tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC May 14, 2019 12:00am-1:00am PDT
speedy and thorough recovery. that is our broadcast for this monday night as we start a new week. my thanks to steve kornacki for sitting here last week. thank you for being here with us. and good night from nbc news headquarters here in new york. tonight on "all in" -- >> when you're losing $500 billion a year, you can't lose in terms of a negotiation. it's really easy to win. >> donald trump drags america into a full-blown trade war. >> i think it's working out very well. >> tonight the chinese retaliate amid growing fears that the man who bankrupted his casinos is about to squander the economy he inherited. >> i've just raised the stakes. then -- >> he is going to testify -- >> congressman adam schiff on why he says mueller will appear before the house and what we're learning about don jr.'s subpoena. plus are democrats throwing away their chance to demote mitch mcconnell?
and why donald trump welcomed an aspiring autocrat who traffics in anti-semitism to the white house today. >> probably like me, a little bit controversial, but that's okay. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. not for the first time in his life donald trump seems intent on taking a massive inheritance and lighting it on fire, but this time instead of his daddy's money it's in the form of the nation's entire macro economy. it's worth noting that by and large the u.s. economy is doing pretty well, at least by the traditional metrics. unemployment hit its lowest point in 50 years, although this chart tells the whole story of the entire post-recession era. this the job growth in the low point of the recession since 2010, that line going straight up. six fulls years under obama, two years under trump. january 17th, the month that trump took over.
he inherited this economy and since then he and congressional republicans have cut taxes for corporations and pumped stimulus with additional government spending. there is no reason the president should do anything but attempt to sit back and watch his shows and ride the strong economy into the next election, but he has been crowing about how fixing trade with china will be his key, and the same guy, same guy who managed to lose money running casinos, who lost money selling americans football, steaks and alcohol seems intent on destroying the american economy, too. we know president likes to yell at the television, offer his takes and often those just exist in a place of make believe, like the border wall that is supposedly being built. but the infects of trump's trade war are very real. there are actually $200 billion in tariffs on chinese goods. there is actually $60 billion in retaliatory tariffs from the chinese. there was actually more than $1 trillion in market cap lost since trump started threatening new tariffs last weekend. there are actually soy bean exports going down the drain, unable to be sold abroad.
the president's trade war already has and will continue to have genuine real life significant costs and even more worrisome could escalate further. last week we learned that trump lost over $1 billion of his daddy's money over ten years. national net farm income dropped by more than $9 billion or 12% in 2018. now trump has lost $1 trillion in the u.s. stock market since just last weekend. the gross mis-cal collusion of this whole endeavor. the insane hypocrisy as the president and his administration are browbeating people on food stamps and kicking children out of public housing while they just shoved $15 billion of public money in farmers' pockets to buy off the votes of the businesses they're in the process of ruining. then there is the fact that the republican party, the republican party that likes to lecture us about free markets and government intervention and
yadda, yadda, yadda, is just sitting there watching trump do this when, "a," it is clearly congress' role to regulate tariffs and, and, "b," it ostensibly goes against everything they pretend to believe in, ostensibly. the facilitation of this by the party of fiscal conservatism and free markets is both hilarious and gobsmacking. here is republican senator tom cotton putting everything in perspective earlier today. >> there will be some sacrifice on the part of americans, i grant you that, but i also would say that that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas, that our fallen heros laid to rest in arlington make. >> well, you can't compare -- >> joining me now democratic senator gary peters of michigan. senator, what does this mean for the people you represent in michigan? >> well, it the very concerning. they're very concerned about what these tariffs are going to
mean to prices and to jobs, but i will say, first off, we all agree that the chinese need to be held accountable for actions that are unfair, that we need to have fairer trade rules in order to compete. american workers can outcompete anybody if the rules are fair, but you need to have a strategy. what we're seeing from the trump administration are some blanket tariffs that are causing a great deal of hardships, particularly for farmers in michigan, and there doesn't seem to be a plan, and that, quite frankly, is irresponsible. >> why -- i want to read you the united states constitution article i section eight which reads as follows. the congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises to regulate commerce in and among the several states. how is it possible that the united states congress is sitting idly by while the president in a kingly manner slaps tariffs on a foreign nation? >> it is mind-blowing. my republican colleagues do not want to step up. they never want to question president trump even though these activities are clearly impacting businesses across our country, impacting farmers. you're now seeing money having to be paid to farmers, as you mentioned at the opening of your show. i can tell you farmers in michigan don't want to receive handouts, they want to compete. they want to see the markets
continuing to flourish and concerned with these tariffs and if the chinese look at other sources of imports, that could hurt our markets for years to come. >> do you have -- you know, i talked to senator sherrod brown who has been incredibly critical for the duration of his career when he entered the house for the u.s. bilateral trade relationship with china, which many people over the years have called dysfunctional. they've said that china has acted in predatory father, all of that. steel workers. i watched people initially genuinely on board with the general principle follow the trajectory as they reel iit's donald trump doing it. where are you on that trajectory? >> i think you have to be tough. you have to make sure to hold the chinese accountable. tariffs may be -- certainly it's a tool in the toolbox you have to use but you have to use it carefully and to should be strategic and it should be targeted.
if you just have across the board tariffs without any kind of plan in place, you end up causing a great deal of havoc and actually having all sorts of unintended consequences. >> but what i hear from you is a certain kind of ambiguity that i've heard from a lot of members of congress, and i just wonder how long that ambiguity could last if this continues to escalate. >> well, we've been pretty clear and i've been very clear that this kind of broad brush approach is not responsible. that you do need to target those tariffs. i have a situation right now where i'm arguing that we have to stand up to the turkish government, for example. that's undermining our cherry growers up in the travers city area. it could put an entire agricultural business in my area out of business. we need to step in. we need to have some backbone here in congress to step up and say what you are doing is hurting our economy.
let's hold the chinese accountable. let's hold the turks accountable, but let's do it in a smarter fashion than what we're seeing out of this administration. >> all right. senator gary peters out of michigan, thank you very much. >> thank you. >> joining me now, dan dicker and olivia. olivia, i'll start with you. donald trump has very few, i think, core beliefs or perspective on the world but trade war is one of them. this is him on "the oprah show" in 1988. then it was japan, not china, but take a listen. >> we're a debtor nation. something's going to happen over the next number of years with this country because you can't go on losing $200 billion and we let japan come in and dump everything right into our markets. it's not free trade. if you ever go to japan right now and try to sell something, forget about it, oprah. it's almost impossible. >> what is your understanding of why he is pursuing this in the way he is? >> well, i think as you said
it's one of his very few core beliefs. it's something that he's been saying since at least the '80s. he said it on the campaign trail. his rhetoric has changed a little bit in terms of his understanding of what tariffs actually do and who shoulders the costs of these tariffs. he seems to have been a little bit confused recently about whether or not the u.s. citizens are going to be paying for this in the end, which most studies do seem to say they will and they certainly have when it comes to washing machines and tariffs he imposed back in 2018, but i think instead he wants to look tough, and i think most of his behavior from back when he was on the campaign trail in 2016 to now has to do with wanting to project a certain toughness. >> right. >> he wants to look as though he is standing up to china, that he's not, you know, being bullied into having any other belief than the one that he's been touting since the '80s. so it's not surprising in that sense. i think what's surprising is that the republican party in general seems to be kind of
falling in line with him now. >> yeah. the looking -- the looking tough part, dan, i mean, the problem with these kinds of dynamics is the other side has its own imperatives as well, they can't allow themselves to be rolled by donald trump. >> they can't be moved. there is no way the chinese are going to be forced into becoming basically a european economy just because donald trump demands it of them. that's basically what's being asked here. it's more of a simpleton's point of view. he's a salesman, he sells steaks and airline tickets -- >> tries to. >> hotel rooms and golf courses, what have you. if i'm selling more than this guy, i'm winning. >> right, exactly. >> this is why the trade war is good for this country because i can slap on $500 billion of taxes and tariffs on u.s. -- on chinese goods -- >> right. >> and they can only hit us for 60 or 70 billion. i'm going to win. >> that's right.
>> i can do this for more things they're selling to me than what i'm selling to them. it's a simpleton's view of trade and it mimics his time in the business world. >> olivia, i wonder, there is a self-destructiveness here. i just wonder is there a price at which this tips over, right? okay, we go through one round of escalation and it's a real thing and it's going to have real consequences. there are calculations what it could cost gdp. is there like a break point anywhere in that building in the white house, on capitol hill where it's like, okay, now is time for the intervention with the guy in the oval office? >> well, you would think that the midterms may have been that point, right? just cynically in a political sense, you might think they would come away from the midterm loss and say, oh, maybe we should reassess things, maybe we shouldn't have policies that directly negatively impact a core part of our constituency being farmers and people in manufacturing, in, you know, those parts of the country. but that doesn't seem to be how they think in this white house.
and as you said at the top of the show, he should just be sitting back right now, the president, and kind of allowing the economy to do what it's doing. things are going well for him. probably, you know, not because of many of his decisions, but he's very lucky in terms of how the economy is going right now. and most presidents historically who are incumbents and are enjoying a positive economy get re-elected. instead of just sitting back and allowing that to happen and kind of taking credit for it, he is meddling and maybe, you know, ruining this good will that he has right now because of the economy's performance. >> mick mulvaney -- >> it's a huge bet, right, going into 2020. there are a lot of reasons things may not go well for him. there are a lot of strong competitors in the 2020 democratic field. so it seems just unbelievable that he would further complicate things by doing this, and yet he is. >> i feel like i do have a better understanding of how the
guy bankrupted casinos. mick mulvaney should be scheduling six fireworks meetings a day with the president. part of the problem, though, too, it's like watching people brawl that are handcuffed to each other. in some ways it gets to the deep problem here, which is people have been criticizing the imbalances in this relationship forever and not wrongly. like, it has been a messed up dysfunctional relationship in a lot of ways. >> going back, his biggest leverage point was always tpp. remember, obama wasn't, you know, blind to this problem with chinese trade. that's what the trans-pacific partnership was all about. you create a club of trading partners and you do things the right way. >> that was the argument people made for it. >> right? he immediately threw that treaty away, and that leaves him no choice but to go with these more kind of crazy end of days kinds of approaches, strategies in
trying to get the chinese to bend to his will. >> there was a big selloff in the market today. here's my question to you, dan, i can't help but think he's getting cut a lot of slack by corporate america and the business press. if bernie sanders or avowedly left liberal president were doing this it would be end of days screaming from every corporate corner office. >> that is of course true, but you got to remember wall street, even to this day, really doesn't believe that trump can go through with this policy because it's so self-destructive. >> he's holding the gun to his head and they don't think he'll pull. >> exactly. for months they've been saying he can't possibly go through with this. he can't move forward on this because the chinese can't move. in the end he has all the political risk. president xi not so much. they're figuring at some point he blinks and turns this is around. the chinese have given him months to do that and plenty of opportunities to write the new document that looks exactly like the old government and claim victory from it. instead, he's got the gun to his head and these threatening to pull the trigger, he actually will. >> somebody's got to give him an out, some version of the fake wall. thank you both. >> thank you. >> thank you. democratic house
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xfinity xfi gives you the speed, coverage and control you need. manage your wifi network from anywhere when you download the xfi app today. the big question in washington right now is whether special counsel robert mueller will make an appearance to testify on capitol hill. in an interview over the weekend, house intelligence chair adam schiff said he has every expectation the public will get to hear from mueller directly. >> are you convinced that's going to happen? >> i am convinced it's going to happen. that is inexorable. the american people have ever right to hear what the man who did the investigation has to say and we now we certainly can't rely on the attorney general who misrepresented his conclusions, so he is going to testify. >> was not clear if schiff knows something we don't about the negotiations or if he was just making a prediction. fortunately we get a chance to ask schiff himself. house intelligence chair adam schiff joins me now. do you have special information? is that a prediction borne of some sort of confidence that
it's the will of the people? >> you know, we're in conversation with the special counsel's office and it's not that they've confirmed a date, but this is going to happen. it has to. and you have to start, i think, with the man who did the investigation. and i think the republicans and i think the attorney general even understand that. that's why barr has said repeatedly he's not going to stand in the way of mueller's testimony. that's because he can't. that's just a bridge too far for even them. >> i don't want to get into confidential negotiations, but is your expectation and understanding that this would be in public session, that the american people would fundamentally get to hear from the person who undertook this enterprise? >> yes, i think in the judiciary committee it will be. >> yeah. >> completely in open session. in our committee we might have part of it in open and part in closed. we're predominately interested in the counterintelligence aspects of the investigation.
this began not as a criminal probe but as an investigation into whether people around trump and then ultimately trump were compromised in some way. that might involve criminal activity or it might just involve moscow trump tower, trying to get money from russia, trying to get kremlin help, so those reports that were compiled during the investigation, we know from the mueller report, were sent off to fbi headquarters. we still haven't seen them. we haven't heard what happened to that investigation. is it still ongoing? we want mueller to come in and answer those questions. >> am i right, last time i think i had you on, you said you have not been receiving counterintelligence briefings on this matter. >> that's right. the last hearing we had with james comey, and after he was fired that was the end of these briefings. we were informed of other counterintelligence issues -- >> so it hasn't been cut off completely. you get briefed on other stuff? >> we do. on this it went into a black hole and has stayed there ever since. >> what are you going to do
about that? >> well, we sat down with justice department after we took over the majority and said where is this information. we had several meetings. they played rope-a-dope with them. we subpoenaed them. the next step, we're continuing the conversations with them, but if they're not forthcoming we will have to press this with a vote on the house floor. >> do you agree with your colleagues like for instance chair nadler who say that we are in a constitutional crisis right now? >> i think we're on the threshold of that. where we would be in a full-blown crisis is if we get to court, the court rules against trump and trump says, i don't care, i'm still not going to comply. >> i'm glad you said that because it strikes me right now we have a dispute between two branches that both branches believe will be fundamentally resolved by the third and as long as that system of legitimacy holds, you know, that is how this stuff gets adjudicated, right? >> i think that's true. there is other conduct of the president that is alarming in other ways and i think we've
never had our democracy so stressed as what we see from a president who has no respect for the separation of powers, no respect for the truth and no moral character. and, you know, that is a crisis of a different kind. >> speaking of that, the president's personal lawyer, rudy giuliani, announced he was going to go to ukraine to in his words meddle in an investigation in a way that some might say is improper. again, i'm quoting him. after there was some negative reaction to that, he cancelled his trip. what do you -- is that a good sign? do you think they think mission accomplished? what's your read on that? >> is it a good sign? i mean, it's just staggering that they thought that this was somehow appropriate, okay, the new rules of the game. yeah, you go and get foreign help. and the ridiculous distinction -- >> worked for him before. >> -- he was making, no, i was trying to meddle into an investigation, not a campaign. well, the whole point of the investigation he was trying to get started was to hurt his political opponent, trump's political opponent, the one they apparently fear the most, joe biden.
here we are, the investigation into what the russians did and trump and his campaign did is still not finished, and they're starting the next effort to get foreign help. so i'm not surprised that it got shut down. maybe i shouldn't be surprised that they were still at it, but it does mean that we have to look at this and think, okay, do we need to somehow change the laws to make this a crime? because apparently they're going to continue seeking foreign help in the absence of it being clearly criminal activity. >> the judge in -- who has the first sort of round of contestations of subpoenas of the president, his accounting firm, issued a sort of interesting ruling and basically said we're going to expedite this. we're going to have a hearing. i think that's scheduled for tomorrow. the trump lawyers said no, no, no, we don't want to do it that fast. some taking it as a sign that at least this judge understand the importance of an expedited
schedule to adjudicate this question of what congress can and can't have access to. is that your reading? is that your hope? >> absolutely. you know, i think this court understands that the administration is trying to slow-walk all of this is that there is urgency to this if oversight can be delayed it can be denied. i thought it was very encouraging that the court on its own said let's consolidate the briefings. let's move ahead quickly. the legal issues are pretty simple, congress either has the power or it doesn't and i think the trump folks can read the writing on the wall and they understand they're in a very poor legal position. one of the whole points for them is to draw this out adds long as possible, so, yes, it betrays the position of our strength in congress, our counsel is saying let's move forward and the weakness of their position trump and his lawyers saying, no, let's delay, let's put this off, let's think about this a little longer, let's see how much longer we can play rope-a-dope here. >> do you have -- what is your thinking right now of bill barr and the integrity of the justice department, particularly as you reference us moving into this
new world which is this individual, this president running for president this time as an incumbent and a person who has shown himself to have no problem sort of skirting ethical reince or people around him skirting ethical lines, if not legal ones, who we know talks to his department of justice, who we know likes to harangue the attorney general in public and harangue the fbi as he did over the weekend. what is your expectation, what are your worries about this relationship with this attorney general as we move into the election season? >> i'm profoundly concerned about it. now, i didn't support his nomination because i felt he should have committed to recusing an investigation to which he had such an obvious bias. i never thought he would be this awful, come before the congress, the house, and flatly lie, misrepresent the work of bob mueller. that he would talk about spying, adopt the president's incendiary language and claim there is
nothing incendiary about accusing his own department and intelligence agencies of spying on a presidential campaign. there are few things that would be more incendiary. so i have, you know, just the worst expectations now, and the fact that this president thinks it's perfectly fine to talk with the attorney general about investigating his political opponents. maybe this attorney general now thinks that's okay too because this attorney general has this unified executive theory that he basically is the president's lawyer to do the president's bidding. if that bidding includes shutting down the mueller investigation, barr says that would have been perfectly fine. it follows from that that if the president wanted to shut down these 14 investigations that were handed off to others, that the attorney general might say, well, that's within his prerogative or if the president wants someone investigated, well, that's his right, too. >> it's the initiating that i find the most sort of terrifying from a rule of law expect. and, you know, we've already seen these norms broken down. rod rosenstein referred matters, people that he wanted -- the
president wanted investigated to the inspector general. >> yeah. >> andrew mccabe, whatever you might think of his conduct, his firing was accelerated so that he would be deprived of a pension because that's what the president wanted. and, you know, personal text messages. this is another great hypocrisy that we're seeing right now. text messages of peter strzok and lisa page, people who have not been indicted. >> yeah. >> over 1 million pages of discovery in the clinton email investigation, including thousands in the mueller investigation, like fisa applications, turned over to a republican congress by rod rosenstein, same guy saying, no, we can't possibly give over information, we can't give you 450 pages, even though we gave a gop congress over 1 million. >> that's a good point. congressman adam schiff, thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, new alarm bells over the massive 2020 field of democratic candidates and how it may cost the democrats a shot at the senate. next. many people living with diabetes
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you're not going to believe this or maybe you will since it's 2019 and there is apparently no limit to size of the democratic field. steve bullock is teasing a big announcement and it looks like he's going to run for president of these united states. bullock's got a sort of tweed length case for his candidacy, elected twice state wide in montana of all places where trump won by 20 points. but that very same profile would make him the sing the most formidable democratic challenger to incumbent republican senator steve danes. and bullock is not alone in that regard. many texas democrats thought beto o'rourke fresh off his impressive performance against ted cruz was best positioned to challenge john cornyn, but o'rourke is running for
president instead. john hickenlooper would make a top-tier challenger for the most vulnerable incumbent senator of the lot, corey gardner, but hickenlooper is running for president and currently polling at 0%. stacey abrams, widely viewed as the best challenge to take on georgia incumbent david purdue but said recently she's not going to run for the senate. so the democrats have a enormous presidential field and a very real and pressing issue in the u.s. senate. here with me now to talk about the u.s. senate, barbara boxer, herself a former member of the senate and co-host -- author of "one nation after trump." senator boxer, what do you think is going on here. >> well, i think it's really a non-issue that some of the more famous people have decided they don't want to be part of a
you why. i think there are three factors that will weigh into whether we take back the senate, and, boy, i hope we do. one is recruitment. >> yep. >> but sometimes you get some fresh face -- >> mmm-hmm. >> and that person is going to win. in my race, i ran against an establishment lieutenant governor. i won. i got there. now, secondly, the top of the ticket. remember, this is a presidential year, so if there is a huge amount of enthusiasm, our candidate can get in. and lastly, unique to this, the senate has turned into a legislative graveyard. so no matter who is running, that is an issue. >> yep. >> legislation about education, health care, gun safety, they all go to the senate to die. so i think those three factors can make up for not getting your star. >> i think you're -- i think your last point is so astute and, norm, you've sort of chronicled the decline of congress both in how it functions and in its power. something strikes me there is something perverse and insidious here. mitch mcconnell has so broken
the senate in many ways, it's a far less appealing place for people to go join when they look at what it looks like. >> that is a catch-22 i think here, chris. barbara's right about that. but i think the larger point is what mcconnell has done to the senate, if he continues to have that role, and i'm sure hoping that amy mcgrath will run against him. he's up this time and has an extremely low approval rating. but if he is still the majority leader of the senate and you have a democratic president and a democratic house, you're going to see a hamstrung president in a whole host of ways. the majority in the senate is on a par with its importance in terms of the presidential election. >> yeah. >> and while barbara's right that there are many factors there, whether candidates can raise the money, have the name recognition to pull in the small donors, have the ability to get
out there and compete when there's going to be a ton of dark money used against them, fresh faces can matter and beto showed that in texas, but you sure hope you have the a-list candidates running in the races where republicans might be vulnerable but may not be if there is not a top contender. >> senator, someone was pointing out to me that the timelines here are a little different, too, the presidential people tart much earlier, they have much more money to raise, the debates start -- i mean, corey gardner didn't announce he was running back in 2014 until march i think of that year. people -- people announced a lot later and there is a lot of time for the senate field to shake out in different ways. >> well, in getting ready for this important interview with two terrific people, i did call my contacts at the dscc. they are very excited. they say it's going to be another year of the woman. they could have six women candidates. which is huge. out of the eight races. and a lot of veterans are going to be running. >> yeah.
>> so i, again, i can tell you, if you're trying to persuade someone who wants to be an executive to run for the legislature, which the senate is, the best legislative body in the world, in my opinion, or certainly was when i was there, sometimes when you have to work too hard -- >> yeah. >> -- to persuade someone, they're not the best candidate. >> that's a good point. >> and i can tell you, we could have another year of the woman and we could have people that are going to shake things up and that could redound to our benefit. people may be looking for that this time. >> yeah, it's a very good point, i mean, this is something that stacey abrams has said quite forthrightly, she wants to be an executive. that's the position she views herself -- >> yes. >> as sort of pursuing and best at. and i think it is important that people run for the position they actually want to do because if you win, that's the job you're going to actually have, right, norm? >> yeah. and the other problem, of course, you're right about timelines.
we're probably going to see this presidential field shake out pretty rapidly after iowa and new hampshire, maybe even just after iowa. but if you flame out early as a presidential candidate and then you decide you want to run for the senate, your brand is pretty much devalued at that point, too. so it's a -- >> that's a good point. >> it's a tricky place to be. >> well, senator, let me ask you this. the polling averages so far show that joe biden is the clear front-runner around 40%. after him comes bernie sanders. then there are a few -- elizabeth warren, kamala harris and pete buttigieg, who are sort of clustered there. then you've got, you know, a dozen people in some cases sterling and impressive resumes who have done all sorts of interesting things in their lives polling at 0% or 1%. as a politician yourself, somebody who has made these calculations, how long do you view this field staying this big? >> well, i just think because of the way the democratic party has set it up, certain people are going to make to the debate
stage. >> right. >> certain people are going to qualify. if you can't get on that national stage, it's really hard. >> yeah, that's a good point. that's like the first hurdle. if you don't get over that hurdle -- >> i think it's tough, and i also think, you know, you're not that spoiled of a candidate if you have a joe biden in there who is so taking off. listen, most experts didn't expect that. >> right. >> as i pointed out a long time ago. but he is. >> right. >> and if that continues, it's not a shameful thing. >> huh. >> that, you know, you couldn't make it. you could change your mind. but the senate's not a consolation prize, it's an important, critical place to be. norm is right. it's essential. so we have to work to take it back, and i think all of these factors are going to weigh in, in addition to just who the candidate is. there could be a national backdrop that just says "vote
blue." >> yeah. >> you know, we're in chaos. we're in chaos. >> barbara boxer and norm, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. >> thanks, chris. ahead, the president invites the far-right prime minister of hungary into the oval office. coming up, we'll talk about the president's obsession with strong men leaders. plus, tonight's thing one, thing two starts next. (client's voice) remember that degree you got in taxation? (danny) of course you don't because you didn't! your job isn't doing hard work... ...it's making them do hard work... ...and getting paid for it. (vo) snap and sort your expenses to save over $4,600 at tax time. quickbooks. backing you.
it makes money convincing people to buy guns from companies that make guns, and the nra has been very effective until recently when a gutter fight broke out between ceo wayne lapierre and its former president oliver north. claims of gross financial mismanagement and an investigation by new york's attorney general has made it clear if you're a faithful member sending in your check to wayne lapierre, it may have saved the second amendment and helped him buy this dandy outfit. and that's thing two in 60 seconds. d that's thing two in 60 seconds.
imagine you've been sending money to wayne lapierre and the nra all these years only to see stories like this in "the wall street journal." leaked letters reveal details of nra chief's alleged spending with all sorts of expenses he allegedly billed to the nra's ad agency like a trip to italy and budapest and $6500 for lodging at the four seasons hotel. $2400 for a stay at italy's lake como, which is very nice. and almost $40,000 from washington to the bahamas and
$29,000 from the bahamas to dallas. that seems like a lot to me. an nra attorney says lapierre's travel expenses were for fund-raising, donor outreach and stakeholder engagement. what got the most attention today is that wayne lapierre is apparently quite the shopper. "national rifle association chief executive wayne lapierre billed the group's ad agency $39,000 for one day of shopping at a beverly hills clothing boutique. the boutique in question is called -- i have never said that name before. now while we don't have an itemized list of his purchases, the website jezebel did a little browsing and $39,000 could have bought wayne all sorts of stuff. this demure gray suit is just $5,400. looks pretty nice. this blue and gray caped midlife
adult political consciousness was formed by watching a sustained campaign of reckless deception about iraq's weapons of mass destruction, you couldn't help but notice this item the other day. national security adviser john bolton convening a meeting at cia headquarters with the administration's top intelligence, diplomatic and military advisers to discuss iran. brought back memories for me of dick cheney making regular trips to langley to personally browbeat cia analysts to endorsing his interpretation of intelligence on iraq against their own professional judgement and with catastrophic results. does anyone else feel some deja vu? in just the past week, we've seen stories from a vague threat from iran to -- which certainly seemed a little sketchy and convenient given the trump administration's obvious desire to escalate with that country. later reporting called that the very intelligence into question, suggesting the administration was overinflating the threat. now today, an anonymous u.s. official is telling reporters
that according to an initial assessment iran was responsible for attacks on two saudi oil tankers in the persian gulf. maybe they were, but you'll excuse me if i take that conclusion for now with a very hefty grain of salt. reports indicate pompeo's efforts were unsuccessful. kind of like the last time a secretary of state was sent to peddle trumped-up intelligence to the rest of the world. what is clear is that this white house, having scrapped a successful multilateral nuclear deal-s now looking for any possible opportunity to pursue some kind of military escalation. the kind of escalation that people like bolton and trump ally benjamin netanyahu have been pushing for on the record quite loudly for years. and if you think trump managing a trade war is scary, imagine him overseeing an actual war with iran.
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it's a great honor to have with us the prime minister of hungary. and viktor orban has done a tremendous job in so many different ways. highly respected. respected all over europe. probably like me a little bit controversial. but that's okay. that's okay. you've done a good job. >> the little bit controversial hungarian prime minister who was hosted and praised by the president today is in fact a lot controversial. the right-wing ultra nationalist has overseen what many see as a backsliding away from liberal democracy, consolidating the free press, even kick a vaunted university out of the country. he is also according to critics an outright anti-semite. in fact, last year he gave a campaign speech framing migration as an existential threat and blaming it on george soros, the hungarian-born financier and holocaust survivor who orban alleges is trying to undermine his country. sound familiar? the speech reads in part like a
textbook intro into anti-semitic insults. i'm quoting here the translation, "we are fighting an enemy that is different from us. not open but hiding. not straightforward but crafty. not honest but base. not national but international. does not believe in working but speculates with money. does not have its own home but feels it owns the whole world." good god. joining me now to talk more his franklin foer, staff writer at "the atlantic." whose latest piece is titled "viktor orban's war on intellect." how big a deal was it for the president to invite viktor orban over? >> it's a huge deal. we talk about normalizing things here with donald trump. well, donald trump in effect was normalizing viktor orban. orban is somebody who should be roundly denounced by the western democracies of the world. the europeans had a mixed record in denouncing him. as he's gone about decimating the civil society of his country. and orban craves getting wrapped
in the legitimacy of the president of the united states. and here he was basking in the reflected glory of this relationship. it was something that he was begging for. he was angling for. in fact, sucking up to trump in order to get this meeting. and it hadn't happened. and here it was. >> you know, one of the most disturbing things he's done, and you chronicle part of this in your story, is just this kind of using the power of the state to wage war on independent sources of authority, whether that's the press, ngos and universities. what has he done with the power that he has in hungary? >> so the state-of-the-art autocrat doesn't need to resort to violence, doesn't need to resort to surveillance or midnight knocks on the door. orban is trained as a lawyer, and he's used the legal system and rewritten codes of law and used cronyistic connections' corruption to remake the press. hungary was a success story coming out of the soviet era. it developed robust media. it had robust universities.
and there was an adversarial political system. but under orban that's all disappeared. his cronies have bought up most of the media because the state controls advertising. universities which one's were very, very high quality, especially relative to the rest of the region, now have a chancellor embedded in them. and the chancellor dictates -- is appointed by orban and dictates spending decisions. research which used to flow through an independent and very prestigious academy is now doled out by a crony, a hack in orban's government. >> what i find really chilling are the parallels between his obsession with migration, with immigrants, and scapegoating them and particularly this idea which you get on the american right that like this foreign financier, jewish financier, george soros, is funding
immigration to undermine the country. that's the origin of the shooter at the tree of life shooter in pittsburgh avowedly before he committed mass murder. >> in 2015 there was a migration crisis. you had lots of refugees fleeing the syrian war, fleeing north africa, going through hungary to points north in germany and in scandinavia. and orban saw that as a huge political opportunity to try to remake himself as the leader of the european nationalist populistic movement. and his big trick, the big twist was he described it as a cabal orchestrated by this jewish puppetmaster, thus tapping into this deep ancient reservoir of anti-semitism. hungary had not been an especially anti-semitic country but now cnn did a poll that showed it is the most
anti-semitic of all the countries in europe. and state propaganda goes full bore on this. when i was there on the cover of the pro-regime intellectual magazine there was a picture of the head of the jewish federation, his face against a black backdrop, with money, cash just pouring -- >> jesus. >> -- down over him. this didn't even elicit all that much attention because it had become a run-of-the-mill thing. so i think what it shows is how something like anti-semitism, which is seemingly dormant, can be revived at the hands of a skilled leader who exploits it and exploits anti-immigrant sentiments more generally in order to promote their own political career. >> quickly, what does this mean for orban's future, having this trip under his belt? >> so he's in a really delicate position in europe. europe is kind of finally starting to awaken, some of the center right parties in europe are starting to awaken to the fact that he's bad news.
and they've gestured in the direction of punishing him. but to have the president of the united states kind of say you're not so bad, it undermines all those efforts. >> all right. franklin foer, thank you for taking time. that is a great piece. that is "all in" for this evening. then tonight we learned about contingencies for u.s. troops going to war with iran as the president says, we'll see what happens. plus, trump plans a new meeting with putin, rod rosenstein takes aim at jim comey, and trump's own fbi director appears to be his next big target. just another monday night in the trump administration as "the 11th hour" gets under way.