Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: January 11, 2019 Guest: Chris Van Hollen, Jennifer Rubin, McKay Coppins, Leah Wright Rigueur, Christopher Mathias; Ro Khanna, Michael Schmidt, Benjamin Wittes, Jill Wine-Banks, Lisa Green, Frank Figliuzzi
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN>
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They can name it whatever they could. Name it peaches, I don`t care what they name it.
HAYES: Trapped President spins his wheels.
TRUMP: They say wheels are medieval too but some things don`t change, wheels and walls.
HAYES: Tonight why some Republicans are begging for an emergency bailout as the suffering from the Trump shutdown continues. Then as some in Steve King`s party rebuked his words --
STEVE KING (R), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE, IOWA: I`m going to do the two- minute drill on the King wall.
HAYES: Why are they still pursuing his policies.
KING: We can build this wall.
TRUMP: We have to build the wall.
HAYES: The Republican reckoning with Steve King`s wall.
KING: We can`t shut that off unless we build a fence and a wall.
TRUMP: A very powerful fence or a wall.
HAYES: Then --
SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: Tomorrow the national security emergency might be you know, climate change.
HAYES: Why tomorrow`s national security emergency is actually today. And as Michael Cohen`s day in Congress approaches, what we know about what he can say in public.
MICHAEL COHEN, FORMER LAWYER TO DONALD TRUMP: I`ll do anything to protect Mr. Trump.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. We`ve tied the record for the longest government shutdown and things are getting desperate. Both for the people getting harmed by the shutdown and for the political party that is tied itself to this insane undertaking by the President. The pain is real and intensifying every day for thousands of Americans and Republicans unlike President Trump know it`s a problem. They have scenes like this playing on local news in their home states.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The U.S. Coast Guard sent a letter to furloughed workers with tips on how to make money including dog walking and babysitting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have a garage sale, things of that nature that this is Michigan and January. We just had a pretty big snow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve already reached out to my creditors and everything but still I mean, if they`re not getting paid and I`m not getting any money so that I can pay them, either way, I`m losing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I say put the border wall, table it for a future discussion when you`re starting to do budget talks for later on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With this shutdown, with people not getting their paychecks, with people not spending money, so many people are affected by this. And we just want to make sure that food and nutrition is available to everybody who needs it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s great. And we know you guys have had some federal workers call to see what exactly they need to do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The partial government shutdown is becoming a matter of life and death for a family in Anderson County.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My husband is a Homeland Security government employee. The government is shut down. He is the sole income for this house and he is not getting paid. I need his insulin.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The union president says he`s getting questions now from some so desperate they`ve asked if they could sleep overnight in the parking lot because they`re worried they can`t fill their gas tanks.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And they asked me is it legal to sleep in the car, and I said well what are you talking about? And they`re saying, well, I can`t afford to commute. I`m very mad. I`m a veteran. I fought for this country, and for you to tell me as an American citizen that you`re not going to pay, me I`m very upset.
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HAYES: Now, all of that is creating increased political pressure on a Republican party that is desperate to end the shutdown but also crucially too cowardly to cross the President on this signature idea that by the way, they all know is dumb. You know that they think it`s dumb because from the moment that Donald Trump rode down an escalator and announced he would build a wall, this is what they said.
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JEB BUSH (R), FORMER GOVERNOR, FLORIDA: The tragedy of this though is that there isn`t going to be a wall built, and Mexico`s not going to pay for it.
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), FORMER GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: He`s not building the wall no matter who`s name is on it. No matter how fabulous his wall is, with the good people who come in and the bad people who go out, no matter what --
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I`m not going to try to get into the mind of Donald Trump because I don`t think there`s a whole lot of space there. I think he`s a kook. I think he`s crazy. I think he`s unfit for office. And I`m a Republican and he`s not. He`s not a conservative Republican, he`s an opportunist.
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HAYES: Lindsey Graham even famously tweeted "If we nominate Trump we will get destroyed and we will deserve it. Then when Republicans had unified control of government for two years, they had the White House, they had the House, they had the Senate, and they could have passed $5.6 billion for the wall if they wanted to, they decided not to do it.
But now, here they are with air traffic controllers getting -- not getting paychecks, the President is spouting off about wheels at every turn and not even clear what he`s demanding.
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TRUMP: This is where I asked the Democrats to come back to Washington and to vote for money for the wall, the barrier, whatever you want to call, it`s OK with me. They can name it whatever they can. Name it peaches. I don`t care what they name it.
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HAYES: So Republicans are now so trapped by how manifestly dumb this whole thing is that they`re begging Donald Trump to do something even dumber. Today, that very same Lindsey Graham tweeting again "Mr. President, declared national emergency now. Build a wall now." We`ve entered a frankly pathetic phase in which Republicans are clamoring to give away their power in Congress to the President because they cannot admit that the emperor has no clothes.
Joining me now Senator Chris Van Hollen, Democrat from Maryland. His bill to provide retroactive pay for federal workers passed yesterday in the Senate and today in the House. First let`s start with that. Senator, does that mean that goes the President`s desk now to be signed?
SEN. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN (D), MARYLAND: It does, Chris. This was a bill that Senator Cardin and I introduced in the Senate. It passed the Senate yesterday. It passed the House today. It`s on the way to the President`s desk. Now, here`s the catcher. You know, Senator McConnell said that before we passed this in the Senate, President Trump said he would sign it. But of course, that`s exactly what the President`s people told Mitch McConnell a number of weeks ago about the bill to extend the continuing resolution through February 8th.
So let`s hope the President signs it. This is the shameful now, you know, milestone where we`re about to break the largest, longest shutdown in U.S. history. And as you said, I saw a lot of these pay stubs -- pay stubs from federal employees today with big zeros on them. The bills they`re getting don`t have zeros, their bills for mortgages and all sorts of other payments that are due.
So I hope the President will sign it. It will provide at least some certainty in a very difficult time for so many people.
HAYES: So where are things now? My understanding is the House has passed a series of bills all week that they`re sitting there. There`s some to open a few departments, there`s some to open the whole government except for DHS, there`s some just to open the IRS so it could deal with refunds. And those are all just sitting on Mitch McConnell`s desk metaphorically?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, that`s exactly right. And you know, Senator McConnell has essentially been AWOL throughout this whole discussion. He knows that a shutdown is a really stupid idea. He knows it`s a waste of taxpayer money. He knows it`s hurting millions of Americans and yet he refuses to hold a vote on the two bills that the House passed more than a week ago now that would reopen the government.
And as you know those bills were picked by the House because Senate Republicans had already supported them in different ways, right? One by a voice vote, the other by a vote of 93 to seven, the other in the Appropriations Committee on a bipartisan basis. And so you know, right now McConnell`s got the obvious question, why aren`t you passing bills that you`ve already supported and the answer is he wants to do the President`s bidding.
HAYES: I saw a conservative journalist, Byron York made this point today. I wanted to get you to respond to it. He basically said, look, if you look at the package of what the White House is proposing now, 5.6 -- 5.7 billion, some of it is fencing, some of its extra beds at the border, some of it is technology, some of it is more staff. The actual details aren`t really the wall, so to speak, whether the President calls it that. And in another context, this would be perfectly uncontroversial and bipartisan and Democrats are just not doing it because they hate the President." What do you say to that?
VAN HOLLEN: Well, no. That is -- that`s not the case. The first thing is that we want to reopen the government. We don`t think that any President should be holding the country and 800,000 federal employees hostage for any kind of demand. We should be opening the government and then we can discuss the best approach to border security. And we`ve always said we`re happy to have that conversation.
I should point out, Chris, in the Senate Appropriations Committee, we provided the level of funding the President actually asked for in his budget this year which was $1.6 billion.
HAYES: Wait. This is an important point. Presidents submit the budget to Congress, correct?
VAN HOLLEN: That`s correct.
HAYES: OK. That budget which is made by Mick Mulvaney over at ONB when consultations presumably with the President, although really who knows, in the White House, he comes to you guys and says this is what my priority are, this is what I want, and they asked for 1.6 building -- 1.6 billion for border security.
VAN HOLLEN: Exactly right.
HAYES: They did not ask for $5.6 billion to build a wall?
VAN HOLLEN: No. That`s exactly right. And this point has been overlooked because I guess the President`s folks wanted ignored because he totally changed his own budget. Now, that was passed in the Senate Appropriations Committee. We did add some language that the money for walls and barriers should be restricted to existing barriers.
VAN HOLLEN: And that, Chris, was supported by the Republican Senators on the Appropriations Committee.
HAYES: I just think this is key for people understand because it has gotten lost. Like there is an appropriations process on all kinds of stuff and lots of it non-controversial, right? The White House says this number people say, this number a lot of stuff, you fight over some stuff you agree on, on this issue they just didn`t actually come and say -- they didn`t start with an early asking we need $5.6 billion approved for the wall until this last second turn around at the behest of Ann Coulter?
VAN HOLLEN: No. But that`s exactly right. They asked for a $1.6 billion. And now at the very last minute in December, they came back with this request and it is also important to point out, Chris, that it really, in the end, is, of course, $30 billion because you know, what the President will do is threaten to shut down the government every year until he gets the $30 billion right?
HAYES: Well, right. Well, the other thing is you don`t just fund a capital investment for one year no matter what you`re doing. Like you don`t do a highway for one year and then just stop building it.
VAN HOLLEN: Exactly.
HAYES: OK. So then, what`s the way out -- I mean, I am watching this from afar and it just looks screwed. I just don`t understand. Like he has clearly backed them into this alleyway, there`s no way out, they`re desperate to extricate him somehow. Someone is going to send in a helicopter which I guess is the national emergency to like pluck them out of this situation but -- or not. And the government is closed for another month.
VAN HOLLEN: Yes, look, what I`ve been focused on is what`s within our power right now. And what`s within our power is to put more pressure on Mitch McConnell and Republican Senators to do their -- to play their role, to do -- take their responsibilities as a separate co-equal branch of government and pass these bills that they`ve already supported.
Now, Mitch McConnell can keep saying that the President doesn`t support it, but my goodness, I think a lot of our Republican Senators are going to feel the heat at home. We`ve already got four or five Republican Senators who publicly said they agree that we got to reopen the government first.
We will keep asking for unanimous consent to bring up those bills. We said it yesterday, McConnell shut it down but that`s going to get harder and harder, Chris, as with these stories pour in from around the country.
HAYES: All right, Senator Chris Van Hollen, thank you very much.
VAN HOLLEN: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now, Washington Post Columnist Jennifer Rubin. One of her columns today was title Lindsey Graham is depressed and doesn`t know what to do. Can we help? Also joining us McKay Coppins, Staff Writer at the Atlantic. Jennifer, the ark of Lindsey Graham is remarkable. When you think about -- when you look at that clip talking about the guy is a kook and he`s you know, we`ll get destroyed and now desperately all-caps tweeting him, please take unilateral executive power away from us in Congress which I serve and have served for decades so that you can save all of us from this ridiculous situation.
JENNIFER RUBIN, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: And these are the people who call themselves constitutional conservatives, who want the most conservative judges on the court, who are going to restrict the executive branch, right? Well, I guess not. You know, well, one thing that was interesting today, Chris, and I think things did change is you saw a momentary at least backpedal on the emergency declaration.
You heard the President today say, well, I`m not going to do it too fast. By the way, that ruins the argument that it`s actually an emergency if you`re not going to act too fast, but he backtracked. Why did he backtracked? One reason I think is he`s beginning to hear from senators and congressmen but mostly senators and a few governors in those states that would have money taken from them. So Ron DeSantis, Marco Rubio, don`t take money from Florida. Cornyn and Cruz in Texas, don`t take money in Texas. We need that for rebuilding after the hurricanes we had.
It`s taking real money from people who actually need it to give it for this project that they know they don`t need. And as soon as you make it real about their constituencies, they can`t be in favor of that either. So I think they`re left back where they were before which is do your job. Vote on these bills, maybe Trump will veto them, maybe you won`t, and then see if the Senate and House override. That`s in the Constitution. That`s the way this is supposed to work.
HAYES: McKay, here`s what Lindsey Graham said today. And I think what Jennifer said just nailed it right? Like everyone is trying to come up with a way out of this particularly on the Republican side because the Democrats are very clear like let`s just pass what we all agreed to before this whole thing started. Republicans trying to come up with a way out of it. The national emergency was an idea. This is what Lindsey Graham had to say today. Take a listen.
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GRAHAM: The national emergency idea is one way to try to get the wall built. It`s got its own problems. Just pick. And so, I don`t know how this move is going to end --
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HAYES: I want to say, Senator, it`s not a movie, it`s real. And also, you`re not watching it, you`re writing it. Like you can do something about it.
MCKAY COPPINS, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Right. Well, yes. I mean, this is the thing that`s interesting to me which is that we have been waiting for the last two years for the moment that Republicans in Congress will turn on Donald Trump, right? And early on in his presidency, we thought that it would be the first couple of unprecedented moments or kind of eruptions and it didn`t happen and then everyone kind of got cynical about the fact that there`s just no political incentive for Republicans to turn on Trump.
It`s almost as if in these past 21 days, the President has been begging Congressional Republicans to turn on him, right? He has put them in such a politically precarious situation. And so far they mostly held their ground to kind of been good soldiers, but you know, if this goes on for another month, I think this could -- this could be the moment that you know, it`s not politically advantageous anymore for Republicans to stay loyal to Donald Trump.
HAYES: Yes. And I think -- Jennifer, I wonder what you think of that because I think you know, it`s amazing how durable that 40 percent is right? It`s been through lots of things, you know, praising neo-Nazis that murdered a woman for instance, you know, tearing children away from their parents at the border right, and it stayed in that 40 percent. I wonder like is this the place where that starts to break down or not. What do you think?
RUBIN: I think it does and for a simple reason. Suddenly it`s their jobs, it`s their income, it`s the people working at the IRS facility in Missouri. Oh gosh, if it was about somebody else`s trial that the border, who gives a damn, but this is about me and my family. So suddenly it`s come home to roost. And when you`re talking about their constituents, red states, blue states, wherever you have it who can`t pay their bills, who are getting foreclosed on their mortgages, who can`t get what they need from the government, then the equation does change.
And then I think that`s when Mitch McConnell starts hearing from these senators, listen, we got to pass some of these. I`ve got this IRS Center in my district. They`re 5,000 people who aren`t getting paychecks this week. I`ve got another. I`ve got a Homeland Security office in my district or my state, another thousand people aren`t getting paid. So that`s when the rubber hits the road I think.
HAYES: But the dynamic here, McKay, and you sort of spoke to this, right, is that it`s always the case that what affects -- it doesn`t affect Trump. He`s where he always been. It`s like you know, there`s a bunch of people walking around, all sudden there`s like a high-pitched noise in the room and everyone is like oh my God, and there`s one person who can`t hear it. And everyone is just like oh God, stop, make it stop. It gets louder and louder and Trump`s like I don`t hear anything. What you`re talking about? I don`t hear anything. And that`s literally -- like that is what we`re looking at here. Trump can -- Trump couldn`t care less. When he said I`ll keep it closed for months or a year, I think he weirdly kind of meant it.
COPPINS: Well, right, because I think this is the hill that Trump has chosen to die on. It`s the hill that he signaled that he would die on you know, three years ago when he started running for president and made the wall a centerpiece of his campaign. But you got at it at the beginning of this hour which is that you showed that Republicans in Congress have always thought this was a dumb idea.
COPPINS: And they came around to it only out of partisan loyalty, out of partisan necessity. But this is ultimately about Trump`s relationship to his base, not about his relationship to his party and certainly not about lawmaker`s relationships to their constituents.
HAYES: And the question now is how separable all those relationships are? The abiding theory of the first two years is as Benjamin Franklin said, we must hang together or surely we will all hang separately. And that has been the guiding logic for the Republican caucus. We will see if that holds as we keep going. Jennifer Rubin and McKay Coppins, thank you both.
Next taking issue with Steve King`s words but not his wall. How Republicans are finally beginning to denounce racist remarks from the Iowa Republican as they simultaneously shut down the government to achieve Steve King`s number-one policy goal in two minutes.
HAYES: Tonight, Republicans are attempting to distance themselves and their party from the racist remarks of Steve King at the same time the President and Senate Republicans keep the government shutdown until they get Steve King`s signature policy idea, a border wall with Mexico. New York Times published the offensive quote in question yesterday. King wondered out loud white nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization. How did that language become offensive? Wait, what?
King took to the House floor today to insist he`s not racist, then defended his support for "Western civilization values and call himself an American nationalist. Steve King`s history of bigotry and racism has gone largely ignored by his Republican colleagues in Congress. But this time there seems to be a lot of hang ringing from members of his party.
Perhaps the most thoughtful of which coming from South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, the one black Republican member of the Senate caucus. He wrote an op-ed today in Washington Post saying "some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism. It is because of our silence when things like this are said. But as a slap King on the wrist, remember, the Republican Party shut down of the government is over Steve King`s signature policy idea, building a wall. In fact, he called it the King Wall on the House floor in 2006.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KING: I`m going to do the two-minute drill on the King Wall. I also say we need a few other things on top of the wall. And one of it be to put a little bit of wire on top here to provide additional incentive for people to climb over the to who would put a ladder there. We could also electrify this wire with the kind of current that wouldn`t kill somebody but it would simply be a discouragement for them to be fooling around with it. We do that with livestock all the time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We do that with livestock. Joining me now, Leah Wright Rigueur, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, author of the Loneliness of the Black Republican and Christopher Mathias who`s a National Reporter for the Huffington Post. Leah, I thought of the title of your book today as I read the op-ed from Tim Scott in the Washington Post. You know, I thought it was a good op-ed basically saying look, this is the kind of reason that people associate us with some pretty terrible ideas.
LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY, HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: Absolutely. And it was trying to get at the heart of initially the display of the Republican Party in part that you know, silence speaks volumes. Calling out racism is not hard, it`s not difficult. It is the right thing to do. And in fact, Republicans when it`s been politically expedient or when it`s been safe, have been pretty adept at calling out racism.
The problem is that you know rhetoric, again is pretty easy to call out, but policy is something entirely different. And so what Tim Scott -- I mean, again, it`s -- it was a good attempt and I think it`s an laudable attempt, but it completely sidestep to the issue of policy. You know, Steve King`s policies are in effect. They are not fringe, they are mainstream. He has a place in the Oval Office and I think that is -- that is -- the issue you know, that we should be focusing on right now.
HAYES: It`s also notable -- I mean, you have done great reporting on Steve King. I mean, this is -- there are sort of like Steve King -- there was like Steve King a valid racist explosion every six months or so and then we got a little version of this. But this is not the first and it probably won`t be the last.
CHRISTOPHER MATHIAS, NATIONAL REPORTER, HUFFPOST: Yes, we`ve seen this news cycle before where people get rage about a Steve King and then nothing happens. It seems like there`s a little more momentum this time, but you know, I personally over the last year have asked multiple Republican Congress, people at NRCC if they would denounce King and they just kind of refused to do so.
HAYES: Yes. What do they do? When you -- I mean, you have been one of the reporters on this beep going to members of Congress, going to the Republican congressional committee when he`s running for re-election basically saying like OK, put your money with your mouth is. What do you think of him?
MATHIAS: Right. And mostly I just don`t get a response. And I mean, before the election, Steve differs from NRCC did denounce King but only after a poll emerged showing that King might actually lose. Of course, he didn`t but --
HAYES: Which is why he`s still there.
MATHIAS: Yes, exactly.
HAYES: Leah, you know, it`s also notable to me that this is a very -- totally you said that his policy -- this is someone whose policy views are a kind of seamless garment to borrow a phrase from the Catholic Church. But basically when it comes to immigration, you know, his views about the superiority of what he calls Western civilization, his defense yesterday of literally the term white supremacists and his immigration views which are hard-edged restriction is those views are taken over the Republican Party and I think people who have those views say like how can you cause a racist. But you know, Steve King is part of the reason.
RIGUEUR: Exactly. I mean, you know, if it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, then it might be a duck. I mean, so part of -- part of what we`re dealing here is that you know, there`s been this distancing of Steve King and I completely agree with this point about you know, people coming out and saying we`re going to you know, we`re really angry at Steve King and you know, maybe we`re going to primary him. But you know, put your actions where your words are. Put your actions where your worship -- put your money where your mouth is.
You know, are you actually going to do something about it? Because actually what`s happening is as people -- as we see people denouncing what Steve King is saying rhetorically and kind of the most offensive of these comments, we`re also seeing them endorse the very same policies that underlie -- you know, that that underlie these words. So there really isn`t a difference. There might be as a difference of semantics or logistics but there`s no difference in terms of actual tenor.
So we`re saying things like the wall become mainstream. We`re seeing things, ideas about immigration. You know, just this week we saw within the Republican Party there is a matter -- there is a debate within Texas Republicans about whether a Muslim should be head of you know, head of a party institution. So these are actual real issues that have infested and corrupted the party and predate seeking by a long time by a long shot.
HAYES: I will note that vote which in Tarrant County, Texas. We noted last night on this program when you`re talking about this to boot out the vice chair of the Tarrant County Republicans lost by pretty overwhelming margin, so well done Tarrant County Republicans about 150 or 50 I think of them, remembering the margin off of my head though there were 50 votes for it which links us back to King which is that as someone who reports on him, is it fair to say that his immigration view has taken over the mainstream of the party or particularly the White House?
MATHIAS: I mean, it definitely seems like it`s taken over the White House. It`s tough to say you know, whether that directly came from King or not. You know, I think there`s an argument that that came from Bannon and Miller as well and that you know, King has always been aligned with those views. But you know, it should be deeply concerning that we have a president who is sympathetic to someone like Steve King, someone who unapologetically promotes analyses on Twitter, who endorses white supremacist candidates for you know the Mayor of Toronto, and the list goes on and on.
HAYES: We should note also that before he was you know, allied with Trump, he was the -- he was the campaign national co-chair of the Ted Cruz campaign, and there was no -- like again, this -- he was still Steve King back then and there was literally no -- am I wrong that there was no like controversy about that?
MATHIAS: There`s no controversy. It`s awful for whatever reason. Him -- it took him having to admit to being a white supremacist in the New York Times for anything to happen. And moreover we -- he literally said the same thing to what he said to the New York Times, he said that in October as well. He told a local Iowa T.V. host like he didn`t -- he didn`t think white nationalist was a derogatory term and it`s crickets from the GOP.
HAYES: Wait, this is before the election?
MATHIAS: Yes, in October. And then he won a few weeks later. And another example of this is Kim Reynolds Governor of Iowa, King was her campaign co- chair. And I -- you know, repeatedly -- and she was under a lot of pressure to say something about King. She was completely silent and so after she won the election and she said that King should reconsider his career.
HAYES: Leah Wright Rigueur and Christopher Mathias, thanks for joining us. Coming up, as the Trump administration ignores the increasingly disastrous climate reports the Democrats are gathering momentum behind a deal that can make real change. One of them joins me next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA: I can tell you that for people on my side of the aisle, one of our concerns we should have if today the national emergency is border security and it entitles him to go out and do something, we all support that, tomorrow the national security emergency might be climate change, so let`s seize fossil fuel plants or something.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump`s insistence that there is a crisis at the border for which you might declare a national emergency has focused people`s minds on what real crisis actually are. There`s a growing consensus, particularly among Democrats, that the one overarching crisis we face is climate change.
Take a look at this graphic showing temperature anomalies, both hot and cold, in countries around the world over the past forty years and watch as the yellow, orange, and red spots, representing higher temperature anomalies come on screen with ever increasing frequency.
Just this week, new scientific analysis shows the Earth`s oceans are warming 40 percent faster than what was estimated just five years ago. It`s far bigger crisis than anything happening at the border.
Congressman Ro Khanna of California supports efforts to combat climate change, like the green new deal, a proposal pushed by newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, among others. And he joins me now.
What do you think about all this -- I`ve seen a lot of people in the midst of the last few days saying wait a minute we can declare a national emergency over this. Why don`t we do it about climate change?
REP. RO KHANNA, (D) CALIFORNIA: Well, climate change actually is the real crisis. But let me assure Senator Rubio that if a Democrats get elected president, they actually understand constitutional law and would never do this.
For example, if Elizabeth Warren were elected president, she knows that in Youngstown, the Supreme Court explicitly ruled that Harry Truman couldn`t seize steel mills and that was to win the Korean War.
So this idea -- you know, and actually if the president did declare an emergency, the House can overturn it in a joint resolution.
So, the level of ignorance by the Republicans on the actual law is outstanding, especially considering they`re the party that is supposed to uphold the constitution.
Well, what the Democrats will do is actually build consensus in congress and in the Senate to argue that this is what`s creating jobs.
Let me just put out two facts, there are more jobs being created in solar and wind, according to Fortune Magazine, 12 times as fast as any other industry.
In 2016, solar jobs grew 25 percent, wind jobs grew 32 percent. This is about economic growth, not just about the environment.
HAYES: You know, the other reason I think this is key at this moment is Democrats for years have said we should do something about climate. There was Waxman-Markey (ph) bill that happened the last time there was unified Democratic control, though it didn`t make it through the Senate, but that`s different than saying we`re in crisis and we need to mobilize for essentially a kind of peaceful equivalent to war, which is what many people are saying. Is that how you see it right now?
KHANNA: I do. I think the crisis is so severe, and as you know with the United Nations report, we were underestimating, all of us, the scientists, of how soon the crisis was going to hit. This is not something that we`re talking about people`s grand kids or even their kids. This is something that we`re talking in 10 to 15 years. And by the way, people in this country are feeling the crisis. You can feel it if you live in Florida with the hurricanes being more severe, because the water is warming. You can feel it in California with the wild fires because of the drought conditions that climate change is causing.
So this is no longer a theoretical issue, and that`s why people want to act.
HAYES: Right, but that`s different than saying it`s the number one issue, that there has to be a domestic mobilization akin to something like the new deal, akin to something like the national mobilization for World War II. I mean, that`s the scale that I`m hearing people begin to talk about the government response at. And I wonder if that`s the scale that you think of it at, and is that something that a lot of Democrats do, or a lot of people need to be persuaded to think of that in those terms?
KHANNA: I think increasingly people are thinking of it in those types of terms. And the reason for that is two things. One, people know that we have to think about the future of work, and there are a lot of parts of this country where people have been unemployed and we have to figure out how do we put them back to work, especially with the digital transformation and so people see that this is a places where you can actually grow jobs.
And secondly, the climate change is an existential crisis. And for the longest time, we haven`t been using bold enough language to deal with it. And I give a lot of credit to the Sunrise Movement,the newly elected freshmen, from bringing that urgency so that we can address this at the appropriate scale.
HAYES: Yeah, it`s funny, you mention the Sunrise Movement who sat in. There was this very sort of amazing thing that happened in Minnesota, Tim Waltz, who was just elected governor there, and the climate activist announced, they were going to sit in, and instead once organizers informed the governor`s office of a planned sit in, the governor offered instead to meet with the young people. What you`re asking for is concrete changes, which is what you should be asking for. The move is tangible evidence of where we`re going to go.
That`s at the gubernatorial level. I think that -- what do you think that says about how seriously it has been taken that governors are making this a day-one issue?
KHANNA: I think those can kids have done phenomenal. I mean, I know some people criticize them for sitting in to offices and coming to congress, let me tell you there would not have been the creation of the select committee if they hadn`t mobilized.
Now, the select committee for the green new deal isn`t strong enough. I wish they had legislative authority. I wish they could subpoena. But all I would say to the Sunrise Movement is you made an incredible difference in about 60 days. Keep going. It`s the only way we`re going to get members of congress to respond and treat this with the urgency that it requires.
HAYES: What is your response if the president does declare -- since that`s the beginning of this trajectory -- the president does declare a national emergency? What should the Democratic response be?
KHANNA: We should invoke section five of the National Emergency Act, which was put in place explicitly after Watergate because Nixon abused the emergency. Second five allows the House of Representatives to overturn through a joint resolution the president`s emergency. The Senate would 15 days to vote on it. I would assume that the Senate would not vote for the emergency based on all these conversations.
HAYES: All right, congressman Ro Khanna of California, thank you for coming by tonight.
KHANNA: Thank you.
HAYES: All right, we have some breaking news that I have just been handed. The New York Times reporting that after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey back in 2017, get this, the FBI opened an investigation into whether the president was secretly working on behalf of Russia against American interests. They write, quote, "agents and senior FBI officials had grown suspicious of Mr. Trump`s ties to Russia during the 2016 campaign, but held off on opening an investigation into him, the people said, in part because they were uncertain how to proceed with an inquiry of such sensitivity and magnitude.
With the president`s activities before and after Mr. Comey`s firing in May 2017, particularly two instances in which Mr. Trump tied the Comey dismissal to the Russia investigation helped prompt the counterintelligence aspect of the inquiry, the people said.
Joining me now by phone, one of the reporters who broke that story, New York Times Washington correspondent reporter and MSNBC contributor Michael Schmidt.
Michael, what can you tell me about this story?
MICHAEL SCHMIDT, NEW YORK TIMES: So our collective understanding, the public`s understanding of the Trump investigation, the Mueller investigation of Trump, has been focused for the past year and a half on the question of criminal obstruction. Did the president obstruct justice?
What we`re reporting tonight is that the investigation initially, at least, after Comey was fired, which was much bigger than that, it was also looking at the question of Trump`s ties to Russia. What was he trying to cover up a relationship with the Russians? Was he working with the Russians? Was he wittingly or unwittingly working on their behalf?
And this was the investigation that the FBI opened after Comey was fired. It was a two-pronged investigation. One part was criminal, looking at the question of obstruction, the other part was counterintelligence and national security investigation into the president`s ties to Russia.
HAYES: OK. What you`re saying is that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation and that`s the kind of thing they do all the time, right, if they have an FBI agent, a government worker, someone working in an embassy who they suspect has been essentially compromised, right?
SCHMIDT: Yeah. The FBI does two types of investigations. One is the old- fashioned criminal investigation, who robbed a bank. Well, let`s go out and figure it out. The other type is a counterintelligence investigation, it`s a national security investigation. It`s only -- it`s not -- its main goal is not to bring criminal charges, it`s to figure out what`s going on. What is a foreign power doing? Who are they using on the ground to further their goals and their aims? And that is what a counterintelligence investigation does.
So, they`re looking at the question of the president`s ties to Russia. What is that relationship look like? Is there really something there and that is what they began in the aftermath of the firing.
HAYES: So, aftermath of the firing, so jolted, I guess -- and you can tell me who these folks are within the FBI, so jolted, then, that they actually launched a formal inquiry, as they would into like an embassy worker or someone they suspected of being a double agent and a spy at the FBI, a formal inquiry is basically is this individual compromised? Is there something happening here where this person, being the president, is working against U.S. interests?
SCHMIDT: Correct. And this tells part of the larger story of what was going on at the FBI and the Justice Department in that period of time between the Comey firing and the appointment of Mueller.
And it`s just a few days in there, but it really had unnerved the investigators, the firing of Comey. They did not understand why the president was doing this.
You need to put this development that we`re learning tonight into context with the other things that we know about this period of time. Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, offering to wear a wire and go in and record his conversations with the president, talking to other Justice Department officials at the time about invoking the 25th amendment and the prospects of doing that. Now we know this, that they opened the counterintelligence investigation.
This tells us what was going on inside the Justice Department after the firing. What -- how scared they were. What really unnerved them and what they were willing to do to try and get to the bottom of it.
HAYES: So, you mentioned the Rosenstein piece and that was immediately what I flashed back to, which was another piece of reporting by you in The New York Times. Do you know the connection between the two? When we first heard about it, it seemed so almost outlandish or surprising that Rod Rosenstein would say do you want me to wear a wire to talk to the president? There was some push-back that he was joking, and your sources said, no, he was very much not joking.
Is it in this context that that was uttered?
SCHMIDT: Well, this is all the things that are going on, the discussions that are going on at the FBI, the discussions that are going on with the Justice Department.
You have to remember, the FBI at the time was in a very unusual position, because they were skeptical of Rosenstein in all of it, too, because Rosenstein was a deputy attorney general. He`s over seeing the Russia investigation, but he had also just provided the rationale to Trump, the letter that Trump used to give the reason for firing Comey.
So the folks at the FBI see that Comey has been fired. They know there`s a Russia investigation. They have wanted to open up this counterintelligence investigation on the president for so long, and they see the Deputy Attorney General providing cover to the president to do the firing, the deputy attorney general (inaudible).
So, they are sitting there saying what is going on around us? What do we do? And it`s in that context that they open these two things, this double pronged investigation that is obviously incredibly historical moment to be looking at the president for such a charge.
HAYES: So, and just to make sure I`m clear on this, those two investigations being a criminal inquiry and a counterintelligence investigation, those then are both taken over by Mueller when he is appointed?
SCHMIDT: Correct. Just days later Rosenstein appoints Mueller to be the special counsel and Mueller inherits all of this, and has been looking at all these questions since then.
We know he spent an enormous amount of time on the obstruction question, talking to all sorts of White House officials about the president`s actions, what was he trying to do, is he trying to halt the inquiry? Was he trying to to interfere with it and impede it? That is a thing the public has focused on the most. In many people`s minds, law enforcement -- you know, former law enforcement officials and experts and such have thought that there was the counterintelligence aspect there, but it had never been reported, it had only been reported that there was a criminal obstruction investigation.
HAYES: Michael Schmidt, thank you so much, remarkable piece of reporting.
On the phone with me now, Benjamin Wittes, senior fellow at Brookings, editor-in-chief of Law Fare. What is your reaction to this story, Ben?
BENJAMIN WITTES, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, LAW FARE: Well, so I have just posted on Law Fare, a very lengthy analysis of the story and some of the documents around it.
Look, I think it`s a very I important development, and the most important aspect of it to me is that it raises the question we have always imagined that there was a collusion investigation and then the president fired Comey and the FBI opened an obstruction investigation. And this story raises the question to me as to whether it`s really one investigation, whether the collusion was the obstruction from the FBI`s point of view.
HAYES: Explain what you mean by that.
WITTES: Well, so what if from the FBI`s point of view the understanding of what the firing of Comey was, the obstruction, was that it was itself an effort to support or facilitate the Russian hacking activity and the Russian interference in the election by obstructing the investigation of it and potentially shutting it down.
And what I argue in the piece that I just posted is that it is probably better to understand this as one investigation that has -- that is an investigation of Russian activity and support of it on the American side, including by the president, in trying to shut down the investigation of it.
HAYES: I want to run through -- I`m going to run this through my Trump TV translator for a second and give you what I suspect will be their interpretation in the story and get your response to it. The president, who is the duly democratically elected leader of the country and the head of the executive branch, within his power fires the head of the FBI. He`s allowed to do so, and the folks in the FBI, essentially the deep state, rebel, by launching an investigation into their own president. And this is more example of the perfidious of the deep state."
That, I`m sure, is going to be the interpretation in certain quarters. What do you say to that interpretation?
WITTES: So, first of all, I`m sure you`re right that that will be the interpretation. And I just want to say, you know, as somebody who, you know, believes in the FBI as an institution and the workforce there and the patriotism of the people involved, to me the relevance is precisely the opposite, which is what would it take for that group of people, with all their deference to the executive branch as a hierarchy, and as the people they work for, to say this is so bad, this is so terrifying, that we have to treat the president of the United States as a threat to national security?
HAYES: Right. How bad would it have to be?
WITTES: How bad would it have to be for us to do precisely the -- you know, to engage in a way that we would never dream of engaging? The president, after all, is the person who sets the national security priorities of the country, who identifies the priority intelligence collection priorities for the intelligence community.
And for the FBI to say this is such an extreme situation that we have to treat activity by the president of the United States as a potential threat to the security of the country. My question is precisely the opposite, not what kind of a deep state coup is this, but what kind of a degradation of the presidency does it require to produce that kind of -- that kind of reaction from the bureau?
HAYES: I want you to -- if you will,Ben, I want you to stay with me and I want to bring in an attorney and author Lisa Green, and MSNBC Legal Analyst Jill Wine- Bank, former Watergate prosecutor.
And go to you first, Jill, who have had just a few minutes I think to read the piece and get your reaction to it.
JILL WINE-BANKS, FORMER WATERGATE PROSECUTOR: He said he wanted me to stay with him.
HAYES: Jill, go ahead.
WINE-BANKS: Yes, it is a really dramatic piece of reporting that shows the connection between obstruction of justice and the security of our nation. And it really does point out how in firing Comey, in saying don`t investigate Flynn, and asking for a loyalty pledge, in asking Russia to get the emails of Hillary Clinton, in saying all the things he`s said in terms of the platform of the Republican Party, eliminating sanctions, all of those things are really grounds now for looking at is he a national security risk? And I think it would have been incomprehensible to me if the FBI had ignored all of those warning signs.
It doesn`t mean they ended up finding that there was some sort of relationship where he was actually an agent of the Russians, but it makes it clear that the Russians may have been trying and that it would have been irresponsible not to have investigated it.
HAYES: Lisa, I mean, it`s almost -- as I`m processing this, it`s like out of the movie, like a Hollywood script had the president been turned, basically? Has the president been turned and some line agents at FBI trying to chase that down.
LISA GREEN, ATTORNEY: It seems both simultaneously, utterly chilling, and while there is no definitive proof, weirdly plausible.
Here is what I`m looking ahead to, there is going to be a hearing next week for the new incoming attorney general.
HAYES: There sure is.
GREEN: Right, and we already knew that Democrats were going to focus their attention on his loyalty to the Mueller and the investigation looking for some sort of Elliott Richardson pledge, I`m not going to get involved. How much more interesting will it be for us to listen to senator grill Barr next week about making sure, given this alarming news report that the Mueller investigation continues unabated.
HAYES: There is also the fact, which I`m being reminded of here, Jill, and part of the fact pattern, that alarmed the folks is that the day after he does it, the first thing he does is have the Russian ambassador come in and the Russian foreign minister, they are not announced officially on the schedule. We only learn about it from the Russian news service with pictures of them laughing and reportedly tell him, like I got rid of Comey, now the pressure is taken off, which even at the moment seemed almost too in your face to be plausible, and yet, is exactly what he did. And according to the reporting that is part of what freaked out the FBI.
WINE-BANKS: Exactly. And he also shared very highly confidential intelligence information that he had gotten from the Israeli government. So, to those same Russians at the same time.
So, there just are too many clues to walk away from, and yet, you and Lisa are correct, it is almost impossible to believe it`s true, but when you hear all these things and they keep mounting, it`s not one piece of evidence, it`s one piece times 10, times 20, times 100.
And you can`t ignore that if you`re the FBI and you`re getting this information, you have to act on it.
So, I know that you are correct in what their defense will be is, well, I had the right to fire Comey. And I`m not a big supporter of Comey, but you can`t fire Comey for the wrong reasons. You can`t fire him to stop an investigation, especially an investigation that could be leading to Russian activity, whether he was a witting or unwitting participant in it, he may not have realized it. But that`s an investigation you want to go forward.
HAYES: You know, I have just been -- I have been listening to a lot of people to Rachel`s amazing podcast Bag Man, which is about the Spiro Agnew case, and much of the drama there is just the uncharted constitutional legal waters of these young prosecutors who have found out this thing about the vice president. He`s taking bribes literally in the White House and in the vice president`s residence, and they are thinking to themselves what can we do? Is it OK, can indict him? What are the boundaries here?
And it seems to me there is a parallel here in terms of the constitutional legal thicket that the FBI and Department of Justice finds itself in at this moment when they are thinking to themselves, they are thinking an unthinkable thing. What do we have the power to do, Lisa?
GREEN: Right. And you remember in the Agnew-Nixon era, Elliott Richardson was the grownup in the room who talked to his young prosecutors and helped the U.S. attorney steer...
HAYES: And said go ahead, yes.
GREEN: Right, so who is the grown up in the room now?
And Rod Rosenstein is departing, and by all accounts is a person who is devoted to justice. Does he know something we don`t about the state of this investigation right now?
HAYES: Well, and Jill, there is the quote that Michael Schmidt reported, right, about Rod Rosenstein, which was extremely controversial at the time, do you want me to wear a wire basically on the president, which in this context starts to make more sense as a kind of remark of the absurd situation that they then found themselves in.
WINE-BANKS: It definitely does. And I think to follow up a little bit on what Lisa just said, in terms of Elliott Richardson, he was being confirmed by a Democratic Senate. And they were able to say you will not be confirmed unless you agree to allow this investigation to go forward and to have an independent special counsel. And the reason that he refused to fire Archie on the request of the president on the night of what became the Saturday Night Massacre is because he had made that pledge to congress and he was going to live by it.
He was a man of integrity. He said I said I would only fire him for cause. There is no cause, and I am not going to fire him. And that led to his being fired. And then odd,s you know, the deputy got fired and finally the solicitor general fired our chief -- which led to a public outcry. And this could be -- I mean, every day we say, oh, yesterday it was I have to predict what Michael Cohen is going to say. Today, we`re predicting whether the president is actually involved in working with the Russians.
The fact that we even have to ask that question, and that there is so much evidence of cooperation between Russia and the administration that is now in power, is something that is terrifying. I can`t think of any other word except to say this is really scary.
HAYES: I want to bring in Frank Figliuzzi. He`s a former assistant director of counterintelligence for the FBI, MSNBC National Security analyst. He joins us now by phone.
Frank, for years your job was to oversee counterintelligence investigations. Presumably, you hadn`t didn`t have any on the current president of the United States. So, what do you make of this story?
FRANK FIGLIUZZI, FORMER ASSITANT FBI COUNTERINTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Chris, I think the American people need to look at this report and are likely simultaneously shaken by it, but also they should be reassured by it. Shaken by the fact that the worst-case scenario we`ve been talking around the edges of, which is the possibility that our president might actually be handled, co-opted, owned, working on behalf of foreign adversary is the same thing the FBI wondered. And then reassured that we have an FBI that`s doing the job that American people should want them to do, that`s unafraid to take evidence and look at it.
Now, we need to dig deeply into this. I have a lot of questions. Was this a preliminary inquiry? Did it turn into a full investigation? The standards, American people should know the standards to open a preliminary inquiry in counterintelligence is reasonable suspicion. Standards to open a full investigation in counterintelligence is specific and articulatable facts. So we need to understand that distinction and where this went.
Chris, we always knew that the origins of the Mueller case were in counterintelligence. It was about the Russians. What we haven`t known until tonight, if this is accurate, is that it looks like the president`s name, Donald J. Trump, was in the subject line of a counterintelligence case. That is just, it`s -- it is unprecedented, and it`s scary but there we are.
HAYES: OK. So, you have a technical knowledge here I want to mine for a second, because what you just said was -- so, there is two kinds of inquiries I heard from you, a preliminary inquiry and then what was the second one?
FIGLIUZZI: A full investigation.
HAYES: Full investigation. So, a question about whether -- which of the two.
And what I`m hearing from you is that these are very established categories, this is -- all of this is done, this is not done lightly, that they are distinct categories with distinct thresholds to open. And that when they`re open, what I"m hearing from you, and tell me if this is right, that there is someone in the FBI who went to some computer and started some file and put into the subject line for the subject of this counterintelligence investigation, Donald J. Trump.
FIGLIUZZI: Well, I`ll go a step further, which is I can assure you that people much lower than the president who found themselves in subject lines required DOJ approval to open the case, right?
FIGLIUZZI: So, this was not done by some low-level FBI employee at the Hoover Building, this was done with the approval of DOJ. And likely it was code named, of course, because you don`t want anyone seeing that in the files, that it`s Trump we`re talking about. But, yeah, those are the standards -- reasonable suspicion, or the full investigation would be specific and articulable facts.
And what I`m thinking is that there is far more to that than just the public facing behavior of the president. By that I mean, we`ve been saying this at nauseam, Chris, that Mueller has access to the entire panoply of allied intelligence techniques and collections. So my guess is in order for this thing to have been opened, there is more to it. There is something more solid there.
And the other thing I`m picking up from this New York Times report is they are saying there was a criminal aspect on obstruction of justice. Again, that is very sobering if Donald J. Trump was in the subject line of a criminal investigation.
So this could be both counterintelligence and criminal and the named subject is our president.
HAYES: Last question, you referred to the possibility is the president handled, meaning turned, co-opted. What does that mean?
FIGLIUZZI: So, it`s a term of art and there is a whole spectrum of possibilities. One is that he almost is unwittingly duped, not realizing he`s working for Russian intelligence, right. And this is very common, by the way.
FIGLIUZZI: And there is often arrogance and a hubris that comes with high- level people saying to us I briefed high level people who I knew were being handled and co-opted, and they looked at me in the eye and said I can handle this. I know the line.
And of course, they don`t. And so that could be one end of the spectrum.
The other end is full-blown knowledge that you are being carried as a source or asset operationally by foreign intelligence service.
HAYES: All right, Frank Figliuzzi, Jill Wine-Banks, Lisa Green, many thanks at the last minute for joining us there.
That is All In for this evening.
The Rachel Maddow Show now starts with Joy Reid in for Rachel Maddow.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END