tv All In With Chris Hayes MSNBC January 17, 2017 5:00pm-6:01pm PST
smart politics of steering the next president to what truly needs doing and away from what no president should ever do. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "all in" with chris hayes starts right now. tonight on "all in" -- >> no puppet. >> three days bore inauguration, vladimir putin stepsn to defend donald trump. >> vladimir putin's priorities are to restore the russian empire, stock? that's what they are. >> while the outgoing cia director blasts trump's attacks on the intel community. >> that's something nazi germany would have done and did do. with obamacare now more popular than health care. >> our core believes are what unite us. >> as new controversy facing trump's pick to lead that fight. ful senator chuck schumer joins me live. plus, obama's surprise announcement on chelsea manning. and why richard nixon's former
lawyer is literally having nightmares about trump's presidency. >> when the president does it, that means it is not illegal. >> when "all in" starts right now. good evening from new york. i'm chris hayes. there are now just three days until donald trump is sworn in as president and it will happen against the backdrop of deep unpopularity among the american people. a new nbc news/"wall street journal" poll finds just 38% have a positive view of trump while 48% have a negative view, making trump the most unpopular incoming president in the history of the poll. of course, trump doesn't buy it. after other polls showed similar findings trump tweeted "the same people who did the phony election polls and were so wrong are now doing approval rate l polgs, they are rigged, just like before." >> the polls are not rigged but they can be wrong sometimes. we should note national polls entering election day turned out to be pretty accurate. hillary clinton won the national
popular vote by 2.86 million vote, about two percentage points. on election day, national polls showed her leading be i three points. again, pretty close. that's in part, of course, and important to remember that it's not trump's popular vote total or unpopularity with the american people that john lewis cited when he deemed trump an illegitimate president and said he would boycott the inaugurations sparking the movement. at least 59 democratic lawmakers say they won't attend trump's court inauguration. so many we couldn't fit them on to one single graphic. no, what lewis cited was the u.s. intelligence community's determination that the russian government intervened in the election to boost trump's chances of victory. of course, we still don't know the full story of what steps the russians took to help trump or what influence the russians may or may not have over him, releasing his tax returns would help in that regard. we also don't know ifhe reports are true that the fbi opened an investigation into
explicitly collusion between the russian government and the trump campaign. here's what we do know. we know democrats want answers. today democrats on the senate judiciary committee asked attorney general nominee jeff sessions to commit he will not impede or shut down any fbi or justice department investigation into the russian effort. also, we know trump who has been all over the map on a host of issues has been reliable and consistent advocate of the russian view on a host of crucial foreign policy matters. nbc news today published a list of nine things trump has said since the election that might make vladimir putin smile including calling nato obsolete, down playing allegations, putin has ordered the murder of journalists. we know vladimir putin has donald trump's back and we know that because he wants the world to know it. in an extraordinary news conference in moscow putin rallied to trump's defense accusing the obama administration and democrats of seeking to undermine trump's legitimacy by spreading false information. >> translator: there are several goals set in this fight.
maybe there are more but some are obvious. the first one is to undermine the legitimacy of the u.s. president-elect. people who do that, whether intentionally or not, they harm the interest of the united states significantly. >> is he also denied that russia has compromising information on trump garnered while trump was in moscow a charge trump vehemently defies. putin telling reporters, this is a word for word translation "this is an adult from that first of all and a part far is a man who took part in organizing beauty contests. he has socialized with the most beautiful women in the world. i find it difficult that he troop meet with our girls of reduced social responsibility although here also we have the best ones in the world." joining me now masha gessen, author of "the man without a face, the unlikely rise of vladimir putin," which is a fantastic book. >> thank you. >> what is he doing here?
>> having fun. >> felt like the mission accomplished -- it was a victory lap. >> he's been taking a victory lap for a month now. at his annual press conference in december he had a journalist ask him what does it feel like to be the most powerful man in the world and then he took credit for the american election. i think he feels he's been elect president of the united states. >> one of the things -- you wrote about when this -- the dossier was published by buzzfeed and leaked about how it itself functions as a kind of delegitimizing document. it was interesting that putin takes the opportunity to reaffirm the unsubstantiated claims in that dossier and to make sure they are reaired. >> we're down the rabbit hole. >> yes, we are down the rabbit hole because he -- why is he reaffirming? it affirms his view of reality. he thinks this is how the world works. you have lots of fls information that emerges.
there's no such thing as actual democracy. everything and anything is illegitimate. so he adds fuel to the fire beuse that's a fire he believed in. that doesn't mean he was behind anything. >> that's right, that's right. to me, one of the things that's so clear and upsetting about the way you've written about shim the sort of like -- almost astringent cynicism that everything about liberal democracy is complete bankrupt pieties that everyone is on a hustle, i am, you are, we all are. it feels like american political culture has moved in that direction, whether that's because of russian influence or not. >> and that's what i find most disturbing. i find it disturbing that here we are at the top of your show on this important day with outrageous stuff going on in congress talking about putin again. >> right, right. well, he's won, right? he's won. >> what do you make of the
fact -- enough fbi investigation, we're not privy to that. but there's the fact from a tactical and strategic standpoint, trump has been quite clear about endorsing these very important objections and it's not just trump, right? it's the brexit folks, the national front. there is this project being done and putin is part of it but it's organic to many other states to kind of undo the liberal order as we understand it. >> absolutely. and that's really important part. the important part is out there in the open, you don't have to look for a conspiracy to understand this man is out to destroy the world as we know it. >> and that includes eu and nato. >> that includes eu and nato. and that includes nuclear security. >> and what duds that mean, though, to have someone like the president-elect then endorsing that? of the united states. >> it is an existential threat to all of us. >> you really mean that? >> i really mean that. >> one of the things that i think is maddening when you talk about the rabbit hole here is there's not going to be some --
like i want there desperately to be some definitive rendering of judgment, right? like there's an fbi investigation, maybe we'll find some smoking gun document somewhere and in some cases sometimes there are, right? but that's not the way it's going to work, presumably. >> welcome to journalism under autocracy. that's the problem, you can never -- journalists, and we don't realize it until we lose it -- rely on working institutions of state to actually get the truth. you need an independent judiciary, you need intelligence agencies doing their job, you need law enforcement doing their job. once they start to become subsumed by either, you know, controversy or, as happened in russia, you know, being absorbed into the executive branch, you no longer have that. so you're constantly trying to find the truth in a sort of squishy reality. >> masha gessen, thanks for being with me. appreciate it. among those who trump has been feuding with in the runup to his inauguration, outgoing cia director john brennan who suggested trump doesn't fully understand the threat posed by
russia, prompting trump to accuse brennan of leaking that unsubstantiated dossier detailing trump's alleged ties to russia and the compromising material they have on him. brennan denied that charge explicitly to the "wall street journal" saying "was i a leaker of this, no." brennan harshly criticized trump for drawing a link between u.s. intelligencegeies who trp suggested leaked the widely circulated document and nazi germany. brennan telling t "wall street journal" "tell the families of those 117 cia officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to nazis. tell the cia officers serving in harm's way and their families worrying about them they are akin to be nazi germany. i found that to be repugnant. i'll forever stand up for the patriotism of my officers who have done much over the years to sacrifice for their fellow citizens." joining me, evan mcmullin who ran for president in 2016 as an independent. your reaction to brennan's comments and the fact that james woolsey, who served in various
national security posts criticized brennan and said he should have some respect. >> well, woolsey, unfortunately, has taken up defending donald trump and even defending what he himself describes as donald trump not leveling with the american people and even toying with the american people on the truth about russian hacking and russian efforts to influence our election. as a former cia officer, i have to say i've been most disappointed by director woolsey. as far as what brennan said, look, he's standing up for his people and he should stand up for his people. donald trump, the president-elect, is attacking the very people he will depend upon to understand what's happening in the world. these are people like i did who are sacrificing their lives -- potentially sacrificing their lives, sacrificing everything in their lives as they serve overseas and he's attacking them. he will depend on them to understand what's going on in the world. although he should, it doesn't seem he will and so the question becomes where will he get his
information. what will his source of sensitive information be? >> well, and i think one of the things we're seeing is this notion -- and i've seen members of congress say it, senators, pundits, that the sort of -- the security state and intelligence community will have its revenge on donald trump, right? ultimately. and there's something to me that's worrisome about that idea, right? that's not the path down which we would hope that sort of the rhesesuscitation of american democratic institutions would go. >> yeah. i push back a little bit on that idea because, you know, when you serve with the cia, you're taught to serve our policymakers regardless of whether they're republicans or democrats. you're also committed to upholding the constitution and defending the country. and so there are fundamental conflicts between donald trump and the intelligence and national security community around his very dangerous ideas of partnership with putin as he attacks our democracy and an
effort to undermine nato. they oppose this. he's driving towards it. that's a problem. >> i want to play -- you know, one of the things vladimir putin said today was "i don't know the guy." this is one of these simple things, like have they ever met or not, do they have a relationship? donald trump was asked this on the record in 2013 for the pageant by our own thomas roberts who was there as well. take a listen. >> do you have a relationship with vladimir putin? a conversational relationship or anything that you feel you have sway or influence over his government. >> i do have a relationship. >> i mean, donald trump says a lot of things and some of them turn out not to be true so we can take that as him idle boasting? or maybe he does, don't know. >> the thing is before the election and the yea preceding the election he said multiple times he had a relationship and had met with putin, that putin gave him gifts, it was the normal thing he would say before the election that he had this relationship with putin and if you watch the rest of that
video, you even see what we're taught to recognize as micro expressions in the cia that tell you a lot about where a person's coming from. this this case you see donald trump sort of light up with a child like glee over the notion that he has this -- over his claim he has a relationship with vladimir putin and that vladimir putin is watching what he does very closely. >> yes, he says he's probably very interested in what we're doing right now. >> that's right. >> there is the letter today from the senate judiciary committee which speaks to a larger question which is that to the extent that there's any definitive judgment whether there was any collusion or the full story of the hacking that that rests in the government that will in three days be controlled at the top by donald trump. can he unilaterally shut that down? >> if there's an investigation being run out of congress he doesn't have the authority to do that. >> but i mean federal branch. if there's something in the fbi -- >> well, yes. on the executive side, he can.
that's why it's so important congress follow through with this. but the risk there and the challenge there is that congress won't have the political will to do it and that's why it falls on us as american citizens to ensure that our representatives in congress see this through, that they do investigate. short of that, it's the media, it's the press and we're going to need to depend on the press to pursue it. >> evan mcmullin, thank you for your time. no us to meet you in person. >> like wise. still to come, the leader of the democrats in the senate is calling for trump's pick to hhs. and obamacare's sudden surge in popularity next. later, the contentious hearing for the billionaire republican donor donald trump picked for education secretary, we'll bring you inside the hearing and introduce you betsy devos ahead. >> do you think if you were not a multibillionaire, if your family has not made hundreds of millions of dollars of contributions to the republican party that you would be sitting here today. with this degree of intelligence...
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. coming into 2017, republans made car that their plan for the affordable re act was to repeal and delay. that is, repeal obamacare then come up with a replacement later. that plan now appears to be falling apart. president-elect trump has repeatedly promised a simultaneous replacement plan. at least six senate republicans have openly expressed skepticism or opposition about repealing a law without a replacement ready to go. just today, for instance, "time" magazine reported senator susan collins of maine has told her republican colleagues she can not support the repeal without a replacement. again, that margin in the senate is just three votes. so now it looks like republicans will need to have a replacement plan ready to implement as soon as they repeal the existing law. but here's the problem -- as pressure mounts for republicans to come up with a replacement for obamacare, obamacare itself is actually enjoying record levels of popularity among the american people. according to a new nbc news/burnl ponews
news/"wall street journal" poll, 45% of americans now believe the affordable care act was a "good idea" compared to 41% who think it was a bad idea. the first time, we should note, since the law's package in 2010 that more people approve than disapprove. if you're wondering why so many americans have suddenly changed their minds about the law, look no further than a report just out from the congressional budget office which found that a repeal plan like the ones republicans have proposed would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 18 million in just the first year with millions more losing coverage in the following years. all of which makes the job of replacing amacare a daunting task. now, a to that the fact that the man charged with leading the replacement campaign, republican congressman tom price, continues to face a series of ethical questions that threaten to derail his confirmation for secretary of health and human services. in november, the "wall street journal" reported that price had traded over $300,000 in shares of health-related companies while overseeing legislation that would have affected the value of those companies. last week, kaiser health news
reported price got a "sweetheart deal" on some stock from a biotech company that his committee in congress is in charge of regulating. and a new "time" report shows price invested in six companies within weeks and even days of sponsoring legislation that benefitted those companies. today three democratic senators on the committee overseeing price's nomination called for that hearing to be delayed until these allegations can be further investigated. joining me now, the man leading the calls to investigate representative price's actions as well as fighting to save the aca more broadly, senate minority leader chuck schumer. >> hi, chris. >> good to see you. you know, the job in an oversight and confirmation hearing is to tease out this stuff. why do you think the hearing should be delayed to further investigate these charges? >> well, first, they're very serious charges. the latest one, which came out yesterday, is the most troubling of all. representative price bought stock in a rather small company that specialized in hip and knee
replacements and a week later introduced legislation specifically aimed at exempting them from regulations. now that, any prosecutor would say, oh, boy i better look into this. and to have the hearings and try to have the vote before we know the results here, that's a huge mistake. it's not draining the swamp, as president-elect trump promised, it's making the swamp worse. >> i should note, just for the record here, that that report which you just cited from cnn, the trump campaign has called for a retraction of that, they just issued a document i think minutes ago attempting to rebut it. i have not had the opportunity to read it because i'm on air with you. >> i'll tell you what they say, they say it's a broker who bought the stock. well, we don't know that's the case. that's their word third hand. there ought to be an investigation. the facts here are so, so troubling that only a real and independent investigation will get to the bottom of it. >> you would then postpone this
hearing. one of the things that the hearing, i believe, would center on is a fascinating report yesterday which is about the fact that price himself does have quite a comprehensive vision of what a replacement for obamacare would look like. >> yes. >> and i saw a report yesterday that in his briefing from the trump folks, they're not telling him what their plan would be because they don't want him to answer questions about it. >> well, price's plan would really hurt. it gives leeway to the insurance companies and hurts the consumer dramatically under price's plan i believe the number of ininsured gould up. prices for just about everyone. the cost of health care would go way up. it's a business oriented plan that doesn't help the consumer. so i can see why the trump organization doesn't want to support it. their basic problem is that for six years the republicans he been talking about repeal but haven't come up with a replacement and i think the
trump people will find it troubling, they're stuck, the president-elect has said he wants to keep the benefits of aca, 20 million people, kids can stay on their parents' plan until they're 26 treating women equally, all of those cost money yet when they present a plan the hard right will say i don't want to spend any money on health care so they're stuck between a rock and hard place and they don't know what to do and i'll say one other thing, chris, the momentum as you pointed out is changing. people are now realizing. when they called for a repeal, repeal and they couldn't do it. people said, yeah maybe they should repeal it. now that it's a factor people are realizing how much they benefit and lots of those people are blue-collar people in red and purple states that voted for trump. >> is that your theory of what we're seeing in the polling? we're seeing the polling move and mobilization on behalf and in defense of the aca unlike
we've ever seen in six years of the law. is it to you just that basic that once you're actually face to face with the reality of the thing going away that galvanizes people? >> exactly. and you know, if our republican colleagues were real about this -- i mean, they're ideologues, they don't like to see government help people and so when the obamacare came out they hated it way beyond the -- what the law said, it was just the fact with that government was doing something to help people that they didn't like. prentative p, for instance, wants to privatize dicare, wants to greatly reduce medicaid. same kind of thinking, totally against what the american people believe. and so they have this ideological vision but they can't translate it into reality unless they hurt a whole lot of people. >> right. so then the president-elect, someone that you've talked to on the phone and you've expressed openness to working with on areas of shared agreement on policy, maybe infrastructure, china, and trade, he sounded
like a democrat the other day when he said basically i want to expand coverage, lower deductibles and then he said something which doesn't sound like -- i don't know who it sounds like. "i don't care about paying for it or not paying for it." >> yeah -- can you imagine a world where democrats work with him. >> maybe tomorrow president-elect trump will come out for single payer. a lot of liberal democrats would go right along with that. >> can you imagine working with the president -- bypassing congressional republicans and working with the president-elect on some kind of obamacare exsnangs is that a crazy thing to ask? >> i have a feeling the right wing, the pences and the people in his circle and cabinet would never let him do that. i think when he tweets and says "i want to keep all the benefits" there's not a lot of depth and study behind that. >> senate minority leader chuck schumer. >> to put it kindly. >> an appropriately wry expression on that last line. appreciate it. come back. >> thanks, chris. bye-bye. coming up, why the trump administration strategy to push through their nominee
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serve as defense secretary before waiting the legally required seven years after his retirement. then there was the big stuff like moving ahead with hearings before the nominees had even completed ethics agreements or fbi background checks. senator james inhofe was explicit about the new conditions for trump's nominees. "so it's different now because it's trump" the huffington post asked him? "that's just right," inhofe said. but they weren't counting on the level of public scrutiny and outcry over its strategy and although mitch mcconnell rejected the possibility of any delay, guess what? his caucus ultimately agreed to reschedule several hearings for nominees with incomplete paperwork. trump's picks for education and commerce were both pushed back an entire week while his pick for labor secretary won't get a hearing until february. and several of trump's nominees are looking a lot less like a sure thing. an andy p andy do andy puzder's charles jr. had
$50,000 in wage theft and his wife once appeared on the oprah winfrey show in disguise to talk about her experience. puzder may be having second thoughts about taking the job. chuck schumer just told me about his grave objections to health and human services nominee tom price who faces multiple allegations of untoward financial dealings and thanks to his ties to russia, secretary of state nominee rex tillerson is just one vote away from failing to make it out of committee though, as i always say, if your life depends on marco rubio having a spine, you're already dead. we can still expect the republican-controlled senate to confirm most of trump's nominees, but the lesson from all this -- and it's just been a few weeks -- is that the laws of physics didn't just go away after donald trump won the election. in politics, gravity still exists. the hearing is now under way for trump's nominee to be secretary of education, betsy devos, he's an activist with a long list of
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$200 million. does that sound in the ballpark. >> collectively between -- >> over the years. >> between my entire family? that's possible. >> senator bernie sanders' first question to education secretary nominee betsy devos who has donated to five of the republicans overseeing her hearing tonight before the committee on health, education, labor and pensions. devos has never held a position in public education either as policymaker, administrator or teacher. she's worked as an activist and lobbyist advertising for the privatization of the k-12 state. michigan has been a major beneficiary of her largess, since the law incentivizing the creation of charter schools was passed, 80% of michigan charters have come to be operated by for-profit companies. in that same period according to a federal review, the number of charters on michigan's list of worse school has doubled, a portion the review called "unreasonably high."
i'm joined by diane rav rich is, author of "rein of erro" there's a few things to talk about here, one i just want to put into context, a bunch of senators raise the hearing today, there's not really a precedent for a department of education secretary who's never worked in public schools in any capacity. just starting off there before you get to theeer e eeother idel stuff. >> well, there were governors. you could say lamar alexander was governor of tennessee, but a governor has a huge responsibility for public education because it's usually the single-biggest expenditure in their budget. betsy devos on the other hand has zero experience in education other than as a lobbyist for vouchers and charters and home scho schooling and cyber charters. she is a dedicated enemy of public education and 85% of the kids in this country are in public schools. >> devos has -- michigan has
been a laboratory because there's a lot of devos money there, he she has a high degree of influence, particularly in detroit. your assessment of her record there. >> you have to understand betsy devos. the family is worth over $5 billion according to "forbes" so they have a lot of money to spend. she and her family have given a lot of money to the legislature and she basically runs the state when it comes to education. they do what she wants. in the year 2000, she and her husband sponsored a referendum to change the state constitution to permit public noun go to religious schools and the voters turned it down 69% to 31%. then dick devos ran for governor in 2006 and he lost and so they decided better to work from the inside. and what they have been able to do is to create like the wild west of charters. i read the law. anyone can open a charter. you or i could go to michigan
and open a chaer and they would give us money. if we can gather students, we can collect the money to open charters. >> there's literally -- we should say there are lots of people in the charter mutual which is a movement you are quite skeptical of, there are people in that movement who are -- do not like devos because they feel this complete wild west lack of credentialing is tarnishing the broader movement. >> michigan was criticized by some group called something like the national alliance for authorizers of charter schools saying it -- michigan has one of the worst laws in the country between t because the charter people who are reputable want to see accountability. betsy devos and her husband actually have us couraged accountability, discouraged supervision. the "detroit free press" ran a series saying the charter industry in michigan is now a $1 billion a year industry that's unaccountable and unsupervised. unqualified people are running
charter schools. >> and we should say, my sense from the folks i've talked to about betsy devos, people in education circles, this is a true believer. this is a genuine ideologue who genuinely thinks the entire paradigm, existing paradigm of public education is bankrupt and statused, possibly un-christian. she is a believer in undoing and destroying that. >> well, she's been quoted as saying her efforts on behalf of choice -- meaning anything but public schools -- are advancing god's kingdom. and there's a lot of christian evangelical language that gets into this. the devos family supports a lot of fundamentalist organizations, anti-union, anti-gay, an-this, anti-that, but the big thing they're interested in is breaking up what they call the government monopoly. the thing that's so crazy about this is if you were to look at the research on the ten top performing nations in the world, none of them have a free market,
all of them have great public school systems so wherever you live, whatever your zip code there's a good public school. they don't have charters and they don't have vouchers so she's pushing an ideology that has been proven not to work. and the best evidence of this is to look at michigan itself where the charters are lower performing than the public schools. and detroit, which is overrun with charters and for-profit charters, the results there are abysm abysmal. she was talking in her hearing earlier this evening about results are what matter. there are no results from michigan. in fact, the whole state of michigan has declined on the national test over the past 15 years. >> diane ravich, thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. why john dean, former white house counsel to president nixon, says trump could be more corrupt than nixon himself. dean will talk about that ahead. plus, tonight's thing 1 thing 2 starts right after this break.
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thing 1 tonight. when donald trump takes the oath of office on friday, michael flynn will become the new national security advisor. as you may remember, another michael flynn made headlines last month, that would be michael flynn, jr., the former lieutenant general's son. flynn, jr., stirred up quite a bit of controversy when he tweeted about an insane conspiracy theory that hillary clinton was involved in a child sex ring run out of a pizza shop in washington, d.c., also known as #pizzagate. that conspiracy theory, which is completely untrue, exploded on the internet leading one man to show up at this pizzeria on a mission to flee the imaginary captives before firing a rifle into the restaurant and getting arrested. the same day that terrifying incident occurred, december 4, th was when michael flynn jr. decided to start tweeting about #pizzagate. the problem is, flynn jr. wasn't just related to the next national security advisor, he had a government transition e-mail address and served adds his father's chief of staff. the trump team initially denied flynn jr. was part of the
transition before eventually 'fessing up to the truth and firing him. now, you'd think that might have turned flynn jr. off from tweeting, but you would be wrong. just yesterday, he tweeted out this very thinly sourced article from a web site called voltaire.net that says his own father is going to basically just take over the entire intelligence apparatus of the u.s. that sounds like a bombshell, except there's a big grain of salt which is the byline of that piece. and that's thing 2 in 60 seconds. why pause a spontaneous moment? cialis for daily use treats ed and the urinary symptoms of bph.
tell your doctor about your medicines, and ask if your heart is healthy enough for sex. do not take cialis if you take nitrates for chest pain, or adempas® for pulmonary hypertension, as this may cause an unsafe drop in blood pressure. do not drink alcohol in excess. to avoid long-term injury, get medical help right away for an erection lasting more than four hours. if you have a sudden decrease or loss of hearing or vision, or an allergic reaction, stop taking cialis and get medical help right away. ask your doctor about cialis. michael flynn jr. who should have learned his lesson about conspiracy theories after he tweeted about #pizzagate and lost his job with the trump transition team tweeted this article claiming his father is going to take over control of the 16 intelligence agencies from the director of national intelligence when he becomes national security advisor later this week. the article doesn't seem particularly credible, the author says he got the information from "our sources" and trump announced his pick for director of national
intelligence earlier this month, former indiana senator dan coates. why would flynn jr. boast about his father's plan to take over his job? the biggest reason to take it with a grain of salt is the biline. the the man who authored two books about 9/11 conspiracy theories. he wrote this article in 2013 arguing the united states "planned the destruction of syria" and that "nato and the gulf cooperation council not bashar al assad are responsible for the syrian civil war and the slaughter of civilians." that's not really true, although that doesn't seem to be a prerequisite for flynn, jr. [ piercing sound ]
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the remaining sentence of chelsea manning. army intelligence analyst served almost seven years for charges relating to a massive 2010 leak which brought worldwide attention to wikileaks. manning's sentence of 35 years was by far the longest punishment ever imposed in the united states for a leak conviction. man willing now be released on may 17 of this year instead 2045. manning was also in the spotlight as a transgender woman. former bradley manning, she began her reassignment in military prison, the question of whether the military allows her to undergo sex reassignment surgery is still being decided. she tried to commit suicide while in solitary confinement which was a punishment for a previous suicide attempt. late last week, josh earnest illustrated the position on manning. >> chelsea manning is somebody who went through the military criminal justice process, was exposed to due process, was found guilty, was sentenced for
her crimes and she acknowledged wrongdoing. >> criticism of the manning commutation has begun. house speaker paul ryan saying in a statement president obama's action was outrageous and sets a dangerous precedent, a position that pardoned edward snowden was not acted on by the white house. as for the connection to wikileaks, an intriguing claim made last week, wikileaks tweeting "if obama grants manning clemency julian assange will agree to u.s. extradition." interesting. today president obama we should note also pardoned james cartwright, a general and former vice chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who pleaded guilty to lying to the fbi about leaks to reporters on the iran nuclear program. the power of the presidency and how it will be used by the next president is giving richard nixon's lawyer nightmares. john dean joins me next. when you're close to the people you love, does psoriasis ever get in the way of a touching moment? if you have moderate to severe psoriasis, you can embrace
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>> listen, i don't want a president who's warm on the outside and warm on the inside, too. i want one that's warm on the outside but i want one who when the tough decisions are made is cold and tough and will make the right decision without fear of failure. >> during the time of watergate, attorney john dean was white house counsel to president richard nixon, widely seen as the most corrupt president in american history and he used the power of the state to settle political scores, kept an enemies list, vowing revenge on those who got in his way and spied on those he considered to be a threat to his presidency.
acts of vindictiveness and petty criminality resulting in him becoming the first president in american history to resign. which brings us back to john dean, the man whose job it was to advise nixon on legal issue. he has an interesting perspective on what the company is facing with trump preparing to take the oath of office. dean was quoted as saying "the american presidency has never been at the whims of an authoritarian personality like donald trump. he's going to test our democracy as it has never been tested." joining me is john dean, white house counsel under president nixon from 1970 to 1973. mr. dean, how do you understand donald trump in relation to your former boss richard nixon? >> well, i've thought about that a lot, in fact, a lot more than i really wish i had, as i said to mckay who wrote the piece for the "atlantic." he's given me nightmares and i didn't have nightmares when i worked at the nixon white house. it's unusual. anyway, the way i see the
problem is that everything nixon was in secret and we wouldn't even know about if we didn't have the tapes that he kept a record of everything he did and a number of his private offices and his telephone calls so we wouldn't know that nixon because he never really showed that nixon publicly whereas trump is out in front. he doesn't try to hide this very -- his revenge, his dark thinking, his thinking out loud when he should be thinking things through before he makes a statement he's just out there. that's what's given me problems. i know the sensitivity of the job, even a person who's experienced in washington -- which trump is not -- it's a delicate and difficult job. that's what's given me nightmares. >> one of the points in the piece that i thought about is that the presidency is more
powerful than it was in the era of nixon, it's probably more powerful than it's been in the history of the american republic, particularly as regards to national security. >> that's very true. post-watergate, the president didn't lose power, the congress started exercising its power and becoming more of a constitutional co-equal. but what's happened post-watergate and during the bush/cheney years is powers have been added to the presidency. congress has started relinquishing its responsibilities. the media has become weaker as a check as well so the office itself has filled that void and article ii under the constitution that is the basis of the presidency is really a blank check and once the trump people get in there and find out they have a blank check, it creates nightmares to think about what they might do with it. >> in terms of the checks that
you just said, one of the things that strikes me as well is partis partisansh partisanship iwas ultimately fellow republicans that made the trip to the white house to tell richard nixon he had to go. do you imagine if that scenario were to play out today with partisanship and polarization as intense as it is, particularly on the republican side that maybe they just ride it out? >> as long as trump is, indeed, letting them legislate in the way they want to and not making them vetoing things and making them try to get over his veto and what have you i think they'll be happy to have him there and they'll do their thing and he can do his thing and so long as he doesn't too badly embarrass them, nothing will happen. i see no check on the congress. i see little check in the media today. its standing is not much above the congress itself while there
will be lots of articles and lots of complaints, he's got a bigger megaphone than anybody else and we've seen him use it throughout the campaign and the transition and i don't expect anything difference when he gets in the white house. >> what about public opinion? i was going back today and looking at public opinion as watergate came out it was brutal. it was brutal for nixon. his approval ratings went through -- brutal for the republican party. ultimately more than anything that was the check, right? he had lost -- he entirely lost the faith of the american people and that was the end of the road. doesn't that still exist as a check or am i deluding myself? >> i think that is a check. when a president has really no public support at all or gets down in the low 30s that's when he's in in trouble because members of congress start running from him. they will not want to risk their
political careers to give him support and comfort so that indeed is the check. but we've got to remember the base that put trump in office is a very low information base they have a lot of tolerance and some like what he's doing, he's going to shake up the system so we're talking a couple years of this before it shakes out and where a broad base of the public turns against him. i don't know what's going to happen in that period. i think it will test the system like it's never been tested. >> it's interesting to think about the test of watergate because there were ways in which -- that tested the system in ways it had never been tested. it ultimately i think came through and partly depending on folks like yourself and others who were there and in crucial moments did the right thing and i think that's something we should look for. john dean, thanks for joining us, appreciate it. >> thank you, chris. that's "all in" for this
evening. the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening, rachel. >> good evening, chris, thanks, my friend. thanks for staying with us for the next hour. we knew this was going to be a sy news week, we knew in a week like this we should count on an unpredictabl rush of news over the course of the week. we were not wrong about that. today has been a little bit nuts. this afternoon, the president released his last major batch of pardons and commutations including one for the former deputy chairman of the joint chiefs, marine general hoss cartwright. he was facing serious prison time for talking with a reporter about a top secret covert action against iran. general cart right will be pardoned for lying to the fbi about those conversations. army private first class chelsea manning who leaked reams of military and diplomatic files to wikileaks, she will not be pardoned for her crimes but she will have her sentence commuted after