Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 22, 2018 Guest: Jeff Merkley, Chris Lu, Gary Peters
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: 800,000 people will have to reckon with him. And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If there is a shutdown, I think it would be a tremendously negative mark on the President of the United States.
HAYES: Democrats cut a deal.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), SENATE MINORITY LEADER: The great deal making President sat on the sidelines.
HAYES: Tying the DREAMers` fate to a promise from Mitch McConnell.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you trust Mitch McConnell to follow through?
HAYES: Tonight, how the government shutdown ended in spite of the President.
TRUMP: When this group comes back, hopefully with an agreement, I`m signing it.
HAYES: And can a government run by Donald Trump, John Kelly, and Stephen Miller actually do the right thing on DACA?
STEPHEN MILLER, SENIOR ADVISOR FOR POLICY TO DONALD TRUMP: This is an amazing moment.
HAYES: And the massive resistance takes to the streets.
AMERICAN CROWD: Shame, shame, shame!
HAYES: Rebecca Traister and Linda Sarsour on the women`s marches across America, when ALL IN starts right now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me what democracy looks like?
AMERICAN CROWD: Tell me what democracy looks like?
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. After three days, the government shutdown is ending. The government`s back open for business, at least for now. A majority of Senate Democrats today signed on to a deal to fund the government for another three weeks in exchange for a promise to vote on protections for DREAMers if lawmakers cannot reach a broader immigration deal by the time that funding runs out.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: Should these issues not be resolved by the time the funding bill before us expires on February 8th, so long as the government remains open, so long as the government remains open, it would be my intention to take up legislation here in the Senate that would address DACA, border security, and related issues.
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HAYES: Democrats are working against a March 5th deadline. That`s the expiration date for DACA, although that`s put on hold by a bit by a court at the moment. But that`s when many DREAMers could start being deported under the Trump administration policy announced last year. But despite having precipitated this crisis, despite having signed his name to a ghost- written book called Art of the Deal, despite having called deals his art form, comparing them to paintings or poetry, the President of the United States presented with the deal-making opportunity of a lifetime has been completely MIA in this process. While the White House released photos on Saturday purporting to show him hard at work presidenting, Trump, according to lawmakers, was not part of shutdown negotiations, only checking in on occasion with GOP leaders. On Sunday the President reportedly did not leave his residence on the third floor of the White House. OK. Here`s how Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described the President`s role.
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SCHUMER: Since our meeting in the Oval Office on Friday, the President and have I not spoken and the White House refused to engage in negotiations over the weekend. The great deal making President sat on the sidelines.
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HAYES: The White House today pushed back on Schumer`s account.
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SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President was putting pressure and standing firm on exactly what he was willing to do and what he wasn`t and it very clearly worked, because we`re back where we basically started on Friday.
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HAYES: But what the President is willing to do keeps changing. And That, Of Course, Is The entire problem. Because Donald Trump it appears is torn between his own bigoted impulses reinforced by hardliners in his administration and in his party and the obvious political and substantive case for keeping DREAMers in this country. Because unlike, say, Michael Flynn who was a grown man when he committed a felony by lying to the FBI, and former Sheriff Joe Arpaio who is 85 when he was convicted of criminal contempt of court, Dreamers were children when their parents brought them here without papers.
They did not break the law. Because the President has no fixed position on this issue, he keeps making deals to protect the DREAMers, only to reverse himself after his aides intervene. It`s happened already, already at least three times. First in September, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer announced they have reached the outlines of a DACA deal over a private dinner with the President, only for that deal to be killed thanks to behind the scenes efforts by Trump Aide Stephen Miller. Second, earlier this month, the President told a bipartisan group of lawmakers, as we all watched on live T.V., he would sign any deal they reached, even pushing comprehensive immigration reform.
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TRUMP: When this group comes back, hopefully with an agreement, this group and others from the Senate, from the House comes back with an agreement, I`m signing it. I mean, I will be signing it. I`m not going to say, oh, gee, I want this or I want that. I`ll be signing it. You`re not so far away from comprehensive immigration reform. And if you want to take it that further step, I`ll take the heat. I don`t care. I don`t care. I`ll take all the heat you want to give me and I`ll take the heat of both the Democrats and the Republicans.
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HAYES: OK, just to be clear there, I will take the heat, I`ll take all the heat you want to give me and I will sign it. I`m not going to say, I don`t like this, I don`t like that. Just bring to it me, I`ll sign it. OK. Then, Senator Lindsey Graham, Dick Durbin brought him a deal two days later, and they found a combative President who declared he did not want to admit immigrants from s-hole countries but wanted more people from Norway. That was the second time. Third, this past Friday, in the final hours before the shutdown, Schumer seemed to reach a last-minute agreement with the President over cheeseburgers at the White House, according to news reports and Schumer himself.
But the deal reportedly fell apart later that evening when John Kelly, the White House Chief of Staff called Schumer to list a number of objections from the right. The President was effectively overruled by his own Chief of Staff who`s now being referred to in certain quarters as President Kelly. Today a visibly frustrated Senator Jeff Flake explained how an equivocating President has endangered DACA negotiations.
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SEN. JEFF FLAKE (R), ARIZONA: What has been difficult is dealing with the White House and not knowing where the President is and that was what was holding us back and holding Mitch McConnell from his commitment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How has that changed?
FLAKE: No, it hasn`t but that`s what I`m saying. I don`t think it will change. Ultimately the President is going have to need to get on board in order for the House to vote on it. It`s going to be very difficult to pass anything through the House without the President`s support.
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HAYES: I`m joined now by Democratic Senator who voted against that government funding bill today, Senator Jeff Merkley or Oregon. Senator, your rationale in voting no today.
SEN. JEFF MERKLEY (D), OREGON: Chris, there`s a lot wrong with this longer-term continuing resolution. What we know is that Leader McConnell only gets engaged in the last 36 or 24 hours before a deadline so we`re going to waste a couple more weeks. The country is tired of wasting month after month after month when we should be addressing these issues. These are all things that we`re supposed to be resolved before October 1st, the start of the fiscal year. So we`ve got to get down to business on the spending bill for the year, we`ve got address our community health (INAUDIBLE), we`ve got to address the opioid crisis, and we certainly need to address legal status, the foundation has been ripped out from under these hundreds of thousands of children across America. It is absolutely wrong. It`s morally wrong and we`ve got to fix it.
HAYES: So the argument that`s being made, and that is a tactic argument. I want to sort of put aside substantive commitments here. So let`s say other Democratic Senators and your colleagues agree on community health center funding and DACA protections, etcetera. The tactical argument is Democrats -- there was no light attend of the tunnel. Democrats could keep the government shut down for a week or two weeks, and it was very unclear that that would produce the kind of breakthrough that you`re looking for. Meanwhile, it would cause both substantive and political damage. What`s your response to that?
MERKLEY: Well, our leverage is limited. The Republicans control the Presidency, they control the House, they control the Senate. And what you saw Mitch McConnell do is he took the amendment box where all of us could possibly put an amendment and have it considered on the floor, and he put his own amendments in and he locked it up. And with that tactic, he absolutely refused to let us put the bipartisan proposals on the floor that we had been conversing about with Republicans. Then we tried -- then we tried unanimous consent, UCs and we tried it repeatedly.
One day, three day, keep CHIP in but continue negotiating towards the whole picture and Mitch McConnell blocked that. We hoped that in this process we would have the Tuesday Trump. You laid out the Tuesday Trump and the Thursday Trump. The Tuesday Trump was the one who said I have to have an immigration love bill and bring me the bill and I`ll sign it, and I`m all about cooperation. And then the Thursday Trump, the one who really is just kind of following Breitbart, if you will, the great divider who injects hatred between groups in America, that`s the Trump that we ended up with in the end. And without him behind us, and without the leverage that we need to have on the Senate floor, our options are limited.
HAYES: Well, but isn`t -- I mean, this is a man who began his campaign by saying Mexico was sending rapists. He is a man who called for one billion Muslims across the world to be banned even from setting foot in this country, a man who referred to Africa as s-hole countries. Isn`t the Thursday Trump the real Trump? And if that`s the case, is there any deal even remotely possible or conceivable with this man as the President of the United States?
MERKLEY: Well, thing is a whole lot of that Thursday Trump in him. There may be flashes of opportunity elsewhere but here`s -- so we took another strategy. A member of our -- of our caucus went and worked with Republican Senators who shared the desire to get this done. This is really the 2013 model. When we were able to create a bipartisan majority, more than 60 vote, two-thirds of the Senate that pass an immigration bill. So that now is plan B.
HAYES: But senator, wait, let me stop you right there. What happened to that immigration bill? Because I was sitting at this anchor desk covering that at that time.
MERKLEY: Exactly. No, your point -- this is -- this is why this is not the preferred direction. It went over the House and it died in the House. So this -- there are only a couple of ways. First of all, can we get a bipartisan bill done without the President`s support in the Senate? We don`t know, but we`re going try. Then if it goes to the House, how do you get it considered? Because under the Hastert Rule --
HAYES: Of course.
MERKLEY: -- which the Speaker follows, it must have -- the bill has the majority of Republicans on board, he won`t put it up. So you have a couple options. You a discharge petition and you have -- if miraculously we can resurrect the Tuesday -- resurrect the Tuesday Trump, maybe a President who decides he wants to get this issue resolved.
HAYES: All right, Senator Jeff Merkley, thanks for your time tonight.
MERKLEY: It`s a very tough path.
HAYES: It sure is. For more in the president`s role in the shutdown, I`m joined by Chris Lu, former White House Aide to President Obama, Michael Steele, former Chairman of the RNC and an MSNBC Political Analyst. Chris, your take away from today.
CHRIS LU, FORMER WHITE HOUSE AIDE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look, this wasn`t the outcome that I would have hoped for and Democrats have every reason to be skeptical about Mitch McConnell`s sincerity. But make no mistake, Democrats are in the minority and progress has to happen incrementally. 9 million kids will get health care with the reauthorization of CHIP and Democrats live to fight another day. I will simply say this. Never count out Chuck Schumer. The battle certainly isn`t over yet.
HAYES: Michael, here`s an issue that I -- that I keep thinking about. In 2013, that shutdown was over defunding ObamaCare and part of what they made that so foolhardy the White House are very clear. We won`t do it. You can do whatever you want, we`re not going to do it, right? That`s not the case here and I think it`s part of what is so frustrating about this moment. The White House keeps saying we want a DACA deal.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right.
HAYES: And Mitch McConnell says we want a DACA deal. And Paul Ryan and everyone stroking their chin saying we want a DACA deal. But do they actually? Because I feel like they don`t.
STEELE: Well, what they want and what they can get are two different things. And that`s the reality of it. The individual you just mentioned, including the President, maybe that Tuesday Trump wants that DACA deal. But the truth of the matter is the Steve Millers, the Senator Cottons and others do not. And to the extent --
HAYES: And they have a veto?
STEELE: And they have a veto. And to the extent that they have the force in the House, which they do, and to the extent that they can slow the roll in the Senate, which they can, they will. And I think to the point that you just had with Congressman Merkley, here is the reality. What you need is that Tuesday Trump to get behind the bill because that then pushes the envelope in the House. And what happens in that case, Chris is the Hastert Rule goes away.
HAYES: Of course.
STEELE: Because at that point is what the President wants and we`ll give you the cover. You go play over in your sandbox by yourselves. We get it. The rest of you follow the President. We`ll bring some Democrats in. That`s how this ultimately will get done.
HAYES: But Chris, the problem with that is it requires a President who would cross essentially the hard right ethno-nationalist base that he has cultivated from the very beginning. And this is the same president whose associated campaign, I want to play this ad because as soon as the shutdown ran down, this is the kind of rhetoric that his people are using to describe it. This is an ad about the Dems being complicit in murders by unauthorized immigrants. Take a listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants. President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe.
TRUMP: I`m Donald Trump and I approve this message.
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HAYES: What do you make of that, Chris?
LU: Yes, Chris, you`re 100 percent right. You can`t try to negotiate in good faith when you`re demagoguing your opponent when you`re giving them nicknames. Let`s be also real. This is a president who by all accounts doesn`t understand the nuances of immigration policy, who can`t be left in a room by himself to negotiate. His staff is so afraid that he is going to cut deals. And he has essentially abdicated his presidential leadership to people like Stephen Miller. You know, say what you will about Barack Obama about his temperament, about his policies, in 2011 I was there. He tried to negotiate a grand bargain with John Boehner. That didn`t get done but it wasn`t because of lack of presidential leadership. And this is the time for the President, President Trump to stand up. And I`m not sure he`s up to the task.
HAYES: We should note that the President is the only person who can sign the continuing resolution. John Kelly can`t do that. And he has signed it. We don`t know if his Chief of Staff was standing over his shoulder, telling what he to do at that moment. But this -- I thought that detail from Friday, Michael, was kind of significant. I mean, I was as someone who`s you know, covered politics for a little while, that`s a remarkable thing. The President and Minority Leader have a one-on-one, and they work out a deal and for the Chief of Staff to be the one who calls back, it really does make it look like he`s the one with the veto power and the President works for him.
STEELE: Well, yes, it looks like that. But I think probably what happened in that instance was that the President never really was firmly at the table with Chuck Schumer. I think the President was trying to get a feel for where things were, trying to get his head around this, much more than it had been up to that point and just couldn`t go there. And of course, didn`t call Schumer back, had the Chief of Staff do it which, again, goes to the point of which President is going to be the leader on this issue? Is it the Tuesday president whose says, you know, give me the love bill. I`ll sign whatever it is because to take care of these 800,000 kids, or the Thursday president that says in addition to building the wall, we want no form of amnesty whatsoever, well want them deported out of the country and we`ll move on from there.
HAYES: But -- and even, that Chris, I mean, that -- what Michael -- what you just articulated, which I think is actually a view held by a lot of Republicans in the base, by a lot of Republicans on Capitol Hill and the White House which is we substantively belief these people should be deported that would be an improvement, Chris, if Republicans actually owned honestly that position as opposed to pretending to not hold that position which so many of them hold.
LU: Well, I think the problem is this, Chris, which is the polling is so much against them. I think the NBC poll over the weekend found that 87 percent of Americans support giving relief to DACA. The challenge for Democrats is that when DACA gets attached to keeping the government open, it conflates the message a little bit. So let`s see what the next 17 days do and whether we can have an open debate and try to resolve this because certainly, the American people want a resolution for these 700,000 kids.
HAYES: Chris Lu and Michael Steele, great to have you both.
LU: Thank you.
HAYES: Next, should Democrats actually trust Mitch McConnell to keep his word on DACA? I`ll talk to one of the Senators who voted to do just that, in two minutes.
HAYES: -- Democratic base was not happy with the deal cut by Senate Democrats to end the shutdown. The progressive group CREDO Action release this image of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer with the words "Unacceptable" next to his face. Ezra Levin, the Co-Founder of the progressive group Indivisible told Vice News that the deal was morally reprehensible in its political malpractice. Some Democrats on Capitol Hill openly vented their frustrations.
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SEN. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: I`m disillusioned. I think they`re caving. You know, Democrats are pretty good at articulating values but a little weak on defending them.
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HAYES: By agreeing to the deal with Republicans, Democrats secured six years of funding for CHIP, Children`s Health Insurance Program, but of course they did not get protection for DREAMers, among many other priorities. Instead, they relied on assurance from Senator Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on the permanent status of those DACA recipients by early next month. Cristina Jimenez is the Executive Director of Unite We Dream called that a false promise, saying this vote means deportation. With me now is Senator Gary Peters, Democrat from Michigan who is part of the bipartisan negotiation seeking a compromise and voted to end the shutdown. You were a yes yesterday. Do you trust Mitch McConnell?
SEN. GARY PETERS (D), MICHIGAN: Well, I can`t say I do trust Mitch given the fact that he has made some promises to other folks and hasn`t carried forward. And that`s why in this deal we made sure that what he did was make his promise in a very open way. So there`s a difference from some of his one-off promises that he apparently has made to individual members. That`s why we insisted if we were going to reopen government, we would need to have assurances from him to the American people directly. He made a statement on the floor. But I think also it`s important to know that the bipartisan group that I was a part of that worked to find a path consisted over 20 Senators.
You`re talking over 10 Republican Senators who are also going do hold Mitch McConnell accountable to the statements that he made today. So he`s making those statements and promises not just to the American people, but to ten members of his caucus. And I can tell you from my conversations with my colleagues over these last few days, Republican colleagues, there is a desire to get to a deal, to deal with the DACA issue, as well as all of the other issues that we have to deal with. And that means ending the short- term CRs. It means dealing with the fence. It means with the opioid crisis, with health issues. So we`ve just got to come together. But thou what we have is going to be a commitment to have a vote to be on the Senate floor, to have debate, to do what the United States should do.
HAYES: But Senator, I listened to that statement. I believe the word -- phrasing, and I don`t have it right in front of me -- it is my intention to move to a DACA bill was the exact wording. I mean, there is a lot of wiggle room there. And the argument on the other side is you and the Democratic caucus have showed you`re not willing to shut down the government over this. It`s a divisive issue for his own party. It`s never going get a vote in the House unless the President puts pressure on Paul Ryan. So he is just going roll you again in three weeks.
PETERS: Well, I think, I want to say first off too, shutting down the government is never something that ends well for anybody. In fact, a fundamental responsibility of Congress is to make sure that the government stays open. And I think government shutdowns usually end badly for both sides. There are no winners. The losers tend to be the American people. So what we need to do is have an open process, an actual vote on the Senate. We need to change the way the Senate works. I`m frustrated that we do not get things done in the Senate because things do not come to the floor. We are going to hold Mitch McConnell accountable for statements that he made publicly. And I`ve got my Republican colleagues who have pledged to me that they will also do what they can to make sure that we are able to get this bill on the floor, debate it before the American people and let the votes go where they go and the American people need to see where individual Senators are.
HAYES: To people`s whose lives are literally hanging in limbo, right, who are wondering about what their status is in this country, who are in this sort of excruciating position right now, which we should say the President of the United States put them in and which the Republican Party is sort of voting to defend in its own way. When they say to you we wanted more. We wanted you to fight harder for us. We feel let down and betrayed by this, what do you say to them?
PETERS: Well what I say is that we have a vote. We are going have that vote. Hopefully, we`ll come up with a deal before February 8th. In fact, this afternoon a group of Senators, both Democrats and Republicans came together again with discussions on concrete ways in which we can move this legislation forward. So we`re going to make that happen and we`re going have that vote. And I think that`s where we need to channel our energies now. There`s a lot of energy here. Channel it towards that open debate process.
HAYES: If that vote doesn`t happen, will you have failed?
PETERS: If it doesn`t happen, we`re going to be extremely disappointed. But we are going to fight at that point that Mitch McConnell made a commitment to the American people when he was on the floor of the U.S. Senate. We`ve got to do it, and that is broader. It`s not just DACA. We have to have votes and positions taken on, as I mentioned, health care issues, opioid, et cetera. But I will say it`s extremely difficult when you have a President that you don`t know where he is on any given day.
We have no idea whether or not he`ll get behind deal or another. When you have a complete lack of leadership from the President of the United States, it is difficult to get a deal. We`re hoping the Senate can lead here. We`re hoping the Senate can find bipartisan consensus. And if we can get that bipartisan consensus, hopefully, it will put pressure on the President and the House. But Senate`s got to do what it`s got to do right now. but it`s difficult when we`re in the minority in the Senate, the minority and the House and we have President who shows absolutely no leadership ability in this issue.
HAYES: All right, Senator Gary Peters of Michigan, thanks for joining us.
PETERS: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, while Republicans refuse to own up to their actual position on DACA, it shouldn`t be hard to figure out where they stand. Just consider what the President said the day he announced his candidacy. More on that after this quick break.
HAYES: The fundamental challenge for Democrats and their fight to protect the dreamers is that the GOP refuses to own its true beliefs on the subject. Now Republicans will say vaguely, particularly ones in leadership that of course, they support the DREAMers, which makes sense politically. As one of our previous guests noted, 79 percent of American voters say DREAMers should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship, compared to just 11 percent who want to kick them out. But what drives the Republican Party`s position on DREAMers and on immigration issues and their voting behavior more broadly is a specific vision of the nation. One in which immigration legal and illegal from non-European countries is a threat to America`s purity. One in which diversity is an enemy that must be vanquished. You see it in the rhetoric of ethno-nationalist in the House like Steve King who say things like this.
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REP. STEVE KING (R) IOWA: You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else`s babies. You`ve got to keep your birth rate up and that you need to teach your children your values. And in doing so, then you can grow your population and you can strengthen your culture, you can strengthen your way of life.
Where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilizations?
HAYES: Than white people?
KING: Than western civilization itself that`s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America.
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HAYES: Now, unless House Speaker Paul Ryan is willing to work with Democrats, Steve King, that man who has those views, and his allies do have effective veto power over any DREAMer deal. And they`re just one part of the problem. In the White House, immigration hardliners like John Kelly and Stephen Millers who`s high school classmates would call him challenging Latino students to speak English have stood in the way of a DACA deal. Miller is a former top aide to another hardliner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and a long time ideological ally of yet another Steve Bannon.
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STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST: When you look and there`s got 61 million, 20 percent of the country is immigrants, is that not -- is that not a massive problem? You were -- you were with Jeff Sessions for many, many years. Is that not the beating heart of this problem?
MILLER: Well, yes, it`s mind-boggling. And it`s something that obviously I`ve talked about before at some length on your program.
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HAYES: The beating part of the problem, there are too many of these people from these other places. And then, of course, there is the man who kicked off his Presidential campaign by saying Mexico was sending rapists to the U.S., President Trump defined himself in the primary with ethno-nationalist rhetoric from the wall that Mexico will pay for to the ban on every single Muslim in the world, all one billion of them even from setting foot in this country. He has defined his presidency in much the same way, nowhere more clearly than when he described African nations in the context of an immigration discussion as s-holes. Nothing will change so long as the President channels his bigoted instincts, so long as people like Steven King and Stephen Miller maintain their power. Much more on that right after this.
HAYES: You have any lingering questions about where House Republicans stand on immigration, here is how the libertarian Cato Institute describes the bill that as of now Paul Ryan is most likely to bring up to deal with DACA, quote, "House GOP proposes largest restriction on legal immigrants since the 1920s." According to Cato, the bill would reduce legal immigration next year by more than 420,000 people. It would make it a crime, a crime for a DACA recipient to fall into poverty. That`s in the bill. Quote, "an alien is ineligible for contingent non-immigrant status if the secretary determines the alien is failed to demonstrate he or she is able to maintain himself or herself in an annual income that is not less than 125 percent of the federal poverty level."
In other words, you lose your income you become a criminal and face deportation. According to Vox, the bill would also make it a federal crime to be in the U.S. without papers. It is not now, which is key, turn millions of immigrants out of work and establish a legal standard that could force local jails to turn immigrants over to ICE.
Joining me now, Mickey Edwards, former Republican congressman from Oklahoma.
What do you think animates Steve King and Tom Cotton and Steve Miller and Steve Bannon and the president and the folks who are this hard liners on immigration? What is their concern in all this?
MICKEY EDWARDS, FRM. REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN FROM OKLAHOMA: Well, how do I know, Chris.
Look, what they want is a nation full of Steve Kings and Stephen Millers. I mean, what a horrible idea. What they`re looking for are people who look like them, dress like them, talk like them. And, you know, they`re talking about things like the requiring a certain amount of income to stay here. My grandparents would not have been able to stay here. I wouldn`t be here and I wouldn`t be on the show.
So there is something -- this is not Republicans generally, but there are people in the Republican party -- King, Bannon, Tom Cotton, people like that who really have a very warped idea of what America is, what it`s about, how it got to be the great country that it is. And it`s a shame that they have with the help of Donald Trump, you know, that they have the ability to influence policy the way they do.
HAYES: Well, the problem -- and I agree, it`s not all Republicans, but the problem it seems to me is it`s the same problem which is that they have the effective veto over everything that happens with immigration in this country.
HAYES: People like Steve King who says you can`t rebuild your civilization with other people`s babies.
HAYES: They have the effective veto. Right now there are bipartisan majorities in both houses of congress for a deal. What breaks the impasse? What takes the veto away from those people?
EDWARDS: Well, one of the things that would be wonderful is if members of congress in the House and Senate understood what their responsibility was.
First, forget the Hastert rule. What we should be doing is what the majority of the congress wants, the majority of the House, the majority of the Senate, not just the majority of the Republican caucus. That`s one.
The second thing is I`ve been talking all day the president has to get behind us. The president has to provide leadership. Senator Peters just talked about this. No, the president doesn`t need to provide leadership. The House and the Senate should get together in a bipartisan way, pass what they think is right, send to it the president. If he vetoes it, override it or send another one right back to him again.
He says he wants to take the heat, put the heat on him, because the congress is using the president`s unwillingness to step forward or even make up his mind as an excuse not to do its job.
HAYES: Do you think the Republican Party, how would you characterize its trajectory on the issue of immigration in, say, the last 10 years?
EDWARDS: Well, if it was earlier on MSNBC, the trajectory was Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush talking about how we need to take care of the people who came innocently into this country as children. This is a new phenomenon. And it is a rejection, a repudiation of all of the things that previous Republican conservative presidents stood for.
And I don`t know where it`s coming from. It has nothing to do with Republican principles. It has nothing do with the nativism, a know nothingism, you know, that really has no sound ideological base for it other than people who just don`t like anybody who is different from themselves.
HAYES: All right, Mickey Edwards, thanks for being with me tonight. Appreciate it.
EDWARDS: Yeah, thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Still to come, the resistance one year later, with hundreds of thousands of people marking the president`s first year with protests around the world. Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Traister join me ahead. Plus, the president clearly hard at work in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two, next.
HAYES: A very special edition of Thing One, Thing Two tonight without a break in the middle.
All right, Thing One, President Trump missed his inauguration anniversary bash at Mar-a-Lago because of the government shutdown. The Daily Beast reporting he privately vented frustrations about missing the party. It is sad.
New York Times offered this account, quote, "irritated to have missed his big event in Florida, Mr. Trump spent much of his day watching old TV clips of him berating Barack Obama for lack of leadership during the 2013 government shutdown, a White House aide said."
And since the president couldn`t go to his party, he wanted to make sure you knew he was working. And that`s Thing Two. If you want to know what it looks like when President Trump works through the government shutdown, you need only gaze upon the very officially titled photos of President Donald J. Trump working in the White House during the Democrat shutdown put out by the White House, with photos of President Trump hard at work walking along the West Wing colonnade, working hard in a meeting with the staff while oddly still wearing his overcoat. And in this classic, I don`t know about you, but when I am hard at work, I put on a baseball cap and sit at an empty desk.
The staging of Trump at work was reminiscent of this photo, instantly legendary, tweeted out by Trump during the transition, supposedly showing him writing his inauguration speech with a blank legal pad and a sharpie.
The president`s Oval Office photo generated plenty of Twitter content, one historian posted photos of past presidents at their desks, all of them looking much busier or at least in better staged scenes.
Whatever you want the say about President Richard Nixon, he clearly wasn`t afraid of documents.
As for President Trump, meetings and calls are frequent refrain when he wants to show that he is working. We`d like to take a guess what you might have heard at the other end of that line.
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OPERATOR: If you would like to make a call, please hang up and try again. If you need help, hang up and then dial your operator.
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HAYES: All right. Some breaking news just within the past few minutes tonight. Axios is reporting that FBI Director Christopher Wray threatened to resign amid pressure from Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Jonathan Swan reports Sessions at the public urging of President Donald Trump has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire deputy director Andrew McCabe.
But Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
Sessions told White House counsel about Don McGahn about how upset Wray was about pressure on him to fire McCabe and McGahn told Sessions this issue wasn`t worth losing the FBI director over, according to a source familiar with the situation.
The White House responded to the report in a statement to NBC saying in part the president believes politically motivated senior leaders, including former Director Comey and others he empowered, have tainted the agency`s reputation for unbiased pursuit of justice. Not a denial.
We should note that back in July the president tweeted about Andrew McCabe saying why didn`t AD Sessions replace acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation?
Joining me now on the phone to digest this Axios report, Nick Ackerman, former assistant Watergate prosecutor and MSNBC legal analyst. Nick, what do you make of this report?
NICK ACKERMAN, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: I think it`s all consistent with what Trump has been doing all along. He has absolutely no respect for the rule of law. He still thinks this country is governed in a mode prior to 1776 when King George ran the operation here. He thinks he can tell the FBI who to investigate, what to investigate.
I mean, McCabe has done absolutely nothing wrong. He is a career FBI agent. He is well regarded in the bureau. If he had ever succeeded in doing this, this would have totally demoralized the entire ranks of agents in the FBI who are doing an excellent job. And all I can say is good for Chris Wray, good for him to stand up to this pressure and to go with the constitution rather than the attorney general and this president.
HAYES: We should note that McCabe did announce that he is retiring. And it was something that a lot of people hinted at, including Trey Gowdy and others that McCabe was going to be out. Do you have concerns that whatever Wray was able to do in terms of standing up for McCabe that fundamentally the pressure worked?
ACKERMAN: Well, I`m not so sure. I mean, I think McCabe probably was going to resign anyway. We don`t know that. But I think the fact that he is sticking around for another couple of months and that he stood up to the president, he stood up to the attorney general, I think is very significant, and it`s really the only thing that is keeping us in a democracy is that we have people like that who have the guts and the will to stand up to this president and this attorney general.
HAYES: Do you think there is any relationship between this set of facts as we`re learning again from this one report tonight and the investigation we know is ongoing into the possibility of obstruction of justice committed by the president with respect to Comey`s firing?
ACKERMAN: Well, it`s the same thing. He is trying to basically get rid of anybody who had anything to do with Director Comey. He`s taking it out on McCabe. Whatever he thinks Comey did wrong, he thinks McCabe did wrong. And you think somehow he is going to get somebody in there that is going to be pro-Trump, pro -- anti-Russian investigation.
The fact of the matter is the FBI does not operate that way. They investigate whatever crimes they`re going investigate. They follow the facts wherever they lead. And Chris Wray in that tradition has basically stood as a bulwark between the pressure from the president and his agents.
And I`d say good for him. The FBI has to be independent. It has to be able to operate and do its investigations without any political influence.
HAYES: Does this harken back in your mind at all to what happened during Watergate? Of course Saturday night massacre and all kinds of attempts by the White House to reach into the Justice Department and subvert that investigation.
ACKERMAN: Well, you kind of had a similar situation with the Saturday night massacre. Both Elliot Richardson, who was then the attorney general, and Mr. Ruckelshaus, who was the deputy, both refused to fire the special prosecutor.
ACKERMAN: But one of the people who has really gotten a bad rap here is Robert Bork, because he came in and ultimately fired Cox. But it was actually a plan among Richardson, Ruckleshouse and Bork that Bork would fire Cox in order that Nixon could not insert his own person from the White House into the Department of Justice.
So this is one of these little unknown stories that I learned from Ruckleshouse a number of years ago. But, again, it was the same concern that the Department of Justice maintain its independence and be able to basically carry out its goal of a investigation that is free from political influence.
HAYES: All right, Nick Akerman, thanks so much.
After the break, a show of force. The Trump resistance takes to the streets across the America. Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Traister join me right here at this table next. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: The seventh district is one of the most egregiousness examples of a gerrymander district in the whole country. In 2011, The Washington Post held a name that gerrymandered district contest. The winner was Pennsylvania seventh. It was Goofy kicking Donald Duck.
Sitting just to the west of Philadelphia the district is so bizarrely drawn that Philly.com notes that quote, "In some cases, the district is as narrow as 800 feet across. In the matter of seconds, you could drive in three separate congressional districts without even speeding.
But Goofy might not be kicking Donald much longer. Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court threw out the entire state`s congressional map saying it violated the state constitution. Court ordered lawmakers to draw up a new map and Republicans have reason to be worried.
Just look at the special election in Pennsylvania`s 18th district in March. You`ll remember maybe Donald Trump visited Pennsylvania last week to campaign for the Republican candidate. It is a largely white rural district. The president carried it by almost 20 points in 2016. But a new poll shows Republican Rick Saccone up by only three points over Democrat Conor Lamb.
Now, the special election won`t be affected by today`s decision, but by midterms, the state map could look very different. It could be another factor in a possible Democratic wave this fall. A possibility under scored by the Women`s Marchs this weekend. Crowds thronged the streets like Los Angeles where 600,000 people turned out or Chicago where organizers said 300,000 people showed up, even more than last year.
Even beyond the big cities, plenty of people still marched, an estimated 1500 marched in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NBC affiliate WFMJ estimated about 700 people marched in downtown Sharon, Pennsylvania, where the state Supreme Court just threw out the congressional map because of gerrymandering, and in Anchorage, Alaska organizers estimated 3,000 people came out despite the snow and freezing temperatures to march and organize and sing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t let nobody turn me around, come on and turn me around. I ain`t going to let nobody turn me around, keep on walking, keep on talking, fighting for women`s rights. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Linda Sarsour is the national co-chair of the Women`s March on Washington and Rebecca Traistor is a writer at large at New York Magazine where she has a new piece out about the wave of women running for office. You`re take away from this weekend?
LINDA SARSOUR, CO-CHAIR OF WOMEN`S MARCH: We weren`t taking a stroll in the park. We were standing up for D.R.E.A.M.ers, we were standing up for our undocumented families, and every march across America there were D.R.E.A.M.ers at the corner of that. So we`re outraged that millions of people went out into the streets in support of that and Senate Democrats chose to vote against them in this C.R. Bill.
We`re beyond ourselves and we are here to say that this movement stands behind D.R.E.A.M.ers and we also launched power to the polls in Vegas, as you know, that was the official commemoration of the march. And that is taking our marches and creating that power we build in the streets and take that to the polls and I think that went over the Senate Democrats` heads.
We were creating the political will, we went to the streets for them to be able to tell Mitch McConnell, hey, I got to answer to these crazy ladies in the streets. What do you want me to tell these millions of women talking about justice? They ignored us again, but they will not ignore us at the ballot box.
REBECCA TRAISTOR, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: She is absolutely right. This is symptomatic of the fact that these marches and more than that the activism that they themselves are symptomatic of is not taken seriously. Why? Because they are women`s marches.
We know last year single biggest one-day political demonstration in this country`s history and we heard how afterwards, it was okay but it`s just a march, it`s performance, fun, people get together and wear their cute hats, whatever. No one seems to have connected, still, a year later when there is a spontaneous demonstration almost the same size in some places like Chicago.
HAYES: Bigger, which was surprising.
TRAISTOR: Without a centralized organization drawing everybody. I didn`t even know about the marches. I write about women and politics. I didn`t know there would be women`s arches until the beginning of January, and they were massive.
They don`t connect these marches, these cute marches with the hats with the fact that it`s women who have been clogging congressional phone lines, who have been doing town halls, who have been organizing on the grass roots activist level around state and local office races around the country, who have been winning in New Jersey, in Virginia and who are running in unprecedented numbers for the House, for the Senate, and they are primarying Democrats from the left.
And apparently, the media`s failure to take this seriously as a political movement and not a social weekend thing that women do once a year has led Senate Democrats to think that it`s not a serious political movement.
HAYES: I want to follow up on the Senate Democrat question but another question on this, which is there is a stat, I almost can`t believe this is true. This is a stat from the ABC Washington poll preference on Congress, generic ballet. Republicans, men, plus nine Republican women and 35 Democrat, there is a gender divide politically and polarization in the Trump era that seems to be like nothing I`ve seen. What do you think?
TRAISTOR: There has long been a gender divide but not one this big. The fact that activism, is being led -- left and progressive activism has always been led by women of color. One of the dynamics we see happening this year, slowly and imperfectly and with a lot of friction.
SARSOUR: A lot of work to do.
TRAISTOR: A lot of work to do. What you see is some white suburban women who have previously like on December -- on November 7th, 2016 not been politically engaged, getting politically engaged in a movement that`s a left leaning progressive movement. That`s important.
HAYES: Well, I want to ask you about that because one of the dynamics that`s fascinating is I know you and some of the Women`s March organizers, I follow them, they tend to be embedded in the world of left discourse for lack of a better term. They talk about the connected solidarity and different struggles, and then you have a person who maybe is not that politically engaged, a white suburban woman from New Jersey who shows up.
How are you bridging that gap? What does that look like in terms of making sure the politics are centered and not alienating people that don`t know the terminology or want to be part of this big time?
SARSOUR: Women of color have created a menu of issues that we`re impacted by and white women have found those issues to resonate with them. Equal pay, access to health care, reproductive rights.
I remember during the tax bill being arrested with white women from across the country from rural America who are worried about losing health care. What is happening is women are leading. We have a plan. We`re registering voters and women are outraged by this administration. These women wake up every day with perpetual rage and it`s bringing them out to the streets over and over again.
HAYES: I want to talk about that. There is substantive stuff here. There is a health care bill. But there is a visceral emotional engine driving this.
TRAISTOR: Part of that emotional engine, that`s why marches are important, in addition to the activism and political change that could happen and has already happened, is emotional pull draws people together. And so when you have the people who are well-versed in activists politics and you`re drawing in sort of political neo fights who weren`t engaged before on that shared emotional visceral opposition, what you`re doing is educating people. You`re opening people`s minds. That is a crucial part of how politics and activism works and spreads and grows.
HAYES: I want to be clear about the emotional component. That`s the way politics works. It`s the way --
TRAISTOR: The Tea Party, can we talk about the Tea Party for a second? I watch this network very regularly and I watched through the year that the Tea Party built and the Tea Party could have 100 people standing outside a state house, and news reporters would be out there saying look, we`re looking at the guy is dressed in the hats with the patriots. We`re looking at a possible revolution and that was correct. It was the Tea Party. We`re still dealing with the fallout of the Tea Party today.
SARSOUR: Well when people are content, they don`t organize. You have to be angry. So of course, as a movement, we play-off the energy and anger of women. We beat back the health care bill twice, the only reason we got our health care taken away from us is because they added it to a tax bill.
The town halls, the calling, we have shut down phone lines down, we have shut down the capitol and it has been led the entire year by women. Somebody asked me how are you going to maintain this for a year? I said have you not been watching the television screens? People are out in the millions, I promise you, Chris, we`ll win big in 2018 and guess what? It`s going to be outside of the institutional Democratic party and we`ll create a decentralized model that will bring us to victory.
HAYES: I think to your point about the Tea Party and the comparison here, I think that Washington, professional politicians are still behind the curve.
SARSOUR: Totally behind the curve.
HAYES: How big this is.
TRAISTOR: Not taking it seriously.
HAYES: It will change.
SARSOUR: Has to.
HAYES: Linda Sarsour and Rebecca Traistor, thanks for joining me. That was awesome.
That was All In for this evening, the Rachel Maddow Show starts right now.
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