ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
March 6, 2014
Guests: Simon Ostrovsky, Nina Khrushcheva, Ben Jealous, Rep. Steven
Horsford, Benjamin Domenech, Michelle Goldberg, Eric Boehlert
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
News tonight that President Obama spent an hour on the phone this
afternoon with the Russian President Vladimir Putin, during which Obama
told Putin that Russia`s actions are a violation of Ukraine sovereignty.
This phone call comes as the crisis in Ukraine today significantly
intensified, when the Crimean parliament voted to hold a referendum on
joining Russia and leaving Ukraine this morning.
That decision now creates a new looming deadline just a little more
than a week away and it prompted strong condemnation from President Obama
and European leaders. While the interim Ukrainian government for its part
began the process to dissolve the same Crimean parliament that had just
voted for the referendum.
Over the last week and a half, the Russian argument to justify that
nation`s actions has been people in Crimea and elsewhere in the Russian
speaking parts of southern and eastern Ukraine want Russia`s help and
protection. I mean, just look at the leader of the Crimean parliament who
says his government is in regular contact with Russian officials, or the
hundreds of people holding pro-Russia protests in Ukraine.
But do not be fooled. There`s much more to story than what you see in
HAYES (voice-over): The vote was unanimous. The Crimean parliament
deciding this morning that they wanted to be part of Russia, and announcing
a referendum in 10 days on separating from Ukraine.
The move drew swift criticism from Ukraine`s current government and
from the United States.
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The proposed referendum
on the future of Crimea would violate the Ukrainian constitution and
violate international law.
HAYES: But the headlines on the referendum in Crimea don`t reveal
exactly who is behind it.
SERGEI SHUVAINIKOV, PARLIAMENT DEPUTY (through translator): The
parliament`s deputy said they decided to set the group for Crimea including
Sevastopol to the 16 of March.
HAYES: That deputy is Sergei Shuvainikov a man who`s been leading the
pro-Russian fight in Crimea from his self-proclaimed bunker for long before
the Russians actually showed up last week.
Then, there`s the new leader of the Crimean government.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The new prime minister of Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov,
a puppet leader placed in power two days ago issued the official
justification for Russia`s actions.
"Recognizing my responsibilities, I call upon President Putin," he
said, "to offer assistance in providing peace and order in the territory of
HAYES: Mr. Aksyonov is a member of the Russian Unity Party, a pro-
Russia party that until last week only had three of the 100 parliament
seats in Crimea, just 3 percent.
Then, a week ago, armed gunmen arrived at the parliament building.
Lawmakers summoned, stripped of cell phones. The Crimean media was
banished. Then, behind closed doors, Crimea`s government was dismissed and
a new one formed with the head of the Russian unity party in charge -- a
man who has been repeatedly link to an organized crime syndicate in Crimea
and is now leading the effort to leave Ukraine and join Russia.
But that`s behind the scenes. What about all those people in the
street? We`ve all seen the footage from cities across Russian-speaking
Ukraine of people waving Russian tri-colored flags and singing Russian
hymns. We all thought -- well, maybe they do welcome the Russians as
liberators. And some of them probably do. That is not the whole story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One group of hardcore pro-Russians stormed the
local government building raising the Russian flag. By morning, they`d
HAYES: Only one problem. The guy waving the flag isn`t Ukrainian.
He`s a blogger from Moscow. He said he was just reporting on the crowd
gathering in Kharkhiv last week when he decided to symbolize this event to
the rest of the people standing in the square. So, he went up to the roof
and hung a Russian flag on the Ukrainian government building, taking a
selfie for good measure.
Everyone recognizes the Russian troops in Crimea as a foreign
incursion. Image of armed and uniformed men is unmistakable, plain-clothed
Russians who travel to Ukraine and raise Russian flags, well, that`s
insidious and a puppet government installed and supported by Russia holding
a referendum to actually separate Crimea from Ukraine and join Russia, that
Right now, the propaganda campaign to create the perception of organic
support for Russia`s territorial grab seems to be working.
HAYES: Joining me now on the phone from Crimea is Simon Ostrovsky.
He`s a correspondent for Vice News.
And, Simon, I understand. You have a report today. You talked to a
man who is a leader of the Russian bike gang who`s come over to Crimea to
support the Russian forces.
SIMON OSTROVSKY, CORRESPONDENT, VICE NEWS (via telephone): That`s
right. The Night Wolves. They`re a very big gang in Russia. They`ve got
support from the government. The leader is actually friends with Vladimir
Putin. They`ve got branches all across the country and they`ve got a
branch in Crimea as well. There are bikers on some of the checkpoints all
around the peninsula.
Most notably, I suppose, at the northern part of the peninsula where
Crimea meets the rest of Ukraine and where a diplomatic mission that wanted
to come down here and monitor was blocked from entering Crimea.
HAYES: We are trying to get a handle on what to make of essentially
the citizenry of eastern and southern Ukraine, particularly Crimea in their
posture toward the Russian incursion and separate out propaganda from
actual organic sentiment on the ground.
What is your sense of how people there in Crimea you`re talking to are
OSTROVSKY: A lot of the people that I`m speaking to are the ones who
are outside of Ukrainian military facilities protesting in support of
Russia. So, they`re very clearly in support of Russia obviously because
they`re waving Russian flags and saying so. But it seems like a very
highly organized effort, centrally organized and they`re working in close
coordination with the Russian military.
But I do think that there`s a lot of people in Crimea who have
grievances toward Kiev and have had them over the years and may actually be
looking forward to joining Russia. But I think that some of the -- it`s
the more radical thuggish elements who are the ones who are actually openly
going into the streets and standing around buildings and harassing
journalists and so forth.
HAYES: What is the media situation there like? I can`t help but keep
wondering what reports everyday Crimeans are getting right now about what
situation is occurring in their land.
OSTROVSKY: Well, it`s funny you should ask that because earlier
today, a group of pro-Russia supporters and the Russian military stormed a
local TV station and started producing, broadcasting, rather, news from
Russia. But you could actually get a lot of the Russian news channels here
which would be on full tilt for weeks, blasting out propaganda about the
government in Kiev being controlled by fascists who are bent on coming down
here and causing trouble.
And a lot of people seem to believe that that`s the case. But the
thing is, is that when Russia brought its troops here, there hasn`t been
HAYES: That I think is the key point because the kind of cover story
that Vladimir Putin and Sergei Lavrov and others have offered is basically,
this is essentially a humanitarian -- well, they say they`re actually not
Russian troops and then they also say they`re there to protect ethnic
You have continued to not see any violence or threat from some kind of
fascist forces from the north coming down in Crimea to target ethnic
OSTROVSKY: There hasn`t been any violence whatsoever, and I think --
in the entire time that this has been happening, only three shots have been
fired and those shots have been in the air. I mean, there might have been
some fights and a lot of journalists have been roughed up simply for being
foreign. But aside from that, there`s not a single victim of any kind of
fascist aggression from the rest of Ukraine.
HAYES: Simon Ostrovsky from Vice News -- thank you again for joining
us, live from Crimea. Thank you very much.
OSTROVSKY: You`re welcome.
HAYES: Joining me now is Nina Khrushcheva. She is associate
professor of international relations of the New School, and a granddaughter
of Nikita Khrushchev, the man who gave Crimea to Ukraine actually many
This strikes me as this aspect of what is happening in Crimea. We all
know the military occupation, but essentially the cultivating in a very
organized fashion it would appear of the appearance of organic pro-Russian
sentiment in places not just Crimea but Kharkiv, which is the second
largest city. This seems insidious and more of a threat to Ukraine`s
future than even the troops.
NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, NEW SCHOOL: It is. Russians are very good at
propaganda since the beginning of the USSR. And Putin does function as a
very USSR man, a trained USSR man. So it is.
But also it`s quite successful propaganda, more successful in the
second half of the Soviet Union`s life because in some ways, in fact, it is
true that a lot of Crimeans are supporting the Russians. They feel
ethnically related to them. They`re very resentful of Nikita Khrushchev
for giving Crimea to Ukraine and very resentful. And he felt that
(INAUDIBLE) Russian president that he didn`t take it back.
HAYES: You know, that`s a very important point. One of the things I
want to do is oversell this point, right?
It can simultaneously be the case that there`s an organized propaganda
effort to portray ordinary Russians, Ukrainians as in favor of this, and
the fact that there is some constituency there that probably is in favor of
KHRUSHCHEVA: Absolutely. Anyways it is, indeed, true. That`s why I
think in some ways it is very difficult to unravel. I mean, that`s why
there`s all these issues, diplomatic issues, military issues. That`s why
Putin is not backing down because he also knows if he`s over 50 percent,
probably 60-plus percent of Crimean population actually support his
HAYES: That is today what struck me as such a dangerous heightening
in this, is the parliament`s vote based on the government that it`s very
hard to call legitimate -- although, of course, Vladimir Putin, we should
say Vladimir Putin and the Russians would say the exact same thing about
the interim Ukrainian government, in which Yanukovych was run out of town.
They say it`s not unconstitutional. They say it`s illegitimate.
I will give them that. That is their argument, right?
You have this hard to recognize as legitimate government that is
setting up a referendum. If the referendum happens, it`s slated for about
ten days from now.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Ten days, yes.
HAYES: Then you is this, it feels like this terrible point of no
return, right? Because if the referendum under coerced circumstances voted
to leave Ukraine, then what the heck do you do after that?
KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, Ukraine is Russian. That`s it. That`s the point.
And I really think that today, we really shouldn`t be thinking of how to
take Crimea back because Crimea I don`t think is going back to Ukraine.
Even if you --
HAYES: Oh, you think this is done?
KHRUSHCHEVA: I think this is done. I really think it is done. It
may stay as part of Ukraine, maybe if Putin is convinced that that would
take off his back, all this international pressure, but his troops are not
going to go away, and those Crimeans who are there are not going to go back
to Ukraine, either.
So it`s some sort of a --
HAYES: Oh, so you think -- wow.
KHRUSHCHEVA: I think it is, I think it`s a done deal. He`s not going
to get out.
HAYES: OK. So, then the domino question, right, is what happens in
Kharkiv, right, and what happens in Donetsk and the entire eastern border
regions? That seems like, again, you`re heading toward something that
looks dangerously like full partition.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, actually, I think if we accept Crimea is a done
deal, whatever logistical configuration it may take --
HAYES: Whatever face saving, window dressing we put around it.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Maybe it isn`t part of Ukraine, but under the Russian
influence, whatever the formula they can find, I actually think that can
take pressure out of other parts of eastern Ukraine to remain, to keep the
HAYES: So what I`m hear from you, to use a chess metaphor, so you
give up this pawn, basically.
KHRUSHCHEVA: You really --
HAYES: If you`re the West now, you`re saying you let them take the
pawn which is Crimea so you save the bishop which is the entire eastern --
KHRUSHCHEVA: John Kerry should be negotiating that now. He should --
they should not be trying to save Crimea because Putin is not going to get
HAYES: This flies in the face of everything that we heard today from
every single official, E.U. official, Ukrainian interim foreign minister,
John Kerry, everyone saying, no, this is a violation of the Ukrainian
integrity, we can`t allow this -- we can`t start pulling on this thread or
the whole thing unravels.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, they`re not wrong. It is a violation. They
cannot. But they probably will have to or otherwise it will be a full-
KHRUSHCHEVA: Because what Putin is doing, they`re not going to back
down. He doesn`t want the full war. He actually doesn`t want the whole
Ukraine. He wants Crimea. It`s jewel, he wants to have it. He doesn`t --
because he`s going to choke on the whole Ukraine. He doesn`t want to take
But if push comes to shove and people in karee start asking the same
way Crimeans were asking --
HAYES: Which they are doing, supposedly.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Right. Instead of asking for Russian support, he`ll
have obliged a strong leader to go on another humanitarian mission and that
can get out of control.
HAYES: Sure can. Nina Khrushcheva from the New School, thank you,
that was enlightening.
KHRUSHCHEVA: Thank you.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, the vilification of President Obama`s
nominee to head up the Department of Justice`s civil rights division.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. PAT TOOMEY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: No one should make a mockery of
our criminal justice system, fan the flames of racial strife in America,
join a dishonest, international, anti-American campaign, along the way,
drag the family of a fallen police officer through three decades of hell
and then be confirmed to a high post in the Justice Department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The real reason the right wing went so hard at Debo Adegbile
and that was not it. Next.
HAYES: A full report on day one of the Conservative Political Action
Conference featuring reliable sound bite machine favorites. Stay tuned for
the hits, coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Earlier today, a vote was taken in the
United States Senate. But to this senator, marked about the lowest place
that I think this Senate has descended into in my 30 years here.
We sent a message we have a double standard, a terrible double
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Iowa Senator Tom Harkin responding to what I called a
shameful, despicable day in the U.S. Senate yesterday when the entire
Republican caucus joined by seven Democrats, those seven there voted down
the president`s nominee to head up the Justice Department`s civil rights
division, Debo Adegbile, over an appellate brief for a man convicted of
murdering a police officer.
Now, if you haven`t been watching FOX News, or reading conservative
media, this all came out of nowhere. Odds are, you had no idea who Debo
Adegbile was until yesterday.
Let me tell you something. FOX viewers sure did because for the last
month, they`ve been beating the drum on the scary, scary black man that
Debo Adegbile`s organization once represented.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, he defended a cop killer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: International crusade to free a cop killer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A non-repentant cop killer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Voluntarily defending a convicted cop killer.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An unrepentant cop killer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the most storied cop killers in American
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: In fact, if you`ve within watching FOX News with the sound
turned off, you may have even thought Debo Adegbile was, in fact, Mumia Abu
Jamal, that man you see there, because so often when they talked about
Adegbile, they put Mumia Abu Jamal`s image on the screen.
And that was not on accident. They knew what they were doing. The
question is, why? Why? Why did the entire right wing noise machine going
to war over this nominee? From FOX News, to Pajama`s Media, to Breitbart,
to Senate Republicans -- why did they all go at this guy so hard?
Well, as we try to answer that question, let`s consider what Debo
Adegbile would have done if he had confirmed. He would have headed up the
DOJ`s civil rights division meaning he would have overseen the
implementation of a law called the Voting Rights Act. That`s the same
piece of legislation he, himself, twice defended in oral arguments before
the Supreme Court -- the same piece of legislation the conservative legal
movement has been waging a successful war against for years.
When the Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act last
summer, they revoked the Justice Department`s power to automatically review
for preclearance any voting changes in states with histories of
But the Justice Department has another tool under the Voting Rights
Act. They don`t automatically get preclearance power anymore, but under
Section 2 of the law, DOJ can request preclearance in specific states or
jurisdictions by suing them, and the decision of which states or
jurisdictions to sue, that would come from, you guessed it, the DOJ`s civil
rights division -- the one that Adegbile was nominated to head up.
And, clearly, that fact was on the minds of some Republicans, at least
three GOP senators submitted written questions to Adegbile asking
specifically how he would use his Section 2 power or how he decide which
voter ID laws to fight.
Since the Supreme Court gutted Section 5 of the VRA, according to
Brennan Center, five states that used to be covered under preclearance are
moving forward with laws that have been on hold, or have passed new laws
that restrict voting, and those laws restricting voting, that`s what
Republicans appear to be trying to protect.
Mumia Abu Jamal was just a way to sell it.
Joining me now is Benjamin Jealous, a partner at Kapor Center for
Social Impact and former president and CEO of NAACP.
And, Ben, where do you start on this case? I find myself even angrier
today than I was yesterday about the raw injustice of this. But I really
do think this is not about the Voting Rights Act. This is part of a right-
wing attack on the civil rights division of the DOJ, going back 20 years
into the Clinton administration.
BEN JEALOUS, KAPOR CENTER: Oh, no, that`s exactly right. In fact, it
really goes back further. I mean, Reagan, Bush, Bush, have all tried to
dismantle and weaken this particular part of the DOJ every time the
Republicans have been in power. When the Dems are in power, they tried to
weaken it as well.
Let`s be first clear on who Debo is. Debo is the Thurgood Marshall of
our generation. He`s simply the best black civil rights lawyer in the
country, maybe the best civil rights lawyer in the country, period. He`s a
man who has defended the Voting Rights Act twice and hails from the NAACP
LDF, which is the firm, if you will, could be -- if any firm could be
credited with writing the VRA, it is them.
And the only time we`ve seen this sort of spurrilous (ph), shameful
attack before is the last time an NAACP LDF voting rights lawyer, in that
case, (INAUDIBLE) was up to head up the civil rights division of the DOJ.
HAYES: That`s right.
JEALOUS: You know, and so we should know this game. And we should
not allow ourselves to be, you know, swayed by the B.S. rhetoric because
quite frankly by their standards, John Adams would not have become
president. John Adams defended the British red coats in the Boston
HAYES: Oh, I got an even more recent precedent here. Here`s none
other than Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah who voted against Debo
Adegbile yesterday, here`s him defending Justice Souter at the time, before
being nominated for the Supreme Court, during his hearings, being attacked
for legal briefs he wrote.
Listen to Orrin Hatch`s spirited defense on behalf of Justice Souter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R), UTAH: If we`re going to use a nominee`s briefs
against him in the confirmation process, we`re going to be setting a
shocking precedent. It would be a very, very dangerous message to send to
lawyers if you have any ambition to be a judge. You lawyers don`t
represent controversial clients, and be careful about what you say on
behalf of the client because you might be held responsible for the fact
that the law was as it was at the time you made the statement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: And here`s the kicker on this to me and the thing I think has
been underappreciated -- the appeal filed by the Legal Defense Fund when
Debo Adegbile was there said the jury instruction in the case of the trial
Mumia Abu Jamal were unconstitutional. The court agreed. The court said,
yes, they were unconstitutional. It -- they made the right argument that -
JEALOUS: And those judges were Republican appointees.
HAYES: Thank you.
JEALOUS: No, I mean, look, that`s the shameful thing here. And,
look, you know, the -- we in this country believe that constitutional
rights should be defended not because of the persons whose right have been,
you know, impacted or hurt or taken away or denied, but because they are
rights and we all need to have access to them.
I have a cousin who defended a Ku Klux Klan`s man`s rights, as a black
civil rights lawyer. You know, we didn`t defend him because we believe in
the Ku Klux Klan. My cousin didn`t defend him because he believes in the
Ku Klux Klan, he defend him because he believes in the U.S. Constitution.
HAYES: Finally --
JEALOUS: The reality is the seven Democrats don`t deserve to be in
office. Let`s be really clear.
JEALOUS: They should be grateful to the NAACP LDF. They should be
grateful to the civil rights movement because quite frankly, they wouldn`t
have a base without us. When you see people like Mary Landrieu stand up --
HAYES: That`s right.
JEALOUS: -- and vote, she needs to be praised, but, you know --
HAYES: Mary Landrieu and Kay Hagan both Southern senators in cycle,
in this cycle, up now in competitive races voted for Debo Adegbile.
Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, not in cycle right now, not only voted
against him but sent out a fund-raising letter about an attack on voting
rights the same day.
Ben Jealous --
JEALOUS: But Collins (ph) and Casey, shameful.
HAYES: Ben Jealous from the Kapor Center -- thanks so much for your
time, man. Appreciate it.
JEALOUS: All right. Thank you. Appreciate it.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, day two of this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: We`re adjourned. Close it down.
ISSA: Thank you.
REP. ELIJAH CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: I am a member of the Congress of
the United States of America. I am tired of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Now, House Democrats are calling for a response to what
Congressman Darrell Issa did yesterday. It`s a big deal. I will explain,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DARRELL EDWARD ISSA, (R) CALIFORNIA REPRESENTATIVE: I have no
expectation that Ms. Lerner will cooperation with this committee and,
therefore, we --
ELIJAH CUMMINGS, (D) MARYLAND REPRESENTATIVE: Mr. Chairman. Mr.
Chairman, I have a statement. I have a procedural question, Mr. Chairman.
REP. ISSA: That is the meeting. We are adjourned. Close it down.
REP. CUMMINGS: Before our -- single document.
REP. ISSA: Thank you.
REP. CUMMINGS: He continued to --
REP. ISSA: Mr. Cummings -- Where is your question?
REP. CUMMINGS: -- If you will sit down and allow me to ask the
question. I am a member of the congress of the United States of America.
I am tired of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST OF "ALL IN" PROGRAM: That was the incredible
scene yesterday from the house oversight and government reform committee
hearing. Republican representative and chairman of that committee, Darrell
Issa, abruptly ended yesterday`s hearing on the IRS scandal after about ten
minutes of questions and not getting answer from former IRS employee Lois
Lerner, who repeatedly invoked her fifth amendment privilege.
Congressman Elijah Cummings, the democrat from Maryland and the
ranking member of that committee tried to make a statement at the end of
the hearing but ended up having to shout to get his points across because
Darrell Issa reached and every turned off the congressman`s microphone.
Now, when you see that scene unfold, consider we are dealing with
professional politicians here, OK? These are people who fight each other
for a living every day.
And, they are used to this. I mean they are used to not getting
along at least that is because they are members of the most polarized
congress since the end of the civil war. But, what does not happen every
day are a group of U.S. representatives calling for the chair of the
committee to resign his chairmanship because of his behavior, behavior
which also does not happen every day.
And, that is exactly what congresswoman and head of the congressional
black caucus Marcia Fudge did today in a letter to House Speaker John
Boehner writing on behalf of the 43 member congressional black caucus,
"Congressman Darrell Issa of California abused his authority and therefore
must be reprimanded to ensure the dignity of the House of Representatives
is preserved. We urge you to take prompt action and remove Mr. Issa as
chair of the oversight and government reform committee immediately." And,
the congresswoman, flanked by other house democrats, brought a resolution
to the floor condemning Darrell Issa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. MARCIA FUDGE, (D) OHIO REPRESENTATIVE: The house of
representatives strongly condemns the offensive and disrespectful manner in
which Chairman Darrell Issa conducted the hearing of the house committee on
oversight and government reform on March 5, 2014, during which he turned
off the microphones of the ranking member while he was speaking and
adjourned the hearing without a vote or unanimous consent agreement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Short time ago, the house tabled that resolution condemning
Congressman Issa. And, joining me now is Congressman Steven Horsford,
democrat from Nevada. He is a member of the house oversight and government
reform committee and the congressional black caucus. Congressman, I take
it you support the call to remove Darrell Issa as chairman. Why?
STEVEN HORSFORD, (D) NEVADA REPRESENTATIVE: I do, because first and
foremost, Chairman Issa violated the rules of the committee, house rule 11,
as well as the rules of the House of Representatives. And, this is not the
first time. It is a pattern of behavior where he has used the committee
for partisan and political purposes. This is a very important committee
that has serious responsibility over the oversight and government reform of
the United States federal government.
And, he has abused that position. It is irresponsible. It is wrong.
It must stop. He needs to apologize to the ranking member. And, as the
members who stood today called for, Speaker Boehner should replace him as
the chairman of the committee.
HAYES: Has Congressman Issa apologized?
REP. HORSFORD: He has not. In fact, ironically, he is called for the
ranking member, Mr. Cummings, to apologize to him, which is just outrageous
after the display, the circus that he exhibited yesterday. It is not, as
our ranking member Mr. Cummings have said, it is not what the American
people expect. We are better than this as a country. And, Chairman Issa
needs to apologize because it was the wrong thing to do.
HAYES: I just want to be clear because everyone I think has been
playing that small section of the footage that we played at the top.
Chairman Issa brought Lois Lerner into the committee room. She had
previously come before she pled the fifth. He had promised the weekend
previous on "Fox News Sunday" -- we are going to have her back, and I am
breaking some news right now. She is going to answer questions. Lawyer
denied that fairly quickly. She came before she pled the fifth again for
about 10 minutes. Darrell Issa asked her a bunch of questions. At no
point, am I correct, and correct me if I am wrong, did the ranking member
get to say anything?
REP. HORSFORD: Not only did he not get to speak, but once he was
asked for permission under house rule 11 to get his five minutes, as every
member of the committee is entitled to, the Chairman, Mr. Issa, initially
refused and then did yield him the microphone and allowed him to begin his
comment or question and because he did not like what he was saying, stood
over him and turned the mike off, silencing his ability to continue his
And, in fact, what the ranking member was trying to do was to bring
forward the fact that Lois Lerner`s attorney had offered to serve as a
proffer, which would allow some of that testimony to be entered into the
public record because ultimately what this committee`s jurisdiction is, is
for the oversight and the government reform and the IRS investigation that
we have been undertaking.
HAYES: Finally, to your knowledge, are the chairman and ranking
member talking right now? Have they spoken?
REP. HORSFORD: I do not know whether they have spoken or not, but let
me be absolutely clear. This is about the abusive activity and the abusive
ways of the chairman, Darrell Issa. The ranking member is a man that I
He has great -- as the ranking member, and this is not the first time
that Chairman Issa has treated him as the ranking member or other committee
members in this manner. And, it is why the members have taken this up as
we have done in this motion to call for his removal as the chairman of the
HAYES: Congressman Steven Horsford, thank you so much for your time.
REP. HORSFORD: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, my own personal advice to anyone who finds
themselves giving a big speech at the annual CPAC conference. Plus,
video of folks who took that advice without even having to hear it.
HAYES: An update out of Arkansas, the state we have been following
very closely, where a rump caucus of right wing republican state lawmakers
have been holding the state`s entire Medicaid funding bill hostage. They
have been doing it as an attempt to defund the privatized version of the
state`s Medicaid expansion, which had achieved bipartisan consensus,
passing last year and has already provided health insurance to nearly
For two weeks, things have been at a standstill, as that rump caucus
kept voting it down again and again and again. But, this week, good news.
The bill finally passed, overcoming the required supermajority. Now, there
was a no vote. Even on the final passage that came from this man, State
Representative Josh Miller. A man I have had on the show.
He is a conservative republican who, himself, has benefited from
Medicaid, when as an uninsured 23-year-old who was in a car accident that
left him paralyzed. There is a $1 million hospital bill and Medicaid paid
most of it. Medicare made up the difference. Miller continues to receive
government health care.
After Miller voted no, we could not help but notice a piece of
legislation that he voted yes on, as well as sponsored, introduced and
successfully passed into law. That bill got rid of the income cap on
Medicaid eligibility for working persons with disabilities. Persons like
Now, we spoke with representative miller today and he said even
without this bill, he would still receive Medicaid because he qualifies
under the original income cap. However, it still means that no matter how
much Representative Miller were to make in the future, he will be able to
keep his government health care.
Now, it could be that Representative Miller was just looking out for
people like himself who might find themselves in a similar situation. But,
here is my hope. That in the future, Representative Miller can expand his
circle of concern.
HAYES: Today marked the start of the Conservative Political Action
Conference or CPAC, the annual con fab, and I think we actually have to
call it a confab by law that gives he Republican Party`s biggest stars the
chance to speak to thousands of conservative activists who also attend
panels like "Health Care After Obamacare: A Practical Guide For Living When
No One Has Insurance And America Runs Out Of Doctors." If you are a
politician playing CPAC, there is some tried and true advice that you know
to follow. It is simple really. Just think of yourself as a wedding DJ.
Your job is to play the hits.
MITCH MCCONNELL, (R) KENTUCKY SENIOR UNITED STATES SENATOR: First of
all, the President of the United States is treating our constitution worse
than a place mat at Denny`s.
BOBBY JINDAL, (R) LOUISIANA GOVERNOR: We have long thought and said
this President is a smart man. It may be time to revisit that assumption.
PAUL RYAN, (R) WISCONSIN REPRESENTATIVE: The left is making a big
mistake here. What they are offering people is a full stomach and an empty
STEVE SCALISE, (R) LOUISIANA REPRESENTATIVE: And, people are hungry
for big ideas.
JOHN R. BOLTON, AMERICAN LAWYER: Can you just imagine Ronald Reagan
dealing with Vladimir Putin?
REP. SCALISE: We have got a great role model in Ronald Reagan.
BOLTON (?): Ronald Reagan.
REP. SCALISE: President Reagan.
MARCO RUBIO, (R) FLORIDA JUNIOR SENATOR: Big government. Big
government. They love to sell big government.
MIKE LEE, (R) UTAH JUNIOR SENATOR: Obamacare is a disaster.
REP. SCALISE: Ronald Reagan.
SEN. LEE: Lincoln and Reagan.
REP. SCALISE: Couple of weeks ago was Ronald Reagan`s 103rd birthday.
I had the honor of having lunch with Michael Reagan, his son.
REP. RYAN: He did not want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch.
SEN. MCCONNELL: The media does not even notice. They are too busy
trying to fix Benghazi for Hillary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Some days you come to work and you just get the electric
slide. Republicans at CPAC did have one new single to play for the
faithful this year. While it was not quite "back in the USSR," it was
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOLTON: Vladimir Putin has a strategy and Obama has nothing.
DONALD TRUMP, AMERICAN BUSINESS MAGNATE: You look at what he is doing
with President Obama. He is, like, toying with him. He is toying with
REP. RUBIO: We have a president who believed by the sheer force of
his personality. He would be able to shape global events.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Also marked the triumphant return to CPAC of New Jersey
Governor Chris Christie who is not invited to CPAC last year because he was
seen as too liberal. It seems once you start to face scandal and criticism
from much of the country, conservative faithful have got your back
especially when you attack the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE, (R) NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR: We have to stop letting the
media define who we are and what we stand for. Because when we talk about
what we are for, no matter what state we are in, our ideas win.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Michelle Goldberg, my colleague at the
"Nation," senior contributing editor, Eric Boehlert, Senior fellow at
"Media Matters" and Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, senior
fellow at Think Tank Heartland Institute.
Ben, here is what always strikes me about CPAC and it strikes me as
much this year. I think after the shutdown and after the budget and all
these fights we have had, there is this narrative that the Tea Party has
been kind of domesticated or defeated or rendered less powerful.
And, it always strikes me just how much power the base still has over
the party. I mean you just do not see this level of politicians coming to
kind of get the blessing of the left base. I wish -- gosh, I wish we lived
in that world, but we do not. But, it just seems to me that it still is
the case that the base really has a grip on the party.
BENJAMIN DOMENECH, SENIOR FELLOW AT THINK THANK HEARTLAND INSTITUTE:
Well, the base certainly does have a grip on the party. I mean I think you
look at what sort of Chris Christie was rolling out there today. He was
not talking about guns. He was not talking about his support for
Obamacare`s Medicaid expansion.
He was talking about red meat. The same principles that I think, you
know, lead you to sort of come out on stage with a musket of fear, if you
are viewed as an establishment candidate, something along those lines.
But, I think that one of the things that does -- that is interesting about
CPAC this year is maybe a little more openness about some of the divides
within the party.
The most interesting event I thought at CPAC today -- actually, it
was not at CPAC, it was a companion conference on foreign policy that was
running along the same side, where Ted Cruz talked about his own foreign
policy views as being not with John McCain on one hand and not with Rand
Paul on the other but in the middle and of course there you have the Reagan
sighting again. I think that is one of these --
HAYES: I call that the goldilocks foreign policy.
DOMENECH: It is. It is interesting I think in the sense that it
preludes in a lot of ways. The conversations that are going to happen on
the right and that will lead up to 2016.
DOMENECH: Which is a lot of what we saw on stage today.
HAYES: This tweet, Eric -- this tweet -- got re-tweeted like a ton,
it is the minority outreach panel at CPAC from John Hudec, big picture.
Big problem, most important panel, minority outreach, largely empty room.
ERIC BOEHLERT, SENIOR FELLOW AT "MEDIA MATTERS: Yes. I mean, you
know, they offer these panels and the conversation is we are going to do
outreach and things like that. But it comes back, again, to more and more
the red meat. It is more and more the echo chamber. I mean we have talked
before about how the Republican Party establishment does not really exist
anymore. There is a media echo chamber that runs the conservative
movement. So, we see it again and again. And, we saw, you know, Benghazi.
We saw the IRS. It is victimization.
HAYES: Well, but that is all to be expected, right?
BOEHLERT: It is. It is definitely ratcheted up. One quick point.
BOEHLERT: Last year, Donald Trump was invited, half empty room.
People thought, "Wait, maybe they finally divorced with Donald Trump."
Today standing ovation when he comes on to the stage. So, it seems to be
sort of it is re-ratcheted up.
HAYES: Right. So, I think it is important to distinguish between
anything that would be true of any conference of folks on either side of
the spectrum and things that are distinct here, right?
BOEHLERT: Right. Right. Right.
MICHELLE GOLDBERG, "NATION" SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR: There`s
nothing like this among democrats. There is nothing remotely like this on
the left. And, if there was, I can even think of a left figure who is
analogous to Donald Trump. But --
HAYES: He is truly generous --
GOLDBERG: Right. But, even -- You know, but the amount of outrage,
if democrats share the stage with somebody who was kind of that radical on
the left --
HAYES: Similar right.
GOLDBERG: I mean you cannot even really imagine it. And you -- the
other thing that I think is interesting, the Wayne LaPierre speech.
HAYES: OK. Hold that thought because I want to play some of that
sound. I want to talk about the Wayne LaPierre speech --
HAYES: I also want to talk about the thing that was said there today
that I thought was the most outrageous because of an off-hand comment from
Paul Ryan. And, I will get your response to that, Ben right after we take
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RYAN: She once met a young boy from a very poor family, and
every day at school, he would get a free lunch from a government program.
He told Eloise he did not want a free lunch, he wanted his own lunch. One
in a brown paper bag just like the other kids. He wanted one, he said,
because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We are back. I am here with Michelle Goldberg, Eric
Boehlert, and Ben Domenech. Ben, I am trying. I am trying to find the
best intentions in Paul Ryan, but that statement, what made me go through
the roof --
HAYES: Yes, because you are saying to the millions -- I mean I do not
think he intended this, but what I hear, saying to millions of people who
have their kids going to get free lunch, that they do not care about their
kid. That the thing that makes you care about your kid is being able to
provide them a lunch.
DOMENECH: I think I -- I think I see it a little bit differently.
The Eloise that Paul Ryan reference on that is Eloise Anderson, who you may
know of about, Chris.
DOMENECH: One of the reasons I work in entitlement policy is because
of Eloise Anderson. She was a community organizer in the `60s. She became
a single mom of three in the `70s. Ended up on assistance herself and then
sort of worked her way back, and spent her life working on welfare reform
and really without her welfare reform in the `90s would not have happened.
The way I took that story was simply an indication that the safety
net, while necessary, can only do so much that the safety net cannot love
that child. It cannot be there for him. It cannot care for him the same
way that Eloise cared for her three kids.
DOMENECH: I just took it that way. I did not see it as a call to
sort of -- If it happened more recently, I would take it as an indication
that the kid really hates the new government lunch plans --
HAYES: That is right.
DOMENECH: -- We saw the report last week that a million kids --
HAYES: You were posting about that today. Michelle, we do not have
the Wayne LAPierre sound but you want to make a point about his speech
GOLDBERG: Well, I think again when we are talking about the kind of
ideological disparity or the disparity of polarization, if you look at this
speech in which he basically conjures a dystopian future that is heavily
racially charged particularly in the aftermath of the stand your ground
When he talks about how in a world of knockout games, which is this
insane right-wing fantasy that kind of black kids are roaming the street
punching people for no reason as part of a game to see who they can knock
out. So, when he invokes this fantasy as a reason for defending, you know,
the kind of the absolutist right to bear arms, I see this kind of
deliberately racially -- if not deliberately racially inflammatory,
deliberately racially callous, I guess. And, I think it goes to show the
fact that they have -- they pay no price for --
HAYES: Well, they do pay the price. They pay the price in Barack
Obama winning what he won in 2008 and 2012.
GOLDBERG: I guess let me put it this way. There is kind of no such
thing as too far right at CPAC.
HAYES: Yes. I think that is right. And, there is no such thing as
too far right -- That is not true. The white nationalist group is not
invited. No, I am being serious. There is such thing as too far right at
CPAC, but white nationalist group is not there. But, one of the things you
see in tension at CPAC speeches, Eric, is the kind of declinist apocalyptic
HAYES: -- That is the thing that the base gives on and the awareness
that, that is not what sells politically, right? What sells politically is
BOEHLERT: Right. Right.
HAYES: But, what the base wants to hear is that everything is going
to hell in a hand basket.
BOEHLERT: Right. Right. Back to the echo chamber and Ben`s point is
a good one. You can have the debate about what entitlements mean and
things like that. But, when those comments are made against the backdrop
of a 24-hour right wing news cycle which is constantly just shaming poor
people. I mean that has become a pillar of this programming. That it is
impossible to have that intelligent debate because, again, it is something
much more divisive and your point is true.
HAYES: Ben, do you feel that declinist thing is a real tension, that
there is the base wants to hear the apocalypse is nigh and politicians
recognize they cannot sell that?
DOMENECH: You know, I realize there is some degree of truth to that,
but I have to say if that really was completely true, we would have heard
Donald Trump`s plan for how he is going to block out the sun or something
along those lines. So, I think there is a limit to the apocalyptic
rhetoric and I do think that you heard some hopeful things I think as well
from a lot of different people. But, yes, there is certainly something
that sells to the base and that needs to be adapted to sell to a wider
audience. I think they know that.
HAYES: I should say Donald Trump is tweeting that non-bias reporters
say his is the best received speech at CPAC. That settles it. Michelle
Goldberg, Eric Boehlert from "Media Matters," Ben Domenech, who apparently
mugged and stole Rick Perry`s eye glass frames, which I like quite a bit.
DOMENECH: Thank you very much.
HAYES: Thank you all. That`s "All In" for this evening. The
premiere of the Rachel Maddow documentary "Why We Did It" begins right now.
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