Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES Date: February 13, 2019 Guest: Rosalind Helderman, Elizabeth Holtzman, Joaquin Castro, Mazie Hirono, Ezra Klein, Barbara Boxer, Jim Manley, David Dayen, Vann Newkirk
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: As bad as Donald Trump can be, what is he doing getting his direction on matters of war and peace from someone so demonstrously dangerous as John Bolton. That`s HARDBALL for now. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The wall is very, very on its way.
HAYES: A president facing failure tries to rebrand.
TRUMP: Building a lot of it right now as we speak.
HAYES: Tonight the latest on the wall saga and where Democrats stand on the border deal. Then, new reporting on Robert Mueller`s pursuit of a collusion case.
PAUL MANAFORT, FORMER CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN, TRUMP CAMPAIGN: That`s what I said --
HAYES: What we`re now learning about a Paul Manafort meeting with a Russian in a New York cigar bar. Plus --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The average tax refund from the IRS down 8.4 percent.
HAYES: Explaining the shock after the first round of refunds following the Trump tax cuts.
TRUMP: I consider this very much a bill for the middle class.
HAYES: And how a plan to stop climate change changed the conversation.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I`ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal.
HAYES: When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Dallas, Texas, I`m Chris Hayes. We are on our way to the border with Mexico for a big show on what`s really happening there. That`ll be tomorrow night. Tonight there are some very big breaking news in the Mueller investigation. A federal judge ruling that the president`s campaign manager Paul Manafort sabotage his own plea deal by repeatedly lying to the Special Counsel`s Office.
Prosecutors have been arguing in court that Manafort intentionally lied to them about matters material to Robert Mueller`s probe including crucially a meeting with the Russian-Ukrainian associate at the height of the campaign. A meeting that according to one prosecutor goes "the very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel`s Office is investigating. Manafort`s lawyers argued that any misstatements were accidental.
Today, the D.C. District Court ruled against them finding the Special Counsel`s Office established Manafort`s intention to lie in three of the five cases they presented. One, he lied to investigators about $125,000 payment which he tried to disguise a loan. Two, he intentionally gave false information related to another federal investigation carried out by a different office. And three, and this is probably the most important piece of news that we know now, Manafort lied to the FBI, the Special Counsel and the grand jury about his communications with that Russian-Ukrainian associate Konstantin Kilimnik.
With Manafort officially having breached his plea agreement, Mueller`s office is now under no obligation to recommend a lighter sentence in exchange for Manafort`s cooperation. NBC News Investigative Reporter Tom Winter joins me now. Tom this is a big development. What did the judge have to say?
TOM WINTER, NBC NEWS INVESTIGATIONS REPORTER: Well, Chris, I think it was in December that I came on your show and shortly after at that point we learned that Manafort may have lied. And I believe that I called it legal suicide by him.
And today and I think the judge is kind of confirming that essentially saying that in fact she found that of the five instances that Special Counsel Robert Mueller cited that they believed Paul Manafort lied to them, or lied to the FBI, or lied to even a grand jury, that in three of those five of the instances he, in fact, did that based upon the preponderance of the evidence that she reviewed in these several sealed hearings that we`ve had over the past several weeks.
And what that really means, Chris, is that the plea agreement, the cooperation agreement, everything that Paul Manafort gained back in September of last year by avoiding a trial in D.C., he`s lost all of those benefits and most importantly a downward reduction in his sentence. So Chris this is a pretty big blow to -- blow to his legal strategy he faces a significant jail term both in D.C. but also in the Eastern District of Virginia.
That trial from last summer where he was convicted on eight counts, he`s had now admitted his guilt as a result of that cooperation agreement in that case. So now the judge there consented him not just for the eight that the jury convicted him on but the entire thing, the entire case that was brought in Virginia. So this is a really a big insignificant development for Paul Manafort, also interesting as far as what he`s lied about some of the things that you outlaid.
HAYES: So let me follow up on that and then we`ll move to some of the substance here. So he`s now on the hook -- I mean he could spend the rest of his life in jail is what we`re looking at?
WINTER: Exactly right. So it`s not technically a life sentence. But based on everything that he has been found guilty of, that he`s pleaded guilty to, that if you stack all of those years on top of themselves, if you look at both cases in both districts given Mr. Manafort`s age, it appears to be pretty clear at this point that he could be looking depending upon what the judges do and what they decide, the rest of his living days inside a jail cell.
HAYES: So we have sort of been looking at this through this -- through these redactions in terms of all these court filings. There`s a lot we don`t know. So just let`s start with that second item. The other investigation, the other matter that he lied about, we do not know what that is correct?
WINTER: We have no idea. Anything that I would tell you would just be speculation or a guess at this point. It may even be an investigation, Chris, that we haven`t heard about yet. We know some satellite investigations that have been going on. We know about the Trump inaugural investigation is one example. We don`t know whether this involves that investigation, involves something else that Robert Mueller is looking at or in another investigation that again we have no idea what it`s about.
HAYES: Now, on this third item which is I think the most important materially in terms of the president and the question of collusion, Andrew Weissmann saying, it goes to the heart of what they`re investigating. These are lies he told the Special Counsel`s Office about meetings with Konstantin Kilimnik. What did he lie about? What were the material lies that he told that office?
WINTER: So, one of the things that we actually don`t get in this filing which is disappointing to us understandable given the overall investigation are the specific kind of data points or fact points about things that he lied about. But what we know from that sealed hearing and that -- in the transcript that we were able to get out of it, it is redacted as you said, is that this has to do with meetings.
And one of the things that prosecutors were keen to point out in something that we`ve all been scratching our heads about is why is Trump`s campaign chairman the guy who`s quarterbacking his campaign taking some time out to meet with Konstantin Kilimnik which according to court papers is somebody the FBI has identified is somebody associated with Russian intelligence.
Why is he taking his time away from the campaign and having a meeting with him. And according to the reporting of the Washington Post not confirmed by NBC News but they`ve been pretty consistent on this particular part of the investigation, Rick Gates is also in that meeting. I think the court transcript certainly alludes to that as well. So I think it`s safe to assume that Rick Gates was there. He is cooperating with Mueller.
So when you look at this, you have one of Manafort`s deputies, somebody who`s also working for the man who`s on your screen right now. Rick Gates is also working for the Trump campaign. So you get Manafort, Gates, and this person who`s associated with Russian intelligence, somebody who`s worked with Paul Manafort, somebody who`s worked in Ukraine having a meeting together on August 2nd of 2016 in the heart of this campaign.
Both campaigns have come off of the -- off of their conventions. Excuse me. Off of their conventions at that point. And at that point we also know that there is an effort by Russia to hack and interfere with this election. So I think it raises considerable concerns for prosecutors and we don`t know what else Gates has told them about that meeting. We don`t know what other people have told them as far as the subject and contents of that meeting. You`re right, it is the key point tonight that everybody`s focused on.
HAYES: All right, Tom Winter, thank you very much for that. I`m joined now by Political Enterprise and Investigative Reporter for The Washington Post Rosalind Helderman who co-wrote a great report about a key August 2016 meeting that Tom was discussing between Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, deputy campaign manager Rick Gates, and Konstantin Kilimnik that goes to the heart of Mueller`s probe.
So Rosalind, what do we know about this meeting and its relationship to the lies or the misinformation that Manafort gave to Mueller`s team that the judge is now found tonight?
ROSALIND HELDERMAN, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, WASHINGTON POST: Yes, Tom was just talking about how there was this hearing last week, a sealed hearing related to these lies but there was a transcript that was released fairly strategically redacted. But if you`ve been following the case closely and you compare it with other documents we`ve seen, you can get a sense of at least generally what they`re talking about.
And so from that, we learned that apparently at this meeting at August 2nd there was some discussion about a peace plan for Ukraine. Now you know, peace plan sounds you know, all well and good but it`s important to remember that that`s a really top foreign policy agenda item for the Russian government.
They need there to be some resolution to the Ukrainian conflict if they`re going to get sanctions lifted. So that`s a really key point. There also seems to be discussion that the prosecutors have at least been exploring whether this was the meeting where Paul Manafort provided to Mr. Kilimnik this internal Trump campaign polling data which apparently they`ve alleged that that he gave to Kilimnik at some point in time.
HAYES: Right. So it`s just important that they did set the scene here. And to go back to Tom said, I mean, when you zoom out and just think about the circumstances, they`re strange. Whatever or whether they end up being inculpatory or not, here`s the guy running the Republican nominees campaign, right?
It`s already been established right, the hack of the DNC and the release of those e-mails has already happened. There`s already been reporting indicating it was the Russians. He`s meeting with a guy assessed to have connections to Russian intelligence who was trained in the same schools that the GRU was trained.
And they`re meeting in a cigar bar with his deputy while the guys running a U.S. presidential campaign that has benefited from the hacks already to talk about a plan that would end up lifting sanctions on Russia were to go to head.
HELDERMAN: It is -- it is on. You do have to wonder what we all would have thought of this had we heard about it you know, on August 2nd 2016. We first reported this meeting happened at the post last year and we were able to get a statement from Kilimnik about it. I think the only one that`s out there. And he said this meeting had nothing to do with the U.S. presidential campaign.
He called it a private visit. He said that they talked about unpaid bills from Ukraine. They gossiped about the political scene in Ukraine. You know, as you read what the Special Counsel`s Office is saying about it, it`s hard to really square that with what Kilimnik said where he claimed that this was an entirely private visit.
HAYES: Kilimnik has subsequently been indicted by Mueller`s team. He was indicted along with this as sort of supervening indictments for Manafort for witness tampering and he is now in Russia, is that correct?
HELDERMAN: The Special Counsel`s Office said he is believed to be in Russia. I don`t think we expect him to be visiting in the United States anytime soon.
HAYES: Rosalind Helderman, thank you very much for coming by tonight. To flush up the full implications this, I want to bring an MSNBC Legal Analyst Joyce Vance, former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama and former Democratic Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, a Watergate veteran and author of The Case for Impeaching Trump.
Joyce, let me start with you because again, when you take a step back and you look at the way that Manafort has dealt with this, it is bizarre and I would say -- I`ll ask you as a former U.S. Attorney, have you ever seen a defendant act in the way this particular defendant has acted?
JOYCE VANCE, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: It`s really unusual, Chris. On the one hand maybe he was just so arrogant that he thought he could outfox Mueller, reveal some of the truth but not all of it, maybe protecting whatever he thought needed to be protected, or maybe there`s a far more nefarious sort of an angle to this.
Maybe he really never did mean to cooperate fully. Maybe it was always some sort of a game that he was playing either to protect himself or to help the President. But this is so far out of the usual realm of what prosecutors see with witnesses that are cooperating, that in and of itself really makes you stop and take a look at what`s going on here.
HAYES: Liz, you`ve got some experience with people lying to cover things up. What is your reaction to this news?
ELIZABETH HOLTZMAN (D), FORMER REPRESENTATIVE, NEW YORK: Well, it just raises even more seriously if you can say that than we`ve seen before, the possibility if not the actuality of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to affect the election.
I mean, the fact that they could be discussing plan which is that would be the quid pro quo for Russian help -- remember, Russia`s not going to do anything out of goodness of its heart. They want to help Trump, what are they getting in return, sanctions relief. So one of the things we know that they`re talking about is one half of the quid pro quo.
We don`t know whether they`re talking about the other half of the quid pro quo for sure which is giving the polling information to allow the Russians to interfere. So if we -- if this gets -- his lying about this suggest that there`s something very serious that`s being covered up. That`s what we saw on Watergate, cover-up. Why were they covering up? Criminality. What`s being covered up here? We don`t know for sure but my hunch is criminality and very serious. I think the only way to explain Manafort`s behavior is that he`s expecting a pardon.
HAYES: Well, let me -- I want to get to that in a second but I want to follow up on you first, Joyce, which is, it is hard. I mean, if I try to put myself in the most neutral position possible to arrange the facts of the behavior of Paul Manafort has now established by the court and the lies he told at the risk of spending the rest of his life in jail for a version that doesn`t having him -- doesn`t have him covering up something sinister.
VANCE: That`s absolutely right and it`s just what the Congresswoman is saying. People lie for a reason. The reason is they can`t disclose the truth. And here it seems like the lie has to be about criminality. You know Rosalind in the previous sessions in your previous segment talked about interviewing Konstantin Kilimnik and getting a state from him.
And his statement was oh, it was an innocuous meeting. It was just about old bills. That`s so reminiscent about the cover-up of the Trump Tower meeting. Oh it`s just about the adoption of Russian orphans. People lie about things for a reason and that`s what`s going on here.
HAYES: Liz, you just mentioned pardons and that is something that actually comes up in the hearing transcripts. Andrew Weissmann essentially who again, is the sort of top prosecutor on Mueller`s team suggesting that their working theory is that the lies were done because if he told the truth it would hurt his chances at a pardon. What do you think of that?
HOLTZMAN: Well, I think to me that`s clearly the obvious conclusion to be drawn from this. I mean, from a speculative point of view, we don`t really know. But Manafort is going to spend a lot of time in jail even if he cooperated, he`d spent some time in jail. A pardon gets him off completely and maybe restores his ability to make money and do all the rest -- go on with the rest of his life. So that`s what he`s trying to get here it seems to me but I don`t know for sure.
The fact of the matter though is what`s involved here is really serious. Did a presidential candidate and now President of the United States through his campaign directly and whether he was directly involved or not, did his campaign conspire with Russia quid pro quo being lifting sanctions in return for Russian aid. Did that happen? Is our president a puppet of the Russian government and did he act hand in hand with the Russian government in a criminal way?
That`s really -- we are coming to the nub of that investigation and we can`t turn our eyes away from it and we can`t run away from it. This is not a witch-hunt anymore. This is not something that`s a scarless investigation. This is going to the heart actually of our democracy.
HAYES: Joyce, a procedural question. What -- now that this has happened, it`s been a strange case in the beginning. I mean, Manafort fights, he fights the charges what he`s indicted in two-term venues. He fights consolidating them. He wants to have two separate trials and two separate venues. That`s strange.
He gets convicted of a bunch of charges in one and then in between while waiting the second he pleas and helps to everything in the first, pleas to stuff in the second as well. Now the agreements been ripped up. What happens next?
VANCE: So now it`s time for Manafort to be sentenced. And as you point out, he can be sentenced in two different federal district courts. Those sentences presumably will run one on top of the -- each other. He won`t serve them consecutively but he`s still looking at a lot of time. And because the judge has now found that he`s violated his cooperation agreement with the government, Manafort is still bound by that agreement. He still has to plead guilty and take the consequences.
Prosecutors don`t have to recommend a lower sentence for him. They can ask the judge to sentence him at the high end of the federal sentencing guidelines and that means essentially that he`ll spend close to the rest of his life in prison if not all of it.
HAYES: Joyce Vance and Elizabeth Holtzman, thank you so much. Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro of Texas, a member of the House Intelligence Committee. And Congressman, as sitting on that committee which has been doing its own investigations both in the minority and now in the majority, your reaction to the judge finding that Manafort did in fact lie particularly about his interactions with Kilimnik.
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D), TEXAS: You know, the fact that he lied is not a surprise. But to me this is much more serious than even the lying to Congress or lying to the FBI. Because remember, this like aim when he had already made struck a plea agreement. So all he had to do was meet certain conditions and they were going to ask that his sentence probably be reduced somehow or his cooperation be taken into consideration.
But there was something that was so important and valuable to Paul Manafort in lying that he went ahead and did it. And so as a member of the Intelligence Committee, I would like for us to find out what that was.
HAYES: Did you -- to speak to the thoroughness of the House Intelligence Committee`s Investigation under the stewardship of the Republican majority, how close did you guys come to uncovering just some of the information that we`re learning here?
CASTRO: Not very close at all. You know, the tragedy of the last two years of this investigation under Devin Nunes is there wasn`t a single subpoena that was issued for phone records or bank records, travel records, anything that would verify or discount what was told us by the witnesses. So we`ve still got a lot of work to do when it comes to putting all these pieces together.
HAYES: As someone who`s on the Intelligence Committee and this all started as essentially a counterintelligence probe, we kind of know that there were red flags going up and people concerned that essentially Russian intelligence was trying to co-opt or compromise members of the Trump campaign.
What do you make of these sort of three -- there`s now three different instances in which Russian associates or people linked to Russian government or intelligence are approaching the Trump campaign with a plan to lift sanctions. The Russian adoption meeting in Trump Tower which is of course about lifting sanctions. Those sanctions would have led to the end of Russian adoptions. This with Konstantin Kilimnik around a peace plan for Ukraine and the peace plan that was floated to Michael Cohen and delivered into the president`s White House we think perhaps to Michael Flynn. What does that say to you?
CASTRO: Well, you`re right and you asked a great question. And I think for most of the American public what we saw was the interference in terms of Facebook ads and so forth with the 2016 election and that`s what we think about as a Russian operation to affect or interfere with our elections and that was a full-court press.
But what we also see was that there was a full-court press of human intelligent agents or people with connections to the Russian intelligence agencies who were obviously targeting the Trump campaign to get something out of them. It looks like one of the things they were trying to get out of them was a relief from sanctions. And you know what we need to figure out is just how successful they`ve been and how much the Trump campaign and Trump associates have cooperated with them.
HAYES: All right, Congressman Joaquin Castro on the House Intelligence Committee, thank you very much. Joining me now Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a member of the Judiciary Committee. Senator, do you have -- do you have a good theory for why so many people around the president have lied in these high-stakes situations under oath to investigators, to Congress, and now to the Special Counsel`s Office after having struck a plea agreement?
SEN. MAZIE HIRONO (D), HAWAII: It`s pretty amazing. So they must have something very major to hide and I think that this really shows that Trump surrounded himself by all these people who lie who are basically grifters and takers.
HAYES: You`re out on the Senate Judiciary Committee and they`re going to be moving forward with a series of votes on the Attorney General Nominee Mr. Barr. He will then -- is it your understanding that should he be confirmed? He will be supervising Robert Mueller, is that correct?
HIRONO: Yes, he will. Although, when he testified, he was in my view speaking to an audience of one that being Donald Trump. And I think that he gave out various assurances that would cause the President Trump to think that that bar would protect his is behind.
HAYES: Are you confident in or concerned about whether he would protect the President`s behind as you say?
HIRONO: I`m very concerned because what we need right now with everything that`s going on and continue to be revealed not that the latest of which is a Manafort, his plea deal being ripped up by the -- by the judge, is that the independence of the Attorney General is really even more critical than ever.
And so we have to make sure that not only does he commit to protecting the Mueller investigation to its end but there are other investigations that arose out of the Mueller investigations including the Southern District of New York, at least three U.S. Attorneys` offices and we don`t know exactly what`s going on with the attorney general`s office in New York. But there`s just so much surrounding Trump and his associates and what they were up to that we have to make sure that our attorney general is very independent.
And he did not show that when totally nobody`s requests -- or requests he sends a 19-page memo to the attorney general outlining why he thinks a sitting president should be basically insulated from any charges of obstruction of justice. And believe me, he made sure that the Trump people knew about that too because he with the president`s people too.
So for many different reasons, I have serious concerns about what he`s going to do with regard to the Mueller investigation. He certainly didn`t commit to disclose the report that will ensue from the Mueller investigation.
And basically if you look at his background he very much is on the same page with the you know, with our former attorney general, with Steve Miller who seems to be calling a lot of the shots on immigration and Trump on a number of other Trump initiatives and priorities including immigration, including challenges to the Affordable Care Act, including by the way focusing on voter fraud which is very rare as opposed to voter suppression that is going on in too many states.
And there are any number of reasons that I have series concerns so -- not to mention he`s not a big fan of the Roe v Wade either. So that`s not the kind of attorney general that has the kind of independence that we need from a president who by the way thinks that he has even more power than he has. Let me just add one more thing, Chris.
HIRONO: Barr also thinks that the president -- his view of the executive is what we call a unitary executive which means that there is a lot of power that resides in the president. And this president always already pushes pretty much I would say to the Constitution on limits of power and maybe beyond that we hardly need an attorney general who thinks that he should have even more power under the theory of a unitary executive.
HAYES: To the question of presidential power, obviously, the power -- the president has the power under the Constitution to pardon and is essentially unlimited power or the boundaries of it are a bit up to their dispute. Given that the theory put forward by the Special Counsel`s Office in that unsealed hearing is that Manafort was acting so as to protect a pardon, from your perspective, what would the consequences be where you wake up tomorrow and find out the president has pardoned Paul Manafort?
HIRONO: Well, unless somehow the pardon itself can be part of some sort of obstruction of justice. But as you say his pardon powers are pretty unfettered and what we`re left with is a president who will do anything to protect himself. As I said many times, there are only two things that Trump cares about, one is protecting himself and money.
So you know what could end up is -- aside from by the way, all these other investigations that are going on, he could be hauled before a jury and a judge for all these other allegations. Who knows? But I think that the bottom line might be that he`s going to have to face the voters and possibly if a Mueller investigation leads to impeachable offenses and the House will have to make a decision.
HAYES: All right, Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, thank you very much.
HAYES: Coming up, the President already trying to spin what is shaping up to be a loss on his border wall fight. What happens next before the shutdown deadline right after this.
HAYES: After years of campaigning, months of negotiating, and a record government shutdown, it looks like the President Trump is going to sign the bipartisan agreement to avoid a second shutdown despite getting just a fraction of the money he wanted and just 55 miles of new fencing along the border.
So, after all that, what was it all for? Well, I`m afraid, the answer is nothing. The president caused all this destruction, all these ridiculous distractions, all this economic and personal financial loss for nothing.
And now Republicans are just going to pretend like the emperor is standing before them fully clothed. Here`s House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy trying out some spin earlier today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY, (D) CALIFORNIA: Just a few weeks ago, Nancy Pelosi said only $1 for the wall. The president is getting 55 new miles of wall and barrier inside this bill. So, I view this as a down payment, but the president still has more tools in his toolbox. He can go and grab more money, finish the wall, but the most important thing here is the wall is being built.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Meanwhile, President Trump was back in his comfort zone bragging about his wall that once again is not really being built.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: To defeat these transnational gangs, we must fully and completely secure the border, that means more law enforcement, closing legal loopholes, ending catch and release, ending sanctuary cities, and finishing the border wall, which we will do, which we will do. We`re very far along, building a lot of it right now as we speak. The wall is very, very on its way. It`s happening as we speak. We`re building as we speak.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: They are actually building some wall. It`s six miles, six.
While the president was trying to convince himself of his success, he hasn`t mentioned any of the hardships felt by the people on the wrong end of his record shutdown. Senator Mark Warner shared these staggering numbers, 62 percent of federal workers depleted all or most of their savings, 42 percent took on debt, 25 percent tapped their retirement accounts, and 25 percent visited a food bank. But most of those people eventually got their paychecks.
Now, the only people left behind in all this mess that was all for naught are federal contractors who might not get their back pay because Donald Trump might block it. Another group isn`t pleased by this compromise, the National Butterfly Center, which is located along the border in Mission, Texas. The Center has filed for a restraining order to keep the Department of Homeland Security off its property. They accuse the DHS of driving truck and heavy machinery across the center as if they own it, replacing the lock on one of the gates and blocking access to more than two-thirds of the property.
That story will be part of our big show here in Texas tomorrow night. Our correspondents have traveled the length, nearly 2,000 mile border with Mexico. We`ll be live in El Paso for a special report on the reality along that vast expanse.
All In America: Live at the Border right here at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night.
Joining me now to talk about the shutdown avoiding deal is Barbara Boxer, former United States Senator from California, host of the Boxer podcast, and Jim Manley, former chief spokesperson for Senator Harry Reid when he served as senate majority leader.
Senator Boxer, let me start with you, what terms does this set, what`s happened with the shutdown and now this deal being struck, if the president signs it, for what the next year and a half of divided governance looks like?
BARBARA BOXER, FORMER SENATOR (D-CA): If this is an example, then Trump is going to lose everything, because here is what he does. He had a better deal. He turned it down. Now he can write a book, how to lose a deal. He now settles for something less, and now he embraced a shutdown because he had a fit about it, cost all kinds of pain, so he has no choice and I hope he does sign this bipartisan deal.
But let`s face it, if you step back, Trump made a promise that Mexico would pay for the wall. He didn`t say it once. He said it 1,000 times. Well I`m exaggerating , 950. But the bottom line, he said it again and again. And now taxpayers are getting a raw deal, it`s not a good deal, because they`re having to pay for the wall even if it`s 5 miles or 55 miles. Broken campaign promise. He`s a loser on that whole thing. And if this is the way he plays, like go take his marbles and go home, it`s going to be a disaster for the country.
And the grown-ups in congress show they can get to together - and Jim knows this very well -- they know how to reach a deal. And thank god they did reach a deal.
HAYES: Jim, I have a theory about how this will affect the McConnell/White House relationship, which is always a very strange one. I mean, McConnell didn`t want the first shutdown. He came out and said it. And then, as is Mitch McConnell`s want, he pretended to not have said that and not have had that opinion, defended the shutdown.
But my sense of this is that McConnell`s people are saying to the White House, listen to us next time. What do you think about that?
JIM MANLEY, FORMER SPOKESMAN FOR SEN. HARRY REID: I think you stole my talking points, Chris, I think you`re dead on. That`s exactly what I`m watching right now. The reality is that this was cooked a couple days ago. The president had zero options, and I`m confident that if he refused to sign on to this deal, McConnell would have taken this bill to the floor and it probably would have gotten 60 votes necessary to break the filibuster, and more importantly, it could have gotten close to the 67 necessary to override a veto.
So, you know, what`s my point? My point is that, you know, we`re going to have to add this list of things where Republicans are slowly but surely beginning to distance themselves from this president. I mean, as you pointed out, as the senator pointed out, I mean, this was all for naught. You know, he played program director from a reality show again and he hurt a lot of people if only to divert attention from the other issue we`re talking about and that`s Paul Manafort and his ties to Russia.
HAYES: Senator Boxer, what do you think about back pay for federal contractors? It seems like such a black and white moral issue to me. I mean, they had nothing to do with this. They are -- the lowest paid folks, they`re some of the people who are the closest on the edge financially of everyone. And they`re going to end up being screwed here. What do you think?
BOXER: Well, it`s a horror show. And he`s going to lose on that, too, if he doesn`t have an ounce of compassion, or make believe he does. Because, again, remember when the media, all of the media put a human face on the shutdown and we saw the suffering of the families? Imagine when you take it to, say, a janitorial service or a cafeteria workers struggling to make ends meet and now they`re in big trouble.
I want to point out that when Kevin McCarthy said, oh, and after this is over, the president is going to grab money, grab money from other places to build the rest of the wall, I`m sure that Jim will agree with me, that is not going to go down well in congress on both sides of the aisle.
He could take money from battling wildfires in states all across the country. I heard one congressman say there`s funding for an academy, a military academy, he`s got his eyes on that, because if it hasn`t been contracted for, he thinks he can grab the money. I think it`s going to be very difficult for him to do that, because the constitution says spending is a priority of the House. It starts in the House.
BOXER: So I think he`s just -- he`s cruising for a bruising in the contractor issue, in trying to , I think, steal money from other important priorities, from congress. I don`t know what Jim think, but I see a lot of trouble ahead for this president.
HAYES: Yeah, there`s no grab money clause in Article II of the constitution, as far as I can tell.
MANLEY: It`s interesting to me the House feels the same way - sorry to interrupt -- I don`t see that happening.
HAYES: Well, final question for you, I guess is, what you said just here is really interesting that you thought McConnell was basically ready to go to war, that they jammed him on this and that McConnell was ready to escalate if Trump tried to screw him again as he did the first time around.
Do you think the lesson stays learned here? I mean, you know, we had -- when I think back to the recent memory, we had that horrible debt ceiling standoff. You got the terrible sequester and the Budget Control Act, which did tremendous amounts of macroeconomic and human damage. But after that, you didn`t see those kinds of standoffs on the sort of normal budgetary process until the shutdown in 2014.
Do you think something like that applies here?
MANLEY: I don`t know about that, but the reason why I think this is because -- or, you know, I thought that is because he wants -- he thinks he`s protecting his members. The last thing he thinks that they want right now is to go through another shutdown, so, yes, he was finally prepared to take on the president.
HAYES: Senator Barbara Boxer and Jim Manley, thank you both, really appreciate it.
Just ahead, how the president`s tax cuts to help the middle class somehow managed to only really help the rich. Ezra Klein on why Americans are being shocked by their tax refunds after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: All of this, everything in here, is really tremendous things for businesses, for people, for the middle class, for workers. And I consider this very much a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was the line that President Trump used to sell his signature legislative achievement, the biggest one, the tax cuts that have helped push the national debt to a record $22 trillion, although we can afford it.
The truth was that Trump`s tax cuts were largely not for the middle class, they overwhelmingly benefited corporations and rich people like him, and over the last few days, many Americans have discovered their tax refund is actually smaller than it was last year.
Now, Republicans have been quick to point out, this does not necessarily mean people are paying more in taxes, and that is true. But as Nancy Pelosi pointed out at the time, that the tax cuts themselves for themselves for working people were relative crumbs. And now many people who did not notice a tax cut in their paycheck all along are discovering they aren`t getting the refund money they were counting on.
Joining me now, Ezra Klein, founder and editor-at large large of Vox.com.
It`s true, Ezra, right, that, you know, a big refund isn`t necessarily good, because it means maybe you`re withholding too much. But what do you think this says about what the actual affects of the tax cuts have been on average workers.
EZRA KLEIN, FOUNDER, VOX.COM: Yeah, so, first I want to give you props for devoting an actually segment on primetime television to tax withholding. I think that is a rare thing in the media.
So, what happened here is they passed these tax cuts, and as you say they overwhelmingly go to the top 1 percent and corporations, something like 80 percent of the tax cuts, 83 percent if I remember correctly, go to the top 1 percent, but there are tax cuts in there for the middle class, although they expire after 10 years while the ones for the corporations and the rich don`t.
And because they wanted these tax cuts to look better quicker, they wanted them to be delivering money before the 2018 election, which is a big deal. What they did is they changed a rule in the IRS about how much with holding happens. And withholding is, you know, if you`re working a job, they keep a bit of your salary back in order to pay it to the IRS.
People argue that we withhold too much, that`s why people get big refunds, so they tried to bring that down. People were getting more of the tax cut immediately in their paycheck. Because the tax cut for them was actually quite small, they didn`t notice it. Now, they`re not getting the tax refund they`ve come to expect, and so it feels like a tax increase, whether or not it is.
HAYES: You know, that -- the second to last thing you said just there, about -- they didn`t notice it to me is the key, and I remember screaming this from the rooftops when the whole thing was going through, I think Republicans, a lot of people convinced themselves, and Paul Ryan had this quote -- he said a secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up 1.50 a week. She that will more than cover her Costco membership for the year. It`s like, that was his talking point. Like, that is not a lot of money. I mean, yes, it`s better than not having that money, but they truly convince themselves this was going to be some big political boom.
KLEIN: No, I don`t think they convinced themselves of that. This is one place I`ll push on you a little bit here, because I think that they did just enough to say that that was true. But I don`t think believe that.
If they wanted to have a middle class tax cut, I think this is an important point, if they wanted a middle class tax cut, they could have written a middle class tax cut. They could have jumped up the EITC. There are a million things they could have done to put every dollar that was in that tax cut overwhelming towards the middle -- to the working class.
And by the way, you can also do it in ways that would help the poor. They could have done it. They didn`t want to do it. And I don`t believe they convinced themselves of it either.
I think what they did believe is that the top 1 percent and corporate America would be such unbelievable job creators with that money, they would use that money so well, they would just boost the economy and it would be great, and in many ways the economy does it good, but what you don`t see is very big increases in wages.
One thing we know right now in America, even though there have been some wage increases recently, is that when you have a lot of growth, when you have a lot of jobs not as much of it as did in the past gets passed onto wages. And I don`t think Republicans account for the failure of that trickle down theory in their own economic thinking, or their political thinking.
HAYES: All right, Ezra Klein, thanks for being with me.
KLEIN: Thank you.
HAYES: Just ahead, why Mitch McConnell wants to force a vote on the Green New Deal, the progressive plan that has already changed the conversation on climate change coming up.
HAYES: House Democrats today made good on a promise to try to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.
Remember, when Republicans controlled the House last year, Paul Ryan went to such extraordinary lengths to even prevent a vote on this issue that he stuck a provision into the farm bill to that end.
The war by a Saudi-led coalition, and supported actively by the United States, has led to tens of thousands of deaths in Yemen with millions more people, including children at risk of starvation, in a horrifying humanitarian crisis.
Today, the House passed a measure to withdraw U.S. military support from the war. A similar bill passed the Senate previously and could pass again in this session. That would be a major rebuke to Donald Trump and it would be the first time such a measure, under the war powers resolution, made it to the president`s desk.
But millions of lives on the line the bill is, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it today, overdue.
HAYES: A few weeks ago, very, very few people even knew what the Green New Deal was. Now it sits at the center of American political conversation, so much so senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is pledging a vote planning a vote on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY: I have note with great interest the Green New Deal. And we`re going to be voting on that in the Senate. We`ll will give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: McConnell isn`t all of a sudden backing a bold climate change proposal. Instead, he`s making a political calculus. Even though all the Democratic senators who are officially running for president signed on as co-sponsors of the Green New Deal, McConnell is hope to split the party by getting enough other Democrats who may be uncertain about the deal on the record.
Joining me now is Vann Newkirk, staff writer at The Atlantic; and Dave Dayen, writer and incoming executive editor of The American Prospect.
Vann, let me start with you. I think there is a sort of interesting thing happening right now, which is that Republicans believe that this idea is so self-evidently politically disastrous that they can just kind of point to it and everyone is going to run away from it. But I`m not quite sure they should be that confident. What do you think?
VANN NEWKIRK, THE ATLANTIC: Yeah, I`m not quite sure either. I think if you look at the polls, Americans like whatever they believe the Green New Deal to be. Lots of people favor bold action on climate change. And I don`t think the vote in the Senate, if it happens, is going to change that one way or the other. People want something done.
I don`t know if anybody knows what, but they do.
HAYES: That`s the key. I think what has been sort of brilliant here in a political sense, Dave, is that in some ways it is more of a political marker than it is a specific policy, right? The idea is to say this is a priority and we need to go big on it. And it can`t just be a price on carbon and establishing that as the center of the debate. What do you think?
DAVID DAYEN, THE AMERICAN PROSPECT: Right. And that`s what activists from the Sunrise Movement, or whoever, have really stressed that this is a catastrophe, this is a crisis, and demands bold action.
As for this gambit, you know, McConnell tried this a couple of years ago with single payer. He put single payer on the Senate floor for a vote, and the Democrats all voted present and nobody cared. So, the idea that this is some huge gotcha just doesn`t make any sense to me.
HAYES: Well -- and here`s what I think is interesting about the Republican attack on this, Vann, one of the problems with selling climate is the Macron Yellow Vest problem, right. They raise the gasoline tax. It was one of the precipitating incidents that sparked those protests in France, saying price on carbon, higher fuel prices, higher energy price, that can be a tough political sell.
The idea here, it seems to me, is to transform the conversation to a much broader vision of what would be good for you about transforming the economy. And Republicans seem they want to get the terrain back on to that old conversation.
NEWKIRK: Right, if you look at the framework of what the Green New Deal resolution is asking for, they actually head off one of the main criticisms of green policy by prescribing a full labor force, by going after increasing health insurance, by basically, offsetting every single major conservative argument against major climate action, and that`s up front.
And so I think it actually changes the nature of the debate to one where I see now people are going against government control or against the amount of money it`s going to cost.
NEWKIRK: And those don`t really resonate, I don`t think, with Americans the same way, oh, we`re going to take away your ability to drive does.
HAYES: Well, and that`s the thing they`ve been banging on. And while all this is happening, you`ve got this example, though, of how much the devil is in the details in California. You`ve written about this, Dave. Gavin Newsom coming up canceling this big high speed rail line that was going to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco, shortening it. What are the lessons for folks to have this happening in a progressive state, Democratic control that has been pretty aggressive on emissions and climate while the Green New Deal is being floated in D.C.?
DAYEN: Well, as you say, I mean, the details really matter. Unfortunately, there is a tremendous amount of sort of NIMBYism, that was, you know, did lawsuit after lawsuit to delay this timeline, drag it out, increase the costs. It was not the best managed program in the world.
There were some political decisions made around the route that was chosen that ended up increasing costs even more. There were sort of gambits on what you would start first, what you would start to build first. They thought if we build in the Central Valley, then no one would be silly enough to cancel the project before it got to the actual population centers. Well, you know, Gavin Newsom, come on down, that`s exactly what happened. And now we have this stub of a high speed rail line that`s going to be built from Bakersfield to Merced that I think the only people that are going to ride it are traveling salesmen and maybe presidential candidates looking for votes in the Central Valley.
And this is going to be the demonstration project for high speed rail. And it`s going to be demonized as this, you know, train to nowhere. And that`s a real problem, especially when you look at the climate benefits of high speed rail, and when you look at what, you know, this will signal for whether right or wrong for what a high speed rail project can do.
So I think that the people thinking about this Green New Deal, which is only really in a resolution stage also need to think about international best practices, how to get agencies to work together, and how to, you know, build these things more cheaply than we normally do in the United States.
HAYES: It is enormously important if we`re going to do this, and we need to build a tremendous amount of infrastructure to figure out how to do it better, more efficiently and cheaper or nothing of this is happening.
Vann Newkirk and David Dayen, thank you for joining us.
We are here in Dallas tonight, because tomorrow we have got a very special show. Our correspondents have been fanning out across the nearly 2,000 mile southern border from the desert, to the mountains, to cities, to tiny little hamlets, from the vast wilderness along the Rio Grande to the border town of Piedres Negras (ph) in Mexico, to the busiest land border crossing in the entire world in California.
And tomorrow night we`ll be live in El Paso, Texas, for a special report on the reality of what is actually happening at this border. All In America live at the border right here at 8:00 p.m. Eastern tomorrow night.
And that does it for us on ALL IN this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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