CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
MICHAEL FLYNN, U.S. FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If I did a tenth, a tenth of what she did, I would be in jail today.
HAYES: Michael Flynn back in the headlines.
FLYNN: Lock her up, that`s right.
HAYES: The bipartisan announcement alleging it was Michael Flynn who broke the law.
REP. JASON CHAFFETZ (R), UTAH: It doesn`t appear as if he complied with the law.
HAYES: Tonight, why the White House is refusing to release documents on Flynn.
IVANKA TRUMP, ADVISER TO THE PRESIDENT: I don`t like the word accomplice.
HAYES: The first daughter booed on her first foray onto the world stage as an Adviser to the President.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Whom are you representing? Your father as the President of the United States, the American people, or your business?
HAYES: And how did Donald Trump get $400,000 from someone living at an empty lot in Jersey?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THEY UNITED STATES: I turn on one of the networks, and they show an empty field.
HAYES: The incredible new investigation of Donald Trump`s inaugural fund- raising when ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Tonight, another dramatic development in the ongoing investigation into President Trump`s disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, a man who now stands accused of potentially breaking federal law by not disclosing payments he received from the governments of Russia and Turkey while seeking his security clearance.
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CHAFETZ: General Flynn had a duty and an obligation to seek and obtain permission to receive money from foreign governments prior to any engagement with them. As a former military officer, you simply cannot take money from Russia, Turkey, or anybody else. And it appears as if he did take that money.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: There`s also no evidence that he sought permission to obtain these funds from a foreign source. This is a major problem.
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HAYES: Flynn, who famously led a chant of "lock her up" at the Republican National Convention now potentially faces charges himself, which could carry a penalty of up to five years in prison. His lawyer says Flynn did brief the Department Of Defense over his payments from Russia.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think Michael Flynn broke the law?
CHAFFETZ: It doesn`t appear as if he complied with the law. Now, we need the final determination to be made, but the Inspector General at the Department of the Defense is there. We were obviously involved but I don`t see any evidence that he actually did comply with the law.
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HAYES: Allegations against Flynn came during a rare moment of bipartisanship on Capitol Hill with Republican House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz, who has announced his plans to retire, joining Elijah Cummings highest ranking Democrat on that same panel to make the announcement. Chaffetz and Cummins do differ on one key issue. Last month the two sent a letter to the White House requesting documents related to Flynn. They got nothing in return. And while Chaffetz maintains the White House is acting in good faith, Cummins sees things differently.
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CUMMINGS: The White House has refused to provide this Committee with a single piece of paper in response to our bipartisan request, and that`s simply unacceptable.
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HAYES: More on that including Sean Spicer`s sputtering defense in a moment but it`s worth pausing here, remember who exactly we`re talking about. Flynn received nearly $34,000 in 2015 to speak at a gala celebrating Russian state TV where he dined with Vladimir Putin. He was also paid more than half a million dollars for lobbying work on behalf of the increasingly authoritarian Turkish government, work that he did while simultaneously working on Trump`s campaign, whose motto at times was "America first," attending classified briefings. And on election day, Flynn even wrote an op-ed headlined, our ally Turkey is in crisis and needs our support. Remember, nobody knew Flynn was working for the Turkish government at the time. Last month, after having been fired from the Trump administration for allegedly lying about conversations and the nature of those conversations with the Russian Ambassador on the day that sanctions went into effect, Flynn belatedly registered as a foreign agent for his lobbying work for Turkey. Lobbying that Politico reported just today was also linked to Russia. At the White House today, Sean Spicer insisted the White House was not stonewalling by not releasing documents related to Flynn.
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SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: To ask for every call or contact that a National Security Adviser made is pretty outlandish if you will. Right now to ask the White House to produce documents that were not in the possession of the White House is ridiculous.
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HAYES: President Trump, of course, has long bragged about how tough his vetting would be to protect the nation.
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TRUMP: I call it extreme vetting. I call it extreme, extreme vetting. Our country has enough problems. We don`t need more, and these are problems like we`ve never had before.
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HAYES: Trump contends, for example, that the Obama era policy to vet Syrian children who are fleeing war, a rigorous process that usually lasts more than 18 months, is far too lax, which is why he tried to indefinitely ban those children from entering the country altogether. Yet when it came to the man that Trump tapped personally to be the top adviser to the President on foreign policy, a man who was secretly working as a literal foreign agent, a man who did not disclose a secret payment from Russia, it appears the Trump administration did virtually no vetting at all. Joining me now, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell. And Colonel, as someone who has served in government in a variety of capacities, I find this quite astounding what we are learning about Michael Flynn and what he and did not disclose.
LAWRENCE WILKERSON, COLIN POWELL`S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: I do too, Chris. I find it astounding about the way the Trump administration is apparently filling key slots in its bureaucracy. I was just acquainted with the Head of the Selective Service Commission. I think he`s a Washington Senator by the name of Benton, who is supposed to go to the EPA, but because of his environmental stance apparently, Pruitt didn`t want him at the EPA, so they made him the Head of the Selective Service Commission. This is nonsense. This is not the way to fill out the bureaucracy that`s going to serve this administration.
HAYES: You know, in Flynn`s case, there`s this particular thing that I can`t get -- I cannot quite get my head around, which is this is someone who ran one of the intelligence agencies of the government, the DIA. This is someone who --
HAYES: -- presumably is familiar with counterintelligence, with attempts to curry favor or to create relationships of dependence through financial payments with people that hold key access to classified information. The idea that he wouldn`t recognize the conflict here and not disclose it is -- I just can`t imagine what was going through his head.
WILKERSON: I find it difficult too. I got all kinds of briefings when I came into the government, particularly when I came into the higher levels, both with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and then with the Secretary of State, and it was very clear to me, plus as a military professional I had a special feeling about it ethically and morally that there were certain things I didn`t do, not even sometimes because they were against the law but because of the impropriety it would look like to the American people. So either Flynn is one of the dumbest individuals who has ever lived, or as some are insinuating, he really had some nefarious purposes going here. For example, advocating for Turkey at a point in time when he had actually become a member of the administration.
HAYES: There is, of course, the thing that I always come back to Flynn is that he is the one person who sort of most publicly lost his job for the Russian nexus. And it has to do with the fact that he had several points of contact with the Russian Ambassador on the day the sanctions went into effect. The White House dissembled at first, said there was only one call, they then later said there were many calls. They then said sanctions were not discussed, it turns out sanctions were discussed. And that remains an unresolved open question about what exactly they talked about and why Flynn would lie about it, a question we still don`t have the answer to that I would like to know the answer to. Wouldn`t you?
WILKERSON: I would. And I think it`s much bigger than that, Chris. I think Flynn may be a focal point of it, but I think it`s much bigger than that. I don`t see any of the four committees, as I understand it who are now looking into the potential or possible Russian interference with the elections and perhaps even more than that. I don`t see a real eagerness. I don`t see a real effort to go after these issues, and that`s disturbing because if we really have some of the things that have been alleged even in part happening, then this is a serious -- a most serious national security issue, and we should be looking into it post-haste. I think about Harry Truman and his Senate Investigative Committee looking into nefarious dealings and corruption during World War II. Harry would never let this get by.
HAYES: It`s true. You know, that Truman -- that Truman President is interesting, right, because Truman was looking into a democrat, and he was a democrat. There was a sense that it might have -- might have been embarrassing for the administration but of course, there was also a sense that it made his political career in certain ways. It does seem to me that there is the sort of partisan loyalties particularly on the hill seem to be overdetermining the response to this. And if I imagine Hillary Clinton`s National Security Adviser being fired and then found out to be a literal undeclared foreign agent, I feel like republicans would really sink their teeth into that.
WILKERSON: No doubt. No doubt at all. I think the adversary relationship that was built into our government institutionally and also in the interpretation of human character that our founders had, Jefferson, Franklin, Munroe, all of them who put this together, I think they saw that adversarial relationship doing exactly what you just implied with regard to Harry Truman. It`s just not the integrity or the high character of Harry Truman, it was the fact that he had a position, politically speaking, that worked within the institutional warp and woof of our government. They don`t exist anymore. Everyone`s out for his own political party.
Everyone`s out to murder whoever is in the White House As long as they`re of a different stripe than they. Everyone is out for political gain and political power, and few are looking at the good of the country.
HAYES: All right, Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, thanks for your time tonight.
WILKERSON: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Representative Maxine Waters of California. And Congresswoman, I guess I`d like your reaction to seeing today. It was a rare moment to see Jason Chaffetz, the Chair of that committee, and Congressman Cummings, who`s the ranking member come out together, address the podium together and call for sort of investigative action together.
REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Absolutely. Well, you know, more and more information is coming out about the connections of the Trump allies and some people in his cabinet, and their connections to Russia. And it`s only going to get worse. Michael Flynn asked for immunity because he know he`s got problems. He did not disclose that he had taken money from Russia at the time he was seeking a security clearance. He`s taken money from Turkey while he was, I guess, already being asked to serve on the NSA. And so we have some serious problems here with those who are in that Russian- Kremlin clan as I call them, who are after making money and having Trump as President to have a good relationship with Putin and the Kremlin so that they can make money. Whether you`re talking about contracts like Manafort has with the Ukraine or you`re talking about Flynn with Turkey and with Russia, you`re talking about people who are interested in making money, trying to lift the sanctions so that Russia can drill for oil in the arctic. You`ve got Tillerson there, whose only reason for being there is lifting these sanctions so that they can drill for oil. And so you are talking about a President who said he was going to drain the swamp. He`s filling up the swamp with those are aligned with him. It`s all about money. Follow the dollar.
HAYES: Let -- so, I want to talk about that because you`ve raised Tillerson a few times on the program and obviously --
HAYES: -- there`s a -- there`s a connection there. Tillerson got the order of friendship from Vladimir Putin. They negotiated a massive oil deal. It is subject to the sanctions, and Exxon actually applied for a waiver from those sanctions but my understanding is that it essentially has been held up as of now even though the Trump government is in control. Doesn`t that counteract the sort of -- the working theory that you have?
WATERS: No, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, there was all this talk about Putin would probably not meet with Tillerson when he was in Moscow. I told everybody, he`s going to meet with him. I had no hesitation about thinking like that because they`re friends, they`re allies. Tillerson is there to get those sanctions lifted and even though the treasury department has denied the waiver for the time being, and that`s only for a part of it, for the black sea, they`re going to come back. I want to tell you, it doesn`t stop here. They have to work to get those sanctions lifted so that they can get the equipment and supplies that they need from us and their allies in order to drill. They`re focused on that. Watch Tillerson, follow what he`s doing.
HAYES: So you think -- you think the Trump administration -- I just want to be clear here because you have -- I feel like your theory of this or your sense of it is more fleshed out than other people I`ve encountered. You really think that at the core of this is a desire by the Trump administration to ultimately lift the sanctions on Russia, which have been imposed for several reasons, first the occupation of Crimea, then the hacking of the DNC and John Podesta that their ultimate goal here and the nexus of whatever interaction and back channels there might have been resolve around that, that`s your contention?
WATERS: Yes, it is. As a matter of fact, this President came into office praising Putin, talking about he was a great President, not ever saying anything about the fact that he invaded and took over Crimea, not even criticizing him for the murders and the poisonings that`s taken place in Russia against people who have been opposed to Putin in what he`s doing. And they`re refusing to reveal information about Flynn, and they know that he discussed sanctions with the Russian Ambassador. They know that he took money from RT. They know what is going on. And don`t forget Manafort was his Campaign Manager, and his campaign manager had connections with the Ukraine and with Russia while he was in that campaign.
HAYES: So, let me ask you about Congressman Chaffetz because he`s quite a controversial figure. He has really thrown everyone in Utah, and I think on Capitol Hill for a loop by announcing preemptively that he`s not going to seek re-election, that he might actually leave early. Then today, he comes out with Elijah Cummings. Do you have a -- do you have an understanding of what it is you think it is that Congressman Chaffetz is do something?
WATERS: No, I really don`t. And there is a lot of speculation about what he`s doing. There are those who were told that he`s trying to position himself to run for higher office, and I think it`s for Governor. There`s those who think that he, in some ways, have some connections to what is going on in the Ukraine and perhaps in Russia itself and knows something about all of this. I don`t really know. I can`t say, but he`s strange in the way that he`s conducting himself. And maybe he thinks that if he rolls out and points to the fact that something is going on with Flynn that he did not disclose, and this is criminal, I mean he`s violated a federal law, that somehow this will raise him above maybe what connections he may have with the Kremlin. I don`t know, but we need to keep an eye on him.
HAYES: I should say, Congresswoman, I have not seen any evidence produced of that.
WATERS: No we don`t.
HAYES: I`ve encountered that speculation also but we`ll look for the evidence. Representative Maxine Waters, thanks as always for being with me.
WATERS: Thank you.
HAYES: Up next, he was the last republican standing against Trump in the Presidential election, and now Governor John Kasich is speaking out. He joins me here after this two-minute break.
HAYES: The President said he plans to unveil a tax reform package as early as tomorrow in which businesses and individuals will get, and I quote here, a "massive tax cut." Wall Street Journal is reporting Trump wants to cut the corporate rate to 15 percent. Financial Times points out that a cut in the U.S. corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent as the President is expected to call for tomorrow would cost $2.2 trillion in lost revenue for ten years according to Alan Cole the of the Tax Foundation think-tank. Now, Trump Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has suggested the tax cut would pay for itself because the plan would lead to increased economic growth. If Mnuchin is wrong and the history suggests he very well might be, these cuts will be financed by issuing public debts. The question becomes with this plan, with its potential for making a mockery of deficit reduction, will it pass a republican Congress putatively devoted to fiscal responsibility?
Joining me now, John Kasich, Republican from Ohio, 2016 presidential candidate, whose new book is called, "Two Paths, Americans Divided or United", and who I saw in a barn in New Hampshire in a snow-covered picturesque barn in New Hampshire with a national debt clock behind you at the event and you talk a lot about this. It does make a mockery of all punitive deficit reduction talk if you just pass a huge debt finance tax cut.
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, do you have children?
HAYES: I do.
KASICH: How old are they?
HAYES: They`re 5 and 3.
KASICH: OK. Mine are 17, and the debt is $20 trillion.
KASICH: Now, we -- I think it`s fair to say, Chris, that if you cut taxes, you will have, like the corporate tax, which is really the highest in the world, right? If we cut it, there will be some positive economic activity. But you just can`t say we`re just going to cut taxes, and everything is going to be great. There have to be some pay-fors. Now, what do I think the Congress is going to do? I have no clue. But I`m actually in favor of a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.
HAYES: But -- OK. I know that you are. But here`s the thing, I actually think a huge deficit -- first of all, I think actually the deficit is not a problem and the debt`s not really a problem. We have a reserve currency, and we`ll be fine. But, that said, let`s bracket that for a second, let`s bracket that for a second.
KASICH: OK. All right.
HAYES: It has been the record of republicans -- this is actually something republicans have been consistent on. Ronald Reagan, huge deficit, financed tax cut. George W. Bush, huge deficit, financed tax cut. We`re going to get a big deficit, financed tax cut. At the same time, republicans are always saying they care about balanced budgets, but the proof is in the pudding. The deficits go up under republican presidents. Why not just be honest about what they`re doing?
KASICH: I think they believe in this idea of dynamic scoring, and I`ve warned them about it. You know, I say if you dynamically score taxes, then you`re going to have democrats dynamically score spending on domestic programs, so it`s dangerous. I do believe that there is a legitimate amount of dynamic scoring, but if you overdo it, you`re Kansas, right?
KASICH: You just cut the taxes, but you don`t pay for it, and then you go in the hole so I`m not dynamically --
HAYES: Do you think -- do you think Kansas is a disaster?
KASICH: I don`t -- I really haven`t studied it except I know they`re very much in the hole, and I think they --what they did is they passed a dessert without you know, paying for it. And so in my state, we -- when I cut taxes, which I believe in -- I think low taxes are critical -- we didn`t dynamically score. We didn`t want to -- we didn`t want to --
HAYES: No, you cut a lot of stuff on the spending side.
KASICH: No, what we did. No that`s not what we did. We actually when we ran surpluses, we had three choices. One is we could spend the surplus that we had,
KASICH: two, we could save it, and we have saved $2 billion or we could give it back. So I didn`t -- let`s say -- that why it`s an interesting thing what we did.
HAYES: Wait, but here`s my question here, is that people talk about deficits like they care about them. But my theory is that no one actually does care about them.
KASICH: Well, I do.
HAYES: No, but no one`s behavior in Washington suggests --
KASICH: Not recently but -- wait, wait --
HAYES: Here`s the one place where the -- here`s the one place republicans care about deficits and it`s when you had a lot of power in balanced budgets --
KASICH: Yes, right.
HAYES: -- which I saw you talk about
HAYES: When there`s a republican Congress and a democratic President, republicans care about deficits. Would you agree?
KASICH: Yes, I mean I think that`s probably fair to say.
HAYES: Right? Because you`ve got -- you have the Clinton years, balanced budgets and then you`ve got the tea party years --
KASICH: Well, you know why we got a balanced budget when Clinton was President is we promised that in the contract with America, I spent ten years of my life to get us there.
HAYES: But why doesn`t that apply when a republican Congress --
KASICH: I think it should. It should. Look, for me, I don`t operate -- look, I don`t operate by checking out what the heck they want me to do at the Republican National Committee.
KASICH: My job is to look forward to what it is that`s going to lift people in this country. That`s to some degree what my book is about. When I tell you about the debt, what I`m worried is your kids will someday will have to pay it. You just doesn`t disappear. You have to pay it off, and it`s a burden. And as debt goes up, the debt costs go up, that means other things -- you don`t have other things to spend money on.
HAYES: Well, you just have to service it. You never have to pay it off.
KASICH: No, well, you have to service it and you have to pay.
HAYES: Yes, you`ve got to service it.
KASICH: But as the debt gets bigger and bigger and it gets to be up-look, you`re not -- we`re not going to spend our time here arguing economics. You`re a liberal. I`m a conservative.
HAYES: No, I like that, though.
KASICH: And we`re not -- yes, but what I want to talk about is what`s happening in our country, what`s happening in our culture. We were increasingly not listening to one another. We`re not respecting one another. And we have to drive this change from where we live to the top. I believe that grassroots activism on things that bring us together, where you and I can agree on things like -- we can agree on things like how we have to fight the prescription drug problem. We can agree on what we need to do about food banks and poverty. We can agree on the fact we need --
HAYES: Medicaid expansion? I`m a -- I`m a big fan of Medicaid expansion.
KASICH: Yes, we can but I`m talking about what we can do locally.
KASICH: Because if you think about some of the great movements in this country, they started with the people when the politicians paid no attention.
KASICH: And we can`t -- look --
HAYES: Can I --
KASICH: We can`t have a situation where all that a liberal will do is listen no MSNBC and read liberal newspapers any more than conservatives ought to watch Fox News and read the Wall Street Journal.
KASICH: We have to have some cross, and we`ve got to stop fighting and respect one another.
HAYES: Right. And you and another person who believes that is Barack Obama. And I also think that the sort of increasing polarization of the country has a lot of deleterious effects.
KASICH: Yes. Families can`t even get along. You know, people are yelling at one another. Mothers and fathers yelling at their kids, you know, as with Nicolle Wallace. She said, you know, my parents and I, we can`t even talk about politics. That`s completely crazy because anything we want to do if we want to fix social security if we want to reform the tax code --
KASICH: -- anything -- we want to do health care, you have to have both parties involved.
HAYES: Does it -- are you running for something?
HAYES: Like what is -- I don`t mean that --
HAYES: Because you sound like -- it sounds like -- here`s what it sounds like to me. It sounds like -- and I`ve read parts of the book and not all of it, but the parts I`ve read seem to suggest like here`s a path and a vision for the way that I would like our politics to work. I think I`m a good vessel for that.
KASICH: Or our culture to work.
HAYES: Yes or right. I mean, I think sort of infused together, right? Like, kind of like, political culture. And it sounds like someone who`s saying, like, I`m staking a claim.
KASICH: No, no, no. It`s not even our political culture. Look at what happened with United. There`s -- where you have some guy being yanked off a plane. They didn`t even realize he was a human being? They didn`t pay him any respect. They just yanked him off like a widget. How about EpiPen jacking up their prices or Wells Fargo --
HAYES: So, what is this -- what is this thing? What`s the central thing that`s driving this? This -- you call it a crisis of leadership. You call it --
KASICH: You know what -- you know what part of it is, is self-absorption. We are beginning to -- we`re not done with this. We`re OK. There`re so many good things happening. But I am concerned that we are no longer looking at our neighbor and treating them as we want -- as we would like to be treated by them. And so it`s really a lack of some virtue, values, all these things because I want to respect you. Look. you`re a -- you`re a successful guy, you`re a young guy. I may not agree with you, but I will find things I can agree with you. And you know Nina Turner?
KASICH: Who was at this channel?
HAYES: She speaks warmly of you.
KASICH: Well, she and I worked together on --
HAYES: She does. She would speak -- in fact -- in fact, I`ll tell you this. It was hard to find democrats who would criticize you on this show, particularly when they`re working with you because you did have a working relationship. But here`s the question, right?
KASICH: And we need that across the board.
HAYES: We do. But the other thing is -- and I feel like this is true like you know, I hear a lot -- there`s been a lot of interesting parallel at 68, 60s. people talk about that partly because I think that was an intensely polarized time when you talk about families fighting with each other.
KASICH: Yes. Right.
HAYES: But also like there is some level at which the friction of that conflict is part of what happens around social progress in any direction, right?
HAYES: It`s like I totally get what you`re saying about this polarization, but it`s also like, politics is about conflict at the end of the day. We`re not going to void that ever.
KASICH: You know, look, I grew up in a turbulent time. You know, I was in college in the 1970s, and there`s nothing -- there`s everything right with activism. There`s everything right with the people rising up and saying we`ve had enough. You know, we`re not going to take it anymore. But we`re now moving to where we can`t even hear one another or where there`s vitriol and even to some degree hatred. Look, you look, when Obama was President, republicans couldn`t even agree that he was born in America. Too many of them --
KASICH: -couldn`t say he was born in America. Now, the democrats look at Trump and they can`t give him credit for anything. We`re not going to get anywhere to fix the major problems if all we`re doing is dividing ourselves and, look, Chris, at the end of the day, how did Martin Luther King change things? He didn`t go to the politicians, he changed the culture where -- at the grassroots level.
HAYES: But he also was an incredibly polarizing figure. My favorite document in the Martin Luther King canon isn`t the letter from the Birmingham jail. It`s the letter from the white clergy written to him that he responds to, which basically says, you are dividing people and riling people up with your activism by coming down here to the point where we can barely talk to each other.
KASICH: Well, but the letter from Birmingham jail said that no law of man that does not square with the law of God is moral.
HAYES: That`s right.
KASICH: And he always seized the high moral ground. You know why he won? Because when the -- when the police brought the dogs and the batons and pounds people over the head in the early days of television, no matter who we were, republican, democrat, liberal, conservative, rich, poor, we said that is not America, and we won`t put up with it anymore. And he drove it to the top, not from the top down, bottom up.
HAYES: Discipline. Governor John Kasich, thank you for making time tonight. I really appreciate it.
KASICH: Glad to see you.
HAYES: All right. Lots more ahead don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: There are still two big unsolved mysteries surrounding the recordbreaking fund-raising for the president`s inauguration. His inaugural committee raised an eye-popping $107 million, more than double the previous record set by President Obama`s first inauguration.
But as our own Rachel Maddow has documented, the current president`s festivities were nowhere as big as Obama`s -- funeral inaugural balls, no big musical acts, his crowds as we know quite famously were far smaller, all of which raises an important question.
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RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Why did they raise so much extra money? This is a strange thing. $107 million, and now in all likelihood, they`re just sitting on tens of millions of dollars that were left over from something that wasn`t that big and wasn`t that expensive.
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HAYES: But there`s another big question, all right, about the president`s inauguration: where did all the money come from? We started to get answers last week when the inaugural committee released its required filings with the Federal Election Commission.
Now, the largest single donation at $5 million was from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. Others included $250,000 from billionaire Kelsey Warren, whose company is building the Dakota Access Pipeline, which the president has promised to build, a half million, perhaps somewhat surprisingly from Citgo petroleum, which is of course the U.S. affiliate of Venezuela`s state-owned oil company.
But when a reporter for The Huffington Post started digging into some of the less recognizable names on the list, she noted something very strange. They did not seem to exist. There were no public records, for example, related to one Isabel T. John, who is listed as having donated $400,000, which is a lot of money, to the inaugural committee. The address listed for Isabel T. John is an empty lot in New Jersey, where electronics company LG just broke ground on its future North American headquarters.
With dozens more examples like that, one reporter, Christina Wilkie, enlisted hundreds of online volunteers to help her comb through over 1,500 donations. And what they found has finally forced the president`s own inaugural committee to respond.
Wilkie joins me next.
HAYES: The president`s inauguration raised a record-breaking $107 million. And to this day, we still don`t know where big chunks of that money came from. With helps from hundreds of volunteers poring over pages and pages of SEC filings, The Huffington Post`s Christina Wilkie turned up evidence that some of the president`s donors were recorded incorrectly or may have even tried to hide their identities.
Now, thanks to Wilkie and her crowd sourced reporting, the president`s inaugural committee is admitting its financial report was riddled with errors vowing to correct the many faulty donor records.
They even resolved the case of one Isabel T. John who gave a reported $400,000 to the inaugural committee and who does not seem to exist, according to public records. Her listed address in New Jersey is an empty lot. According to a spokesperson, Isabel and John Tonelli are the real donors and the donation was made by wire transfer from Citibank, which which used that address to facilitate the transfer.
I`m joined by Christina Wilkie, White House reporter for The Huffington Post.
Christina, you`ve been doing great work on this. And what it seems to me as a sort of top level thing is that a lot of this is pretty shoddy in terms of what`s actually in that document.
CHRISTINA WILKIE, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Yes. I think the word you`re looking for is probably negligent. You know, this was -- these are campaign -- not campaign, they`re inaugural contributions, so the reporting requirements are serious. And the FEC requires that you report not only the name of the donor, but that donor`s address.
You`re not allowed to report the routing address of your bank as your address. You`re not allowed to report the address of a friend of yours who gave you their access code to use. You`re not allowed to write your company`s name and then just a city and state. And all of these happened multiple times in this 500-page document.
HAYES: You`ve also got these LLCs where we just don`t know anything about who`s giving the money here. And now like -- we`re not talking $100, $200, we`re talking $25,000.
Jan Castle LLC, registered eight weeks before the donation. Address listed as a P.O. Box. can`t find any associated individuals, like who knows? That`s just like a mystery donation from out of nowhere to the inaugural committee that we don`t know anything about.
WILKIE: That we don`t know anything about, that the inaugural committee is looking for. They`re trying to find out who this is.
You know, so companies are allowed to donate to inaugural committees, and that`s one of the reasons that there`s so much money here and that there`s such big numbers. But what you`re not allowed to do is use a full shell corporation. So your company has to be operational. It has to be real and do something. And so when we saw this company that had been founded just eight weeks before, chances are in eight weeks they haven`t had enough time to do enough of anything to make that $25,000 that they then turned over to the Trump inauguration. So it really should -- I mean it raises big red flags. And it`s exactly the kind of shell corporation -- this is part of the reason you`re not allowed to give straight corporate money to political campaigns, because once you open up that door, it becomes really hard all of a sudden to tell who is who.
So, here`s another one. This is another perfect example. It`s a FEC record for Frank A Rodriguez, another $25,000, from Singapore. Says the U.S. citizenship verified, but the listed address doesn`t seem to exist. Frank, if you`re watching, get in touch. Let us know what the deal is.
But, lik, again, is that a -- I mean the question in all this stuff, and partly because some of this stuff is shown to be errors, is it error or deception? That is sort of the core question to me.
WILKIE: Right. And it really is the donor has an obligation to report themselves accurately. So if you`re looking for deception, arguably it would be on the side of some of these -- you know, of these no-name, shell LLCs.
But there`s also a responsibility on the part of the committee, especially when they`re taking enormous donations like this Isabel T. John, this $400,000. For them to verify who this money is coming from so that they report it correctly by the law.
WILKIE: So, yeah, all we know is that Rodriguez lives in a seedy part of Singapore, and that`s it.
HAYES: Right. Well, that`s a good tease for a detective novel. Christina Wilkie, thank you very much.
Still to come, Ivanka Trump makes her debut on the international stage as adviser to the president, and it didn`t go well. Her chilly reception and why she got booed ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts after the break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, New Orleans just removed a Confederate monument that was literally built to commemorate paramilitary insurgent violence undertaken to uphold white supremacy.
Yesterday in the middle of the night, workers dismantled the Battle of Liberty Place obelisk constructed to honor members of the Crescent City White League who fought, and I mean fought, with guns against racial integration of the police and state militia during reconstruction.
The monument was sometimes used as a rallying point for David Duke and the KKK, and until 1993, the inscription that adorned the obelisk celebrated, and I`m quoting, "white supremacy in the south."
New Orleans is set to remove three additional confederate monuments but it hasn`t come without opposition from a few protesters among the media during the monuments removal to Republican leaders like Cory Stewart, candidate for Governor of Virginia, who tweeted yesterday, "nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a southerner that his monuments don`t matter."
A couple things about that, first, that Yankee is New Orleans native and current mayor Mitch Landrieu, and the decision to remove the monument was supported by a vote of 6-1 by the city council.
But secondly, there`s this issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: You tweeted last night nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a southerner that his monuments don`t matter. Aren`t you from Minnesota?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cory Stewart plays southerner is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Cory Stewart, Republican running for Governor of Virginia and Trump`s former Virginia state co-chair and lover of all things Confederate, including monuments.
Yesterday, he compared those calling to remove Confederate monuments to ISIS, among other tweets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You tweeted last night nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a southerner that his monuments don`t matter. Aren`t you from Minnesota? Where does all of this southern pride come from?
CORY STEWART, REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE VIRGINIA: Well, it`s not so much about southern pride for me. Yes, I am from Minnesota, and I -- you know, I celebrate my heritage there too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The Minnesota native`s love of the Confederacy is causing him some trouble. In the past few days, four of the five Republicans who served with Stewart on the county board announced their support for his rival. And his long time political ally Prince William County Sheriff Glendell Hill yanked his endorsement from Stewart. All that confederate stuff, I don`t think that`s really necessary for a person that`s running for public office.
HAYES: For the first time as a federal employee, an unpaid adviser to the president of the United States, first daughter Ivanka Trump stepped onto the world stage to represent the White House and America at a women`s conference in Berlin, Germany. It included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund. And the moderator, a German journalist named Mirium Mekel (ph), asked a simple question about Ivanka`s particular role.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): As a part of the audience, especially the German udience, is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter, I`d like to ask you what is your role? And whom are you representing? Your father as the president of the United States, the American people, or your business?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That`s a good question. Ivanka`s answer is next.
HAYES: First daughter and adviser to the president Ivanka Trump attending a women`s conference in Germany fielded a question about her role in the administration.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your role? And whom are you representing? Your father as the president of the United States, the American people, or your business?
IVANKA TRUMP, WHITE HOUSE ADVISER: Well, certainly not the latter. And I am rather unfamiliar with this role as well as it is quite new to me. It has been a little under 100 days, but it is just been a remarkable and incredible journey.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ivanka Trump was invited to the conference by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the W20 summit focused on women and leadership in the group of 20 nations that`s in the G20. But the unintended audience participation portion of the conference came at the end of a long answer in which Ivanka Trump had touted her father`s commitment to paid family leave.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP: He`s been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to -- the new reality of...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are hearing the reaction from the audience, so I need to address one more point. Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave one questioning whether he is such an empower for women. How do you relate to that or are things changing, or what`s your comment on that?
IVANKA TRUMP: I`ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, and that`s been perpetuated, but I know from personal experience, and I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It should be noted, according to the New York Times, there are more white men in cabinet positions in the Trump administration than in any first cabinet since the administration of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
Joining me now civil rights attorney Lisa Bloom, investigator reporter Nomi Prince, former managing director Goldman Sachs, author of "All the Presidents Bankers" who has been doing some reporting on the Trump org.
But Lisa, I want to start with you, that -- I found that moment cringe- inducing. I think a lot of people felt that way. You tweeted this, thank you, Germany, for booing Ivanka Trump. Her daddy is a predator who stands with predators, never with women. Chris Cillizza wrote this piece against the boos and defending Ivanka Trump. I want to quote it so you can respond basically saying you can hate Donald Trump`s views on the treatment of women and lots of people do, but expect Ivanka Trump to publicly condemn her father or his record on women`s issues is a bridge too far. It`s impossible for us to know what Ivanka Trump does or doesn`t do to influence her father`s views behind the scenes. And b because of that, and the fact she is his daughter, booing her for defending her dad is poor form. What do you think?
LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: She has an office in the White House. She has a staff that we are all paying for through our tax dollars. If she were living a private life, it would be different, but she has assumed this role and we certainly have the right to criticize her.
You know she wants to call herself a feminist and talk about women`s empowerment. But I can`t think of a single specific policy that she could support. For example, stronger pay equity laws. a longer statute of limitations for sexual harassment and retaliation claims, at least supporting Planned Parenthood so that those of us who don`t have billionaire daddys can get health care.
You know, Ivanka wants it both ways. She wants the office. She wants the title. She wants to be out on the world stage, but god forbid anybody asks her a tough question. That seems to be out of bounds for her.
HAYES: I should say, she didn`t -- the people that are sort of saying it was out of bounds question are not her. She sort of responded and plowed through.
BLOOM: But she doesn`t answer the questions.
HAYES: Well, that -- that is true. Although, she doesn`t -- that seems to be kind of an MO of hers in these interviews. I thought that first question got to something deep here, which is, again, there`s a certain amount of distancing from the business that both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump have done, but not completely. And they haven`t liquidated and put into a blind trust. They`re in these very tangled relationships with active ongoing businesses while they`re going around conducting official business.
What do we know about the what the nature of that nexus is?
NOMI PRINS, AUTHOR: What we know is to the Trump organization, the White House is kind of a branch office. That`s really what`s going on, because even the fact that we consider her -- we are told that she`s an unpaid adviser. The reality is there are actual codes of federal regulations that state specifically that an employee of the executive office, whether or not they get paid, or not based on the amount of time they are doing that actual job, are still under the ethics rules, are still under the fact that you cannot use a public office for private gain.
So, if you are on the world stage if you are having tons of meetings, whether it`s at the White House or winter White House or wherever, where you are also negotiating deals, where deals are happening coincidentally while meeting with world leaders, that`s all part of financially growing a brand on which, by the way, if you look at the website right now today, at this moment of theTrump organization under the down tab next generation, Ivanka is there with her brothers and Donald Trump and it specifically says there are three people who are responsible for development and acquisitions under the Trump organization, of which one is Ivanka.
So, they are not even bothering to hide it in lots of places.
HAYES: That is a truly excellent point.
Lisa, you talked about the sort of image of her feminism, women`s equality. She has been the sort of person who has been the face of the family leave plan, although there`s lots of substance criticisms about how massively distributionally skewed that was. It would help wealthy families much more than poor ones.
What do you say to people who say, look, you just don`t like her politics and so you`re not letting her in the club?
BLOOM: She`s welcome to be in the club if -- I`m glad she`s at least a pretend feminist. Maybe that`s the first step. But it takes more than just defending daddy wherever you go. And hats off to the German audience who asked her those real questions and tough questions that she never wants to answer about her father bragging about sexual assault. It`s not just the media, there are a dozen women who came forward in the campaign. I represented four of them. The media had nothing to do with it. In fact, for a long time, we couldn`t even get the media to pay attention to some of my clients.
You know, they don`t want to respond to that. And her answer that, well, as a daughter he`s always been very good to me is a completely unacceptable answer. The rest of us who aren`t daddy`s little princess have the right to be represented by this president, not just half the country that aren`t female.
HAYES: Nomi, they are -- you made this point, but Ivanka`s contention is she doesn`t actually have to abide by these laws, that she`s like the president. But if they do apply to her, like there are actual criminal exposure if they run afoul of them, correct?
That`s exactly right. Under title 18, section 208 you go down further and there`s a section 216 which actually talks about either imprisonment or fines or both for violating this law extending a financial interest through relatives family. It goes through a number of different categorizations.
HAYES: They are playing with fire on this one, I`ve got to say. Like, even if I was working for them and trying to protect them I would be telling them that.
Lisa Bloom, Nomi Prins, thank you.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
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