely would have been lost to the right wing fever swamps but for the fact that Sean Spicer amazingly took to the White House briefing room yesterday to read Napolitanoes claim verbatim to reporters.  Britain`s GCHQ, the U.S.`s closest allied intelligence service then denied the quote "ridiculous claim" it helped wiretap Trump.  The British press citing intelligence sources then reported the U.S. had made a formal apology to Britain, though the White House claims officials had only explained that Spicer was simply pointing to public reports and not endorsing a specific theory.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Was there any formal apology made to Britain?

SPICER:  I think we just reiterated the fact that we were just simply reading media accounts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  Do you regret making the allegations?

SPICER:  I don`t think we regret anything.  We literally listed a litany of media reports that are in the public domain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  And that brings us back to the President`s press conference today where he was asked about the White House repeating Napolitano`s claim.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We said nothing.  All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television.  I didn`t make an opinion on it.  That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox and so you shouldn`t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.  OK?

HAYES:  OK.  Not long after that, Fox News weighed in with what was essentially a rebuke of its own analyst.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR:  Fox News cannot confirm judge Napolitano`s commentary.  Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now President of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  So to trace back through this Rube Goldberg machine of apparent nonsense, the White House has set congress on what appears to be a goose chase, created an international incident with Britain and even dragged in Angela Merkel all because the President sent an angry tweet sourced to an unproven right wing radio rant and can`t even admit even now that he has nothing to back it up.  I`m joined by Ambassador Wendy Sherman, former Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs during the Obama administration.  And during Clinton administration, Special Adviser to President North Korea Policy at the State Department.  And Ambassador, all I could think while I was watching this happen is what is - what is going through Angela Merkel`s head as her own reporters from her own country asked the President of the United States about his claims that the country`s closest ally was spying on him?

WENDY SHERMAN, STATE FOR POLITICAL AFFAIRS UNDERSECRETARY:  I actually think that Chris, that, everybody`s being very nice by saying she looked bewildered.  I actually think she was appalled to have the President of the United States do what he thought was clever and quite frankly was probably not only talking to the press in the room but talking to Germans and people in her country reminding them of a very difficult time in the relationship which has since gone by which he handled very, very well, forthrightly, privately, carefully, understanding all that was at stake at the states woman that she is.  And so - you know, looking at the two of them together through that press conference, it was very awkward, very uncomfortable.  They were trying to find places for common ground because this relationship is crucial.  Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, the largest economy in Europe is really now the strongest Leader in Europe.  Exports an enormous amount to the United States.  Creates hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs.  This relationship is very critical to us, helps out in security and I think it was a very, very tough go.

HAYES:  Let me ask you this.  There is a sense in which the President comports himself in any diplomatic situation.  Kind of like a bull in a China shop.  And there`s been all sorts breaches of diplomatic protocol.  There was from the very beginning calling - taking a phone call from the President of Taiwan or arranging a phone call with the President of Taiwan and - you know, against the U.S. One China Policy and the way he conducted himself with Merkel today.  What - convince me that that matters.  I mean, convince me that the violations of protocol, the bull in the china shop, the awkward cringe-inducing joke about an incredibly sensitive moment in the U.S.-German relationship, that all of that means something more than just aesthetics.

SHERMAN:  Well, I think what matters most here is credibility and when the President does this tweet, not only accusing the former President of the United States of being a felon, which he`s, of course, not and there is absolutely no evidence to support what the President said, so that`s bad on its own terms but in diplomatic terms, in terms of our standing in the world it undermines the President`s credibility.  So when he has to say we really do have a serious situation in North Korea President Xi and we actually have to do something or he tweets as he did today about North Korea and people begin to wonder what`s real, what`s not real, what should I believe?  What should I not believe?  That`s the problem.

HAYES:  It also occurred to me, there might be some moment, right?  When the U.S. counterintelligence discovers that some foreign adversary is bugging, say, the President or some ambassador or something and the U.S. has to charge that entity with doing that.  It`s going to be a little hard to believe them after the President has charged Britain with spying on President Obama.

SHERMAN:  Indeed.  You know, the President is an unusual President, as we all know.  Angela Merkel herself started in politics as an outsider.  She`s a physicist, she hadn`t been a professional politician.  An east German who really was thrilled when Germany was united.  So she understands being an outsider but she has learned to become a state`s woman and to become a leader not only for her country but of Europe.  And in my view, it`s time for the President of the United States to be the President of the United States.

HAYES:  All right.  Ambassador Wendy Sherman.  I appreciate your time.

SHERMAN:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Joining me now, Evan McMullin, independent candidate for President in 2016 and a former CIA Operations Officer and former House GOP Policy Director.  What does it mean to the relationship between the U.S. and Britain that this is now escalating to the point where a sort of set of layered fabrications or mistruths or unsupported allegations have now accused Britain of engaging in unbelievably violative conduct?

EVAN MCMULLIN, FORMER CIA OPERATIONS OFFICER AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Well, I think it does two things.  First and foremost, it undermines the credibility of President Trump and his administration and not just his credibility but more specifically his and their judgment.  That`s very, very critical as the United States has played a leadership role in the world and this alliance and other alliances, our allies in Europe are now looking at our leader, questioning his judgment.  The second thing I would say is that, I think, the lack of care with which you see President Trump handling our relationship, the relationship of the United States with Germany and with the UK demonstrates his lack of concern for those relationships, especially when you compare it to the way he handles his relationship with Vladimir Putin.  We know that he`s very careful not to say anything that would upset Vladimir Putin, that would upset opportunities for him and the relationship of Vladimir Putin.  He`s been extremely careful for the past year on that front.  But now you see him doing silly things like not shaking Angela Merkel`s hand as he sat next to her or accusing GCHQ of tapping his phone on behalf of President Obama.  These sorts of things really undermine our relationship with our most critical allies.

HAYES:  I want to put up this chart just so people get a sense of how attenuated the sort of chain of custody of the information that has led to this is.  This is how basically a rant by Mark Levin ended up as a set of questions to the President in front of the German Chancellor by the German press and roping in Britain.  There`s a real issue here I think, Evan, about what information the President gets and how he processes it.  This is someone who has access to the full might and power of the United States intelligent gathering apparatus and he seems to choose other sources of information instead.

MCMULLIN:  Yes.  You know, it`s hard to know what`s going on here.  Either he is almost child-like in his ability to be provoked or he just doesn`t care.  I mean, if we remember back - I mean, this has been the key story now for it seems like far longer than it should be, ten days or so.  At the time it broke, we were all wondering what the extent of the relationship with the Attorney General Sessions and others in the Trump campaign, what were the nature of their relationships with the Russian government.  These are much more serious issues that deserve a lot more attention and now all of a sudden, we`re talking about the silly accusation that President Trump made a week and a half ago and it`s really unfortunate.

HAYES:  An actual staff labor hours have been devoted on both sides of Capitol Hill, in both committees and staff hours of the FBI.  A whole set of machinery engaged to attempt to get to the bottom of an allegation the President tweeted.

MCMULLIN:  At a time when those two intelligence committees should be focused on what the Russians did to undermine our election and the potential connections, inappropriate connections between the Trump team and the Russian government.  So I don`t know if he did this on purpose or not, it`s hard to say.  Either he`s too easily provoked or he`s trying to distract one way or another.  It`s reckless, it does enormous harm to our country`s interests and it`s not making us look good and I think it`s damaging our most valuable relationships overseas.

HAYES:  All right.  Evan McMullin, thank you.

MCMULLIN:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Still ahead.  President Trump is now insisting he has the votes to pass Trumpcare next week.  I will talk to one of the congressmen the President says he flipped single-handedly today after this two-minute break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  President Trump is projecting a lot of confidence about the fate of the republican healthcare bill despite the fact it`s been met with criticism from nearly ever interest group, all the democrats in congress and a large group of both conservative and moderate republicans.  The President met today with a group of skeptical members of congress from the Conservative Republican Study Committee.  He says he was able to convince everyone to vote Trumpcare and he didn`t stop talking about it all day.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  All of these noes or potential noes are all yeses.  Every single person sitting in this room is now a yes.

We met with 12 pretty much noes, 12 noes or semi noes.  No yeses.

100 percent of the noes are yeses.  And some of them were strong noes, some which is noes and we have a couple that were mixed.

They went from all noes to all yeses and we have a lot of yeses coming in.  It`s all coming together.

These folks were noes, mostly noes yesterday.  And now every single one is a yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Just a few problems with that.  For one, Justin Amash, a member of the Republican Study Committee tweeted this morning it is quote "absolutely not true that conservatives have flipped to yes on the healthcare bill."  Congressman Mark Meadows of the House Freedom Caucus who bedeviled John Boehner when he had the job as speaker said this afternoon "there are 40 no votes" according to his head count, enough to defeat the bill.  And perhaps most importantly the bill is bleeding votes in the senate day by day.  Rand Paul is a no.  Just yesterday, Susan Collins of Maine came out as a no and Dean Heller of Nevada crucially said today he too cannot support the bill in its current state. 

So the specter that appears to be looming now over the House that republicans are going to be forced to go on the record vote to kick people off health insurance only to possibly have to watch the bill die in the Senate.  Joining me now, one of the republicans who will be asked to take a vote on the healthcare bill.  Republican Congressman Jim Banks, Indiana`s third district, he`s a member of the Republican Study Committee who was in the meeting with the President this morning.  My understanding is you are a tentative yes if there are changes and I`m reading your statement here.  What are the changes you`re looking to see in the bill to get you to yes?

JIM BANKS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM INDIANA:  Well, that`s right, Chris.  This morning we had an opportunity to dialogue with the President and talk about a number of conservative changes that we can make to the American healthcare act to make it more palatable to conservatives like me to move it forward.  One of those most significant provisions is a true block grant program to the states to give more flexibility to states like Indiana to administer these programs on their own without the red tape and bureaucracy of the federal government.  If we can do that, cap the expansion of Medicaid, protect the pro-life provisions in the American healthcare act then we`ll go a long way towards making this more possible for conservative like me to support the bill.  Next week -

HAYES:  So do you have yeses on those?

(CROSSTALK)

BANKS:  On the floor projected for on Thursday.

HAYES:  Do you have yeses on those?

BANK:  I was - I was a maybe, I want to meet the commitment and promise that I made to the voters in my district that I would vote to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  I did not feel like the American healthcare act fully met that commitment and believe that is still - this legislation is still far from the framework of what I had hoped to be able to vote on as a conservative in this congress.  But if we make the promise - if we make the changes that the President promised that he would support this morning in the Oval Office, then as a conservative I can get a lot further to what yes vote than what I was before.

HAYES:  Can I ask you this?  Do you think the Affordable Care Act was passed too quickly?

BANK:  I wasn`t a member of congress then.  I -

HAYES:  Sure, you were in the senate, though.

BANK:  I was just ten weeks into the job on Capitol Hill.  I didn`t - I didn`t have the opportunity to participate in that debate or even follow it closely -

HAYES:  Sure.

BANK:  - as I was a state senator at the time.  What I do appreciate about the American health care act is that the speaker and the House leadership have gone at lengths to make this a very transparent process.  As you know -

HAYES:  Congressman, let me ask you this.  You`re going to vote on this on Thursday - you`re going to vote on this on Thursday, that`s 17 days from the day the bill -the text of the bill was introduced.  There`s been not one public hearing with witnesses called, one-fifth of the economy is healthcare, you`re looking at a 64-year-old in your district who makes $26,000 a year who`s going to see his premiums go to $14,000 a year.  Why the rush?  Why 17 days to reorder one-fifth of the American economy?

BANKS:  Chris, I do believe that the process over the past ten weeks since I was sworn in as a new member of congress has been transparent, we have had a very healthy and constructive debate -

HAYES:  Right, but i`m asking about the pace --

BANKS:  over the best way to repeal or replace ObamaCare

HAYES:  Right.  I`m asking about the pace and not the transparency.  I get the transparency but it`s going to be 17 days if you guys vote on Thursday.  17 days between the text of the bill with all the details, the complications, in fact the President himself said healthcare is complicated and I think you and I would agree, it`s quite complicated.  17 days from introducing a piece of legislation to reorder one-fifth of American economy to a vote.  Why rush so quickly?

BANKS:  Well, Chris, I don`t think we can rush quickly enough to meet the promise that we made to repeal and replace ObamaCare.  As we watch ObamaCare literally collapsing in on itself with a number of providers leaving the healthcare exchange, we`ve got to do something, we`ve got to do it quickly.

HAYES:  Respectfully Congressman -

BANKS:  I believe we have to move forward on this piece of legislation and find a way to make it better.

HAYES:  I want to ask you this - I want to ask you what you make of this line in the CBO report because I`ve heard this from you and your colleagues that it`s collapsing.  It said "the non-group market would probably be stable in most areas under either current law or the legislation."  The American Association of Actuaries says "there is no death spiral."  It seems strange to me that you and your colleagues reiterate that ObamaCare is imploding or in a death spiral when the experts tasked with evaluating that say that is not true.

BANKS:  On Election Day, on November 8, Chris, the voters chose republicans to lead based on a commitment and promise that we would repeal and replace ObamaCare.  The voters -

HAYES:  That may be true, Congressman, but that`s not responsive to the -

(CROSSTALK)

BANKS:  That`s why members of congress today.

Hayes:  Right.  But it`s a question - I get that and obviously that`s the case and you and your colleagues control the House and Senate and also the White House.  But it`s a specific question about the actual state of the insurance market which isn`t something that voters determine one way or the other.  That`s a fact about how those markets are functioning and the American Association of Actuaries and the Congressional Budget Office agree it`s not - it`s not imploding so I`m just wondering why you and your colleagues say it is.

BANKS:  Chris, what is clear is that the replacement proposal that we are debating in the congress today with some significant changes that we can make that we discussed in the Oval Office this morning could result in a healthcare program in this country that will work for far more Americans than what we have under ObamaCare with rising premiums, fewer choices for the American people, over a third - over a third of the counties in America only have one choice to choose from in the exchange and I believe that if we repeal ObamaCare and replace it with a patient-driven program based on free market and conservative principles like we are moving in the direction of especially with the changes that we discuss with the President this morning -

HAYES:  Can I ask you with just to -

BANKS:  - we will come up with a program that works better for more Americans than what we have under ObamaCare.

HAYES:  A logistical question about that.  Those changes, they`re going to be made and then the bill text is going to be published, we`re going to see that and then you`re going to vote on Thursday, is that the sequence?

BANKS:  When we get back to Washington next week it Is my understanding that a manager`s amendment will be proposed in the rules committee -

HAYES:  I see.

BANKS:  - which will address the commitment that the President and his team as well as House leadership have agreed to make these conservative changes to move this forward to gain more support from conservatives in the House.

HAYES:  So, here the question.

BANKS:  That`s what it will take to get my vote to move this forward would be to see those changes made.  I`m hopeful that will occur at the offset of next week.

HAYES:  One of those changes is a Medicaid work requirement.  I want to ask you Congressman if you will come back next week to talk about the Medicaid work requirement.  Because I think it`s an important piece of policy.  I`d love to talk to you about it next week.

BANKS:  Chris, I believe that`s one of the most significant changes.  I`d be happy to come back and talk to you about that.

HAYES:  All right.  It is a date Congressman.  Congressman Jim Banks of Indiana, thanks for joining me.  Appreciate it.

BANKS:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, a new report from ProPublica that recently fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara may have been overseeing an investigation into HHS Secretary Tom Price.  The key question, did the White House know.  The journalist who broke the story joins me ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  President Trump pledged to do right by our veterans and today at the White House he was holding what was billed as a listening session.  You know the President is really committed to an issue when he announces there is will be a meeting at the southern White House.  As you watch this, bear in mind that the gentleman at the President`s side is the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP:  We`re having a meeting tonight at what we call affectionately the southern White House.  Seem to be the most convenient location. Everybody always wants to go to the southern White House.  So, are you going to be at that meeting?  You heard about it, right?  It`s going to be great.  All about the V.A.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Are you going to be at the meeting?  Why is the President holding the meeting of Mar-a-Lago?  Because it`s the most convenient location.  Even though at the very moment the President said that he was already in a Veterans Affairs meeting with the Veterans Affairs Secretary who shook his head no when asked if he was going to be at that meeting nearly one thousand miles away tonight.  But late tonight the White House confirmed that meeting is not happening.  Apparently it`s not so convenient after all.  Ahead, while the President chooses to spend money on weekend getaways, he is proposing drastic cuts to Meals on Wheels and next the report that the President`s Secretary of Health and Human Services was being investigated for his stock trades by the U.S. Attorney`s office in New York at the time that President fired that U.S. Attorney.  Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  We still do not know why President Trump may have changed his mind about keeping the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Preet Bharara.  But Bharara met with the president-elect at Trump Tower and told reporters that Trump asked if he would be prepared to stay on the job and said he had agreed to do so.

Bharara was later asked to resign along with 46 U.S. attorneys.  And while an across-the-board replacement of U.S. attorneys is relatively common for a new administration, Bharara stood out because of that meeting with Trump and, in fact, refused to resign and then he was fired.  The day after Bharara sent out this clue "by the way, now I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like." 

That refers to the Moreland commission, an anti-corruption commission, empanneled by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that was disbanded once the commission started to get too close to the governor`s allies.

That seemed to be an important clue, because today ProPublica reports that at the time of his firing Bharara was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the President`s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.

And that refers to the president`s Health and Services Secretary Tom Price.  During the confirmation hearings for Price, numerous issues arose that Price in his role as a congressman had advocated for legislation that benefited companies he had a financial interest in and thus enriched himself, and that he may have violated the law, the stock act, in doing so.

Price was also accuse odd d of lying.  He even claimed his failed to report the purchase and proper value his stake in that biomedical company was a clerical error.

So, if in fact the president fired a U.S. attorney at the time he was investigating the president`s HHS secretary that`s hugely significant.

Joining me now, Robert Faturechi, who is the reporter for ProPublica who covers money in  politics.

All right, you broke this story.  This has not been previously disclosed that the office of the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York, Preet Bharara, his office was looking into Tom Price`s trades.

ROBERT FATURECHI, PROPUBLICA:  Right, and what`s interesting is the office was looking into these trades when the Trump administration decided to reverse course and not retain Preet in the southern district.  Previously, soon after he was elected, Preet met with Trump in Trump Tower and was assured that he was going to stay on.

HAYES:  And then something happened.

FATURECHI:  Suddenly, Trump reversed course and has not explained that decision.

HAYES:  Now, we should be clear that this is something -- aside from Price himself, this is something - there`s expertise in southern district, bringing insider trading particularly cases is something they know well about.  And this would fall into their portfolio, right?

FATURECHI:  Right.  They have a - obviously they have a strong public corruption unit and like you said they handle securities, they know it well so it makes a lot of sense that they`d be looking at this kind of thing.

HAYES:  I have to say during the Price hearings, every time a new disclosure happened about a  different trade that he was making, I was sort of amazed that these were all legal to begin with, because here`s a guy who seems to be fairly actively trading in stocks that are in the medical industry who is deeply involved in health policy and medical oversight.  What are the possible laws that he could have run afoul of?

FATURECHI:  Well, so in 2012 there had been some confusion about how strictly insider trading laws applied to members of congress, so a new law was instituted that clarified that and required prompt disclosure of trades.

What stood out was one of the trades in particular.  He bought stock in a medical device company and then less than a week later he introduced a bill that would have delayed regulations for medical devices and particularly would have hurt this company.  It was one of the two companies that would have been hurt the worst.

HAYES:  If the regulations had gone into effect.

FATURECHI:  No, if - yes.

HAYES:  Right, so he staved off a regulation that would have caused a threat to the company in which he purchased stocks a few weeks earlier.

FATURECHI:  Attempted to, yes.

HAYES:  OK.  And now I want to sort of zero in on the question.

FATURECHI:  Now, his defense on that was this his broker made that decision and that he wasn`t aware of it until later, but when he did become aware of it he didn`t sell his stock.

HAYES:  That is true.  And also the degree to which the broker was managing things on his own and the degree to which he was directing stocks became an issue in the committee hearings and it was clear that there were some trades he directly did direct the broker to do, right.  So what was established at the committee, which was interesting to me was, it wasn`t just blindly being managed, right, he was telling them in some cases buy this, sell this.

FATURECHI:  Right, so one occasion stands out on that front.  There was an Australian company that was producing a drug for MS, and Price was one of a handful of American investors who was allowed to purchase that stock at a discount rate.  He did so and the price of the stock has risen dramatically.  That was one stock he did direct his - you know, he did direct the purchase of.

HAYES:  so, here`s the question, it seems to me now - so, your reporting suggests that the southern district was looking into this, investigating this.  The questions are how far along was that and the crucial question, it seem to me was did anyone communicate that?  Did the White House have any reason to know that the director of HHS was being investigated by the man they then fired?

FATURECHI:  So, it really depends on the detailed nature of the investigation. In some cases, yes, main Justice does need to be notified.  For example, with a high profile person and obviously Tom Price is that.  But it`s not certain that they knew.

But that`s a question that we tried to get answered today when we reached out to the White House.  We wanted to know was Trump aware of this investigation when he made the decision to reverse course and not retain Preet?  And we could not - you know, they told us they were going to  give us a response.  Wait five more minutes, five more minutes, five more minutes.  We were waiting.  We were waiting.  And finally we had to go with the story and we haven`t heard from them.

HAYES:  This is a huge question.  I just want to say this a gain, high profile investigations usually have to get run up the chain.  Main Justice learns about them.  In this case, the question is did it ever get to main Justice, did main Justice know?  And did the White House know before they made this decision.  That`s a very big question that remains unanswered at this hour.  Great reporting, Robert.  Thank you very much.

FATURECHI:  Thank you so much.

HAYES:  Still to come, amidst growing outrage over proposed cuts to programs like Meals on Wheels, President Trump flies south for yet another weekend at Mar-a-Lago.

Plus, a valuable St. Patrick`s Day lesson for the president, that`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starting next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  Thing One tonight, St. Patrick`s Day celebrations in Washington usually involve politicians wearing green, showing their love of Irish heritage and participating in glorious pieces of political theater like the presidential shamrock ceremony.

This year`s traditional Washington frivolity also yielded a surprising amount of diplomatic faux pas beginning with the speaker of the House.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN:  I would like to offer a toast to what our forefathers have started and our children will continue, may the light always shine upon them. Slainte

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Paul Ryan`s sorry-looking pre-poured pint of Guinness with its pitiful lack of a frothy creamy top sent Irish Twitter into a tizzy and provoked horror among beer aficionados.

Then there was the White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer who struggled with his Irish  pronunciation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY:  This morning the president had a bilateral meeting with the Taoiseach Kenny of Ireland.  Taoiseach Kenny.  Taoiseach of Ireland.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

 HAYES:  And finally, the president himself had a tweet celebrating the Irish leader`s visit with a video set to a song written by an Englishman and played by Scottish bagpipes.

But the most remarkable St. Patty`s moment didn`t come from the president, it came from the man standing next to him, and that`s Thing Two in 60 Seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  At the White House reception celebrating St. Patrick`s Day yesterday, the prime minister of Ireland stood next to President Trump and delivered a not too subtle indictment of the  president`s anti-immigrant stance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

EDNA KENNY, TAOISEACH OF IRELAND:  It`s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy.  He, too, of course, was an immigrant and though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe he`s also a symbol of, indeed, the patron of immigrants.

Here in America, in your great country, 35 million people claim Irish heritage and the Irish  have contributed to the economic, social, political, and cultural life of this great country over the last 200 years.

Ireland came to America because, deprived of liberty, deprived of opportunity, of safety, of even  food itself, the Irish believed.  And four decades before Lady Liberty lifted her lamp, we were the retched refuse on the teeming shore.  We believed in the shelter of America, in the compassion of America, in the opportunity of America.  We came and we became Aamericans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES:  Today, the president did what`s become a habit in his young White House stint: he took a summer Friday, escaping Washington this afternoon for his luxury golf resort in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.  This comes after four prior summer Friday trips down to Palm Beach, meaning he`s taken five  golf resort weekends in just eight full weeks as president.

Now obviously the president can spend his weekend as he pleases, but here`s one reason why it`s problematic to spend every other weekend at a golf resort nearly one thousand miles away: the  administration`s stated mission on budget cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  when you start looking at the places that will reduce spending, one of the questions we asked was can we really continue to ask a coal miner in West Virginia or a single mom in Detroit to pay for these programs?  The answer was no.  We can ask them to pay for defense and we will, but we can`t ask them to continue to pay for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  Last night I asked Republican Congressman Tom McClintock if that logic should be applied to the president`s now-regular weekends in Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM MCCLINTOCK, (R) CALIFORNIA:  That is one of the costs of the modern presidency.

HAYES:  Respectually, sir...

MCCLINTOCK:  And I`ve never begrudged a president the cost of security as he moves around the country.

HAYES:  Respectfully, sir, they have not all flown to their own private resort every weekend at  the cost of $3 million, nor have they kept a separate residence in Trump Tower which costs $183 million a year.

MCCLINTOCK:  Pardon me, but I remember the cost of Obama trips to Hawaii.  They were enormous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  To put Barack Obama`s travel costs in perspective, the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch estimates Obama spent around $96 million on travel over eight years, or roughly $12 million a year.  Politico estimates each one of Donald Trump`s trips to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers $3.6  million, so roughly $18 million for five trips, meaning Trump`s spent in two months what President Obama averaged over 18 months.

But despite expecting a coal miner to fund the president`s golf trips, Trump`s budget director made it clear they have no interest in extending that same generosity to, for instance, meals for the sick and home bound senior citizens.

And that`s proving tough for members of their own party to stomach. We`ll discuss that next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET:  Regarding the question as to climate change, I think the president was fairly straightforward, we`re not spending money on that anymore.  We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.  Meals on Wheels sounds great, again that`s a state decision to fund that particular portion, so we take the federal money and give it to the states and say, look, we want to give you money for programs that don`t work.  I can`t defend that anymore.

After school programs, generally.  They`re supposed to be educational programs, right, that`s what they`re supposed to do.  They`re supposed to help kids who can`t - who don`t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school.  Guess what, there`s no demonstrable evidence they`re actually doing that.  There`s no demonstrable evidence they`re actually helping results.  They`re helping kids do better in school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  President Trump`s budget director, at times gleeful, describing the ruthless plan to gut funding for programs like Meals on Wheels and after school lunch for low income kids.

Joining me now, Michelle Goldberg, columnist at Slate; Dean Baker, co- director Center for Economic and Policy Research, author of "Rigged: How  Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy were Structured to Make the Rich Richer."

Dean, you`re a budget nerd and I`ve counted on you for budget commentary for years.  And I can`t decide between two things: is this a standard Republican budget or something different?

DEAN BAKER, CENTER OF ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH:  Well, it`s somewhere in between.  I mean, this is an extreme version of a Republican budget.  Basically, it`s very mean spirited.  They`re going after programs that help lower income people.  This has been done before.  I mean, I`m old enough to remember Ronald Reagan.  He did a lot of things like this.

In the case of President Trump, this just seems so gratuitous, though.  I mean, these are small programs, not a lot of money.  And they`re very popular programs because contrary to Mr. Mulvaney, they do work.

HAYES:  Right.  This is the thing that I think is fascinating, OK.  There`s a sense in which there are certain programs that are, you know, they say programs for poor people are poor programs, right.  So Medicaid for years, right, you can cut Medicaid because it`s like those people, poor people.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE:  Right, not Medicare, yeah.

HAYES:  Now, what`s happened over the years is that the economic devastation of the financial crisis and downward mobility of huge swaths of white America particularly, and rural White America, means that there`s lots of folks who voted for Trump who are on Medicaid or who watch - or seniors who are homebound and need Meals on Wheels, or Hal Rogers from Kentucky who talks about the budget being draconian, careless and counterproductive.

I think there`s a mismatch between who they think their voters are who they actually are.

GOLDBERG:  Well, to me, what`s amazing is that - I mean, I almost feel like there`s a bit of optimism in that Trump being undone by his own banality, because some of us feared when Trump was elected that he was going to be able to -- particularly when Republicans decide that deficits don`t matter when Republicans are in power that he would be able to shore up the new political constituency by kind of turning them into clients of the state, you know, that he would cut things for people who didn`t vote for him but sort of lavish gifts on those who did.

HAYES:  We heard a trillion dollar infrastructure and construction jobs as far as the eye can see kind of thing.

GOLDBERG:  Right, and you know, there were things about that to support, but also kind of worries about political implications, but no, Trump is just doing what he always does, which is screw anyone who believes in him, right.  I mean, he`s much more of a con man than he is an authoritarian populist.

And so he basically is just stiffing people who thought they were going to get something from him.

HAYES:  And it seems to me - I mean, one of - my favorite example is the Appalachian Regional Council, which Dean, to your point, costs essentially nothing in the scale of the federal government, but like does good stuff within a region of the country that desperately needs ideas about reinvestment.

BAKER:  Yeah, no it is kind of amazing.  And again, as Michelle was saying, these are his supporters.  He carried this region 3 or 4 to 1 and he`s kicking them the face.

Let me also quickly mention something I think has been largely overlooked.  There are big cuts in the budget to the Labor Department, to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Internal Revenue Service. The big issue here is that these are enforcement agencies.  You run the risk in effect that Trump might be negating the laws.  You have laws on the books on the environment.  If the Environmental Protection Agency doesn`t have the money to enforce them, that becomes a joke.  Same with the wage and hour laws with the Labor Department and taxes.

We know - the IRS commissioner says we get $4 in tax revenue for every dollar we spend on enforcement.  So this budget cut costs us money.

HAYES:  There was also this moment, this sort of American First moment yesterday that I just want to play the clip of on this St. Patty`s Day, and take a minute to recognize.

This is Mick Mulvaney talking - responding to question about a famine, a humanitarian crisis that`s unfolding right now in Africa.  Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  The United Nations says the world is currently facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, 20 million people in four countries facing starvation or famine, yet you`re cutting funding to the UN, cutting funding to the foreign aid budget.  Are you worried that some of the most vulnerable people on Earth will suffer as a result?

MULVANEY:  We`re absolutely reducing funding to the UN and to the various foreign aid programs, including those run by the UN and other agencies.  That should come as a surprise to no one who watched the campaign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES:  All right, this is a man named Mick Mulvaney celebrating St. Patty`s Day with shamrocks in his pocket just blithely dismissing a concern of a famine which is, of course, the thing that sent Irish people here to this country, the famous Irish famine that the world got  together, the U.S. sent two naval ships to Ireland to help people there.

I was sort of astounded by that moment.

GOLDBERG:  I mean, what did people say that like hypocrisy is the debt that vice pays to virtue?  I mean, to me what`s amazing is that you`re supposed to at least pretend to care about people dying en masse from starvation.  And they can`t even put on a show of concern.

HAYES:  Dean, that was the whole thing yesterday.  The performance by Mulvaney.  I think Michelle put her finger on it, it was sort of blithe and glib, like the sort of joy he seemed to be taking in  the whole enterprise.

BAKER:  It was certainly that.

One more thing I think is really important to point out, this is pocket change for us.  It`s life and death for those people.  We spend less than 1 percent on the budget on foreign aid.  I should emphasize that, because polls regularly show people think a third of the budget goes to foreign aid.  If I thought a third of the budget went to foreign aid, I would be unhappy, too.  It`s 1 percent.  You could make it zero and it doesn`t affect your taxes.

HAYES:  Right.  Michelle Goldberg, and Dean Baker, thank you.

All right.  Next week is going to be a big week around here, because I kick off my book tour for my new book A Colony in a Nation, which you can pre- order right now.  It will probably get to you on Tuesday if you do.

I`ll give you a little more info on what the book is about next week including where the title comes from, but for now I`d say it`s a book about law and order, race and policing and why the Founding Fathers would have been sympathetic to the grievances of Black Lives Matter, really.

Starting Tuesday, I will be in Washington, D.C.  I head to Boston on Wednesday, then Thursday I`ll be in Philadelphia, just the first few stops.  Check out our Facebook page for more details.  Some events are selling out.  And that is All In for this evening.  The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END