CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: And that`s HARDBALL for now. Thanks for being with us. "ALL IN" with Chris Hayes starts right now.
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CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We took an oath not to try to protect Donald Trump. We took an oath to protect the -- and serve the Constitution.
HAYES: Mitch McConnell tries to end investigations of the President and Elizabeth Warren persists.
WARREN: The way we do that is we begin impeachment proceedings now against this president.
HAYES: Tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren on her resounding call for impeachment on the Senate floor. Plus, the leader of Democrats in the Senate Chuck Schumer on their strategy for Republican obstruction.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Of course he wants to move on. He wants to cover up.
HAYES: Then, Senator Chris Murphy on the Trump administration`s escalation with Iran. And Senator Jon Tester on the growing fears of a full-blown trade war with China.
SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: These tariffs have put our markets at risk.
HAYES: When "ALL IN" starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York I`m Chris Hayes. It is a big night of breaking news and a big night here on ALL IN. We will be joined tonight by four different U.S. Senators, Elizabeth Warren, Chris Murphy, Jon Tester, and their leader in the Senate Chuck Schumer will all join me tonight.
We also have breaking news just moments ago from the New York Times about President Trump`s massive, and I mean truly staggering financial losses as a businessman. But first, the President and his administration are currently attempting to destroy the capacity of Congress to do what it needs to do to preserve American checks and balances.
Think of it this way. If in the thick of Watergate, Republicans have the majority in the Senate and we`re just like well, whatever we`re just going to power through and they backed the President when he said no, you`re not getting anything, no I`m not turning over those tapes, no, no, no. That`s akin to exactly where we are headed right now.
The Nixon administration fell apart because political support from Republicans evaporated, but if the political support had stayed there, this is what it would have looked like. The Trump administration is testing the fence. They are poking and they are prodding to see what they can get away with, and they`re going to keep pushing on everything until something stops them.
Despite the clear direction of the law, plain as day, black and white in text under a U.S. statute passed after a tremendous presidential scandal, a corruption scandal mind you, the Trump administration is currently refusing to hand over the President`s tax returns. They`re also making this weird too clever by half assertion that Don McGahn can`t comply with a congressional subpoena.
They`re blowing off a formal subpoena to DOJ to turn over the full unredacted Mueller Report and they`re now toying with blocking Mueller from testifying as well. All in all, it amounts to nothing short of a full- scale assault on Congress means to instigate a kind of constitutional crisis whereby Trump can essentially route his competing power.
Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress rather than defending their institutional prerogative are co-conspirators in all of this. They are working to destroy their own branch of government from the inside.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell got up today and declared the Russian investigation case closed. While he was saying that, Facebook was delish more Russian trolls who just coincidentally are pumping up the latest conspiracy theory about Joe Biden that`s being pushed by Rudy Giuliani.
At the same time, FBI Director Chris Wray is telling Congress that the divisiveness spread through social media has been fairly unique to the Russians. This all while the president in front of all of us sends big wet air kisses to Vladimir Putin. They are doing it out in the open again.
The question is are Democrats up to the moment to basically meet constitutional fire with constitutional fire as a fundamental principle question about the nature of the American Republic. One of the few Democrats has been willing to call -- has been calling to meet Trump head- on as Senator Elizabeth Warren who followed Mitch McConnell on the Senate floor this morning, read from the Mueller Report for nearly 40 minutes and basically said this is it guys.
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WARREN: If any other human being in this country had done what`s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail. The majority leader doesn`t want us to consider the mountain of evidence against the president. That is wrong. This is not a fight I wanted to take on but this is the fight in front of us now.
This is not about politics. This is about the Constitution of the United States of America. We took an oath not to try to protect Donald Trump. We took an oath to protect the -- and serve the Constitution of the United States of America. And the way we do that is we begin impeachment proceedings now against this president.
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HAYES: And Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat from Massachusetts and 2020 presidential candidate joins me now. Senator, you spent about 40 minutes today on the floor of the Senate reading portions of the Mueller Report, why`d you do that?
WARREN: Well, I didn`t wake up this morning saying let`s go to the floor and talk about the Mueller report. Let`s keep in mind, Mitch McConnell came in and just kept saying no, no, no, everything is over, case closed, we`re done, and no we`re not.
You know, when the Mueller report came out, I sat down to start to read it. I read all day into the night into the wee hours of the morning and finished out the next day. And after I finished 448 pages, I realized three things, I mean, that we`re just unmistakable in that report.
Part one, a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 elections in order to help Donald Trump get elected. Part two, Donald Trump as a candidate welcome to that help. And part three, when our federal government tried to investigate parts one and two, Donald Trump did everything he could to derail, push aside, and otherwise obstruct that investigation.
And Mueller makes these facts absolutely clear in his report. It is pretty clear when you read it that the only reason is I read it that he did not actually bring an indictment because he clearly has all the facts is he was following the Justice Department of the Trump administration saying a sitting president cannot be criminally indicted.
But he served up on a silver platter all of those facts to the United States Congress. Because in a constitutional system with checks and balances, it`s up to Congress to make sure that the president is not above the law.
So when Mitch McConnell today took to the floor and said case over, case over, we`re done, no we are not. You know, that`s -- no, and it`s time to stand up and say so.
HAYES: Well, here`s my question. I mean, in terms of what next, right, I mean there is this very intense debate happening and you can see it happening publicly in an almost kind of agonizing fashion with your colleagues in the House about what to do about this, right. What`s -- what are the next steps? You have I think if I`m not mistaken said that impeachment proceedings should begin.
HAYES: What do you say to people say that`s politically dangerous, public opinion is running like 56 to 38 opposed to impeachment proceedings and you`re walking into a trap.
WARREN: There is no political convenience exception to the Constitution of the United States of America. You know, there are some things that are bigger than politics, and this one is a point of principle.
If the United States Congress fails to step up when they`ve been handed facts like the facts handed to us in the Mueller report, then that changes the relationship between the president and the Congress not just for now but for the next president, and the next president, and the next president.
HAYES: I`m wondering too -- you`re someone who has studied, written about, looked at the ways in which people and institutions in power can get away with a lot yeah and not be held accountable. We saw this happen with financial institutions, it`s something that you`ve documented has been as brutal on your work. I wonder if you see a connection ultimately between that and what we`re sort of faced with now as a country.
WARREN: Absolutely. You know, because this really is about accountability. The Constitution of the United States provided for separation of powers so that Congress just to use the words could hold the president accountable if he did something like this, obstructed justice.
And the facts in front of us in the Mueller report are clear, more than 600 federal prosecutors Republicans and Democrats people from urban areas and rural areas, people from all across the country looked at this and said, if he were anyone other than President of the United States, what is shown in the Mueller report is enough for a criminal indictment.
That means it comes to Congress. And we can`t play politics here. We have to step up and say the president is accountable. No more, can`t do this.
HAYES: There are some who take the view -- I believe Senator Amy Klobuchar if I`m not mistaken, she was on my program talking about this that because the way impeachment works, right, impeachment is a majority vote in the House. It then goes to the Senate for removal where it`s a 2/3 vote that Senate is the kind of jury essentially, right.
The House is essentially like an indictment in the center of the jury and as such should sort of stay arm`s length from making determinations on the merits about the President`s conduct. What do you think of that idea? Are you out ahead of things if you`re saying right now impeachment proceedings should begin?
WARREN: Look, the impeachment proceedings should begin in the House. Obviously, that`s what`s provided under the Constitution, but we got to stand up. Somebody does and ring the bell and say read the Mueller report. I don`t care if you`re Democrat or Republican, read the Mueller report on obstruction.
As the more than 600 federal prosecutors said, there it is. The criminal indictment is right in front of us. Mueller made clear that all of the elements are there for obstruction, criminal obstruction in multiple incidences. Congress cannot cover its ears and close its eyes and pretend this isn`t happening.
This is not about politics, this is about principle. This is about what kind of a country we are. We swore not just to protect Donald Trump, we swore to protect the Constitution of the United States of America and that`s what`s called for here.
HAYES: Final question about your Senate colleagues you talked about Mitch McConnell on the floor today. I think there`s a widespread view that I think is probably correct that there`s just no way if there`s 66 votes in that body with a majority Republicans to remove the president and as such since we know that, that`s the kind of political given going through the motions is a waste. What do you say to that?
WARREN: I don`t see it that way at all. I think that we should have the impeachment proceeding. and assuming that the House votes for impeachment and sends it over to the Senate, then every single person in Congress House and Senate should be required to look at the evidence in front of us and declare. You think that`s OK for a President of the United States or you don`t. Take a vote and then live with that voter for the rest of your life.
HAYES: All right, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, great thanks for making time tonight.
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: Joining me now is Neal Katyal, former acting Solicitor General under President Obama who helped write the special counsel regulations. I want to get into some of the legal particulars but I want to start broadly which is there are fights between the branches all the time, there are fights over implications of executive privilege, over what can and can`t be requested over scheduling, what is happening right now in a broader sense in the spectrum of normal to extreme showdowns on these matters?
NEAL KATYAL, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: This is extreme. And I think it`s all basically can be lumped together under one thing which is Trump is stonewalling. So he`s not providing his tax returns, he`s not allowing the full Mueller report to be released and his attorney journal may be voted on about contempt tomorrow, and now he`s saying his White House Counsel, he may invoke executive privilege to prevent Don McGahn`s documents from coming out.
So all taken together, this is a guy who is really trying to hide a lot of stuff. And I know it`s popular to blame McGahn or Barr, people like that, but really that -- it all stems from the top.
HAYES: Well, let`s talk about McGahn because it`s a little unclear to me. So if Congress wants to talk to Don McGahn, he is no longer in the White House. He`s a private citizen. Although you know, it`s about things that he had to talk to the President about there might be an executive privilege question, but what are they asserting and what does it mean?
KATYAL: So executive privilege is the idea that there are sensitive communications maybe involving Foreign Affairs or other things like that shouldn`t be divulged to the American public and for all sorts of legitimate reasons. The problem here is really twofold.
Number one, the Supreme Court unanimously in the Nixon tapes case said you can`t invoke executive privilege basically to cover-up wrongdoing, and that sure seems like what`s going on here. And the second thing is his privileges can be waived.
And here McGahn has already spent 30 hours testifying to all of these things before Mueller so you can`t like claim executive privilege on Monday -- or you can`t -- you can`t release documents on Monday and then on Tuesday claim executive privilege. It doesn`t work that way. It`s already weighed.
So that`s why I think most people think that this is a legally dubious strategy. And what`s really going on here is an attempt to try and delay things and delay the truth from coming out. And we saw this I think most powerfully with what Mitch McConnell said today on the Senate floor which you were just talking about, oh this is game over and so on the Mueller Report says there`s nothing there.
I think you know, with all respect to Senator McConnell, I think that he -- you know I read the report and I read the English version, and the English version is very damning to the president. I mean, the Russian translation may not be but this one is.
And it`s a -- you know -- and we know this because it`s now 700 plus former federal prosecutors have come out and said we`ve read the Mueller Report, the actual report and it shows that the president obstructed justice.
HAYES: There`s a question to -- at first they said they would let Robert Mueller testify and now there`s a question about whether he will. Clearly, I think they want him to testify in the House. They have not formally made an invitation yet. But I don`t really even understand his status right now. He`s still the special counsel and DOJ can still block him but how long does that last?
KATYAL: Well, that was up to Mueller. He can resign tomorrow and then DOJ has no authority over him. As a former government employee, he can testify. Again, there may be executive privilege or other things that could be tried to be invoked, but that`s really the design of the special counsel regulations was such so that we wanted someone from outside the Justice Department of sufficient stature so they would feel free if they were being squelched and the truth was not able to be cut -- not able to come out because of White House or attorney general orders.
Those are fail-safe mechanism for them to go to Congress and for them to testify. And Attorney General Barr testified you know, a couple of times now that he wants Mueller to testify and he had no objection. And you know, I credit the man at his word. Mueller should testify.
HAYES: Final question. Jerry Nadler is still -- that they`re scheduled to take a vote tomorrow in the House Judiciary Committee on contempt citation, a contempt to Congress for William Barr after some negotiation today. How big a deal is that? Does that matter?
KATYAL: I think it is. It`s a sad day that the Attorney General of the United States may be being held in contempt and you know, one could blame Barr for that. But I think that again, this goes back to the root fundamental problem which is bars boss Donald Trump is trying to delay the truth from coming out and obstruct it from coming out altogether. And all of these problems can be traced back to that simple thing.
HAYES: All right, Neal Katyal, thank you very much. All right, we got still much more to come tonight including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Chris Murphy, and Senator Jon Tester all here tonight. We have breaking news about exclusively obtained tax figures about the President of the States. What they reveal about Trump the businessman in two minutes.
HAYES: A big breaking news story tonight from New York Times. The paper obtaining ten years of Trump`s tax figures from 1985 to 1994 which show that Trump lost over $1 billion over the decade. Now, The Times did not obtain Trump`s actual returns rather printouts from his official IRS tax transcripts while Trump lawyer Charles Harder dismisses such transcripts as inaccurate though no details about what specifically.
The former director of research analysis and statistics at the IRS itself characterized them as extremely reliable. And taking together they paint it just utterly extremely damning picture of a man who was pretending to be a successful businessman. There`s a lot to get to in the story but start with this.
During that decade, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer. WNYC Reporter Ilya Marritz is a co-host the Trump Inc. podcast and expert on Trump`s finances and he joins me now. Good to have you here.
ILYA MARRITZ, REPORTER, WNYC: Hey, Chris.
HAYES: OK, top line of this story.
MARRITZ: It`s just astonishing. I mean, this report is from the mid-80s to the mid-90s. 1987 is the year that Donald Trump publishes the Art of the Deal and really establishes his myth as a deal maker and a guy with an amazing knows for business, a guy who knows how to succeed in business.
In fact, he was losing on average, we learned from this report, $100 million a year. It`s -- the number is so staggering. I can`t fathom how you could lose that much money in a year.
HAYES: I mean, in 1990-91, he`s losses more than two -- a quarter of a billion dollars each year were more than double those of the nearest taxpayer in the IRS information for those years. Meaning, he lost twice as much money as any other person in the United States those years.
MARRITZ: It`s astonishing. I mean, so you come away from the support with the picture of a guy with a lot of money to burn and a lot of passing interest. So at one point he`s into like stock investing, at one point he`s buying a Plaza Hotel, he`s buying a yacht. He moves from thing to thing to thing. And one thing that --
HAYES: It`s all failing.
MARRITZ: They`re all failing. Well, perhaps because he`s not taking the time to really learn one of these businesses.
HAYES: Right. I mean, what appears here to0 -- and this is I think a key point, right. This is not during -- there`s a period in the mid-90s when it`s like he`s bankrupt and he`s -- this is not during that period.
HAYES: This is like when he`s at the sort of peak Donald Trump is the image of the go, go roaring 80s.
MARRITZ: Toast of the town, viral guy, going out with women, having a great time, making a lot of money. Exactly, the 1980s money man. Buying casinos, losing a ton of money running casinos which is not supposed to be possible.
HAYES: That`s very hard to do.
MARRITZ: It is hard to do. For me what it really underlines is the fact that when you are playing in that tier, when you have that much money to burn, and when you`re so heavily invested in real estate your taxes look really different from the rest of us. You and I couldn`t probably lose that kind of money and still --
HAYES: No, I don`t have it in me.
MARRITZ: -- and still have a roof over our heads. But because of the peculiarities at the tax code, the way that Donald Trump ran his business, he was able to lose money, at times he had to let go of assets. He had to let go of his jet, he had to let go of his yacht, but in the end, he remained a rich man, has been a rich man his entire life.
HAYES: There`s also -- I mean to me, one thing this also builds on is you know, the extent to which he is just a guy spending daddy`s money, and daddy`s inheritance, and leaning on daddy, and getting bailed out by daddy over and over and over again. This compared with the you know, to pair with the last times investigation, that becomes undeniable. Like it`s all -- he`s all just essentially a charity case for his -- for his old man.
MARRITZ: Right. And let us -- let us not forget that he very much downplayed the role of daddy in the Art of the Deal. I`ve read the Art of the Deal. It`s an enjoyable read, actually, but daddy makes only a small appearance there. When we compare daddy`s business, Fred Trump was developing middle income, low-income housing in Brooklyn and Queens -- excuse me -- stayed with that business for decades.
Donald Trump comes in, has a pile of cash, goes from thing to thing to thing to thing.
HAYES: Burning it.
MARRITZ: Burning it, but again staying in business. In fact, he was able to use those losses on his future tax returns, write those down. So again it really -- you know, let`s pause in the fact that Donald Trump`s signature legislative achievement as a tax overhaul, a tax overhauled that favored the real estate industry.
I mean it`s one of those sort of makes you think kind of moments. It was written in Congress but it was signed by this president.
HAYES: All right, Ilya Marritz, thank you so much for your time.
MARRITZ: You`re very welcome.
HAYES: Coming up, Senator Chris Murphy on the Trump administration`s dangerous flirtation with military inventor intervention in two different countries and why it raises the specter of the beginnings of the Iraq war after this.
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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So I came today to be very clear. The United States of America will continue to exert all diplomatic and economic pressure to bring about a peaceful transition of democracy in Venezuela. But to those who continue to oppress the good people of Venezuela, know this, all options are on the table.
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HAYES: Vice President making his best tough-guy face today as the Pentagon reportedly prepares for a possible military intervention in Venezuela following the failed coup attempt last week. At the same time the Trump ministration is ramping up its efforts to out the Maduro regime in Venezuela. It also appears to be doing everything it can to provoke or justify some kind of conflict with Iran.
One year since the President unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, a deal team we`re not violating according to the U.S., the President is threatening some kind of military action sending B-52 bombers and an aircraft carrier to the region.
The reason, opaque intelligence reports about vague threats to U.S. interests selectively leaked to the press. If you like me, live through the Iraq war, that sounds unnervingly familiar especially with John Bolton who was there during the time running the show from the White House and no Senate-confirmed leader at the Pentagon.
As Senator Chris Murphy tweeted today, hey, everybody, we are war in three different countries Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria and inching towards conflict in two more, Venezuela and Iran, and we haven`t had a Secretary of Defense for five months, all caps.
Democratic Senators Chris Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee joins me now. Let`s start with Iran. What is going on and do you understand what they`re doing?
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Well, there`s rumors that Iran is going to restart its nuclear program and while there`s no way to rationalize that violation of international law, it was entirely predictable. We signed an agreement with the Iranians in which they agreed to forsake any nuclear weapons program and we agreed to release sanctions.
We were the party that violated that agreement and so it stands to reason that they would back out as well. We have also upped the ante by naming essentially the most significant units of the Iranian army as a terrorist organization, something that our military leaders have been begging the president not to do because they worry that that will result in attacks on our troops and it really doesn`t get us much, but gives Iran even more reason to back out of the nuclear agreement.
And so we seem to be engaged in a series of escalatory actions with no end game. There is no realistic diplomatic process that is going to spring forth from this and there is no willingness in the United States or the United States Congress to support military action. And so it seems as if it`s an escalation without any plan for how it ends.
HAYES: I mean, you said that there`s no appetite in the congress for -- you know, for authorizing it, but the question always is like will they even come to you? This is Jim Rich, Senate Foreign Relations Chair, said the military intervention is always on the table, but he declined to say whether he would require his committee to approve of any new conflict. What do you think of that?
MURPHY: Well, there`s absolutely no question that the president cannot engage in preemptive military action against Iran or any other country without coming to congress. Our worry, though, is that there is a pretext that is created. Maybe there is a firefight between Iranian-backed militias and U.S. troops inside Iraq that becomes a pretext for a military confrontation that all of a sudden spills into war.
And of course there are plenty of reports suggesting that John Bolton has been itching for this war with Iran for a very, very long time. And so it`s worrying to me that there are high level Republicans that seemed to suggest that you might not have to come to congress to get the authorization to enter into an engagement like that.
Republicans need right now to speak up and tell this administration that if they are contemplating any kind of military action, they cannot do that without a vote of congress.
HAYES: I have you here and I want to ask you a few things -- there is a lot going on right now, as you know, United States Senator Chris Murphy, so just a few quick things. One is that we`ve got this Trump`s taxes for 10 years in the New York Times just showing him losing a massive amount of money, which is sort of neither here nor there for him as the president of the United States, but I think I`m curious what you think about Treasury just saying to a fully lawful request from your colleagues in the House to turn over the tax return go climb a tree?
MURPHY: I mean, they have no legal justification to refuse to present tax returns to the United States Congress. The law is clear on this. And ultimately I think the courts will force those records to be turned over.
And while I`m not sure that the American public, you know, really cares to get deep into the details of the president`s 1980 to 1990 tax returns, it does speak to the fact that he has been a fraud for a very, very long time.
And I frankly think from a political standpoint, Democrats would be well served to talk more about the fact that he is, has been, and he has been and always will be economic fraud. That he cheats people regularly, that he lies about his wealth, and if we want to bring an economic argument to 2020 focusing on the fraudulent nature of his business, and the fact that he has lied about the nature of his business for years, is not a bad way to go.
HAYES: And finally, since I do have you here and this happened today, and I want to ask you about it, there was a school shooting today in Colorado, images that are just unbearable to watch. These are young children I believe it was a middle school. And there were eight students shot. It appears no fatalities as of this moment. We don`t have a lot of details, but what we do have are pictures, once again, of children and students in the United States of America evacuating on the streets because of gun violence. What do you think and feel when you see those images?
MURPHY: Yeah, I`ll send my first grader and fourth grader off to school tomorrow morning. And once again this spring they will go through an active shooter drill and millions of parents all across the country no longer can hide from this epidemic because there is a trauma that exists in every school when kids fear for their safety regardless of whether they are shot or not.
And the reason, Chris, why the politics on this are changing, the reason why we beat 18 NRA A-rated members of congress in 2018 is because there is nowhere to hide from this epidemic. And ultimately, the 90 percent of Americans that want political change to happen on the issue of guns will win out, and regrettably it is in part because these scenes that you are just playing are all too regularized all across the country today.
HAYES: All right, final question for you. Elizabeth Warren was my guest at the top of the program, your colleague in the United State Senate, got up on the floor of the senate today and said impeachment proceedings should begin. Do you agree with her?
MURPHY: I want to see the full Mueller report before I come to that conclusion.
HAYES: Come on, you the most -- the lightly redacted version.
MURPHY: No, listen, I haven`t seen big sections of that report yet, so I have not come out and called on the House to begin impeachment proceedings. And I want to give the legal process and Judiciary Committee in the House a little bit more time to get me the full report. So, I`m not there yet. I admit that I am not. I want a little bit more information.
HAYES: Senator Chris Murphy, always a great person to talk to, even on an extremely crazy news day. Thank you very much, Senator.
MURPHY: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right, next, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, the man running point in the Senate for Democrats on the Democratic response to the impeachment question. His response to the majority leader declaring case closed on the Mueller Report. Senator Schumer joins me next.
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REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D) CALIFORNIA: Trump is goading us to impeach him, that`s what he`s doing. Every single day he`s just like taunting, taunting, taunting, because he knows that it would be very divisive in the country, but he doesn`t really care, just wants to solidify his base.
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HAYES: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shared her theory today about what the president really thinks about the possibility he`ll be impeached, while her counterpart in the senate, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, took Republicans to task for their efforts to defend the president.
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SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, (R) NEW YORK: What we have here is a concerted effort to circle the wagons, to protect the president from accountability, to whitewash his reprehensible conduct by simply declaring it irrelevant. In that effort, the leader and Senate Republicans are falling down drastically on their constitutional duty to provide oversight, and I fear to defend the national interest as well.
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HAYES: And joining me now is Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York. Great, thanks for making time tonight, Senator. We`d love to have you on.
Let me first start you -- and obviously you and Nancy Pelosi are very close. You work together extremely closely in sort of figuring out the strategy of dealing with this president. Do you agree with her? Do you think the president is essentially trying to sort of lure Democrats into an impeachment trap and he wants you to impeach him?
SCHUMER: Well, I think every day he as a different strategy. He`s not always consistent. But we know one thing, both he and Leader McConnell fear the full results of the report being made clear to the public. The fact that he so often obstructed justice, the fact that the Russians did interfere repeatedly and strenuously in our elections, all of which prove Donald Trump being wrong.
And what Leader McConnell did today on the floor was nothing short of despicable, to say that`s it`s over, case closed, when we haven`t even begun to investigate the report, when Mueller hasn`t testified, and it`s Mueller who knows what the report says, not Barr`s spin on that report, to not see the underlying documentation and how deeply Russia affected things and what they might do in 2020. For McConnell to do this, for Trump to do this, is despicable.
And let me say this about leader McConnell, when a foreign country interferes in our elections, it will help President Trump, and Trump probably is pushing him to be quiet, but it`s much deeper than that, with the Russians` ultimate goal is that Americans will no longer have faith in this democracy, that gnaws at the roots of our democracy and could actually topple the mighty oak that`s been the American republic. So for McConnell to run away from this is so -- it`s one of the most -- he has done a lot of very, very bad things, but this is one of the most despicable.
We have an obligation to see what the Russians did and stop it.
And one more point, Chris.
SCHUMER: There is -- we have bipartisan bills ready to go forward by Amy Klobuchar, by Mark Warren (sic), by Kamala Harris that would stop the Russians from interfering in large part in our elections. He won`t even let there be a debate on them. That`s a disgrace.
HAYES: Am I right? I mean, it seems to me that the leader has sort of kind of slowly but surely, but totally kind of transformed the body you work in, senator. I mean, you essentially are a judicial nominating body...
HAYES: And the leader just doesn`t bring anything up. I mean, even stuff that is not hugely controversial. There`s bipartisan -- what has happened to the U.S. Senate?
SCHUMER: Well, he has made it into a legislative graveyard. The House has passed so many good things, and McConnell won`t even bring them up for a debate. Here what is supposed to be the grandest debating institution in the world, we don`t have debates. We rubber stamp appointments, largely right wing, largely unqualified. And for instance, this week we will not debate a single piece of legislation.
And there is so much to do. Look what just happened in Colorado. The House has a bill that has the support of about 90 percent of the American people: universal background checks. Fear of the NRA, he doesn`t bring it up.
We have the Violence Against Women Act to protect women when they are abused. He won`t bring that bill up.
We have proposals passed by the House to protect Americans from being -- when they have preexisting conditions that their insurance companies can`t take advantage of them. He won`t bring that up.
He`s going to pay a political price for this. Americans don`t want a legislative graveyard. But I have never seen a leader do this. Never.
HAYES: The real question, I think there`s broad agreement along different ideological strands of the Democratic coalition broadly that the president is acting in ways that are provocative, that run afoul of the balance of power between Article One and Article Two branches.
There`s a question about what the remedy is. I mean, Elizabeth Warren came out today, your colleague, obviously, who said impeachment proceedings have to begin. We took an oath to defend the constitution. It is not a question of what the polls say or what`s politically expedient. Do you agree with her? And if not, why not?
SCHUMER: OK. I think it`s two steps. First we have to let all the facts come out, that means Mueller testifying. That`s crucial for people to get the whole picture. We have to see the underlying documentation, not just the report that Mueller issued without we want to check, because I don`t believe Barr redacted properly and appropriately. But we need to see the underlying documentation.
And then everyone will look at everything over the next several months and make a decision. And that is the best way to go, because we need to convince the vast majority of the American people that there is impeachment if it`s warranted by the facts.
And I think the path that Leader Pelosi has chosen, going really strongly and getting all the facts out no matter what Trump says, and then making a decision on impeachment is the way to go.
HAYES: You have known Donald Trump a long time. You have probably known him as long as anyone, you and Jerry Nadler, actually, which is sort of this amazing plot twist here at this point in all of your lives. Did you ever think -- do you -- the man is fundamentally I think as The New York Times shows, he`s a fraud and a con man. How do you understand what he understands, brings him to heel? Because it seems to me like he is playing a power game with congress and doesn`t care about niceties and norms and doesn`t care about niceties of the law, frankly, and will not stop until something essentially forces him to stop.
SHCUMER: One word: strength. Donald Trump, in addition to the words you used, and I`d throw in clown, but he`s a bully, and if he senses weakness, he keeps going after you relentlessly. He has no compassion, he has no humanity about these things. But if we show strength...
HAYES: But are you? That`s the question, are Democrats acting sufficiently to send that signal to him so that he understand that?
SCHUMER: Well, if we relentlessly pursue getting all the facts of the Mueller report, of his tax returns, of all the terrible things he has done, yes. It`s a slow process, but it`s an inexorable process. And he will feel more and more and more fenced in. And that`s where you have him.
HAYES: This is not a question about impeachment, it`s a narrower question, but I would love to get your answer. Has the president violated his oath of office?
SCHUMER: I believe that has so undermined the constitution and the rule of law that he has violated what any president should be, absolutely.
HAYES: You -- I think last week you and Nancy Pelosi took a trip over to the White House to talk about infrastructure.
HAYES: And I want to stipulate, first, I understand that politics is about compartmentalization, and through your long political career you have done deals with all kinds of crazy figures that you didn`t like, and that`s part of the territory. I get that.
But do you understand why people look at that image of walking (inaudible), we had a productive meeting on infrastructure and think that you were on Mars?
SCHUMER: Well, here`s the point here. First, anything we do that might end up being constructive, it`s not going to stop us from investigating the president from looking into the president from trying to make him come clean on all the facts.
But second, here is my credo: stick to your values. At the White House I told the president this can`t be a tiny little infrastructure bill, it has to be huge. It has to be clean, clean energy. We are not going to do the typical bills that we have had in the past. It has to deal with wind and solar and power grids and electric vehicles and charging facilities and battery storage.
Third, has to protect labor. We are not doing a bill that undermines labor, because we need middle class wages.
And fourth, we have to protect minorities and women so that -- and veterans -- so they get a fair share of the bill. We said you don`t do those things, you`re not going to do a bill.
And so we`ll see where he comes out. But to just say no, you don`t talk to him I don`t think that`s the right thing to do. But to not be a cheap date, to make sure you stick to your principals and the only bill we support will be a strong, robust bill with the principals I have outlined and some others. Nothing wrong with talking to him.
Will he get to that point? Very unlikely. And then the American people will see on infrastructure, like on so much else, he`s a fraud.
HAYES: Well, but here`s sort of to me the fundamental existential crossroads we are at, which is the president just a bad president in the normal bounds of bad presidents or is he somehow abnormal in a way that is dangerous fundamentally to the basic tenets of the republic? And if it`s the latter, the question is what do actions that take that seriously look like? And are you doing them?
SCHUMER: The best way to do that is make sure we have the report. We helped push to get Mueller appointed and to protect him, now to get all the facts out and see where that leads.
You have -- you know, when you have a president who is the way he is, you have to be strong, you have to be focused, but you have to be -- you just have got to push forward step by step by step and have the walls close around him. And I think that Leader Pelosi, particularly in the House, is doing that. We have limited power in the Senate, hopefully we`ll be in the majority in 2021 and we can do the same thing.
But I think they are handling it well.
HAYES: I`m going to tee up a compliment for the president here for you and see if you agree or disagree. So we had the New York Times has 10 years of the president`s taxes. This is during the period when he`s writing Art of the Deal. He`s the toast of the town. I`m a New Yorker, like yourself, grew up every day going to the bus stop with Donald Trump on the cover of the tabloids.
It was all a fraud. We know that. The man managed to con himself into being the president of the United States. He has got to be the most successful con man in the history of the world, doesn`t he?
SCHUMER: Well, the greatest worry I have is that this man is so despicable in how he governs, so little respect for the rule of law, so little respect for honor and decency and humanity and the norms and values that have made America great, how can so many people follow him? That is the one issue that eats at me.
The others, I think if we did do our job, things will fall into line appropriately. Trump will not win the presidency or he won`t last that long to get there if we do our job right.
HAYES: All right, Senator Chuck Schumer, fellow New Yorker, fellow Brooklynite, lives pretty close to me. You are welcome to come on the program any time for as long as you want. Thank you for making time tonight
SCHUMER: I enjoyed it. Thank you. Thank you very much.
HAYES: Still to come, Montana Senator Jon Tester on all of the breaking news of the night, as well as the president`s -- as well as the growing fears of the president`s trade war with China. That`s just ahead.
HAYES: Chinese trade envoy is heading to Washington in advance of a Friday deadline when the Trump administration warns it will once again hike tariffs on $200 billion of additional Chinese goods, that`s on top of the tariffs they have now.
Now, for their part, the Chinese are reportedly preparing, not surprising, possible retaliatory tariffs. And it`s hard to say that the nascent trade war thus far has been either good or easy to win, though we should also say its effects have been largely manageable.
But among those who have taken it hardest on the chin are American farmers. According to the office of the U.S. trade representative, U.S. total exports of agricultural products to China totaled $9.3 billion in 2018, and that`s less than half of what the U.S. exported just one year prior, according to an archived version of the same data available online.
Democrat Jon Tester of Montana is, himself, a farmer, one of only a handful in the Senate. He joins me now to talk about trade and more. Senator, good to have you.
How -- how tangible have the effects been to farmers in your state, Montana, in this trade war?
SEN. JON TESTER, (D) MONTANA: Well, I think it`s going to become really, really serious over the next few months, Chris. And I`ll tell you why. We`ve been dealing with the impacts of the tariffs for some time. And I think just about everybody in rural America agrees we need to hold China accountable. The problem is is now we`re in planting season, and have planted a good portion of the country, and there`s nothing worth much money at all.
Wheat prices might be a dollar higher than they were 41 years ago when my wife and I took over the farm. That point in time, I can tell you, 1978, you could buy a pickup for less than $10,000. Now you`re looking at five times that much for a pickup.
HAYES: Wait, you`re saying -- wait a second. In actual nominal dollars, it`s only a buck more now?
TESTER: That`s correct. That`s not inflation.
TESTER: No, if I call up my elevator in Big Sandy, Montana, right now, it`s less than $4.50 a bushel. And I can tell you when I moved out the farm in May of 1978, I remember going over and talking to my neighbor about wheat being $3.50 a bushel, and whether I should sell it or not because I wanted get a better price because that was too low.
Look, this is 21st Century. We have got people in production agriculture out there that are hurting. We got -- go talk to the bankers, they will tell you that these guys are living by a thread. The margins aren`t that wide enough in the best of times. And now we`re almost totally dependent on subsidies, because the trade -- trade with other nations, foreign trade especially, has been screwed up by these tariffs.
And I would say one more thing, Chris, and people in agriculture know this, a lot of these trade relationships have not been worked on for decades, they`ve been worked on for generations. And quite frankly, to fritter them away really puts a death knell into rural America. And I am very, very concerned that we may see a repeat of the 1980s in the next few years if something doesn`t change and change pretty darned fast with these tariffs.
HAYES: 1980s when the interest rates for foreclosures and family farms across the country, and destroyed huge swaths of rural America.
TESTER: That`s exactly right. We saw the little town that I was born and raised in go from 1,000 people down to 600 today, and much of that was due to what happened with the mass exodus off the land in the 1980s.
HAYES: Since I have you here, I don`t get a chance to talk to you often, I do want to ask you about sort of broader things happening. This sort of constitutional showdown with the president that`s developing, particularly in the House. You were just re-elected. You represent a state that`s a conservative state, Republican state, at least, in presidential elections, though it has a Democratic governor.
How do you see this standoff? What do you think Democrats should do?
TESTER: Well, I think we got to get to the facts. I mean, we got to get the information and all the information. And the truth will set you free. And I believe in transparency and government. And any time somebody stands up and says, no, we`re not going to give that information, what happens almost all the time, then I think there`s something to be hidden there, whether there is or not, it appears as something is being hidden.
You take a look at the Mueller report. I want the Mueller report. I want the whole thing. I want the underlying documents. And guess what, I want everybody in Montana to have access to that, too. And everybody in the United States to have access. Why? Because it will set forth what really happened, what really transpired. And the American people, who are smart people, can make up the decision under who`s right, who`s wrong, and if anything is screwed up here.
Look, it`s pretty obvious to me, the Russians interfered in our election. I think the report bears that out. I think our national intelligence agencies bear that out. Let`s let the Mueller report speak for itself.
And as far as Attorney General Barr, he is the lawyer for the country, not for the president. He should step up and go to the House meetings and talk about what transpired, answer the questions and put this business to bed.
HAYES: Do you -- is your estimation of him or the president changed over the last several weeks?
TESTER: Well, with Attorney General Barr, it has. I mean, I was inches away for voting for his confirmation, because when I met with him, I thought he was a straight-up guy. But, boy, I`ll tell you what I`m glad it didn`t happen, because he certainly didn`t step up to the plate like I thought he would. And I think it`s put -- you know, he was a very respected person as attorney general before. And I think now his career is really -- it just - - he`s going to be known for this now, not for any good work he did before. And I think that`s pretty unfortunate.
But it`s of his own doing so you live with it.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren was my guest earlier on the show. You saw her, I`m sure, that she was on the floor today. She talked about her desire that impeachment proceedings begin in the House. She says there`s no political expediency exception in the United States Constitution. Do you agree with her?
TESTER: Well, I think we got to get the facts. Truthfully, I think if you don`t have all the facts as you move forward, or as many facts as you possibly can, you`re going to end up in a difficult position. It was interesting today because Senator McConnell got up and said this is over and Elizabeth got up later and said we need to proceed with impeachment.
I personally don`t agree with either one. I think the route is get more information. If that information bears out, we need to impeach, then move forward and do it.
And I think that quite frankly, in the Senate, we have to have some help from the Republicans if impeachment were to go through, anyway. So I think there`s more facts that need to be presented.
And assuming those facts are there, then we might be able to get some Republican support and move forward.
HAYES: So final question for you, Chuck Schumer, it`s not a question about impeachment proceedings, it`s just a straightforward question about the president`s oath of office. He took an oath of office to uphold and defend the constitution, to take care of laws are faithfully executed, do you think he has violated his oath?
TESTER: In my opinion -- I`m not an attorney -- but in my I don`t believe that he has acted presidential since his time in the office. I don`t think he`s represented the best interests of this country. I think he`s more represented the best interests of himself. And I think that`s very unfortunate.
HAYES: All rig ht, Jon Tester, a farmer, as you heard -- farmer first, senator second, I think you would like to say, from the great state of Montana. Pleasure to have you on, senator. You can come back any time, all right?
TESTER: Good to visit with you, Chris Hayes. Thank you.
HAYES: All right, we got a new podcast today. It`s Tuesday. Tuesday is #WITHpod day. This podcast is near and dear to my heart, because it`s about the thing in politics that drives me the most insane, which is deficit talk and the hysterical hyperbole around deficits, and the hypocrisy around deficits.
We talked to Stephanie Kelton who is an economist who has got a brand-new theory that is getting a lot more adherence, which basically says the government can spend whatever it wants. Don`t ask how it`s going to pay for it. It`ll blow your mind. Take a listen wherever you get your podcasts.
That is ALL IN for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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