tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 16, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT
that barack obama isn't really president after all. ha is their dream, not doing something but finding a way they can achieve their nirvana. no president obama. no, no, no. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in with chris hayes" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes and thank you for joining us this evening. it was a big day today because washington has a case of scandal fever. today president obama showed how he plans to dole out the medicine. plus, last night our guest told us what we can expect in the fight against sexual assault in the military. today we got more shocking proof that they were right. and let today be known henceforth as the day bea arthur broke the internet. we begin with a momentous political event, i mean a
really, really big deal. tonight at 6:28 p.m. eastern, did you feel the earth move under your feet, did you feel a seismic change in this nation's politics? what you would have been feeling was the house of representatives voting to repeal obama care -- for the 37th time. by a vote of 229-195 with every single republican voting to repeal, along with two democrats. i have to give it to the house republicans. last week when speaker john boehner announced the vote with this lackluster pitch, i was a little worried their hearts weren't in it this time. >> we've got 70 new members that have not had the opportunity to vote on the president's health care law. frankly, they've been asking for an opportunity to vote on it and we're going to give it to them. >> and with that, i thought the vote was going to be some sort of pro forma affair. but they really left it out on the field. some poor staffer in boehner's office had to go down to the government printer and wheel in 300 pounds of health care
regulations on a dolly. then the seven-foot stack of job killing legislation was wheeled out. they even put a little hat on it while it started to rain which was nice. this morning michele bachmann, the tea party, held a big press conference about the irs and they also used the opportunity to take shots at obama care. >> the heat will become so hot that even the president of the united states will be forced to repudiate his signature legislation. >> eric cantore got into the game today resurrecting the old obama care in three words hash tag to celebrate the affair which prompted this response from the because -- it's the law with a screen soft obama's signature on the bill. today republicans really pulled out all of the stops but that's not made what happened today on the hill different. what makes this vote today different from the 36 votes that came before it is that this vote came just two days after the congressional budget office put out an incredible and truly
explosive report. a report that was almost entirely ignored by a scandal obsessed washington, which said the following -- the budget deficit will shrink this year to $642 billion, the smallest shortfall since 2008. deficits in cbo's baseline projections continue to shrink falling to 2.1% of gdp by 2015. in english, the deficit is shrinking at a near record breaking rate. now, you would think once it came to light that the deficit is shrinking at such a rapid rate that we hit the vaunted goals even set out by our wise masters, simpson and bowles, that people in washington who have endlessly obsessed over the deficit since the take party international is exwou would take notice. >> the president and his leaders in the senate are refusing to address this debt crisis. >> we had had had action to reduce these deficits. >> spend something out of control. >> tremendous deficits.
>> debts out of control. >> does not start paying down our deficit. it is kicking the can down the road and frankly, we are out of road. >> you would think that those people would all be pushing to take credit for our incredible deficit reduxz celebraction cel that there would be press conferences. but no, there was nothing. what makes that nothing this week so very ironic is that not only did republicans essentially ignore the cbo report but they chose to spend the time they should have been out celebrating our lowest predicted deficits since 2008 trying once again to repeal obama care. they voted for the 37th time to repeal obama care despite the fact that there is good reason to believe that obama care is to credit for much of the remarkable deficit reduction projected this week by the cbo. the deficit reduction republicans used to hold up as their entire reason for being. because the biggest driver of our long term deficits is rising health care costs and -- get this -- between 2009 and 2011,
total health spending grew at the lowest annual pace in the last five decades. the argument in passing obama care was to bring down health care costs. health care costs are coming down. so why does no one care? no one cares that health care costs are going down? the reason is because the cardinal rule of washington politics -- and this is really important. it makes everything make sense. when people talk about deficits, they are actually talking about something else. no one actually cares about the deficit. the simple reason why nobody was talking about it today is just because they don't care. and if there is one person in washington -- and this is the grand, tragic, comic irony of this whole situation. if there is one person in washington who genuinely seems to care about deficits, well -- >> here's what you need to know. first, i will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our
deficits. either now or in the future. i will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit now or in the future. period. >> joining me tonight, columnist at the washington post and an msnbc policy analyst, ezra, it is great to have you here. this combination of the one-two punch of the obama care repeal vote a few days after this cbo report that landed with an absolute thud is so illuminating about washington. but also fl but genuinely i am curious why no one sees that report on either side and ran around all day calling attention to it and taking credit for it? >> sometimes i really wonder if you believe. we ran around with it. i think two things are going on. one is that the politics of this on the right are not really all that deficit focused. the republicans believe in
deficit reduction to the extent that it corresponds and offers a cloak device for other significant republican goals. like cutting spending, for instance, on the part of the budget that they have been cutting spending on. >> you can't even just say cutting spending. you have to say cutting spending potentially on medicare potentially in the long term and really cutting spending on programs for the poor but they don't want to cut spending on defense if they can help it. their budget doesn't cut spending on social security. and back in the day paul ryan in the bush years voted for policy after policy that added trillions of dollars for deficit. i do think to your point about washington, people talking about the deficit are talking about something else. when republicans talk about the deficit they are typically talking about shrinking social programs. that's really what they are looking to do. do premium support in medicare or block granting medicare or all these other things. they are not looking to raise taxes or cut defense spending which are two ways to cut deficit. on the left for president
obama -- in other words, this is too much deficit reduction. they believe that. it is going to 2.1% of gdp after being 10% just a year or two ago. that is too quick. it is bad for the economy. for them to celebrate it would be at odds with our other goals. on the one hand republicans have got in deficit reduction an that is not what they really wanted. democrats have gone in deficit reduction and they didn't want it now. >> so it sits there on the table with no one claiming credit. i think you and i are on the same side of the austerity -- >> i'm shocked to hear that. >> no. we're on the same side i think on particularly short-term stimulus and austerity and just the need for the government to be doing much, much more to get people back to work particularly in the short term. but the really interesting thing -- and the place where i'm surprised, particularly today on the day of the obama care repeal vote for the 37th time, is the mounting evidence that obama care really is playing a role in the long-term projections of
deficit reduction. here's just an example of this is from the center for budget and policy priorities, projected medicare spending which has fallen $590 billion out in the future since just august 2010. that's a fairly large amount. if you extrapolate that out into the long term it is even more. that argument that obama care is doing that, why is no one making that argument? >> two things. one, this extrapolation is super important. whenever you hear about our long-term debt problem, it is all long term health care spending. if you got that under control we're pretty much fine. a lot of that is driven by aging which is harder to get under control. but this problem of how much is due to the affordable health care act, over the past four years people have been trying to run these numbers. we've had a terrible, terrible recession that brings health care spending down. that's accounting for part of the slowdown. the big mystery is why is it happening in medicare? medicare is typically not really coming out of people's pocket,
not the majority of it anyway. are you seeing things in medicare happen that should have nothing to do with people's income. these are retirees, things entirely paid for my medicare. there they're pretty insulated from the recession. this is a pool of people we shouldn't see being rocked by the same forces. >> so i think what you're seeing in part is a lot of people who can't quite come up with the right mechanism that explains why the affordable care act would havee this quickly. the mechanism you could put forward is the affordable care act has signaled in a very clear way different ways we'll begin paying for medical care in the coming years. medicare's already beginning to chop hospital payments if they have too many preventable readmissions, it begins to chop hospital payments if they don't do balance based purchasing. you have a bunch of different signals that are beginning to filter in to the health care system. while a lot of them haven't begun yet, it is totally plausible to say that a significant part of this health care spending slowdown is coming from the health care system preparing for that.
they see these signals in the future and they are beginning to respond. really good evidence on that point is that readmissions, the rate at which folks in medicare are getting brought back into the hospital when they shouldn't be, has dropped 2 percentage points in the last year or two. that hasn't happened in the last 240 years. but you are also seeing a circuit of wonkish honesty on folks from the left. >> you just said -- there is a plausible case to be made. basically the standard or threshold in political advocacy, a plausible case definitely clears that. right? if you can -- i'm serious. if you can make a plausible not totally dishonest argument which i think there is a plausible not totally dishonest argument, then you should make it and i am surprised that outside of the confines of one blog that's not being made. >> i just think they're not getting covered because there is not much conflict on some level. the repeal vote didn't get much
coverage either except to get laughed at. >> nancy pelosi made exactly that argument sitting here at this table this week. thanks, man. you're not going to believe this. you really aren't going to believe this but we have news tonight of yet another army officer heading up a sexual assault response program, arrested by the police, this time for stalking his ex-wife and violating an order of protection. details and implications next. [ male announcer ] snap out of your snack routine
big, important updates tonight on a pair of stores we've been following. police have arrested a total of six people in the mother's day shooting in new orleans that took place during a daytime parade. 19-year-old akim scott was charged with 20 counts of attempted second degree murder. his 24-year-old brother sean scott subsequently arrested on the same charges. four others were arrested for harboring the scots and obstruction of justice. police believe the shooting's target was the member of a rival gang. in west texas investigators say the cause of last month's
fertilizer plant explosion is undetermined. authorities have not ruled out intentional sabotage. explosion killed 15 people, injured more than 100 and damaged property within a 37-block radius. we will continue to follow this story here and on our website a. but one thing you don't want to lose is any more teeth. if you wear a partial, you are almost twice as likely to lose your supporting teeth. new poligrip and polident for partials 'seal and protect' helps minimize stress, which may damage supporting teeth, by stabilizing your partial. and 'clean and protect' kills odor-causing bacteria. care for your partial. help protect your natural teeth. with the innovating and the transforming and the revolutionizing. it's enough to make you forget that you're flying five hundred miles an hour on a chair that just became a bed.
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from what is the greatest military in the world eliminated. >> moments after president obama wrapped up his meeting with pentagon leaders this afternoon in the white house telling them he was "ashamed" of their failure to curb sexual abuse in the military, lieutenant colonel darren haas, the manager of the sexual response program at ft. campbell kentucky was arrested in a domestic dispute on charges of violating an order of protection and stalking, then he was relieved of his post. that makes the third time in the last few weeks that a u.s. service member who worked in a military sexual assault prevention program has been investigated for unlawful conduct towards women. first there was lieutenant colonel jeffrey kosinski, the head of the air force's sexual assault prevention office who was charged with sexual battery for groping a woman in a park lot. then the sexual assault prevention coordinator at ft. hood was accused of abusive sexual conduct and pan dderring.
then a pentagon report showed 26,000 military members were sexually assaulted last year. hours before ta meeting at a white house, a group of bipartisan lawmakers voted to remove sexual assault cases from the ta's chain of command. >> it has been change this system that's been held over since george washington that is simply not working today for men and women who are serving. when any single victim of sexual assault is forced to salute her attacker clearly our system is broken. >> today's meeting between president obama, defense secretary chuck hagel and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff martin dem sti wpsey was designed to convey the message we're doing everything we can regarding sexual assault in the
military. last night on air during our show the resist to changes necessary to crack down on sexual predators in the armed forces is not a partisan difference between democrats and republicans but rather an institutional fight between congress and the pentagon and the president called today's meeting, it appears, to try and play the role of mediator. still there is the question of how difficult will it be to get this done politically. a question a former marine corps veteran and now executive director of service women's action network tried to action for us on last night's show. >> we're dealing with habit and tradition. it is military deference has become -- almost like a physical habit. right? where we assume that military leadership always knows best when it comes to issues in the military. it absolutely does not know best. there should be no politician, democrat or republican, who even hesitates to support this kind of legislation. >> joining me tonight, spencer ackerman, senior wired for "the danger room." he goes to work every day in the pentagon.
spencer, i want to ask you first -- how is the pentagon just from a simple pr perspective with the latest news out today, how are they handling this internally? are they panicked about this? are they aware will is a story building here, that they are really going to have to get out ahead of? >> exceptionally panicked, chris. this is way beyond what even after lieutenant colonel krosinski pentagon officials thought would be a couple-dayer to. they come out with another report on sexual assault. chuck hagel comes out and says he expects the chain of command all throughout different services to make some institutional changes and it is gone. but clearly this had is cresting. the idea that all of a sudden there is a third official, a third now 2nd officer, third official in charge in some way of sexual assault and prevention in the military arrested on
unrelated charges is setting people into a state of panic. >> that's interesting. because i have not got an sense so far about what's happening inside that building. the second question then becomes, so if they are in a state of panic, what is the plan right now? what is the thinking inside the pentagon? because we've talked a lot to the activists trying to change the pentagon. we've talked to lawmakers. what is the thinking inside the pentagon about whether there is a problem and what to do about it? >> they definitely recognize that there is a problem. they say that endlessly. what they're actually not willing to do is the step that you hear congress contemplating which is to take prosecuting sexual assault outside of the chain of command. there would be a sea change for the military. chain of command is everything in the military. as much as hagel has said in his last press conference about this that it remains a top priority of his tenure at the pentagon to
remove the stain of sexual assault from the military, it is a step he's not yet splat contemplated. he's sad vid he's advocating amending article 60 to make it more difficult for officers in the chain of command to reverse sexual assault convictions. but removing prosecutions from the chain of command is really kind of where the rubber meets the road institutionally in this emerging conflagration between the military an congress. >> where -- and where do you see the white house in this? i thought the meeting today was so interesting. if you're the white house, this is a difficult -- the politics of this are going to be extremely difficult to manage because the outrage is growing. it is bipartisan and it is entirely justified. and at the same time, there is an institutional bureaucratic culture at the dod that's not an erz thi easy thing to just overturn.
>> after the meeting an administration official told me the message obama wanted to convey behind closed doors is this has to be fixed and fixed immediately. you didn't hear him say anything about specific steps taken in his remarks today after the meeting. he stopped short of advocating for prosecutions on sexual assault to be removed from the chain of command. he seems to be delegating that to hagel and to chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, general marty dempsey. >> in getting these news stories, the thought that's occurred to me -- don't know if you can answer this -- what exactly -- there seems like there are actually a fair amount of people apparently employed in the armed services whose full time jobs or are tasked with prevent being sexual assault, sexual harassment, responding to them. what are those jobs, what do they consist of and are they effective at all? >> it is a great question. it is an underexplored question. a lot of what the jobs are is education and outreach about what constitutes sexual assault.
to some degree pentagon officials when they put out their last report about two weeks ago or so about incidences of sexual assault, credited those positions with expanding the. aperture, the understanding of sexual assault in the military to the way in which now 26,000 cases are estimated according to a private confidential questionnaire that service members fill out. to some degree they're careful about how they phrase it because this is a very touchy issue. they view that the rise of understood sexual assaults, sexual assault incidents, to be something of a healthy situation in the sense that now service personnel recognize because of this outreach they believe that there have been instances of sexual assault they might may
crews not have characterized previously. what you don't see is a commensurate rise in reported sexual assault incidences and you definitely do not see a commensurate rise in sexual assault convictions. that's a situation where the pentagon now starts to feel that they really do still face and enormous trust deficit. >> we'll stay on this. spencer ackerman, thanks for your great work tonight. appreciate it. if there's anything that could cause businesses to make improvements to safety standards, you would think it is and accident that killed more than 1,100 people. but several major american companies, ones that you know, won't sign on to the new standards. i'm going to tell you who they are next. with the new staples rewards program
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as the disaster in the history of the garment industry continues to unfold in bangladesh, a who's who list of well known american brands say they won't sign on to a new agreement that would improve safety standards for workers. over 1,100 people have died following the collapse of the plaza which held several garment factories in a suburb of the capital city of dhaka. the plaza was built on a swamp without proper permits. according to the country's chief engineer, three of its stories were added illegally. people knew the plaza was unsafe before it collapsed. yet thousands of people came to
work that day, many pressured by their employers regardless of the dire conditions. in the aftermath of the tragedy, bangladesh now finds itself mired in complete, total social and political upheaval. earlier this week reports of as many as 300 factories near dhaka were temporarily shuttered due to worker unrest. late last week a woman was pulled out of the rubble alive after being trapped for 17 days. i never dreamed i'd see the daylight again, she told local tv. she's one of the lucky ones. the righteous and deserved rage from all corners of bangladesh and around the world has intensified pressure on clothing retailers prompting some global brands to sign ton a landmark groundbreaking international safety pact. the plan requires companies to have rigorous independent inspections and to help pay for fire safety upgrades which many factories still lack. more than two dozen european retailers and brands have signed on to the agreement, including h
& m, but only two american companies, abercrombie & fitch as well as the parent company of calvin klein and tommy hilfiger have joined them. from the signs of it other major u.s. clothing chains from walmart to gap to target won't be supporting the effort any time soon. why? well, the retailers believe the agreement would give labor groups and others the powers to take them to court. matthew shay of the natural federal retail federation says the accord exposes american companies to a legally questionable binding arbitration provision, a process that serves only the unions, not the workers they represent. gap says it won't join the pact as long as it is legally binding. scott nova of the workers right consortium -- gap's demand is that the agreement be made meaningful. gap. wants the right to renege on its commitments when it wishes. in a country like bangladesh which is massively dependent on the garment industry this kind of split among retailers could undermine the effectiveness of
any kind of safety pact. in the meantime, walmart has a different solution. that company says its factory monitors would conduct in-depth safety inspections at 100% of its bangladesh facilities and make them public. in other words the company would go it alone and conduct its own inspections. the plaza itself conducted its own inspections as well. in fact, the day before the building collapsed the owner of the plaza brought in an engineer to take a look at a few troubling developments in the building's infrastructure. here's what he found. >> this video filmed by a local television channel shows large cracks in the walls of the building which housed garment factories and a shopping center that may have hinted at a disaster to come. >> those are cracks in the building that the engineers saw before it collapsed. as "the new york times" reported the engineer examined three support pillars and concluded the building needed to be closed immediately.
the owner of the plaza disagreed with the assessment an the next morning people reported to work and the building collapsed. self-inspection didn't seem to make much after difference. there is a clear moral case for these companies, gap and walmart and target and others, to take the most basic measures -- not only in bangladesh but in factories all around the world to just ensure the basic safety of workers to prerent them from being crushed to death. we're not even talking about wages here. we're just talking about making sure a building doesn't fall on top of you and kill you. thousands of people, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends and loved ones. there is an obvious and irrefutable moral case for these companies to do that but even if these companies don't care about that there is a business and reputational case for these companies to take enforceable serious measures as well because if and when another horrible tragedy like this happens in another factory churning out clothes for gap or walmart or any other american brand we all know an wear, if it turns out
they had a chance to fix the problem and didn't take it and there are more deaths and disaster than the blood on their hand is going to stain every last shirt they sell. for over 125 years we've been bringing people together. today we'd like people to come together on something that concerns all of us...obesity. and as the nations leading beverage company we can play an important role. that includes continually providing more options. giving people easy ways to help make informed choices.
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stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis for daily use and a 30-tablet free trial. the washington scandal coverage bonanza isn't going away any time soon so president obama had settled on an interesting way to deal with it. he is going with the jedi mind trick approach and amazingly it is kind of working. that's coming up. but first, the three awesomest things on the internet today. twitter fans seth mercer tells us about the gay country song that supports gay marriage. it's called just just two men who dosido." ♪ ♪
>> the animated video is chock-full of well drawn details an the message is refreshingly not subtle. ♪ >> the second awesomest thing on internet today, bea arthur in her birthday suit. a painting of bea arthur naked which sold for $1.9 million, "not safe for work," because the full painting looks like this, except we made it safe for television by covering her breasts with the heads of betty white and rue mcclanahan. the actress who died in 1999 was the star of -- ♪ ♪ and then there's maude ♪ and then there's maude >> and of course we can't forget the golden girls. artist was brooklyn's john
curran. when the daily beast social editor tried to post the painting on facebook he got booted. it is not the only painting of bea arthur naked. this is a genre. this was done by chris zimmer n zimmerman. and the third awesomest thing on internet, president obama's coverup, frequently asked questions about president obama's umbrella marines from new york magazine. when the rain started falling with the press conference, two marines had them covered. did obama make any sort of jokes to lighten the mood when he asked for those? yes. he made three sort of jokes. >> well, we got a couple of marines, they're going to look good next to us. i've got a change of suits but i done know about our prime minister. you guys i'm sorry about. >> question, does this happen snofb answer, no. and it isn't nearly as odd as
this. president ronald reagan in sweatpants on air force one on his way to iowa circa 1984. don't look at that image. university of texas in austin. this is almost certainly the single greatest outfit in the history of the american presidency. you can find all the links for tonight's click three on our website. we'll be right back. all stations come over to mission a for a final go. this is for real this time. step seven point two one two.
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how do you feel about comparisons by some of your critics of this week's scandals to those that happened under the nixon administration? >> well, i'll let you guys engage in those comparisons and you can read history and draw your on conclusions. >> the president during a joint appearance along the prime minister of turkey. that line of questioning was bound to happen in this week of scandals because the mere mention of the word scandal in washington has a magical brain melting effect. once the beltway starts talking scandal, everyone collectively loses all ability to apply critical thinking and reasoning skills. suddenly no one can distinguish the facts and consequences and implications behind any particular scandal. all anyone cares about or is how scandalously scandalous the scald gate of scandals is.
>> which officials knew about the scandal? >> my question is, who's going to jail over this scandal? >> by the way, it is a scandal and john mccain yesterday said it was a cover-up. >> similar to the cover-up in water gate. >> i was in the white house during water gate. i know all about coverup. >> it actually could be, could be criminal. >> i don't -- i'm not saying this is water gate. it is probably more like iran-contra. >> wow, that's judicious. when it is scandal time in washington, it is time to talk mindlessly and ceaselessly without any actual information about criminality and jail time and of course to revel in all the best scandals of yesteryear. but that doesn't actually serve any purpose other than narrow partisan ones because there are three sets of events that took place that are not breaches of the public trust.
they are being completely olittle bit rated and obscured right now by the word scandal. the grand irony is in this week of scandalous scandal overload the least attention is being paid to what is very likely the most scandalous thing to have happened, that's partly because of scandal gate fever and partly by the white house' own design. i think it is high time we engaged in our own patented secret scandal encoder glasses to find out why. joining me, an nbc news political analyst. we fed ex'd those. we got them to you. with me here at the table, jim walsh editor at large of salon and author of "what's the matter with white people," which is a good people. and erin bowler. i want to work our way through this. i really think that there is this tornado blowing and no one is seeing or thinking clearly. that goes for democrats and republicans in many ways. folks are kind of had their heads spun around.
talk about benghazi first. here is my take. it is what we like to call in the business a nothing burger. there is nothing there and i think -- well, okay. here's 91% of very conservatives in the united states say it is worse than water gate. yesterday you were part of my favorite ten minutes of television all week. you had papers spread out before you reading e-mails looking for nuggets. but do you agree there is nothing here? >> well, i can go based on the product of all that frantic attention that we paid to those e-mails yesterday. what i came up with in looking through them, pawing them on the air in real time was that this was in fact a bureaucratic rona rondelai going on, more important to me at any rate was
the cia being very, very cautious about naming any groups, talking about al qaeda, anything like that, because the general counsel of the cia, for one, was saying, hey, wait a minute, there are and will be ongoing vegsz here. let's not prejudice them or signal anything. let's cool it here for investigative reasons. so it wasn't hillary clinton's state department. it wasn't ben rhodes at the white house. it wasn't lord knows david axelrod saying we got to cover this thing up for political purposes. there's nothing. there was none of that. to me that was significant thing. >> and it wasn't susan rice who is not even on the e-mail chain! >> susan was not even part of the deal. >> that's the biggest scandal of this whole thing, she got trotted out and send out on this huge public shaming over a set of talking points that she delivered was -- her staff wasn't on the e-mail. >> they were really prepared for congress. if you read it, they were handed
off to her. that's one scandal. the other scandal is what howard alludes to. state was sort of left holding the bag. this was all hillary clinton's doing. when this is all about the cia and possibly another -- not scandal but a really interesting set of questions surrounds what was going on at the compound and there were 30 cia operatives and seven state department employees. >> this is very important -- it was not a diplomatic outpost. it was a cia outpost with diplomatic cover. what you see in the e-mails, state being like oh, no, you don't, cia, don't put this on us, this was your facility that you have to defend. >> and god knows what went on before that. >> president obama called it a side show which was being incredibly generous. this story, the fact we are talking about it eight months later, the crafting, editing of basically a pr release for members of congress is amazing. and that's based on very bad reporting in the last week. >> yes, thank you. on friday when there was e-mails
obtained, actually no, e-mails shown to republican congressional staffers who have an ax to grind who they be paraphrased them. >> who then passed on to the press, passed on to jonathan carl of abc news and passed on inaccurate summaries that the white house was playing politics. >> paraphrases that appeared in quotes. >> this signals that the white house itself thinks there's nothing there, but they poured fuel on the fire. they looked at a news cycle in which they've got the irs, they've got the doj, ap an they've got benghazi. yesterday they said here's 100 e-mails. >> i think that's called in firefighting building a backfire. >> that's exactly right. they built a backfire. president himself, unprompted, said the word benghazi today. just like come on, let's talk about it more. hold that thought, howard. i want to finish this and also talk about the other two, the irs and apdoj and where they are
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i'm here with joan walsh of salon, and harold fineman of the washington post. we're taking stock of scandal gate here and scandal management. i want to go from what i think is the least serious to the most serious. then to the goldilocks one that's just right in the middle. the most serious by far to me is
the story about the department of justice having secretly subpoenaed the phone records of the associated press for two months, 20 different phone lines, include iing the homes o some reports, carl bernstein calling it outranlous and totally inexcusable. what we know so far is that the eric holder says he recused himself from this as part of the leak investigation about a story that appeared in may of 2012. eric holder accused himself but the actual conduct here i think is just profoundly chilling and troublesome and shows complete disregard for the department's own guidelines about how they're supposed to go about doing this. joan, you've been on the same page. >> right. they had other options. they could have and should have gone to ap. this was not a secret investigation where they would be blowing their cover. this was a well known investigation. it was another scandal, the leak
scandal, and so they went farther than they had to go. they went more secretly an they are -- this comes in the context of them being incredibly tough on whistle blowers, prosecuting more whistle blowers than all presidencies combined. there is a pattern here. it is troubling that this is the scandal that's getting the least attention. >> yes, howard, it is getting the least attention which is so fascinating because it has the least partisan legs. ted cruz is like, you got to go after leakers. there is no delightful gains to be made by republicans beating them up over this. >> right. and i think perhaps the press corps is overthinking it by assuming that people out in the country don't really care that much. it is something involving politicians and the press and who cares. this is one where i think whatever the polls might say and whatever the level of interest among voters out in the country, it's a profound matter and profoundly disturbing.
as joan said, they sought too much. they didn't do it in the right way. they insist that they took all reasonable measures which is what the justice department guidelines call for to find the information they wanted before they did what they did. we're taking that at face value. i'm not necessarily ready to take their word for it, number one. >> they also blew up the reporting ability of the ap. right now if you or someone out there who is a source who knows about, say, a serial sexual predator on an army base, for instance, and you want to blow the whistle on them and you don't want it to be traced back to you, you got to think twice before you're going to call up your local ap reporter. >> i can't imagine any possible justification for basically loitering on the street corner, so to speak, by getting all the toll records of phone calls from the ap's main phone lines in the congressional press galleries. >> the congressional press
gallery. >> it is outrageous. >> i hope that we're going to -- there -- i mean the deputy attorney, jim cole, is the one who ordered this. i think there should be recriminations for him if it is true it did not go above him. all right. now we turn to the goldilocks -- i was going to grill you on the media matters but you're getting off because of time. >> too bad. >> i know. i do want to talk about the irs. it seems to fall in between because the conduct itself at the level we know about it was genuinely bad conduct. wrong. and also threatening in a way that i think is really profound. i disagree with my colleague lawrence o'donnell who does not take that view. tune in at 10:00 p.m. tonight to hear it. but it also seems so far as we know so far, genuinely a product of the bureaucracy from below eric. >> if you talk about this urge for scandal coverage in washington, i was watching another news channel and the on-air kron, who's going to
jail. is what fox and the right wing is pushing nixonian action. if you go to the nixon archives and talk to the attorney general and he told them to send immigration and irs after the otis chandler's family who owned the l."l.a. times" because he hated the "l.a. times." this is nothing compared to that no matter what the right wing media wants to talk about. >> one of the things we're seeing here, the opposite of nixonian, is a real kind of arms-length relationship between the department of justice and the white house and the white house and the irs. >> that's appropriate. which is the way it is supposed to work. >> quickly, howard. >> i'll just say, let's see what the rest of the story is if there is a rest of the story. i'm withholding judgment on this goldilocks one. >> i think you are right. i think there is more questions to be answered as well about how exactly far up this went.
but so far my judgment from what we've seen so far is that this was a product of the bureaucracy, not a top-down order to go after conservatives. that's all in for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts now on the button. >> well done! we should start doing like the bbc where you hit chime at the top of the hour. set your watch. look, now i plu it. thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. today our nation got a new secretary of energy. it was a unanimous vote in the senate. 97-0 for dr. ernest moniz. extra bonus with him is that he will also be available to the nation if we ever find ourselves in need after secretary of amazing hair. amazing hairdo. that looks just like the frevg nochlist george sand. two more cabinet secretaries -- two nor cabinet