NBC News fires Matt Lauer Transcript 11/29/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Jonathan Chait, Jill Wine-Banks, Chris Murphy, Joyce Vance, Bernie Sanders

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 29, 2017 Guest: Jonathan Chait, Jill Wine-Banks, Chris Murphy, Joyce Vance, Bernie Sanders

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: -- nuclear threat from North Korea with a Commander-in-Chief measurably incapable of deciphering reality. That`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Something is unleashed with him lately. I don`t know what`s causing it. I don`t know how to describe it.

HAYES: New reporting on a President losing his grip on reality as he spreads conspiracy theories and racist propaganda.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: Whether it`s a real video, the threat is real.

HAYES: Tonight, Senator Chris Murphy on the growing concerns over President Trump as the North Korean threat escalates.

Plus new reporting on the firing of "TODAY SHOW" Anchor Matt Lauer for inappropriate sexual behavior. Why Roy Moore is apparently rebounding in Alabama and the desperate rush for the Trump tax bill.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The big day will be either tomorrow or the next day.

HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders on why Republicans are racing towards a vote.

TRUMP: This is going to cost me a fortune.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. North Korea is now, according to experts, a nuclear power, apparently capable of striking anywhere on the globe with a nuclear warhead and at a time when this country and the world and allies are depending on stable, steady and clear- sighted American leadership, the President of the United States genuinely appears to be losing his grip on reality. In the 24 hours since North Korea tested its longest-range missile to date, the President has retreated further and further back into the fever swamp from which his political career first emerged tweeting conspiracy theories about his own government, about the people that worked for him, the so-called deep state, launching unfounded personal and reckless attacks against executives and employees at this very network. This morning the President started his day by promoting anti-Muslim fascist propaganda, retweeting videos posted by the leader of a British hate group called Britain First which purports to show Muslims committing acts of violence. At least one of the videos is a fake. It said to show a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches. But the Dutch Embassy was forced to correct the U.S. President saying, "Facts do matter. The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law." British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the President`s elevation of a far-right fringe group. This is the conservative Prime Minister of the U.K., a far-right group which is accused of harassing and promoting violence against Muslim citizens in Britain. The White House defended the President`s tweets arguing it doesn`t matter if the videos were fake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDERS: Whether it`s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the President is talking about. That`s what the President is focused on, is dealing with those real threats. And those are real no matter how you look at it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So it doesn`t matter if the video is fake?

SANDERS: Look, I`m not talking about the nature of the video. I think you`re focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real and that`s what the President is talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Of course, Donald Trump has been performing this kind of unhinged shtick for years. There`s mounting evidence it`s not an act that behind closed doors the President appears to be succumbing to his own delusions. According to reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post, the President no longer believes it was his voice on the infamous Access Hollywood tape. "He says, it`s really not me. I don`t talk like that according to someone who`s disgusted with him." Never mind of course he admitted it was -- it`s him after the first tape first came out or that everyone who has watched the tape heard him bragging about getting away with sexual assault. That`s apparently not the only delusion that the most powerful man in the world is clinging to. Lawmakers and the President`s own advisers -- own advisers told the New York Times the President continues to claim he lost the popular vote last year because of widespread voter fraud, a claim for which there`s not a shred of evidence, a false claim, a delusional claim.

And despite having publicly renounced the racist birther controversy on the campaign last year under great pressure, the President reportedly used closed-door conversations to once again question the authenticity of Barack Obama`s birth certificate. Meaning the President of the United States is still at this moment privately pushing the racist lie that the country`s first Black President was illegitimate. And only now he`s doing it from the Oval Office. And more on the high stakes of an unhinged President, let`s bring in Jonathan Chait, a Writer from the New York Magazine and Jill Wine-Banks, former special water -- Special Watergate Prosecutor, also a counselor at the DOD. Jonathan, today felt -- there are many days in the Trump Presidency that feel unhinged. Today felt particularly unhinged.

JONATHAN CHAIT, WRITER, THE NEW YORK MAGAZINE: I agree. I had the exact same response that you had. And before these stories came out I would have very confidently said we understand who Trump is. He`s a con man. He says whatever he has to say to get ahead financially or politically. But these stories indicate the possibility that he`s actually fooled by his own lies, that he actually believes these things, that he`s saying things on subjects and in context from which he has no advantage. He has no reason to lie to his own advisers about these subjects. And so it`s very disturbing and I`m disturbed by the exact same things that you are. Maybe we misunderstood who he was or maybe he`s become someone different, someone, who has just lost his grip on reality.

HAYES: Jill, you know, you worked on the Watergate prosecution and of course the end to that President Nixon wasn`t actually -- he wasn`t actually impeached. He resigned before it could be. And part of the concern then was that he had grown unfit, that he had sort of spiraled into a place in which it was dangerous, dangerous to the world and dangerous to the U.S. for him to have his hand on the button. Do you feel that way now?

JILL WINE BANKS, SPECIAL WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I absolutely feel that way. I think that you and Jonathan have really laid out some of the things that happened just today that are reason for concern. And you know, the 25th Amendment may be the thing that we need right now. It may be time. I don`t know that the Republicans have the courage to stand up and use it, but it actually was used during the Nixon administration, although it was the Vice Presidential Clause that was used because Spiro Agnew, the Vice President, was indicted and had to stand trial and was convicted and went to jail so there was a vacancy in the vice-presidency and the 25th Amendment was use today fill that vacancy. Now I think that the cabinet needs to say we`re looking at him and he is delusional, he is believing his own lies, and we cannot trust him to execute the duties of the office and he needs to be removed from office.

HAYES: I want to play something Richard Blumenthal said because to your point nothing can happen without Republican buy-in and there is not. I mean, people -- you know, Orrin Hatch today said the President, that`s the best president under which he served and people should take Orrin Hatch his word and believe Orrin Hatch is telling the truth about his own subjective judgment of this President. This is what Richard Blumenthal said about the moral responsibility that the Republicans will bear. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: The Republican Party will bear a moral responsibility and political accountability for their failure to stand up and speak out against this kind of absolutely abhorrent use of the public media, and it is a disgrace.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: But by and large, Jonathan, there`s no daylight here. I mean, you got Jeff Flake saying he`s going to give some speeches but aside from that there really has not been a ton of movement on that front.

CHAIT: Unless as time goes on, not more, Republicans were much more nervous about Trump, much more distance between him and them during the campaign and even at the beginning of the presidency and they just seem to have gotten tighter and tighter and they`re more and more intimidated and I think what Steve Bannon is doing with his outside group targeting members of the Senate especially is he`s trying to identify anyone who`s not going to stand behind Trump, anyone who might raise a 25th amendment challenge if he grows erratic enough and try to knock them out and make the party complete fall in line with him and I think it`s working.

HAYES: One of the delusions that the President appears to believe in Jill is that the Russia probe is wrapping up and the reason I think this is important is because at some point reality will overtake that delusion. Maybe he`s not diluted, maybe he knows and I`m wrong and everyone else -- this is wrong. But one outside adviser to Trump warned the President would blow a gasket if there`s no statement of exoneration by year`s end. How likely do you think that will be?

BANKS: It is probably very likely, but I guess the definition of delusion is that it makes no sense and it certainly makes no sense to hold out the promise that this will be over by the end of the year when at the end of the year it will be proven not to be over and everyone will see the lie for what it is. And I think to the point that was just made, it reminds me of the Vietnam era where people were saying you will be accountable for what you did or didn`t do. Someday your grandchildren are going to ask what did you do to stop this war. And I think the same thing is going to be true for Republicans. What did you do to stop the insanity that is going on and the danger to our democracy to allow the threat of North Korea to be answered in the way that it`s now being answered instead of a more diplomatic and sensible approach?

HAYES: This is an important point which is we do not know what`s on the other side of the hill called history and that is true of every war that`s ever been entered into and every catastrophe where these moments to moment may seem absurd or unhinged and then someone makes a decision that has profoundly catastrophic consequences. I want to just give people an update. The President is twitting again and has tweeted at Theresa May to not focus on him, to take care of her own backyard because he -- the first tweet was at the wrong handle. He tagged a woman who has six followers, just a private citizen. That seem to be correct. He`s then tweeting about deep state again, big stuff. He`s clearly watching Fox News because he`s tagging them. Jonathan, you wrote this about the President`s tweets about the British fascist group basically today that Trump continues to cultivate the Republican Party alliance with fascism. What do you mean by that?

CHAIT: Well, what I mean is that this kind of fascist authoritarian openly racist groups used to be basically outside of Republican Party politics and now he`s brought them inside of it. He`s cultivated alliances with them. They`re not at the center, they`re not Paul Ryan but they`re part of the party. They`re inside the tent. They`re people he listens to and honors and elevates. That`s a really new change and that`s a huge change in the whole makeup of American politics that Trump has enact and I don`t see that changing even after he`s gone.

HAYES: The idea of waking up today in America as a Muslim American or in the U.K. to what the -- what the President tweeted, it`s truly shocking. It`s sort of hard to find the words for how vile that is and what a vile use it is of the power that he holds. Jonathan Chait and Betsy Woodruff, thank you, both.

Senator Chris Murphy is a Democrat from Connecticut, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator, how worried are you about the President`s fitness and grasp of reality at this moment?

SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, listen, I think that the President previewed pretty effectively during the campaign what his style of governance was going to be like. He never advertised to the nation that he was going to pay very close attention to detail. I`ve been worried since the very beginning of his campaign about whether he could be an effective Commander-in-Chief. What makes me even more worried is that he has not hired people into the top positions who can compensate for his lack of attention or his lack of stability. He`s got a Secretary of State, a Deputy Secretary of State who have no experience in negotiating big deals across the country. He hasn`t hired people into other positions that could keep the Middle East, places in Asia safer. So it`s worried me from the very beginning, his style of governance. It worries me even more that he doesn`t have people around him who can help.

HAYES: But I want to zero in. It`s more than style of governance. I mean, part of what has been presented in the reporting and the evidence is the President at a fundamental level seems incapable if you believe the reporting and I don`t know if you do of distinguishing between fact and fiction, between delusion and reality. And given what`s happening on the Korean Peninsula among other places, that seems problematic.

MURPHY: Well, and you have to go back to think about how wars have started in the past. Let`s go back to the Gulf of Tonkin, a moment in which there were a number of reports about whether the United States had been fired upon and it was left to the President to decide whether or not those reports were credible. Often the way you get into a military conflict is through an interpretation about what your adversary`s intent is or what set of facts has occurred. And so, when you have a President like this who seems to show such blatant disregard for the facts, it makes it even more likely that there`s going to be a big miscalculation when you get into that muddy area that tends to occupy the beginning of military hostilities.

HAYES: Well, that segue way to last night`s missile test from the North Koreans and you`re someone who spend a lot of time thinking about and working with foreign relations on the committee and elsewhere, what is your takeaway from what happened last night?

MURPHY: Well, my takeaway is that the President`s strategy has not worked and his strategy has been to throw a lot of braggadocio and rhetorical bluster at the North Koreans without much of a true pathway to diplomatic talks. And if I`m the North Koreans and I`m watching the President desperately try to pull out of the Iranian nuclear agreement, it gives me absolutely no confidence that were I to start talking to the Americans or the Chinese or a group of multi-national nations that any agreement I made would be held to, so I just don`t think the President has a credible pathway to get to a deal with the North Koreans and I think they may see that which is why they`ve restarted these missile tests.

HAYES: I talked to someone last night who`s an expert in this area and said last night was basically the nail in the coffin about preventing anything, that we have to reconcile now with the capability of a nuclear North Korea that can deliver a nuclear payload. Do you agree with that?

MURPHY: I haven`t been briefed on the details of last night`s test. What we know is that they are far ahead of where our initial intelligence told us they were. Now, they probably still don`t have the ability to deliver a nuclear-mounted ICBM to the United States but the fact that they can get it this far is very concerning. We have to take the pace of their program very seriously.

HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Murphy, thank you.

MURPHY: Thank you.

HAYES: A quick apology there to Jill Wine-Banks, my guest earlier in the segment who I mistakenly called Betsy Woodruff, another frequent guest on the show, my bad about that.

Still ahead, the President claims the new GOP tax plan would cost him a fortune. It`s not true of course. Senator Bernie Sanders will be here to discuss. But first, new reporting on the allegations against Matt Lauer, fired today from NBC News. That`s coming up in two minutes.

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Just moments ago NBC News Chairman Andy Lack sent the following note to our organization. :"Dear colleagues, on Monday night we received a detailed complaint from a colleague about inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace by Matt Lauer. It represented after serious review a clear violation of our company`s standards. As a result, we have decided to terminate his employment. And we are grappling with a dilemma that so many people have faced these past few weeks. How do you reconcile your love for someone with the revelation that they have behaved badly and I don`t know the answer to that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: That`s how the day started here at NBC News with that revelation followed by a statement from NBC News Chairman Andy Lack which added, "While the first complaint of his behavior in over 20 years he`s been in NBC News, we were also presented with the reason to believe this may not have been an isolated incident. Matt Lauer who was terminated after the complaint of inappropriate sexual behavior has yet to release a statement. However, the lawyer for the woman who made the complaint to NBC released a statement which reads in part, my client and I met with representatives from NBC`s Human Resources and Legal Department at 6:00 p.m. on Monday. Over the course of several hours, my client detailed egregious acts of sexual harassment and misconduct by Mr. Lauer. In fewer than 35 hours, NBC investigated and removed Mr. Lauer.

Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly and responsibly as all companies should when confronted with credible allegations about sexual misconduct in the workplace." Then, this afternoon, this headline from Variety, Matt Lauer is accused of sexual harassment by multiple women based on what it describes as a two-month investigation with dozens of interviews with current and former staff and includes allegations that Lauer expose himself with employees in office and invited women employed by NBC to his hotel room late at night while covering the Olympics. Quoting that publication, variety has talked to three women who identified themselves as victims of sexual harassment by Lauer. Their stories have been corroborated by friends and colleagues they told at the time.

Several women told Variety they complained to executives at the network about Lauer`s behavior which fell on deaf ears given the lucrative advertising surrounding today. NBC News spokesperson tonight says few more accusers have come forward since the news broke this morning. And in quote, we could say unequivocally, that, prior to Monday night, current NBC News management was never made aware of complaints about Matt Lauer`s conduct. MSNBC Anchor Stephanie Ruhle joins us now and you`ve been covering this day. And we should just say, these situations for any news organization are awkward situations because we work for NBC News and this is a story about NBC News and we have been very committed I think here today to covering this story because this is a news story.

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC ANCHOR: It`s without a doubt a news story. But it`s also important to remember, we don`t necessarily know the lines and we need to reboot because there is a big difference between sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment. And if you look at what`s happened in the last few months, what has corporate America done? Remember, big bad corporate America that nobody likes, Matt Lauer got fired, Charlie Rose got fired, Mark Halperin got fired. President Trump who`s been accused by over 12 women is in office. President Trump dint believe Bill O`Reilly accusers. And Bill O`Reilly got fired and settled with a woman, one woman for $32 million and Roy Moore is still running. So it`s stunning that the moral compass here is corporate America.

HAYES: OK. That -- well, yes, but let me sort of push back a little bit, right? This is happening -- I mean, the problem is this is happening on the back end. This seems to me the issue with all these cases. So we have this sort of tally that keeps growing every day. Garrison Keillor was fired today. I mean, you have people that in every -- you have people in academia, you have people in tech, in Hollywood, right?

RUHLE: Wait until it hits the medical industry. And think about this. We hear over and over, women didn`t come forward or they sort of did and it fell on deaf ears. I don`t doubt that any of these companies didn`t get formal complaints, but they didn`t get formal complaints because those women and maybe in some cases men didn`t think they could come forward because there`s this idea when you`re a star you can do anything. Do you remember who said when you`re a star, you can do anything?

HAYES: They let you do anything.

RUHLE: It was President Trump who said it on the Access Hollywood tape. So think about the juxtaposition. I worried when I heard that Access Hollywood tape as somebody who cares so much about the advancement of women and girls. When I heard that tape, I thought, what was this is going to do to us? Are we going to go backwards? And my God, we`ve gone the other direction. This is a time for real change.

HAYES: Right. But here`s the thing. So you`ve got this situation with Lauer today. So Matt Lauer was fired today, he`s fired very quickly for someone as important to an organization as he is to NBC News. It`s sort of remarkable how quickly it happened. At the same time what has been revealed is retroactively a huge failure across industries, institutions, companies that all this behavior was happening, right? We`re having this Weinstein moment but it`s revealed something that has to be dealt with in a far more systematic way than choosing or deciding the punishments for the individual malefactors.

RUHLE: That`s what`s so important and while you could look at this Matt Lauer moment as massively important, it`s not. It`s what are we going to do going forward. If this has been happening which it has across industries since the dawn of time, this is the time to change it. You and I both know --

HAYES: To stop it, to prevent it. That`s the key to me.

RUHLE: Yes, you and I both know people in the workplace get together, people in the workplace sleep together. We need to make it clear where this is acceptable. And if it is a senior person and their subordinate or a senior person who can influence the career of someone below them, that isn`t appropriate.

HAYES: Right. Well, that -- I mean, that`s part of it. Part of it seems to me also is having more women in senior positions.

RUHLE: If there was more diversity, you wouldn`t have a boy`s club. It was just seven years ago I was -- when I was an investment banker and --

HAYES: Where there`s no -- I just want to be clear, there`s no sexual harassment.

RUHLE: Are you kidding me? It`s the mother ship. It is the mother ship. And Deutsche Bank had their first conference for senior managing director women and the CEO of the company, the chairman of the company stood before all of us and he was coming from an honest place and this is how absurd it is. He said, well of course when I go on trips abroad -- it was Josef Ackermann, and I`m in let`s say Brazil. If I bring a woman with me, what will people think, I`m dancing with her at night? And we all sat there gobsmacked. Women you know --

HAYES: Meaning I can`t bring a woman with me on this business trip because it would look bad.

RUHLE: It would look bad.

HAYES: So like good luck coming on this business trip --

RUHLE: And you know, it would look bad so of course I`m surrounded by men and we all sat there going this is what`s in the mind of these people, how are we possibly going to break through? So we have to make sure this is an important moment to change things and we don`t want to go too far because we don`t want to be in a situation where suddenly men in power say if I look at a woman cross-eyed, I`m going to get in trouble, let`s get them further out of the picture.

HAYES: Well, right. I guess, what seems important to me is that there`s some again, some sort of systematic change here about what procedures are put in place and also some kind of -- you know, what we have is there`s so much wrongdoing that has built up for so long that is pouring forward in these sort of individual adjudications of penalty that it obscures the fact that, A, this is happening in places that aren`t very prominent. It`s happening in insurance companies, it`s happening in fast food chains, it`s happening to maids in hotels, right?

RUHLE: It happens whenever there is a power paradigm. In Wall Street when someone makes loads of money to the bank, that let that man run rough shot over the place. And as soon as he starts losing money, then they shoot him in the back. In Hollywood, if you`re a star, they let you do anything, the rules start to bend around you.

HAYES: Right. Stephanie Ruhle, thank you for making time.

RUHLE: Thank you.

HAYES: Still ahead, the Senate Candidate from Alabama accused of sexual misconduct and abuse of teenage girls and the prominent Republicans who are edging back towards supporting him, including a sitting U.S. Congressman. That`s next.

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HAYES: In the wake of Donald Trump`s victory last year, it seemed the bar for which should be disqualifying and normally had been for a political candidate was forever lowered. But here to see if it could be lowered further, Coal Baron Don Blankenship, when WCHS in Charleston, West Virginia is reporting he will run as a Republican for West Virginia Senate Seat next year. Blankenship is hardly popular there. Last year Public Policy Polling wrote "He`s the most hated figure in the state with only 10 percent of voters seeing him favorably to 55 percent who have a negative opinion of him. And why is Don Blankenship so hated? Well, maybe because he served a year in prison after a 2010 explosion in one of his mines killed 29 people. Authorities had accused Blankenship of pumping up profits at the expense of worker safety, said he ignored health and safety rules, lied to inspector and investors.

And the explosion of the Upper Big Branch Mine in Montcoal, West Virginia was the worst U.S. mine disaster in 40 years. As the New Yorker reported at the time, facing 30 years in prison, he maintained the explosion was an act of God. To this day Blankenship denies he did anything wrong. On his blog he calls himself an American political prisoner and in a Thanksgiving post he wrote, I`m still considering whether running for U.S. Senator for Joe Manchin`s seat will benefit our truth campaign. There`s another election Blankenship might look to for inspiration, the December 12th Alabama race where Roy Moore could win a U.S. Senate seat despite credible accusations of molesting a 14-year-old girl he picked up outside a custody hearing years ago. The latest on that race next.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you believe Roy Moore?

REP. MO BROOKS, (R) ALABAMA: I believe that the Democrats will do great damage to our country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So you still believe Roy Moore?

BROOKS: I believe that the Democrats will do great damage to our country on a myriad of issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Two weeks ago, Republicans were literally running away from reporters asking questions about the allegations of child molestation, sexual misconduct and sexual assault against Roy Moore. That`s starting to change. Take, for instance, Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks, the man seen here running away from cameras in a capital stairwell, with less than two weeks to election do, Mo Brooks is coming home to Roy Moore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BROOKS: There are only two that have asserted that Roy Moore engaged in unlawful conduct. One of those is clearly a liar, because that one forged the love Roy Moore part in a yearbook in order to try to, for whatever reason, get at Roy Moore and win this seat for the Democrats.

So now you`re down to one witness who says that Roy Moore engaged in nonconsensual sexual contact, OK? Well that one witness`s testimony is in direct and stark contrast with that of the other seven ladies who said that he acted like an officer and a gentlemen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: No, the other seven ladies didn`t say that. One said he called her in her trig class while she was a high school student.

Also, the yearbook that he is talking about there that he claims is forged belongs to a woman named Beverly Young Nelson who say Moore assaulted her when she was 16.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BEVERLY YOUNG NELSON, ROY MOORE ACCUSER: I was terrified. He was also trying to pull my shirt off. I thought that he was going to rape me. I was twisting and I was struggling and I was begging him to stop. I had tears running down my face. At some point he gave up. And he then looked at me and he told me, he said, you`re just a child, and he said I am the district attorney of Etowah County.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: At a news conference, Nelson showed reporters her yearbook complete with a message from Roy Moore reading, quote, "to a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas."

Moore`s accusers are defending themselves as they`re called liars. Leigh Corfman, who says Moore molester her when she was 14 years old wrote a letter to Moore she released to AL.com. She wrote, "where does your immorality end? I demand you stop calling me a liar and attacking my character. I am telling the truth, and you should have the decency to admit it and apologize."

Joyce Vance understands all that from the ground up. She is a former attorney from the northern district of Alabama, and a University of Alabama law professor.

What is it like down there right now?

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, Alabama certainly is not enjoying its moment in the public spotlight. This is in many ways a painful election, it`s as painful for Republicans as it is for Democrats. There are new polls today that suggest that Doug Jones, the Democrat, has fallen behind Roy Moore in the polls and it`s beginning to sink in that Alabama may actually send Roy Moore to the senate.

HAYES: Yeah, we should say Emerson poll has Moore up by six points. There seems to be some movement back in Moore`s direction partly because it seems people have been able to be convinced that all of these women are liars. What do you hear when you talk to Republicans down there?

VANCE: You know, Republicans down here are simultaneously embarrassed by Moore`s conduct, but very concerned about holding the majority in the United States Senate. And it`s safe to say that in Alabama there are one- issue voters on both sides of the abortion issue. Republicans tend to feel very strongly about the abortion issue, but by the same token, many Republicans, particularly younger ones, have backed away from supporting him. So we have young Republican groups in Birmingham and other parts of the state that have withdrawn their support, whether that means they`ll stay home or vote for Doug Jones remains to be seen.

HAYES: There are reports that Steve Bannon who sort of supported Moore in that primary got in there a little late and sort of took credit for the victory and then has stuck with Roy Moore even as he was accused of molesting a 14-year-old he picked up outside a custody hearing. He`s going to come down and stump for Moore. Does that make a difference down there one way or the other?

VANCE: So one thing that the polls this morning showed was that Moore was performing well among voters who had supported Trump.

If Bannon is perceived as being the personification of Trump in Alabama, then his presence down here may well help to sway more of those voters and convince them to turn out and vote for Moore rather than sit it out.

HAYES: Yeah, we should say it`s a state that Donald Trump won by something like 33 points, and when this all started no one thought that Doug Jones had much of a chance.

If he does have a chance, what is the path right now for him?

VANCE: The path for Jones is the path of turnout. You know, Chris, so it`s real interesting, most of these polls today are land line polls. And that tends to over-perform for older voters. And the polls also indicate that among voters who are 65 and older, Moore is leading. In every other demographic, Jones has more support.

So it`s possible that if Jones can turn out his base, turn out folks in the large cities, turn out African-Americans, turn out civil rights-based communities where he`s known for his work on behalf of the four little girls who were killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church, that turnout may give him the edge at the end of the day.

HAYES: I want to play a little bit of Roy Moore was heckled tonight at an event he did. This is someone who was twice kicked off the Supreme Court in Alabama, twice by fellow Republicans. Today, some news that he co- authored a textbook which in 2011 says women shouldn`t run for office. What would it mean for the state of Alabama to have this man, who is already a polarizing and controversial figure, in that state be representing the state in the United States Senate?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOORE: We can stop and get them out or we can keep going? (END VIDEO CLIP)

VANCE: So Moore had a spokesperson speak on television today in Birmingham and that person indicated that you can never believe a woman in the absence of a witness. That`s a very difficult position, I think, for Moore to be in because district attorneys and prosecutors in this state don`t want victims in cases to feel like they can`t come forward, they`ll never be believed.

HAYES: All right, Joyce Vance, thank you for joining me.

Still ahead, the massively unpopular tax cut bill for the rich clears a big hurdle in the Senate. Where it stands right now coming up.

But first, a very merry Thing One, Thing Two next.

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HAYES: Thing One tonight, it`s the Christmas tree lighting celebration here at Rockefeller center tonight, a telltale sign the holiday season is officially upon us. In past years, our president has even been spotted here at the Rockefeller Center tree lighting with Melania and their son Baron. This week, First Lady Melania Trump tweeted out video of the holiday decorations going up at the White House, including this scene from the Grand Foyer as ballerinas performed a piece from the Nutcracker.

Today, her husband spoke before a backdrop of Christmas trees in Saint Charles, Missouri, and you`ll never guess the first words out of his mouth.

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TRUMP: I told you that we would be saying Merry Christmas again, right?

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HAYES: Because of course `tis the season for more ridiculous lies about the prior president, Barack Obama, who apparently caved to political correctness and never uttered the words Merry Christmas. Or did he? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

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TRUMP: I was the one when I was here last time I said we`re going to have Christmas again. I was the one that said you go to the department stores and you see happy new year and you see red and you see snow and you see all these things, you don`t see Merry Christmas anymore.

With Trump as your president, we are going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again.

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HAYES: Ahead of his first holiday season in the White House, Donald Trump is declaring victory in the war on Christmas. He promised rally-goers America will be celebrating Christmas again because we stopped.

But as we approach the end of the year we got to thinking did Donald Trump really bring Merry Christmas back to the White House?

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BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Have a very merry Christmas.

We want to say merry Christmas to everybody.

A very, very merry Christmas and a holiday filled with joy.

I want to wish every American a merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

CHILDREN: Merry Christmas!

OBAMA: So merry Christmas, everyone.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FORMER FIRST LADY: Merry Christmas.

B. OBAMA: Merry Christmas, everybody.

M. OBAMA: Merry Christmas.

OBAMA: Merry Christmas, everybody.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Merry Christmas, everybody.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas.

Mele Kalikimaka, everybody. Mahalo.

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HAYES: You might remember that a few weeks before that big Brexit vote in the U.K. a British politics, Jo Cox, was brutally murdered by a man with links to neo nazi groups who repeatedly shouted the words, Britain first, during the attack. Britain first. It`s a phrase that has been embraced by Britain`s far right, the moniker of a fringe far right political party founded in 2011 that is decried as an extremist hate group.

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BRENDAN COX, WIDOWER TO JO COX: So this group is at the forefront of driving hatred against Britain`s Muslim communities. The type of hatred that frankly has been used by people. There are currently court cases going on in this country where people have attacked Muslims and killed Muslims who are also followers of this group.

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HAYES: The deputy leader of Britain First is this woman, her name is Jayda Fransen. Last year Fransen was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after hurling abuse at a Muslin woman wearing a hijab in front of her four young children.

Today, the President of the United States declared publicly common cause with Jayda Fransen. Donald Trump retweeting three videos that were tweeted out by Fransen that purported to show Muslims engaged in outrageous acts. As Politifact noted, the veracity of videos is dubious. One claimed to show a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy, but as the Dutch government noted, the child was not a migrant. He was born and raided in the Netherlands and was convicted for the attack.

Videos like this are staples of the absolutely most vile, racist, disgusting and monstrous corners of the internet, posted by people who want to demonize Muslims or African Americans or other groups. The president`s decision to broadcast them to his 43 million followers were celebrated, not surprisingly, by none other than noted white supremacist David Duke, who took to Twitter to proclaim that Trump is quote, "condemned for showing us what the fake media won`t. Thank god for Trump. That`s why we love him."

Three months ago the president quite famously refused to take sides between the white supremacists who marched with tiki torches in Charlottesville, would end up killing a woman, and the anti-racist protests who were there to reject their message.

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TRUMP: Yes, I think there`s blame on both sides. You look at -- you look at both sides, I think there`s blame on both sides, and I have no doubt about it and you don`t have any doubt about it either. You have some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people on both sides.

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HAYES: On both sides. Doesn`t want to take sides. With his retweets today the president did take a side. He took the same side as Britain First. He took the same side as David Duke.

Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, one of two Muslims serving in Congress responded to Trumps tweets bluntly telling the Guardian, "The president is racist, there`s no doubt about that in my mind."

The Council on American Islamic Relations condemned what they called incitement to violence against American Muslims.

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IBRAHIM HOOPER, COUNCIL ON AMERICAN ISLAMIC RELATIONS: The conversation it`s designed to start is a conversation of hatred, bigotry and white supremacy, and it`s the same conversation that Donald Trump and his people around him have been pushing for years now.

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HAYES: And then this. After starting the day retweeting racist propaganda, the president went to Missouri to do what? To push a tax bill that overwhelmingly benefits corporations and wealthy heirs. It`s the Trump presidency in a nutshell, the base gets racist red meat, the donor class gets its payoff. Bernie Sanders on that, right after this.

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HAYES: The Senate is now poised to vote on the GOP`s tax bill as early as tomorrow, after Republicans voted today to move to final debate over the legislation, even though there is still very much making changes to try to win over some GOP skeptics.

Now, people really don`t like what Republicans are trying to do. It`s best we can tell from the polling. Quinnipiac poll this month found that just 25% approve for the Republican tax plan. Keep in mind, this is supposed to be a big tax cut, so it should be easy to sell, while 52% disapprove.

It`s clear what the bill is, it is a massive tax cut for corporations, wealthy and the wealthy heirs in particular, and a possible tax hike for millions in the middle class. Senate Republicans are now rushing to try and pass the bill before it can become even more unpopular. And the president is doing his part in going to Missouri today to make the case that well, left is right, up is down and the tax bill isn`t really just a handout to the rich.

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TRUMP: Wait until you see what finally comes out in what I call the mixer. The beating heart of our plan is a tax cut for working families. That`s what it is. With Trump as your president, we`re going to be celebrating Merry Christmas again. It`s going to be done with a big, beautiful tax cut.

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HAYES: Joining me now, Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, ranking member of the budget committee. Senator, the Republicans were able to get the bill passed and motion proceeded. It`s now into debate. Is this thing happening?

BERNIE SANDERS, SENATOR: I think there is a strong likelihood they will get it past Senate. They will go to conference committee, where they will have some difficulties reconciling the two bills, bringing together conflicting interests. Our job now, Chris, and I`m going to be going to Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania in the next few days, our job is rally the American people. To make them understand what a disaster this bill is, and it`s unacceptable that Senate bill, 62% of all of the tax benefits at end of ten years going to top 1%. That 87 million middle-class families in this country will be paying more in taxes and that run up a $1.4 trillion deficit, which will be paid for, mark my words, by cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

HAYES: Senator Marco Rubio indicating that a lot of people have been clear that`s where they`re headed. It doesn`t seem to me based on the polling that people are that confused about the bill. It`s not very popular. In fact it`s polling in the 25, 30s, that doesn`t seem to be stopping them.

SANDERS: You`ll recall that the health care bill polled even worse. And that takes you to corruption of the American political and campaign finance system. The American people don`t want this legislation. The American people don`t want to throw 30 million people off of health care, but the Koch brothers and the billionaire class do want these tax breaks. That`s what this is about.

HAYES: Well, this connects to something I think has been under covered which is the bottom line of the actual members of the U.S. Senate who are voting for this piece of legislation and the president himself who might sign it. The president made a claim today about the affect of this legislation on his bottom line.

I want to play it for you and get a response. Here`s what the president said.

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TRUMP: This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing. Believe me, believe -- this is not good for me. Me, it`s not -- I have wealthy friends, not so happy with me, but that`s okay.

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SANDERS: I mean that really is laughable. Of course, believe me. I am sure all the American people believe Donald Trump. This is a man who never tells a lie. What he`s saying is once again total nonsense. The vast majority of the tax breaks are going to the very wealthiest people in this country. If they repeal the estate tax, that will benefit Trump`s family significantly as well as top .2 of 1%. This is a bill written for corporate America and for the billionaire class, they benefit and working class will be hit hard.

HAYES: We should say, NBCs own evaluation of the little bit of tax information we have says that Trump and his family could save more than a billion dollars under the house side of this bill, that`s not the Senate side.

There`s also a question to me, right now, we know the major parts of this, the estate tax repeal, the cooperate tax cut, a lot of stuff in flux. Things are flying around. I guess my question is, are you confident that they understand, your colleagues, the Republicans voting for this, actually know what they`re voting for?

SANDERS: No. Of course they don`t. But what they do know is their employers, not the people of their states but campaign contributors want it. What do you have to understand. If the Koch brothers -- recall, you have members of Congress honestly coming forward saying look, if we don`t pass this, they`re going to cut off the spigot of campaign contributions.

HAYES: They did say that.

Here`s an example. You had an exchange on Twitter and this is slightly technical but I think worth talking about. You said on Twitter about how a certain single mother making a certain amount of money would fare under the bill. And you tweeted one thing and John Cornen, very high up in leadership tweeted response. He said she`d pay zero income tax, receive a doubling of standard deduction and a $2,000 child tax credit under the Senate bill. My understanding is that`s just factually inaccurate. She would not get that tax credit, which makes me think they`re either are lying or don`t understand the bill.

SANDERS: I think it`s a combination of both. I think there are a lot of lies that are being thrown about and I think a lot of them don`t understand the legislation.

But here again, this is the bottom line, which is talked about and researched by all the major independent tax organizations, not partisan groups. 62% of the benefits at end of ten years go to top 1%. Corporations will make out like bandits. There will be many corporations in this country to best of my knowledge who will end up paying zero in federal taxes.

HAYES: Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for joining me tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening, The Rachel Maddow Show starts now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END

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