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senators react to GOP tax reform bill Transcript 11/15/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Jennifer Rubin, Asawin Suebsaeng, Dan Rather, Luis Gutierrez

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 15, 2017 Guest: Jennifer Rubin, Asawin Suebsaeng, Dan Rather, Luis Gutierrez

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.




HAYES: Roy Moore remains defiant and the President remains silent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you believe the accusers of Roy Moore, Mr. President? Should he resign?

HAYES: Tonight, why Donald Trump is mum as the Senate Candidate accused of child molestation gets forensic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Release the yearbook so we can determine, is it genuine or a fraud.

HAYES: Plus, a Republican defection on taxes as a roomful of CEOs debunks the entire White House argument.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why aren`t the other hands up? Why aren`t the other hands up? HAYES: Then, why some Democrats disagree with today`s call for impeachment in Congress. And thing one and thing two, the President returns from Asia but he`s longing for (INAUDIBLE)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 17,000 jobs. Thank you. They don`t have water. That`s OK. What?

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

TRUMP: It`s Rubio!


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. Does the President of the United States believe that Roy Moore, his party`s candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama sexually assaulted teenage girls as a district attorney in his 30s? Does the United States President believe the six women who say Moore pursued them when they were teenagers, one alleging that he violently sexually assaulting her when she was 16? And does he believe that Roy Moore should withdraw from the race? Those are the questions awaiting the President on his return from a 12-day trip to Asia. Questions he told the press he`d address when he got home.

The President arrived back in Washington last night and today he gave what was built as a major announcement carried live on all the networks. The only news the President made was getting Marco Rubio to trend on Twitter over an incident with a water bottle. And after delivering a book report- style recap of his Asia trip, the President proceed straight for the exits ignoring shouted questions about his stance on Roy Moore.


TRUMP: Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you all.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Should Roy Moore resign, Mr. President? Do you believe his accusers? Do you believe the accusers of Roy Moore Mr. President? Should he resign?


HAYES: Only a couple hours later, published two more on the record allegations against Moore. One from a woman named Tina Johnson who says he groped her in a 1991 meeting in it his law office, the other from Kelly Harrison Thorp who says 17-year old high school senior in 1982 when she says Moore asked her out of the restaurant where she worked. "I just kind of said, do you know how old I am?" she recalled, and he said, yes, I go out with girls your age all the time. Moore has denied all the previous allegations against him describing them as politically motivated and "absolutely false."

NBC News has reached out to him for comment on the latest allegations. At a press conference today, an attorney for Moore suggested that one of his accusers had forged Moore`s signature in her yearbook which they planned to subject to handwriting analysis. Now, the President has continued silence on Roy Moore is only likely to deepen the crisis facing his party. Trump is on the outside of a growing consensus among national Republicans that Moore should not serve in the U.S. Senate. The question is how they make that happen. Whether it`s by forcing Moore to step aside somehow which does not at this point appear likely, by mounting a write-in campaign for a competitor or by expelling Moore from the Senate should he win on December 12th.

Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee that campaign arm of the Senate Gop which withdrew its support for Moore leaked an internal poll showing he now trails 12 points behind his Democratic opponent Doug Jones. We should note, they did not share the rest of the poll or the firm that conducted it and the NRSC has every interest in the world in showing Moore losing. Even the President`s daughter Ivanka is now taking a public stand against Moore telling the Associated Press today, "there`s a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I`ve yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims` accounts." That line echoes what we`ve heard from many Republican officials this week including some of the President`s allies. They believe the women making these allegations.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Number one, the allegations are credible.

JEFF SESSIONS, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am -- have no reason to doubt these young women.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I believe the women, yes.


HAYES: There`s just one problem with that stance. If you believe the women, what do you do about the dozen-plus women who have accused the President himself of sexual misconduct, which he denies? Women the President has publicly vilified and threatened to sue. Women who according to the White House are all, every last one of them liars. Jennifer Rubin Conservative Columnist from the Washington Post and Asawin Suebsaeng, Politics Reporter for the Daily Beast. Jennifer, were you surprised that we didn`t get anything from the President or the White House today on this issue?

JENNIFER RUBIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Not at all. He`s caught between a rock and a hard place and he wants not to have to speak to this at all. Yes, it will revisit his own problems and, secondly, if he`s ignored by the voters of Alabama, he looks speckles and he looks like he doesn`t have his finger on the pulse of the base. So he wants us to go away in the worst way possible.

HAYES: That`s a really good point. He already got crosswise with the base in the primary in which he endorsed Luther Strange at the urging of Mitch McConnell and others. Even with his endorsement, Strange was defeated. He even got rid of his tweets endorsing Strange. Now you`ve got Roy Moore. When Roy Moore won, this is the Trump tweet after the primary. "Spoke to Roy Moore of Alabama last night for the first time. Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA." Asawin, you`ve been reporting on the other side of this which is Steve Bannon who has been a prominent Moore backer. Where is the Bannon-Breitbart world right now?

ASAWIN SUEBSAENG, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: Well, they`re kind of between a rock and hard place. As my colleague Lachlan Markay and I reported yesterday at the Daily Beast, even though Steve Bannon has publicly, and as you said he`s one of Moore`s most prominent and most famous, strongest supporters, even though publicly he`s been very forcefully lockstep behind Roy Moore in the face of all of these sexual assault and misconduct allegations, in private, over the past few days, he`s been far more skittish, shall we say. He has asked some of his closest advisers and friends how they think he should proceed with the Roy Moore situation and what they think about it. He has told at least one close associate that if he determines that Roy Moore has been lying to him, he will, and I quote, put him in a grave myself. At least for the time being, it appears that Bannon and many of his closest cohorts have determined that they`re sticking by Mr. Moore for now.

HAYES: Yes, whatever -- his private, second thoughts we should just say that they`ve been setting lots of public signals through the classic sort of Steve Bannon approach of anonymous quotes of people close to Steve Bannon that they are publicly sticking with it.

SUEBSAENG: Correct. And even as Mr. Bannon and his allies try to spin this as much as they can in public that, oh, not for a second who we ever consider ditching Roy Moore, it`s important to realize that in private, Bannon has been incredibly uncomfortable about the sexual assault allegations against Roy Moore. He has not been letting on about that at all publicly so far. But look, whatever can be said about Mr. Bannon, nobody wakes up in the morning thinking, OK, who is the most far-right alleged child molester I can back in the great state of Alabama. And that`s the situation he`s found himself.

HAYES: Yes, and yet somehow -- and somehow -- and yet somehow the two- shirted strategic genius has managed to help the party nominate a man who now stands accused by multiple women of sexual predation on minors, of attempted rape on a 16-year-old who accounted that in very -- I though -- credible and tearful testimony, who signed a yearbook. Unless we think there`s some handwriting forgery here which I suppose is a possibility but seems unlikely. So whatever his private reservations, Jennifer, it strikes me the original sin here is that Roy Moore never should have never been within a thousand miles of the United States Senate Seat, to begin with before all these allegations came out.

RUBIN: Exactly. He was completely objectionable, completely unfit for office before we knew all of this. He wants to criminalize homosexuality, he doesn`t think Muslims should serve in the U.S. Congress, he`s been removed from the bench twice. Sot the notion that this person was remotely in the realm of possibility is shocking. I do want to say something, though, about Ivanka Trump. I wonder if she`s concerned about the underaged beauty pageant gals whom Trump allegedly barged into when they were in various states of undressed. Why is she not addressed them? And for her to speak out now after all of these allegations against her father, maybe she should just go away for a while and be quiet. It`s not sincere. She enables her father. We`re really not interested and I don`t think she`s convincing anybody of anything.

HAYES: Asawin, there also seems -- the reporting today in, again, one of those -- one of the women alleges Roy Moore groped her was that when she was at his office to sign custody papers in a divorce sign over custody of her child. He asked her-- according to her -- whether her daughters were as pretty as she was. Again, according to her account. They have to be thinking both in the White House and in the Breitbart embassy that there are other shoes that are going to drop and it is a long way until December 12th.

SUEBSAENG: Oh, absolutely. But what a lot of people both inside the White House and in Bannon world and other allies of Roy Moore are considering right now is that even with the mounting sexual misconduct and assault allegations against him, he could still very well hold on and win in Alabama. He still has a strong base of conservative support there and it sounds incredibly cynical to say but a lot of people in the Roy Moore camp are banking on him winning, becoming a U.S. Senator. The Republicans not having the guts to expel him. And the GOP is starting to throw these allegations down the memory hole as they did with the current President of the United States.

HAYES: That is I think, a very, very good and plausible prediction of the future should he win. I think the idea that they`re going to expel him from the United States Senate strikes me as not particularly plausible at this moment. Jennifer and Asawin Suebsaeng, great to have you both.

RUBIN: Thank you.

SUEBSAENG: Thank you.

HAYES: I`m joined now by the legendary Dan Rather, President-CEO of the media company News and Guts and Author of the brand new book What Unites Us, reflections on patriotism. Having covered American politics as much as you have, is there an expectation in a situation like this that the President of the United States says something publicly about the fate of the nominee of the party he shares?

DAN RATHER, PRESIDENT-CEO, NEWS AND GUTS: Well, certainly in any normal time, anyplace previous to this in history, I think a President would have said something one way or the other. But as several who appear on this program already pointed out that President Trump is taking the view that he better not say anything for several reasons, not the least of which is if he says something, it could raise new questions about his own reputation in this general area. But what`s happened here it seems to me Chris, and this previously has happened in a number of times when you have a situation in which the party has someone he doesn`t want to get elected. The first order of businesses -- the old saying goes, when you`re in a hole, stop digging.

That`s pretty much what President Trump is attempting to do by not saying anything. Judge Moore has indicated he`s not going to have anything else to say. That`s pretty much we are. But this is a moment of reckoning, Chris. It`s a moment of reckoning not just for the Republican Party, not just for Alabama but for the country as a whole. That is, who are we, what do we stand for, what are we prepared to allow? That`s the question. You have a situation in which a 32-year-old man was allegedly, supposedly involved with a 14-year-old girl. I don`t think anywhere in America that that`s going to be acceptable. I do agree that Judge Moore could still win this race and if he wins it, I would be very surprised that the Senate actually expels him.

HAYES: Yes. I agree about the unacceptable. I also think -- I mean, I`ve been talking to Alabama people a lot over the last week and I do think -- I don`t necessarily think that NRSC poll is correct but he is losing altitude. There`s no question about that. I wanted to ask you about the closest analog I can come up with and it`s the one I keep returning to with Roy Moore which David Duke`s candidacy back in 1991 in which case the President of the United States at that point, George H.W. Bush. Republican, did weigh in very forcefully. Here`s what he had to say. Take a listen.


GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign. So I believe that David Duke is an insincere charlatan. I believe he`s attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana and I believe that he should be rejected for what he is and what he stands for.


HAYES: Can you imagine the current President delivering something like that about Roy Moore between now and December 12th?

RATHER: No. And I really compliment you, Chris, for pulling out that sound bite. There`s the difference between what`s expected of a President of the United States and what we`re now getting in terms of delivery from the current President of the United States. Can you imagine how much good it would do for President Trump, how much good it would do the country if he today when he had that opportunity said something along those lines about the Judge Moore case and just said, look, the kind of behavior that increasingly it appears that Judge Moore took part in is unacceptable. We Americans are better than this and took a cue from President H.W. Bush. It would -- it would help President Trump, it would also -- I think it would be a great sigh of relief for people who say, well at least for once the President is trying to do something classy, something even noble but it was not to be.

HAYES: Well, and part of the problem for him, it strikes me as well, I mean, George H.W. Bush said that and Duke was defeated, which was a sort of sigh of relief for everyone. I think the catastrophic idea in the White House, presumably, is the President comes out against him, as he did in the primary, and once again Roy Moore wins and how do you think that would affect the perception of the President`s political power?

RATHER: I still think it would help the President overall if he came out forcefully against it. I don`t think it would reduce his power, which is already declining some. But it`s a fair point it could. But look, just do the right thing. That`s what people want the President to do. Just do the right thing and hope that the voters of Alabama do the right thing.

HAYES: And I think there would be substantial influence with the voters as well. Dan Rather`s new book is called What Unites Us. It`s available now. Mr. Rather, thank you for being here.

RATHER: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: Next, a group of House Democrats today launched the most coordinated effort to begin impeachment hearings against Donald Trump. Congressman Luis Gutierrez was among them. So I`ll ask him why now, in two minutes.



REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), IL: -- during the second debate, if I win, I`m going to instruct my attorney general, that would be you, because he chose you, to get a special prosecutor to look into your situation, referring to Hillary Clinton, because there`s never been so many lies, so much deception." It`s a promise, that`s your boss, he hired for you to fulfill. Are you going to fulfill?

SESSIONS: We will comply with the law with regard to special prosecutor appointments.


HAYES: There`s a case to be made, as I said on this program, the President pressuring publicly his attorney general to investigate and prosecute a political rival is in and of itself an abuse of power and arguably an impeachable abuse of power. And it`s not the only one. There`s also the President`s possible obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation, not to mention his possible violation of emoluments clause by never properly separating himself from his business interests. And those were among the offenses cited today by a group of House Democrats as they introduced five articles of impeachment against the President against -- I should also say -- the wishes of the Democratic Party`s leadership.


REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: We believe that President Trump has violated the constitution and we`ve introduced five articles of impeachment.

REP. AL GREEN (D), TEXAS: I see it as an act of courage. I see it as an act of patriotism.

REP. ADRIANO ESPAILLAT (D), NEW YORK: He has broken the law. And that`s why these articles of impeachments are about.

GUTIERREZ: I see a crime and I have a responsibility to dial 911 immediately. I don`t call and try to reach consensus with all my neighbors.


HAYES: Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, one of the House members filing those articles of impeachment against President Trump joins me now. And Congressman, let me - let me -- there`s a few arguments I think against this. And I want to go through them with you. The first is a purely pragmatic political one, which is people that are in charge of helping Democrats win seats, perhaps taking back the House and the Senate in 2018. There are people who think it`s a mistake politically to essentially make the next election a referendum of impeachment because it will inspire the supporters of the President and the base to come out. What do you say to that?

GUTIERREZ: Well, first of all, I think we`re elected based on principles and ideals that we represent to the people of our Congressional district. And I`m fulfilling that promise that I made to the people of the Fourth Congressional District. Chris, yeah, I`ve been here 25 years. That`s not something that I shout about but it does give me a little bit of historical context. Look, in 1996, the leadership said, let`s pass and approve the defense of marriage act, basically said marriage is only between a man and a woman. I and 65 others said no. The President signed that bill. Why? They were thinking about the next election maybe?

You know, why don`t we stand up to the NRA, thinking about the next election maybe? You remember why we wouldn`t stand up for immigrants, even a President of the United States that ran on the promise as Barack Obama did that in my first year of the Presidency I`m going to sign a comprehensive immigration bill. I don`t remember a lot of Democrats standing around me as I and leaders of the immigrant community were arrested time and time again in front of the White House yet when DACA was signed and celebrated, there were many people. So, look, yes, it`s a small group today you know what, we`re doing something big, we`re doing something important, we`re carrying out our responsibilities.

HAYES: So -- OK. So what I`m hearing from you is the principle matters more than the politics, who knows what the politics will be but this is better. So let`s talk about the principle here. The other argument is this is part of a kind of institutional race the bottom of the country is seeing that the correct remedy is to vote in people to check the President in Congress to vote him out of office when he stands for reelection and that you haven`t -- you don`t have the case yet. You`re jumping the gun. What do you say to those people?

GUTIERREZ: Well, here`s what I say. I know a President of the United States that had the attorney general in his office, that had his son-in-law in the office, that had the Vice President in his office and told them to leave and then he told the Head of the FBI, the chief cop of the nation, I want you to stop investigating a crime. Look, that`s obstruction of justice. I see a President of the United States that I believe is enriching himself personally. Remember when he said, oh, don`t worry, I won`t build any hotels anywhere in the world while I`m President of the United States and then proceeded to have Trump build hotels around the world.

Look, he enriches himself here. That`s against the emoluments clause not only internationally but also domestically. You don`t allow elected officials to enrich themselves and line their pockets on the public service. And that`s what I believe Donald Trump -- look, he`d say to you, Chris Hayes, hey, you know what, I don`t think you have the right to really say everything you do because he believes members of the press should -- that we should pass laws to lock you up. This is the President of the United States. I know that there are people that have called me today, that have said thank God there`s a small group of people speaking to the truth about the President of the United States of America.

HAYES: Well, let me ask you this. An anonymous vote, a secret ballot of your Democratic colleagues in which there were no political ramifications, they were simply voting on whether they thought the President merited impeachment. What is your guess of how many yes votes there would be?

GUTIERREZ: Oh, I think the majority of them would, Chris. Look, I understand that when you`re out of power, you`re seeking ways to get into power and that`s their job, right? That isn`t my function. I`m a member of the Judiciary Committee and so is my colleague Mr. Cohen and we have a responsibility as members of that Judiciary Committee to do historically what the Judiciary Committee has done. And that is to process and to follow the law. Look, I kind of see the Judiciary Committee as kind of the grand jury. So we`re going to call the witnesses forward. We`re going to call the evidence forward. And if the evidence and the witnesses are there and the proof is there, then we`ll send it over to the Senate for a trial. But I think we have a responsibility to call. I know you played it but think about it if you see a crime, what have we been taught? If you see something, say something. We said something today.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, the truly amazing moment when the Trump administration comes face-to-face with why their tax plan will not work and we`ll play that for you after this quick break.


HAYES: All right. So the basic fact to understand about the Republican tax bills now speeding through Congress is that their primary goal is to give a massive, once in a generation tax cut to corporations. About two- thirds of the benefits in both the House and Senate bill go to corporations and businesses. But the remaining one-third, that little blue slice of the pie there going to individuals. Now, keep in mind, a big chunk of the individual tax cuts, that little blue slice, that remaining one-third of the pie, those go to the super rich as well who would no longer have to worry about so much say as the pesky estate tax. So given all that, it really is no surprise that CEOs are pretty stoked.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you hearing from them right now?

GARY COHN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: The most excited group out there are big CEOs about the tax plan. They all tell me how excited they are to get a tax plan that makes the United States competitive, makes it so they can grow their business domestically, makes it so they can actually pay wages here.


HAYES: OK. So you see what he did there? And here`s the thing, the CEOs are excited. They run businesses whose taxes are going to be cut but why should you dear non-CEO viewer care? Well, here why. This is Gary Cohn, the CEOs are excited because they and their companies would get a huge windfall and then not that they get to keep it, you average American will ultimately reap the benefits from that.


COHN: We create wage inflation, which means the workers get paid more, the workers have more disposable income. The workers spend more and we see the whole -- the whole trickle down through the economy. And that`s good for the economy.


HAYES: All right. You got that right. So you cut taxes for the corporations, the CEOs are psyched and then that money goes into corporations and trickledown economics, that if you give CEOs and corporations more money, they`ll build factories, create jobs, give you a raise. Now, history has not been kind to such claims which had been made over and over but hey, maybe this time is different. And it just so happens we have a pretty good way to find out because this week the Wall Street Journal held its CEO counsel. They gathered the world`s most ambitious and influential business leaders to discuss the issues shaping the future. Among the speakers was that guy Gary Cohn who got to watch as a room full of CEOs were asked about his trickle down claims.

COHN: The House and Senate both spend a lot of time worried about the whole international sites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Other questions for Gary Cohn? Can I ask you all a quick question? If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment -- your company`s investment, capital investment, just a show of hands? The tax reform go through? OK.

COHN: Why aren`t the other hands up? Why aren`t the other hands up?


HAYES: Buddy, man, that`s Gary Cohn himself wondering out loud awkwardly, cringe-inducingly, why aren`t the other hands up? Remember, this is a roomful of CEOs and business leaders, the very people who are supposed to execute the GOP`s trickle-down master plan. Count the hands that go up.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you plan to increase investment -- your company`s investment, capital investment, just a show of hands, the tax reform goes through? OK.

COHN: Why aren`t the other hands up? Why aren`t the other hands up?


HAYES: Five. Five hands went up. Five out of a roomful of CEOs and business leaders. And we`ve tried to fair. We thought there may have been a sixth hand, a woman who looked like she was going to raise her hand, and she kind of did a psych head scratch move at the end. Now, even though Gary Cohn had a front row seat for the repudiation of the GOP`s flimsy rationale for its massive corporate tax cut, Congressional Republicans are rushing to a vote. And with their Alabama Senate seat now in jeopardy, thanks to their nominee being accused a child molester, they had no time to lose. The state of the tax cut fight and the big hit the GOP took today right after this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the tax reform bill goes through, do you plan to increase investment -- your company`s investment, capital investment, just a show of hands if the tax reform goes through?

GARY COHN, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: why aren`t the other hands up?


HAYES: Good question.

The House is set to vote tomorrow on the GOP`s big tax cut bill and while Republican leaders are expressing confidence, the vote is no sure thing. Passage depends on how many Republicans from high tax states like California, New York and New Jersey refuse to back a bill that would likely mean a tax hike for many of their constituents. The tax bill must also still pass the senate where Republicans have a slim two vote margin, which could soon fall to one vote if Roy Moore loses the special election in Alabama one month from now.

Already, Republican Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake have expressed serious reservations about the bill and today Senator Ron Johnson became the first solid "no" vote. The Wisconsin conservative telling The Wall Street Journal, "the plan unfairly benefits corporations more than other types of businesses."


SEN. RON JOHNSON, (R) WISCONSIN: I was asked, can you support the current senate version? I wouldn`t vote for it. It`s just that simple. But it doesn`t mean I don`t want to, you know, vote for a real solution.


HAYES: With me now, Betsy Woodruff, politics reporter at The Daily Beast and a brand new MSNBC contributor, and John Harwood, editor-at-large with CNBC.

Let me start with the politics side of this, Betsy. It is amazing to me how poorly this thing is polling. I mean, it`s supposed to be a big tax cut. Usually people like that. This is the new Quinnipiac polling. Approve the GOP tax plan -- 25 percent approve, no 52, not sure 23. And yet they are forging ahead anyway. What is animating the folks over there in the House and Senate?

BETSY WOODRUFF, THE DAILY BEAST: I can tell you what is animating them. The number one concern, not just to Republican leadership in the House, but also very significantly to Republican lobbyists on K Street is that they are going to lose the House in 2018. That`s an assumption that most of these people are operating under. They assume this is their last chance not just to do tax reform, but to do any sort of major legislative overhaul.

And if they don`t get tax reform done -- and let`s be honest, if they don`t get it done soon, it`s not going to happen next year in an election year. If they don`t get this done, then they have to go back to their donors and say thanks for spending tons and tons of money to help us get elected. Sorry we couldn`t do literally anything. That`s an extraordinary amount of pressure -- pressure on K Street, pressure on Paul Ryan`s office, pressure on Mitch McConnell. And that`s why you see these guys scrambling to push through a bill, because this is their last-ditch effort to keep the promises that they made that got them to take control of congress and the White House in the first place.

HAYES: Right.

WOODRUFF: It`s a lot on the line for them.

HAYES: John, Betsy make as great point which is that -- because I was looking at some of the whip counts today in the House. And there are a lot of members of congress, Republicans, who represent affluent districts in New York, New Jersey and California. And right now there`s about 10 or 11 of those who are hard-nosed but a lot of yeses. And as you know, John, and you`ve covered this, the constituents of those Republicans might see a tax hike, remarkably, from a tax cut bill.

You`ve got to think it`s political suicide unless they`ve already priced in that they are going to lose anyway.

JOHN HARWOOD, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, CNBC: Well, Betsy`s right. They`ve convince themselves that they are going to lose the House if they don`t do this; however, they may lose the House if they do do it. This is not popular. As you said, 2-1 unpopular.

Here`s the crazy thing. With this very unusual coalition that they have, with the business guys, the Wall Street guys, the donors pressing them to do this because they`re the ones who benefit the most, the white working class voters who make up the core of Trump support who get the least out of this bill are the ones who are most supportive in the polls. That`s because of their personal loyalty to Donald Trump.

But they`ve got big problems, as you indicated, in the Senate in particular, where the changes that are being pushed make the bill more expensive and therefore make it harder for some of the deficit hawks to get behind it. And by injecting the individual mandate repeal into it, you add this layer of health care policy, which several Republican members, they`ve already crossed the psychological bridge of saying I am not going along with our effort to repeal and replace without an alternative. That is another big brick in the backpack that they are trying to carry uphill.

HAYES: That`s a great point, Betsy. Because on top of this, they threw on the individual mandate repeal in the Senate version partly because they`re so desperate for revenue. They have got the math is against them and they`re trying so hard.

Do you agree with John that that makes this even a tougher climb?

WOODRUFF: I think without a doubt.

The reality is it makes it a harder vote for a number of folks in the House to take and then in the Senate it`s just additional pressure, especially on moderate Republicans like Susan Colins.

One piece of this that`s really important to understand is that McConnell is running out of leverage and Ron Johnson is really the perfect encapsulation of this. Ron John, along with a number of other Republican senators, particularly Jeff Flake, has surprisingly announced that he`s retiring. It`s not a surprise from Ron John. It`s a surprise from Jeff Flake and Corker.

Part of the reason that`s important is that it means that there`s a finite amount of political pressure that McConnell and that K Street lobbyists can put on these guys. So, Senator Johnson feels liberated. He doesn`t owe McConnell anything. He doesn`t need anything from McConnell. He still certainly seems to hold a grudge from when McConnell pulled all of his money out of Wisconsin, left him for dead, and that just means that on the whole getting tax reform done is extremely difficult.

HAYES: Yeah.

WOODRUFF: And that`s why we`re likely to see some weird things popping up in this bill, as folks try to make deals and hustle it through.

HAYES: John, what is the -- the pressure on ACA there was intense in opposition. There was uniform agreement from the interest groups and also just citizens -- sleep-ins, sit-ins in offices and things like that. What`s it like on Capitol Hill now?

WOODRUFF: Well, it was easier to rally opposition against repealing the Affordable Care Act because you had the specter of 20 million people who had health insurance who were not going to have it after they passed that bill. Tax cuts are inherently easier to do. You`re giving people money. And the obstacles they run into are sort of abstract concerns about the debt and deficit.

However, there are enough members right now who, as Betsy indicated about Ron Johnson, Mitch McConnell doesn`t have leverage over. He doesn`t have leverage over John McCain or Jeff Flake or Bob Corker. They have said that they are very concerned about the deficit.

Now, Republicans tried to solve this in the Senate bill by making the individual tax cuts expire and go poof at the end of eight years, but the argument they`re making is, well, they won`t really go poof, right. And so if that`s the case, and you actually care about the deficit, you don`t care about paper shuffling that makes the bill appear less expensive. You care that it is extremely expensive.

HAYES: Yeah, the question is, do they really care, which we`ll find soon enough.

Betsy Woodruff and John Harwood, thank you both. Coming up, how did a 36- year-old former blogger who has dabbled in ghost busting get nominated for a lifetime position as a federal judge? And are Republicans actually about to rubber stamp him into a job?

Plus, hashtag thirsty Thing One, Thing Two is next.


HAYES: Thing One tonight, during his official Republican response to Barack Obama`s 2013 State of the Union Address, Senator Marco Rubio`s mouth went dry.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: In the short time that I`ve been here in Washington, nothing has frustrated me more than false choices like the one the president laid out tonight.


HAYES: It was that excruciatingly awkward moment, Rubio reaching for some water while still trying to maintain eye contact with the camera that prompted this reaction from Donald Trump on the campaign trail.


TRUMP: When they put Marco on to refute President Obama`s speech, do you remember that catastrophe? And he`s like this, and we will -- I need water, help me, I need water. Help. And this is on live television. It`s Rubio. Unbelievable.


HAYES: Trump, of course, also mocked Rubio on Twitter saying, quote, "next time Marco Rubio should drink his water from a glass as opposed to a bottle. Would have much less negative impact."

Now, Harvard Law Professor Ian Samuel once said that there`s an old witch who cursed Trump to live out his old tweets. Well, she was hard at work today as the president recapped his trip to Asia. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES: He was only a few minutes into his first speech after returning from Asia, a trip he hailed as a, quote, tremendous success, the president showed signs of being thirsty.


TRUMP: This will include purchases of U.S. advanced capabilities from jet fighters to missile defense, systems worth many, many billions of dollars and jobs for the American worker.


HAYES: Now, the president tried to power through it with claims that the days of the United States being taken advantage of are over, but he had to stop not just once but twice mid-speech to wet his whistle.


TRUMP: 17,000 jobs.

Thank you.

They don`t have water. That`s okay. What? It`s over here. Oh. That will create jobs in the United States.


HAYES: The immediate comparisons to Marco Rubio`s infamous water drinking moment prompted this response from the Florida senator himself, "similar, but needs work on his form. Has to be done in one single motion and eyes should never leave the camera, but not bad for his first time." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: and he was like this, and we will -- I need water. Help me, I need water. Help. And this is on live television.



HAYES: Roy Moore`s attorney held a news conference to deny the allegations against his client Tonight, tried to cast doubt on the women who accused Moore of sexual misconduct and assault. Tonight, as we were on air, The Washington Post reported on two more women who have come forward, both of whom say they were approached by Moore when they worked at an Alabama mall. One girl was still in high school and says that Roy Moore called her at her school to ask her for a date.

When she eventually agreed to a date, the Post reports it ended with Moore driving her to her car in a dark parking lot behind Sears and giving her what she called an unwanted, forceful kiss that made her scared.

Joining me now from Gasden, Alabama, one of The Washington Post reporters who broke this new story, investigative reporter Beth Reinhard.

Beth, can you tell me about these two women?

BETH REINHARD, THE WASHINGTON POST: The woman that got called in her high school, her name is Geena Richardson, and she worked at Sear`s, and Roy Moore came into Sear`s and asked her out and she said I really can`t, my dad is a preacher and he wouldn`t approve.

And so she didn`t give him her phone number, but she did let on that she went to Gadsden high school, and so a few days later she`s sitting in trig class and over the intercom is an announcement that she has a call. So she goes to the office thinking maybe it`s her dad and it`s Roy Moore asking her on a date. So she says I can`t talk, I`m in trig class right now.

And then he came by the mall a few days later when she was working again and asked her out. She said okay, I`ll meet you after work. He invited her to the movies. They went to movies and it ended as you described.

HAYES: I just want to be clear I`m understanding this, what she`s saying is that he -- the way you would page someone at airport, called a high school, main line because he didn`t get her number and said send me this young woman and went out of class and picked up phone to find guy who tried to ask her out at mall on the other line?

REINHARD: Yes. She describes feeling very uncomfortable, everybody in the office she felt was looking at her. And she hadn`t really dated. As I said, she was the daughter of a preacher. This all made her nervous, but at the same time, you know, she found it hard to say no to him. I think she was a little bit flattered at the same time.

HAYES: And who is the other woman?

REINHARD: So the other woman we talked to also worked at the mall in another department store and Roy Moore would come in frequently and ask her out. She turned him down but he kept asking, and finally she complained to her manager at the time, and then afterwards, kind of hide when she would see him coming.

I mean, these two examples reflect what we have learned is -- from talking to at least a dozen people who worked at mall in late `70s or early `80s, in which Roy Moore was a frequent visitor, asking out girls who were in their teens,in some cases early 20s.

HAYES: Can you give me -- you guys have done amazing reporting, The Washington Post, on this story. There`s been a kind of concerted push back by Roy Moore and his wife Kayla Moore has been posting on Facebook, a fake robocall.

I`m wondering what it is like to be a reporter down there reporting this story right now, what the reception is from folks as you`re talking to them trying to report this out?

REINHARD: Like with every story, there are people that are anxious to talk to you and people who are not anxious to talk to you. We`re trying to stay focused on reporting the story, not so much on the reaction and, you know, backlash so to speak.

HAYES: One thing that`s striking here is how memorable all of this was to the individuals that you`ve interviewed.

REINHARD: Well, you know, they`ve seen Roy Moore over the years, rise in prominence, and with all the women that we`ve spoken to, they`ve thought about this fact that wow, this guy asked me out when I was in high school.

In some cases, kind of laughed about it. In the case of the woman who was 14 when Roy Moore took her back to her house, she was really haunted by this.

And you know, wasn`t until he ran for the Senate and, you know, we reached out to these women and through a series of interviews they finally decided go on the record. Or in the most recent story, they were inspired by the women who went public earlier to speak. So it`s sort of one thing has led to another.

HAYES: Alright. Beth Reinhard with The Washington Post, great reporting. Thanks so much for coming on with us.

REINHARD: Thank you.

HAYES: Alright. Turning now to Washington, D.C. and Brett Talley, a man who is, well, I think it`s fair to say manifestly unqualified to be a federal judge. That would be the 36 year old Talley, you`ve talked about him before. He`s only practiced law for three years, never tried a case, but he`s none the less been nominated for lifetime appointment as a federal judge and has already been approved by every single Republican on the judiciary committee.

Tally is one of four of the President`s judicial nominees this year to be voted not qualified by the American Bar Association. In fact, Talley bears a distinction of being one of two nominees the bar unanimously deemed not qualified.

But there`s more. Because Talley failed to disclose key information on congregational documents, most notably that his wife is the Chief of Staff to White House Counsel and who The New York Times reported, quote, "has emerged in recent weeks as a witness in the special counsel`s investigation into whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice." She was interviewed by investigators recently.

In fact, in a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting early last month, Talley rather astutely noted his wife`s importance in his appearance that day.


BRETT TALLEY, JUDICIAL NOMINEE: I also don`t have an opening statement but I would like to take a moment to introduce just a few people who are here today. I`ll start with my wife, Annie Donaldson Talley, she is not only the love of my life but the best lawyer in the family. If it weren`t for the sacrifices she made both professionally and personally, there is no way that I could be here.


HAYES: Joining me now, Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut who sits on the judiciary committee that passed Brett Talley out of committee this week. Senator were you surprised there was not one dissenting vote from Republicans for this nominee?

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, D-CONNECTICUT: I am surprised. I was astonished and appalled that not one of our Republican colleagues voted against him. He`s been ruled unqualified by the ABA, he has never tried a single case, and he`s made some pretty outrageous comments that should disqualify him from serving on the federal bench.

HAYES: Is this the most unqualified -- manifestly unqualified candidate you`ve come across?

BLUMENTHAL: This is a tough question because there have been some pretty unqualified nominees to come before the judiciary committee. Essentially what is happening is the Trump administration is putting ideology over merit. It`s seeking in a very fundamental way to remake the federal judiciary in the image of the far right wing of the Republican party. And that is really such a disservice, it demeans and disrespects the judiciary, and particularly on the district court.

An unqualified judge has a real lasting and meaningful impact. This courtroom is the place that many Americans will first come to seek justice and may be the last time they have that opportunity because many simply cannot afford to appeal.

HAYES: Do you think there`s an explanation due from the White House about the relationship between his wife, who is the Chief of Staff to the White House counsel, and this nominee, and why he omitted that from the forms he filed before your committee?

BLUMENTHAL: There is definitely an obligation on the part of the White House to produce some explanation. Frankly I think this nominee ought to be called back before the committee and asked exactly that question, Chris. It is the question of the moment because he failed to disclose that his wife was a senior official in the White House. In fact, in the White House counsel`s office that has responsibility for helping to choose federal judges.

So I definitely think so.

HAYES: Is that why he got this job?

BLUMENTHAL: I think it may well have had a role in it, but we won`t know for sure until he`s called back by the committee or the White House provides an explanation.

HAYES: Are they going to lose a single vote on any judicial nominee that they put up no matter how manifestly unqualified?

BLUMENTHAL: My hope is that this particular nominee will create pushback or a reaction on the part of my Republican colleagues. I`ll tell you, Chris, having talked to them privately, some regret having voted for this nominee.

HAYES: They`ve told you that?

BLUMENTHAL: They have told me in so many words that they would like to revisit that vote. I`m hoping they`ll have the guts and gumption on the floor, if this nominee reaches a vote, that they will vote against him.

HAYES: Am I right they`re batting 1,000 right now? That there hasn`t been a single nominee defeated?

BLUMENTHAL: No nominees defeated and none withdrawn. This would be a great opportunity to withdraw a nominee.

HAYES: And yet there have been four who have been found unqualified by ABA and they`re now saying that your colleagues at the ABA are essentially a is liberal hack group. What do you say to that?

BLUMENTHAL: I say the ABA is not infallible but its opinion is worth respecting, especially with a nominee who has said three days after the Sandy Hook tragedy that his solution -- he said exactly that his solution would be to stop being a society of pansies and man-up.

I`ve lived through that Sandy Hook tragedy with those families. And it is such a profound lack of judgment, maturity, basic humanity. And I hope that perhaps the White House will heed that defect in character as well as lack of merit.

HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, thanks for making time.

BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.

HAYES: That`s All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.



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