Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: November 15, 2018 Guest: Richard Blumenthal, Jerry Nadler, Josh Marshall, Betsy Woodruff, David Cicilline, Brian Fallon
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: 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: I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.
HAYES: Donald Trump does it again.
TRUMP: Well, Matt Whitaker, I don`t know Matt Whitaker.
HAYES: This time admitting that the appointment of Matt Whitaker was all about the Russia probe.
TRUMP: Matt Whitaker is a great guy. I mean, I know Matt Whitaker.
Hayes: Tonight, as the President rages on Twitter, Jerry Nadler and Richard Blumenthal on the push to protect Mueller. Then, deadline day in the Florida recount as Democrats keep winning House seats. A new push to regulate Facebook in the wake of the New York Times bombshell. And trouble on Trump T.V.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re not even tired are you?
HAYES: Why even Donald Trump is sick of Sean Hannity softballs.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: I don`t think anyone has your energy level.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. Donald Trump sure sounds worried that there are indictments coming very, very soon. The President escalating his attacks today on Robert Mueller though the twist. For the very first time, Trump claimed to know the "inner workings of the Mueller investigation. Now, to be fair, the President could just be lying. But this tweet comes just days after Trump installed as his acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, the man who John Kelly privately described as the West Wing`s eyes and ears inside the Justice Department.
Robert Mueller is now reporting to Matt Whitaker, the guy who the White House says is basically its informant. And now here we are the first time the President claiming to know the inner workings of Mueller`s investigation. And all this comes amid reports that new indictments are imminent and as Trump`s legal team nears completion of written answers to questions posed by Mueller concerning rushing interference in the election.
It also comes as Trump has basically admitted that he chose Whitaker to undermine Mueller. Remember, Whitaker does not have the credentials one would expect for the job he`s been given. He reportedly first came to Trump`s attention because Trump "liked watching Whitaker expressed skepticism about the Mueller investigation on T.V. Whitaker`s other appearances include this promotional video for a Florida company that paid him as an advisor, a company that the FBI says was a straight-up scam.
Now, before we get to what exactly Trump said about Whitaker, let`s turn back the clock to Trump`s May 2017 interview with NBC News Lester Holt and the infamous moment where Trump suggested the real reason he fired James Comey was because the FBI Director wouldn`t halt the Russia investigation.
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TRUMP: Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself, I said you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.
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HAYES: He was not supposed to say that. Generally, it isn`t wise to describe your efforts to obstruct justice on national television, but he did and now he`s at it again. Asked by conservative media outlet about who he was considering to replace Whitaker as attorney general since Whitaker is just the acting, Trump veered into a de-facto admission that he hired Whittaker to stop Mueller. First, Trump insisted "Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He`s -- and he`s very importantly -- he`s respected within DOJ." That`s debatable. He then added, "Whitaker is just somebody who`s very respected. I knew him only as he pertained you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions and you know, look as far as I`m concerned, this is an investigation that should have never been brought, it should have never been had, it`s something that should have never been brought. It`s in an illegal investigation."
OK, nobody asked about the Mueller investigation. He doesn`t even refer to it the first time. It`s just sort of floating in his head and then he goes there. Now, all this might lead reasonable person to believe that it has become essential to protect Mueller from the president and his newly installed lackey. But when asked about passing legislation to protect the Special Counsel, the top Republican in the Senate insisted there`s nothing to worry about.
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SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: We know how the President feels about the Mueller investigation but he`s never said he wants to shut it down. I`ve never heard anybody down there say they want to shut it down. I think it`s a no danger and so I don`t think any legislation is necessary.
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HAYES: OK then, well, if he doesn`t think it is. Democrats have been pushing for the legislation along with a handful Senate Republicans but most Republicans refuse to lift a finger. Today, perhaps the most ardent staller and craven defender of the president at least in the last year or so Senator Lindsey Graham, the Sean Hannity of the Senate if you will, said that even though he supports the legislation, he`ll leave it to McConnell decide whether it gets a vote. Graham met with Whittaker earlier today.
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SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I don`t think he`s going to do anything unsavory. I have a lot of elements that Mr. Mueller will be allowed to his job and that the legal process that was in place before Mr. Whitaker arrive will be followed. He`s going to honor (INAUDIBLE) and I have great confidence he will make reasonable decisions when the time comes and that the investigation of Jeopardy.
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HAYES: Joining me now is Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Well, two of your colleagues, the Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham say hey, don`t worry about it. What do you think?
SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, I am worried about it and so worried about it that we are thinking about ways that we can attach the special prosecutor protection legislation to other bills that may be moving through the United States Senate, must pass bills relating to appropriations for the continuing resolution, equally important. We`re thinking about legislation to assure there is disclosure of all the findings and evidence in that investigation in the event that Robert Mueller is in fact fired so the public knows and so that the investigators are held accountable.
HAYES: What do you -- what is your interpretation of the president unprompted bringing up the Mueller investigation when asked about Whitaker? It`s another one of those Lester Holt moments where he just says what is on his mind clearly and you really understated it. Matt Whitaker is manifestly unqualified for this job except that he serves the President`s purpose of cutting by a thousand cuts and dealing death to this investigation. It`s a kind of slow motion Saturday Night Massacre.
HAYES: Well, my question about that is what would -- so obviously, firing Mueller I think would precipitate some kind of massive crisis right? But it seems to me that that should -- if you believe there`s something untoward happening here with Whitaker, they`re probably going to do something more subtle like you just suggested. How would your legislation protect that?
BLUMENTHAL: The Special Counsel Protection Legislation would prevent the firing but the legislation that we`re contemplating would require complete disclosure of all the evidence and findings so it would diminish the incentive for strangling this investigation. It would also assure more funding so that the continuation of the present appropriate from them, moneys been appropriated would be assured.
HAYES: Right. So you don`t have much leverage in the minority right now in the Senate for less than one used to in the United States Senate. Jeff Flake was in the majority, has said he supports this legislation, he and Jeff -- he and Coons tried to bring it up. They were defeated by Mitch McConnell. Flake is now saying he won`t vote for any judges in this lame duck session unless it happens. Collins refuses to do the same. What is your sense -- are there other Republicans who can go that Flake route to get you the leverage you would need?
BLUMENTHAL: I think there are other Republicans and they need to step forward. The story of this Congress has been quite, unfortunately, the abdication of responsibility by Republicans there. I hope Jeff Flake sticks to that commitment, but we need the legislation --
HAYES: We need more than that. don`t you?
BLUMENTHAL: We need more than just him and we need more than just Jeff Flake because he`s going to be leaving and we need the muscle to make sure that the Senate votes on this.
HAYES: Do you have any doubt in your mind that if the President fired Mueller tomorrow and shut down the investigation, that the overwhelming majority of Republican colleagues would be fine with it and try to protect the President?
BLUMENTHAL: There`ll be a firestorm if he fires the Special Counsel. There`ll be a constitutional conflagration, but --
HAYES: Don`t you think Mitch McConnell is just going to huddle the team together off the antechamber and say look, guys, this is what we signed up for. We protect this guy no matter what and we`re the majority and screw them.
BLUMENTHAL: I think they have to take a lesson from this last election. The American people want that investigation completed.
HAYES: What do you think about Whitaker`s status as the Acting Attorney General? I mean there`s concerns about him. You had harsh words for his qualifications. And this is someone who was elbow deep in this various scammy company. The FTC you know ordered it to pay back $27 million dollars I think. The FBI has a criminal investigation. We`ve got you know, evidence now that he was active and essentially trying to silence people who pointed out the scamminess of this company. I mean, is -- what do you think of Whitaker in this role independent of what he`s doing the Mueller investigation?
BLUMENTHAL: He is there illegally.
HAYES: You think he`s illegal there.
BLUMENTHAL: I think that the President`s failed to comply with the advice and consent requirement in the Constitution and we are researching and actively considering, I`m talking to a number of my colleagues about legal action that we could take. I think that there`ll be more challenges to the actions that he may take while he`s in office. But here is the bottom line on this appointment. if there is an effort to fire Bob Mueller, there will be a firestorm, maybe not among my Republican colleagues but among the American people, there`ll be another clear Saturday Night Massacre.
And that`s the strategy here of the Republicans to do it in slow motion so as to avoid that overt firestorm.
HAYES: All right, Senator Richard Blumenthal, thank you for your time tonight.
BLUMENTHAL: Thank you.
HAYES: I`m joined by the -- I`m joined now by the incoming chair of the House Judiciary Committee, that would be Congressman Jerry Nadler who`s a Democrat of New York. I`ll start with you on the President`s comments. He`s asked about Mr. Whitaker, he responds about the Mueller investigation and how it`s a legitimate. Do you read anything into that?
REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK: Well we read a confirmation of the obvious that Whitaker was placed there to be a hatchet man to subvert or sabotage of the Mueller investigation. He had only one qualification which was relevant namely that he unlike attorney General Sessions he would not recuse himself. He would not that point -- he would ignore his obvious conflict of interest. So the president is simply confirming that his purpose there is to sabotage the investigation.
HAYES: There`s been news that you and your colleagues in the Democratic Party are going to launch an investigation into Whitaker particularly the role he played with this company that is being investigated by the FBI. There`s a quote from someone who was on the wrong end of the scam who is he says sort of intimidated by Whitaker out of blowing the whistle. He was yelling Whittaker pushback against early fraud complaints about company he advised. That`s in the Washington Post. What do you want to find out about his role in that company?
NADLER: Well, we want to find out what kind -- whether he was involved in criminal or fraudulent activity because he is supposedly the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. And we would simply be doing the due diligence that the Senate should do if it were given the opportunity to do what it`s constitutionally mandated to do namely advise and consent on the nomination. We believe that this nomination is illegal, that the office of legal counsels opinion is nonsense that the office of legal counsel is simply shilling for the president, and someone has got to look into his qualifications and his conflicts of interest since the Senate is not being given the opportunity to do that.
HAYES: So I take it that you`re not impressed the office of legal counsel decision is in the words of Kellyanne Conway in that interview twenty pages, and the President also seemed impressed that it was 20 pages. That doesn`t convince you?
NADLER: Length the never convinces on anything. His appointment is clearly unconstitutional because it evades the necessity of a principal officer the government being confirmed by the -- by the Senate. It cites a general succession law. But as any law student knows, general success -- general laws are trumped by specific laws. This is a specific law that says the succession for an acting Attorney General goes through the Deputy Attorney General, the Solicitor General and through other people confirmed by the Senate, so no.
This is obviously the president reaching for someone who he thinks is a hatchet man who can evade judgment by the Senate and who will do his job of sabotaging the investigation of which the President has shown very clearly his latest tweets and comments that he`s terrified of.
HAYES: Yes. Let me ask you about that. I think the conventional wisdom watching the President`s behavior from the outside, we know he`s consulting with his attorneys on questions, we know there`s some activity happening behind the scenes with Mueller vis a vis his court filings, other people saying they expect to be indicted, is your read on the situation the same one that we tend to have which is that he looks like a man who`s very scared about what Mueller is going to do?
NADLER: He certainly is giving the impression of someone very scared of what Mueller is going to do and he`s trying to avoid that. Remember, his only beef with the Attorney General Sessions that he kept complaining about was that he didn`t recuse himself from the investigation and therefore couldn`t stop it. And where`s my Roy Cohn who could in effect do my -- you know, protect me personally. That`s not the job of the Attorney General, and he`s obviously very scared of this, and he has been convinced until now at least, that he could evade accountability, that he was above the law, and that no one would hold him to the law.
But now we`ve got a Democratic Congress or at least House coming in in January that`s going to do proper oversight which is our constitutional duty which is going to hold him accountable and the special prosecutor may very well hold them accountable too and he`s acting very cornered.
HAYES: Do you have any leverage in this lame-duck -- Senator Blumenthal was talking about ways of thinking about attaching something to and he must pass legislation in the lame-duck session to protect special counsel. Obviously, that law would have -- there have to be a matching law on the House for it to get to the President`s desk. Do you have any leverage in the minority in this lame duck for something like that?
NADLER: Well, we`re working together with our colleagues in the Senate. We have leverage -- they have more leverage because you need 60 votes basically to passed any bill and we don`t need that in the House. But unless you can assume that all the Republicans are going to support the budget law which they may not, not because of this but for other reasons, for questions of what`s in the continuing resolution, what`s in the budget, we will have some leverage. And certainly, the prospect of our becoming the majority in January gives us some leverage too.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Jerry Nadler, thanks for being with me.
NADLER: Thank you.
HAYES: For more on that Whitaker and Trump`s attacks on Mueller today I`m joined by now Josh Marshall Editor and Publisher of Talking Points Memo and Betsy Woodruff Politics Reporter of The Daily Beast. And Josh I`ll start with you. It`s a very weird time right now because here`s the Politico story. Trump preparing for -- the Mueller anxiety parfaits the Trump world. Half a dozen people have contacted the White House and other Trump officials say deep anxiety has started to set in that Mueller is about to pounce after his self-imposed quiet period, that any number of Trump allies and family members may soon be staring down the barrel of an indictment.
JOSH MARSHALL, EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, TALKING POINTS MEMO: Yes, you know, I have never seen anything quite like this. There`s all this speculation about there being sealed indictments that are just waiting for kind of to be sprung at some key moment. None of us really know and it`s --
HAYES: No. Plus you have people close to a Roger Stone and Jerome Corsi going around saying I`m going to be indicted which is also weird.
MARSHALL: Right. Well, and they`re the classic you know, unreliable narrator so it`s so hard to know what they`re saying. It really seems like something is going on but the question I have about with the White House is do they know more than we all do --
HAYES: That`s the big question.
MARSHALL: -- and they`re just kind of spooked like you know, because they see the same things that reporters think is going to happen.
HAYES: That`s right. I mean, never underestimate how much the President just watches cable news and he draws --
MARSHAL: And clearly his source of information.
HAYES: Exactly. Betsy, what`s your what`s your sense as a reporter in Washington D.C. with sources around Capitol Hill in the White House about what the -- what the general feeling is among Republicans in the Capitol right now about what might be coming down?
BETSY WOODRUFF, POLITICS REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: There`s clearly a high anxiety level. That said there`s been anxiety about the Mueller investigation since it started more than a year and a half ago. This is something that is always deeply concerned Republicans. And in particular, one of the biggest sources of concern and this has been an enduring one is that Mueller would look at matters beyond just the question of how the Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential elections. The worry was always that Mueller would potentially look at financial dealings, look at business ties, look at for instance the possibility that Jared Kushner could have been involved in business dealings that would be of interest to someone in Mueller`s position.
That was always the worry and it goes back to what Republicans know from history looking at the Ken Starr investigation and that started by looking at real estate deals and ended up with you know, learning about the president`s activity with Monica Lewinsky that precipitated his impeachment. So this is always worried Republicans. But of course, right now post Midterms, everyone kind of has indictment jitters. You know, every Friday I get texts from sources saying is there going to be in an indictment today? What are you hearing? And I say, oh yes, I talked about it with Bob Mueller earlier and he told me there`s an indictment coming. Thanks for asking. Yes. Of course not. We don`t know, nobody knows, but that has not calmed anyone`s nerves.
HAYES: People ask me that on the street and in the subway in New York City. I don`t know. To Betsy`s point, there is, of course, two investigation. There`s an SDNY investigation that is the you know, Michael Cohen who again remember, there`s evidence -- forget everything ever you do with the Russians, we know that that Southern District according the Wall Street Journal has evidence the President directing Michael Cohen to make payments that that were illegal violations of campaign finance according to his plea bargain.
MARSHALL: And that he knew -- and that Trump knew. There`s several key --
HAYES: It has nothing to do with Russia and that`s already on the table.
MARSHALL: And those are -- yes. It`s -- that seems pretty open and shut. I mean, I do think there`s a question of like you know, campaign fight -- know how, far does -- how far does that go? You know, someone who has some unique insight into Trump`s mind told me something today which really kind of made me think. And that is that when we think about these indictments, we think about potential indictments, and we think about the President`s anxiety. A lot of us, and I mean kind of most people in the media, that I include myself, are thinking about what are the things that we think are true or basically know is true and we think now might be confirmed by that Bob Mueller or confired you know, in a -- in a charge. But the thing is Donald Trump knows all sorts of things that he -- that he did that we have no idea about. So the potential -- now everybody has --
HAYES: In his own mind as he`s coming through.
HAYES: Exactly, that`s a great point.
MARSHALL: So we could talk about his anxiety --
HAYES: That`s a great point.
MARSHALL: -- it probably goes much further than anything frankly we can imagine.
HAYES: That is an excellent point. And Betsy, what do you make of -- I just thought that Daily Caller interview was such a fascinating towel. I mean, he gets asked about Whitaker, what do you think of him -- who are you going to replace you know, for the permanent Attorney General, and midway through he starts veering into the Mueller attack almost referring to it as he had already set talked about it earlier in the sentence when he hadn`t.
WOODRUFF: Exactly. It was -- I would -- I would recommend everybody read the transcripts of that interview because it is a heck of a read. The reality is when you say Matt Whitaker, Donald Trump thinks Bob Mueller.
HAYES: That`s exactly right.
WOODRUFF: He sees those two men in his mind as being inextricably linked. And just from looking at the text of the interview, he clearly sees Whitaker as someone who can finally be in the position to be a counterbalance to Mueller. You know, someone who`s going to be at the Justice Department who he thinks will stick up for him. And remember, part of the reason that Whitaker rose to prominence in the early days of the Trump administration was because he spent so much time on conservative talk radio and on cable news bashing Bob Mueller. It was just last summer as The Daily Beast first reported that Whitaker said definitively that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
This is somebody who wasn`t even on the Trump campaign and he was presenting himself as this definitive expert about that question. So of course, Trump -- when Trump sees Matt Whitaker, he thinks Bob Mueller. He sees those two men as beings inseparably connected and that -- and that obviously helps make sense of why he put Whitaker where he did, when he did.
HAYES: Another dynamic that we don`t quite have eyes into that I think a lot about is Whitaker and Mueller and Rosenstein and that Justice Department, because you got to imagine that there are some interesting conversations happening there, Josh.
MARSHALL: Yes. I think you know, one thing -- everything that everybody says about Matt Whitaker, why the president put him there, all that stuff 100 percent right. But I do think we underestimate to an extent the degree to which Rod Rosenstein, Bob Mueller, all these players are big power players who have deep roots in Washington, know the bureaucratic angles, and Matt Whitaker is not from that world and doesn`t know the space. So he may be more vulnerable --
HAYES: Yes, I think that`s a very good point about where the institutional gravity lays. Josh Marshall and Betsy Woodruff, thank you both for being with me. Still ahead, Midterm results are still coming in. They`re still counting votes and Democrats keep winning. And tonight the Florida Senate race is so close it is officially headed to a hand recount. Steve Kornacki has all the latest in just two minutes. Don`t go anywhere.
HAYES: Another day and another couple of wins for Democrats in the Midterm elections. Andy Kim has now unseated the Republican incumbent Tom MacArthur who played a key role in the ObamaCare repeal bill in New Jersey`s 3rd Congressional District. In a main 2nd Congressional District, Marine Corps Veteran Jared Golden the Democrat has defeated the Republican incumbent there as well. Which means when the new Congress convenes in January, every congressional district in the House in all of New England will be represented by Democrat. That`s what it looks like.
There are still six congressional races not yet called by NBC News, the Florida recount for the Senate and governor`s race is ongoing, and a runoff in the Georgia governor`s race is still a possibility. Here to bring us the latest on all that, Steve Kornacki, MSNBC National Political Correspondent. So we got those two calls, they were -- they were kind of fait accompli by the time they actually were confirmed. We`ve now got six -- is it six outstanding?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Six that are left to come. Yes.
HAYES: And it -- let`s look at two California ones. That Katie Porter of the Democrat in California 45 has pulled ahead in that vote count, correct?
KORNACKI: Right. She`s pulled well ahead, talking about 4,000 votes or so. Now, this is actually what just happened. This is Orange County basically coming in. This is the last few minutes. Porter has pulled further ahead. You can see there. So now that margin up over 6,000 votes. Just -- everyday more votes from Orange are counted, they favor the Democrats, and also in 39 which is also Orange County, this for the first time tonight in the update the Democrat has taken the lead there. We were expecting this now it`s happened.
HAYES: Oh, wow. That just happened since I came on air.
KORNACKI: Yes, this is in the last 20 minutes.
HAYES: Oh, look at that. That`s actually -- so that -- when I went to air, it was about 70 votes for Young Kim who I think would be the only -- well, aside from Mia Love who`s an incumbent, she`s the only woman of color in the freshman class Republicans were she to win. There was a lot of made of her campaign that she was going to be the one that survived this kind of wipe out but she`s now behind.
KORNACKI: Well, and also in if that holds -- if she loses, historic moment here. There would be zero Republicans from the seven-member Orange County California delegation in the next Congress. The cradle of Goldwater and Reagan conservatism would be all Democratic if that holds.
HAYES: And right now that -- they`re ahead -- then we`ve got -- we`ve got the -- let`s talk quickly about the Seventh in Georgia where it`s sort of too close to call. That`s probably going to go to some kind of recount I think.
KORNACKI: Yes, with 419, they just counted a bunch of absentee ballots in Gwinnett County there which is now the Democratic part of that district believe it or not. The Democrat, it looks like is going to call for a recount down 419. It`s at that level it`s unlikely to change but what that really speaks to is that the strength of Stacey Abrams, she`s not looking like she`s going to win statewide but she turned out such Democratic enthusiasm in a place like Gwinnett County. That congressional race around there got so close.
HAYES: And let`s go to Georgia now, right? So where are we -- Georgia has -- there is no recount there. We`re still doing the first count.
HAYES: There down to absentees and provisionals.
HAYES: When is the deadline for that one?
KORNACKI: So what the counties have already certified, most counties and I think Gwinnett tonight became the last one to do this to certify their count, but then there was a court ruling that caused the state to tell the counties OK, go back and take a look at these absentee ballots where there was an issue with the date of birth. If it changes your count, you now have until tomorrow, until Friday to do that. So -- but you`re probably talking there about hundreds of votes statewide. Stacey Abrams would need to basically knock that margin you see on your screen down by about 18,000. If she did that, Kemp would be under 50 percent. You`d be in a runoff so unless --
HAYES: She`s 18,000 from a runoff.
KORNACKI: From getting into that runoff, yes. Or also she -- if -- she`d also would need to be within a point to call for a recount but again the math is pretty similar there. So it looks like you`re talking about hundreds of votes potentially between now and tomorrow. So it doesn`t look like that`s the issue but Georgia Seven, I think, there`s a little more suspense there.
HAYES: Now, Florida is not nuts. I follow this for a living and I`m having a hard time making sense of it all. The big headline today is there`s going to be a hand recount in the -- in the Senate race.
HAYES: What does that mean?
KORNACKI: So it means there`s all sorts of small issues that are jumping rather small but important but the big one is this. 26,000 votes in Broward County, huge heavily Democratic Broward County, 26,000 where people voted in the governor`s race and no vote was registered in the Senate race. And this would -- this would break two-to-one for Nelson if these ballots you know, had been cast we think in the Senate race. His campaign says this is a machine error. Voters actually did cast Senate votes here, when you have a manual recount they will be caught, Nelson will win them overwhelmingly and that statewide gap will come down close to zero. That`s what the Nelson camp claims.
The other possibility here and I think there`s a lot to be said for it is this is ballot design. And heavily -- voters --
KORNACKI: They buried it. There is -- the irony of this Chris is after the 2000 Florida Fiasco, a commission was set up by the federal government to recommend to States how to design their ballots. The recommendation was never put a race underneath a vertical row of instructions. Broward County put the Senate race under a vertical row of instructions and you have a 26,000 under vote right now. So the Nelson camp is where it`s machine but that`s why there`s a good reason to think it could be ballot design.
HAYES: But we will find out one way or the other because they`ve been doing hand recount.
KORNACKI: Yes, That`s the manual recount. That`s the biggest thing to that will be resulted.
HAYES: And all this stuff -- very quickly, they were two minutes late on their deadline for their reporting on their machine recount but that whole thing ends up not mattering --
KORNACKI: Because they will now -- because they will now go -- yes.
HAYES: So that whole week of people like protesting, all of it, all just under the bridge and now they`re going to hand recount.
HAYES: Steve Kornacki, thank you very much. Broward County, what are you doing? Still ahead, shocking revelations about Facebook`s handling of Russian interference spark calls for regulation. My next guest could have the congressional power to do something about it.
HAYES: Facebook began responding today to that scathing report in The New York Times. According to the Times, Facebook slow walked its disclosure of Russian-linked activity on its site and then went into a war footing against its critics. Facebook`s founder Mark Zuckerberg held a call with reporters today saying he would not step down as the chairman of the board and defending COO Sheryl Sandberg.
Facebook did cut ties with the opposition research firm Definers Public Affairs. that`s hardly the end of it. Facebook is facing scrutiny now from every direction, including from the incoming Democratic congress.
Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island is expected to be chair of the subcommittee on regulatory reform and anti-trust law in the new congress, putting him in a position to spearhead congressional action on Facebook next year. He joins me now.
Congressman, you issued a very strong statement after The New York Times story yesterday, What did you learn from that story? And what are your concerns?
REP. DAVID CICILLINE, (D) RHODE ISLAND: Well, I think the story is very, very disturbing. It`s an example of what happens with his tremendous concentration of economic power, which is very often accompanied with a concentration of political power. And Democrats ran on a commitment to really understand and focus on this issue. We`ve seen these mega mergers continue, this tremendous concentration of economic power and the impact it`s having on consumers and on privacy and on the marketplace are significant.
So, we need to understand what happened here. We need to be doing everything we can to prevent it from happening. And there are not easy solutions to this, but we ought to begin with serious hearings to understand exactly what happened here and then we need to begin to really develop some policies that will respond to this.
So, there`s a lot of smart people that have begun to think about this. There aren`t easy answers, but we should all be very disturbed about the revelations in that reporting about the behavior of Facebook and their not only slow walking this, but engaging in the sort of political campaign to distract and dissuade and minimize what are some very serious issues of misconduct.
So, this is a serious issue and we have to focus on protecting consumers` privacy, think about the rights of consumers to protect their data and we`ve got to force companies like Facebook to be much more transparent about what`s going on.
HAYES: Well, you talked about their economic and political power. I want to get your reaction to the story that says the majority leader -- the minority leader in the Senate for the Democrats, Chuck Schumer, essentially ran interference for the company as the heat was being turned up on them with members of the Democratic caucus in the other house of congress, essentially to tamp it down and to not go so hard at Facebook. What do you think of that?
CICILLINE: But I think this is an example -- I mean, I took this important pledge to not take corporate PAC money in my reelection. I think this is just an example of why we`ve got to get money out of our political system so that folks can no longer be influenced by people who are making contributions to campaigns and really focus on developing good public policy.
And this -- you know, when you have the kind of economic power and the concentration of economic power that you see in a company like Facebook, it`s very often accompanied by a strong political power. And so we`ve got to break that connection and get money out of our political system and, you know, I think that`s going to be an important priority for Democrats. We`ve got a whole reform package to really address that issue.
But this -- this question about the behavior of this company and the way it`s impacting the privacy interests of Americans and the consumers` right to make sure that their data is protected is very serious.
HAYES: There`s another part of the story I thought was interesting, which is about their ability to kind of get senators to back off, this Senator Richard Burr, that says "Facebook lobbyists" -- this is when before they came before the Senate intel committee about Russian interference -- "Facebook lobbyists had already worked the intelligence committee hard asking that lawmakers refrain from questioning Miss Sandberg about privacy issues. The argument was persuasive with Senator Burr who was determined to avoid a circus-like atmosphere. A day before the hearing he issued a stern warning to all committee members to stick to the topic of election interference."
Will you be calling them before your committee to ask questions?
CICILLINE: We need to have comprehensive hearings. I think you will see Democrats take an active role in the House on getting to the bottom of this. We have a responsibility to get answers for the American people and to begin to think about solutions.
These are disturbing very developments. What people expect from us is to bring those individuals before the committee, those companies, to learn what happened to make sure we`re thinking about solutions proactively to prevent these kinds of things from happening again, to protect data, protect privacy, think of competition-based solutions. We`re going to be very vigorous in our oversight of this and really work in a collaborative way to come up with solutions to solve this problem.
HAYES: All right, Congressman David Cicilline of Rhode Island, thank you very much.
CICILLINE: Thank you.
HAYES: Still to come, the Democrats found a successful midterm strategy in largely ignoring the president. But can that be duplicated in the presidential election?
Plus, the president turns on his number one fan. Tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, it`s pretty clear at this point that Donald Trump actually enjoys his acrimonious relationship with the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I tell you what, CNN should be ashamed of itself having you working for them. You are a rude, terrible person. You shouldn`t be working for CNN.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN: I think that`s un...
TRUMP: You`re a very rude person. The way you treat Sarah Huckabee is horrible. And the way you treat other people are horrible. You shouldn`t treat people that way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The president likes bashing reporters so much, he actually gets upset when they don`t give him the opportunity. The Daily Beast reports the president complains about Trump TV host Sean Hannity`s softball questions because Hannity`s slobbering leaves no friction to generate the sparks and drama that Trump craves. "It`s like he`s not even trying, Trump has said, one source recalled, right before the president launched into a rough immigration of Hannity`s voice and mannerisms to complain that the questions about how great I am give him nothing to work or have fun with."
"Another person who has heard Trump make similar comments since his inauguration says they remember the president calling Hannity`s softball questions, quote, dumb."
That seems a little harsh. Are Hannity interviews really that bad? That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: One can only imagine how Sean Hannity must have felt the moment he found out that Donald Trump has been mocking him, and all because his softball interviews are too soft and too dumb. Just imagine being so publicly rejected by the object of your affections after all this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS: How are you?
TRUMP: I`m very good.
HANNITY: You`re not even tired, are you? I went out there an hour before the show and the crowd is electric. There`s a bigger crowd outside than there is inside.
Mr. President, you`re dealing with a lot of good economic news today, record low unemployment, 14 states, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, women, youth unemployment.
4.3 million Americans off of Food Stamps, 4 million Americans out of the poverty.
We have great news on the economy, better news with Kim Jong-un, he`s not firing rockets over Japan.
Tough sanctions against Russia and the Iranian economy and the Chinese economy are both going down, as you have taken a tough stand.
A path towards energy independence, you spent $3.5 billion on the border wall. And I know you`re disappointed, you want the rest.
We`re getting better deals with Mexico.
I will say this, I think everybody`s met their match. I don`t think anyone has your energy level.
You love this. You really love this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In one overlooked part of Donald Trump`s interview with The Daily Caller this week, the president encourages some of his more violent followers to go with their instincts. The reporters asked him, how do you think the police should handle ANTIFA, general -- clearly baiting him -- and the president of the United States replied this way, "these people like the ANTIFA you`re talking about, the ANTIFA, they better hope that the opposition to ANTIFA decides not to mobilize, because if they do, they`re much tougher, much stronger, potentially much more violent."
Wow, that sounds like the response of a fascist, which isn`t surprising given the president`s clear admiration for fascists and authoritarians.
Today, for example, NBC reported the White House is weighing removing an enemy of the Turkish president, a man with a United States green card, in order to get Turkey to stop criticizing Saudi Arabia for the murder of another U.S. green card holder.
You`ll remember Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed by Saudi officials inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month. Turkey hasn`t taken too kindly to that. Turkey`s president, Recep Erdogan, has suggested blame lies with the White House`s ally Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman for the killing.
So, the Trump administration considered appeasing the Turkish president by extraditing a Turkish cleric currently living in Pennsylvania who Erdogan blames for a failed coup.
And the White House aren`t the only ones willing to go such lengths for Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, most House Republicans and a few Democrats, stepped in to block a bipartisan effort to stop U.S. support for Saudi Arabia`s monstrous war on Yemen. That is a war that at this very moment is causing one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world -- tens of thousands already dead and millions of Yemenis, including hundreds of thousands of children, at risk at this moment of starvation.
Minority leader Nancy Pelosi is calling for immediate action to end that crisis, which she could do when Democrats take control of the House as Congresswoman Barbara Lee tweeted, quote, "January can`t come soon enough."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: I urged our colleagues not to take the bait on what the president was putting out there. It`s a very dangerous issue on the campaign trail because of the misrepresentations that are put out there. You don`t win a fight by fighting that same fight, you win by sticking with the program for the people, lower health care costs, bigger paychecks, cleaner government. That produced a big victory for us in spite of the gerrymandering that the Republicans have done. I have no regret.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As House Democratic victories continue to mount, it`s becoming increasingly clear that the strategy outlined there by Nancy Pelosi to not take the bait worked. Democrats talked about health care. They talked about oversight, and they did not talk that much about Donald Trump. I know firsthand we had them on the program.
The question now is will that strategy work in 2020 against Trump himself? Ryan Fallon, who was Hillary Clinton`s 2016 press secretary has his doubts, wrote a long tweet thread, quote, "it will not be easy to avoid being sucked into Trump`s vortex, no matter what a candidate promises themselves at the start of the race."
And Brian Fallon joins me tonight along with MSNBC`s Joy Reid, host of AM Joy, to talk about what might work in 2020.
Brian, let me get your thoughts on this. I thought what you had to say was really interesting and it comes from sort of hard won wisdom.
First, what do you think of the Democrats` strategy in 2018 and its replicatability in 2020?
BRIAN FALLON, FORMER HILLARY CLINTON PRESS SECRETARY: I thought Nancy Pelosi`s observations were unquestionably the correct ones. Democrats were well served by not taking the bait and getting into a back and forth with Donald Trump about the caravan, for instance. But that advice -- my point is that that advice is hard to follow in a general election context. It`s easier said than done when you move from a congressional midterm election where no candidate is running in a heads-up way against Donald Trump mano a mano. In 2020, somebody will be competing every day for oxygen in a media cycle with Donald Trump.
And my point is most generic Democrats in that scenario will find themselves gasping for air because Donald Trump sucks all the oxygen out of the room. Democrats will find it very hard to make news of their own choosing on bread and butter health issues like health care, as they were able to do in this midterm election.
I`ll give you an example, coming out of the Democratic convention in the summer of 2016, there is nothing more that Hillary Clinton would have liked to have talked than the economy and her plan for rural America in terms of how to get wages rising again. She went on a bus tour with her running mate Tim Kaine in the afterglow of the convention to western Pennsylvania, rural Ohio, places she wasn`t given any credit for having gone and visited after the election because no one remembered that trip. And the reason was because Donald Trump went on the attack against Khizr Kahn at the end of that convention, and that`s all anyone talked about.
And so at first we were disappointed that no one was covering her plan to stop outsourcing in rural Ohio and Pennsylvania. Then we thought to ourselves, well, this seems like it`s probably an 80/20 to 90/10 issue to be defending a Gold Star family against Donald Trump. But that`s the trap you can fall into. That`s not a sturdy or durable way for waging a contest against Donald Trump.
JOY REID, MSNBC: No, I totally agree. Donald Trump attempted to shoehorn himself into this midterm, but he was the subtext of this midterm. This midterm was a referendum on him, period, full stop, right. But it was also possible in a midterm to draw out the individual issues that people cared the most about, health care being number one.
But that was in a way also about Republicans tried to take away Obamacare, so that really worked. I think for individual Democrats who were running for the United States Senate, for instance, yes, they`ll be able to pull out some local issues, and they`re going to be swamped again I think for Republicans by Donald Trump because he`ll be both on the ballot and talking, right?
So I think that Democrats will then be in direct contest with Donald Trump and what he stands for.
HAYES: And then there is also the fact, Brian, that he will -- well, two things. He`ll say anything, right, so like the nominee is Cory Booker, he`ll -- if he doesn`t get a rise, Cory Booker had someone killed. Whoa, wait, you know, and then what do you do with that? Well, no, he didn`t, that`s a lie, but now you`re talking about a thing he said. And there is always the fact that he will always give the media something to cover that is not policy, which is one of the things I think really resonated with me about your thread.
FALLON: Well, I think that the trap that most Democrats will fall into is Donald Trump will purposely choose subjects of controversy to weigh in on because he wants to make the debate on his terms. The media will cover it at face value, and they`ll attach the requisite amount of controversy to his statements because his statements are inherently provocative and controversial, but then they have to pivot to then covering the other candidate. In cable language, you guys know, you`ll talk about the a block and the b block. And in the a block, if you`re talking about Donald Trump and what he is saying is inherently controversial, you feel a need, in order to appear balanced, to attach some controversy to whatever the Democrat candidate is doing.
And as a result, it forced -- it elevates and inflates sort of manufactured controversies as we learned the hard way on emails.
REID: With emails being -- because the media`s default is to try to say, well, if we`re tough on Donald Trump on x, we need to find the equivalent y for the Democrat and cover it with the same amount of excitement, which is why you got things about the Hillary Clinton Foundation, because you got the Donald Trump Foundation, even if it doesn`t make sense.
And by the way, in 2020, what Democrats are doing is they are making the country decide do you want this country to be Donald Trump`s America. That actually is what the election is going to be about. So whoever the Democratic nominee is going to have to try to make themselves a personality, because it`s a personality contest, that is what presidential races are. And b, litigate Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is going to make that easy by talking a lot and doing a lot of things the media won`t be able to not cover. But then you`re going to have to have a successful litigation by the Democratic candidate.
HAYES: I think litigation also on policy. I think that`s a key thing.
HAYES: Like you`re got to -- like, he`s the guy that tried to take health care away. I think that`s actually -- both just as a sort of strategy, but also for the country.
REID: That`s right.
HAYES: Like we should be debating those things.
You said this, very similar to what Joy just said, Brian, a nominee best situated to be able to ignore Trump is one who commands a media ecosystem apart from him. What do you mean by that?
FALLON: Well, I think that the conventional wisdom right now is that are two sort of choices that Democratic primary voters can pick in the primary that`s about to begin, a no nonsense sort of bland, inoffensive candidate, in most cases it happens to be white male candidates that the media is thinking about in column a. And then in column b, more stridently progressive but three dimensional characters, if you will, in column b. And the theory is that if Democratic primary voters flock to column b, because that person is more inspirational, that they`ll be less strategic in choosing that path because that person may turn off voters in Wisconsin and Michigan.
My point is, no, actually, the bland inoffensive candidate is more likely to be sucked into Trump`s vortex because they`re not a center of gravity unto themselves like a more dynamic candidate will be.
REID: Remember who your base is. You want younger, you want people of color, you better have a personality.
HAYES: Brian Fallon and Joy Reid, thanks for joining us.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now on time. Good evening, Rachel.
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