Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: April 3, 2017 Guest: Mazie Hirono, Brian Darling, Jim Manley, Susan Hennessey, Lisa Bloom, Michael Schmidt, Richard Painter
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: We lost Merrick Garland.
HAYES: The resistance hold the line.
SCHUMER: And Republicans will lose on Judge Gorsuch.
HAYES: Tonight, the historic blockade of Trump`s Supreme Court pick and the movement that forced it.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would say, if you can, Mitch go nuclear.
HAYES: Plus, new reports of an attempted Trump-Putin backchannel as the House Intel Committee finally meets again.
And the President finds a Fox News counter-narrative.
TRUMP: I saw this morning on Fox and Friends. I watch, I like that group of three people.
HAYES: Then, novelty check day at the White House.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: That will point as he`s doing off.
HAYES: Tonight, as conflict controversies swirl, new reporting that the President secretly revised his blind trust. And, yet another sexual harassment suit for Fox News.
HAYES: And more allegations about its highest profile star.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE I simply said, I`m sorry. I can`t do that.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. In a stunning turn of events, Senate Democrats now have enough votes to filibuster the President`s first Supreme Court nominee and are now poised to block what will suppose to be an easy victory for the Trump administration after a string of major setbacks.
According to conventional wisdom in Washington, the President`s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch was a home run, just about the one thing all republicans could agree on amid conflicts over dismantling ObamaCare and advancing tax cuts. For the President himself, this confirmation was supposed to provide a much-needed win after a series of losses. From the depth of the healthcare bill in just a few weeks his first major legislative effort, to hold up of both travel bans in federal court, to the revelation that his campaign is under FBI investigation for possible links to Russia. (AUDIO GAP) are standing in the way and it`s up to Senate republicans, either (AUDIO GAP) change Senate rules and kill the filibuster for Supreme Court Nominees.
This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to approve Gorsuch along party lines, advancing his nomination to the full Senate. That came as Delaware Senator Chris Coons became the 41st democrat to announce he`d support a filibuster crossing the threshold net needed to successfully block a confirmation vote. Republicans from the White House to Capitol Hill express their outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: This isn`t about voting against somebody or having an issue with him.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: I`m very disappointed in my colleagues that politicized this the way they have.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: When you win the White House you have the ability to appoint people in the Supreme Court.
SEN. MIKE LEE (R), UTAH: All they can come up with are facts that have absolutely nothing to do with his qualifications as a Jurist.
SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: They are opposed to Donald Trump appointing anyone to the Supreme Court.
SEN. BEN SASSE (R), NEBRASKA: Neil Gorsuch is a good man, he`s been a good judge on the Tenth Circuit
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s the democrats who are breaking the rules because (AUDIO GAP) status quo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The (AUDIO GAP) is you could have said, the exact same things -- maybe just switching up the names regarding (AUDIO GAP) of course was President Obama`s (AUDIO GAP) to fill the (AUDIO GAP) Supreme Court for whom republicans refused to hold a single confirmation hearing, much less a vote. It was an unprecedented feet of obstruction. Which Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on the campaign trail later called, quote "one of my proudest moments." The garland affairs seem to have taught democrats a lesson about the up sides of obstructionism and now with engaged based marching the streets and turning up the Town Hall showing the opposed any kind of cooperation whatsoever with this President, there`s new political calculus in Washington.
Just four Democratic Senators came out against a Gorsuch filibuster, all but one of them from red states facing tough re-election battles next year. Republicans have vowed to confirm Gorsuch by the end of the week when the Senate adjourns for two-week recess. But with democrats ready to filibuster, they now face a choice, either take the loss or change the rules to make it impossible to filibuster Supreme Court Nominees. It`s known colloquially as the nuclear option and according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, republicans don`t have to go that far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHUMER: They don`t have to treat the nuclear option as if it`s their first and only option. It`s a false choice. To my friends on the other side, the answer isn`t to change the rules, the answer is to change the nominees.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: (AUDIO GAP) of Hawaii, a member of the Senate Judiciary (AUDIO GAP) Senator, I want you to --
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D), HAWAII: Aloha!
HAYES: Aloha. I want you to respond to the things you (AUDIO GAP) this is politicized, (AUDIO GAP) have no objections against him (AUDIO GAP)
HIRONO: We have a lot of (AUDIO GAP) objections against Judge Gorsuch, it has to do with, after reviewing his cases and how he approaches his judicial decision, there`s a pattern that shows that he is very much in favor of corporations over individual rights. He will fit right in with the Roberts Court and send this court further to the right in ways that will not protect minority rights.
HAYES: But, is there any -- I mean, the argument, I think, from republicans is that essentially there would be no republican nominee that would passer a threshold, is that a fair objection?
HIRONO: No, it`s not. In fact, if there were a nominee that had not been hand selected by the heritage foundation (AUDIO GAP) spent by the way over $10 million trying to get Judge Gorsuch to this point, I would be (AUDIO GAP) be totally on the page with (AUDIO GAP) most conservative organizations in our country. They know what they`re getting with Judge Gorsuch. That`s our objection.
HAYES: How much of this is about Merrick Garland? It just seems like that`s a bell that cannot be unrung?
HIRONO: I`m not upset with Neil Gorsuch because of what -- how Merrick Garland was treated awful that was.
HIRONO: Nobody told --
HAYES: Is that -- wait, is that honestly true Senator.
HIRONO: I`m not happy.
HAYES: I have a hard time believing that.
HIRONO: I`m not happy but this is not a quid pro quo or tit for tat. No, we have our own reasons. I certainly have my own reasons along with my democratic colleagues on the committee. Why we object to Justice -- well soon to be, I guess, I hope not, Gorsuch.
HAYES: Let me ask --
HIRONO: It is because of the kind of positions he takes where he goes out of his way to find the most narrow ways to interpret a law or provision so that minority person is harmed.
HAYES: let me ask you this. When this started I felt like the folks I talked to on the Hill, even in just sort of on the background -- on background chats, thought that this would go through. They didn`t think the democrats would get enough votes to filibuster. Trace for me the trajectory here among you and your colleagues in terms of how you guys at this point.
HIRONO: I certainly waited until after the hearings but part of the whole process of the hearings, four days of it, was first to try to find out what his judicial philosophy was because of course, that makes the difference. Judicial philosophy didn`t make a difference if it wouldn`t have five to four or at this point, four to four Supreme Court decisions. That`s because our justice has come with life experiences and various perspectives. He would not give us an inkling as to how he would view laws. He just kept saying, he would follow precedent. He`s going to the one court that sets precedent. So it was not reassuring at all a. we looked at his record, we looked at his decisions. Hobby Lobby, where all of a sudden, very expanded rights for corporation to have religious rights over the rights of thousands of employees, female employees of Hobby Lobby who suddenly were not going to get this kind of insurance coverage. So that was Judge Gorsuch.
HAYES: So respond to an alternate theory of what happened here. What I`m hearing from you, you were saying, look, this is a substantive decision that I`ve come to and my colleagues have come to on the merits. It`s about his judicial philosophy and his performance in hearing.
HAYES: Another way of viewing this is, there was tremendous organized pressure to put on democratic senators in particularly by the activist base that felt like any vote for this seed is a stone seed, it`s fundamentally illegitimate, and that that pressure work.
HIRONO: I certainly feel any pressure from my base. I think that is a kind of -- kind of an argument that some people like to make. In fact, my colleagues from Texas, Ted Cruz said that the democrats on the Committee were afraid of being primary. And I said, at the markup that that kind of statement doesn`t even deserve any kind of response, it`s so ridiculous. You know, we ask serious questions of Judge Gorsuch and he did not provide us with the kind of responses that would enable us to conclude that he would be a Justice for all of us and not just some of us.
HAYES: All right, Senator -- sorry --
HIRONO: I could go on.
HAYES: -- finish your thought. Well, what`s going to be interesting, we may get a chance to talk more about this depending on how this shakes out in a week ahead Senator Mazie Hirono.
HAYES: Thank you very much.
HIRONO: Thank you. Aloha!
HAYES: I`m joined now by Brian Darling, former Communications Director to Senator Rand Paul and Jim Manley, former Chief Spokesperson then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Brian, there`s one way of looking at this which is that, like, you know, god is dead all is permitted, all the pretenses has been stripped away and the McConnell strategy adopt in 2009, obstruction by in means that it was a kind of learned it from watching you dad moment. Right? If you were able to pull off the Garland Gambit, which was so amazingly audacious then why not cry obstruction by any means?
BRIAN DARLING. RAND PAUL FORMER COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Well, I mean, Mitch McConnell is -- does have the power to get this nominee pass and he can thank Harry Reid for that. Harry Reid was the one that set the table for this. He can also thank people like you, Chris Hayes because you as a progressive have been very vocal in your support for filibuster reform.
HAYES: Oh yes. Let me be clear. Let me be clear.
DARLING: You should be cheering Mitch McConnell for doing this. This is another step.
HAYES: Let me be clear. I think the -- right. The filibuster is an anti- democratic procedural mechanism that is nowhere in the constitution. It was not envisioned by the founders and I think it`s a sort of selective thing, it`s fine. But lets` just look at the numbers, Brian, just to be clear here --
HAYES: -- on the empirical skyrocketing of the filibuster which became essentially a de facto supermajority in one of the Houses which is nowhere in the constitutional architecture and we all know how much you and everyone loves Originalism. This is Obama just in his first four years, that`s just the first term, 307 filibusters compared to 130 of George W. Bush. There`s just nothing like it. So if it becomes a de facto, you know, super majority indication, yes, like I think they should kill it.
DARLING: Yes, but senators are lazy. I mean, to be honest, the way that I think this should happen, I am not a fan of the nuclear option. I do not - - I`m not happy about the senate traditions being chipped away. I think this is a terrible thing. But I understand why it`s happening. It`s happening because Harry Reid exempted everything accept for the Supreme Court with his breaking the rules to change the rules. So I get why that`s happening. But I would rather see a real talking filibuster. I`d rather Mitch McConnell say, you know what, want to block this nominee --
DARLING: -- let`s see you guys get down to the senate floor and talk 24 or 48 hours.
HAYES: But we tried, we -- I mean, this was -- Jim, this was -- you were in the square parts of these debates, and you guys -- I should say wrote a letter together, wrote an authentic letter saying you shouldn`t filibuster, my understanding, Jim, is you have now -- you have now come around to think they should filibuster here.
JIM MANLEY, HARRY REID FORMER CHIEF SPOKESPERSON: That`s a fact, correct. I`ve reluctantly come to the decision after long -- a lot of thought that this is absolute the right thing to go. For me, with all due respect to the Senator, it absolutely has everything, almost everything to do with how they treated Merit Garland. They refused to give this good man even the courtesy of a hearing and now for them to say, the -- all these crocodile tears about what happened is absolutely ridiculous. So, you and I have been talking about this for years, Chris. I have been very reluctant to change the rules --
HAYES: You have been.
MANLEY: -- but I think that this is absolutely the right thing to do by Senator Schumer and I applaud the caucus for holding together. And what I want to talk about is how do these democrats get to this place where they felt comfortable voting against this nominee.
HAYES: I`m -- Jim, I`m actually shocked. I have to say, I think and obviously as Senator Hirono says this was sort of substantive joining the merits. And I`m not going to question her on that. But when you look at that whip count, I mean, what`s your answer to that having been inside Harry Reid`s office.
MANLEY: And I understand, again, why the Senator said that. But the fact of the matter is, is that, if you look at the House, you look at what happened to so-called Trumpcare, no one, anyone who`s afraid of getting on the wrong side of a Trump tweet storm right now, needs to get a new job. Because at 36 percent approval rating, unable to move a legislative agenda, obviously, a whole bunch of these democrats is still very comfortable in taking this stand at this point in time. And I`ve got to tell you, a couple of weeks ago, like you, you know, I thought this was going to happen. And he was going to be confirmed. But, obviously, you know, the handwriting is on the wall. And it`s not going to happen.
DARLING: But it`s laughable. It really is laughable when Chuck Schumer goes on the Senate floor and says we need a new nominee. He knows it isn`t going to happen.
HAYES: Wait, why not?
DARLING: And he support to changing the rules.
HAYES: Wait a second, wait a second. Why not? I thought it was laughable when Mitch McConnell said -- when Mitch McConnell said Merrick Garland isn`t even going to get any meetings. Remember the initial -- the initial idea was not only he was not going to get any hearing, we won`t look the guy in the face. OK. When he said that, I thought, that`s laughable. I also --
DARLING: Yes, I think that was perfectly defensible because republican -- look, the constitution says --
HAYES: But Brian, would you realize --
DARLING: -- if the Senate has a right to --
HAYES: Brian, please can you not --
DARLING: -- advise and consent.
HAYES: Right. But that`s exactly what the democrats are doing right now. They are withdrawing their consent. I said this to senate after senator --
DARLING: No, do not.
HAYES: -- and republican after republican, they said, yes, advise and consent means not giving our consent.
HAYES: Democrats are not giving their consent to go forward to a vote. That is part of advising consent.
DARLING: No, because they don`t have --
MANLEY: Oh, absolutely Brian, that`s ridiculous.
HAYES: Why? That`s the definition of the case.
MANLEY: You can`t even vote.
DARLING: They do not have enough votes. They do have enough votes to filibuster --
DARLING: -- and the problem is if they change the rules and set the table for this, they are the ones that said, hey let`s get rid of the filibuster and every nomination but --
HAYES: Brian --
DARLING: -- the Supreme Court. But it`s logical to understand --
DARLING: -- that this was inevitably going to happen.
HAYES: But this is the thing that drives me crazy, everybody just has to pretend all of these, like, everyone -- I mean, I just watched corn in all of these folks. I mean, like oh my god, the expressions of just sadness that we`ve come here. This is just so upsetting and the politicization by our democratic colleagues, gosh, I just -- I don`t know what happened. They blocked Merrick Garland for an entire year. They made up some ridiculous ex-nihilo rule about the final year of President`s term, which again appears nowhere in the constitution, appears nowhere in tradition. And that`s fine, like, they won that battle. But why should anyone pretend that it`s anything but a (INAUDIBLE) [20:15:18] and struggle of sheer will to power of what you can pull off, Jim. Why should you -- why should anyone pretend there`s anything more than that?
MANLEY: They shouldn`t. I mean, the crocodile tears coming out of the Senate Republicans at this point in time, it really takes a cake. And I hope just democrats are realizing that these guys aren`t playing by the same rules as democrats do. It`s about time to try and fight fire with fire.
HAYES: And Brian, here, ultimate -- quickly on this, are they going to get the votes to pull off the nuclear option.
DARLING: I think they will. I think they will because we saw democrats hold the line. I think they only lost three democrats in that vote for Harry Reid`s use of the nuclear option 2013. I assume the republicans will stick together.
HAYES: All right. Brian Darling and Jim Manley, thank you, both.
Coming up, reports of an attempted back channel connection between Putin and President Trump as the House Intel Committee gets back to work on their investigation leaving the White House desperate for diversion. We`ll talk about it all after this two-minute break.
HAYES: Another day (AUDIO GAP) possible connections within Trump associates and Russia. NBC News has confirmed the Washington Post report that the according to U.S., European and Arab officials, the United Arab Emirates arranged a secret meeting this January between Blackwater founder, Erik Prince and a Russian close to President Vladimir Putin as part of an apparent effort to establish a backchannel line of communication between Moscow and President-elect Donald Trump. It should be noted that Erik Prince is the brother of Betsy Devos, the President`s Education Secretary. And right now the question of whether the President`s associates have worked together inappropriately with Russian officials to interfere in the 2016 election is being investigated by the FBI. Along with the Senate and House Intelligence Committees. That latter committee met tonight for the first time since its Republican Chairman Devin Nunes made his midnight run to the White House.
The Trump administration for its part has responded to these investigations with a counter-narrative, claiming the real scandal is the Trump associate for the one secretly spied on by the Obama administration. Today it became clear, that counter-narrative would involve Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice. The story was first written up by a marginal figure on the far right in a peace title Susan Rice requested unmasking of incoming Trump administration officials then turned upon Fox and Friend this morning where they called the whole thing quote "unprecedented". Moments later, the President apparently live tweeting the entire view of the show, said Fox News from multiple sources there was electronic surveillance of Trump and people close to Trump. This is unprecedented." Then a short time after that, Bloomberg Columnist Eli Lake published a piece suggesting that Rice was the person who would request the identities of Trump transition officials whose phone conversations with foreign officials were collected incidentally. Joining me now is Susan Hennessy, former Attorney in the Office of General Counsel of the National Security Agency.
All right. It`s very clear to me now, you`ve got sort of all of the parts of the let`s say Benghazi-Industrial Complex. Let`s call it a sort of working to send this idea that the real scandal here is the Obama folks spying on the Trump campaign, what do you make of it?
SUSAN HENNESSEY, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY FORMER ATTORNEY: Right. So, again, again, they`re sort of trying to advance this narrative that the real story is something else, leaks, the fact incidental collection. Now, potentially, sort of this unmasking? I mean, the issue is really that they`re describing perfectly legal and what appears to be proper conduct of intelligence activities. So the question really becomes either they`re advocating for major intelligence reform, right, a pretty dramatic departure from the traditional republican position on these issues or these are potentially being offered to revise and attempt to distract from the real story here.
HAYES: Yes, so I want to talk about the unmasking. I think it`s worth sort of getting to it for a moment, right? There`s something called minimization, and minimization exists because you want to protect the privacy of American persons when you are surveilling foreign entities. So if that foreign entity has a conversation with an American person, it`s minimized or masked. Senior Intelligence officials, including say, the National Security Adviser, can request Unmask to say, who is the American on the other side of that conversation, if it is the case that Susan Rice did that in this context, that -- is that OK, is that not OK? What do you make of that?
HENNESSEY: Right. So this would be sort of within the ordinary activity of a National Security Adviser. I typically would occur of minimization as a generic identifier is replaced, right, or so they say, U.S. person number one. In some cases, it will even be sort of a title, especially in the case of a government official. And so, sometimes that information will be disseminated that with that generic identifier. In some cases, the senior officials that are receiving that information will say, "hey, in order to understand the foreign intelligence value with the significance and meeting of this, I need more information." In that -- in that case, they`ll make request of NSA and in order to provide that additional information. It would be within sort of the ordinary job of a National Security Adviser. Also, NSA would be making a separate determination as to whether or not it met those requirements before actually performing the Unmasking.
HAYES: I mean, I kept sort of running through the thought experiment here, it`s like I`m Susan Rice and I made some intelligence product that says foreign intelligence, someone that we`re spying on, it was a member or agent of a foreign government, had conversation with, you know, U.S. person campaign official A and I kept thinking to myself, well I think I`d want to know who that was if it doesn`t seem crazy.
HENNESSEY: Right. So it certainly it`s not crazy, you wouldn`t be able to unmask information just as a matter of personal curiosity. It`s about whether or not you needed that information in order to perform your official duty. And so that standard is a relatively high one. But it`s one that a relatively limited number of people are allowed to make and there are external checks and controls on when that information is actually allowed to be distributed.
HAYES: So I don`t know if you have thoughts on this, you are in a position like all of us sort of sorting through the kind of steady barrage of information, this new Washington Post reporting tonight about Erik Prince trying to set up a backchannel in the Seychelles, a two-day meeting, apparently with someone close to Putin. And we know that Erik Prince from some of the reporting, Jeremy Scahill on that that was on the Intercept is close to the Trump orbit, how does that strike you?
HENNESSEY: Right. So once again, sort of the bizarre feature here really does seems to be the secrecy, right? So there`s nothing necessarily improper about an incoming administration wanting to communicate with foreign governments including Russia. Right?
HENNESSEY: We`ve seen lots of administration, have talked about resets and pivots. The -- what is strange here and has been strange in the past is the secrecy and sort of obfuscation of why you would sort of dispatch these unofficial individuals, somebody who`s not part of the transition team in order to establish that backchannel communication. Why you wouldn`t be forthright, especially sort of considering all the news stories that is what really sort of raises suspicion about what is there to hide here?
HAYES: Why all the backchannel? Susan Hennessey, thanks for joining us.
HAYES: Ahead, new revelations that President Trump secretly revised his so-called "blind trust" allowing him to take money from any of his businesses whenever he feels like it, that story coming up.
HAYES: We now have yet another revelation of ethically questionable behavior by Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price. Now, previous reporting has shown that while congress Price purchased shares in medical device manufacturer shortly before introducing legislation that would have benefited the company, traded hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock of health-related companies while sponsoring an advocating legislation affecting those companies and got a sweetheart deal on stock from an Australian biotech firm that netted price a cool 400 percent profit. Republicans in Congress knew all of this, about Price and they confirmed him to leave the Department of Health and Human Services.
Anyway, now, ProPublica reporting that on the very same day that Price`s stockbroker bought him up to $90,000 of stock in six pharmaceutical companies last year, that same day, Price arranged to call a top U.S. health official seeking to scuttle a controversial rule that could have hurt the firm`s profits and driven down their share prices. It`s worth remembering that a source have previously told ProPublica that Price`s trades were being investigated by the former U.S. Attorney of the southern district of New York Preet Bharara before Bharara was abruptly fired by President Trump last month despite Trump having previously indicated he would keep him in that job. That`s just one of the major conflict issues that trumped up in the Trump White House in the past few days. Next, the White House is denying a report that President meet a secret change to his pretend blind trust (AUDIO GAP) Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump right after this short break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And what I`m going to be doing is my two sons, who are right here, Don and Eric, are going to be going to be running the company. They are going to be running it in a very professional manner. They`re not going to to discuss it with me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It turns out that President Trump`s pretend blind trust, which the director of the office of government ethics, has called, quote, "wholly inadequate," is even less legitimate than we thought.
ProPublica reporting that previously unreported changes to a trust document signed on February 10th show that Trump can draw money from his more than 400 businesses at any time without disclosing it. And it`s not just money. The new language is so broad, he could potentially withdraw entire businesses from the trust, again, without telling the American people.
White House Press Secretary SeanSpicer was asked about the ProPublica report at today`s press briefing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I`m not aware that there was any change. Just because of a left wing blog makes the point of something changing doesn`t mean it actually happened. I`m not aware that there was ever a change in the trust. And the idea that the president is withdrawing money at some point is exactly the purpose of what the trust -- why a trust is set up regardless of an individual.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, just last question on this, so you`re not saying whether or not it has changed just to clarify. You`re not sure whether...
SPICER: No, no. To the best of my knowledge, it hasn`t changed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s a lot to fact check here. One, ProPublica is not a left- wing blog. Two, a trust that you can just withdraw money from and assets from whenever you want is not actually a trust. And, three, the Trump Trust doc was in fact revised and signed on February 10 as ProPublica pointed out to Spicer on Twitter.
Now, stipulates it shall distribute net income or principal to Donald J. Trump at his request.
This is just one of the revelations we`ve gotten about Trump administration conflicts in the past few days.
Here to discuss Trump`s many other ethical issues facing the administration. Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush.
And Mr. Painter, how -- my understanding is that actual blind trusts have mechanisms to disperse money. But in this case it was never a blind trust to begin with and now it`s been further amended without letting anyone know.
RICHARD PAINTER, FRM. CHIEF WHITE HOUSE ETHICS LAWYER: Well, yes. This trust was never a blind trust, this trust did absolutely nothing to remove conflicts of interests, and I don`t think anybody who knows anything about conflict of interest law ever thought it removed conflicts.
This is a trust to set up to benefit Donald Trump and allow him to do whatever he wants with the assets he wants that`s clearly what`s going on. A qualified blind trust is one under the ethics and government act where the office holder transfers the assets to the trustee, the trustee then sells the conflict creating assets, tells the office holder they have been sold and invested something else without the office holder knowing about it.
But that has nothing to do with this trust. This trust is simply flair to be a vehicle to hold Donald Trump`s businesses until he done being president.
HAYES: I want to ask you about some of the disclosures we got on Friday from the Office of Government Ethics, and particularly about two people that are working in the administration, the president`s daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared. The New York Times saying Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner still benefiting from business empire, filings show. And what strikes me as important here is the conflict of interest laws may not apply directly to the president in the way that the, you know, criminal exposure and the like. But it certainly should apply to people like Jared Kushner and Ivanka, right. How big of a problem is it that they have all of this potential exposure?
PAINTER: Well, it does. The credible statute does apply, the conflict of interest law. The White House counsel`s office tried to wiggle around that for about two weeks calling Ivanka a volunteer, but they knew full well that wasn`t going to fly. I wrote them a letter. And I think Ivanka`s lawyer, her own lawyer was telling her she better comply with the conflict of interest statutes.
And so they decided, well, let`s make her a real employ.
She is subject to this law. And so is Jared. And that means they`re have to stay out of banking, financial services regulation, because that effects real estate. They`re going to have to stay out of tax reform, because there are lots of goodies for real estate in the tax code. And of course, trade. With Ivanka importing clothing from China.
And so they stay out of those three areas, I guess there`s something else for them to do. But this is a very very broad recusal. In most White Houses they would insist that someone sell off at least some of those businesses. She has no need to be importing clothing, putting her name on it, when she`s in the White House. She should have gotten rid of that business.
HAYES: So, but I just want to be clear here, because there are criminal statutes apply in the conflict of interest. You just sketched out very broad areas that they would have a requirement to recuse themselves from, including things like tax reform, which is a huge legislative priority apparently for the president, and trade. I mean, what would happen if we found out definitively that either of them were working on issues that directly affect their bottom line?
PAINTER: That would be referred to the criminal division of the Department of Justice. There`s a public integrity unit over there. We had a lot of experience, career lawyers. So, this is not something that Attorney General Sessions will be able to sweep under the rug and in those types of manners, you are going to have a lot of other people participating and if you see Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump getting anywhere close to matters that affect their financial interests, you can bet a lot of people who are going to be calling over to the Justice Department. This is a manageable conflict, but I hope they`re relying on their own lawyer, who was a lot better than the lawyers in the White House who as I say two weeks ago, were trying to pretend that Ivanka Trump wasn`t even a government employee.
It is a very broad recusal. And they`re going to have to stay out of a lot of things. China is one, for example, because President Trump, every time he doesn`t like something China does, he threatens trade sanctions. Well, right then and there, Jared and Ivanka may have to walk out of the room if she`s importing clothes from China.
HAYES: This seems -- I mean, just from an almost self-preservation to me like they`re putting themselves in a terrible position, in terms of exposure. But when you talk about criminal exposure, I want to talk about Tom Price. Because Secretary of HHS, we`ve got new information. Again, this was a ProPublica reporting on Friday that he intervened on a rule that would hurt drug profits the same day he acquired some drug stock. He has had a series of allegations of conflict. And we have reporting suggesting he is being investigated possibly by the southern district of New York.
PAINTER: Well, he`s got the conflict of interest problem, because of the stock ownership, but he`s got another problem as well. If he goes out and buys that stock when he has material non-public information that isn`t known to other investors, he could be violating -- he is violating insider trader laws. And that`s a criminal offense. We sent Wall Street people off to jail for that on a regular basis. And congressman, also, are prohibited from trading on the basis of non-public information they learned from the work on capitol Hill and that episode is very troubling, because it was the very same day he made that trade as when he was taking steps that he knew about and other people didn`t, to help that company.
So that is not a good situation.
HAYES: All right, Richard Painter, thanks for your time.
PAINTER: Thank you.
HAYESA: Still to come, the author of an explosive New York Times report detailing brand new allegations against Bill O`Reilly of Fox News and today was novelty check day at the White House. Find out what this is all about in tonight`s -- oh, it`s serious. Thing One, Thing Two, right after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, settling up. Last week, Florida lawmakers requested reimbursement for security costs during President Trump`s Mar-a- Lago weekends. The Palm Beach County Sheriff`s Department and Fire Rescue pays $70,000 in overtime each day Trump visits, amounting to $1.7 to day.
Meanwhile, New York City is still seeking $18 million, spent to secure Trump Tower during the transition, it currently costs the city at least $127,000 a day to protect the first lady and Barron, who have opted to continue to living in Trump Tower. Today, Sean Spicer pushed back on reimbursement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPICER: This is not something that you can control. There is a security aspect that the Secret Service determines when the president and the family travels. That`s not dictated by the president of the United States.
And third is, you know, I would know, ironically, this is a day that the president just donated a significant amount of money of his salary back to the federal government. And so, you know, respectfully, it`s -- at what point does he do enough, he just gave a sizable donation.
I mean that`s not how we judge. I mean, I don`t -- I think to be able to say that, he isn`t taking a salary. I think he`s stepped down from his business. He`s walked away from a lot. I think -- I think at some point he`s done quite a bit in terms of making a donation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: At what point does he do enough. It`s a good question. And it`s Thing Two, in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Today, the president donated his salary for the first quarter of 2017. And the lucky recipient was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
SPICER: It is my pleasure on behalf of the president of the United States to present a check for $78,333 to secretary of the interior. Thank you to the superintendent of the Harper`s Ferry park site, superintendent (inaudible).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: OK. It`s possible we added some sound effects to that. And I have to say any support for the national park service deserves praise, especially after that unfortunate business with the inauguration crowd photos.
Spicer noted Trump was personally proud to donate the money to the important mission of the park service. But that does feel a little hollow given Trump`s budget cuts of $1.5 billion currently proposed, nearly 12 percent, from the Interior Department, which of course oversees the national park service.
And to put the donation into perspective, it`s just slightly more than it costs local Florida police each day the president spends at Mar-a-Lago. And it`s just a fraction of the $3 million it costs the government for Trump to spend the weekend at his Florida resort.
In fact, if the president can come up with about 39 more of those checks, he could repay the costs of just one weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago.
HAYES: Fox News channel, which continues to reel from a series of accusations of sexual harrassement and alleged coverups was hit with yet another lawsuit today. Fox News contributor Julie Roginsky filed suit against former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and the Fox News Channel itself. The lawsuit alleges sexual advances by Mr. Ailes during meetings in his office, saying, quote, during these meetings Ailes additional and without irony volunteered the advice that Roginsky should engage in sexual relationships with older married conservative men.
His comments and their delivery made it clear that Ailes wanted a sexual relationship with Roginsky. The complaint also alleges retaliation for rebuffing Mr. Ailes` sexual advances, and for refusing to disparage Gretchen Carlson who, of course, is the former Fox News host who sued Mr. Ailes last summer.
Now, the Carson lawsuit was ultimately settled for $20 million along with a public apology by the company.
With regard to the new lawsuit, Mr. Ailes responded through his attorney in a statement which reads, in part, Julie Roginsky`s description of meetings that she supposedly had with Roger Ailes are total hogwash. Mr. Ailes vociferously denies her allegations.
The way Fox News has handled payments to accusers is also being investigated by the U.S. attorney`s office in Manhattan, according to reporting. And its former chief financial officer has been offered immunity as part of the investigation according to Financial Times citing people briefed on the case.
And all of this, as The New York Times publishes a massive investigative piece into sexual harassment allegations against the biggest star at Fox News. That story, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY WALSH, FRM. GUEST, THE O`REILLY FACTOR: And he caught up with me and said no, no come back to my suite. At that point, you know, I`m a woman of a certain age. I`ve had situations like this in my life. I knew how to behave. And I simply said I`m sorry, I can`t do that.
And he immediately got defensive and said, what do you mean, you think I`m going to attack you or something?
But he got very hostile very quickly. He told me flat out forget any career advice I gave you. And with every appearance my job opportunity at Fox getting further and further away from me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Today, Wendy Walsh, former regular guest on the O`Reilly Factor held a news conference to allege inappropriate behavior by Bill O`Reilly. Ms. Walsh is not suing Mr. O`Reilly, but said she just wanted to tell her story.
This follows an extensive investigative piece by The New York Times that found five different women who have settled lawsuits with either Mr. O`Reilly or Fox News Channel for a wide range of behavior by Mr. O`Reilly, including verbal abuse, lewd comments and unwanted advances.
Fox News responded in a statement which reads, in part, while he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O`Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility.
Mr. O`Reilly also responded with a statement, which reads in part, "just like other prominent and controversial people I`m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children."
Since the revelations, at least one company has decided pull its adds from the O`Reilly Factor. Mercedes-Benz say in a statement the allegations are disturbing. And given the importance of women in every aspect of our business, we don`t feel this is a good environment in which to advertise our products right now.
Joining me now, Michael Schmidt, co-author of that New York Times investigative piece. And civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, who represents Wendy Walsh.
Michael, let me start with you. There has been reporting in the past. I want to be clear about what`s new here, because there`s a reporting in the past of settlements that have been public. There are current lawsuits outstanding. But there are new things that you and your colleagues found in this article previously unreported.
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Well, what we reported on was five settlements. Two of the five settlement had been out there, one in 2004, and one that we had reported on back in January.
So, we brought three new settlements to light. And on top of that we told Wendy Walsh`s story, the story of how Mr. O`Reilly had reneged on the offer to make her a contributor after she declined his sexual advance.
We also explain the story of Andrea Tantaros (ph) in our piece who had made allegations against Mr. O`Reilly in a lawsuit, allegations that were later backed up by her psychologist who testified under oath that Mr. Tantaros (ph) had told her contemporaneously that these things had gone on from Mr. O`Reilly.
HAYES: Lisa, you`re representing Wendy Walsh. And explain what her position is. It is interesting she decided she`s not filing a lawsuit. She`s potentially just coming forward to talk about what happened.
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: Right.
So, intrepid New York Times reporters apparently went through old tapes of Fox News shows. They looked for women who used to be on, who are not on any more. And then simply cold called them. Wendy got a call. And she was asked about whether she had experienced any sexual harassment at Fox News or what her relationship was with Bill O`Reilly. And eventually established a relationship with Emily Steel, eventually she told Emily Steel what happened.
And Wendy is a friend of mine. She`s a previous client of mine. And all along I was with her. And I told her if you want to come out with this story, I will stand by you. I will help you. I will defend you if Bill O`Reilly omes you, because we know how vindictive he can be. And I encourage every woman who wants to come forward in a sexual harrassement case to get a strong woman to stand at your side.
So, I was with her today. Wendy`s story is very clear. That she was a guest for about a couple of weeks. I think three weeks. She was hoping to get a paid contributor position. Mr. O`Reilly asked her out to dinner. She joined him at the restaurant, at the Bel Air hotel. After dinner, she says, he wanted to take her to his room. She refused. He immediately turned very hostile and the idea of a contributor deal was off the table. This is what we called a quid pro quo sexual harassment in the law. She could have sued him them, but she didn`t, because she`s not litigious, she just wanted the job.
HAYES: So, you know, Michael, there`s a few things here that make the context of this pretty freighted, right. I mean, Roger Ailes who probably the most powerful man in American media, or one of them, leaving Fox News in disgrace, although with quite a sizable severance package after a series of reports came out, allegation after allegation after allegation.
What does your reporting suggest about the posture of Fox towards O`Reilly now that you have five settlements on the record and other ones possibly out there as lawsuits now?
SCHMIDT: Well, we know that Mr. O`Reilly`s contract has been extended and Fox extended it knowing that he had reached many of these settlements. The important thing about the settlements is that two of them have been reached since Mr. Ailes left.
And Fox knew about those settlements when they extended his contract recently.
So the question is, and a lot of people have asked me, but Fox has not answered, which is why is Mr. O`Reilly being treated differently than Mr. Ailes. And I think what Fox would probably say is they don`t think the cases that were brought in recent months against Mr. O`Reilly, which he settled, have any merit and they`ve been able to sort of dismiss them.
HAYES: Lisa you want to respond to that?
BLOOM: You know, listen, it`s been since 2004 with Andrea Macriss (ph), who I knew at the time, what she went through in a public case against Bill O`Reilly where it seemed pretty clear that she had recordings of him making sexually explicit comments about what he wanted to do in the shower with her all the way until the present.
You know, at any other company, Bill O`Reilly would be fired. And today I called upon the state division of human rights in New York and the New York City human rights commission to, on their own motion, do an independent investigation into sexual harassment at Fox News, because they simply treat these payments as the cost of doing business. They have no interest in getting rid of this man who`s accused of being a serial harasser and instead the women are driven out over and over again.
They`re not just harassed, they say, they`re driven out of their careers. This is a very serious harm to women`s rights. And I hope the state agencies will do an investigation.
HAYES: Michael, one of the bits in the reporting, which I had seen before, and you guys have in there as well, that Bo Daedal (ph) who was an on air personality at Fox, a friend of Roger Ailes and a private investigator, have been retained in at least one case to essentially dig up dirt on the accuser.
SCHMIDT: Yeah, well we did in our reporting is we went back to the 2004 case with Ms. Macriss (ph) and we looked at how Fox responded to that.
And what they did was they worked with Mr. O`Reilly to hire an investigator to dig up things on her and to really paint her in the press, in as negative a light as possible.
And we sort of used that case as a way of trying to figure out, well, how does Fox look at these things? Was this a precursor to what happened under Mr. Ailes? You know, and how did that extend and that behavior continue in the years that came.
HAYES: All right, Michael Schmidt, and Lisa Bloom, thank you for joining me tonight.
BLOOM: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, that does it for us here on All In this evening on this very news packed Monday. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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