All In With Chris Hayes, Tuesday, June 18th, 2013
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
June 18, 2013
Guests: Sheila Jackson Lee, Michelle Goldberg, Terry O`Neill, James
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes. Thank
you for joining us.
Tonight on ALL IN:
You may not have even ever heard of the man who sat down before Congress
today to testify on the NSA surveillance programs. But he is a man so
powerful it`s possible that he has heard of you.
Also tonight, new whistleblowers have emerged. But these have got nothing
to do with the NSA. These insiders pulled back the curtain on one of the
most shameless schemes by a big bank to fleece Americans that we`ve ever
seen. Shocking details coming up later.
Plus, why would President Obama threaten to veto the farm bill? Doesn`t he
like farmers? Maybe it`s because Republicans are using the bill to once
again gut the safety net.
The absolute poorest people in America. All that is coming up.
But we begin tonight with a big vote on Capitol Hill that gaveled to a
close just 90 minutes ago. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, here it is, one of
the two houses of the Article 1 branch, the cornerstone of this great
republic of ours hard at work tonight. And it`s summertime which means
field trip kids from across the country filing into the house gallery to
watch the great wheels of democracy turn.
And tonight, the parents and teachers shepherding kids off their buses and
into the capitol building were treated to this scene.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have more and more evidence that life does,
indeed, begin at conception.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Babies at 20 weeks are still at risk for being
brutally, mercilessly and painfully killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Women deserve better than abortion.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This gruesome practice has no place in our society.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Madam Speaker, I am for life at all stages.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are here because it is imperative that we take an
action and we address these Gosnell-like abortions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m appalled by the savage practice of late-term
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will continue to work toward a day when abortion is
not only illegal, but is absolutely unthinkable.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The question is on the passage of the bill, those in
favor say aye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those opposed no.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ayes have it. The bill is passed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For what purpose? For what purpose does the gentle
lady from Tennessee seek recognition?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I ask for a recorded vote.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The ayes 228, the nays 196. The bill is passed.
HAYES: You see that, kids? Who says you can`t get anything done in
Washington? Your Republican-led House of Representatives just passed a
bill right there, H.R. 1797, a totally and completely unconstitutional ban
on almost all abortions in the country starting at 20 weeks.
Keep in mind, there are nearly 12 million people who are unemployed in
America right now. The unemployment rate has been at or near 8 percent for
more than 4 years. There are 11 million people living in this country
under the threat of deportation at any moment.
We are about to start arming Syrian rebels fighting in a brutal and bloody
civil war even though no one seems fully capable of sorting the good guy
rebels from the extremist rebels, and in doing so, we are moving toward a
proxy against Russia and Iran just to name a few.
But tonight, tonight, those thorny problems were not the top concern of
your Republican-controlled house. No. Tonight, House Republicans decided
instead to focus on fake symbolically banning abortion.
This vote tonight -- this was not actual legislating. This is a bill that
everyone, everyone on all sides agrees is unconstitutional. Under the
current understanding of the court that everyone knows will die in the
Senate, that President Obama has said he`d veto even if it weren`t going to
die in the Senate.
So, House Republicans, they are not spending valuable time and energy and
political capital getting it through the chamber because they are truly
trying to change policy on this issue. They`re doing it as a big, symbolic
show-offy love letter to their conservative base, to the minority of
Americans who sent them to Washington and who will probably keep them there
under the current gerrymandered system for the duration of the decade.
What`s going on in the House tonight was make-believe. Not policymaking.
Not even an attempt at policymaking really.
It more resembled one of those model U.N. retreats for young leaders where
they go and play dress-up and hold a mock session where there are no real
consequences to what they`re doing. But it`s fun and they get to wear
grown-up suits and give speeches and feel the intoxicating ego rush that
comes with declaiming one`s principles in front of a large crowd.
And you know what, after watching this spectacle unfold today, I honestly
would take a randomly selected group of bright overachieving 16-year-olds
to sub in for that Republican House Caucus. Maybe we could grab some of
the field trip students from the visitor`s gallery.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Democrat from Texas.
She`s a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Congresswoman, my first question to you is, explain to people the
consequences of devoting legislative time and effort and capital to this
kind of undertaking because my understanding is legislating hours in that
body are zero sum. There`s a fixed amount. And if you choose to
prioritize something, other stuff doesn`t get done.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE (D), TEXAS: Well, Chris, first of all, thank you
and your viewers for having me.
May I rename the bill as the "rape doesn`t cause pregnancy" bill? At least
"it doesn`t cause a lot of pregnancy" bill?
And I think from that renaming of this legislation, most of your viewers
can understand how we wasted time.
Let me be very clear: first, you have hearings in the judiciary committee.
Those were hours. Then you have a markup that takes the full committee`s
time. Those are hours.
Then you go to something called the rules committee, and the rules
committee spends hours indicating that we`re having a closed room. Meaning
no one can offer amendments, though I`ve submitted amendments involving the
health of the mother. But in essence, those amendments were denied.
Then, you have to schedule it on the floor, then you have to break away
from committee time. Maybe someone was dealing with the Syrian issue or
the national security issue or maybe they might have been dealing with
National Security Agency issue or might have been dealing with $20 billion
cut from the supplemental nutrition program.
But if they were doing that, they had to get away from that to come to the
floor and spend a good hour debating -- as you said very clearly, a bill
that is patently unconstitutional. But when I was on the floor today, I
said that it was criminal -- criminalizing women and it was inhumane. It
was dangerous. It criminalizes women, possibly their faith leader. And as
HAYES: Congresswoman, let me ask you this question.
LEE: And it is unconstitutional.
HAYES: Let me ask you this question. The politics of this are
interesting, insofar as the House Republican caucus has pushed this bill
despite the fact it`s symbolic but at the last minute they added some minor
so-called exceptions to the bill that aren`t really nearly large enough, if
you look at them, right? They also made sure that women were managing the
bill on the House floor. What does that say to you about their
understanding of the perception of their actions?
LEE: Well, I think that their actions can be described as siege on women
and they can`t get away from it. And frankly, the largeness of the issue
that rape doesn`t necessarily cause pregnancy followed them all from last
week which is when it was said, into the weekend, making a critical weekend
leadership decision that they had to add some form of an exception of rape
But get this, Chris, this is almost unbelievable. You don`t get that
exemption or that exception or that benefit if you don`t report, if you
don`t run immediately to a law enforcement entity.
LEE: After you`ve been frightened or brutalized or it might be an at-home
situation with a 14-year-old and a family member, and you don`t run
immediately and report this to the authorities, you have lost under this
legislation the idea of any protection.
So, to answer your question, it is all theater, dramatics. Let me not
challenge someone`s heart because I said the same thing. Don`t challenge
whether or not I feel a sense of pain about women being in a condition that
Don`t challenge one`s heart, but you have to adhere constitutionally to
what has been well-stated law. Griswold gave us the right to privacy.
That is a protection that comes about through choice. And as well, Dolby
Bolton, as I said, gave us in addition protection under the Constitution
for the impact on women`s health.
HAYES: Roe v. Wade, of course, is the law of the land.
LEE: That`s the law of the land. We added another measure about women`s
health which these proponents could not see clearly. And so, this bill
does not have an exception for women`s health, psychological, emotional,
and familial or any other kind of exemption. It doesn`t have it.
What more can I say, Chris? This bill is going nowhere, but more
importantly, it criminalizes, it endangers women. It endangers a
relationship between a physician and a woman.
HAYES: Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, thank you very much.
Joining me now is Michelle Goldberg, senior writer for "Newsweek" and "The
Daily Beast," author of the book "The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power and
the Future of the World", and Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Association for Women.
Michelle, you`ve covered the antiabortion movement this country, grassroots
level, done a lot of incredible reporting. What -- explain to me through
that prism why the Republican Party is doing this. I am genuinely
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, NEWSWEEK: I think there are two different things. I
mean, first of all, you know, there are a huge number of Republican
officeholders who got into office specifically because they want to ban
abortion. That`s their raison d`etre, so it shouldn`t be surprising that
that`s what they`re doing, even if the politics of it seem wacky and
counterproductive to us.
HAYES: They ran on it, they promised this and believe in it. So this is
what they`re doing it.
GOLDBERG: Right. And their base is demanding it. Their base is demanding
some sort of action in response to the Kermit Gosnell trial. The other
piece of this is that there`s actually I think a kind of growing pragmatism
in the antiabortion movement. They`re moving away from this personhood
amendments, which are patently absurd and kind of strike people, strike
most people as intuitively ridiculous.
HAYES: And the Waterloo for that, of course, is when it lost in
Mississippi, of all places. It couldn`t win in Mississippi.
GOLDBERG: Late-term abortion is actually a better issue for them, right?
Most people intuitively know that an embryo is not a human being, but most
people also intuitively know that at 20 weeks or 22 weeks or 24 weeks, the
fetus has some sort of value, even if not value that trumps the interest of
And so, this is an issue that is really uncomfortable and painful for a lot
of people. And also in the aftermath of the 2007 case, Gonzalez v.
Carhart, that allowed for a lot of new restrictions on abortion. It was
the partial birth abortion case.
There`s a belief that the Supreme Court might be open to fundamentally
reconsidering Roe versus Wade.
HAYES: Right. That`s the interesting strategic play here is let`s get
this before this court because we actually think, Terry, that we think that
this court, if we can get a full-frontal challenge to Roe v. Wade, if we
get it in front of this court by provoking them this way, that we might get
the answer we want.
TERRY O`NEILL, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN: Right. I think there are a
lot of people on the sort of right wing of the conservative movement that
think this is their moment when they can get Roe v. Wade actually
overturned. I think they`re very eager to do it.
I think Michelle is absolutely right that they think they`re being
pragmatic by focusing more on this 20-week abortion ban. But that,
frankly, is not going to work. What they have done is passed a law that is
absolutely squarely violative of Roe versus Wade.
This is not like the so-called partial birth abortion ban which banned one
procedure that is done in a much later stages of pregnancy. So --
HAYES: And I should also note that the federal courts have already struck
down the Arizona version of this bill as unconstitutional.
But, Terry, there`s another aspect to this which is actually this approach
has been remarkably successful in the states. You have 11 states that have
passed similar unconstitutional bans. In eight of those states, those
unconstitutional bans, bans that we understand as unconstitutional are in
effect because they have not been challenged. Isn`t that right?
O`NEILL: Sure. And I think that there`s real concern not just on the
conservative side, on our side, there is real concern about what the
Supreme Court would do if offered the opportunity to overturn Roe versus
What I think, though, that that focus on the Supreme Court misses is that
women and men want Roe versus Wade to remain the law of the land. Over 70
percent in a poll taken in January, and the numbers that I saw were more
like 77 percent right after the 2012 elections. When asked, people say,
no, we want Roe v. Wade to remain the law of the land. And that includes
35 percent of people who consider themselves pro-life.
HAYES: Right. And the fascinating thing about that, right, is that that
kind of Democratic accountability for the status quo, that kind of
Democratic support for the status quo is absent in the political
calculations of this House Republican Caucus, right?
GOLDBERG: Well, I think yes and no because the polling is actually a
little more complicated on later abortions, you know? So people are
confused about these issues.
Or not even confused. They`re ambivalent. They`re strongly pro-choice.
They support Roe v. Wade. They`re also uncomfortable with abortions --
HAYES: Third trimester.
GOLDBERG: End of the second and beginning of the third trimester.
So the plan here is to essentially try to replace the viability standard.
HAYES: And start marching it backwards in time.
GOLDBERG: And start marching it backwards and use the idea of fetal pain
as a kind of new substitute scientific standard which will allow them,
again, to kind of push the limits back further and further and also to, you
know, further make people uncomfortable with abortion.
HAYES: Terry O`Neill, president of National Organization for Women,
Michelle Goldberg from "Newsweek" and "the Daily Beast."
Today, Congress heard from the director of the National Security Agency,
the chief of the Central Security Service, and commander of the U.S. Cyber
Command -- this guy. That`s right. This one, all three titles.
Introducing General Keith Alexander, next.
HAYES: I am devastated and heartbroken to learn of the death of journalist
and author, Michael Hastings. He died early this morning in a car crash at
the age of 33. I considered Michael a friend and a colleague. Someone
whose work I eagerly read and who I was always delighted to host on "UP."
He was an absolutely fearless reporter. A brilliant, beautiful writer with
fantastic journalistic instincts and courage.
Our condolences to his wife, Elise, and his whole family.
You will be so, so missed, Michael.
HAYES: He`s one of the most powerful men in the entire U.S. government,
and until just two short weeks ago, you probably never heard of him. A man
that controls huge swaths of the government`s security and intelligence
apparatus, who`s managed up until now to be a shadow.
At this very moment, he is. The director of the NSA, the chief of the
Central Security Service, and the commander of the U.S. Cyber Command,
along with those three titles comes control over the Navy`s Tenth Fleet,
the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
And he runs this security empire from a top secret city in Maryland with,
quote, "its own post office, fire department and police force. It sits
among the forest of trees surrounded by electrified fences and heavily
armed guards. Protected by anti-tank barriers, monitored by sensitive
motion detectors and watched by rotating cameras."
That man, the man I just described, he testified today, the House Select
Committee on Intelligence. He is so genuinely powerful the chair of the
committee, a committee tasked with overseeing him turned into the cowardly
lion trembling in the presence of the great and powerful Oz.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MIKE ROGERS (R), MICHIGAN: I also want to take this moment to thank
general Alexander who has been extended as national security adviser in one
way or another three different times. That`s a patriot.
Thank you for your patriotism. Thank you for continuing to serve to
protect the United States. Thank you on behalf of America for your service
to your country.
General Alexander, please convey our thanks to your team.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I`m sure the IRS would love to get a reception like that on Capitol
General Keith Alexander is a man whose name I literally don`t think I ever
heard before two weeks ago, yet his journey over the past two years has
been truly remarkable. In 2003, under George W. Bush, he was named the
Army`s deputy chief of staff for intelligence.
The next year, he would be called to testify about the units he supervised
that were involved in the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.
Next came a promotion by the Bush administration in 2005 to director of the
NSA where he oversaw the famed warrantless wiretapping.
Alexander`s march to power did not end with George W. Bush. In 2010, he
was appointed under the Obama administration to head the newly created U.S.
Cyber Command. Much in the same way that J. Edgar Hoover built a power
base in the FBI independent of the presidents he worked for, Keith
Alexander has risen over the past decade, over two presidents, a Republican
and Democrat, to command an awesome arsenal of power with very, very little
public notice or oversight.
Joining me now is NSA historian James Bamford. He`s author of the book,
"The Shadow Factory: The NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping of America."
And also author of a new piece on wired.com about General Alexander, "The
James, let me begin with the simple question of how Keith Alexander
acquired so much power.
JAMES BAMFORD, NSA HISTORIAN: Well, it was a combination of a lot of
factors. One of the things was just the length of time he`s been there.
He`s been there almost nine years now. There`s never been a person in the
history of the American intelligence community that has served in that high
capacity that long. And the longer you serve in a position like that, the
more power you acquire.
In addition to that, he`s been given enormous more responsibility than
anybody else has been given because he runs not only the most secret and
largest intelligence agency in the world, but also he runs the cyber
He`s a four-star general. Nobody`s ever been head of the NSA that`s been
four stars before. The highest you can go in the military. And now he
runs a cyber command, which is this enormous organization dedicated to both
spying on foreign governments in terms of their computers and so forth, but
also launching wars.
We attacked the NSA`s -- General Alexander`s Cyber Command attacked Iran
with their centrifuges. They destroyed the centrifuges using cyber, just
basically sending viruses into these machines.
HAYES: And what we`re seeing is a massive expansion of the prioritization
of this kind of warfare. The budgetary allocation for it, and he is
overseeing this new really remarkably expanded capacity of the most
powerful military on earth.
BAMFORD: Exactly. And this is the wave of the future is this cyber
warfare. And NSA`s job isn`t protecting the American public from cyber
attacks. That`s the homeland security, department of homeland security.
NSA`s job is simply, or rather cyber command`s job is simply to protect the
U.S. government communication and also to largely launch the attacks.
Largely focus their cyber warfare capabilities on foreign countries which
may eventually get us into another war.
HAYES: That`s a really important point. I mean, one thing you stress in
here is we developed and already deployed offensive cyber war capabilities.
One of the claims I want you to respond to is something Keith Alexander
said today before the committee in defending the NSA`s programs, some of
which have been revealed over the last few weeks.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEN. KEITH ALEXANDER, NSA DIRECTOR: In recent years, these programs,
together with other intelligence, have protected the U.S. and our allies
from terrorist threats across the globe, to include helping prevent the
terrorist, the potential terrorist events over 50 times since 9/11.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That over 50 times is the sound bite that came out of the hearing.
This seems to me always the trump argument that is deployed by a person in
Alexander`s position which is to say how many attacks have been foiled by
these programs. My question to you, as someone who`s reported on this as
much as anyone -- how should I as a citizen evaluate that claim?
BAMFORD: I think with a grain of salt. First of all, when they were
talking about the very first attack they mentioned the one involving Zazi,
the person who was accused of launching a plot to blow up the subways.
Most of that information originally came from the British through regular
In addition, the NSA -- you don`t know how many of these cases he`s talking
about are real because they don`t really explain what these cases are. In
addition to that, they never got in the hearing, they never got into the
whole question of could we have done this in a less intrusive way simply by
getting a warrant to spy on the people involved in the plots rather than
taking everybody`s communication, you know, a grandmother living in Topeka,
Kansas, calling her grandson in the house next door. That communication,
records of that communication will be transmitted every single day just
like everybody else`s communications to a big storage center for NSA.
HAYES: That point, that point strikes me as so important. The
counterfactual isn`t if we had nothing would we have been able to foil a
plot. It`s if an alternative more circumscribed version of what we have
would still be able to protect the whole.
NSA and U.S. intelligence expert, James Bamford, thank you so much.
BAMFORD: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: America is still trying to recover from the great recession.
There`s one government program that has been indisputably successful in
helping those who are struggling and Republicans are trying to kill it.
That`s coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned
paradise and said, I need caretaker. So, God made a farmer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In American politics, farmers have become almost mythical figures
infused with honor and patriotism, and politicians who don`t do much of
anything to help actual family farmers are more than happy to use that
mythical imagery to further political agenda whenever they can.
Take the gargantuan farm bill the Republican-led House is looking to pass
this we, for example. Now here`s a thing that is so strange and little
understood and fascinating about the farm bill. Eighty percent of it isn`t
really about farming, per se. It`s about using the culture aura of the
farmer to make sure poor people get fed.
Let me explain. The bulk of the farm bill is the country`s food stamp
program or what is now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
Program or SNAP. Congress created food stamps as part of the farm bill in
the 1960s when the shrinking population in rural areas translated into
fewer and fewer of farmer state representatives in the House and
consequently fewer votes for the farm bill.
The ingenious idea was to yolk together the fates of the urban poor with
farmers, thereby creating a much larger constituency for the farm bill`s
passage. Now here`s the thing you need to understand about the food stamp
program. As the country has cut back on social safety nets, I`m talking
about welfare reform, austerity measures. Food stamps have remained the
most successful social safety net program we`ve had during the great
In 2012, more than 46 million people received SNAP benefits, a 76 percent
increase since recession began in 2007. I look at those figures and I say,
thank God for food stamps. Republicans look at that and say, you know
what, man, we`ve got to cut food stamps because they`re working too much.
In fact, Republicans have become obsessed with the growth of food stamps
as some kind of indicator of Barack Obama`s subversive plan to seduce a
nation of takers into permanent indolence and handouts.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEWT GINGRICH: Most effective food stamp president in American history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is the food stamp president.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the food stamp president.
SEAN HANNITY: We haven`t had this many people on food stamps in the
history of the country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Food stamp president is nonsense, of course, as even the right wing
"Wall Street Journal" editorial page pointed out, "the food stamp boom
began with the George W. Bush Republicans who expanded benefits in the
appalling 2002 farm bill." But with Barack Obama in the White House, the
House Republicans are now on an anti-food stamp jihad.
So this week they proposed a farm bill that would cut food stamps by $20
billion over 10 years, which means some 2 million people would lose
benefits under the House proposal. The president, to his great credit,
gets how wildly cruel and destructive the Republicans` proposed cuts would
be and yesterday the White House threatened to veto the entire bill if
Congress passes the House version.
The bill makes unacceptable deep cuts in SNAP read a statement, which
could increase hunger among millions of Americans who are struggling to
make ends meet including families with children and senior citizens. His
senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill.
Right now, there are almost 12 million people out of work, and the House
Republicans are busy, as we noted, passing unconstitutional abortion bans.
The sequester cuts are costing government jobs and shrinking paychecks
while wages stagnate. Most new job creation happens in the low-wage
No one in Washington particularly on the Republican side seems to be at
all concerned about the continued economic misery of millions of our fellow
citizens. So it seems to me that the very least, the absolute least, a
decent wealthy society can do amidst an unprecedented period of economic
stagnation and vastly unequal prospects for our people, is to just make
sure our fellow citizens don`t go hungry.
What a shameful spectacle to watch Republicans prove their ideological
bonafides at these people`s expense. We`ll be right back wit with Click3.
HAYES: Employees at a major American banker saying they were told to lie
to homeowners and force them into foreclosure, and then were rewarded for
it. That bombshell story is ahead.
But first, I want to share the three awesomest things on the internet
today beginning with a health hazard gone too soon. Last week a Wendy`s in
Manitoba announced it was pulling the plug on a rogue item. It was known
fondly as the T-Rex burger. The nine-patty monstrosity was sold only at
the Canadian Wendy`s franchise and was taken off the menu after a picture
of the meat stack was posted on Readit.
Bar Barker of the Manitoba Wendy`s delivered the burger`s eulogy for
obvious reasons. "Wendys neither condones nor promotes the idea of anyone
consuming a nine-patty hamburger in one sitting." Despite that touching
tribute, the fine folks from NPR wanted to pay their respects. They
recreated the dearly departed by purchasing three triple cheeseburgers
copying every last detail.
As you see the heavily airbrushed corporate advertisement looked more
advertising. The NPR crew documented the burger`s reincarnation offering a
few thoughts, it`s like burger jinga. I just scraped ketchup off my
forehead. And the most fitting, this is the unhealthiest thing a Canadian
has done since everything the mayor of Toronto has done.
The second awesomest thing on the internet today comes from twin
sensations, Malcolm Brekels and Gerald Dockins of Brooklyn. These sixth
graders firsts got together at the tender age of 5 forming, of course, a
metal band, affectionately called "Tears of Blood." Now at the ripe old
age 12, the dynamic duo along with another pal, has formed a new band with
a new title, "Unlocking the Truth" and can be seen jamming and rocking out
at various subway stations in New York City. Now a short film has been
made about the two in which they describe their process and brush off all
the haters, rock on, young metal heads. Rock on.
And the third awesomest thing on the internet today, a few tips from the
ALL IN team on how to tell if you`re bad at your job. You might be bad at
your job, when you get a key piece of information wrong for an important
client. For example, say you work in the tombstone engraving business.
Say your client is the late New York mayor. Say you weren`t quite paying
attention at the dates needed to complete the mayor`s final resting place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The inscriptions are complete, but instead of reading
1924, Koch`s date of birth reads 1942.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: You might be bad at your job when you don`t follow instructions.
For example, Carol Gambrell of Zanesville, Indiana, asked a local baker to
make a cake for her daughter`s graduation from college. Carol asked if a
cap, c-a-p, could be included to keep with the graduation theme. Here`s a
result. Instead of a cap sitting atop the young graduate`s head is a cat.
I suppose it could have been worse. The cat hat could have been a cat
And last, you might be bad at your job when you just don`t give a crap
anymore. This video showing a man`s last feigning interest in his work is
making the rounds. This portrait in defeat took part in China at the
international airport with a plane full of passengers watching a cargo
loading disaster unfold before their very eyes. The good news is the Fabro
J. eggs arrived on time.
You could find all the links for tonight`s Click 3 on our web site,
allinwithchris.com. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: We were told to lie. Those are the words of a Bank of America
employee describing what her supervisors asked her to do and she`s not the
only one. In an absolute bombshell filing in federal court, sworn
affidavits describe an intentional strategy on the part of the bank to
systemically lie to struggling homeowners right up to the point of
To hoodwink borrowers, stall for time and maximize the amount of money
Bank of America got. Now, we`ve known for years in talking to the people
on the receiving end of the bank`s treatment that borrowers seeking loan
modifications were strung along and screwed over. Now we have what appears
to be the smoking gun.
Here`s just a sample of what the Bank of America employees said under
oath. Simone Gordon, senior collector, 2007 and 2012, "We were told to lie
to customers and claim that Bank of America had not received documents it
had requested and that it had not received trial payments when, in fact, it
had. Employees were rewarded by meeting a quota of placing a specific
number of accounts into foreclosure."
Erica Brown, customer service representative, 2009 and 2010, "During my
time at Bank of America, I saw well over 100 cases in which a Bank of
America analyst canceled loan modifications and stated non-payment as
reason for cancelation when it was apparent from the computer system that
the homeowner had actually made the required payments."
William Wilson, underwriter and then-case management team manager, 2010 to
2012. "Employees who challenged or questioned the ethics of Bank of
America`s practice of declining modifications for false and fraudulent
reasons for often fired."
Teresa Teralange, collector 2009 and 2010. "The information we received
in group meetings showed me that Bank of America`s deliberate practice was
to string homeowners along with no intention of providing permanent
The six employees who made sworn affidavits were not from one rogue branch
but from all over the country, all part of a consolidation of 29 separate
suits against the bank according to Paul Keel of "Propublica," who wrote
about the story. In a statement, a Bank of America spokesman said the
former employees` accounts are, quote, "rife with factual inaccuracies and
the bank will respond more fully in court."
Joining me now is Alexis Goldstein, a member of "Occupy Wall Street,"
former vice president of Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, Dan Dicker,
president of MercBloc, a wealth management firm, senior contributor of
street.com, and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, co-chair
of the Mortgage Crisis Unit, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
Mr. Schneiderman, I`d like to begin with you. You have been on this and I
want to just set the terrain for people, which is that all states attorney
generals say one sued the banks basically over precisely the kinds of
practices that are spoken about in these affidavits. There was a
settlement in which the banks agreed to certain terms.
What evidence do we have that they are agreeing to those terms, that the
kinds of stuff that we`re hearing about in these affidavits are no longer
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, the affidavits
flesh out a fraud complaint, and I haven`t interviewed the witnesses here.
I can`t speak to this complaint. But I can tell you we do know they were
stringing homeowners along, and I was here six weeks ago talking with you,
and we sent notice to the monitoring committee under the settlement you
describe that New York, the first state to do this, we intend to sue two
banks including the one they just sued.
HAYES: Bank of America.
SCHNEIDERMAN: Because we found hundreds of violations of the timeline. So
we can`t say we didn`t have to allege, and we didn`t know that what the
reason was that their employees were stringing people along. But I
guarantee you we have introduced plenty of evidence that they were
stringing people along repeatedly asking for documents that had been
When you are a homeowner, time is not on your side, right? Mick Jaggar
was wrong. It`s like the longer they string you out, the farther in debt
you get, the more fees and penalties pile up, the harder it is to negotiate
a settlement that you can afford.
So for them to string people out is something that hurts homeowners all
over America. I represent the people in the state of New York and we have
documented hundreds of violations of the servicing standards under the
settlement. I don`t have to prove fraud. I just have to show --
HAYES: They`re not living up.
SCHNEIDERMAN: They were systemically violating their deadlines. I mean,
part of the point of the settlement, which probably the best thing about
it, in some ways, was that it imposed very strict timelines and rules of
the road. I think 304 deadlines. They have to get back to a homeowner
within five days since last October to tell them if there are deficiencies
in their loan modification request.
They clearly are missing the deadlines. We sent the intent of notice to
sue. Since I was last on with you we`ve heard other state attorneys
general coming out publicly stressing the same concerns. I think there are
other folks who are going to get involved in this. But the allegations in
the complaint today really go beyond what we have to prove or we have to
allege to provide an explanation for what the incentives were and what the
motivation was for the conduct which we documented which is delay, delay,
HAYES: So this I think the important thing. There`s so much litigation in
this universe. It can get confusing. Who`s suing who, who settled with
who? The key thing to understand is there was a period of time when there
was just a massive amount of foreclosures in this country that were just,
like, working their way through the system.
I think of it like the snake eating, like, eating the pig. Right and you
see the shape of the pig inside the snake. That was the foreclosures
working their way through this bank system, and it was more than they could
digest. They had an incentive, right, Alexis?
I mean, this is the key thing I want you to illuminate here, right? When
you read the complaints like the one that were filed privately or by the
ones that have been filed by state attorneys general, the question is why?
Why are they stringing along people? Will you answer that question for me?
Are they just doing this to mess with people`s lives?
ALEXIS GOLDSTEIN, "OCCUPY WALL STREET": They`re doing this to make money.
The servicers are incentivized to push people into foreclosure. There are
a lot of people in this process. The servicers are the ones who get the
monthly loan payments from the homeowners. There are the investors who are
sitting, you know, as recipients of complex mortgage-backed securities that
brought down the financial system. Investors are helped if people get loan
GOLDSTEIN: Servicers profit -- so the thing that`s horrible about this is
there was a program that was a part of TARP called HAMP that was supposed
to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. TARP would not have passed if HAMP
were not a part of it. When they tried to push TARP through without HAMP,
Congress said no. It has not helped homeowners and this lawsuit shows us
in crystal clear terms why that is.
HAYES: I want to --
DAN DICKER, PRESIDENT, MERCBLOC: A minuscule part of HAMP has actually
been used for refinancing of loans and that`s been a major problem. From
the financial point of view, the banks do better by forcing humans into
foreclosure than doing something as labor intensive as refinancing what is
a very complex mortgage. And that`s what the reason why banks mostly push
off these refinancing.
HAYES: So the question I have is, what I want to get to is where there`s
going to be legal accountability, what is hanging out there as possible
sanctions that could happen to them, and also whether the market will ever
enforce some discipline on this. Whether they`re ever going to start to
worry that banks are going to be paying out the nose so much for this kind
of malfeasance, they start to worry as investors. All of that when we come
HAYES: For all of you in New York, I`ll be speaking at an event at 92nd
Street Y on Sunday, June 23rd at 7:30 p.m. about my book "Twilight of the
Elites, America After Meritocracy." It`s an aspirational title, now out in
paperback. I`d love to see you there. We`ll be right back.
HAYES: According to sworn affidavits and a massive federal lawsuit, Bank
of America employees were told to lie to struggling homeowners while
pretending to help them, but also to lie to the government and to public at
large. Here`s an example from one former underwriter, Steven Couples. "It
was well known among Bank of America employees, the numbers Bank of America
was reporting to the government and to the public were simply not true."
And here with writer and activist Alexis Goldstein, Dan Dicker of
MercBloc, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. OK, so I want
to talk about a framework of accountability. This is a private lawsuit
that`s going to proceed independent and parallel anything you as the
attorney general of New York are doing. It`s a certified class action
But the kinds of abuses that are identified here are precisely the kinds
of things you have sued Bank of America over for violation of a previous
settlement with you and other state attorneys general over the same kind of
practices. My question is, if we keep finding the same kind of practices,
what is going to make them stop?
GOLDSTEIN: Does it make you regret signing on to the settlement in the
first place if we keep seeing malfeasance at this level?
SCHNEIDERMAN: It`s easier, I mean, look, we have a much easier burden of
proof because they`ve agreed to the timelines and deadlines in the
settlement. We knew they were stringing people along, claiming they lost
documents. We don`t have to prove fraud, which the folks in the
Massachusetts case will have to prove. So we have more tools in the
toolbox as a result of the settlement.
But everything we`re seeing, again, I don`t know the underlying facts of
the case. Everything we`ve seen is consistent with this. I mean, we know
there was delay. We know there was unreasonable delay. We know homeowners
were strung around. When I was on the show with you six weeks ago to talk
about our notice to suit, you described the process as Kofka-esque, and now
HAYES: Let`s say this class gets certified. We all know what`s going to
happen. This is like law and economics 101. What are they going to do?
They`re going to settle. So maybe they pay $5 billion, maybe they pay $10
billion, $15 billion, $25 billion, $30 billion. They`re massively
profitable enterprises who are making lots of money off this kind of thing.
What is the market doing when they see this?
DICKER: They reward them. We are at historic highs for the stock market
mostly led by financials including most specifically Bank of America. Now,
what has made Bank of America a leader in what has been a rising, a
shooting celestial stock market over the last couple years? It has been
their ability to simplify their books of all this crap that was on the
books prior to 2008.
Part of the reason they`ve been able to simplify this is because they made
the human tragedy out of not allowing refinancing, pushing everything
toward foreclosure, making it as simple and as least labor intensive as
they possibly can, this entire pile of securitizations that have been such
a big problem for them financially over the course of the last few years.
GOLDSTEIN: Federal regulators have not changed that. This is the job of
the OCC which is a banking regulator. This is the job of the fed to make a
profit cost for breaking the law, for pushing people into foreclosure. You
said this was the foreclosure crime scene the OCC settled about legal
foreclosures on veterans and folks like that. And people are getting
checks in the mail for 300 bucks.
GOLDSTEIN: And they are not changing the cost/benefit analysis.
SCHNEIDERMAN: So I think the, look, it is clear that up until now they
really don`t fear law enforcement. And it may be that they feel they`ve
been sent messages by some folks in the government that it`s OK. You know,
the message that every other company in America`s allowed to feel but not
you. We`re not going to let you fail.
It`s not just not American, it`s anti-capitalist. From my point of view,
we`ve had to use everything we can do to watch these banks. Now, look, I
don`t want to take away from the benefits New Yorkers have gotten. We`ve
had a plummeting rate of underwater mortgages. We`ve gotten over $2
billion, belief, New York homeowners, from the banks under this settlement.
But it doesn`t change the fact that there seem to have a problem of
abiding by any set of rules. What we`re seeking that makes a big
difference is we`re seeking an injunction to say, fine, you guys violate
the rules, you can`t foreclose. If we stop them from being able to
HAYES: That might --
SCHNEIDERMAN: That might to something.
HAYES: "Occupy Wall Street" activist Alexis Goldstein, Dan Dicker of
MercBloc, and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, thank you
all very much. That is ALL IN for this evening. "The Rachel Maddow Show"
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
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