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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  December 20, 2017 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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>> buckle up. tons of news unfolding tonight. big news in washington today was republicans celebrating the passage of the only significant legislation they have passed since they took control of the house and senate and white house back in january. this is the only major legislation they have passed but it is a doozy. you know the top line results already. this tax bill will add $1.5 trillion to the debt, deliver over 80% of its tax benefits to the wealthiest 1% of the country. in the end it actually raises taxes on a majority of americans starting at the bottom of the income spectrum. we knew that going into the dead of night party line vote. but now that they've passed the thing, some of what is happening
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comes into sharp release. the largest banking getting a huge windfall. goldman sachs is forecasting that seven largest banks increase earnings by 14%. when you're a multibillion-dollar enterprise, 14% is a metric freak ton of money. for a variety of reasons known only to republicans who wrote this bill in comfort of the cloak room with consultations only with closest best friends, bank wells fargo is expected to make out even better. wells made itself famous last year for their stock scheme where executives tried to rig the bank's stock price by making it look like the bank was growing faster than it was. scheme was they pressured low level employees to get customers of the bank to open multiple
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accounts they didn't want and didn't need. in millions of cases the bank opened those accounts and opened up credit cards in their customers' names without even telling them. that scheme totally messed with their customers for obvious reasons but it worked to rig the bank's stock price. so the executives with all the stock options who came up with the scheme, they personally made out like bandits, made hundreds of millions of dollars for themselves personally. and then when they got caught responded by firing the lower level employees who carried out the scheme for them. canned thousands of their front line, low level, lowest paid people. ultimately the consumer financial protection bureau is part of how wells got nailed for that and their ceo had to resign and pay gigantic fines and fees and they had to apologize. but that was then. now the trump administration has taken over the consumer
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financial protection bureau, put one of their own guys in charge who says the agency should not exist. and wells is due to get one of the biggest windfalls of all out of the republican tax bill. other six biggest banks in the country getting average 14% earnings increase due to this bill. wells is expected to get 18%. gajillions of dollars. biggest telecom companies also expected to get bathed in money due to this bill. they're due to get what's being described as, quote, an enormous boost from this bill. yes, we are owned by comcast. comcast said today they'd give lots of employees a thousand dollars bonus thanks to the tax bill. wells said they would start paying minimum wage to lowest
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paid employees. when companies come up with ideas for the money that was just dumbed on them, that's how you know it's a huge amount of money dumped on them. effects of the tax bill started to reverberate as wealthiest people and corporate corporations in this country started to literally scramble to figure out how to handle the money. when your taxes go up, take comfort that's what you're paying for, giving telecom companies and the biggest banks in the country a really embarrassing amount of money to explain away. talking about that tonight. there are a handful of immediate questions that have to get answered in short order now this thing has passed. on health care, they really did just pass something that's going to gut obamacare and throw 13
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million americans off of health insurance and is expected to spike everybody's premiums by next year. that's 11 days away. remember how they said going to repeal and replace obamacare? they did repeal the core of it with this tax bill. but replaced it with absolutely nothing. so it's now a very urgent question, are they going to leave it like that? is there any plan at all for dealing with that? susan collins of maine took lots of heat for her agreeing to vote yes on the tax bill for partly in exchange for republicans making her promises about things they'd do on health care. senator collins was angry, saying people were sexist and condescending toward her when repeatedly questioning whether or not she would get what was promised in exchange for her vote. today she conceded she's not going to get the healthcare provisions she was promised in exchange for her vote.
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she at least won't get them any time soon. maybe she'll get them next year. so that's what's become already of the deal she made to explain voting yes. on the substance of it, really does seem they're just going to blow up the health care system and not do anything to try to remedy what they're doing or protect people. either the millions of americans will lose their insurance coverage or tens of millions will see premiums go up. not everyone made explicit deals like collins did, but if you believed that republicans wanted to replace obamacare with another idea about health care, you were played. their plan is throw millions off all health insurance and then just enjoy the view. should also tell you on new year's day, 11 days from now, 7,000 kids in alabama are about to lose their health insurance that day. also because of congress.
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in one state of alabama, 7,000 kids will get thrown off insurance in 11 days. by the end of january, 84,000 kids in alabama. another 68,000 kids in virginia. another 17,000 kids in connecticut, all kids who have health insurance right now because of a wildly successful, wildly popular federal program called c.h.i.p. covers 9 million kids nationwide. republican-controlled congress basically forgot to renew it when it expired in september. they kept saying we're going to get around to it. but states are going to start cutting kids off, even in middle of cancer treatments and other medical interventions, cut off en masse. republicans decided to do the tax thing instead of re-upping the c.h.i.p. program which nobody admits to being against. they've been putting it off and putting it off but it's now been
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80 days that they've been putting it off and we are now less than two weeks away from thousands of kids in a whole bunch of states all across the country all being taken off coverage all at once altogether, for no reason. and one other thing to keep an eye on in the wake of this massive tax bill passing, keep an eye on puerto rico, as you know, still recovering, trying to recover from hurricane maria. 35% of the island is heading into christmas with still no power. you'll remember that the hurricane hit back in september. today the army corps said some towns in puerto rico they don't expect to get power to at all until at least may. may. that means some people, american citizens in puerto rico, are told to expect eight months without power minimum. this week the governor of puerto rico made news when he said he would direct an effort to reassess the death toll.
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officially it's well below 100. but expert observers are starting to arrive at a more or less consensus view that the real death toll in puerto rico is probably over a thousand people. so things really are still ongoing disaster for more than 3 million american citizens who live in puerto rico. in addition to that, thanks to what happened in washington, today, they've also got this tax bill shiving them as well. the tax bill, believe it or not, it did not get a lot of attention before it was passed, but the tax bill goes out of its way to change the law so that puerto rico specifically starts being treated as a foreign country and penalized as such for tax purposes. if puerto rico was a foreign country, they would have their own president who would have probably helped them recover from the hurricane more than the american president did. but they've only got the american president because
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they're not their own country. now the trump administration is slapping them with punitive 12.5% tax for being a foreign place. which they're not. now puerto rico's governor has been criticized over the last few months for being in some people's eyes too friendly to president trump and the trump administration during the storm and the storm response. but puerto rico's governor is now vowing revenge for what the tax bill does to puerto rico, saying what the republicans just did to puerto rico in this tax bill is going to kill off any chance that puerto rico has of coming back after the hurricane. he's apparently really mad about it. he said his office is starting to catalogue the diaspora of americans of puerto rican origin living in mainland united states and wants to organize a revenge vote against republicans for
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what republicans have done this year to puerto rico. governor says by his numbers, he thinks the puerto rican diaspora has it within their power to vote republicans out of congress in 14 different states. he says watch out in florida in particular. republicans say they expect that they may have to pass a few fixes to this bill once it gets signed and put into law. there are a lot of contenders for what they should start with. so this has been a very big news day. this will go down as a landmark day in the early history of the trump administration. this is the first significant legislate they've passed. the thing they passed is a very big deal. in just a few minutes talking about one of the other immediate questions it raises. which is -- almost hard to believe -- this is the biggest change to the tax code in 30 years. previously we've had gigantic changes to the tax code, it's
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been worked on for months if not more than a year. always, always previously been a bipartisan effort, always been big lead time in terms of getting the irs rules into effect and localities lined up with the new rules so it can go into effect smoothly. in this case republicans got it done in six weeks with no hearings, no expert testimony, no democratic votes and advanced planning and now they want it to go into effect in less than two weeks from now, fully. that is likely impossible given that even they don't seem to know what's in it. but that effort to try to not just get this done fast but put it into effect immediately with no lead time first of the year for january 1st, going to cause practical chaos at every business in america and every city and town across the country right away. their failure to plan for how to put this thing into effect was something that people didn't want to focus on when it wasn't
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clear it would pass, but now it's passed, it's clear that's going to be a real problem right away. so we're going to have the lat s latest on that in just a few minutes. that may become one of the big implications of what they've just done, immediate implications. so all of that unfolding in the wake of what republicans see as their big accomplishment. here's the other thing that going on tonight in washington which i also feel we need to have a heads up about. tonight a couple of hours ago, kyle cheney and john bresnahan at politico.com broke the news there's a working group of republicans in congress using documents obtained by intelligence committee about the russians and trump and the attack. the secret subset of republican members of congress has been meeting at the capitol for weeks and secretly using the material, including the classified material obtained in the russia
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investigation, but they've been using that material for something else. they've been running their own secret working group that is designed to show that the fbi is corrupt and criminal and can't be believed when it comes to investigating the russia scandal. quote, a subset of republican members of the house intelligence cht led by chairman devyn nunes of california has been quietly working parallel into to the high profile inquiry into russian meddling in 2016 presidential election. they haven't informed democrats
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about their plans. quote, gathering secretly for weeks in the capital, relying on the same documents and testimony provided by top officials grilled as part of the broader probe. hopes to build a case that senior members of the justice department and fbi improperly and perhaps criminally mishandled the contents of the dossier that alleges ties between the president and russia. that final product could be used by republicans to discredit special counsel robert mueller's investigation or possibly even to justify his dismissal. they've been secretly working on this for how long? using what materials obtained for what purpose? i mean, this is really how it works. it would seem unlikely in the abstract but we're seeing it happen. this is how it works. people on the fox news channel say that robert mueller should be fired. republicans start saying robert mueller should be fired. hosts on the fox news channel start saying that fbi is a criminal investigation, not only fired but arrested and marched out in handcuffs. and everybody laughs about the extremity of that and say what
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is becoming of fox news? they're getting a little loose in the gators, but then republicans in washington start secretly working on a plan to accuse the fbi of criminal behavior and assessing the intelligence about connections between donald trump and russia. it sounds nuts but they really are working on it. and you know, think it's worth saying and remarking on humbly, that really have been seeing red flags pop all over the place in recent days. increasingly since mike flynn pled guilty and we learned he was cooperating with mueller's investigators two and a half weeks ago, a lot of red flags flowing, increasingly anti-fbi, anti-robert mueller fever pitch white house officials saying things like "the fix is in" against the president when it
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comes to the special counsel investigation. we saw it last night when republicans in house and senate had spent days implying that fbi deputy director would be or should be fired before his testimony in congress yesterday, and deputy director andrew mccabe showed up for testimony behind closed doors midday and by the time we got off the air, still wasn't out of there. today we saw another flag fly when fox news produced its exclusive story based on leaks from mccabe's closed door testimony and it didn't end until 10 p.m. and that store sneered, just sneered throughout over how mccabe seemed friendly to the democratic members of that committee while he was testifying. friendly. there's been red flags flying. something is going on. but we knew for sure something was going on this afternoon when senator mark warner, vice chair of the senate intelligence committee, got up in senate today and gave a major speech which sounded a major warning. >> over the last several weeks,
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a growing chorus of irresponsible and reckless voices have called for president trump to shut down special counsel mueller's investigation. at first these calls came from the fringes of our political discourse, those who would refuse to put our country and our security before base political instincts. earlier this year, many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle were right to push back on these misdirected calls and urge that special counsel be allowed to do his job without interference. however, in recent weeks those voices seem to be growing in stridency and volume. just this weekend one major news organization suggested that special counsel mueller could be involved in a coup against the president.
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one senior adviser at the white house has now outrageously alleged that the fix was in against donald trump from the beginning. beyond being irresponsible, the seemingly coordinated nature of these claims should alarm us all. particularly since in recent days these baseless accusations have been repeated by several members of the house of representatives. i believe it is up to every member of this institution, republican or democrat, to make a clear and unambiguous statement that any attempt by this president to remove special counsel mueller from his position or to pardon key witnesses in any effort to shield them from accountability or shut down the investigation would be a gross abuse of power and a flagrant violation of
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executive branch responsibilities and authorities. these truly are red lines and simply cannot allow them to be crossed. the fbi is responsible for determining any criminal activities related to this inquiry. as such mueller has moved to indict two individuals and negotiated two additional guilty pleas. there is an investigative path -- this is an investigative path reserved solely for law enforcement. and it is essential that it be permitted go on unimpeded. congress must make clear to the president that firing the special counsel or interfering with his investigation by
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issuing pardons of essential witnesses is unacceptable. and would have immediate and significant consequences. i hope my concerns are unfounded. in many ways, i hoped i would never have to make this kind of speech. but there are troubling signs. it is critical that all of us, as elected officials, and as citizens, speak up against these threats now before it's too late. >> why is he worried it might soon be too late? we don't know why senator warner chose to issue this warning today in this major speech. we don't know if something specific sparked it. we contacted senator warner's office to try to get comments on the motivation and what he means by "before it's too late", and senator warner's office gave us
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bumkis, didn't tell us anything. nobody ever does. but something is going on. something led him to believe he had to give this speech today, warning it's going to be too late. tomorrow or friday we believe that the president's lawyers on the russian scandal are due to sit down with robert mueller and his team. friday they're sending staff to new york city to interview donald trump's long-time assistant in the trump organization in new york. apparently he's willing to come to d.c. to do the interview where members could sit in, but republicans instead are insisting on sending staff to new york city to do the
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interview there instead. nobody is sure why. now we know a subset of republicans has been using resources obtained by the supposed russia investigation including classified information running a parallel working group designed to i indict the fbi, claim that fbi is a bunch of criminals. something going on clearly. lot of people involved seem to know what it is. say that because so many warning red flags flying right now, starting to seem like may day in moscow. coming up next, senior who might know what is going on and why people are sounding all these warnings. that's next.
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i mentioned a moment ago this new report tonight from politico.com that there is a secret working group of republican members of congress using documents obtained by the house intelligence committee's russia investigation to instead
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conduct their own secret, republicans-only investigation. led by house intelligence chairman devin nunes, the point of it according to reporting is that these republicans want to build a case that justice department and fbi mishandled, perhaps criminally mishandled the trump russia dossier. reportedly they hope to release a report soon that republicans can use to undermine the special counsel investigation or even get robert mueller fired. top democrats on the committee hadn't known this was going on inside the committee using the documents obtained for the russian investigation. adam schiff telling politico, i think what we're seeing is effort to attack the department of justice, the fbi and robert mueller, undermine the institutions out of fear of what they will find, to try to discredit them in advance. it is a pernicious thing to do
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that will ultimately inflict long-term damage on these institutions. joining us now is adam schiff, democrat of california. thanks for being here. nice to see you. >> thanks, rachel. >> have you spoken to the republicans on your committee, chairman nunes in particular, about what is reported on politico? secret, parallel, under the radar investigation for weeks apparently? >> i have no talked to him since it came out. but i should say this, i've been aware of a particular working group that crosses different committees dedicated to doing these things. but i've been aware of a couple of things for a long time that we've raised alarm bells about and i think we need to raise them more fully at this point. rather than focus on the russian intervention and election and issues between the trump
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campaign and elections, chairman and others in the committee were focused instead on trying to build a case that obama administration was illegally wiretapping the trump administration or were illegally unmasking people. when they found nothing there, moved on to try to discredit christopher steele and the fbi and we're seeing intensification of that effort. i think it's driven by the idea if they can discredit the dossier and christopher steele, that somehow they can make the russia investigation go away or impeach the results that bob mueller comes up with, regardless of whether it has nothing to do with the dossier. i will say this to underscore what my colleague mark warner said, this is a precarious moment for our democracy with two categories of republican members of congress, one saying and acting the part that if this investigation gets too close to
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threatening either the president or our majority and our chairmanships, we're prepared to burn down the house. and a second category of republicans who are standing mute while they do it. and that makes it a very precarious situation. i think these attacks on the institutions, these attacks on bob mueller, which are completely unfounded, really threaten to do incalculable and long-term damage to the whole administration of justice in this country. >> can i ask you a technical question about how these things work? intelligence committee is different than other committees in congress. you're allowed access to
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sensitive and secret information, you have special procedures and physical facilities for handling information. you work closely with the intelligence community and various agencies and members of the intelligence committee, being a member comes with extra prestige because of that, entrusted with that high level information. are members of the committee allowed to take materials, including the classified materials that you obtained for the purposes of the russia investigation and instead secretly start using them for something else entirely that they do without informing the rest of you? >> well, you certainly can't take any classified materials outside of the skiv, the classified space, unless specific procedures are in place and taking to another classified setting and done following specific protocols. and you can't take them from committee and share with members of the other committees.
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we have to have a vote whether to allow other committee members to come into our scif and view materials. whether people on the committee that view classified information can use it for other purposes, if we're doing investigation and uncover things that concern us about performance of agencies, yes that can be considered. the problem here is not that gop members came across information of a certain ilk but rather there's been a concerted effort from the very beginning to try to build a case, any case, against mueller, the fbi and the department of justice. much of our leadership unfortunately has never stopped being a surrogate for the white house. we had that problem at beginning of the investigation when chairman went on midnight run to the white house. but that problem has continued and taken different forms after that white house incident, then had an effort to basically focus on unmasking. after that was unsuccessful,
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effort now to focus on discrediting the fbi and christopher steele and bob mueller. but constitutional crisis this can bring about is administration is encouraged by this. watching that spectacle in the judiciary committee and listening to republican members talk about a coup and criminal activity in the fbi, that will encourage the president to think that he can fire mueller with impunity or perhaps more pernicious from my point of view, fire rod rosenstein, put somebody in place to tell bob mueller privately you cannot look into these issues, you cannot follow the money, you cannot consider or investigate whether the russians laundered money through the trump organization, guaranteed loans for the trump organization, you cannot look at any things that could provide leverage over this president by the russians. >> i know time is short, i have one last question to ask you which i'm pretty sure you can't answer but going to try anyway. it's about these reports that your committee is planning on
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interviewing rona graf, long time assistant at trump organization and felix seder, ex-con, mob associated and involved in the secret plan to build trump tower moscow in the campaign, said the real estate project would be to getting -- would result in trump getting elected. it's been reported one or more of those would be happening in new york city as opposed to washington, which i can't figure out. can you confirm and tell us why they're happening in new york if that's the truth? >> i can't confirm to specific witnesses, but i can tell you this -- there are two witnesses that are very significant that we've asked to be brought before the committee for months thats majority has refused to invite before our committee. they did schedule one of them today while we had the tax vote, was scheduled to be interviewed out of state.
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that went forward against our protest. at a time when we were here voting on the tax bill and none of the members could participate. they have a second interview they've planned for out of state, another key witness we've asked for for months. why is this happening? they want to jam these in at the end of the year, they really don't want members to be present to hear what the witnesses have to say. it's part of an effort to close this down beginning in the new year, go through the motions of investigation when they're not particularly interested in what the witnesses can contribute in terms of information on the issue of collusion for example. they just want to shut it down and focus on discrediting bob mueller. >> congressman adam schiff, top
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democrat on the house intelligence committee. thanks for your time. >> thank you. >> lots still to get to. stay with us. ♪ turn up your swagger game with one a day men's. ♪ a complete multivitamin with key nutrients plus b vitamins for heart health. your one a day is showing.
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so the republicans celebrated the tax bill passing today. then tonight they had to announce that actually president trump might not sign it until next year. because oops, they didn't notice that this will start cutting medicare right away if he signs it now. they didn't notice that would happen before they passed it on a rush. now maybe he can't sign it. on top of that, tonight new warnings from sources about what else the republicans didn't notice before they passed this thing all in a rush, that might affect everybody's paycheck in the whole country in a bad way, starting with your next check. that story is next. ♪
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legislation that will dramatically affect the american economy, which is the largest economy in the world. this legislation will have at least some effect on the income and the wealth of every american. and republicans were in a real hurry to get it done. not because of external deadline or reason why they needed it to go so fast. honestly, i think most people would concede they were in a hurry to get it done to basically outrun the politics of this bill, which is wildly, wildly unpopular, the least popular major legislation to pass congress in three decades. here's another thing to know though, now they've passed it, going to keep going fast on it. practically every major piece of legislation ever passed by modern congress lead time built into it, several months to year from time it's passed to becoming law and goes into effect.
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the idea is to give public and government agencies and regulators and public officials, everyone involved and affected by new law a chance to get ready for a major change, particularly when it's complex. for example, when obamacare was signed, the full implication didn't kick in for years. pick any major new law on any major issue, and you'll find implementation dates are usually months after the final pass and of the bill. not what they're doing right now with this tax thing. republicans rushed not just to pass it but put it into effect. the week after next. and next week is christmas when traditionally not a lot gets done. republicans are aiming for full implementation of this thing as of 12 days from now. which could lead to all sorts of unpleasant surprises for ordinary americans who pay taxes. quote payroll companies are bracing for confusion as they figure out new withholding rules
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that will affect millions of american paychecks. american payroll association sent out this warning today saying, quote, putting something into effect a week after it's signed, i don't know how you could expect good results. one possibility is rushed, no lead time rollout of huge changes is it will end up a free-for-all for people who want to take advantage of the confusion, changes and complicated new loopholes for high end earners. for people who want to skate out on their taxes and avoid paying while everybody else is scrambling to figure out the complex changes, rushed rollout probably a criminal blessing. already a state of confusion in new york, new jersey and maryland, hard hit by the bill. whether property owners can pay next year's property taxes now before the end of the year to take resulting income tax deductions while they still can because will be curtailed.
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can they do that? what if states want to allow it? what is the mechanism for paying something not yet due. republicans slammed this with only republican votes, no expert testimony and no substantive hearings. but got it done and very happy about it. now it's on us. we've never as a country tried to do something this big affecting this much of our country with this many individual americans with this little planning and zero lead time. i'm sure it will be fine. bernie becker, tax reporter for politico.com. thanks for being here. appreciate it. >> thanks for being here. >> i know your sarcasm meter is working, when i say it will be fine, i don't mean it. you're better versed in tax stuff than i am, are you worried about initial confusion in the rollout? >> well, the irs has been up
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front saying they're not going to be able to have something ready by january 1st. so people can't expect change in paychecks until at least february. they have to figure out how much to withhold from everyone's checks. so we say january 1st is when this is going to start. there's going to be a lot of time for writing rules and that sort of thing. it's going to take a while. >> to be clear, just to put a finer point on that, republican argument for this has been, especially in discussion about how unpopular the bill is, they've been saying since it's clear it's going to pass, don't worry about it, poll numbers will go up, people will love it when they look at their pay stub next month, next pay stub and see how great they're going to do, democrats are arguing that regular people aren't going to do great. but you're saying, nothing is going to change in january, not even try until february? >> it takes too long to write the rules.
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what republicans would say, tax cuts in february is better than no tax cut at that time. this bill is unpopular right now but for them best chance they have is get tax cuts rolling as fast as they can. that's why they put the january 1st effective day. they want it happening as soon as they possibly can. >> in terms of warnings we're getting from people who administrator payroll and looking at that as portions of how the american wage economy are functionally managed, i don't envy people who are trying to figure this out on their own on behalf of a country they work for in terms of what people's brackets are and what their withholdings are. are the basic forms that people use for signing up for employment and fill out in terms of getting our wage income, are those going to change?
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do people who do payroll know how to do it yet? >> yeah. it is not a restful holiday i don't think. so, you know, that -- the form we use now isn't going to be operational but what we don't know yet is what the irs going to do about it and how long it's going to take them to do about it. the tax bill, there's no longer a personal exemption and sort of how we figure out withholding and they could decide 2018 roll with that. figure it out how we can and works out okay and then by 2019 have it in effect and we just passed that today and no word on what the irs will do on that. >> which would make sense not rolling it out until 2019 and since they are trying for 11 days from now, we'll see. bernie becker, tax reporter for politico.com, thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me. >> stay with us. ♪shostakovich playing
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from our family to yours... may all your wishes come true this holiday season.
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historically we're used to seeing this in times of crisis. it's called a bucket brigade. it's a pre-fire engine reference basically. if a fire broke out, people would form a human chain between the fire and nearest water source and pass water all the way down the line person to person all the way from the water source down to the source of the fire. really, though, today you get a super happy bucket brigade no fire and santa shows up. good cheer and great joy over people putting out the in this case proverbial political fire that they have all assembled to fix with this happiest of all bucket brigades. this happy store is next. stay with us. whoooo.
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going somewhere? here's some advice. tripadvisor now searches more... ...than 200 booking sites - to find the hotel you want and save you up to 30%. trust this bird's words. tripadvisor. was supposed to be a wake reup call for our government?sh people all across the country lost their savings, their pensions and their jobs. i'm tom steyer and it turned out that the system that had benefited people like me who are well off, was, in fact, stacked against everyone else. it's why i left my investment firm and resolved to use my savings for the public good. but here we are nine years later and this president and the republican congress are making a bad situation even worse. they won't tell you that their so called "tax reform" plan
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is really for the wealthy and big corporations, while hurting the middle class. it blows up the deficit and that means fewer investments in education, health care and job creation. it's up to all of us to stand up to this president. not just for impeachable offenses, but also to demand a country where everyone has a real chance to succeed. join us. your voice matters. last night we covered that nail biter of a recount in virginia where a democrat won a legislature race by one single vote. it was crazy watching that recount not least because in the november elections virginia democrats got more than 200,000 more votes than virginia republicans did on election night. democrats got more votes than republicans by 10%. but because of the way virginia districts are drawn to favor republicans, that huge
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democratic edge in voting statewide including that one-vote democratic margin in the one district yesterday, that still left democrats and republicans tied in terms of the number of seats they each controlled in the legislature. that's what we thought would happen after that one vote margin recount yesterday. but then today a recount official asked the three-judge panel certifying the race to reconsider one ballot. you can see a bubble filled in for the democrat and for the republican and then there's an additional mark through the bubble for the democrat. the judges looked at that and said, okay, that's a republican ballot. that means the democrat doesn't win and the race is a tie. virginia democrats say they're exploring the legal options. virginia republicans say, okay, okay, it's a tie. let's call it a tie and settle it by flipping a coin. it's a remarkable outcome, right? considering the democrats did get 200,000 more votes in the state for this election. even when democrats win big it's often not enough to overcome the
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partisan advantage that republicans built for republicans when they drew the districts. it's been true in virginia and true around the country and that's what makes this scene potentially very important around the country. these are hundreds of people in the rain forming a human chain to move 188 boxes off that truck and up the stairs into the michigan state bureau of elections. these are volunteers with voters not politicians. they're happy because inside those boxes are more than 400,000 signatures putting something on the ballot november that would change the way michigan draws its districts so they don't be partisan anymore. instead it's a 13-member bipartisan commission, republicans, democrats and independents. they've got 100,000 surplus signatures. there's no guarantee they'll make it on the ballot but they probably will. and if they get it on the ballot, i bet they'll win. what happened there in michigan, though, this effort, citizen-led volunteer-led effort to stop making districts a partisan thing, i think it's going to work in michigan. and i think that could end up
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blazing a trail for people in colorado, missouri, ohio, south dakota and utah. people all over the country who are trying to get on the ballot next november with initiatives that stop partisan drawing of districts. now time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." good evening, lawrence. >> good evening, rachel. it's doable stuff and it is so inspiring to watch them do that. i could watch that video you were showing of them just passing the box from one to another up that chain. that's just amazing to watch. >> yeah. and, you know, there was a guy filming it on facebook live and asked each people where are you from? where are you from? from every town imaginable all over michigan. people doing this. it was an entirely volunteer effort. totally nonpartisan and want it to be a technocratic good government thing. i find it inspiring and all good government stuff inspiring and making it work in michigan.

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