Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: July 31, 2017 Guest: Philip Rucker, Margaret Talev, Chris Lu, Bob Inglis, Sherrod Brown
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: - officers and even the boy scouts. Well, weakness is the real problem to Trump Presidency, he can`t leave the country because he can`t control himself. And that`s HARDBALL for now, thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI, FORMER WHITE HOUSE COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: This obviously a difficult situation to be in.
HAYES: 11 days later.
SCARAMUCCI: I`m feeling the hook here. I can feel the hook -
HAYES: Anthony Scaramucci is out.
SCARAMUCCI: Thank you.
HAYES: Tonight as The Mooch era ends before it officially started.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: He does not have a role at this time in the Trump administration.
HAYES: Why the latest turn of the White House staffing carousel is a sign of much deeper problems. Plus, Senator Brown on whether the Trump agenda is already dead.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: No.
HAYES: And the new bipartisan push to fix not repeal ObamaCare.
SCARAMUCCI: I predict that the President will get a win in health care.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Major story breaking from the Washington Post just minutes ago relating to that now infamous 2016 meeting at Trump Tower in which Don Junior was told he could get dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer via the Russian government in part of its efforts to get his father elected. Washington Post now reporting that original story broke about that meeting, President Trump dictated his son`s misleading statement on meeting with the Russian lawyer. Joining me now, Philip Rucker who just broke that story for the Washington Post. Philip, my understanding from your reporting is the original plan when the first news of the meeting broke was for Don Junior to get out ahead of it and issue a statement that wouldn`t later be contradicted and then the President intervened to do what?
PHILIP RUCKER, WASHINGTON POST WHITE HOUSE BUREAU CHIEF: That`s exactly right, Chris. The sort of advisers around the President and around Donald Trump Junior thought he should offer a fairly fulsome and complete statement acknowledging what happened in that meeting. And what happened is the President overruled them. He took matters into his own hands, almost acting as his own - his family`s own lawyer strategist publicist and decided to offer a statement that was misleading at best and did not include the complete information which as we now know is that this meeting was set up under the premise of sharing damaging information about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government which was trying to help Trump`s campaign.
HAYES: I mean, just to be clear, this was an - at the first breaking of the story, there was this previously undisclosed meeting.
RUCKER: That`s right.
HAYES: And don junior releases a statement which we now know, thanks to your reporting, if said reporting is accurate, that the President dictated that statement. That statement said what?
RUCKER: That statement said that this meeting was about an adoption issue for Russians, that it was set up by this Russian lawyer and that it didn`t have anything at the time to do with the campaign. That`s a statement that came out to New York Times which of course broke the initial story about this meeting from Donald Trump Junior. It was in the name of Donald Trump Jr but it was actually determined and written by his father, the President of the United States. And I should tell you, Chris, that this has a lot of - or some of the advisers to the President quite worried. There`s a feeling that he, by taking matters into his own hands is potentially exposing him to some problems.
HAYES: I want to ask you a follow up about that but the first let me just read that statement because I think it`s important to get the significance here. Here`s the statement that was released that we-that your reporting indicate was actually dictated by the President himself. "It was a short introductory meeting. I asked Jared and Paul to stop by. We primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children that was active and popular with the American families years ago and was since ended by the Russian government, it was not a campaign issue at the time and there was no follow-up." That is - "I was asked to attend the meeting by an acquaintance, but was not told the name of the person I would be meeting with beforehand. Some of that is not provably false but wildly, astoundingly misleading given the fact that this is an e-mail that said we want to set up a meeting so the Russian government can give you dirt on Hillary Clinton so your father can get elected.
RUCKER: That`s right. It wasn`t a false statement there but it was certainly not the full truth and it was intentionally misleading. And this is a strategy that is in conflict with what a lot of advisers advising on this issue had encouraged which was to be more forth coming, to be more fulsome with this information. They knew that this story would eventually become public in part because it`s in an e-mail but the President wanted to be more conservative in approaching this and offer that misleading information.
HAYES: Conservative is an interesting term there because -
RUCKER: Conservative as in holding back.
HAYES: Right. I mean, I just think it - there`s a few things that strike me as very significant about this story. One is there`s a lot of questions about the President`s behavior. Here`s a case where it seems the President is, (INAUDIBLE) well, they wouldn`t be acting like this if they knew they were - if they were actually covering something up because they would get found out. In this case, you have people saying come through with full disclosure. The President, we don`t know if he knows there`s an e-mail but he steps into issues a statement in contravention of the advice that people saying you got to get this out there because it`s going to come out either way.
RUCKER: That`s right. And this happened at a particular moment. You`ll remember he was in Germany for the Group of 20 Nations Summit, the G-20 Summit. He had those first meetings with Vladimir Putin the Russian President and the statement was dictate aboard Air Force I as the President left Germany to come home to Washington. Now on a sidelines of the G-20 Summit, some of the advisers had developed a strategy to be more fulsome with this information, the President`s the one who overruled that as he was - as he was leaving Germany and of course in a cabin on that plane on Air Force I is where he dictated the statement.
HAYES: This is after the President met with Vladimir Putin for three hours and then apparently according to reporting had a sort of one on one with him at the dinner with only a single other person present, Russian translator for as much as an hour more. We sort of - the timing is a little unclear. Here`s to me is the crucial question in all this. It has always been maintained by all-American parties to this meeting. Those being Don Junior and the White House, Paul Manafort, Jared Kushner, that the President was never informed about this meeting as implausible as many people find that. An e-mail out of the blue saying, hey, the Russian government wants to give you Hillary - dirt on Hillary Clinton, they`ve always said, the President didn`t know about the meeting. I got to say, the fact the President would reach in specifically to dictate and an account of it doesn`t make it more likely he did know about he meeting.
RUCKER: No, I do know if he knew about the meeting. I mean, he has said he did not know about the meeting at the time. I do know that he knew about the - about the situation, about the meeting in earlier July of this year when the New York Times initially reached out to the White House to seek you know, some information about this meeting following up on their tip and their very fine reporting. So the President at the time that Don Jr. statement came out, he knew about the meeting, but as the White House said, he had only learned about it in the last couple of days.
HAYES: I guess - I guess the final question is, did he know that this was not truthful? That to me is the key element here, right? I mean, what did the President know about that meeting and how much was he affirmatively choosing to be as aggressively misleading as that statement ultimately ended up being.
RUCKER: I don`t know how fully he may have been briefed on the contents of those e-mails or what exactly was communicated to Donald Trump Jr. I do know that President decided that this would be the strategy that he recommended which was to offer this misleading statement that did not contain the full information.
HAYES: Well, this puts a lot of things at a very, very new light to me that this sort of, the fact you have the President explicitly involved in this is a really significant piece of reporting in all this. Philip Rucker, thanks for your reporting and thanks for being on.
RUCKER: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: All right. On July 21st, this guy named Anthony Scaramucci, remember him? He was named to post of Communications Director, portrayed himself as a fixer who is intensely loyal to his new boss.
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SCARAMUCCI: I`ve seen this guy throw a dead spiral through a tire. I`ve seen him at Madison Square Garden with a top coat on, he`s standing in the key, and sitting foul shots and switching them. He sinks three-foot putts. I don`t see this guy as a guy that`s ever under siege. This is a very, very competitive person. Obviously, there`s a lot of incoming that comes into the White House. But the President`s a winner, OK? And what we`re going to do is we`re going to do a lot of winning.
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HAYES: That man is now the former Communications Director for the White House. He was fired after just 11 days and firing is something he knows something about because on his very first day, Sean Spicer resigned as White House Press Secretary seemingly signaling Scaramucci`s power then a few days later, Scaramucci went after then Chief of Staff Reince Priebus calling FBI and Justice Department to investigate Priebus for allegedly leaking Scaramucci`s financial disclosure form which had in fact been publicly available. Scaramucci then called New Yorker Reporter Ryan Lizza going on an (INAUDIBLE) tirade against other staffers including Priebus who he memorably described as "F-ing paranoid, schizophrenic." Now, President Trump no stranger to "locker room talk" responded by firing not Scaramucci but Priebus then named Kelly as his new Chief of Staff. And despite that decision, the White House insisted today that President had in fact been troubled Scaramucci words.
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SANDERS: Look, the President certainly felt that Anthony`s comments were inappropriate for a person in that position. And he didn`t want to burden General Kelly.
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HAYES: Kelly of course on his first day today as the new Chief of Staff coming over who was the Head of the DHS, him coming in behind Reince Priebus which Scaramucci had knocked out, Scaramucci now on Kelly`s first day finding himself knocked out by Kelly. Now, Scaramucci had boasted he reported directly to the President bypassing the Chief of Staff and a source told reporter (INAUDIBLE) today that Scaramucci had told General Kelly, I don`t report to you. And the General responded, you gone. After his ouster, Scaramucci was reportedly escorted from White House grounds. Kelly is being billed as the person who can finally impose order on this White House just like Scaramucci himself was less than two short week ago.
While Kelly may be somewhat more successful, he has to contend with a tremendous obstacle. That would be his boss, the President of the United States as we saw from the Washington Post story just reported, he likes it take an active role in all this. During his relatively short time in the Oval Office, the President has ousted among others his Communications Director, Chief of Staff, Press Secretary, FBI Director and National Security Advice. Amid the turmoil and chaos, there has been one crucial constant, a President whose temperament and behavior are entirely consistent with what everyone saw on display on the campaign and largely, as a result, cannot claim a single significant legislative accomplishment more than six months after taking office.
And still, he insists he has it all under control. The President this morning twitting a string of statistics and then adding, "No White House chaos." Joining me now, Margaret Talev, Senior White House Correspondent for Bloomberg News, Chris Lu, former Assistant to President`s White House Cabinet Secretary under President Obama. Margaret, Scaramucci, 11 days ago, really lands on the scene. He`s the guy who`s going to be in charge of everything. He says at one point there`s only two people whose heads don`t stink, it`s me and the President. He lasted 11 days. What happened?
MARGARET TALEV, BLOOMBERG NEWS SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, three things happened. Number one, that CNN interview and subsequent New Yorker piece, he was kind of out over his skis. That was over the top and that created shock waves really across the White House. I mean, in all segments that people who already didn`t like him because he was trying to get them and many of his supporters thought he had overdone it. Number two, a victim of his own success, he was brought in to make sure Reince Priebus exited. Reince Priebus exited, what`s the point of Anthony Scaramucci anymore?
And point number three, and this is going to sound weird but it`s true, all that page six coverage of personal things going on and at Anthony Scaramucci`s life got a lot of the attention of folks inside the White House. Well, it`s not what political reporters in Washington are interested in delving into. I believe it was also a factor. And it`s important - it`s important (INAUDIBLE) on Kelly`s first day.
HAYES: I should be clear about that just so we-re not - just so that people don`t think there`s something - his wife filed for divorce, she had a child that he was - whose birth he was not present for, according to the reporting in the New York Post.
TALEV: It was just a lot of drama, more drama. I think a higher volume of drama than folks who bargained for. And for General Kelly coming on in his first day of job, it`s important for him to show decisiveness, send a signal to the rest of the senior staff about the sort of infighting and back biting and that sort of stuff. And so, it may have been destined already but it was unavoidable today.
HAYES: But Chris, well, where to start. I mean, I guess the first question to you is people are asking today, OK, well, this is a good sign that Kelly came in and this is the first thing he did and can Kelly turned this around. Is that the right question to be asking?
CHRIS LU, FORMER ASSISTANT TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, it`s one of the questions to be asking but let`s be clear, the problem here isn`t Anthony Scaramucci, it is Donald Trump. And so before we start getting General Kelly credit for turning the White House around, let`s give this a couple months and see if the President changes hi ways. Let`s see if he stops tweeting inappropriate things. Let`s see if he stops destroying Democratic norms and giving blatantly partisan speeches to the boy scouts. There`s a long way to go and the problems run very deep within this White House.
HAYES: Yes. I mean, Margaret, the thing that I find a little difficult to swallow about this story that Scaramucci was brought in to fire Reince Priebus is that the President of the United States can fire Reince Priebus. Like, I don`t understand this bizarre machination that people are saying now. Oh, no, no, no, they brought in Mooch to get rid of Spicer and then Priebus. And then once he has done that, they got rid of him. it`s - you`re the President, if you don`t think Reince Priebus is doing a good job, you were in a show for seven years on air where you were firing people, just fire your Chief of Staff.
TALEV: Well, that - so far, at least not in the kind of awkward of dynamic inside the White House and I think part of the President`s M.O. is to see whether kind of letting two camps have free run into each other creates anything good in the process. Reince Priebus partly because from the beginning he has weak leverage and penned in by limited, you know, limited powers and such, was just completely powerless to do anything. I mean, basically, once Scaramucci had said what he said, the fact that he himself embolden enough to say it was you know, was the 99 percent of the problem.
HAYES: But Chris, this strikes me as - to get to your point, the issue here. The President himself clearly enjoys and cultivate an atmosphere in which there is constantly gladiatorial public combat between people that work for him, for his favor, and he kind of reaches out and does this or doesn`t walks away and let everyone interpret it. But that is the - that is the mode of management that has been produced by the person at the top, right?
LU: Absolutely. In six months, we`ve gone from no drama Obama to captain chaos. And it would be easy for us who served in the Obama administration to mock what is happening right now. If it weren`t so frightening, we have serious issues that our country and our world faces right now and what`s been remarkable to me is that as many troubles as the Trump administration has had, they haven`t really had to face a crisis like a hurricane Katrina or a deep water horizon. All of these issues they are dealing with are ones of their own making. And what is also striking to me is that Republicans in Congress have basically enabled this incompetence along way. They basically issued some statements of concern but they really haven`t stepped in to try to protect the Democratic norms in our country.
HAYES: You know, Margaret, there`s another - there`s a breaking story from the Washington Post which I imagine you at least saw the headline. The President himself dictated the statement, wildly misleading statement that in any other casual social interaction you would call false and lie. That statement was dictated by the President himself which again relates to the issue here, right? I mean, his adviser saying do one thing. The President stepping in to do this thing which produces tremendous blowback and embarrassment and humiliation. There`s some sense that the President is hands off but then in certain things, he does not seem to be hands-off at all.
TALEV: Yes. And I think the Post good reporting would have been absolutely an important story on any day but it`s particularly important the timing of it today because it does represent this major test for the new Chief of Staff, for General Kelly which is, what is his ultimatum to the President? What are the circumstances under which he has accepted this job and did President Trump, in fact, bring him in because he wants new degree of discipline to apply both to himself and to his staff or was it for other reasons because he felt that he was simpatico to his policies and had represented him well? That answer is really important in terms of how much influence General Kelly is able to exert on this incredibly important person, the President, in terms of thinking through. Not tactical responses but strategic responses and responses that will hold him water over time.
HAYES: There`s another - finally Chris, another aspect to this. You know, all White Houses are intense from the standpoint of office politics. It`s a high-stress job, it`s a high stake one. People do knife each other, people leak to the press. That happens in every office down the House Representatives Offices and politics everywhere. Here you have a different situation though where you got the sort of - these organizations and people around the President who are sort of one step in, one step in, Ivanka and Jared, family members, the Trump organization now a set of associated lawyers. I mean, those are interest that exacerbates what is already going to be a very fraught and intense environment.
LU: Yes. You`re absolutely right. Even in the calmest of White Houses, it is one the most tense work environment you can imagine. I worked under all of President Obama`s Chiefs of Staff and they - a representative of what the President represented for which was no ego, no drama, no work here to serve the American people. And believe me, having worked under Rahm Emanuel, you did not crossed Rahm Emanuel. You never went there and said hey, I report directly to the President as apparently Scaramucci and others said. But I work for Chiefs of Staff who knew how to manage people, who respected facts, respected process, and knew that the job there was to serve American people, not to serve each person`s individual interest.
HAYES: All right, Margaret Talev and Chris Lu, thank you both for being with me. Joining me now, former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis out of South Carolina. What do you - what do you think when you watch all this happen?
BOB INGLIS, FORMER REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN: I think that Jeb Bush is right. He`s a chaos candidate that we elected to the Presidency.
HAYES: He seems - Olivia Nuzzi on the program said something I thought very interesting the other night. She says the President is easily bored. And in some ways, it seems that the President`s attention span, the President`s desire for (INAUDIBLE) and turns and constantly new thing happening, whether in furtherance or not of his punitive agenda is primary. That he has almost a kind of deep - I don`t even know if he`s aware of conscious sense that he wants keep things unraveling in a kind of way.
INGLIS: Well. I can only observe what you`re observing and that is a man who seems not to have a real solid grounding and respect for the truth for one thing. But also, not having any philosophical grounding and not have any personal commitments that that he really makes. I guess, David Frum well put it months and months ago. Donald Trump has betrayed everyone who trusted him. Why would any supporters think they are so special to think they would be different? And of course, the great risk that anybody takes in accepting a job in the administration is that what will happen to one`s reputation if you collaborate with this man.
I mean, if you think about it, John Kelly is taking a huge reputational risk. He`s a very distinguished General. If he is able to get order over the people underneath him that would be great but his problem is the guy above him who for example the other day tweets in 140 characters a policy that the Pentagon had to say, this is not the policy of the United States when it came to transgender Service Members. This - I don`t know how to say it other than this, absolutely unacceptable as an American to have the Pentagon having to say that President in his tweets is not setting policy.
HAYES: I`m glad you highlighted that because to me the rubber hits the road there on that particular story when you talk about - you talk about chaos and great kind of abstract but here is an example where the President tweeted policy, and then the Department of Defense basically was caught off guard. You have folks serving across this country and the world in harm`s way who don`t know if they going to be pulled out of their barracks because the President has tweeted it and then the Department of Defense decides because they have some deference (INAUDIBLE) we`re going to wait for further guidance form the White House and this is the quote on that. "Pentagon is still awaiting the White House direction on transgender policy change." So, we don`t know if it was a policy or not.
INGLIS: Right. And so, in steps, John Kelly to try - a distinguished General to try to bring order to that chaos, but his problem is not the people underneath him as to say it, it`s the guy above him. And that guy seems to either - I don`t know, Chris, you`re positing perhaps that he enjoys it. I don`t know - I don`t know whether he enjoys it or needs it or can`t help it, that he is just a scattered person who does things that are very unexpected. And if you`re - if you`re a general that`s trying to establish order in the White House, I don`t know how you do it. I don`t know how if you`re Rex Tillerson and you`re Secretary if State, you`re used to running a great big company called ExxonMobil, how it is that now you respond to the tweets when you`re trying to set rational policy for a great big country.
HAYES: All right, Bob Inglis, thank you for your time tonight.
INGLIS: Good to be with you.
HAYES: Ahead, after six months of White House turmoil is the Trump legislative agenda already dead? Senator Sherrod Brown on that crucial question after this two-minute break.
HAYES: All right, I`m joined now by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. He`s a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. And Senator, because it`s a day ending in why we got a little breaking news. I just want to start and get your reaction. I don`t know if you have seen it but the contours of the Washington Post reports that it was the President himself personally who dictated the statement that his son gave the very wildly misleading statement about the nature of that infamous meeting with the Russian attorney and others in the campaign that he stepped in even though advisers around his son said we should get everything out so it doesn`t drip, drip, drip. The President stepped in to get that statement and said it was primarily a discussion of adoption which of course left out a lot of crucial details. Your reaction to learning the President himself intervened in that way?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D) OHIO: Well, I guess no surprise. I mean, the President, I wrote the President two days after the election, the President-Elect and asked him, offered to help on renegotiation of NAFTA and later offered to help on infrastructure and doing tax reform right. And they can`t focus on anything because they`re playing such defense and they are so fearful, the President clearly is fearful of not just the other shoe dropping but as Senator McCain said, the centipede shoes dropping of one after another after another. At it just means, he`s not able to do what we or what this country elected me to for, in Ohio, or elected him for to create jobs and fix trade agreements and do infrastructure and do the things that affect people`s lives directly every day.
HAYES: To that point, I mean, when you got a President who is right now, he`s pulling even at (INAUDIBLE) 39 percent. We just had this incredible moment. I want to show this moment of you reacting to John McCain when he came out, just a few days ago, though it seems longer than that, to give thumbs down on the health care bill in the Senate. You`re in the upper corner and you slam the desk. I want to show folks that moment your reaction.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Peters?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
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HAYES: Can you believe it? Here is the question for you. Is that thing dead?
BROWN: I think it - you know. I think it`s dead because the American public so much doesn`t want it. We were - we saw - we got so many calls, so many e-mails, so many stories. It`s not the 51 Senators that defeated this. I mean, we cast the votes on their behalf but it was the story after story after story, the woman with the child with the preexisting condition, the 26-year-old that was on her parent`s health care plan that was getting opioid treatment. It`s funding children`s hospitals, it`s rural hospitals would close if this - if this were repealed and replaced. I mean, there were - it was they speaking out that did this.
And they`re going to try again on Medicaid in the fall. They may use the very popular bipartisan program, CHIP, Children`s Health Insurance Program to - for the vehicle to go after Medicaid again but it`s a - fundamentally, it`s a bunch of elected officials with really good titles with really good health insurance willing to take it away from millions of Americans who have jobs making $12 and $15 an hour and they`re willing to take their insurance away and it`s just immorally reprehensible, that`s why 51 members of the Senate voted no and it may be more next time.
HAYES: Well, that`s the question. I mean, you got this crazy thing now happening. The president has got a whole bunch of tweets, that you got to stick to it. He even threatens that there should be no votes on anything until you take another run at it. He`s saying that he is getting Mitch McConnell process advice saying the very outdated filibuster rule must go, budget reconciliation killing ours in the Senate. Go to 51 votes now and win. It`s time. At the same time, you`ve got other people saying on like we were moving on a tax form. I guess the question is, do you, as you watch this unfold and you and your colleagues, also a Republican, do you even know what is next? Like what are - what are they going to the lineup next to try to even do next?
BROWN: Well, I think it changes every day and I hear every day grumbling from Senators, Republican Senators, about this President. They no longer fear him but they want what he can do for them. They want weaker environmental laws. They really want this selling out to Wall Street on the forced arbitration giving the good government (INAUDIBLE) to Wells Fargo for what they did causing repossession of a whole bunch of people`s auto loans and didn`t even know they were getting the auto insurance? You know, it`s one thing after another and that`s why it`s also disjointed.
And it`s fighting back on all these. It`s fighting back against Wall Street, it`s fighting back against the drug companies it`s fighting back against when the Trump administration goes off like that and in part of that fighting back is people organizing like they never have been before. And I asked people to come to sherrodbrown.com, help me on this fight on forced arbitration where Wells Fargo, has abused so many of their customers with the fine print on this forced arbitration clauses. That`s another fight we`re about to have.
HAYES: But that`s - so that`s a great example thought. Those are the things that - there`s a sort of what the Republican Party is doing irrespective to Donald Trump. That fight on forced arbitration fights around overtime and labor law fights about environmental regulations. Those things will be happening and I think you would agree whether it was Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. But the big kind of sign post legislative agenda where the President says, you know, George W. Bush when he came in 2001, he signed the No Child Left Behind Act, obviously President Obama signed The Recovery Act, that big sign post legislation, that usually flows from the White House and it seems to me that they are really at a crossroads and in danger of that. The big sign post thing that President puts his signature on, not actually happening.
BROWN: Well and it changes everyday. I mean, it`s tax reform, and I know a lot of senators want new tax reforms. But, if I read this right, what President Trump and the Republicans and the Senate are going to try to do is just cut taxes for rich people and call it tax reform and blow a hole in the budget that my grandsons Clayton and Leo and Milo have to pay for in 20 and 30 and 50 years. HAYES: All right, Senator Sherrod Brown, thanks for your time tonight.
BROWN: Good to be with you. Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, the President explicitly threatens to sabotage Obamacare at the expense of millions of Americans. That, coming up.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HAYES: The Affordable Care Act is in fact not in a death spiral. Whatever the President often says, the law still has some very real problems, primarily cost are too high for many, millions of people remain uninsured, but right now, lawmakers like Mitch McConnell have two paths before them. They can either stick a crow bar into those very real flaws and try to pry the law apart and millions of people`s health care coverage in the process, or they can work to fix the law`s problems and hope to improve health care.
Unfortunately, the President is explicitly advocating the former option, tweeting today, "If Obamacare is hurting people, and it is, why shouldn`t it hurt the insurance companies and why shouldn`t congress pay what public pays?"
Part of his threat targets insurance subsidies for members of congress. The more significant threat, though, addresses the so called cost sharing reduction payments, that`s money the government uses to keep costs down for low income Obamacare enrollees. That`s just ordinary citizens and not people in congress and not the insurance companies.
If the President cuts off those payments, which he may do, he will deliberately be spiking the health care cost of many of the most vulnerable Americans. And while he is threatening that, others are showing it is possible to make the current health care system more sustainable, not less.
State of an example, of Ohio for example, under Republican governor John Kasich, worked with insurers to make sure that 19 counties that were losing coverage under the federal exchange next year will now be covered. And in congress now that efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare have yet again failed, some lawmakers are now looking for bipartisan solution to strengthen the law.
Politico reports their proposal includes funding, those cost sharing subsidies to help low income Americans, as well as easing insurance requirements for smaller employers.
And two of those lawmakers join me now. Democratic Congressman Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, and Republican Congresswoman Martha McSally of Arizona.
Congresswoman, let me begin with you. Do you think it is appropriate for the President to be essentially threatening to take away that money and spike peoples premiums as a means of gaining political leverage over the law?
REP. MARTHA MCSALLY, (R) ARIZONA: Well, Chris, thanks for having us on. Let me be clear, this is a hot button issue, and we still have sincerely held different beliefs about what is a sustainable health care system. But, what Josh and I and our colleagues have been able to do is over the last several weeks really come together to laser focus on one issue, which is stabilizing the individual market, which is starting to fail. In Arizona we have 14 or 15 counties with only one choice last year, costs were up over 100%, 40 counties in the country, 40% of counties in the country only have one choice, and many now have no choices.
So, we said, can we come together in the problem solvers caucus and find common ground and solutions on this issue while providing a little bit of relief for small businesses so that they can have some additional economic growth.
So, we released our plan today. It includes a bunch of things. It was give and take. We had rigorous debate. But, we`re here to say this isn`t about the rhetoric or all the political scoring. This is about solving the problem for real people, about 7% of Americans get their care on the individual market, and it is not working right now. HAYES: Wait, what percentage of Americans?
MCSALLY: About 7% on the individual market.
HAYES: Oh, I thought you said 70.
MCSALLY: No. 7. 7.
HAYES: So, I hear that and I want to follow-up with you, congressman, about that targeting. One of the things that was so strange, of course, about what we`ve watched play out, congresswoman, is that the real acute problems which are fixing the individual market, a lot of the bills being passed doesn`t have anything to do with that?
But, I just want to come back because I did ask you a question, whether you think it is appropriate for the President and not just to threaten, but a thing he might do which is to hold back the money-- you talk about costs are too high for people and people are having problems, that would explicitly making that problem worse. He shouldn`t do that, should he?
MCSALLY: As you can see from our plan that we released, 43 members of congress nearly equally on both sides aisle, one of the elements is to fund those cost sharing reductions, those CSRs. But not just throwing money at the problem and not being fiscally responsible because structurally it needs some changes. So the Stability Fund is absolutely critical to address those with the highest expenses and most complex medical needs so we can help drive down premiums and provide more options so the that young healthy people are in the market.
So, we can`t just throw money at issue but part of our plan is to fund CSRs because choices are being made here shortly for the 2018 markets and we`ve all got constituents who are running out of options, and we`ve got to find some bipartisan solutions to stabilize that, and that`s what this plan does. I`m proud to be a part of it.
HAYES: Congressman Gottheimer, your college just said it`s not throwing money at the problem. Mitch McConnell, however, sort of in waving towards this, right, one of the things right now is getting money to essentially back stop ring short in certain ways the way insurance companies induce them more into the markets where they are fleeing or aren`t enough of them.
McConnell called that a bailout. Rand Paul called it a bailout. In fact there was already that money in both the House and Senate bills, but, if you just focus on that, are you just essentially bailing out the the insurance companies like a lot of people are going to accuse you of doing.
REP. JOSH GOTTHEIMER, (D) NEW JERSEY: No, I disagree with that. I think what we`re doing is actually stabilizing the marketplace. What we are trying to do is hear how families and small businesses and the best way to do that is actually getting premiums down.
We have seen that in last months, especially as there`s been lack of certainty and with things in turmoil, premiums are way up,15 too 20% nationwide. If we can get the cost sharing-- get those dollars to the states to actually help them deal with low-income folks, with others who need healthcare, people with high risk diseases and others that really need support, if we can do that, Kaiser and others state that premiums would come down 15 to 20%.
I tell you, in states like New Jersey where I am, we have a lot of people hurting, and that`s the kind of help we need. So, I don`t really look at that as anything but helping people and stabilizing things. And that`s the urgent problem that Martha was talking about that we`re trying to deal with.
And dealing with the high-risk pools and with people with preexisting conditions is the answer. We can`t keep having the same fight of trying to kill it versus fix it which is to me what we need do here.
HAYES: Congresswoman is there any interest among the leadership in your party? I mean, they control the House, you know how the House works. The House floor agenda is set by the speaker, that would be Paul Ryan.
Is there any interest in something like this?
MCSALLY: Well, we`ve kept them informed that we were working on something. We are going to follow up with specific details now that they are public. But if you look at things that have been in most of our bills, repealing the medical device tax, there are dozens of Democrats on that bill and we found common ground to repeal that. To provide relief, by removing employer cap from 50 to 500 and work week from 30 to 40 hours, this is really going to allow some economic growth and people to start hiring again, while breaking down the firewall so some individuals could go on the individual market that will help steady it.
These are things that have been in our proposals and from our view we have to suddenly address it.
GOTTHEIMER: What I would say and add it to that is the big break through with Democrats and Republicans sitting in a room, 43 of us, who actually are trying to find a solution here versus just screaming at each other about health care.
As you`ve seen over last months, there`s been no attempt, no attempt to really cooperate, to try and fix the problem, to stabilize things and get them under control and provide certainty to people instead of having them frightened.
That`s what we are trying to do here and I think we took a huge step. It`s just the beginning, it`s not the end, but I think it is a very important step forward.
HAYES: Alright, Congressman Josh Gottheimer and Congresswoman Martha McSally, thanks for joining me.
As Anthony Scaramucci joins the ranks of those cast aside from Trumps inner circle, now a cautionary tale from Chris Christie, on what could be in store for the Mooch and and those inside the White House.
Plus, Congresswoman Maxine Waters reclaiming tonight Thing 1, Thing 2, next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, House Financial Services Committee hearings don`t often produce viral moments, but one exchange between Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin caught fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Is there some reason why I did not get a response to the letter that I sent May 23?
STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY: So, Ranking Member Waters, first of all, let me thank you for your service to California, being a resident of California I appreciate everything that you`ve done.
WATERS: Thank you very much. I don`t want to take my time on how great I am.
MNUCHIN: I also have appreciated the opportunity to meet you...
WATERS: Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming my time. Reclaiming our time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The time belong to the gentlelady from California.
WATERS: Let me just say to you, thank you for your compliments about how great I am, but I don`t want it waste to waste my time on me. I want to know about the May 23 letter. You know about it. Why did you not respond to me and my colleagues?
MNUCHIN: I was going to answer that.
WATERS: Just please go straight to the answer.
MNUCHIN: And Mr. Chairman, I thought when you read the rules, you acknowledged that I shouldn`t be interrupted and that I would have...
WATERS: Reclaiming my time. What he failed to tell you was, when you`re on my time, I can reclaim it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That exchange continued for another minute with Secretary Mnuchin continuing to dodge that basic question about the letter.
But the moment not only spawned hashtags and memes, it led to a gospel tribute you absolutely have to hear. And that is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: The many memes and remixes created from Congresswoman Maxine Waters viral reclaiming my time moment last week. This gospel tribute from Michael Killgore (ph) takes the cake.
HAYES: It seems like just about everyone who works for Donald Trump eventually end up in some fashion abased. And perhaps no one exemplifies that pattern more than failed presidential candidate, current governor of New Jersey Chris Christie. After he endorsed Donald Trump, he found himself ridiculed while he stood behind Trump as super Tuesday victory speech at Mar-a-Lago. Christie even having to come out to explicitly deny he was being held hostage.
Then two months later, Donald Trump used Governor Christie as a food punch line.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When Carrier and Ford and Nabisco leaving Chicago with their big plant, they`re moving to Mexico. I`m not eating Oreos any more, you know that.
But neither is Chris. You`re not eating Oreos any more, no more Oreos for either of us, Chris. Don`t feel bad, for either of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: For awhile, it looked like there was a potential payoff for Governor Christie`s prostration, his name was floated for attorney general. He was vetted as a possible vice presidential pick. He got neither. Instead, he was put in charge of transition, but then quickly fired from that job when Donald Trump actually won the election.
Eventually, he was put in charge of the White House commission on opioid addiction, which released an interim report today. His public profile, however, continued to decline. He was photographed relaxing on a state beach after he closed them to the public. He approval ratings dropped to absolutely historic lows for a New Jersey governor. And then this weekend, Christie went to Milwaukee to take in a baseball game between the Brewers and the Cubs, and to the delight of the internet, he was he was videotaped berating a Cubs fan who apparently called him a hypocrite, while cradling a bowl of nachos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: You`re a big (inaudible)
UNIDENITIFIED MALE: Appreciate that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`d he say to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t care. There`s the Secret Service right there.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`d he say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know -- you want to act like a big shot?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s as if everyone who gets drawn into the president`s orbit is susceptible to abject humiliation. Today, that Trump effect claimed another victim. We`ll talk about it, next.
HAYES: Joining me now, we`ve got Rick Wilson, Republican strategist, Erin Gloria Ryan, who is a senior editor at The Daily Beast. There we go. There you are.
So, we were going to talk about the sort of -- Josh Marshall has this great term when he says dignity wraith to describe Donald Trump. That he`s sort of -- like, will suck the dignity from those in his orbit, which is something that tends to happen time and time again.
And I want to talk about that, but I want to start with a reaction to this Washington Post story, which says that the president himself, and it`s related in certain key ways, the president himself dictated that wildly misleading statement by his son on the plane back from meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20, that ended up causing so much trouble, because it was so wildly misleading. What do you make of that, Rick?
RICK WILSON, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: This is absolutely what I expected. The stilted nature of the text alone was sort of a tell that president unindicted co-conspirator was involved. And the fact that he put himself into this jeopardy means once again he does not listen to his attorneys, he does not listen to political advisers. Everything is shoot from the lip, everything is impulse, everything is whatever`s in Donald Trump`s brain that moment, he believes to be the smartest thing in the world. And so he saddled his own son with this terrible piece of convoluted and, frankly, deceptive rhetoric, that he forced him to put out. So then they had to walk it back day after day after day after day. And it once again -- my rule, is simple, everything Trump touches dies. This is a guy who -- he`s got a curse on him. And he hit his own son with it. And it`s astounding.
I was speaking to an attorney friend of mine earlier tonight, and she was just mind boggled that he would do that. It just means he`s not listening to counsel at all.
HAYES: That`s why it does relate, right?
ERIN GLORIA RYAN, THE DAILY BEAST: Yeah.
HAYES: Because he`s doing this, which is reckless in certain ways, particularly because there`s an email, but also because the person at the center of this is his own son, who then has to be humiliated, over the course of the week, as this misleading statement his dad wrote, becomes unraveled.
Well, two things. First of all, you know, Rick I think was being a little bit harsh, because this statement was actually a better writer than I expected Donald Trump to be. It refrained from using intensifiers that only make things larger or smaller. But I would say this, like, I`m pretty sure Donald Trump doesn`t take public transportation very much, but he has never met a single person he won`t throw under the bus. And his son is among those people now. He`s a person that like, you know, Rick was saying, that...
HAYES: Right, like he sacrificed -- like, very clearly, he sacrificed Don Jr...
RYAN: This is like getting into biblical territory. It`s just like, somebody trying to defend themselves by resorting to these biblical, crazy, over-the-top means.
And the fact that he thinks he`s untouchable is something that means that like to me, it conveys that he doesn`t understand how big of trouble he could be in.
HAYES: That`s one way of thinking about it, but then I sometimes think it`s the opposite, which is, again, I keep coming back to this, that the only person that really knows what he may or may not be covering up is the president himself, what he did or did not do. The president knows that definitively. And when you look at his behavior, Rick, it seems to me that this behavior seems wildly reckless, at some level, but maybe he thought it would work, and he doesn`t want people to know about the truth nature of the meeting.
WILSON: The phrase "cognizance of guilt" is one that I think we`re going to hear a lot more of in the future. And this attempt by him to shape the entire government right now, so we can fire Bob Mueller, and stop the Russia investigation so that he can throw -- again, look, no -- he`s never shown any loyalty to any human being in his life, whether in his marriages, his business partners, his family. All of these people now are ancillary to trying to get rid of the Russia investigation, trying to stop it, trying to put a speed brake on it. It`s not working, of course, because he`s not as bright as he thinks he is. And the attorneys around him obviously are going to run for the hills, if he keeps doing this.
But the fact of the matter is, he is not -- he`s not -- he`s not accomplishing the goal he`s setting out to accomplish by throwing his son under the bus or by trying to blame everyone else under the son.
But you`re right, he knows what the truth is. This is why he`s hiding the tax returns. This is why he`s doing everything he can to get rid of Bob Mueller.
RYAN: Do you think he knows what the truth is, though?
HAYES: That`s the other question.
RYAN: I think he might be a person that has lied to himself so much, that he believes his version of the truth. Like, there`s the truth that happened, and then there`s the truth that Donald Trump thinks is the truth. And he`s like bought into his own version of reality, that`s been of his own making.
HAYES: I think to Erin`s point, I think it is entirely possible that when all is said and done, that the president himself and people in his campaign did actively collude with the Russians, and that Donald Trump would pass a lie detector test being asked, did you collude with the Russians?
WILSON: Oh, well he`s a...
HAYES: I think both those things are true.
WILSON: The raging narcissistic personality disorder and the raging sort of Donald Trumpian sociopathy that defines this guy, I think he could absolutely not -- he wouldn`t flutter a bit on a lie detector. He would believe his own BS, as long as it was coming out of his mouth, right up until the cuffs go on.
HAYES: There are people that keep choosing to -- I mean, the Scaramucci was -- he burned very brightly. He flew too close to the sun. He was out in 11 days. But people keep -- now Kelly is choosing -- the psychology is sort of amazing. People continue to associate and put themselves in the position of having to watch what happened to everyone else.
RYAN: Right. I think that people are also a little bit overconfident when it comes -- that`s the American way, right, is to think that whatever happened to the other people will not happen to me. I will be fine exactly following this path, and it`s not going to be fine.
HAYES: And Donald Trump has played on precisely that instinct in people for the duration of his career, it will be different this time.
Rick Wilson, Erin Gloria Ryan, thanks for joining us.
RYAN: Thank you.
HAYES: That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts now with Joy Reid in for Rachel. Good evening, Joy.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END