Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 27, 2017 Guest: Mo Brooks, Joaquin Castro, Matthew Rosenberg, Michael Schmidt
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: - being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It`s not just about making deals.
HAYES: A White House in crisis, now calling its own Healthcare Bill a bad one.
SPICER: It`s knowing when to walk away from deals and knowing when there`s a bad deal.
HAYES: Tonight the threats, the recriminations and blame game inside Oval Office.
JEANINE PIRRO, STATE OF NEW YORK FORMER DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Paul Ryan needs to step down.
HAYES: Then, the mysterious midnight run of Devin Nunes.
DEVIN NUNES, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: If I really wanted to, I could have snuck on to the grounds late at night and probably nobody would have seen me. But I wasn`t trying to hide.
HAYES: The White House today struggling to explain why the House Intel Chair was visiting the night before he briefed the President.
CHUCK SCHUMER, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM NEW YORK: Speaker Ryan should replace Chairman Nunes.
HAYES: Plus the President`s son-in-law agrees to testify in the Senate- Russia probe. And new reporting about the growing civilian death toll in Mosul.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I would just bomb those suckers and that`s right
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from Los Angeles. I`m Chris Hayes. Just over two months into his Presidency, the man build as the negotiator of the chief, the author of the art of the deal is now earning his lowest approval ratings as President after the collapse of his first large-scale undertaking. The GOP`s bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. It turns out it`s much harder to be a good negotiator and play to one on TV. Today the White House tried to shift its focus back to executive actions teeing up penalties for so-called sanctuary cities and preparing to roll back the climate regulations. But the retreat from the kind of meager bargain that the President promise to deliver going back today one of his campaigns.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`ve watched the politicians. I`ve dealt with them all my life. If you can`t make a good deal with a politician, then there`s something wrong with you. You`re certainly not very good. Our country needs a truly great leader and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that wrote the art of the deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President`s aides have claimed that he left it all on the field to try and get the GOP`s health care plan for the House of Representatives but from the outset, the President seemed manifestly uninterested in what the plan would actually do. Back on March 6 when House Speaker Paul Ryan first unveiled the legislation, the President reportedly sat in the Oval Office and asked his advisers, is this really a good bill? Over the following days, the Washington Post reports he peppered his aides again and again with the same concern, usually after watching cable news report chronicling the setbacks according to two of his advisers quote "is this really a good bill?"
Last Friday, after the bill was ultimately pulled for lack of Republican votes, the President got on the phone with reporters, including New York Times Maggie Haberman. "Trump told me he is happy having this in the rear- view mirror. It`s enough already", he said of the negotiations. That was just 18 days, 18 days after the legislation was first introduced. Lacking the interest or knowledge to try and persuade GOP members of the bill`s merits, the President and his aides used tough talk to try to push it through. Tactics that would ultimately prove widely unsuccessful. According to Politico, the President told members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus to forget about the little stuff using more colorful language, quote "let`s focus on the big picture here", but members were reportedly disturbed by his dismissiveness.
One of them noting we`re talking about one fifth of our economy and another meeting with the Freedom Caucus last week, Steve Bannon opened with a demand to members, according to one report, quote "Guys look, this is not a discussion, this is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this billion." One member reportedly replied, you know, the last time someone ordered me to do something I was 18 years old. It was my daddy and I didn`t listen to him either. Then there was the President`s last-ditch ultimatum to House Republicans delivered Thursday night to pass the bill on Friday or that would be the end of their efforts to dismantle ObamaCare. The President`s threat turned out not to carry as much weight as expected, the ultimatum went entirely disregarded.
Now, after it`s all over, the White House says the President was simply walking away from a bad deal. But there are already signs the health care debacle is doing serious damage to the President`s popularity and his political capital. According to Gallup, his approval rating now stands at just 36 percent, more than 20 points under water. Just look at the trend since March 6 when the healthcare bill was originally introduced. Approval on the way down and disapproval heading up. Democrats, meanwhile, are newly emboldened from their successful show immunity in the healthcare fight. And what`s at the Capitol on Friday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was caught on camera kicking off her shoes and literally jumping for joy after the GOP bill collapsed. In the Senate today, there were new signs of resistance to the President`s first Supreme Court Nominee Neil Gorsuch.
Democrats delaying an initial vote as they built support to filibuster his nomination. Congressional republicans now plan to turn their attention to a major overhaul to tax code. And as the party continues to play blame game over its health care defeat, it`s not clear just how they move forward. On Saturday the President tweeted to his followers to watch Jeanine Pirro`s show that night on Fox News which turned out to be brutal takedown of none other than House Speaker Paul Ryan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PIRRO: Paul Ryan needs to step down as Speaker of the House. The reason, he failed to deliver the votes on his health care bill. The one trumpeted to repeal and replace ObamaCare. The one that he had seven years to work on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The White House later said the tweet was pure coincidence. Yesterday the President turned his ire to the conservatives hardliners in his party who oppose the health care bill, tweeting "Democrats are smiling in D.C. that the Freedom Caucus, with the help of Club For Growth and Heritage, have saved Planned Parenthood & ObamaCare!" And I`m joined now by a member of the House Freedom Caucus, Congress Mo Brooks, Republican from Alabama who opposed the health care bill. And Congressman, your reaction to the - to the President naming the House Freedom Caucus to him talking about loyalty to Reince Priebus talking about disloyalty. You have a target painted on your back from the White House now.
MO BROOKS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM ALABAMA: No, I disagree. And this is not really about loyalty to the Speaker or to the President of the United States. It`s about loyalty to the people of the United States of America and that`s where our loyalty should be first and foremost. Those folks that try to turn this into a win or a loss by the Speaker or the President or anybody else in the House of Representatives, quite frankly, I respectfully disagree. I see it as a victory for America.
HAYES: OK. Well, let me ask you this. In terms of your loyalty to the American people, here is something I`m having a hard time processing, the republican party has voted 60 times to repeal ObamaCare. The President of the United States promised to repeal and replace somewhere between 500 and 700 times. And after 18 days, you guys can`t get a bill to the House floor and you pick up the ball and go home and move on to other priorities. If you believe this law is such a disaster, that seems like a shocking dereliction of duty.
BROOKS: Well, first off, I don`t think we`re picking up the ball and going home. I think you`re going to continue to see us pursue efforts to improve the quality of healthcare that we have in the United States of America and in particular trying to improve the cost premiums and deductibilities associated with that.
HAYES: But respectfully, sir - you promised - respectfully sir, you promised - you promised and your caucus promised and the President promised and the Speaker promised repeal and replace. They tried to do it for 18 and failed -
BROOKS: Well, that`s false but go ahead.
HAYES: Wait, they didn`t - they didn`t promise repeal and replace?
BROOKS: Well, you said me.
HAYES: No, no, I`m saying -
BROOKS: I promised to repeal.
HAYES: Right. OK. Fair enough. So my point is - my point is it just seems like if you guys are serious about what you say about ObamaCare, that it`s a disaster, it`s a terrible law, it`s bad for people, don`t you have a kind of moral commitment to the American people not to just give up - BROOKS: Absolutely.
HAYES: the way you have? Yes.
BROOKS: I`m not a part of the surrender caucus. I think we need to persevere to do our utmost to correct this problem. A lot of Americans are suffering right now, they`re discovering that their insurance deductible is so high it`s almost like having no insurance. They`re also discovering that the cost to purchase it is so high -
HAYES: But Congressman -
BROOKS: - that some of them can`t afford and those who can they`re seeing that their disposable income -
HAYES: Wait but -
BROOKS: - are being diminished -
HAYES: Congressman -
BROOKS: - and having a hard time making other family needs have been met.
HAYES: But Congressman, how do you - how do you square that with what happened on Friday? I mean, let`s be clear about what happened on Friday.
BROOKS: It was a bad bill. It was a bad bill. What we need to do is go back -
HAYES: Right. But people have also got more supportive of the - of the law.
BROOKS: Chris, Chris -
HAYES: I mean, that`s been very clear.
BROOKS: Chris, what we need to do, the republicans in the House and Senate is go back to the legislation that we passed two years ago that repealed in substance ObamaCare. We got it through the Republican House. We got it through the Republican Senate. It got to the President`s desk, of course, President Obama had a different view so he vetoed it. This time, take the same path, get that legislation on the desk of the President, this time the President will sign it. Between the date of that bill being signed and the effective date of the repeal of ObamaCare, then we have a very vigorous debate in the House and Senate about how to improve the system. And at that point in time, since the Democrats are no longer being asked to vote for some kind of repeal of ObamaCare -
BROOKS: - they`re now free to participate in the process that hopefully, we can get a bipartisan solution that can persevere throughout this kind of contested proceedings that you`re seeing over the last few years.
HAYES: Right. You want to go back to that original strategy, which is repeal first set a date certain. Let me ask you about where this relationship goes here. I mean, a lot of people feel like - and I have to say this to you - to your face because you came on my program and I will admit that I was skeptical that you are going to stick to guns and other people in the House Freedom Caucus are going to stick to your guns. You stared down the White House, they tried to roll you, they tried to steamroll you. They offered threats and ultimatums and you won. They blinked. What does that mean now in terms of how you and your colleagues conduct yourselves?
BROOKS: Well, I didn`t perceive any threats and ultimatums by way of background. Did they try to persuade me, sure? Then President Donald Trump did the best he could, but it`s not the same as when Donald Trump in the private sector was trying to market and sell first class product. This was a sub-par product and to a very large degree, that explains why the President was unable to sell it. It just wasn`t up to standards that the President used to try in the market.
HAYES: This was - this was - this was more Trump steaks or Trump vodka and not Dural Golf Club is what you`re saying.
BROOKS: Well, I`m not that familiar with all the Trump products. I was thinking more in terms of Trump towers and Mar-a-Lago and some of the first class ones, I can`t speak to the others.
HAYES: But what are the - let me ask you this. What does it say about his effectiveness, right? Because I mean, this was a huge part of the selling point of the President of the United States from day one was, this was the guy who wrote out the deal, this was the master negotiator, every other politician is all talk and no action. He walks into his first big high stakes negotiation, his first big deal and the deal falls apart so badly, his own party can`t even bring it to the floor for a vote.
BROOKS: Well, keep in mind that President Trump has not been involved in politics as an office holder before. He`s been there now for almost - well, roughly, two months and he`s learning. And I believe he`s a quick learner. And as he learns more and more not only about the process but also the politics, the public policy, what`s good and what`s bad for America, I think in time you`re going to see this be turned around. And I believe over time that you`re going to see him have a lot of accomplishments. Hopefully, with respect to tax reform, border security and go down the list. Perhaps also including, and I hope it will include healthcare.
HAYES: Do you think that Steve Bannon is playing a constructive role?
BROOKS: Yes, I do. Steve Bannon, from everything I know about him, I really haven`t had much to know, a personal conversation with him. But from everything I understand, he understands public policy. Keep in mind that inside the White House there`s a lot of tension -
HAYES: Well, he ran a - he ran a Web site. I mean.
BROOKS: Well, he also has an understanding of public policy that helps make that - policy that was enunciated by that website so successful.
BROOKS: And in the White House, you`ve got some folks or from the old republican guard.
BROOKS: And you`ve got some folks who are from the more conservative basic principles of America. The element of our society. And they`re going to have to work out that give and take. And again, in fairness to the White House, the democrats United States Senate have been extraordinarily successful at keeping the President from having a full cabinet, from having sub-cabinet positions filled. And he`s still about 2,000 -
BROOKS: - or so positions that need to be filled before he can have a fully functioning executive branch.
HAYES: I just want to say -
BROOKS: And when you understaff in all the work, it doesn`t work quite as well as when you full staff is properly working.
HAYES: I just want to say this. The Senate is controlled by republicans there is no filibuster for any of the nominees that you`re talking about. So that legislative calendar -
BROOKS: That`s true but there are rules that enable the democrat Senators -
HAYES: That may be true but it`s also - right and he`s not nominated -
BROOKS: I wish they change the rules.
HAYES: Right. And he`s not nominated under the Secretary of State. Congressman Mo Brooks, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
BROOKS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: I`m joined now by former RNC Chairman Michael Steel, now an MSNBC Political Analyst and MSNBC Contributor Sam Seder host of the Majority Report. And I will say, Mo Brooks, Congressman Mo Brooks who I - who I have on the show often, was magnanimous in victory. Not rubbing in the face of a White House that they managed to completely, completely humiliate on Friday. This is my favorite quote of this debacle, and I want to get Michael Steel and Sam to weigh in. This is Joe Barton on what happened. "Sometimes you`re playing fantasy football and sometimes you`re in the real game", Barton said. "We knew Obama, if we could get a repeal bill to his desks, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew, if it got the President`s desk it would be signed." I thought what an amazing, honest and revealing assessment of the republican party at this moment, Michael.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, it was. And explained so much, you know. Governing is -- you know what, and these guys are seeing it firsthand. And the reality of it is exactly that point. They played around with this idea of repealing and replacing. It generated a lot of cash-flow for party officials and candidates over the last four or five years. But now -
HAYES: That`s an - by the way, that`s an - I just want to - I want to highlight that point. That is an interesting point. This was - this repeal and replace attacking ObamaCare was a reliable fund-raising talking point.
STEELE: Absolutely. Absolutely. And so the reality is, now you`ve got a government and you have the expectation of a lot of Americans out there. Some of whom didn`t support you, but many of whom expect that you`re going to at least begin to put in place something that`s going to make this healthcare system work better for them. And they blinked, they punted, they did all of that stuff. They ran for cover and, you know, honest guys like Mo Brooks said from the beginning, this is not the bill that we talked to our constituents about. And you know, so now the test is going to be, what do you do next?
HAYES: Well, and Sam, to that point, I thought one of the most significant things that happened on Friday, and, again, Mo Brooks, I think is being magnanimous, he has to work with this White House. But - I mean, they said on Friday as the - as the hour was drawing late, as the votes looked like they weren`t there, they were sending a message to the White House. Publicly for Mick Mulvaney, privately through Steve Bannon, you`re going to have to vote because there`s no -- we`ve burned the - we`ve burned the votes. There`s no escape. The only way path - the only path forward is through and then they blinked. They did not actually make them do that. And that to me is tremendously powerful for any opponent of the President on any side of anything to watch his first bluff be called.
SAM SEDER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I mean, there were two big things I think that happened. One, we found out this past couple of weeks that the American public basically perceives healthcare as a right now. And it is virtually impossible to roll that back. On the other hand, in terms of - politically, we found out that Donald Trump does not have the ability to snap his fingers and get the republicans to do what they want. And you know, I mean, you and I talked about this I think months ago that Donald Trump, I think on some level would be a rubber stamp for them. It`s just that, he has no rotter. He - all wants, I mean, it`s not even the fantasy versus real football, it`s not even the proper analogy here because he`s coming from business where it was just - what`s the net dollar value of this bill?
SEDER: And here you actually have to have some measure of values. Many of the ones that the republicans are talking about are antithetical to mine. But they have that. And he doesn`t care.
SEDER: I mean, he just didn`t care. So there`s no - there`s no rotter here. There`s no horizon. So, he`s just a drift.
HAYES: Here is my theory, Michael, and tell me what you think about this in terms of moving forward. I think tax reform is a mistake in some ways - the way that repeal and replace was. And here why I think it`s a mistake politically. No one voted in Mahoning County, or Erie County or McDowell. West Virginia or Kenosha for Donald Trump so that they could get corporate tax reform. Like - it just like - that may be a priority of donor class, it`s a priority of Paul Ryan or Republican establishment. But it just seems to me a terrible - it makes the same mistake, which is misunderstanding whatever mandate there is in one. You got a minority vote. But whatever the will of the people was, that isn`t it. What do you think of that?
STEELE: I appreciate your analysis there, but I think you`re a little bit off on it. I don`t agree totally. I think this is actually a good play for Donald Trump. I tweeted to the President at the time, next time play to your instincts, your instincts were - was tax reform. And here is how it works. See, unlike healthcare, you can do tax reform in bite size chunks. You don`t have to do a massive 1986, you know, bill. You can do corporate, you can do individual you can do repatriation of revenues back to United States. There are different ways you can approach this, to create stimulus for both the consumer, taxpayers and the corporate world. Whereas healthcare was one big package. Donald Trump didn`t give a damn about healthcare.
STEELE: Never really did. Wasn`t his -
SEDER: But it didn`t - it didn`t have to be one big package.
HAYES: Sam, respond, please.
SEDER: Paul Ryan had the idea of just repealing and then punting the replace and Donald Trump came out the next day and gave a speech in front of everybody and said we`re going to do it, maybe it will take an hour, maybe it will take a week, maybe we`ll do it right away. And then everything got blown up. I mean -
HAYES: But what does that tell you, Sam.
SEDER: Well, it tells me that Donald Trump is not in control of any of it. and I don`t think he has the ability to stay on message.
SEDER: If the Democrats defines this tax break as for millionaires and billionaires, it`s going to go down.
STEELE: I think - I think that was the way to scuttle this a little bit early. I think that was Donald Trump`s way to push back, to do something a way different from the way they -
HAYES: You are - you are - I will - I will credit you with ascribing a degree of farsightedness and legislative master mindedness.
STEELE: I think you guys undersell (INAUDIBLE) - I think you guys undersell the President on some of this stuff. I think that there is sort of a mad scientist formulation behind some of this - some of this musings. And this was one of them.
HAYES: Well, I will say this. Here`s what I`ll say. I think democrats say if this what mad scientists looks like, keep the mad scientist coming. Michael Steele and Sam Seder, thank you, both. Appreciate it.
Up next. A Ranking Member of the House Intel Committee Adam Schiff now calling on Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation amidst questions about why Nunes was at the White House the night before he briefed the President. I`ll get the Committee Member Joaquin Castro`s reaction after this two-minute break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: And I`m just thinking enough question has been raised in the public about whether he can lead a credible investigation in this, given the severity of the issues, importance of the issues. I really think it would be best if he were to step aside and let someone else handle this investigation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A remarkable turn of events tonight, as a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Shift is now saying his Republican Chair can no longer fulfill his duties. Just to be clear about how we arrived at this point has started three weeks ago when the President of the United States went on a Twitter tirade, "just found out that Obama had my wires tapped in Trump tower. How low has President Obama gone to tap my phones during the very sacred election process? Bad, or sick guy."
And thus began a wild goose chase, in which the vast machinery of the government intelligence services were called upon to look into this entirely unsupported claim which was then repeatedly shut down. Most memorable by FBI Director James Comey who said under oath that there was no information to back up that claim. But two days after that testimony, House Intel Chair Devin Nunes, who was an adviser to the Trump transition team, went before cameras to announce he had seen incidentally collected information on Trump associates involving the transition. The President later said he felt he somewhat vindicated, even though Nunes never claimed that Trump`s original tweets were accurate. But Chairman Nunes made that splashy appearance and even met with the President without bothering to inform his fellow members of the Intelligence Committee.
Nunes had reportedly gotten his information secretly on Tuesday evening in what the ranking member dubbed his midnight run, even reportedly swapping cars and keeping his staff in the dark. And it raised the question, just who gave Nunes information and where? Well, now, nearly a week later, Chairman Nunes admits, he got that information on the White House grounds. In a statement a spokesperson saying "Chairman Nunes met with his source on the White House grounds in order to have proximity to secure location where he could view the information provided by the source." Just hours ago, Chairman Nunes said he reviewed the information in a secure facility on the White House grounds, so he refused to say exactly where and said it was during the day not at night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NUNES: If I really wanted to, I could have snuck onto the grounds late at night and probably nobody would have seen me. But I wasn`t trying to hide. This is something I`ve been working for a long time and I had to find a way for me to have access to the information because we couldn`t get the information down to the committee.
HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Joaquin Castro, member of that House Intelligence Committee. Do you agree with your colleague Adam Shift and others, I think, who have called for a recusal?
JOAQUIN CASTRO, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM TEXAS: I do. At this point, I think that because of his actions, Chairman Nunes has compromised his ability to lead this investigation and he should step aside and let somebody else lead it. Of course, myself, and many other Democrats and many Americans would like to see an independent commission undertake this investigation. But if it`s going to stay in the House of Representatives, the investigation should be led by someone else.
HAYES: Chuck Schumer went a step further. He called for Paul Ryan to remove Nunes from the Chairmanship of the Committee altogether. Do you agree with that?
CASTRO: Well, that`s a decision for the Speaker. As you know, this Committee looks into many other issues besides the Russia interference issue. So right now my focus is on this investigation.
HAYES: OK. Can I - I just have to say that people are watching this. And this looks like - maybe I`m wrong and maybe I was wrong, a preposterous farce. You know, here is an individual who appears to be working to a sort of reverse engineer some substance for what has been shown to be a baseless accusation, maybe there`s something he`s found that`s legitimate. But I mean, is there any reason to think this wasn`t essentially a coordinated information laundering campaign between the White House and the Chair?
CASTRO: Well, the fact that he got his information at the White House, that he hasn`t shared that information with anyone on the Committee, Republican or Democrat, it just makes me believe that there was some political angle to what happened. And that`s, of course, very troubling to millions of Americans. And I think that he should do the right thing and recuse himself.
HAYES: Can you explain to people that are just tuning into this entire thing, I mean, what is going on in your Committee right now? What - how do you explain to people the A, the amount of resources and activity that`s been devoted to something that has nothing to do with the actual essential substance of the investigation. And two, the way that this Chair has conducted himself?
CASTRO: You`re right, Chris. I mean, first of all, this is a smoke screen in terms of getting to the bottom of the larger issue which is how were the Russian able to interfere with our elections. And most of all, whether any Americans coordinated or cooperated with the Russians who interfered with our 2016 elections. The committee as of about a week ago had been moving along in a fairly bipartisan way. The investigation had been moving forward. An open hearing, of course, was held last Monday where James Comey made his big revelation that there are members of the Trump team who under investigation. And then, there was another committee meeting that was supposed to happen out in the open tomorrow that got canceled and Devin went over to the White House and did what he did and now we`ve got another committee meeting that`s been canceled for later in the week. So if you ask me the question, what`s going on with the investigation now, I think it`s compromised.
HAYES: Is the Chair blowing this up. I mean, there are people who speculate the following and I like your response that Nunes is essentially taking steps to destroy, to blow up this investigation because he is scared that it will find things that will expose the White House?
CASTRO: I mean, you know, some people may ascribe that level of deviousness to him. I`m going to hold off going that far for now. But I will say, that whatever the case is, this investigation is going to get done one way or another. We are going to get to the bottom of whether anybody on the Trump team conspired with the Russians who interfered with the 2016 election. That`s going to happen whether it`s being led in the House of Representatives or whether it`s being done by independent commission. So if anybody thinks that we`re just going to let this go, that the American people, most of all, are just going to let it go, they`re wrong.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Joaquin Castro, thank you.
Still to come, the Trump-Russia probe now extends to President`s son-in- law. Why Senate investigators plan to question Jared Kushner ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSEY GRAHAM, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA: Right now I think the House Intel Committee is about to fall apart. And I don`t know if they can get it back together, I hope they can. I didn`t like it when Nunes went down to the White House.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Two days after Senator Lindsay Graham said the House Intelligence Committee was about to fall apart, a breaking news have been reported earlier that ranking member Adam Schiff is calling on Chairman Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Trump investigation - the investigation of team Trump and Russia. Meanwhile, though, there`s the Senate Intelligence Committee which has its own investigation underway and that has now called on someone from this photo to testify due to meetings they had with Russian contacts during the campaign. The reporter who broke that story joins me just after this break.
HAYES: A widening circle of associates of President Donald J. Trump are getting mixed up in the Russian investigation. First was former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone, Paul Manaford, and Carter Page. Then, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself after failing to disclose his meetings with the Russian ambassador when he was a Trump surrogate.
Now, it`s senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president`s son-in-law. The Senate intelligence committee informed the White House it wants to question Kushner about meetings he arranged with the Russian ambassador.
But that`s not all, Kushner also met with the head of a Russian bank under sanction by the Obama administration.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says that Kushner volunteered to talk with the Senate intel committee.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: But again, remember, given the role that he played both during the campaign and during the transition, he met with countless individuals that was part of his job, that was part of his role.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Matthew Rosenberg, National Security Reporter for The New York Times.
You know, Matthew, did we know about the meetings that Kushner had both with the head of the bank and with Kislyak before now.
MATTHEW ROSENBERG, NEW YORK TIMES: We knew about Kislyak. That kind of came out a month ago. We didn`t know about the banker. And the Kislyak meeting was always presented as, you know, nothing to look at here. It was just a courtesy call. Then we find out there`s a second meeting with Kislyak that was set up, but Jared sent an underling.
And Kislyak also set up a meeting with the state-owned Russian bank that`s on the U.S. sanctions list which is, you know, kind of amazing at this point that we`re just finding out now. And again we`re giving this, but there`s nothing to look at here line.
HAYES: Yeah, I mean, what`s the timeline here, this is before election day, right?
ROSENBERG: No, no, it was after election day.
HAYES: Oh, so it was in transition period, right. Yes. It`s in the transition period.
So, you`ve got an incoming -- right, of course, you have got the incoming adviser to the president and his son-in-law post-sanctions, you know, talking to the head of a sanctioned bank about what?
ROSENBERG: That`s exactly it. They`re saying it was a courtesy call, nothing, this is what (inaudible) saying that there`s really nothing to look at here and nothing came of it.
But then the bank put out its own statement today. And the bank said that Gorkov (ph), the banker who was here, was on a road show talking to different politicians and U.S. -- the U.S. business community and met with Kushner as the head of the Kushner companies.
Now, it`s a little unusual that a bank, a Russian state-owned bank, which has large investments saw fit to meet the head of the Kushner companies as if this was major a U.S. conglomerate or something of that nature.
You know, at the same time, Jared`s family business was having some trouble with property in New York. We don`t know what they discussed. But this doesn`t look good.
HAYES: Yeah, and I want to zero in on this, because put aside everything having to do with the Russia story and the possibility of any kind of collusion, I mean, this also highlights the ongoing conflict issue with Jared Kushner who - we don`t know the degree to which he -- the details of how he sort of detached himself from the family business. There`s just a big deal with the Chinese bank that, you know, at every moment it`s like what role is this individual playing?
ROSENBERG: It`s a very good question. And we`ve not gotten frank answers here.
And when the White House says we`ve got a courtesy call meeting here and it was done as a courtesy, then the banker comes out and says no, no we met with him as head of his family business, we`re getting two very different stories there. I think that is a question that needs to be answered. And we`re still waiting for White House answers are. And this what goes this entire issue with Russia, with the conflicts, is that we continually to get new little admissions, new pieces of evidence. And every single time we`re it`s all good. It`s just small meetings. Then we find out more and more and more and more it just keeps kind of getting worse.
HAYES: That`s exactly right. And it`s the pattern here where, you know, it`s always possible at each new revelation the underlying meeting was essentially proforma, or was - or had, you know, was essentially incidental. But it`s the fact that they keep getting disclosed after the fact in drips and drabs that peak`s one curiosity. You can imagine that the Senate intelligence committee is going to want to know what was discussed in that meeting. It`s going to be hard for him to avoid actually saying what went down.
ROSENBERG: And that`s what we were told is that they want to discuss that meeting and they want to know what they were talking about. Was this an attempt by the bank to curry favor, to get out of sanctions? Was it an attempt by Jared to use his position to help the family business? Or was it just a courtesy call? They don`t know. They want answers.
And you know, that`s one of the other issues here, too, is that they went to the White House to have to say, we want Jared to be questioned. And I think there`s a certain frustration among some on the Hill and certainly in other parts of the government that they`re only finding out about these things in drips and drabs, as well.
HAYES: All right, Matthew Rosenberg, thank you.
ROSENBERG: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, Senator Lindsay Graham`s town hall devolves into a shouting match as constituents demand answers on everything from health care to Trump Russian investigation. That scene coming up.
Plus tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, starts right after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, for the eighth weekend in a row, President Trump spent time at Trump organization properties, which this weekend included Trump National Golf Club in Virginia and the Trump Hotel in D.C. According to a Washington Post tally, nearly one out of every three days as president Trump has visited a Trump property, spending 21 full or partial days at businesses bearing his name, or the equivalent of three full weeks of just over nine weeks he`s been in commander-in-chief.
This raises red flags for a number of reasons. The trips implicitly serve, of course, as promotion for the Trump organization, which Trump is still profiting from, even though he`s delegating management to his sons.
And the business gives members of those clubs potential access to the president of the United States. A majority of those trips have been to golf courses where it`s believed the president has played golf at least a dozen times.
Even the White House doesn`t seem to want to admit it.
On Saturday, the White House said the president was visiting Trump National Golf Club to, and I`m quoting here, to meet with people.
But who changes in to golf spikes just to meet with people. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: President Trump visited the Trump National Golf Club on Saturday, but the White House would not say he was golfing, just telling the pool he was, quote, meeting with people, which seems to echo this argument from Sean Spicer last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: He had a mini cabinet meeting the other day down - two weekends ago down at his club in Virginia. And I remember so many people jumping to the conclusion that he`s going down and playing golf. Just because you go somewhere doesn`t necessarily mean you do that.
So, on a couple of occasions he`s actually conducted meetings there. He`s actually had phone calls. So just because he heads there doesn`t mean that that`s what`s happening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. But after the White House said, Trump was at his golf course for those meetings, photos like this showed up on social media showing the president at the golf club wearing golf spikes and this allegedly showing him on the golf course.
The president spent four-and-a-half hours at the golf club that day, which is roughly the time it takes to play 18 holes. But it wasn`t until the following day that Bloomberg learned from club members, Trump golfed 18 holes yesterday on the championship course here with the club pro and a club member.
For the record, the president has made 14 trips to his own golf courses in the nine weeks since inauguration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I love golf. But if I were in the White House, I don`t think I would ever see Turnberry again, I don`t think I`d ever see Doral again. I own Doral in Miami. I don`t think I would ever see many of the places that I have. I don`t ever think I would see anything, I just want to stay in the White House and work my (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off and make great deals, right. Who is going to leave? Who is going to leave?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There were two possible out comes for Republican lawmakers after Trumpcare was pulled on Friday. Maybe withdrawing the bill would cool down the wrath Republicans have faced from their constituents at recent town halls, or maybe all those angry people would be encouraged by the victory to keep on organizing and protesting.
Well, we`ve got a pretty clear indication this weekend of which way the wind is blowing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Obamacare is a disaster and is going to collapse.
CROWD: Fix it. Fix it. Fit it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The only way to fix it is to replace it.
GRAHAM: Now that their failure to replace Obamacare has died in the House, I think the next thing we`ll do with taxes. Here is what I think is important, is to lower the corporate so we can be more competitive.
GRAHAM: Good. Good. Come on, bring it on. Bring it on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Not everyone has a congress person to yell at right now. The residents of Georgia`s sixth congressional district have an open seat after Tom Price joined the Trump cabinet as HHS secretary and became one of the chief architects of the GOP`s absolute health care disaster. It is the first true bellweather of the Trump era in what is a reliably red district. Democrats, normally raise a few thousand dollars every two years to challenge Dr. Price. This year, they say they have already banked $3 million to take his empty seat.
The special election is April 18, but early voting started today. And if you live in the district and need a ride to the polls, actress Alyssa Milano, known for her roles on Whose the Boss, Melrose Place and Charmed is campaigning for Democrat Jon Ossoff and tweeted today. She will personally drive you to a polling place. Unfortunately, it looks like she won`t be in the Micelli van. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because they have certain oil caps, right? They have certain areas of oil that they took away. They have some in Syria, some in Iraq. I would bomb the (EXPLETIVIE DELETED) out of them. I would just bomb those suckers.
And that`s right I`d blow up the pipes, I`d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: During the campaign, Donald Trump repeatedly promised to be more aggressive in going after ISIS than the Obama administration. He pledged to crush ISIS and do it quickly. And yet he offered no specifics.
But after the election, his transition team reporetedly looked into reviewing the military rules of engagement for the conflict, the rules dictating what is acceptable on the battlefield, the rules that, Among other things helped minimize civilians deaths.
Ten days ago, an American-led military coalition in Iraq at the request of the Iraqi security forces, conducted airstrikes in Mosul, a city that remains, or at least part of it remains, and ISIS stronghold. The Pentagon is now investigating reports that those strikes killed up to 200 civilians.
Now, it`s still a little unclear exactly what happened. The Wall Street Journal is reporting on a statement from the Iraqi military saying the blast that killed civilians in western Mosul was triggered by an Islamic State booby trap. So, again, right now, this is still at the investigation stage.
But with Iraqi officials saying the Trump administration had appeared to loosen restriction onf the rules of engagement, a charge the Pentagon today denied, and with reports of growing civilian casualities there are real concerns the Trump administration`s war on terror is as brutal as he promised.
Joining me now, Michael Schmidt, who wrote about the Mosul airstrikes in the New York Times.
Michael, what do we know about how this happened?
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, NEW YORK TIMES: We know that in the middle of March the United States was really bombing a lot in Mosul and they hit this building. And it began to collapse this building. And what we do know is that in the days that followed, it basically pancaked on itself.
And what the U.S. is trying to figure out is whether it`s hitting of this building is the thing that brought it down, or whether it was ISIS that came in afterwards and as a way of trying to discredit the United States, set off explosives that ultimately brought it down.
HAYES: We should be clear here of the conditions. These are people who are essentially occupied by ISIS, that ISIS had all of Mosul. They lost East Mosul to the Iraqi army with American support. Their battle now is for the west. But these folks are - the people that we are trying to save, trying to liberate.
SCHMIDT: These are the folks that didn`t have the means to leave. There have been thousands and thousands of people that have fled Mosul, but with these folks are still there. They`re being held captive by ISIS that has very little left itself.
And ISIS is relying on them as human shields and as a way of trying to stop the United States from hitting them and bombing them.
HAYES: Yeah, I just want to be clear here, the president in the past has essentially said that he thinks it`s bad to warn civilians about incoming bombing raids, which is a practice - I want to play a bit of sound where he`s explicitly rejected that. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: One of the things we have to do, we have to take their wealth away.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you think this is a...
TRUMP: We`re not taking their wealth away. We`re not bombing the oil, we`re sending leaflets down. In an hour, we may be bombing your truck. Please remove yourself from - we don`t know what we`re doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I mean, that - you know, in the context of what happened. And, again, I know that it`s very unclear, but we know that civilian deaths are spiking sharply - whether there`s a real question about rules of engagement if they are being changed, if civilian minimization and protecting civilians from casualties it is no longer anything remotely a priority.
ARTHUR: Well, our reporters who were actually able to make it to the scene today there in Mosul. And they`ve also talked to some commanders on the ground there. And what they say is that since the Trump administration came in that the U.S. is hitting a lot more targets.
So, under Obama, they would ask for things to be hit and there would be a lot of questions. And they wouldn`t as quickly, but now they are leaning much more forward in helping the Iraqis. The question is, is whether the U.S. has enough of its own guys on the ground close to the front lines where they can help guide these munitions and provide more information.
And it`s not really clear - we don`t have that many troops in Iraq, and we certainly don`t have that many on the front lines.
So, if they are bombing more you`re going to have more mistakes. But I will say that the Pentagon has pushed back on this and said that the rules of engagement have not changed.
HAYES: Are we. I know that they`ve pushed back on that, but there was reporting suggesting it was being considered. And it`s a little hard to figure out who is right on this right now.
ARTHUR: Look, I mean, certainly the Iraqi commanders on the ground would know the best. They`re the ones that are living through this on a day-to- day basis and really reliant on the U.S. air power. I can`t underscore enough how important the U.S. air power is to this, because the Iraqis really have a lack of capabilities, a lack of logistics. They rely on the United States to move their troops, to bring them food, to get them water, and also to hit these targets. And the U.S. really does have air superiority in a way that no other country does.
But at the same time when you`re only relying on Iraqis on the ground, and, you know, they`re trying to go block by block fighting through some really awful dense areas, there are awful, awful mistakes like this that happen.
And there`s some thought that these will continue to occur as they move into the more and more densely populated areas inside of Mosul.
HAYES: Aside from the sort of moral catastrophe of hundreds of civilians crushed to death, it seems to me a fairly major tactical set back in terms of the image of both the Iraqi army, which itself has had struggles and the American forces for this kind of thing to happen.
ARTHUR: This is a very critical time. Mosul is the - west Mosul is the last piece basically of Iraq that is controlled by the Islamic State. And the United States and the Iraqi government really need the support of the Iraqi people as much as possible here as they try and shore up the country. And this is the last battle. And they expect ISIS to give them a very tough fight. But at the same time there`s a need to keep the Iraqi public on their side and this doesn`t help that.
HAYES: All right. Michael Schmidt, thanks for joining us.
I`m kicking off the second week of my book tour for A Colongy in a Nation, which is out now. In fact, if you`re watching this, you live in Los Angeles, I`ll be at the Barnes and Noble at the Grove for an event tonight, 7:30.
Tomorrow afternoon, I`ll be at the Dominican University, then doing this how, then off to the Mark Hopkins Hotel for a Commonwealth Club event. As always, full details on our Facebook page. Take a look. Come out if you can.
And that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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