Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 20, 2017 Guest: Elizabeth Warren, Lanhee Chen, Josh Marshall, Andy Slavitt
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST -- by grandpop`s millions for generations to come. How about that one? And there they were today, gleaming in the sunlight, worshiping their sun king, glorying in the shortest day of the year. The day they chose to celebrate the greatest shorting of the American people in history. 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.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES: President Donald Trump delivered.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), HOUSE SPEAKER: Exquisite presidential leadership, Mr. President, thank you.
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R) UTAH: You`re one heck of a leader.
HAYES: Democrats and Republicans agree, Republicans own this.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: If we can`t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work.
HAYES: The brand-new tax cut for the wealthiest Americans that destroys health care for millions.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We essentially repealed ObamaCare, because we got rid of the individual mandate.
HAYES: Tonight, a reminder of the Republican record when it comes to the economy.
ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: That the Republicans wrote this bill to pay off their biggest donors.
HAYES: Plus, a new warning to the President not to fire Robert Mueller and why this guy is the poster child for the tax bill.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want my shirts to be able to be worn in the boardroom or in a Discoteca or in a nightclub or on a yacht.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. With the passage today of the Republican Tax Bill, the party`s central economic message over the past nine years has been definitively exposed for what it really was all along, sheer, aggressively cynical, bad faith. The next time a Republican tells you the deficit is their number one priority, you will know ahead of time they are lying about that. Taking a victory lap outside the White House this afternoon, Republicans celebrated their single big legislative achievement this year, one they hope will keep them in power next fall. The President is already taking credit for boosting the economy into overdrive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Hasn`t been done in 34 years but actually really hasn`t been done, because we broke every record. We have companies pouring back into our country, and that means jobs and it really means the formation of new, young, beautiful, strong companies. So that`s going to be very, very important. I guess it`s very simple. When you think you haven`t heard this expression, but we are making America great again. You haven`t heard that, have you?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: But in order to buy that claim that Republicans are finally rescuing an economy that`s been allowed to languish for years, you have to willfully ignore the entire past decade of history because this President would not be enjoying the favorable conditions he`s taking credit for now, if it weren`t for the extraordinary steps taken by his predecessors, President Barack Obama, steps that were, of course, blocked and undermined at every turn by Republicans in Congress. Unlike the current President, Barack Obama took over the country from a Republican president who had overseen on his watch the single worst financial crisis in 70 years, a catastrophe so dire it could have spiraled into a global depression, costing years of grinding stagnation and lost economic growth. It did not, however, because, well, the new administration, in spite of broad Republican obstruction, managed to pass a massive stimulus bill.
Do you remember that? And here`s the thing about that stimulus bill. It included substantial tax cuts for middle class and working-class families. For most people, listen to this, the bottom three-fifths of earners, those tax cuts that were in the much-hated stimulus were bigger than what is in the current Republican bill that got passed today. And yet, just three Republicans in the entire Congress voted for that piece of legislation. And one of them would switch parties just a couple months later. Under President Obama, economic growth went from negative 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2009, negative 6.7, to 3.8 percent in the final quarter of that year. That`s better, by the way than the most recent quarter under President Trump with the economy supposedly booming.
In the face of massive Republican resistance, Democrats went on to re- regulate the big banks to help prevent another crisis. They also overhauled the health care system, allowing 20 million people to gain insurance. All these measures were flawed, to be sure, sometimes deeply so. But they made an enormous cumulative impact on the stability of the economy. Then Republicans took over the House after that 2010 mid-term whooping and everything stopped. Suddenly, we had problems more pressing than economic recovery.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOEHNER, FORMER SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We`re broke. We need to stop the out of control spending spree that`s going on in Washington, D.C.
RYAN: We face a crushing burden of debt. The debt will soon eclipse our entire economy and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead.
MCCONNELL: After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office, a real solution is probably unattainable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In the name of fiscal austerity, Republicans pushed to slash public sector jobs, freeze large portions of the federal government. In a staggering act of recklessness, they played around with the nation`s debt limit, threatening a cataclysmic default by jeopardizing the good faith and full faith and credit of the United States. According to the man who is now, right now Budget Director of the White House, we should have gone right ahead and defaulted on the nominations debt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICK MULVANEY, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET: If we don`t make structural changes, if we don`t actually send the message to the markets, to the people, to businesses that we`re going to be fiscally responsible, then, yes, I won`t vote to raise the debt ceiling. I have no difficulty doing that. I think it`s important that that message does get out. And if this is the opportunity we have to force a discussion on that issue, then I say we take it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The GOP`s single-minded monomaniacal obsession with debt, deficit, and austerity, it cost growth, it cost jobs, it cost real incomes for real people across the country. That obsession cut the recovery off at the knees just as it was starting to pick up speed. And then Republicans turned around and blamed it on President Obama to win elections. Once they took control of Washington, magically, amazingly, all of those concerns about fiscal responsibility, all the sanctimonious lectures about our grandchildren, the long weeping monologues about the debt, they all went out the window. They didn`t even wait for a full analysis of their tax proposal, ramming through a bill that of course as you know now, adds $1.4 trillion to the deficit.
As Mick Mulvaney told Fox News this Fall, "We need to have deficits, new ones. The old ones were bad, the new ones are good." One GOP Lawmaker was surprisingly direct about their about-face on fiscal matters. I love this quote because it says it all. "It`s a great talking point when you have an administration that`s Democrat-led. It`s a little different now that Republicans in both Houses in the administration." Without concerns about the debt holding them back, which they`re probably right on that, Republicans were free to funnel billions of dollars to their donors, to their future heirs, and into their own pockets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It will be an incredible Christmas gift for hard-working Americans. I said I wanted to have it done before Christmas. We got it done. I want to thank all of the leaders.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren is a Democrat from Massachusetts, a Member of the Senate Banking Committee. Senator, the story you`re getting from the White House today and Republican Members of Congress is happy days are here again. We`ve turned it all around. The doldrums are gone and this is an early Christmas gift to the American people. What say you to that?
WARREN: I say it is an early Christmas gift to billionaires and to executives for giant corporations that Donald Trump and the Republicans just delivered this giant present for them to be paid for by hard-working families all across this country.
HAYES: You know, there is all these announcements today, from a bunch of big fortune 500 companies, including Comcast, that owns this network, and Wells Fargo, the somewhat-infamous bank, among others, who said in celebration, in gratitude, or because we`re getting a huge tax cut, we are going to give our employees some bonuses. We`re going to increase capital investment and Republicans are touting that and saying, look, this is exactly what we wanted. This is trickle-down working in real time.
WARREN: Yes, look, I want to be absolutely clear. I am delighted when workers get more money. I`m glad when it happens at any corporation in America. Yay! But let`s be really clear. If these corporations had wanted to do that, they already had plenty of profits to do it. The idea that this is trickle-down economics at work, rather than just plain-old politics is just wrong. The corporate CEOs have already told us what they`re going to do with this money. I`ll give you an example. Home Depot, right after the Senate passed the tax bill a couple of weeks ago, Home Depot CEO is -- executive is interviewed and said, so, what are you going to do with all of this money that Home Depot has -- because they`re going to do really well on this -- was it, we`re going to raise wages for our employees?
No. Was it, we`re going to hire more employees at the Home Depot stores? No. Was it, we`re going to build more Home Depots across America? No. They said what we`re going to do is we`re going to do stock buybacks. In other words, we`re going to use whatever money comes in to pump up the price of our stock. That works really well for CEOs and it works really well for wealthy investors. That`s what the game is about for these guys, what they care about is getting this money in so they can boost their stocks prices. And the fact that hardworking families across this country are paying for that giveaway to these giant corporations, to these zillionaires, that`s the part that really hurts here.
HAYES: What`s your reaction as you sit there as a Democratic Senator who voted against this bill, was strenuous in opposing it, like the unanimously, it was opposed in your caucus, and watching the sort of celebration and the encomiums being offered to Donald Trump for his leadership and stewardship.
WARREN: You know, I`ve got to tell you on this one. To me, when I watched it, it had a little bit of the quality of whistling past the graveyard. This tax bill is deeply unpopular. And not just unpopular with Democrats, this one is unpopular across the country, with Democrats, with Republicans, with Independents. And Donald Trump and the Republican leadership can get out there and try to spin it however they want, but the reality is, Americans understand that the Republicans wrote this bill, to pay off their biggest donors. They understand that this is a bill that helps the rich and the powerful get richer and even more powerful. And here`s the part that`s really going to drive it home. Donald Trump announced during all this celebration that he had effectively repealed the Affordable Care Act.
Well, let`s keep in mind, effectively repealing the Affordable Care Act, that`s just one more punch in the gut to hard-working families. We know that one of the effects of this tax bill will drive up the cost of health insurance for millions of people across this country. I mean, I really want to understand here how many Americans have been clamoring to say, hey, listen, drive up the cost of my health insurance, so that you can do a big giveaway to billionaires and giant corporations. That`s not where America is. Hard-working families in this country, they just want a chance to try to build something and this tax bill that the Republicans have driven forward, even when their constituents were telling them, this doesn`t work for me, they just kept driving it, just kept driving it. Because they were so determined to deliver for their donors, because Washington is a place that is so determined to deliver for the rich and the powerful, and frankly, leave everybody else behind.
HAYES: One example of that is the infamous carried interest loophole, which allows folks that work in, say, private equity, to pay a lower effective rate than janitors and teachers and firefighters and just middle- class folks. That -- Donald Trump said he was going to get rid of it. Gary Cohn said we tried, we tried, we tried. Numerous Republicans have very observed rubbed their furrowed brow and say, man, we tried, we didn`t get it done. Why didn`t they get it done? What`s your understanding of what happened?
WARREN: You know, excuse me, they tried but couldn`t get it done? Let`s just be completely clear here. They went behind closed doors, locked out the Democrats, would not talk about this with Democrats, and they horse traded among themselves and among their donors. And at the end of the day, they walked out with a package that they could sign off on and their big donors could sign off on. And I don`t care how many sympathetic faces they make. That`s what the process was all about. It is -- it is the ultimate view into exactly what is wrong with Washington. A Washington that works well for those who can spend a zillion dollars on campaign contributions, hire armies of lobbyists and lawyers, a Washington that`s just not working for the rest of America.
HAYES: All right, Senator Elizabeth Warren, thanks for your time tonight.
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: For more on the Republicans` tax bill, let`s bring In Josh Marshall, Editor, and Publisher of Talking Point Memo and Lahnhee Chen who`s a Senior Policy Adviser to Presidential Campaigns of Mitt Romney and Marco Rubio. Lanhee, let me start with you. I have a contrarian take I think, today, when you watch all the members of the Congress up in that rose garden ceremony with the President, or (INAUDIBLE) I think it was in the back of the White House that you know, the Republican party is actually unified, that the Trump agenda is the Republican agenda is the conservative agenda, that they`re all -- that there`s not a big amount of distance. That you know, Lisa Murkowski and Donald Trump and everyone are all of the same ilk. And today was a day that they put into place what is the Trump agenda, the conservative agenda, and the Republican agenda.
LANHEE CHEN, SENIOR POLICY ADVISER TO PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS OF MITT ROMNEY AND MARCO RUBIO: Yes, Chris, this is the most unified you`ve seen the Republican Party since Donald Trump took office and I think it`s a fair observation that you had Lisa Murkowski, Tim Scott, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, you know, people who haven`t always agreed in the same place. And I also think that this tax plan, you know, part of the reason why is because what we saw out of this tax plan is very similar to what we would have seen with a President Jeb Bush or President Marco Rubio. It`s the same set of policies with respect to both the corporate and individual side of the tax code.
HAYES: Yes, I think -- and this -- and this I think, is an important point for the politics of it. Which is, there`s so much, you know, emphasis on Bob Corker, said this about President Trump and Jeff Flake said this, but ultimately, this kind of big corporate tax cut, a tax cut that wealthy folks are going to do quite well on, some tax relief in the middle of the income bracket, this is -- this is sort of the defining agenda of what this party is, if people like it, they should vote for it. If they don`t, they should vote against it.
JOSH MARSHALL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, TALKING POINT MEMO: That`s right. I mean, if this is not-- this is not some crazy idea that Donald Trump came up with. This is -- I mean, the difference is the chaotic nature of how it all came out. And that has a lot to do with kind of everything that`s happened over the course of this year, the failure over ObamaCare, you know, all these different factors. But the fundamental is, yes, this is basically, this is exactly right. This is what Rubio would have done, what Jeb would have done, but I do think there are some -- there are some key differences that I think they will end up paying a political price for. There are -- there are key aspects -- there`s a lot in this bill that is basically meant to be an attack on states that lean Democratic, that also are states that tend to have more generous social safety nets --
HAYES: And higher taxes.
MARSHALL: And higher taxes. So that is going to be a big thing. I think that`s going to have big political -- I mean, it has big economic effects but it will also have big political effects. And there`s just -- there was a -- there was a sort of a looting aspect to how this came down that they were so desperate to get this done and that had a lot to do with just the chaos and the craziness of this year of Trump that it was just like, you know, kind of -- you know, in trading places when they`re down on the commodities floor, that kind of --
HAYES: Well, you`ve got it with the -- you got the LLCs got protected, or the real estate, the oil and pipelines. Lanhee, do you agree that today is sort of -- I mean, I felt this way many times observing American politics. I remember Paul Ryan pushing for Medicare part D, which of course wasn`t paid for, that we can`t at least definitively just put aside deficits as a talking point. Like, they don`t matter. The Republicans are, I think, right about that substantively. But we should just not listen to anyone who votes for this bill that talks about deficits.
CHEN: Yes, I mean, fiscal responsibility you know, was so 1990s, Chris. I mean, I don`t even know why it is we`re even talking about that anymore because the reality is that both Republicans and Democrats have completely tossed aside any notion that it matters. Now, it could be the case next year that the agenda Republicans pursue is more closely in line with the kinds of reforms that have been talked about for very long time. Whether it`s reform of Medicare and Medicaid or looking at Social Security, I mean, those are things President Trump has pledged he`s not going to touch.
HAYES: Right, but if you --
CHEN: But unless you go there, fiscal responsibility in my mind is just a talking point and nothing more.
HAYES: Right. And the other thing is if you -- if you`re doing that --
MARSHALL: I want to defend the Democrats a little here.
HAYES: Yes, please.
MARSHALL: Because if you look at -- if you -- there`s a question of whether how much we should care about deficits, but a huge amount of what happened with the ObamaCare legislation was finding ways to --
HAYES: To pay for it.
MARSHALL: To pay for it. So --
HAYES: As opposed, I will say, to this day Medicare part D, no one remembers Medicare part D, but I remember covering that thing which was just this --
MARSHALL: Yes, let`s just do it.
HAYES: -- crazily expensive thing that we couldn`t pay for at all.
MARSHALL: Yes -- no - so I do -- now, you could argue that that is -- that is political defensiveness there, but I think objectively speaking, how the Affordable Care Act was passed, there was a huge amount of emphasis on making sure it was paid for. So there is a difference there.
HAYES: I also think if you go to -- I mean, you see them already laying the predicate for, as Lanhee said, Medicare and Social Security --
MARSHALL: Looking at Social Security.
HAYES: Looking at. That strikes me as extremely politically dangerous when they`re already down 15 on the Congressional ballot.
MARSHALL: Yes, I mean, I -- that is clearly what they want to do. It is what I and a lot of other right-thinking people are afraid they`re going to do. But starting off with your President at 35 percent approval and like at least ten-point-downs in the generic ballot, going into -- going into a midterm election and saying, all right, our agenda this year, we`re going to cut Social Security and Medicare. I mean, if you want to like just like bottom out until maybe we have no Republicans --
HAYES: Well, but if they have the courage and convictions to be able to do, Josh Marshall and Lanhee Chen, thank you both.
MARSHALL: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: Next, the victory party Republican tell today coincides with the destruction of healthcare for millions of families as Congress fails to renew the program that ensures children, 9 million children. The beginning of Trumpcare in two minutes.
HAYES: -- gathered to celebrate the tax cut bill today as they grinned and they applauded themselves for what the President called a "historic achievement," parents around the country panicked, wondering whether their children will now lose that you are health insurance. That`s because Congress still has not reauthorized funding for Children`s Health Insurance Program or CHIP, which expired on October 1st, and the program which provides 9 million kids with low-cost health coverage is now running out of money. This week, Alabama announced it will stop enrolling kids in the program on January 1st. And unless Congress acts, the state says it will be forced to close CHIP for all 84,000 children it covers on February 1st. And it`s not just Alabama. A new report finds that 20 states will run short of money to fund CHIP in the first quarter of 2018, leaving hundreds of families facing horrific choices.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Realistically, we would probably have to go on food stamps, just to pay -- so we could pay our medical bills.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m joined now by Andy Slavitt who oversaw CHIP as well as Medicaid, Medicare, and health insurance marketplaces program for President Obama. Why is this happening, Andy?
ANDY SLAVIT, ACTING ADMINISTRATOR OF THE CENTERS FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES: Well, I think the Republicans took a gamble back in September that they could put repeal of the ACA first, ahead of CHIP. They could essentially went pens down. And then they went pens down further when they decided to go for a tax cut instead. They found -- I think they assumed, probably, that they would somehow have time to be able to get this done this year. They played with fire and as the families, you just showed, there are people getting burned now and I think they made a horrible mistake.
HAYES: They are now saying they`re just going to go home for the holidays and this is sending real disruption through -- I mean, what are -- what are the stakes here for the recipients of this program, as they`re getting these letters and phone calls saying, well, they may all run out.
SLAVITT: Well, let`s think about who these people are. We`ve got families that are above the poverty level. These are all working families. You know, they`re paying for their insurance. This is private insurance. This is not -- historically not an ideological thing. You have 9 million kids who rely on this program. And you know, I`m hearing from a number of them who are panicking. They are not going to have a good Christmas. I think this has long been a bipartisan issue. It`s one that both Republicans and Democrats have been able to share credit for. I think that will no longer be the case. I think it`s now clear that when Republicans say we will only pass CHIP if you pay a big price, they are clearly saying, we`re OK if it expires. And I think we`ve got -- there`s going to be damage done to families and I think damage done to the people who would make this a priority.
HAYES: Something else enormous happened today, which is the repeal of the individual mandate, which the President bragged about today. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: So in this bill, not only do we have massive tax cuts and tax reform, we have essentially repealed ObamaCare and we`ll come up with something that will be much better. We didn`t want to bring it up. I told people specifically, be quiet with the fake news media because I don`t want them talking too much about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What does it mean -- I mean, today is in some sense the first day of Trumpcare, officially. What is Trumpcare going to look like?
SLAVITT: Well, look, I think the fact that premiums are going to go up quite significantly now, directly as a result of the actions that Republicans took today means in effect that they do own it. And they own the cost of insurance now for Americans. I think that`s been the case for some time and it`s even more clear today. But there`s something else that happened, Chris, which I think is very interesting. Every part of the ACA polls extremely well with the American public. Protecting pre-existing conditions, making sure lifetime limits are gone, all of its polls extremely well, except for the individual mandate. Now that`s gone. And Republicans have now taken a bill that`s been growing in popularity with the American public and taken away the only part of it the people didn`t like. We have now what I believe will be an enormously popular bill that people will, I think, want to hold on to, this law, and yet you have the Trump administration who they see very clearly driving up the cost of.
HAYES: So what does that equal, though? I mean, it seems really unsustainable. I feel like the worst-case scenario is a sloppily and poorly administered program that delivers bad outcomes for people but with no actual change.
SLAVITT: Well, actually, it`s going to be better than that. Here`s what`s going to happen. If people make up to $80,000 or so a year or 400 percent of the poverty level, they`re protected from Trump shenanigans. They`ll have all the protections they have, they`ll have affordable coverage. Those are millions of people -- the millions of people that covered through Medicare -- Medicaid and Medicaid expansion, they`ll be fine. They`ll be great. What the Trump team did is they basically raised premiums on people who earn more than $80,000 or so a year, and that`s obviously not a good thing. They own that. But the ACA is actually quite durable and quite resilient. And so for the millions of people that it serves well, it`s going to continue to serve them well.
HAYES: The people who it`s not serving well, those people who don`t get the subsidies, who make over $80,000, they`re already ticked off about the law. They`ve already feel like they`ve been paying too much. And now it just got worse. And they are as a group, an angry and organized group and Congress and the White House will hear from them. Andy Slavitt, thanks for joining me.
SLAVITT: That`s right. Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, why is the Head of the EPA using public money to have his office swept for hidden listening devices and installing sophisticated biometric locks? A check-in on Scott Pruitt after this quick break.
HAYES: Before Donald Trump put him in charge of the EPA, Scott Pruitt`s defining feature was being an enemy of the EPA. It`s right there in his Linkedin page which still, to this day, describes Pruitt, right now, as a leading advocate against the EPA`s activist agenda. Pruitt has made a career of questioning climate science, doing the bidding of oil and gas industry, and now that he`s in charge of the agency tasked with protecting the environment, he is very much acting like a man behind enemy lines, with all the paranoia that entails. No EPA administrator has ever had a 24/7 security detail, until Scott Pruitt, who has reportedly hired a dozen, that`s 12, new agents to protect him, bringing his personal security detail to a whopping 30 people at a cost of at least $2 million per year.
The A.P. reports that Pruitt used public money to have his office swept for hidden listening devices and bought sophisticated biometric locks for additional security. And the EPA spent nearly $25,000 to build a soundproof communications booth for Pruitt`s office, prompting the EPA Inspector General to open up an investigation. Pruitt has also embarked on something of an ideological purge of his own agency after three staffers raised concerns about the EPA`s direction, The New York Times reported requests were submitted for copies of e-mails written by them that mentioned either Pruitt or President Trump. With the requests coming from a Republican campaign research group that specializes in helping party candidates and conservative groups find damaging information on political rivals.
Now, Pruitt is far alone in all -- far from alone in all this. The Trump administration is full of people who are effectively waging war on the government they run including Rex Tillerson who has made a mission of hollowing out the State Department. And just yesterday, the President`s son, Donald Trump Jr., claimed top government officials are conspiring against his father.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP JR., SON OF PRESIDENT TRUMP: There is, and there are, people at the highest levels of government that don`t want to let America be America.
HAYES: When we come back, I`ll speak to Maxine Waters about another Trump camp war who went on Robert Mueller and the Russia probe. Don`t go away.
HAYES: This afternoon, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, took the senate floor to warn President Trump directly what will happen if he fired special counsel Robert Mueller or others involved in the Russia investigation.
(BEGIN VIEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER, (D) VIRGINIA: Firing Mr. Mueller, or any other of the top brass involved in this investigation, would not only call into question this administration`s commitment to the truth, but also to our most basic concept rule of law. It also has the potential to provoke a constitutional crisis.
In the United States of America, no one, no one is above the law, not even the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: With me now, Congressman Maxine Waters, Democrat of California.
Congresswoman, between Mark Warner`s warning today and your colleague, Jackie Waters, said something on TV the other day about a rumor that the president was going to fire Mueller, I can`t quite get what information you in congress may have that we may not have, but is there a palpable sense of fear among you and your colleagues that something like that is going to happen as soon as congress leaves for recess?
REP. MAXINE WATERS, (D) CALIFORNIA: Oh, yes, we are concerned about this buildup that we see. We`ve been watching what they`re doing on Fox News, how each day they`re adding to the conversation about whether or not he`s being fair to Trump and whether or not someone who served on his staff has made comments about Trump that are unreasonable. And so we can see the buildup. And obviously, there`s a strategy to undermine and to discredit the special counsel.
And so we are on alert. And we`re prepared for any firing or any actions that would remove him from this investigation, and we plan to deal with it.
HAYES: What does that mean? I mean, what can you do? You`re in the minority.
WATERS: Well, we are. But the citizens of this country will recognize that something is very wrong with firing the special counsel in the middle of this investigation. What is this president has to hide? Why is it they`re so determined to stop him? Why are they trying so hard to discredit him?
And so I think it`s not so much the members of congress, but the citizens of this country will respond.
HAYES: Would you also draw a red line at the firing or any removal of the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who I think is in some ways a more controversial figure among Democrats than Robert Mueller has proven to be.
WATERS: Well, I think any action that`s taken by this president to impede or interfere with this investigation will not be received very well by the members of congress or by the citizens of this country. So the firing of Rosenstein, the firing of Special Counsel Mueller, any of that is going to get a reaction, because we know that this is the worst way that this president can use his power to undermine the rule of law. It is unusual, it is extraordinary, and we just believe that we cannot allow this kind of constitutional crisis to take place without responding to it.
HAYES: Would Democrats do something -- can you imagine Democrats coming back to Washington, D.C. -- physically, what would you do if you`re home in Los Angeles in your district, and the president did something that you felt crosses a line, threaten the rule of law, would the Democrats all come back to Washington, D.C.? Would you...
WATERS: Well, I don`t know, because we have not had that discussion, but I certainly would get on a plane and come back. And I think a lot of other members will.
As a matter of fact, I think you`re going to see a high level of support from members of congress tomorrow. There will be a press conference tomorrow at 12:30, where members are going to unleash information about the kind of support that has been gathered for the special counsel.
So yes, we would be prepared to do what we have to do. And I, for one, certainly would come back to Washington.
HAYES: There`s also another individual who has come in for a lot of criticism, and seemed to be targeted particularly by your colleague Congressman Trey Gowdy, which is Andrew McCabe, who is the number two at the FBI. He`s someone who`s been the subject of a lot of critical coverage from Trump TV and other allied media. Do you get what they`re doing? He was today testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. Trey Gowdy had floated the idea he was going to get fired beforehand. Do you get what they`re up to with Andrew McCabe?
WATERS: No, I really don`t. I just have no idea. But what we know is this: we know that the president of the United States has basically drawn a red line. And he talked about, if this special counsel interferes with information about his private life in terms of his finances, that he has implied that he would fire him. And so, we don`t know everything that`s in this plot, except to know that they are trying to stop this investigation.
This president does not want it to go forward and we cannot help but ask why. What is he afraid of? If he has not been involved in collusion, if he has not been involved in obstruction of justice, if he has not been involved in money laundering, if he doesn`t have a plot to lift the sanctions, working with the Kremlin and the oligarchs of Russia, what is he afraid of? And why is he going to such lengths to try and discredit the special counsel?
HAYES: All right, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thanks for being with me tonight.
WATERS: You`re welcome. Thank you.
HAYES: Still ahead, Republicans passed the deeply unpopular tax bill and Democratic challengers are already lining up to hold them accountable in 2018. The playbook for Democrats ahead.
Plus, meet the poster child for the tax bill. Tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, which I`ve been looking forward to all night, starts after this break.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, this much is certain, today was a great day for the Koch family. The Kochs really wanted this Republican tax cut, billionaire megadonors Charles and David Koch have spent hundreds of millions of dollars electing Republicans who would cut taxes. Their advocacy group called this year`s tax push the most significant effort they`ve ever taken on.
But did you know there`s another lesser-known Koch brother? Bill Koch, also a billionaire businessman, and when he`s not holding Cape Cod fundraisers for Donald Trump, Bill Koch is devoted to protecting Americans from enormously expensive counterfeit wines, a noble cause he took up after being ripped off spending $400,000 on a bottle of bad grape juice.
While today`s tax cut is really good for all the Kochs, it is Bill Koch`s son, seen here who has he emerged as quite possibly the world`s most perfect poster child for the Trump tax cut.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WYATT KOCH, BILL KOCH`S SON: My father said to me, Wyatt, you can do whatever you want to in life, but just make sure you do it well and you do it with passion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: He`s a member of Mar-a-Lago. He`s got his own shirt business and video you don`t want to miss, Wyatt Koch is Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Wyatt Koch, the son of billionaire Bill Koch, made headlines this week when The New York Post revealed he`s suing his ex-fiance to get back the engagement ring which his lawyers claim is worth $250,000. That Wyatt Koch story broke yesterday as Republicans were jamming through a massive tax bill.
As people started looking into him, it dawned on them that Wyatt Koch is basically the mascot for this Trump tax bill, not just because he`s a Mar- a-Lago member, though he is, Wyatt Koch has all the ingredients for an insane tax cut, super wealthy and not relying on wages? Check. Stands to inherit a lot more wealth that won`t be taxed? Check. Has an LLC for his business, pass-through income that presumably drop his tax rate to 21 percent? Check.
And what, you ask, is his business? Well, he designs and sells really interesting shirts, like this money bag shirt called The Wall Street, with the description, "if the sign you`re most compatible with is dollar, this shirt is for you."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOCH: Every day I go to the office, I enjoy creating the clothes. Be bold to me means be authentic, be real, be yourself, be confident, and always be a gentlemen.
HAYES: As Republicans try to sell a tax cut just 24 percent of Americans approve of, now they have their poster child. They did it for Wyatt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KOCH: I want my shirts to be able to worn in the board room or in a discotheque or in a nightclub or on a yacht.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: My view of this, if we can`t sell this to the American people, we ought to go into another line of work. It requires us continuing this discussion with the American people, and we`re all going to be doing that, all through the year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s one thing everyone in Washington agrees on today, if there`s anything Republicans should be judged on next year, it`s the tax bill they passed today. Democrats think they have the advantage and the data suggests they might be right. Even though a new NBC poll shows that Americans by a 2-to-1 margin believes President Donald Trump`s approach has made the economy better rather than worse, which is a favor -- which is in his favor, voters still prefer Democrats to Republicans on which party better handles the economy, the first Democratic lead on that question since 2013, the largest since 2009.
The president`s ratings overall remain at historic lows, including a 35 percent approval rating today, according to Gallup, leading one Republican pollster to tell NBC, quote, our president is getting credit for the economy improving and not deriving political value from it.
Already, the generic congressional ballot suggests Republicans could come in for a shellacking next year. According to FiveThirtyEight, Democrats are ahead by more than 12 points by that measure.
The new tax bill gives Democrats a roadmap for pegging Republicans as the party of the rich, the party of corporations. An analysis from the Tax Policy Center this week found that by 2027, 83 percent of the bill`s benefits will go to the top 1 percent. And Democrats are already hitting Republican lawmakers for giving themselves a big tax cut through the tax bill they wrote.
A 2018 challenger to Paul Ryan is calling out the speaker for passing a law that could give himself huge gains. That video and the path forward for Democrats after the break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDY BRYCE, IRON WORKER: Donald Trump is going to benefit from this. Paul Ryan is going to benefit from this. A lot of members of congress are going to benefit from this. People that aren`t going to benefit are people like us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Randy Bryce, a Wisconsin iron worker who is running for Speaker Paul Ryan`s seat next year. He and other Democrats are already laying out how they plan to use the new tax bill against the GOP next year, pinning Paul Ryan and other Republicans as more concerned about corporations and the ultra rich and about their own bottom line than about middle class Americans.
Anna Galland is the executive director of MoveOn, Cornell Belcher a Democratic pollster and the president of Brilliant Corners Research and Strategies.
And Cornell, let me start with you on some of the polling here, this has not polled well.
CORNELL BELCHER, PRESIDENT, BRILLIANT CORNERS RESEARCH AND STRATEGIST: To say the least.
HAYES: It has polled worse than any tax cut ever. And in line with that, I thought this was really interesting from -- for some of the cross tabs at NBC today, that the public -- that 28 percent of rural Americans and 29 percent of whites without a college degree, key parts of Trump`s 2016 base say it`s a good idea.
Do you that is a bottom they can turn around with salesmanship?
BELCHER: I think it`s real tough. But I also don`t think that fundamentally this is the reason they voted for Donald Trump, right? I think what we can do with what is going on right now is we can finally put an end to this narrative about Donald Trump, ridiculous and lazy narrative of Donald Trump being a populist. It wasn`t -- I think the uncomfortable conversation about nationalism makes us lean on populism, but Donald Trump didn`t win because of economics, right, he won because of nationalism. And if we think going to win those voters over on economics, I just don`t think it`s true.
I think this is a variable that helps Democrats make the economic case against Republicans in 2018, but I will say this, if we look at those red places that Democrats need to win House seats and going into 2018, I think we need more than just the economics arguments. Chris, I was actually watching your show when -- Tuesday night when I thought that Jones was going to win, and that was when I saw the question in exit polling about values, like which candidate represents your values. And Republican didn`t have advantage there in Alabama, I knew it was going to be a good night for Jones.
I think this economics piece helps, but also when you look at where those voters are on fundamental values, I think Democrats still need to have an argument in that place.
HAYES: Anna, I know that when the ACA was passed in early 2010, it really became a kind of rallying cry for a lot of the kind of activist class of the Republican Party. To them it symbolized this that this had been done against their opposition and they were really angry about it and focused on it. And I wonder what role this legislation plays for the activist class of the Democratic Party, the kinds of folks that you`re in touch with at MoveOn.
ANNA GALLAND, MOVEON: Yeah, of course.
So, I mean, look, the -- before this bill passed you could characterize this moment in our country, in the resistance, as a raging bonfire of energy, passion, dedication, resolve. And all this bill did was pour more gasoline onto that raging bonfire.
You might have expected today people to be defeated or deflated, but I`m hearing from people who are just ready to go, folks are ready to not just resist in the here and now, but to win in 2018.
So, I think this is, if anything, just increasing the intensity that you`re going to see for people to go knock on doors, make phone calls, bring their friends to the polls.
And one thing that I think is interesting about the period we`ve just come through, because we`re living through such a crazy moment of assaults on so many fronts, it was underreported just how intensely people were fighting back against the tax scam. MoveOn alone made 25,000 phone calls last two months to members of the congress, held thousands of events around the country. And so that energy is going straight into resisting and winning in 2018, that`s where it`s going to go next. As long as Democrats don`t sap that important energy by not standing firm for DREAMers, that`s where you`re going to see it go next.
HAYES: That`s a good point. I`ll want to return to that in a second.
Cornell, how central do you see this bill being in messaging in the fall? Because I think, you know, to me when you look at New York, New Jersey, and California, those Republicans, even if they voted against that -- Leonard Lance on our program last night who voted against it -- that`s a tough sell in a lot of those districts.
BELCHER: It is. And when you look at the House races -- I mean, quite frankly just in the Amtrak corridor of the northeast, there`s enough Republicans there that could loose, that could flip the house right? But I think from a broader standpoint, I think this is one piece of the economics message sort of that Democrats can carry, and the number that I want to give you, Chris, that I think is fascinating is the plus four. And that is right now Democrats have a plus four advantage on dealing with taxes right? The fundamental pillar of the Republican brand has been taxes. And that Americans now trust Democrats more on dealing with taxes? If I were at the RNC, I think it`s time -- I would hit the panic button.
HAYES: Anna, follow up on what you said about DACA and all this energy that has produced by this moment and what will happen if you feel like Democrats essentially cave on DACA.
GALLAND: Yeah, I mean, look we`re in this moment where Republicans are doing the most obscene offensive disastrous things possible for our country. They are literally prioritizing giving handouts to their wealthy donors over the health of millions of kids, over the economic well-being, the retirement security, the health care of their own constituents, the home values of their constituents. Like what they`ve done should be, by all merits, will likely be politically suicidal.
But on the other side is people have to actually go out and want to vote for Democrats. And so one of the things that you need to see right now is Democrats not just be the opposition option that people have, but a principled, value-centered, fighty opposition and one of the biggest fights of that moment where they have a chance to show what they stand for, not just what they stand against is to fight for dreamers, to use the leverage that they have at the end of the year to stand for dreamers.
So, it`s -- you know, it`s a two part thing. Republicans are doing a lot of damage to themselves, but Democrats have to help themselves too.
HAYES: Anna Galland and Cornell Belcher, thanks for making time.
That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
Copy: Content and programming copyright 2017 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2017 ASC Services II Media, LLC. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.