Rep. Maxine Waters responds to Trump. TRANSCRIPT: 03/12/2018. All In with Chris Hayes

Guests: John Kasich, Elizabeth Esty, Maxine Waters, Christina Greer, Randi Weingarten, Josh Barro, Julia Ainsley, Joyce Vance

Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: March 12, 2018 Guest: John Kasich, Elizabeth Esty, Maxine Waters, Christina Greer, Randi Weingarten, Josh Barro, Julia Ainsley, Joyce Vance

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: When it comes to what really matters, every vote matters. 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: Some of you people are petrified of the NRA.

HAYES: Donald Trump fully surrenders to the NRA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m asking why he chickened out.

HAYES: Tonight I`ll speak with the Democrat who sat in that meeting. And Governor John Kasich on Trump`s bait and switch.

TRUMP: The NRA happens to be very good people, by the way.

HAYES: Then, as the President reportedly interviews an impeachment attorney --

TRUMP: It`s a Democrat hoax.

HAYES: House Republicans announce they are ending their investigation into Trump and Russia. Plus --

TRUMP: Maxine Waters, a very low I.Q. individual.

HAYES: Congresswoman Maxine Waters is here to respond to the President and to the defenders of racism.

STEVE BANNON, WHITE HOUSE FORMER CHIEF STRATEGIST: Let them call you racist. Wear it as a badge of honor.

HAYES: And Betsy Devos goes to school.

BETSY DEVOS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: I have not -- I have not -- I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should, yes.

HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.

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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. The President`s abject surrender to the NRA now appears to be complete. It was of course just a few short weeks ago that in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the President promised survivors and families of victims that he would take action to prevent further shootings specifically citing the move to raid the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21.

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TRUMP: In addition to everything else, in addition to what we`re going to do about background checks, we`re going to go very strong into age, age of purchase.

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HAYES: Among all the gun safety measures to gain momentum since the Parkland shooting, the push to raise the age limit is at the top of the list. Wal-Mart, the world`s biggest retailer decided on its own to raise the age to 21, so did the state of Florida where the massacre took place, passing the new age restriction over the strenuous objections of the NRA, which promptly sued the state after they signed into it law. A couple weeks ago, the President, perhaps sensing a political opportunity, brought a bunch of news cameras into the White House where in the latest episode of The Apprentice, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue he performed a role of righteous crusader standing up to the gun lobby.

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TRUMP: It doesn`t make sense that I have to wait until I`m 21 to get a handgun but I can get this weapon at age 18. I don`t know. So I`m just curious as to what you did in your bill.

PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: We didn`t -- we didn`t address it, Mr. President. But I think --

TRUMP: You know why because you`re afraid of the NRA and they do have great power. I agree with it. They have great power over you people. They have less power over me. What do I need? But they are well meaning and I said to them very nice, I said, fellows, we`ve got to do something. Some of you people are petrified of the NRA. You can`t be petrified.

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HAYES: Anyone who has observed this presidency knew right away how little those words meant. About as much as his pledge, for instance, to sign an immigration deal at a very similar meeting a month earlier.

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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.

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HAYES: After that, the President went on to reject at least three bipartisan immigration deals. One day after his public gun safety meeting at the White House, the President held a private meeting in the Oval Office, no cameras allowed this time with a single special guest. That would be Chris Cox, the NRA`s top lobbyist. Cox reporting afterwards, I had a great meeting tonight with the Donald Trump and VP-POTUS -- and VPOTUS, support the Second Amendment, support strong due process and don`t want gun control. Now ahead of a national school walkout this week, the march for our lives on the 24th, the White House has finally unveiled a set of proposals responding to the Parkland massacre.

And, surprise, surprise, it looks an awful lot like something the NRA could have released. Supporting a bipartisan bill to strengthen background checks without closing the existing loop holes, calling for new measures to "harden schools" like training teachers to carry firearms but raising the age for gun sales which the president had gone out of his way to endorse that is one of several items relegated to new commission on school safety for further study, yadda, yadda, yada. So today, the President who claimed he and he alone, that he was the only official who could possibly stand up to the NRA left it up to his Press Secretary to explain why he caved.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Based on the plan last night, it seems like President Trump was the one petrified at the NRA because he backed away from some of the ideas that he had brought into the discussion. And I`m asking why he chickened out. Why he didn`t go forward with what he had proposed earlier.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, he hasn`t backed away from these things at all. As I just said, they`re still outlined in the plan but he can`t make them happen with a brought stroke of the pen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He could have put out a proposal for legislation. He could have advocated for universal background checks. He could have called for raising the ages in the states. Instead, he has tabled that.

SANDERS: He hasn`t, actually. It`s actually listed still in his policy proposal that you`ll see.

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HAYES: Defending his gun proposal on Twitter this morning, the President, as he so often does, accidentally revealed what really motives his efforts on this issue, not taking a noble stand against gun violence, but politics. "On 18 to 21 age limit, watching court cases and rulings before acting, states are making this decision. Things are moving rapidly on this, but not much political support." I`m joined now by Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio. And you have been a critic of this President in many respects. What is your reaction to what we`ve seen on this arc on guns?

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: Well, Chris, I think if we go back just two or three months ago, we wouldn`t see any of this. So what is it he`s doing that I think is good? Because I formed a group after the Las Vegas deal, maybe it was even before that. Gun owner, strong Second Amendment, no give, those who felt OK, I support the Second Amendment, but there is a lot of room for change. And they came up with a list of things because I want my legislature to pass something. How does he help me? I think he wants to pass the NICS system. He wants to begin to improve that background checking. Now, I`m for -- I`m for the complete total no loophole, anything but if we can get NICS, my people who run public safety say, you`ll make a huge difference. Let me give you another thing.

HAYES: Just to be clear, NICS is a sort of technical change to the reporting system by which --

KASICH: Yes, I mean, look, I got counties, I have communities where somebody breaks the law, they`re a violent felon, they don`t report.

HAYES: Right.

KASICH: So when somebody gets checked as to whether they can buy a gun, the information is not there.

HAYES: But just to be -- I just want to be clear for folks that are not immersed in this policy issue, NICS is distinct from closing say, the gun show loophole.

KASICH: The gun loophole, the casual sales. I think all things should be checked.

HAYES: You do?

KASICH: Yes, of course, I do. But I got to get something through, OK? So I`m looking for the ground on which I can pass some things. Now if I can get NICS done, and there`s another thing they`re doing that you didn`t mention. And then there`s this gun violence restraining order.

HAYES: Right.

KASICH: That if you go to court and you say somebody can pose a danger to themselves or to somebody else, law enforcement got to court, they can come in and they can actually take the guns. That`s a big deal. I mean, look, I`m just talking to you, not politics, I`m talking to you about what can matter. 18 to 21? I`m for 18 to 21. It`s not in my proposal to the legislature. I couldn`t get the group to agree. But you know, there`s -- we may get there.

HAYES: Wait, let me zip in on that because that -- so you got -- so there is a -- we can make a menu of policy issues, right? And say --

KASICH: Bump stocks. There is another one.

HAYES: Right, what are we --

KASICH: They`re going to get -- they`re going to end bump stocks.

HAYES: They`re saying --

KASICH: I`m told the Justice Department. Look --

HAYES: Although it`s unclear whether the Justice Department has unilateral authority to do that.

KASICH: Which they don`t. I believe in Ohio, we`ll ban them. They did in Florida.

HAYES: So wait. Let me ask you something. Because there`s the sort of policy question here, what are the things we can do and I`m hearing a bunch of ideas and then there is the politics, right? So, you`re someone who has -- you know, you`re talking about raising the age you. Say you would support that, you`re closing loophole, you`re someone who`s been Governor of Ohio, you have an A rating for the NRA. You went from B to A as you ran. You signed a bunch of laws expanding gun ownership, concealed carry in places that serve alcohol, silencers and expanded access to those. Have you had a change of heart? Does something changed in you?

KASICH: No. In 1994 I voted for the assault weapons ban.

HAYES: I know. But that --

(CROSSTALK)

KASICH: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I voted for a assault weapons ban.

HAYES: They didn`t like you.

KASICH: Oh, they didn`t like me at all.

HAYES: They gave you an F.

KASICH: Then, when I ran for Governor they opposed me at every -- each and every way. And that was fine. I beat them. They were -- I mean, they gave me an F in everything else. Now, Chris --

HAYES: Wait a second. Continue the story, because then you went -- you managed to get your way into an A with them.

KASICH: Well, look, I`m not against all guns. I don`t want to take people`s guns and a concealed --

HAYES: Wait, but I`m just asking you for honest --

KASICH: I`m giving -- well, I`m giving you an honest account of it. Concealed carry -- concealed carry is not what has led to this kind of problem. I mean, you have got to get trained in everything. So, I look at any of the legislation that comes. For example, they there is talk about sending these stand your ground. You know what I told them? I`ll veto it. Don`t send it to me. I don`t want to mess with that now. So I look at everything that comes. I thought the assault weapons ban in `94 was a reasonable proposal. The problem with it, it wasn`t effective. So what I`m trying to now is by bringing both sides together. That gives me the best chance of passing something. And I can go -- I can tell you all the things that I`d like to do.

HAYES: OK, but let me make the argument on the other side.

KASICH: Sure.

HAYES: Which is that the then diagram of pass something that can get support, which is extremely narrow, it`s in here, right? Is a function of the political power of a very specific lobbying group that has a very specific conception of the Second Amendment and are very powerful? Isn`t that true?

KASICH: Well, listen, it`s not so simple, Chris. The power is not so much in the organization in Washington called the NRA.

HAYES: No., it`s the people they organize.

KASICH: It`s the people they organize that live in the districts. I just saw a guy today. You know, he`s very concerned about this. Now, if we can eliminate bump stocks, if we can take guns from people who have either mental illness or they`re in a mental turmoil that could cause danger to themselves or somebody else, if we can fix the NICS system, if we can do those things, that`s great gains for us, OK. Now, are there other things to do, absolutely there are other things to do. Now, I don`t know if the Congress will do any of that. I`m hoping we can get this through the legislature. And if we don`t, guess what? They`ll hear from me about this.

HAYES: I would be very interested. We will keep our eyes on what happens in Ohio. We saw what happened in Florida and keep our eyes what happens. Governor, it`s great when you come by in New York. You have an open invitation anytime. Good to see you.

KASICH: OK. Good to be with you. Thank you.

HAYES: All right, after the President held that meeting at the White House where he called for broad new gun control measures, called out fellow Republicans for countering the NRA. I talked to one of the lawmakers who was there. That would be Elizabeth Esty. She`s a Democrat from Connecticut, Newtown is in her district. She told me she was optimistic about what she heard from the President in that meeting.

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HAYES: Respectfully, Congresswoman, this really feels like Lucy and the football. To an outside observer, I have watched him say a million things, and it`s opposite a hundred times. I just wonder like, when you`re in that meeting, is there any -- is there any sense that anything he says there is going to be an actual accountable promise that`s going have any legislative effect?

REP. ELIZABETH ESTY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, there are really two choices. It has a legislative effect or it`s going to have an electoral effect. We`re going to hold him to account, you know. He made a lot of promises today. He said he was going to stand up to the NRA. He said he was going to support comprehensive background checks. He said he`d support bill likes mine to deal with extreme risk, to take guns out of the hands of people who are desperately in need of being separated from their guns because they night hurt themselves or somebody else. He said he would support CDC funding. A bunch of stuff we`ve been fighting for. Now obviously the proof is going to be in the pudding. But if he doesn`t, if he doesn`t, you`ve got a bunch of students in Parkland and across America who are looking.

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HAYE: All right. Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty joins me right here in studio. So that was on the day of the meeting. Today, you heard the package. Your reaction?

ESTY: Not terribly surprised and angry. I mean, the students in Parkland were angry and the President responded to that. But this is you know, what we come to expect, sadly. Big talk, no action.

HAYES: One of the arguments is interesting. Governor Kasich here made an argument that to me is very similar to the one the White House is making and others which is well, we`re going get something. We`ll find a place of consensus between the people on this part of the issue and the people on this side of the issue and wherever we find a consensus, we`ll pass that, and isn`t that good and isn`t that progress?

ESTY: Well, sure there are things that would be good but there`s a lot that needs to be done. And there are things that save lives, there are things that are being done in my state of Connecticut. In places like California, they`re actually saving lives. 97 percent of Americans people want to have background checks on every single sale. The President can`t even support that. He has let go on that. That is the most basic number one thing law enforcement is asking for.

HAYES: That was in Manchin-Toomey, wasn`t it?

ESTY: He`s not supporting Manchin Toomey.

HAYES: Right, and the irony, of course, is that he sat there at the table while he berated lately Manchin and Toomey for being essentially in the pocket of the NRA, but he is not supporting their legislation that even rise to that level.

ESTY: Exactly. There was a lot of bold talk and you`re right we`ve seen total retreat, total retreat.

HAYES: OK, I want to ask you a broader question about this because -- I guess the question is I watched that meeting, and I thought to myself, none of this means anything. I`ve watched this happen four times. Are you going to go and do another one of these meetings the next time some policy issue comes up? It`s like, what does the President`s word count for? What does it mean?

ESTY: Well, I think here`s -- there are two things. On guns, I`ll tell you where I`m going go, because I represent Newtown and if there is even a tiny chance.

HAYES: You still feel that way?

ESTY: Well, if there`s a tiny chance that he flip-flops back into doing something, I`ve got to fight for the people who I represent and for the people in America who have been waiting five years for something to happen. I`ve got to keep fighting on that. And the other thing is we have to hold politicians to account and none more so than this President. And when he makes those promises, that is a stack of promises made and failure to deliver. And that`s, again, we changed the laws or we got to change Congress and it starts this year and actually it starts tomorrow with this election you know, in Pennsylvania.

HAYES: Do you think the NRA is -- has been weakened over the last several weeks, despite the force they were able to exert on the White House?

ESTY: I do. I think they`ve lost -- they`ve lost real moral ground on this because I`ve had NRA members come and talk to me when I`ve been home. And they`ve said, listen, life-long Republican, I`m a gun owner. I do not understand why we have assault weapons out on the streets. And that has changed. These are people from my district, sixth generation hunters, and farmers and they`ve had it. They`ve reached that tipping point. They`ve got kids in college or kids in high school and they just think you know, the policies run off the rails. Congress needs to do something and so does the President.

HAYES: All right, Congressman Elizabeth Esty. It`s great to have you.

ESTY: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

HAYES: Ahead, House Intel Republicans ending the investigations into Trump as the Russians -- and the Russians as the Mueller investigation grows. We`ll tell you why and what`s happens next ahead. And President Trump use a campaign stage to call Congresswoman Maxine Waters a "low I.Q." individual. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is here to reclaim here time and to respond in two minutes.

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HAYES: Ahead of tomorrow`s special election in Pennsylvania, the President flew there to the district over the weekend to whip up support for Republican Congressional Candidate Rick Saccone. The President also used his rambling 73-minute speech to attack the media, to praise countries that execute drug dealers, and to go after one of his most vocal critics in Congress, Democrat Maxine Waters.

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TRUMP: We have to defeat Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, a very low I.Q. individual. You ever see her? You ever seen -- have you ever seen her? We will impeach him! We will impeach the president. But he hasn`t done anything wrong. It doesn`t matter. We will impeach him. She is a low I.Q. individual. You can`t help it.

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HAYES: Joining me now is Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Democrat from California. Congresswoman, the President has said this twice about you in the past week. I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, you know, there is no response. Everybody knows who this bully is. This President has attacked more women, more individuals, name-calling, I mean, look at this. Not only has he talked about Senator Warren, called her Pocahontas, he called Hillary crooked. He`s calling me low I.Q. He called Rubio little. I mean, this is what we expect of him. I just wonder what took him so long. And so since we know who he is, and the fact that he is, you know, calling people names constantly, and talking about the media in the way that he does and calling people SOBs, et cetera, et cetera, I`m not surprised at all.

All I know is this. If he thinks he can stop me from talking about impeach 45, he`s got another thought coming. I am not intimidated by him. I`m going keep saying that we need to impeach him and I am so depending on our Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, to connect the dots so that he can prove the collusion. And of course, we`ve seen obstruction of justice just playing out before our very eyes. So this is a dishonorable human being. He is a con man. He came to this job as a con man. I really call him you know, Don the con man. And so, that`s who he is, that`s what we expect and I`m not surprised at all.

HAYES: It`s interesting to listen to your reaction to this because it almost sounds like you and other folks who work in Washington don`t even -- it doesn`t even land anymore when he does this kind of thing because it has become so wrote. Is that a fair characterization?

WATERS: That`s absolutely fair. We expect to wake up every morning to him calling somebody else another name or telling another lie. He has no credibility. And so, no we`re not surprised about him, you know, calling names and talking about my I.Q. He might say or do anything. It`s expected.

HAYES: You just mentioned Robert Mueller. I know that you believe that there probably was collusion. There were crimes committed. That`s a contention you`ve made. You think obstruction has played out before our eyes. Today the House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee announced very abruptly without consulting Democrats, they`re wrapping up their investigation. It`s done and it`s over, and they found no collusion. Do you take that at face value?

WATERS: Well, first of all, they had no real investigation. And who would believe Nunes was working in a credible way to find out what took place? As a matter of fact, he was simply a messenger boy for the President, running up in the middle of the night, trying to prove that Obama, for example, had wiretapped the President. And so they can conclude whatever they want to. They weren`t doing anything to begin with. It was not a credible investigation and so we`re not paying any attention to that at all.

HAYES: The President`s former right-hand man and senior adviser Steve Bannon went to France. He`s been touring around Europe and he gave an address to the Front National, the National Front Party there that is a very hard right anti-immigrant some say proto-fascist party. And he said this to that group and I wanted to get your reaction. I thought it was an interesting thing. This is what he said to them. Take a listen.

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BANNON: Let them call you racist. Let them call you xenophobes. Let them call you nativists. Wear it as a badge of honor. Because every day we get stronger and they get weaker.

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HAYES: Wear the term racist as a badge of honor. What do you think of that?

WATERS: Well, you know, he has always said that. When he was at Breitbart, he said look, if race is an issue, we win every time. He`s made it known that he wants race to be the issue. He wants us constantly talking about how racist they are and constantly he`s organizing people, saying that, you know, we`re accusing them unfairly, et cetera. We`re playing the race card. This is his game, and this is what he does and we have to stay on some of these issues and stop following some of this stuff that he is doing and that the president is doing. They like diverting us and diverting the attention from the real issue. I`m sitting here as the Ranking Member of the Financial Services Committee, trying to hold on to the reforms that we have made with Dodd-Frank.

That Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that Mr. Mulvaney is now over there trying to dismantle since Mr. Cordray is gone is extremely important. We`re working on issues trying to deal with the big banks and to implement the Dodd-Frank reforms that we have been involved in, to make sure that we never have another crisis like we`ve had where the big banks basically took advantage of so many of our citizens with these exotic loans and with these loans that resetting in a short period of time. We had foreclosures all over this country that we had to learn how to do modifications for and keep people in their homes. We need to be talking about these issues. We need to be talking about the sanctions and why there is no implementation of the sanctions? Why it is that Tillerson had $120 million. Didn`t spend a dime of it to find out about what had happened with hacking into our DNC? Why it is Mnuchin who is the Treasury Secretary supposed to help implement the sanctions is excusing himself and talking about oh, that`s something the State Department was supposed to do.

This President in my estimation has a deal with Putin where he agreed to lift the sanctions, where he agreed that there would be no more sanctions in exchange for that. I think, I believe no matter what anybody else says, that that is what was worked out between the two of them, that Putin helped him because President in the way that he has done all of the trolling and all of that that he has done. And so I`m not surprised about anything that he does. And it`s time to talk about the issues. He can call me all the names that he want. It doesn`t make any difference. I want to tell you, he is exactly who we know him to be. He is Don the con man. That`s who he is. He is a con artist.

HAYES: Congresswoman Maxine Waters, thank you for making the time.

WATERS: Thank you.

HAYES: Coming up, as we were just discussing, Republicans in the House Intel Committee say they are done with the Russia investigation. Robert Mueller, however, is far from finished. Those stories next.

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HAYES: Tonight the Republican-led House Intelligence Committee said they are done with the Russia investigation, claim they have found no evidence of collusion, coordination or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians nor did they find evidence of Putin supposed preference for Candidate Trump, even though the Intelligence Committee unanimously did. While the White House -- the House Intel Investigation is apparently over, Special Counsel Robert Mueller shows no signs of slowing down. The New York Times now reporting the President is considering adding a new lawyer with a very specific background to his team, representing President Bill Clinton during his impeachment trial.

Julian Ainsley has written about the Mueller investigation, he`s National Security Reporter at NBC News, Joyce Vance, a former U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama who just joined NBC News and MSNBC as a Contributor, and MSNBC Justice Analyst Matt Miller is a former Chief Spokesman for President Obama`s Department of Justice. And Matt, I will begin with you. It seems the House Intel Committee that the Republicans are giving the President what he wants. He wants some document somewhere that can say look, no collusion. He`s been saying that out -- ahead of any documentary evidence of that but it now appears like they are going to give him that. What do you make of it?

MATT MILLER, MSNBC JUSTICE ANALYST: Yes, not just no collusion but the Russians weren`t even trying to elect him. You know, I suppose in one sense we could congratulate Devin Nunes because it has been clear for a year now that he was going to go out of his way to turn this committee really into an arm of the White House or an arm of the President`s legal team. But even when you recalibrate your expectations and you know that`s what his goal, he still manages to exceed expectations and go kind of above and beyond. And this report really, I mean, it`s a farce in so many ways. It`s a farce in its conclusions about what happened, given that they -- that they allowed witnesses to come in and refuse to answer questions with no follow-up, no subpoenas, no attempt to hold anyone in contempt and it`s a farce in claiming that Putin wasn`t trying to elect Trump not just because the intelligence community has concluded otherwise but a grand jury of 23 average Americans, you know, participating in the Mueller investigation returned an indictment that said explicitly the Russians were trying to elect Donald Trump.

They`re ignoring that evidence completely. They are giving you -- that is basically the line that we heard from Vladimir Putin the other day. It`s not the Russian government, these may be other individuals. And he even used kind of a slur to describe who those individuals might be.

HAYES: Julia, and one of the issues here is that one of the people they have talked to -- this is just one small example of the house intel committee`s inquiry, which is that one of the people they talked, Erik Prince, told them about this meeting he had in the Seychelles and in the testimony appears to have omitted very crucial details about the nature of that meeting with Robert Mueller appears to have access to, which kind of crystallizes the gap between what`s happening on the Mueller side and what`s happening in the intelligence committee.

JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS: Right, Chris. And you`d think that they would want to go back and follow up with someone like Erik Prince. He told them and even came on our air in December and said that he went to the Seychelles and kind of ran into someone who could set up this person who we now believe could have been a setup to have a back channel between the Trump administration and the Russian government through an Emirati conduit.

That now seems to be coming to a head in the Mueller investigation. He is a looking into it. It appears to be a lie by Erik Prince. But this House committee did not find it necessary to go back and interview him. And in fact, as Matt pointed out, I mean, they spent a lot of their time on the politics of this. We know the Nunes memo came out of this committee. That of course was to undermine the basis of the Mueller investigation anyway, trying to say that it all depended on a dossier that they could discount, but in fact they`re kind of omitting a lot of really key information that could have led to the FISA warrants that were used in the Mueller investigation.

So they`ve really been used for a long time when Nunes was heading it, and then again when Conway was heading it, to try to push back against what the Mueller investigation was finding. Any news was coming out of the Senate intel was sort of seen as a counterweight.

But before we dismiss it completely, it is important to remember that it would have to be House Republicans, while they still have the majority, who would have any kind of an impeachment trial on this president if it came to that.

HAYES: Of course.

AINSLEY: So, while it`s easy to just dismiss it and say, well, they didn`t do their due diligence, if this is the conclusion of that body, it shows us where they stand on this, and that they don`t think it`s a political calculation they want to take to really look into this issue.

HAYES: Well, that I think is true. Although, one of the people, Todd Rooney who is on that committee, doesn`t appear to be on board with the conclusions of the committee as far as their being reported.

I want to play his interview in which he disputes the contention that the Russians were not trying to elect Donald Trump, which is one of the key findings apparently of the committee. Take a listen to Tom Rooney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TOM ROONEY, (R) FLORIDA: Certainly we`ve seen a lot of evidence and propaganda over the last year that shows that the Russians were trying to damage Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you think they were trying to do more, but they were trying to hurt Hillary and then eventually help Donald Trump?

ROONEY: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Joyce, that does seem like one of the sort of factual findings that we`re all on board with, with the exception apparently of this House intelligence committee.

JOYCE VANCE, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: You know, you can argue about what the facts mean, but when you`re arguing about what the facts are and the facts are relatively clearly established, that should give all of us concerns about not just the substantive conclusion that this House committee reached, but also about the process that it used, a process that you`ve already described as being deficient in terms of follow-up in the witnesses it interviewed.

And the problem that we have is that this will be presented to many people, many of our fellow citizens, as a credible process. And it simply wasn`t.

HAYES: Yeah, and we should also note that there is huge omissions. I mean, Manafort, the person who is facing a raft of charges and probably is the most inextricably bound to pro-Kremlin interests in terms of the monetary trail, was never interviewed nor was Padopoulos, a number of those people.

Matt, I want to read you the Schiff statement, because there is a question about how the Democrats on the committee deal with this now. Adam Schiff saying this: "by ending its oversight role in the only authorized investigation in the House, the majority has placed the interests of protecting the president over protecting the country. And history will judge its actions harshly."

What do you think the Democrats on the committee do next?

MILLER: I think they have to take their case to the American public. Look, they don`t have any control of the committee. They can`t call witnesses in themselves. They can write their own -- they can write a response to this report, but they have to take their case to the public and point out what a flawed investigation this is.

But then, their work is not done, because the committee, just because it stopped this investigation, I don`t think we should conclude that they`re done messing around in this space. You know, Nunes has made very clear he is off looking at the State Department now, going to try to find some way to show that allies of Clinton were somehow colluding with the Russians there. You know, another claim that we didn`t touch on yet that this report makes is it was the Clinton campaign that colluded with the Russians to, I don`t know, elect Donald Trump, I guess.

So, they`re not done. So, the Democrat -- if this committee keeps kind of running interference for the president and his legal team, which I think they are, Adam Schiff and the Democrats on this committee are going to have to keep pointing out when the facts don`t add up.

HAYES: And yet Julia, the Mueller investigation really doesn`t look like it`s wrapping up right now. I mean, you`ve been reporting about this expansion into the question of the Seychelles meeting. They do not seem like they`ve basically figured it all out and they`re done.

AINSLEY: That`s right. I mean, I`m going back to the conversations we`re having at the end of 2017, Chris. We`re talking about what we were hearing out of the White House from Donald Trump`s lawyers like Ty Cobb who were saying it`s just a matter of time before the president either goes before Robert Mueller or tries to answer written questions, that`s what they wanted. And then that will be the end. They will start to wrap it up. They really keep telling the president just a few more weeks and we`ll have an answer. And even if we see other trials, like the Manafort thing carry on, they`ll go ahead and say that the president is free of any wrongdoing.

But yet here we are in mid-March, and the probe seems to be getting bigger, Chris. I mean, we know that Mueller is looking at the Seychelles meeting and a new reporting from Bloomberg today says that the obstruction case actually could be on hold, because Mueller thinks it`s so important to get cooperation from other witnesses that he wouldn`t want to pull back on any of that cooperation by moving too quickly with obstruction, which means there is more that he wants to get from people who are part of that obstruction case and that there is really a strategy here, and it`s a strategy in a case that doesn`t look like it`s coming to an end any time soon.

And it`s even widening to include foreign business dealings of Jared Kushner outside of Russia.

HAYES: Joyce, is that your interpretation of that Bloomberg piece, which caught my eye as well, that president -- that Robert Mueller holding back on an obstruction charges while he pursues other avenues?

VANCE: You know, we don`t know what the source for that supposition is, and this has been a prosecution team that`s been very, very locked down...

HAYES: That`s a great point.

VANCE: You know, we haven`t had any leaks. So, I`d like to know why they believe that`s Mueller`s strategy.

But here`s my take on it, Chris. As a prosecutor, if I was going to charge obstruction at the top of the conspiracy, I would want to wait until the end when I was filing substantive charges when I knew what all of the criminal conduct looked like.

HAYES: Right.

VANCE: And only at that point would I want to charge obstruction. So, I think that this reporting makes sense.

HAYES: Yeah, it`s a great point. Julia Ainsley, Joyce Vance, and Matt Miller, thank you all for your time.

Still to come, an interview so disastrous that they were watching in horror, apparently, inside the White House. The uproar over the Betsy Devos meltdown. We will play you a big chunk of that ahead.

And Donald Trump Jr.`s golden ticket to the chocolate factory is tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Thing One tonight, a spectacle in Pennsylvania as Republicans try to have it both ways in the special election there. They are desperate to downplay expectations. Today, the Pennsylvania GOP chairman called the district there a Democrat district, it`s a democratic district technically, but even though Romney won it by 17 points and Trump won it by a whopping 20.

But the congressional race is becoming such a symbolic prize that millions of dollars are being spent, even though the district will be redrawn by the midterm elections eight months from now.

President Trump rallied there. And now on the eve of the election, they sent in the closer, Donald Trump Jr., hair net and all, who brought his own special campaigning touch and lots of sugar. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: The stakes couldn`t be lower for the special election in Pennsylvania`s 18, which will be redrawn by midterm elections just eight months from now. But Donald Trump Jr. campaigned there today taking a tour in a candy factory, hair nets required, and spawning memes such if it`s what you say, I love it. Maybe later in the spring.

Don Jr. also holds an impromptu news conference along with Republican candidate Rick Saccone, and a big bowl of ice cream.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SACCONE, REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: I had a coal miner rally in Green County just the other day. Production is way up. So, I don`t know where you`re getting that, and that`s the forecast I have for coal.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, ahead of that Trump Tower meeting were you aware that the Russians had information, those emails?

TRUMP: I was not. But that`s not where we`re hearing talking about.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Saccone, can I ask you, what is your message to the coal miners?

SACCONE: I`ve always been a defender of the coal industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Trump, should Stormy Daniels be able to speak, sir? Should Stormy Daniel`s be able to speak?

TRUMP: Thanks, guys. That`s not what we`re talking about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Talking about coal miners and ice cream.

Perhaps Don Jr. forgot the advice from candidate Trump dad after John Kasich chowed down in front of the press.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Did you see him? He has a news conference all the time when he is eating. I have never seen a human being eat in such a disgusting fashion. And I always with my kids, all of them, I would say children, small, little bites.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HAYES: Controversial Education Secretary Betsy Devos got her turn in the spotlight on "60 Minutes" last night, and it was -- well, take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LESLEY STAHL, 60 MINUTES: Why take money away from that school that`s not working to bring them up to a level where they are -- that school is working?

BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Well, we should be funding and investing in students, not in school buildings, not in institutions, not in systems...

STAHL: OK, what about the kids who are back at the school that`s not working? What about those kids?

DEVOS: Well, in places where there have been -- where is a lot of choice that`s been introduced, Florida, for example, the studies show that when there is a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools actually, the results get better as well.

STAHL: Now, has that happened in Michigan? We`re in Michigan. This is your home state.

DEVOS: Yes. Well, there lots of great options and choices for students.

STAHL: Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

DEVOS: I don`t know. Overall, I can`t say overall that they have all gotten better.

STAHL: The whole state is not doing well.

DEVOS: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where the students are doing well...

STAHL: No, but your argument that if you take funds away, that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan. Where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.

DEVOS: I hesitate to talk about all schools in general, because schools are made up of individual students attending them.

STAHL: The public schools here are doing worse than they did.

DEVOS: Michigan schools need to do better, there is no doubt about it.

STAHL: Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they`re doing?

DEVOS: I have not. I have not. I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

STAHL: Maybe you should.

DEVOS: Maybe I should, yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Maybe.

More from that disastrous interview and the ongoing struggles of Trump`s so-called best people, right after this break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DEVOS: We have invested billions and billions and billions of dollars from the federal level, and we have seen zero results.

STAHL: But that really isn`t true. Test scores have gone up over the last 25 years. So why do you keep saying nothing has been accomplished?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: here to talk about the catastrophic performance of Secretary of Education Betsy Devos on 60 Minutes and the status of the rest of the so- called best people in the Trump White House, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers who has strong views about Ms. Devos; MSNBC contributor Josh Barro, senior editor at Business Insider; and Professor Christina Greer, a fellow at NYU`s McSilver Institute for Poverty, Policy, and Research.

OK, the AFT was like cracking up, breaking out the champagne during that performance, I`m sure. You guys are not big fans of Betsy Devos. But here is the thing that I found surprising was distinct from her ideological approach to education, which is not at all in line with yours, just the basic level of preparation seemed to be remarkably low. Did that surprise you?

RANDI WEINGARTEN, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Not after the last year. I mean, it surprised me at her confirmation hearing.

HYAES: Which was a fairly similar show.

WEINGARTEN: Right, which, but you know, here you have a year. She`s gone to 18 public schools, three of which she went to with me in Vanwood (ph) Ohio. And you can see...

HAYES: She had gone to18 all year.

WEINGARTEN: 18 all year, three of which one day. We made her work hard that day.

HAYES: That doesn`t seem like a lot.

WEINGARTEN: No. It`s not a lot. And frankly, you know, I think she spends more time with Frank Lunds than she spends thinking about what happens with school kids, you know, the guy who is giving her all these messages.

HAYES: The Republican messaging gurus.

WEINGARTEN: But I think what happens with her is this, she is the most anti-public education ideologue who has ever had this job. And she doesn`t want to walk the walk in any way whatsoever. She, like the president, really engages in the photo op and in the optics and they know nothing after that. I mean, frankly, what`s dangerous is the insanity of the arming teacher idea. Now, that is dangerous.

HAYES: Right.

WEINGARTEN: The fact that she pretended she didn`t know anything about Michigan. She actually was the architect of taking a billion dollars out of Michigan schools for charters. Charters do terribly there. And what has happened is it has sunk the rest of the Michigan school system, the architect of it.

HAYES: Incredibly, the DOE today tweets a chart today as a refutation of 60 Minutes that shows that post-Governor Rick Snyder`s election to governor, reading scores in Mitch declined, which was her big rebuttal.

But you had a really interesting piece, Josh, today sort of linking thematically a bunch of people in the cabinet of the Trump cabinet, because we`ve seen similar performances from other folks. This is not just a Betsy Devos issue.

JOSH BARRO, BUSINESS INSIDER: Right, yeah, and there`s reporting today that, you know, people in the White House are upset about her poor performance here. And then CNN had a couple days ago that the White House counsel`s office arranged meetings with several cabinets, secretarys who have had ethics scandals. Scott Pruit flying first class all over the place and David Shulkin at Veterans Affairs who accepted Wimbledon tickets and these things, and basically gave them a list of admonishments, like, just because it`s legal doesn`t mean you should do it and remember your reputation is your own responsibility. And it`s like this is coming from the Trump people, so these two things that you`re seeing in the cabinet, one is complete disregard for appearances of impropriety, for ethics rules, and then also, just being willing to be a government official who knows nothing about the thing that you`re overseeing. These are both things that Donald Trump would do.

HAYES: It`s a great point, right, like, it flows from the top, because he has managed -- you watch him in these meetings about gun policy or immigration. It`s like evident, his command is...

CHRISTINA GREER, NYU: He knows nothing. And he`s not interested in anything. And we saw this during some of the judicial confirmations where these are people willing to take jobs where they know nothing about. So, we`re just talking about gifted hands, Dr. Ben Carson, who -- OK, so you lived in an apartment and now you`re in charge of HUD. Like, that means nothing.

HAYES: And not only that, a year, what`s crazy to me -- and this is true of Betsy Devos. It`s one thing at the confirmation hearings they don`t know anything. I mean, there is no reason Dr. Ben Carson knows. But you`ve got a year, you would think...

GREER: And thing is, I don`t think that the AFT was popping champagne, because the AFT actually cares about teachers and students, right, and so that`s...

WEINGARTEN: We`re pretty worried about it.

GREER: You know, and so that interview made many people cringe, not all, but it reminded me of Katie Couric and Sarah Palin where you have someone who is not just ignorant, but almost willfully and defiantly ignorant, about what they don`t know. And the fact that she`s in charge of not just the dollars, but the children of this country and she doesn`t get it.

HAYES: The crazy...

WEINGARTEN: Think about what she did. She didn`t care about the assaults on college kids.

GREER: Nope.

WEINGARTEN: She didn`t care about what`s going on in predatory lenders for college students. She doesn`t show up at one low performing school to try to help solve things. She cuts school safety and mental health programs two days before Parkland.

So, my point is, it`s dangerous because it`s not just willful defiance, they`re trying to send a message that government doesn`t work, and we actually need government to work for kids.

GREER: They want everything in the private sector so they can make more money.

BARRO: The remarkable thing about her like complete abdication on this is that -- you know, the education secretary has a lot of power over higher ed, accreditation, and various things that like really affect how colleges and universities work.

On K-12, the federal government doesn`t have that much power. If you want to influence the way states and localities do education, you sort of have to do it through an influence campaign, convince people that...

HAYES: Like Race to the Top, which literally was designed to use the federal government`s leverage to get lots of changes at the local level.

BARRO: Yeah, and so if you want someone to do that, you would want a more convincing voice, maybe someone who came out of a state where carters worked better than Michigan, which has really one of the worst structured charter systems in the whole country.

WEINGARTEN: The worst.

BARRO: There is all sorts of people you could come up with who would be better for serving those conservative ends here, whereas I think she -- you know, it`s an embarrassing spectacle, but ultimately I think when we look back on her legacy, she won`t have had that much influence over K-12

WEINGARTEN: ...because she just doesn`t care. And it`s sending a message that we don`t care about kids.

HAYES: Well, there is an argument that it`s better not to care and not be able to change the agency, then to be Scott Pruitt who deeply cares and is transforming the EPA with a certain a amount of competence in his own...

GREER: On the one hand, she`s completely grossly incompetent, but what we also have to remember is the white supremacist agenda of this particular administration. And so the kids who will really be punished by her abdication, by her ignorance, by her sort of defiance of working with big government is our black and Latino students who are at these under- performing schools where her solution is let me actually take money away from these schools and then miraculously they`ll do better.

Like, this is the first time we`re moving toward the majority of black and Latino students in public schools, because other families are choosing carters across the country, and so we also have to keep the racialized lens on this particular administration.

She`s no different than the president.

HAYES: There is one other aspect to this, which is just like I have been around -- if you`re in any circle where donors, rich people, have a lot of influence and power, and this is bipartisan, trans-ideological -- there are lots of people across the ideological spectrum with lots of money who people will just say, like, oh, yeah, that`s a great idea. Oh, absolutely, great idea. And then they run into the fact that not all their ideas are great. And there are lots of people like that in this administration from Jared Kushner to Betsy Devos to Wilbur Ross who have been told yes, your ideas are great for a long time and have to deal with reality.

Randi Weingarten, Josh Barro, and Christina Greer, thank you all for being with me.

That is All In for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

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