Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 16, 2017 Guest: Sabrina Siddiqui, Michelle Goldberg, Natasha Bertrand
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, should Roy Moore step aside?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, should Roy Moore step aside?
HAYES: The President remains silent.
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: The President has put a statement out.
HAYES: As Senator Al Franken apologizes over sexual assault allegations, Roy Moore follows the Bannon-Trump playbook.
ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATORIAL CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: The Washington Post has brought some scurrilous, false charges.
HAYES: Then, what did Jared Kushner know?
JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: I had no improper contacts.
HAYES: The Senate says Kushner withheld e-mails about a "Russian backdoor overture. And House Republicans pass the Trump tax plan.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t benefit. I don`t benefit.
HAYES: New analysis finds that the plan saves Trump`s family over $1 billion.
TRUMP: I pay as little as possible. I fight like hell to pay as little as possible.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The same President who has weighed in on everything from Meryl Streep`s acting to social media policies of ESPN, tonight has no opinion whatsoever on the veracity of the allegations that his party`s nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama pursued and sexually assaulted teenage girls when he was an adult. After the President ignored reporters` questions yesterday about Roy Moore whom he, of course, endorsed after Moore won the Republican primary, today his Press Secretary studiously avoided taking a position on whether the allegations against Moore are credible or whether he should step aside from the race.
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SANDERS: The President believes that these allegations are very troubling and should be taken seriously. And he thinks that the people of Alabama should make the decision on who their next senator should be. He doesn`t know any more than you do on this fact other than that these are something that should be taken very seriously and the people of Alabama should be the ones to make the decision on whether or not to support Roy Moore.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why won`t he weigh in on this? Why won`t he take the same type of strong position that these other Republican Senators have taken on Roy Moore?
SANDERS: Look, the President supported the decision by the RNC to withdraw resources from this race, but feels it`s up to the people of Alabama to make the decision. I don`t have anything further to add on that front.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That evasion from the White House comes on a day when all of Washington is being forced to get off the fence on sexual misconduct by powerful men. As Democratic Senator, Al Franken stands accused of forcibly kissing and groping a woman on an overseas USO tour in2006. Leeann Tweeden, a broadcaster in Los Angeles, says Franken wrote a kiss into a skit the two were performing together and insisted on rehearsing it backstage.
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LEEANN TWEEDEN, ACCUSER OF AL FRANKEN FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT: So I was just like, OK, fine. Just so he would shut up, you know. And he just sort of came at me, and we did the line, and he came at me, and before you even know it -- I mean, you kind of get close and he put his hand on the back of my head and he mashed his face against -- I mean, it happened so fast, and he just mashed his lips against my face. And he stuck his tongue in my mouth so fast. I was violated. I just felt like, you know, he betrayed my trust, and it -- obviously, that is not what I wanted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Weeks later, when she was looking through a C.D. of official photos from the trip, Tweeden discovered this picture of Franken appearing to grope her over her flak jacket while she slept on the plane ride home. After apologizing in a brief statement saying the photo was meant to be funny but shouldn`t have done it, Franken followed up with a second much longer, more contrite response which read in part, "There is no excuse. It`s obvious how Leeann would feel violated by that picture. And what`s more, I can see how millions of other women would feel violated by it. While I don`t remember the rehearsal for the skit as Leeann does, I understand why we need to listen to and believe women`s experiences. I am asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken and I will gladly cooperate." Franken`s calls for an ethics investigation was echoed by many of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, some whom are already dumping his campaign donations, giving them to charity.
The condemnations of Franken`s behavior were nearly universal, no if true, no he said, she said. Compare that to the reaction from Roy Moore`s GOP allies in his home state of Alabama who have largely dismissed the allegations of misconduct by growing list of women who say Moore pursued and in some cases sexually assaulted them when they were teens or young women. After considering yesterday whether to disqualify Moore`s nomination, today the Alabama Republican Party did the exact opposite, putting out a statement that supports Judge Roy Moore as our nominee. This afternoon, Moore, who denies the allegations against him, attended an event with local faith leaders who still back his campaign. According to then, a man accused of sexually assaulting minors must be elected to Senate to hold the line against sexual perversion.
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ANDY SCHLAFLY, SUPPORTER OF ROY MOORE: We need someone in the Senate who`s got that same meddle, that same strength of character to stand up against the swamp, to stand up against the establishment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need judge Moore to stand up against the LGBT transgender mafia.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He stands for things that are good and things that are clean and things that are honorable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As new accusers continue to come forward against Moore almost every day, it`s tempting to think there is just no way he makes it to that special election on December 12th. But it was just over a year ago that the President himself weathered a somewhat similar tide of accusations in his case from more than a dozen women, plus a tape of him bragging about grabbing women without their consent. It`s no coincidence that the White House refusing to take a stand on Roy Moore is the same White House that claims that every single one of those women, every single one of the President`s accusers, is lying.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, sexual harassment has been in the news, at least 16 women accused the President of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign. Last week during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the President called these accusations fake news. Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?
SANDERS: Yes, we`ve been clear on that from the beginning and the President has spoken on it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Sabrina Siddiqui is a Politics Reporter for the Guardian, Robert Costa National Political Reporter for the Washington Post and MSNBC Political Analyst. Sabrina, you wrote today about Al Franken. It seemed to me like it caught Democrats flat-footed at first. What was the reaction on Capitol Hill among Democrats?
SABRINA SIDDIQUI, POLITICS REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN: Well, I certainly think that they were shocked by the initial report when it surfaced but at the same time, as you noted, they were pretty quick to be unequivocal in their condemnation, both of his conduct, as well as their support for an investigation into the allegations that have been made. You mentioned some of the donations that are already being given toward charity.
I think they recognize this is a pivotal moment for them as a party because they have certainly positioned themselves as sufficiently more pro- women than Republicans and they don`t want to be seen as hypocritical on this key issue of sexual harassment, especially in this watershed moment, where more and more women are coming forward, regardless of the industry from entertainment to politics. And when you have someone like Roy Moore, where Republicans certainly did couch their initial reactions and ifs and buts, I think Democrats certainly don`t want to be seen as doing the same from one of their own.
HAYES: Robert, I have to imagine that -- can the White House really think, it`s going to get through the next 20 days without giving an opinion on Roy Moore?
ROBERT COSTA, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: That is an impossible position. This race is only going to intensify as Roy Moore continues to stay in the race. And there`s increasing pressure right now from Capitol Hill. It may not be the media`s hand that forces the White House to speak out but Republicans themselves who believe that if Moore is -- was elected -- were to be elected later this Winter, that it would be a burden for Republicans next year running in the midterms. And they want him out and they`re telling that privately, I know, based on my reporting to the White House tonight.
HAYES: You know, that point you make there, I mean, the sort of catastrophic success of a Moore win is a good point, right? That you can imagine a situation which basically every Democrat running in the Senate basically opts to run against Roy Moore as opposed to their actual opponent because he would be so toxic in so many parts of the country, right?
COSTA: He would. And they believe they would have to have immediate investigations. You already have the majority leader calling for him to possibly be expelled from the Senate. And they also know that they have a 52-seat majority now in the Senate. If Doug Jones, the Democrat, wins, it`s 51-49. You have a lot of seats on the edge right now for Republicans. Look at Arizona in particular, Nevada. This is a danger zone as one Republican operative put it to me.
HAYES: The latest polling, we should say this is a really remarkable poll, this is out of Alabama from Fox News. It has Doug Jones up by eight points. That`s the Democrat in Alabama, Doug Jones, up by eight points, 50-42. Sabrina, it was a very interesting moment in the presser today when Huckabee Sanders, she was asked about Roy Moore repeatedly, she was asked about Al Franken. And the Al Franken question in normal circumstances would be red meat for the White House to go right after. And you could tell she wanted no part of it. Why do you think that is?
SIDDIQUI: Well, it`s two-fold. One is because they`re refuse to go take a position on Roy Moore. How are you going to take a position on Roy Moore, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct, including those who are saying that he preyed upon them when they were teenagers. So how can you not take a position on that, and then in the same breath or the next breath, I should say, denounce Al Franken and make a big deal of the one -- the story that came out today. The other issue is, as you noted in your own monologue, this is a President who himself has been accused of sexual assault by more than a dozen women. Those -- Access Hollywood Tapes heard around the world where he bragged about groping and kissing women without their consent. And White House and Republicans frankly on Capitol Hill have been unable to say why Roy Moore`s accusers are somehow more credible than Donald Trump`s accusers.
What is the distinction between the allegations that are being made? And just one quick note about Democrats, I think because they`re talking about potentially Roy Moore being expelled from the Senate. I don`t think that they`re necessarily going to move to expel Al Franken but they do face a question here about what their policy is going to be. Are they going to have a zero tolerance policy? Are they going to now come forward and call on Al Franken to resign or are they going to create some categories for the level of sexual assault that I don`t think that`s where they want to be?
HAYES: To that point, Sabrina, and you`ve covered Capitol Hill for a while and I used to cover Capitol Hill. I mean, the Senate Ethics Committee is going to be very busy and rightly so, if they start getting referrals for sexual harassment because that is not something that -- that is happening on Capitol Hill. I think anyone who has worked there will tell you, and not just staffers, members as well. To Sabrina`s point, Robert, about the President`s own accusers, I`m really curious, does that factor in the thinking in this White House? There`s two ways I can see them thinking about it. We beat it, we beat the charge, I`m the President, it`s never going to burn us again. Or that was really close, I never want to relitigate that again. Which of the two is it in that White House?
COSTA: The calculation, based on numerous conversations I had, is more political than about weighing in on this harassment -- the broader debate about harassment and sexual misconduct in the country. My point is this, that they don`t want to be embarrassed again in Alabama. He got behind Luther Strange, the incumbent Senator. They feel if they move against Moore now, and he somehow wins that Senate seat, that`s a political disaster for President Trump, with his own base, and in a state that he considers his own political base. So I`m sure there is some calculation, Chris, inside the White House about not wanting to wade into an unfriendly territory for the President, to say the least. But at the same time, it`s more politics, politics, politics, in the conversations I`m having.
HAYES: I just want to note how remarkable it is that the President`s people are thinking, well, this person stands accused of sexual assault against a 14-year-old that she rolled out of the car afterwards. He stands accused of calling up a teenager in her trig class to try to get her to go out with him. But, you know, if we come out against him, we might lose -- and well, we might look -- end up looking bad. Sabrina Siddiqui and Robert Costa, great to have you both.
SIDDIQUI: Thank you.
HAYES: Michelle Goldberg, a Columnist for the New York Times who`s on this stuff has been phenomenal if you don`t mind my saying. What`s the proper - - Sabrina brought this up and this morning I saw -- you saw the Al Franken -- there`s a question of well, is he going to resign? Like, what is the -- see it feels like as the society, we`re figuring out what`s the proper punishment for the -- for the particular crime or misconduct. What do you think it is in the case of Franken?
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, COLUMNIST, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I think the Franken case is really complicated. I mean, I have a column out now that says he should resign. And I don`t say that really lightly or happily and I see the argument against him resigning. I think is also very strong, right? This thing that he has -- accused is the wrong word -- this thing that he did does not rise to the level of, you know, sexually assaulting 14-year-olds, it doesn`t rise to the level of what Donald Trump does.
I still think that just having this -- even though it`s a false equivalency, you know, kind of having now this thing hanging over the Democrats, even though I think that Al Franken has been such a good Senator, I thought he should run for President before this. But I just -- this idea of kind of slogging it out in an ethics investigation and then waiting to see what kind of penalty they`re able to concoct and also what kind of investigation. I mean, does the Senate now do an investigation into his pre-Senate sex life?
GOLDBERG: I mean, what does that even -- we don`t even know what that looks like.
HAYES: Well, it also strikes me that part of the issue here, and we keep seeing this, it`s like, where there`s two, there`s 20. I mean, that it has been the case that one allegation, it has not been often that there is simply one allegation.
GOLDBERG: Right. So my -- what I -- I mean, I can`t -- and I don`t say this lightly, and I`m not convinced that I`m right. But I do --
HAYES: I can hear you working --
GOLDBERG: But I do think that maybe the best thing he could do is just say, I`m resigning. We have to have a zero tolerance policy for this, you know. And draw a real clear distinction between how the Republicans handled this, rather than letting it trickle out and trickle out and trickle out and then resigning after that and forcing everybody to take a stand and decide whether or not to defend him. I mean, it`s just -- it`s such a painful process.
HAYES: The other option is just the bowl through. And we have seen Roy Moore do it. I mean, that --I don`t know if you saw that press conference today. It was remarkable. It seemed disassociative and totally detached from reality. I want to play what Bannon said last week about how he counseled the President to get through the Access Hollywood week because I think it`s quite illuminating in terms of the Roy Moore playbook. Take a listen.
STEVE BANNON, CHIEF STRATEGIST, WHITE HOUSE: The Bezos-Amazon, Washington Post that dropped that dime on Donald Trump is the same Bezos-Amazon, Washington Post that dropped the dime this afternoon on Judge Roy Moore. Now, is that a coincidence? But when Billy Bush Saturday, we got you know kind of the high command and the war council and everybody went around the room. They were telling him some guy`s gotta go on 60 Minutes and cry on Ivanka`s shoulder, and other people do this and do that and apologize, and apologize, apologize. I said we doubled down now, right? You`re Donald Trump and they`re not, right? I said, (INAUDIBLE) I said, let`s go have a rally.
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HAYES: That`s what Roy Moore is doing.
GOLDBERG: Right. And I think you can get away with that as a Republican in part because there`s not a consensus, I think, around gender equality on the right. I mean, I don`t think there`s a consensus among a lot of the people in Alabama that it`s really so wrong for a 30-something-year-old to pursue teenagers, at least as long as he asks their parents` permission, you know. And if something untoward happened, well, whose fault was it really? You know, you have such a different set of ethics that people are trying to uphold, even if imperfectly and hypocritically among Democrats, that I think just kind of -- he probably can.
I mean, what Al Franken has done here is not so terrible but he probably can`t just, like, gut it out if there are no other accusations. But he does so at the risk of kind of derailing this conversation that we`re now having about sexual harassment and assault and accountability and just sort of, you know, kind of putting this cultural moment, this really remarkable cultural moment to an end, possibly discouraging other women who have had bad experiences with members of Congress from coming forward. I think it just -- it`s a really -- again, it becomes then this sort of just like ugly -- you know, thing in which you know, this ugly --
HAYES: This mutual finger-pointing. And there`s also -- at your point to, I mean, the moment about politicians, I feel like is -- we`re at the forefront of that and that there`s probably more to come on that front. Michelle Goldberg, thank you so much.
GOLDBERG: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Tonight the Senate calls on Jared Kushner to come clean, alleging he withheld e-mails that they know exist about WikiLeaks and, and I quote here, a backdoor Russia overture. That in two minutes.
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KUSHNER: -- were raised in March, I have been consistent in saying that I was eager to share any information I have with the investigating bodies, and I have done so today. The record and documents I have voluntarily provided will show that all of my actions were proper and occurred in the normal course of events of a very unique campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Jared Kushner, the President`s son-in-law, and Senior Adviser after meeting with Senate investigators this summer. Well, today Senators Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein, each from each party, the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Kushner did not provide all of the documents they asked for. In fact, in a letter to Kushner`s lawyer, they write, "We appreciate your voluntary cooperation with the committee`s investigation but the production appears to have been incomplete." These are documents the committee says are known to exist, and they include but are not limited to documents concerning what the committee calls, "a Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite, a September 2016 e-mail communications to Mr. Kushner concerning WikiLeaks, and communications with Sergei Millian copied to Mr. Kushner.
Now, Millian is a founder of a trade group called the Russia America Chamber of Commerce. Grassley and Feinstein say Kushner has until the 27th of this month to comply with their request. Kushner`s lawyer released a statement saying in part, "Mr. Kushner and we have been responsive to all requests. We also informed the committee we will be open to responding to any additional requests." With me now, Natasha Bertrand, Political Correspondent with Business Insider who has written extensively about the Trumps` campaigns alleged ties to Russia. First, you got to start with the context was that Jared Kushner, man, just seems to be leaving a lot of stuff out of a lot of stuff as we -- as we go through this year.
NATASHA BERTRAND, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, BUSINESS INSIDER: Yes. I mean, he`s had to update his security clearance form at least twice, and the second time he had to add at least 100 foreign contacts he just accidentally left out the first time.
HAYES: 100 foreign contacts?
BERTRAND: 100 contacts. He had a private e-mail address that he did not disclose to investigators which they then, of course, wanted more information about because he had testified and he hadn`t mention anything about that. And now we`re learning he did not disclose these e-mails about WikiLeaks, about alleged Russian backdoor overture and about this guy, Sergey Millian, who is alleged to have played a really big role in this dossier.
HAYES: Yes, what is -- who is Millian? What`s his deal?
BERTRAND: So he is a Belarusian-American and founded this organization called the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce. He has alleged -- he has said that he has a close business ties with Donald Trump. But who knows whether or not that`s actually true. He might have just been inflating himself for his own publicity. But he has worked for the Trump organization in the past. There are pictures of Millian and Trump together. And essentially reports have suggested that Millian is a source in that Trump-Russia dossier, the Steele Dossier. That he is source D.E. - - they`re interchangeable -- that he essentially told an associate that the Kremlin was feeding damaging information about Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. He was also the alleged source of the prostitute information, the alleged sex scandal that Donald Trump, you know, participated in when he was in Moscow.
HAYES: So you`ve got -- Millian now sort of tied in writing, right? They`re asking about this. What does it say about what they know? It`s sort of an interesting letter, right? Because they`re saying like, you`re busted. Presumably, because they have e-mails from other people knowing that he was copied on it.
BERTRAND: Well, I think that Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley were frustrated, right? This is the reason why they released this letter to the public. They don`t normally blast out letters like this. It was in every reporter`s inbox. It was clearly an indication that they are sick and tired of Jared Kushner omitting this very important information. And it`s also important to note that in terms of what the campaign knew, the contact with Millian is interesting, because Millian was actually telling people that he was in contact with George Papadopoulos throughout the entire campaign and through the transition. And George Papadopoulos, of course, is the one who had said that he received information from a Kremlin-linked professor saying that they had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
HAYES: Including her e-mails.
BERTRAND: Including her e-mails. Which then Papadopoulos may have told Millian, which he then may have told the source who told Christopher Steele. So it`s all very convoluted, that big you know, web of connections but the pieces are starting to come together.
HAYES: So here`s the other thing that really perked up my ears when I read this piece, was that we sort of have forgotten about this moment I think. But the Washington Post reported that Kushner tried to set up a back- channel communication in the Russian Embassy. Remember this crazy thing that he sneaks Kislyak into Trump Tower. He -- they have a conversation in which apparently he proposes like, can we go to the embassy where we can have a back-channel communication with Russia. If there`s earlier intrigues about that before that happens, that would seem to maybe link something together.
BERTRAND: Exactly. So it`s unclear what these back channels were actually about in the e-mails. But what is -- what was my first instinct was that Kushner had essentially followed up somehow to talk about this plan to create this back channel with Russia via the Russian embassy using Russian diplomatic facilities in the U.S. Kushner says that it was to discuss Syria but the Washington Post --
HAYES: Bring a piece to Syria. He was so intent and so focused on bringing peace to Syria. So concerned that normal diplomatic channels wouldn`t do it, that he thought of the extraordinary step of doing this so that Syria could be at peace.
BERTRAND: That he felt that he had to bypass the U.S. intelligence committee in order to get this information --
HAYES: To bring peace to Syria.
BERTRAND: For an administration that wasn`t even in power yet. He wanted to go around the intelligence community, he wanted to use Russian diplomatic facilities. He said he did not want to use the diplomatic facilities. But, of course, the Washington Post reported that that was what happened. He said I want to know if there is a back channel already in place at the Russian Embassy that we can use to discuss this privately.
HAYES: So we could imagine that there might be some -- it sounds like there is an e-mail out there somewhere that someone has in which the idea of a backchannel is floated by someone to Jared Kushner?
BERTRAND: Which means that more people knew about this meeting than just Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn and Sergey Kislyak. This e-mail was apparently produced by several people to the Judiciary Committee which is something that Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley wanted to make very clear in their letter.
HAYES: That`s one of the things about this letter. It`s like, we have this stuff, you just didn`t just give it to us. We know you have it because we have other copies of it. Natasha Bertrand, excellent as always, thank you.
BERTRAND: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Next, Republicans claim their tax bill helps put money back in the pockets of average middle-class Americans. Well, today we found one lucky family that could see savings of over $1 billion. Guess which family? After this quick break.
HAYES: President Trump has long insisted the GOP`s massive tax bill won`t help him one bit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does your plan help the wealthy too much?
TRUMP: My plan is for the working people and my plan is for jobs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you wouldn`t benefit under your tax plan.
TRUMP: No, I don`t benefit. I don`t benefit. In fact -- in fact, very, very strongly, as you see, there`s no -- I think there`s very little benefit for people of wealth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The President even told Senate Democrats last week in a phone call while trying to sell the plan, "My accountant called me and said you`re going to get killed in this bill." Now I`m guessing you might have been skeptical of that claim and with good reason. NBC News commission did an analysis of the tax bill passed today by the House, and it found that Trump and his heirs potentially could save more than$1 billion if the bill becomes law. The analysis based on two things. The first is Trump`s 2005 tax return first revealed by Rachel Maddow. If the tax bill had been law that year, Trump would have saved more than $20million himself thanks to the repeal of the alternative minimum tax. The analysis also based on the assumption that Trump is, as he claims, a billionaire. Because the House bill repeals the estate tax, Trump`s heirs would be able to inherit their father`s wealth tax-free.
Now, because Trump won`t release his tax returns, any estimates of his net worth is an inexact science. It is definitely possible that his heirs don`t stand to inherit nearly so much. This week, the magazine Cranes reported the Trump organization had fallen steeply in its list of the largest privately held companies from number three all the way down to number 40. Following the President`s disclosures to federal regulators, it revealed the organization`s revenue is a less than a tenth of what the firm had reported since at least 2010. So Mr. President, if you`re watching, we are happy to redo the analysis. It definitely seems very possible you aren`t worth anywhere near what you claim. So if you can just go ahead and send over your tax returns, I promise we`ll get right on it.
HAYES: Today the house voted to pass the GOP`s $1.5 trillion tax bill. House Republicans breaking into cheers as the bill crossed the threshold needed for passage without a single Democratic vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN: This is about giving hard-working taxpayers bigger paychecks, more take home pay. This is about giving those families who are struggling peace of mind. It`s about getting this economy to grow faster so we get bigger wages, more jobs, and we put America in the driver`s seat and the global economy once again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What the bill is actually about is giving a massive tax cut to corporations, once in a generation, and wealthy individuals like Donald Trump. Everyone else either gets a relatively small tax cut or somewhat amazingly, actually sees their taxes go up. The last time House Republicans passed a bill this big was of course in May when they voted to repeal Obamacare and the president held a big wildly premature party in the Rose Garden. Remember that? We all know how that turned out.
There was wisely no Rose Garden party this time around. The tax bill now must pass the Senate, where Republicans have crafted their own version which, if passed, would then need to be reconciled with the House bill.
And we should say, passage is not a sure thing. Eight GOP Senators have expressed reservations about the bill and Republicans can, of course, only lose two votes and still pass it.
And then there`s this: today the Joint Committee on Taxation, the official nonpartisan analysis of congress, reported over the next decade the Senate bill would give large tax cuts to millionaires while raising taxes on American families earning $10,000 to $75,000.
With me now is former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, star of the new Netflix documentary, "Saving Capitalism," which comes out next week and is based on his book of the same name.
I am almost amazed that they have been able to pull off a huge tax cut that manages to raise taxes on some people. I`m still scratching my head about how that`s possible.
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Chris, it`s the big lie. I mean, you know, if you say the same thing over and over again, and you have a con man like Donald Trump who says lies, you know, like he eats, like he breathes, well, then people eventually are going to believe it, because they`re not hearing the other side very clearly.
And the other side comes out in the Joint Tax Committee, or the -- or other organizations that are policy wonks, that are actually looking at the data, but when you have these big voices just saying over and over again, you`re going to get a tax cut, people begin to believe it.
It is one of the biggest lies of the generation. And hopefully people will catch on before there`s a final vote.
HAYES: Well, you know, you say that -- it is polling relatively poorly, particularly for a tax cut which usually has the wind at its back. There are a bunch of yes votes from California Republicans. I think only three no votes from that delegation.
And it`s remarkable, because if you look at California and New York and New Jersey, you look at the places that are represented by Republicans, folks in high housing cost areas, folks that pay local and state taxes, there`s going to be people in those districts who have Republican representatives whose taxes are going to go up. And they`re going to realize it then if the thing becomes law, won`t they?
REICH: Well, they will.
But remember, this entire escapade, this entire tax cut, is pay back for the Republican donor class. This is what it`s all about. I mean, Republicans are not really looking at the polls right now. They are very aware of the fact that the donor class -- I`m talking about, you know, the Mercers and the Rickettes and the Koch brothers and all of the people that have invested so much in the GOP. What they want is, they look at this as any other kind of investment. They want to return on that investment, and the return on the investment was going to be a huge tax cut.
The stock market has been going up in anticipation of a corporate tax cut. It has nothing to do with the real economy. It has nothing to do with what`s happening to average people. It`s just a big pay back for the major donors.
HAYES: You know, this return on investment concept is useful when you talk about major donors. Here`s -- these are -- the GOP heirs and donors that stand to gain from this. My favorite is Sheldon Miriam Adelson. They`ve contributed $82.5 million in 2016 alone to Republicans. That`s a lot of money. But they`re looking at an estate tax cut of almost $15 billion. That is an incredible return on investment, and it goes on and on and on.
You can understand why the donor class is so motivated by this.
REICH: They`re not only motivated right now, but look at over the next 30 years. The really rich billionaire and semi-billionaire Baby Boomers are going to be transferring about $30 trillion to their children. I mean, you`re going to have the biggest inter-generational transfer of wealth in history. And if they can eliminate the estate tax and if they can actually wrangle things that there is no capital gains tax, think of -- we are creating a dynastic class in America as fast as we possibly can.
It shouldn`t be called the estate tax, certainly it is not the death tax, we should call it the dynastic tax.
HAYES: Yeah, that`s a good point that we are enshrining a dynastic class.
On the loser side of the ledger, and I think you would have something to say about this, because you`re an academic. You`ve worked in academia. You teach at Berkley. Grad students.
I mean, so here you have billionaire donors who -- the Adelson`s are going to stand to gain about $15 billion. Meanwhile, grad students who are not living high on the hog, if you know any grad students, if there are any grad students watching, are looking at a 400 percent tax increase because essentially the full value of their tuition and stipend are going to be counted as income. They`re now going to be paying taxes, if they`re making $10,000 a year, paying taxes on $70,000. They are hosed.
REICH: Well, they`re hosed. Graduate students are hosed. The people who are really sicker and older and depending on the Affordable Care Act, they are getting hosed, because it`s going to be $300 billion taken from them and given to corporations and the rich in terms of tax cuts.
I mean, what this Republican bill -- and you look at both bills, what you see is just an extraordinary amount of money that is being redistributed upward from people who don`t have very much or have almost nothing to people who have everything, people who have never had in the history of America more. And corporations -- corporations who are flush with cash. American corporations, are right now pulling in half of the profits of all corporations in the entire world, even though we are one-fifth the size of the world economy.
And what are these corporations doing? What they do with all this money is they buy back their shares of stock in order to raise the price of the share of stock. And by raising the price of the share of stock, they`re not helping all Americans, because the top 1 percent owns about 40 percent of the value of the shares of stock, and the top 10 percent owns 80 percent of the entire stock market.
So once again, Chris, however you look at this, this is a redistribution upward from the average working person and the poor to people who have never had it so good.
HAYES: Robert Reich`s new documentary Saving Capitalism is out next week. Thanks for being with me tonight.
REICH: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still ahead, embarrassing, unpresidential, childish -- we`ll play what Trump voters in North Carolina are saying now, and how Democrats are looking to leverage it, ahead.
Plus, tonight`s Thing One, hing two starts after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
HAYES: Thing One tonight. By now you`ve seen plenty about the water bottle-gate, the highlight of President Trump`s Asia travel log address yesterday in the two mid speech Fiji polls, triggering memories, of course, of Senator Marco Rubio`s infamous episode of dry mouth and Trump`s skewering of didn`t have an opportunity to update President Trump`s skewering of Rubio for it during the primaries.
But in all that uproar, we here at All In didn`t have an opportunity to update President Trump`s teleprompter moments, those times when he misreads or mispronounces a word and then rifts his way out of it.
All in all, the president managed to get through a 25 minute speech fairly well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Until it stops its dangerous provocation on -- and this is the total key to what we`re doing -- on denuclearization.
And join the United States in sanctioning additional rogue actors whose fund and funds have helped North Korea and North Korea`s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Far from terrible, but the Trump teleprompter greatest hits, oh, that`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Giving lots of speeches is not easy, and even the best of us, as I just illustrated, teleprompter readers have stumbles. But we`ve noticed there`s one little trick the president uses frequently. If you make a mistake, just pretend you meant to do it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: They sacrifice every day for the furniture, future of their children.
Authority and authoritarian powers.
Through their lives, and though their lives were cut short.
And very importantly, air traffic controllers will highly -- and this will be highly valued -- these are highly valued people. These are amazing people.
Our hope is a word and world of proud, independent nations.
Another historic step toward future development and future -- with a future -- a real future. And I have to say, that`s a real future.
What standard, and really, if you think of it, when you talk about the great sailors and the great sailors of the world, we have them, but what stranded sailor doesn`t feel relief?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, (D) NEW JERSEY: I`ve made my share of mistakes, but my mistakes were never a crime. I`ve learned through this process a lot about our system of justice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Congressional Democrats dodged a bullet today with the corruption trial of New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez declared a mistrial. Jurors were unable to reach a verdict after nine weeks of testimony and seven days of deliberation.
The Democrat was accused of acting as a, quote, personal senator for a Florida doctor, Salomon Melgen. The prosecutor said Menendez accepted luxury travel and campaign contributions from the doctor and said the senator, in turn, intervened on behalf of Melgen business interests and helped arrange visas for Melgen`s girlfriends.
Now, if he had been found guilty, Menendez could have faced pressure to resign, allowing Governor Chris Christie to potentially appoint a Republican in his place and add to the GOP`s narrow majority in the Senate during this crucial time in which they`re trying to get tax reform passed.
Menendez is up for reelection next year. New Jersey voters in a Quinnipiac poll last month overwhelmingly said Menendez does not deserve re-election by 59 percent to19 percent. But if you`re a Democrat, even a very unpopular one, next year might be your best time to run.
What recent Democratic victories mean for possible blue wave in 2018, coming up next.
HAYES: Trump voters in North Carolina expressed buyer`s remorse over their election choice last year speaking at a focus group last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel like he told the people that he had all of these big ideas and big plans and it just seems to kind of roll to something else. It`s like nothing is ever really accomplished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: While I thought his ideas appeal to me, since he`s been in there, he`s embarrassed me by his behavior.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He hasn`t acted presidential at all. The tweets bother me. They might be enlightening to some people. I`m not a tweeter, but to me it`s like firing off these tweets. It`s just childish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Democrats are already capitalizing on that dissatisfaction, racking up electoral victories across the country. The latest, a win on Tuesday in a state and a district that has been unmistakably red. That is what Oklahoma`s state senate district 37 looked like last year when Donald Trump won by about 40 points, Clinton pulling 27 percent.
Here`s the same district Tuesday night, when a Democrat won the district senate seat in a special election.
And I have to notice, not just any Democrat, Allison Ikley Freeman is a 26- year-old lesbian. She won by just 31 votes in a campaign heavy on turning out progressive voters, which ones there are. And while the special election turnout was low, this is still a striking flip.
And it`s hardly the only piece of good news for statehouse Democrats this year. The list of seats flipped in state legislatures includes 15 seats in Virginia, four seats in New Jersey, four seats in Oklahoma, two in Georgia, four in New Hampshire, and one each in Washington, Florida, and New York.
Tara Dowdell is a Democratic strategist, Cornell Belcher is an MSNBC political analyst to discuss whether this looks like the beginning of a wave.
As a pollster, what are you looking at right now?
CORNELL BELCHER, MSNBC: Well, you know, it`s -- and I was deemed pollster back in -- back in his run for the state strategy, going into 2006, and there are some things that look similar. We -- George Bush`s approval was in the mid-30s. We forget that now, right?
HAYES: That`s a good point.
BELCHER: Congressional job approval was in the 20s, right? You had the big wave of voters looking for change and Democrats had a slight advantage on the favorability over Republicans. It`s a lot tighter now, but one of the things that you also saw was the energy, right? But there was also, from an issue standpoint, George Bush killed us with terrorism and security, you know that, right?
And then there was a values consideration. On the values, there was two big issues in 2004, where Republicans had a huge advantage. There was terrorism and values. We said going in 2006, if we could cut those down from 30 and 20-point advantages, we may have a shot in these districts.
Going into October of 2006, we had cut their advantages down to single digits around those two important issues. And I think that`s, from an issue standpoint and from a structural standpoint, we were able to sort of take advantage of the wave that was coming.
HAYES: Tara, you work with different politicians. You`ve -- your firm represents actually someone who`s challenging in New Jersey seven, which Leonard Lance`s district, and that`s like exactly the kind of seat, right, that Democrats should be able to win, if they`re going to win a lot of seats.
TARA DOWDELL, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Right.
HAYES: What do you think about the dynamics in those kinds of most vulnerable Republican house seats, those top 20, 30 target races?
DOWDELL: Well, what we`re seeing right now is really strong favorables for Democrats. So, number one, women, the energy and the activism that we`re seeing in these districts is overwhelmingly coming from women. So that`s why women candidates have an inherent advantage that sense.
I know people will say, well, it didn`t work for Hillary, but that`s a different example. And, this activism is actually, a lot of it is a result of Hillary having lost. So she won the seven district where my candidate, Linda Weber is running, she won that district by one point, despite the fact that the incumbent congressman stayed and got re-elected.
The other dynamic that we`re seeing is, if you look at what people are saying, a lot of people are saying, Democrats don`t have any issues. Where are the issues? That`s not really true. Maybe nationally there`s not a clear bumper sticker message, but locally, these locally, these Democrats are running on strong support for public education, they`re running on criminal justice reform. They`re running on fixing the issues and many of these state legislatures, like Oklahoma, where they`ve had budget shortfall after budget shortfall and scandal after scandal, they`re running on very specific issues, with very specific messages, all politics is local, and Democrats are digging in.
BELCHER: To that point, I want to -- one of the things that you saw, I think, last -- this past election was organic, right? You saw the grassroots bubbling up. If you go back, Chris, and look at, what were their top 30 or so DCCC targets in `06, you would see, quite frankly, we didn`t do very well in that top 30 that the status quo recruited.
What you`re seeing right now is people saying, you know what? I`m going to run. You see a lot more organic and a lot more grassroots. And to that point, you have people that actually represent that district a lot more, and from a grassroots and an organic standpoint, as opposed to the national parties coming in and saying, you know what, Chris, you look like someone who should represent this district. And people like us will never look like someone --
HAYES: That is a great point. The difference of the big thing is like do you have candidates? And one of the things in Virginia was, they just fielded challengers. And the question of like who those candidates are, where do they come from? The difference between whoever is the head of the d trip getting on the phone and being like, you used to play football in that district, as opposed to, I`m an activist in this district, I`m a mom, a schoolteacher, I`m a firefighter, and I`m frustrated and angry about what`s going on. I`m going to run.
BELCHER: Right. And the other piece of this is also the turnout from -- and look, I think we had great candidates in Virginia, but that was also a lot Democratic, right? You had parts of identification for Dems were better than ten points than it was last time, it was a lot more liberal. It was a lot browner than what it usually is. And that`s been our problem in midterms before.
HAYES: Well, that`s the question, right? For your candidate in New Jersey seven, and for candidates all across the country in that similar situation is what that electorate looks like.
HAYES: And how much that`s a question of persuasion versus motivation. That Oklahoma state Senate seat, that was getting out the base in a very low turnout election, because it`s a special election in a state Senate, not even in a midterm year. It`s going to be a bigger challenge, I think, in the midterms, don`t you think?
DOWDELL: Well, I think the midterms are going to be more difficult because of the gerrymandering, because of these voter I.D. laws. But I`ll point out some examples. In New Hampshire, where we picked up seats, we picked up seats in the state legislature, in New Hampshire, after a voter I.D. law had been passed. And, this is the 33rd -- this seat last night was the 33rd seat that Democrats have flipped since Trump became elected. The seat before that, Democrats won that other seat before that ruby red seat by 60%.
So, yes, there are some challenges, but Democrats are energized. And also, I want to point out one thing. It`s women and people of color that are running, too.
HAYES: Specifically in Virginia. Tara Dowdell and Cornell Belcher, thanks for joining me.
That`s All In for this evening.
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