tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC November 22, 2018 12:00am-1:00am PST
tonight on "all in," new questions about the president's pick to oversee the mueller probe. >> the stakes have never been higher. >> tonight a deep dive into the sketchy past of matt whitaker. >> can you answer a question, if you've ever had a discussion with the president about investigating hillary clinton or james comey? then, why the chief justice of the supreme court issued a rare rebuke of the president. >> you people know better than anybody what's happening. it's a disgrace. plus, is the president
shrugging off a saudi murder because he thinks it will keep oil prices low? >> if we broke with them i think your oil prices would go through the roof. and with six days until the runoff, by democrats they they have a shot in mississippi. >> for anyone that was offended for my -- by my comments, i certainly apologize. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. every day we learn more about the man personally installed by president trump two weeks ago on constitutionally dubious grounds to run the justice department. and every day the details that we are learning about matthew whitaker are more troubling, indeed more obviously disqualifying. here's the latest. after two weeks in which the justice department refused to hand over whitaker's standard ethics financial disclosure, it was finally released late yesterday. and it appears it has been
revised at least five times. one can only imagine what exactly was going on with those documents during those two weeks. it's not a crazy question given what we've also learned about a strange financial chapter in whitaker's career when he headed up a dark money nonprofit career that reported whitaker as the sole employee where he made $400,000 a year over three years. it came from a group called fact whose donors are shrouded in secrecy. it's a nonprofit, but you can get an idea from whitaker's tv appearances in his capacity as its leader what he was up to. >> let's all be honest here. you know, sort of she had a server that she controlled. they reviewed all the e-mails now i heard over the weekend. so what we'd really like to see is all of the e-mails. we've got a pending request with the state department regarding his e-mails and his interactions with the clinton foundation. >> it sure looks like a nonprofit created to launder right wing attacks through the name of a punitively independent new org.
this comes on top of the fact that his other recent activities included being a paid advisory board member of a patent company which allegedly scammed $26 million from its customers and is now being criminally investigated by the fbi. of course, housed in the same justice department he now oversees. whitaker served on the board of world patent marketing where he was responsible for conducting cheesy pitches from new hot tub designs and apparently scaring off would be whistle blowers who were hip to what the company was doing. the federal trade commission uncovered e-mails in which whitaker personally threatened and tried to silence customers who said they were defrauded. and a profanity laced phone call he made to a website entitled appropriately enough ripoff report. the closer you look, the thinner he has resume gets. when president george w. bush
appointed him as u.s. attorney general in iowa, he boasted about a personal injury case he handled and had never been a prosecutor. he got the appointment through political connections. his biggest high profile prosecution was of a democratic politician. when the justice department was being politically manipulated by the white house to put pressure on u.s. attorneys to pursue george bush and carl roe's political agenda, political manipulation that turned into a seismic scandal that led to the resignation of alberto gonzales. whitaker was ranked as one of the worst u.s. attorneys in the country for imposing unusually long drug sentences. that individual with that resume and that record is now the firewall between the rule of law in america and a president who is on the record repeatedly attempting to manipulate the tools of the department of justice to prosecute his political enemies, to throw them in jail, to lock them up, if need be. whitaker addressed in an fbi joint operations center in new york today but was not
interested in answering questions about all of this. >> can you answer a question that if you've ever had a discussion with the president about investigating hillary clinton or james comey? can you -- >> let's bring in two people who have been scrutinizing matt whisker -- whitaker's past. think matt whitaker is a hack? one of many. what do you make of this record? >> well, it strikes me that this is someone who clearly was chosen because of that record and not despite it. he was chosen because of his willingness to say on tv that the mueller investigation is a witch hunt and there's no -- it's implausible that trump didn't know about that when he chose him. so i think that raises the question -- that raises many legal questions. but the question it raises for me is that whether this is a constitutionally acceptable
appointment. and i think that raises both the text of the constitution, but also a larger question of the constitution, what is it for the president to faithfully execute his office, or to make sure that the laws are faithfully executed? this seems to be quintessentially faithless execution of the president's office. >> marcie, it does seem significant to me that he gets his big credentialing card punched as a bush u.s. attorney during the time that we know that there was a lot of political manipulation of the u.s. attorneys. >> right. i mean, he was sort of an early adopter for that kind of political attack. and as soon as he was named people in iowa were like, yeah, he tried to take out the democratic opposition by going after this openly gay lawmaker and trumping up this case and trying to get him to inform on fellow democrats. and when it finally went to trial it took 25 minutes for the jury to decide that it was a bogus case.
so it was a bogus case, but even after that whitaker was like, yeah, i still -- you know, i'm okay with what i just did, which was a clear politicization of the prosecutorial process. >> good point. that was an acquittal of the most high profile case. marcy, there was an obviously -- obvious conflict, both the fbi investigation but the question of what exactly was funding this bizarre shell organization he was running. >> right. so this organization -- and the other thing that happened is he first started making $60,000 a year there. by the end he was making like $600,000. he gets hired and doing poe dunk stuff and starts going after hillary and gets a huge raise, he starts advising trump via cnn appearances, how to deep six the mueller inquiry and he gets another big raise. you're right, we have no idea who was paying him. it was laundered through a bunch
of dark money and the name kept changing too. so it's this kind of quintessential suspicious group. and so we don't know what kind of conflict or who exactly was paying for him to -- you know, and he was supposed to be nonpartisan. but he kept going on tv and only attacking hillary and only attacking mueller's inquiry. >> jed, you talked about this constitutional ground he's on that's dodgy, there's a connection between the lack of consent, and what we're learning about now. >> it's uncontroverted that a principal officer has to be confirmed by the senate. there's at least a question about what the line is between a principal officer and an inferior officer in certain cases, an inferior officer doesn't have to get senate confirmation. that's what the olc basically said is maybe he's not a principal officer, maybe not an officer at all, maybe he's
inferior. the constitution tells us that's not true. the constitution treats the heads of departments as principal officers. in a couple of different places. so if that's true, then what is whitaker right now? whitaker is the head of a department. and as head of a department, article two of the constitution tells us he's a principal officer and as a principal officer he must have senate confirmation. so the fact is that clarence thomas, justice clarence thomas had an opinion where he said that the larger point here is to avoid presidential favoritism and abuses of power. that's what alexander hamilton said, the originalists say this appointment is unconstitutional. john yu as well. so you've got the whole spectrum from left and right. originalists saying it's not acceptable. >> marcy, it strikes me, i don't think he could be confirmed.
he couldn't be nominated now, because he's working as acting. given his resume and record, i don't think somebody can be confirmed to attorney general of the united states. >> i'm never going to put anything by a mitch mcconnell senate. but right, the whole point of confirmation is to say are you qualified? good questions about that. do you have conflicts? really big questions about that. do you have legal problems? i mean, you mentioned the fdc investigation into the company he used to be on the board of. senator whitehouse today raised questions about whether he was in violation of the hatch act earlier this year because he was still getting political donations for 2014 political campaign he ran in iowa, four years after the fact. so he got four donations this year while he's been working as the chief of staff for jeff sessions. there's lots of legal questions of whether, you know, he's under active investigation by the fbi. it's kind of hard for him to be attorney general. one would hope that the senate would not confirm somebody like this. but you're not hearing anything from the -- especially the republicans in the senate about his disqualifications for being
attorney general. and, in fact, chuck grassley, who remains the chair of the judiciary committee has really close ties with him from iowa. so he's not going to say anything about whitaker because, you know, he's one of his iowa ans. >> marcy wheeler and jed shugarman, thank you both. senator jeff merkley of oregon, should the senate be doing something about this situation in the lame duck session? >> well, they absolutely should. i mean, listen, this is an individual who is being investigated, his company -- his former company is being investigated for a predatory scam on which he was the enforcer. we've heard how he abused his office in iowa. we've now heard about campaign donations which would enable him to repay a loan to himself. at every aspect this man is unfit. and that is what hamilton was talking about. he said we need this
confirmation process to avoid the appointment of cronies of unfit character. and yet that's what we have now right now, unfit character. >> is there any forcing mechanism, any leverage that democrats and minority wield in this senate between now and the new congress? >> well, if we have partisanship, and then we're -- it's going to be difficult. but if we have bipartisanship on this issue then leverage can be exerted. otherwise it's an issue for the courts to take up and say is this a violation of the constitution? and i certainly hope that that can be -- that can happen very quickly. we're asking the courts to do
so. but really, the republicans sometimes say to me, jeff, i agree with you completely. this is inappropriate by the president. i say, will you join us in a public display or conversation or letter? they say, well, we'll quietly call the president. well, i hope they -- not so quietly call the president and say this is just an outrage for the department of justice. and, of course, we know this is also part of the whole effort to keep the mueller investigation from ever delivering its report to congress and that is an obstruction of justice. so on every level we need to act. >> that last point you said stopping the mueller investigation from ever delivering its report to congress. do you mean something specific there or just a general attempt to shut it down? >> well, the mueller investigation, as i understand it, cannot be delivered without the superiors in the department allowing it to be presented to congress. >> i see. >> and so that's the troubling point we are at right now is we may never get our hands on all of the work that has been done by the special investigator. >> so you think that whitaker might be there not to shut it down but essentially to bottle up the final report. >> well, all of the above. because even if he shuts it down now, there's a lot of material the president doesn't ever want congress to see. >> aren't there ways you guys
can get that though? it seems impossible, good god, in this day and age that something like that would stay a secret? >> it absolutely seems incredible that that could be the case, but that is a very significant, substantial concern is that with whitaker there we will not be able to get our hands on the report. >> you are not a party in the -- you mentioned the lawsuit. there's three legal actions. i think there may now be four. and the justice department responded to one of them today about this sort of dodgy constitutional footing upon which whitaker is currently standing. but you mentioned before, you support the lawsuit from senators blumenthal, whitehouse and hirono against whitaker? >> absolutely. >> and do you think that whatever happens there's going to be some kind of reckoning,
because, you know, they've got the next 40 days or whatever, but eventually whitaker's going to have to testify before someone in congress, i imagine, with the democrats having taken the house? >> no, that's right. and i certainly believe that they'll move quickly in the house to bring him to testify and they'll ask him a lot of difficult questions, questions that probably the president would be best off replacing him before he has to come and talk to congress. >> all right. senator jeff merkley, thank you for making some time tonight. have a great thanksgiving. i really appreciate it. >> you bet, chris, good thanksgiving. nick akerman joins me now. it remains a scandal every day the guy is the acting attorney general of the united states. >> no question about it. testifies put in there by trump for one reason only. there are three things that trump is worried about. he doesn't want the mueller investigation going forward. he wants to prosecute jim comey. and he wants to prosecute hillary clinton. well, his in-house counsel, the white house counsel kept him from doing those things. >> right.
and jeff sessions stopped him from doing the others. >> right. what does he do? he gets around it by appointing this guy who's willing to do all three of those things for trump. i mean, he is nothing but a political hack. he has absolutely no legal foundation or underpinning. he's a guy who thinks that marbury madison which held that the supreme court has the final say in the constitutionality of an act of congress, he thinks that's all wrong. however, he also claims that the supreme court should have overruled obamacare. >> right. >> so the guy doesn't -- he's
talking out of both sides of his mouth. and like donald trump, he's a fraudster. he's involved in the trump university of his own making, which is this patent marketing group. >> you know, you had experience -- i mean, one of -- nixon went through a number of attorneys general. and they were political hacks fundamentally. that was sort of the problem, right? that was a key part of what the problem of nixon was what his justice department was willing to do for him. >> he had two attorney generals that were felons. >> crooks. >> they wound up being convicted of felonies. but i must say, during their confirmation, if you took their resume, i mean, it was stellar compared to this guy. >> right. >> it wasn't even close. >> it was not as obviously sort of installing a crony as whitaker? >> no. i mean, john mitchell who was the attorney general, the first one, was clearly a crony, he was a campaign manager. that was outrageous in itself. but, you know, he had a reputation, he was a good bond lawyer, he was a partner in a major firm in new york. he knew what the law is, even though he knew how to violate it. this guy doesn't know what the law is. he doesn't know what he's doing. he just doesn't have the resume to be attorney general. >> i just kind of wonder how long he can stay. >> oh, i think it just keeps building up every day. >> you saw that look on his face, that sort of sheepish look, he goes to new york today, addresses some of the folks in sdny, gets a tour of a customs facility if i'm not mistaken, gets one reporter talking to him and he sheepishly looks away. at a certain point he's going to have to talk. >> he did. he made up a story about this
individual that was convicted in a bombing in new york and new jersey, having two coconspirators there were supposed to be flying in from new york. >> he said that in his prepared remarks today, didn't he? he's wrong about that. >> it's a typical donald trump, what you don't know, make it up. >> right. i wonder, i mean right now the balance is sort of -- grassley has his back. and you wonder how much the iowa connection is part of this. grassley has his back. the coverage is brutal of this guy. at a certain point there is a date certain where he's going to have to go under oath before congress.
. he's not going to get out of it. >> he's going to have to pay the piper at some point. this is going to keep building. the idea he's getting campaign contributions when he's working for the attorney general of the united states. >> i just saw someone from open secrets who suspects they have found the donations that were funding this bizarre nonprofit that might have been just a single donor. interesting to know. the other thing today, the president put in his -- he put in his answers to mueller. there's a long sort of background piece in the ap. they're kind of like well, we're done with that. what's the next move? >> the next move is indictments. >> you don't think he's going to come back and go back and forth? >> no, i don't think so. what you've got is -- the real back story is, there are four cooperating witnesses, there's the president's campaign manager. there's his vice chairman who's pled guilty. there's his national security director and his personal lawyer. all of these people are singing in a chorus.
i mean, every one of them is talking about donald trump's role and what they know about it. and watergate, we never had cooperating witnesses who came close to what these people know. >> that's a great point. although you did have the tapes. did the president make some kind of deal with saudi arabia? to turn a blind eye to the murder of a "washington post" columnist in exchange for cheap oil? oil trader dan tickers here to explain why he thinks there might be a deal. this isn't just any moving day.
and this is moving day with reliable service appointments in a two-hour window so you're up and running in no time. show me decorating shows. this is staying connected with xfinity to make moving... simple. easy. awesome. stay connected while you move with the best wifi experience and two-hour appointment windows. click, call or visit a store today. saudi arabia's probably the second biggest oil producer. they've worked with us very well. we've kept oil prices down. if you want to see oil prices go to $150 a barrel, like by the
way russia would love to see that, all you have to do is break up our relationship with saudi arabia. >> the president has been very clear why he's okay with saudi killing and reportedly dismembering a u.s. resident and "washington post" columnist last month. it is because at least in part he believes that saudi arabia can supply the united states with cheap oil. something he continued to brag about today tweeting "oil prices getting lower, great, like a big tax cut for america and the world, enjoy $54 was just $82, thank you, saudi arabia, but let's go lower." trump's unabashed willingness to link his steadfast support to saudi arabia despite their brutal murder of jamal khashoggi, not to mention the weeks and weeks of lying about it and his love of cheap oil raise a number of questions, most especially is there some kind of explicit deal here? here with me now dan dicker. he remailed me yesterday to hypothesize that, yes, there was some kind of deal between the trump administration and the saudis with oil prices and the khashoggi murder. >> let's do some reconnaissance, history, dealing with a low price of oil and they need a high price of oil. their economy is almost 100% based on oil revenue, russia,
more than 50% of their revenues based on oil. they're dealing with a bad piece of oil action where oil was trading in the $30 range, going back to 2016. at this point mbs has -- he's consolidating power, has a new plan, he's going to control supply. he puts together a consortium, not of opec members, but of russia too, to control production, really cut it back very, very stiffly. now, remember the cartel does not have a good record of keeping these things together. >> part of the reason he has to make the -- he has this ability to hold this together for two years with compliance not of 100%, but of 110%, 115% where the saudis are actually throwing in more production cuts to make sure that they soak up the extra surplus that was in the market and we're watching oil prices rise. and as we're watching oil prices rise over the few years, trump is getting madder and madder and madder. he's tweeting at the saudis, we won't allow this to happen, this manipulation of an oil market, getting more and more mad as oil prices are going on. fast forward, khashoggi is murdered, a week later, pompeo goes to riyadh to talk about what went down in turkey, comes out of the meeting and they -- what did you talk about? oh, we didn't even mention khashoggi in this meeting. really?
>> part of the reason he has to make the -- he has this ability to hold this together for two years with compliance not of 100%, but of 110%, 115% where the saudis are actually throwing in more production cuts to make sure that they soak up the extra surplus that was in the market and we're watching oil prices rise. and as we're watching oil prices rise over the few years, trump is getting madder and madder and madder. he's tweeting at the saudis, we won't allow this to happen, this manipulation of an oil market, getting more and more mad as oil prices are going on. fast forward, khashoggi is murdered, a week later, pompeo goes to riyadh to talk about what went down in turkey, comes out of the meeting and they -- what did you talk about? oh, we didn't even mention khashoggi in this meeting. really? okay, fine. three days later, al feli, saudi oil minister, says we're not only going to increase production, the saudis, but we're saying to the rest of opec that you can open your spigots as wide as you want right now and we're all saying this goes against the entire strategy the saudis have been so pain staking to put together, they have even bigger plans with a montization. but for this moment they're saying we're done with this
proposal. everybody, all the traders, all the hedge funds start to flee. and in two and a half weeks -- >> based on the statement, the top saudi oil official says this thing, they go down $25 or whatever in -- >> but we've never seen them go down like this without something else going wrong. in 2008, a major credit crunch, the equity markets are getting pummelled, the dollar is going up. something else has to be going on. some other commodity is getting
killed. but no, just oil, straight down $25 without a stop for two and a half weeks. >> we've also seen at the same time seen the markets go down, the markets appear to be pricing in signals they think it's late cycle, headed towards a recession, you don't think that's what's driving the oil? >> it's helped. there were a lot of -- >> there's a lot of bear market indicators. >> they were kind of always there. but what there really were was most people in the financial communities who believed the saudis would continue with their plan of supporting the oil market going into 2019. >> when they bailed on that, everybody just became in like an avalanche of selling. >> you e-mailed this theory yesterday. it's plausible. i said, do you have evidence, no, it's just the way the chronology lines up. >> and it would all seem circumstantial except for the fact of the last two days where trump is all the sudden really pleased with the way the saudis are helping us, and also quoting on the white house lawn that they are working with us on oil prices. really? the president is now working with the saudis on oil prices? how did that turn around so quickly? this would have all seemed circumstantial, or at least you could have put it off as circumstantial if not for the fact that trump is, in fact,
admitting openly that he did in fact have a deal, they are working together with the saudis in terms of getting oil prices lower. >> bragging about it today, another tweet about how there's so much traffic because oil prices are so low, it seems plausible. >> he can't help but take credit for these things. >> dan dicker, that was great, thank you very much. the president picks a fight with the justice system and the chief justice supreme court fights back. that's next. the medicare enrollment deadline is only days away. choosing the right medicare plan is no laughing matter, pick the wrong one and you might end up with a doctor you're not so comfortable with. i'm not so comfortable. or even worse, be forced to pay thousands in medical expenses due to coverage limitations. that'll be how much? understanding all the options, let's face it, it can be downright confusing. and that's why i love healthmarkets, your insurance marketplace. they search thousands of plans from leading insurance companies to find a plan that's right for you. plans that have prescription drug
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rebuke from the chief justice john roberts. he was responding to a comment yesterday after judge tiger of the ninth circuit put a temporary hold on a trump administration plan to refuse asylum applications to people who cross the border outside ports of entry, ruling that trump cannot unilaterally rewrite the immigration laws. >> well, you go to the ninth circuit and it's a disgrace. and i'm going to put in a major complaint because you cannot win if you have a case in the ninth circuit. this was an obama judge. i'll tell you what, it's not going to happen like this anymore. >> chief justice roberts took issue with trump's suggestion that the judge was biased because he was appointed by
barack obama. roberts telling the ap we do not have obama judges or trump judges, bush judges or clinton judges. what we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best. that was pretty remarkable. and a president of course naturally attacked back. now, in a sense, roberts is absolutely right, that the reason the trump administration keeps losing in court over and over in humiliating fashion is because the administration tries to do flagrantly lawless things that judges have no tolerance for. but if there were really no such thing as trump judges then ask yourself this, why on earth is mitch mcconnell so intent on filling the judiciary with as many of them as possible? there is only one senate race left in the nation.
there is only one senate race left in the nation. i promise. it's the runoff election in mississippi set for next tuesday between the incumbent appointed republican senator cindy hyde smith and the challenger, former democratic congressman and secretary of agriculture mike espy. this was supposed to be a pretty easy race for hyde smith, a republican running in a deep south state that trump won by 18 points. but then hyde smith started running into trouble of her own
making. she was caught on camera saying it's a great idea to make it harder for liberal folks to vote. she was found to have posed in a confederate soldier's hat and a gun. she made this unbelievable comment. >> if he invited me to a public hanging i'd be on the front row. >> vouching for her friend there, if he invited me to a public hanging, i'd be on the front row. that comment crossed the line for a number of companies, including walmart. and now to a bizarre that took place last night in the one and only debate between the senate candidates. it was no ordinary debate. hyde-smith demanded no audience and no press be present. that the debate be organized by the mississippi farm bureau federation whose top members
have all donated to hyde-smith. but the note pads candidates were supposed to use to take notes during the debate. hyde-smith's campaign demanded access to their note pad an hour early and they appeared to use it for a cheat sheet: check out these huge pile of notes in front of hyde smith. she repeatedly looked down at her notes throughout the debate though at times it didn't seem to help too much. >> tonight you have heard two clearly different, opposite, differences between me and my opponent. >> she also relied on her notes in making a stilted non-apology for the public hanging comment. >> you know, for anyone that was offended for my -- by my comments, i certainly apologize. there was no ill will, no intent whatsoever in my statements. >> mike espy, the democrat, an african-american, said the damage had been done. >> i don't know what's in your
heart, but we all know what came out of your mouth and it went viral, you know, within the first three minutes around the world. so it's caused our state harm. it's given our state another black eye that we don't need. it's just rejuvenated the old stereo types that we don't need anymore. >> joining me now, jackson free press reporter, ashton pitman, and derek johnson who previously led the naacp mississippi state conference. let me start with you, ashton. what -- give me some background on how this debate came about and how the hyde-smith people negotiated for it. >> so for months, both mike espy and chris mcdaniel who was a republican opponent before the november 6th general had been asking her for a debate. she repeatedly refused. first she said that she didn't want a debate because -- or she couldn't debate because of her senate schedule.
but then when the senate went on recess she said, well, actually she didn't want a debate because she thought mcdaniel's supporters might come and be rude and boo her if it had a live audience. so the day after -- the day after the november 6th election, she apparently spoke with farm bureau and by thursday morning she had put out a press release saying she had agreed to this debate. and when i called the mike espy campaign that morning after the press release. they had not even seen the rules of the debate or seen the terms. they hadn't accepted it but she accepted it immediately. i'm assuming, you know, she must have already talked to them about what those terms would be. but the espy campaign did not even know the terms at the time she accepted. >> derek, talk a little bit about how you're viewing this, hyde-smith's race which should be a walk for her given the conservative voting habits of that state. >> well, her actions, her
statement is consistent with the racialized political nature of mississippi. if you use race, religion or region, you can get voters to vote against their interests. of the statements she made, her posing for pictures with confederate artifacts on, the nature by which she had the conversation dealing with voter suppression is a true indicator of her character, but not unusual for mississippi. unfortunately race is a tool that's oftentimes weaponized to turn out a very conservative base. >> yeah, let me follow up on that. there's a lot of people watching this saying is this hurting her?
there's an internal poll that got leaked. do you think the kind of campaign she's run and the missteps she's had, the things she's said, do those hurt her politically in mississippi based on your experience? >> nationally it may hurt her, but the voters she's catering to, it may be more appealing, may be energizing. the third candidate is chris mcdaniel. he's a tea partier. those individuals support this type of politics. as a result of that this is a way to appeal to that base, to get them to move over to support her candidacy, which could be enough to put her over the top. >> ashton, as i was watching the senator last night, the first extended bit i've seen of her really, i thought to myself this is a united states senator how exactly did she end up here? what is the back story of how she ended up being the u.s. senator? >> well, first of all i will say i have talked to mcdaniel supporters who actually after those videos were actually even more upset who said originally they were going to vote for her after november 6th, but then they decided they couldn't do it after those videos came out. there are some who were turned away because of that. >> that's interesting.
>> as far as how she came to this, when senator cochran stepped down governor brian appointed her. she served as the commissioner of agriculture and commerce in the state. governor brian appointed her. a lot of people are upset by that. she was forced upon them. there's a lot of people in the republican party who feel that way. some people consider it mitch mcconnell's doing. there's a lot of anger about that. >> that's interesting, derrick, look a democrat winning the race in mississippi is a long shot, a black man frankly being elected u.s. senate from mississippi has not happened since reconstruction. but there does seem like there is a little bit of a political opening here. what do you make of it? >> it's not such a long shot in mississippi. mississippi has the highest percentage per capita of african-americans than any other state. we had a democratic body state elected field up until 2003. in fact, cindy hyde-smith was a democrat. she switched parties when she was a state senator. she ran for state ag as a republican, and she was
appointed to this position. but it's not a long shot for an african-american to win statewide. it's not a long shot for democrats to win statewide. it is truly an investment in the state's infrastructure. there are many more people who are seeking a much more progressive outlook on how governance should take place. the state of mississippi refuses to accept affordable care act funds, and it's caused major problems across the state in terms of closing of rural hospitals. you have a lot of people who are now more angry about what's taking place because there have been so many problems that have broken. >> ashton pitman, down there in mississippi, and derrick johnson, thank you both for being with me.
>> thank you. >> thank you. the election still on the over and democrats are getting closer to a 40 seat sweep in the house. the latest on all the winning ahead. so this christmas, take care of the hands that take care of you. that's me in back in 1987, when i gave isotoner gloves to all my teammates. now i have a different set of teammates. my family. and they all want isotoner gloves for christmas because they keep getting better. there's smartouch. for selfies whenever, wherever. then there's four way stretch for flexibility. they even have smartdri. see? stays dry.
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it's been 15 days since election day and democrats are still winning seats. the latest flip seems it will be in utah. where it says ben mcadams beats mia love. if the result remains, democrats will regain 39 house seats. get this, they have a shot of picking up one more, although, nbc has already called california's congressional district for republican david valadeo. they show tj cox is within 300 votes.
if that seat flips, democrats are looking at a 40-seat pickup. they have already won the popular vote in the house by nearly 900 votes the largest margin sis watergate. talking about the highest election turnout in years. congressman costello, i want to play you a clip from newt gingrich in 1994 of what a mandate means after the republicans won the house and a popular vote, slightly smaller tan the democrats this time. take a listen. >> as a hishistorian, every time you had an election that clear cut the word that has been used to describe sit a mandate. if this is not a mandate to move in a particular direction, i would like somebody to explain to me what a mandate would look like.
>> it seems like that would apply here, right? >> i guess. i would probably use the word rebuke than a mandate. i think it was a rebuke on the president because you saw out of 24 districts where you had a republican member of congress yet vote for hillary clinton, have you three or four republicans remaining. i think it was extremely difficult if not impossible to differentiate yourself and have voters whose tickets split, vote for you if they were indiana trump or evolved over time the democrats to be fair, this isn't critical, if all reality. they didn't campaign on a particular policy agenda in as much as it was a check and balance provide oversight type of a campaign would you say that was more of a mandate than a rebuke? >> it was actually the opposite.
democrats were campaign on health care and not talking about the president, weirdly enough i think people there were crazy. >> i think what happened is the electorate was softened up in being anti-trump. in new york and new jersey, they layerred the salt deduction in high tax districts in order to grab points from republicans. then they used the pre-existing conditions because of the vote that never became law as another layer. democrats weren't campaigning on a particular policy agenda with health care, they want to make it more accessible. less costly. we all do. i don't think they were laying out a marker as to what they were doing with policy specifics. that's my rebuke. >> what do you think, donna? >> i could not disagree more. in fact, while we were all having this big national
conversationant president trump for sure, every mid-term election is a call on the president who is in office. this was a rebuke of the president, but the fact is, in every single one of these districts the candidates chose to run on an agenda of creating jobs through rebuilding infrastructure on health care. health care, which actually poll as the number one issue coming out of the election. so to say the democrats didn't have a message or run on anything isn't just accurate. >> let me follow up on that. if there the a mandate or they ran on health care what do you you see that as the mandate for, right? clearly health care was extremely a powerful po at the present time issue. i watched race after race from which it worked from kansas to orange county. what do you think the mandate is now for? >> i think people, obviously, the electorate is really satisfied with obamacare with the affordable care act.
but they know that it has gaps. so they want to make sure that they really do protect against discrimination on pre-existing conditions. making sure to close the gaps from people still not covered under the affordable care act. of course, lowering the cost of prescription drugs. this factor varied heavily in so many races across the country. so i really do think that democrats have something to govern on in addition to what they ran on. >> congressman, let me ask you this. a lot of your colleagues, soon to be former colleagues a lot of them haven't been in the minority before. what do you think life will look like in the tactics will look like in the politics will look like for the new house republican many irt? >> well, i've always said it's easy for any party to be in the minority. all you have to do is vote no most of your electorate will be happy n. this calls, we have lost a lot of the more centrist
republicans, so it is a much more conservative conference by percentage because we've lost a lot of republican moderate members and we just have less members to begin with. i do want to pick up on one other point. i think the other thing that really became a challenge for a few republicans that just barely lost, was the birth right citizenship caravan nonsense. you had districts in florida and california with high immigrant populations and those members bucked the party along with myself and others on an immigration compromise package trying to say, we don't agree with the president. we don't want to enflame the immigration issue. the president enflamed it. a lot said how can i be with you when the president overrides it? >> that seems tab the backfire on the immigration stuff. >> absolutely. i think anything we learn from this. when you put immigration on the table.
are you actually opening up the door in florida and border states, where they're the ones that stand the most to campaign or lose in this conversation, immigration. they just weren't having it, voters weren't having it. i think it under scores where i believe nancy pelosi will have a governing agenda come january. >> i think she will be the speaker. the cards are going that way. thank you both so much. have a great holiday. i appreciate it. >> that is it for this evening. tonight a rare and stunning statement from the chief justice of the united states supreme court contradicting the president. john roberts comes out in defense of federal judges in the wake of trump's criticism and the president answers back. tonight we're ask a man who appeared before the roberts court 37 times why he thinks the chief justice took this extraordinary step.