CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: They don`t know who they`re running for president. They do know who they`re running against, not just Donald Trump, but this Donald Trump. 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.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): No matter what he says or whatever headlines he wants to carry around, you`re impeached forever.
HAYES: One day after the trial of Donald Trump --
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We went through hell.
HAYES: -- the President returns to form.
TRUMP: I did nothing wrong.
HAYES: Tonight, how Donald Trump`s post impeachment performance brings the stakes of 2020 into stark relief, how the White House is now mobilizing the executive branch for retribution, and now Democrats are responding.
PELOSI: Next year, we will have a new president of the United States.
HAYES: Then, the DNC asked for a recount in Iowa, as a second candidate declares victory there. And Senator Elizabeth Warren joins me live in New Hampshire. When ALL IN starts right now.
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HAYES: Good evening from Manchester, New Hampshire, I`m Chris Hayes. It is one day after the conclusion of the third presidential impeachment trial in American history, and the first-ever, ever bipartisan vote to remove a sitting president. We are five days away from the beginning of actual primary votes not (AUDIO GAP) being cast right here in New Hampshire.
But today, as we sit here, the stakes of who will be the leader of this country were very clearly outlined by the President himself. A day after he was acquitted of abuse of power, President Trump started the day by attacking Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senator Mitt Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast, and then convened what he called "not a news conference, not a speech" but rather a "celebration."
In reality, it was more akin to what President Donald Trump sees as well, the real state of the union. The event was a free form, 63-minute airing of grievances, like a rambling toast from a bitter patriarch at a feud- stricken family. wedding. The President attack Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Adam Schiff, former FBI Director James Comey. He also attacked the FBI. He relitigated the 2016 election. He said with a straight face, his children would, "make a fortune" if they behave like Hunter Biden.
He spent nearly five whole minutes describing in great detail the attack that nearly killed Congressman Steve Scalise saying the congressman "set a record for blood loss." Trump bounced from topic to topic with no clear plan or train of logic. He really have not seen one of these in quite some time. And ironically, that`s because for the past few weeks, the President has been publicly represented by well-paid polished white-shoe lawyers explaining his behavior in a mostly coherent and generous way.
Donald Trump was not going out rambling before the cameras like this. He was not giving testimony under oath himself, God forbid. But today he was out there talking for himself. I`m going to play a small snippet of what today was like. Warning, it doesn`t make a lot of sense.
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TRUMP: A woman who became a star -- we have a couple of women that became stars, you too. And I always liked the name of her. You know, I liked the name, Lesko. I liked it. That`s how I picked it. I liked the name. I saw that face. I saw that -- everything. They gave me cards. You had like seven opponents, right? And you have no idea how much the public appreciates, how smart, how sharp you are. This I can`t tell. I can tell. They just said you know, she`s really good. She`s really talented. I said, let`s go.
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HAYES: I don`t honestly nobody was talking about their, an endorsement for Congresswoman Lesko, which he apparently just picked based on her face and name. Trump also made sure to thank Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Congressman Devin Nunes, and all the other Republicans who helped him cover up his misdeeds.
The President of the United States had publicly solicit tributes and praise from those in attendance, exhibiting behavior, well, wholly unbecoming of a leader of a representative democracy. Here is Congressman Mark Meadows bending over backwards to show his undying allegiance to the President.
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TRUMP: Jim Jordan, do you want to say something? Go ahead. Mark?
REP. MARK MEADOWS (R-NC): I want to just say that this reflection today, it`s a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country. We`ve got your back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: President Trump showed exactly what we can expect from him for the next 271 days until Election Day. He lashed out to people trying to protect our institutions and brought the Republican Party even further under his more defined control. It remains the question of the year whether the majority coalition of Americans opposed to this presidency will essentially exercise their democratic right and whether they will be able to do that unfettered by literal election meddling, something the President has repeatedly encouraged and solicited.
Joining me now, one of the people who voted yesterday to remove the president from, office Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Senator, how are you feeling the day after today?
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): Well, Chris, it`s always good to be with you. I do have to say that on the one hand, it`s very depressing listening to what you were playing, certainly very depressing. But for me, it`s also a moment to recommit myself to what we have to do. We know what this President is. He`s going to do this over and over again.
I don`t know about you, but you know, I`m tired of just going, oh, my gosh, what did he say? What did they do? He`s going to do it all the time. It`s like Adam Schiff said at his closing in the trial. Do you think, you know, President Trump is going to do this again? 100 percent. And so, we know he believes he`s above the law. We know he`s going to get as much foreign interference to help him as possible.
For me, the question is now what we are going to do. And so you`re there in New Hampshire, you know, in the middle of that. But the truth is, we`ve got to decide we`ve had enough of this. We can`t take more years of this. Our country can`t, our children can`t, our climate can`t. And so we got to say we`re going to focus on the real accountability that they were talking about, and that`s the election.
And the other thing I would just say is right now, what we`re doing is focusing on going back to work in the United States Senate to try to pry loose some of the 300 bills, 90 percent of which are bipartisan, that Mitch McConnell has stuck in his legislative graveyard, rather than taking up. You know, prescription drug costs going down, health care, climate crisis, gun violence, election security.
We`re going to go back to work, and we`re going to do our best to try to shake loose and get something done for the American people.
HAYES: Gretchen Whitmer this week gave the response to the State of the Union, Governor of your state of Michigan, elected in 2018. You were reelected that same year. And it was striking to me how focused she was on policy in kitchen table issues. And I wonder as someone who represents a swing state, where you come down when you think about the message to voters on the President`s personality, his character, his corruption, and the basic meat and potatoes policy.
STABENOW: You know, Chris, I was very proud of our governor. And I have to say she really hit the mark in talking about certainly what people in Michigan care about. And the same thing I hear from my colleagues across the country. What Donald Trump is who he is, is kind of baked in. What folks want to know is, who are we, what are we fighting for?
When he is at the State of the Union saying he wants to protect coverage for preexisting conditions, well, he`s moving a lawsuit all the way up to the Supreme Court that will rip that away. We are on the frontlines talking about, and not only talking, acting, on those things that would lower costs, get more coverage, lower prescription drug costs, in Michigan that`s protect our Great Lakes. The climate crisis is barreling down on us. And nothing`s going to happen as long as this guy is in the White House, and the Republicans control the United States Senate.
And so we could go issue by issue, but people in Michigan are, you know, they`re tired. They said, come on, I`m working every day. I`m working two jobs, three jobs. I`d like to work one to be able to take care of my family. I want to know I can go to a good public school that`s just in the neighborhood and make sure my child gets the education they need, and we can afford to have them go to college or a skilled trade, all the things that relate to just having a good life.
And I think people are just tired of this. I mean, how much longer is -- are we going to have to put up with this? Well, you know, what, not too much longer. It`s called November Election.
HAYES: All right, Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, thank you for taking a little time this evening.
STABENOW: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Joining me now for the state of the country in the upcoming New Hampshire Primary, Charlie Pierce Writer at Large for Esquire, Matt Viser National Political Reporter for The Washington Post. It`s good to have you both here. You know, I was -- Matt, as I was watching the president today, I was struck by a thought. His approval rating has gone up marginally during the impeachment trial.
And I have a theory that anything that essentially takes him out of the center focus, even if its own -- his own impeachment, ends up rounding marginally to his benefit. And then back today, it was like, oh, this is the president. This is the president, this is who he is. He does at rallies. He does this. We haven`t seen him in a little while.
MATT VISER, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It`s interesting, because he`s been at the center of impeachment but not testifying.
HAYES: But not actually there. Exactly.
VISER: Not at the forefront. And this was a reminder, I think, of sort of what he is and what he does, and how he rambles and, you know, as you point out, going on for over an hour, giving plenty of content to any opponent of his and reminding people, I think of why they`re opposed to him if you`re a Democrat focused on the primary race here.
HAYES: Yes. That question, I think -- there was a reason I asked Senator Stabenow that. I mean, I think to me, one of the key question in this Democratic primary field has to do with the sort of access of do you run against Donald Trump as this aberrant, clearly strange individual who is very different than every other president and from Democratic perspective worse, or do you run against him on the sort of most basics of prescription drugs, and health insurance, and the climate?
CHARLIE PIERCE, WRITER AT LARGE, ESQUIRE: Well, I think first of all, we had the President have a doubleheader nutty, and the first -- the opening game of the doubleheader nutty was the National Prayer Breakfast.
HAYES: Yes, that`s right.
PIERCE: I mean, does he -- is the United States willing to go four more years with a president who is clearly deranged? All right, I mean, that was exhibits A through D today. Having done that, then you can ask, are you willing to go another four years with a president who`s clearly deranged and also bad on climate change, bad on health care, doesn`t know the basics of his job, and live four years crossing your fingers that nothing goes haywire overseas or that the Coronavirus doesn`t turn into an American pandemic because he and his administration clearly aren`t up to handling more complicated than his lunch or anything more complicated than his lunch order.
I mean, the embarrassing thing to me today was watching that incredible array was of impotence sycophants in the audience. Nobody in that whole -- you`re talking about the emperor has no clothes. They were low -- that story lowballs with these guys.
HAYES: It did -- it did really have the feeling. I mean, this is something that he`s done before. He does it at his cabinet meetings where it is -- it`s a public offering of tribute. And it`s -- loyalty is what matters to him more than anything. He sort of defined the Republican Party now along the lines of loyalty. It is still remarkable to see people get up and offer these tributes.
VISER: Well, and I think he comes out of this emboldened. I mean, he feels like he`s coming out of impeachment. And you know, he spoke just a couple of days ago in Iowa and you did not see this sort of display.
HAYES: No. In fact, it was -- it was so notable to me. When he was in Iowa, he reminded me the last two weeks of the 2016 campaign. Do you remember those last two weeks? It was the most on script, on message that he has ever been. And it was the Comey letter and then two weeks of Donald Trump sticking to the script, which he hadn`t done the whole time. And that`s the way he wasn`t Iowa and not the way he was today.
VISER: And today, he`s coming out just after being acquitted by the Senate and with Republicans aside from Mitt Romney in lockstep with him. So I mean, I think that that`s the difference between Des Moines, Donald Trump, and today`s Donald Trump.
PIERCE: So I mean, if our choice is peaceful dishonesty, or crazy North Korean performance art, I don`t think that`s much of a choice for a representative democracy.
HAYES: No. And the question to me and, you know, against the backdrop of this race here where we just -- we have Iowa muddled results but that`s sort of as much as we`re going to get. We have a race here in the Democratic primary is really about this question of how Democrats conceive of how they`re running against him, right, particularly in the sort of electability stream, but also in this idea that that the Senator just spoke to, which is that what you saw today people know. Like, this is who he is, and this is baked into the cake, and everyone at this point knows who Donald Trump is. And the question is what you do with that as a Democrat.
VISER: And I think that -- I mean, this week is interesting for Democrats. I was talking to Barbara Boxer earlier in the week and she just said, this is just a sad, sad week. And I was talking to her right after the Iowa results and the whole debacle there, combined with, you know, impeachment and the State of the Union. I mean, if you`re a Democrat, you sort of see this weekend trying to figure out what the party needs to do.
HAYES: And I think there`s a little bit of -- there`s a little bit of enervating paralysis and fear about this moment. And it reminds me a little bit of the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation fight where you could just sort of see in the way that people were feeling on the Democratic side in that -- in that large coalition, the activist, a little deflated. And then interestingly enough, that was right against the backdrop of the election, people very quickly rebounded. And so there`s an interesting timing here of like, this goes literally right into the elect.
PIERCE: Well, and I think you`re going to see more of what you saw today on the campaign trail than what you saw in Des Moines.
HAYES: I agree.
PIERCE: I don`t -- and you`re certainly going to see more of it from the White House because for some reason, he gets more juice with the trappings of, you know, his perceived emperor hood, you know, surrounding him. But that is -- what you just said, that`s so democratic. Do you think given -- this is -- I mean, this guy is the treasure of Sierra Madre, if you`re running against him. The gold is all over the ground.
Do you think the Republican Party would have, you know, taken a breath at the Democratic Party president who behaved like this today? They`d have plowed all over the West Wing and put in a swimming pool by now.
HAYES: They turned -- they turned the sheet ripping up into a 24-hour story. The president -- the President outdid that in the first two minutes that he showed up in the national prayer breakfast.
PIERCE: And one of the things I like about Nancy Pelosi is she has apologized.
HAYES: Yes, I want to play this clip of Pelosi today, talking about her approach to the president. Take a listen.
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PELOSI: So, again, I extend the hand of friendship to him, to welcome him as the President of the United States, to the people`s House. It`s also an act of kindness because he look to me like he`s a little sedated. If he looked that way last year too. Then I started to think there has to be something that clearly indicates the American people that this is not the truth. And he has shredded the truth in his speech. He`s shredding the constitution in his conduct. I shredded his state of his mind address.
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HAYES: There is -- I don`t know about the specifics of the State of the Union response, but it is clear that like Pelosi -- Pelosi`s perspective on him is she sort of has his number psychologically, right, how to sort of make him fixate. And also she does seem to -- she is in a space now clearly of like confrontation is the only option.
There`s been -- there`s been a lot of sort of hedging and, of course, there were -- they ratified the Trump trade deal and all these things. She seems to be in a mode now of confrontation.
VISER: And it`s interesting the way, you know, she talks about I pray for him, and he looks sedated. You know, like -- there`s like back to back, those are the comments. And I think she handles him in a way that most Democrats still struggle with. And you look at this democratic field and how much they talk about Trump and how they talk about Trump, and they don`t do it quite like she does. And I think she`s got it in a unique way.
PIERCE: And if you went to Catholic school and had nuns, you know, what Nancy Pelosi is doing. When she tore up the State of the Union. The first thing she did was make the pages perfectly straight, and then tear it up, just so you would know. And that thing today of, you know, boy, he might have been in trouble. He looks sedated. I mean, that`s the Irish, or in her case, the Italian-American Catholic equivalent of bless your heart.
HAYES: Yes, exactly.
PIERCE: You know, I mean, that`s exactly what she was doing.
HAYES: Charlie Pierce and Matt Viser both here in Manchester, New Hampshire. It`s great to have you here.
VISER: Thanks for having us.
HAYES: Much more to come live here in Manchester. How the New Hampshire primary is looking after that debacle in Iowa. Plus, my interview with presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren and how the impeached president is already signaling revenge. We`ll be back in two minutes.
HAYES: As I mentioned earlier in our show, we are here in New Hampshire because in just five days, Democratic and Independent voters here will go to the polls to pick their candidate for President. I should tell you though, we still do not have definitive results from Iowa. In fact, just a few hours ago, the Associated Press announced, basically threw their hands up that they`re not able to declare a winner in the Iowa caucus.
We`re going to have a little bit more about how they got to that decision later in the show. We do have some polling, however, reflecting the effect that Iowa has had on the minds of New Hampshire voters who will have a huge say in this, particularly because of the weirdness back in Iowa. Well, the polling trends seem pretty clear in the last few days. Joe Biden`s lost his Pete Buttigieg`s gain. But anyone who covered 2008, and I was one of them, knows that nothing in New Hampshire is settled until the votes are counted.
Remember, Hillary Clinton was ridden off entirely and shocked all polling expectations and won that state even though polling favored Barack Obama. Here with me tonight to talk about New Hampshire are two people who know the state well, Ella Nilsen, a former political reporter at Vox who previously covered the 2016 race for the Concord Monitor newspaper in New Hampshire and Arnie Arnesen, the host of a syndicated progressive talk show called The Attitude on WNHN out of Concord, a former candidate for Governor in New Hampshire.
And Arnie, let me start with you. You know, the state very well. For people that are evaluating the candidates here, tell me what their presence has been like specifically in New Hampshire.
ARNIE ARNESEN, HOST, THE ATTITUDE: So I think the strongest ground games are obviously Bernie, Elizabeth, and Mayor Pete. There`s no question about it.
HAYES: So the top three in Iowa are replicated here.
ARNESEN: Absolutely. And I want to just disabuse you about 2008. Hillary Clinton had been living in New Hampshire since probably 1991. So she had tremendous memory and connections here unlike what she had in Iowa.
HAYES: That`s interesting. So there was a stability built-in.
ARNESEN: Exactly, exactly. And what you have in New Hampshire is what Bernie gets is like Bernie memory. We saw what happened in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. They have that voting memory for Bernie, which is an advantage for him. He obviously produced in Iowa, he continued to be able to produce here. The other thing he also showed was, while it wasn`t a great turnout in Iowa, what you saw is young people.
Young people in Iowa went from 18 percent of the votes to 24. That is his cache. That is what he`s telling the voters is I can expand the base. He did that in Iowa, and he also came in at the top.
HAYES: There is a sort of interesting one to one thing happening in the tracking polling. Buttigieg -- the theory of Buttigieg`s race here was raised a lot of money, spent a ton of time in Iowa, take advantage of the fact he could go there when other senators were not there on the trail, and finish strong there and then sort of catapult into New Hampshire. And it does seem like the early tracking polls show that it has worked a little bit.
ELLA NILSEN, POLITICS AND POLICY REPORTER, VOX: A little bit. And obviously, I mean, we saw it today, I mean, I was in Bernie Sanders` Manchester office when he also declared victory after a Buttigieg declared victory. So it`s not sort of maybe the clean slingshot.
HAYES: No. It`s definitely not clean slingshot.
NILSEN: So and -- so it`s very much I think, at this point -- I mean, I`ve been talking to a lot of local politicos about what expectations are for these candidates this week. I mean, I think for Sanders, you know, he had a historic finish in 2016. He won by 22 points. I mean, that`s something that we hadn`t seen before.
HAYES: I forgot it was that big.
NILSEN: It was -- it was massive. And so obviously, I think people aren`t necessarily thinking that he`s going to replicate that high of a number, but people are looking to see whether he can win. People are looking to see if Buttigieg, somebody from Indiana can beat Sanders in his home turf. People are looking to see how Warren plays. Again, she`s a neighboring state senator, and Joe Biden is former vice president.
HAYES: Well, so to that point, so when I asked you, as someone who knows the state well and knows the political organizing up on the ground, you did not mention the person who has led a national polling, the former vice president of the United States, Joe Biden, who came in fourth and Iowa. What is his presence here like? What are they --
ARNESEN: I don`t feel any presence for Joe Biden here. What we saw in 2019 was sort of a tepid response, comfortable name familiarity. That has no meaning in New Hampshire. The fact that you have a familiar name has no meaning in Iowa. Why? Because we have that primary muscle. We know to evaluate almost starting at the bottom.
So therefore, Biden doesn`t really come in with an advantage that he might in South Carolina, that he might in Nevada, or even on Super Tuesday, we evaluate candidates here. And in a way what happened in Iowa just reinforce what I see in New Hampshire. He came in fourth in Iowa. I think those votes are going to go basically to Mayor Pete, maybe a couple to Amy, and that`s in some ways the best thing that could ever happen to him.
HAYES: Well, I should note, right, that aside from the sort of muscles that are exercised by Iowans and New Hampshire folks --
ARNESEN: They like these muscles.
HAYES: They like the muscles and you`re very proud of the first in the nation status. I get all that.
ARNESEN: Right. Of course.
HAYES: But these are also very white states that -- who have a very different demographic composition than the Democratic Party in a state like say, California or South Carolina.
ARNESEN: So someone out of Iowa just said, let`s remember that white Iowa pick the gay, picked a black, picked a Jew, picked a woman. I mean, let`s remember when you look at what they did, just because they`re white, that doesn`t mean they don`t have a refined sense of what will be electable and what is good for the country.
HAYES: That may be true, but all I`m saying is that as you -- as you evaluate New Hampshire and particularly what`s past that, right. Like, there`s this question at this point about two things. What happens on Tuesday and who has built something that can keep going, right? Because the calendar is punishing. It`s Nevada, and then South Carolina, and three days later it`s Super Tuesday, and the slingshot effect, I think we`re seeing less of the kind of momentum effects that we may have seen in other years.
NILSEN: I mean, I think Biden`s campaign, this is -- this is nothing new from them. They`ve said from the beginning that they think that they can weather a loss in Iowa and New Hampshire with Nevada, with South Carolina, with Super Tuesday. We are seeing the real test of that now. And I mean, it was interesting for me because I was talking -- I was at Biden`s Somersworth event yesterday. He was much fierier version of himself than he had been in Iowa, I think.
And I was talking to some New Hampshire surrogates that said, you know, he doesn`t -- he doesn`t need to win here. And I said, what does that mean for the status of the primary and the momentum of the primary? Does that mean that New Hampshire doesn`t really matter anymore? And of course, they said, no, New Hampshire still matters, but I think we are really seeing this question talked about in a way that it wasn`t in 2016 or past years.
HAYES: Which question?
NILSEN: Whether New Hampshire and Iowa matter as much as they did.
HAYES: I see. I see.
ARNESEN: I think losing is contagious. And I think Biden`s coming in fourth doesn`t bode well for him. I think he comes in here. He doesn`t have the organization. I don`t know what`s going to happen in South Carolina, but why would you want damaged goods?
You want to defeat Donald Trump and you see someone who can`t win in a state that looks a lot like Joe Biden, in a state like New Hampshire. It may be -- and I think in the end, it`s not going to help him. He`s putting everything into South Carolina, and South Carolina is also smart, because they know that in the end, this is about electability and 2020, and obviously he`s damaged.
HAYES: Well, there -- it`s also a long way off. And the way that momentum tends to play out in tangible senses is both media attention and fundraising. And that may prove to prove to be an issue. Ella Nilsen and Arnie Arnesen, thank you so much for being here.
NILSEN: Thank you.
HAYES: Just a reminder, we`ll be hosting a post-debate special tomorrow night at 11:00 p.m. We will be joined by New Hampshire voters who just watched the big debate as well as candidates from the spin room. Remember to tune in.
Still ahead, just what is happening in Iowa as the Democratic National Committee calls for a recount, plus an interview with Senator Elizabeth Warren. That`s next.
HAYES: So, as I said, as you may have heard, we still do not have an official winner in the Iowa caucus. The AP is unable to declare a winner, they said, but today Senator Bernie Sanders held a press conference declaring victory, and that`s because so far 97 percent of the results have been released, and according to the Iowa Democratic Party Sanders was the choice of a plurality of caucus voters. He won that sort of first preference vote where people come in the gym, they say who they want to vote for, though because of the way delegates are allocated it looks like former Mayor Pete Buttigieg could possibly, possibly -- it`s still unclear -- eke out a very, very slight edge in possible delegates for the state convention.
That is due to the slightly complicated way in which those delegate tallies are calculated.
But then today the Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez essentially called for a recount, tweeting there had to be a re-canvas. The Iowa Democratic Party politely, but unmistakably responded with a statement saying that a campaign had to make a request, quote, should any presidential campaign in compliance with the Iowa delegate selection plan request a re-canvas, the Iowa Democratic Party is prepared.
And all this comes on a day when The New York Times reports, the Iowa caucus results are riddled with errors and inconsistencies. According to a times analysis, quote, more than 100 precincts reported results that were internally inconsistent that were missing data or that were not possible under the complex rules of Iowa caucuses. That is also apparently what led the AP to throw up its hands and say it can`t declare a winner.
Now, to the extent anything is clear in this mess, here`s what the bottom line is, Sanders and Buttigieg are very likely to wind up in a virtual tie for first place in the allotted national convention delegates in Iowa, which is what matters the most.
Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden will get most of the other delegates, but the sheer incompetence and complexity on display has not left a good taste in anyone`s mouth to say the least. It has also raised the stakes for the relatively straightforward one person, one vote primary in New Hampshire, and that is a particularly important moment for Iowa`s third place finisher who appeared to outperform expectations in Iowa, Senator Warren. And she joins me next.
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SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Remember in 1960, a lot of folks said not sure we can do a Catholic because nobody`s ever done a Catholic before. We`ve never had a Catholic president before. Or in 2008, a lot of folks said we can`t have an African-American nominee, because we`ve never had an African-American president before.
But our party is better than that, and we proved that our country is better than that. 2020, we can and should have a woman for president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Elizabeth Warren was in New Hampshire for a televised town hall here last night, and like Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, and Michael Bennet, Warren will actually get to camp out in and campaign in New Hampshire in the run up to Tuesday`s vote, no longer serving as juror in the impeachment trial of the president.
And to the extent we can discern the Iowa results, Warren finished a strong third. She represents a neighboring state. She`ll be on the debate stage here tomorrow night. And tonight, Senator Elizabeth Warren joins me from the campaign trail in Derry, New Hampshire, it`s about a 20 minute ride down I-93 from here in Manchester.
WARREN: Thank you, it`s good to be here.
HAYES: So I guess I`m going to ask you a somewhat loaded question which is are you happy to be out of Washington and away from the impeachment trial and on the campaign trail in New Hampshire?
WARREN: Look, the impeachment trial was my constitutional responsibility. And I was there. I had taken an oath and it was the right thing to do. Now that that is finished, I am very happy to be here in New Hampshire, to be with voters and people who are really off the sidelines and realize that this is election coming up in November is more important than ever. And it is.
HAYES: There`s a number coming out of Iowa that I have been kind of obsessed with. I feel like you might have a better view into it than anyone, which is the total turnout in the caucus, total turnout in the Iowa caucus was about 2016, but there were a lot of people who thought it would be higher, that it would hit the record in 2008. It was about 170,000. Do you have any concerns about the level of activation, motivation among Democratic voters right now?
WARREN: Well, I think it tells us that we need to get this party organized. We need to get it together, and we need to get focused on beating Donald Trump.
I think the way that we do that is that we have a nominee who has a very clear contrast with Donald Trump.
Look, you know what that impeachment trial ultimately was about? It was about corruption. It is about a guy who sold an ambassadorship for a million dollars. It`s about a guy who thinks that government is just there to make himself, and his family, and his rich buddies even richer. And that is a kind of corruption that has infected our politics for decades now, it`s just that Donald Trump has taken it to a new lows.
And the fact that he`s done that, I think, has started to bring people off the sidelines, started to bring people into this fight who weren`t in it before. But here`s the thing, into the fight because they want a government that doesn`t just work for rich people, doesn`t just work for giant corporations, but that works for them.
And I think we`ve got a chance to do that, to bring our party together around that message, to draw that contrast, and frankly, to bring in Democrats and Republicans and independents along with it as well.
You know, nobody likes getting cheated. I don`t care what political party you`re coming from, but that`s the kind of American government that we have right now, and that`s what we can change in 2020. So I`m all in on this fight.
HAYES: There`s a story in Politico that I saw you responded to, and I just want to get your response to here on air, about six women of color that quit your Nevada campaign with complaints of a toxic work environment, and tokenism, one of them went on the record. I saw that you responded to that and apologized. What do you want to say in response to learning about that?
WARREN: You know, I believe these women without any equivocation. And I apologize personally that they had a bad experience on the campaign. I really work hard to try to build a campaign and a work environment where it`s diverse and open and everyone is welcome and celebrated and gets to bring their whole self to work every day.
But I"m also very aware that racism and oppression in this country have left a long legacy. And it creates the kind of toxicity where people, power structures, people take advantage of other people, it`s something for which we have to be constantly vigilant and constantly determined to do better. I take responsibility for this. And I`m working with my team to address these concerns.
HAYES: I also want to ask you about a new entrant into the race -- not that new, you have been talking about him a lot, but polling indicates that Michael Bloomberg, who spent over a 150 million, going to spend hundreds of millions more, worth billions of dollars, has now been moving up in national polling. He`s dropping a lot of money on Super Tuesday. He is going to be on the debate stage in Nevada, not this next debate tomorrow night, but in Nevada, because the DNC essentially changed its rules to put him on the stage.
Some people say they had to do that because otherwise he`s spending money on advertising and no one can talk to him to his face, while others say it`s not fair. Where do you come down on that?
WARREN: Look, this is fundamentally the problem we`ve got in our democracy right now. We`re watching it play out in this Democratic primary. If we are going to be a party, if we`re going to be a country, where the only way you get to be president of the United States is you either have to start out as a billionaire or you have to spend, you know, 70 percent of your time sucking up to billionaires and corporate executives and lobbyists, then buckle up because we`re going to have a country that works even better for billionaires and for corporate executives.
You know, this is why I made the decision, when I first decided to go for - - run for president, that I was going to fund this through grass roots, that I was not going to spend all of my time sucking up to those folks and worrying about issues that mattered most to them, that I was going to spend my time on the ground, I was going to spend my time with people fighting for a government that works for them.
And if you think that`s the right way for our democracy to work, then I ask everybody, go to Elizabethwarren.com, pitch in five bucks, volunteer to make phone calls. Do some door knocking, but this is the thing people have to get in this fight, it`s about the issues.
HAYES: Wait, wait, I want an answer to the question. But I do want an answer to the question respectfully.
WARREN: And here`s my answer to the question -- no, here`s my answer to the question. I don`t think that billionaires ought to be able to buy their way onto the debate stage. I don`t think they ought to be able to buy their way to a nomination, whether they`re doing it by reaching in their own pockets or whether they`re doing it by funding dark money PACs to help some candidates, or whether they`re doing it by bundling checks among their rich friends to be able to make donations to Democratic candidates.
I think that the way we ought to fund our campaigns and what we ought to be testing out among Democrats is who can actually build a grass roots campaign, because this is what`s fundamentally broken in our democracy.
Why do you think we can`t get a vote on guns in the Senate right now? Why do you think we can`t get a vote on reducing the prices on prescription drugs? Why do you think those things happen? Because those industries continue to control our congress. And that`s going to happen so long as they control our elections as well.
2020, the door has opened just a little for democracy, for a chance to build a grass roots movement, and we`re going to build it $5 contributions and $25 contributions at a time. This is our chance to take our government back.
So it`s not about a rising stock market, but all of the value goes to those at the top. It`s about a 2 cent wealth tax and investing in child care for all of our kids, and early childhood education and canceling student loan debt, and expanding Social Security for those who need it the most.
This is about who America works for. And it starts right here with whether we`re going to have campaigns that billionaires reach in their pocket, and buy them, or we`re going to have campaigns that are grass roots funded.
I`m in the grass roots funded Elizabethwarren.com.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senator from Massachusetts, neighboring state, 2020 presidential candidate who will be on the debate stage tomorrow night. And we will be here hosting a sort of post-debate watch party, which you are very cordially invited to. We will save you a seat. We will block out a time. I would love to talk to you after the debate.
WARREN: Sounds great.
HAYES: OK. I`m taking that as a yes. That`s a yes.
Ahead, one day after the end of the impeachment trial, the White House is entering predictably revenge mode. The early signs of retribution from an emboldened administration next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SUSAN COLLINS (R-ME): I believe that the president has learned from this case.
NORAH O`DONNELL, CBS NEWS: What do you believe the president has learned?
COLLINS: The president has been impeached. That`s a pretty big lesson.
I believe that he will be much more conscious in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine the other day explaining that she thought President Donald Trump would take heed of the lessons of impeachment, a statement so manifestly absurd that she had to go correct and amend it in a subsequent appearance on Fox News.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So why do you have that feeling that he has changed, that he learned a lesson?
COLLINS: Well, I may not be correct on that, it`s more aspirational on my part, it`s more that I hope that he has listened to the many voices in the Senate who have pointed out that the call was very problematic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Ah yes, aspirational.
Well, we all have our hopes and dreams, Senator Collins.
You have to wonder if she got a chance to check in on the chastened president`s display today in the East Room of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I mean, Nadler, I know him much of my life. He`s fought me in New York for 25 years. I always beat him. And I had to beat him another time. And I`ll probably have to beat him again, because if they find that I happen to walk across the street and maybe go against a light or something, let`s impeach him. So, we`ll probably have to do it again, because these people have gone stone-cold crazy.
But I`ve beaten him all my life, and I`ll beat them again if I have to.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We`ll talk about the president and what his government is currently doing to go after the people on the president`s enemy`s list next.
HAYES: Just over an hour after President Trump was acquitted in his impeachment trial, the White House put out a statement asking rhetorically "will there be no retribution?"
Given that the president was impeached over using the power of his office to go after his political rivals, and now with this veiled threat made on official White House letterhead, one has to wonder what the Trump administration will do now.
And there are two stories that broke over the past 24 hours that seemed to hint at an answer. First, a memo by Attorney General Bill Barr announcing that all investigations into 2020 political candidates have to be personally cleared by him, a policy that on its face one could see as reasonable or arguable, at least, if Attorney General Barr was seen as a good faith arbiter.
But given his behavior since joining the administration, the directive raises more than a few red flags.
The other is Republican senators getting documents from federal agencies about Hunter Biden, including the Treasury Department, which complied with a Republican senator`s request for highly sensitive and closely held financial records about Hunter Biden and his associates.
Joining me now to talk about how the president plans on using the state for retribution, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin and PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, who was there at the Trump White House event today.
Yamiche, I`ll start with you. We`ve had reporting about the president drawing up an enemy`s list, to people he wants retribution. He`s just saying it in public when he talks about the people that went after him. It`s very clear that, like, revenge is on the president`s mind right now.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, PBS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president has been waiting months to try to now seek revenge to all the people that he thinks did him wrong. Today in that room, you could feel the energy of President Trump and his supporters who said we have your back.
And he was ranting, cursing, saying all these things. So it is not surprising now that we`re looking at these federal agencies, and they might be the vehicles through which President Trump carries out his revenge.
So you have to also remember that the Justice Department has 24 emails related to President Trump`s thinking on the Ukraine issue that they didn`t want to turn over. The Treasury Department is also withholding the president`s tax returns, so they could be doing other things but instead the Treasury Department is now working with Republicans to look into Hunter Biden, and the DOJ is making sure that there is no investigations into President Trump essentially.
I mean, the Treasury -- I want to take those each in order, Jennifer, the Treasury contradiction to me is there is clear statutory language that directs Treasury to hand over the tax returns that are requests, which they have been. They have flatly said no. They`re now in court. But Republican senators want very closely held financial records that are very difficult to get on Hunter Biden and they get turned over like that.
JENNIFER RUBIN, COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Exactly.
This was the thing that he was impeached over, using the instruments of government to go after political opponents.
Remember, he was supposed to be all that concerned about corruption in Ukraine. What`s he going after? Hunter Biden. This is the one obsession that he has. There is no corruption that he`s going after, it is Hunter Biden, once again. What do these two things have in common? Hunter Biden.
So I think people, you know, it was terrific, Chris, that you had that segment with Susan Collins. I hope she is watching this and realizes how foolish she looks and what damage she has done to the country. She had an opportunity to put real restraint, to really push forward a fully bipartisan, maybe even get a majority of the Senate in the impeachment trial, and look at what she did.
She foolishly indulged this character, came up with a cockamamie rationale. She and the rest of her Republican colleagues are responsible for this and the ongoing abuse we are going to will see between now and the election and perhaps during the election.
HAYES: And, Yamiche, the bar aspect of this seems to be possibly the most important, which is to say if there was some criminal activity, or reasonably criminal activity were taking place, some actual factual predicate for the FBI, what Barr is saying is, no, it has got to go through me. And I think people have a good sense of what kind of veto choke point he might be.
ALCINDOR: That`s right, Chris.
And there is this idea that Bill Barr is the exact kind of attorney general that President Trump was searching for. Remember, he ousted Jeff Sessions when he thought he wasn`t loyal enough, because he thought -- because Jeff Sessions, you know what I don`t want to be involved in this Russian investigation. I want to recuse myself.
Bill Barr on the other hand was sitting front row today in that room while Republicans were clapping and really celebrating with the president over the idea that he can and should be able to ask Ukraine for political opposition research, he thinks political dirt, on a political opponent.
So, not only is this Bill Barr someone who of course wants to now be vetting all of these investigations, but I think people really have to put themselves in that room. This is a president who was cursing and who was angry at people that he thinks are evil and Bill Barr was sitting in the front row just right next to Melania Trump, right next to all the president supporters, clapping along. That`s the energy that you are getting from Attorney General Bill Barr, that`s who President Trump has found in Bill Barr.
HAYES: You know, the Barr memo also seems to me, Jennifer, a shot at Chris Wray and a kind of turf assertion. And I really think that Christopher Wray now proves to be an incredibly important figure, because we know the missteps that I th ink Comey took in 2016, at how massively consequential that they were, the fact that two different campaigns were being investigated, only one was publicly disclosed, only one was publicly talked about.
Wray, it strikes me, is now an extremely pivotal figure. His integrity and what he does in this election year?
RUBIN: Absolutely. And you will notice how many comments at that weird event were aimed at the FBI, calling them scum, dirty cops, all sorts of name calling because he knows that Chris Wray is a man of rectitude. He knows that Chris Wray has the ability to speak up if he so chooses or not speak up.
So, I think Chris Wray plays a very important part. He is perhaps the only individual left in the entire judicial capacity of this administration, the entire executive branch, who can perhaps be trusted on a bipartisan basis. He has a critical role to play.
HAYES: Jennifer Rubin and Yamiche Alcindor, thank you both for joining us tonight.
That is All In for this evening. We will see you right back here tomorrow night with a cool thing that we`re doing for the first time, it is a live studio audience after debate show with candidates and the voters in New Hampshire. We will be here, so come join us.
The Rachel Maddow Show starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END