STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Whittaker decides in any way to limit or curtail the Mueller investigation, are you okay with that?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Look, it`s going to be up to him.
HAYES: The President leaves it up to Matthew Whitaker.
TRUMP: He`s astute politically. `
HAYES: As Democrats sue to block him from acting as Attorney General.
TRUMP: I did not know he took views on the Mueller investigation as such.
HAYES: Tonight, the fight to protect Mueller as the President lashes out. Then --
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSWOMAN ELECT, NEW YORK: There`s no special sauce to it. You just got to be good at getting things done.
HAYES: My interview with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the new fight for Democrats in Congress. Plus --
STACEY ABRAMS (D), GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE, GEORGIA: This is not a speech of concession.
HAYES: My interview with Stacey Abrams on why she refused to concede in Georgia and the growing outrage over a president attacking and ignoring American veterans.
TRUMP: It would have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
TRUMP: A nice mansion, I don`t know I`ve seen nicer.
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HAYES: Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes. In 45 days, the 116th Congress will begin. Democrats will be in power in the House of Representatives and President Trump is now hurtling towards the biggest political collision of his administration. Now, we have seen Trump during the campaign and during his presidency cornered lashing out at acting progressively, picking fights seemingly at random. In fact, it`s sort of the way he operates, his own weird equilibrium.
This weekend though he seemed particularly agitated, I think it`s safe to say. He literally tried to blame the California wildfires on the lack of forests raking by Californians. He attacked retired Admiral William McRaven who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid and said the military should have killed bin Laden sooner. And he called the incoming chair of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Shit. It`s like he doesn`t even care about the best.
But here`s what changes January 3rd, that congressman he just insulted Adam Schiff will have a gavel and a subpoena power and every single sign available points to Special Counsel Robert Mueller nearing the end of his investigation and likely readying some kind of public showing of the evidence which clearly has the president panicked. Here he is this weekend answering whether he would agree to an interview with Robert Mueller.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that your final position that there`s going to be no sit-down interview and nothing written or in person on obstruction?
TRUMP: I would say probably. Probably, I mean I can change my mind but probably. I think -- I think we`ve wasted enough time on this witch-hunt, and the answers probably were finished.
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HAYES: We`re finished. That position that he probably won`t sit for an interview of the special counsel contrast starkly with some of his previous positions on the very same subject.
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TRUMP: Oh, I would do it under oath, yes, absolutely. I`m looking forward to it, actually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Would you still like to testify to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, sir?
TRUMP: Thank you.
I would love to speak. I would love too. Nobody wants to speak more than me. In fact, against my lawyers, because most lawyers they`d never speak on anything. I would love to speak.
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HAYES: Now the President has an obvious last stitch play which is his installment of a grossly under-qualified lackey, a person known to be his quote eyes and ears to run the Justice Department. And this weekend, he made it clear that he`s absolutely fine with that individual Matthew Whitaker doing something about the Mueller investigation.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Whitaker decides in any way to limit or curtail the Mueller investigation, are you okay with that?
TRUMP: Look, it`s going to be up to him. I think he`s very well aware politically, I think he`s astute politically, he`s a very smart person, a very respected person. He`s going to do what`s right. I really believe he`s going to do what`s right.
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HAYES: Today, that very smart, very respected person had a third lawsuit filed against him, this one by three U.S. senators who say that Matthew Whitaker`s appointment as Acting Attorney General for the United States is unconstitutional. The Ian Bassin is a former Associate White House Counsel for President Barack Obama, now the Executive Director of Protect Democracy which is one of the nonprofit groups representing the three Democratic senators in their lawsuit against Matthew Whitaker. Good to have you here.
IAN BASSIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PROTECT DEMOCRACY: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: What`s the theory of the case?
BASSIN: Look, this is the exact scenario the Founders were worried about when they put the appointments clause in the Constitution, right? The Founders were concerned that a president, if he had the sole authority to appoint top officials, might put in place somebody who was a loyal personal lackey or family member to do things solely on his own behalf. And so, they wrote into the constitutional requirement that the president can`t do that. He needs to get the advice and consent of the Senate. You know, because you can`t offer Donald Trump a constitution if you remember during the campaign Donald Trump, clearly didn`t take him up on it. We did at Protect Democracy. I have here a constitution that Khizr Khan gave our group of Protect Democracy which lays out it the rule that the president has to get the Senate`s consent before someone can be an attorney general.
HAYES: The OLC says he can do what he`s done and you`re wrong.
BASSIN: Yes. The OLC is clearly wrong, right? The OLC trots out an old 100 plus-year-old Supreme Court opinion that says in special and exigent circumstances someone can serve for a temporary period in an official role like the Attorney General. The President made clear yesterday this is not a temporary period nor does OLC lay out what the exigent circumstances are. The president can pay -- created the vacancy by firing the former attorney general in order to put in place his own loyalist.
HAYES: The only precedent I think also on that OLC citation was a six days in 1866 right? The acting Attorney General I think that was the amount of time --
BASSIN: Which I think that you know, we`re already past.
HAYES: There you joined now two -- there`s already two other cases, right? The State of Maryland has filed a motion and an on-going state -- case that they have on the ACA where they basically say we want your court to replace Whitaker with Rod Rosenstein. And then there`s a plaintiff in a gun rights case who`s basically said the same thing to the court. Are these three going to move expeditiously through the courts and enough time to have an actual real remedy?
BASSIN: Well, they really should for this reason which is if these suits are correct and we think they are, then everything the Attorney General does while he is sitting unconstitutionally in this seat is up to question.
HAYES: Is illegitimate. I mean --
BASSIN: You`re talking about thousands of indictments around the country and criminal matters, regulatory matters, so it`s in the interest of the Senate.
HAYES: That`s a great point.
BASSIN: And it`s interesting that Mitch McConnell is conceding his power as majority leader. He`s bragged about personnel being his thing, conceding the power, the institutional power of the Senate to assert itself in this situation which it needs to do for the American people.
HAYES: What is the remedy here?
BASSIN: Well, what we`ve asked for in the suit that we brought at Protect Democracy with the Constitutional Accountability Center today is a declaratory judgment that the President`s action is unconstitutional and an injunction barring Matthew Whitaker from exercising the offices of the acting Attorney General. And you know --
HAYES: That would be a crazy moment if a court found that.
BASIN: You know, it wouldn`t be for this reason.
HAYES: I mean, I don`t think it`s wrong. I`m just saying on terms like the ripple effects and those sort of the earth-shattering nature of a court being like you`re out, A.G.
BASSIN: But the problem here is got a president whose behaving in an unprecedented fashion in a way that really is of a kind with autocrats around the world trying to undermine the rule of law and the courts should step in here because that`s what they were set up to do. The Framers created checks and balances in our system and I cannot mention how on point some of the Framers were on this. so Alexander Hamilton worrying about the president doing exactly this wrote, and with apologies to Lin-Manuel Miranda who could wrap this better than I can say it. He said if there`s no check from the Senate, the President could put someone in row like this who has no other merit than that of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure. That`s what the President is doing, the courts needs to step in and stop him.
HAYES: Final question. You were a White House lawyer. I know this because you and my wife were working in the same office under President Obama and I know that you guys spent a lot of time on the Presidential Records Act. It was a pain, you got to retain all the records. A new story out of Ivanka camp -- Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of e-mails last year to White House aides. Cabinet officials or assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of Federal Records Rules according to people familiar with the White House examination of her correspondence.
BASSIN: Yes. We went around every other week to every office in the White House and says you can`t do this. If you are going to use your e-mail, that`s not a government e-mail, you got to forward it to your government e- mail to preserve it for the Presidential Records Act and people paid attention to it then.
HAYES: It was kind of a big deal in 2016 too. I don`t know if you remember that. All right, Ian Bassin, thank you very much.
BASSIN: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is a member the Senate Judiciary Committee and she joins me now. I`m going to ask you about Matthew Whitaker but since I just asked Ian about this, Ivanka Trump using her personal e-mail, an apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act in the White House. Is that something you think Democrats should look into and investigate?
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: I had just -- this is the first I`ve heard about it and obviously there`s been a lot of talk about e-mails over the years and you want to make sure all the rules are followed.
HAYES: What is your position? You`re not one of the three plaintiffs in this lawsuit filed by some of your colleagues, but what is your position on constitutionality of the current acting Attorney General?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I support what they did here. And as you noted, this is really similar to the two other lawsuits and it`s saying the same thing. This is not constitutional. One, because for this high-ranking cabinet position of Attorney General, we weren`t allowed to give our advice and consent and that`s secondly the statute that should have been followed here is the succession statute which should have trumped so to say, the one that he used which was the vacancy one.
And it`s so clear, you know, he fires Sessions and basically puts Whitaker in the day after the election so he`s not held accountable and now is claiming that he didn`t know about Whitaker`s views which he had so clearly said about how you know we could starve this investigation and he could then-Attorney General could by not providing enough budget money or actually the absurd statement that there was nothing connecting the Trump campaign to Russia when you have the campaign chair and the National Security Adviser charged and convicted of things related to Russia.
HAYES: So the President is now saying -- I want to play you what he has said about the back and forth on the written answers and get your response to how important you think it is the president actually talked to communicate with Mueller. Take a listen.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your team is preparing written answers to questions about --
TRUMP: No, no, not my team. I`m preparing written answers. I`m the one that does the answer. Yes, are they writing them out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
TRUMP: Yes. They`re writing what I tell them to write.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are they going to be submitted?
TRUMP: At some point, very soon, yes. I`ve completed them.
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HAYES: Now, he said he`s not going to talk to Mueller even though he said for almost a year they`d love to. I guess my question is how important is it just abstracting away from Present Trump, that a president comply with inquiries from a special prosecutor?
KLOBUCHAR: Well, of course, it`s important. And you go back to the only real case law we have on this is the Nixon tape case law which allowed them to get those tapes. Now, I think you should also comply with these rules. He`s not above the law. And one of the things that we want to make sure to do is to protect that investigation. And that`s why you see Senator Flake standing up and he won`t vote for any more judicial nominees until we pass a law that allows us to protect this investigation.
And that`s what really concerns me. It`s -- when you look at all of the dots, it`s not that hard to connect them. This happened the day after the election. He fires the Attorney General, put someone in who is clearly on his side on this investigation and it`s our job as was just pointed out to be a check and balance and to make sure this continues. And my Republican colleagues need to step up and not just say they want to protect it but protect it.
HAYES: How concerned are you that there is a clock ticking right now with Whitaker fulfilling that office, going to report to DOJ every day, running the Justice Department of the United States.
KLOBUCHAR: It`s very concerning because as you know, not just because of the investigation but this is someone that a -- Marbury vs. Madison decision that has some very extreme views when it comes to the law. And that`s why we believe that a nominee should be put forward and we should have the right to advise and consent. And clearly, that would allow us to make sure that this investigation be completed. And if they have an opening right now, it should be filled by the deputy who is Rod Rosenstein.
HAYES: Take me through you`re thinking if I were to talk to you a year ago or two years ago about your belief of Mitch McConnell`s willingness to rein in the president if things got really bad a year ago or two years ago versus now.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, I think it`s going to be interesting with a number of Republican Senators up if this same track continues where the President keeps doing things that basically as you could see from the House elections were very harmful to a number of Republicans. And this time we didn`t have many Republicans up and one of them that was up Dean Heller lost. And so I think it`s going to be really interesting to see if McConnell actually does stand up to him more, but clearly, we didn`t see it.
And when I go back thinking back to that dark day of that inaugural speech and the track we`ve been on, we`ve seen a number of them stand up and say things from time to time but we haven`t seen a lot of action in terms of a check and balance. And that makes our role very important and certainly the House of Representatives and Adams Schiff`s role, I will say his name correctly. Adam Schiff`s role very important in standing up for the rule of law.
HAYES: Yes, thank you for saying that correctly. I would be mortified if I made that mistake either intentionally or unintentionally but I`m just in cable news though. Senator Amy Klobuchar, thank you very much.
KLOBUCHAR: Well, thanks. It`s great to be on.
HAYES: Still ahead, Stacy -- what was that? Senator, wait, Senator, Senator, we cut you off. What were you saying?
KLOBUCHAR: I said -- I was saying make sure and ask Stacey Abrams if she`s going to run again for something else because there`s plenty of things for her to run for and she did such an excellent job and we want her to stay with us.
HAYES: All right, I`m going to ask for that very question. Thank you, Senator.
HAYES: Still ahead, as the Senator has mentioned, Stacey Abrams on what happened in Georgia and what she plans to new next. Plus Congresswoman- Elect Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is here to talk about her historic win and the plans of the new Democratic majority. Ocasio-Cortez joins me here in two minutes.
HAYES: History was made this November and now a record number of women will serve in the U.S. Congress come January. One of those women, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, perhaps you`ve heard of her. She`ll be representing New York`s 14th Congressional District. At 29 years old, she will become the youngest serving congresswoman ever. Joining me now is New York`s own, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic Congresswoman-Elect. Great to have you here.
ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT, NEW YORK: Thank you. Thank you for having me.
HAYES: One of the things that`s fascinating is you`ve been doing these like Instagram montage of basically behind the curtain. Like this is what it`s like when you come just elected. Like this is what your orientation about. I want to show people a little bit and then get your sort of thinking on what you`re trying to do. Take a listen.
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OCASIO-CORTEZ: All right, here we go. Congressional life, getting off to a glamorous start. See you.
What happens when you actually check into orientation? You get a swag bag. Look at that. Isn`t that so cute? So I jokingly call it a swag bag but what we actually need as elected officials is very high-security data devices. So that`s what`s inside this bag, a new tablet and a new phone.
Guys, there are secret underground tunnels between all of these government buildings.
There`s no special sauce to it. You just got to be good at getting things done.
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HAYES: So I found this fascinating myself. What is your sort of thinking about this sort of like bringing your constituents in?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, you know, I think it`s so important that we humanize our government. I`ve kind of spoken about this before about making it real because a lot of times we`ll tune into cable news or we`ll watch what`s going on on T.V. and all we`re reading about is bills and all we`re reading about is legislation or the political dynamics. But I think it`s really important that when we actually show people that government is a real thing, that it is something that you can be a part of, it`s a process that we can transition into, I really kind of opens up the window to show that anyone can serve.
HAYES: Is that the sort of idea here?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I think you can, I think --
HAYES: If you can work a dorm washing machine, what that look like.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, exactly. I didn`t -- I didn`t go into it with some grand strategy, but I think that this is really the value that I`ve been hearing from a lot of people to be getting from this.
HAYES: So one of the -- one of the sort of big issues right now is this leadership fight. So there are 16 House Democrats who signed a letter saying the time has come for new leadership basically saying they won`t vote for Nancy Pelosi. If Ben McAdams wins in Utah, that`s their one vote short of blocking her. Where are you and how do you read this fight?
Well, for me, when I -- when I was reading this letter, that was kind of a release today. My main concern was that there is no vision, there is no common value, there is no goal that is really articulated in this letter aside from we need to change. And for me what that says is you know, I do think that we got sent to Congress on a mandate to change how government works, to change what government even looks like, but if we are not on the same page about changing the systems and the values and how we`re going to adapt as a party for the future, then what is the point of just changing our party leadership just for the sake of it.
HAYES: What I`m hearing from you is that you don`t feel like there`s an ideological or substantive sort of agenda-driven core of this objection.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: No. I mean, if anything, I think that what it does is that it creates a window where we could potentially get more conservative leadership. And when you actually look at the signatories it is not necessarily reflective of the diversity of the party. We -- you know, after -- we have about 16 signatories, 14 of them are male. There are very few people of color in the caucus, there are very few ideological diversity, it`s not like there are progressives that are signing on, it`s not like you have a broad-based coalition. So I find it you know, I don`t -- I`m not totally bought into the concept.
HAYES: You just as Democrats just attempt such a group that has sort of worked with your campaign early on. You and they had sort of announced your plans to continue the process of primering incumbent Democrats which is how of course you got to Congress. I wonder like how that - how does that color the relationships you have with the incumbents there?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think what`s important to articulate what justice Democrats is about is really it`s not -- their mission -- their mission isn`t we`re going to primary Democrats. Their mission is we`re going to support working-class candidates to run in Midterm Elections. And so they have supported and endorsed candidates in red to blues, in open primaries, and -- but they do not shy away from actual primaries and blue races either. And so you know, I don`t -- I don`t -- I`m not sure if it really changes much because incumbent Democrat support and endorse against other incumbents all the time. You had Dan Lipinski earlier this year.
HAYES: That`s what incumbency is.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: That is --
HAYES: That`s being part of the club.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: And so -- but you have people that also support other primary challengers to incumbents as well. Again, you have Dan Lipinski this year where you have Kirsten Gillibrand, you have Pramila Jayapal, that came in and said we need change in this community. So I don`t think it`s anything two out of two -- I don`t think it`s a departure from precedent.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: But I also think that we need to realize that at least for me and what I tell my community is that we don`t -- once we get elected to Congress, we don`t own these seats, we rent them from our communities, and we have to make our case every single time and that`s not -- I`m saying this you as an incumbent to be. And I realize that that means I hold myself to that standard as well, but I think it makes our democracy healthy.
HAYES: Follow up on that. You know, a lot of what a congressional office does obviously in a district is like Social Security disability payment wasn`t got -- held up in some logistical problem and I`m calling up my member of Congress to be like help me out. Like, that stuff that -- my understanding is you don`t have that much experience with that. `
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well --
HAYES: I mean, I know you work in Ted Kennedy`s office, but like are you - - how are you thinking about setting that part of this operation up?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, and actually the constituent services was what I did in the late Senator Kennedy`s office and that`s where I really learned how important it was for us to have really robust constituent services because that is the real interaction that an everyday person has what their elected official to say hey my Medicare isn`t working out. Hey, my visa application for my fiancee isn`t is getting blocked. What can you do? And so, really cutting through that red tape of government bureaucracy in order to serve our constituents is a huge service that we can have and it`s something that we`re really looking forward to building out in an innovative way.
HAYES: Your district I think includes or adjacent to the new proposed Amazon headquarters right, Long Island City.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Yes, it`s adjacent.
HAYES: It`s adjacent so obviously it`ll be ripple spillover effects. You`ve been quite outspoken against it. Do you think you can put together a political coalition to block it?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, you know, for me it`s not just about me governing top down. The reason that I spoke out on this issue, to begin with is because organizers and residents of my community were busting down our door saying you need to say something about this because we are threatened with homelessness, were threatened with rising rents, we have seen this happen in San Francisco, in Seattle, we`ve seen it with Foxconn, in the Midwest as well. And so I -- because I don`t -- because I don`t accept any corporate lobbyists contributions in my campaign, I feel like I have the liberty to advocate directly for what the community is telling me. And if this is what the community is telling me, it`s my responsibility to voice those concerns.
HAYES: All right, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat Congresswoman-Elect here in New York, come back any time. Thanks for coming.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Thank you so much.
HAYES: Next, Stacey Abrams on why she has not yet done fighting for Georgia and why she is not conceding her race for governor. Stacey Abrams joins me next.
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ABRAMS: Let`s be clear. This is not a speech of concession because concessions means to acknowledge an action is right, true, or proper. As a woman of conscience and faith I cannot concede that. But my assessment is the law currently allows no further viable remedy.
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HAYES: Stacey Abrams became a star of the Democratic Party amid her historic run to become governor of Georgia. She ended her campaign on Friday on a pointed note, is now pledging to continue litigation to reform the state voting procedures. Joining me now is Stacey Abrams, 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate from Georgia. Tell me a little bit about how you came to the conclusion to make that speech with that language and not concede?
ABRAMS: So we spent a great deal of time thinking through what the legal remedies could be in part because we had already filed four successful lawsuits in the ten-day period between Election Day and that Friday, four successful opportunities to prove that the elections have been mismanaged. And as I thought through what would be next, we were considering a contest essentially saying that once the election was certified we would challenge the veracity of that decision.
But looking at the law, looking at our claim, I realized that it wouldn`t be appropriate to fight in that way because then it becomes about me and there was a larger conversation to be had which was about the erosion of democracy in Georgia. The machinery had broken. People were being denied access to the right to vote across the state, across parties, across region, and that was wrong. And so my speech was really grounded in, one, acknowledging that there had to be finality to the election, but also recognizing that there could not be a final answer to whether or not we were going to fix democracy in Georgia, that that had to be my next fight.
HAYES: Was the election in Georgia statewide a free and fair election?
ABRAMS: It was not a free and fair election. We had thousands of Georgians who were purged from the rolls wrongly, including a 92-year-old woman who had voted in the area since 1968, a civil rights leader.
It was not fair to the thousands who were forced to wait in long lines because they were in polling place that`s were under resourced, or worse, they had no polling places to go to, because more than 300 had been closed. It was not fair to the thousands who had been put on hold with their registrations. And it was not fair to those who filled out absentee ballots, and depending on the county you sent it to, it either was counted or not counted, assuming you received it in time.
Brian Kemp oversaw for eight years the systematic and systemic dismantling of our democracy and that means there could not be free and fair elections in Georgia this year.
HAYES: I want to get your response to this. This is, I think, Rick Hassan (ph) who is an election law expert writer, legal academic wrote this piece for Slate. He said the Democrats should not call the Georgia governor`s race stolen, and basically making the argument that that rhetoric further erodes sort of democratic legitimacy.
I wondered what you thought about that.
ABRAMS: I appreciate the professor`s thinking, but coming from the vantage point of talking to thousands of voters who feel like their votes were not counted, their voices were not heard, they have already had their confidence eroded. They have already begun to doubt the integrity of the system.
We have a Republican who is getting a do-over election on December 4, because they forgot to put people in his district, districts that were drawn in 2011 and updated in 2015. He had to take out platt (ph) maps and single-handedly find all of the missing voters and then take the state to court to get a new election. That means that this isn`t about partisanship.
But it`s also not about rhetoric, it`s about the reality of people being denied their basic right to vote in the United States, especially in the state of Georgia.
HAYES: So you had -- I want to show this stat, because it`s really remarkable how many votes you got. This is Barack Obama got 1.7 million, a little north of that. The last gubernatorial candidate Jason Carter 1.1 million. You got 1.9 million votes. You got 800,000 more votes than the last person running for governor. You got more votes than Barack Obama, more votes than Hillary Clinton running for president.
And I also want to play you a Georgia state legislature who outlined her theory of the case for Georgia back in 2014 when I was down in Georgia looking at the political map of the state. Take a listen.
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HAYES: Georgia`s Democratic Party now faces the mirror opposite situation as national Republicans, instead of looking for candidates of color in a country that is getting less white, Democrats in Georgia are actively recruiting white people to join the party.
ABRAMS: As a minority, I understand what it means to make sure that you don`t make the minority feel oppressed. And if you want white Democrats, if you want white people to be Democrats, you have to create a space so that their values are recognized, because their values are not that divergent from everyone else.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You have this theory of the case back in 2014 about creating a multi-racial majority coalition in Georgia. You got 800,000 votes and came just shy. What is your thinking about that, the theory that you had?
ABRAMS: It works.
We received a higher percentage of white votes, according to exit polls, than any candidate in recent Georgia history, more than President Obama, more than Jason Carter, more than Secretary Clinton, 26 percent. The average in Georgia had been 23 percent, and in 2016 it was 21 percent. So, we outperformed.
But we also received a majority -- I think it`s 80 percent of Asian- American voters, more than 60 percent of Latino voters, more than 90 percent of African-American voters. We built a multi-racial coalition.
What we did not have was a fair and free election that allowed every single member of that coalition and others to cast free ballots. And that`s really the challenge that faces Georgia today.
HAYES: So what`s next for you?
ABRAMS: We have started an organization called Fair Fight Georgia. We are going to file a federal lawsuit next week that will allege the gross mismanagement that we have seen and that we have been able to document. In fact, we thought we were going to go forward with the case today or this week, but we have gotten so many more - - so much more information from voters, so many more calls that we`re continuing to gather affidavits and we`re going to push it to next week, given the holidays.
But I`m also going to make certain that we go beyond litigation, that we think about how we pass legislation that improves voting rights in the state of Georgia, and how do we make certain on the county level that communities are getting the resources they need, but also holding their county election boards accountable for the decisions that are made and the resources that are provided to their communities.
HAYES: I`m duty bound to pass along a question from Senator Amy Klobuchar who is in the first block of the show who wants to know if you`re going to run for office again.
ABRAMS: I am indeed. I am going to take some time off. I`ve been running for the last two years, and we do have to deal with making sure that the integrity of our election system is ready for what I hope will be the onslaught of 2020 when presidential candidates come calling in Georgia for the first time in years, because they need to know that Georgia is a competitive state. And I will decide if I`m going to run in 2020 or beyond, but I am going to run for office again.
HAYES: I think Senator David Purdue, if my math is right, is up in 2020. I`m just throwing that out there. Stacey Abrams, thanks so much for making the time.
ABRAMS: Chris, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
HAYES: Coming up, the Department of Defense pulls the plug on Donald Trump`s border stunt as the president attacks the man who led the Bin Laden raid. Plus, a look at the demanding schedule of the president of the United States in tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starting next.
HAYES: Thing One tonight, as we have mentioned, the president said all sorts of ridiculous things in his interview with Trump TV over the weekend. One thing that stood out was his excuse for why he did not visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veteran`s Day last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I should have done that. I was extremely busy on calls for the country. We did a lot of calling, as you know. I was extremely busy because of affairs of state, doing other things.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Meetings and calls, meetings and calls. He was just super busy, guys, like last year, guys, when he skipped it, busy. And his official public schedule proves it. Here it is, Veterans Day, Monday, November 12, no public events scheduled. Literally nothing on the official calendar.
Trump did, however, manage to tweet nine times among other things complaining about the U.S. not being treated on fairly on trade and military spending and claiming ballots in Florida were, quote, massively infected.
But if you think that sounds like a light day for the leader of the free world, take a look at his schedule for this week. That`s Thing Two in 60 seconds.
HAYES: Seems like more and more the president is spending his days doing, frankly, not much of anything. This Thanksgiving week is no exception. I`m now going to show you the entirety of his official business for today.
HAYES: That`s the president and first lady receiving the White House Christmas tree, a Frazier fir from North Carolina this year.
They take a nice long stroll around the horse-drawn carriage, admire it from all angles, well, and then wait for it. The president just decides to amble up and give one of the horses a nice -- a nice pat on the rump.
You can come up with your -- there it is. You can come up with your own horse`s hind quarters joke here if you like. But just to recap the president`s schedule, that`s meet a tree at 1:00 p.m. and then back inside for lunch with Mike Pence, and then, I don`t know, get back in bed and tweet.
The rest of the week isn`t exactly jam packed. Tomorrow, he`s going to pardon a turkey. It will be either Peas or Carrots or both, every vote matters. Then it`s off to Mar-a-Lago where maybe the president will get in a round of golf or visit with his new nominee for ambassador to South Africa, handbag designer Lana Marks, or with his three rich dudes he`s allowing to secretly run the Veterans Administration with no oversight or accountability, none of them went to Arlington either, so as we go through another week of the president not actually doing any governing, you can decide for yourself whether that is an outrage or a relief.
HAYES: The devastating wildfires in California that have taken at least 80 lives are still burning. The Camp Fire in Northern California is now 66 percent contained. It has already destroyed more than 150,000 acres and nearly a thousand people remain missing or unaccounted for.
Over the weekend, evacuees who had set up a tent city at a Walmart, many with nowhere else to go, packed up their belongings as their services were dismantled.
The impact of this fire has been unprecedented. The Camp Fire alone has destroyed more than 15,000 structures, including over 11,000 homes. That`s more than the next five-most destructive California wildfires combined.
Donald Trump visited the fires this weekend and once again baselessly blamed forest management for the fires, though this time with a twist.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: You have to take care of the floors, you know, the floors of the forest. It`s very important. I was with the president of Finland and he said, we have -- we`re much different. We`re a forest nation. He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don`t have any problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That claim, which the president repeated again the next day, prompted both mockery and fact checking from the Finnish people whose excellent handling of fires does not, in fact, depend on raking the forest.
The Finnish president, for his part, denied ever discussing forest floor raking with the president. Later that day in discussing the size of the fires, President Trump misstated the name of the town devastated by the Camp Fire.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: As big as they look on the tube, you don`t see what`s going on until you come here. And what we saw at Pleasure, what a name right now, but what we just saw, we just left Pleasure...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paradise.
TRUMP: Well, Paradise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And then there was this weekend`s other new low, the president attacks the commander who oversaw the killing of Osama bin Laden as the military moves to bring home the troops that Trump needlessly deployed to the border. That`s next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The 5,800 troops that Donald Trump deployed to the border in a cynical political stunt are going to come home, eventually. Politico reporting the troops deployed to do little more than lay down barbed-wire as Trump fanned fears about Central American migrants, will get to return home as early as this week, but most will not be back for Thanksgiving. An army commander telling Politico our end date right now is 15 December.
The border stunt is just one way a president who professes to love the troops has routinely diminished and insulted the members of the military. Trump has yet to visit U.S. troops in a combat zone. He skipped visiting Arlington Cemetery on Veteran`s Day, claiming he was busy, and he canceled a trip to a World War I commemoration at a U.S. cemetery in France because it was raining.
And a president who never served himself in the military insulted a war hero because he was captured and attacked a gold star father whose son was killed in Iraq. This weekend he went after retired Admiral William H. McRaven who oversaw the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan because McRaven said Trump`s attacks on the media are a threat to democracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Bill McRaven, retired admiral, Navy SEAL, 37 years, former head of U.S. special operation.
TRUMP: Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Special operations.
TRUMP: Excuse me, Hillary Clinton fan.
WALLACE: Who led the operation, commanded the operations that took down Saddam Hussein and that killed Osama bin Laden says that your sentiment is the greatest threat to democracy in his lifetime.
TRUMP: OK, he is a Hillary Clinton backer and an Obama backer, and frankly...
WALLACE: He was a Navy SEAL.
TRUMP: Wouldn`t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner than that? Wouldn`t it have been nice?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now, Democratic Congressman Anthony Brown of Maryland, a veteran, a member of the Armed Services Committee. Also with me, Leo Shane, deputy editor at The Military Times.
Congressman, first I want to get your response to the president`s attacks on Admiral McRaven.
REP. ANTHONY BROWN, (D) MARYLAND: First of all, the president regularly derides military officers, many of whom have spent long careers in the military. When they retire, they provide objective assessments of national security and the president`s conduct or misconduct, and then he throws him under the bus.
But in this case, it not only belittles the reputation of Admiral McRaven, but the entire special operation community, the intelligence community, the State Department community. When he suggested that under the admiral`s leadership that we didn`t move out with due deliberate speed in tracking down and eliminating Osama bin Laden, that is an insult to the hundreds if not thousands of men and women who worked on that operation. It`s time consuming. It`s difficult. It`s tedious, and when you do it you have to get it right.
The president has no understanding of what he`s asking our military to do, and that criticism yesterday is a reflection of that lack of understanding, empathy, and even sympathy for our men and women who serve.
HAYES: Leo, I`m curious about your reporting indicates about the sort of sentiment around this troop deployment. This is I think a lot of people on the outside saw as a stunt, but it`s 5,800 active service duty members who really to have to go down there, who really do have to have to lay out concertina wire and sleep in warehouses. What has the sentiment been like of folks experiencing that or sort of adjacent to it?
LEO SHANE, THE MILITARY TIMES: We really haven`t had much response from the folks down there yet, because it`s really managed how much interaction we`ve had with them. But there is a lot of concern among the military about this deployment and just what it means. You know, these are active duty folks who are in a situation they usually wouldn`t be in, on the border doing a duty that while guardsmen have done before, it`s really unusual for the active duty force to see that.
So a lot in the military are looking at this and saying it feels like it could be a stunt. It feels like maybe misguided. They`re not sure how to deal with it.
Now with the reports that may be ending, it feels like was there a point to this. Secretary Mattis went down, visited and talked to troops just a couple weeks ago. And the questions he got were are we putting up this barbed wire for no reason? How long are we going to stay? Is there a point to our mission? And he told them, look, just do what you`re told, look at the job ahead of you.
HAYES: Yeah, one of the questions he got was are we going to have to take this concertina wire down that we just put up which I thought was a pretty indicative one.
Congressman, there are a bunch of things that presidents, particularly in wartime which it continues to be now for 17 years, longest war in the history of the republic, there are certain things they do as sort of just displays, symbolic displays of gratitude, appreciation, honor: going to Arlington Cemetery, visiting deployed troops overseas in the field, that this president has eschewed.
How important do you think that is?
BROWN: Look, I think it`s really important. Soldiers don`t wake up every day in Afghanistan wondering when the president is going visit, but when you spend two years not visiting any soldier in any combat zone or theater of operation, it sends a signal.
Remember, we`ve increased the troop strength in Afghanistan under the Trump administration. We hear through his team that he doesn`t believe in the mission in Afghanistan, and as a result, he doesn`t visit the soldiers. I mean, you`re sending a bad signal and it`s demoralizing for soldiers and their families.
You know, there are 1.3 million men and women who are in uniform. The president calls them my military, but he doesn`t understand that behind every one of them there is a family. They have got aspirations. They`ve made sacrifices. They`re separated. They love our country, but to him it`s just 1.3 -- my military that he fails to understand.
He`s indifferent to the culture. He lacks in understanding of what motives men and women in uniform to serve, and we`ve seen it time and time again, and on full display this week.
HAYES: Yeah, to the congressman`s point, Leo, there is 1.3 million active duty, there is another 800,000 or so on the reserves. You know, when you`re talking about 2 million people, it`s not like opinion or sentiment is in any way unanimous, it`s a complicated and diverse and heterogeneous group of people. But it is interesting to me The Military Times polling showing that essentially approval split on the president right now -- 43.8 approve and 43.1 disapprove.
What have you seen over time in terms of that approval rating?
SHANE: Well, you have got the graphic coming up here. I mean, we`ve seen just a steady increase in the number of folks who are upset with the president, who don`t approve of his job. It seems like his support is draining a little bit.
But what we`re seeing is the same thing we`re seeing in the rest of America. You know, military tends to lag a little bit more conservative, but these sort of ceremonial duties and these nonofficial activities that we see, the tweeting, that affects troops too and even erodes or distracts from some of the legislative accomplishments in military and veterans issues.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Anthony Brown who sits on the Veteran Affairs Committee and Leo Shane over at Military Times who does great work there, thank you both for being with me. I really appreciate it.
BROWN: Thank you.
SHANE: thank you.
HAYES: We have big news tonight, it`s about our podcast Why is This Happening. You`ve tweeted about it. You`ve emailed us about it. And now we have tomorrow`s episode features the one, the only, Rachel Maddow will talk about a ton of stuff. Her new podcast Bagman, which is fantastic, Episode 4 I think drops today, or episode 5 today --- episode 5 today. It uses history as a lens to understand current events. We talk, life and stuff and covering the news. It`s great. It was a delight. Download it wherever you happen to get your podcasts.
And so that is All In for this evening and the aforementioned Rachel Maddow joins me now with The Rachel Maddow Show. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END