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All In with Chris Hayes, Transcript 6/16/2017

Guests: Ted Lieu, Jeffrey Rosen, Annie Karni, Renato Mariotti

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: June 16, 2017 Guest: Ted Lieu, Jeffrey Rosen, Annie Karni, Renato Mariotti

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


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN. The President attacks his own Justice Department.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director. Witch hunt.

HAYES: Tonight, top democrats amplify fears of another Saturday Night Massacre.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the President would fire Mueller or Rosenstein, that would be a disaster.

HAYES: First Vice President Pence, now the rest of Trump world lawyers up.


HAYES: Exclusive new reporting on the widening investigation.

Then, the latest attempt from Senate Democrats to stop the secret Republican Trumpcare bill. And two years after the escalator.

TRUMP: A lot of the pundits on television, will Donald will never run.

HAYES: Are the Trump investigations helping the Trump agendas sneak under the radar.

TRUMP: This is going to be an election in many opinion that`s based on confidence.

HAYES: When all in starts now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hays. The President of the United States just added an experienced former Prosecutor to his legal team as more and more of his associates are hired personal lawyers to deal with the Special Counsel`s expanding Russia investigation. This, as the President continues to attack the officials overseeing that investigation including his own Deputy Attorney General. In the statement on Twitter this morning, the President acknowledged for the first time he`s under investigation for obstruction of justice quote "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director. Witch hunt." The President appears to have been referring to Rod Rosenstein the Deputy Attorney General who wrote the memo initially used by the President as pretext for firing former FBI Director James Comey. The memo, we should note stops short of actually calling for Comey`s dismissal and crucially, in an interview with NBC`s Lesser Holt, the President said he planned to fire Comey with or without input from Rosenstein whom he praised at the time for his integrity.


TRUMP: I was going to fire regardless of recommendation. He made a recommendation. He`s highly respected, very good guy, very smart guy. The Democrats like him, the republicans like him. He made a recommendation but regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey.


HAYES: The President`s attack on Rosenstein was -- has intensified concerns about the independent of the probe being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller which is now examining whether the President himself committed a crime. While, the President has reportedly considered trying to fire the Special Counsel, Rosenstein who appointed Mueller is the only official who can dismiss him. And the Deputy A.G. testified this week he sees no cause for doing so. Today Senator Diane Feinstein, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee released an uncharacteristically heated statement responding to the President. "I`m growing increasingly concerned the President will attempt to fire not only Robert Mueller, they Special Counsel investigating possible obstruction of justice but also Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein who appointed Mueller. The message the President is sending through his tweets is that he believe the rule of law doesn`t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise should be fired. That`s un-democratic on its face and a blatant violation of the President`s oath of office." The President ignored reporter`s questions about the investigation today while departing the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. President, are going to fire Mueller?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, are you under investigation by the FBI? Are you under investigation by the FBI?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, do you still have confidence in Rosenstein?


HAYES: All this comes after a, well, perplexing statement by Rosenstein issued out of the blue last night which appeared to echo the President`s outrage over leaks about the Russia probe quote, "Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories at attributed to the anonymous officials particularly when they do not identify the country let alone the branch or agency of the government. With which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated." That statement was not directed by the White House according to an anonymous official at the Justice Department who spoke to NBC News. Now with the Special Counsel looking at obstruction of justice, both ABC News and the Washington Post report that Rosenstein has privately tell colleagues he may have to recuse himself from the investigation. The Deputy Attorney General could end up being called as a witness over his role in Comey`s firing. For now, according to Justice Department, Rosenstein sees no reason to step aside but if he did, oversight of the Russia probe would fall to the DOJ`s third ranking official Associate Attorney General Rachel Band. I`m joined now by Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu of California, Member of the House Judiciary Committee and a former (INAUDIBLE) Attorney. Congressman, Diane Feinstein who is obviously a fellow representative of the state of California, very strong words, a violation of the oath of office. What`s your reaction to that?

REP. TED LIEU (D-CA), MEMBER HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: I thank you Chris for your question. I agree with Senator Feinstein and that`s because all Americans regardless of party agree on the fundamental principle that no one is above the law. And if President Trump would fire Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and then got Special Counsel Mueller fired, I believe Congress would begin impeachment proceedings.

HAYES: You think it`s that -- it`s that clear that that would be a trip wire, that would be a sort of a point of no return worthy to go ahead and do that even for republican members of Congress?

LIEU: Absolutely. That`s exactly what President Nixon did and that was a principal our nation upheld during Watergate that no one is above the law. And if you`re going to fire everyone who`s investigating you, then Congress will impeach you.

HAYES: I want to note here, there was a lot of words this morning the President confirmed he was under investigation. But I just want to be clear here. This was from NBC`s Kristen Welker?, "a source close to @POTUS`s outside counsel tells me the President hasn`t been notified he`s under investigation despite his recent tweet." It does seem like, as he`s off from the case, the President just consuming the news and tweeting about it right?

LIEU: That`s correct. But having been a former prosecutor, you don`t actually notify targets of your investigation that they`re being investigated. You could but you don`t have to and there`s no reason for them to have to notify the President.

HAYES: How far -- how far into a -- it`s no this a institutional crisis but it occurred to me as you gain this out. I mean, if Rosenstein recuses himself, first of all, do you think it`s appropriate he do that since he was intimately involved with the firing of Comey which seems to be essentially the predicate for the investigation of obstruction of justice? So, do you feel confident with him overseeing that investigation?

LIEU: That`s a great question. So under the Special Counsel regulations at the Department of Justice, only the Acting Attorney General in this case can fire Special Counsel Mueller and only for good cause. So Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has already said he`s not going to fire Special Counsel Mueller unless he sees good cause, he hasn`t seen good cause, so I want him there because that`s the best protection that Special Counsel Mueller has right now. But on the other hand, if in fact Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein wrote a fake memo because he knew Comey was being fired because of Russia investigation, then yes, he would have to recuse recuse himself.

HAYES: So, I just feel like were -- it feels like some sort of inception point for American governance here. Like the snake is eating its tail a bit. I mean, we basically are at this point where the President doesn`t seem fundamentally to accept the kind of institutional norms of independence of the Department of Justice. He`s apparently in this is the AP reporting, I`d like to get your response too. Advisers and confidants describe the President as increasingly angry over the investigation yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit and potentially end his Presidency. It does seem like the fundamental issue here is the President just doesn`t abide by what had been the long standing norms about the independence of the Department of Justice.

LIEU: You`re absolutely correct. When I read the President`s series of tweets this morning, I thought that Donald Trump is on the verge of a meltdown because not only were these tweets wildly inappropriate, they were weakening his legal position. He`s effectively raise -- I mean, waived all executive privilege for any type of witnesses or himself in terms of being questioned by Congress. And there`s no reason he would have done that unless he was in a very desperate situation.

HAYES: Do you -- when you say meltdown, what do you mean by that? People use that word with regards to the President. You hear people around him talk about their concerns about his disposition in this particular moment. What do you mean by that?

LIEU: Two things. One, he is weakening his own legal position. So he`s actually doing harm to his legal case by waving executive privilege, by talking about all this matters related to the Russian investigation that makes it very hard for the White House to say that his witnesses and himself if he was subpoenaed by Congress would not be able to comment on it. Second, he is basically taking on the rule of law. The rule of law is going to win. But that`s what happens when someone becomes desperate and is on the verge of a meltdown.

HAYES: All right. Congressman Ted Lieu, thank you for your time. Joining me now Annie Karni, White House Reporter for Politico and Jeffrey Rosen, Legal Scholar and President CEO of the National Constitution Center, and Jeffrey, let me start with you I guess. It does seem to -- the closest analog we have of course is Saturday Night Massacre on Archibald Cox but it does seems like we`re in some twisted legal territory where Rosenstein is now sort of implicated in the obstruction investigation by Mueller and if he`s going to recuse, we`re going to be down to like the ninth highest ranking official in DOJ overseeing the most important investigation arguably in the history of the Presidency.

JEFFREY ROSEN, NATIONAL CONSTITUTION CENTER PRESIDENT-CEO: Yes, it is twisted in exactly the way as you described. And the question of whether the constitutional crisis as a really interesting one, I`m persuaded by legal scholars who say a constitutional crisis is when the ordinary institutions just don`t have an answer and violence breaks out like in the civil war. So the Saturday Night Massacre wasn`t a constitutional crisis, eventually Robert Bork fired the Special Prosecutor but you`ve well summed up the tension about Rosenstein, in the end as long as he`s not a subject of the investigation, it seems like democrats want him to stay. But there is this DOJ regulation that says that if you`re the subject of a recommendation, you have to resign and that could take you not only to Rachel Brand who`s the number three person at Justice but then all the way -- all the way down so it`s going to be quite a ride.

HAYES: And it does seem -- to the Congressman Ted Lieu`s point Annie, that the President is tweeting in violation of (INAUDIBLE) his legal advice. It`s not strengthening his case. And all the reporting I`ve seen from folks like yourself that are close to how this White House operate, they communicate a man who is genuinely obsessed. He can`t like -- obsessed to a point of compulsion, like it is -- he cannot let it go when focused on other things. Is that a fair characterization?

ANNIE KARNI, POLITICO WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes. I think that`s fair. No one except Donald Trump thinks the tweets are a good idea. Everyone has tried to stop him, from his wife to his lawyers and they just can`t. So this idea that anyone is going to tame him, I think we`ve learned that that`s not the case. And I think the real question is -- just to the point about going down the line at the DOJ, this problem is actually conflicting with another problem with the Trump administration has had which is getting government positions filled and getting people confirmed. After Rachel Brand, it should go to the Solicitor General and then next in line are five U.S. Attorneys. None of those people have been confirmed and therefore they can`t be next in line to serve as Acting Attorney General. So it goes down even further. So it`s just interesting that two issues that the Trump administration is having are coming to play together here.

HAYES: Well, and they relate to each other Jeffrey, insofar as it does seem like the obsession with this has -- there has not been -- oddly he`s obsessed with the -- with the degree to which the kind of deep state or sort of institutional character of the permanent bureaucracy is out to get him. But he has failed in actually filling the positions in even places like the department of justice or others that would be able to implement whatever his political vision was.

ROSEN: That`s exactly right. And when you attack institutions which is the centerpiece of a populous presidency, then you are especially vulnerable because you have no loyalists or even people on your side in order to stand up for you when the other institutions are trying to do their jobs. So that -- you know, that was Nixon`s fundamental mistake. He thought that just by going down the line he could save his Presidency and that was what triggered impeachment proceedings. So interesting to hear the Congressman think that that might make a difference even for republicans. Remember though, the bottom line though is that the legal question of obstruction still is murky. And if it is judged by Congress, it`s going to be a political judgment. So it takes something really dramatic to turn the tide.

HAYES: Right. Although I guess I had the feeling Annie, this morning and I`m curious how you felt about this. This morning -- I mean, how many times have I had the feeling of wow what is going on? Like I can`t believe this is happening. We`re heading over some impending cliff and time and time again you`d never hit the bottom. You`ve just keep falling. And so, here we are, but this morning did feel -- I did feel as if I were -- if I were reading that in a Senate office or Congressional office or Paul Ryan`s office that this is someone who is making the situation worse for himself in a way that he can`t seem to help himself and lord knows what will come next. Do you think that`s their feeling?

KARNI: I think -- yes. because for instance, you can see the standard line of the White House has when Sean Spicer do it in the briefings is when we ask him about Donald Trump`s tweets, he say the tweets speak for themselves. That they have don`t want to comment on it. They let the tweet speaks for themselves. It`s like that should be the Press Secretary`s catch phrase. Today the tweet did nOt speak for itself that Trump admitting he`s under investigation. White House officials on background told reporters that he was just reacting to the news which does seem plausible but it`s notable that for once they actually tried to explain away a tweet rather than just saying it speaks for itself. That shows a level of concern.

HAYES: Right. They were troubled enough by what he tweeted this morning that rather than just sort of leaving it there to speak for itself they actually were stand --

KARNI: They had a rapid response like try to make it better and say like it`s not -- he`s not really saying what he said.

HAYES: Jeffrey do you think -- what do you think the role of the White House Counsel`s Office is here? We have this outside attorney Marc Kasowitz and there`s another attorney who`s been hired. It seems to me Don McGahn the White House Counsel is the great invisible figure at the center of all this. Everything that`s happening in some ways, Don McGahn shouldn`t be letting it happen, yet it happens. And I can`t tell whether he`s a terrible lawyer or he`s just not being listened to.

ROSEN: Well, it sounds like he`s not being listened to. We`ve seen examples of that but go back to the Clinton impeachment and remember Bernie Nussbaum was kind of (INAUDIBLE) during the Whitewater investigation. Structurally, the White House Counsel supposed to defend the constitutional interest of the White House in the same way that the Office of Legal Counsel at the Justice Department does. So the main player should be the Attorney General, in this case the Deputy and the President`s personal lawyer. And I wouldn`t imagine that the President would be talking a lot to the White House Counsel to figure out what to do here.

HAYES: All right. Annie Karni and Jeffrey Rosen, thank you both.

KARNI: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, as Trump`s former Campaign Manager and the Vice President and even Donald Trump`s own personal Attorneys start lawyering up. The President adds some serious fire power to his own legal team. The ever growing reaction to the Russia investigation after this two-minute break.


HAYES: President Trump just added another lawyer to the legal team he`s assembled in response to the Russia investigation. John Dowd, a high profile Criminal Defense Lawyer and former Prosecutor with decades of experience in Washington D.C. and in handling crisis. He investigated Pete Rose`s gambling activities from Major League Baseball, he represented Senator John McCain of Arizona during Keating 5 Ethics Scandal more than 20 years ago. And members of the President`s inner circle are also now hiring their own lawyers. MSNBC`S Katy Tur reporting today that Donald Trump`s personal attorney Michael Cohen has hired veteran D.C. Lawyer Stephen Ryan to represent him and Vice President Mike Pence has hired a personal criminal defense lawyer to help with both congressional committee inquiries and the Special Counsel investigation into Russia election interference. Visiting Miami today, Pence insisted the hire was totally normal.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Any comment about hiring your counsel?

PENCE: It`s very routine.


HAYES: Others in Trumps orbit lawyering up include former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, former Trump Campaign Communication Adviser Michael Caputo, former Trump Campaign Foreign Policy Adviser Carter Page. The legal hiring spree comes less than a week after the New York times reported that Presidential Attorney Marc Kasowitz recently told aids in the White House quote, "It was not yet necessary for them to hire private lawyers. Joining me now are MSBC`s Katy Tur who broke the news today about the President`s Lawyer hiring his own lawyer and former Federal Prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Renato, let me start with you because Marc Kasowitz is now subject to an ethics complaint. The New York Law Journal today saying that complaints -- two people file ethics complaint saying that Kasowitz shouldn`t have said people didn`t need to hire their own attorneys. You`re not supposed to tell other people not to get legal counsel. That does seem to be a sort of violation of the rules.

RENATO MARIOTTI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: It actually is a very clear violation of the rule if it happened. There`s a rule 4.3 of Professional Responsibility says if you have any reason to believe that the person that you`re speaking to -- you know, that`s not represented by counsel has interests that could be adverse to your own client, then it is I am proper for you to give that person any legal advice. So telling somebody that they shouldn`t hire a lawyer is giving them legal advice. And in fact it`s really bad legal advice that fortunately a lot of these people are not following.

HAYES: Well, to that point Katy, you had a bunch of reporting today on everyone essentially that the President knows lawyering up.

KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Not everybody. The campaign staff -- we don`t know how many folks in that campaign have actually lawyered up, yet a number of them have not. We do know a couple have. One of them is Michael Caputo who worked for a short time for the Trump campaign around the convention. He was part of getting the convention done. Part of the platform at the convention.

HAYES: That`s interesting.

TUR: Yes. He was brought -- he was brought in by Paul Manafort. He has hired an attorney. He is right now working with the House Intelligence Committee to testify potentially sometime in mid-July. I`m told he wants to do that in open session very specifically and right now his lawyer is trying to negotiate that. It`s unclear if that is going to happen or not. Also very notable with this is the FBI had contacted Caputo and they say they want to talk to him before he talks to the House Intelligence Committee. A little background on him, he did lived in Russia for a time and he does have ties to Russia. So there is that. The other person that has lawyered up, you talked about him a moment ago is Michael Cohen, Donald Trump`s personal attorney. He was not part of the campaign but he worked with the Trump organization and now he is Donald Trump`s personal attorney. He has hired a lawyer as well because he`s going to be testifying and this is confirmed in front of the House Intelligence Committee on September 5th. Why so much later than everybody else? Well they`re saying it`s scheduling logistics. Remember they go on recess for the month of August.

HAYES: Right.

TUR: But it is notable that Donald Trump`s lawyer has now hired a lawyer.

HAYES: So that`s -- what`s interesting to me about that Renato is that you would think a lawyer -- I mean, everyone wants a lawyer and lawyers get lawyers the same way therapist get therapists. But he`s getting a -- he`s getting a lawyer. You would think that you know, his communications with his client would be privileged but he also appears to have been doing a bunch of other things including possibly according to one report, trying to set up a back channel peace plan with the Ukraine that would mean that he would need separate representation.

MARIOTTI: Exactly right. I represent a lot of clients and I`m typically in the office or the courtroom. I`m speaking privately to my clients. I`m not on secret foreign envoys to the Ukraine or Russia or anywhere else. And when he does that, he`s really not acting as much as a lawyer but you know, he`s taking a part in activities for which he may be called to testify in (INAUDIBLE). My understanding is he is going to testify before Congress. So he does need his own lawyer.

TUR: He is. And let`s just point out. He has denied going overseas and meeting in secret with Russian envoys. There`s a report in that dossier that has not been confirmed that he met with Russian envoys and officials in Prague. Michael Cohen has vehemently denied that but there is a meeting at a New York hotel between Michael Cohen and a Ukrainian lawmaker where that Ukrainian lawmaker gave him a plan for a path to ease sanctions. The New York Times report that he gave that to Michael Flynn before Flynn was fired in the White House. Michael Cohen told the New York Times that that is not true -- or the Washington Post that that is not true. Actually he threw it in the trash and only recommended that it should be given to Michael Flynn.

HAYES: Yes. I just want to be -- to be clear on that. I`m not talking about the dossier there but the meeting with this Ukrainian figure about the easing of sanctions did happen. We know that happens.

TUR: It did happen, yes.

HAYES: And just to Renato`s point, like that`s not covered by client privilege. Like whatever he`s doing there, he`s doing something that -- and that`s presumably why they want to talk to him in those committees.

TUR: One of the many reasons. I mean, the allegations in the dossier are still floating about. So they`re going to want to find out exactly where he`s gone and who he has spoken to. He has shown his past they`ve shown his passport to reporters. I`ve seen his passports. There is no stamp for Prague in his passport. But it is important to note that you wouldn`t necessarily get a stamp for Prague if he flew in to Italy because it`s part of that zone. Where you can go pass with this between borders. The other thing that I want to note is that the Trump campaign hasn`t -- those that worked for the Trump campaign have been sent a letter by Michael Glassner who still works from the campaign, the 2020 campaign basically lawyering letter saying preserve all of the documents you have relating to this campaign. That includes text messages and includes e-mails. Also preserve all of the electronics personal or otherwise that you may have used to engage in any matters relating to this campaign. They have not been contacted by Mueller or the FBI as of now but this is a clear indication that they know that they`re going to be contacted by Mueller and his team at some point.

HAYES: And Renato, in terms of obstruction, right, I mean, it becomes very important for -- particularly if you`re being investigated for obstruction that`s apparently the President is that you not -- that you be retaining things and not destroying documents and the like.

MARIOTTI: For sure. I mean, if you anticipate that you -- that those documents are going to be relevant to a criminal investigation and you destroy them, potentially that could be evidence that`s used to prove obstruction of justice. So it`s important to retain everything and it`s actually a smart move on their part.

HAYES: You know, it struck me -- what struck me with that letter is that White House and that campaign have seen so running gone for so long and so kind of compliant shy. I mean, having been in around Washington and culture is a different place in Washington, particularly the Obama White House, it was very lawyerly. It was -- everything was by the book. That is not the way that place operated and this letter me is interesting because it sticks out for not being the way normally things work.

TUR: Look who sent this letter, Michael Glassner. He is somebody who has had experience in Washington. He is somebody who knows how things work, who knows what the rules are, who knows how to not get himself into trouble but many of people in that campaign were not political savant. Corey Lewandowski is not a political savant. I mean, you could say he is because he helped get Donald Trump elected but he is not somebody who knew the establishment and that was made up. From Jared Kushner who`s not somebody who knew the ins and outs and the rules which is part of the reason why he is now under investigation as well. Not under investigation I should say but part of the investigation, a person of interest in this investigation. It`s a lot -- it`s what allowed them in some ways to get elected but it`s also what`s now going to be potentially getting them into trouble.

HAYES: It`s a good point. Katy Tur, Renato Mariotti, thanks to you both.

TUR: Thank you.

MARIOTTI: Thank you.

HAYES: Quick programming note, tomorrow night MSNBC presents a comprehensive and timely look at the Watergate Scandal and the movie it inspired. "ALL THE PRESIDENT`S MEN REVISITED" 9:00 p.m Saturday night right here on MSNBC. Up next the outrageous plan that might be getting cooked up by the Senate Majority Leader to push through a massive overhaul of the American Healthcare System without any debate on the actual bill. That`s ahead.



SEN. MITCH MCCINNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: This massive piece of legislation that seeks to restructure 1/6 of our economy is being written behind closed doors without input from anyone in an effort to jam it past to not only the Senate but the American people.


HAYES: That was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell describing with uncanny accuracy the process he is now running to pass the Senate secret health care bill. Only McConnell wasn`t talking about the current bill, those comments were from October of 2009, not June and McConnell was talking about ObamaCare which for the record was an absolute model of transparency compared to the bill McConnell is now trying to pass. There was tons of public input and bipartisan negotiations and more than a year of hearings. By contrast McConnell is writing his bill in complete and total secrecy excluding both democrats and the public. L.A. Times reports that this week, a group of more than 15 patients groups asked McConnell office to meet with them next week. They were told that McConnell and his staff are too busy. A secret bill is being drafted by a Senate working group of 13 men no women who won`t even share the text with their Republican colleagues.

Senator Lisa Murkowski says quote, "none of us have seen the language of the bill. Instead, GOP Senator are seeing Powerpoint presentations that don`t seem so helpful. Washington Post reports that at least one Senator has complained that the digital slides are flashed across the screen so quickly they can hardly be committed to memory. In fact, Senate republicans can`t even say what the bill is trying to do. Five times Vox reporters asked John McCain just what actual policy problems the bill is trying to solve. And the best he could come up with was, "they`re trying to get to 51 votes to pass it." There`s a simple explanation for the secrecy. Republicans, Mitch McConnell know whatever they release is likely to be exceedingly unpopular. The House version of the bill which President Trump described this week as mean despite having toasted its passage from the Rose Garden is currently poling at -- and this is not a typo, 17 percent approval.

But all of that aside. Mitch McConnell may have a strategy to pass it all anyway, and it is incredibly, almost unbelievably deviance. The possible McConnell gambit to force the GOP`s secret healthcare bill in America up next.



SCHUMER: Republicans don`t want the American people to see the bill. They are so ashamed of their health care plan they want to pass it in the dead of night. No hearings. No amendments. Rush it through. It`s not a bill they`re proud of, if they were proud of the bill, they would say let`s debate it. They`re ashamed of the bill.


HAYES: The Senate GOP`s secret process for drafting its heatlh care might be about to get even more outrageous. My next guest, who is deeply enmeshed in the health care fight, has been told that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell may use a legislative maneuver that will virtually eliminate debate once the bill is finally made public.

Joining me now, Andy Slavitt who under President Obama ran Medicare and Medicaid and administered the Affordable Care Act.

And Andy, you`ve been someone who has been very plugged into what`s going on on The Hill around this. You have a lot of connections to folks that are in health care policy. And you tweeted something the other day basically being that McConnell is considering a procedure that would essentially allow them to file an empty bill, let a huge amount of the time for debate go by and then replace in the full bill text and try to pass it in a few hours. Is that -- do I have that right?

ANDY SLAVITT, ACA ADMINISTER: You have that right, Chris.

I mean, first of all, no one really knows what McConnell is going to do. No one knows what`s in the of the bill text of the bill, no one is entirely clear what his process is. And there`s plenty of misdirection. But what we`re hearing is that the absolute minimum that he can do minimum that he can do normally is a 20-hour debate. But with a special process they can put in a substitute bill, say the bill that passed the House, leave the Democrats only to debate that bill and then substitute in the new Senate bill over the very last hour.

HAYES: Meaning like just an hour before? I mean, honestly what you`re saying is a procedural mechanism might exist if he`s willing to be totally maximalist about it, to essentially have the Senate vote on a bill that`s been public for an hour or two?

SLAVITT: Well, what they would do is they would make the last amendment something called the substitute amendment and the substitute amendment would basically say everything that we`ve been debating we`re now going to substitute a new bill in place of the bill that we`ve been and that`s the bill that`s going to voted on.

HAYES: So, this process is unlike anything I`ve ever seen. I think it`s unlike anything you`ve ever seen.

SLAVITT: That`s right.

HAYES: But there is pressure that`s being brought to bare. One of the key figures in this, it seems, is Dean Heller who is a Republican Senator from Nevada. He`s the only Republican who is in a Hillary Clinton state who is up in 2018.

And today I saw something interesting happen, and I want to get your feedback on it, a letter was sent from a number of governors, including Governor Kasich of Ohio, Steve Bullock (ph) of Montana, Sandoval of Nevada, Charlie Baker, I believe, of Massachusetts is on there, basically objecting to the House bill and laying out some principles. That put some real pressure on Heller doesn`t it?

SLAVITT: Yeah. What this letter says -- and it`s very interesting -- what the letter says that this bill, in effect, is a $1.1 trillion take over from the federal government of the states ironic given all the talk about states versus federal and a pull back of community resources at the federal through the major shutdown of Medicaid.

And what they`re basically saying is, look, take Medicaid off the table, focus on the things that need to be improved with the exchanges, and you will have our bipartisan support, and I think as governors they speak for many other governors and I think by extension the senators there out to be better paying attention.

HAYES: Medicaid is where the money is. I mean, the entire distribution, the ledger effect of the House bill is you want to get rid of all those taxes on the rich that were part of Obamacare. To make up for it, the only place to go and get the money out of the system is in Medicaid basically.

SLAVITT: that`s right. That`s right. And the math works this way. If you want to pass a tax cut for millionaires, medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies and health insure companies, you have got to take a significant amount of health care away from the bottom 40 percent of income earners just to pass a $55,000 tax cut for millionaires.

So, it`s extraordinarily redistributional math.

HAYES: And it turns out that that`s not something that is easy to defend. The House had a hard time. It was killed when it was public. They then sort of did a secret sneak attack and got it passed, and now the Senate is basically trying the same thing, right?

SLAVITT: Well, now we`re at the heart of why might this bill being kept secret. And you can say a lot of things about the campaign season, repeal and replace was open to interpretations. You know, it`s clear now that most Americans would like to see the ACA improved and not taken away. But nonetheless, one thing that was never talked about was cutting Medicaid by between 25 and 45 percent.

In fact, you know, as you know, Chris, there`s a tweet from Trump which says Medicaid along with Medicare and Social Security will not be touched at all.

So, this is why it has to be done in secret. It`s not random.

HAYES: Andy Slavitt, thanks for your time tonight.

SLAVITT: Thank you, Chris

HAYES: Two years to the day after he first swept down the escalator and into the presidency how much has Donald Trump`s agenda been derailed by the burgeoning investigations. But, first, tonight`s thing one, thing two after the break.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, what`s Ben Carson been up to since taking the job of the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A few weeks ago he said that, quote, poverty to a large extent is also a state of mind. Last month in his first remarks to hundreds of HUD employees, he referred to enslaved black people as, quote, immigrants. In the ensuing backlash, he doubled down saying it was possible to be a, quote, involuntary immigrant.

In April, while touring a public housing facility in Ohio, he described compassion as not giving poor people, quote, a comfortable setting. And by just about all accounts opportunities for Carson to supplement his knowledge of HUD`s responsibilities have not gone well. He`s gone from world renowned pediatric neurosurgeon to being Donald Trump`s pick to run a government department that owns and maintains public housing complexes across the country.

And the thing is that Carson had no and has no experience whatsoever for this new job, though he has claimed otherwise.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would steer you to take a job for which a lot of folks say you have these ample medical degrees, one of the nation`s top neurosurgeons, what do you know about doing this?

BEN CARSON, U.S. HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: Well, I know I grew up in the inner city and have spent a lot of time there and have dealt with a lot of patients from that area.


HAYES; Like Carson, the president has gone ahead appointed another HUD position officials who doesn`t have a shred of housing policy experience. She does, however, have a lot of experience planning celebrity golf tournaments and other invents, including Eric Trump`s wedding. Seriously. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.



LYNNE PATTON, EVENT PLANNER: The Bible tells us you can judge a tree by the fruit it bears. And if you embrace these words then you embrace Donald Trump, because he has raised the best young adults I have ever had the privilege to know, and the honor to call friends -- Eric, Don, and Ivanka I love you like the siblings I never had. You are compassionate, you are charitable, you are my heroes.


HAYES: That was Lynne Patton, vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation now under investigation for allegedly funneling cancer charity money to the Trump organization.

On Wednesday, she became Donald Trump`s pick to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development`s region covering New York and New Jersey, that`s overseeing funding for public housing and crucial resources for hundreds of thousands of people who depend on their domicile on this service.

And that`s a position that was once held by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Now, Patton will report directly to Ben Carson, whose background is similarly absolutely and completely totally lacking in housing policy experience. And given this, New York Daily News headline, she`ll be facing a steep learning curve, quote, "President Trump chooses inexperienced woman who planned his son Eric`s wedding to run New York federal housing programs."



TRUMP: But the 16th, that was the day I came down with Melania on the escalator at Trump Tower, that`s tomorrow. So it`s exactly tomorrow two years since we announced. And it worked out OK, worked out OK.


HAYES: President Trump missed the opportunity to mark today as the two year anniversary of his presidential campaign announcement, because he apparently believes the 16th is tomorrow. In fact, today is the 16th. And today is the two year anniversary of Donald Trump`s fateful trip down the Trump Tower escalator when it is safe to say practically no one took his candidacy seriously.


TRUMP: There`s been no crowd like this. And I can tell you some of the candidates they went in. They didn`t know the air conditioner didn`t work. They sweated like dogs.


HAYES: Dogs don`t really sweat.

But the candidate he was talking about was former Texas Governor Rick Perry who announced in an airplane hanger in Texas and who is now President Trump`s Energy Secretary.

Candidate Trump systematically beat Perry and 15 other Republican candidates on his way to the White House. But two years later, the scorecard on some of his signature promises is not nearly so triumphant.


TRUMP: I would repeal and replace the big lie Obamacare. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I will have Mexico pay for that wall. I will immediately terminate President Obama`s illegal executive order on immigration, immediately. Rebuild the country`s infrastructure. Nobody can do that like me, believe me.


HAYES: But the man who declared his candidacy two years ago now controls America`s nuclear weapons. And the question is, is his presidency thus far a failure, or is he actually getting much of his agenda done underneath all the distractions? That`s next.


HAYES: Today, President Trump unleashed some tough talk on Cuba, but the actual executive order he signed was far less bombastic, it reinstates some travel and business restrictions, but doesn`t completely undo the Obama-era policy, thus allowing the president to claim credit for taking a tough stand while leaving in place many of the changes his predecessor had made.

Seven months in, there are two ways to understand this presidency so far. One is a debacle: no signature legislative accomplishment, executive orders and the travel ban and sanctuary cities stalled in courts, a brutally low approval rating, an administration mired in scandal, and everyone lawering up, including the president himself who is under investigation for obstruction of justic.

On the other hand, he got Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, cabinet members like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt are dismantling the regulatory environment of the previous administration, and the Senate might be just one week away from repealing Obamcare.

Joining me now, Jill Abramson, former executive editor of The New York Times, currently a senior lecturer at Harvard University; and Michelle Goldberg, a columnist at Slate.

So, I go back and forth on this. Is the president accomplishing a lot while people aren`t recognizing how much he`s getting accomplished, or has it been an abysmal failure thus far?

Jill, I`m curious where you come down on this?

JILL ABRAMSON, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: Well, I think both of the scenarios, Chris, that you just laid out equal debacle, because he has done quite a bit, but I think what he`s done has been altogether damaging both to the country and internationally as well. I mean, it was only two weeks ago that we were talking about the withdrawal from the Paris Accord, which is -- sets back, you know, all of the goals of environmental progress that the Obama administration spent years negotiating.

You know, the Senate is practically in lockdown right now negotiating their bill to repeal Obamacare in complete secrecy. No hearings, no ability of Democrats to really even find out what`s in the legislation at this point.

Appointees who oppose the missions of their cabinet agencies in almost all respects. A budget that has savagely taken money from housing programs from the poor, federal money for the schools, one of the only areas that President Trump has actually wanted to increase money in is in charter schools.

So, you know, I think that below the surface he`s been doing a whole of damage, and obviously some people may see that as accomplishment, but I don`t.

HAYES: Jill, the budget is a perfect example, Michelle, because the budget is -- Molvaney (ph) came out, they presented the budget, but now there`s a question of whether they get that through congress, and people said, oh, it`s DOA. And in some ways the stuff that they`ve been able to do administratively like Scott Pruitt or pull out of the Paris Accords that didn`t take congress have been more effective or even ICE enforcement, which they`ve ratcheted up tremendously, than the places where they do have to move things through The Hill where they have harder a time so far. What do you think of that, Michelle?

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, SLATE: Well, yeah, I mean, I think that they`re better at destroying things than building things, even building maligned things, right. I mean, when you`re running the White House, even if you`re running it terribly, you can appoint incompetent people, or people who are actively hostile to the missions of their agencies, you can cause a tremendous amount of damage to American reputation on the global stage, you can kind of sabotage international agreements, you don`t realy need to build anything to do any of that.

And where he hasn`t been able to do very much is where he actually has to corral people, propose ideas, even if not constructive ideas, ideas that have some sort of surface plausibility.

You know, I mean, what`s fascinating is that he can`t pass legislation with an all Republican congress. It`s not as if he`s facing kind of partisan gridlock. He just can`t even bring conservative Republicans together.

And, so I think what legislatively he`ll end up passing things wherever his agenda dovetails with the Ryan agenda, right. So, this idea of a kind of a new, more populist kind of Republican, we`re not going to see that.

HAYEW: Well, that -- and Jill, that`s exactly what I think is so interesting, particularly to go back and look at that tape from two years ago, and to Michelle`s point about destroying rather than building, he ran from that first day as a builder, right. Infrastructure, I`m going to build the country, competence, I`m going to build the wall. Literally, in a literal sense, he was like, I build stuff, this country needs someone to come and build.

ABRAMSON: Well, he`s a builder of buildings, you know, that`s all he had to run on when he was introducing himself two years ago. It`s a perfect metaphor for his candidacy. But rather than build, he`s been tearing down. And when we talk about internationally, I was just in Berlin and you know people there are just agape at what he has done to undermine the post-World War II western alliance, the it`s one of the miracles of the latter part of the 20th Century.

It`s really something. It`s the opposite of building. It`s a very destructive tearing away at things that I`m not even sure he has deep historical understanding of.

HAYES: Yeah, and we should say, one place he has been very good is in getting judicial nominees, that process is totally outsources. And to Michelle`s point, the sort of intersection of Ryanism and Trump, he just nominated a new slate of federal judges. They have been hustling.

ABRAMSON: Yeah, well, the Federalist Society owns that process.

HAYES: Right. And that`s where they`ve outsourced and they`ve been very successful.

Jill Abramson, and Michelle Goldberg, thanks very much.

That is All In for this Evening.