Show: All in with Chris Hayes Date: April 5, 2017 Guest: Chis Murphy, Maxine Waters, Rebecca Traister, Erin Gloria Ryan, Tim Kaine, Eric Swalwell
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: - enemy he quite simply wants to fight. At least he did this afternoon in the rose garden. Tomorrow, who knows? At least Steve Bannon won`t be in the NSC calling the shots. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I do change, and I am flexible, and I`m proud of that flexibility.
HAYES: Bannon is out at NSC.
STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF STRATEGIST: It`s not only not going to get better. It`s going to get worse every day.
HAYES: The ex-Breitbart publisher removed from the National Security Council as the President does some high-stakes ad-libbing on foreign policy.
TRUMP: My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed.
HAYES: Tonight, the White House shake-up with Senator Chris Murphy and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.
Then as advertisers flee from the factor.
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS TELEVISION HOST: Caution!
HAYES: President Trump defends O`Reilly, saying, "I don`t think Bill did anything wrong."
TRUMP: First of all, locker room talk.
HAYES: Rebecca Traister and Erin Gloria Ryan are here to respond.
Plus, Senator Tim Kaine and the democrats fight to stop Neil Gorsuch. And Congressman Eric Swalwell on today`s hearings on the Trump-Russia probe. When ALL IN starts right now.
Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. A lot to get to tonight, including a remarkable Presidential press conference that we`ll get to in just a moment. But we begin tonight with news that President Trump has removed his controversial Chief Strategist, the website publisher Steve Bannon, from his permanent seat on the National Security Council, which is the nation`s primary policy-making group on national security. Trump`s initial decision to put Bannon on the NSC`s principals committee, despite the fact he is a political operative with no national security experience other than his time in the navy, was widely criticized as reflecting a politicization of foreign policy, particularly since actual National Security officials were given reduced roles. The Trump administration today insisted Bannon was not being demoted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it`s not a demotion for Steve Bannon?
MIKE PENCE, UNITED STATES VISE PRESIDENT: Well, not for Steve, not for Tom. These are very highly valued members of this administration. They`re going to continue to play important policy roles. But I think with H.R. McMaster`s addition as our National Security Adviser, a man of extraordinary background in the military, this is just a natural evolution.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Tom reference there is Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert, who was also downgraded along with Bannon. The White House spin today on Bannon`s removal was pretty exceptional, even by their standards. And it included a claim that Bannon had only been placed on the NSC in the first place as a check on former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. With Flynn, of course, having resigned in disgrace after lying to the Vice President about the nature of his conversations with the Russian Ambassador, Bannon could move on. A source close to Bannon even telling NBC News that Bannon believes his role in the NSC reflects just another job done for the President.
Think about this. The White House today is saying it needed a far-right website publisher to babysit its now disgraced National Security Adviser on matters of foreign policy. And now that that man is gone -Flynn - and offering to testify in exchange for immunity, well, mission accomplished. Never mind that this all happened six weeks after Flynn left. Bannon`s ouster was orchestrated by Flynn`s replacement, H.R. McMaster, who the Vice President referred to, who has now added the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the National Intelligence Director back on to that principals committee, where he had been in the previous administration.
But make no mistake. Steve Bannon still has the President`s ear as well as the highest security clearance in the west wing at a particularly sensitive time in foreign policy, with the administration facing a string of incredibly difficult, fraught, nuanced, high stakes life and death issues across the globe. In the wake of a ballistic missile launch yesterday by an increasingly bellicose North Korea, Trump is set to start meetings tomorrow at Mar-a-Lago with Chinese President Xi Jinping after having told the Financial Times quote, "if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will."
Those meetings were orchestrated in large part by Trump`s son-in-law, the 36-year-old Jared Kushner, who like Bannon and the President, has zero national security policy experience but nonetheless has a huge national security portfolio. And this week participated in high-level meetings in Iraq. Then, of course, there`s the horrific scene in Syria, where activists say the chemical weapons attack yesterday killed roughly 100 people, including 25 children. Before it took place, the Trump administration had repeatedly said it is not seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who`s widely believed to have been responsible for that chemical weapons attack. But at a news conference in the rose garden today, with King Abdullah of Jordan, Trump seemed to indicate he had reversed course, though as is so often the case, it is hard to know whether or not he was articulating policy or simply speaking off the cuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will tell you that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me. Big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I`ve been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn`t get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it`s very, very possible - and I will tell you it`s already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Would not explain how exactly the U.S. would respond and dodged when pressed on specifics. And while he again blamed the Obama administration for yesterday`s attack, he added that going forward, he would be accountable.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I now have responsibility, and I will have that responsibility and carry it very proudly. I will tell you that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Chris Murphy, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, do you understand the President to be announcing a policy change in Syria today?
CHRIS MURPHY, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT: I don`t think anybody has any clue what he meant today. He seemed to be going through his thought process over the past 24 hours. But we can`t understand whether he is suggesting a massive upgrade in U.S. presence or military activity in Syria or a downgrade. All he told is that his thoughts have changed. And, listen, it`s consistent with this administration`s conduct over the course of the first 75 days. Nobody really has any clue about what the red lines or green lines for this administration are. The fact of the matter is, Donald Trump was actually right in 2013 when he opposed plans to drop bombs inside Syria. It was a bad idea then and it`s a bad idea now. Assad is on the march. He controls 80 percent of that country`s territory, and dropping some ordnance on him won`t change the reality, the battle space down below -
HAYES: Wait a second
MURPHY: Go ahead.
HAYES: I want to challenge you on that a bit. Right? I mean, the idea - so the thing that you say a lot of people say, and this is across the ideological spectrum, I will say. The President - former President enunciated a red line on chemical weapons because of their specific horror, the specific historical residence, the specificity of the international norm against them. That red line was crossed. There was no actual repercussions, partly because the republicans in Congress refused to vote to authorize, we should note. But that represented a sort of reduction in American credibility in the region and in Syria. We have now seen that red line crossed again. You don`t think we should be responding to that?
MURPHY: So, no. Listen, I think to the extent that you have created an expectation that there is going to be a military attack after usage of certain type of weapon, you probably should follow through on that threat. What I`m suggesting is that by dropping bombs in the Middle East, you may live up to a promise that you`ve made, but you are going to make a situation on the ground worse for the citizens and civilians -
MURPHY: - inside Syria, not better. So, yes, if you`ve made a promise as a leader, you probably should follow through on that promise. And what is so confusing about what Trump said today is that he may have made a promise. He may have drawn a red line, but he may have not.
HAYES: What - you know, what does it mean - so in healthcare, we saw the healthcare fight happen, and it was fairly evident the President of the United States didn`t have tremendous command of the details of healthcare policy. I don`t think that`s an unfair, uncharitable reading of what he had to say on it. That seemed to be the case today in the rose garden. Even a basic question about Iran-backed fighters in Syria and Hezbollah, he did not seem to understand. What does it do, what does it mean that there`s this ambiguity around what exactly United States policy is as a unified entity in the world on crucial issues?
MURPHY: Well, listen, I think one of the reasons they pulled the healthcare bill was that they realized when members were getting in the room with Donald Trump, that they were getting closer to no, not yes because he actually couldn`t persuade them on the merits. And it certainly creates confusion around the world as to what action by a foreign power will cause, in terms of an American reaction. But when you think ahead to the summit with the Chinese leader, that inability to grasp the details of policy really takes away your ability to cut a deal to influence somebody sitting across the table from you. So without that grasp of specifics, it makes our foreign policy really hard to understand, but it also should lower our expectations for what we are going to get out of these bilateral meetings.
HAYES: I have to say, it also seems like a recipe for getting rolled frankly. I mean, in any negotiation, if you don`t have command of the details.
MURPHY: And the details when it comes to our trade-offs with China are about as - you know, as detailed as you get, right? These are complicated economic interactions. The reality of what they may promise versus what they may actually deliver when it comes to pushback on North Korea is also very much down in the weeds. So, yes, this is certainly an invitation to get a bad deal when you`re sitting down with leaders who know the book much better than you.
HAYES: All right. Senator Chris Murphy, thank you.
MURPHY: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California. And Congresswoman, I`d like your response to the news about Steve Bannon today, someone that you have been an outspoken critic of. What do you make of the developments today that he`s been removed from the principals committee to National Securities Council?
MAXINE WATERS, UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN FROM CALIFORNIA: Well, basically I think it`s a move that only they know why they have done it. I don`t trust anything they say. You can bet your bottom dollar that Bannon is still going to be close to the President. He`ll be whispering in his ear, whether or not he`s sitting on the National Security Council or not. And so, I don`t believe that he`s been removed because somehow they don`t want his input and that excuse that he gave by being there to babysit and watch Flynn is flimsy. And it doesn`t make good sense. So we can just throw out whatever it is the President has said, and it will show up later on that we have been misled one more time.
HAYES: Yes. How do you - you just said something that strikes me as important, that you just don`t believe anything coming out of the White House.
HAYES: And I don`t think that`s necessarily broadly applied across both parties, but I do think there`s a credibility problem. How do you conduct yourself as a member of the United States Congress in interactions with that branch of government when you feel that you cannot literally trust anything they say?
WATERS: Well, we actually are having a very difficult time. If you take a look at the negotiations that went around the ACA and trying to figure out exactly where they were coming from and what they wanted to do on healthcare, all we know is that it was a circular firing squad inside the republican conference. We`re not able to do anymore with the President than they`re able to do within their own conference. Actually, very few people appear, I think, really believe him. He`s not trusted. He doesn`t really have the credibility. The Los Angeles Times did a striking article on him. There`s a four-part series that they`re doing that basically talks about this lack of trust, this lack of confidence, and about his lying. And so, we don`t - we don`t have that kind of relationship where we`re really negotiating, and we can believe or disbelieve him. We`re just far apart.
HAYES: America has been involved in a ceaseless state of war since 2001. Afghanistan, in which we still have troops in harm`s way, is the longest war in the history of the American republic. Did you get nervous today watching the President talk about something as freighted, high stakes and violent as the Middle East, when he was - the language he was using today?
WATERS: Well, I get nervous anytime I hear the President talk about foreign affairs. I get nervous when he denies to shake the hand of one of our strongest allies. I get nervous when he tries to bluff the President of China. I get nervous when he basically does not know what he`s talking about. You know, this is a President who didn`t go to the briefings. He didn`t have time to listen to the experts talk about what is happening in the world and on foreign affairs. So I don`t want him really speaking for the United States. You know, you heard something today about him taking a different attitude on Assad and Syria.
Well, what is that? Is that American policy? Did he make it up on the spot? Does he know what he`s talking about? No, he doesn`t. And so, I think it`s a mistake for us to believe that somehow he`s going to ever be able to engage in diplomacy, that he`s going to be able to work out ways that we can stay out of war. And so, I have no trust and no confidence in him, and I really wish that there was some way we could rein him in. I wish that our foreign affairs experts could somehow get his ear and at least tell him to shut up, to just stop it.
HAYES: I want to ask you about something the President said today on the record in the Oval Office about Bill O`Reilly, an individual who had said some offensive things, in my opinion, about you and sort of apologized for but then redoubled his attack on you. Mr. O`Reilly faces multiple allegations of sexual harassment, numerous settlements on that score, outstanding ones as well. The President saying this - Mr. O`Reilly, "I think he`s a person I know well, he`s a good person. I think he shouldn`t have settled. Personally, I think he shouldn`t have settled because you should have taken it all the way. I don`t think Bill did anything wrong." What do you make of that?
HAYES: Well, it`s coming out of the mouth of a man who has said some horrible things about women. Don`t forget he talked about grabbing women in their private parts. And because he was important, he could get away with it. And so, they are two of a kind. And so, I`m not surprised that he stood up and tried to defend Bill O`Reilly. But it`s all catching up with Bill O`Reilly, and that sexual harassment enterprise that they created over there at Fox. And it`s catching up with them, and you have over 30 advertisers who have taken away their advertising. They are not wanting to do business with them anymore because of the way that they have created this record of sexual harassment. They have treated women very badly.
And so, I understand the Justice Department has opened a case. They`re taking a look at them because this really is a sexual harassment enterprise. It shouldn`t be in America that you can sexually harass women and then buy your way out of it because you`re rich. If they continue to do this in the way that they have done, they need to go to jail. You know, the President`s over there talking today about Susan Rice going to jail. They need to go to jail. Bill O`Reilly needs to go to jail. And so, I just want you to know that the President didn`t do himself any good standing up for Bill O`Reilly, and where was Ivanka? She`s supposed to be his adviser. She`s supposed to be the one that`s standing up for women.
WATERS: I think she either advised him wrong, or she`s absent, and she`s not in it.
HAYES: All right. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, it`s always a pleasure. Thank you, Ma`am.
WATERS: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Joining me now, Republican Political Consultant and Media Strategist Rick Wilson. I should just note that the Congresswoman referred to a Justice Department investigation. We`ll talk about that. Obviously, there`s been no charges or criminal of any kind.
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN POLITICAL CONSULTANT AND MEDIA STRATEGIST: Right.
HAYES: I should just say that. Rick, I wanted to talk to you today because there`s the sort of policy implications but there`s the game of thrones aspect to this crazy White House that has, we know, these different power centers. They`re constantly warring. They`re paranoid. They`re leaking to the press all the time. What do you make of the Bannon ouster today?
WILSON: Look, I think Bannon made a big play in attempting to use Cohen- Watnick and Ellis to leak to Nunes, their patsy. A lot of the material about the unmasking to try to change the subject, try to make this a story about Susan Rice rather than about Trump`s ties to Russia and the ties of his advisers to Russia. And he failed. It became exposed. It became a liability, and the play wasn`t big enough. I think that`s why Bannon lost the access to the National Security Council because I think at some point, the grown-ups in the room, McMaster, Mattis, Pompeo said, it`s us or him. And the guy is a blogger. He is not - he`s a blogger and a producer of cuckoo documentaries. He is not a guy with an international experience - portfolio of international experience. He made a big play, and in the Game of Thrones, he got his head chopped off today.
HAYES: Well, and the him or me thing resonates with a bit of reporting, that we did here in the show. A story that we brook about Harward who was offered the job and walked away from it. And our reporting indicated at least partly if not primarily because he basically said, I need to know that I`m going to the President and not Steve Bannon. I`m not reporting to Steve Bannon. And the point that you just made about Cohen-Watnick as an (INAUDIBLE), who reporting indicates McMaster, the National Security Adviser tried to remove, went over his head to the President with the aid of Bannon and Kushner, got to keep his job. He`s the person implicated in this Nunes thing, which suggests that there was precisely the problem on that NSC that Harward had anticipated.
WILSON: If I were Cohen-Watnick, I would be - I would be tuning up my Linkedin entry right about now because he lost a lot of his top cover with Bannon. And look, a lot of this I think is driven by the fact that Bannon has been - has been fantasizing about having this U.S.-Putin alliance against the Muslim world and thinking that the Russians are our natural ally in this fight where we`re going to sweep the brown people into the sea. And I think that was something that is also suddenly in a different context because today the President reacted emotionally to the fact that in Syria, you saw what Assad and the protection he was - has been given by the Russians, and now the protection he`s been given by America`s stated policy of, "Oh, he can stay" has (INAUDIBLE).
HAYES: Well -
WILSON: And so, I think there`s been a real upset in that chemistry there.
HAYES: There was also - it was very noticeable to me today that McMaster, who is the head of the National Security Council, who has said it`s not useful to use radical Islamic terrorism as a term. That term did not cross the lips of the President of the United States as he stood there next to king Abdullah, who said terrorism has no religion. It struck me that more than just personnel has happened on the - a little bit on that National Security Council.
WILSON: Yes. I think somebody has had a come to Allah talk with the President. And this has - this has turned this thing a little bit in a way that he had a moment where mature, grown-up people with experience in the world and not just people who write inflammatory blogs post on Trumpbart. Suddenly, it prevailed on him for a moment where sanity crept in -
WILSON: - and maturity crept in. It`s unusual. We may not - we may not have it for long, but it was interesting to watch it happen today.
HAYES: Rick Wilson, thanks for your time.
Still to come, Senator Tim Kaine says the country is safer without Steve Bannon in the NSC. I`ll talk to him about that and about what he says is highly unusual behavior from Neil Gorsuch. Plus, the first week of Sexual Assault Awareness month and the President goes on the record defending Bill O`Reilly. Rebecca Traister and Erin Gloria Ryan join me to talk about that after this two-minute break.
HAYES: Close to three dozen companies have now pulled their ads from airing on the O`Reilly Factor following a recent investigation by the New York Times that found that O`Reilly and Fox News have paid out a total of $13 million to settle with five different women who alleged O`Reilly had sexually harassed them or engaged in inappropriate behavior. O`Reilly has denied these claims have merit. The advertising revolt also comes after a new lawsuit that described unwanted sexual advances by Roger Ailes, of course, the former Chairman of Fox News who was ousted last year amid a cascade of sexual harassment allegations all of which he has denied. The fallout also comes as federal prosecutors are investigating whether settlements for alleged harassment were concealed from investors in 21st Century Fox, the network`s parent company.
Yet today, in an interview with the New York Times, the President of the United States came to the defense of Bill O`Reilly, saying on the record, quote, "he is a good person and personally I think he shouldn`t have settled. I don`t think Bill did anything wrong." This on the record defense of a man accused multiple times of sexual harassment from the President of the United States, a man who once bragged about committing sexual assault comes five days since Trump proclaimed April, National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month. Joining Erin Gloria Ryan Senior Editor of the Daily Beast and Rebecca Traister, Writer at Large for New York Magazine, who`s got a great new piece on Senator Kirsten Gillibrand out now. Well, what do you make of this, Rebecca?
REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE WRITER AT LARGE: Hey, it`s like the least surprising headline of the day. Trump defends Bill O`Reilly on sexual harassment charges. Like it`s the most expected thing, and yet I still was like - I shuddered and gasped.
ERIN GLORIA RYAN, THE DAILY BEAST SENIOR EDITOR: I`m sure that there should be a German word for it, for the feeling you get when Trump reacts in a way that`s predictable yet infuriating.
TRAISTER: Right. That`s exactly the way expect him to react and yet it sends a chill down your spine.
RYAN: Right. And remember saw this, my first - I had one main question, and that was why? Like why would he respond to this? There`s so many things he could have done. He could have deflected. He could have said, you know, I`m facing - I`m teetering on the precipice of multiple, like, foreign -
HAYES: Yes. I just talked about like Syrian chemical weapons. I`m not paying attention.
RYAN: Yes. And he was - and you know, he could have easily deflected or pivoted. But instead he - and he could have said nothing. But instead, he said what he said, which is ridiculous.
TRAISTER: But I actually think that it`s not - I`m increasingly thinking that maybe it`s not an error, right? Our perception is, wow, you really screwed up by defending this guy, but it is so in line with what he always says. He defended Roger Ailes using the same language, he`s a good person.
HAYES: Let me play that - yes - let me play that tape because this is him doing exactly that. Here`s Bill O`Reilly talking about Roger Ailes last night. Well, take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he`s helped them, and even recently. And when they write books that are fairly recently released and they say wonderful things about him, and now all of a sudden they`re saying these horrible things about him, it`s very sad because he`s a very good person. I`ve always found him to be just a very, very good person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TRAISTER: Right. So this is totally in line with what Trump has said in the past and also what we know to be his view. Jill Filipovic had a really interesting op-ed about the all-male pictures that are circulated and how we perceive them to be gaffes. Look, you had an all-male meeting. But how in fact -
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) executive orders and stuff like that.
TRAISTER: Right, right. How in fact they reinforce that Trump is keeping his promise of making America great again by reinstalling White Male power. This is old boys club, symbiotic defense of each other. They work to make each other President. They go on the network, and they defend each other.
HAYES: Defend each other. Right.
RYAN: And I think that`s part of him being Donald Trump and fulfilling his promise to America. We`re going to return it to an all-white male boys club.
TRAISTER: Right. I also think a lot of what he does obviously is ego driven. And he has a lot in common with Bill O`Reilly. Like they`re both - they both had really awful allegations leveled against them in divorce proceedings, which actually didn`t really - haven`t really gotten talked about. Gawker has, like, transcript of that. It`s pretty horrible what Bill O`Reilly was accused of. They both are on tape being sexually creepy. They both are like old dudes who live in New York. I mean -
HAYES: With a lot of money and are friends. I mean, they`re like - you could - I mean, honestly, it would have made a lot more sense for Donald Trump to end up doing Bill O`Reilly`s job than being President of the United States. Like honestly, that -
TRAISTER: And remember that more than a dozen women have actually also accused Trump of sexual assault in addition to the tape and the divorce allegations. He has been accused by multiple women of criminal sexual activity.
RYAN: Right. They could play a baseball game against each other pretty soon.
HAYES: Do you think - do you think there`s - I mean, I`ve been watching the advertiser defection with great interest because, you know, that show and that network are such money generators. They`re such revenue sources. You do wonder like at what point you`ve reached some kind of societal breaking point in terms of the norms with big business that they feel like, well, we can`t be associated.
RYAN: Sure. Why kind of think of it like pre-Cosby and post-Cosby. This will be an interesting post-Cosby test. Because pre-Cosby, we had -
HAYES: Good point.
RYAN: - Rush Limbaugh who in 2012 had advertisers drop him like the hot potato, left and right. And then kind of came creeping back and he re- signed and he`s still rushing around, whatever he does. And then, you know, then Cosby thing happened, and he is destroyed. So I think it will be really interesting to see like if the Cosby legacy will be lasting.
TRAISTER: But Ailes happened post-Cosby. Now, Ailes had to step down, all be it walking away with tens of millions of dollars. But he`s not destroyed and has continued to advise this President.
RYAN: His livelihood doesn`t - it doesn`t necessary revolve around people adoring him and being fan.
RYAN: He`s more of behind the scenes, like business type, string puller.
HAYES: Well, and in some ways, the point you made about post-Cosby is really interesting and the fact that Ailes - I mean, Ailes went with the golden parachute. He`s hardly in penury. But the fact that he left was shocking. I mean, this is one of the most powerful people in America, period. In American media, and one of the most profitable individuals that exist in American business. And he was unable to withstand that, and if it`s the same people running the company, you wonder how long O`Reilly is going to be able to stay.
RYAN: Yes. I think it`s an interesting question. I guess we`ll just have to find out.
HAYES: Rebecca Traister, Erin Gloria Ryan, thank you very much.
RYAN: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, why would the White House claim to have evidence supporting their surveillance accusations but refuse to release it to the Intel Committee? I`ll talk to a member of the Committee about that just ahead.
HAYES: this week has already been a huge test for President Trump in the world stage, and tomorrow another big day. The much-anticipated meeting with the president of China, which rather than taking place at the White House will instead happen at the golf house, Trump`s Florida getaway home and for profit hotel and country club, of course, Mar-a-Lago. This is not usual, but it could have been worse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: The president of China is coming, a man named Xi Jinping. Do you know Xi Jinping? I`ve never heard of him. I don`t know who he is. But he`s the president.
TRUMP: Very smart.
O`REILLY: He`s coming over. He`s getting a big dinner free at the White House, addressing the UN. If you were president, would you throw him a dinner?
TRUMP: I would not be throwing him a dinner. We`ve had this - I`d get him a McDonald`s hamburger and I`d say we`ve got to get down to work.
O`REILLY: So, you would be confrontational with the Chinese? You`re saying, look, I`m not giving you a dinner, here`s a Big Mac? I mean, really, is that what you`re going to do?
TRUMP: I would give him a very - yeah, but I`d give him a double -- probably a double-size Big Mac.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As the White House continues to spin out surveillance accusations, the ranking member of the House intelligence committee is calling Trump`s bluff. That`s Congressman Adam Schiff, guest on this program yesterday who says the president personally promised him the classified documents cited as proof would be made available to all intelligence committee members.
But the White House is stonewalling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: The White House clearly only wanted one person to see these documents, and that person was our chairman. It reluctantly had to allow myself to view it and the chair and ranking on Senate Intel.
Now, I want the full committees to be able to see that. and we`re meeting resistance. If these documents are so damning or so vindicating of the president as he suggests, why are they opposing efforts to provide them to the full committee? I think that`s a question worthy of the White House answering.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ranking member also says he has a pretty good idea of why the president keeps repeating his baseless wiretapping claims against his predecessor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SCHIFF: I do think that this is largely a White House effort to distract our attention and focus from that issue of collusion or coordination between the campaign, the Russian intervention in our election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, who is a member of that House intelligence committee. And as a member of the committee, congressman, would you like to see those documents?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL, (D) CALIFORNIA: Yes, absolutely, Chris.
HAYES: What have you been -- what has been communicated to you about the possibility of that happening?
SWALWELL: Hoping that they`re available by tomorrow.
And, again, here`s what we believe. We believe that when Donald Trump says that Russia didn`t interfere in our election and Donald Trump says that President Obama wiretapped him, and now when he says that Susan Rice has committed a crime, it`s Donald Trump just obstructing the progress we`re making in the investigation.
So show us the documents. He can put up as many hurdles as he likes. We`re going to make it to the finish line and get to the bottom of what happened.
HAYES: The president said something today that was striking in that same interview with The New York Times. Trump citing no evidence, suggests Susan Rice committed a crime. There`s no reason to think that`s the case at all. She had the power to do the things that reporters have suggested she has done.
Your response to that?
SWALWELL: Very often I found in prior investigations when I was a prosecutor was the way that people act after an investigation is launched tells you a lot about whether you`re investigating the right person. And the way that Donald Trump and his team act is they`re continuing to cover up prior Russia contacts.
So this is just another deceitful claim.
And also, Chris, he is actually the only person in the United States who has the power to declassify these documents. And so if there was something there, I think he would show us.
HAYES: I want to make sure I`m understanding you. You`re saying basically if he wanted to, he could declassify the documents around all of this, whether it`s the things that have been shown to the ranking member, whether it`s the things having to do with Susan Rice. Do you think he should do that? Is that what you`re calling on him to do?
SWALWEWLL: Only he can do that.
And I don`t think we should get in the business of having, you know, the president or asking the president to declassify something every time he makes a baseless claim. I`m just saying he actually is the only person in the whole wide world who could prove that Susan Rice was indeed doing something wrong.
Again, we`re not even going to go down that rabbit hole because we know this is just more obstruction.
HAYES: I want to ask you to respond to something that a colleague of yours on the committee, Joaquin Castro, had to say. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, (D) TEXAS: I wouldn`t be surprised after all of this is said and done that some people end up in jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will be surprised if people don`t end up going to jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Do you agree with that?
SWALWELL: I think it`s too early to tell. I certainly want to make sure the FBI continues to follow the evidence. I believe they will. And it`s our job on the House Intelligence Committee to also go wherever the evidence is. And that`s why we need to make sure that our investigation is independent, it`s credible, and continues to make progress.
But I can promise the American people we`re going to get to the bottom of this no matter how many smoke bombs Donald Trump and his team want to roll into our investigation.
HAYES: You say that, but one of the things that we`ve seen throughout this entire bizarre farce of the information passing to Devin Nunes and then him going to the White House is that obviously he`s the president of the United States. The president of the United States and the National Security Council have tremendous amounts of access to classified material, in fact, unilateral. It`s the president. It`s his executive branch. They can peer into whatever they need or feel they want to peer into.
And so there`s a real question, I think, folks have about can you guarantee the integrity of any investigation with these individuals running the executive branch?
SWALWEWLL: And that`s why I think we also need an independent commission just as we did after September 11th. Elijah Cummings and I wrote that piece of legislation that calls for that to be the comprehensive look at what happened, what U.S. persons were involved, if any, and what we`ll do to make sure it never happens again, because we know that Russia intends to do this again.
And, Chris, I`ll just also say today we introduced legislation that would say no Russia rewards, and we`ll put a freeze on any new U.S. policies that would help Russia, because we think there`s a lot of clouds around this White House. And we have to get to the bottom of it.
HAYES: I want to ask you this about Flynn. Have you -- obviously you can`t say what`s in them. But do you know what those conversations were with the Russian ambassador?
SWALWELL: No. What I know, though, Chris, is the former defense intelligence agency director, he of all people knew that Russia would use Russia Today, RT, as a branch of its intelligence service.
So for him to go over there and to be paid by them and to sit next to Vladimir Putin, that is something I think we want to understand, whether he was working with them, whether he was being coopted, or whether he was unwitting. But it`s certainly , I don`t think, was, you know, innocent interaction.
HAYES: Have you had any interactions with Steve Bannon?
And I don`t think I need to.
HAYES: Do you have reaction to the news today that he`s been essentially booted off the principals committee of the NSC?
SWALWELL: Yeah. Overdue, Chris. Never should have been on there. Didn`t have the qualifications to be on there. And whether it`s a Republican or a Democratic administration, political strategists should not sit that close to national security decisions.
HAYES: All right. Congressman Eric Swalwell, thank you for your time.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
HAYES: Still to come, Judge Neil Gorsuch faces accusations of plagiarism just one day before his confirmation vote. Senator Tim Kaine joins me to talk about the Democratic fight to stop him ahead.
Plus, Mike Pence tries the hard sell in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two right after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Thing One tonight, after the spectacular humiliating failure of Trumpcare two weeks ago, unable to garner even enough Republicans to pass the House, and the declaration from Speaker Paul Ryan we are going to move on, this week the GOP and the White House made a renewed push to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But here`s the problem, while Trumpcare was loathed by the public overall, it was also opposed by Republican moderates and hard liners for completely different reasons, some who felt it kicked too many people off health care and others who believed it didn`t go far enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHARLIE DENT, (R) PENNSYLVANIA: The tax credits in my view are simply not sufficient to help many lower and moderate income working Americans obtain health insurance.
REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA: This Republican health care bill, welfare bill, whatever you want to call it, expanding the welfare under what is the Republican Party`s largest welfare proposal in the history of the Republican Party is not a persuasive argument to me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So, how do you bridge both ends of the Republican spectrum on health care? Enter Vice President Mike Pence with a plan so crazy, it just might work. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Top House Republican aides confirm to NVC News that no new vote is expected on health care before the Easter recess despite a White House push that included a late-night visit to Capitol Hill by Mike Pence.
So, why couldn`t the vice president seal the deal? Well, as Politico`s Rachel Bade reported, repeal talks broke down when Republicans realized Pence pitched House Freedom Caucus and moderates on two different potential deals.
One key discrepancy, Pence reportedly told the Freedom Caucus members insurers would once again be able to hike premiums on people with pre- existing conditions, while moderates who met earlier with Pence, thought protection for pre-existing conditions would be left intact.
So, will Republicans ever get on the same page? According to Speaker Ryan today, maybe, possibly, who knows.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, are you really -- I mean you`re truly optimistic there`s going to be a health care deal that`s going to pass the...
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: Well, I`m hopeful. I`m hopeful that there`s a health care deal, but I don`t want to put -- I don`t want to put any specific odds on it or an artificial timeline.
HAYES: Former vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine took to the Senate floor today to explain why he is opposing the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TIM KAINE, (D) VIRGINIA: I don`t think you have to be an activist on everything to be an activist, but I do believe he`s an activist. And it shows through in no area clearer than it shows through in cases dealing with women`s ability to make their own decision about their own health care, especially reproductive health.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Kaine joins me next on that as well as Steve Bannon`s removal from a permanent seat on the National Security Council and President Trump`s defense of Bill O`Reilly. That`s next.
HAYES: The day before Senate Democrats are expected to filibuster the vote to confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, with a Republican majority ready, it appears, to take the extraordinary step of ending that filibuster rule, questions have been raised about possible instances of plagiarism in writings by Judge Gorsuch, including a book he wrote on euthanasia.
In documents provided to Politico, several passages from the tenth chapter of Judge Gorsuch`s 2006 book The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia read nearly verbatim to a 1984 article in the Indiana Law Journal.
And this side by side comparison and the graphic from Politico, the colored areas show sections of Gorsuch`s book at left that duplicate or nearly duplicate passages from the Indiana Law Journal on the right.
As you can see, there are extensive instances of duplication or near duplication. The White House responded to Politico in a statement which reads, in part, this false attack has been strongly refuted by highly regarded academic experts, including those who reviewed, professional examined and edited Judge Gorsuch`s scholarly writings.
But Politico consulted experts who characterize it as a textbook case of plagiarism. According to Rebecca Moore Howard of Syracuse University, each of the individual incidents constitutes a violation of academic ethics. I`ve never seen a college plagiarism code that this would not be in violation of.
Joining me now, former vice presidential candidate Senator Tim Kaine, Senator my sense is that your mind was made up before this, but do you have reaction to this specific revelation?
KAINE: Well, I was surprised to see it, Chris. And it`s fair game for both examination and for people trying to make up their minds, it`s troubling.
You`re right. I spent a lot of time meeting with Judge Gorsuch after I read many of his opinions. And I reached a conclusion that I found pretty troubling which is in one very important area of law that touches a lot of other important areas of law, Judge Gorsuch is a real activist. And for that reason I`m going to oppose his nomination.
HAYES: You know, I feel like one of the strange things about conversations we have about the judiciary is that things get coded in these sort of formal language as opposed to just basic substantive one.
And both sides do this. So when you say he`s an activist, I mean, you just think he is going to rule in ways that you don`t like, particularly on things like Roe and equal rights, et cetera as opposed to his method, right?
KAINE: No, I would say it`s more than that. It`s not about rule on things I wouldn`t like, I don`t think he is a respecter of constitutional precedent, that`s a lot more than what I don`t like.
And he has been very much pitched to us, this isn`t an activist judge, this is somebody who is an umpire calling balls an strikes, to use Justice Roberts analogy. But when you read his cases that deal with basically Griswald vs. Connecticut, the right of women to make your own health care decisions - contraception, and then the extensions of that into other areas of women making their own health care decisions, what you find again and again and again in these cases is that Judge Gorsuch does highly unusual things, way out of the ordinary type things either in the way he describes what`s at issue in the case or in his actual actions in the case. And these all seem to kind of cluster around these areas of women`s autonomy to make their own health care decision. And I`m very troubled by that.
HAYES: So, you and the Democrats have votes for a filibuster. The last whip count was 44. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has the votes for the so-called nuclear option to get rid of it. Is that your anticipation of what the next step in this drama is?
KAINE: Probably. But, yeah, let`s talk about decoding the formal language on this. Here`s the way that I like to say it to folks who aren`t familiar with filibuster, cloture, nuclear option.
There is only one nomination that a president makes that under senate rules needs to get 60 votes to clear threshold vote: Supreme Court nominee. Everything else is 51 from lower court judges to cabinet members. Why is the Supreme Court have the elevated threshold? It`s an elevated threshold for the Supreme Court, because of the importance of the position and the belief that to get on the court you ought to get some bipartisan support.
We`re insisting that we are going to vote under that 60 vote threshold, that the judge should have to get significant bipartisan support, or at least minimal bipartisan support to get on the court. He`s not going to do it.
What that means is that the president should send us a nominee who can get 60 votes. But instead, I do suspect that the Republicans will say, well, we are not going to send you another nominee, we`re going to make a change. It will be bad for the court, it will be bad for the Senate, it will be bad for the country. I think in the long-run it won`t even work out well for the Republicans.
I think they`d be wise to keep it at 60, but our expectation is they will probably change it.
HAYES: While I have yo here, I wanted to ask you about a few other things that happened in the news today, if you have reaction to the news of Stephen Bannon`s removed from the NSC today?
KAINE: The country is safer with Stephen Bannon not on the National Security Council. It was a huge mistake to put him on not only because the chief political adviser in the White House has not been a member of the NSC under Democratic or Republican institutions. You shouldn`t mix politics with national security.
But secondly, this is a guy who is connected with organizations that have strong ties to white supremacy, to anti-Semitism. He`s talked about one of his favorite books is a book - is a French novel that talks about the end of the white world as kind of the subtext of the book. This - Camp (inaudible). So this is an individual who any involvement in national security matters is very troubling.
We needed to do everything we could to make sure that General Flynn was moved out of the position because he was dangerous and General McMaster, his replacement, is very, very solid. It`s important that Steve Bannon be moved aside in that role as well.
HAYES: Quickly, as someone who went through the campaign, presidential campaign, who lived through the Access Hollywood tapes in which the current president repeatedly boasted of attempted sexual assault, his comments today defending Bill O`Reilly who has settled numerous sexual harassment accusations, has outstanding ones as well, during sexual assault awareness month, how does that strike you?
KAINE: You know, you can`t make it up. When I heard him in light of all these allegations going to Mr. O`Reilly`s defense and saying what a good guy he was. I`m like, you know, it is so tone deaf to do that. It is so tone deaf. You know, these are very serious allegations. And now they`re for multiple people.
Even if you don`t know the particulars of any individual allegations, there is enough on the table that should make you really reticent to weigh in in, especially someone if you`re somebody with as checkered a history as President Trump.
HAYES: All right, Senator Tim Kaine, thank you for time.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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