All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 5/25/2017

Guests: Ned Price, Naveed Jamali, Michelle Goldberg, Rick Wikson

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: May 25, 2017 Guest: Ned Price, Naveed Jamali, Michelle Goldberg, Rick Wikson

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HARDBALL HOST: FBI scrutiny in the Russian matter. Our coverage continues now with "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ALL IN HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Jared married to my daughter Ivanka.

HAYES: NBC News reports Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law and one of his senior advisers has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation.

TRUMP: I actually think he likes politics more than he likes real estate.

HAYES: Tonight, what we know about the FBI probe now reaching inside the White House. Then -

TRUMP: Get to the polls and vote for Greg.

HAYES: Election night in Trump`s America.

GREG GIANFORTE, MONTANA CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: I`m sick and tired of you guys.

HAYES: Assault charges filed as voting starts.

ALICIA ACUNA, FOX NEWS CHANNEL REPORTER: Gianforte grabbed him by the neck, both hands, slid him to the side, body slammed him, and then got on top of him and started punching.

HAYES: Will Greg Gianforte join Congress after allegedly committing assault? Tonight, my exclusive interview with the reporter who got sent to the hospital for asking about health care, the Guardian`s Ben Jacobs when ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The FBI`s Russia investigation now involves one of the closest members of the President`s inner circle. NBC News reporting tonight that Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law, and Senior Adviser, has now come under FBI scrutiny according to multiple U.S. officials. Investigators believe Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, officials said, that does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him. This follows a Washington Post report late last week that investigators had identified a current White House official as a significant person of interest, someone close to the President. Tonight the post is reporting that the President`s son-in-law is under scrutiny because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians. Kushner held meetings in December with Russian Ambassador and the Head of the sanctioned Russian Bank. His lawyer responded in a statement to NBC News, "Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry." Joining me live from the White House, NBC News National Correspondent Peter Alexander. Peter, do we have a reaction from the White House yet?

PETER ALEXANDER, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Chris, good question. You just repeated that statement from Jamie Gorelick, that`s the attorney for Jared Kushner here. I reached out to several White House officials, their public position is that they`re not commenting. They redirected me to that statement from Kushner`s attorney here. I`ve reached out to several and have yet to hear anything beyond that. It`s notable that both Kushner - excuse me - and Ivanka Trump are now back here in Washington, D.C. after traveling overseas on the first several legs of this foreign trip with Ivanka Trump`s father, the President. Specifically, what we know here that`s important to sort of distinguish this, the officials said that Kushner is basically in a different category than those former aides to the President, the Former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn as well as the Former Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort. They are formally considered subjects of the investigation. The records of both Manafort and Flynn have been demanded by grand jury - grand jury subpoenas at this point. We do not have any information that indicates that any records have been asked for or provided by Jared Kushner in this investigation. What`s also unclear is precisely what about Kushner`s activities, his relationship, interactions with Russian officials may be under scrutiny right now. But certainly, we do recognize that he is the individual that has in the past been reported as being under scrutiny. It now goes - the bottom line is this now goes not just to the Trump campaign, but it goes to the Trump White House itself and ultimately to the Trump family circle. Chris?

HAYES: All right. Thank you, Peter Alexander. I`m joined by Ned Price, former National Security Council Spokesperson under President Obama, Matt Miller, former Chief Spokesperson for the Justice Department now an MSNBC Justice and Security Analyst and Naveed Jamali, is a former FBI Double Agent, author of How To Catch a Russian Spy. Matt, maybe I`ll start with you. I mean, one thing that`s striking here, and just, you know, to be fair, right, one of the complaints you had and a lot of people had during the investigation of Hillary Clinton during the campaign were leaks coming from the FBI. Is this essentially, you know, unacceptable that they`re leaking about this?

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE AND SECURITY ANALYST: If it is the FBI leaking about this, yes, of course, it is unacceptable. But we - you should never assume where a leak is coming from when you read a story. Oftentimes when investigators go out and start talking to people over the course of their investigation, that`s how an investigation makes its way to the public.

HAYES: Right.

MILLER: So I don`t think we know enough yet. It`s likely it`s the FBI, but I don`t think we know that for sure.

HAYES: Ned, what does this mean for the functioning of the White House?

NED PRICE, PRESIDENT OBAMA`S NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL SPOKESPERSON: Well, it`s tough to say. Look, Chris, I mean up until now, the White House has had a three-D strategy when it comes to these Russia allegations. First deny, then distance, and then deflect. Deny the allegation, then when it proves to be true, distance themselves from whether it`s Carter Page or Paul Manafort or Mike Flynn or whomever, and then deflect. But in this case, they certainly can`t do that. This is the President`s son-in-law and arguably the President`s closest adviser, someone who is essentially in charge of everything or just about everything that matters to President Trump, so they`re going to have to find a different strategy, in this case, Chris.

HAYES: Naveed, what`s so - what`s so crazy to me here is if you look at The Washington Post reporting, the subject - the thing they`re looking at are these meetings that happened after the election. And I really - this is a real head scratcher to me. I mean, the scrutiny was already there, we knew what the Russians had done, there was a lot of people looking at it very closely and during that period of the transition, Jared Kushner has a meeting with the Ambassador, which, again, fine, although it takes him to the back of Trump tower so no one sees. He leaves it off his SFAB form, and meets with the CEO of a sanctioned Russian Bank. Both of which seem like the - particularly the latter, a strange thing to do.

NAVEED JAMALI, FORMER FBI DOUBLE AGENT: Absolutely. And you know, I think we have to take the question of collusion, put that in the parking lot and focus on the question of infiltration. I think priority one now becomes what did the Russians do? Priority two becomes were they successful? Priority three is do they still have any pieces in play? And priority four is was this a counterintelligence failure, and if it was, why was it a failure and how can we change it so it never happens again? But you`re right. I mean, there`s - we`re going to look at - the FBI is going to look at Jared Kushner, not at 2017 - 2016 meeting in December with the VEB Bank, which is very problematic. They`re going to go back three or four years and I have a feeling having lived in this world, having been recruited by the Russians, that if Jared Kushner wasn`t targeted by the Russians for recruitment, this is something that probably occurred three to four years ago.

HAYES: And this is - this is what I keep thinking Matt is. Investigations can start at point A and end up at point X. And we`ve seen it before in the Clinton years where an Arkansas land deal via Paula Jones got to Monica Lewinsky. We saw it with Clinton - Hillary Clinton where Benghazi was part of what gave way to the e-mail story. If you`re Jared Kushner, you got to be thinking who knows where this goes.

MILLER: Yes, that is exactly right. When the FBI looks at you, they start flipping over rocks, and they flip over every rock, and they want to see if any spiders or anything else come scurrying around. And so, they might start with his meetings with the Russians but we know one of the things they`re scrutinizing with Paul Manafort are financial transactions he had in Ukraine. They may look at all of Jared Kushner`s dealings. The way they do this is to try to assemble the best case they can, maybe with what they started but maybe with something else because at the same time they`re looking at Kushner for these meetings, there may be a separate parallel investigation into obstruction of justice by the President potentially and the firing of James Comey and we know from reporting that Jared Kushner was one of the people in the White House that recommended to the President that Comey be fired. So that`s another - you know, another area where he could come under scrutiny.

HAYES: That is a very good point, and I think it struck a lot of people as a little surprising at the time because the media image that I think Kushner and Ivanka have projected, I think quite artfully, is that they`re the kind of adults in the room, and they`re the voices of reason and the cooler heads that prevail when they do prevail and it was quite clear that Kushner, Ned, was one of the people at least in the reporting who wanted Comey gone and of course, that has now become a kind of second order problem for this White House.

PRICE: Well, it is a second order problem now. It seems like an eternity ago. But you know, I think the real crux of the matter when it comes to Jared Kushner is that he had the same title during the campaign and during the transition that he does now, and that is director of everything. He was in charge of the transition and prior to that the campaign`s contacts with foreign leaders, with other foreign officials and this, Chris, all really boils down to one key question. Why did the Trump transition and later - and before that, the Trump campaign have so many contacts with the Russians? And more importantly, why did they then withhold them and or lie about them, in some cases both? And if anyone is going to know the answer to that question, it is going to be Jared just given his central role to all of this.

HAYES: Naveed, if you`re - if you`re trying to read this as charitably as possible, and I think it`s important to that discipline, to maintain that discipline to not see - to not connect the dots before they are there. If you`re trying to read this as charitable as possible look, U.S.-Russia relations are important, this is an incoming administration that`s going to try to figure out how to reset them, et cetera. What do you make of the omission of Russia on the SF86, the omission of meeting with Kislyak, the omission of Sessions both in testimony and on the SF86, the of course Flynn dissembling. There is just - if what they were doing was innocent, and maybe it was, there does seem to be a lot of deception around it?

JAMALI: That`s exactly right, Chris. You`re looking for a pattern. I mean I`ve done enough SF86s, and I was recently asked when I was going through one of my reviews why I didn`t put my high school on there. It was an innocent answer. There`s nothing beyond that. So there is - look -

HAYES: You can screw them up. There are-there are innocent mistakes you will make on that. Yes, we want to make clear on that.

JAMALI: Absolutely. But what you`re-what you`re - that`s exactly right, Chris. But what you`re seeing here is a pattern. It`s the same thing with Flynn. It`s one thing to make - you know, a mistake on your taxes, it`s another thing to have a $2 million account in the Cayman`s that you conveniently forgot. I mean, this is what we`re looking for. We`re looking for a pattern. I think the more these things come to light, what you see here is that pattern emerging, not just an innocent omission.

HAYES: Yes. Just to be clear, the SF86 is the form that you fill out for security clearance and for review by the FBI, and, Matt, that`s where you have to sort of list all the foreign contacts you`ve had and, you know, Jared Kushner left the Kislyak meeting that he had during transition, which, again, to me, another kind of strange element of that is that a lot of people came in through the front door of Trump Tower, that meeting didn`t happen that way, left it off his SF86. It just indicates - it would appear to indicate that they were cognizant of what they were doing at some level.

MILLER: They were concealing it. They absolutely were concealing it. Now, it could be they`re concealing it because of the political pressure they were under about contacts with the Russians, and it could be something more nefarious. It goes to - it`s the same thing you see throughout. Not just the things that happened during the campaign, but carrying over into the White House. So when the President met with James Comey and asked him to quash the Flynn investigation, he asked the Vice President and the Attorney General to leave the room. There`s just these things they do that continue to raise questions why are you just more open about this? Why is it always behind closed doors? Why are you always trying to hide the ball? I think that`s why - that`s one of the reasons the public is so suspicious, and it`s one of the reasons obviously that investigators are drilling down into this question with Kushner.

HAYES: Ned Price, you were on the NSC in the Obama White House, there are some Democratic members of Congress who have made rumblings about calling for Kushner`s - Jared Kushner`s security clearance to be revoked. I saw that call reaffirmed in the wake of this news. Is that is that fair? Is that reasonable? Is that out of line?

PRICE: Well, look, you know, the thing with security clearances, and we`ve dealt with this question in the context of Mike Flynn and others based on unfair allegations that these are somehow politicized. The fact of the matter is that security clearances are granted, reviewed, and re-reviewed by career officials.

HAYES: Right.

PRICE: So it shouldn`t be up to political leaders in the White House or the Department of Justice or anywhere else to say he can or he cannot have a security clearance. That should be up to the professionals as it is in every single case.

HAYES: All right. Ned Price, Matt Miller, and Naveed Jamali, thank you. We will have more on tonight`s breaking news. How the man set to broker peace in the Middle East is now under FBI scrutiny. Michelle Goldberg and Rick Wilson join me after this two-minute break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: If you can`t produce peace in the middle east, nobody can. Ok? All my life, I`ve been hearing that`s the toughest deal in the world to make and I`ve seen it but I have a feeling that Jared is going to do a great job. I have a feeling he`s going to - he`s going to do a great job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Jared Kushner was supposed to be the grounded one, the Adviser to President Trump who would be the antidote to folks like Steve Bannon. The President`s son-in-law was given a massive, almost incomprehensible portfolio, expected to deal with everything from the opioid addiction crisis to reform of veterans care, to reorganizing the federal government to figuring out peace in the Middle East, to working out U.S. relations with Mexico, oh, and China. Now he`s under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation. Joining me now, Michelle Goldberg Columnist at Slate and Rick Wilson, Republican Strategist and Media Consultant and a Contributor at the Daily Beast. Kushner was always such a strange, fascinating element of this story because, at one level, he is the most - he represents everything that the Trump base sort of says it hates.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE COLUMNIST: Right.

HAYES: He was the most elitist, globalist, private school, like out of central casting, and yet he was going to be the person that was the linchpin of this administration.

GOLDBERG: Well, right. And the thing is because he`s actually in that way very much like Trump who also represents great wealth and east coast -

HAYES: Inherited wealth.

GOLDBERG: Inherited wealth. But I think - I mean, like it seems to me that the key to understanding Jared Kushner is that like his father-in-law, he is an incredibly self-interested, greedy, self-serving, and kind of a moral figure. The best thing that I`ve ever read on Jared Kushner was The New York Times magazine story about his massive business as a slum lord. You know, one of the ways that Jared Kushner pays the bills is by pursuing poor people through the courts to squeeze them for small amounts off of leases that they legally had gotten out of, right?. He is - you know, these are really bottom-feeding, sinister figures. And one of the great tricks I think that Jared and Ivanka play on the world is that because they`re so elegant looking because they`re so poised, people tend to conflate that with some kind of innate decency. This is a gangster family.

HAYES: Well, I would not say that. I would not go that far although I will say that the, you know, the world, Rick, of New York real estate, which is a world of - inherited New York real estate which is a world that Kushner and Trump both -

RICK WILSON, DAILY BEAST CONTRIBUTOR: Oh yes.

HAYES: - come out of, both (INAUDIBLE) of real estate families. Jared Kushner is a guy who saw his father go to jail, get prosecuted by Chris Christie. This to me was like almost Shakespearean this headline the other day. This is - last week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told people that Jared Kushner asked him if Trump should hire a lawyer. A spokesperson for Christie denied this. Both sides confirmed the phone call between them took place. I mean Chris Christie, who prosecuted Kushner`s dad, now offering them legal advice as Jared Kushner is now looking at FBI investigators knocking on his door.

WILSON: You know, you were mentioning how poised the young prince Kushner looks. I got to tell you, he is a guy, given his father`s experience, who I do not believe would prosper in prison. I think the hard yard would not be good for Jared, and I think if the FBI is trying to lean into him, he`s going to have a real contest of family loyalty versus not wanting to have several cellmates with him.

HAYES: Well, that seems getting out of -

WILSON: This guy is just not -

HAYES: - let me just say that seems getting ahead

WILSON: - he`s not built for prison.

HAYES: Well, who is, really? I mean A, and B, I think that seems getting out ahead of - you know, getting out of where the facts are.

WILSON: Maybe a little.

HAYES: We should be clear about where the reporting says right now that he`s a sort of figure of interest. He`s not in the same category of people who are, quote, "subjects in the investigation." But he is now someone who is going to have - I mean the thing that I think I would find sort of terrifying, even if I were the most innocent person in the universe, and that may be the case of Jared Kushner, to have - while I`m working in the White House - to have the FBI going through what I`ve been doing would really spook me.

GOLDBERG: Well, right. And also -

WILSON: And it should.

GOLDBERG: One of the dynamics, one of the things that Kushner -- one of the reasons he`s thrived is because he`s apparently the only person that Trump trusts, right? I mean, Trump has alienated to some extent every aide around him. He knows that they`re all back-biting him. Kushner is the one person that he trusts.

HAYES: And it`s family first has been the rule.

GOLDBERG: And now - and now he has reason not to trust Kushner, which throws a kind of psychological wrench into the entire thing and I don`t think it`s worth pointing out -

WILSON: Right. Every discussion - every discussion going forward means - every discussion going forward that Trump has with Kushner, he`s got to be thinking, crap, the FBI could depose me on this. The FBI could ask Jared what we talked about in the pursuit of this investigation, and I think there are some things about Kushner`s business interests such as there are folks in China basically selling to Chinese interests saying we`ll take care of your E5V visas. We`ll do these things because we have direct lines to the President. I think there are things between Kushner trying to monetize the situation with his father-in-law, the President, that are going to be layers on this where the FBI will bring pressure on him to roll in and tell them about other parts of the case that they`re more interested in, which is the Russia-related matters.

GOLDBERG: I think - I just think it`s worth pointing out that there was - it was widely reported when Comey was fired that Kushner was the one person really pushing for that, right? And so -

HAYES: Right, which it does make you wonder. And to Rick`s point, and you know, this is something I said just a moment ago. I mean, let`s say you`re the most - you run a real estate enterprise that is the most legalistic and compliance obsessed in the world. You still don`t want the FBI, like, kicking around your real estate records, right? These are businesses that make a lot of deals with a whole lot of people, particularly New York City,

WILSON: Chris -

HAYES: - and I just can`t imagine given the scope of that enterprise, and what you said about the China - about what they`ve been doing in China and what they`ve been doing in other places, that that is - that is something that is at all welcome news for Kushner enterprises. Rick?

WILSON: And the specific thing, Chris, they don`t want them asking about are Trump and Kushner`s banking relationships in China and with Deutsche Bank and with the Bank of Cypress and other areas where - that are awash in money that is connected to either the Chinese or the Russian governments because these are questions that - these are the last questions they want to answer. It`s why Trump is scared of talking about his tax returns. It`s why he (INAUDIBLE) the question of indebtedness all the time with very carefully parsed answers. They don`t want the FBI dig into those things and the fact that the (INAUDIBLE) is involved and the FBI is involved, it`s bad news.

HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) of course is the unit in the Treasury that is going to turn over documents. And this is where the sort of again, in this kind of Shakespearian almost sort of dramatic irony way, the decision by Donald Trump, Ivanka, and Jared to not fully completely divest, right? For all of them to retain different kinds of ways that they are still enmeshed in businesses, now without the wall there, it`s now open for investigation.

GOLDBERG: Right, and I think that there is - there is a reason to believe that Jared Kushner, maybe not to the extent of his father, but that he is someone who cuts corners, right? I mean, we see that just even on his failure to disclose his art collection, which "vanity fair" has just reported. You see it in his failure to disclose his meetings with various Russian officials when he`s applying for a security clearance. There`s two ways to interpret that. Either it`s sinister and you know, suggestive about some sort of collusion, or it`s sloppy. Neither one is going to serve you very well if you`re under FBI investigation.

HAYES: Michelle Goldberg and Rick Wilson, thank you both.

Ahead, will Greg Gianforte join Congress after allegedly assaulting a reporter? The latest on that absolutely shocking story out of Montana where polls close in less than two hours, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: In less than two hours, polls will close in the special election in Montana. That means we are on the cusp of finding out exactly what happens when a Republican congressional candidate body slams a reporter and is charged with misdemeanor assault on the night before the election. The candidate, of course, is Greg Gianforte, who is seeking the seat previously held by new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. It should be an easy win. The seat represents the entirety of the State of Montana which Trump won in November by 20 points. And outside groups have spent a staggering $5.6 million on Gianforte`s behalf. Vice President Pence traveled to Montana to campaign with him as did the President`s son, Donald Trump Jr. President Trump himself even recorded a get out the vote robocall.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

TRUMP: You have to get to the polls tomorrow to vote for my friend, Republican Greg Gianforte for Congress. He`s a wonderful guy. He knows how to win. He`s going to win for you and I`ll tell you what, the people of Montana are going to be happy.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: But even before last night`s staggering incident, there was a chance of a possible upset. Democratic candidate Rob Quist is a cowboy hat wearing populist folk singer with a backing of Bernie Sanders who polled shows within striking distance, at least in some polls. And then came last night when the Guardian`s Ben Jacobs tried to ask Gianforte about the CBO score of the GOP Healthcare bill at an event in Bozeman.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN REPORTER: - the CBO score because, you know, you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill and it just came out.

GIANFORTE: Yes, we`ll talk to you about that later.

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

GIANFORTE: 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. Are 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 like to also call the police. Can I get you guys` names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve got to leave.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: Jacobs ended up at the hospital where he got x-rays on his elbow. Thankfully they were negative. Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault. Soon after the incident, Gianforte`s spokesman Shane Scanlon released a statement utterly at odds with what you heard on the tape. Scanlon claiming that Jacobs, quote, "aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg`s face and began asking badgering questions. Jacobs was asked to leave and after asking Jacobs to lower the recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab that phone that was pushed in his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg`s wrist and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground. Fox News reporter Alicia Acuna, who was in the room, described the scene very differently.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ACUNA: When Ben Jacobs from the Guardian came in with his recorder, placed his recorder right up to him about here, and started asking him questions about the CBO report on the Republican health care bill and you heard what happened from there. I, myself, was standing about two feet from both Gianforte and Jacobs when this happened. There was a table in between us, but I did see the whole thing when Gianforte grabbed him by the neck, both hands, slid him to the side, body slammed him, and then got on top of him and started punching and then yelling at him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: In the wake of the attack, three Montana newspapers rescinded their endorsements of Gianforte. The Billings Gazette stating flatly, we will not stand by that kind of violence, period. When we come back, I`m going to speak to the reporter at the center of this all, Ben Jacobs. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Today is election day in Montana. But before you vote, ask yourself, if Greg Gianforte could be sentenced to jail, should he really be elected to congress?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: It`s not a crazy question that was asked in that ad from the National Democrats released today in Montana. Joining me now to discuss today`s special election there and being body slammed by GOP candidate Greg Gianforte is The Guardian`s Ben Jacobs.

Ben, first, you`re fine, right? You`re okay?

BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN: I`m I`m in as good shape as I could be under the circumstances.

HAYES: Your glasses are broken. You did not get -- you did not break or fracture that elbow, right?

JACOBS: I haven`t broke or fractured the elbow. I just have to make sure the swelling and pain goes down. But I`m still -- yeah, as I told you last night, it`s a good thing that it`s not my pitching arm.

HAYES: Yeah, you seemed last night and tonight kind of shaken up.

JACOBS: Yeah.

No, it`s been a very strange experience. I mean it`s on one level it`s surreal to be in the middle of a news story when your job is to report the news, not to be in the news.

On the other hand, it`s also, you know, I`ve asked hundreds if not thousands of politicians questions, and nothing like this has ever happened before. And yet this is something that`s a basic question about the most important issue of the day, and it`s -- you know, the basic important issue for voters to be aware of before the election.

HAYES: So did you get a sense -- I want you to respond, since I have you and I think that the statement was issued after we spoke last night. That statement that was issued - because in some ways there`s two things that happened last night: there was the attack itself and then the statement.

And that statement is really pretty remarkable in many ways given the fact that it completely contradicts your account, the tape, and the account of the eyewitness from Fox who was there. What do you think of that statement?

JACOBS: I mean I think I`ve said this before, the statement got my name right and it got my employer right. I think just about everything else was factually inaccurate.

HAYES: Have you heard from the Gianforte people at all?

JACOBS: No.

HAYES: They haven`t reached out? They haven`t said anything?

JACOBS: No. I`ve not heard anything from the Gianforte people.

HAYES: And you have been covering this race. You`ve been there, in fact, you know, our booking producer is texting with you to get updates about what was going on there.

What was your sense today? I mean this is surreal to ask. Like how did your getting body slammed change the race, but what was your sense today about your getting body slammed changed the race?

JACOBS: It certainly made an impact. I mean, it changed my planes that normally on election day I`d go to the polls and ask voters about the big issue. And I sort of wasn`t really sure how to ask people, excuse me, ma`am, what did you think about me being body slammed?

But my sense this time, 24, 27 hours ago that Gianforte had an edge and that he was the favorite. It still could go either way, but he had the edge. And it`s just a question of what`s happened, that this was a front- page story all over Montana. This has, you know, gotten a lot of attention.

But about two-thirds of Montana voters have already cast their ballots, that this is a heavy absentee voting state. So that a lot of people have voted and there have been reports that folks have called in to the secretary of state`s office to see if they can change their ballots, and they can`t.

So it`s sort of hard to tell, because we`re only viewing one proportion of the electorate. And then it`s also a question of how much voters, voters particularly - that in terms of all the issues, how much my being body slammed compares to taxes, or health care, or public lands or all the range of other issues.

HAYES: It was interesting to me that all three newspapers rescinded their endorsement, and there was a citation issued by the police for misdemeanor assault.

I want to bring in the conversation, Ben House, contributing editor of Red State, and Erin Gloria Ryan who is a senior editor at Daily Best.

Erin, you know, I think you were tweeting about this about sort of self- control. And I remember having you on to talk about the Access Hollywood tape. And I feel like with the Access Hollywood tape, there was this feeling that Trump is this unique thing. he can get away with anything. But this seems like we`re running the experiment now with someone that people didn`t know about, like will people just tolerate anything?

ERIN GLORIA RYAN, DAILY BEAST: Right.

The first thing I thought when I saw the story break on Twitter, first of all I thought it was a joke.

HAYES: A lot of people did.

RYAN: There is no way this is a real thing that helped.

The second thing I thought of was Michelle Fields, the Breitbart news reporter who was grabbed by Corey Lewandowski. And there was this weeks long news cycle devoted to people attacking her, proving her to be a liar, and quibbling over who was grabbing who, and then people saying that she deserved it anyway. And it sort of - I watched it play out again last night. And I think it`s really interesting that it almost seems like voters have en masse, at least a portion of them, have decided that self-control isn`t something that elected officials need to have.

HAYES: That - I`m glad you used that word because, Ben, that seems to me - - I keep thinking about what I think about - Ben Howe, I keep thinking about which -- like conservative principles and the idea of like self-mastery and self-control being sort of in line with them and the idea of sort of like unruly, licentiousness being opposed to them. And it was just remarkable to me to last night watch a lot of conservatives say this is absolutely unacceptable, black and white issue here.

But then a lot rise to the defense of a candidate who body slammed a reporter.

BEN HOWE, RED STATE: Yeah, that`s the battle that`s been going on for a while now, which is the battle between conservatism, and Republicanism, and a lot of people have chosen Republicism which is the win at any cost, defend at any cost.

Trump has really stretched that definition to lengths I never thought I would say, and it`s made it so they`re so used to defending things that Trump has done, this is almost light. No offense to Ben Jacobs, but this is almost light compared to some of the things they`ve had to defend with Trump. They can do this in their sleep.

HAYES: That`s a great point, right. It`s like take - it`s like a batting doughnut is Trump and like you take that off and you can swing freely when you have to defend like some candidate in Montana.

Here`s Paul Ryan doing like his best. This is the sort of thing he does when he`s asked about Trump. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDIE CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: If he wins, he has been chosen by the Montana -- the people of Montana, who their congressman is going to be. I`m going to let the people of Montana decide who they want as their representative.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That`s when he said -- he says stuff like that about Trump all the time, that`s completely not responsive.

RYAN: Yeah, it`s piggybacking on something that Ben just said, there is right and wrong. Those two things still exist. And it seems like in this conversation, people have gotten so distracted by the desire to win that the fact that there is right and wrong has gotten lost.

It is not right to body slam a reporter.

HAYES: Or anyone, I would also say.

RYAN: Or anyone. Anyone - and it doesn`t matter how body slammable they are. You don`t body slam people. That is against the law. Laws exist for a reason. There is right and wrong.

And Paul Ryan and some other Republicans kind of shrinking away from condemning this have proven that they`ve chosen winning over doing the right thing.

HAYES: And Ben, what was your reaction today - Ben Jacobs - your reaction to watching the reaction to it?

JACOBS: It`s been absolutely surreal sort of watching, you know, watching this happen. This is one of the strangest experiences I`ve ever had, but I`ve been heartened by what I`ve heard from folks, sort of folks across the political spectrum have been sending me text messages encouraging, you know, folks in the administration and that, you know, folks generally tend to recognize that this is -- you know, that body slamming anyone is inappropriate behavior, and it`s been very heartening to see that reaction and also see the reaction from fellow reporters who have been vocal on this.

HAYES: Well, on that - first of all, I cannot believe we`re having this conversation. But, Ben Howe, there`s also this aspect to it, and you saw all these anecdotal reports, you know, we watched Donald Trump rain down insults and invective against reporters at his rallies where everyone would boo. You saw anecdotal reports after this broke yesterday in Montana of voters in Montana saying he deserved it. He had it coming. Someone saying to a CNN reporter, you know, you`re lucky we don`t pop off on you.

Like there is this sense that has been cultivated, and it`s gotten particularly acute in the Trump era, that the press are the enemy and they have it coming.

HOWE: I think across the board in a lot of ways we have a problem with monoliths. Everybody wants to treat each group like they`re not comprised of individuals.

So you talk to somebody who is on the right who thinks that Ben Jacobs deserved it or whatever, and he says the media has brought this on themselves. But if you talk to them about somebody they know in the media, they might say that particular person is OK, because it`s really made up of individuals. And when we treat it like one thing where everybody has the same attitude and same biases, then you`re going to end up with a problem like this where you have a backlash that we`re seeing right now. I think it`s dangerous.

HAYES: I also just feel like there`s something about this - Mark Sanford said this earlier today about this - there`s something sort of been unleashed by Trump. And I just - I feel like that`s particularly true of violence. I think we`ve seen violence happen more.

And this - I mean Gianforte seems to be an individual that`s got some anger control issues.

RYAN: Of course, yeah.

HAYES: But it does seem like it is -- and not just on the right, on the left as well. Like we have seen violence sort of rise up in this trump era in a way that I think feels a little like the opening of a Pandora`s box.

RYAN: Right, it does. And I think what`s also a little like upsetting about this, aside from the actual violence, is the fact that obscured what the issue was that Ben was asking him about, which was like the possibility that a new health care policy might take health care away from millions of people. And I actually wondered after this happened kind of darkly if being body slammed would count as a pre-existing condition.

HAYES: That`s a good question.

We also never - someone noted, Tim Murphy, I think, Ben Jacobs, that we still - I will note this, we still don`t have an answer from Greg Gianforte about what his response is - this is as we approach polls closing, he`s managed to run out the clock here. They`ve been silent. The NRCC has been silent. Everyone has been silent, and we still don`t know what his reaction to the CBO scoring of the House health care bill is. Do, you think we`ll ever get an answer for that, Ben?

JACOBS: I -- we`ll find out, but for me, it`s was what he said would be make a determination and if he happens to be elected tonight, I`ll be excited to ask him that question at the speaker`s lobby when he gets to Washington.

HAYES: People were posting photos today, Republicans and Democrats, of awhat it looks like when you go to congress and you walk around Capitol Hill where people put microphones in your face all the time because that`s part of the job.

Ben Jacobs, Ben Howe, and Erin Glorida Ryan, thank you all for being with me tonight.

Coming up, the issue that started this whole story, as Erin was saying, a simple question about the CBO score of Trumpcare. Why Republicans really don`t want to talk about their health care plan.

Plus Al Franken drags Ted Cruz in a great Thing One, Thing Two starting after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: If you kill Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate and the trial was in the Senate, nobody could convict you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Among the words used by Cruz`s Republican colleagues to describe him, Wacko-bird from Senator John McCain, carnival barker by Congressman Peter King, and jackass by then Speaker John Boehner, which is actually pretty mild compared to what Boehner said after leaving congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how about some of your opinions on some of the other people running for the highest office in the land? How about Ted Cruz?

JOHN BOEHNER, FRM. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Lucifer in the flesh.

I get along with almost everybody, but I have never worked with a more miserable son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) in my life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: George W. Bush told donors, I just don`t like that guy, and former senator Bob Dole couldn`t hide his feelings about ted.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB DOLE, FRM. REPUBLICAN SENATOR: I don`t know. There are a lot of good candidates. I like nearly all of them except Cruz.

(END VIDEO CLP)

HAYES: But that`s just how Republicans feel about him. What about Democrats?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. AL FRANKEN, (R) MINNESOTA: You have to understand that I probably like Ted Cruz more than most other of my colleagues like Ted Cruz, but I hate Ted Cruz.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Senator Al Franken has a new book out in which he shares perhaps one of the deepest cuts against Ted Cruz, one that literally left the ever loquacious senator speechless, and that`s Thing Two in 60 Seconds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Minnesota Senator Al Franken has a new book out in which he dedicated an entire chapter to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. And according to a page tweeted by Jonathan Tyla (ph) from the Austin American Statesman (ph), one section recounts Senator Amy Klobuchar preclearing a Ted Cruz joke she was going to tell at the Gridiron Club Dinner with Cruz himself. "Amy smiled. Here it is. When most people think of a difficult cruise, they think of Carnival, but we Democrats in the Senate think of Ted. Ted smiled and then he offered a suggestion. What if you changed a difficult cruise to a challenging cruise?"

Franken writes that Cruz eventually relented, saying in a patronizing tone, "I tell you what. I believe in the first amendment. You go ahead and tell your joke."

Franken says he stepped in and asked if Cruz wanted to hear his rewrite of the joke to which Cruz replied sure. And I`m quoting from the book here, "OK. Here it is. When most people think of cruise that`s full of crap, they think of Carnival, but we think of Ted. And there went Ted`s smile. For once, he had no words."

Cruz does have a few words for Franken now, however, telling Politico. Al is trying to sell books and apparently he`s decided being obnoxious and insulting me is good for causing liberals to buy his books. I wish him all the best.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

JACOBS: The CBO score because, you know, you were waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the bill.

GIANFORTE: Yeah, 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 to 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.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

HAYES: The question that caused congressional candidate Greg Gianforte to, according to witnesses, allegedly attack a reporter was a seemingly innocuous one about the new CBO score for the Republican health care bill.

Gianforte recently declined to take a position on the bill until the Congressional Budget Office analyzed it. The Washington Examiner quoted Gianforte the dater after the bill passed the House as saying, quote, personally I would have liked to have seen CBO results prior to the voting," But added, "we need to repeal and replace Obamacare."

This appeared to be a stalling tactic, allowing Gianforte to support repealing and replacing Obamacare while skipping any comment on the unpopular Republican alternative he seems to want to skip comment on the Republican unpopular alternative.

But then the eve of Montana`s special electoon, the CBO score came out, projecting that 23 million people will lose their insurance over the next ten years, including 14 million people losing coverage because of the $800 billion in proposed cuts to Medicaid.

And according to the Center for American Progress, the CBO score means that Montana alone, the health care bill would kick close to 80,000 people off insurance in the next decade. That`s what Greg Gianforte refused to comment on.

But the millions of people who would lose health insurance under Trumpcare isn`t the only problem the CBO found with this bill. We`ll discuss what Trumpcare would mean for average Americans when Peter Orzack who ran the Congressional Office Joins me next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Joining me now, Peter Orszarg, former director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, and former director Congressional Budget Office, the world famous Congressional Budget Office, whose most recent op ed in The Washington Post is titled "Don`t blame the CBO for problems in the House health care bill."

Good to have you here.

PETER ORSZAG, FRM. DIRECTOR CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE: Great to be here.

HAYES: You ran the CBO. And it`s interesting, because there`s two messages from the GOP on the CBO score. There`s the - it`s great for us, that was the Paul Ryan tactic, like, it`s a great score. And the other is they got it wrong. Are either of those true?

ORSZAG: No. It`s devastating. And look, we won`t know because probably this legislation will never become law, but the example that people use to try to make that argument is, CBO got Obamacare wrong.

HAYES: Right.

ORSZAG: And that`s false. CBO did overestimate how many people would be on the exchanges, partly because they also underestimated how many businesses would drop their plans. The thought was businesses would drop their plans, those people would go on the exchange. What really matters is the net number of uninsured people. In 2012, CBO projected that for 2016 there would be 30 million people uninsured, actual number was 27. That`s pretty good in my book.

HAYES: So, the thing about the score - I mean, here`s the thing that I feel like got lost is that we talk about the numbers, and the numbers matter, but how would you -- I mean, the fundamental thing this bill is doing, right, is, it is redistributing from the sick and the relatively worse off to the relatively healthy and relatively better off.

ORSZAG: You do not want to be low income, older, living in a high cost state under this plan. I mean, we`re talking not just $1,000 or $2,000, you can - for a - the CBO report showed that for a 64-year-old at $26,000 of income, you`re talking about a $12,000 increase on average, let alone if you live in a high cost place like Alaska. I mean, it`s earth-shattering.

HAYES: Is that - have you seen legislation ever, major legislation that would have the negative consequences that acute in the time that you worked there and at the OMB?

ORSZAG: No, because usually what happens is, you are revising the legislation to try to avoid those kinds of outcomes.

HAYES: Right. So you`re saying the process is what produced the outcomes here in some ways, right, that this thing was put together, it was rammed through, and that`s how he get what you see in that CBO score.

ORSZAG: Well, I think there are two things. I think there are some content issues here. And then given the content issues, there`s also not iterating enough on how to improve it.

HAYES: What are the content issues?

ORSZAG: The basic content issues are, they`re not putting enough money into subsidies for health insurance. So you can`t make the system work while you`re pulling out hundreds of billions of dollars. Something`s got to give. And that`s what`s happening.

HAYES: And to understand the math here, right, the reason that that is true is because they can`t put more money in because they want to repeal all the taxes. And if...

ORSZAG: And they don`t want to replace that.

HAYES: Right. And they don`t want to replace it with the new taxes. And then if it doesn`t reduce the deficit, then the whole thing is shot, because they need CBO to say it reduces the deficit to do the process they want.

ORSZAG: Correct. So, what you do is you skinny down the subsidies for individuals and that makes it unaffordable for the low income, older people in high cost places.

HAYES: How disruptive would this be if this became the law tomorrow?

ORSZAG: I`m at a loss for words, because you almost couldn`t imagine a shift this big happening. And these numbers are not sustainable. You will not have a $12,000 premium increase for, you know, 64-year-olds on average across the country. It won`t happen. Something will give before that...

HAYES: So it would break, something would break?

ORSZAG: Something would break politically or substantively.

HAYES: This thing can`t in its current form become law and survive, is what you`re saying.

ORSZAG: I can`t imagine it happening. If it did, it would substantively be a massive problem for tens of millions of Americans.

HAYES: All right, Peter Orszag, thanks for coming by tonight. Appreciate it.

ORSZAG: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END