Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 17, 2017 Guest: Jim Himes, Julia Ioffe
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort and what this band of (INAUDIBLE) men were up to last summer when they invited the Russians into Trump Tower to help them win the election. Just think again for a lonely second precisely what your reaction would be if young Chelsea had been the happy host of that affair. This is HARDBALL for now, "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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ARI MELBER, MSNBC CHIEF LEGAL CORRESPONDENT: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I don`t like those - I don`t like Pinocchios.
MELBER: Donald Trump tries to turn the page but the Russia questions keep coming.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was nothing as far as we know that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for discussion about adoption.
MELBER: Tonight, new White House spin and a new defense by the President of attempted collusion with Russia.
Then Julia Ioffe with new reporting on the Kremlin connections of the Russian lawyer who met with Trump Jr. And as the resistance takes the Hill and the President cheers on John McCain -
TRUMP: He`s a crusty voice in Washington, plus we need his vote.
MELBER: The very latest on the fate of Trumpcare in the Senate when ALL IN starts now.
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MELBER: Good evening from New York. I am Ari Melber in for Chris Hayes. The White House is trying to turn the page on the Russia scandal by using a pretty traditional Washington strategy. They are now branding this made in America week an irony not lost on anyone familiar with the products the President`s companies have sold. But even as the Trump administration tries to spotlight American manufacturing, it still cannot get its story straight about whether the strategies used by the Trump campaign were actually made in Russia. Today White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer returned to the briefing room, as you may know, this is the first time he`s done that in three weeks. There`s no video of the event because the White House barred media from broadcasting any of this briefing on air. Reporters though were able to put forward their questions, they pressed Spicer on Trump Jr.`s meeting during this campaign with the Kremlin linked lawyer who`d been built as offering dirt in writing in that now infamous e- mail about Hillary Clinton and stating that it would be courtesy of the Russian government. Spicer, however, claimed that Trump Jr. just wanted to find out what the meeting would be about and added this.
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SPICER: There`s nothing, as far as we know, that would lead anyone to believe that there was anything except for discussion about adoption and the Magnitsky Act. But I would refer you back to counsel on that one.
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MELBER: That is not true and it is not what Trump Jr. himself has already publicly confessed by releasing that e-mail about the meeting. We`ll quote from it directly where he says or it was, of course, presented to him that he was offered official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father and here`s the kicker, as you heard by now "part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump." Trump Jr. then wrote something that he certainly regrets by now, saying "if it`s what you say, I love it." Meanwhile, for his part, President Trump who has long denied any type of collusion now seems to be admitting that if any attempted collusion did take place, it was not a big deal and his son would actually have been, yes, crazy not to try to take a meeting for potential collusion with Russia. Let me read you the quote. "Most politicians would have gone to a meeting like the one Don Junior attended in order to get info on an opponent. That`s politics."
Of course, the question isn`t whether this is politics. The question is whether it involved espionage. Now, then you have - beyond the Twitter`s sphere - you have the President`s own criminal defense lawyer, Jay Sekulow, making the rounds on the Sunday shows and arguing something pretty remarkable in a season of remarkable claims. We`re going to play this for you in some depth so you can hear it straight from him. The argument now, Monday night coming out of Sunday, appears to be from the White House that even if this type of foreign collusion took place, it doesn`t mean laws were broken.
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JAY SEKULOW, PRESIDENT TRUMP`S LAWYER: If there`s investigation you`re looking at, what law may have been violated here? And again the meeting and what took place at the meeting, based on all the information that you just said is not a violation of any law, statute or code.
I would say the vast majority of lawyers that you`ve interviewed and others have interviewed in your network and other networks have acknowledged that the meetings itself and those proposed discussions would not have been a violation of the law. When you talk about Russian collusion, colluding to do what? What - colluding to violate what law? Everyone is acting as if there`s this massive collusion statute that only applies here. The fact is there is no collusion statute.
I keep going back to this fundamental issue. What is the legal statute that has been violated here or alleged to be violated here? What would be in other words the subject of that questioning under oath?
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MELBER: What is the legal statute? Well, Sekulow`s job, of course, is to defend his client, President Trump. He`s going to find ways to argue this was all legal. But what is the statute, that question? Well, there are actually several statutes implicated. That includes the federal election laws, felonies related to computer hacking, statutes on conspiracy, and being an as accessory after the fact to a crime. We already know some laws were broken during all of this in 2016, hacking being the most blatant. The question is not whether statutes are implicated but rather whether people like Trump Jr. were witnesses to those crimes or accomplices. I turn to Democratic Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut, a Member of the House Intel Committee, which investigates a lot of these Russia issues. Now, put aside whether the meeting itself was legal or a potential element of a crime. Even if Robert Mueller`s folks don`t ultimately find that this meeting was the predicate to a crime, does your Committee have an interest in whether it is evidence of foreign interference that would itself be a problem for the United States?
REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Of course we do, Ari. And you know, that is no longer a question. Obviously, the Intelligence Community told us long ago that there was a concerted effort on the part of the Russians to work - to attack our election and to do it on behalf of Donald Trump. Of course, the White House denied that right up until the very moment that the President`s own son released e-mails indicating that he - not only he but all of the key people in the campaign sat down for the express purpose Sean Spicer`s statement not withstanding to get compromising information. And the reason that really matters are, first of all, anyone who tells you that no crimes were broken is spinning because we don`t know exactly what happened in that meeting and more importantly, we don`t know what happened after that meeting. But here`s what really worries me this standpoint apart from the complete destruction of the White House`s credibility, that in and of itself is a pretty serious thing. But look, what`s happening right now is we are defining acceptable behavior, not just down, but deep into the cesspool. And what I mean by that is, first of all, the President is wrong. I don`t know any politicians who would take a meeting with Russians knowing the Russia government was behind it for the purpose of getting incriminating information on their opponent. But now, you know, people all over this country thinking about running for Congress, running for Senate, just heard what the President of the United States say, that`s just same old, same old. And that`s you know, that is sort of taking what used to be a set of norms and ethics and values that everybody of both parties used to agree to and just dumping it deep, deep into the cesspool.
MELBER: Well, you talk about looking into that cesspool. What does it tell you as someone on the relevant investigative body that the White House defense went from, we didn`t do it, to if we did it, it`s actually OK.
HIMES: Well, Ari, look, I mean, from the standpoint of serious people, and I`m not quite sure how that`s defined anymore. But from the standpoint f serious people, what the White House says no longer matters. I mean, this White House and Sean Spicer, in particular, kicked off this administration by marching out into the White House press room and explaining how this was the largest inaugural crowd ever, all evidence to the contrary. And then the President would have won but for those, three or four million fraudulent vote that nobody believes occurred. So you know - and you got the President`s lawyer saying this - if the secret service let this meeting happen, it must have been OK. First of all the Secret Service was not covering Donald Trump Jr. at the time and secondly, that`s actually not the Secret Service`s job to be a moral arbiter of the of the people whose lives they protect. So sadly Ari, the answer to your question is that what the White House says does not matter and in fact, can probably be assumed to be inaccurate.
MELBER: So, what does that tell you though when they`re putting out defenses that are factually false that they either don`t care or they want to see that if the trial balloon somehow worked, then it would be good enough for them, the Secret Service example?
HIMES: I guess, look, we`re in an uncharted territory here. I mean, you know, crisis management 101, which this White House threw overboard you know, five months ago is that when you have a problem - and Ari, this will be studied in communications and PR and crisis management classes for decades to come - you know, the conventional wisdom which is conventional for a reason is that when you have something that`s an irritant like this, get it all out. You know, just make everybody in the administration list with great and exquisite detail. All of the meetings they had with the Russians, if that happened maybe you take a couple weeks of bad press, maybe a few people who did some bad stuff get told to go away. But they have managed to through their obfuscation, through their persistent lies, through their fantastical generations of alibis that make no sense, assure that tomorrow and the next day and months to come, we will once again be consuming time and energy not on transportation, not on health care, but on the bizarre antics of the White House.
MELBER: Congressman Jim Himes, strong words about an issue, undermines many Americans, I think it`s fair to say thanks for your time tonight.
HIMES: Thank you, Ari.
MELBER: Now, I want to turn for more analysis to MSNBC Terrorism Expert Malcolm Nance and Matt Miller, NBC Security Analyst and also a former Aide to Eric Holder. Matt Miller, you know how defenses work. Your view of the shift from a denial or alibi posture, as I was talking to the Congressman, the argument that we didn`t do it, to actually we were there and if we did it, it`s no biggie.
MATT MILLER, NBC NEWS SECURITY ANALYST: I think, two things are at work. One, obviously, to use a famous Watergate phrase, the previous statement was no longer operative. They can now longer claim that it didn`t happen despite Sean Spicer`s kind of crazy statement today. They could no longer claim it didn`t happen when e-mails were leased that it very clearly did. And so now they have to move to claim that this behavior is acceptable. And then there`s a second much more pernicious thing that I think is happening which is that the President is trying to condition the American people and if not all of them, condition his base, to believe that you know, no matter what I did, even if I did the worst thing my opponents have said about me, something I denied all the way back to the campaign, that we were willing to include with the Russian government that`s acceptable behavior. I think it`s a way to defend what his son and what his son-in- law and what his Campaign Manager did in taking this meeting and it`s a potentially a way to defend something much worse that could come out to say, you know what, it`s OK to act this way in a campaign.
MALCOLM NANCE, MSNBC TERRORISM ANALYST: Yes, he is absolutely right. The Trump campaign is framing this as this giant massive conspiracy that`s coming from the left. And that first initially it was we didn`t do anything and now it`s yes we may have colluded but collusion is not illegal. You know, your earlier - you were speaking to the Congressman earlier. There are laws that are being broken here. The first one falls under the RICO Act, Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations, conspiracy to commit election fraud. Conspiracy, quite possibly we don`t know what they`ve said in these meetings. It could even reach as high as the espionage act. Everyone should be upset over these meetings. And to use another Watergate phrase, we really need to know what did they know, when did they know it and was Donald Trump present at any of discussions before or after this meeting?
MELBER: Right. And to update the Watergate phrase as you put it, Malcolm, also, who did they know? Because election law is very clear that all people are created equal unless they are foreigners, in which case they are not equal and do not have standing and are not allowed to vote or donate money. And that is clear election (INAUDIBLE) that if anything the Congress has tightened in a bipartisan basis. So with that in mind, I want to play for you, what is again, I don`t know if people have the capacity to be shocked but what is a rather shocking statement of demeaning the bar down from Fox News` Jeanine Pirro talking about how it`s OK to meet with anyone if they have something you want which is of course as you would know, as the judge is actually contrary to the law. Take a listen.
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JEANINE PIRO, FOX NEWS HOST: If the devil called me and said he wanted to set up a meeting to give me opposition research on my opponent, I`d be on the first trolley to hell to get it.
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MELBER: Malcolm, I`m not going to ask you to comment on the sulfur coming out of that clip about the devil but insert foreigner for devil and tell me whether from a security or legal standpoint that is the proper approach.
NANCE: If this is the strategy that they`re going to go to. If we start seeing a solid shift to Judge Piro`s strategy, and they`re going to start positively saying that foreign operatives or foreign intelligence officers are legitimate, then we have got a crisis in national security going on. That means, you know, these people do not care about the laws regarding this national security of the United States. And at that point, that means that they`re probably covering up something very bad. And that`s why we have a spy hunt going on with the Special Counsel using the national security apparatus and the spy hunters of the FBI to determine what was the status of these foreign individuals. This is not good in any optics but like you said, they`re playing the 25 percent and they`re trying to show that this activity was actually patriotic. And that anything that anyone else says, whether it`s the FBI or the Special Prosecutor or Congress, that they`re a bunch of fools. We`ve got a very serious propaganda problem going on if this is the case.
MELBER: Matt Miller speak to that and this illegal and security notion of who is giving up the goods because it is certainly true that campaigns try to lawfully collect negative information on their opponent but they can`t buy it from felons if they know that it`s the fruit of a crime. They cannot - as I just said -- legally try to collaborate with or get money or assistance from foreigners. And yet, it seems like, I don`t want to be unfair to the defenses being offered but it does seem like we`re hearing a predicate for the open defense of that kind of illegal - potentially illegal collaboration.
MILLER: Yes, that`s right. What they`re saying is the campaign financed laws that accepting a thing of value from a foreign national just don`t apply and potentially other laws that could be implicated don`t apply. But there`s one very important thing from this memo that I think as somewhat been underreported. We know, according to interviews that Rinat Akhmetshin, the Russian-American lobbyist has conducted in the last few days, that when they had that meeting, they left a memo with the Trump campaign. They brought a memo, potentially we - if you look at the e-mails you have to believe it was derogatory information about Hillary Clinton that they left behind. That would appear to be a thing of value under campaign finance laws and what we need to know is what happened with that memo. Did the president see it? We know that Donald Trump in the days after that promised a major speech where he would reveal new information about Hillary Clinton. I think those questions are the kind that Robert Mueller is going to be investigating. Who knew what about the meeting, when did they know it, and what did they do with that information?
MELBER: And finally Matt Miller, when you read those e-mails, do they strike you as a one-off out of the blue as the Trump folks suggested or do they read to you like an ongoing conversation and the e-mail is one of several potential beats.
MILLER: It looks to me like that e-mail was a first outreach from the Russia government to find out whether the Trump campaign would be interested in collaboration and they got a clear signal back they - well, would be. And I think as Chris pointed out on the show last night, it appears there was a phone call between Don Junior and Rod Goldstone where they talked about that information. And then, you know, you have to ask yourself if Donald Trump Jr. was so excited about this information and he said I love it and I love it more later this summer is that the end of it? We know that there were ongoing contacts between the senior Trump official and the Russian government that`s been reported extensively. And -
MELBER: Let me be clear, I said last question but - I said last question but you`re making me think of something else. Are you suggesting that when he said I love it later this summer, that he was potentially already beginning a type of discussion or brainstorming about how to release things?
MILLER: Well, you just have to look at what happened. So this conversation was in early June, Donald Trump Jr. say, I love it later this summer. What happened later this summer? Well, in late July, right before the Democratic Convention, the first batch of e-mails leaked. We know the Russians hacked those e-mails in the spring, they held onto them and when did they released them, later in the summer right before the Democratic Convention.
MELBER: Wow. Matt Miller and Malcolm Nance, your expertise very valuable and are very big story. I appreciate it.
Up next, the Russian lawyer at the center of this Trump, Kushner, Manafort meeting, what we know about her and the Kremlin ties. This is all thanks to some very original reporting in the Atlantic and the author Julie Ioffe joins me next.
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DONALD TRUMP JR., PRESIDENT TRUMP`S SON: There is nothing there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So she is saying that she had no information to provide. Do you remember what she`s suggesting that you were pressing her a little bit for information?
TRUMP JR.: I image I did. I mean, I was probably pressing because the pretext of the meeting was hey, I have information about your opponent. It was this - you know, hey, some DNC donors may have done something in Russia and they didn`t pay taxes. I was like, what does this have to do with anything?
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MELBER: Good question, Donald Trump Jr. knew why he was meeting with someone advertised in writing as a Russian government attorney from that e- mail. "The crown prosecutor of Russia offered to provide official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary in her dealings with Russia and would be useful to your father," they wrote, as yes, "part of Russia and its government support for Mr. Trump." That is what Donald Trump Jr. and his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, a veritable suite of VIPs gathered and were hoping to get out of what is now this infamous meeting, a meeting that has been lied about that occurred at Trump Tower about a year ago. As for that so called or at least in writing described as, "Russia government attorney," well, we should report for you, she says she has no connection to the Russia government. She did serve of course as a prosecutor but told NBC News she never even had any compromising material on Trump`s opponent.
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NATALIA VESELNITSKAYA, RUSSIAN LAWYER (through translator): Donald, he was the only one I spoke to.
MELBER: She said she was there to lobby against a law she said was affecting her client, a well-connected Russia, a law that also imposed sanctions on Russia. But she says he was interested in information about possible illegal donations to Democrats.
VESELNITSKAYA (through translator): I can tell you right now, I have never referred to any compromising information about Mrs. Clinton.
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MELBER: So some discrepancies there. How did this self-proclaimed adoption lawyer lobbyist end up at the center of what is now looking like one of the biggest political scandals in American history? It`s a question a lot of people have been pursuing but one at the Atlantic`s Julia Ioffe has pursued more doggedly. She asked in this new report who is Natalia Veselnitskaya, and what does she want? I`m happy to say Julia Ioffe is here on ALL IN. What did you find out about her and how she ended up in Trump Tower.
JULIA IOFFE, THE ATLANTIC STAFF WRITER: She is a very interesting person and as one longtime Russia watcher told me, it`s analogous to a real estate lawyer from Hoboken ending up at the center of a massive international scandal. You know, she comes from the Moscow region, which is very suburban, very rural, and very rich and corrupt and rife with organized crime. And that`s where she cut her teeth first as a prosecutor, then as a private attorney working at the intersection between the government, private business and organized crime. So that`s where she got her kind of battle-ax, you know, super tough manner from. I should say, though, that when a Russian says - somebody like Veselnitskaya who has admitted that she knows Yury Chaika, this is the General Prosecutor of Russia. He`s the one alluded to as the crown prosecutor of Russia, which is not a real position but it`s referring to Chaika, a Putin loyalist, very close to Putin. She - people who know her told me that she`s very close with that family. So she might not have a technical you know - position with the Russian government but you don`t just end up friends with Yury Chaika and then say, you know, I have no connection to the Russian government.
MELBER: Well, right. And also -
IOFFE: And every - and every Russian doing business at law at this level like her is connected to the government.
MELBER: And being a prosecutor means at one point you work for the government.
IOFFE: That`s right. And that`s how she met the Chaika family. Yes.
MELBER: I appreciate the nuance you`re providing because it`s relevant and as you say it`s also the fact that the business connected elites, do the bidding of the Kremlin when asked most typically but that sort of the second step. The first step is the majority of people in Russia, like the majority of people in most countries don`t ever work for the government, she did, so that`s already close. And then I also want to ask you, you have this reporting here, you spoke to Bill Browder, an investor who`s caught - who`s fought with her in court and says quote - he tells you, "she was probably the most aggressive person I`ve ever encountered in Russia."
IOFFE: Yes, she is known as a very, very tough attorney. In one case, when she first gained prominence in Russia, although it`s relative prominence, people don`t know who she is. They were as surprised as we were to find out about Natalia Veselnitskaya. She not only put away a crime boss for 17 years but got arrest warrants - international arrest warrants for the family of the business owner that had turned to the organized crime boss for help.
MELBER: And then you write about her establishment of something called the Human Rights Accountability Global Initiative Foundation, which she passed, got created in 2016. Of course, the prime period we`re talking about. And it was advertised as, "to helping to restart American adoption of Russian children." There`s been of course a lot of attention on this, but again, in regard to the investigations going on, what is the significance that she is someone whos`s going to these levels to do whatever you want to call it, advocacy or lobbying in the U.S.
IOFFE: Well, she was - she didn`t create this NGO, just to be clear. She was a representative of it. It`s strange that she was lobbying in the U.S. so hard for this, given that she didn`t speak English. That said, let`s get the topics of adoption off the table. This was not in any way about adoptions. The adoption ban was a retaliatory measure by Vladimir Putin, a very weird one, to punish his own people for something that the U.S. did to the Russia. So it`s like a double (INAUDIBLE). What really upset Veselnitskaya and her client and Vladimir Putin and the Russian elite was the Magnitsky Act, which was pushed through by Bill Browder, a not uncontroversial figure I must say, sanctioning a list of Russian officials who were allegedly involved in the death of his lawyer and auditor Sergei Magnitsky. And this gets at the very heart - the reason it angered them so much it gets at the very heart of what the Russian elite do. The government elite, nongovernment elite, the gray area in between, they steal money at home, and then they have to get it out of the country because if they leave it in the country, it will get stolen again by somebody else. And the Magnitsky Act basically cut that pipeline and it was - that was crucial to them. Otherwise -
MELBER: Right. And in carrot - in carrot and stick diplomacy, this was a stick designed to hurt Russia so it`s obviously as we say not only about adoption. Last question, having learned all this, what is your view of the likelihood that she was connected to a real Kremlin operation here in this meeting?
IOFFE: I think we still need more facts about that. The one thing I want to add to that Malcolm and Matt were talking about in the previous segment, the question all along for Russia watchers has been, when Russia stood accused of meddling in the American elections, we were all puzzled because if you look at the lobbying effort mounted by Natalia Veselnitskaya and her cohort, it was laughable. They didn`t - they barely knew how the American political system worked. They couldn`t prevent it from getting passed. They certainly didn`t know what the DNC was or the DCCC was. They didn`t know how to - you know, what Florida 17, that district looked like in 2016. Like how did they know where to aim their fire? Did they have local help? And I think that`s the big red flag to people who know Russia.
IOFFE: And maybe - and maybe she was helping or looking for guidance on where to guide those missiles.
MELBER: Right. You`re saying this was a tour through very complex terrain and they landed an exact right spot. The question is did they have a local guide?
IOFFE: That`s right.
MELBER: Julia Ioffe, thank you so much. Still, to come, protests return to Capitol Hill and the other big story which Chris has been reporting on a lot, now a delayed Trumpcare vote and the President`s pretty odd public appeal to in-ailing John McCain.
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TRUMP: We hope John McCain gets better very soon because we miss him. He`s a crusty voice in Washington, plus we need his vote.
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MELBER: Crusty and you need him. President Donald Trump there implicitly acknowledging what many reporters have said, the Senate cannot appear to pass the health care overhaul down one with Senator McCain recovering from this blood clot surgery and everyone wishing him well. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had of course said, they would hold this delayed ones vote by this week and now delayed again with the McCain situation. He is reportedly recovering at home in Arizona, which leaves McConnell down this crucial third Republican vote on the bill.
Republicans vowing, though, to push ahead.
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SEN. JOHN CORNYN, (R) TEXAS: We all wish John McCain a speedy recovery. And we need him in more ways than one, but, yes, I believe we have a full contingent of Senators that we`ll have that vote. It`s important we do so.
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MELBER: The word is out about all this. You can see the protests kicking back into gear. There have been weeks of them in the halls and offices of Capitol Hill, constituents wanting to press senators with all of their concerns about where this ends.
Opponents vowing to keep up the pressure during the delayed vote. And at least 33 people arrested on Capitol Hill, this was by mid-afternoon today.
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CROWD: Kill the bill, don`t kill us. Kill the bill, don`t kill us. Kill the bill, don`t kill us. Kill the bill, don`t kill us.
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MELBER: That is the lobby of the Heart senate Republican office building.
So what is the Republican response to all of this grassroots pressure? Well, I`m about to speak to a Republican congressman who backs this health care bill and says it is past time for repeal. Stay with us.
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TRUMP: The Republican senators are great people, but they have a lot of different states. Some states need this, some states need that, but we`re getting it together and it`s going to happen. Right, Mike?
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, sir.
TRUMP: I think.
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HAYES: President Trump today pushing Republicans to get health care through the Senate. With Mitch McConnell already two votes down the majority leader can`t lose a single more senator, basically. He`s got down to one. That makes the willingness of Maine Senator Susan Collins speaking out against the bill all the more striking.
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SEN. SUSAN COLLINS, (R) MAINE: This bill would impose fundamental be sweeping changes in the Medicaid program and those include very deep cuts that would effect some of the most vulnerable people in our society, including disabled children, poor seniors.
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MELBER: Joining me now, Republican Congressman Roger Marshall of Kansas. Good evening.
REP. ROGER MARSHALL, (R) KANSAS: Hey, good evening, Ari. Thanks for having me on tonight.
MELBER: Absolutely, happy to have you here.
What`s your response there to the senator saying that these bills, both versions, have these cuts to Medicaid that would hit the disabled and people in nursing homes?
MARSHALL: Yeah, I certainly respect the senator. I think having worked with thousands of Medicaid patients is that I would say Medicaid is broken. One out of three physicians no longer accept Medicaid. Medicaid is so broken and throwing money at it is not going to fix it.
MELBER: And so what does this bill do to fix it?
MARSHALL: Not enough. There`s so many things that need to go beyond this bill to fix the people that have low coverage. Right now Medicaid is not working. We need to get this bill finished so we can doing more things to help those people.
Number one by helping get the economy stronger. Moving people from welfare to work would be one simple solution so people would truly have good jobs and they could more access to health care.
MELBER: But just to be clear, you`re on record saying that these cuts might save money, but don`t fix Medicaid. So, you`re sort of saying cut first, fix later.
MARSHALL: Oh, not at all.
I`m just saying that throwing money at this is not going to fix the problem. And there`s some growth inequities right now between the Medicaid expansion states and those that are not on Medicaid expansion, and throwing billions of dollars has not fixed it or helped health care. So throwing more dollars that this country can`t afford is not going to fix this either. Instead, it`ll break the country and nobody will have health care.
MELBER: Let me read a new tweet here that is a statement that has some political significance. I`m sure you`ll grasp it immediately. This is from Senator Jerry Moran, your Senator, you know. He says that he and his colleague Mike Lee will not support this version. The motion to proceed -- meaning they`re not going to -- as you know, and most our viewers know, the process, they`re not going to go even go forward to consider this thing because, and he says, because it`s twitter #healthcarebill. That`s breaking here just in the past five minutes. Your response?
MARSHALL: Well, certainly those are two senators that I greatly respect and have friendships with both. But doing nothing is not an option. So I encourage both of those senators to work towards yes, to find something that would get them to yes, to find a solution so we can start fixing health care.
Doing nothing is not an option, and I have confidence in Senator Moran and Senator Lee that they`re going to bring solutions to the table to get us to yes.
MELBER: Why do you think this has been so hard in the senate where they have majority? And again we`re putting this back on the screen because this is some significant breaking news. I would call it procedural, but it`s more than procedural, it`s going to make all the difference over whether there`s even a vote on this thing.
Why has it been so hard in the Senate? I mean, it seems -- and you tell me if you have a different view of it, but it seems like the longer these bills are out in public, even without hearings, and I don`t know why -- maybe you can explain why don`t they want to hold hearings, the longer they`re out the more opposition they face including from the insurers, including from doctor community, including from a lot of folks in your home state.
MARSHALL: Yeah. I think, first of all, health care is very emotional. And when emotions are involved everyone is not necessarily very clear thinking. So, I think that`s one issue.
And I think number two, there`s a lot of inequity right now. This health care bill is about Medicaid and it`s about people purchasing health care through the exchange, both of those systems are desperately broken and need to be fixed. And unfortunately, this bill cannot fix all the problems, but it`ll be the first step towards fixing it. And I can`t wait to get this bill done so we can move forward.
MELBER: And respectfully, I understand you support the bill, but respectfully the question I`m asking, do you also have the perception and the read that this is getting less popular as it gets more exposure and why no hearing.
MARSHALL: No, I don`t think it`s getting loss popular. I think the senate is right where the House was when we almost came to our first vote. And I think the Senate is going to realize that if they don`t support this bill that they`re going to lose their base.
Every day that goes by our base is supporting us more and more. Our base is supporting President Trump more and more. When I go back to Kansas and do town halls, the base that elected me support President Trump and they support this bill and that tidal wave is starting to come up. those people are starting to make their voice known as well.
We all ran on repealing Obamacare. And it`s time that the Senate does their share of the job.
MELBER: So, if these votes -- and this is the breaking news here in the last few minutes, if these votes continue to crumble, plus McCain is out, and there isn`t a health care vote by August, what are you asking folks to do? Is there any point at which you reset and move on? Or what do you do if there`s no health care vote in the Senate in August?
MARSHALL: They`re going to do it. I understand where everybody is at right now. They have to work through it. They have to find a way to repeal Obamacare. They have to find a way to fix this bill so we can get to this next step, so that we can get on to do an even more important things like starting to drive the costs of health care down, which is the number one concern of small businesses across America right now.
MELBER: And congressman, appreciate you on this, on a breaking news night for health care. Before I let you go, I`ve got to ask you as well about all these disclosures about Russia. If, indeed, in this or in any other situation a foreign government was in writing offering help to meet with a campaign, do you take the position that`s a meeting that should be turned down?
MARSHALL: No, I have not really stayed up with the details of this. I`m very focused on the House Ag committee meeting tomorrow. I`ve only read bits and pieces of it. I`ve watched less than an hour`s worth of news in the past several days. Focused on the Ag committee right now.
MELBER: Appreciate the focus. I guess the question is, even putting aside what may be known or disputed, as a general matter -- I mean, you yourself run campaigns and they`re governed, as you know, by federal election law, in that general situation if a foreign government is stating in writing to offer help to a campaign and saying let`s meet about it, is that a meeting that a candidate should take? Would you tell your campaign manager to take that meeting?
MARSHALL: You know, I think there`s always varying circumstances. I think we`re trying to examine everything retrospectively here. I really truly don`t know all the details. I`m very interested in getting to the bottom of the truth as efficiently as possible. We have people on those committees to take care of that. And I`m focussed on my Ag committee hearing tomorrow.
MELBER: Understood, congressman, I do know it`s a busy night there on the Hill. Busy times in general. Appreciate your time tonight.
MARSHALL: Thanks for having me. Wish everybody a big happy hello back to my friends in Kansas.
MELBER: Great. I hope they`re watching. I`ll say hello to Kansas as well. Congressman Roger Marshall joining us. We`re going to have more on this breaking news here. It`s 8:42 p.m. on the east coast and we are 7 minutes past an earthquake, of sorts, Republican senators saying no, they don`t want to move forward on a health care vote on Trumpcare. More after this.
MELBER: You`re watching All In with Chris Hayes. And we are in breaking coverage. When we came on the air at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, the standing vote count for the Senate version of Trumpcare, which would in part repeal Obamacare, was at 50 votes. We can now report it has dropped to 48 votes apparently dooming the measure. This is a breaking and unfolding story. The no votes now at 48 reflect a brand new statement from conservative Senators Mike Lee and Jerry Moran.
For more on this breaking story, I want to bring in Ben Howe. He`s a senior contributing editor at Red State and an expert on conservative politics. And Cornell Belcher, president of Brilliant Corners Research Strategies and the former DNC pollster.
Where to begin. Cornell, what does this mean?
CORNELL BELCHER, DEMOCRATIC POLLSTER: I think it means that they have a -- they have to go back to the drawing board. And, look, I think there`s a lot of polling out there right now that shows -- in a Post poll you saw this measure was down double digit points on the negative side.
Clearly -- look, I don`t give Democrats a lot of kudos for staying on message, but clearly they`ve stayed on message and you saw Susan Collins moving away saying this is really going to hurt vulnerable and older and rural voters. And I think that is setting in.
And a lot of these states whether you`re talking about Arkansas, whether you`re talking about Kentucky, whether you are talking about Maine where you will see a real impact with rural voters. And I think Republicans are rightly a little afraid of that, and rightly for paying the consequences of that.
Look, I saw what happened in 2010 when Democrats tried to do something big and bold on health care. I think Republicans do something big and bold on health care they kind of politically own it for better or for worse.
MELBER: Ben, as I said, started this evening with two Republican no votes on record in Senators Collins and Paul, for different reasons. And now, less than an hour later, they`re four votes down with Senators Lee and Moran, which means John McCain, who is out in surgery is no longer relevant to the whip count here. This is Mike Lee`s brand new tweet tonight, moments ago: "my colleague, Jerry Moran and I, will not support the motion to proceed in this version."
And I can to you just in the news room and the commercial break, we got the fuller, written statements because it`s not just a Twitter world. And the written statements go into more details saying they oppose this version, meaning not just the motion to proceed, they are no votes, which brings the Republicans down to 48.
Walk us through from a conservative perspective why this is happening and what you could tell us about these two particular senators.
BEN HOWE, RED STATE: Well, what`s going on mostly, and this started I think a little bit with Rand Paul writing an op-ed, unfortunately at Breitbart News, but there was a message that he was trying to send by doing that. That this isn`t really a repeal of Obamacare.
For a long time, this has been the rallying cry and the battle cry of conservatives, the Tea Party was all about Obamacare for years. And it was what they were promised, it was what the base was promised. They were told if we get the Senate, if we get the House, and then especially if we get the presidency.
Well, now they have all three. And the way that a lot of conservatives look at it is, this isn`t a big enough departure from Obamacare, from subsidies as it relates to it, from Medicaid expansion, and so on.
So I think a lot of people just -- they`re not afraid of the effects of Trumpcare in the same sense that Democrats are concerned about it. I think it`s really that they don`t believe that it`s conservative enough. And the senators are reacting to that.
I think I`ve heard Ron Johnson is more on the fence now than he was earlier. And now obviously Mike Lee has come out hard against it. And I expect Ben Sasse and others to follow suit.
MELBER: I`m looking at Senator Moran`s statement. I want to read from that for a second. But what you just said peaked my interest as well, which is you`re talking about the argument that you can be against this from the right rather than from the left.
MELBER: In your view, is that 100 percent the motivation or does the deep unpopularity of this bill also reflect a political calculus by some Republicans they don`t want to pass it and obviously if you`re in a Republican primary you want to come up with a reason for that from the right rather than the left?
HOWE: Well, I think most of the -- especially Mike Lee and if Ben Sasse, for instance, is to come out and say he`s against it -- he`s been on the fence. I think they are going to approach it from the right. And they`re going to say that this is not a bill that moves in the correct direction. It doesn`t address the issues that we had in terms of health care.
Cruz and others have said that this is the right steps to get to a point where we can work on it. Your last guest said something similar.
But, yeah, I think approaching it from the right is their best shot at keeping their conservative base happy.
What`s going to be interesting to me is to see how President Trump responds. He tends to cheerlead whatever he thinks has any chance of passing. And the base expects more out of him than that. And I`m wondering if they`ll hold him accountable to that.
MELBER: Right. And now I`m going to -- as promised, read you briefly from what Senator Moran said. Now, this is Kansas, pretty red states. And he doesn`t mince words about the policy here regarding the Senate proposal on Trumpcare.
He says I cannot support this. Quote, "we should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy." That doesn`t leave him a lot of room to get back involved.
I want you both to stay with me, because it`s a breaking story. Joining me on the phone is NBC`s Garrett Haake. What are you hearing there on The Hill right now?
GARRATE HAAKE, NBC NEWS: Well, hi, Ari. I mean, this is the concern for Republicans all week long was this idea that maybe not one, but multiple people would break through. Nobody wanted to be the one person to potentially be responsible for killing this bill. But you`ve got now two senators who have banded together with this joint statement, if you will. And while their statements are different, they announced it together at the same time in a coordinated effort here.
So, neither one of them gets to be, or has to be the one who is singularly responsible for the death of this bill, at least in this current format. And that`s what I take away from reading both of their statements. I mean, both of these men say they want to get to a point where they can still repeal and replace Obamacare, but that`s sort of where their statements diverge. And you`ll note, you know, you`ve seen Mike Lee who is one of the sort of doctinaire conservatives on the Hill wants to see this be done in a way that lowers premiums, and then gets rid of the taxes that were in this bill.
Remember, that was one of the changes in this draft that they were going to keep some of those Obamacare taxes in here.
Jerry Moran says the process didn`t work here. And we need to go back to the drawing board. He talked about having an open and inclusive process in whatever Republicans decide to do next.
So, while it`s clear these two senators I think teamed up maybe from a practical political standpoint so that neither one had to be the guy responsible for this, there`s still not agreement on what to do next.
MELBER: Garrett makes a great point. Stay with us. Because obviously we`re getting all we can on The Hill here on this breaking story.
But Ben, it`s not as if Kansas and Utah are always collaborating on interstate health care policy announcements. OK? I mean, this is in a land where obviously a lot of things are not normal. This is not itself normal. Garrett is putting forth the fairly straight forward explanation at linking arms and not being the one person that conservatives can seize on is helpful to them.
Of course, it`s not like they linked arms with five people. There are still just two of them. You could put a target on both of their be backs if, as promised, Trump is going to seek primaries and all the rest.
Tell us about the politics of these two rather conservative states.
HOWE: Well, I mean, Mike Lee specifically has, for a long time, been one of the best voices against a lot of the hedging that Trump does in terms of how he tries to laud supposedly conservative politics while not necessarily pushing that as policy.
And all the way back when during the campaigns and during the RNC convention, he was one of the loudest voices addressing concerns about this. He did not get on the bandwagon. He still has not gotten on the bandwagon.
And I`m -- at times I curious if he`s got some type of special permission to oppose the president, or at the very least to not cheerlead for him.
So, I think that this is in line with how he`s been for a long time. And I`m hoping that it starts a momentum, because I, too, believe that this bill does not move away from Obamacare in any substantial sense.
MELBER: Cornell, all of this happened, as many have pointing out, without hearings. And yet, in politics as we all know, where there is action, there is reaction, and where there is void, it is often filled. And I wonder if you, as someone who is studying the grass roots and the Democratic and progressive side of this, can speak to the fact that by denying hearings in a public forum to discuss these issues, did the Republicans actually create more of a void that was filled by these grass roots events that may have actually been more helpful to Obamacare?
BELCHER: Well, you know, I think it is damned if you do, damned if you don`t. I think the problem is, look, you know, campaigning is different from governing. And I understand from a campaign standpoint the idea that we`re going to repeal every single word of Obamacare, every single word, right, I understand that from a campaign standpoint, especially when you want to, you know, fire up your base.
But from a legislative and policy standpoint, it`s a whole different thing. You`ve now expanded health care to several millions of people and now you`re going to take it away. And by the way, let`s remember for one moment here, the fundamentals of Obamacare are in fact fundamentals from health care on the right. Most Democrats, including the guy I once worked for in Governor Dean, would have much rather had a single payer, right. This was a Republican idea put in place by Mitt Romney. And there some markets, you know, factors at work here where we don`t like the idea of a mandate, but if we don`t expand the pool of people in health care, we can`t drive down costs and we can`t give people with preexisting conditions some coverage.
So I agree with the Republican senator here, this is not necessarily good policy. And I think Republicans are between a rock and a hard place, because they say they`re going to repeal every word of it and their base is going the make them pay a price for it. But from a legislative standpoint, it`s hard to repeal every word of Obamacare and replace it with something that`s going to give millions of people insurance and it`s still going to cover preexisting conditions.
I want to add to our breaking coverage here, the congressional reporter for the conservative Independent Journal Review, Haley Byrd.
For conservatives, Haley, what does this mean?
HALEY BYRD, INDEPENDENT JOURNAL REVIEW: Well, something to watch for with conservatives right now, I`m looking at the Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadow`s Twitter account, he just tweeted it`s time for a full repeal of Obamacare. Let`s put the same thing on Trump`s desk that we put on Obama`s desk.
And Meadows helped negotiate the changes to the bill that helped it, you know, get out of the House and made a more conservative, caused some of the problems in the Senate for its passage, and to have these conservatives returning to that more hand line stance of let`s go back to that 2015 bill of more of a full repeal is something to be watching out for, I think.
MELBER: Interesting. And, Ben, this is something that Donald Trump suggested that he`s willing to sign by virtue of the fact that he`s suggested he`s willing to sign anything.
HOWE: Yeah. And, you know, it is interesting. They put forth much stronger bills when they knew it wouldn`t be signed by President Obama, and now that they have everything and they have got absolutely no reason not to do exactly what they promised to do for years, they can`t seem to pull it off, and that tells me that while President Trump may be wanting to sign anything that gets put in front of him, I think Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and others are the reason that it`s not getting there.
MELBER: Ben, at what point does President Trump have to engage this with details instead of the kind of I`ll take anything approach?
HOWE: Look, what he needs to do and what he will do are -- they continue to be two very, very different things. I mean this is a man who, when he was asked during the campaigns and during the primaries, what his bill was going to be and what his policy proposals were going to be, he said state lines and it`s going to be fantastic.
He had no specifics. He still has no specifics. He`s just selling Trump steaks and that`s all he ever does.
So, you know, he`s not going to get on the ground and get in specifics with this. And as a result it`s going to be left up to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell and I think that`s why there`s going to continue to be this struggle.
MELBER: Haley, do you think at this point in time, from what you`re seeing, that however unpopular Obamacare was with the base, this is a sign that it`s actually quite difficult to hold the Republican coalition for a specific written alternative?
BYRD: Absolutely. That`s been a challenge all along. And during the campaign it was alot easier to say, oh we`re going to repeal and replace. But it turns out they didn`t really have a full agreement on what that replacement or repeal was going to look like. And so yeah, there still is a lot of contention and disagreement within the conference on how they`re going to move forward.
MELBER: Ben Howe, Cornell Belcher, and Haley, thank you for joining All In here on a very busy breaking news night. I want to reset and give everyone a little context before I hand off to Rachel. We began the hour at 50 votes in the rough whip count and we end the hour with Republicans at 48 votes, which means, as of this hour, the Senate Trumpcare proposal would appear procedurally dead. And those new statements, which I reported here on our show from Senators Moran and Mike Lee, closed the door by saying this was bad policy and they won`t vote for it.
So, it was more than procedural.
That is our show All In for this evening.
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