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The fleecing of America Transcript 12/22/17 All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: Dan Rather, David Ignatius, Michael Isikoff, Rebecca Traister, Irin Carmon, Rachana Pradhan, Dan Diamond, Bob Garfield

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: December 22, 2017 Guest: Dan Rather, David Ignatius, Michael Isikoff, Rebecca Traister, Irin Carmon, Rachana Pradhan, Dan Diamond, Bob Garfield




HAYES: The media demonized.

TRUMP: What they are doing is the fake news.

HAYES: The public lied to.

SEAN SPICER, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period.

HAYES: It was also the year of free press rose to the challenge.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Just posted by the Washington Post, they`ve got 30 sources.

HAYES: The stories that changed a presidency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Breaking news, health secretary Tom Price is out.

HAYES: And the relentless reporting it took to break them.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The stakeout that we did at Dallas Airport.

HAYES: The uncovered secrets that sparked a reckoning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Numerous allegations of sexual misconduct that spanning decades.

HAYES: 2017, the battle over truth itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why should Americans trust you when you are providing information that`s --

TRUMP: Well, I was given that information.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.


HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. At the very start of the Trump administration on day one, Sean Spicer made clear what posture the White House would take toward the press.


SPICER: This was the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration, period, both in person and around the globe. These attempts to lessen the enthusiasm of the inauguration are shameful and wrong.


HAYES: That moment, that remarkable moment in which a representative of the President, the Press Secretary himself yelled demonstrably false statements that everyone knew to be lies set the tone for this White House. The President who has vilified journalists decried unflattering stories as "fake news" and flat-out lied over and over and over again. But the Trump administration repeated attacks on the rights of American citizens to know the truth about their government did not have its intended effect. The press was not cowed. It was in many ways invigorated.

Throughout this hour, we`re going to talk to the journalists who help bring about one of the most remarkable years of American reporting in memory, covering one of the most hostile administrations in American history. We begin with MSNBC National Security Contributor Michael Schmidt, Washington Correspondent for the New York Times and Francesca Chambers, White House Correspondent for the Daily Mail. Francesca, let me start with you because I see you almost every day in that briefing room, first with Sean Spicer and now with Sarah Huckabee Standers. What is that dynamic like? It seems different than previous briefing rooms to me watching it bur you in that room. What`s it like?

FRANCESCA CHAMBERS, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, DAILY MAIL: I will say a sharp shift that we`ve seen here in the briefing room kind of behind the scenes in this White House is that previously you would always count on the Associated Press To be called into this briefing room first and you could count on there being a policy question and sort of news of the day first. And that is something that this administration has done away with. And so that is why you`ll see them going to other outlets all across the room and you never know if you are going to be the first one to get called on. So have to you be very, very prepared in this administration because what if they come to you and it is your day, you got the top question and every network in America cameras are rolling.

HAYES: Michael, one of the things that -- when I was -- when I was in Washington, there would be certain kinds of information that would be released by a White House that even though you`re sort of -- you know, trained as a journalist to question everything, there are certain things you wouldn`t question like they would put out a schedule and say, oh, the President is going to be here at this time or the President is going golfing or not going golfing and I feel like with this administration, really even the most basic kind of logistical information sometimes just isn`t accurate.

MICHAEL SCHMIDT, MSNBC NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Yes, I think that`s a fair thing to say that there`s a lot sort of basic things -- you know, White House logs, people that are coming in to see the President, things like that, the stuff that`s on his schedule. Under Obama, you used to get a readout of every person he played golf with, who his golf partners were.

We`ve never seen that with Trump. And that`s sort of a good example of how that is a little different. You know, there`s -- this is a White House that has really tried hard to make it more difficult to find out things like that. And it sort of has set the tone for the rest of the relationship with the press.

HAYES: And yet there is an irony which is that at one level they`ve been less transparent, things like the White House visitor logs and who the President played golf with or if he is playing golf, which they insist on lying about even though we could all see him at golf carts in social media`s pictures taken on the golf course. But they`ve also -- they just talk a lot. It seems like this White House leaks and talks more to reporters than any White House I`ve ever seen. Would you say that is true Michael?

SCHMIDT: Well, in some ways they`re aren`t very transparent but in other ways they are. The President seems to always be willing to tell you what he is thinking in ways that previous presidents would. And he will walk out before he`s getting on the helicopter and he will -- he will stop and talk to the press. And it seems like we get more of that than we did in previous administrations. And it seems like the President will tell you what he`s thinking. It may be sometimes hard to understand or deconstruction but he seems willing to do that. And it is a very accessible White House. People do talk a lot and it doesn`t seem like there are incredible consequences for people that talk too much. There had been sort of a push to find the leakers and you know, we need to out the leakers and stuff. But you know, this continues to be a pretty leaky and accessible White House.

HAYES: Yes, do you find Francesca, that for all of the bluster, people talk.

CHAMBERS: Yes. I mean, that is how we get -- we get all of our stories done right? So I don`t know how many reporters are encouraging the White House to stop talking. And the President himself is getting on Twitter every single morning and I think that`s been another big change. President Barack Obama was not speaking as they`ve said directly to the American people that way which has been both I think a blessing and a curse for this White House Because you do have the President being able to get his message out there in way that`s unfiltered but of course we`ve seen some of those tweets have managed to generate quite a lot of news.

I know it seems forever ago but remember when he said Barack Obama had wiretapped him and in Trump Tower and then of course that generated news cycle after news cycle and really derailed from the administration`s priorities. And you mentioned how they`re always seem to be talking, they`re also on television quite a lot. In the previous administration, you didn`t see the Chief of Staff or even the National Security Adviser on television as much as we are seeing now.

So we`re also getting direct information from senior White House officials and that form that we did not before. But as you said, of course behind the scenes, they are also talking quite a bit without putting their name on it, even as they accuse the press of making up sources when they say that people send them background or anonymously.

HAYES: Michael Schmidt and Francesca Chambers, thanks to you both. With me now, a veteran of White House reporting, former CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather, President and CEO of News And Guts Media and the Author of What Unites Us, Reflections On Patriotism. So you have some perspective here. There`s a kind of desire I think I think all the time we`re rushed to say things about Trump or completely unprecedented. It`s never been like this and sometimes I think that`s a bit ahistorical. How would you characterize this President`s relationship to the press as compared other presidents you have covered and watched?

DAN RATHER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, NEWS AND GUTS MEDIA: Well, first of all, I`m one of those who have said that this is unique in the history of American presidency. The closest we`ve had was presidency of Richard Nixon and of course during the period of, "Watergate," widespread criminal conspiracy led by the president himself. President Nixon disliked the press and it is fair to say he hated the press and he`s very hostile to the press and he systematically tried to undercut reporters and press institutions.

No question about that. However, never in the Nixon administration particularly from the opening of his presidency, his first term, was the kind of unrelenting -- I would say unethical -- I`m searching for a word because I want to be careful here -- from the president himself. President Nixon often use surrogates like his Vice President or quietly had assistants do things with the press. But in terms of President without exception, I don`t think there has ever been a president who right from the opening has so unrelentingly and forcefully personally attacked individual reporters and present institutions and he has threatened to use the full force and power of the presidency against institutions as "The Washington Post", "The New York Times" and others.

Now when I say President Nixon was the closest, I don`t think frankly there`s very much comparison to be made, two different eras for one thing. But there is that -- but you are right about one thing that sometimes we overstate things.

HAYE: But I think -- that is a really interesting distinction because you know, Nixon of course, let`s just say hated the press. He like Trump both sort of hated the press and was obsessed with the press which is another similarity here. That`s an interesting distinction that he did not -- he at least publicly and personally sort of tipped his cap toward some basic appreciation of first amendment and the free press in a way that this President really never does.

RATHER: And that`s the reason it is unprecedented. For all of he did and what he didn`t do, President Nixon never tried to say look this institution is worthless and never used the kind of language of the press --everybody in the press and media, enemies of the people, which has -- which echoes through authoritarian regimes through really modern and ancient history. President Nixon quite frankly, I don`t think he believed that, that all press people are enemies of the people. We`ve haven`t seen anything like this. But I will say that President Trump, by using the full power and prestige of the Presidency has undercut press credibility. He`s been a complete failure with convincing some people. And when he constantly talks about fake news, he knows the value of just repeating propaganda and lies. Well, it needs to be noted and you have noted, and give you credit, Chris, that one fountain of fake lies is the President of the United States himself, demonstrably provable lies time and time and time again. But he`s made some headway with this and those of us in the press who make mistakes, we all do. I`ve made my share. Every time we make a mistake it fuels his ability to convince some of the people that all of the press is not worth a damn and I`ll quote, enemies of the people.

HAYE: I want you -- and you mention the mistakes and I wanted to ask you about you know, this incident that you had under the Bush administration in which there was a document which you guys ran down and you reported it, you vetted it and it was quite well I think faked essentially, it appears to have been the case. And it was used in precisely the same way not just against you, Dan Rather, but against all of the news in a way that is somewhat parallel to the way this administration will use press errors to kind of fully discredit the media.

RATHER: Well, I don`t want to go over the whole thing because we don`t have the time. But let me say that the documents that we used to support the story, we reported a true story about President Bush -- George W. Bush -- it was a true story. The process by which we arrived that truth was the only vulnerability we had in the document. The documents to this day have never been proven anything other than authentic. But I agree that the burden is under price to prove the authenticity. I thought we proved the authenticity. But your point is very well --

HAYES: About how -- that incident, which again was -- I think the entire thing was conducted in good faith, I guess would be my point. So the process was done in good faith. And sometimes in reporting, you conduct things in good faith and they turn out to be wrong. And there`s demonstration of good faith or bad faith errors that I feel like has been erased very much in this administration.

RATHER: well, that`s. But this started a long time ago. It even started before President Nixon but basically from 1968 forward. There`s been a whole sense within the body of politics, that the press is vulnerable, that the public can be convinced that the press is not what sets out to be. But I will say, Chris, when we talked about these things, I always think it is very important to know what everyone thinks of the press. If the press is absolutely essential to our system of checks and balances, it is the red beating heart of freedom and democracy and if you don`t have the press as a watchdog, you`re unlikely to have the kind of government we have.

HAYES: Dan Rather, thanks for being with me tonight.

RATHER: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: After the break, the President under investigation of relentless reporting of the Russia probe and obstruction of justice and the birth of bombshell o`clock, that is next.


HAYE: Months before the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. There was a crucial nugget of information in a January 12th column by David Ignatius of the Washington Post. It was one of the first dominos in the Russia story and centered on Michael Flynn. "According to a senior government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak several times on December 29th, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russia officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking." Nearly 11 months later, Flynn pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI about those very contacts.

Since that initial reporting on Flynn, many more dominos have fallen in the Russia investigation at a pace and volume that often seems astonishing. With me now re three Reporters who have all broken major stories in the Russia probe. Carol Lee is a Reporter from NBC News, Michael Isikoff is the Chief Investigative Correspondent for the Yahoo! News and the aforementioned David Ignatius, a Columnist from the Washington Post. And David let me start with you. I was going back over that column and that nugget of news is in like -- it`s like seven graphs down and I wonder if when you reported that piece if you were aware of the significance of what you were reporting.

DAVID IGNATIUS, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: It didn`t make sense and it seemed implausible that they had not talked about the very sanctions that were being announced that day. But that was -- that was the claim that was made when they finally responded the next morning after the column appeared. In retrospect, it is strange to lots of people, including me that it was not written as the lead but the other thing the column noted and I think it`s still a good question is why did it take President Obama so long to respond to the Russian meddling in our elections. That was the other issue I was exploring and I think it`s a still a big one.

HAYES: You know, that one source, so David went with one source in that and it proved to be accurate, in fact profoundly accurate. It led to all these things but one anonymous source is dangerous. I mean, you -- both of you are walking a high wire act in this reporting, no one is going to go on the record about an investigation that`s happening. I mean, that`s just not going to happen. So you`re dealing with anonymous sources, and you`re dealing with anonymous sources you may have agendas or maybe trying to mislead you. How has it been to report this story, Michael?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, CHIEF INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, YAHOO! NEWS: Very difficult. But look, you know, it`s not how many sources you have, it`s who those sources are and how they know the information they are imparting to you. And if it`s somebody who has direct knowledge, who was involved in a conversation or saw a memo or read-out that spelled it out, that`s a lot better than having five sources who could tell you they heard about such a memo.

So I don`t -- I don`t get hung up on the number of sources and I`m sometimes amazed by some of these stories and say we`ve talked to 30 sources inside of the White House that corroborated this, you know, I think that`s a little bit much. You know, I don`t need to know that you talked to 30 people, I just need to know as best you can, who you were talking to.

CAROL LEE, REPORTER, NBC NEWS: I would say one source is a really big -- I just think generally one source is a big risk unless it`s you know, one impeachable source and that is kind of rare in this sort of reporting. The other thing --

HAYES: Although if Jack Kelly tells you something off the record, you know, who is in the meeting, then you got reason to run with that.

LEE: Right. That what I mean -- that was considered very impeccable source. But the other thing is you have to think about what people`s agenda. So it`s not even just how many sources you have or how good your sources are, but what their agenda is. Why they are telling you this, what me might have to gain from it, whether how they`re spinning it, and that`s a challenge too particularly in this story and increasingly becoming a challenge because you`re seeing instances where there are people who want to set reporters up to fail now. And that`s a concern I think a year ago which some of us didn`t really have in the way that we do now.

HAYES: That seems like an active thing that you have to look out for in reporting the story at this point. I mean, there`s an obvious desire to discredit everything having to do with the investigation. And you know, one of the things that has happened is the press has in some ways been out ahead of actual investigators. I mean, the best example of this -- David, the best example is that -- is that Trump Tower meeting. I mean, when that Trump Tower meeting, the e-mails about that Trump Tower meeting are disclosed, which is one of the biggest sort of breaks in the case, the reporting indicates that Mueller didn`t know the Trump Tower Meeting existed, that was shaken loose by reporters.

IGNATIUS: I can`t speak to the timing of that disclosure. I agree those e-mails referring to the June 9 meeting in Trump Tower with Donald Jr. and the Russian lawyer were a crucial turn. Just to be clear about my January 12th story, I would not have published that allegation unless I was confident that it was true.

HAYES: Right.

IGNATIUS: And I don`t want to talk in detail about sourcing, don`t want to talk at all about it. But when I was an editor, I used to say to my reporters would say I have six sources and my response as editor would say I want to know how you know it`s true. There`s a difference and I was confident this was true.

HAYES: Do you think -- what has it been like with the Mueller investigation which my sense has been incredibly tight-lipped?

ISIKOFF: Yes, well look, for those of us who have covered Bob Mueller over the years from his days in the Justice Department and the FBI, he is not a leaker. This is not a guy who feels any need to placate the press or work with the press at all. Anything he said to the press is begrudging, he never wanted to do public appearances, or T.V. appearances when he was FBI Director. He had to be dragged to do it. So I think it is fair -- I think we can assume that most of what has been reported about the Mueller investigation is not coming from Mueller or people directly reporting to him. But you know, look, there are lots of people who can pick up aspects -- witnesses get interviewed, their lawyers are in contact, there`s lots of ways to gather bits and pieces of the Mueller investigation. But I should say, we still don`t know the thrust of where he is going and what his intentions are.

HAYES: I want to talk about precisely that. Like what we do and don`t know at this point right after we take a quick break. Carol Lee, Michael Isikoff, and David Ignatius please stay with us.



SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, PRESS SECRETARY, WHITE HOUSE: There is a very big difference between making honest mistakes and purposely misleading the American people, something that happens regularly. You can`t say -- I`m not done. You cannot say --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- completely fake, Sarah, and he admitted it.

SANDERS: -- you cannot say that it is an honest mistake when you`re purposely putting out information that you know to be false.


HAYES: There have definitely been errors and corrections in reporting on the Russia investigation as well as other stories. And those errors have been weaponized, used as fodder for a president who is prone to paint any unfavorable press as fake news even when the reporting is completely accurate. Still with me Carol Lee, Michael Isikoff, and David Ignatius.

That sort of -- this sort of back and forth about errors that have happened in the Russia story is -- and corrections of which there have been some. A lot of things have borne out, for instance, David Ignatius`s column turns out. We now know months later Michael Flynn actually pleaded to that. What do we know and not know right now? I mean, how would you character what we know about this story at this point?

LEE: I think we know a sliver of this story at this point. You know, as you`re talking about earlier, Robert Mueller runs a really tight ship. Nothing you know, suggests that leaks are coming out of his operation. And if any -- if we need any evidence that we know so little, you can point to the George Papadopoulos --

HAYES: That exactly the example I use.

LEE: And that was you know --

HAYES: Because no one --

LEE: No one knew who he was. And that was going on for months. You know, and everyone was caught by surprise on that. And so I just think you know, our job is to -- when we see facts, we follow the facts, we report the facts, we report what we know and we also say what we don`t know.

HAYES: Right, but I think that`s -- it`s a useful guide for people that are consuming the news, right? Because part of it is it`s really -- it is hard to know like how much of the picture are we getting in any one moment and I was -- Michael you know, I was listening and there`s a great slate podcast on Watergate right now, it`s called slow burn and their going back through.

And one of the things that`s fascinating about going back through this sort of actually tracking the ark of that story is it unfurled in real time. And you know, it`s not until July of `73, it was a year after the break in basically that they even learn the taping system. The taping system is sitting there for the entirety of the first years of the administration. It`s not a secret. There are people who know this and they don`t get to it. Investigators on the committee don`t get it until a year after the break-in and I`ve heard that and made me think there may be a lot that we don`t know still.

ISIKOFF: Right. Yes, I mean, what`s striking to me is first, how much we`ve learned since a year ago. You go back to early January, I have nothing to do with Russia. That was Trump`s line. And then we learn about the Kislyak and Flynn conversations. We learn about the Trump Tower meeting. We learn about Papadopoulos, we learn about Jeff Sessions meetings. You know, how much we`ve learned and how little we really know. And whether it adds up to what the -- you know, core allegation in the dossier that there were real collusion, collaboration or were these just a series of incidents that just happened because things happen.

HAYES: Although the one --

ISIKOFF: And we don`t -- and we don`t know. We know that there`s a pattern of them -- of the White House trying to minimize and spin and deny, but I have to say, covered many White Houses, that is the instinct of reaction of every White House when there`s an embarrassing story to --

ISIKOFF: Partial disclosure. But here`s one thing --

ISIKOFF: I was going to say -- but it doesn`t tell us whether the real core allegations here are true or not.

HAYES: On the U.S. side. But here is the thing I will say. Because I think sometimes we get caught up in the collusion part of it and this goes to you, David. One thing that is consistent is the people in the national security apparatus from back last year being extremely alarmed on the Russian side.

That is a part of the story that folks who were sort of read into what was going on, read into the hack, read into the intercepted about Putin, really alarmed by what the Russians were up to, the scope of the effort, the degree to which they desired to penetrate and infiltrate these campaigns, that does not speak to the receptivity on the other side, but it does seem to me that that -- the reporting has borne out by and large a real serious effort by the Russians to mess with this election.

IGNATIUS: I think you`re absolutely right. We need to remember that this began really as a counterintelligence investigation looking at covert action by Russia, an adversary, a potential adversary, seeking to affect our election in 2016. And it began, as you say, with the FBI, the CIA, other intelligence agencies gathering information that by August and September, they were presenting to members of congress and member of congress who heard about the allegations, heard some of the detail of what was being collected, were so disturbed by this, that Adam Schiff, Dianne Feinstein were insisting that the president need to take stronger action.

President Obama did not do that, really, he waited until after the election because he was, I think, afraid of even more meddlesome -- Russian involvement.

But this did begin as an investigation or the activities of a hostile foreign intelligence service into our political system and it remains that.

HAYES: It remains that. Yeah, fundamentally. I think it is an important thing to sort of always remember because collusion, obviously, is a huge deal from the perspective of American scandal, the Trump administration, but there`s half of this story is what the Russians were up to and that is remarkable what they were up to.

Carol Lee, Michael Isikoff, David Ignatius, thank you.

After the break, Harvey Weinstein and the reckoning triggered by that report. Rebecca Traister and Irin Carmon join me next.


HAYES: There has been no clearer example this year of journalist`s ability to change the world in the ongoing reporting of sexual misconduct by powerful man. It began with two blockbuster investigations on Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, published by the New Yorker and The New York Times. And in their wake a cascade of stories on harassment and abuse across different industries from TV news to politics to music, to major corporations, all based on the dogged work of reporters gaining the trust of their sources doing the leg work to corroborate their accounts.

A reporter`s work has already had tremendous impact, suspending careers elections, upending elections, provoking a national reckoning on sexual abuse and sexual harassment in public life.

I`m joined now by Washington Post contributing writer Irin Carmon, who broke the story on sexual harassment allegations against Charlie Rose that led to his firing the next day; and New York Magazine writer-at-large Rebecca Traister who has been covering the post-Weinstein reckoning.

I think in my career as a journalist, and I started being a freelance writer right out of college, 22, 23, I have never seen a clearer example of sort of cause and affect reporting real world ramifications than -- really when you start with the first two stories, I mean, this one strike of the ball.

REBECCA TRAISTER, NEW YORK MAGAZINE,: Oh, absolutely. I think that journalism has been driving this in a way that has made it air tight, at least up to a point.

So, in all of the cases where there has been terrific reporting, in advance of whatever winds up happening to the accused, we have gotten this incredibly detailed, incredibly well checked in, all of the cases that we know about accurate vision of what has unfolded, that has helped then explain what the consequences have been. And I think that has been really -- we have gotten a very clear detailed picture of what workplace life under these conditions and what harassment has felt like and I think that has been invaluable to so many people who didn`t realize and didn`t have a clear picture of what this meant and how it felt and played out in women`s careers.

IRIN CARMON, WASHINGTON POST: I mean, I think there is something that reporting can do here that other tools like the criminal justice system or HR are unable to do, right. You`re able to weigh all of the different stories in a way that is publicly accountable. You try to get people to use their names on the record.

The thing that was the most effective I think about the Harvey Weinstein story when I got to Ashley Judd`s name, wow! Ashley Judd was on record.

HAYES: I know her.

CARMON: Everyone has been talking about the open secret, but it is not easy to get people to talk on the record about events that are often very traumatic, and so for journalism to be able to say, first of all, we reached out to these people to get comment. Here is what they say and everything and it is public and it`s transparent to the extent possible, I think that is actually why we`re talking about sexual harassment in a way that we haven`t, because we`re suddenly understanding this with a level of narrative detail and reportorial reader that we haven`t had before.

TRAISTER: I also think that you could tell where there has been the reporting and where there hasn`t been, because as this has gone on, there are some cases where some people have been fired or suspended in advance of reports. So for example, Garrison Keillor was fired preemptively, I believe, and we only have the sketchiest vision of what he did.

CARMON: We have his words on it.

HAYES: That`s all we have.

TRAISTER: That is all we have.

Ryan Lizza lost his job at the New Yorker. NBC fired Matt Lauer in advance of the report on what Lauer had done. And we can see in those cases some public radio host, Leonard Lopeate (ph) was taken out of the building. I don`t know that he has been fired, but without any public record of what the allegations against him are. And when a company fires somebody or suspends them, they are in a legal -- they`re legally obligated by some measures not reveal all of the terms of why they are doing this, and that has left people with confusion about what is happening, what has been alleged and you can see where there is an absence of the reporting.

HAYES: Totally great point.

TRAISTER: There is confusion.

HAYES: Like if you ask me right now what is your feel being Leonard Lopez (ph), who I have a great example because I listened to him for years. Like, I don`t know. I don`t know. I literally do not know.

TRAISTER: And that tells us what the reporting does.

HAYES: The importance of it.

CARMON: And -- sorry, one last thing is that I think the fact that this reckoning has began with people who are by and large recognizable, because obviously we`ve been talking about sexual harassment, we`ve been talking about sexual assault in different ways, not completely, at various times in our history, but the fact that these are all people that we know, people you watch on TV, that you have a relationship with, people you`ve been listening to for years, I think actually helps us understand also how this continues, how it gets covered up because we don`t know all of the information, there is confidentiality, you don`t know if it is an act of justice or somebody has been railroaded, but it helps us understand how we protect people who are so powerful because we feel a connection to them and that is what is really unique about this moment.

TRAISTER: I agree with that.

I think that -- I also think that having captured our interest in part, by being Ashley Judd and Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer and all of these people who are familiar to us, has then begun to do the next part which is open the door to stories of people that are not familiar, so that, yes, earlier this week there was this tremendous feature in The New York Times about the abuses and alleged harassment taking place systemically over years...

HAYES: Decades.

TRAISTER: At two Ford plants in Chicago. That was a really crucial important well done piece of journalism. And I think we wouldn`t have been able to get there about people whose names we don`t know unless we had began to understand how these...

HAYES: I this morning saw a guy paying for coffee and chatting up the woman behind the counter in a way that I would have in the past thought was harmless and maybe was harmless, but thanks to this reporting, I was like, hey, buddy, why don`t you move it along. Like, seriously like I saw this little bit of grimace on her face and I never in a million years would have thought it was like anything the guy is like chatting up -- you know -- and so I think that like when you think about starts with HarveyWeinstein, Ford factory, waitresses, everyone, that is the sort of next place this reporting is moving, but the reporting has been so good, so far I have every confidence it is going to get there.

Irin Carmon and Rebecca Traister, thanks for joining me.

Next, the remarkable reporting that exposed high flying HHS Secretary Tom Price. I`ll speak with those two journalists and the amazing lengths they went to right after this.



TRUMP: I think he`s a very fine person. I certainly don`t like the optics. I`ve saved hundreds of million dollars so I don`t like the optics of what you just said. I`m not happy, OK. I can tell you. I`m not happy.


HAYES: Hours after the president told reporters he was not happy with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Price was out of a job, forced to resign after a Politico investigation revealed that he had somehow spent over a million dollars in public funds to travel on private and government jets instead of flying commercial a fraction of the cost.

Price was the first cabinet secretary to be forced out of the Trump administration, a direct result of the meticulous work done by two reporters who spent months tracing Price`s public appearances, cultivating sources inside of HHS, even staking out Dulles Airport for a glimpse of Price`s private charter, which they finally spotted early one morning in September.

Those two reporters join me now: Politico`s Rachana Pradhan, Dan Diamond.

Let`s start Rachana, maybe I`ll start with you about how the story first started. What was the first tip? How did you first get on this beat?

RACHANA PRADHAN, POLITICO: Sure. First of all, thanks for having me, Chris.

We first got this tip in May, May of 2017. I was on the phone with a source, just about something unrelated actually and then in passing this person mentioned that Price is taking charters apparently routinely for his official duties, even domestic travel in the U.S. And at that point, it was quite early, I would say, in the administration. Price had been on the job maybe for three months. And so that is where it sort of started and it eventually snowballed into our first story in September.

But of course it took a lot of work between one tip in May and then publication that came about four months later.

HAYES: Yeah, so Dan, tell me about that. What was the process to get from the tip to publication, because obviously at some level, this is all public -- I mean, you know, the government is spending public money to charter flights, that is things that are public knowledge. It is not classified information, but shaking it loose can be pretty tough.

DAN DIAMON, POLITICO: It should be public. The distance between proving something that you know is out there and actually having something for publication, that took some time. So Rachana and I put our heads together. We rattled all of the sources we had inside HHS and kind of adjacent to it, hoping for some clues as to not just where Tom Price was going, but how he was getting there, who he was going with him and how the bill was being paid.

It was possible, though unlikely, maybe Tom Price was footing this out of his own pocket, which turned out to not be the case.

Between sources who had knowledge of his travels and ways that we were able to reconstruct what he had done in various trips to Nashville, to Georgia, to California, that is really what Rachana and I spent hours behind even getting to the stake out, that is where we spent hours on across the summer, so when it came time to figure out where he was flying from, we already had that coming together as a database of intelligence that we had built at Politico.

HAYES: Rachana, one of the things that happened in this story which reminds of -- some of what we`ve seen in the Russia story, although in a different domain and at a different scale, is the kind of drip, drip, drip. So rather than saying, well, you caught us, here are the charter flights, I`m go to pay it back, let`s get all this sort of wrap up in a neat bow, there was a kind of series of revelations. They did not come out with the full information all at once.

PRADHAN: Right. And you know part of the reason why that happened is when we first published on -- it was September 19, those five flights that we first wrote about in the span of really of less than a week, that was what we knew we could prove at that time. And part of that, of course, is we can probably discuss is the airport stakeout that we did at Dulles Airport where we saw with our own eyes then Secretary Price going to Philadelphia and back.

And so really, you know, once the first story published, it did shake loose new sources of information that allowed us to keep going with different angles.

HAYES: So let me ask you about the Dulles stakeout, Dan, because the craziest detail of all of the flights is that he chartered a flight to go to Philadelphia from Washington, D.C., which I never heard of a person -- commercial or not, flying from Washington to Philadelphia. I`ve literally never heard of a person doing this. They are two hours apart. The (inaudible) is right there, you could drive, you can walk if you have enough time. It`s -- they are close cities. How did you end up stakeing out that flight?

HAYES: So it was really a team effort and I think, you know, Dan and I had different advantage points if you will as to how we did. it, but in a nutshell, I was in a car and I was driving and Dan was on feet and he was able to see charter planes like when they were landing at the terminal at Dulles and I was able to drive on a road that went past the private jet terminal area at Dulles.

HAYES: Wait, so Dan, you actually -- because he goes there and comes back the same day. So on the return flight you were actually -- you actually get into a position where you can see him coming off the flight and know that you`ve got it.

DIAMOND: We had tried it in the morning, Chris, to be in position to see the flight departing. And we were close, but we weren`t quite where we needed to be. And that gave us enough impetuous when we came back that afternoon to know that we had to do something different and that is where Rachana got her car ion the right position. I was tracking on my phone and so I was watching with my eyes. It was a very memorable plane. I think you`ve shown the picture on your show, the gold belly made it easy to see.

HAYES: It is beautiful.

DIAMOND: Flying in and flying out. So I saw it coming in. I was radioing to Rachana or just live talking -- talking her through it, and then I kind of ran out at the end and got into position overhanging the tarmac.

So, the the two of us had different views, but we were able to back each other up and corroborate that we saw the plane going in. And Rachana had the best view seeing Tom Price actually getting off the plane.

HAYES: Rachana Pradhan and Dan Diamond, thanks for being here and thanks for your great reporting.

DIAMOND: Thank you.

HAYES: Up next, from bashing the media on the campaign trail to hiding from them in the White House, why it`s been over 300 days since the president held a press conference, next.


HAYES: The White House realized pretty quickly that reporters were willing to call out President Trump on his lies right to his face, which is very likely why the president has not held a solo formal news conference in a remarkable 309 days. And while he`s given at least 20 interview to Fox, the president has not sat for an interview with a non-conservative media outlet since he spoke to NBC`s Lester Holt in May and opened himself up to charges of obstruction of justice by admitting he fired James Comey while thinking about the Russia probe.

With me now, Bob Garfield, co-host of WNYC`s On the Media.

Bob, all politicians shade the truth in different ways, all politicians lie sometimes. There is a difference, it seems to me here in this president in the casualness with which the White House generally regards the truth. What do you think?

BOB GARFIELD, WNYC: Casualness and constantness. They have a blatant I would say depraved disregard for the truth, and equally for the first amendment, and they lie, lie, lie, and then attack the press and it`s -- it is something to behold.

HAYES: You know, there`s a worry about the sort of -- a sort of creeping authoritarian perspective of this White House, the fake news, the constant undermining of the free press. And then there are others who say this is them just trash talking. Which side of that are you on?

GARFIELD: Well, it is trash talking. I`m trash talking the Trump regime because they are a disgrace, and they live and breathe lies every day. That is their fuel. And it is not as though they are politicians caught in a fib or an over promise or a misrepresentation, they are all lies all the time. And it`s not jus the president, it is his succession of spokespeople, it is his circle, it is his supporters in the congress and most especially it is the right wing media led by Fox News which has long since ceased to even have pretensions of actual journalism, it is just a hit team for what we used to call the lunatic fringe.

HAYES: What does it say to you -- I mean, one of the things that I think distinguishes this president from previous presidents is conservative media has always been there, Fox News is decades old, this president seems to consume that almost exclusively as the way he gets information about the world.

GARFIELD: So it would appear. And it`s not just he`s a consumer, he`s also a contributor. And there seems to be, and it`s been actually quite well documented, a reciprocal effect, a symbiosis he watches the likes of Fox & Friends and Sean Hannity and repeats the misinformation and disinformation he gets from the them. And equally he sends them shoutouts and puffs them up for their audience and it`s pretty ugly. It is pure political propaganda, not that the rest of cable news and broadcast news is blameless, but what has become of Fox News is genuinely terrifying.

HAYES: There was a critique that I think I heard you enunciate during the campaign, and many did, about the way that Trump was covered, the sort of lack of attention to policy detail, the kind of obsessive deference to him as an intentional figure. Do you think the press has learned from the campaign, is the performance at large better in year one of the administration than it was during the campaign?

GARFIELD: Oh, it is by several orders of magnitude better in many respects. The deference has more or less evaporated and the press`s willingness to be his tool and his platform has diminished and now they`re confronting him, they`re being the adversarial press that the founders envisioned.

I would say that the so-called print press, what used to be the print press is doing a spectacular job reporting on the administration and all of its dimensions, not just the Russia probe but the dismantling of the structures of government. He came to drain the swamp and right now it`s a pool party at Caligula`s. The cable news has been kind of typically crappy at it. They`re breathless and focused almost entirely on the investigation to the exclusion of the other very real damage that is being done to the democracy. That`s not entirely true, but I think it`s largely true. And then of course there`s Fox in this separate category all together of being just sort of an arch propagandist network.

HAYES: There was a long period of time -- to take the Watergate analogy -- there was a long period of time when a huge part of the country paid no attention to it and then they did. And ultimately it persuaded the country, Nixon was at 22 or 23 percent by the time he left. Do you think those same conditions hold now?

GARFIELD: I think it`s happening. I think if you look at the popularity polls of the president and his policies, the tax bill for example, we`re seeing a gradual erosion in the support for him and the level of trust, but I pay much more attention to the base, the approximately one-third of the electoral that seems to be for him no matter what he does.

HAYES: Bob Garfield, thanks for being with me.

GARFIELD: Thank you, Chris.

HAYES: That is All In for this evening. We will see you next week. Merry Christmas and good night.



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