Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: October 16, 2017 Guest: Ben Howe, Jessica Garrison, Rebecca Traister CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ObamaCare is finished. It`s dead.
HAYES: Trump world gives up the game.
STEVE BANNON, FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: It`s going to blow that thing up, going to blow those exchanges up, right?
HAYES: As the President lashes out over his lack of achievements.
TRUMP: I`m not going to blame myself. I`ll be honest. They are not getting the job done.
HAYES: And explains why he hasn`t called the families of fallen soldiers.
TRUMP: President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn`t make calls.
HAYES: Then --
TRUMP: Nothing beats the bad.
HAYES: New reporting on what the President says behind closed doors about people of faith. And the high stakes legal showdown over a subpoena for the President and the woman who says he groped her.
TRUMP: All I can say is it`s totally fake news.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Over the weekend, we learned that the body of Army Sergeant La David Johnson, the fourth U.S. Service Member killed in an ambush in West Africa had been returned to the United States on October 7th. That was the day that the President of the United States spent golfing at a club he owns in Northern Virginia before going to a Republican fundraiser in North Carolina to hobnob with wealthy donors. For 12 days after their death, the President said nothing, not one word about Johnson or the three other special forces troops who were killed on October 4th on a patrol in Niger where the U.S. is helping the government fight al Qaeda-linked militants, and where the vast majority of Americans likely did not know we have soldiers in harm`s way.
It`s not that the President didn`t have an opportunity to speak about them, during the 12-day period, he found time to tweet about the stock market and ESPN commentator, Hillary Clinton, a book written by a Daily Caller editor, among other subjects. It was not until he was asked directly about them today the President finally acknowledged in public the four service members killed on his watch. And instead of paying tribute to them, he decided to lie about how his predecessors have acted under the same circumstances. This all happened during a chaotic press conference at the White House where the President and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to put a happy face on their recent tensions. The President addressed a number of topics, including his latest ObamaCare sabotage, the situation in Puerto Rico where he once again appeared to blame residents for the crisis, and the ongoing NFL protests.
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TRUMP: When you go down and take a knee or any other way, you`re sitting essentially for our great national anthem, you`re disrespecting our flag, and you`re disrespecting our country.
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HAYES: In addition to that lecture on how to show proper respect for the country, this was how the President explained his failure to recognize the service members who died in service to that country.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why haven`t we heard anything from you so far about the soldiers that were killed in Niger and what do you have to say about that?
TRUMP: I`ve written them personal letters. They`ve been sent or they`re going out tonight but they were during the weekend. I will at some point during the period of time call the parents and the families, because have I done that traditionally. I felt very, very badly about that. I always feel badly. It`s the toughest calls I have to make are the calls where this happens, soldiers are killed. It`s a very difficult thing. Now, it gets to a point where, you know, you make four or five of them in one day, it`s a very, very tough day. For me, that`s by far the toughest.
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HAYES: The President went on to claim that none of his predecessors had reached out to the families of slain service members.
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TRUMP: The traditional way, if you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn`t make calls, a lot of them didn`t make calls. I like to call when it`s appropriate when I think I`m able to do it. They have made the ultimate sacrifice. So generally, I would say that I like to call.
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TRUMP: President Obama`s former Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromonaco responded on Twitter "That`s an F`ing lie to say President Obama or past presents didn`t call the family members of soldiers killed in action, he is a deranged animal." On several occasions, President Obama was actually there at Dover Air Force Base to meet caskets of fallen service members when they return to the U.S. Before that, President George W. Bush was known to meet privately with dozens of families of service members killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a follow-up question today, NBC`s Peter Alexander challenged the President`s claim.
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PETER ALEXANDER, NBC NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Earlier you said President Obama never called the families of fallen soldiers. How can you make that claim?
TRUMP: I don`t know if he did. No, no, no. I was told that he didn`t often. And a lot of presidents don`t. They write letters, other Presidents did not call. They`d write letters and some presidents didn`t do anything. But I like -- I like the combination of --I like when I can the combination of a call and also a letter.
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HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy is a Democrat from Connecticut. Senator, your response to the comments by the President today.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, it`s another in a long pattern of lies by this President. And I guess to the extent that this is very concerning to all of us. We think about the judgment calls of the President is about to have to make. He`s going to be faced with a decision about what our footprint looks like in Syria and Iraq moving forward. There are suggestions he`s going to be putting thousands of additional troops into Syria. We know about his stated enthusiasm for military engagement on the Korean Peninsula.
And if this President is so casual about American losses overseas that he doesn`t even mention the fact that four brave Americans died in West Africa, then what does that say about how casual he will be about putting other American troops in harm`s way in other parts of the country? I hope he did write those letters. I hope he does call those family members in the coming days. He was wrong to try to make up this just awful lie that President Obama didn`t do that. But my concern is more about what it says about future decisions he`ll make about putting soldiers in harm`s way.
HAYES: Well, or point of fact, current kinetic military activity by this nation in places like Niger were frankly, Senator, I bet you, if you polled a hundred of you know, thousand Americans, 999 couldn`t have told you that the U.S. had members of the armed service they`re in harm`s way in Niger. What is going on there? I mean, what`s striking to me is four Americans were killed there, and what do we know about why we`re there, what the strategy is, what the U.S. government is doing?
MURPHY: Well, listen, to be fair to President Trump, this counterterrorism strategy of pushing special forces out wherever al-Qaeda was gaining strength dates to the Bush and Obama administrations. But you are right that there is -- and this is not me telling classified information, this is open reporting. The United States is spread far and wide with respect to our counterterrorism capabilities. And what the President didn`t tell you in those remarks today is that he has actually passed the buck on many of these important calls that he talks about with respect to putting Americans in situations where they might be killed to military leadership.
These are calls that President Obama made individually himself that President Trump has openly bragged about handing to his military leadership, which quite frankly very often have a bent towards pressing the go button. So I mean, many of us have been very disturbed about this outsourcing of military responsibility and decision making the President has given to his military leadership. So it`s not really fair for him to say that these are the toughest calls. He doesn`t make these calls any longer.
HAYES: One of the other things the President talked about at length today, and I want to ask you because I have you here and you`ve been very vocal on this topic was about ObamaCare. He seemed to talk about destroying it at one point, saying there is no ObamaCare, and then saying the problems are all due to ObamaCare. I want you to take a listen to some of his comments and respond if you don`t mind. Take a listen.
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TRUMP: Republicans are meeting with Democrats because of what I did with the CSR because I cut off the gravy train. If I didn`t cut the CSRs, there wouldn`t be meeting. They`d be having lunch and enjoying themselves, all right? They`re right now having emergency meetings to get a short-term fix of health care where premiums don`t have to double and triple every year like they`ve been doing under ObamaCare because ObamaCare is finished. It`s dead. It`s gone. It`s no longer -- don`t -- you shouldn`t even mention. It`s gone there is no such thing as ObamaCare anymore.
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HAYES: What does that mean, Senator?
MURPHY: I have no idea what that means. Well, first of all, the first piece of that sound bite is very clear. What he`s telling you is he is intentionally trying to hurt Americans, trying to drive the cost of their coverage up or ending their coverage in order to drive Republicans and Democrats to the negotiating table. First of all, that`s ridiculous. Second, he is kind of right that there is no clear part of the American health care system that is ObamaCare any longer because the Affordable Care Act is now wrapped inside of the American health care system.
So when he thinks that he is sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, or what he thinks is ObamaCare, he is really sabotaging the entire American health care system when he pulls these cost-sharing reduction payments for the insurance companies. It`s not just that those people lose insurance or have their premiums go up, everybody else`s premiums go up because the insurance companies spread it out to everybody else. So I guess he`s kind of right that he is attacking the whole health care system and not just ObamaCare.
HAYES: All right, Senator Chis Murphy, thanks for your time tonight.
HAYES: Josh Earnest is an MSNBC Political Analyst who served as White House Press Secretary under President Obama. And I want to read you the White House response to the back and forth, particularly after your former colleague Alyssa Mastromonaco had that to say about the President. They say the President wasn`t criticizing predecessors but stating a fact. When American heroes make the ultimate sacrifice, Presidents pay their respects. Sometimes they call, sometimes they send a letter, other times they have the opportunity to meet family members in person. Individuals claiming former Presidents such as such as their bosses called each family of the fallen are mistaken. Of course, Alyssa never made that claim. What do you -- what do you make of that?
JOSH EARNEST, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, Chris, I mean, do you have a statement from a White House official who says something quite a bit different than what President Trump said today. And the truth is when you`re the President of the United States, one of the things that you feel is a grave responsibility for the millions of Americans who have signed up to serve and sacrifice for this country. And the thing that is painfully obvious about President Trump`s remarks today is he doesn`t seem to understand, or at least feel the weight of the responsibility that he has as our Commander in Chief. If he just spent half of the time that he dedicates to trying to convince the public that he cares for our troops with actually caring for our troops, then our troops would be better off, and you know, I think we`d all feel a lot better about President Trump`s capability and capacity to effectively and responsibly manage the United States Military.
HAYES: It also just it seems to me like there`s a -- there`s a requirement to -- for an address on what they were doing, what the circumstances were under which they were killed. I mean, the whole -- the idea that the president who speaks about everything from which ESPN commentator should be sanctioned to what -- who is going to run in 2020 to the Dow, to talk about everything and not talk about this, it`s just a bizarre, bizarre mission in the first place.
EARNEST: Well, Chris, you alluded to it in your conversation with Senator Murphy that President Trump has time and time again demonstrate that he`s not really comfortable assuming the responsibility of making these life and death -- life and death decisions that we`re expecting our Commander in Chief to make. So you know, he has regularly put his generals in a position where if something goes south, they will take the blame. But if something goes well, then President Trump is certainly the one that is eager to step forward and take all the credit. That`s not what we expect from a leader. And you know, I was with President Obama on a number of occasions which he paid his respects to fallen soldiers.
And one example I can think of is when President Obama used to go to Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, one of the things that he would do after delivering his speech there and after laying a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier is he would make an unannounced visit to Section 60. And this is, of course, the part of the cemetery where the remains of those -- who -- of those -- essentially 9/11 generation veterans are laid to rest. And President Obama would go there in private. He would often go with the First Lady. I even got criticism and complaints from White House reporters who wanted to cover the President making that visit. And, Chris, I use this example not to portray President Obama as a martyr, but actually to portray him, like President George W. Bush, as somebody who felt the weight of responsibility that the Commander in Chief bears. And like I said, President Trump doesn`t behave in that way at all.
HAYES: I thought it was -- what was interesting was the casualness with which this president characterized the actions of his predecessors. And he has gone to -- when a U.S. service member was killed in Yemen in a raid very early in his tenure, I know that he was there to receive that casket. And what happened -- I know he has contacted, he`s gone to Walter Reed so I just -- I don`t want to like paint the record (INAUDIBLE). It was the contention he made today standing in front of everyone, in front of cameras as if everyone who came before him was very casual about the whole thing.
EARNEST: Yes. I mean, this is sort of the latest iteration of the what about this that characterizes every effort of somebody in the Trump administration to try to defend something that President Trump has done that often is in itself indefensible. And to fail to acknowledge the enormous sacrifice that those four brave men made in Africa is indefensible. And frankly, it would have been much better for President Trump to say you know, I regret that I haven`t said something publicly about this, or to be forthright about look, I don`t really talk about this much publicly, but the fact of the matter is I wrote them a letter last weekend. I doubt that fact but --
HAYES: Yes, he said -- he said it will probably be going out tonight, which I thought is a little bit of a tell if you`ve had experience watching the President. Josh Earnest, good to have you.
EARNEST: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Lynn Sweet has covered multiple presidents, the Washington Bureau Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times, Michael Steele is a former Chairman of the Republican National Committee and MSNBC Political Analyst. Lynn, I watch that today with my (INAUDIBLE) like what are you saying? Was that -- how did you react having been in many of those press conferences with many different presidents dealing with in this long period of war, the longest period of war in the nation`s history, people talking about this. What was your reaction to it?
LYNN SWEET, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: I was there when he was telling this story. First of all, he`s mailing a letter tonight. He`s mailing it tomorrow. But then when he couldn`t resist taking a jab at President Obama, that`s when I thought is there no situation, Mr. President, where you cannot resist taking a jab at Obama? We`re talking about four soldiers killed in action. All that was asked is are you going to send some kind of condolences to these families? And as you and Josh pointed out, all he had to say is I am. You know, it isn`t unreasonable to say I wanted to give them a little time if that`s what he wanted to do. But once he started doing these comparisons that he had no fact basis on, and I applaud NBC`s Peter Alexander for getting in that follow-up question because it was pretty chaotic at that press conference.
To Trump`s credit, he took a lot of questions and he didn`t have it rigged as to who would ask questions, so you know, he could just yell it out, which I did, for a question I had. But Peter asked the question in a perfect way, where he -- Trump ended up saying he kind of knew, he didn`t know. Maybe someone told him, a general told him. He was disassembling. And we -- I know you have gone through this a lot and I know there is a lot of things where you talk about fact checks and the President. But on this one, Chris, we`re talking about people who -- soldiers who were killed, and giving some comfort to the families as the President of the United States, as the Commander in Chief. And this dissembling was something that struck me as something I had never, ever seen before and is something this serious.
HAYES: Michael, your reaction.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It`s the same. It`s stunning. It is inexcusable in many respects. But I watch that as the President was going there and something struck me was that he didn`t -- he didn`t want to get caught flatfooted with the -- with the answer I haven`t responded.
STEELE: And that`s what this was all about.
HAYES: That`s right.
STEELE: He had not responded to these families and probably, you know, someone came in and said you really do need to do this. And never thought he`d be asked about it. And when he was, he got caught flat-footed. And so the default position was, well, Obama, well, you know, he never did this. I`m the first president really to do this, so, and thus it begins. And that is the M.O. here when he gets caught, with that light on him, and he doesn`t have the correct answer, which is the honest answer, I have not responded yet. And as you just noted, he could have very easily said, you know, I wanted to give the family some time. This is bad enough pressure on them, etcetera, etcetera. But that was not the default for him.
HAYES: Lynn, what did you make of that press conference more broadly? You just mentioned it was chaotic and watching it at home, it seemed kind of bonkers. Like, there were just lots of yelling out and it seemed to kind of go off the rails. He seemed also to want to stay up there as long as he could. McConnell was kind of standing there kind of square-jawed. What did you make of it?
SWEET: Well, again, I applaud that the President stayed there for 40 minutes. And I`m -- you know, Chris, you know, I came off from Chicago City Hall, a lot of yelling to get your question answered and that`s what we did because the system wasn`t rigged as to who was going to have questions asked. So on that, I applaud it.
HAYES: Yes, I like the (INAUDIBLE) too.
SWEET: But of course, from the looks of the public, aside from the very serious question of not talking, his answer to the question about the families of the soldiers who were killed, we got a lot of topics covered. And there is time for follow-up. And McConnell weighed in and we went through a lot of stuff there. But, yes, it was more informal and maybe kind of reminiscent of the rough and tumble of how I came up but he stood there and took it. And when you heard all that yelling, it`s because we were assembled without chairs. I don`t know if you had shots of how we were. You had to yell because there was no other way for him to figure out who he had a question. Waving your hands, he didn`t know who a lot of the people were, so he was pointing. And in that way, it was perhaps a good way where the press had a chance just to ask whatever they wanted of the President and have enough time to take in -- I would think if we went through it, at least 10 to 14 topics.
HAYES: Michael, finally, you know, one of the things, the juxtaposition today is the President talking about players kneeling for anthem. And it sort of struck me this perfect juxtaposition of a lot of what has happened and the way this country thinks about war in the last 16 years. This abstraction of the flag and the troops and I understand why some people are offended by that and I hear that as a genuine reaction people have. At the same time that there`s actually four U.S. service members who are actually killed in an actual battle in a place that most Americans couldn`t tell you we were engaged. And this sort of preference for the abstraction and the symbolism over the actual conversation about where the U.S. is fighting its wars.
STEELE: Yes. It is stunning the sort of dichotomy there, the two views of the same -- the same symbol if you will. And in the fact that this administration with respect to those four servicemen, you know, there may be -- there may be very quiet operations on the ground there. We don`t know what all of that is. And, OK, I get that. But when you do have something that occurs like the death of these four soldiers, it does bring into stark relief exactly what that flag is all about and more importantly, what our mission is. And I think there is very little that people know that at this point and that is equally disturbing for a lot of Americans out there. The administration I think is still trying to figure its way out. The President, again, goes to the default conversation which is oh, kneeling you know, before the flag is horrendous. I would -- I would elevate--
HAYES: Well, tell us -- tell us about the fighting in Niger. I mean, you know, that`s my feeling.
STEELE: Yes, I was going to say -- I would elevate that up to what are we doing in Niger at the moment.
HAYES: So tell us why we`re fighting in Niger. Lynn Sweet and Michael Steele, thanks for being here.
SWEET: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Next in two hours during two events, President Trump managed to take two different sides in the raging Republican civil war. The ever- widening gap between the Trump promises and the Trump Presidency, in two minutes.
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TRUMP: We`ve been friends for a long time. We are probably now, despite what we read, we`re probably now I think at least as far as I`m concerned closer than ever before.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I want to underscore what the President said. We have the same agenda. We`ve been friends and acquaintances for a long time. We talk frequently. We don`t give you a readout every time we have a conversation but frequently we talk on the weekends.
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HAYES: The President and Senate Majority leader pledged their well, if not undying affection, at least their acquaintanceship for one another this afternoon. A couple of days after the President`s former Chief of Staff -- Chief Strategist Steve Bannon declared, "a season of war against the GOP establishment." And just hours after the President all but took Bannon`s side.
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TRUMP: I have great relationships with actually many Senators but in particular, with most Republican senators but we`re not getting the job done. And I`m not going to blame myself, I`ll be honest. They are not getting the job done.
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HAYES: Today`s Rose Garden event was an attempt to reboot a legislative agenda that has been by any standard a failure. Over the weekend, New York Times Peter Baker wrote about the gap between Donald Trump`s promises and his actual policies. Apparently the President did not enjoy Baker`s reporting, calling him out on Twitter, "the failing New York Times and the story by Peter Baker should have mentioned the rapid terminations of me of TPP and the Paris Accord and the fast approval of the Keystone XL & Dakota Access pipelines, also look at the recent EPA cancelation and our great new Supreme Court Justice!" And Peter Baker joins me now. Well, Peter, someone said today, Eli Stokols a Reporter for Bloomberg, if I`m not mistaken said the whole day felt like a rebuttal to the Peter Baker column. Did you take it that way?
PETER BAKER, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, THE NEW YORK TIMES: No. I think he`s got more things to think about than that. Obviously, he did have--
HAYES: Well, you`d be surprised.
BAKER: Maybe so. He had a reaction to the story, and that`s fine. It`s fair. I actually thought his tweet was perfectly reasonable and civil. I have no problem with that kind of feedback if he wants to talk about it, I`d be happy to talk about with him. The point at least is to review his entire record, the point at least is look at some big-ticket items he`s been talking about lately and how the talk is more expansive than the actual actions. Sometimes it`s because Congress hasn`t gone as far as he would like on health care, for instance. Sometimes he`s been talked out of going further like on the Iran Deal. Both of those things happened on Friday, we talked a lot about those. And so that was sort of I was focusing on. It wasn`t meant to be a review of his entire record, but I understand how he feels about it.
HAYES: So there`s two -- there`s two lanes here, one is the legislative agenda. I want to talk about that first. I mean, today the goal is to come out and be like, hey, we`re buddies. Two hours after he basically said it, well, I`m kind of with Bannon in this civil war. But the reality from everyone I know on the Hill and the people that I talk to there and other reporters is that the White House and Capitol Hill are not at all in sync.
BAKER: No, they`re not. And you know, this is an attempt to show it obviously. But think about what we`ve seen in the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, we had the Secretary of State come out that he felt compelled to deny that he was going to resign. A week ago we had the White House Chief of Staff come out and deny he was going to resign. And today we have the Senate Majority Leader come out and say -- and deny that he and the president of the same party are not friends. I mean, you`re really seeing a lot of effort here to smooth over what`s been a lot of destructive internal friction here within the White House, within the administration, and within the Republican caucus. The fact that they`re doing this publicly does not mean that that friction has gone away. There`s obviously a lot of angst on the Hill. A lot of Republicans who don`t know whether to believe what Steve Bannon said yesterday or whether to believe what President Trump said today about where things are going in the next year.
HAYES: By the way, Steve Bannon said he was called for using the Julius Caesar metaphor. He called for a Brutus to go after Mitch McConnell. You know, that sort of literary appeal to assassination. I know he meant it metaphorically. And when the President gets asked about it today in his cabinet meeting, he only says they`re not getting the job done and then comes out two hours later. But at that point you got to think like the appearance of McConnell is not fooling anyone. Everyone on Capitol Hill watches what`s going on.
BAKER: Yes -- no -- that -- you know, Republican Senators understand exactly what`s happening. And you know, look, they understand the civil war just like anybody. They`re looking back at their own states. They`re worrying about primaries. They`re thinking about where they might be vulnerable. And, look, you know, when Bob Corker comes out and says the things that he says, it`s interesting that most of the other Republican Senators didn`t necessarily come out. They -- it`s not that they don`t agree with him, I think a lot of them do, even Steve Bannon said that they do but they`re afraid of saying it out loud and they don`t want the civil war to erupt even further than it already has. They don`t want to be Luther Strange. They don`t want to lose a primary in their own state.
HAYES: Yes, it is increasingly the like sort of archetypal dysfunctional family gathered at Thanksgiving. Peter Baker, thanks for joining us.
BAKER: Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, the President gets pious in public and reportedly mocks prayer behind closed doors. What the President has been saying about Vice President Pence behind his back, coming up. And if you want to see what was going on behind my back, go to our Facebook page ALL IN with Chris for live streaming from the studio all show, even for commercials. Visit the page now and tell us what you think.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s obvious pandering to religious people during the campaign, his manifest lack of knowledge was at times so clumsy was downright comical.
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TRUMP: 2 Corinthians, 3:17. That`s the whole ball game. Is that the one? Is that the one you like?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m wondering what one or two of your most favored bible verses are.
TRUMP: Well, I wouldn`t want to get into it because to me, that`s very personal. You know, the bible means a lot to me but I don`t want to get into specifics.
And when I drink my little wine which is about the only wine, which is about the only wine I drink, and have my little cracker, I guess that`s a form of asking for forgiveness. And I do that as often as possible, because I feel cleansed, OK?
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HAYES: It was evident to pretty much anyone paying attention that this profane, thrice married, seemingly biblically illiterate candidate was not a particularly pious guy. But four out of five white evangelicals voted for him anyway. And so on Friday, Trump became the first sitting president to speak at the so-called Values Voter Summit where he once again pandered to his evangelical base.
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TRUMP: America is a nation of believers. And together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer. In America, we don`t worship government, we worship god.
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HAYES: Big applause.
Now that`s what President Trump says publicly when he is in a room full of evangelicals. But what does he say privately when it comes to his evangelical vice president and his propensity for prayer? A new report in New Yorker magazine has some amazing quotes that tell us how Trump reportedly really feels, next.
HAYES: At the Value Voters Summit on Friday, President Trump cast himself as a pious man professing fealty to the power of prayer. But the New Yorker, citing a campaign staffer reports that behind closed doors Trump had a habit of mocking Vice President Mike Pence`s religiosity. Quote, "when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence`s office, Trump would ask them did Mike make you pray?"
Trump also reportedly needled the socially conservative Pence over his hard line stances on abortion and homosexuality, quoting again from the New Yorker, "when it turned towards gay rights, Trump motioned towards Pence and joked don`t ask that guy, he wants to hang them all."
In a statement, Pence`s office said the New Yorker story is, quote, filled with unsubstantiated, unsourced claims that are untrue and offensive, though it did not dispute any of its specific claims.
I am joined now by Ben Howe, contributing editor at the conservative website Red State.
And Ben, there is just something so remarkable about the juxtaposition between watching Donald Trump ump before the values voter folks talking about the power of prayer when I feel like we all know where this guy is in terms of his own personal devotion.
BEN HOWE, RED STATE: Well, you know, he has shown over and over again that he will shift based on whatever audience he is talking to. I mean, I`ve said before I feel like he is just selling Trump steaks everywhere he goes.
And I think that`s basically what he does here. He comes up with techniques based on what he thinks is going to indicator to a particular audience. And, unfortunately, a lot of evangelicals buy into it. They accept what he is saying as an accurate portrayal of his inner beliefs.
I`m not going to pass judgment on his faith. If he says he is a Christian, I`ll believe it, but I will say a lot of people had a lot more distrust of Barack Obama being a Christian when he said he was when he showed far more of a Christian attitude in his public speaking and how he dealt with people than Donald Trump ever has.
HAYES: Well, here is my question about folks, religious conservative evangelicals, there is two ways I think you can read this. One is that folks know that the guy is not, you know -- he is not pious in the way they are. He doesn`t have their value structure. He doesn`t have their behavioral structure, their devotion. But look, that`s the person we`re in coalition with. There are certain things we want, whether it`s Supreme Court justices, and this is essentially a marriage of convenience.
Or there is also the idea that like it works, that the sales job somehow works, despite what to me reads as just like obviously pandering condescension.
HOWE: Well, look, I think that in some ways a lot of Christians look at this as an alliance. They say they don`t -- they`re not really concerned about whether or not he is pious. He can say with a he wants to whenever he is giving a speech. And if he says something look like, they`ll cheer for that. But, yeah, the main concern for them is is he going to put something on the Supreme Court that is going to be pro-life. What kind of regulations or laws is he going to support related to gay marriage, things like that.
And I think that that`s really a doomed way of looking at things. I don`t think that -- if you`re a Christian, then you`re supposed to believe that the right way to do things is to be a Christian. And if you align yourself with somebody who uses Christianity as a tool to achieve his ends, I think that you`re aligning yourself with exactly what you were warned about in the bible to be afraid of.
HAYES: You know, this quote about Pence`s prayer and the one about he wants to hang all the gay people, which is an offensive joke because it`s offensive joke to joke about hanging people.
HAYES: And that`s a gross joke.
But it`s also struck me as it`s offensive to Pence, and it`s offensive to - - I mean, it`s a view of people`s religiosity as essentially a punch line and ridiculous, that people that have the belief system that Mike Pence says he has are essentially like barbarian neanderthal rubes.
HOWE: Yeah, well, he is playing the caricature. I mean, he is calling Pence the caricature that a lot of Christians reject. Plenty of Christians say look, we have our positions on homosexuality, or we have our positions on abortion, but we`re not barbarians like you`re saying. And he is essentially saying yes, you. And he is talking about his own vice president.
But what is more interesting is just it`s more of that -- you know you were just talking about this a moment ago about how we can see. We can see how he is. In all of his interactions before he was president, when he was running for president, this man is a bully. He pushes people around. He pushes buttons. He says things that he he knows are going to be outlandish, and he does it to his own vice president. He is like a child in the White House poking fun at the vice president while there are serious issues he should be thinking about.
HAYES: All right, Ben Howe, thanks for being with me tonight.
HOWE: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, President Trump was served a subpoena for any documents from his campaign that relate to allegations of sexual misconduct. What happens next, ahead.
And tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts right after this.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, as part of the White House`s ongoing messaging efforts, they provide a little service called West Wing reads. It`s a daily newsletter tweeted out with three jaunty quotes highlighting flattering articles and op-eds often written by Trump supporter, sometimes even by his own people. For example, on Wednesday West Wing Reads quoted an economist who worked for President George Bush, then the current assistant secretary of public affairs at the Treasury Department, who, you know, likes the president, and finally Trump`s own first pick for labor secretary.
Occasionally, West Wing Reads will highlight an actual news article which naturally tend to be far more editorial and neutral. So it was a bit unusual when today`s West Wing Reads started by citing the Washington Examiner economics reporter Joseph Lawler, quote, corporate tax cut will provide huge boost to wages.
If that quote seems unusually editorial for a beat reporter, even at a conservative paper, that`s because it`s not his quote: it`s a headline and is missing three little words of attribution, "White House study." That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: It was the first quote in today`s West Wing Reads, a White House tweet of favorable news articles. "Corporate tax will provide huge boost to wages" attributed to Joseph Lawler, an economics reporter for The Washington Examiner.
The tweet linked back to the full West Wing Reads newsletter where the White House further expounded, "The Washington Examiner`s Joseph Lawler reports President Trump`s goal of lowering the corporate tax rate 35 percent to 20 percent will translate into $4,000 to $9,000 in the pockets of hardworking Americans."
Except that`s not what Lawler reported at all. His article doesn`t say that a corporate tax cut will provide a huge boost to wages, it says that a White House study says a corporate tax cut will provide huge boost to wages. And while the article begins by saying that President Trump`s goal of lowering the corporate tax rate will boost the average family`s income by $4,000 to $9,000 each year, the rest of that sentence reads, "according to a new analysis released Monday by his new economic adviser," which means the White House released a self-serving study and then tried to attribute its findings to a report they`re wrote it up.
We look forward next week to find out the West Wing is just reading a string of Donald Trump`s own tweets.
HAYES: Donald Trump`s campaign has been subpoenaed for records about the president`s sexual harassment of women, Summer Zervos, a former contestant on The Apprentice last year accused the president of kissing and groping her without her consent. He called the accusations lies, and Zervos sued for defamation. The subpoena comes as part of that defamation suit.
Now today the president was asked about the subpoena, and here was his response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: All I can say is it`s totally fake news. It`s just fake. It`s fake. It`s made up stuff. And it`s disgraceful what happens, but that happens in the world of politics.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Remember, he is not being sued over the sexual assault allegations themselves, he is being sued for calling a Zervos a liar, which he essentially just did again.
But what matters now is not so much the president`s response for the microphones, it`s the way he and his legal team respond in court. The subpoena is a legal document, and one that can`t simply be ignored, because it is most certainly not fake news. And more than a dozen women have accused Donald Trump of assault and harassment. What lies ahead for president and the BuzzFeed reporter who broke this story, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUMMER ZERVOS, FORMER APPRENTICE CONTESTENT: I stood up and he came to me and started kissing me open mouthed as he was pulling me towards him. I walked away and I sat down in a chair. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again very aggressively and placed his hand on my breast. I pulled back and walked to another part of the room.
He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said, come on, man, get real. He repeated my words back to me, get real as he began thrusting his genitals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant last year. She, like a number of women, came forward in the wake of that Access Hollywood tape in which Donald Trump admitted sexually assaulting women. And he called the allegations a lie and she sued for defamation.
Now BuzzFeed is reporting that she has subpoenaed, quote, all documents from his campaign pertaining to any woman alleging that Donald J. Trump touched her inappropriately. The subpoena is still going through the courts, including an attempt by the president`s lawyers to dismiss the lawsuit completely.
And news of the subpoena comes just days after a series of horrifying stories alleging decades of sexual assault, harassment and rape by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, accusations that have prompted widespread discussion about the kinds of assault many women face as part of their everyday lives, and in some cases the kinds of assault of which the president himself has been accused.
Jessica Garrison is one of the BuzzFeed reporters who broke the news of the subpoena. Rebecca Traister, writer at-large at New York Magazine, has documented her own interactions with Harvey Weinstein. We`ll get to that in a second.
Jessica, how serious is the legal threat here to the president and his campaign?
JESSICA GARRISON, BUZZFEED: I mean, I think that`s the $64,000 question. She sued him for defamation. As part of that suit, she filed a subpoena, her lawyers did, on his campaign seeking, as you said, all documents pertaining to any woman who has alleged that the president touched them inappropriately. And that subpoena did not initially appear in the court file because it was served own the Trump campaign, but it made its way in the file in September as part of wrangling over the suit itself.
So I think the question -- you know, the Trump campaign has until October 31st to file their response. And at some point after that there will be a decision whether the suit goes forward, and that`s I think the point at which we`ll really find out whether this discovery is going to be turned over.
HAYES: There is some precedent here. Obviously, Paula Jones suit was allowed to go forward by the Supreme Court during the Clinton years.
HAYES: Which is important precedent.
One of the connections here to Weinstein is the way in which response to the allegations is to attack the women making them. And we saw in 2015 the first time that Weinstein allegations became very public and reported, it was when that Italian model and actress accused him. And immediately you saw these stories attempting to discredit her. She`s made other allegations.
It seems to me this is sort of part of the M.O. of the threat of that is what kept Weinstein`s secrets for so long.
REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Of course. That is absolutely central to how the power dynamic in how these situations work. They`re not about sex, they`re about power abuses. It wouldn`t -- sexual harassment and sexual power abuses wouldn`t exist if the person who is committing them didn`t have the power to suppress, didn`t have the power to scare, didn`t have the power to hire or fire, or make or break the working lives of the women -- when we`re talking about this in a professional context, that`s one of the things that is in question as cases of assault, physical power.
The fact that women are not believed, that they`re shamed, that they`re made out to be untrustworthy, crazy, vindictive, or have axes to grind, that`s always been part of the threat that hangs over women. And the fact that they should feel ashamed. All of these things are part of what works to make sexual harassment and assault possible.
HAYES: You had this incredible story that you wrote about, a small sort of window into the power that Weinstein had in which you were a cub reporter basically and had a run in with him.
TRAISTER: Yeah. I was a very young reporter working on my first story and it was not an incidence of sexual power abuse. I interviewed him totally legitimately at a party he was hosting about a feature I was writing and he screamed at me, things I can`t say on the air, you know, called me the c word and pushed me and just -- you know, screamed at me in public.
And then, I was there with a colleague who I was also dating at the time, he took him out and put him in a headlock. It was an incredible public --
HAYES: In front of a ton of reporters and photographers.
The example there of the way that power works to suppress was that though that incident was reported on, it was reported I was the aggressor. I burst into his party.
HAYES: You were the crazy one.
TRAISTER: I was the crazy one, I burst into his party. No pictures were ever published. He was a powerful man.
HAYES: Which, Jessica, the way that the president has dealt with these accusations particularly back then was basically, these women are lying. And he actually threatened a lawsuit which is another tactic that we`ve seen used very effectively. He threatened to sue The New York Times. That was never borne out.
GARRISON: Correct. And I think, you know, it`s interesting because another story that we did this weekend was to go back and talk to many of the women --
HAYES: It`s a great piece by the way.
GARRISON: Who came forward, thank you, who came forward after Trump. Almost to a person they said, I`m really happy to see that Mr. Weinstein`s been fired, but I can`t help feel a little bitter sweet about it because, you know, nobody believed us, or not enough people believed us.
And I think that a lot -- I think a lot of people thought that was a very poignant reaction.
One woman even told us, maybe if I had been a celebrity they would have believed me.
TRAISTER: There`s a similar -- oh.
GARRISON: Go ahead.
TRAISTER: It reminds me of a story that I believe was in ProPublica about women who spoke up about Arnold Schwarzenegger`s groping them in advance of his election and it didn`t make a difference there.
And that`s one of the things that I think is so painful about this moment and that I worry about with the Weinstein outrage. You and I have sat at this table a year ago. There was outrage about what Donald Trump did. Kelly Oxford had that Twitter hashtag where women named their first sexual assault or sexual abuses that they experienced. There was tremendous outrage.
It was a traumatic event for millions of women. Lots of men heard for the first time. I had a male senator tell me he had no idea that his wife had ever been harassed or groped. And he had no idea that how many women had don this.
We had what should have been the educational moment of mass reaction.
HAYES: Great point.
TRAISTER: And we had an opportunity there. There was a mechanism by which Donald Trump could have not been elected president, but he was.
And I think that that -- and it`s strange because he lost the vote, right? 3 million more people voted for his opponent, and yet he`s still the president and it contributes to this feeling of these powerful forces at work against which you have no power to fight.
HAYES: I should note there is another moment like this. Alyssa Milano started this Me, too, hashtag, which I would just really recommend people check out. Particularly men should check out that hashtag because it`s extremely upsetting and also really eye opening about how profoundly ubiquitous this problem is.
Jessica Garrison and Rebecca Traister, thank you both for joining me.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow show starts right now.
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