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All in with Chris Hayes, Transcript 5/2/2017

Guests: Chris Murphy, Lawrence Wilkerson, Steve Ellis, Jennifer Rubin, Karen Finney, Josh Barro, Phil Klein

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST:  - very much like having that total power himself.  We should keep our eyes on him.  And that`s HARDBALL for now.  Thanks for being with us.  ALL IN with Chris Hayes starts right now.



HILARY CLINTON, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Remember, I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent.

HAYES:  Hillary Clinton returns with a vengeance.

CLINTON:  I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey`s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks.

HAYES:  Tonight, as the President of the United States once again casts doubt on Russian election sabotage -

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:  I`ll go along with Russia.  It could have been China.  It could have been a lot of different groups.

HAYES:  His former opponent raises the strongman alarm.

CLINTON:  I was your Secretary of State, and we do speak out about rigged elections.

HAYES:  Then -

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, FOX NEWS POLITICAL COMMENTATOR:  Trump got rolled.  It`s sort of embarrassing.

HAYES:  The President threatens to shut down the government and tries to change the narrative on the budget.

TRUMP:  The democrats didn`t tell you that.  They forgot.

HAYES:  And as republicans line up votes to gut ObamaCare --

PAUL RYAN, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE SPEAKER:  We`re excited about this policy.

HAYES:  A gut-wrenching appeal from a late-night comedian.

JIMMY KIMMEL, ABC TELEVISION HOST:  If your baby is going to die, and it doesn`t have to, it shouldn`t matter how much money you make.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  On a day in which the President continued to praise foreign strongmen, he`s also seemingly pining a bit for something a little closer to their system of government.  As his legislative failures mount here at home, this while his 2016 opponent today went further than she has ever in describing the two main reasons she believes for her loss.


CLINTON:  I was on the way to winning until the combination of Jim Comey`s letter on October 28th and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me but got scared off.


HAYES:  Recounting Vladimir Putin`s history of animosities personally towards her dating back at her time as Secretary of State, Clinton snuck in a dig at the current administration.


CLINTON:  He rigged the elections for the parliament, and I was your Secretary of State, and we do speak out about rigged elections.  That kind of goes with the territory, at least it did prior to this administration.


HAYES:  We`ll have more on Clinton`s remarks later in the show.  But just about the same time she was speaking, the President of the United States was on the phone with one Vladimir Putin.  Their third call since the President took office.  As has become routine, we initially learned more details about the call from the foreign power on the other end of the line than from the White House.  According to the Kremlin, the two Presidents discussed what will be their first face to face meeting tentatively planned for this summer at a summit in Germany.  The man who directed Russian interference in the 2016 election according to the U.S. intelligence community, meeting with the man that campaign was aimed at helping to elect.  Though their relationship has not perhaps been quite as smooth as President Trump once hoped, both he and Putin appear to be on the same page about Russia`s role in the election.  Appearing alongside German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, Putin called the allegations of the interference, quote, "simply rumors," echoing recent comments by the U.S. President.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  You don`t think it`s funny that they, the Russians, tried to meddle in the election?  Do you believe that?

TRUMP:  That I don`t know.  Knowing something about hacking, if you don`t catch a hacker, OK, in the act, it`s very hard to say who did the hacking.  With that being said, I`ll go along with Russia.  It could have been China.  It could have been a lot of different groups.


HAYES:  The President has a long history of declining to say anything critical of Vladimir Putin.  Instead, praising his leadership style and tiptoeing around his record of human rights abuses.


TRUMP:  If he says great things about me, I`m going to say great things about him.  I`ve already said he is really very much of a leader.  I mean, you can say, oh, isn`t that a terrible thing - the man has very strong control over a country.  Now it`s a different system, and I don`t happen to like the system but certainly, in that system, he`s been a leader, far more than our President has been a leader.


HAYES:  This fits into a larger pattern of what appears to be genuine, longstanding admiration for strongmen leaders.  The President just extended an invitation to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who`s presided over the murders of thousands of his citizens.  He called North Korean despot Kim Jong-un a smart cookie, saying he`s be honored to meet with him under the right circumstances.  He paid a congratulatory phone call to Turkish President Erdogan after a highly controversial referendum enabled him to consolidate power.  The President has even found something to admire about Saddam Hussein.


TRUMP:  Saddam Hussein was a bad guy, right?  He was a bad guy, really bad guy.  But do you know what he did well?  He killed terrorists.  He did that so good.  They didn`t read them the rights.  They didn`t talk.  They were a terrorist, it was over.


HAYES:  It`s not a new phenomenon.  Way back in 1990, the President expressed support for China`s harsh crackdown on the Tiananmen Square Protests telling an interviewer, "when the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it.  Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength.  That shows you the power of strength.  Our country is right now is perceived as weak as being spit on by the rest of the world."  With his deep appreciation for that kind of state power, it`s no wonder the President has had trouble adapting to the basic workings of democracy.  Having failed so far to move any major bills through Congress, he is now blaming the legislative process itself.


TRUMP:  I think the rules in Congress and in particular the rules in the Senate are unbelievably archaic and slow moving and, in many cases, unfair.  In many cases, you`re forced to make deals that are not the deal you`d make.  You`d make a much different kind of a deal.  You`re forced into situations that you hate to be forced into.


HAYES:  I`m joined now by Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat from Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  And I thought that was actually a pretty good encapsulation of some of the insights of the federalist papers and the constitution.  You`re forced into making deals you wouldn`t otherwise make.

CHRIS MURPHY, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM CONNECTICUT:  Yes, listen, the founding fathers set up a system in which change was made intentionally difficult to execute.  But the fact of the matter is, you know, Donald Trump didn`t get his wall in the budget not because democrats objected to it but because every single democrat or republican who lives on the border or in a border state objected to it.  The reason he`s not getting his health care repeal bill is because his own party won`t support him not once, but twice in the House of Representatives.  When it comes to his immigration ban, it`s judges, non-partisan judges that are telling him what he`s doing is unconstitutional.  You know, he`s finding that there are some pretty routine checks and balances that are put in the way of his agenda.  It`s not arcane rules.  It`s the fact that he just can`t get even his own party to agree with him.

HAYES:  Do you worry about that impulse of the President, that sort of - that sort of admiration for more sort of authoritarian modes of government?  Do you worry about that here, or do you feel like the institutions are what they are, and he`s running up against them?

MURPHY:  So I do worry about it here.  I mean, I don`t think you can take for granted a democratic experiment that`s only 240 years old.  And I think there was a tiring of democracy that was happening out in the American public that led to the election of Donald Trump.  Folks did look at this process and say, "You were getting all of the inefficiency of democracy and we`re not getting a result that`s benefiting the whole."  It seems like the elites are doing better and everyone else is doing worse.  So I think there was an attraction to the CEO model, but I think he`s finding - you know, ultimately that the way that our founding fathers did build this constitutional system is holding, and I think, you know, frankly he could, you know, do better by reaching out across the aisle and trying to find some consensus on difficult issues like immigration and health care because it`s actually there to be found if you try.

HAYES:  You just mentioned the CEO model, part of the main case of this President was deals.  Everyone does bad deals.  I wrote art of the deal.  I know how to get deals.  If you look at his deal-making record so far, and we`ll talk a little after continuing our resolution later in the show, but you know, it`s hard to say that his negotiating tactics have worked.  Do you worry about that when he`s on the president when someone - on the phone was someone like President Vladimir Putin, just about what kind of deal, what kind of negotiation deafness he will have?

MURPHY:  Yes, so, you know, he got a really bad deal when it comes to his priorities in the budget negotiation.  Democrats got a lot of what we wanted, and that`s in part because he just doesn`t know his portfolio when he`s doing meetings on the budget or healthcare.  He doesn`t know the details, and, you know, I feel good about that because this is a fight between you know, his priorities and my priorities.  But when it`s a fight between American priorities and Russian priorities or American priorities and Chinese priorities, not knowing his portfolio is going to get us into a lot of danger.  And the fact that he doesn`t have other people around him who know the portfolio is just as disturbing.  Tillerson has never done this stuff.  There`s not a single assistant secretary that`s been nominated in the Department of State.  So, you know, part of what a good CEO sometimes does if he doesn`t know a book of business is to hire people who do.  And Donald Trump hasn`t done that when it comes to foreign policy.

HAYES:  On the Russia story, it was striking that the President -- you know, the President resisted the conclusion of the intelligence community about Russian active measures and sabotage of the election.  He then came around and accepted it, but seems to be backtracking.  And I wonder, do you think it`s significant?  Does it matter while Vladimir Putin is saying it wasn`t us, that the President of the United States seems to be essentially inclined to agree with him?

MURPHY:  It sort of seems like you know, whatever kind of day he`s having is going to dictate what he says about Russia`s interference in U.S. elections.  If he`s having a good day, he`ll admit they did it.  If he`s angry at something Congress has done, he`ll go back and claim that there was no interference.  I think that there is significant because when you poll the American public, there is still a sizeable portion of the American public that doesn`t think that the Russians interfered in our elections.  Why?  Because Donald Trump is telling his supporters over and over again that they didn`t.  And to the extent that we do need to rally this country around a new set of sanctions against Russia, it`s hard to do that when the President of the United States isn`t copping to it.  And, frankly, if other countries want to try to interfere in the same way Russia did or Russia wants to it in Europe, the fact that they think that the President of the United States is going to get their back when they conduct this kind of interference, it`s certainly - it certainly would lead to foreign leaders thinking that they might be able to get away with.

HAYES:  Yes.  There`s certainly some evidence they`re trying that right now in France and possibly Germany as well.  Senator Chris Murphy, thank you for joining me.

MURPHY:  All right.  Thanks a lot.

HAYES:  I`m joined by Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson former Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Collin Powell.  You know, there`s been a lot of discussion about the U.S.`s posture towards regimes that have bad human rights records and whether this is a break with previous administrations or continuity.  What`s your position on that?

LAWRENCE WILKERSON, SECRETARY OF STATE COLLIN POWELL`S FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF:  I don`t see this administration thus far anyway as having a strong portfolio on human rights either rhetorically or in actuality what it does in the world to support those rights.  So far it`s been rather vacant.  It`s not there.

HAYES:  What is it - you know, senator just said something I thought is very important is.  Just - there is - you worked at the state department and know what a kind of complicated bureaucracy that is.  And the fact that there`s just no one at the key leadership level below the secretary of state, that can sound abstract or bureaucratic to people.  What does that mean for how the United States conducts itself in the world?

WILKERSON:  Well, it`s serious stuff because we`re talking everything from consular affairs and issue of VISAS, for example, for people wishing to come to this country, and we`re talking about East Asia and the Pacific, Europe and Russia, and all the other functional and regional bureaus.  There`s no one there, so what`s happening is people are just carrying on as they can with daily work with no guidance policy-wise, and essentially no leadership.

HAYES:  Does that make a difference when you`re going to enter into let`s say the G20 Summit.  There is a - there is a bilateral meeting between the President Putin at G20 in Germany this summer, which is what`s being discussed.  What does it mean for what you get out of that meeting, what the U.S. is able to accomplish towards its objectives if you do not have that groundwork?

WILKERSON:  Well, Senator Murphy just summed it up rather well.  If you don`t have your facts together and you don`t have the details and at least a reasonable grasp on them, you can`t be a negotiator like Donald Trump claims he is with regard to real estate deals and so forth.  Colin Powell used to sit - and I`m sure Condi Rice and other Secretaries have done the same and go over books.  They were three to four inches thick just to master the details so that when things came up that were serious, he was ahead of those with whom he was negotiating.  That`s what successful negotiations are about, being more prepared than the other side of the table.  If Donald Trump thinks he`s going to take the kind of swinging from his hip type actions that he`s shown us so far into international negotiations, then we`re going to pay.

HAYES:  I want to ask you about a comment that Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, former Business Magnate made about the missile strikes that were ordered against Syria.  He was describing at an event what happened that night at Mar-a-Lago.  Just as dessert was being served, the President explained to Mr. Xi he`s - he had something he wanted to tell him, which was the launching of 59 missiles into Syria, Ross said.  It was in lieu of after dinner entertainment.  As the crowd laughed, Ross added, the thing was, it doesn`t cost the President anything to have that entertainment.  What`s your response to that?

WILKERSON:  Well, it`s a rather inane comment.  That`s my first response.  Second response is I think they accomplished exactly what they wanted.  Domestically they moved Russia off the front page of the Washington Post and The New York Times and internationally they showed Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang that they were willing to send missiles at people.  That`s what they did essentially.

HAYES:  I wonder whether you think, as someone who has served, just - it struck me the description of war-making, however, limited in this case and, you know it was one strike, as entertainment.  It struck me as a way of not fully grappling with the gravity of what the Commander in Chief has to do.

WILKERSON:  How about Bryan Williams on the destroyer, I think it was, that was shooting off missiles and saying, aren`t they beautiful?  Isn`t this wonderful?  This is the idea that many Americans have about war now because they have no skin in the game.  No skin in the game whatsoever.  People die at the end of those missiles.  People die who send those missiles out.  People die in Syria.  They die in Iraq.  They die in Somalia.  They die in Libya.  They die all over the world right now, less than 1 percent that are serving anyway.  The other 99 percent have no interest in it other than it is as you just displayed watching on TV and declaring it beautiful, brilliant.  I had a big piece of chocolate shake - chocolate cake while they were going out.

HAYES:  Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, thanks for being here.


HAYES:  Still to come, a theme emerges tonight.  Things in the background of White House images like what exactly is on the white board behind Steve Bannon in this photo taken today.  We`ll zoom in coming up.  Plus, the photos behind Mick Mulvaney.  Props are back in the White House briefing room, but are they really what they said they were?  I`ll explain after this two-minute break.



MICK MULVANEY, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET DIRECTOR:  I think the President is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the democrats and they went out to try and spike the football and make him look bad.  And I get that frustration because I think it`s a terrible posture for the democrats to take.


HAYES:  Trump administration`s Budget Director Mick Mulvaney defended the negotiating prowess of his boss today after they hammered out a bill to fund the government through September.  This, even though there is bipartisan agreement, the bill is a major rebuke to the President`s agenda.



LINDSEY GRAHAM, UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM SOUTH CAROLINA:  I think the democrats cleaned our clock.  I mean, you know, there are things in this bill that I just don`t understand.  This was not winning from the republican point of view.

KRAUTHAMMER:  Trump got rolled.  The republicans got rolled.  They ended up with nothing really.  It`s sort of embarrassing.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, PREMIERE RADIO NETWORKS TALK SHOW HOST:  Why is anybody voting republican if this is what happens when we win?


HAYES:  This morning, the President himself appeared to concede defeat when he tweeted, "the reason for the plan negotiated between the republicans and the democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there.  We either elect more republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51 percent.  Our country needs a good - quotation - "shutdown" in September to fix the mess."  The President himself tried to make it sound like a win in a rose garden appearance today.  According to Politico, Mulvaney was asked to do a last-minute media briefing this morning.  Trump instructed his aides to change the messaging around the spending bill.  So Mulvaney went out there pretended to declare victory even on border wall funding when, in fact, there was no border wall funding.


MULVANEY:  When you heard in the last 48hours about the deal, did you think we could build this?  I bet you didn`t.  Nobody did, OK?  Is it a replacement for an existing wall?  Yes, that`s fine.  Is it a new wall?  No.  This is what`s out there right now, OK?  And this is what`s going to be put in as a result of this bill, OK?  That is better border security.  You can call it new wall.  You can call it replacement.  You can call it maintenance.  Call it whatever you want to.  This construction that you see here - well, I don`t know if it`s this exact construction because I don`t know where this photograph is.  This wall is being installed on the southern border today.


HAYES:  The photo behind Mulvaney, the one he kept pointing to was - but was not certain about the exact construction is a Reuters photo dated January 25th, 2017.  A photo from more than three months ago for a section of the fence in Sunland Park, New Mexico, 18 foot, steel fence, new fencing indeed as explained by this AP article in August 2016, nine months ago.  Border patrol spokesman Ramiro Cordero said it`s a fence that is replacing another fence, it doesn`t hold anymore.  The piece notes that construction expected to finish early in 2017.  Joining me now Steve Ellis, Vice President of  Jennifer Rubin who writes the Right Turn Column at the Washington Post.  Jennifer, do you agree with what I`ve seen from everyone from Rush to Krauthammer to Lindsey Graham, which is sort of a wide spectrum in many ways of the right saying that the President got rolled.  Is that your sense?

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST JOURNALIST:  Yes, it is.  And even on national security, where he got a little bit, he got only about half of what he had asked for, which in and of itself wasn`t as much as the Pentagon says they need.  So I am sympathetic to those republicans who say what did we get out of this?

HAYES:  You know, Steve, you are - you are my guru on this stuff.  You get in the weeds of all the CRs who have been funding this government through continuing resolutions for years now.  I don`t actually understand how this happened.  Like - my sense too is that democrats got more of their priorities than the White House did, but I don`t understand how that - how did that even come to be?

STEVE ELLIS, TAXPAYERS FOR COMMON SENSE VICE PRESIDENT:  Well, one is, the deck was sort of stacked against the administration.  I mean the funding levels in the base part of the budget were all established back in 2015 in the bipartisan budget act.  So you already kind of knew the level of funding, and you knew the level of this extra slush fund war funding the overseas continues the operations account.  So it was very hard to play with this in the margins.  That`s why I think that a lot of appropriations committee, the members who write the bills, would say we should have done this in December, cleared the deck.  You`d had had a fresh start with the FY 18 budget rather than dealing with this.

HAYES:  You know, I was reminded watching - Jennifer, watching Mick Mulvaney today that this is a very long way from what his big budget rollout was because that big budget rollout was a real like hardcore austerity budget.  We were going to slash and cut and cut.  Here he is explaining why basically Meals on Wheels and school lunches are things the government can`t afford.  Take a look.


MULVANEY:  They`re supposed to be educational programs, right?  That`s what they`re supposed to do.  They`re supposed to help kids who can`t - who don`t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school.  Guess what?  There`s no demonstrable evidence they`re actually doing that.  There`s no demonstrable evidence it`s actually helping results, helping kids do better in school, which is what when we took your money from you to say look, we`re going to spend it on afterschool program, the way we justified it was, these programs are going to help kids do better in school and get better jobs.  And we can`t prove that`s happening.


HAYES:  That - so that was March 16.  That was the big budget fight.  And Jennifer, it strikes me as part of the problem here is, the President didn`t run on austerity.  He then rolled out an austerity budget, and there was no real groundwork laid to actually make that a reality.

RUBIN:  Right.  There are several things going on here.  One is just what you said.  He ran as a populist, what you have is a big government guy who is going to help the little guy.  And here he is made to seem that he is screwing the little guy.  So that doesn`t work very well.  Secondly, the budget control act of 2011 continues to haunt the republicans.  They are continually salami slicing, chintzing on the stuff people like in government, the NIAID, the national parks, the FBI.  Who doesn`t like the National Institutes of Health, instead of going where money is, which is in - some reform the entitlement programs and they make it worse by putting out a really an entirely irresponsible tax cut plan.  So, I think they`re going about the wrong things.  They set up huge expectations and frankly there is no majority consensus.  There is no majority that wants the kind of budget they initially rolled out.

HAYES:  That`s a great point and also that point about the budget control act which Steve, is your point,is a really good point too about what inevitably gets squeezed by the way the budget control act is set up, is that you`re going to end up cutting into the NIH where no one wants to.  Who wants to see the NIH really get cut?  You`ve also got Steve, this amazing admission by Mulvaney today about miners` health which is a big - there`s a lot of money for it and it was a big question about whether it was going to be funded.  Here is basically saying, yes, of course, we were using the miners as bargaining chips.  Take a listen.


MULVANEY:  The President is asking me since the day I got here for a way to fix the miners` health issue problems that they have in Appalachia, and we were simply waiting for the opportunity to give it as part of a bipartisan discussion so that we could get something in return.


HAYES: It strikes me as a kind of saying the quiet part loud kind of thing for Mulvaney to do, Steve.

ELLIS:  Yes.  And I mean, certainly, the one thing that`s important to know about this miners` health provision as well is one of its big proponents of getting this fixed is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.  So to some point, this deal was probably going to happen, I have to say.  And it was also a sticking point when they did extend the budget in December.  This was an issue that Senator Manchin from West Virginia was pushing on as well.  And so, I think this comes down to and kind of to your original question to me, Chris, is that the democrats have a lot of sway, and it`s not just in the Senate where they have the filibuster.  It`s also in the House because you have the Freedom Caucus member who are probably not going to vote for anything if it doesn`t cut a lot more and so you need democrats.

HAYES:  This is a great point, Jennifer.  The Freedom Caucus walks - a bunch of them walk on every CR.  And because a bunch of them walk on every CR, that means if Pelosi tells democrats to vote against the CR, they can vote it down.  And so they - it`s weird.  When you`ve got a situation in which you`ve got almost a functioning (INAUDIBLE) majority in the House of Democrats because of the way the Freedom Caucus has acted towards this stuff.

RUBIN:  Absolutely.  And you remember when they sliced off a bit of the Bush tax cuts.  Remember the first deal was, all right, we`ll take everything but a million dollar is enough, we still have to have it.  The Freedom Caucus said, no way, no way.  Guess what, that number came down to $650,000.  So they do this continually to themselves.  They make deals worse because they are either such purists or so difficult or just don`t want to make a deal or don`t know how that they do wind up pushing Ryan and the rest closer towards the democrats.  And that`s kind of the budget we got frankly was sort of a Pelosi-ish, Ryan-ish budget.

HAYES:  Interestingly there`s also a blueprint I think here for what a kind of functioning -- basic functioning government looks like which is essentially the White House being largely cut out of the loop.  I mean, you`re essentially getting a kind of congress first governing, and then we`ll see whether that continues. Steve Ellis, Jennifer Rubin, thank you.

ELLIS:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Coming up, republicans under pressure to support Trumpcare.  One congressman even trying to hide in the ladies bathroom to avoid questions about it.  And last night, Jimmy Kimmel made things even harder for them.  That moment after this short break.


HAYES:  Right now, in fact probably right at this moment, the White House and the GOP House Leadership are trying desperately to squeeze enough votes out of the House Republican Caucus to pass what is a pretty massively unpopular health care bill, which would gut one of the most fundamental and popular provisions of ObamaCare.  That`s protections to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions can get coverage.  And here`s the thing.  After last night getting those votes got even harder.  That`s because talk show host Jimmy Kimmel told an unbelievably moving and harrowing story about his newborn son, who was born with a heart defect.  Billy Kimmel thankfully survived emergency surgery, and his father, in an emotional monolog made two key points.  One, that his son could have died without his family`s health insurance.  And, two, that without ObamaCare`s protections, Billy Kimmel might never, ever qualify for his own health insurance because of his pre-existing condition.


KIMMEL:  We were brought up to believe that we live in the greatest country in the world but until a few years ago, millions and millions of us had no access to health insurance at all.  You know, before 2014 if you were born with congenital heart disease like my son was, there`s a good chance you`d never be able to get health insurance because you had a pre-existing condition.  You were born with a pre-existing condition.  And if your parents didn`t have medical insurance you might not live long enough to even get denied because of pre-existing condition.  If your baby is going to die and it doesn`t have to, it shouldn`t matter how much money you make.  I think that`s something that whether you`re a republican or democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right?  I mean, we do.

And I saw a lot of families there, and no parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child`s life, it just shouldn`t happen, not here.


HAYES:  That monolog garnered a rare tweet from President Obama who wrote, "well said, Jimmy.  That`s exactly why we fought so hard for the ACA, why we need to protect it for kids like Billy and congratulations."  The potential real world impact to the health care bill has made this a very, very tough vote for House Republicans.  Asked today his position on the bill, GOP Representative Darrell Issa rather amazingly responded, quote, "none of your business."  Much more on the increasingly desperate GOP`s health care Hail Mary right after this.



TRUMP:  And how is health care coming, folks?  How is it doing?  All right.  We`re moving along?  All right.

I think it`s time now, right?  Right?  They know it`s time.


HAYES:  The Trump administration together with House leadership has been leaning hard on House Republicans to vote for their health care bill, but the rank and file aren`t exactly eager to fall in line.  Asked his position today by Slate`s Jim Newell, undecided Maine representative Bruce Poliquin, said nothing and made a beeline to the restroom.  Unfortunately, it was the door to the women`s restroom that he had first run to, so he corrected himself and went into the men`s room.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has been trying to calm his skittish member`s nerves by insisting the bill does not gut protections for people with pre- existing conditions tweeting today, "verified, MacArthur amendment strengthens AHCA, protects people with preexisting conditions."

But that is not verified despite Ryan`s use of the caps lock button.  His tweet contradicts the  findings of really just about everyone who has looked at the bill including the AARP, which one hour after Ryan`s claim tweeted that it, quote, "does not adequately protect patients with preexisting conditions."

Citing that fact, Michigan Republican Fred Upton, who had previously co- authored Obamacare repeal and replace plans came out against the bill today.

By NBC News` count, there are now 21 House Republicans opposed, 18 more who are undecided or not talking.

Now, Republicans can only lose 22 votes and still pass the bill, which they hope to do before the House recess starts on Thursday.  Of course even if they manage to pass the bill, it would then go to the Senate which almost certainly would not pass it in its current form.

At this point, according to The Washington Post, House GOP leaders are focused, on, quote, one simple political goal: pass a bill they can say repeals Obamacare even if it has no hope of revival in the senate to shield their members in next year`s election.

Joining me now is conservative columnist Phil Klein, managing editor of The Washington Examiner, author of Overcoming Obamacare: Three Approaches to Reversing the Government Takeover of Health Care.

And I think probably the best conservative reporter and writer on Obamacare out there.

And you have been watching this.  I`ve been sort of watching you in kind of shock and horror as this has fallen apart.  Why has this process gone so badly?

PHIL KLEIN, WASHINGTON EXAMINER:  I think probably fundamentally it`s because Republicans aren`t willing to own up to a coherent strategy.  If you`re opposed to Obamacare and you want a replacement, there are ideas that are coherent ideas for replacing it.  If you say that you want to do all of the things that Obamacare does, but you don`t want Obamacare, you end up with the mush that we have now.

And I think that, you know, it`s very common to kind of focus on the Freedom Caucus as obstructionist, as party of no and all of that stuff, but I think it`s important to focus a bit on the centrists here.  Because these are people who -- I mean Fred Upton is a good example of somebody.  He was somebody who for years was pushing to repeal and replace Obamacare.  I reported today that back in  2013, he actually issued and authored a report as chair of the energy and commerce committee saying that community rating and essential health benefit requirements were driving up premiums.

And now he`s saying he can`t support this at all because it`s giving the options to state to opt out  of these things.

HAYES:  Well, this is a key point, right.  At least, you know, Mo Brooks got a lot of criticism for what he said the other day about basically sick people paying more.  The House Freedom Caucus at least there are members who have a sort of coherent ideology, which is that we want to deregulate the industry.  We don`t want to offer these sort of essential guarantees that people should be able to pick and choose and hopefully that will drive premiums down.  That`s the story they`re telling, whether that`s what it is. 

But it`s harder to tell a coherent story if you say, well, we like all those protections.  We just want it changed, which is the position that Upton and his ilk are in.

KLEIN:  Yeah, I mean I spoke to the chairman of the Tuesday Group, Charlie Dent, last week.  And I asked him.  I said, OK, if you support Obamacare`s regulations and you support the Medicaid expansion, then what is it you oppose about Obamacare?  And he said, well, higher premiums.

And I said, OK, well, what`s your idea for decreasing premiums because the Freedom Caucus said you disagree with it.  Let`s deregulate and that will reduce premiums.  What`s your idea?

And he said, that`s the $64,000 question.

And I think the dirty little secret here in this debate is that the centrists don`t have an actual idea.  As far as I`m concerned, they basically support Obamacare, they just don`t want to admit it.  And maybe they`re for getting rid of the Medical device tax.

HAYES:  But it`s not quite that, though.  I think it`s a little more than that, too, because I think that the leadership doesn`t have the courage of their convictions ideologically about what repeal really means.

So what you get is people saying, we`re not getting rid of these essential protections on preexisting conditions, and then the March of Dimes says, well, you are and the AARP and all these  groups.

Now, that`s the other issue is that it`s being sold to line up with a bunch of promises they made about things they wouldn`t touch in Obamacare.

KLEIN:  Yeah, and it`s sold to basically -- I mean if you add in President Trump`s statements, you basically say, OK, go find me a plan that covers as many or more people than Obamacare for less money, with lower deductibles and that has more coverage and more choices and more protections for people with preexisting conditions.  It`s impossible.  There are tradeoffs, right? 

I mean you could theoretically cover more people for less money if you`re willing to have higher deductibles, but then if you want to lower deductibles.  It`s impossible.

And they`re not being honest about these tradeoffs and they end up in the sort of policy mush.

HAYES:  Which, by the way, they`re pushing for a vote before another CBO score, which also seems to me to tip the hat a little bit.  Philip Klein, thanks for being with me tonight.

Still to come, a remarkably candid Hillary Clinton said today she would be our president if the election was just held 10 days earlier.  She also declared herself a member of the resistance.  Hillary`s return to the spotlight ahead.

And a forensic investigation of the mysterious whiteboard behind Steve Bannon.  This is a good one.  It`s tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two after the break.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, Rabbi Schmuli Botiak (ph), the self-dubbed America`s rabbi, visited the White House today.  And Rabbi Schmuli (ph), ans author and cable news commentator who has also written for Breitbart since 2013, where he has defended Steve Bannon against charges of anti-Semitism.

And so, today the Rabbi Schmuli (ph) met with Steve Bannon at the White House and tweeted a photo calling Bannon a great stalwart friend of the Jewish state.  And that`s the end of the story unless you`re like everyone else who saw this on Twitter and wondered, hey, what`s all that on the whiteboard behind Bannon?

In Thing Two, we zoom in in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  President Trump`s chief strategist Steve Bannon likes to call his office a war room, and as Politico reported, more than 200 of Trump`s campaign promises are scribbled in marker on a whiteboard in that office.

Today, via a view photos posted by Rabbi Schmuli (Ph), we got a look at that whiteboard, which includes promises like build the border wall and, key word here, eventually make Mexico pay for it.  That one does haven`t a check mark next to it, but others do.

Suspend immigration from terror prone regions and suspend the Syrian refugee program, both items that have check marks next to them, despite the fact that both versions of President Trump`s travel ban have been blocked by federal courts.

Then, directly under the header pledges on immigration, there`s cancel all federal funding to sanctuary cities which has a check mark despite the fact that last week a federal judge blocked that executive order too.

Among the other items without a little check mark next to them, the very first item sitting at the top of the board repeal and replace Obamacare.



HILLARY CLINTON, FRM. U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE:  It wasn`t a perfect campaign.  There is no such thing.  But I was on the way to winning until a combination of Jim Comey`s letter on October 28 and Russian WikiLeaks raised doubts in the minds of people who were inclined to vote for me, but got scared off.


HAYES:  It wasn`tHillary Clinton`s first public appearance since the election, but it was definitely her most candid.  Speaking to journalist Christiane Amanpour this afternoon as part of a luncheon for Women International Charity, Clinton took personal responsibility for her loss, but she also suggested other factors had a significant impact.


CLINTON:  We overcame a lot in the campaign.  We overcame an enormous barrage of negativity, of false equivalency, and so much else.

But as Nate Silver, who, you know, he doesn`t work for me, he`s an independent analyst, but one considered to be very reliable, you know, has concluded if the election had been on October 27th, I`d be your president. 

So did we make mistakes?  Of course we did.  Did I make mistakes?  Oh, my gosh, yes.  You know, you`ll read my confession and my request for absolution.  But the reason why I believe we lost were the intervening events in the last ten days.


HAYES:  At one point, Hillary Clinton talked about her forthcoming book which is about the campaign and admitted that reliving the process was a painful one.  Still, she managed to point out at least one silver lining from last November.


CLINTON:  And remember, I did win more than 3 million votes than my opponent.  So, it`s like really...


CLINTON:  Well, with, fine, you know, better that than interfering in foreign affairs.  If he wants to tweet about me, I`m happy to be the -- you know, the diversion because we`ve got lots of other things to worry about.

And he should worry less about the election and my winning the popular vote than doing some  other things that would be important for the country.


HAYES:  It`s clear today Hillary Clinton is not over this election.  Up next, the part where she joins the resistance, really.  Don`t go away.



CLINTON:  I spent decades learning about what it would take to move our country forward,, including people who clearly didn`t vote for me to try to make sure that we dealt with a lot of these hard issues that are right around the corner and things that are really going to be upending the economy for the vast majority of Americans to say nothing of the rest of the world.

So, you know, I`m now back to being an activist citizen and part of the resistance.


HAYES:  Joining me now, Karen Finney, former senior adviser, senior spokesperson for Hillary Clinton`s campaign, and Josh Barro MSNBC contributor, the senior editor at Business Insider who just wrote a  piece called "Some thoughts are Greenwich, Winnetka and why Hillary Clinton lost."

I wanted to play this clip, Karen, for you from the weekend.  Because I was watching Hillary Clinton today talk about Donald Trump and talk about my opponent and had this sort of like campaign flashback.  And then I remembered this rally from the weekend, which also felt like we were back in September.  Take a listen.


TRUMP:  Does anybody remember who our opponent was?  Huh?


HAYES:  They chanted "lock her up."

No one is over the election I guess is my point.  No one.

KAREN FINNEY, FRM. SPOKESPERSON HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN:  Well, hold on, Chris.  That`s a little bit of a cheap shot there, because Hillary was actually asked several questions by Christiane Amanpour about the election so she was actually -- I mean, she was responding to questions about the election when talking about the election.

HAYES:  Karen, are you telling me that Hillary Clinton is over the election?

FINNEY:  That`s not my point.  My point is you`re playing a clip of her answering a question about the election and saying she`s not over the election which is different is a little bit actually than actually you won, you`re the president and at a rally where because you`re too much of a big baby to go to a  dinner with journalists you`re still talking about...

HAYES:  But the point is still...

FINNEY: you won.

HAYES:  The point still holds, right?

FINNEY:  What`s more important, she talked about -- I think, look.  You also mentioned she was very blunt, I thought, in her assessment of the election.  She took personal responsibility, absolute  responsibility, talked about, you know, some of the mistakes, and I think you`ll hear more about it in her book about mistakes that were made, either by herself and by our campaign.

But then the other things that she mentioned - I mean, she`s not wrong to suggest that perhaps our president should not be tweeting so much about how he won the election and should be, I don`t  know, doing more reading about North Korea as General Wilkerson suggested earlier in your show.

HAYES:  Yeah, there`s no - colonel - there`s no -- there`s no -- I totally agree with that.

But I also think, Josh, that there is - you and I were going back and forth on this today and a lot of people were, there`s this strange thing where people want Hillary Clinton to take responsibility in a way that seems strange to me, like that she`s supposed to say the only reason she lost is because of decisions that Hillary Clinton made when it is just objectionably the case in every election from John McCain`s loss to John Kerry`s, to whoever`s, that there`s lots of factors particularly in something as uncertain and volatile as this cmapaign.

JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER:  I don`t think she should say she lost only because of  mistakes she made.  I mean, look, if I humiliatingly lost a presidential to Donald Trump that I had widely been expected to win, I would never get over it.  I would fixate on it for the rest of my life.

But the question is what should the Democratic Party be doing right now?  And I think, you know, there`s a wide variety of reasons she lost.  And any close election like this there are many things you can go back and change and produce a different result.

I agree with Hillary Clinton, that the Comey letter was dispositive.  But I also think a better candidate would not have been vulnerable to something like the Comey letter.  And I think as Democrats look going forward as they look and try to find lessons that they can take into the 2020 election they should focus on the mistakes they made because those are mistakes that they can avoid making next time around rather than being very upset about things that happened beyond your control that caused you to lose.

HAYES:  What do you think of that, Karen.

FINNEY:  I absolutely agree.  And it`s part of why talking about this idea and what is now a fact-based reality that the Russians interfered in our election.  That should scare all of us terribly. I mean, that is a very big deal.  And again, we`re not saying that that`s the only reason that she lost but it`s a big deal that, you know, a foreign actor that is hostile to our country interfered in our election in the same way, actually Chris, I`ve seen a number of studies that have come out that said in a number of those Rust Belt states, there are - a number of those counties where you had voters who had voted to Obama who shifted to Trump, fear of diversity was a larger factor in their support for Trump than the economy.

Now that to me is something that is particularly after eight years of President Obama, I care very deeply about, and as not just a Democratic Party but as an American, I`d like to better understand that because it suggests as a country as we`re trying to move forward, and we are more diverse country, we`ve still got a lot of work to do.

HAYES:  Josh, you seem like you`d like to respond.

BARRO:  That`s a big deal.

But another thing that is a big deal is the Democrats somehow managed toget themselves into a position where large swaths of Americans, white and non- white, doubt the Democratic Party`s commitment to ordinary working people.  And you saw lots of these working class white voters switching to Trump and you saw lots of working class non-white voters underperforming on turnout  because they were not enthused about the idea that Hillary Clinton was for them.

And I think, you know, a great example is on banks.  In retrospect, obviously the idea that Donald Trump was the tough candidate on Goldman Sachs was ridiculous.  And if Democrats want to make that case in 2020, they would be well advised not to nominate somebody who had taken $675,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs.  There were big mistakes that Democrats in general and the Clintons specifically made that caused the Democratic Party to become associated with certain elites in the economy, in the country, and that is a change the Democrats can make on their own.

The investigation around Russia is very important.  There are organs of the government that will do that, certainly Democrats should talk about it.  But that`s a thing that`s house cleaning that the Democratic Party must do on its own and it`s the sort of thing that they can really fix through their own effort.

FINNEY:  But I also think it`s really important, and I think that the party needs to make these changes.

I mean, two big things, right.  Number one, I think it was a huge mistake the Democratic Party stopped investing in the 50-state strategy and we actually removed ourselves from the ground game in the eight years while President Obama was in office.  I think that`s one of the things that the party is looking at now and trying to change and I hope they do, because I think we`ve got to be more involved in the grassroots on an ongoing basis so that we`re much more - listening to people much more closely so it`s not just about a candidate, but that it`s about believing that the party will do what it says it will do because you see they`ve been there and you see them do what they say they`re going to do.  I think that`s really important.

And I think looking at the record of the candidate is really important.  And, look, I think quite frankly, and I`m sure I`m going to get plenty of tweets about this, I do think that with Hillary.  I mean, we put out very detailed plans, that she said...

HAYES:  I`ve got say, Karen...