Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 13, 2017 Guest: Eric Swalwell, Carrie Cordero, Michael Isikoff, Jill Wine-Banks
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Thank you for joining us. That`s going to be HARDBALL for tonight. Thank you for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As far as my son is concerned, my son is a wonderful young man.
HAYES: The President of the United States defends collusion with Russians.
TRUMP: He took a meeting with a Russian lawyer.
HAYES: And the President denies treason.
TRUMP: It`s called opposition research.
HAYES: Tonight, the new call for Donald Trump Jr. to testify next week, the mounting troubles for Jared Kushner, the new scrutiny of the President`s oligarch friend and why the Trump family defense of attempted collusions and e-mails points to bigger problems ahead.
TRUMP: I love e-mails. You can`t erase e-mails.
HAYES: Then the Senate`s new secret health care bill is out and it`s already in deep trouble. And a reminder from France that this is the man we elected President. When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Now that Donald Trump Jr.`s e-mails have provided evidence that there was at the least attempted collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia, the President and his allies are shifting to a different argument. Collusion is fine, everybody does it. After spending the past few days hunkered down at the White House reportedly fuming over the news that his top campaign aide including his son and son-in-law met with Russian lawyer last summer to try to collaborate on defeating Hillary Clinton. Today during a trip to Paris, the President made his first public comments on the controversy.
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TRUMP: I think from a practical standpoint, most people would have taken that meeting. It is called opposition research or even research into your opponent. I`ve had many people, I`ve had only been in politics two years. I`ve had many people call up, oh, gee, we have information on this factor or this person or frankly, Hillary. That`s very standard in politics. Politics is not the nicest business in the world but it is very standard where they have information and you take information.
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HAYES: Any political professionals from across the ideological spectrum say that`s not true. They`d never accept dirt on a point from dubious source, much less from an adversarial foreign power. In one famous incident, during the 2000 Presidential race, the Gore campaign received a mysterious copy of the Bush campaign`s debate prep materials which could have given their candidate an advantage in that debate, they immediately called the FBI to report it. Now, some legal experts even argue that it doesn`t matter whether the Trump campaign actually obtained anything from the Russian lawyer, that Donald Trump Jr. broke the law just by taking the meeting, though that`s a contested interpretation. Now, on the way to France, in a conversation aboard Air Force One, the President pointed out to reporters that treason at least is off the table. "When they say treason, you know what treason is? That`s Julius and Ethel Rosenberg for giving the atomic bomb, OK?" In that same conversation in Air Force One, the President told reporters, "Don is - as many of you know Don - he`s a good boy, he`s a good kid." In fact, the President`s eldest son is 39 years old, just ten days younger than the French President Emmanuel Macron. In the coming days, Trump Junior may get another chance to explain his meeting with the Russian lawyer and the e-mail exchange that led up to it. The Heads of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that would be Republican Chuck Grassley and Ranking of Democrat Diane Feinstein, both say they want the President`s son to testify under oath possibly as soon as next week and they may be willing to use their subpoena power to make it happened. While Trump Junior may be in the crosshairs, the person who suffered the most damage from the revelations in the past few days from a legal perspective is probably his brother-in-law Jared Kushner. We now know definitively that this meeting last summer with the Russian lawyer was one of three meetings with Russian nationals last year which Kushner failed to disclose on security clearance forms under penalty of perjury. One, with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak reportedly to set up a Kremlin backchannel away from the prying eyes of U.S. intelligence and another, with the head of the sanctioned Russian bank. Kushner had to revise those security forms and according to reporting by the New York Times, later confirmed by NBC News, he supplemented the list of foreign contacts three times, adding more than 100 names. I`m joined now by Congressman Eric Swalwell, Democrat from California, Member of the House Intelligence Committee. The President and his defenders say this is not a big deal, anyone would take the meeting, most people would take the meeting. Do you think that`s true?
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA), HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: What a trajectory Chris, that we`ve gone down. You look at where this started. The president said, no Russia, no collusion. Well, certainly the context have been exposed, they`ve had to - they`ve been confronted with them, they`ve had to acknowledge them and now where we`re at in this trajectory is the President is saying so what, that`s what politics is, Hillary would have been worse. We were going to make America great. And it`s actually quite sickening, his view of politics in our elections. And so, I think things have gotten much worse for the President. And now, I hope that people at home care and they realize it`s costing us everything.
HAYES: What do you mean by that?
SWALWELL: I mean that, if people understand that the President`s - you know, very, very disturbing view of politics, that it means cheat at all costs is costing us everything, its gridlocked Washington. It`s affected our ability to stand up for their jobs, their health care, their kids and their democracy, that they understand that because he has this view, it is hurting them. I think that Republicans in Congress hopefully will finally care too and be the check that we need them to be.
HAYES: Do you believe the President of the United States when he says he did not know about the meeting or the e-mail?
SWALWELL: Chris, based on what he said about President Obama wiretapping him, what he said about James Comey`s tapes, I don`t. And unless what he says is verified by other sources, I`m inclined not to believe him.
HAYES: Jared Kushner has now been caught filling out an SF86 form that is obviously and clearly, woefully incomplete. There are calls to block his security clearance. Although that`s ultimately a decision made by the President of the United States, what is your view?
SWALWELL: My view is, you know, you have to focus on the principle. The President is you know, presiding over our country. And I don`t want to be distracted by others in the administration and you know, focus too much on their security clearances. The President has to ultimately take responsibility or we need to hold him accountable by a thoughtful and aggressful - thoughtful and aggressive use of the subpoena process in Congress.
HAYES: Were you surprised by the appearance of this e-mail?
SWALWELL: No. Chris, it actually - I would have been more surprised if we found out they were e-mailing with representatives from another country. This actually brings into focus the constellation of contacts that the Trump campaign had with Russia. Now they all make a lot more sense.
HAYES: Are we going to learn more about this?
SWALWELL: Well, if we do our job in Congress, I think we will be able to tell the American people whether these were all coincidences and just a mere attempt to work with the Russians, or whether these contacts converged with an organized campaign to influence and interfere in the election.
HAYES: There`s also been the issue of Jeff Sessions who today turned over a sort of redacted SF86 form - that clearance - security clearance form saying no contacts with the Russians but with the sort of asterisk that he didn`t include any that might have been his official capacity as a Senator. Are you satisfied we know everything we didn`t know about the Attorney General?
SWALWELL: No, and I say that Chris, because he has in the past, failed to disclose contacts. Even if he thinks he shouldn`t have to disclose them in his official capacity, I think to just - you know, get rid of the perception that is out there, that he - you know, hasn`t been forthcoming, he should have just disclosed every contact he`s had in the last at least five years with Russians or other foreigners, just so that we could be assured that there`s nothing else out there that is holding back. And it`s too bad that he`s taken that position.
HAYES: What is your understanding of the time line of the work that`s happening here? It seems to me crucial and important at this moment given the sort of bombshell of what we`ve learned in the last three days between Mueller`s investigation, your Committee`s investigation, the Senate Intel Committee investigation. Is there a kind of urgency here in terms of the pace that which this is all conducted?
SWALWELL: It`s moving very, very fast. And we want to make sure that we`re responsible with you know, the pace that it`s moving at. We don`t want to be as irresponsible with the facts as the President has been. And so, that means being in the House to conduct our own honest investigation that can corroborate or repudiate the evidence that`s out there. But I do hope that in short order, we can tell the American people what happened, whether anyone worked the Russians, and then put the reforms in place so this never happens again because again, the cost of all this chaos has been our ability to do the work that people in our district sent us to do. And it`s just grinding this country to a halt.
HAYES: Do you - do you learn new things every week? Do you feel like you`re receiving a steady stream of information that`s giving you a clear picture of what actually, definitively happened?
SWALWELL: Yes, without even talking about what we learned on the classified side Chris, if the President were able to delete all of the classified information, I think the American people have in the public realm enough information to know that he and his campaign, his family and his businesses have personal political and financial ties with the Russians and that they attempted on work the Russians to damage Hillary Clinton and help the President win an election.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Eric Swalwell thank you.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
HAYES: Joining me now, MSNBC Political Analyst Josh Earnest, former White House Press Secretary under President Obama, and Carrie Cordero former Attorney with the Justice Department`s National Security Division. Josh, what do you make of this argument as someone who worked in politics, who worked on campaigns that look, you take the meeting if someone comes waving around that the promise of dirt on your opponent, you take the meeting.
JOSH EARNEST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST AND FORMER WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Chris, I actually begin my career in opposition research. In the first or four years I was involved in politics, I was a low-level junior opposition research staffer. And that include on a white bright day campaign including the presidential campaign in 2000. And Chris, I`ve never heard of anybody agreeing to meet with any sort of foreigner to try to obtain dirt on their opponent, let alone a Canadian lawyer or an Australian lawyer. In this case, we`re talking about an adversary of the United States that is speaking to influence our election. And look, I`m no legal expert here, but it thinks it`s totally bogus to suggest that somehow it was OK because it didn`t actually obtain any useful information in it. That`s a pretty lame excuse and one that I just don`t think a lot of people are going to buy.
HAYES: You know, Carrie, I want to talk about piece you wrote because part of- part of what we`re learning here is, it`s not just Don Junior, he`s the one on the cover of the Tim Magazine, he`s the one who is on the hot seat, he`s the one who`s being interviewed, but there`s three people in this meeting. There`s Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, and Don Junior and Kushner has got some real legal problems. And you wrote this piece and I think it`s important to sort of remember the reporting on this: How to Understand Kushner`s Back-Channel, because when that story came out, that Jared Kushner had snuck Sergey Kislyak in the Trump Tower without the camera`s seeing, had not reported to SF86 and reportedly was to set up a back- channel away from the American Intelligence possibly in a Russian diplomatic facilities. That decision looks very different and far more incriminating in light of the fact that there was e-mail sitting at an inbox at that point for nine months saying the Russian government wants to get your father-in-law elected.
CARRIE CORDERO, JUSTICE DEPARTMENT`S NATIONAL SECURITY DIVISION FORMER ATTORNEY: It does. And so, I think what is important is that each of these meetings that come to light over time should not be viewed in a vacuum. They`re not isolated events. There are the meetings that we know about so far which are the three that you`ve described so far in the program and the backchannel so-called back-channel meeting with Kislyak. The reason that that is so interesting was because the purpose of it as it was reported was to have a way of communicating with the Russian government in a way that presumably would be not discoverable by the U.S. government`s intelligence community. And so, now we have another report, this - the report of the meeting with the Russian lawyer that was done by the campaign. And so, it` just not believable that they didn`t understand that multiple meetings with Russian government officials, Russian government representatives it wasn`t significant. And what the e-mails that came out his week, Don Junior`s e-mails show is that the statement in them says there was - the effort was just part of the Russian government`s support for Mr. Trump. And so question begs, well, what else was there and were their activities that Russian intelligence was conducting that Trump Campaign officials were either facilitating, supporting, cooperating with, or having knowledge of.
HAYES: Josh, how surprised are you by, A, the existence of this e-mail, and B, the argument that the White House and the President of the United States has now adopted that it`s not a big deal.
EARNEST: Well, Chris, I think in every term we`re surprised and then after reading the new story about it, sort of disappointed in ourselves that we`re surprised about what has transpired because, in some ways, it is utterly predictable. Is it particularly surprising that there`s somebody with close ties to the Kremlin and was seeking to back-channel with the Trump campaign to try to damage Hillary Clinton? We understand the operations that they`ve already taken, to hack the DNC, to Hack John Podesta to release those e-mails and to work with WikiLeaks to facilitate the release of those e-mails. We know that there is a broad base attempt on the part of the Russians to influence the election to benefit Donald Trump. That is - that part of it is open and shut. And at this point, the White House doesn`t really have much credibility in trying to explain away these things as they emerge. In some ways Chris, that`s why it`s so political malpractice that the Trump campaign and the Trump operation continues to subject themselves to this drip, drip, drip kind of situation. At what point do they stop and say, you know what, it is not helping our case to try to hide this information, it`s getting out. Let`s just put it, let`s just start being honest to the American people by what we know.
HAYES: Josh, that calculation, making a discrimination about whether (INAUDIBLE) about calculation, would require knowing the underlying facts. If they did in fact engage in something massively, massively, criminal incriminating, then they are correct to attempt to cover it up because the option is to expose themselves, right?
EARNEST: Well, that is the option. Look, right now the slow drip, drip, drip, is not playing out well for them at all. The President himself is by all accounts insanely frustrated by this whole thing. So, look, if he - if they actually are innocent, then that would be the obvious thing for them to do. And that`s why, each day this goes by and each day that there is a new revelation about a fact that Trump operation was trying to conceal, it makes them look even worse.
HAYES: Carrie, at what point - I`ve talked to a bunch of lawyers about this, the legal peril that Jared Kushner finds himself in. And I have to say that he`s either someone who has a genuine impossible diagnosable memory problem that he should have examined or has hired a massively incompetent lawyer over at WilmerHale, I don`t think that`s true, or he`s been hiding things from his lawyers. How much legal peril is he in now?
CORDERO: Well, with respect to the SF86, obviously there are more contacts either with foreign government officials and this could be Russian government officials or other government officials of other countries or more closing continuing contacts that for whatever reason he didn`t originally include. And whether that was because of however he went about filling out the form, to begin with or his cooperation with his lawyers, it`s hard to say. But I mean, really, this story is not about Jared Kushner and his SF86, it`s about whether or not he understood the significance of all of these various meetings with Russian government officials and whether as the e-mails from Don Junior indicate, whether or not the Trump campaign, and that would be Jared Kushner or Paul Manafort or Don Junior, and everyone else who is a senior official in that campaign understood what the Russian government was doing and cooperated in some way. And so, it really begs the question of what was that other support that the Russian government was providing to them?
HAYES: Josh Earnest, Carrie Cordero, thank you both.
Coming up, Michael Isikoff of Yahoo! News, Watergate Prosecutor Jill Wine- Banks are here. Michael has just post a breaking the story on this very subject. When did Donald Trump know about this meeting? That`s next after this two-minute break.
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KELLYANNE CONWAY, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S COUNSELOR: This to help all the people at home. What`s the conclusion, collusion? No. We don`t have that yet. I see illusion and delusion. So just so we`re clear everyone, four words. Conclusion, collusion, no. Illusion, delusion, yes.
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HAYES: Everyone is having a little bit of a fun with Kellyanne Conway`s appearance on Fox News last night. But did you catch exactly what she said there? Conway said, what`s the conclusion? Collusion? No. We don`t have that yet. We don`t have that yet? You know why she said yet? I`ll tell you what. Because Kellyanne Conway has no way to know what is going to come out next. And think for a second the version of events that the White House wants us to believe. We know that for several years, Putin aligned oligarch Aras Agalarov and his pop singer son Emin cultivated a relationship with President Trump and his family. They even signed a deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. And then, when Trump becomes the GOP nominee, that Putin aligned oligarch through a trusted intermediary offers Donald Trump Jr. damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government. Information he says is part of a Russian government effort to help Trump win the election. Trump Junior then arranges a meeting to get that information with a person he is told is a "Russian government lawyer" and attends a meeting with two other aides, Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner. But the meeting, they insist, is a dud. No dirt on Hillary, just some boring adoption and sanctions talk. That`s what they say. And then according to the official version of the story we`re supposed to believe, and this is crucial, no one did anything else. They just dropped the whole thing. Think about whether you believe that happened. I mean, it would mean that despite being told there was a Russian government effort to aid his father`s campaign, Trump Junior simply moved on, even after reports emerge weeks later of the Russian efforts to help the Trump campaign through hacking the DNC. It would mean that the oligarch and his son never reached out again despite their relationship with Trump and the receptive response they got when they tried to feed dirt to John Junior. It would mean that none of the three Trump aides who attended the meeting bothered to mention it to the future President even though they`d been told the Russian government had undertaken a campaign to help get Trump elected. No. Everyone just forgot about that one crazy time when Trump`s contacts in Russia sought to hand over the Russian government`s dirt on Clinton. And then they just left it at that. That`s the story we`re expected to believe. But, joining me now, former Watergate Prosecutor Jill Wine-Banks and Yahoo! News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff who just broke and published a story a few minutes ago that according to two sources, Trump lawyers were informed of Russia e-mails back in June. Michael, that contradicts, it would appear statements the President has made about when he learned about it.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, YAHOO! NEWS CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the President has said a couple times now this week that he only learned about the Russia meeting in the last couple days. But in fact, as I`m reporting tonight, his lawyers, Marc Kasowitz, Chief Lawyer in the Russia investigation, and Alan Garten, the Chief Legal Officer of the Trump organization were both informed about the existence of the e-mails reflecting the meeting in the third week in June. This is shortly after they are discovered by Jared Kushner`s lawyers. Jared Kushner revises his security clearance form Sf86 for the second time on June 21st. He`s interviewed by the FBI on - for the second time on June 23rd and the President`s lawyers are informed about this. What we don`t know is whether the President`s lawyers informed their clients, the President about these e-mails but it certainly raises questions about the timeline here and the President`s statements that he only learned in the last couple of days.
HAYES: Jill Wine-Banks, former Watergate Prosecutor, do you find it plausible that the lawyers would not inform the President?
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I find it not plausible that they wouldn`t have but I also find it not plausible that Donald Trump Jr. didn`t tell his father or that Jared Kushner didn`t tell his father-in-law. It was a meeting that was designed to help elect Donald Trump and I believe they would have reported it to him.
HAYES: This string of events that were being asked to believe right now, what is your reaction to that. What does or does not sit with you as someone who investigated a big cover up that happened, the sort of biggest cover-up in probably the presidential history, the Watergate which took a while to undo and have all sorts of insane and crazy details, things that the President`s Henchman did that you can hardly believe they did. What is your reaction to the story that is coming from the White House now?
BANKS: I see deja vu. It`s really incredible to me all of the funny words that we used during Watergate when we talked about the drip, drip, drip, and that how bad it is that you don`t get everything out at once instead of letting one bad piece come out and then another and another, follow the money. The cover-up is worse than the crime. Although in this case, it may be that the crime is worse than the cover-up because the crime may be using a foreign adversary to hurt our election. That would be worse than just a break-in at the DNC headquarters. So there`s a lot of similarities that make me really suspicious, I think we`ve gone beyond the smoking gun. One of my Watergate colleagues said it`s a smoking canon and I really believe we`re there. And it`s nonsense if we say, well, they didn`t get anything. First of all, we don`t know that they didn`t.
HAYES: That`s right.
BANKS: Second of all the release of information, the timing of it looks like they did have an influence on when it was released. And third of all, an attempt, if I shoot you, and missed your heart, I`ve attempted murder, and that`s a crime. If I make it to your heart, well I murdered you. So if they didn`t get what they wanted, it`s still an attempt and it`s still a crime.
HAYES: Michael, part of - part of what I think is so important here when we`re sort of evaluating the story right not, and it`s something you`ve done reporting on is, this meeting was not set up by some random. This is not in and over the transom. You can imagine a scenario, I mean, I get - as a reporter I`ve gotten called from people, e-mails and you think, I`ll see what they have to say and then it`s nothing and you go on. This is - this is coming from this father and son who are connected. There`s a relationship there. They`re friends, they`re professional associates. They`ve spent time together. So the idea that this meeting would happen and then no one would ever follow-up about it, given that context to me seems a little hard to swallow.
ISIKOFF: Yes, look, the Agalarovs were business partners of the Trump organization, of Donald Trump going back to 2013. You know, as it happens, I happen to have interviewed Rob Goldstone several months ago before I had any idea he was going to become a figure of major national attention. He is the music former tabloid reporter, music publicist for Emin, the Agalarov and I wanted to know more about what took place in - during the Miss Universe Pageant in Moscow in 2013 and he was very affable, very chatty and recanted about how at that pageant, the Trump and Agalarov, the senior Agalarov reached a business deal to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. A formal letter of intent was signed, Donald Trump Jr. was put in charge of the project and Ivanka Trump flew over to Moscow in February 2014 to scout potential sites for Trump Tower with Emin Agalarov and there are photos that reflect that. So these were people who the Trumps - the Trumps knew very well. So when they get this e-mail, when Donald Trump Jr. gets this e-mail from Rob Goldstone, it`s more than something coming over to transom. It`s coming from a representative of their business partners.
HAYES: And Jill, I mean, just to remember the timeline here. You`ve - the possible - the e-mails that indicate there was actually a phone call between Emin and Don Junior before setting up a meeting. This is a key part to understand. We don`t have a definitive proof of that. But you have the possible phone call and the meeting is confirmed and then Trump promises a major speech on the Clintons, then Thursday the meeting take place and after that Trump`s first-ever tweet about Clinton`s 33,000 e- mails. The thing that I would want to see Jill if I were the investigator is the e-mails afterward. Would you want to see those?
BANKS: First of all, we only know what e-mails Donald Trump Jr. has released so we don`t know that this was actually the full chain.
HAYES: Yes, good point.
BANKS: And I want to know the full chain. I want his computer and I want to find out what all of the correspondents was and absolutely afterward. Because let`s not forget, in that e-mail, that very first e-mail, he said, I love it, especially later in the summer. And that`s exactly when the Russians dumped the information that caused great destruction of the Democrats. It caused the resignation of Debbie Wasserman Schultz. This is something that we need to follow but it does look to me like they got something which was at least an agreement about the date of releasing harmful information. So yes, you were absolutely right. We want the ones that came after.
HAYES: Michael, do you think that Goldstone is going to find himself at the center of this probe now?
ISIKOFF: Well, it`s hard to see how this can be investigated without questioning Goldstone because he`s the one that`s making the assertions that this is coming from the Russian government and this is damaging information about Hillary Clinton. What was his basis for making those comments in the e-mail to Donald Trump Jr.? And of course, then that leads to Emin Agalarov, who is his client, and the senior Agalarov who`s you know, the oligarch in Moscow. I should point out that the Agalarovs are quite close to the Kremlin. Agalarov himself was known as Putin`s builder for the massive construction projects he had built for the Kremlin and had gotten - given - gotten an award directly from President Putin just about a week and a half before that Miss Universe Pagent.
HAYES: All right, Jill Wine-Banks, Michael Isikoff, that was fantastic. Thank you, both for your time tonight.
ISIKOFF: Thank you.
BANKS: Thank you.
HAYES: Ahead, we finally found out what was in the Senate`s second secret health care bill. And there`s one senator who could hold the key to killing the bill. We`ll explain ahead.
HAYES: One of the most remarkable things that we, as a country, at least as a political entity, seem to have gotten past about Donald Trump is the Access Hollywood tape. Trump`s extremely lewd comments about women sparked plenty of outrage when the tape was released, but in the end it didn`t matter, or it didn`t matter enough. The country still elected him.
And now he`s the man who represents the United States of America around the world. And so today, nobody should really be all that surprised that when our president met the first lady of France, Brigitte Macron, he commented on her body.
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TRUMP: You are in such good shape. She`s in such good physical shape. Beautiful.
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TRUMP: That was the president of the United States ogling the first lady of France.
But, again, his behavior towards women is just one of the many things Republicans will tolerate for a chance to enact their policies, like, first up, repealing the Affordable Care Act. And today, Senate Republicans revealed secret health care bill number two.
But, tonight, the fate of that bill is balanced on a knife`s edge. And it is because the resistance has been working. That`s next.
HAYES: The revised health care bill Senate Republicans unveiled today is not that different from the old one. One change, backed by Senator Ted Cruz, severely weakens protections for people with preexisting conditions, a move even insurers are criticizing. Another, is scaling back the size of the tax cut for the wealthy.
But the bill still includes Medicaid cuts like those that help sink a previous bill in June, raising worries that millions and millions of people can still lose their coverage under the bill.
Now Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can only afford to lose two Republican votes and he has already hit that limit, because Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he won`t vote to bring the bill to the floor, because it doesn`t go far enough to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And from the opposite end of the spectrum, Maine Senator Susan Collins says she`s also out.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there anything the Republican leadership can do to get to you vote yes for this bill?
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: Certainly, there are steps that could be taken, but they would be major overhauls of the legislation. For example, if the provisions that completely overhaul the Medicaid program were dropped from the bill, that would be a great step in the right direction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just bring it up for a vote, or bring it to the floor for discussion on amendments? Would you support that?
COLLINS: I would not at this point unless there are substantial changes in the bill.
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HAYES: Senator McConnell now has to corral every single other Republican Senator into voting for this bill, including the so-called moderates who balked at the last version, and that includes Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Rob Portman of Ohio, and crucially Dean Heller of Nevada, all of whom reportedly met with McConnell today.
Joining me now, John Ralston, editor of the Nevada Independent who has been covering Dean Heller.
John, Dean Heller surprised a lot of people during version 1.0. He came out and said I cannot support this bill and largely focused on the Medicaid cuts. Where do you think he is now?
JOHN RALSTON, NEVADA INDEPENDENT: Well, he is saying he is undecided and even to getting to the debate on the so-called motion to proceed. He is saying that he is going to read the bill this weekend, but he knows what`s in the bill, Chris, just as you and I know what`s in the bill. And as you mentioned, it is not much change. And Susan Collins talked about the Medicaid provisions, he is on the record firmly saying that he is not going to affect the 200,000 plus Nevadans who were covered under the Medicaid expansion.
And as you know, Brian Sandoval, his friend and the governor was the first Republican governor to expand Medicaid. They stood together at a press conference about two weeks ago and said the same thing: they said oppose this bill if it is going to kick these people off Medicaid. And Heller even went further saying he will not support a bill that kicks tens of millions of Americans off of health care, and he does not appreciate the lying, he used that word, Chris, lying about premiums going down.
He is so far out there, that if he flips on this, it is going to be a real problem for him.
HAYES: Yeah, I mean, you know, here`s what you said, you said there`s zero chance that Sandoval, again the governor -- very popular, we should note, governor of that state, a Republican -- is against the bill, Heller is for it.
I want to play what Sandoval said. Today, again, the core of the objection of the Medicaid cuts, that is the huge part of what the bill is doing budgetarily. And they`re still there.
Here`s Sandoval today.
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UNIDENITIFIED FEMALE: Do you still want Senator Heller to vote no on this?
GOV. BRIAN SANDOVAL, (R) NEVADA: Well, Senator Heller and I are in constant conversation. And obviously he is going to vote and make up his own mind, but I`ve told him all along that I`m very worried about those 210,000 people and, you know, the effect on the state budget.
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HAYES: Now, Heller is the only Republican up in the Senate in a Hillary Clinton state in 2018. What is he looking at politically?
RALSTON: Well, he is in big trouble, Chris.
Now, I should say that he`s been in big trouble before and he has survived. He won by 12,000 votes in 2012 when he never should have won in a year in which Obama won the state by six points. But he`s gotten whip sawed here, Chris.
First of all, he said repeatedly before that press conference that he needed to talk to the governor, essentially whatever the governor says is what I`ll do. He essentially acceded his vote to the governor on this at that press conference and before. And you saw what the governor said. There is no way that Sandoval can come out and support the bill as it exists now.
So that`s a real problem for him. Heller`s numbers are worse in Nevada in some polling that Trump`s. He`s in the high 30s, low 40s approval rating.
His problem, though, is that even if the political calculus is he can`t change, he is going to get a primary opponent if he votes no. In Nevada, the primary is in June, the turn out is very low. The base will turn out. And you have folks like Hugh Hewitt out there saying that if Heller votes no, that he is going to hemorrhage the base and he is in big trouble.
I think Heller will get a primary opponent if he votes no, and I think it`s -- he has the potential to lose in a primary because the turnout is usually around 40 percent of so. So you can imagine, Chris, what percentage of that is the Republican base that could be enraged.
Now, again, we`re talking on July 13, 2017, for an election that takes place a little under a year from now. But he has no safe harbor here.
HAYES: It`s a great point. He`s also, we should note -- he`s got someone like -- by the name of Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire Nevadan GOP donor who he`s pretty close to and who has given a lot of money who presumably wants him to vote yes here.
RALSTON: Both Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, the other billionaire from Nevada, who by coincidence just happens to be the Republican National Committee`s finance chairman now, have both hectored Heller about voting for this bill either because they are ideologically supportive of what`s going on -- Steve Wynn has publicly said Obamacare is the worst thing that ever happened in America are words to that effect.
Now, it may be a coincidence that both of those gentlemen stand to get a lot of money saved if this Obamacare is repealed, Chris, but they are both telling Heller to vote that way.
Listen, I think it`s facile to say that this is a choice between your donors and 200,000 people on Medicaid. And I don`t know where Heller is really in his heart. I never try to read into politicians` hearts. But it is clear to me based on what he has said publicly that if he votes for this bill, and it still contains the Medicaid cuts, that is going to be a devastating proposition for him.
HAYES: Well, Nevadans, if you care strongly about this bill in either direction and you really want to see it become law or you don`t, you have a lot of power right now. You should let your sentaor know how you feel.
John Ralston, thanks for joining me.
HAYES: Coming up from there was no collusion to collusion isn`t illegal to, well, it definitely wasn`t treason. We`ll talk about lowering of expectations in wake of the Trump emails ahead.
Plus, the president tells us what a lot of people don`t know is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two. Stay tuned.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, another episode of American history brought to you by President Trump, this time France`s role in the Revolutionary War, which is being recognized more and more.
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HAYES: France is America`s first and oldest ally. A lot of people don`t know that. France helped us secure our independence. A lot of people forget.
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HAYES: Actually, a lot of people know that most basic part of America`s founding and haven`t forgotten it. But this is not the first time President Trump has suggested a lot of people don`t know something that pretty much everyone knows. And that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: You know when you find out something new and you`re really excited to share it and you think you just might be the only person who knows about it?
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TRUMP: People don`t realize, you know, the civil war. You think about it, why? People don`t ask that question.
Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.
People don`t realize, we are an unbelievably divided country.
People don`t know this about Iraq, but they have among the largest oil reserves in the world.
What many don`t know is that South Korea is a major trading partner with the United States.
France is America`s first and oldest ally. A lot of people don`t know that.
Italy is one of America`s largest trading partners. A lot of people don`t know that.
So few people remember, but Republicans are the party of Abraham Lincoln.
A lot of people don`t realize that Abraham Lincoln.
Most people don`t know he was a Republican, right. Does anyone know?
It`s like people forget.
A lot of people don`t know that.
A lot of people don`t know that.
It`s the party of Abraham Lincoln.
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HAYES: A strange thing started happening in conservative media a few weeks ago. Instead of saying there`s no evidence of collusion, people started saying what if there is collusion? Is that even a crime?
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GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: I`ve been scratching my head about this for months. What is the crime? If the Russian KGB chief is talking to Paul Manafort and the chief says you know I got this dirt here that says Hillary Clinton was this or that...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But there`s no evidence any way.
RIVERA: And Paul Manafort says next Wednesday I want you to release that, that would be great for us. I don`t know if that`s the crime at all. What`s the crime?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve said it before and I`ll say it again, collusion is not a crime, only an anti-trust law. You can collude all you want with a foreign government in an election. There`s no such statute.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: And they might say as a Trump campaign representative, wow you have that? Tell the American people the truth, let them see it themselves. Release it. Is that a crime to say release it, to show the truth, to show damaging information?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Collusion, while it`s alarming and highly inappropriate for the Trump campaign -- of which there`s no evidence by the way -- colluded with the Russians, it`s not a crime.
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HAYES: Of course that was before the emails came out showing that Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner sought to collude with the Russian government to elect Donald Trump president.
And when those emails dropped, well, the president`s supporters, they have been workshopping their defense.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do I think it`s appropriate? I think I probably would have been the same thing. I mean, it`s opposition research. And, you know, anybody that`s been in an election you`re always looking to get the upper hand. And if somebody comes to us and says, hey, we`ve got information on an opponent, yeah I think that`s an appropriate thing to do.
REP. ROBERT PITTENGER, (R) NORTH CAROLINA: Was that illegal? Is it a material reality of what they did was wrong, was illegal? I think we`ll get to the facts on that.
Well, I think you could take information from anyone.
TRUMP: I do think this. I think from a practical standpoint most people would have taken that meeting. It`s called opposition research, or even research into your opponent. And I think it`s a meeting that most people in politics probably would have taken.
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HAYES: So, opposition research, just opposition research. Everybody does it so says President Trump and his defenders, even though it is the means of acquiring that information and the source that`s the real issue.
Joining me now, Joy Reid, host of MSNBC`s A.M. JOy; Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer of The New Yorker who has got a fantastic new piece out. It`s called America`s Future in Texas. Everyone should read that.
Joy, let me start with you, it is -- we`re watching the goal posts being moved in real time. Someone says it`s like watching the stadium be moved. But that -- this is the message they`re now sending, so what, basically, right?
JOY REID, MSNBC: It`s remarkable to watch the Republican Party that in as recently at the 1980s had this ethic that we had to stand behind regimes even like apartheid South Africa for the specific reason that we had to prevent spheres of influence for Russia from spreading. So that it was so important to keep Russia away from spheres of influence that were important to us that we had to even support regimes like that to now drift to that`s fine. If you want to collude with us -- substitute Iran for Russia.
Iran wants to help out the 2020 election campaign of Donald Trump and Iran has some juicy information on its opponent. Is that OK? I guess so.
HAYES: Lawrence, your piece which is an amazing look at this transformation, in some ways, of Texas politics -- is really sort of about -- it`s about kind of the Texas GOP, but it`s also about the sort of for lack of a better word, kind of Trumpization of all politics. How is this playing in Texas, I guess would be my first question?
LAWRENCE WRIGHT, NEW YORK: Well, you know, when Trump was running there were -- I didn`t know any Republicans in Texas who supported him and now they all do. So you know, I suppose it`s playing OK for the Trump business of -- you know, this is their Republican leader that they`ve been looking for for quite a long time. They finally have a Republican in the White House. It is not the one they would have chosen -- Ted Cruz or Rick Perry would have been the one those chose. But that`s the one they`ve got.
HAYES: There`s also -- one of the things that comes through in your piece, there`s this anti-anti-Trump, right? So the idea that if you don`t trust the media and you don`t trust the Democrats, you don`t trust liberals, you don`t trust these sort of bastions of your enemy, then whatever they say, whatever evidence they show is not going to penetrate.
WRIGHT: Well, in Texas, at least, there`s always been a distrust of liberal...
So it`s not really ringing a different bell here. I think that there`s a sense of demoralization and alienation from the rest of the country that`s always been true. But under Trump, suddenly the Trump administration seems to be endorsing a lot of the policies that Texas lawmakers are advocating. And so there is a sense at last that there`s a unity between...
HAYES: ...a champion.
WRIGHT: ...between what Texas Republicans wants and what the Trump administration is sponsoring.
HAYES: To Lawrence`s point. I mean, I think what we`re seeing in some ways, right, is the culmination of a very long project and a very long set of trends about conservatism in particular and whether they believe what they call the mainstream media or the liberal media. And at a certain point it`s like it gets to the point that even black and white an email that says do you want to collude with the Russian government in this election? Doesn`t, you know, doesn`t penetrate or change people`s minds.
REID: It`s almost cartoonishly bad. As if the Russians said let`s see if we can write an email that`s so cartoonishly villainlessly blatantly obvious that nobody is going to go for this and they even put in the crown prosecutor, which is ridiculous if it wasn`t even already more.
And they bought it? They were like, really? We can do anything.
I mean, look, the reality is Donald Trump didn`t invent this. He didn`t invent this Republican Party. He just saw the trends and took advantage of it. This is the Republican Party that`s been built on resentment and a sense of victimhood, a sense of persecution, almost a persecution complex for more than 40 years, almost 50 years going back to the dawn of the civil rights movement when they felt by the world.
Donald Trump gets that, gets that. He gets them. He`s figured it out. He can make them accept anything.
And not only can he make the base of the Republican Party accept literally anything, next -- I literally go back to if he would like to collude with Iran next please, they would accept anything. And not only will the voters, so will the elected officials.
He`s cowed Senators, members of congress, he has cowed the officialdom of the Republican Party, he`s cowed the speaker of the House. They all are now for collusion.
HAYES: And what`s so remarkable about that, to Lawrence, to your piece in Texas, is that Texas was the sort of home of never Trumpism on the right. I mean, it was the place that kind of rebelled against this, in some ways the most fully. I mean, it`s a very developed, robust kind of conservative politics in Texas, which are very Texan in their sort of own distinct way.
And to Joy`s point, like he has now wrested control of that apparatus.
WRIGHT: Well, in Texas I think you see what`s happening in the National Party, as well as, you know, the Democrats are sidelined in Texas as they are nationally. And, so what you have is a Republican Party that is really two parties that`s very uncomfortably married together.
And you have the more moderate business-oriented wing which in Texas is represented by the speaker of the house Joe Strauss. And then you have these social and cultural conservatives like Dan Patrick and our governor who is our lieutenant governor and Greg Abbott our governor. And they`re pushing an entirely different agenda that is about abortion and anti-immigration and homosexuals. And this is what happens in Texas tends to percolate up into national politics.
WRIGHT: And what -- I guess the point of the article is this is what`s coming.
HAYES: One of the things that I`ve come to view is that just in the last three days I`ve thought about this email and it`s repercussions is there`s not going to be any -- there will be no pin drop moment.
HAYES: So, it`s either going to have to play out politically in terms of Democrats taking the House or charges or things like that, but there`s not going to be a moment, right?
REID: I`ve been saying...
HAYES: You`ve said that for a long time.
REID: There are no heroes. There will be no hereos. The only way this changes is if Democrats take the House. The end.
HAYES: Political control is ultimately...
REID: If the Republicans control the House of Representatives and the Senate, Donald Trump will sit right there, colluding in plain sight and laughing at his own party, because yes he can get away with anything.
HAYES: Do you think ultimately that this -- there`s a sort of a question about, like, do people care about this? And I think it`s fair question, because I do think when you think about the politics of it, like, it`s a separate question from should it substantively be pursued, right. But there is a degree to which I can imagine it still feels remote to a lot of voters still.
REID: Yeah, and I`ve talked to, you know, some Trump voters who dismiss it. The reality is if you are a Republican base voter right now, you are so cloistered in only the media you trust.
HAYES; That`s right, yeah.
REID: If the media you trust doesn`t tell you it`s important, than it isn`t important to you, because they are telling you ignore it.
HAYES: Joy Reid and Lawrence Wright, Lawrence, thanks for making time. I`m a huge fan.
WRIGHT: My pleasure.
HAYES: All right, that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END