tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC March 22, 2017 12:00am-1:01am PDT
tonight on "all in" -- >> they wanted to hurt our democracy, hurt her, help him. >> a cloud around the white house gets thicker. >> there's been discussion of paul manafort who played a very limited role. >> new reports of money laundering and donald trump's campaign manager. >> paul manafort has done an amazing job. >> tonight, what we're learning about paul manafort as democrats call for him to testify. >> that's what he said, i -- that's what i -- that's obviously what our position is. >> plus, 2016 flashback, what we now know about how the fbi helped tip the election to trump. >> experts are now saying that they are -- the russians are releasing these e-mails for the purpose of actually helping donald trump. >> then, two days from the trumpcare vote -- >> we had a great meeting and i think we're going to get a winner vote. >> as the president starts threatening jobs over a wildly
unpopular bill, will the freedom caucus fall in line? >> we're going to negotiate and it's going to go to the senate and back and forth. the end result is going to be wonderful. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from washington, d.c., i'm chris hayes. we have a lot of news to get to tonight. from the fate of president trump's signature health care bill, which is hanging in the balance as house republican leaders scramble for votes to the president's supreme court pick, neil gorsuch, facing a grilling on capitol hill. much more on that shortly. but tonight the leader of the democrats in the senate, chuck schumer, is calling for gorsuch's confirmation hearing to be put on hold due to the big gray cloud of an fbi investigation now hanging over the presidency. amid new developments in a story with the potential to consume the trump agenda. the probe into potential coordination between the trump campaign and a foreign adversary
of the russian government as the russians work to boost trump's chances in the 2016 presidential campaign. yesterday in historic testimony before congress, fbi director james comey confirmed the existence of an fbi investigation into possible coordination and today white house press secretary sean spicer tried to contain the damage. >> at some point there's a distinction between an investigation that it goes into russia's involvement in 2016 and this continued narrative that falsely tries to link the trump -- the president or the white house into any of it. >> speaking this morning on fox news, counselor to the president kellyanne conway also denied any such links and suggested it is time to move on. >> this investigation's been going on for eight months, we know very little about it, no connection, no fruits, donald trump's been president for two months and he has a lot more to show for it. >> we don't know if there was conclusion or coordination between the trump campaign and the russians and even if there is smoke, there may be no fire.
but there continues to be a whole lot of smoke, including what we learned today. a ukrainian lawmaker alleging trump's former campaign manager paul manafort attempted to hide a $750,000 payment from a pro-russia political party. manafort using offshore accounts in belize and kyrgyzstan. a spokesman says they are baselessed and the documents upon which they are based has not been verified. but manafort is wanted for questioning in ukraine where he worked for a decade before becoming trump's campaign manager. a job manafort lost four months later amid revelations he may have accepted millions in undisclosed cash payments from the pro-russian political party. despite manafort having been trump's campaign manager, spicer yesterday dismissed him as having played "a very limited role in the campaign." last month, the president
suggested manafort's ties to pro-russian individuals in ukraine are irrelevant. >> i have nothing to do with russia. to the best of my knowledge, no person that i'll do with us. now, manafort has totally denied it. people knew he was a consul nant that part of a world for a while but not russia. i think he represented ukraine or people having to do with ukraine or whoever. people knew, that everybody knew that. >> also facing renewed scrutiny is self-described dirty trickster trump ally confidante roger stone who appears to have had advanced warnings of the alleged russian leak of dnc e-mails. stone's came up repeatedly at yesterday's comey hearing and democratic lawmakers say they want to hear directly from both stone and paul manafort both of whom emphatically deny wrongdoing. >> i assume that i have been under surveillance now for some time. what probable cause there is or what evidence that would dictate that i don't know.
>> amazingly, the republican leading the house investigation into the trump camp's possible links to russia, house intelligence chairman devin nunes told reporters yesterday he had never heard of stone or another major player in the trump/russia drama, former trump foreign policy adviser carter page. >> i haven't heard of carter page and all these other people. i mean, there are about five names mentioned by the democrats. >> i don't know these people. >> you have not heard of carter page or roger stone? >> no. i've heard of manafort. >> you've never heard stories? >> i've heard some but there's more than that. >> joining me now, democratic congressman eric swalwell. first, can you react to the chair of your committee saying he has never heard of roger stone? >> the evidence shows the contrary. the world knows who roger stone is, the world knows who carter page and paul manafort and michael flynn are. they are individuals, a part of
this trump orbit, who had deep personal political and financial ties to russia and now we are starting to learn there may have been a convergence of those ties with russia's interference campaign. >> was the chair of your committee -- i want to be clear. was the compare of chair of your committee devin nunes, saying he hadn't heard of roger stone, was he lying? >> i don't know how he could not have heard of roger stone. we told the world yesterday who roger stone was and over the last few months we have put out evidence that roger stone knew these attacks against the democratic candidate was coming because he was intimating on twitter that john podesta was going to spend his time in the barrel. so it's contrary to what all of the evidence shows. >> i want to ask your reaction to the move by the secretary of state to skip a nato meeting and visit russia instead. rex tillerson will go to russia but skip the nato meeting. state is saying this is a logistical scheduling issue, they're trying to arrange it so
he can go to a nato meet, the president may go as well. do you think there are signals being sent by this administration to this day of a kind of almost public, if tacit, quid pro quo? >> yes, chris. and what we tried to show yesterday was first russia is a foreign adversary. that's why having such deep ties to russia is concerning. and these deep ties not only may have extended to their interference campaign, we are now seeing a dramatic change in u.s. policy. that ranges from the change in the republican party platform at the convention, that ranges from jeff sessions going from being anti-russia to saying we should embrace russia and now our secretary of state is skipping a meeting of foreign ministers with nato to go and meet with russia later on in the month. so i think the president should suspend any policy changes toward russia until we get to the bottom of what happened during the election. >> on that note, there's been a call from chuck schumer, the senate minority leader, for a suspension of the hearing process for neil gorsuch while the investigation is happening.
do you agree with that? >> i'm going to respect what the senate is doing and i believe that we should suspend anything significant under this presidency right now with respect to foreign policy. i think senator schumer is correct that this is a supreme court vacancy that does not come up very often and in light of this investigation we should put on the brakes. >> it seems the logic of what the senator from new york is saying is a cloud of illegitimacy taints the presidency and the entire thing has to be put on pause. if you thought that were the case for neil gorsuch, i imagine you would think the same thing for the entirety of the agenda. do you think the presence of this ongoing investigation looms so large the president cannot conduct being president of the united states? >> he certainly doesn't act like the president of the united states when he is tweeting what has turned out to be falsities throughout the hearing yesterday. it's remarkable he's not doing the job as president. he's watching a hearing about
lies he made about president obama and tweeting further lies. we need him to be a president. there are too many questions about his involvement, his team's involvement with russia as the interference campaign went on that we should suspend any changes towards russia, let's put on the brakes with respect to the supreme court's nomination but that's the senate's business. >> do you have confidence in devin nunes' ability to steer this investigation into any impartial manner whatsoever? >> right now we have heard from the easy consensus witnesses, u.s. government officials. the harder ones -- the tests will be when we want to hear from individuals like roger stone and carter page and paul manafort and perhaps if the evidence takes us there the president himself. this investigation would not be complete if we are not able to see the president's tax returns. that will be the task as to whether we're going to follow that or not.
>> representative eric swalwell, thanks for your time, appreciate. >> it my pleasure. >> joining me now, susan hennessey, former for the national security agency's council and terrorism analyst malcolm nance. malcolm, i want to start with you on a deceptively simple question. >> sure. >> what is an investigation. i've been turning this over in my head but i don't know what the scope of that could mean. there's someone running a google search or we have 80 agents working around the clock? >> i think that was addressed toward the end of the session yesterday afternoon when i believe one of the republican congressmen asked director comey what are the standards for this to be an investigation and he spelled out that the standard of them starting an investigation is extremely high. they just won't go out and say okay, let's see what incidental things we have here. i think a they have a body of evidence.
now let's not confuse intelligence as we have the intelligence community as an evidentiary standard but they have to have something before the fbi will stop what they're doing, task out their national counterintelligence officers who are spy hunters, by the way, not just normal fbi officers and bring them into the process. >> this is something else. what is the significance of it being a counterintelligence investigation? >> the fact that it's a counterintelligence investigation means it's probably less likely there are criminal charges. it's about understanding what foreign intelligence activity has occurred so it was notable that director comey indicated as this might include an inquiry into criminal conduct. he made a point of flagging that extra step to make sure they're looking at collusion, criminal conduct, the behavior of people within the united states as well. >> you were in an event today with adam schiff of that committee, he's played an interesting role in all this and
because these committees are not controlled by democrats and there is a clear partisan valance in how they're approaching it, how much control does he have or the minority of the committee have to steer this investigation? >> well, they have a limited number of cards to play but relatively powerful ones. we've seen thus far that speaker ryan and senate majority leader mitch mcconnell have resisted calls for an investigations, the formation of a select committee or a bipartisan commission by saying no, no, there's an ongoing investigation. let's let that happen instead of having these more robust and independent investigations. i think as soon as people like representative schiff or congressman mark warner of the senate withdraw their support, say they no longer think these are serious inquiries that will put a tremendous amount of pressure. >> that's a key point. so that card, if they were to publicly withdraw their support from the committee's work, that would produce pressure for some special impaneling? >> it's like a red stoplight going off in the middle of an expressway.
so what you have to do is you have to decide how exactly are you going to play this thing from the republicans' perspective. are you going to go along with the red stoplight or blow through traffic, to use that analogy. they have to determine where their loyalty lies here on the republican side. yesterday they were hounding everyone for the leakers. the democrats laid out a powerful systematic case that the united states was attacked by a foreign agency. >> i heard people use that word. that word strikes me as controversial. attack -- i mean, i'm sure we've compromised the systems of foreign parties in our intelligence activities before, shouldn't we draw a distinction between being attacked and being hacked in that fashion? >> well, within the cyber realm what they did was carry out a systematic intelligence collection operation. i like what adam schiff called it the other day, the weaponization of information
then tied that to a political warfare strategy and married that all together in one giant hybrid warfare strategy which further it had goals of their state. but to do that they had to directly target the democratic processes of america and damage them. that is an attack on the constitution itself." >> the other question is line drawing as well. maybe the more accurate or artful term is an active measure. >> what is it like to work right now if you are associated with this investigation? i mean, i just keep thinking about the person who wakes up today in northern virginia to drive to the bureau. who is working on investigating the president's campaign was colluding with a foreign adversary. >> i think there will be warning
signs. >> >> these guys are bloodhounds. they are not regular fbi agents at all. they are a hybrid of super investigator and rigid ruthless loyalists who root out people who work for foreign intelligence in the united states and they're very jealous of their job. they don't care if it's the president or senior staffer. if they find malfeasance, they'll run it to the ground. >> susan henessey and malcolm nance, thank you.
still ahead, the president visits the hill today to call out fellow republicans. we'll talk to one of the holdouts ahead. next, former clinton campaign manager robby mook joins me to respond to what we know about how the fbi had a double standard and how it may have helped tip the election after this two-minute break.
i have been authorized by the department of justice to confirm that the phish, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the trump campaign and the russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. we've been doing this -- this investigation began in late july
so for counterintelligence investigation that's a fairly short period of time. >> july. the fbi has been investigating whether or not trump's campaign coordinated with a foreign adversary to influence the election since july of 2016 and yet the fbi never publicly talked about that investigation we now know existed until yesterday. the investigation they did talk about was the one into hillary clinton's e-mails. in july, that same director, james comey, publicly announced his recommendation not to prosecute hillary clinton and then just 11 days before the election he told congress the fbi was reviewing a new batch of e-mails only to conclude on november 6, two days before the election, the new e-mails did not change anything. and during all of that, it now turns out the fbi was also out of the public eye investigating donald trump's campaign. >> all i'm saying is that she's under investigation by the fbi. just pause and think about that. that's a pretty uncommon thing for a presidential candidate. >> this disqualifies her from being the commander-in-chief of the united states.
>> it's not normal to be under not one but two fbi investigations. >> the fbi has reopened its criminal investigation over hillary clinton. [ cheers and applause ] [ crowd chanting "lock her up." >> you won't release the tax returns so you can't guarantee anything. >> is he under fbi investigation? did he ask his housekeeper to print out national security classified e-mails? >> can this country afford to have a president under investigation by the fbi? >> if you have people already questioning your veracity, questioning your fitness to lead, if you're under your second fbi investigationing in the same year then you do have a problem, a corruption and ethics problem. >> joining me now, hillary clinton's former campaign manager robby mook. your reaction? >> it's easy to jump into a big vat of sour grapes here and have a field day. i don't want to do that. i think the -- >> you want to do that a little bit.
>> it's tempting. it's tempting i will add it it but, look, and the part you didn't talk about there was that we were throughout in july also saying that this might have taken place. >> this is you on july 24, 2016, this is right after -- people forget the timeline of this, the dnc gets hacked and it doesn't show up on wikileaks first, it shows on this d.c. leaks, guccifer, and it's hard to read and sort and all these things and here's you talking july 24, 2016. take a listen. >> what's disturbing to us is that we -- experts are telling us that russian state actors broke into the dnc, stole these e-mails and other experts are now saying that they are -- the russians are releasing these e-mails for the purpose of actually helping donald trump. i don't think it's coincidental that these e-mails were released on the eve of our convention here. >> that holds up pretty well, i will say. >> it does, it does. look, this happened. what all the evidence was telling us, what the campaign said for many, many months
happened. the russians did break in, steal this investigation to hurt hillary clinton. i think the other piece that's not getting talked about is it's not so much that it was to help donald trump, they were punishing hillary clinton. she was outspoken against vladimir putin for his terrible record on human rights so that's why -- >> in fact, he thought that -- he accused her of meddling in the russian election based on comments he made in the runup to an election that happened there. >> that's right. he blamed her for the protests that happened after that election which everybody thinks was rigged. and the reason why that's important is that if we allow foreign powers, whenever a politician speaks out against them, to come into our election process and punish them, think about the consequence. >> great, but i want to stay on comey for a second. this strikes me as not just in the past sour grapes. this is the same individual, okay? so the same individual who was overseeing a -- new he was overseeing a counterintelligence investigation, the director of the fbi sure as heck knew a counterintelligence investigation has been opened
into one of the two campaigns. what does it say about his judgment and whether he can be trusted right now the fact that not only did he get -- write that letter but nothing -- felt no need to inform the public about what was happening there? >> i think comey was in a very difficult situation. he had been instructed by congress to come back and update if anything in the case changed. he had somebody come to him and say "there's some new e-mails." i think he sat there in his office and said, well, gosh, if i keep this hidden after the election somebody may come back and say i was trying to help hillary clinton." >> well, he had to go before a hearing yesterday and essentially do -- functionally the same. >> and he was given permission to do that. i think the point here is you've got to be consistent. if you sent the letter on hillary, you should have sent a letter on trump. i would argue he shouldn't have sent a letter on anyone. that would have hurt him. >> for the record, i think that's the correct answer, right? >> i obviously do as well. but here's the point, when you become director of the fbi
sometimes you have to take a hit for justice to be carried out. i don't think justice was carried out. i think he made the wrong choice and i think that protocol has to be tightened up so this never happens again. >> so harry reid october 30 tried to even the scales. he wrote this letter saying it became clear you possess explosive information about ties between donald trump and the russian government. people thought, oh, harry reid, that holds up well, too. here's my final question to you. there are people on the left, people in the democratic party who feel the russia stuff has become an obsession, a distraction and an excuse. that voters care about things like health care, they care what's happening in their lives, they don't care about all this and that the clinton people are obsessed with it because it exculpates them for their own failures in the campaign. what do you say to those people? >> well, what matters is the future and what we need to do is get to the bottom of what happens so that we put safeguards in place such that it never happens again. that does matter.
>> that was my conversation with robby mook. still to come, republicans may get the supreme court justice they wanted but having backed a white house now under fbi investigation, do they have regrets? and ahead of the high-stakes vote on trumpcare, the gop's last-ditch effort to throw money at the problem. more on that coming up.
>> republicans took great delight and umbrage in attacking the back room deals -- most notely the one that came to be known as the cornhusker kick back which gave special treatment for medicaid payments to nebraska to get the vote of one democratic senator ben nellson. now republicans are outdoing democrats with a provision that
will quite literally apply only to smaller upstate new york counties in order to get the votes of some upstate new york republican congressmen. those counties aren't happy the new york state funds medicate partially through property taxes. the new provision in the gop health care plan would exempt these counties from such a medicaid-related property tax. as vox notes "the amendment would only apply to counties with fewer than five million people so the democrats in new york city would have to keep paying." never mind the arguments about back room deals and never mind the gop's interest in allowing states to administer medicaid with the maximal degree of latitude as they see fit. in this instance it's the gop reaching into a state and telling it what to do for the specific benefit of republican-controlled counties and for the specific purpose of getting the votes of a few republican lawmakers. as the bill marches forward, there's a real question about whether this thing will pass and the stakes get bigger by the minute. that's next.
>> reporter: mr. president, will you call health care trumpcare? is your name on it? >> it could happen. >> president trump at a bill-signing ceremony for nasa today indicating a willingness to have his name associated with the still-emerging gop health care bill. one thing is certain, the president is selling it hard, meeting with house republican lawmakers today and reportedly telling them "i honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."
>> we had a great meeting and i think we're going to get a winner vote. we're going to have a real winner. it was a great meeting. they're terrific people. they want a tremendous health care plan. that's what we have and there are going to be adjustments made but we'll get the vote on thursday. >> the speaker of the house is effusive about the president's effectiveness in getting yes votes. >> the president just came here and knocked the ball out of the park. he knocked the cover off the ball in explaining to our members how it's important to unify. this is our chance and this is our moment. it's a big moment and i think our members are beginning to appreciate what kind of a rendezvous with destiny we'll have here. >> but opponents in both houses are telling a different story. freedom caucus member congressman justin amash retweeting this. even after the trump pitch to members the house freedom caucus still has more than 22 no votes, enough to kill the bill. and senator tom cotton released a statement saying he was still opposed to the bill. right-wing interest groups continue to oppose the bill and plan to spend money on it, like this club for growth add that says that ryan care doubles down
on obamacare. there's much for conservatives moderates and liberals to hate. there will be a fund of at least $75 billion for americans between 50 and 64 without specifying how that would be administered. it would repeal obamacare's taxes overwhelmingly on the wealthy a year earlier and it will allow work requirements for medicaid. senate majority whip john cornyn telling reporters "if they pass it, we'll pass it" and vowing it would be finished next week. joining me, congressman mo brooks of alabama. congressman, my understanding is you are as of today a no vote on this? >> that's correct, chris. >> okay, here's the way that this is going down to the wire and i want you to convince me that it's not the case which is this. paul ryan and the president are going to come down on you like a
pile of bricks, they're going to say if you don't pass this you will destroy the president's agenda, you will destroy our opportunity to get tax reform, et cetera. and ultimately you and your colleagues will roll over and you will pass this no matter what they do with the bill. >> well, neither the president nor the speaker of the house have uttered those kinds of remarks to me. i think they understand that i am policy driven and what they have to do is convince me that this legislation is in the best interest of america and quite frankly i'm persuaded that this republican health care bill, welfare bill, whatever you want to call it long-term is a detriment to the future of the united states of america and until they come across with cogent arguments to the contrary i'm remaining no. >> i'm having trouble understanding this portion of it. the house freedom caucus, people like yourself who identify as fiscal conservatives raised objections to the bill. leadership responded with a manager's amount which includes
$75 billion of entirely unspecified subsidy for 15 to 64-year-olds and that's intended to win over conservatives such as yourself? >> no, it's not. that's not going to affect my vote one iota. expanding the welfare under what is the republican party's largest welfare proposal in the history of the republican party is not a persuasive argument because i look at both sides of the coin. it's one thing to give money out but you have to come up with that money, too. so to the extent more welfare is going to be given under this republican proposal, you're looking at higher taxes or premiums than those paying for insurance or you're looking at more borrowed money which means greater deficits, larger debt and a quicker day in which we have that day of reckoning with an insolvency and bankruptcy of the united states of america.
>> i should add one more element to that which is another change. on both sides of the deficit lever, they're going advance the tax cuts quicker. they are betting all of the pronouncements by you and your colleagues about debt and deficit are lies. they're nonsense, you're not serious about it and you won't be serious about it when you have to vote on thursday. >> when you have the congressional budget office, the comptroller general of the united states of america and the government accountability office all warning us in writing as they did a couple months ago in january that the current financial trajectory of the united states of america is unsustainable which is accounting language for bankruptcy you have to take that serious and i do take it serious. if you look at what has happened in puerto rico recently, you look at greece, you look at venezuela and the throes they are going to, the damage being done to their economy and their people, you have to take that seriously. i do and you're right on this, what is being done with this legislation is financially irresponsible and i won't put
our country in greater jeopardy of debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy no matter who asks me to do it. >> here's my question for you on. this i would note for the record i think there's crucial differences between puerto rico and greece where we have the dollar reserve currency, et cetera, bracketing that for a moment. do you think that essentially thursday's vote is a test of the genuineness of republican ideological conservative pronouncements about debt and deficit and fiscal sobriety and whether it's ultimately a test of hypocrisy, which is to say does it reveal people that vote for this were pretending to care about a thing they didn't care for all those years? >> you might be getting more esoteric than i'm used to. so, chris, please forgive me. but i do see it as a test -- >> congressman, you're a sharp cookie. >> i see it as a test to who is conservative and who is a big government liberal republican who runs as a conservative
during campaign season but governs as a liberal. we'll find out. >> on the politics, the president has been talking about going after mark meadows, what do you think about the idea that he would come after you, personally, the president of the united states, campaign against you, try to see you primaried if you vote no on this legislation on thursday? >> well, there are always people that you alienate any time you cast a vote and also people you be friend any time you cast a vote and it's the cumulative effect of all these votes that cause different groups of people to support you or oppose you. i'm going to do what i think is in the best interest of america. it doesn't make any difference to me who the people are asking me to do something, what counts is whether what they're asking me to do is, in my judgment, in the best interest of my country and i'm going to let the chips fall where they may in that regard, both here in washington, d.c. and back at home when i campaigned for reelection. >> i look forward to talking about this after the vote with
you if it does in fact happen on thursday. >> my pleasure, chris. >> congressman mo brooks, always a pleasure, thank you. >> thank you. still to come, why is ivanka trump in official white house meetings sitting next to angela merkel now getting an office in the west wing? the unprecedented role of the first daughter ahead. plus, it's one of president trump's favorite stories about himself. but that doesn't mean it's true. that's tonight's thing 1 thing 2 right after this break.
thing 1 tonight, breaking the rules. >> we believe in two simple rules -- buy american and hire american. [ cheers and applause ] >> just hours before the president declared hire american tonight, news that trump winery now run by the president's son eric trump is seeking permits to hire more foreign workers this season, something trump also did at mar-a-lago this winter and as
in sharp contrast with his predecessor, president trump has shown no interest in discussing the details or minutiae of government policy, with one exception. >> you probably saw the keystone pipeline i approved recently. and the dakota. and very importantly, as i was about to sign it, as i'm sitting there looking at the approval i said who makes the pipes for the pipeline? and i'm reading the order saying why aren't we using american steel? who makes the pipe. well, sir, it comes from all over the world. isn't that wonderful? i said nope. these are big pipes, they must have to cut them bauds they're so big i can't imagine they take up so much room, i can't imagine you could put that much pipe on ships. it's too -- it's not enough, it's not long enough. i say let's put that little clause in. add a little sentence that you have to buy american steel. and they said that's a good idea.
we put it in. if they want a pipeline they use our steel. and they're willing to do that. but nobody ever asked before i came along. >> only problem is, that claim is not true. the white house confirmed weeks ago that trump will not require the keystone pipeline to use american steel. that keystone is exempt from the buy american policy. but you would not know that in kentucky last night. >> and as i was signing it, i said "where are they getting the steel? where?" and i said "you know what, if people want to build pipelines in the united states they should use american steel." that pipe is going to be manufactured right here.
ivanka will receive classified information and a government-issued communication device, all this despite not having an official government job or title in the white house. in other words, she will not be bound by the government's ethics rules. in a statement yesterday, ivanka said "while there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president, i will voluntarily fall of the ethics rules placed on government employees." but because she is still listed on the trump organization web site along with the president's other two adult children as executive vice presidents of development and acquisition for the trump organization, there are very understandable concerns about potential conflicts of interest. since her father was elected president, ivanka trump helped set up a meeting with german chancellor angela merkel, took part in a meeting with japanese president shinzo abe that reporters were barred from attending. there's also concern ivanka could use white house access to promote her line of fashion and jewelry. in fact, a class action lawsuit
from a retailer in san francisco is essentially accusing her company of doing just that. and recently, a fashion search engine that tracks online retail purchases found that from january to february of this year, ivanka trump sales increased 346%. if this was chelsea clinton we were talking about perhaps republicans would be outraged but right now, just like the active fbi investigation into the trump campaign, ivanka's potential conflicts of interest join the things republicans are willing to overlook as long as they get their supreme court nominee confirmed. more on that next. because i'm a woman...
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>> i think you're a man of the law and i really want to congratulate the president picking you. quite frankly i was worried about who he'd pick. maybe somebody on tv. [ laughter ] but president trump could not have done better in choosing you and i hope people on the other side will understand that you may not like him, i certainly didn't agree with president obama, but i understood why he picked sotomayor and kagan and i hope you can understand why president trump picked neil gorsuch and i hope you'll be happy with that, because i am. >> south carolina senator lindsey graham praising the president who, on the campaign trail, gave out graham's phone number and told supporters to try it for picking a supreme court nominee that makes him happy. joining me now, hannah smith, former clerk for justice clarence thomas, and justice samuel ale alito.
let me start with you. it's like a faustian bargain. we have a president who launches racist attacks against federal judges because their ethnicity makes them incapable of judging him and attacks a federal judge who rules against his executive order but we got our guy in neil gorsuch. is that a fair characterization. ? >> i think it is. people are very pleased with the pick he made in judge gorsuch and judge gorsuch is a guy who applied the law fairly to protect the religious liberty of people of all faiths including muslims, native americans and jews, so -- >> but is there anything the president could do that would make the bargain not worth it? is there a morning you're going to wake up where some unbelievably sort of odious travesty of justice has occurred in which the president has andrew jackson and steam rolled over the supreme court and you think well, we got our supreme court justice but a lot of good it did us? >> i think judge gorsuch is
going to be an amazing justice. >> that's not a responsive answer. >> i think he has a remarkable record on the tenth circuit of building consensus and having coalitions and he has a unanimous record. when he has written a religious liberty for the seventh circuit, 100%, 100%. no one has dissented from any religious liberty decision. >> i'm going to go meta. you're a remarkable example of the effectiveness of the mcconnell strategy. the mcconnell strategy was we are going to deny a hearing for merrick garland in an unprecedented fashion then we'll use the vacancy as an inducement to get people in line behind donald trump who they might find personally odious but for institutional conservatives, people that clerked on the supreme court, that emerged from the high powered legal circles that was a persuasive argument and you can see the reward is being paid off in gorsuch. >> it is. people like my brother-in-law, the former acting solicitor
solicitor general introduced judge gorsuch and concluded the same thing, we can't believe what happened to merrick garland, this is a disaster but if he had to pick someone, i'm glad it's gorsuch. and the main thing with gorsuch, neal katyal and i are confident he would check trump if push came to shove. >> so this has become the question about his independence. can i express my frustration with the way the judicial their -- theory of originalism is communicated. you end up with simplifying version of the constitution. "i just apply the law, i'm just a humble empire." the john roberts metaphor. and i'm thinking if it's so crystal clear what the law is, why do you need your fancy degrees? why do you have to go to fancy law schools? why does everyone have to be so credentialed and editor of the law review if it's so clear what the law is? the point is that it's not clear. the point is that it's difficult, right? do you agree having clerked on the court, it's hard? there are very hard cases. >> there are very hard cases
that come before the supreme court and there's no easy answers. >> and do you watch a hearing like that in which they say "i just apply the law" as if that sentence embodies the fullness of what you do a reductive conception of what a judge does? >> to be fair i think what he's saying is congress, it's your job to make the laws, it's my job to interpret them. if you pass a law, i'm bound to follow the law as you passed it so take your job seriously congress because i have to apply it. >> but that's exactly the thing i'm talking about which is there's an entire corpus of statutory interpretation and what the law means is precisely what's at issue. it seems you end up in this unbelievably question-begging place when you make that argument. >> what's great about these hearings is judge gorsuch said "it's not simple." senator klobuchar was trying to say yes or no and he said it's complicated. look at the global positioning case, look at the cell phone cases, we have to translate the fourth amendment in light of new technologies, we have to ask what the framers talk about. even elena kagan, all liberals agree.
but then you have to take account of changes so you protect the same amount of privacy in the 21st century as the framers took for granted in the 18th. that's a kind of living originalism embodied by my hero justice louis brandeis. it's nice to see judge gorsuch be a neo-brandeisian. >> it strikes me he is benefitting from a number of things politically. i think he's fairly charming in these personal settings. two, he is credentialed in the way people in the legal elite like their candidates for the supreme court to be credentialed and three is there's so much going on in the background and a limited capital for political fights you can almost sense democrats not sinking their political capital into this fight. >> that's true, but they are substantive questions so i thought klobuchar, franken, all of them were pressing him on the questions you're talking about. what about the areas where justice scalia betrayed his originalism? do you accept these cases? and gorsuch countered where his political views diverged.
this is not kabuki theater. let's educate ourselves about this seminar that's unfolding. the democrats are giving good questions and he's giving it back as good as he can but we're seeing the difference in constitutional interpretation. >> justification of the good faith of the enterprise which is something you rarely hear. thank you very much for joining us. as i'm sure you know by now today is the day my book "a colony in a nation" is out and it's about criminal justice and what the founders thought about it. "vanity fair" released another excerpt you can check out on line. i will be in boston tomorrow, philadelphia thursday and saturday i head to los angeles. all of the details are on our facebook page. check out the book if new the area. that's "all in." if rachel maddow show starts right now.
"socialism" or "communist" or "communism," if you put that word in any tweet, you would get an immediate reply from what looked like the twitter account of the late senator joseph mccarthy. this was the -- you see the response there? not the initial tweet, the first tweet is somebody writing "communism defined." see the response there? you see the little avatar? that's joe mccarthy's face. joe mccarthy's face on the twitter account, if you tweeted anything that said socialism or communism or socialist communist, that joe mccarthy beyond the grave twitter account would tweet back and you and it had tweet at you something like this "creeping socialism." or it would say "communist infiltrated." he was also good at terrible puns.