Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: July 25, 2017 Guest: Chris Murphy, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Swalwell
CHARLIE SYKES, TALK RADIO PERSONALITY: -- this goes on, it makes it harder to pass, as you get more information about this legislation. And if you get to the skinny bill that they`re talking about, I think that you`re going to be looking at, and people are going to go, OK, how does that actually fix any problems, if he scratches ideological itch? But will we the effect? Will it unravel the exchanges? Will it creates more chaos and will we in fact own all of that?
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Yes.
SYKES: So, you know, we`ll find out relatively shortly.
HAYES: Scratching the ideological itch is a good phrase.
SYKES: And if it goes to conference, there`s a whole other chapter we`re going to get to as we watch this play out.
Charlie Sykes and Sam Seder, thanks for joining us.
That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Chris.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour. We are going to dive right in tonight. There`s a lot going on.
We`ve got Congressman Eric Swalwell here tonight from the Intelligence Committee. We`ve got Senator Chris Murphy here tonight. We`ve got Senator Elizabeth Warren here tonight as well.
There`s a bunch of different things we are keeping an eye on tonight. It`s a very big night in the news. We were watching the president today continuing to escalate his criticism of the attorney general who he picked for the job. He is seemingly trying to force Jeff Sessions to resign as attorney general without technically asking for his resignation or just firing him.
White House sources are basically now admitting that this presidential initiative, a criticism against Jeff Sessions is the first step in the president trying to fire the special counsel, Bob Mueller, who is investigating the Russian matter. So, obviously, as the president scales up that assault on his own cabinet member and his own attorney general, eyes focused on that intensively as people try to game out exactly how he`s going to approach this.
On the Russia issue, the judiciary committee in the Senate last night issued and now tonight just rescinded their subpoena to the president`s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Paul Manafort did a voluntarily closed door interview with one investigative committee today with Senate intel. He spoke with them about the Trump Tower meeting with the Russians last June.
He reportedly shared with the committee his notes that he took during that meeting in Trump tower with all of those Russians. After he got the subpoena last night, we had also expected Paul Manafort to be appearing basically involuntarily in an open session at the Senate tomorrow at the judiciary committee along with the president`s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. Now, that subpoena has been rescinded and we`re not exactly sure what either of them is doing in terms of their testimony in handing stock over, but neither of them is going to be making an appearance on your TV screen tomorrow.
That subpoena from Manafort just rescinded within the past hour. We`ll have more on what that all means ahead tonight.
Plus, we`ve also got some really interesting news tonight on the Democrats and veterans groups getting what they`re calling basically a surprise win against the Republicans in Congress. A surprise win against the Republicans which seems to have totally blindsided the Republicans today. So, there`s a whole bunch of things that we are watching develop right now, some of them quite serious.
But the thing that is going to keep us up all night long tonight is the question whether you and your family are about to keep your health insurance or not. The big story of the day, which is still under way tonight, is Republicans` last ditch effort to pass a bill, any bill that would have the effect of repealing Obamacare, repealing the affordable care act despite the rabid unpopularity of them trying to do that and the despite the determination of lots and lots of their constituents who have been pressing every way they can for their senators to please not do this. If you want to see some of what I`m talking about, this is from today -- High Point, North Carolina.
Pressure started very early this morning. Members of the local Indivisible chapter in High Point set up a mobile call center on the side of the road, offering people who are like on their way to work, on their way to drop kids off at school, whatever, a chance to stop by on the side of the road and call their Republican senator, call Thom Tillis, and tell him to vote no.
Four thousand miles away from North Carolina, in Wasilla, Alaska, today, these were constituents of Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski showing up at her office to thank her for opposing the Republican efforts so far. They were out in Wasilla this morning, trying to make sure that Senator Murkowski didn`t change her mind.
In Tucson, Arizona, it was pushing 100 degrees today and still Arizonans stood out there in the frying pan, I mean, the sidewalk, to tell their elected officials to save Medicaid, to vote no on what the Republicans are trying to do.
This was Bradenton, Florida, today. Senator Marco Rubio`s constituents telling him to vote no.
This was outside the home state office of Senator Shelley Moore Capito in Martinsburg, West Virginia, today. Her constituents telling her to vote no.
This was freaking Alabama today. Alabama. Residents in Alabama telling their senators, Luther Strange and Richard Shelby, that they also should vote no.
It has been like this all over the country since the Republicans started to move to try to kill the Affordable Care Act. So far, the Republicans have not been able to pull it off when they`ve tried to bring it up for a vote. Today in Congress, they scraped together exactly enough votes to bring the issue up for debate at least, provided Mike Pence was able to come over and break the tie.
All Democrat senators and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted no. But the Republicans were still able to squeak it. It was a tie vote, 50-50, 48 Republicans plus those -- excuse me, 48 Democrats plus the two Republicans, and then 50 Republicans on the other side. So, that was 50-50, and then that became 51-50 in the Republicans` favor when the extra tiebreaking vote came in by Vice President Pence.
And when that happened, the immediate response in the room was this, which is not at all normal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Motion to proceed to calendar number 120 HR 1628.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As ayes and nays --
PROTESTERS: Kill the bill! Kill the bill! Kill the bill!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sergeant at arms will restore order in the chamber.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That does not happen in the Senate chamber but that happened today. That protest that started inside the Senate chamber spilled out into the main lobby. It spilled onto the balconies in the Senate office building, doctors and Medicaid recipients and constituents of the senators chanting no cuts to Medicaid, no cuts to Medicaid.
Disability rights activists from ADAPT were there. Many of them were people who use wheelchairs. They came from all over the country. They just refused to leave.
Police arrested those ADAPT protesters one by one, as they were removed from the capitol. They were cheered on from protesters on the upper floors of the Senate office building. When all is said and done, more than 90 people were arrested at the capitol today.
What Republicans actually passed on the Senate floor was basically a start to 20 hours of debate on a health care bill that they haven`t picked out yet. There`s no actual bill for them to consider. There`s no Congressional Budget Office score. There`s been no hearings on any bill.
Tonight, Democrats tried to slow things down on the Senate floor. They forced the clerk of the Senate to read the entire text of one of the draft pieces of legislations the Republicans maybe want to try to vote on.
Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut tonight said that he has plans to introduce 100 separate amendments to the bill that they put forward, all to try to keep the fight alive and to keep this thing going.
Joining us now is Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut. He`s a member of the Senate Health Committee.
Senator Murphy, I know you`re right in the thick of it. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us tonight.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D-CT), HEALTH COMMITTEE: Yes. Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Are you expecting to be up all night? How are you expecting this to go this evening?
MURPHY: We`re going to have a vote around 9:30 tonight on the First Amendment that will likely be all for this evening and then we`ll start voting again tomorrow. As you noted, the rules, now that we`re on the bill, allow for unlimited amendments to be offered. And because we don`t yet know what this bill actually is, we don`t know whether it will uninsured 23 million or 32 million or 16 million, our ability to offer amendments may be the only thing that actually allows Americans, like those disabled Americans who were here today fearful of their lives, to analyze the text once it`s released.
So, I`m preparing over 100 amendments in part because the time that we have to debate those amendments may be the only time that my constituents, people who are very sick and need health care, are going to actually have to look at the Republican bill and put pressure on their senators to do the right thing.
MADDOW: So, when you start -- you stack up, as you said, over 100 amendments that you want debate on, depending on whatever it is that the Republicans bring up tonight, can the Republicans do anything to stop you from getting a debate on each one of those amendments? And what would be the timing be? Would you expect that to stretch through the night and even overnight tonight once that debate starts?
MURPHY: It`s unlikely that that rapid success of votes will happen -- will begin tonight. But Republicans control the rules of the United States Senate and, ultimately, they can change the rules on this bill, stop our ability to offer amendments with 50 votes and they have, of course, shown a willingness to change the rules in order to get what they want, witness the vote on Judge Gorsuch.
So, what we want is time for the 85 percent of Americans who don`t want this bill to pass to be able to talk to their senators about it, and true to form, Republicans are going to ram through this final version of the bill. If it`s up to them with only a handful of hours with the American public to see it, we`re going to try to do what we can to make sure that there`s as much transparency on that final product, whatever it is.
MADDOW: Senator, I have to say, just sort of stepping back from this for a second, having talked to you on number of issues over the years that you`ve been in the Senate, I`ve never talked to you before while you haven`t had a chance to shave and I don`t mean that in a bad way. But I can tell how hard you have been working today.
MURPHY: This is kind of a protest beard.
MADDOW: OK, it`s kind of a rally beard, as we might say.
So, there`s that. I`m noticing that. I also noticed the tone of your public statements today on Twitter and this tone from your office saying that your constituents are scared and they are right to be, and listening to you talk about the strategy tonight, I feel like I`m -- I guess I`m -- I guess I`m trying to read you in terms of figuring out whether you do have any optimism here or whether you feel like this is a last ditch, but ultimately, it`s going to be a hopeless effort.
MURPHY: I`m scared. My constituents are scared. The parents of the disabled children that I stood with today are scared, because this is really about life or death. This isn`t hyperbole. If kids of disabled -- if parents of disabled kids don`t have Medicaid, then they simply cannot afford the medications and therapies to keep their children alive and that is frightening.
And I`m also scared because this is becoming a substance-free debate. Right now, Republicans have become convinced that their main motivation should be to fulfill a political imperative, to get the Affordable Care Act repealed no matter what the cost is to their constituents and I thought people like Dean Heller, I thought people like Jeff Flake were actually going to look at the merits of what they were voting on and it seems as if they have been bullied by Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump and his White House apparatus into essentially pushing away substance and policies from this debate.
I`m going to fight with every ounce of my being to stop this, as well my colleagues in the Senate. The fact that I`m scared doesn`t mean that I`m going to stop working. But people in my state and the people that I stood with today, they are scared.
MADDOW: Senator, what about this dramatic moment today -- Senator John McCain making this return to the Senate floor after announcing just last week that he had undergone surgery for a brain tumor. He obviously received very warmly in the chamber and then he gave this floor speech exhorting senators to work together and to not do things in a purely partisan way. He then voted for a motion to proceed that brought this potential votes about tonight.
Can I just ask your reaction to that? Did you -- do you think that will have any impact? What do you make of the case that he made today?
MURPHY: Well, I`m going to take John at his word and what he said on the floor today was that he was voting to proceed to this debate but that he was not going to support a partisan product that didn`t ultimately respect the desire of Republicans and Democrats to change the health care system together.
So, he will have that opportunity, perhaps within the next 24 to 48 hours, and I know that there are a lot of other Republicans that want to ultimately have this be a bipartisan product. Why? Because if they move forward and pass something that hurts people this badly, not only will the constituents die but they will pay an enormous political price for it.
Now, the second should matter much less than the first, but if we jointly owned the health care system together, if this bill failed this week and we actually came together, that would be good for the country and, frankly, it would be good politically for both parties to end this issue being a political football.
I hope that`s what John was saying. I hope that actually is dispositive on the final vote that he casts.
MADDOW: Senator Chris Murphy, member of the Senate Health Committee, keep us apprised tonight, Senator. I have a feeling it`s going to be a late night. I know you got a vote coming right up. Thanks for being here with us.
MADDOW: All right. We have much more to get to this very busy night. As you heard the senator say there, they are expecting a vote within the next 15 minutes or so. The first bill that they may vote on, the first version of this thing that they may vote on could be complicated in terms of the number of votes that they have to get and that they`re likely able to line up from Republicans. Certainly all of the Democrats have been a unified front thus far.
The Democrats at one point today took their fight outside of the Senate chambers and started rallying outside the Capitol on the street trying to get people to turn out on the street and join them.
Senator Elizabeth Warren was a big part of that and she`s going to join us live in just a moment.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: As I just mentioned, we`ve got Senator Elizabeth Warren on deck tonight. We are right now maneuvering her to near a camera. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to talking to senators live tonight because of these Republican votes to repeal Obamacare, what are expected to be doomed votes, at least in the first instance tonight. These votes are unfolding live tonight well into the evening with a little bit of unpredictability in this hour and we don`t want to interfere with any senators` ability to vote.
But with all of those caveats, we should have Elizabeth Warren here live shortly.
Tonight, we should also be seeing Congressman Eric Swalwell, who`s on the Intelligence Committee. The Intelligence Committee in the House today had a very interesting day, including hearing from White House senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
One of the reasons that I wanted to talk with Congressman Swalwell today about that testimony, that interview that they did with Jared Kushner is because of the guy who I have come to think of as the other Nixon, the other Nixon that`s not President Nixon, but who still comes up whenever you Google impeach Nixon.
Let me explain. He had seven children and although he came from a prominent local family and he had a good job, he had a prestigious job, tons of job security, his salary at his job was not going up even though all his kids kept growing up and his kids kept getting admitted to college. He had seven kids, five of them in college. Stretched thin. Even with a good job.
So, he started asking around. He let it be known that he was looking for ways to make some extra money. And it turned out, a local businessman, a wealthy guy, had just the thing for him.
This local wealthy businessman told him, yes, wouldn`t you know it, in fact, I have an amazing investment opportunity available to you and only you. It`s so amazing, you don`t have to put up a single dollar of your own money but you`ll get tens of thousands of dollars in regular royalties payments. Sounds good?
Yes, right, that sounds great. And within months, the guy with the good job, father of seven, he was taking in tens and thousands of dollars from this basically magic investment opportunity that he was offered by a guy in town. Now, to make this appear even the slightest bit legal, they retroactively dated some promissory notes to make it look like our guy had put up some of the money in the first place but he really hadn`t. He actually paid out nothing and he made $30,000, and then $40,000, and then $50,000, and then $60,000, and then $70,000, on and on and on.
Financially, it was a dream. I mean, five kids in college, right? That has to hurt. But he had figured out basically that there was this spigot of free money that he could tap to ease that financial pain.
And as you might expect, this whole deal was spectacularly illegal, not least because the guy who took the money, our dad of seven, was a federal judge. And in case it wasn`t clear to him from the outset, it soon became clear that there was a real cost associated with this free for nothing amazing money source that he had started tapping.
In August 1980, a small plane landed at the Hattiesburg Airport in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. That plane landed late one night after the airport had closed. It was a small plane. Twin engine Cessna landed at the Hattiesburg Airport after the airport was shut for the night and all the lights were off. That`s weird. At least the feds thought it was weird.
They actually tailed the plane and right after that little airplane landed at the closed airport, the feds landed right behind them. And it turned out that little prop plane landing after closing at that darkened municipal airport was carrying almost a ton of marijuana. And it turns out the co- manager of the airport, who was in on the whole drug smuggling with airplanes after hours at the Hattiesburg Airport thing, the co-manager of the airport who was in on it, that was the son of the wealthy businessman, the one who had been hooking up that judge with that awesome illegal oil and gas royalties deal.
And so, you know what happens next. His son gets arrested in this drug smuggling thing, so the businessman calls up this judge, calls up this judge whose skids he has been greasing for months now. He calls him up and says, hey, I need you to do something about this drug smuggling case that my son is all messed up in.
Now, imagine you are this judge. You`ve got seven kids, five in college. You`ve got this stream of money coming in now, which you are really getting used to. You don`t want to lose that.
And the not available to the public awesome investment opportunity that this guy hooked you up with that`s given you all of this money, that was clearly illegal. So, naturally, you would not want that getting out. You`re a federal judge, right? You`re a respected public official.
You add you will of those things up and this judge who was really in no position to say no to the request, right -- I mean, the son`s case concerning the Cessna full of marijuana at this airport, that case was actually not in front of this particular judge. But, you know, a federal judge, the chief judge for the district at the time, that`s the person with real influence in legal circles, and that area, real sway, particularly over prosecutors and other lawyers who may end up arguing cases before him.
So, our friend, he puts in a word, and even though it`s not his case and even though the kid had already pled guilty in the drug smuggling case, the judge putting in the word for the guy got the case shelved. The kid is going to be fine.
And there are two things you need to know about that now all these years later. First, the judge`s name was Walter Nixon. He`s the other Nixon and that can be very confusing. He`s not at all related to Richard Nixon.
But because he`s Nixon, he`s ungoogleable even all of these years later because guess what comes up when you type in Nixon, the corruption, impeachment, yes, what turns up is not Walt. So, that`s one thing to know. This is the other Nixon, not the one who was president.
But the second thing to know about this is that this Nixon, the judge, Walt, the one who started this whole saga by looking for a little extra cash on the side of his salary, he did get impeached and he had to be. Initially, he was put on trial for the scheme, and he was convicted, and he got sent to prison, he sentenced to five years in prison. But even after that, they didn`t let it go.
Even after he got out of serving his prison sentence, they still impeached him in the U.S. House of Representatives to be sure he`d never again serve as a judge. The vote was 417-0 in the house. And then they voted in the Senate to remove him from the bench.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DON EDWARDS (D), CALIFORNIA: After carefully investigating the facts and hearing all the evidence, the House voted 417-0 to -- in favor of the three articles of impeachment. Accordingly, you must now grapple with the same question faced by the House, a man who repeatedly lied as he fit to hold a high office of a federal judge. I hope you`ll agree that the answer is obvious.
To preserve the integrity of the judiciary, to maintain public respect for law and order, Judge Nixon must be removed from the bench.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And the Senate voted to remove him. When Judge Walter Nixon had taken all of that money, when he got that call asking him to help the guy out, help out that guy`s son with that drug smuggling case, Judge Nixon might have really wanted to help. He might have been constitutionally inclined to do anything he could for that guy who in effect had given him all of that money and for his family and for anything else he wanted him to do. He might have been inclined to do it. He might have done it happily.
But you know what? If he wasn`t inclined to help, if it struck him as wrong for him as a federal judge to weigh in on somebody else`s case, to use his influence to get the prosecution of this unrelated case quashed because he knew the guy, I mean, if he really -- if that made him feel oogie and if he knew it was wrong, if he didn`t want to put in the word for that guy`s son, was he really in a position to say no? Once he had taken the money? Once he had taken that supposed investment deal that he knew was too good to be true where he didn`t actually have to put up any of his own money?
I mean, what was the bigger risk? Somebody exposing him for that dodgy investment deal he was benefiting from, that bribe, or somebody finding out that he might have helped quash that case quietly for that guy`s son? Which is the bigger risk once you`re in that case? Are you really in a position to say no? Tough call, right?
People have to make tough calls like that are called compromised. People who hold a public position, a position where they`re expected to act in the public`s interest, but they`ve doing things that the public at large doesn`t know about, things that are either illegal or that they don`t want to explain publicly or both. And as long as somebody else knows what they did, either by observing the secret bad behavior or by participating in it with them, that public official is compromised. They`re compromised. You cannot trust them to do what`s right for the public because of their ulterior motive and the coercion that can follow it.
And so, that person has to get out of office. Prison is not even enough in the case of a federal judge, right, in the other Nixon case. The House and then the Senate moved to get him off of the bench and to remove from the bench in a way that he could never, ever be in that sort of position of public trust again. It is dangerous for a compromised person to continue to be in public office because there is a non-zero chance that they will of their own accord take action to please whoever it is that`s done them incriminating favors in the past, and same goes for anybody who just knows about these incriminating favors.
Even if they`re not enthusiastic about doling out special treatment to the interests that they owe, or whoever knows what they did, there`s also a nonzero chance that that public official could be forced, could be coerced, could be threatened or blackmailed into giving special treatment to whoever it is who gave him those sweetheart deals, right, under the threat that the official`s past behavior will be exposed if they don`t do it.
The story of the other Nixon, the other Nixon impeachment, the Judge Walter Nixon impeachment, is a reminder of the urgency we used to feel as a country, that Congress used to feel about the prospect that a public official might be compromised. A public official might be making decisions not in the public interest, but in order to further some secret arrangement or out of fear that that secret arrangement would be revealed. When a public official has a secret like that, it makes them genuinely vulnerable to coercion or blackmail, and then they are a danger to the United States.
When Walter Nixon was impeached and removed, the vote was 417-0 in the House and then it was 89-8 in the Senate. This used to be the kind of thing that we have bipartisan consensus on.
The first national security adviser in this administration was allowed to resign almost three weeks after the Acting Attorney General Sally Yates went to the White House with a warning that he was compromised. That Michael Flynn had been concealing evidence of his multiple contacts with the Russian government, contacts that the Russians clearly knew about and they, therefore, had him in a compromised position where he might feel obliged or potentially coerced by them in his official conduct as national security adviser.
That is dangerous as to all get out to the United States of America. Nevertheless, after that warning, the president kept him on board at the White House for another 18 days following that warning before he finally resigned.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is being all but chased out of office now by the president for reasons we`ll discuss later. But his troubles as attorney general have also included him apparently concealing evidence of his own multiple contacts with the Russian government.
Senior White House official Jared Kushner interviewed with the Senate Intelligence Committee staff yesterday and under oath with the House Intelligence Committee today. For months, Jared Kushner left his multiple meetings with Russian officials off his security clearance application and he stood by saying nothing while senior spokespeople for the campaign and the transition and the administration and senior officials, including the vice president and president himself asserted publicly multiple times that there have been no meetings between the Trump campaign and representatives of the Russian government during the campaign when Jared Kushner knew in fact that those assertions were incorrect because he`d been in those meetings.
As of yesterday, Jared Kushner was still newly disclosing Russian meetings that he had never previously disclosed. And whether or not you care about why this presidential campaign and this transition took so many more meetings with Russians than any other American presidential campaign ever has, while the Russians were mounting a massive attack on our elections to try to benefit their campaign, whether or not you care about the substance of those meetings and contacts and communications, presumably there is a reason they did not disclose those meetings before.
And if Russia at any point since those meetings and contacts and communications happened, if Russia at any point decided to hold that over these guys who weren`t publicly admitting to it, right, if Russia decided at any point to hold that over these guys to influence their conduct as American officials, then what`s our recourse as a country?
We used to take action to protect ourselves from that as a country. How do we protect ourselves from that now? Hold that thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We have not yet lost this war. The Republicans have opened the door to repealing health care for millions of Americans, to raising the costs for millions more.
We are here to fight that war. We are here to fight back. We will not be silenced. We will make our voices heard.
We`ve been shut out of this health care debate in the United States Senate for long enough, so we`re going to take this health care debate and say where it needs to go. We`re taking this health care debate after the people.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(INAUDIBLE) in the streets everywhere in America. Let`s go!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts outside the Capitol today as Senate Democrats, you saw all clustered around her there, rallied to try to save the Affordable Care Act. Republicans today are doing their damndest to repeal.
Senator Elizabeth Warren joins us live now from D.C.
Senator, really appreciate your time tonight. I know it`s a very busy evening.
WARREN: I`m glad to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: We just spoke a few moments ago with Senator Chris Murphy, your colleague from Connecticut. He proclaimed himself scared in terms of what`s happening right now, in terms of the policy consequences of what`s going on.
From your perspective, what do you think is going to happen tonight and tomorrow? How optimistic are you that you and your Democratic colleagues are going to be able to stop this?
WARREN: Look, this is tough. This was a barricade we have put up, never let this bill come to the floor in the United States Senate. And now, they`re over that barricade. They are now on the floor, which means they can do a vote and if they have 50 votes, they can get it passed and they can get something over to President Trump`s desk to be signed, which means right now, hanging in the balance for health care for tens of millions of people in this country and higher cost on insurance for tens of millions more. That`s what it`s all about.
Look, we don`t have enough Democratic votes in the Senate. You know that. We picked up two Republican votes. We just got to have one more and the only chance we`ve got for that is enough people around this country make their voices heard.
This is truly the moment. Yes, we lost this battle today but we have not lost this war. If we get out there and we push hard enough, we get enough Republicans to say, wait, wait, wait. There`s no deal here to be made -- because that`s the question. Can Mitch McConnell make a deal? It`s up to us to say no deal.
MADDOW: Senator, when you say that you need one more Republican vote, obviously you had two today to stop it from getting to the floor. That was Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski. Are there particular Republicans who you think are wavering, or who are undecided or who may be fishable (ph) on this issue?
WARREN: Look, I`ll just be blunt. It`s hard to know. I mean, we`ve seen different one step forward and say, oh, I`m not going to do this, and then Mitch McConnell offered something and all of a sudden, they are back in the fold and voting yes to go forward.
I think of this as less about targeting an individual Republican and more about the whole country speaking up. Wherever you are, speaking out. Because partly, yes, this is about bringing pressure to bear on Republicans but this is about who we are as a people.
Are we truly a people who say, hey, we`re willing to vote to knock millions of people off their nursing home care when they don`t have any funds to pay for it, a people who would say that we`re going to take special needs kids and kids with complex medical needs and say, you know, we`re just going to knockout the care that let`s them be at home, the breathing tubes and the therapists who come by so those kids can live at home?
That`s not who we are as a people. Yes, this is about health care, it is more about our values. It`s about the kind of people we are and what we`re really willing to get out there and fight for.
So, for me, right now, it`s about all of us making our voices heard and making them heard as loudly as possible in every possible way.
MADDOW: Senator, you represent Massachusetts, which is a blue state. You`ve got a Republican governor who has been very outspoken, saying that he doesn`t want the Republicans to do this. He said if they do, this it`s going to be financially devastating for the state of Massachusetts.
I`d just say, the Democrats don`t have the numbers in terms of elected senators. I have been a little bit surprised to see them give the back of the hand to elected Republican governors, like in Massachusetts, like in Ohio, like in Nevada.
Is that a potential source of alliance or strike from in terms of your side of this fight?
WARREN: Look, you know, probably you need a political pundit for this one, Rachel. I get it that there are a lot of people who are thinking about where the pressure points are, but for me, it`s about the families.
This really is at the end of the day, that`s what this is all about. This is about the mamas and the daddies who were out there who just ended up creating a crowd this afternoon after our vote to stand on the steps of the United States Capitol and to plead, plead for health care coverage for their children. This really is about families who are trying to put it together every single day and the cost of health insurance keeps going up, the cost of prescription drugs keeps going up.
There`s so much that we could be doing right here in the United States Congress to make health care more affordable for every American. But we can`t even get the Republicans to talk to us on this.
I really see this as more than about politics. This is really about our values, about who we are and, frankly, it`s about what it is we`re willing to fight for.
MADDOW: Senator, do you think that the protests have made a difference thus far? Do you expect them to continue tomorrow? Do you think that will be a decisive factor?
WARREN: I think protests have made a huge difference. You know, let`s all keep in mind that the House Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act about 60 plus times, that the Senate Republicans voted to repeal it, that Donald trump said many times during the campaign on day one that he would repeal the Affordable Care Act.
And you know what? Day one came and went, and we rolled into weeks and we rolled into months, and we got a good look at the different proposals that the Republicans were putting forward. We got a good look at how many millions of people would lose health care coverage. We got a look at how this whole bill was designed to be tax breaks for a handful of millionaires and billionaires and insurance companies.
We got a good look. And people across this country didn`t like it. Not just Democrats didn`t like it -- Democrats didn`t like it, Republicans didn`t like it, independents didn`t like it.
It`s the fact that people have been out there pushing back is the reason that right now, health care hasn`t already been repealed. It`s the fact that people are out there. They are fighting. They`re making their voices heard.
That`s what`s kept us in this fight, that`s what`s made it possible for Americans across this country to say, wait a minute, in a democracy, this Congress is supposed to do what we want. And what people want in this country is they just want health care coverage. They wanted a reasonable price for themselves, their families and the rest of America.
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, I know it is a very, very busy night, and it`s going to be a long night, Senator. Thank you for taking time to talk with us. I appreciate it.
WARREN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead here tonight as the Senate appears to be rolling into a late night of votes, votes that if they succeed are expected to take away health insurance coverage anywhere from 15 million to 32 million Americans. But, again, details are scarce even if they are starting to vote.
Much more ahead here tonight, and we`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Can we put up that live shot of what`s going on in the Senate right now?
All right. This is a live shot of the Senate. There are basically -- we think what`s going to happen tonight is that Republicans are going to take three different shots at trying to repeal health care tonight, and they`re trying to put something up that under the Senate rules, they can pass with only 50 votes, because remember, there are 52 Republican senators. They think they might be able to pass one.
One of their versions of repeal if they put it up was in a version that only requires 50 votes. That would mean they could still lose two Republican senators and pass it. This -- what they`re just doing right now, they just take in or in the process of taking the first vote of the night on their first effort to repeal Obamacare. This is not one of those versions of the repeal that would only require 50 votes. This would require 60 votes. There`s no way they`re going to get 60 votes on anything, as far as we can tell.
So, again, this is the first vote tonight. They appear to be well short of the 50 votes they`d need, but as far as we can tell in terms of their strategy, we think this will be the first of several votes, maybe three votes over the course of tonight, maybe into tomorrow in which they`ll take various different shots at trying to get rid of Obamacare.
Again, a 60-vote threshold for this one so it will not pass, but they are voting already and all eyes on the Senate with tens of millions of Americans` health insurance coverage in the balance.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The president`s attacks on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, continued today, starting to feel like Jeff Sessions` resignation as A.G. may soon be forced by the president. The president appears reluctant to just fire him for some reason. We`ll have more on the implications on that in just a second.
Meanwhile, the president`s son-in-law/senior adviser Jared Kushner sat down with the House intelligence Committee today under oath, which means technically, we can say he testified today but because it was behind closed doors, we still don`t know what was said.
Our next guest knows what was said though because he was there. Joining us now is a member of Judiciary and Intelligence Committees in the House, Congressman Eric Swalwell of California.
Congressman, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate your time tonight.
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Rachel, for having me back. Good evening.
MADDOW: First, I have to ask your reaction to what`s going on tonight on the other side of Capitol Hill, these votes to potentially repeal the Affordable Care Act. It looks like Republicans may have figured out a path to finally do this tonight.
SWALWELL: Well, Rachel, I am encouraged, though, that American people are being heard, and the reason it only passed by one vote to even proceed is because the stories behind the Affordable Care Act are finally making their way to the surface. And whether it`s people who are cancer patients and are fearful that their preexisting condition will no longer be protected or people who don`t want it see their premiums go up, they are being heard and I`m encouraged that it`s not going to make it through.
MADDOW: Congressman, I know that when your committee met with Jared Kushner today, it was behind closed doors for a reason and I know you can`t tell us what he said, but you have said since he talked to your committee that you still want him to testify in an open session, even though he has already talked to you behind closed doors. Explain why that`s important to you.
SWALWELL: Rachel, I think it`s very important that he raises his right hand in front of the American people and faces questions in public. You know, he doesn`t have any classified information to share about his meetings with Russian individuals during the campaign. And also, what we can say though, is, you know, he did issue a public statement about his interactions with the Russians.
I think that the key question hangs on this -- Jared Kushner said that he did not read the e-mail chain that Don Jr. had where he discussed meeting with the Russians to take information about Hillary Clinton. The subject was Russia, Clinton, private and confidential. That didn`t leap off the page enough for him to read it.
But he did say that October 30th, 2016, just 10 days before the election, he happened to come across and fully read what sounds like a spam e-mail asking for money in exchange for Russians not to release information about Donald Trump`s tax returns. He took that e-mail to the Secret Service. So that, I think that`s very telling and we`re making progress with that respect.
MADDOW: One of the things that has troubled me and I find this is true when I get away from the news for a second and I start thinking about it in bigger picture way rather than following each little bit is that I am troubled that there were both so many meetings between members of the Trump campaign and Trump transition and Russian officials that they did not disclose at the time or for weeks or for months after, including Mr. Kushner, not until yesterday, disclosing yet a further meeting than he had with the Russian official during the campaign.
Do you have any clearer sense this far into the investigation of your committee why it is that so many of the meetings and contacted were not disclosed, even after the attention and sort of investigatory heat got red- hot on the Russian issue?
SWALWELL: Rachel, I believe it is as clear as Don Jr.`s e-mails, that they were willing to work with the Russians to have help in the campaign. And every time that they have denied meetings with the Russians only once confronted with overwhelming evidence either by the press or congressional investigations have they been forced to acknowledge them.
But what really worries me, Rachel, is where I think the president is taking this. He went from no Russians to no collusion to now that`s politics, and essentially, so what? And that`s why I think it`s really now on Congress, especially in the Senate if there is an attorney general vacancy to make sure that Congress acts as a co-equal branch of government and checks this president`s abuses.
MADDOW: Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, from House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, sir, thank you tonight. I really appreciate it. I know it`s a busy time.
SWALWELL: My pleasure.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
I want to tell you, though, that we just are checking in on that vote that was happening in the United States Senate. It was the Republican`s first effort tonight to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They needed 60 votes. They didn`t get anywhere near it. They got I think 43 votes for this first effort that they took. So, they didn`t get anywhere close.
That said, they are expecting at least a couple more tries at trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act by tomorrow. One of those may not have a 60-vote threshold. It may have a 50-vote threshold. And that will be the best chance they have yet to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to take away health insurance from anywhere between 15 million and 30 million Americans.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
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