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tv   All In With Chris Hayes  MSNBC  November 18, 2016 8:00pm-9:01pm PST

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institutions that actually provide real news. >> and he wants to inokay late their efforts and fact check them before they begin. we're an out of time. i'm ari >> tonight on "all in." >> i'd get the best people and we'll do the right thing. >> trump starts naming his best people. like alabama senator jeff sessions, a lightning rod choice for attorney general. >> nobody is perfect. we can't have everything, can we, mr. trump? >> plus steve bannon breaks his silence. why trump's new white house senior adviser says darkness is good. breaking news from the trump university fraud lawsuit. and what a difference an election makes.
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>> mitt let us down. he let us down. >> mr. trump is a con man, a fake. >> he choked, like a dog he choked. >> a preview of tomorrow's trump/romney meeting. >> there are some things you just can't imagine happening in your life. this is one of them. >> "all in" starts right now. >> he choked. >> good evening from new york. i'm steve kornacki in for chris hayes tonight. donald trump making three major picks for his national security team. the head of the cia trump tapping representative mike pompeo, a kansas republican who serves on the house intelligence committee. former army officer who supports the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and opposing closing guantanamo bay. best known for his aggressive questioning during the benghazi hearings of hillary clinton, accusing her of failing to act when american lives were on the line. come payo has to be confirmed by the senate if he's going to take over the cia. on the other side there's no
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confirmation necessary when it comes to trump's pick for national security adviser, and that would be retired army general and trump loyalist michael flynn. he's the former head of the defense intelligence agency. earlier this year he claimed on twitter that, quote, near of muslims is rational. he also encouraged chants of lock her up directed at hillary clinton during the republican national convention in cleveland. now, multiple senior intelligence officials tell nbc news today that they have deep reservations about flynn, describing him as a hot head with an abusive leadership style. and that brings us to trump's choice for attorney general. that's alabama senator jeff sessions. he was an early supporter of donald trump in the presidential campaign. sessions is generally well liked by his senate colleagues. senate, of course, must confirm him for this position, but sessions did run into trouble 30 years ago back in 1986 when he was the united states attorney and nominated by reagan for a judgeship. accused of making racially insensitive comments.
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telling the committee that sessions had called him boy and had warned him, quote, to be careful what you say to white folks. what we're about to show you now is an nbc news report from that time, from the controversial sessions nomination battle back in 1986. this is reporter ken bodie, the date, march 17th, 1986. >> mr. sessions is a thoughback to a shameful era which i know both black and white americans thought was in our past. it's inconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a u.s. attorney let alone a united states federal judge. >> jefferson beauregard sessions iii, he was brought face-to-face with things he personally had said. for example, that the naacp and the civil liberties union are un-american organizations. >> these comments that you could say about county organization or something, i may have said
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something like that in a general way and this probably was wrong. >> also brought face-to-face with the justice department civil rights attorney who knows him well and who was asked, is sessions a racist? >> i don't really know whether he is or he isn't. i probably ought to know, but i don't. i really can't say. >> but the would-be judge's biggest problem came in a case he prosecuted and lost. a vote fraud case involving black civil rights leaders in perry county, alabama. defendants in the perry county case were albert and evelyn turner, political and civil rights leaders for more than 20 years. albert was an aide to martin luther king. their scrapbook has all the marches. >> this is bloody sunday. albert, you can see, that's him right there. >> albert turner guided the mules at dr. king's funeral. the federal government charged the turners with doctors absentee ballots, vote fraud and mail fraud. >> my own opinions is that the case is political. i actually don't think jeff session and them came in with an
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ounce of evidence. >> blacks charge harassment by u.s. attorney jeff sessions, noting there was no investigation of white vote fraud. the justice department says it had no complaints about white vote fraud. jack drake a tuscaloosa civil rights attorney says they might have found plenty of white vote fraud had they looked for it. >> i'm seeing letters from the concerned citizens of sumter county saying we know you don't live here anymore, but we want you to vote here. >> that the federal government got involved in a local struggle over the courthouse. >> i think the motivation came from the whites who live there who are really desperate when they start to think about losing control of the county courthouse. >> the original complaint came two years earlier from the local district attorney. >> i gave them my preliminary investigative report and advised them of the situation here and asked for their assistance. >> roy johnson showed us the original impounded ballots. he said the turners changed the ballots.
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>> ballots were changed from the way people cast them. >> johnson turned it over to jeff sessions and asked the u.s. attorney to monitor the 1984 primary election. >> i told him basically what i just outlined, that we had sheer fraud here in the balloting process in the county. >> some blacks whose absentee ballots were changed were bused to mobile to testify. everything went smoothly. others say they were terrified. >> i don't believe those people who were carried to mobile in that bus will ever vote again. >> the case was tried last summer. albert and evelyn turner were found not guilty. jeff sessions declined to talk to the news but his friends and supporters told us he's not a racist and the just department says sessions had a good case. jack drake disagrees. >> i don't think the government had a case. the impetus was to keep blacks from voting, to intimidate people.
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>> albert turner does not want jeff sessions on the federal bench. >> a man like jeff sessions will be there for such a long period of time. and i honestly think that he'll be in the way of progress in this area for quite a while. >> i believe a disgrace to the justice department and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position. >> that's an nbc news piece from march 17, 1986, ken bodie reporting there. jeff sessions was ultimately rejected in that battle for the federal judgeship by the senate judiciary committee. at the time that committee was ruled by republicans. years later will he face similar opposition as he tries to become the attorney general of the united states? joining me now from the trump national golf club in new jersey, that's where trump's transition team is now holding its meetings, nbc news correspondent hallie jackson. 30 years ago jeff sessions could not get his nomination confirmed
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by the senate. he then went years later, got elected to the senate. now he'll have to go back in front of the senate for confirmation again. is there reason to believe he could be in trouble like he was three decades ago? >> frankly, steve, not particularly. let me explain why. given the rules of the senate jeff sessions would need 51 votes in order to move forward with this confirmation. republicans have 52 seats. there aren't any republicans who have come out against his confirmation. you got to start with the judiciary committee, right? all the republicans on that committee have come out today in support of senator sessions. you have not just the republicans who you would think would support jeff sessions but you have blake backing sessions. somebody like joe manchin from west virginia, a democrat coming out in support of sessions. susan collins, more moderate, coming out in support of sessions. there's not a lot of reason to believe that he'll have a ton of difficulty getting through this confirmation process.
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will he be asked difficult questions? likely. there's one source on capitol hill who told my colleague frank gore who covers the hill in his day job, given the past, the history that you just played in that piece from 1986, how is this person, how is jeff sessions is supposed to try to heal the nation's racial divide as the nation's top law enforcement official? i think that's a very real question that will come up. ultimately, though, it appears when you look at the numbers that sessions will be able to get through this process. the big question is what happens when it becomes attorney general jeff sessions? how does that inform not just policies for the united states, his immigration position, how does that inform some stances there? but what kind of influence does he have on president-elect trump who will then be president trump? how much of a vocal voice will sessions be in donald trump's cabinet? he's been, as you mentioned, one of his most loyal supporters, loyal and vocal surrogates. he was the first senator to come
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out and back donald trump. we saw him all the time on the campaign trail. how does that influence come to play out come january 20th? >> hallie jackson down there in bedminster, new jersey. thank you to both of you for joining us. so two sides of this question here i want to talk to you, matt, first of all, on the side supporting jeff sessions. so hallie jackson just answered the will he be confirmed question. it looks like the answer is likely to be yes there. let's tackle the question of should he be confirmed? we play that clip, 1986. this was the first federal judge nominee that reagan put up that actually got rejected by the senate. this is a republican senate, republican committee. that was the basis we just showed you in that tape for rejecting him. what's really changed in 30 years that would make you look at jeff sessions differently now? >> keep in mind he was an assistant u.s. attorney, full us attorney in the southern district of alabama, at the time confirmed by unanimous consent
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in the senate by joe biden and pat leahy, since then after he was not confirmed he was attorney general of alabama and then elected to the united states senate three or four times. he's been successful, he's also built up 20 years of relationships in the u.s. senate. when senators get put up for cabinet roles, it's very effective because they know they have the relationships at the committee level and on the floor to get the votes and work directly with them. his record has positive things when it comes to race as well. i hope they would consider these things. working with dick durbin to reduce crack penalties. many african-americans thought that was racially unfair. i think that's something you have to say. he campaigned against george wallace when he was a young man in alabama. that says a lot about his heart. so he's got a record on both sides. obviously, there's questions he's going to have to answer, but there's some facts here that need to be on the table. >> so let me ask you to pick up
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on that point. this was 30 years ago, what we just showed. since then jeff sessions has had a 20-year career in the u.s. senate also attorney general for alabama. have you seen anything in the 30 years since that would say, hey, this guy deserves a different result this time around? >> let me say at the outset, let me concede that jeff sessions voted for eric holder. let me also concede that he played an important role in passing the fair sentencing act. however, his record of hostility to voting rights obliterates the other positive things that he's done. and let me go back for a minute. the attorney general's position is the most important law enforcement position in the nation. the attorney general has a responsibility to ensure equal rights for all americans. but jeff sessions has shown both in his career as a u.s. attorney but also in his career as a united states senator, has been hostility to the enforcement of civil rights, particularly in the area of voting rights. i mean, this is a senator who rejected as a u.s. attorney, did play a very important role in
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the turner case. and i think that's something that has to be looked at. but he is also someone who had voted against, for example, the matthew shepard hate crime law. he showed hostility to the violence against women act. this is an individual who has shown a hostility to the enforcement of civil rights laws even though the position of attorney general would have a particular responsibility in that area. here's what's important, though, steve -- >> can i just ask you, though, to make the point but i want to follow up. how different does that make him -- this is a republican who just won the election for president, presumably -- >> sure. >> -- going to get a republican pick for attorney general. the other instances, the other cases, examples you're bringing up, how different is jeff sessions different than any other republican pick you're going to get? >> he's different in one fundamental way. what he has shown as a hostility to voting rights which from our standpoint is especially important. voting is the language of democracy.
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if you don't vote, you don't count. this is first election in our nation that did not have the full protection of the voting rights act. largely because the supreme court invalidated a key position three years ago. what we have shown in the study that we have done looking at how states like the state of alabama and others responded to that decision is that they closed over 800 polling places, steve, in the last three years largely because they could take those actions because of the supreme court decision. so we think that voting rights is a key issue that has to be elevated and it's especially ironic that after the election that we've had, which was an election that was influenced by voter manipulation, we have an individual nominated to be the chief law enforcement official of the united states who has a hostility towards protecting voting rights and protecting the interests of all americans. and in that regard, that disqualifies him in our view for the position of attorney general. >> and i want to get in on that question. he says hostile to voting
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rights. that case in 1984 was a part of that. do you believe there's been any evidence in sessions' history of hostility to voting rights? >> that's his opinion. i would have to look through the entire record. look, there are a lot of southern states that believe that the federal government shouldn't dictate to them how their states should be run. elections are not national, elections are run at the state level. i think i heard him say he has hostility towards civil rights, which is unfair, because he did vote for the extension of the civil rights. i think the record here is much more balanced if you look at the positive record and you have to balance all that at the end of the day he's going to be confirmed many times the party wants to embarrass one or two nominees to make the president realize that congress has a role. >> this isn't about embarrassing a nominee. it's about protecting the rights of american citizens and the issue of who should be the nation's top law enforcement
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official is one that's too important to ignore. the record speaks for itself. it's not just a hostility to voting rights, but a hostility to gay rights and women's rights. those things have to be taken into account. >> we are going to have to leave it there. wade henderson, matt mackowiak. nancy pelosi. congressman tim ryan from ohio will join me. also his first interview since the election, donald trump's chief strategist tells the "hollywood reporter" that darkness is good invoking both darkness is good invoking both dick cheney and darth vader.
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my name is danita seaton. i'm a gas service representative for pg&e here in oakland. when i work in oakland, i feel like i'm home, because i grew up here in oakland, my family still lives here. every time i go to the customer's house, i treat them like they're my family. if they smell gas, or they don't have hot water, i'm there to ensure that by the time that i leave, they feel safe and they can go back to their day to day life. to learn more about gas safety in your home, visit pge.com/safety together, we're building a better california. i could have settled this case numerous times, but i don't want to settle cases when we're right. i don't believe in it. and when you start settling
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cases, you know what happens? everybody sues you because you get known as a settler. one thing about me, i am not known as a settler. >> that was donald trump back in march, but today trump agreed to a $25 million settlement of a series of fraud lawsuits against trump university. that's his defunct real estate seminar program. a settlement was announced this afternoon by new york state attorney general eric schneiderman. one of the cases a federal class action suit had been scheduled to go to trial in just ten days. the $25 million will be divided among the former students who sued alleging trump university misled them about the course materials and about trump's level of involvement. it became a major campaign issue after trump publicly attacked a judge handling one of the cases alleging that his mexican heritage made him incapable of ruling impartially. >> we're building a wall between here and mexico. the answer is he is giving us very unfair rulings.
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>> now, trump has denied all the trump university allegations and the settlement doesn't require him to acknowledge any wrongdoing. still ahead here, will donald trump settle his long feud with mitt romney? big meeting taking place in new jersey tomorrow. we'll have a preview, that's ahead.
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for the first time since president-elect donald trump won the election, steve bannon the new chief white house adviser is breaking his silence. bannon, the former head of breitbart news, which he once called the platform for the alt right spoke with "the hollywood reporter" michael wolff this week. darkness is good, says bannon.
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dick cheney, darth vader, satan, that's power. it only helps us when they get it wrong. when they're blind to who we are and what we're doing. and by they there bannon is talking about the media and the left. and michael wolf, columnist for the hollywood reporter joins me now. >> thank you for having me. >> you got quoit an interview here. this guy's name is all over the news. he's been called a white supremacist, racist, anti-semite. you got to talk to him after all these accusations last week. what does he say about the major accusations against him? >> he dismisses them. i don't think he sees those as germane to who he is or what he stands for. i think he sees that as part of liberal media's failure to understand who he is and what he's about. >> what does he say he is? he says he's a nationalist, not a white nationalist. what's the distinction he's drawing there?
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>> i don't want to be in the position -- i am not defending his views. i am -- >> so you're explaining what he told you then? >> i was just there to listen to what he had to say. and what he has to say is that he is about jobs for americans. that is exclusively his focus, jobs for americans. that makes him a nationalist in his view, and it makes him a very astute political figure in his view that giving jobs to voters is the way you get elected. >> you -- i'm curious about this. one of the ways the issue was raised with the idea that he might be a white supremacist, white nationalist, whatever term you want to use, one of the reasons for that is not so much what he said himself but what he's allowed the breitbart site to become.
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through the articles, through the comments, through the culture that it's fed, that it's fed on the right. is that something that he acknowledges at all, that he grapples with at all? >> i certainly don't think he grapples with it in the least. and he acknowledges it only to the extent that he believes he's created a voice and a media product that speaks to a good part of this country enough of the country that he goes to the white house and the liberals don't go to the white house. so i think that he very clearly sees this as a profound split. you people, the media, the liberals have no idea who i am and who the trump campaign is and who it represents. and to continue to use these -- these kinds of descriptions is not going to help you
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understand. and it's going -- it's divisive and paralyzes the discussion. >> what is your sense, just sort of getting a view on the inside there a little bit, obviously, donald trump appointing him to this top position, being willing to absorb all the blowback that comes with that from the media, what's your sense of how that relationship works, the bannon/trump relationship? >> i think steve bannon is donald trump's brain. i mean, i think it's a very, very important fundamental, close relationship, and i think it's a relationship that will be at the center of the next stage of the trump revolution, if you will. >> and what is it that trump sees in him? it's such a unique person to bring into a campaign. nobody with a background like that i can think has ever come into a campaign. what drew trump to him in first place?
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>> i don't really know the answer to this. i don't know how far their relationship goes back. i think he was drawn into the campaign because the campaign was floundering at a certain point during the summer. he came in. he gave it focus and he gave it this fundamental idea. i think from august on, the thing that trump really spoke about as the media and the liberals were talking about pussygate and whatever and all of the other things that we were talking about with great relish, donald trump was going out with steve bannon at his side talking about jobs. it's the economy, stupid. we once heard that and understood it and knew it. but i think we -- and i mean the
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liberals and the media -- forgot that. >> michael wolff, hollywood reporter, with the interview of steve bannon. fascinating stuff. thank you for joining us. mitt romney will meet with the man he says was causing trickledown racism. can he go from that to working in the white house? mitt is tough.
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mitt is tough. he's smart. he's sharp. governor romney, go out and get 'em. you can do it.
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>> thank you. there are somethings that you just can't imagine happening in your life. this is one of them. being in donald trump's magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. >> well, a lot has happened since donald trump endorsed mitt romney for president back in 2012. in early 2015 romney actually flirted with running for president again. he decided not to. but after that it was trump who took credit. >> well, a lot of people have given me credit for it. he was having a little bit of a free ride. everybody was saying, oh, he's going to come in, isn't that wonderful? and i remember i backed him and a lot of people backed him and worked for him and all of that. and he choked. pure and simple. he didn't do a good job. the last month something didn't even exist. something went wrong. i always say once a choker, always a choker. >> months after that trump launched a presidential campaign of his own. and flash forward to this past spring as trump was winning primaries, gaining momentum, seemed to be potentially on his way to the nomination.
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romney then took what was an unprecedented step for a former nominee. >> donald trump tells us that he is very, very smart. i'm afraid, though, when it comes to foreign policy, he is very, very not smart. he's not of the temperament of the kind of stable, thoughtful person we need as a leader. donald trump is a phony, a fraud. his promises are as worthless as a degree from trump university. his domestic policies would lead to recession. his foreign policies would make america and the world less safe. and his personal qualities would mean that america would cease to be a shining city on a hill. >> so that was during the campaign, but tomorrow, tomorrow begins a new chapter in the trump/romney relationship. romney is on his way to trump's new jersey golf course where he'll meet with the president-elect who is reportedly considering him for secretary of state. joined by ben domenech, writer of the federalist.
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we've had teams of rivals in history, we've had unlikely pairings before, former rivals, former opponents team up. but we'll never have seen anything like this if it comes to pass. i know the idea is tantalizing to some people. could these two ever get on the same page to that degree? >> i think that this really is an olive branch or potential olive branch from the trump organization to republicans who have been skeptical about him and the degree to which his administration will be able to approach the world in a responsibility manner. the fact is that as this whole campaign has gone on, we've seen donald trump be more willing to reach out to a lot of the people whose views he's pushed back against over the course of the campaign. he may have dismissed them in the past, but now that he actually is in the role of the president-elect, he's circling back to a lot of various republicans with whom he's had disagreements in the past. we'll see if anything comes from this, but it could be a
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contentious relationship if mitt romney ended up in the role of secretary of state. what could be a better fit for him given his ability to solve problems plaguing the u.s. in the past, was v.a. secretary, where he's given a problem and asked to solve it in short order. >> if you can get beyond the personal stuff between them, there's some basic philosophical stuff. mitt romney in 2012 said russia was our number one geopolitical foe. democrats filed on him then. they were starting to quote him this year during the trump campaign. but donald trump wants different relationship with russia. could a guy like romney be the secretary of state in an administration like trump's that wants to be reaching out to russia? >> i think that's a big question and one they'd have to discuss moving forward. but i have to circle back to the larger question, which is what kind of cabinet about donald trump want to have? you started this show talking about jeff sessions.
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he's one of the most loyal people, been very close to trump since the beginning. frankly, very unfair of you to present that 30-year-old footage from an nbc report as being the full story about someone like jeff sessions. jeff sessions went back to alabama after that report you showed, prosecuted the head of the kkk in alabama, made sure he got the death penalty against political opposition at time. led to the defunding of the kkk in alabama and became someone who reached the point as a senator that the senator who was the deciding vote against him being a nominee said it was one of his biggest regrets as a senator in his career. when donald trump approaches the issue of who he's going to have within his cabinet, it will be people he can trust, people he can rely on. that's why he's picking people like flynn, people like sessions, people like pompeo, people he can trust in these positions. that's the kind of thing that would suggest that mitt romney is not the guy for this position given that they've never had that kind of trusting relationship. still to come, "washington
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post" reporter wes lowery in what he says is a new era in america's racial justice movement. tonight's thing 1, thing 2 starts right after this break.
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okay, thing 1 tonight. we may now have an idea of what president obama really thinks about the election of donald trump. obama was, of course, very gracious in his remarks last week when trump visited the white house and he maintained his upbeat attitude in berlin yesterday. >> what makes me cautiously optimistic about my successor and the shift from campaign mode to governance is there's something about the solemn responsibilities of that office, the extraordinary demands that
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are placed on the united states not just by its own people but by people around the world that forces you to focus. >> but behind all of that, there may be more. that's thing 2 in 60 seconds.
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so president obama has expressed cautious optimism about president-elect donald trump and he's been very gracious in public just like other sits presidents who were succeeded by somebody from the opposing party, but the new yorker interviewed the president at length after the election and we may have gotten a hint at president obama's additional thoughts. the official line was that the meeting went well and trump was solicitous. when i asked about it, i think i can't characterize without --
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then he stopped himself and said that he would tell me at some point over a beer off the record. he had talked trump through the rudiments of forming a cabinet and policies including the iran nuclear deal counterterrorism policy health care and the president-elect's grasp of such matters was, as the debates had made plain, modest at best. trump, despite his habitual bluster, seemed awed by what he was being told and about to encounter. a handover of power occurs in 63 days.
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today the president-elect announced his selection for attorney general tapping alabama senator jeff sessions a nominee who received praise from his republican colleagues as well as democrat joe manchin.
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several democrats did criticize this session's pick as well as the anyways ip which called the choice deeply troubling. we've confirmed sessions will take over from loretta lynch. she's the second african-american to hold that office after eric holder preceded her under president obama. as this changing of the guard happens, it presents questions for organizations focused on racial justice including black lives matter, a group which donald trump said during the campaign may instruct his attorney general to investigate. earlier chris hayes sat down with "the washington post's" wes lowery to discuss what he calls a new era in the racial justice movement. >> let me start with my enthusiasm for the book. it's fantastic. everyone should read it. >> thank you, i appreciate it. >> let's start with this. how does this movement start? what is this movement and how does it start? >> i think when we think about the movement, the racial justice
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movement, whether you call it black lives matter or the movement for black lives, however you want to kind of describe it, it begins in the minds and the hearts of these young black and brown men and women largely in 2012 and 2013 during the trayvon martin incident. remember at the time we thought this would be the trial of the century, an o.j. level event, race in america, there were predictions of riots if he was acquitted. rather, there was a lot of protests, a lot of vigils, demonstrations. black america decided to largely sit and wait and see what happened. they wanted him arrested, hes with arrested, they wanted him tried, he was tried, when he was acquitted, there was nothing. there was in disappointment in so many people who had felt like we let the system work, we let it play out and we were failed. then fast forward two years to ferguson where now we're starting to see -- and this comes a few months after the death of eric garner and a young man whose body is lying in the street baking in the summer sun.
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>> i have to say when you zoom out from the individual cases and the activism and look at sort of the broader politicals context, you know, barack obama very famously talked and said i have a son that looked like trayvon. and that created backlash. why is it the case this movement happened at this moment in the history of this nation's struggle with first black president? >> well, you look at barack obama, everyone projected on to him. i think people on both sides of the political spectrum projected on to him this desire to be abdicated of our responsibility as it relates to race, right? that this was going to usher in some type of post racial time. and look --
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>> we've done it. >> there's a black guy. he's the president. what else could be do? and on top of that, his oratory skills, his rhetoric, the way he campaigned contributed to that. his dnc speech, we don't have a white america and a black america. we're not a collection of red states and blue states, we're the united states. he spouted this transformational promise that we could be so much better, right? i think that one of the reasons black lives matter and these activists become so mobilized during the obama years is because of the false promise of a black presidency. our friend and the writer jelani cobb says that we needed to have a black president to see the limitations of a -- >> there's a sort of mismatch of the reality on the ground and the iconography and symbolism of him in the office. >> so many are trying to tell the stories of many of them because i believe if you understand one person from ferguson, one person from charlotte, one person from charleston, you can understand everyone on the street. so many of them had voted for
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barack obama and canvassed for him and worked for his campaign and they believed in the system and working for the system. and then trayvon martin was killed and it had not gotten rid of the threats that their black skin carried with it. >> now we have the backlash. >> the counter. >> we saw the backlash brewing in social media, conservative media, among politicians and donald trump who said he ran as the law and order candidate who had very harsh words not particularly conciliatory, not particularly interested in sort of racial empathy. he was elected president, and i wonder how much you think this cat ta lized some of that backlash? >> when we look at historically any moment of massive racial progress especially as it relates to black americans, you almost immediately see a phase of a backslide, whether that be construction, or after the civil
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rights movement, you always see a backlash from the white majority. this feeling that something's being taken from them or things are changing too quickly or too rapidly. >> yeah, it's hard to avoid reading that into the subtext of a lot of what happened. wes lowery, they can't kill us all. a fantastic book, go out and read it. >> thank you. >> still to come, as democrats tried to find their path after defeat, nancy pelosi faces a new challenge as the top democrat in the house. the man challenging her, congressman tim ryan from ohio joins me next.
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it challenges you, your supporters turn out. >> hours after a press conference, nancy pelosi announced her attempt to keep the top spot. congressman tim ryan released a letter challenging her, this after 14 years of nancy pelosi being the top democrat in the house, resign writing, under our current leadership, democrats have been reduced to the smallest congressional minority since 1999, at this time, we owe it to our consistencies to listen and bring order to the leadership. ryan's district includes a lot of counties such as mahoning
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county, part of the counties that appealed to donald trump. he points out that mahoning won it in 2012, but hillary clinton barely won it, less than 3,000 votes. joining me, congressman tim ryan, who represents the 13th district. i get the sort of big picture, i think the idea of your candidacy you sort of represent the heart of the country that swung from the democrats to donald trump. if anyone wants to ask what went wrong to the democrats, you could do worse than to look in congress. if democrats replace nancy pelosi with you, besides that symbolism, meaningfully, substantively, what is the difference between having you as leader and nancy pelosi? give me a substantive reason? >> well, i think the focuses would be economics. we were not on an economic
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message at all. and let me say for the purposes of congressional elections, i don't hang this last election around nancy pelosi's neck. we were running with a presidential election and we do get caught up in that wave in which i believe there was not enough of an economic message. but clearly we can go back to 2010, 12, 14 and 16. and clearly we're in a position where since 2010 we have lost 60, over 60 seats. almost 70 seats. and the brand now for us is not one that is working. and so a focus, a change of the messenger and a change of the message would be a big deal for us. >> but you're saying you don't hang the losses on nancy pelosi, but obviously yes, the size of the democratic ranks has thinned over the last few years. but are you saying that nancy pelosi is not focused enough on the issues? is that your message here?
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>> yeah, i believe it is, we didn't have enough representatives to give a message, i felt like we were really getting thrown around by the noose cycle in so many ways. we need a deep economic message, one that resonates with our entire consistency. black people, brown people, middle class people, poor people, straight people, gay people, we need a message that is populous but is about opportunity and lifting people up and embracing the american dream. and i think all the anxiety we see today is 99% today in my estimation, is economics. if you look at my district, the average insure is $57,000 a year, you have a couple with a couple of kids making less than $30,000 each. it breaks my heart that they don't see us as the democratic party that is their home.
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it breaks my heart they don't see us as caring for them, we are going to fight every day until we get this economy straight away. >> now, democrats have made an argument on behalf of nancy pelosi, they say look the signature achievements of the obama presidency, the obamacare act, nancy pelosi was instrumental in getting through. the obama legacy would not be what it is without nancy pelosi. our democrats, if they turn to you are they doing away with the leadership that has delivered for them in some ways? >> i have the greatest respect for nancy pelosi, i love nancy pelosi, she was a mentor of mine. i was a foot soldier for her when we took back the house. and we're making the fight back in 2004, five and six. i was there on the
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appropriations committee, six, seven, eight, nine ten when we were implementing a lot of these things. that is where i was cutting my teeth. the question now steve really is moving forward. we can talk about the past all we want. i think we're starting to draw some real lessons. the question is how do we get the house of representatives back? you are not growing -- going to get anything done if paul ryan is the speaker of the house, and trump is president. so we want to learn about the 40 seats that are not primarily on the coast, they're going to be in michigan, ohio, tennessee, southern indiana, that is where those seats are going to be. we need a leader who could go into those congressional districts and convince people that a new democratic party, one that is progressive and cultural and economically populous that can get the job done.
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>> congressman tim ryan from ohio, he is challenging nancy pelosi. thank you. >> and that will do it for "all in." the rachel maddow show starts now, how are you doing? >> you know, i'll tell you in an hour. at this point, i'm wiped out. i got super psyched for the show, and then i don't know who i am and where i'm going to be. thank you, steve. and thank you at home for joining us this hour. happy friday. got a lot to get to tonight, with a lot of really good guests. i want to introduce you to joseph brotten, a united states senator for a grand total of three months, elected in 1948, sworn in on new year's eve. and then he dropped dead in march.

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