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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 5/24/2017

Guests: Alexis Levinson, Bernie Sanders, Ben Jacobs, Jennifer Rubin, Steven Rattner, Tom Ricks, Evelyn Farkas, Michael Isikoff, Karoun Demirjian, Ken McCallion

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 24, 2017 Guest: Alexis Levinson, Bernie Sanders, Ben Jacobs, Jennifer Rubin, Steven Rattner, Tom Ricks, Evelyn Farkas, Michael Isikoff, Karoun Demirjian, Ken McCallion

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: .org. Well, that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Everybody is got to be covered. This is an un-republican thing for me to say.

HAYES: The Trumpcare scare.

TRUMP: What we have is something very, very incredibly well crafted.

HAYES: Tens of millions to lose coverage, higher premiums next year and massive tax cuts for the rich at the expense of health care for the poor.

CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Seniors could see their premiums go up by as much as 800 percent.

HAYES: Tonight, full analysis of what Trumpcare would mean for America and why it could cause apolitical earthquake. Then The New York Times reports American spies recorded top Russian officials discussing how to influence Trump aides. And the Washington Post scoops that Russian disinformation may have inspired Comey to intervene.

JAMES COMEY, FORMER FBI DIRECTOR: It makes me mildly nauseous.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. On the eve of the special election in Montana, which was already way too close for comfort for republicans there, we have breaking news at this moment from Bozeman, Montana where the republican candidate for Congress has reportedly assaulted a reporter covering the race. Greg Gianforte is the republican candidate for Montana`s lone at large congressional seat running in tomorrow`s special election against democratic candidate Rob Quist. Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs has been out in Montana covering that race and just after 7:00 Eastern, Jacobs tweeted the following. Greg Gianforte just body-slammed me and broke my glasses. Ten minutes later, Jacobs tweeted, there was a local TV crew there when Gianforte body slammed me. Audio is posting soon @GuardianUS. Naturally we reached out to Jacobs, confirmed this was not a joke. We`ve also reached out to the Gianforte campaign to get their version of events, we await a response. There were witnesses, however, and we have one of them on the phone right now. Alexis Levinson of BuzzFeed News was in Bozeman and saw the confrontation. She joins live on the phone. Now Alexis, are you there?

ALEXIS LEVISON, BUZZFEED REPORTER (via telephone): Hey, I`m here.

HAYES: OK, Alexis. So just what did you see? How did this go down?

LEVINSON: So Ben and I drove over to this event. It`s at the Gianforte campaign headquarters IN Bozeman. We walked in. It`s a bunch of people making phone calls. We`d both been requesting time with him. It was clear they were not psyched to give Ben time and not entirely clear on why, but they`re seem to be - one of Gianforte`s aides indicated there was some sort of issue with some prior - they had taken some sort of issue with something the Guardian had written about the race previously or done about the race previously. And then Gianforte went into kind of a side room off this little area where people were making calls, and Ben - (INAUDIBLE) there was a TV crew set up in there, a local TV crew. Ben kind of walked in as we all do, just to kind of listen in on everyone`s interviews. And I wasn`t really paying attention and then all of a sudden, I heard this huge crash, like really alarming. This is you know, 15 people in like a small kind of room. And I saw someone`s feet fly in the air. And then I heard yelling, and it was pretty clearly Gianforte a voice from what I`ve heard him say before, and he said something to the effect and I gather Ben has audio, so he`ll have a more accurate read on this. But it was something to the effect of, get out of here, get out of here, you know. Are you from the Guardian? This is the same damn thing the other people did. And then someone slammed - I may be a little off on the timeline with the rest of it, but in someone - in some particular order someone slammed the door and then opened the door. Ben came out, his glasses were broken. He said, he just body-slammed me. He sort of stood there stunned for a second. An aide went into the room, came back out, told Ben, you need to leave. And Gianforte and an aide walked into another room, closed the door. Everyone just sort of sat there silently because everyone in the room had heard all of this. Ben went outside. Cops were called, paramedics were called. Ben was last i saw in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. I have to a - the police are interviewing people or the sheriff are interviewing people. I have to go do like a formal witness interview. After this I think -

HAYES: The sheriff - I`m sorry. Police came - police and fire came, ambulance came, Ben was taken -

LEVINSON: Police and Fire came, Ben is in an ambulance. They were saying he`s fine. You should definitely talk to him about this, not me, but they were saying he`s fine. He said he wanted to go to the --- they obviously advised everyone to go to the hospital after something like this. And Gianforte went into a room with aides. Everyone kind of went behind closed doors. There were a lot of aides coming and going from behind closed doors and Gianforte went out. I didn`t see him for a while. And my understanding is I think he might have been talking to the police. There was the police - the EMT guys said someone was talking to the police, they didn`t specify who. He disappeared for a while and then I started to go back inside and saw that Gianforte was in the passenger seat with two of his - in a car with two of his aides. Then I asked the aides what was going on, they didn`t answer to me and got in the car and drove away. And now the Sheriff`s Department is still here interviewing people.

HAYES: So, I just want to make sure I have this right. This was a campaign event that was in just a campaign headquarters, so it`s just volunteers around like making calls, right?

LEVINSON: Yes. So I mean, this was - this is - it`s on his official press schedule. This was supposed to be just his final campaign event before election day, to thank you for volunteers. It`s at their campaign headquarters in Bozeman to then in sort of this office park in Bozeman. And it`s just a lot of volunteers sitting there, making calls when I walked in.

HAYES: So they`re sitting there makes calls. The side room that he goes into is a side room which a local TV network had set up, a sort of shoot for an interview. And when Ben went in that room, was it just Ben and Gianforte in there or there are bunch of other people in that room?

LEVINSON: I believe the TV crew was in there.

HAYES: I see.

LEVINSON: They were in there when I saw before and -

HAYES: So people saw this?

LEVINSON: Yes. Ben sort of - it was sort of like a - you know, we all do this when TV crews interview a candidate. You sort of like stand there so you can get the audio as well.

HAYES: Right.

LEVINSON: Since they tend not to want to give like endless interviews on the same thing. And Ben sort of - you know, was standing in the door. The door was wide open. There was no -

HAYES: So he doesn`t even - he doesn`t even go in - he doesn`t even duck in to like go ask a bunch of questions. He`s there to lurking to listen to the interview?

LEVINSON: I didn`t hear him say anything. I just heard - I saw him duck in. it`s not -

HAYES: I mean, not that asking questions would mean that he deserved what happened, but just to clarify -

LEVINSON: I can`t speak for what happened in the room because I didn`t try and go in. I was sort of just standing there. But I heard the crash, and I saw his feet fly.

HAYES: And he came out and said, with broken glasses in his hand, he just body slammed me?


HAYES: And then the candidate was - went into another room with an aide and was behind closed doors for a while?


HAYES: And then the police came, ambulance and fire came, and the police - the sheriff`s office are now taking witness statements right now?

LEVINSON: They just took one from me, and they said I - they had to tell me to come somewhere to do a formal interview.

HAYES: OK. All right. Thank you so much, Alexis Levinson, live from Bozeman, Montana. We should note we have talked to Ben Jacobs. We expect him to call in and give us his account. At some point during the show, we will bring that to you as soon as it happens. Now, it was already a bad political day, I think it`s fair to say about - for republicans on Capitol Hill, big news tonight on the efforts of the republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office just released its analysis of the latest GOP health care bill, almost three weeks to the day after republicans passed it out of the House with no CBO score and in some cases no time for members to even read the legislation. And now weeks later, the bill is finally coming due. According to the GOP, the republican plan would increase the number of people without insurance by 14 million in just one year. That would go to 23 million over a period of ten years. It would reduce the deficit by $119 billion over ten years, slightly less than an earlier version would have done, while premiums are projected to decrease somewhat overall, they would skyrocket for many people in states that opt out of certain coverage requirements under a late compromise added to that bill.

As Vox`s Sarah Kliff pointed out, the "CBO estimates that in state requesting AHCA waivers, premiums for low income elderly enrollees would go up 800 percent. That is not a typo." Even before these new numbers came out, the republican health care bill was already deeply unpopular. Just 32 percent approved of it according to a poll from Monmouth University compared to 55 percent who disapproved. The CBO score comes little more than 24 hours after the White House releases their budget proposal generating negative headlines in local papers around the country. Rural Nebraska would take a hit under the Trump budget. Trump budget axes program that funds West Virginia infrastructure projects. Trump - Donald Trump budget would affect Wisconsin`s poor elderly and disabled advocate say. And in Anniston, Alabama, Trump cuts - cuts in Trump budget proposal would slash some local programs. As we noted yesterday, something for nearly everyone to dislike including republican lawmakers. On Capitol Hill today, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney faced a grilling from GOP Congressman Mark Sanford over the proposal`s unusually creative accounting.


REP. MARK SANFORD (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You have said that the foundation of your budget is 3 percent growth, and I have looked every which way at how you might get there, and you can`t get there. And what this does is it creates real debates from happening. I mean, legitimately myself and democrat colleagues can see things quite differently but for us to have a real debate, we have to base it on real numbers. This budget presumes a goldilocks economy, and I think that that`s a very difficult thing on which to base a budget.


HAYES: The Trump budget is also taking heat for a massive $2 trillion - I said that correctly -- $2 trillion math error which uses the same pool of money twice for two different purposes. Amidst a Special Counsel investigation into possible collusion between the President`s campaign and Russian meddling of the 2016 election coupled with mounting evidence the President may have committed obstruction of justice by trying to impede that investigation, republican lawmakers would love nothing more than to get back to their domestic policy agenda. But that agenda may carry an even greater political cost than the President`s Russia scandal. For the first time in the Trump era, democrats just flipped two state level seats winning special elections in New Hampshire, and New York State, both in districts that went strongly for Trump in 2016. We`re now less than a month away from the special election in Georgia`s Sixth Congressional District in which the republican health care plan has been a central issue. New polling there puts democrat Jon Ossoff at 51 percent, seven points ahead of republican Karen Handel. And as we mentioned earlier, voters go to the polls tomorrow in that Montana Special House Election. It will be an uphill climb for democrat Rob Quist. The president won the state by 20 points, but as politico reports, republicans are concerned the race is much closer than it should be. Over the weekend, Quist was out campaigning with Bernie Sanders and once again, health care was at the top of the agenda.


ROB QUIST (D) MONTANA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: To my mind, you know, in the greatest country on earth, people should not have to go bankrupt due to health issues. People should not have to go bankrupt.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D) VERMONT: Rob understands, you understand, and I understand that health care is a right, not a privilege.


HAYES: And joining me now, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. And Senator, you were just in Montana with Rob Quist. Big rally venue for this special election. And I`m just curious what the core issues are - that campaign are turning on right now.

SANDERS: I`ll tell you what it is, Chris. It`s health care. In Montana, if the republican health care plan goes through, not only will 23 million Americans lose health care, but 70,000 people in the state of Montana, and that is a real concern for older people in America, in Montana, premiums, old worker`s premiums would soar. People would lose access to Planned Parenthood, 2.5 million women. And Medicaid would be cut by over $800 billion. So I think, Rob Quist, by the way, is running a great campaign, and I think he`s been focusing on this disastrous what he calls un-American health care plan.

HAYES: Do you think - I mean the CBO score out today is in that ways - in many ways appreciably different from the first one, about what everyone expected. But what do you think about the political ramifications for these numbers coming out after they already voted for and passed the thing?

SANDERS: I think it`s a disaster for the republicans, you know. I think what it`s about is that they`re going to have to go back to the drawing board. I don`t know how, if you`re a republican congressman, you go home to Montana or anybody else, anyplace else and say, look, the CBO has just said we`re throwing 23 million people off of health insurance. You`re an old worker, you`re 63, 64 years old, your premiums are soaring. You`re a woman, you have gone to Planned Parenthood for years, we`re not going to allow you to do that anymore. So I think that this is a disaster for the republicans, and I think Quist is quite right in campaigning on this.

HAYES: So there`s also the budget, right? And the budget is interesting because-

SANDERS: That`s right.

HAYES: - it shares a lot in common with the ACHA and that it`s - all of it is fairly doctrinaire of Paul Ryanism. It`s what you would expect.

SANDERS: No, it`s -- no, no, no. Chris, let me beg to differ with you. This is not Paul Ryan. This is the Koch Brothers. This is the ending in their view of 70, 75 years of programs designed to help the working people of this country, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor. That`s what this is about. This is about massive, massive, massive tax breaks to the top 1 percent. Trump budget has 3 trillion - that`s with a T, $3 trillion in tax breaks over a ten-year period that go to the top 1 percent. Listen to this. I mean, this is unbelievable. The Walton family, the wealthiest family in this country, would get a $53 billion tax break as a result of the repeal of the estate tax at the same time as they`re going to throw millions of children off of health insurance. They`re going to do away with the Meals on Wheels program, they`re going to do away with or cut significantly the WIC Program for low income pregnant women and nutrition program for low income pregnant women and their newborn babies. Can you imagine? $53 billion in tax breaks for the richest family in America, massive cuts in nutrition, education, health care for working families.

HAYE: So, I want to ask you about - you say the Koch Brothers and obviously they sort of funded a huge part of this certain movement or produced these kind of ideas and also politicians individually. But it also strikes me that someone like Mick Mulvaney, who wrote this budget by all appearances, genuinely believes in what he`s doing.

SANDERS: That`s right.

HAYES: I mean there`s - the republicans who are - who are proposing this, it is not politically popular, and it just seems to me they have affirmatively chosen this because they genuinely believe in the project they are engaged in.

SANDERS: Well, I wouldn`t go so - you know, the answer is yes and no. They believe in it, but it doesn`t hurt that the Koch Brothers, over many, many years, have spent hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars propping up and creating think tanks and all kinds of so-called nonprofits and putting unbelievable amounts of money into political campaigns. So what their view is, my perception is, they understand they`re cutting Medicaid, disastrously cutting Pell Grants, cutting nutrition programs, very politically unpopular.


SANDERS: But on the other hand - on the other hand, they have unlimited sums of money from the billionaire class behind them to go after democrats, go after anybody who stands in their way. That`s I think the game that they are all playing.

HAYES: So here`s a question then politically in terms of where this goes next. Everyone - you know, we had a hard time - we had a hard time finding republican who will - who will talk about the Trump budget and defend it. It`s not politically popular. You have republican colleagues of yours in the Senate saying it`s dead on arrival. They also said the same thing about this health care bill that got scored today, but there`s also news that Senate republicans are talking behind closed doors. They`re not going to reach out to democrats. Are they going to get some - are they going to essentially do what the House did and spring a bill? Is that your anticipation?

SANDERS: Hard to say. You`re right in saying that there are a number of republicans, all males, I should tell you, working behind closed doors. On the other hand, they have also been trying to reach out to some more conservative democrats who are not biting. This has a lot to do with the so-called reconciliation process, whether they`re going to need 60 votes, whether they`re going to need 50 votes, that we don`t know at this point. But I think - I think frankly that they are walking into a real political quagmire. The American people do not believe in $3 trillion in tax breaks for the top 1 percent and massive cuts in programs for working people, the elderly, you know, the children. That`s not what the American people want.

HAYES: What`s striking about all this of course is they could produce with some tweaks things that would be more popular. I mean, even on the tax side, they could just - you know, put a lot more middle class tax cuts in there and sweeten the pot for popularity`s sake. It`s sort of striking that they`re not.

SANDERS: No, these guys are going forward. I mean, I think you have to give Trump and his colleagues a bit of credit. They are going forward. They are going to implement the Koch Brothers` agenda, massive tax breaks for the people on top, the hell with the middle class, the hell with working families. Those folks are not within their area of concern.

HAYES: All right. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, thank you for your time tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you.

HAYES: All right. Right now we have Ben Jacobs. That`s the Guardian reporter in Bozeman, Montana, who`s been covering the Congressional Race that is set to have an election tomorrow, who says he was body-slammed tonight by the Republican Candidate, Greg Gianforte. Ben, are you there?

BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN REPORTER: I`m here. Thanks for - thanks for having me.

HAYES: Are you OK?

JACOBS: I`m going to get my elbow checked out. I landed on my elbow, and It`s not - you know, it`s less than comfortable. I`m making sure that it`s OK because I`m one-handed typing right now.

HAYES: Can you - so you were at this event, it was at a campaign stop with volunteers and there was a room that the candidate was in. He was going to do a TV interview. Take us through what happened.

JACOBS: So that he was doing a TV interview, and I`d been pressing the campaign for a few days for - to grant Gianforte one-on-one and they told me that they decided in the past they weren`t and I just want to - figured he was standing around there and just reach out and get his response to the CBO score, that he`d been talking about that he`d been holding off his opinion on health care until (INAUDIBLE) until he saw the CBO score. But went up and asked him about it and sort of said -- you know, try to said, you know, talk to my - talk to my communications person - so I just followed up and said, you know, you`ve been talking about this, just wanted to get your response. And then he sort of said, no, I`ve had enough and next thing I know, I`m being body-slammed. And he - you know, he`s on top of me for a second my glasses are broken; it`s the strangest -- the strangest moment in my entire life reporting.

HAYES: Wait, so you walk into the room, and you say, I`d like to get your -I want to get your response to the CBO score.


HAYES: And he - and does he - does he just do - does he scream and raise his voice while he does it, or he just body-slams you.

JACOBS: The audio`s up that he sort of - he said talked to my communications person, I sort of just follow up and he grabs my recorder, and (INAUDIBLE) the audio should be up right now on the Guardian. And, yes, throws me down, my glasses break, he sort of, I think - I`m pretty sure he`s on top of me wailing for a second, and then screams at me to get the hell out. And then - you know, his staffer comes in and it`s just very strange and mortifying because, you know, I`m used to - I don`t mind being blown off by politicians, and I also am always terribly uncomfortable being part of a story. And now it seems like I became the story.

HAYES: You`ve been covering this race. You`ve been there covering this race, and you tweeted the other day - I just - to give you a context, that Rob Quist, who is the democratic candidate, ran away from questions that you were trying to ask along with Don Gonyea from NPR and another reporter. So you`ve been - you`ve been trying to get these candidates, who my sense is both of them have been kind of shying away from national media as much as they possibly can.

JACOBS: Yes. They`ve been both kind of simply very much playing defense and sort of avoiding questions and avoiding - you know, any sort of contact with the press that they both have campaigns (INAUDIBLE). You know, they both have committed their fair share of gaffes, and -- yes. And so - this is - I think they`ve been trying to keep away and I was just hoping to get the most basic statement on the CBO report and wasn`t expecting a - you know, I think - I think I wasn`t expecting detailed policy. But then again I also wasn`t expecting to be body-slammed.

HAYES: What happens after - are there other people in the room aside from you and Gianforte when this happens?

JACOBS: Yes, there are a couple of local TV people. Alexis Levinson was standing outside the room and sort of watched me walk in there, and I guess it sounds like then watched me go from vertical to horizontal relatively quickly.

HAYES: I want to - I want to play the audio for the folks that are watching this and for you as well just so - this is your audio, so you can - you can hear it, relive it, and the folks at home can listen. Take a listen.


JACOBS: - the CBO score because you know, you were waiting to make your decision about healthcare until you saw the bill, and it just came out and --


JACOBS: Yes. there`s not going to be time, I`m just curious -

GIANFORTE: OK. Speak with Shane, please.

I`m sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. You with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here. I`d also like to call the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get your guys` names?

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.


HAYES: So what is he referring to when he says some guy just did - I mean, it sounds like he was - another reporter had try to come in? Well, I mean, clearly he has a scheduled interview with one outlet that he is given an interview for, and he is -

JACOBS: Yes. This was long before that this wasn`t known to set up. There weren`t mics, they`re weren`t makeup so they were standing around, and I (INAUDIBLE) opportunity. The reference is to - I have colleagues of mine who were in Montana a couple weeks ago, and I should have had issue, they put out, they actually did a video on the race, and I think they were unhappy with dealing with my colleagues and this apparently -- I`m not sure of the detail and the mind set, but apparently, you know, they were - they just - they just decided that they had reached their limit of questions from the Guardian.

HAYES: After this happens, what did you do next?

JACOBS: I went actually to the parking lot and the car and sort of - you know, I sort of really, really just sort of figuring out what was going on. And get called - I made two calls in that order, which is to my editor and to the police.

HAYES: And the police came, did they - and they talked to you?

JACOBS: Yes, they did. I`m actually at the - in the hospital right now about to get my elbow x-rayed because I landed on my elbow, and it`s not - you know, not exactly, you know, 100 percent shape right now.

HAYES: What did - did the police - we talk to Alexis before, it sounded like the sheriff`s office had people there who were taking witness statements or interviewing. Do you know who they talked to? Did Gianforte`s aides or him himself say anything to you after that?

JACOBS: No. Gianforte left shortly thereafter. I was sort of - they asked me to leave and then between the police and the paramedics, I was sort of not quite paying attention to anything else.

HAYES: All right. Ben, I want to thank you for making time, and I truly hope your elbow is OK.

JACOBS: I - it`s not my pitching arm, so I should be OK.

HAYES: OK. Ben Jacobs of the Guardian, who - you just heard his account, he says, of being assaulted by the man who is running to Represent Montana in the United States Congress the day before he will be on the ballot in the Special Election there. Greg Gianforte, who did this in response to a question from Ben, according to Ben and to the audio that we just heard, about the CBO score on the AHCA. Ben Jacobs, I hope you get a clean bill of health. Thanks for making time tonight. Appreciate it.

JACOBS: Thanks for having me.

HAYES: I`m joined now by Jennifer Rubin, Conservative Columnist from the Washington Post and Stephen Rattner, former Head of President Obama`s Auto Industry Task Force. We were going to talk about the Budget, but I feel like, Jennifer, would - have you ever heard of such a thing in your time in politics?

JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST, COLUMNIST: This is absolutely stunning. First of all, that he would be threatened apparently by a meek question you heard on the audio ,a very politely posed question. And there are ways of manner in which candidates say I don`t want to talk to you or, as he initially did, go talk to my communications guy or scram, but to physically accost someone, throw them down on the floor, potentially injure them, what is wrong with this man? I mean this is really sort of appalling. And I do want to say that there is a cost to continually berating the media. There is a cost to labeling these people, myself included, enemies, the opposition, continuing to berate them, calling on crowds to hoot and holler at them. You create an atmosphere in which these people are not treated like human beings and although I`m sure the President did not intend for this particular candidate to do this, that is the end effect when you begin behaving that way. The fish rots from the head, the tone of the politics of the country is set by the President of the United States.

HAYES: Well, I want to - Steve, I want to go to your reaction because you`ve been in public life, in and out of sort of the private sector in government. And - but I want to replay, if anyone is just joining us now, replay that audio because the audio is really pretty stunning. You can listen to it. Take a listen right now. This is Ben Jacobs asking Gianforte a question.


JACOBS: - the CBO score because you know, you were waiting to make your decision about healthcare until you saw the bill, and it just came out and --

GIANFORTE: We`ll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yes. there`s not going to be time, I`m just curious -

GIANFORTE: OK. Speak with Shane, please.

I`m sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. You with the Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here. I`d also like to call the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I get your guys` names?

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.


HAYES: Steve, that`s - first of all, you`ve been around reporters and not willing to answer questions from them. I`ve gotten the brush off from people, you know, an aide stands in the way. There`s sometimes it gets a little physical. Have you ever, ever seen or heard anything like that?

STEVEN RATTNER, PRESIDENT OBAMA`S AUTO INDUSTRY TASK FORCE FORMER HEAD: No. I would just agree with everything Jennifer said. I won`t repeat it all, but I`ve never in all my years of being around politics, as you say, in public service in one form or another and even as a reporter in my youth, have never seen - have never seen anything like that. And so the interesting question will be how the residents of Montana react to this. As you know - as you pointed out, Trump did carry the state by 20 points, but Steve Bullock was elected governor by four points over Gianforte as a matter of fact.

HAYES: Against this candidate, yes.

RATTNER: Yes, this very same guy. And so it is a state Jon Tester, a Democratic Senator from the same - at present, they have elected democrats. It will be interesting to see how the voters respond to this tomorrow.

HAYES: I would also note that - and not to link what Gianforte did to what the actual topic was. But this was a question about the CBO score of the AHCA, and the AHCA has been a central part of this campaign and Gianforte has essentially tried to kind of be neutral on it. He said he was withholding judgment, which to me, Steve, shows the kind of political veillance -- if the republican running the outlier seat in Montana can`t four square stand behind the House`s bill, that tells you something.

RATTNER: The health care - the reaction of the country to the health care debate is really quite extraordinary. Donald Trump has accomplished something that frankly Barack Obama could never accomplish, which is he`s made the ACA, the Obamacare legislation, achieve a majority of popularity. There was a Fox poll I think just out today. 54 percent of Americans are approve of the ACA, which is the highest I think it`s ever been. And so as people have seen these numbers, have gotten to learn about the AHCA, the Republican alternative, have learned how this would all work, it is actually working, I think, very substantially to the Republicans` disadvantage. So, I think you`re going to see a lot of Republicans running away from this bill and running away from these kinds of changes.

HAYES: Yeah, Jennifer, the significance to me of this being a question about the CBO score that prompts this response, I mean, you know, he does not want to answer a question about the CBO score on the AHCA, I think that`s clear from the audio.

RUBIN: Right.

I want to make one point about the CBO score that I hope doesn`t get lost because of the news coming out of Montana and the general uproar over the budget, which is entirely justified. Paul Ryan, the president of the United States went to congress, went to the American people and said, oh, this amendment, the Meadows-MacArthur amendment, we`ve taken care of people with preexisting illnesses. That is precisely what the CBO points to as a factor that will make not only 800 percent increases in premiums for such people, but make it totally unavailable.

And I think this is a lie that the Republicans have to answer to. The chumps in the Republican conference who switched their vote because of this amendment need to be held accountable. And taking a vote before you had the CBO score at all is just the height of irresponsibility. And it offends me as a Republican, as someone who believes in governance, that they would play these games on issues of such importance to the American people. It really is disgraceful.

HAYES: Final question to you, Steve,about the $2 trillion error or attempted con. I don`t know which it is. But they basically double count $2 trillion worth of projected savings that aren`t even built themselves built on realistic expectations. How obvious was that to you when you first looked at this?

GIANFORTT: It`s actually worse than $2 trillion. I was actually on the call when Mulvaney briefed the press as I guess a member of the press in my spare time. And, in fact, what they did was they did not count any costs from the president`s $5 trillion to $6 trillion tax cut plan. So, in fact, there`s 5.5 trillion dollars of costs, of lost revenue, that is nowhere in this budget. And so, in fact, what this budget comes down to very simply is $3.6 trillion of proposed spending cuts, most of which will never get through the Democrats in the senate who have a block on a lot of this stuff, and $5.5 trillion of tax cuts that as Bernie Sanders said heavily go to the rich.

And so in fact, this budget which they claim will be balanced in fact creates $2 trillion more debt over the next ten years than the last Obama budget. So, it is a complete -- I`ve followed these budgets for I think 40 years since I was a reporter, and this is the most egregious use of numbers I`ve ever seen in my entire time.

HAYES: All right. Jennifer Rubin, and Steve Ratner, thank you both.

I want to do some updating on the breaking news story out of Montana that we brought you at the top of this hour. Ben Jacobs, reporter for The Guardian, who was in Montana covering that was at an event with Greg Gianforte. He is the candidate running in that at-large congressional special election that is tomorrow. He`s the Republican candidate running against Rob Quist, the Democrat.

We played you audio of Ben Jacobs at this campaign event walking into a room where an interview had been set up with a TV crew and asking him for reaction, Gianforte, to the CBO score on the AHCA. And you heard the audio, and you heard Ben say that he was body slammed by the candidate. I want to give you now a statement from the campaign. This is the Gianforte campaign statement from Bozeman. Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private office, the guardian`s Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission, aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg`s face and began asking badgering questions.

Jacobs was asked to leave after asking Jacobs to lower the recorder. Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg`s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. It`s unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist created this scene at our campaign volunteer BBQ.

That was Shane Scanlon, spokesperson for Greg from Montana.

We should play you the audio that documents the exchange, and you can decide for yourself whether the account given by the campaign is accurate. So just take a listen to that.


BEN JACOBS, JOURNALIST: CBO score. As you know you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came out.

GREG GIANFORTE, MONTANA CANDIDATE FOR CONGRES: We`ll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there`s not going to be time. I`m just curious...

GIANFORTE: OK. Speak with Shane, please.

I`m sick and tired of you guys. The last guy that came in here, you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. You with The Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes. And you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here, I`d also like to call the police. Can I get you guys` names.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


HAYES: All right, again, we have that campaign statement from Republican Greg Gianforte`s campaign that he was -- had a phone shoved in his face, that he tried to get the phone unshoved from his face as it were. After asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Greg then attempted to grab the phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg`s wrist -- this is the account from the campaign - spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground.

Again, you can sort of make your determination based on that audio that we have. There may be video at some point since there was a TV crew in there, but that is the latest.

A fairly remarkable situation. I have to say I`ve been a reporter for 15 years or so and have gotten brush-offs from politicians a lot. I`ve gotten pushed here and there by aides who didn`t want me talking to someone. Things get a little testy sometimes. Never anything like the account that we just heard from Ben Jacobs.

And the polls open tomorrow morning for that election day. There is early voting that has been taking place. But the final election day in that special election, which will feature that individual, Greg Gianforte, who just lost an election in November statewide, that will happen tomorrow morning. We will be back with other big news in this very, very, very packed news day right after this break.


HAYES: Oonce again, today The New York Times and Washington Post with big new scoops about the Trump administration. The Times reporting that top Russian officials discussed how to influence Trump aides last summer. Much more on that in a bit, but first to the post report which centers on this question: did former FBI Director James Comey get fooled into going rogue during the campaign by a fake Russian intelligence document?

Officials say the document played a big role in Comey`s decision to make a public statement about the Hillary Clinton email investigation last July, setting in motion a chain of events that many observers believe cost Clinton the presidential election. The document in question referenced an email that was supposedly sent by the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, where she indicated that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who was presiding over DOJ at that time, had promised that the Justice Department would not aggressively pursue the email investigation.

But The Post now reports that according to the FBI`s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau.

Joining me now, the co-author of The Washington Post report Karoun Demirjian.

All right, Karoun, this is a little complicated so I want to sort of walk through this. Comey at some point, they`re deciding how to deal with this investigation and how to deal with Lynch. And FBI gets this document that you report on that says what?

KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s analysis by Russian intelligence. It says that there is this email as you explained just a minute ago from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to a member of the Clinton campaign team describing how -- excuse me, from Debbie Wasserman-Schultz to an employee of the Oakland Society Foundation, a George Soros group, describing how Loretta Lynch has been in touch with a member of the Clinton campaign team and telling them that she`s not going to let the FBI probe into Clinton`s emails go too far.

So, that`s basically what`s set out here. And that`s what falls into the FBI`s lap. And then the question is the discussions that happened in trying to determine what the intelligence value of that document is.

What we learned is that by August, they had determined that it was unreliable, that it is not something that should have been counted on in any way, because unreliable is a fairly straight assessment of the lack of reliability of the information therein.

And yet we found out several months later that this was part of the explanation for why he made the decision in early July to push Lynch to one side basically and announcing the end and the closing of the probe into Clinton`s emails, which, of course, is the reason he then cited in October for why he had to come out and address leaders in congress to tell them, no, actually we`ve come across new things. That means that maybe it`s not closed afterall.

HAYES: So, I just want to be clear about this document. So, it purports - - it`s a Russian intelligence report in which the Russians say tjhat they have seen an email that they`ve acquired.

DEMIRJIAN: That`s how it`s described to us, yes.

HAYES: Right. That says that Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is saying and writing to someone, oh, don`t worry about the probe, we`ve been assured by Lynch`s people that they`re not going to dig too deeply?

DEMIRJIAN: Sort of. Basically she is telling somebody from Open Society Foundation, so she`s the sender, Ben Ardo (ph) is the recipient, and the content is alerting him that Loretta Lynch is talking to somebody on the Clinton campaign to make sure the probe doesn`t go in that direction, because you`ve got DNC chair talking about attorney general, talking to Clinton campaign staffer, and it`s in an email that`s going from DNC chair to Open Society Foundation`s employee. It`s a lot of characters in this, and I understand why it`s a little bit...

HAYES: Here`s to me the key part is to what you said, Comey is deciding how to interact with Lynch, and they take this seriously that Lynch is compromised basically. This is from the Times reporting on Comey: "the document complicated the calculation according to officials. If Ms. Lynch announced the case was closed and Russia leaked the document, Comey believed it would raise doubts about the independence of the investigation.

So, this document, later deemed to not be reliable, was key in Comey making that fateful decision.

DEMIRJIAN: Well, the question is was it, right? Because we learned about that from The New York Times report in late April. But what our reporting found is that there was in August that they were aware -- by August at least, they were aware that the intelligence value of it was unreliable.

So in early July, did they believe it was reliable? Did they believe the content in this and then that`s what influenced their decision as it was presented in The New York Times article, or was this just explained as a decision making factor to us later on because, again, the public only became aware of it in April. Was it used to explain after already knowing it was unreliable as justification for a decision that had been made.

The question is, is it the FBI kind of got duped by something that was unreliable and they didn`t quite know that yet, which is bad in one way, or did they decide to use something they knew was unreliable to explain a decision that was made earlier.

HAYES: As cover.

DEMIRJIAN: ...which is problematic in another way. So, that`s a question that we cannot answer and did not try to answer in the article.

But what we learned about the document in question, which was presented as a -- not the only impetus for making that decision, there was that meeting between Lynch and Bill Clinton on the tarmac also.

But one of the two key factors in making the decision, which role did it play, and was it bad intelligence that fooled people at the FBI, or bad intelligence that was used by the FBI later to justify the decision that was made?

HAYES: Karoun Demirjian, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

DEMIRJIAN: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, more on the other breaking news tonight, the top Russian officials discussed how to influence then-candidate Trump through his advisers. Which advisers they were looking at ahead.



REP. TREY GOWDY, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: Did you see evidence of collusion, coordination, conspiracy between Donald Trump and Russian state actors?

JOHN BRENNAN, FRM. CIA DIRECTOR: I saw information and intelligence that was worthy of investigation by the bureau to determine whether or not such cooperation or collusion was taking place.


HAYES: Former director of the CIA John Brennan was careful in describing his concern about possible Russian influence of Trump campaign officials, saying he would save further remarks for the classified portion of his testimony.

Now, as we mentioned earlier, The New York Times is reporting that American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers, according to three current and former American officials familiar with the intelligence. The conversations focused on Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman at the time, and Michael T. Flynn.

Joining me now, Yahoo News chief investigative correspondent Michael Isikoff, and Ken McCallion, former federal prosecutor who in private practice specialized in money laundering and civil racketeering cases, author of The Essential Guide to Donald Trump.

Michael, let me start with you. The striking thing to me about this report is that they`re openly discussing what appears to be some efforts to penetrate, infiltrate or compromise those around Trump.


And, you know, look, in some ways this is not surprising. It`s what the Russians do. John Brennan made that point yesterday during his testimony, that they would try to leverage any contacts they could think of to gain some access, to gain some influence.

What it does underscore is that the problem of having people like Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn in such high-level, key roles in the campaign given their backgrounds.

HAYES: Right.

ISIKOFF: This was all well known. We were writing about this last summer, even before when Paul Manafort came on. His association, longtime association with the pro-Russian political party was...

HAYES: The Manafort finances here are crucial, right? And it was something you reported on, and you have experience, Ken, in sort of looking at the ways in which money is moved around, particularly Russian money, which flows in incredibly byzantine and dark channels.

KEN MCCALLION, FRM. FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Well, that`s true and much of it flowed through Paul Manafort and his association with (inaudible) and others close to Putin.

But just to follow up on what Michael was saying, the Trump campaign and Trump himself knew exactly who they were hiring when they hired Paul Manafort. It wasn`t a mistake. He was not a big player in U.S. national politics at the time. He was a big player in the Ukraine, where he was a chief adviser to Yanukovych until he was deposed in February or March of 2012.

So Trump and the Trump campaign knew well that Paul Manafort would be a direct conduit to the inner circle of Putin, and that was part of the resume that most attracted Trump and his staff.

HAYES: Does that sound right to you, Michael?

ISIKOFF: Yeah, absolutely.

You know, look, in fact, I mean Ken played a part in this. He filed a lawsuit on behalf of the former president of Ukraine which laid out real estate deals that Manafort had with Dmitry Fertaj (ph), a Russian oligarch who is now under indictment by the Justice Department.

In addition, Manafort, as I reported last year, had a business deal that went sour with another Oneg Daraposka (ph), another pro-Putin oligarch in Russia.

So, all of this was sort of out there and known. It was brushed aside by the Trump campaign when we raised it. And - but it`s not a surprise to learn that the Russians knowing all this, knowing these relationships, would try to exploit them to the hilt.

We should add, though, and to be fair here, that The Times story makes clear that they don`t know, we don`t know to this day, whether those efforts to exploit these relationships...

HAYES: Right.

ISIKOFF: far they went and if they went anywhere at all.

And it is also striking that here we are ten months later after this intelligence came in and we`re still at the same point in terms of public knowledge.

We know these contacts were out there. We know they raised concerns, but we don`t know what happened as a result of them.

HAYES: And, also, there`s a - I mean, part of this is that if you bring Manafort in to manage your campaign there are certain things you can expect him to do in terms of the way the campaign relates to Russia independent of whether he`s, quote, colluding with Russia.

MCCALLION: Well, absolutely. And he influenced it in a pro-Russian fashion from the beginning at the convention where Michael covered.

HAYES: Right.

MCCALLION: They watered down the Ukrainian plank of the Republican national platform and also Manafort was a really a reassurance to Putin and the Russians that Trump would keep an even course, or actually a pro- Russian course to reassure the investors, which were primarily Russian at that time, that Trump would be friendly and favorable given the amount of investment that the Russians and Ukrainian money and oligarchs had in the Trump campaign.

HAYES: In the Trump campaign?

MCCALLION: I`m sorry, the Trump organization.

HAYES: Right, which again we don`t - which has been said before and reported in dribs and drabs, though we don`t have a definitive accounting, because we cannot see the financial records that would be in the tax returns.

Michael Isikoff and Ken McCallion, thank you.

We will have more details on thenews out of Montana, that remarkable Gianforte story after this break.


HAYES: All right. Once again breaking news out of Montana where the Republican candidate for the special congressional election tomorrow appears to have, according to Ben Jacobs, reporter for The Guardian, assaulted that reporter when he asked him a question about the CBO score. Here is the audio. Take a listen.


BEN JACOBS, JOURNALIST: The CBO score. As you know you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came out.

GREG GIANFORTE, MONTANA CANDIDATE FOR CONGRES: We`ll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there`s not going to be time. I`m just curious...

GIANFORTE: OK. Speak with Shane, please.

I`m sick and tired of you guys. The last guy that came in here, you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here. Get the hell out of here. The last guy did the same thing. You with The Guardian?

JACOBS: Yes. And you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here, I`d also like to call the police. Can I get you guys` names.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


HAYES: The Gianforte campaign issued a statement essentially blaming Jacobs himself saying that he grabbed Greg`s wrist and shoved the phone at him and that he - his aggressive behavior created a scene.

Joining me now, Evelyn Farkas, former deputy assistant secretary of defense, MSNBC national security analyst, and Tom Ricks who writes the blog The Best Defense for Foreign Policy magazine whose new book is called Churchill and Orwell: The Fight for Freedom.

And Tom you said you had some thoughts about this incident.

TOM RICKS, FOREIGN POLICY MAGAZINE: Watching this, listening to this tape, brings me back a lot to the 1930s, the use of political violence to subdue people and the vocabulary word I think for today is un-American. It is un- American for a political candidate to knock down a reporter asking an uncomfortable question. It`s also un-American for a president to go overseas and cozy up to autocrats. It`s un-American to have a president who doesn`t seem to understand the U.S. constitution.

So, I want us all to think about what being an American is, what is American activity and what`s un-American.

It`s un-american, also, to take money from foreign governments.

HAYES: Evelyn, you know, to Tom`s point about going overseas, there were reporters - Israeli and Jewish reporters kept out of some of the Saudi events, there was frustration with that. This is a president who has repeatedly praised folks like Erdogan who has some of the most hard crackdowns on the press anywhere in the world at this moment.

EVELYN FARKAS, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Right. Well, I think it`s really disturbing to see this happening in America.

I want to just add something about Gianforte, because he apparently has about a quarter million dollars in index funds heavily that are invested in Kremlin-owned Russian companies, tha tare sanctioned by the U.S. government. And apparently in 2014 when he could have and should have divested he doubled down.

So, I think we need to look closely at people who want to represent Montana, or their state, and - but yet are doing things, investing, they`re putting their money in areas that are counter to U.S. interests, because the Russian government is certainly using those - the results, the returns from those investments, to fuel their military adventurism in Ukraine and elsewhere.

HAYES: We should note The Guardian actually wrote that story, which maybe what he was referring to in his anger.

You know, you`re a veteran reporter and you`ve covered so much. And I just wonder, like, if there`s a certain sense in which like the relationship with the press and politicians is always contentious, but I lose perspective.

From your perspective is it particularly toxic right now?

RICKS: It is. There are limits to behavior. And as one Supreme Court justice famously said, you`re right to wave your arms around ends at the beginning of my nose.

What we`re seeing is those limits are changing now. We`re in a time of political disequilibrium not unlike the 1930s which is what I wrote about in my book about Orwell and Churchill. In Orwell and Churchill`s great contribution is they looked for the facts and they were willing to criticize their own political allies, which did not make them popular on both sides.

HAYES: And Orwell also sort of felt the poison coursing through body politic.

RICKS: He came back from the Spanish Civil War and said the shock to him nobody was telling the truth about it. It was fake news. He expected that from the right-wing newspapers but was shocked to find it from the left wing, also.

HAYES: There is - Evelyn, it`s striking to me that the campaign statement here essentially doubles down, right, in the sense that who are you going to believe, this liberal reporter or us?

FARKAS: Yeah. I mean, again, we have a real problem here with credibility and with people using and abusing the press. I think The Guardian reporter obviously had every right to ask his question and not get beat up.

We really need to have leadership at the top providing good examples. And I think that gets to what was being said earlier because clearly the president has not shown a good example to the people down the ticket.

HAYES: Evelyn Farkas, and Thomas Ricks, who I have to say, is one of my favorite writers, someone who I just always, always make sure to read everything he writes. He`s got a new book on Orwell and Churchill. Go make sure to check that out.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.