tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC December 15, 2016 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
skeptical. >> if you don't believe that the russians were involved in interfering in our election, then i'm really troubled by that. then, the future leaders of trump's business at the president-elect's official business meeting. >> we're not going to discuss those things. it doesn't matter. trust me. >> today, democrats escalate the fight on his business conflicts. plus, north carolina republicans move to strip power from the new democratic governor. >> what is happening now is unprecede unprecedented. and trump's new war with "vanity fair" and the editor who first dubbed him short fingered. >> slightly smaller than large glove, okay? >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york, i'm chris hayes. in 36 days donald trump becomes the president of the united states. today, trump continues to contest the u.s. intelligence community's near unanimous conclusion that russia directed cyber espionage against
democrats during the presidential campaign. last night, we reported that two senior u.s. intelligence officials told nbc news russian president vladimir putin was personally involved in what the intelligence community concludes was a covert campaign to influence the u.s. election. according to those officials who could belong to any one of the 17 different u.s. intelligence agencies, we don't know, intelligence community now believes with a, quote, high level of confidence that putin, himself, directed the use of hacked material from the dnc. clinton campaign chair john podesta and almost a dozen democratic house candidates. now, while the kremlin calls the report, i'm quoting here, laughable nonsense, nbc news reporting intelligence officials ascribing a high-level conditions in their conclusions, which is about as definitive as intelligence analysts get. and yet this morning, the president-elect tweeted "if russia or some other entity was hacking, why did the white house wait so long to act, why did they only complain after hillary lost?" in fact the president-elect is mistaken. the obama administration did act before the election, in fact, on
october 7th, the office of the director of national intelligence and the department of homeland security both part of the executive branch released a pretty remarkable joint statement declaring formally in writing that "the u.s. intelligence community including all 17 military and civilian intelligence agencies are confident the russian government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from u.s. persons and institutions." that conclusion, in other words, was effectively unanimous. the kremlin's specific intent is what remains somewhat less certain. last week, the "washington post" reported on a secret cia assessment that russia was actively trying to help trump win the white house. that's still a matter of dispute within the intelligence community. republican senator lindsey graham who says his presidential campaign was also hacked by the russians is among those convinced by the evidence of russian involvement. >> i'm 100% certain that the russians hacked into podesta's e-mails, the dnc and other political organizations. i have been briefed. i don't think anybody who's heard these briefings doubt that
the russians were interfering in our election. >> president-elect has been receiving intelligence briefings. until now they've been weekly instead of the usual daily session. according to his transition team as of now trump is getting the briefings three times a week. nevertheless, trump continues to dispute the intelligence community's determination that russia was responsible for the hacks, blamed democrats for trying to delegitimize the election. >> day have no idea if it's russia or china or somebody, it could be somebody sitting in a bed someplace. >> why would the cia put out the story that the russians wanted you to win? >> i'm not sure they put it out. the think the democrats are putting it out because they suffered one of the greatest defeats in the history of politics in this country. personally, it could be russia. i don't really think it is, but who knows. i don't know either. they don't know and i don't know. >> president obama has ordered a full review of russia's role in the hacks and the director of national intelligence. an investigation is already lined up in two different senate committees. on top of that, the issue will very likely come up in senate
confirmation hearings for exxonmobil ceo rex tillerson, trump's nominee for secretary of state, a man who reportedly knows putin well, personally, and because of his interests in the region has opposed sanctions against russia over its aggression in ukraine. republican senators including skb john mccain and marco rubio raised questions about tillerson's nomination. lindsey graham says he has a few questions ready for his confirmation hearing. >> do you realize what russia's up to here and all over the world and are you willing to do something about it? do you support new sanctions? and if he doesn't, i'd be very hard for me to vote for him because you're giving a green light to this behavior. >> we go to kent delaney, national security reporter for nbc news. ken, what's the latest on this line of reporting you and nbc news have been pursuing? >> chris, the latest is it turned into a political dispute between the white house and trump and we also detect that trump is pivoting a bit, even though you rightly pointed out that he wasn't accurate in his
tweet this morning, he also didn't deny this time that it was russia. a top transition aide gave an interview with msnbc's brian williams last night where he seemed to acknowledge that the intelligence is pointing to russia and said, hey, we're upset about this and and taking time to decide how we're going to respond. our understanding, we presume that donald trump and/or mike flynn are being briefed on this intelligence about russia being kb behind the hacks. >> that's part of the issue, of course, this is something whether the intelligence community made the correct determination or not, it is clearly the determination they made an they're clearly the people that are channeling that determination presumably three times a week, day after day, to mike pence and to donald trump and to general flynn because that's the conduit for their intelligence briefings. >> right, so it's going it be really difficult presumably for donald trump to continue to say it wasn't russia and it's going to be even harder if there's a public document which we believe there will be at the end of the obama administration summing up
the intelligence saying this was russia. >> yeah, that's the key to me that hangs over all of this, that the president ordering that document to be made public, to be compiled and made public beforeanry 20th means at a certain point we won't be relying on intelligence official officials. we will have a public document that everyone can look at. >> yeah, it's not going to satisfy people who are looking for court of law proof because you can't do that in intelligence. i mean, if you do that, you're giving up sensitive sources of methods, but it will be presumably, it will go much further than the october statement which was pretty definitive, and will talk a little bit more detail about what exactly happened here. >> all right. ken dilanian, thanks for your time. rees appreciate it. joined by tommy, former national security spokesman under president obama. tommy, this whole thing is remarkable, for a million different reasons. what do you, as someone who worked inside the national security process there the white house, which is a very rigorous and complicated process, what do you make of this kind of geyser
of information we're now getting about what determinations the intelligence community has made about this? >> sure, i mean, it seems like they've been gathering information over time as the story's unravelled. ken's reporting leads plme to believe the source or the putin anecdote was a liaison source, who had a source in the russian government who was able to tell us putin personally signed off on this operation. that's a big deal but it doesn't necessarily surprise me. i'm sure there have been ongoing deliberations throughout about how to respond. it's been reported president obama directlyonfronted vladimir put during the election. we don't foe whether or not there were other covert responses but there's, you know, a question of what a response against russia would have done during the election that could have stopped wikileaks from dripping out these e-mails once they had them. i don't know that there is one. >> yeah, to folks that say people who are focusing on this are attempting to delegitimize a donald trump victory, what's your response to that, is that what you're ftrying to do?
>> russia hattempted to delegitimatize out elections. when you see a president like donald trump skipping intelligence briefings, has the opportunity toe go, show me evy document, prove this to me and could know with greater confidence than anyone else in the world. >> that's a great point. we all have to sort of sift through this from the outside and it's sort of maddening, right, because the amount of evidence we have is relatively sma sparse, there's some stuff in crowdstrike, an employee of the dnc, but he's the one person who can say i am skeptical of your claims, i want you to show me every bit of work, i wasn't every "i" dotted, every "t" crossed. he's the person that could do that. >> he could do it tomorrow. i'm glad as a country we have -- we treat intelligence reports or anonymous ones with skepticism. ken is a great reporter. i believe what he's reporting out here, there's only certain countries with the capability
and motives to undertake such an action and need to take this deadly seriously and get to the bottom. >> one of the things that strikes me, people are viewing this in the prism of rear view, what happened in the election, how determinative it was of the outcome and what will happen now. the scope that could be done again and again and again if this sort of penetration becomes routine is staggering to consider. i mean, there's 535 members of congress, many of whom use private e-mails, who knows which of those have been penetrated, which compromising detailses are now being held by foreign operatives or whoever to be used for whatever purposes when the need arises. >> right. i mean, there's long been a concern that someone could collect information on an individual and use that to blackmail them to turn them as a source. how it's just we're at a point where we -- they've been collecting information on people in the government and they just release it to humiliate them. or to get involved in our elections or our political process. and that is a precedent that, you know, putin has done this in countries that are his neighbors and places where we thinks he has a claim to territory.
for them to meddle at this level in our election is an enormous escalation of his cyber activities and we need to figure out a response that i think is overt as well as covert, to send a message that they can't get away with this. >> this point about the escalation, i want to sort of elaborate that because it does strike me that there was some -- there was some sort of wink and nod about this early on. vladimir putin the first time was confronted, said i think what's in them is more interesting than how they were obtained. there's a russian official who i think at one point even said we may have had something to do with that. today, it's gotten much more hard-edged denials. what do you make of that? is that them recognizing just what an escalation it would be if they were to say, yes, we did this? >> yeah, i think part that and it's also just their m.o. they deny everything. they're serial liars. they want to be able to go to the international community and get their allies on board if we respond and say this is an unprecedented action on the americas. i mean, there's some theories
that putin views this as a response to the panama papers which leaked all sorts of documents about his cronies who were sitting on billions of dollars. literally a cellist worth $2 billion who happens to be buddies with him. wonder how that happened. they're probably trying to prevent further action against the united states. it's been reported he had a vendetta against hillary clinton. seems like they want to spread this information in response to their disinformation. >> tommy vietor. joining me, former congressman mickey edwards, republican from oklahoma. mickey, i'm curious what you make of the republican party response. a lot of partisan lines have been scrambled. you got the fallout from this has been sort of fascinating to track. what's your sense of -- how would you like to see the republican party respond? >> chris, so far this has been donald trump and the kremlin against the american government, and republicans, this is not a partisan issue. this is a major problem when
another country, whether it's russia, china, anybody else, interferes with american elections. that is one of the most important attacks on our system that we've ever seen. and there is no place here for partisan politics. so it can't be just lindsey graham. it can't be just john mccain. the republicans generally, the republican leadership in the party, in the house and the senate, need to speak out and say, this is unacceptable and we're going to act against it. to try to make this just something where democrats have sour grapes is really an abandonment of their duty. >> so you think republicans in congress who are essentially saying we're not that interested in this, or this is just democratic sour grapes are abandoning their duty, you're saying? >> yeah, look, this is not an attack on a particular facility or an attack on some other kind of temporary thing. this is an attack on the
american political system. the american governing system. that is one of the most important issues we have faced in decades and decades. this is something that anybody who treats this in a partisan way, that includes democrats. >> right. >> if democrats use it, you know, as an anti-trump sour grapes thing, that doesn't count. this is totally beyond partisanship. this requires united action by all americans and especially all members of the administration, the congress, you know, saying we won't put up with this, we're going to find a way to retaliate, we're not going to let this happen again. >> you know, senator ben cardin of maryland has called for a select committee, senator dick durbin from illinois, democrat, also, was on my show yesterday and called for a select committee. something akin to the 9/11 commission although maybe it would just be appointed with regular members of the senate. is that appropriate, some sort of select committee that has the task of getting to the bottom of
this as much as practicable and that publishes findings? >> it has to be a select committee with high-ranking members on it. you can't go through the normal -- i know paul ryan and others and mitch mcconnell, well, we can use our regular intelligence committees, and, yes, they're capable of doing it, but we need more of a united front on this, we need something big and powerful like a select committee that has most of the more senior members of congress on it, treating this as the serious issue that it is. >> rex tillerson obviously has a close relationship with vladimir putin in a relative sense. and a very close business relationship. there's half a trillion dollar deal signed with russian companies in the kremlin. how much do you anticipate these questions about this will factor in his confirmation hearings? >> oh, i think they're going to come in. i think he's helped by the fact that both bob gates and condi rice, who i respect both -- >> yeah. >> -- have spoken well of him,
but it's a legitimate question. it's a legitimate question for how anybody, including the president, the president-elect, how they're going to deal with russia. you know, personal business relationships, personal friendships inside russia, they don't count here. it's a matter of can you stand up for american interests, american policy? this is not about how you can be friends with anybody in any foreign government. it's how you can stand up for the security and the interests of this country, period. and he needs to be questioned about that. >> all right. i should note that mr. gates and miss rice both receive payments from exxon for work they did. >> yes. >> at various points. >> yeah. >> congressman, do you think there is anything -- if this sort of partisan moment, is there anything you could imagine that would sort of satisfy folks to come do the conclusion to sort of come to some sort of bipartisan consensus about what actually transpired? >> well, you know you have to
hope that when the republicans and the democrats standing together side by side on the house floor, and in the senate, taking the oath of office, will pay close attention to what they have just said, the oath they have just taken and will say, today we're not just democrats, we're not just republicans, we're americans. we have been attacked by another government, we're going to do something about it. >> all right. former congressman mickey edwards, republican of oklahoma. thanks for your time tonight. appreciate it, sir. >> thank you, chris. up next, senator elizabeth warren ramps up the fight on donald trump's business confl t conflicts trying to force the president-elect to put his company into a blind trust. the democratic escalation after this break. ♪
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eliminate conflicts of interest is to divest his financial interests and place them in a blind trust." senator ben cardin, senator chris coons, senator dick durbin, senator chris merkley and i will introduce a bill to implement the emolumens clause. our bill makes clear we expect trump to do the same." this comes one day after the president-elect met in his official capacity with tech leaders and in attendance three of trump's adult children including the two, don jr. and eric, that trump has claimed will run the trump businesses. in the same week, he tweeted "two of my children don and eric plus executives will manage the businesses." the president-elect canceled the news conference he scheduled to hold today to reveal just how he plans to wall himself off from his business empire after tweeting back on november 30th, "i will be holding a major news conference in new york city with my children on december 15th to discuss the fact i will be leaving my great business in total." a serious of tweets at the time trump added "i feel it is visually important as president
to in no way have a conflict of interest with my various businesses." here we are december 15th, this is the visual we have. joining me, charlie pierce, writer at large at "euire." charlie, you've been kpofring politics a long time. it's amazing how quickly things sort of seem not so crazy. i had to remind myself that it was bizarre that the people who run the president-elect's businesses are sitting in meeting with other tech executives that is business as the president-elect in his capacity as the incoming represent ative of the american people. >> and they are his children. >> right. >> this is the reality show version of king lear. you know, we're one of the two sons to say something untoward, in theory, the president-elect could disown him. cast lihim into the outer darkness, make him play public
golf courses. the whole thing is a circus. elizabeth warren and her two friends are going to propose legislation to implement the emoluments clause? there's only one way to implement the emoluments clause. that's to impeach the president. if he's in violation of that, that's the only remedy. that's like says you're going to -- you're going to -- you're going to pass legislation to implement the fact that he shouldn't -- to implement the laws against him peddling national security material, you know, to the belgians. >> right, right. well, here's the question, right, i mean, the -- it seems to me a legislative tactic that announces that the democrats are going to find ways to escalate on this as much as possible and keep pressure on the administration and i think the fact that the president-elect has now kicked the can down the road, obfuscated, tweeted about, canceled a press conference, did a whole bunch of different things shows they're at some level defensive about this. >> well, yeah, because there's no way around the emoluments
clause in this case. i mean, there just isn't, and handing your businesses to two people whose livelihoods depend on you that you happen to be related to is not the way to do it, all right? no one's going to buy that. i spent five years covering the massachusetts state legislature. none of those people would try this. >> i actually thought this quote today was amazing. i wanted to read it to you immediately. sean spicer defendi ining the conflicts of interest and explaining why they're not conflicts of interest. "you tell everyone here's what's going on, the process, here are the people playing a reole. conflict of interest arrives when you're not, when you're sneaky about it, shady about it, when you're not transparent about it." what he's saying if we do this in broad daylight and we say, yes, the president's kids are running his businesses, the interests conflict with the united states government at certain times in unspecified ways. as long as they say that, then it's not a conflict. >> that's right, and if we want
to sell yellowstone to gazprom, as long as it's an open auction, we're okay with it. i think this is crazy. this is completely nuts. >> well, and it's funny you make that example, right, sell yellowstone to gazprom because part of the problem here, you know, so much of this is behind the cloak of the corporate structure that they have, it is from the outside going to be very hard to penetrate and know exactly what's happening which is precisely why spicer's own standard is there's no way they're going to meet even the standard that spicer is laying out. >> yeah, that's a very good point, actually. they're not going to do that, either. he has decided, and i think he decided this in, you know, there's to reason why he shouldn't have decided this, when he was allowed to run for president without releasing his tax returns. there's nobody out there who can make me do anything. and there are limited things you can do -- there are limited vehicles for which you can make any president once he's sworn in
do something. >> it's funny that you said king lear. i have this thought when you look at the photos of the meeting in trump tower and the camera that's in the lobby of trump tower that what has been set up in a month is something that looks much more like a king's court than anything i've seen in sort of democratic culture. the whole idea is you come, get an audience with the king, you kind of come before him and flatter him and try to find your way to his heart and maybe he's mercurial one day or merciful the next or maybe through the, you know, through the affection of his daughter, you can get him to care about climate change. it has this sort of monarchial quality. does it strike you the same way? >> absolutely. he's created his own royal court around himself. and it's what authoritarians do, whether they want to wear a crown or not, that's what they do. you know, the presidency is uniquely vulnerable to the impulse of the cordiers and this
guy has spent most of his adult life surrounded by cordiers including the ones he, himself, has bred. that looks very similar to me. i would point out if we're going to extend the king looer analogy, this week there's absolutely no question mitt romney is the full. >> charlie pierce, bring the shakespeare. thank you very much. >> thank you. still to come, facing an incoming democratic governor, republican lawmakers in north carolina are moving to strip the power of the governor's office before he's sworn in. that absolutely unbelievable story is coming up. ♪ see ya next year. this season, start a new tradition. experience the power of infiniti now, with leases starting at $319 a month. infiniti. empower the drive.
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carolina. the gop-controlled legislature making a brazen push to sharply reduce the power of the new governor democrat roy cooper before he even takes office. a move comes after republicans spent weeks contesting cooper's narrow victim aory over republi pat mccrory, basically claiming widespread voter fraud. once mccrory conceded republicans took a new tact, republican lawmakers introducing measures to end the governor's control over election boards, to require state senate approval of the new governor's cabinet members and to strip his power to appoint university of north carolina trustees among many other measures. >> i believe that laws passed by the legislature hurt working families and are unconstitutional. they will see me in court. and they don't have a very good track repocord there. >> that is certainly true. republicans only have the power
to push the changes through because they have a supermajority in both houses which they've been able to hold onto because of the way they drew the state's legislative districts. earlier this year a court ruled north carolina's districts are, "racially gerrymandered and unconstitutional as such." while the districts are being redrawn, new elections won't come until next year. earlier this year the courts also struck down north carolina's gop-imposed voting restrictions as racially discriminatory. concluding the new measures "target african-americans with almost surgical precision." that's the court writing. republican-controlled county election boards implemented much of law, anyway, but things were about to change because under new governor roy cooper, those county election boards which republicans had used to push their agenda, were set to turn democratic. and so in their special session yesterday in just one example of their unprecedented power grab, republicans put forth legislation to prevent those boards from falling under democratic control. joining me now, north carolina democratic congressman david price, and congressman, i was
seeing folks in north carolina tweeting about this last night. i was reading some of the coverage and reporters i follow. this was -- this was shockingly brazen by the republicans in your state. >> brazen is the right word. i have never seen anything like it in my political lifetime. this is a power grab that is just unbelievable, and it's really an attempt to reverse an election that they lost. the last time we talked, we were fearful that republicans might find a way to take the governor's election into the general assembly. now they're attempting something like that result with an attempt to deny the governor, the duly elected governor, a whole range of powers. it's one thing after another. it's audacious and we've just never seen anything like it. >> yeah, just so folks are sort of familiar with the timeline here, your state has been under essentially one-party rule with supermajorities in both houses.
it's given republicans essentially cart blanche. they passed a raft of r legislation, postally unpopular, probably the reason mccrory lost, some struck down by the courts including the way they drew their districts. after losing the gubernatorial election, they called a special session. what is a special session? >> a special session is pretty much like a lame duck session in the u.s. congress. it's called for the outgoing legislature to meet in the interim period between the election and the inauguration of the new governor and swearing in of the new legislature. there was a reason for a special session to be called in we needed to vote for disaster relief, state-level disaster relief to complement what we got at the federal level. what is unpress decedenunpreced is tacking onto that this additional special session which no notice was given. i mean, it was a very, very quick thing. a matter of a few hours. the legislature announced they'd
be having an additional special session and that this one was going to be aimed at a whole raft of efforts to reduce the governor's powers. >> wait, did i hear that correct, you said a couple of hours? held a special session, everyone knew there was going to be this disaster relief and said in a few hours we're going to vote on a bunch of stuff to essentially strip huge swaths of power away from the governor? >> absolutely. everything we're talking about here happened in the last 48 hours, to be generous, and this is a pattern. the -- the decision to deny medicaid to half a million people early on in this legislature's history, the voter suppression laws that you're talking about. the extreme gerrymandering that you're talking about. all of these things were done with very, verylittle, if any, public notice, no hearings, no deliberation. and in the middle of the night, all of a sudden you have this massive legislation and the most
recent example is the notorious hb2 which as you say the voters very strongly reacted against. in fact, you can argue that the reason mccrory lost where republicans were winning elsewhere on the ticket, governor mccrory lost because i think people did see it as a referendum. see the election as a referendum on this state's sharp right turn. so here they do it again. there's been no discussion of this. no deliberation. no consideration of the consequences. no hearing from the effected parties. we're just presented with, i don't know, something like 20 bills. who knows which ones they're going to take seriously. you'd say this is like a banana republic except that would insult banana republics. >> you got, i mean, to me, what's so striking, there's all these powers that adhere to the governor of the state of north carolina, part of what the governor has the power to do, not some broad dictatorial powers, he appoints seats on the election boards and the counties. he appoints trustees to the
university. those were, i just want to be clear, those were powers that the republican governor, pat mccrory, had, and there was no debate in the state those were ridiculous powers for the governor to have, right? >> no, we're talking about the trustees for the components of the state university system. we're talking about the state board of education. i tell you, it's even worse than that because four years ago when pat mccrory came in, this legislature increased the number of 7 positions subject to his appointment. that is outside of -- >> wait, when they come in, they say, you know what, we republicans believe this governor, the governor should have more power and increased the number of positions he can appoint and then after he loses and a democrat is going to come in, they call a special session within a matter of hours to restrict the number of people he can appoint? >> yeah, that's exactly right. they increase from about 500 to 1,500 the number of appointments he could make on a political basis. now in this special session,
they cut that back to 300. which is the lowest it's been in modern time. and they expect, i guess, voters to accept that. >> that -- >> plus all these other appointments you're talking about plus the distorting of the boards of elections. they're going to -- that, i think, you can say is an attempt to continue to give republicans a veto power on voter suppression. >> that's right. i think that will probably end up with a pretty good case in court. representative david price, thanks for your time tonight. appreciate it. >> thanks so much. still ahead, democratic resistance in the trump era. why some are calling for the party to, i'm quoting, fight like republicans. i'll talk to two people making that argument coming up. plus trump gets baited by a bad review. that's tonight's "thing one, thing two" which starts right after this break. for adults with advanced non-small cell lung cancer
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thing one in the twitter feed of president-elect today, nestled between pretty standard tweets about visitors to trump tower and his person of year awards, a tweet that read "has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of "vanity fair" magazine? way down. big trouble. dead. graden carter, no talent. will be out." so what would have prompted that sudden ad homonem attack on the media? that's thing two in 60 seconds. and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension,
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morning? despite his feud with graydon carter, named trump the short-fingered vulgarian 25 years ago, "trump grill could be the worst restaurant in america" which notes "the allure of trump's restaurant like the candidate is that it seems like a cheap version of rich." the review is, well, brutal. while trump in the lobby of trump tower says it offers classic american cuisine in an elegant and relaxed setting, when vanity fair reporter visited she was offered flaccid gray dumplings with flaccid iners. the crustini served with hummus and ricotta that should never be combined. the steak mele be an ugly string of fat through it. the cheeseburger tastes like an msg flavor ed flavored kitchen lodged between two other
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big news today in the increasingly high-stakes battle to run the democratic party in the age of trump. the weekend of february 24th of next year, a month into trump's presidency, members of the democratic national committee will choose a new chairperson. the latest person to announce he's running for that position is u.s. labor secretary tom perez saying today "i'm in this race because i really believe this is one of those where were you moments in our nation's journey." perez, the son of dominican immigrants who helped work his way through college as a garbage collector is well liked within the democratic party. one time he was viewed as a potential running mate for hillary clinton. he was a clinton surrogate during the campaign. according to reporting by the "associated press," perez was encouraged to mount a bid for dnc chair by the white house. the reason that is so important because the early odds-on favorite for dnc chair has been representative keith ellison who said he would resign from
congress should he win. ellison endorsed bernie sanders, one of very few members of congress to do so. sanders has thrown his support behind ellison for the dnc position. ellison received the backing of incoming democratic senate leader chuck schumer. south carolina's party leader jamie harrison and new hampshire's party leader ray buckley have both announced their respective bids to run for dnc chair, ellison and perez are the front-runners meaning the race to head the dnc could be a proxy battle to those loyal to bernie sanders and to president obama. they need a fight just one that does not seem to be a continuation of the primaries.
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show more of you. on one level democrats are in their weakest position nationally in recent memory. they lost the white house and failed to earn either chambers of congress. and just 17 democratic governors nationwide. but what makes this moment so odd politically is that on the other level the incoming republican president is extremely weak himself. donald trump's favorability is lower than any president in modern polling. he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, 2 percentage points. and there's a cia investigation that the russians hacked to help him win. how would republicans be acting if the shoe was on the other foot? peter daou said if trump had won by 3 million votes, lost the electoral college and been hacked by russia, they would have shut down america. "buck up and fight like
republicans." what do you mean by that? >> pretty much just what you said, chris. i think that what we've learned in this election is that, when republicans win, they act like they won. and when republicans lose they act like they won. and democrats kind of vice versa. and this is an astonishing moment. i think you have to preface it by saying this is an existential crisis. and democrats have shown very little leadership in terms of fighting, just taking to the streets, filing lawsuits, suiting up and, you know, bringing even crazy, wacky claims. we're just not seeing it from the leadership. >> so david, you and dahlia wrote this together. how would you operationalize this? >> there are a lot of different theories that have been put out there about winner take all in the states violating basic constitutional protections, but
also just attempts to try to get the electors to switch their vote. they don't vote until monday. that's what really matters. when the founding fathers created the electoral college, they put in it place as a failsafe against a demagogue like donald trump. so the electors could be doing their patriotic duty on monday by voting against trump and we could have the democratic party leaders out there urging them to do so but they've been silent. >> right. so this is clear that the ap did a canvas of them and the vast majority are going to vote for the person they're pledged to, but here's my concern. let's say you took the approach that this is fundamentally not a legitimate result, this man is a demagogue a threat to liberal democracy, he has to be stopped. you have reported on the courts, you reported on politics. you saw what happened with merrick garland who sat there for 300 days and never confirmed in what was a sort of brazen violation of previous norms. if democrats were to act like you want them to, wouldn't they
just be complicit in a kind of institutional race to the bottom in which we start tugging even more violently at whatever remaining strands there are holding the howhole thing together? >> nobody disputes that, chris. nobody disputes that this is, at this point, a race to the bottom. but i just want to suggest that we on the left in this country do feel like we're constrained by law, we're constrained by norms, that the law is a sort of system that helps all of us be our best and i think when the other side is radically unconstrained, things like what you're seeing in north carolina where the law is just something to be sort of delicately stepped over and ignored, then to not engage at that level is, you know, to basically just, you know, hold out a cupcake in a knife fight. we're just not for that. >> this is an argument for like almost nietzschian level.
basically the law is just a fancy way of exercising will to power. it's the way that we dress up the eternal struggle over resources between different political tribes the and democrats have to understand they need to use the law that way, too. >> well, i mean, you have to keep in mind here. we wouldn't be making this argument if mitt romney won in 2012 or mccain in 2008. this is a particular threat to our constitutional democracy that donald trump poses. right now democrats are engaged in a game where republicans are engaged in a war. and it's not a symmetrical battle. they're against all norms, against all basic precepts of good government. they need to be fighting. i'm not saying they need to go to the bottom, but they need to get in the trenches and really think about wacky theories that might not work. back in 2000, the supreme court
adopted to anoint george bush the president, no one thought that was going to win. the supreme court said you can't use this again because it's so preposterous. democrats would be trying that right now. >> that line in bush v. gore is the most in legal reasoning where they say our equal protection finding is only good for one time only and the ticket has just been punched. so that's an interesting idea, right, david, that david's saying about, you look, there's nothing saying what legal theories are constraining and in some ways the democrats have to sort of step out of the kind of conceptual blinders they have and say, oh, that's ridiculous, no one will ever go for that. who knows? maybe you should bring a lawsuit that the winner takes all and the electoral vote is a violation of the constitution. >> i covered the supreme court. we've seen some of the strangest most off the wall legal theories
kofd up like a hairball to challenge obamacare. these suits sometimes prevail. nobody is arguing, certainly david and i are not arguing for lawlessness or nihilism. we're saying let's just try, fight and try. >> that the law should be a tool in the arsenal and that democrats, liberals, other folks who are resistant to donald trump should be thinking as expansively as possible about how to use that as a tool to resist. >> right. absolutely. one of the great things president obama has done to the extent that he's been able to is fill the courts with some good liberals who will push the law in that direction. and that's not going to change immediately when trump becomes president. so there's going to be courts out there in this country who are going to be willing to accept progressive legal ideas and need to be battling in the courts and using those new judges to accomplish that.
>> all right. thank you for your time tonight. i really found the op-ed fascinating. thank you. >> thank you. >> that is "all in" for this evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. happy thursday. thanks for being with us. thanks for joining us for the hour. all right. here's a story. do you remember 1999 new year's eve? when the 1900s turned into the 2000s and we went from december '99 to january '00, there was a big freakout in this country and a lot of countries around the world about the y2k problem. remember that? computers and all sort of electronics kept dates in this format and we were all very worried -- in the format of, you know, two digits for the day, two digits for the month, two digits for the year and we're all very worried that when those electronics of all kinds over the world flipped