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Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi skip meeting with Trump Transcript 11/28/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Jim Manley, Barbara Boxer, Tim Kaine, Luis Gutierrez, Ben Howe, Julia Ioffe

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 28, 2017 Guest: Jim Manley, Barbara Boxer, Tim Kaine, Luis Gutierrez, Ben Howe, Julia Ioffe

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- the only defense is a dirty offense. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Nobody knows the system better than me which is why I alone can fix it.

HAYES: Chuck and Nancy snubbed the President.

TRUMP: I`m not really that surprised.

HAYES: Tonight, why Democrats pulled out of a White House meeting after a Trump tweet as a government completely controlled by Republicans, is now on the brink of a shutdown.

TRUMP: Let that happen, I will absolutely blame the Democrats.

HAYES: Then the growing case for collusion.

TRUMP: Everybody said there`s no collusion.

HAYES: New reporting on the secret Trump world outreach to Russia after the election.

Plus, Congressman Luis Gutierrez on his surprise retirement and fallout from the conservative sting on the Washington Post.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I should probably stop this fight and cancel the whole thing.

HAYES: And the creation of an alternate reality in Alabama.

ROY MOORE, GOP SENATE CANDIDATE, ALABAMA: We`ve seen malicious, false attacks which reflect the immorality of our time.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The first calendar year of the Trump Presidency is almost over and Republicans cannot point to a single major legislative accomplishment despite total control of the federal government which is why the GOP is now in an absolutely desperate sprint to pass a tax bill and to avert a possible government shutdown set to take place just ten days from now. One that could turn what has already been a terrible year for the GOP into an utter and complete debacle.

We begin with the looming shutdown. Today the top leaders in Congress, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Paul Ryan, and Nancy Pelosi were supposed to meet with President Trump at the White House to hammer out a bill to keep the lights on. But this morning, before the meeting the President undermined the negotiations tweeting, "Meeting with Chuck and Nancy today about keeping government open and working. OK, fine. The problem is they want illegal immigrants flooding into our -- capital c -- country unchecked, are weak on -- capital c -- crime, and want to substantially raise -- all caps -- taxes. I don`t see a deal." Chuck and Nancy as the President likes to call the two most powerful Democrats in the country pulled out of the White House meeting in response to that manifestly hostile tweet.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: With his tweet this morning, President Trump made sure that today`s meeting is nothing but a photo op. These issues are far too serious for these kinds of games. Mr. President, it`s time to stop tweeting and start leading.


HAYES: Schumer and Pelosi offered to meet with McConnell and Ryan to negotiate directly without the President but they were rebuffed, instead the Republican leaders went to the White House to sit around a really big table with the President and have empty chairs with placards and pretend this was all Chuck and Nancy`s fault.


TRUMP: So they decided not to show up. They`ve been all talk and they`ve been no action. And now it`s even worse. Now, it`s not even talk.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: And I just think it`s very regrettable that our Democratic colleagues and leadership chose to not participate because we have to negotiate these bills to get this work done.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER: I`ve been in this position under a couple of previous presidents. I can`t recall ever turning down an opportunity to go down to the White House.

TRUMP: They should be calling immediately and saying, we want to see you but probably they won`t because nothing to them is important other than raising taxes.


HAYES: We will be fact-checking that claim by McConnell, that he never did this to President Obama in just a moment but first to the drama over the tax bill. That`s the other item moving through Congress today and a mad rush towards the end of the year. Today the Senate Budget Committee voted along stark party lines to send that bill to the Senate floor as protesters urged them to kill a bill that, well, gives to the rich and takes from the poor.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Report the vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kill the bill. Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Chairman, the ayes are 12, the nays are11.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill is reported out.


HAYES: Capitol Police arrested 36 protesters who attended the hearing to oppose a bill the CBO says would hugely benefit corporations and the very wealthy, particularly wealthy heirs while undermining ObamaCare and leaving most people who earn less than $75,000 a year worse off. Now Republicans in their desperation to deliver legislative win are still tweaking the bill to try to get enough votes to pass by Friday. Two GOP Senators who expressed reservations, Ron Johnson and Bob Corker, voted aye, yes, out of the Budget Committee today anyway, amid pressure from fellow Republicans to get on board.


SEN. RICHARD SHELBY (R), ALABAMA: If the Republicans can`t pass this tax bill, then we`ll pay dearly for this. We have the Presidency, we have the House, we have the Senate and I think it`s a high time we got together.


HAYES: President Trump today went to Capitol Hill to meet with Republican Senators later expressing optimism that the votes will be there to pass the bill.


TRUMP: We had a good day today. We had a phenomenal meeting with the Republican Senators. We had -- it was very special, that meeting. In many respects, I wish you could have been inside that room. It was very, very special. The camaraderie is somewhat of a love fest. They want to see it happen. They want to see it happen, not only for the Republican Party, I think much more importantly, they want to see it happen for the country.


HAYES: I`m joined by Barbara Boxer, a former Senator from California, and Jim Manley who`s a long-time Spokesperson for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Jim let me start with you. McConnell says he never -- can`t recall a time that he`s invited to the White House and didn`t do it, although in 2010 he skipped an Obama dinner to eat with the federalist society. Dan Pfeiffer saying, McConnell would pretend to be busy to prevent a meeting being scheduled because he didn`t want his base to see him with Obama. What do you think of McConnell`s claim that he would never stoop to such a level?

JIM MANLEY, CHIEF SPOKESMAN FOR SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID: That laughter is on the record. I mean, what he said is factually inaccurate as has been widely reported this afternoon. He, in fact, skipped a meeting with the president to go speak before the federalist society. And I think there was at least one other time in the past when Republican leadership refused to go down to the White House as well to negotiate with then- President Obama. I mean, it`s just not true.

HAYES: We`re also -- it strikes me, Barbara, sitting in -- we`re in the world that Mitch McConnell created. He sort of pioneered a kind of strategy for dealing with an opposition party president. And do you think the strategy today from Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi of not going in response to that tweet was the right one?

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR: Oh, absolutely. And I don`t think it was a strategy. It was just the right thing to do as a human being.

HAYES: You think it was an organic response to that -- to what the President said?

BOXER: I really do. Look, if I invited you over for dinner and just before you came I tweeted out and said, Chris Hayes is coming over for dinner, I think he`s a serial killer. You might decide --

HAYES: That would be mean and unfounded I should say on the record.

BOXER: It`s a joke. The point I`m making is the things that they say -- why don`t you read what they said? They want open borders, they`re soft on crime, they want to raise taxes, and then he says come in? The whole thing is absurd. And here`s the problem and Jim knows this so well. In the United States and if you have to work together, Mitch McConnell won`t even allow a conversation to take place with Chuck Schumer to negotiate a bill. And then they are called up to the White House to say, let`s avert a shutdown. On what basis is that invitation delivered after you have basically said that these two people are horrible people? It`s just ridiculous. And all I could say is they wanted to distract with this, they`re in control of everything. Jim and I know what happens when there`s a shutdown looming. If everyone doesn`t sit down and try to avert it, that shutdown will happen.

HAYES: Well, Jim, it cracked me up to watch Paul Ryan. I thought it was amusing to watch Paul Ryan express concern that his Democratic colleagues weren`t there. Because you know, Paul Ryan, the Speaker of the House, he`s got a 30-vote majority, he can pass whatever he needs out of the House. But what he knows and what everybody knows, and what Nancy Pelosi knows is he can`t. He needs Democratic votes every time he`s got a must-pass bill. And so, he has -- Nancy Pelosi has all the leverage in this situation if they want to avoid a shutdown, am I right?

MANLEY: You`re absolutely correct. And we`ve talked about this before and just reinforces -- that reinforces the notion that this President simply doesn`t know the legislative process. Again, to reiterate for your voters, the only way they`re going to pass something is with Democratic voters.

HAYES: And why is that?

MANLEY: Why is that is because House Republicans are going to balk at any deal no matter what. No matter what the dollar number is, no matter the details, there`s a whole bunch are going to vote no.

HAYES: Right. So --

BOXER: Because they don`t believe in government, and they don`t care if it shuts down. Believe me when I say that, they don`t care.

HAYES: Right. There`s the House Freedom Caucus, there`s -- on every sort of must-pass vote to just keep the government open, you lose about 20 or 30 votes depending on what it is. He knows he`s going to lose that which is why he`s got to come to the Democrats to cut some deal if the government is going to stay open. There`s also the fact -- Barbara, I want to get your thoughts on the fact that no Democrat has supported this tax bill, including Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Joe Manchin in West Virginia, in states Trump won by more than ten points. You can imagine a version of a tax bill they would feel hard-pressed to support, why not this one?

BOXER: They can`t support this bill because it hurts all their people. The states they`re from are not very wealthy states. The people are middle class and working poor, for the most part. And this bill is Robin Hood in reverse. We`ve seen it before. I`ve been there before. I`ve seen this trickle-down garbage. Only -- the only thing that trickles down is misery. And the deficits go way up. We`ve seen it so many times. And my colleagues, be they moderate or liberal or conservative Democrats, they get it. You know, you can`t -- you have to learn from history. And we know what will happen. This is a horrible bill that helps the people at the top who don`t really need help and hurts the people in the middle who are desperate for help and the working poor, who are also desperate for help.

HAYES: Jim, there`s this very funny thing happening now where the idea is that it`s going to blow up the deficit but it will pay for itself with added growth and then some Republican Senators are saying, what if it doesn`t? What if our projections are wrong? Let`s put a trigger in the bill to automatically shrink the deficit, sort calling the bluff a little bit. And then the other Republicans saying, oh, God no, no, no, we can`t do that. How significant do you think that is?

MANLEY: I have no idea because I like you and everyone else has no idea how this trigger`s going to work. So you know, until we see the details it`s difficult to war game it out. But again, yes, the irony -- your bottom-line point is correct. The irony of that argument is just, it highlights how factual -- devoid of facts are going on with the Republican Party. They do not care about details. They just want to get anything done.

HAYES: All right, Senator Barbara Boxer and Jim Manly, thank you both.

BOXER: Thank you.

HAYES: History suggests it would be exceedingly difficult for the party in power, in this case, the Republicans, to place blame for a shutdown on the minority party even though that`s exactly what the President is trying to pull off.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe there will be a government shutdown, Mr. President and will you blame Democrats if that happens?

TRUMP: If that happens I would absolutely blame the Democrats. If it happens it`s going to be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall, which everybody wants. I got elected partially because of a border wall.


HAYES: Joining me now Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia who`s a member of the Budget Committee that voted to move forward with that Republican tax bill. Let`s start with the possibility of a shutdown that looms December 8th. How likely is that? What leverage do Democrats have?

SEN. TIM KAINE (D-VA), BUDGET COMMITTEE: Well, Chris, look, we`re in the minority party. As far as I`m concerned we`re not shutting government down, we are going to insist upon key priorities. It`s only Republicans who really pitched the shutdown. When there have been shutdowns in the past it`s been because of Republicans. And if there`s a shutdown later this month, it`s going to be on the Republicans that have the White House and both houses. We`re going to insist on priorities that are good for the country and they can decide whether they want to shut the government down or not. I don`t think the government of the greatest nation in the world should be shut down for five seconds.

HAYES: What are those priorities?

KAINE: Well, look, the priorities that we have are getting a good budget deal that has some parity between defense and nondefense investments, trying to fix DACA, which the President has encouraged us to do. Some of the supplemental relief to continue to deal with the aftermath of the hurricanes this Fall. Those are some of the big priorities. And these are the priorities not just of Democrats but I think they`re American public priorities too.

HAYES: You know, you`ve got -- you`ve got millions of kids across this country on CHIP which is a program that`s funded -- the House passed it. It`s sitting there in the Senate. You`ve got letters going out in states to kids if I`m not mistaken in the middle of cancer treatment --

KAINE: Including in Virginia, right.

HAYES: -- about uncertainty. What is going on? Why can that not be passed in the Senate?

KAINE: Well, there`s no reason it can`t be because it`s got bipartisan support. I took to the floor about a month ago and said, don`t hold CHIP hostage till the end of the year when it has strong bipartisan support, Ron Wyden, Orrin Hatch have a bipartisan deal in the Senate. This is a program that Democrat and Republican governors want us to fix and we have a deal. The Republican leadership has decided that they want to not do it so that they can make it part of these year-end negotiations.

But Chris, in Virginia, for example, next week, in December, letters start to go out telling people in 60 days you could lose health insurance. Families getting these letters right before Christmas about their kids losing health insurance, what a horrible thing. I am confident we`re going to fix CHIP but why don`t we fix CHIP before we send out these letters to rattle everybody`s cables and make them scared right before Christmas. The Republicans are holding it hostage to try to get something that they want. We`re not -- we`re not walking away unless there`s a deal that keeps CHIP going.

HAYES: So let me get this right. So you got CHIP, CHIP is basically done, it could be brought up for a vote, there a deal, it`s being held and slow- walked.

KAINE: Right.

HAYES: Meanwhile, the tax bill is being rushed headlong. Why are they rushing so fast on the tax bill?

KAINE: Chris, they are treating this tax bill -- I was the mayor of Richmond. If the city council in Richmond wanted to amend the leash law in our city, there would be a more transparent, open public process than what they have right now on a tax bill that`s a once in 30-year effort to essentially change the rules about the American economy. Not one hearing in finance, not one hearing in budget, a deal sprung at the last minute. The CBO has done enough work to say it punishes the poor and middle class, it increases the deficit, they haven`t been able yet to complete the work to determine whether it`s going to grow or shrink the economy.

The Republicans are rushing it for two reasons. One, it looks worse the more you look at it so we want to rush it. And two, they`re worried about the outcome of the Alabama Senate Race. I reminded them today, when President Reagan did this in 1986, he got 97 votes in the Senate because they took 10 months to make sure that both parties would sign up for something that would be good for the economy. There`s no reason to rush this, and in fact, we`ll make a mistake if we do rush it.

HAYES: Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi did thought go to that meeting at the White House today after the President`s tweet. They were criticized by the President, criticized by Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan. Why not show up? Why not negotiate? Why not try to make a deal?

KAINE: Because the President lied about them. When he sent out the tweet before the meeting and said Democrats just want to over flood the streets with illegal immigrants, it was a complete lie. We have a comprehensive immigration reform bill that we`ve had since 2013 to fix the immigration system that we had with a number of Republican votes. That`s what we have on the table. That`s what we want. So if the President will tweet out a lie about you, that you want to flood the street with illegal immigrants, if he`ll lie about you right before the meeting, he`ll lie to your face in the middle of the meeting, they shouldn`t have shown up.

HAYES: But -- OK. But he sort of does that to everyone. I mean, I guess, the question is like don`t -- aren`t you confident that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi can roll Donald Trump if they get in a room with him?

KAINE: Here`s what they really concluded. They don`t need Donald Trump. Donald Trump is going to sit at the end of Pennsylvania Avenue and tweet while we`re going to find a deal. And then we`re going to send a deal right to him and he`s going to sign it. He is a --

HAYES: He`s not the one -- you`re saying he`s not the one to negotiate with anyway, the deal`s going to be with --


HAYES: Well, that`s a kind of an interesting thing to say.

KAINE: Congress is going to do the deal, we`re going to send it to him, he`s going to sign it regardless of what`s in it.

HAYES: All right, Senator Tim Kaine, thank you.

KAINE: Absolutely.

HAYES: Still to come, a key development in the growing web of connections between Trump world and Russia. And next, a surprising announcement from a prominent progressive member of Congress. Representative Luis Gutierrez joins me exclusively to explain why he`s not seeking another term in two minutes.



REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Today I`m announcing that I will not be seeking re-election. I am going to leave Congress at the end of my term in 2019. But I`m not retiring.


HAYES: Congressman Luis Gutierrez stunned Capitol Hill yesterday when word leaked out he would not seek re-election next year. A decision he confirmed today. He`ll require in 2019 from Congress after 13 terms there, did not rule out running for office in the future. Gutierrez has been one of the strongest advocates in Congress for immigration reform, but also emerged as a vocal critic of Donald Trump fighting the President`s call for a wall on the Mexican border and his decision to end DACA protection for DREAMers. And since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Gutierrez has been a leading voice demanding more support for the island, where over two months after the storm made landfall, more than 40 percent of 3 million Americans remain, to this day, without power.


GUTIERREZ: I love Puerto Rico and she`s in a lot of pain. And there`s a lot of people that have turned their backs on her. And she needs to be rebuilt. And I cannot be here in the Fourth Congressional District and rebuilding the home of my mom and my dad, where my wife was born, a place that I love so much.


HAYES: Congressman Luis Gutierrez joins me now. Thank you for coming on, Congressman. I have to say I was among the people who were surprised yesterday. I want to start with this. You know, in the environment in which we are in, the context of which we are in, there was this -- when this ripple went out yesterday, Gutierrez retiring, it was like, oh my, is there some shoe that`s going to drop, some story we don`t know about, some scandal that`s about to break? Is there? Are you retiring for the reasons you say you are?

GUTIERREZ: Yes. Thank you for having me on again, Chris. And thank you for correcting -- it is my 13th term. Everybody keeps saying it`s my 12th. No, it`s been 25 years, Chris and during those 25 years, I spent 4,000 nights away from my home, right, where my wife lives, where my daughters and my grandson. I want to be closer to them. But also, Chris, think about it a moment. I love that island so much. It`s my ancestral home. She`s battered and bruised and we`ve got to rebuild her. And it`s not fair to the people of the Fourth Congressional District. My heart`s just torn.

HAYES: Right.

GUTIERREZ: I want to be here and I want to be there and I want to do more for her. The people of the Fourth Congressional District need someone that`s focused on the Fourth. It`s only right. And secondly, Chris, I`m not retiring. I intend to go out there and build the kind of organizational apparatus in the immigrant community that we haven`t seen yet. That`s my goal. I want to go to Alabama and I want to go to Mississippi and Georgia and California, but you know where I`m going to start going? North and South Carolina. We`re going to Atlanta, Georgia. We`re going to go to Michigan and Wisconsin and we`re going to go to Pennsylvania and Ohio and let`s create that kind of movement so we don`t have another sad night in 2020.

HAYES: Well, let me ask you this. The President today -- the subtext of today, a lot of it seemed to be about DACA. You were critical of the deal that was struck earlier in the Fall because it did not provide protection for DACA recipients. The President appeared to be sort of caricaturing the Democrats` views on DACA when he said this and I want you to respond to it, take a listen.


TRUMP: When that happens, I would absolutely blame the Democrats. If it happens it`s going to be over illegals pouring into the country, crime pouring into the country, no border wall, which everybody wants. I got elected partially because of a border wall.


HAYES: He seems to be drawing a line on DACA, is that how you took it?

GUTIERREZ: Yes, and it`s kind of my -- I`m happy you have me back on, Chris, because you give me I told you so moment. I was on your program before, I said, it`s a terrible way to negotiate, we need to stand up for our immigrant community, not to throw the DREAMers under the bus. And that`s what Democrats are doing. They`re returning to their roots, right? They`re returning to their principles and standing up for immigrants and saying no to Donald Trump. Look Chris --

HAYES: Wait, let me stop you right there -- let me stop you right there because I want to make sure I understand. What I hear from you is you`re saying you are confident now that that will be a price of entry for any Democratic votes to keep the government open, some kind of protection for DREAMers? That`s your understanding now?

GUTIERREZ: It is a growing will of the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives. I know it. I talked to my colleagues all the time. If one thing I`m connected to them with is around the issues of immigrant and immigrant rights in the caucus. The Democratic Party isn`t the Democratic Party was 10, 15 years ago. It`s the Democratic Party that`s going to stand up for immigrants. So listen, 90 of them left, right? The week after Labor Day, we did this 90-day extension. 90 of them left. They do not constitute a majority when it comes to passing a budget. They need us.

Let`s just wait for them to come. Let`s wait for the reasonable, sensible -- that`s probably an exaggeration but in the context of the lunacy that is the Republican Party today, let`s wait for them to come and sit down and say, we want to have a budget, we want to keep the government open, and we need your help. All I`m saying, Chris, if you want the vote of a Democrat, right, what I vote on, the platform that I represented to the people of the Fourth Congressional District, you want me to vote for a budget that doesn`t represent those ideals and those interests?

HAYES: Right.

GUTIERREZ: Then you`ve got to change it or I`m not going to vote for it. I`m being -- what I`m a being -- I`m being consistent. That`s why look -- and here`s another thing. I`m so happy because it proves my point, that you can move on. That you can make an impression on a party, on a political establishment, and you can move on. And look, today Bernie Sanders, he did something to me magical and to me great. He introduced a bill that said $100 billion, and we`re going to rebuild Puerto Rico. I`m excited about that. And I got --

HAYES: And that`s one of the fights that`s going to be happening as well as DACA. And I want to have you come back in the weeks to come to talk about that because that is obviously going to be (INAUDIBLE).

GUTIERREZ: But I want to say to you Chuy Garcia is the leader of Bernie Sanders` revolution in Chicago and he`s going to be the next Congressman. So the progressive movement is going to have a great Congressman.

HAYES: There`s the endorsement, we`ll see what the people of the Fourth District have to say about it. Congressman Luis Gutierrez, thank you for your time.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, new reporting on an attempted backchannel, another one, another one between Trump world and Russia at the election. The latest after this quick break.


HAYES: The theory of the case for collusion, which in the Trump campaign and the Russian government, is that it boiled down to essentially to a kind of quid pro quo. Russia helps get Donald Trump elected and he in return that delivers favorable policy results that Russia desperately wants from the U.S. That is more or less what is alleged in the Steele Dossier and it remains quite obviously a theory. OK? We still can`t say if there was an arrangement between Trump world and the Kremlin if they actually talked to each other directly in any sustained way but we can play out what it might have looked like.

According to U.S. intelligence officials, the Russian interference operation didn`t start out as an effort to get Donald Trump elected. Russia was content initially to damage Hillary Clinton, undermine Americans` faith in the democratic process. But at some point, according to U.S. officials, Russia decided it was actively really rooting for Trump and after its sabotage campaign succeed to almost everyone`s surprise at helping Trump win last November, suddenly the new President-Elect would have found himself in a position to return the favor. But it would still be a few months until inauguration when Trump would officially take over the federal government.

And so if you wanted to start communicating with Russian officials about delivering on their policy goals, you would have to do it through unofficial channels. And you probably wouldn`t want anyone else to know about it. Over the past year, we`ve learned about a series of previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian nationals all taking place in that key period between the election and inauguration. Those contacts included efforts by Jared Kushner to set up a secret back channel to talk to Russia. But he was not the only one pursuing a covert back channel.

Today, we finally learn the identity of the man who met on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, and I`m not making this up, days before the inauguration, with Erik Prince, the Founder of military contractor Blackwater, whose sister is Education Secretary Betsy Devos, and who served as unofficial adviser to the Trump transition. We will tell you who Erik Prince met with right after this.


HAYES: Finally we know the identity of the Russian national who met last year with Blackwater founder Eric Prince, an informal adviser to the Trump transition, who`s the brother of current education secretary Betsy Devos. Prince attended a meeting during the transition on the Seychelles Islands, halfway around the world in the Indian ocean. According to The Intercept, which broke the news today it was a man named Kyril Dmitriev, who is the CEO of a sovereign well fund called the Russian Direct Investment Fund, or RDIF, who chartered a plane to the Seychelles at the that the meeting took place. The Seychelles meeting was first reported months ago by The Washington Post.

Now Prince downplayed the encounter, claiming not to know who he met with.


ERIC PRINCE, FOUNDER, BLACKWATER: I happened to be there. And I met a Russian.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Who did you meet?

PRINCE: Pretty thin.

Some fund manager. I can`t even remember his name.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A fund manager? B ut you don`t remember his name?

PRINCE: I don`t remember his name. We didn`t exchange cards.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How long was it? The meeting? Do you remember?

PRINCE; It probably lasted about as long as one beer.


HAYES: You know, just one of those meetings you have with the Russians at the Seychelles Islands. You don`t remember their name. You don`t exchange cards.

The new information ads to an extraordinary pattern of secret contacts between Trump associates and Russian proxies in the period between election day and inauguration.

There was the meeting on December 1, or 2nd, between Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador, and Jared Kushner and Michael Flynn. OK.

And then Flynn and Kislyak speak again at the end of the month after the Obama administration crucially imposed new sanctions punishing Russia over Russia`s election interference.

Some time in December at Kislyak`s request, Kushner also met with Sergei Gorkov, the head of the Russian bank VEB, which was under U.S. sanctions.

And until 2016, get this, that bank VEB, was the parent company of, you guessed it, the RDIF, that`s the fund led by Eric Prince`s Russian contact in the Seychelles, the one he barely remembers.

Also in December 2016, there was a meeting in New York between Kushner, Flynn, and Steve Bannon and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, bear with me, this is significant. That same guy, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, he`s the one who set up the meeting in the Seychelles between Prince and the Russian fund manager. That happened around January 11th, mere days before Donald Trump`s inauguration.

Joining me now to talk about the crystallizing case here before and after election day, Julia Ioffe, staff writer for The Atlantic.

It sure does seem like there were a lot of attempts at back channels to Russia in the time between election day and the inauguration.


And that`s not surprising, right? Russia had a terrible -- the Kremlin had a terrible relationship with the outgoing Obama administration. Relations were at rock bottom. You have a guy that was elected with your help that you totally did not expect to get elected. He`s now elected. After talking about how he wants to respect Russia, how he respects Putin, that unlike Obama he`s a strong leader, and he wants to lift sanctions, and he doesn`t want to supply the Ukrainians with lethal arms. Of course you`re going to reach out to them.

What`s more surprising is that people around President Donald Trump, a, took these meetings without warning anybody in American law enforcement or intelligence. And b, that they`re all suddenly overcome with these clouds of amnesia. It`s really remarkable.

HAYES: There`s also the fact that we know that there was when in the very early days of the administration there`s pretty quick movement on some real Russian policy priorities. For instance, The Economist reporting the White House was drafting an executive order to lift Russia sanctions, that that had been imposed on Russia in response to its war against Ukraine. That was one of the key items that the Russian government wanted out of a new administration.

IOFFE: That`s right. And the key proponent of that was Michael Flynn, the very short-serving national security adviser at the beginning of the Trump administration.

What`s interesting about that, though, is I have sources who tell me that even the day after Flynn was fired for lying to Vice President Pence, his kind of subordinates at the National Security Council were still pushing to lift Russia sanctions, they just didn`t know the rationale for it. So, when career people were asking them saying why do you want to lift these sanctions? They`re like, I don`t know, this guy told us, but now he`s not here. So it quickly fizzled after Flynn left.

But clearly it seems like there was some kind of understanding that had been reached, either by talking or just independently.

HAYES: So I just want to make sure I understand this. So what we know is that Flynn was pushing this idea through National Security Council, it was getting moved around the State Department. There was a lot of pushback from career folks. But you`re saying that it had been pushed so hard that his subordinates continued to try to sell this idea even after he was fired?

IOFFE: That`s right. They just didn`t know how to push it. They didn`t know the rationale. Their boss was just like trying to get it done, but now when the effort had been decapitated, the body kept moving a little bit but didn`t know why and soon died.

HAYES: Let me ask you this, in all these cases, Kislyak obviously reports to Vladimir Putin in some sense, right, he`s a member of the government. But in other plates where you have the VEB Bank, where you have the fund meeting on the Seychelles Island, is it plausible that information about that does not make its way back to the Kremlin?

IOFFE: I don`t think -- so, I don`t think that Sergey Kislyak was reporting to Putin. I think he was reporting to people in the foreign ministry.

HAYES: Right.

IOFFE: The Russians are very rigidly bureaucratic and hierarchal. They love this stuff.

But when you have somebody like -- somebody who is in charge of VEB, the Vnesheconombank, or this sovereign wealth fund, when you have huge amounts of money flowing around, there`s no way that the Kremlin doesn`t have a hand in it, because it`s being used for very sensitive infrastructure projects that are kind of vanity projects for the Kremlin. So those are very, very sensitive.

HAYES: All right, Julia Ioffe, thanks as always.

IOFFE: Thank you.

HAYES: Next, Trump`s obsession with family heritage in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two. And the latest in Alabama where the Republican Senate nominee accused of molesting a child is preaching about morality. And The Washington Post is turning the tables on pro-war activists.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you working with Roy Moore?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you working with Steve Bannon?

O`KEEFE: I`m going to ask...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you working with the Republican Party?

O`KEEFE: No, we...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you working with the Republican Party of Alabama?



HAYES: Thing One tonight, the president`s obsession with calling Senator Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas, even at a ceremony honoring Navajo World War II heroes.


TRUMP: I just want to thank you because you`re very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here. Although we have a representative in congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas. But you know what? I like you, because you are special.


HAYES: The president`s use of Pocahontas is a racist epithet for Warren stemming over the flap over her ancestry during the 2012 Senate campaign. Warren was challenged for claiming she had Native American ancestry and she couldn`t come up with definitive proof. As Warren has repeatedly said, she learned about her family`s heritage from her parents and always accepted it.


SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: As a kid, I never asked my mom for documentation when she talked about our Native American heritage. What kid would?

Let me be clear. I never asked for, never got any benefit because of my heritage.


HAYES: Many of us, particularly before the age of, learned about our family heritage from, well, our immediate family. Like, for instance, Donald Trump who has touted his own proud family history. But was it a big fat lie? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.



SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Senator Warren was very offensive when she lied about something specifically to advance her career. I don`t understand why no one`s asking about that question and why that isn`t constantly covered.


HAYES: The White House continues to incorrectly repeatedly accuse Senator Elizabeth Warren of lying, of using her claimed Native American heritage for gain for professional gain, which there is not evidence of.

But you know who did lie about their ancestry to advance their career? The Trump family. In The Art of the Deal, Donald Trump wrote this about his father, Fred Trump was born in New Jersey in 1905. His father, who came from Sweden as a child.

But the truth is Donald Trump`s grandfather came from Germany. As the Boston Globe pointed out last year, the family hid its German heritage in large part because Fred Trump was trying to sell apartments, often to Jewish tenants in the aftermath of World War II. And then Donald Trump, well, perpetuated that lie in his own book.

Last summer when the Globe asked Trump why his father claimed he was Swedish, which wasn`t true, Trump said, quote, "well, he spent some time in Sweden. Our country was at war with Germany so being from Germany didn`t necessarily play so well for a period of time."


HAYES: New polls show support for Roy Moore may be bouncing back among Alabama voters, weeks after the first credible accusations of sexual misconduct and abuse of teenage girls.

An Emerson College poll is Republican senatorial candidate in Alabama`s special election ahead of Democrat Doug Jones by 6 points among likely voters, another poll puts Moore up by 5 points. And key to that, only 9 percent of Trump voters believe the allegations against Moore.

Moore has apparently tentatively succeeded in creating an alternate universe for his followers, aided and abetted by right wing media which declared war on the mainstream media, and in some ways on the very notion of truth itself, well, if that truth threatens political victory.

Perhaps the starkest example is what appears to be the latest scam by James O`Keefe who was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 for an undercover scheme in a Democratic Senator`s office, who often posts his material on Breitbart, and who has received funding from the Trump Foundation.

Recall that on November 9, the original Washington Post story came out with 30 sources, a story that included the credible allegation that Roy Moore picked up a 14-year-old outside her mom`s custody hearing for her and molested her several days later. One day after that report was published, a woman who the Post believes to be working with James O`Keefe, a woman seen here in the video of The Washington Post recorded in a later meeting, posed as a Moore victim in an attempt to destroy the credibility of sexual abuse accusers and The Washington Post.

Post reporter saw that woman who claimed to be Jamie Phillips walk into James O`Keefe`s office yesterday.

They believe O`Keefe is behind the operation, asked him about it multiple times yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does Jamie Phillips work for Project Veritas?

O`KEEFE: So, we`re going to -- I`m going to ask about...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: does Jamie Philips work for Project Veritas? Are you going to answer that question?

O`KEEFE: I`m going to have a few things to say here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Second question...

O`KEEFE: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you working with Roy Moore?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you working with Steve Bannon? Are you with the Republican Party? Are you working with the Republican Party of Alabama?

O`KEEFE: So, here is what we`re talk about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your employee, she`s your employee? If you`re not going to answer that I`ll assume she`s your employee, because I`m correct.

O`KEEFE: So, I`m going to actually talk to you about a few things. Are you done?


HAYES: The sustained attacks on truth by the American right to protect an alleged child molester. That`s next.



ROY MOORE, REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE FOR ALABAMA: They are confused about the constitution, why it`s there, what it`s there for and they certainly don`t know how to talk about morality. We have to talk about something politicians don`t talk about and that`s morality, the definition of right and wrong. There is only one source in this country and that`s god.


HAYES: You have senate candidate Roy Moore just last night speaking to his supporters about mortality.

Ben Howe is a senior contributing editor at Red State, Michelle Goldberg an op-ed columnist at The New York Times.

Ben, I`m sort of amazed to watch the sort of bubble work here on folks in Alabama that this sort of moral crusader, who really I think is credibly accused of doing really horrible things, that they can be convinced it`s all made up.

BEN HOWE, RED STATE: They spent a long time, many, many years, constructing a narrative. I`ve been part of that in some ways. I`ve been victim of it in some ways. I think that they`ve, they`ve created this world for themselves where, of course, The Washington Post is going to go after Roy Moore because he`s this great crusader and The Washington Post is evil and it`s fake news. So anything that comes out of them -- and I have had many people say to me the moment it comes out of The Washington Post they know it`s fake.

So it just fits their template. And they will do any rationalizations they need to in order to excuse any behavior they have to in order to keep the world looking the way they think it looks.

HAYES: It`s so effective, this idea that Ben talks about as soon as it comes out of The Washington Post it`s fake. I mean -- and this is a project buildup for awhile and it`s why James O`Keefe is doing this, just almost unspeakably foul thing, which is attempting to sort of apparently pay someone to lie about being the victim of sexual assault to discredit people.

MICHELLE GOLDBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Right. And to discredit not just The Washington Post but to discredit sexual assault victims.

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: Writ large.

HAYES: But it is effective. I mean, if you can say to people The Washington Post is is all lies and The New York Times is all lies, that`s a lot of stuff that we know about the world comes from those sources.

GOLDBERG: Right. And I mean this has been, like you siad, a multi-decade project. I wrote a book about it 10 years ago and a lot of the Republicans who are now tearing their hair out over the fact that they`re going to be saddled with this alleged child molester in the senate helped create this universe in which every objective source of authority -- I mean, this sort of like bonkers right-wing post modernism in which every objective source of authority that doesn`t comport with your ideology is assumed to be invalid.

HAYES: I keep wondering, Ben, and maybe this is a crazy thing to wonder if like where the bottom or where the limit is. And I remember watching the Access Hollywood thing play out. And there was a similar sort of dynamic. It`s like, OK, well that doesn`t matter. People can kind of get their heads around coming back into the fold.

Now, watching Roy Moore who -- you know, being accused of molesting a 14- year-old you picked up at a custody hearing in a car and then having a woman come out and saying essentially you sexually assaulted her when you`re 16 usually an ender, you know, in sort of normal times. And I keep wondering, like, where is the bottom to this?

HOWE: Well, unfortunately, it all fits too well for them is the biggest problem. So the bigger the noise that`s being made about somebody like Roy Moore, the more sure that people are that are supporting Trump that can`t be true. It`s almost an unwinnable situation.

I think he probably gained support from people specifically because he was attacked. They look at it almost as martyrdom. I mean, if he loses, it`s going to be remember the Alamo, it`s going to be remember Roy Moore.

He`ll be a rallying cry.

If he wins, you know, it will be hold the line or whatever. But no matter what, they have decided he`s a champion. He`s a moral champion.

They don`t put morality in god, the way that they`re talking about. They put morality, they put right and wrong, the arbiter of it for them is the partisan line. And that is all that it comes down to for them.

GOLDBERG: I actually think it flatters his supporters a little bit too much well they just don`t believe these allegations, because actually a lot of these allegations are uncontested. And some of his supporters.

HAYES: Right. We should be clear. Just to be clear which ones are uncontested like him hanging around teenage girls and him dating teenage girls or attempting to date them.

GOLDBERG: Right, because of their quote unquote purity.

HAYES: Right.

GOLDBERG: And so I think, you know, part of it is that they might be in denial and part of it is they are OK with this.

HAYES: Yeah, and there -- that`s a great point. In some ways I find the OK with it in someways is more forthright or honest, Ben, which is basically like that`s our guy and whatever he did doesn`t matter.

HOWE: Well, it`s a mental gymnastics game. I mean, I think that most of the people that I`m talking about are not as involved in politics. They hear about this. They know The Washington Post is evil. But when you talk about the pundit class and people who are supporting Trump or Roy Moore through all of this, they are engaging in moral relativism and they`re trying to find ways to -- oh, this isn`t that big of a deal because this happened one time so what about that.

HAYES: That is the greatest iron here is just the incredible amounts of moral relativism. In this entire worldview as were constructed being constructed around who is preaching about the absolute morality of the one truth through a god and his son Jesus Chris. Ben Howe and Michelle Goldberg, thank you. That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.



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