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The White House vs. Congress. TRANSCRIPT: 5/2/19, All In w/ Chris Hayes.

Guests: Barbara Boxer, Lucy McBath, Richard Blumenthal, Bernie Sanders,Linda Chavez, Sam Seder

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST:  And here he was roaring back for 68 all because the president tacked him and put him back into the spotlight.  Good work President Trump.  Keep it up.

That`s HARDBALL for now.  "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.



REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE:  The Attorney General of the United States of America was not telling the truth to the Congress of the United States.  That`s a crime.

HAYES:  Democrats escalate after the Attorney General`s no-show.

REP. JERRY NADLER (D), NEW YORK:  Mr. Barr`s moment of accountability will come soon enough.

HAYES:  Tonight, as the Trump defiance of Congress grows, is there a movement to impeach Bill Barr.  Then, Senator Richard Blumenthal on the question Bill Barr avoided today.

WILLIAM BARR, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL:  I don`t recall having any discussion -- substantive discussion on the investigation.

HAYES:  Plus, plus 2020 candidate Bernie Sanders on the new White House push to end ObamaCare.  And the rise and fall of a cable news conservative.

STEPHEN MOORE, ECONOMIC COMMENTATOR:  The male needs to be the breadwinner of the family.

HAYES:  Why Steven Moore was just too much for even Republican.

MOORE:  The first thing Donald Trump does is president is kicks -- kick a black family out of public housing.

HAYES:  When ALL IN starts right now.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT:  Stephen Moore I guess is doing great.


HAYES:  Good evening from New York, I`m Chris Hayes.  We have breaking news tonight on the Democrat`s push to get Robert Mueller to testify.  A source familiar with the matter tells NBC News that the House Judiciary Committee has begun discussions directly with special counsel Mueller`s team about him testifying bypassing the Attorney General.

Right now, Donald Trump in the White House is locked in a constitutional death match with Congressional Democrats.  And the President is going to win if the Democrats won`t match his willingness to take every position to its extreme, to be as maximalist as he is.  Because that`s the way he always wins everything.

It`s why he`s the president, it`s why he`s existed for 40 years flouting law nearly every turn with essentially no repercussions.  Donald Trump fundamentally understands the law as simply the nice language that people with fancy degrees put around will to power.

In an interview on Trump T.V. tonight, the President said he won`t let fill my White House Council Don McGahn testify in front of Congress.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  I`ve had him testifying already for 30 hours.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So is the answer no --

TRUMP:  And it`s really -- so I don`t think I can let him and then tell everybody else you can`t because -- especially him because he was a counsel.  So they`ve testified for many hours, all of them, many, many, many people.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So as far as you`re concerned, it`s really -- it`s kind of done?

TRUMP:  I can`t say one can and the others can`t.


TRUMP:  I would say it`s done.


HAYES:  OK.  This comes after Trump`s Attorney General Bill Barr stood up the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee this morning and did not comply with a House subpoena for the unredacted Mueller report.

NBC News has also obtained a letter written by White House lawyer Emmet Flood the day after the Mueller report was released slamming the report and saying the Trump`s decision not to assert privilege in regards to the report does not affect his ability as president to instruct his advisors to decline to appear before congressional committees to answer questions on these same subjects.

The President is determined to protect from congressional scrutiny not only the advice rendered by his own advisers, but also by advisers to future presidents.

As it stands now, the White House is basically saying to the Democrats in Congress you and what army.  They`re brazenly defying Congress and the normal constitutional constraints, and not just -- and this is important in a typical "oh, we`re fighting with Congress" way which happens in every presidency, but a complete you don`t get to talk to anyone, we don`t care about you, we are not giving you a single document, we won`t listen to your subpoenas kind of way.

So now it`s on Democrats.  And the question for them is will you meet maximalism with maximalism or will you meet it with essentially legalistic niceties.  Here`s House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler today furious that Bill Barr had bailed on his committee and ignored a subpoena and announcing the urgent and proportionate response he`s using to counter.


NADLER:  The Attorney General, we got a letter late last night refusing us -- refusing to adhere to the subpoena.  This is indefensible and it is part of the attack on American democracy by this administration.  We will make one more good-faith attempted to negotiate and to get -- to get the access to the report that we need, and then -- and then if we don`t get that, we will proceed to hold the Attorney General in contempt, and we`ll go from there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  How long are you going to give the Attorney General to answer to your questions, and to negotiate in good faith before you hold him in contempt?

NADLER:  A day or two.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE:  So just by the end of the week, you want this resolved?

NADLER:  Maybe by Monday, we`ll see.


HAYES:  Maybe by Monday.  You know, there`s one constitutional remedy to bring the President to heal.  One, it`s impeachment.  Or you could just take the loss and move to the next topic, fight the next fight.  This before us right now we`re watching unfold, and this is important understand, it`s really not a legal question, it is a question of power.

There seems to be a mindset of trying to catch the president in a crime but that doesn`t matter.  The law in some technical black letter sense is not what matters here.  This is an elemental struggle over power, and Democrats are either going to marshal all the power that they have and wield that power or they`re not.

Joining me now for more on this are Barbara Boxer former U.S. Senator from California, now co-host of the Boxer Podcast, and Jill Wine-Banks, former Assistant Watergate Special Counsel, now on MSNBC Legal Analyst.

Jill, let me start with you just on the latest news which is that Nadler`s staff and Mueller staff are discussing -- directly discussing it appears, the logistics of Mueller testifying.  What do you make of that?

JILL WINE-BANKS, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST:  I think it`s a good move.  I think it`s going to take whatever it takes, and that the Democrats need to as you just said, use their power and do what they can to get this done.  It`s very important for the American public to see the witnesses themselves, not to have a summary of it by Barr, not even to have the summary by Mueller.

Mueller is important because of the letter he wrote that contradicts everything that Barr said.  So he`s now a substantive witness, not just a summary witness.  But I still want to see the real witnesses.  I want to see McGahn, I want to see Lewandowski.  I want people to be able to judge their credibility and see what`s going on.

HAYES:  What do you think of that formulation, Senator Boxer, about sort of meeting maximalism of maximalism, that Donald Trump will do whatever he can get away with.  They don`t care about whatever the norms of constraint or precedents, and the Democrats are going to either have to sort of accede to that or they`re going to have to rise to that and escalate along with it.

BARBARA BOXER, FORMER U.S. SENATOR:  The representatives of the people are going to have to go toe to toe with a president who wants to run the country like he`s the head of a crime family.  This is what it`s come to.  It is nothing less than an attack on the separation of powers.  And if Donald Trump doesn`t think you`re on his team, you don`t want to work for a crime boss, he gets rid of you and he brings on partners like Bill Barr who`s just given up his soul.

And I think it has come to the point -- and you know I`ve been very hesitant on the whole impeachment thing.  We have no choice but to go toe to toe because right now it`s beyond Donald Trump.  It`s about the future of this great country.

You know, one of our founders said I`ve given you a republic if you can keep it.  Well, here`s the moment.  Here`s the moment.  Can we keep it?  And that means we have to go down every path we can and we have to take this to the American people.  If I was a member of Congress which I was a representative for 10 years before I got to the Senate, I`d have town halls in every part of my district, and I`d say come on out let`s read the Constitution.  Let`s understand what`s at play here.

So I think it`s great that they`re going for Mueller.  Mueller may be the only one in that whole group right now who will tell the truth.

HAYES:  Let me -- I want to fall just quickly on that Senator, because what I hear from you is that -- what I`m hearing from you is you think the behavior of the White House in the face of congressional oversight is driving you towards thinking that you may have to reach for impeachment just as a constitutional remedy in this standoff.

BOXER:  Well, it`s more than that.  I think if you listen to Nancy -- people like to say either for impeachment or you`re for nothing.  What Nancy Pelosi has said is we have to look at every single thing that`s happening and let the chips fall.

But what I`m saying is this it seems to me when you have a president like this who really has an attorney general who is carrying his water rather than representing the people as he`s supposed to do, this is an attack on the independence of our judiciary.

HAYES:  I want to play something that Nancy Pelosi said which relates back to what happened during Nixon, and Jill, I want to get your response to it.  This is Nancy Pelosi talking about Article Three of Nixon`s impeachment.  Take a listen.


PELOSI:  Probably no on the articles of impeachment for President Nixon.  Article the was that he ignored the subpoenas of Congress, that he did not honor the subpoenas of Congress.  This is very, very serious.  But my judgment will be spring from the judgment of our committee chairs.


HAYES:  You -- did you think that was a significant her referencing as that as I did, Jill?

BANKS:  I do think it`s significant.  And I have joined Senator Boxer in being more cautious in saying that what we need are fact-finding hearings.  And I say that because I believe that the facts will persuade people, and that like in Watergate we will see people start to fall away from supporting what is going on.  They will see what`s happening, and they will turn on the president.

And so it`s important -- I don`t care what you call those hearings, but having the witnesses lie is what makes a difference, and that is what we need to have.  And when they talked about lawyers, for example, doing the questioning, that`s what happened in the Senate hearings in Watergate, not the impeachment inquiry, during the investigation of legislation.

The lawyers were the ones asking the questions of the attorney general, of the White House Counsel John Dean, John Mitchell.  They were all questioned -- Butterfield answered the question about the tapes in response to Fred Thompson who is the minority counsel to the committee.  So there`s precedent for this and we need to get it going, and we need to see these witnesses --

HAYES:  Yes, one suspects that they don`t want the witnesses to appear either which is why -- which is why we`re in the standoff that we are.  We will see how it gets resolved.  Barbara Boxer and Jill Wine-Banks, thank you both.

BOXER:  Thanks.

HAYES:  Joining now one of the members of the House Judiciary Committee who got stood up by Bill Barr today, Congresswoman Lucy McBath.  She`s a Democrat from Georgia, first-term.  Congresswoman, your reaction to Barr blowing off your committee today.

REP. LUCY MCBATH (D-GA):  Well, first, Chris, I have to say that you know, compliance with Congress you know, is it`s just not optional.  It is not optional.  The American people deserve answers, my constituents deserve answers, and most certainly the Judiciary Committee deserves answers.  And the fact that we have you know, Attorney General Barr deciding that he`s not going to show, it`s a great disservice to the American people.  Where is the transparency?  Where is the truth?

And we are tasked in Congress to be you know, fact finders, truth finders.  We are tasked with congressional oversight, making sure that we are bringing truth to the American people.

HAYES:  But here`s -- I mean, I want to present for you how I understand I think the White House and Barr and others are thinking about this and get your reaction as someone on that committee which is, no, you don`t get to talk to anyone, you don`t get any documents, and who`s going to make us.  Like honestly, like in a very real sense, like who is going to make us.

And I guess the question to you as a member that committee, as a member of Congress, the Article One branch is like how do you answer that question.  Like what are you prepared to do to make them comply?

MCBATH:  Under the Constitution, there are checks and balances that we have to follow.  There are procedures that we have to follow.  And we intend to do that.  Now, of course, as we know that you know, Chairman Nadler has given Attorney General Barr a couple of days to come up with unredacted report.  We`re going to wait for that.  And we`re going to give them every chance to do what is constitutionally right for the American people.

But of course, we`re going to continue to make sure that we ask to have Special counsel Mueller come to speak before us as well because there again -- we`re looking for answers.  So we`re going to continue to follow the checks and balances, we`re going to continue to follow the procedures.

And as it has said -- as it has been said earlier today, you know, let the chips fall where they may.  And we`re going to continue to doggedly do what we need to do because Americans deserve answers and transparency.

HAYES:  You reference your constituents in the first answer, and obviously you represent a district that had been in Republican hands.  You flipped that district.  It`s not -- it`s not some sort of deep blue districts.  It`s a very sort of middle-of-the-road district.  You`ve got Republican constituents, and Democratic constituents, and Independents.

MCBATH:  Right.

HAYES:  What do you -- can you go to them and explain to them why it`s important for Congress to take this wherever it goes, to let the chips fall where they may, to make Barr comply with these things, or do you feel like that`s a distraction that people won`t get.

MCBATH:  Well, you know, definitely -- we want to make sure that we`re following -- that no one is above the rule of law.  But I will tell you that the American people most specifically people, constituents within my district, they`re really concerned about affordable health care.

HAYES:  Right.

MCBATH:  They`re concerned about you know Barr`s decision to strike down you know, his Justice Department to strike down the Affordable Care Act.  That`s what they`re concerned about.  I know that I have 300,000 people in my district alone that have pre-existing conditions.  I have 45,000 students under the age of 17 that have pre-existing condition -- pre- existing conditions.

I too, I`m a two-time breast cancer survivor, having a pre-existing condition.  So those are the questions that I wanted to ask.  Those are the answers that I needed to make sure that we were not --

HAYES:  Oh, I see.  Of Barr, you wanted to ask him today about that.

MCBATH:  Absolutely.  That`s what I wanted to ask him about because I know that those are the things that people in my district are very concerned about, and no one seems to really want to talk about that.  So let`s talk about you know, the integrity of our elections.  Let`s talk about the integrity of making sure that justice work -- is working the way it`s supposed to.

There are a whole range of implications of you know, when Attorney General Barr is not coming before us to answer these questions.  There are far more things other than just this obstruction that people are concerned about day to day.

HAYES:  All right, Congresswoman Lucy McBath of Georgia, thank you very much.

MCBATH:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Next, has the Attorney General talked about any of the Mueller- related investigations with anyone in the White House?  Senator Richard Blumenthal wanted to know and the Attorney General could not answer, and the senator joins me in two minutes.


HAYES:  To my mind, the most pressing concern about Attorney General William Barr zeal for protecting the President is that he`s still Attorney General.  Right now as I`m speaking to you, he oversees the entire Justice Department including just among many other things a dozen ongoing cases that spawn off from the Mueller investigation. 

And in the Senate testimony yesterday under questioning from Democrat Richard Blumenthal.  Barr gave every indication that he will keep running interference from the White House.


SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT):  Have you had any conversations with anyone in the White House about those ongoing investigations that were spawned or spun off by --

BARR:  I don`t recall having any discussion -- substantive discussion on the investigate.

BLUMENTHAL:  Have you had any non-substantive discussion?

BARR:  It`s possible that a name of a case was mentioned.

BLUMENTHAL:  And have you provided information about any of those ongoing investigating -- any information whatsoever.

BARR:  I don`t recall, no.

BLUMENTHAL:  Let me ask you one last time.  You can`t recall whether you have discussed those cases with anyone in the White House including the President of the United States?

BARR:  My recollection is I have not discussed those --

BLUMENTHAL:  But you don`t recall for sure?  Let me move on.

BARR:  I can say very surely, I did not discuss the substance of anything.

BLUMENTHAL:  Will you recuse yourself from those investigations.

BARR:  No.


HAYES:  Senator Richard Blumenthal who you saw their questioning joins me now.  What was your takeaway from that exchange with the Attorney General?

BLUMENTHAL:  My takeaway was number one, the Attorney General is indeed continuing to block and tackle for the White House.  Number two, he was completely disingenuous in saying he couldn`t recall conversations with the White House.  That`s exactly the kind of conversation an attorney general recalls and in fact, memorializes.  I want to see the records.

And number three, I think Attorney General Barr`s credibility was shattered yesterday and he needs to resign.

HAYES:  What do you -- I want to ask you this maximalism question.  You`ve called for him to resign as many of your colleagues have, which I should note is the thing that you don`t do about everyone.  It`s not like everyone is running around saying that you know, Alex Azar needs to resign.  Do you understand yourself as locked into a constitutional death match with the president at this point?

BLUMENTHAL:  There certainly right now is a constitutional confrontation.  It`s a slow-moving conflagration that has to be taken to the courts.  We need to present this case to the court through a contempt citation.  That`s the right way to do it.  We also need to present this case to the American people as Lucy McBath said. 

She needs to go to the people of Georgia in her district, I need to go to the people of Connecticut, all of us across the country need to present this case the American people because ultimately they`re the ones who decide.

HAYES:  But here`s -- the deeper question is are you and Democrats in both Houses, in the Senate and particularly in the House, but I don`t know how much you guys are talking to each other.  Are you prepared to take this where it goes?  I mean, it is very clear to me that the modus operandi of Donald Trump, the Roy Cohn modus operandi is he will sue you and he will ignore you, and he has no shame, and he`ll just do whatever he can get away with.  That`s clear.  We know that about him.

The question of what can he get away with ultimately is going to rest with Democrats in Congress.  And are you prepared to go as far as you need to go?

BLUMENTHAL:  I am prepared and I believe my Democratic colleagues are prepared.  The question is --

HAYES:  You guys seem scared to me.  Every time -- I`m just being honest with you.  And I don`t mean this is in a judgmental fashion.  I`m saying just descriptively.  There`s a sense of like, I don`t want to weave around the gun.  I don`t want to fire -- like, we want to just reference it.  We want to try to get them to comply.  We want to get back to normal.  This is all abnormal.  But I don`t really want to go there.  There`s a reluctance I feel.

BLUMENTHAL:  Well, two points.  Number one, we should be respectful, and deliberate, and determined.  And that means thinking through all of this strategy before we simply take the action or fire the --

HAYES:  Right.

BLUMENTHAL:  Number two, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.  My colleagues would say, we care about health care, we care about taxes, veterans, jobs, economic progress, absolutely right and we need to work on those issues and legislate on them including infrastructure where they`re seeing the glimmers of hope of bipartisan cooperation, but at the same time we have to hold Donald Trump accountable.

And that means getting the full Mueller report, getting the notes of his conversation with William Barr on the rebuke that Mueller issued, a stunning memorialized rebuke, unprecedented in our history, and it means getting all of the findings and evidence that underlie.

HAYES:  I want to ask you about some adjacent issue which is a lawsuit that bears your name.  It`s a lawsuit -- I believe it`s Richard Blumenthal v Donald Trump.  Is that how its titled?


HAYES:  It`s a lawsuit under the Emoluments Clause of the United States Constitution which says that basically, the President can be getting foreign paint payments from foreign actors and foreign States.  That yesterday just crossed its second hurdle, the second time they tried to knock it out of court.  It was allowed to go forward.  And here`s the judge affirming the premise of the plaintiff`s complaint.

Here accepting allegations the amended complaint is true which the court must at this juncture -- right because it`s preliminary injunction, I think.  The president is accepting prohibited foreign emoluments without seeking congressional consent thereby defeating the purpose of the Clause to guard against even the possibility of corruption and foreign influence.  How important was this ruling yesterday?

BLUMENTHAL:  A tremendous victory and it`s a stunning vindication for common sense reading of the United States Constitution.  The Emoluments Clause is the premier anti-corruption provision of our United States Constitution.  It was put there by the Founders to guard against exactly what Donald Trump is doing, namely taking payments and benefits from a foreign government which he is doing through licensing fees and --

HAYES:  Hotel bills.

BLUMENTHAL:  Hotel payments by Saudi Arabia and other foreign powers to his hotels, condo rentals, and purchases, the list goes on.  And I want to make this point which is very serious.  We know about them because of the Free Press and because of the reporting that`s been done.

HAYES:  Well, speaking of that, did you -- Reuters broke this story.  The State Department allowed foreign governments to rent Trump condos.  The U.S. State Departmental allowed at least seven foreign governments -- they`re just paying -- they`re paying Donald Trump with the Trump Org, but -- to rent luxury condominiums in New York Trump Tower in 2017 without approval in Congress.  Did you know they were doing it?


HAYES:  So you learned about it from that?

BLUMENTHAL:  I learned about it from the reporting that was done because --

HAYES:  Isn`t that a facial violation of --

BLUMENTHAL:  It is a facial violation of the Emoluments Clause.  We have passed the first obstacle which is they try to knock us out of court on the basis of standing.  Blumenthal versus Trump survived that effort.  By the way, Jerry Nadler is my co-plaintiff in that effort.  And we just survived a second attempt to knock us out of court.

And now we go to discovery, to documents and information, and we have the right I hope, if the court allows us, to seek all of those documents and all of the information about foreign payments and benefits.

HAYES:  There`s a lot to learn there.  Senator Richard Blumenthal, good to have you here in the studio.  Thank you.

BLUMENTHAL:  Thank you.

HAYES:  Next, Bernie Sanders on the move by Trump`s Justice Department to destroy American health care as we know it.


HAYES:  While the whole world was watching William Barr face question over there Mueller report yesterday, the Trump administration`s Department of Justice under William Barr`s supervision was busy filing a formal appeal to kill the Affordable Care Act entirely, to wink it out of existence and completely destroy the American health care system as we know it.

Justice Department joined 21 Republican-led states asking the fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold a lower court`s decision to throw the entirety of ObamaCare out on a legal theory that has experts from across the ideological spectrum shaking their head at the utter craven absurdity.

But if that decision is upheld, it would just leave up to 20 million Americans uninsured, it would end Medicaid expansion, it would end all of the protections for everyone, for people pre-existing conditions, just all of it just gone.  That is the official position of the Trump administration which is offering no replacement plan.

Joining me now to talk about this and a whole host of other matters is Senator Bernie Sanders who is a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.  Senator, we have talked about this before but they have doubled down now under William Barr, and they seem intent to go as far as they can with this lawsuit.

SANDERS:  You know, it is really hard to understand Trump`s logic or the way he works.  Why he thinks that throwing 32 million people off the health care they have, ending the protections of preexisting conditions, doing away with the ability of young people to get health care on their parents` insurance policy, why he thinks, a, that makes sense at all, or, b, why he thinks that is good politics is beyond my comprehension.

But I will tell you what we are going do, and I think we are moving aggressively and effectively, our antidote to what he is talking about is to have the United States join every other major country on earth through a Medicare for all single payer program guaranteeing health care to every man, woman, and child in the country.

If there aren`t two different approaches then what Trump is proposing and what I am proposing, that I have not seen differences of opinion.

HAYES:  Well, let me -- I want to -- let me follow up on that, you know, one of the things -- one of the reasons that I`ve watched a bunch of health care fights.  I watched the ACA fight, I`ve watched the repeal of the ACA fight.  And if there is a common through line in them, it is status quo bias, it is people are scared of change, and with good reason, because change in health care is terrifying, because it has to do with your life.

So, I guess I`m just not quite convinced the idea that you need to meet him with some alternative when people are so in a defensive crouch about this incredibly frontal assault on what they have. 

SANDERS:  Well, I don`t quite agree with you, Chris.  I mean, I think there is profound disgust at a health care system, which is by far the most expensive in the world, double what other countries are paying, where we have 34 million people without any health insurance, even more who are under-insured where the pharmaceutical industry is ripping us off every day, charging us by far the highest prices in the world, where you have insurance companies and drug companies making billions and billions of dollars in profit, paying their CEOs outrageous compensation packages.  I think the American people want something that`s stable.

Medicare for all is the most popular health care health insurance program in the country.  It is not a radical idea over a four-year period to expand it to the rest of the population.

HAYES:  Something else happened they wanted to get your reaction to, which is a vote, the first ever war powers resolution rebuke of a president passed out of both houses, in the Senate and in the House, bipartisan basis, to withdraw U.S. involvement in Saudi-led the war in Yemen that`s costing tens of thousands of lives and threatening starvation of hundreds of thousands.

You failed the veto override today in the United States Senate.  What happens now?

SANDERS:  Well, I just want to say, Chris, so all your viewers understand it, what`s going on in Yemen now is the worst humanitarian disaster on the face of the planet.  The UN estimates that if this war continues, by the end of this year, 200,000 people, mostly children, will be dead.  And if it continues beyond that, there will be massive famine and millions of people will die.  So, this war has got to end.  The United States cannot continue to support the Saudi-led intervention, which is causing so much horror in that impoverished country.

Now, here is the good news.  We lost the vote today to override Trump`s veto, but what we have done is for the first time, as you indicated, actually had resolutions pass the House and the Senate through the War Powers Act, which is 45 years old.  The first time we have been successful in doing that.

And let me be very clear, this is the beginning of the process, not the end.  And what you are going to see is kind of conservative members of the senate, people like Mike Lee, who actually understand that it is the constitution that tells us that it is congress that declares war, not the president, work with progressives, bring more people on board.  You are going to see us expand this effort to take a look at more wars, and make sure the congress reestablishes its constitutional authority.

HAYES:  I want to ask you about something you tweeted the other day about China.  You said since the China trade deal I voted against, America has lost over 3 million manufacturing jobs.  It`s wrong to pretend that China isn`t one of our major economic competitors.  When we are in the White House, we will win that competition by fixing our trade policies.

That appeared to be a response to something Joe Biden said, and I want to play what he said, and then ask you squarely if, in fact, you are responding.  Here`s what Joe Biden said.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES:  China is going to eat our lunch.  Come on, man.  They can`t even figure out how to deal with the fact that they have this great division between the China Sea and the mountains in the west.  They can`t figure out how to deal with the corruption in the system.  I mean, they are not bad folks, folks.  But guess what, they`re not competition for us. 


HAYES:  So, were you responding to the former vice president with that tweet?

SANDERS:  If you don`t tell anybody else, Chris.

HAYES:  I mean, clearly you were, but here`s...

SANDERS:  But here`s the point, here`s the point. 

HAYES:  OK, go ahead, and then I`ll respond...

SANDERS:  You know, the point that we wanted to make is I happen to believe that our trade policies over the years have been a disaster for workers in this country.  If you have the job loss as a result of NAFTA, which Joe voted for.  Joe is a friend of mine, and we are going to have this policy discussion in a very civil way.  But Joe voted for NAFTA, he voted for PNTR with China.  And those two trade policies together, you`re probably talking about the loss of more than 4 million jobs.  And by the way, a race to the bottom in this country where many employers lowered wages and threatened their workers if they didn`t like that they would move to China or to Mexico.

So, I happen to think that China is obviously -- I mean, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the last 20 years.  And I think that we need a trade policy with China that is based on principles of fairness, not unfettered free trade.

HAYES:  So, let me just -- just to give a sort of version of what the vice president seemed to be saying, it seemed to me that part of what he is saying is that this is not a zero sum proposition in the way that Donald Trump thinks about it.

I mean, part of the thing right now is that Donald Trump says any gain by anyone else is a loss for us.  A gain for China is a loss for us, a gain for Mexico.  And that seems like a bad way of thinking about the way that the global economy works.

SANDERS:  I agree.  Absolutely.

HAYES:  China and the U.S. can grow together.

SANDERS:  Absolutely.  And, look,e China deserves credit.  If I`m not mistaken, China has done a better job in wiping out desperate levels of poverty over a 30, 40- year period than any country in history.  And they deserve credit for that.  So, I am not anti-China.

But we have got to establish trade policies, which do not allow corporate America to simply shut down in this country and refuse to pay workers here a decent wage and move to countries around the world where they are paying people pennies an hour.

And one of the things that I would do is use the leverage of the federal government to say to those profitable companies that if you want to shut down here and move abroad and then you think you are going to come in and get federal contracts, you know, you might want to think again.

You want you to be a good corporate citizen and not just treat your workers in a disparaging and disdainful way.

HAYES:  All right, Senator Bernie Sanders from Vermont, 2020 presidential candidate, thank you for making time tonight.

SANDERS:  Still ahead, a rare glimpse of what it looks like when Republicans stand up to the president, rejecting his pick for fed chair.  What it says about just how bad his pick was.

Plus, Tonight`s Thing One, Thing Two starts next.


HAYES:  Thing One tonight, it was the national day of prayer today, and so the president held an event in the Rose Garden with religious leaders, members of the administration, family, close friends and some singer whose name Trump could not remember.


TRUMP:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  I`m looking at that beautiful red hair.  Would you please stand up.  What a voice.  What a voice.  Huh?  So great.  You better come up here.  Great to have you.


HAYES:  Oh, that was legendary country singer Wynona Judd, by the way.  She did not seem bothered at all that the man she says she has known for 35 years couldn`t remember her name.


WYNONA JUDD, SINGER:  When he speaks, it`s something vibrates when you`re tuning for, basically when you hit it, everything is in that -- you know, vibrates.


HAYES:  Donald Trump spiritual tuning fork is Thing Two in 60 seconds.


HAYES:  Now, everybody knows Donald Trump`s favorite book is its the bible, though it seems pretty clear he has never actually read it.  Remember that time when he was asked to quote his favorite verse?


TRUMP:  I wouldn`t want to get into it, because to me that`s very personal.  You know, when I talk about the bible, it`s very personal, so I don`t want to get into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  There`s no verse that means a lot to you that you think about or cite?

TRUMP:  The bible means a lot to me, but I don`t want to get into specifics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Even to cite a verse that you like?

TRUMP:  No, I don`t want to get into it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Are you an Old Testament guy or a New Testament guy?

TRUMP:  Probably equal.  I think it`s just an incredible, the whole bible is an incredible...


HAYES:  Have you not done the class reading and then gone to class the next day?  All right, it`s very personal.  And at the National Day of Prayer service today, Trump talked about how god has helped him through some tough times.


TRUMP:  People say how do you get through that whole stuff?  How do you go through those witch hunts and everything else?  And you know what we do, Mike, we just do it, right?  And we think about god.  That`s true.


HAYES:  That is totally so true.

Trump thinking about god.  If you are trying to imagine what that looks like, well, please watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  Tell me about god.  When I say god, tell me about god.  What do you -- who is god to you?  What are some of your thoughts on this?  Clearly you are a smart man, you`re a smart business man.  You have contemplated this before, or have you contemplated it?

TRUMP:  Well, I say god is the ultimate.  You know, you look at this and here we are on the Pacific Ocean.  How did I ever own this?  I bought it 15 years ago.  I made one of the greatest deals, they say, ever with this piece of land.  I have no mortgage on it, as you -- I will certify and represent to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:  We`ll see that.

TRUMP:  And I was able to, you know, buy this and make a great deal.  That`s what I want to do for the country, make great deals.  We have to.  We have to bring it back.

But, god is the ultimate.  I mean, god created this.


HAYES:  A rare bit of good news today, a manifestly unqualified hack will not be working for the federal government.  The hack in question in Stephen Moore who Trump had tapped for a seat on the very important and powerful Federal Reserve Board, even though he`s not an economist.

What Moore is, is a TV talking head and slavishly devoted Trump super fan with a history of articulating views on monetary policy that are driven almost entirely by partisan politics.

And Moore made a career of being wrong over and over again, and at least on that front he was consistent.  Just this morning, Moore was promising the White House was all in on the nomination.  Les than an hour later, Trump announced that Moore had, quote, decided to withdraw from the fed process.

The reason Moore got nominated is the same reason he went down, which is that he talks a lot on TV and says a lot of terrible things.  Journalists uncovered Moore`s long history of cartoonishly sexist and demeaning comments about women, which he now maintains were all jokes.

He once insisted that the male needs to be the breadwinner of the family, which is pretty rich from a guy who, as The Guardian noted, was found in contempt of course after failing to pay his ex-wife hundreds of thousands of dollars in alimony and child support.

Indeed, there was so much awful stuff that Moore had to try to defend.


STEPHEN MOORE, FORMER FED RESERVE BOARD NOMINEE:  By the way, did you see there`s that great cartoon going along that The New York Times headline, first thing Donald Trump does as president is kick a black family out of public housing?  And it has Obama leaving the White House?  I mean, I just love that one.

But it`s just a great one. 

So, you know, that is a joke I always made about, you know, Obama lives -- the president lives in public housing, but I didn`t mean it like a black person did.


HAYES:  Yeah.

There were enough Republican Senators who signaled their opposition to Moore to sink his  nomination, which is an important reminder that Republicans will stand up to Trump when it matters to them.  When they don`t stand up to him on issues like child separation or defending the rule of law, it`s not because they`re scared, it`s because they either don`t care or they agree with him. 

And we`re going to talk about that next.


HAYES:  It is notable that in the past week-and-a-half, two prominent conservatives floated for the Federal Reserve Board were shot down by Republicans themselves, putting the lie to the myth that the Republicans somehow can`t or won`t stand up to Trump because of his base.  Republicans stand up to him when it`s something that matters to them, like the Fed.  And when they don`t, it`s because they either don`t care or because they agree with them.

Here with me now, former Reagan administration official Linda Chavez, and Sam Seder, host of the Majority Report podcast and an MSNBC contributor.

Linda, first on Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, what is your read of why they were willing to stand up to Donald Trump?

LINDA CHAVEZ, FORMER REAGAN ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL:  Well, I think they didn`t want manifestly unqualified people to go on to the Fed, and that`s because the economy is doing rather well now, and they don`t want somebody in there who`s going to end up putting it off track.  And I think they`re concerned that without a strong economy, Republicans will really be in trouble in the next election.

HAYES:  Well, doesn`t -- here`s my question to you, though, does that endorse my thesis?  Because, like Ben Carson, who is obviously a celebrated surgeon has no business running HUD, and no one objected to that because they just don`t care.

CHAVEZ:  Well, I think there`s a little bit of something to that.  I mean, when you talk about the things that matter to them, what matters to most elected officials is getting reelected.  And so I think most of their decisions are based on whether or not they think their position is going to help them get  reelected, or is going to harm them.

SAM SEDER, HOST, MAJORITY REPORT:  Well, I think there`s a whole lot to what your thesis is.

HAYES:  Thank you.

SEDER:  I don`t think they care about the other things.  And what`s also interesting about this -- I mean, I think embedded in this is also a failure of broadly the left and the Democrats on some level, because Moore can only be taken out because of the unbelievably crazy things that he has been saying.

HAYES:  Egregiously offensive things.

SEDER:  Yes.  I mean, when you`re called out on Firing Line for things that you`ve said that have been inappropriate, you know you`ve got a problem if you`re on the right.

But there has not been enough work done by the Democrats and by the left to say that everything that Stephen Moore has been espousing, despite the fact that is also is grounded in completely no scholarship or nothing that is cohesive in any way, but it has been the right wing and the conservative and the Republican economics that he`s been espousing for decades.

And the fact that the Democrats have not jumped on this, weather it was Arthur Laffer going into Kansas and destroying that state based upon what was pure Republican economics, and so much what we saw with Donald Trump and his tax cut.

I mean, this needs to be part of a whole here - - go ahead.

HAYES:  Well, I`m just saying that like he would have been fine if he didn`t say those dumb things, even though like obviously he should not be on the Federal Reserve Board.

SEDER:  Absolutely, I think that`s the case.  Because I think there is a tremendous amount of fear of bucking Donald Trump in this party.  And I think the fed was the one place where I think there was not enough knowledge about economics and about his profound unqualifiedness to actually sink him.

HAYES:  Yes, ignorance, yes.  But there`s also -- like I always say this about Supreme Court nominees, Linda.  They would -- there would be full revolt if the president tried to pick like Janine Pirro to be a Supreme Court justice -- no, there would, like that would be.

CHAVEZ:  I hope so.  I hope so.

HAYES:  No, there would be.  And the reason is the same thing, like, they wouldn`t worry about all the stuff people that people say about why Lindsey Graham acts the way he does or other people is that they`re worried about a primary challenge, but what I`m trying to say is give them more credit, in some ways, for their actions, which is that they`re doing what they actually believe in.

Like, Republican Senators like Donald Trump and agree with his governing agenda.

CHAVEZ:  Well, I think that`s absolutely true.  I mean, even I, who am a never Trumper actually agree with him on some things like his judicial nominees.  So, yeah, if Janine Pirro or even Andrew Napolitano, whom I like a lot better than Janine -- you know, if either of them were nominated, I think you would see a revolt.

HAYES:  There are all kinds of places where Stephen Moore level people are in the federal government, which is the other problem, right.  Like Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, the reason this was big news is, they got too close to the crown, which is the Federal Reserve.  But there are people throughout.  I mean, if you read Michael Lewis`s book, if you`ve -- things that we`ve covered, I mean, there are people this government that are Stephen Moore level who are running the federal government.

SEDER:  If Stephen Moore was going for something that was a little bit less high profile and sensitive, he would be there.  And he may end up being at that other place soon, right.  I mean, Larry Kudlow is there.  And he really has no more soundness in anything he says than -- a very nice guy, as I`m sure maybe Stephen Moore is, but I mean, there`s no soundness to anything that Larry Kudlow has been saying decades.  It has been exactly the same thing regardless of what the context for it.

HAYES:  Would Kudlow get on the Federal Reserve Board, Linda?  Is he a made man enough in conservative circles that he can get on the Federal Reserve Board?

CHAVEZ:  I`m not sure.  And I want to push back a little bit against both of you on the question of, you know, how these are political decision.  It was when Joni Ernst spoke out, Republicans have problems with women voters, and Donald Trump has real problems with women.  And so I think the sexism was much more of an issue with Stephen Moore than his sometimes crazy ideas, like the gold stamp.

HAYES:  Yeah, it`s a good point.  And it`s also I think a point about representation mattering.

We saw Tim Scott basically take down a district court nominee over his views on race.  We saw Joni Ernst and Shelley Moore Capito.  It does matter to have people that are not white men representing your party, because they do see the world differently, and these are examples of the way that representation matters.

Linda Chavez and Sam Seder, thank you both for joining me.

As it so happens the most recent episode of our podcast Why is This Happening talks about the government agencies under the Trump administration that are being dismantled by its leaders either through malign or benign neglect.

Michael Lewis is one of the greatest nonfiction writers of our time.  You might know him for some real underground works like Moneyball or The Big Short or The Blind Side.  For his latest book, he turned his sights on what happened when Trump took office.  And you can hear him talk all about it when you listen to #WITHpod this week.

That is ALL IN for this evening.  "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.  Good evening, Rachel.