Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: September 5, 2017
Guest: Ruben Kihuen, Dan Donovan, Javier Palomarez, Sherrod Brown
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Dreamers be worried?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We love the Dreamers.
HAYES: President Trump and the dream --
JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: The program known as DACA is being rescinded.
HAYES: and starts the clock.
SEN. DICK DURBIN (D), ILLINOIS: We are now in a countdown toward deportation.
HAYES: Tonight, cascading outrage around the country as the President defends his decision to end DACA.
TRUMP: I think it`s going to work out very well and long term, it`s going to be the right solution.
HAYES: Then, Senator Sherrod Brown on the growing to do list to avoid shutdowns, defaults, and deportation. Plus, why the President is crushed over the latest White House departure?
Why the White House Special Counsel just asked a reporter if she was on drugs when all in starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Now, today the President made good on a campaign promise to the most fervently anti- immigrant core of his base. About 20 percent of the country, according to the polls, by ending an Obama era program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA that protects from deportation about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who are brought to this country as children. It`s a crowning achievement for a president who remember launched his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants criminals and rapists, who brought Steve Bannon to work to the White House and appointed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, and who a week and a half ago pardoned Joe Arpaio after Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court for persisting in the violation of Latinos` fourth amendment rights.
But notably, for a former reality star chief executive who knows nothing more than to perform the role of president and draw attention, the President himself was nowhere to be found during the announcement of one the most consequential decisions of his entire administration. Instead, that job was left to the Attorney General Jeff Sessions who it seemed could barely contain his delight at accomplishing what has been a long term goal for him. Going back to at least 2010 when he was the one who led the charge against DREAM Act, a legislative solution of bill that would have given childhood arrivals a path to citizenship. Sessions` remarks today included a litany of speeches and anti-immigrant talking points about DACA recipients.
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SESSIONS: I`m here today to announce that the program known as DACA that was effectuated under the Obama administration is being rescinded. The effect of this unilateral executive amnesty among other things contributed to a surge of minors at the southern border that yielded terrible humanitarian consequences. It also denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same illegal aliens to take those jobs.
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HAYES: That first claim deeply contested, the second probably outright false. After a handful of Conservative State Attorney Generals threatened to sue the government over DACA, Sessions reportedly told the President his Justice Department wouldn`t defend the program effectively forcing the President`s hand. According to the New York Times, as late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take. And when discovered their full impact would change his mind. He ultimately decided on a plan that passed the buck to Capitol Hill giving Congress now a six months window to pass legislation protecting Dreamers, as DACA recipients are often called before their legal status expires. Those whose status expires in six months, on March 5th, 2018 now have a month to apply for a two-year renewal.
But anyone whose status expires the very next day or any time after that will be immediately subject to deportation. And this is important, the Trump administration already has Dreamers` personal data which they had to submit to get the authorization. And now, that data which they voluntarily gave over is reportedly poised to be weaponized against them. These are people who have grown up here, who know no other real home besides the U.S., their parents, students, small business owners and military service members. Just last week, in fact, one Dreamer lost his life in Texas while volunteering to save people trapped by the floods in Harvey. The President was asked about those people at the top of a meeting today on Taxes.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How is your DACA decision (INAUDIBLE).
TRUMP: Well, I have a great heart for the folks we`re talking about, a great love for them. And people think in terms of children, but they`re really young adults. I have a love for these people and hopefully, now Congress will be able to help them and do it properly. And I can tell you, in speaking to members of Congress, they want to be able to do something and do it right. And really, we have no choice. We have to be able to do something and I think it`s going to work out very well. And long term, it`s going to be the right solution.
HAYES: The President`s decision today drew widespread condemnation including from Republican friendly business groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, from tech giants like Google and Microsoft. In fact, former President Barack Obama issued a very rare public statement denouncing his successor`s move calling it wrong, self- defeating and cruel. Around the country sitting state officials are on the fight for DACA by any means at their disposal. And all day today, protesters have been out in force across the country, including hundreds of students in Denver who walked out of class to protest the President`s decision to end the program.
At this hour, the protests have not yet stopped. You`re looking live pictures from the streets of San Francisco. There are also a lots of folks gathered in Chicago, New York, and other places. Congressman Rubin Kihuen of Nevada the son of a housekeeper and farmer worker came to the U.S. the age of eight and was undocumented until in 1980 amnesty program, allowed his family to be in documentation and he joins me now. And Congressman, as someone who is not personally a Dreamer in the sense of a DACA recipient but whose experience is very much aligned with theirs, what was your reaction when you first heard the news this was happening over the weekend?
REP. RUBEN KIHUEN (D), NEVADA: Well, Chris, thank you for having me. Obviously very disheartening, very disappointing to see that the President just a few days after saying that he loves these people, that he will take away their dreams by taking away this DACA status. You know, I know what it is like to live in fear. I myself was a Dreamer at one point. I was here undocumented at one point. And now I`m a member of Congress. That`s the compassion that America has. The America that I know is willing to give an opportunity to an immigrant young kid who`s willing to work hard for it. And today, the President took away that dream but we`re going to continue fighting here in Congress to make sure that those Dreamers still have that opportunity to achieve the American dream.
HAYES. Right, but you -- so you were part of what is called the amnesty by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. You qualified for that. It allowed you to be in the legal status, become a U.S. Congressman. When Jeff Sessions today referred to this amnesty, and that`s not a slur, that`s an insult among Republicans, given that part of party, given where the Republican Party is on decision when you say you`re going to fight for Dreamers in Congress, what does that mean functionally?
KIHUEN: What we need to do now here in Congress is that Republicans need to join Democrats. Again, the entire Democratic Caucus is in support of passing the DREAM Act. We want Republicans to come to the table and negotiate with us and talk to us about what is the type of bill they`re will to support. The DREAM Act is a great bill. We also have the American Holdback which is another version of the DREAM Act. At the end of the day, this is an American issue. These are 800,000 young Americans who know no other country but America. They deserve an opportunity to succeed. Some of them are teachers, some of them are doctors some of them are lawyers, some of them are politicians like myself now serving in Congress.
HAYES: What is your understanding, given the pole on this which runs somewhere you know, 65-35, or 80-20 depending on what you poll in favor of these folks staying and having legal status? Given the broad coalition that supports what Republican and Democrats, what is your understanding of why they are doing this? Why is President Trump and Jeff Sessions and those States Attorney General who are suing and sort of precipitate this, why are they doing this?
KIHUEN: Look, bottom line is that they`re pandering to their shrinking base. Donald Trump began his campaign by attacking immigrants. Jeff Sessions has a history of being a racist Senator. There`s a reason he didn`t become a federal judge before that. And so the bottom line is they`re trying to pander to their shrinking base. And without taking into consideration that these are the lives of real people, these are 800,000, 13,000 just in Nevada who are teachers. In Nevada, we`re facing a teacher shortage. Some of them are now teaching. If we take them away from the classroom, our teacher`s shortage problem is still going to exacerbate and many others that are professionals and students who have a very bright future. So I wish that the President had a little more compassion, a little more empathy because this is America. This is the land of opportunity. We`re a land of -- made up of immigrants from all over the world and this goes against the American values.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Ruben Kihuen, thank you.
KIHUEN: Thank you.
HAYES: The White House today called on the Congress to pass a DACA bill as part of a larger immigration requirements on package which would include the President`s priorities like funding for a border wall and new restrictions on legal immigration. When asked if the President would sign that stand alone bill to protect Dreamers from the threat of deportation, with no strings attached, the White House Secretary declined to give a straight answer.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would the President sign a stand-alone DACA (INAUDIBLE)?
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Again, I have addressed this. The president is hoping to work with Congress on responsible immigration reform and I laid out the priorities that the administration has on that front.
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HAYES: Congressman Dan Donovan of New York, one of six Republican lawmakers who wrote the President Trump asking him to extend DACA until a legislative solution is passed. He joins me now. The President didn`t listen to you. What`s your response?
REP. DAN DONOVAN (R), NEW YORK: I think he did. I think he extended DACA for another six months until we can get this right in Congress. I think what the President said that President Obama overextended, he lose legislating with that executive order when it`s the role of Congress to legislate. We have --
HAYES: So, OK, so --
DONOVAN: I think what he did Chris, I think he pushed our hand. We have to now act. If he just continued for three more years, a Congress could have kicked this can down the road even further than has already.
HAYES: So, I`ve heard this -- I`ve heard this before. The objection of DACA is process objection. It`s about -- because it came out of the executive and not Congress. But that wasn`t Jeff Sessions` objection. Jeff Sessions objection got up there today speaking for the President because the President inexplicably wouldn`t do it himself. And he said these people were taking American jobs. I`ve heard Khris Kobach say they`re criminals. I heard all sorts of substantive arguments against these people that you share party with. Are they wrong on that?
DONOVAN: I think what happen was, they`re going to be challenged in the court, they would tend lawsuits throughout the country challenging DACA. I think the United States in trying on defend that was going to lose based on what the President about this being an executive order and not legislation.
HAYES: But Congressman, I`m sorry. Congressman that is -- that is -- I know, that a process argument. But that -- it was not a process argument from Jeff Sessions today. Jeff Sessions said those people, referring to these folks, who some of whom are family members of your constituents in Staten Island, that those people took Americans` jobs. These people were brought here when they were five or when they were seven who are now working as ENTs or nurses or going to school, they`re taking from Americans, do you agree with that?
DONOVAN: I agree that there are immigration policies and laws here are broken, Chris. And they have to be fixed.
HAYES: That`s not the question I asked though. That`s not the question I asked.
DONOVAN: That`s what we`re going to be forced to be doing.
HAYES: Respectfully Congressman, the question I asked is do you agree with the Attorney General that people who are brought here at five and now working as nurses or serving the U.S. Armed Forces or as teachers are taking Americans` jobs? Is that your understanding of what happened?
DONOVAN: My understanding is those people haven`t broken the law. They had no intent to break the law when they were two years old and their parents brought them into this country for a better opportunity. What we have to figure out a way to get them to a legal status, some pathway to legality. And that`s what the President has said all along. It should be a pathway to legalization but that pathway has to be created by Congress not by any executive order Chris.
HAYES: OK, but that`s -- I want to be really clear here because I`ve been covering immigration and legislative fights for 12 years now. I first started in 2005 on a bill called the DREAM Act and here`s what happened. You said a pathway to citizenship. All of a sudden everyone is -- now they`re talking about comprehensive reform. You and I know, looking at each other and all the people watching this, that not happening this Fall. You and I know that. There`s no comprehensive reform getting out of that Congress. What could pass tomorrow, literally tomorrow, would be a stand- alone bill like the Bridge Act for the DREAM Act or something like that. Will Speaker Ryan bring that up and will you vote for it?
DONOVAN: You would have to ask Speaker Ryan but we could change -- we could do all the immigration reform we want. Unless we secure our borders, Chris, and stop this process of people breaking our laws, I mean, we are a country. We are compassionate nation as my colleague just said. We are also a nation of laws. And people have to follow the law. Those laws may no longer serve its purpose. It takes too long to become a citizen of this great nation. That has to be reformed, too. But we had people who have followed the rules, followed the regulations, did everything we asked them to do and we can`t place people who have broken our laws before those folks who have obeyed the laws.
HAYES: So, you just said nation of laws and I`ve heard this a lot. When the President pardons a sheriff, like Joe Arpaio, who in violation of a court order was found guilty of criminal contempt for sequential persistent constitutional violations, isn`t that offensive to the notion of a nation of laws?
DONOVAN: Listen, the President has the ability to pardon who he wishes.
HAYES: Of course.
DONOVAN: I didn`t have any part of that Chris. We`re talking about immigration reform now --
HAYES: But here`s -- but here`s my -- right, here`s my point to you. But do you understand the message that gets sent to people when the President says two weeks ago, this guy is a good guy, he`s a friend of mine, he`s a buddy, he is loyal to the folks of Arizona. Yes, he was found guilty of criminal contempt of court for violating the court order about the Constitution. I`m going to pardon him. But if you were brought here when you were three, well, tough, we`re a nation of laws. Don`t you understand why that -- people would find a little bit of a contradiction between that.
DONOVAN: Listen, everyone who is pardoned by any the president of the United States committed an offense and was found guilty of that. But I think what the President is saying -- he`s not saying, he said he has compassion for these young people who broke no law themselves, whose parents brought them here for another opportunity better than from where they came from. And he is saying, Congress, fix this and I`m giving you a window of opportunity.
HAYES: So here`s my question --
DONOVAN: He didn`t end DACA tomorrow. He said I`m giving you six months. Get this thing fixed.
HAYES: I know, well, it is more like a month, right, because you got to -- you got to apply in the next month. Let me ask you this. I just want to simply ask a yes or no question on a whip count. For a standalone bill that would protect these 800,000, are you a yes on that in the House of Representative, are you a yes vote?
DONOVAN: I got to see legislation. I can`t speculate, Chris. I want to see legislation about it.
HAYES: There`s existing legislation. The Bridge Act, do you support it?
DONOVAN: I support -- I am a co-sponsor of the Bridge Act.
HAYES: You support the Bridge Act.
DONOVAN: I`m co-sponsor.
HAYES: Great. That`s what I thought. So if it comes up tomorrow, the Bridge Act, Michael Coffman, you, other co-sponsors in the Caucus, if it comes up tomorrow, the Bridge Act, you`re a yes vote, that thing could pass out of the House tomorrow, right?
DONOVAN: If it comes to the floor, I`m not in favor of a discharge motion, I`m a believer in a regular order, Chris, but if it comes to the floor, I`m a co-sponsor to that bill, I`ll be voting for it. But we have to do more than just the Bridge Act. First, we got to secure our borders and we`ve got to help people become citizens of this great nation and of less (INAUDIBLE) taking them to do so now.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Dan Donovan, thanks for making time. I always appreciate it.
DONOVAN: Thank you, Chris. Good to be with you.
HAYES: Javier Palomarez is the president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce until today, he was a Member of the President`s National Diversity Council. Javier, I want to ask you the question that people wanted me to ask you when saw you over the show and they read your Op-Ed in the New York Times saying why you decided to leave the President`s Diversity Council as he resolves this decision. This was the straw that broke the camel`s back, not the two sides pronouncements in Charlottesville or white supremacist murdered a woman that let tons of CEOs away, not the pardoning of Joe Arpaio. This was the straw that broke the camel`s back. Why this and not other things?
JAVIER PALOMAREZ, HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE PRESIDENT AND CEO: Well, you put it very well. This was proverbial straw that broke the camel`s back. For some time now, we`ve been working hard with this administration to you know, get them to recognize that the President`s primary role should be somebody who brings this great nation together, somebody who you know illustrates empathy and who tries hard to find the commonality amongst all of us. When this decision was being debated, we were working throughout the weekend as hard as we could. This was the proverbial line of the sand for me. You know, as we all know, these 800,000 Dreamers who are in this country you know, don`t, are ineligible for any kind of welfare, any kind of government subsidies. They pay over $2 billion in taxes every year. They have a 91 percent employment rate. 65,000 of them graduate from high school every year. 10,000 graduate from college every year.
HAYES: Right. You and I --
PALOMAREZ: They`ve undergone extensive back ground checks. This was the line in the sand for me. This is what I`ve been working for, for the last four months with these guys. And with what happened --
HAYES: Javier -- Javier --
PALOMAREZ: That was it.
HAYES: You know that I know that. We know what the policy arguments here about -- we know it going in. The President pledged he was going to repeal DACA. If there isn`t a policy outside to this, it`s going to cost the U.S. money, it going to produce genuine human misery among both these folks and their family members or U.S. citizens, right? Why are they doing it? And why couldn`t you see they were going to do this from the jump?
PALOMAREZ: You know the reality of it is, we were getting mixed signals, literally through the weekend that there was potential yet for something to be worked out. You know, we were very clear that when we looked at the issue of immigration in its broadest context, sure, we didn`t want a wall to be built. I still don`t believe a wall needs to be built. But in my mind, if a wall got built, families didn`t get -- didn`t get broken apart, people weren`t going to die if a wall got built. Where we drew the line in the sand if you will, was when we started talking about people`s lives. And chief among those people were the young people that were brought here on average before the age of six. Those were the people that I was focused on. Those were the people we were advocating on behalf of and this was again the proverbial straw that broke the camel`s back. And at this point, we made it very clear, if you pass that line, we will leave the Diversity Council.
HAYES: Did you get a heads up or did you read about this decision in the papers?
PALOMAREZ: No, we got a heads up probably a few hours ahead of time. We got indications last night it was going in this direction. But even then, there was a chance still that you know, he might see the light -- the light of day. We kept arguing right up until the bloody last you know, moment and said, listen, you know, over a ten-year period of time, this is going to cost the American economy over $280 billion of lost productivity if these people are deported. It`s going to cost the American people$60 billion to get it done.
And while we`re still grappling with the disaster in Houston through Harvey, we`re looking at Irma right around the corner. We`re dealing with the specter of Korea. This is the thing you decide to focus on. This was a spiteful thing to do and at that point, we decided we`re done here. We`re not going to be working with a council that isn`t listening to common sense. We looked at this thing from both perspectives, from the human rights and the civil and social aspects of it. We`re America, after all. But I also tried to you know, talk to them about the economic interests of our nation and the commercial interests of our nation and how impactful and how devastating it would be to our economy but to no avail.
HAYES: Javier Palomarez, thank you for your time.
PALOMAREZ: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, adding DACA to the growing must-do list for a Congress that is yet to get anything done or much of anything. Senator Sherrod Brown joins me on that in two minutes.
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MCCONNELL: And we have three critically important things before us right now that we need to do quickly. Pass disaster relief, prevent a default so that those emergency resources can actually get to Americans who need them, and keep the government funded. Those are the three important things before us now.
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HAYES: Mitch McConnell`s to do list for Congress would be daunting enough if it were complete but it`s not. The Senate Majority Leader left a few things out. Besides the three things he mention there, raise the ceiling, fund the government and pass Harvey relief, Congress also need to renew the National Flood Insurance Program which is going to be dicey given much has to happen and the Children`s Health Insurance Program crucially, also the millions of Americans on the ACA exchanges would probably appreciate if it --they would shore up ObamaCare. And party leaders in the White House also, let`s remember, want to entirely overhaul the tax code and pass a big corporate tax cut. That was all before dawn broke today.
And then today, President Trump took that pin out of the grenade and rolled it up Pennsylvania Avenue adding the fate of 800,000 DACA recipients to Congress` list tweeting, "Congress, get ready to do your job, DACA." Oh, and isn`t that wasn`t enough, there`s a category five Hurricane Irma which is setting records and freaking out meteorologists and could slam into Florida by week`s end. This would be challenging with a highly functional Congress and administration. But that`s really not what we`ve had so far. The relationship between McConnell and Trump has gotten so bad in fact that the Wall Street Journal reports that the Senate Majority Leader resorted to the silent treatment to deal with the President`s off topic chit chat during the health care fight. The Journal reporting that on one call, the President even asked, Mitch, are you there, to which the Senator responded, yes, Mr. President, back to the bill.
Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Democrat is one of those Lawmakers facing the oversized to do list. I don`t think I`ve ever seen things stacked up quite this way for Congress and it does seem like a high wire act for the Republican Party governing both Houses. What is your sense of whether this is all going to work?
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Well, I think that first of all, why are things so stacked up? They`re stacked up because of the incompetence among Republican ruling in terms of Republican leadership, coupled with the behavior and attitude and lack of (INAUDIBLE) and seriousness and frankly, immorality in the White House. And as a result, nothing has gotten done, nothing of consequence in the last eight months. I know though what Republicans always go to, and keep in mind, this may be Donald Trump as President but it`s always ultimately the Republicans` special interests agenda. And Chris, you know where they always go no matter what the issues, no matter what, on the surface, they`re trying to do. They always go back. They say tax reform, they always go back to more tax cuts for the rich. They want to drop the corporate tax precipitously. They want to cut taxes on the one percent.
That`s what they always come back to. And that`s -- they try to do that and declare victory. That`s why, with all the other things on the agenda, they will try that. And that`s why we come back only to bills I`m introducing tomorrow and the Patriot Employer Act and a Corporate Freeloader Bill which says, if you pay your workers well and you provide benefits, you get a lower tax rate than those companies that rely on government to give Food Stamps and earn income tax credit and housing vouchers and Medicaid instead of paying their workers a living wage.
HAYES: All of those fights, right? So if you`re going to try to get that, I would imagine attached as part of some sort of tax package, right, because tax package starts to -- starts to move through. They have to do these three things up front before they even touch any of that, right? I mean, they -- and those -- and when you talk about special interests, the special interests don`t want them on blow through the debt ceiling and I don`t think they want a government shutdown either right?.
BROWN: Yes, they want none of those things. But keep in mind, if they`ve talked about tax reform forever in a day, and in the end, they know they can`t get tax reform. So, with all the things going on that we should address, we should -- we should make sure that the President -- we stop the President from what he`s doing on DACA. We -- first of all, obviously, we do Hurricane Harvey, we do funding for Texas and Louisiana and that. We also -- we, of course, do the debt ceiling, we, of course, pass a continuing resolution of some sort. But they -- all that -- all that noise that we have to do, important things help distract them from the tax cut for the wealthy. I mean, ask people to go sherrodbrown.com, sign up that Trump look out for workers instead of always tax cuts for the rich. We have to do all these other things but don`t let that sort of draw shade over their efforts to always cut taxes on the one percent.
HAYES: The ability of them to do that right now is up in the air. And one of the moving parts here is the ACA. You and I, we`ve talked about the ACA a bunch of that fight. And I think, a lot of people feel like it`s come back from the dead so many times, the efforts to repeal. They don`t trust that it`s dead. And it was I think an open question when the John McCain thumbs down moment killed it for the time being. It seems to me that they cannot move something legislatively on repeal in the next bit of time, right? Or is that -- am I wrong?
BROWN: Well, probably not wholesale repeal but fundamentally at the core of what they hate about the Affordable Care Act, they hate two things. They don`t like whom they`ve named it after, Barack Obama. But what they hate is any kind of government involvement of health care. They hate Medicaid, so many Republicans. I talk to a hospital administrator in Bellevue, Ohio today, one of the smallest hospitals in the state, and in University Hospitals in Cleveland, one of the largest hospitals in the state. They know that they were very involved ahead of Rainbow Childrens in Cleveland and the Bellevue Hospital, both very involved in fighting the Medicaid cuts because they know what that does to hospitals. They know what that does to moderate and low-income people.
We talked about how you know they`re coming back to assault Medicaid. They may do it through chip, the Children`s Health Insurance Program. They will look for any vehicle. So we have to be, as we need to be prepared for this tax cut they do for the wealthy. That`s what the ACA in part was about. And -- that`s why the Patriot Corporation Act and the Corporate Freeloader Fee Bill tomorrow we`re introducing. And they also want to -- they want to do the tax cuts and they want to go after Medicaid. That sort of been their (INAUDIBLE) to elect them. Sorry for the French there Chris, that`s what they`ve tried to do for so many years on those two things, tax cuts for the wealthy and assault on middle and working class and low-income people who rely Medicaid.
HAYES: All right, Senator Sherrod Brown, thanks for joining us.
HAYES: Coming up, new reporting on the Trump-Russia investigation and the infamous Steele dossier and what looks like new attempts by House Republicans to discredit it. That story just ahead.
HAYES: More than a dozen sites in Houston designated as super fun, which means the federal government considers them among the most chemically contaminated in the country.
And last week, in a really incredible, impressive bit of reporting, the Associated Press managed to visit several of those sites and found them badly flooded, raising the possibility, of course, of toxic contaminates possibly being released into the water into a wide area.
In its report, the AP also noted that the Environmental Protection Agency had not yet been able to physically visit the Houston area sites.
Now under President Trump, the EPA is being run by this man, climate change skeptic Scott Pruitt. He is a darling of the oil and gas industry whose EPA hit back hard against that AP report in really an unusually nasty and caustic statement that almost has to be read to be believed.
Quote, "Despite reporting from the comfort of Washington, AP reporter Micheal Biesecker had the audacity to imply that agencies are not being responsive to the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey."
There were two reporters and the EPA didn`t notice that the other one of course actually visited the site, that was the point of the story. His name was Jason Dearen and he brought back this video from Highland Acid Pit showing the chain link fence protecting the sight almost completely submerged.
The EPA did not point to a single inaccuracy in the AP story and frankly, it even confirmed the AP`s claim that it hadn`t visited the Superfund sites, saying the sites had not been accessible by response personal, even though the AP had managed to access them.
Now, the EPA statement went on to attack reporter Micheal Biesecker in remarkably personal terms, claiming he has a history of not letting the facts get in the way of his story citing a relatively minor error that was corrected over the summer, and this is not an isolated incident. For whatever reason, when faced with criticism, the people around President Trump tend to sound and act an awful lot like their boss.
When we come back, I`ll speak to reporter Natasha Bertrand, who got an email over the weekend from a taxpayer paid Trump lawyer, that`s a government lawyer asking her quote, "Are you on drugs?"
That story right after this.
HAYES: With congress back in session today, the Russia investigation is back in full swing and so are the politics surrounding it.
The Washington Examiner reporting today that the House Intelligence Committee has now subpoenaed the FBI and the Justice Department for documents relating to that infamous Trump, Russia dossier, as part of what ranking Democrat Adam Schiff says is an effort to discredit the dossier and its author.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: I think it is part of an effort to discredit the author of the dossier. And I think there`s a view, if they can discredit Christopher Steele, they can discredit the whole Russia investigation, where the whole Russia involvement are elections.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: On Friday we learned that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had obtained the letter President Trump originally drafted explaining his reasons for firing former FBI director James Comey, a letter that White House counsel Don McGahn stopped him from sending.
The letter reportedly, and I quote here, conveyed Trump`s displeasure that Comey would not say publicly that the FBI`s probe into Russia`s interference in the 2016 election was not focused on him.
The following day, Business Insider reporter Natasha Bertrand, who has been doggedly following the story, published a piece of analyses citing the letter suggesting it may prove pivotal in the obstruction of justice case that Mueller is reportedly building against the president.
Her story prompted a lengthy response from this man, White House special council Ty Cobb, he`s a top Trump lawyer who gets a tax payer funded government salary. He`s a White House lawyer. And who claimed the letter from the president to Mr. Comey is in fact wholly exonerating. But Cobb wasn`t done.
When Bertrand asked him why, if there was no problem with the letter, the president didn`t send it to Comey, Cobb responded in an email at 1:30 am on a Saturday and asked Bertrand quote, "Are you on drugs?"
Joining me now the reporter on the receiving end of that treat, Business Insider political correspondent Natasha Bertrand. What?
NATASHA BERTRAND, BUISNESS INSIDER: Yeah, so this was a shocking this to even receive in the first place. This really lengthy statement from this top White House lawyer.
Hayes: White House lawyer, I want to be clear. This is not outside council, this is a man who works for the United States government who is in the White House as a lawyer.
BERTRAND: Our taxes are paying for his job. And he wrote me this extremely lengthy statement in outlining why my reporting was false, exaggerated, not true.
HAYES: Which, we should say, is perfectly well within his rights and in fact, as a reporter, it`s nice when people write you back who are the subject of your report.
BERTRAND: Completely. But he had yet to issue this kind of lengthy statement about the Trump, Comey letter up until that point.
So then I wrote him back with a few questions, including do you push back on the reporting that Don McGahn, the White House council, asked Trump not to send the letter not to send the letter before he could make significant changes to it? And I also asked him if there was no problems to the letter as he stated in his lengthy statement to me then why wasn`t the letter sent to Comey in the first place? Why was it sent to the DOJ?
And, in response to that there were two other email exchanges that ensued in which he would just not answer my questions, and finally I asked him one more time, well, why wasn`t the Comey letter sent if there were no problems with it?
And that`s when he asked me if I was on drugs, which I responded, no, I am not, I am just trying to ask you a pretty basic question. But, that was that.
HAYES: One of the things that strikes me when I saw this, I was sort of amused when I saw this, but there was also the fact that this is, it`s middle of the night, Friday night to Saturday, Saturday morning 1:30. You`re writing a piece for Business Insider, you`ve been chronicling things there and minutely following the story.
But it wasn`t like he woke up Sunday morning and it was like page one of The New York Times in his face. The level of be-segment they must be feeling inside that White House on this story really comes out in this exchange.
BERTRAND: Exactly. And that was my immediate thought was that they`re really feeling the pressure in the area where Trump is most vulnerable which currently is the potential obstruction of justice case that Mueller is building against the president. That`s where they see themselves as extremely exposed.
Manafort is one thing, Manafort has definitely -- the FBI has focused a lot on Paul Manafort, but that is still very much outside of the White House, it happened before Trump was president. This is something that very much affects his presidency. And it is something that could really undermine him in the long-term.
HAYES: So you think part of it is that they -- and we know this from reporting from last week that they`ve already prepared these memos right, for Mueller being like here`s why the president obstructed justice.
You think they are just laser focused and attuned to, the legal team there, the obstruction case there because that`s where they feel that`s where they are the most exposed and vulnerable?
BERTRAND: Exactly, and in my reporting I put the idea that this obstruction of justice case could be bolstered by this letter and the fact that Don McGahn pushed back against it. What does McGahn say? Why did he think that this letter would be legally problematic for the president?
These are question that of course are going to be asked by Mueller.
HAYES: Don McGahn we should note who is the White House council who, in some ways has been sort of most noteworthy for all the things he has not stopped, right? So, the fact that Don McGahn was able to stop this letter leads ones to believe that this was one of the only times when McGahn was able to successfully throw himself in front of the train.
BERTRAND: Right, and what`s interesting also, it indicates that the Wall Street Journal reported last week that Trump`s team has tried to preempt the obstruction of justice argument that Mueller is building. It`s really early to be doing that.
That indicates that they`re extremely concerned about it. You know, the fact that Don McGahn made highlights to it, made changes, removed apparently Trump`s reference to the Russian investigation and the fact that Comey would not announce publicly that he was not under FBI investigation, that says that Don McGahn thinks that line of argument is legally problematic and they needed the DOJ to issue their own separate memos in order to bolster that rationale.
HAYES: It also says that they are watching -- you know this, you know the president tweets about it. He`s clearly obsessed with this.
Only the president knows what he did or didn`t do and maybe people around him, but they are definitely watching, including Mr. Cobb, if you`re watching, thank you very much.
Natasha Bertrand, thank you for being with me tonight.
Ahead the president carried an image of being a strong a decisive leader but DACA is the latest example of him proving himself to be just the opposite, in many ways indecisive and weak. Jennifer Ruben and Josh Earnest are here to discuss.
And the latest crushing exit for the president in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Thing One tonight, the list of White House human resource casualties since John Kelly became President Trump`s Chief of Staff keeping growing. The first to fall, of course, Anthony Scaramucci, the delightfully profane White House communications director for ten entire days.
The exit of the president`s senior strategist Steve Bannon was also widely attributed to Kelly`s influence, and Sebastian Gorka`s tenure as White House counter terrorism adviser came to an end about a week ago.
And now there`s reporting that Kelly has stopped a White House job from even coming to fruition for the controversial former Milwaukee County sheriff, David Clarke. Daily Beast reporting his failure to land a gig in the west wing or the Department of Homeland Security was in large part the result of opposition from Kelly.
And that`s still not the end of the list. The latest is a bona fide longtime Trump confidant seen here during Donald Trump`s campaign physically confronting a protester outside Trump Tower.
That`s Thing Two, in 60 seconds.
HAYES: So another one bites the dust in a White House that now has retired General John Kelly as Chief of Staff.
Keith Schiller, who in September 2015 outside Trump Tower grabbed a plaque from a Hispanic protester and then hit that protester, Keith Schiller, seen here physically removing Univision anchor`s Jorge Ramos from candidate Trump`s August 2015 press conference in Dubuque, Iowa. That guy, Keith Schiller, Donald Trump`s longtime director of security and personal bodyguard became President Trump`s director of oval office operations. His precise duties over the past seven months unclear, but here he is wearing an Adidas garment in a meeting with the president of Kurdistan when Trump`s son in law, Jared Kushner, visited Iraq in April.
And it was Schiller who infamously hand-delivered the letter from President Trump firing FBI director James Comey, though Comey wasn`t in the building.
But, according to Bloomberg News, Schiller lost his privilege to walk into the Oval Office at any time when Kelly took over, and he now views his job as somewhat redundant people close to him said. Schiller will reportedly be taking a job in the private security business.
Bloomberg reports that President Trump is crushed by Schiller`s departure, but good news, they`ll always have the WWE Smackdown, there he is, finishing the job for his pal, the future President, Donald J. Trump. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: In just the last 15 minutes, perhaps because he`s been watching cable news, President Trump has issued a new statement via tweet that perfect encapsulates his weakness and indecision when it comes to big consequential matters.
After first promising to end DACA on day one, and then today sending his attorney general to announce an end to DACA punting to congress instead, President Trump has changed position again tweeting that congress has six months to legalize DACA, something the Obama administration was unable to do. "If they can`t, " will revisit this issue."
Someone who is very familiar with consequential decisions from his time in the Obama administration, former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest joins me now, along with Jennifer Ruben, conservative columnist from The Washington Post.
So basically New York Times predicted this morning, they ran a piece on which they had a paragraph that basically said people around him worry he doesn`t understand what he`s doing. As late as one hour before the decision was to be announced, administration officials privately expressed concern that Mr. Trump might not fully grasp the details of the steps he was about to take, and when he discovers the full impact would change his mind.
Josh, that appears to be what`s happening in real time right now or something like it.
JOSH EARNEST, FMR WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Yeah, Chris, it appears to be exactly what`s happening in real time, that President Trump has faced -- has encountered this dilemma, I believe as described in the New York Times story.
And the dilemma he faced was not what can we do to make our system more fair, the dilemma wasn`t about the nearly 800,000 young people in this country through no fault of their own and following the rules trying to make this country better. The dilemma he faced was how is he going to reconcile the ill-conceived, ill thought out, ill responsible promise that he made on the campaign trail.
So Chris, when President Obama was grappling with this decision, what he took on was a broken immigration system and said I`m going to use every element of my presidential authority to try to fix it. I`m going to use this executive authority to make sure we are correctly and properly deploying our enforcement resources to keep our communities safe even as we`re giving these young people who are American in every single way but their papers, an opportunity to succeed in this country and make it better.
Jennifer, I feel like there`s been something interesting happening with this DACA decision which is, David Jolly was on the program last week where it`s almost like the president has called the conservatives` bluff. So all these conservatives are saying we don`t like DACA, the Obama administration -- you wrote this back in 2012, "in both health care and immigration context, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama are lacking in constitutional awareness or have so politicized the Justice Department it`s no longer a reliable indicator of the law."
Today when they basically ended DACA, you were angry. What happened?
JENNIFER RUBIN, THE WASHINGTON POST: I am angry. First of all, there`s no pending legislation -- there`s no pending need to change it at this moment, people have relied upon it. There`s a due process assumption that we have in this country that if you follow the law, you play by the rules, you come forward and identify yourself, the government isn`t going to turn around and throw you out again.
So frankly, whatever means we got to where we are, we are where we are, and I`m not about to suggest that those people who have now self-identified, presented their information to the federal government should be, you know, ejected simply because they have changed their mind.
I want to add one thing to what Josh was saying. You know, there is no argument that this is of any necessity now. This is a completely artificial deadline that Sessions and these Republican attorneys general came up with in order to force Trump`s hand.
And whether Trump is dim-witted and being led around by the nose by Jeff Sessions, which is entirely possible, or whether he`s in it, you know, he`s been greeted by a firestorm today. I was going through the reaction of religious groups. The catholic church, Jewish organizations, the baptist. There isn`t a religious organization aside from his flunkies from the campaign, that thinks that this isn`t an inhumane, unchristian, unreligious action. It`s outrageous.
HAYES: You know, and part of what is so strange is here, is this is part of a pattern, Josh, where in some ways one of the clearest things he represented was I`m going to repudiate the previous administration. He made his name in the Birther conspiracy theory and sort of continued this idea, and yet watching this administration the first eight months, it`s like watching someone who has never handled a sledgehammer before try to take down a whole building in a one-person demo.
At one level there`s a lot of destruction, but there`s lot of swings and misses, then these sort of moments of what am I doing? Can I take that beam down?
You`re always caught between the kind of execution is so sloppy and sort of conflicted, but also destructive at the same time.
EARNEST: Well, Chris, the irony of this whole thing, just to pick up on what Jennifer was saying, you would think if there`s anybody who is familiar with the tactic of intimidate someone by threatening to file a lawsuit even if you don`t have a very strong legal argument to make, it would be Donald Trump.
EARNEST: And that`s the scenario we face. We have these conservative Republican attorneys general who are threatening to file a lawsuit against DACA. Never mind that there are actually 20 different state attorneys general across the country who are prepared to defend the legality of DACA, no matter the longest, well-established legal precedent of Democratic and Republican presidents using their own discretion in terms of making sure that our enforcement resources are used properly in an immigration context.
But you`re right, Chris, this is one other example of President Donald Trump basically making clear that he`s a novice when it comes to governing. This is an example of where he lacks the kind of acumen that we expect from people who are wielding presidential authority to accomplish their goals.
Instead, you know, it`s clear he doesn`t exactly know what he wants to do to accomplish his goals as ill conceived as they are.
HAYES: There`s this recurring theme, Jennifer, which is the president is obsessed with deals and leverage, appearing to find things he thinking are leverage, only to discover as it goes on that actually it`s not leverage, you know? To use the metaphor, it`s like you can`t shoot the hostages. He`s constantly taking these hostages.
We saw it with the shutdown fight that was going to be a big shutdown on the wall, there wasn`t. We`ve seen it time and time again, and do you think the same thing is happening here with DACA?
RUBIN: You know, it`s hard to figure what his game plan, if it is one, but Josh should send him flowers, because Obamacare, DACA, they have never been more popular. They have people like me defending them, because this administration has been so inhumane and haphazard about the way they go about it.
You can`t treat people like they don`t exist. People rely on these things and they`ve been told they can benefit from these things.
And by the way, when we are talking about people who don`t know which way is up, I`d like to see the legal opinion from Jeff Sessions that he relied on to say this is unconstitutional. There happens to be a contrary opinion in the Office of Legal Counsel and Justice Department.
HAYES: That`s a great point. I`m sure we will get that pretty soon. Josh Earnest and Jennifer Ruben, thank you.
EARNEST: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Alright, that is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
Good Evening, Rachel.
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