All In With Chris Hayes, Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
February 19, 2014
Guests: Ruth Conniff, McKay Coppins, Dean Baker, Dan Cantor, Bill de
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Well, it`s a bad day for Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker.
All of the country right now, investigative reporters are poring over
28,000 newly released documents related to a criminal investigation of a
former Walker aide. These documents have the potential to do real damage
to the Wisconsin governor who`s up for re-election this year. We`ve got a
reporter joining us to talk about what we know so far.
Now, Scott Walker`s bad day comes on the heels of what had been a
string of very good days for a man who`s widely believed to be eyeing a run
for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, because Scott Walker is the
one person with the most to gain from the scandals engulfing Chris
Christie, who until recently was a front-runner for the GOP nomination.
You see, like Chris Christie, Walker is beloved by big money donors
who applaud his willingness to go after unions, and like Chris Christie, he
has run successfully in a blue state, even surviving a recall election.
In fact, if you`re one of those 1 percenters who wants to use your
fortune to influence politics and you`re looking for a general election-
friendly alternative to Tea Party-aligned candidates like keep Rand Paul or
Ted Cruz, the sudden fall of Chris Christie has left you taking a long hard
look at Scott Walker.
ANDREA MITCHELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: After all of Chris Christie`s problems
on the road, when you talk to, you know, big Republican money people,
they`re now looking very hard at Scott Walker, as the potential Republican
CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Who benefits from the Christie mess right
now? Scott Walker, the only other non-Tea Partier who could run for
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will he run for president in 2016? Governor
Scott Walker says he hasn`t ruled anything out?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Describe for me the ideal Republican presidential
candidate in 2016?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think he`s got to be an outsider.
I think both the presidential nominee and the vice presidential nominee
should be a foreign or current governor.
HAYES: Maybe he has the last name Walker. I don`t know. I`m just
OK. Here`s the problem it turns out -- Scott Walker has more or less
the exact same baggage that Chris Christie has. In fact, when it comes to
misdeeds and abuses of power from people in your inner circle, the
Wisconsin governor may already have Christie beat.
Before he became governor, Scott Walker was the county executive in
Milwaukee County. His office was investigated in a so-called John Doe
probe which allows prosecutors to compel people to produce documents and
give testimony. The good news for Walker is that the investigation was
closed out without his being charged or accused of wrongdoing.
The bad news is that it led to convictions of six of his former aides
and allies. That includes Walker`s former deputy chief of staff, Kelly
Rindfleisch, who pled guilty to misconduct in office for performing
political work for a candidate backed by Walker while she was supposed to
be doing legislative work. She was sentenced and served six months in
Now, think about that, you`ve got someone who`s supposed to be doing
the business of the county paid by the taxpayers, but instead, they`re
doing political hack work footing the bill. See, the division between
campaign work and official work is one of those kind of states -- church-
state separations in politics. It`s near sacred.
And the documents that released today provide a window into just how
widespread this practice of crossing those two was among Walker`s people.
In fact, they suggest that Scott Walker himself was part of the problem, we
already knew that Walker`s staff had set up -- get this -- a secret e-mail
system in the office so he could conduct campaign business without the
public being able to find out about it.
They appear to have been using secret wireless routers and personal
laptops to try to get away with it. Scott Walker has always maintained he
knew nothing about this. He told "The A.P." in 2012 he built a firewall to
ensure county workers were not ordered to do campaign work while on county
One of the e-mails released today that we just found out about shows
one Walker aide writing to another, quote, "Consider yourself in the inner
circle, I use this private account quite a bit to communicate with SKW,"
presumably Scott Kevin Walker, "and his chief of staff Tom Nardelli".
That suggests Walker participated on the private e-mail network
himself. And then there`s this, after a Walker staffer quit, after
admitting she posted partisan comments online while on the job, Walker
himself e-mailed, "We cannot afford another story like this one," adding,
"that means no laptops." He would be referring to the private laptops that
staffers had been using to conduct political business on the taxpayer dime.
The new documents also show that Walker asked for a daily conference
call that included campaign staffers and his aides on the same call.
Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg, since reporters have
just begun to sort through 28,000 documents that were only released today.
Now, here`s the other really important thing here. There`s more than
one John Doe investigation, and while the first is now closed after six
convictions, state prosecutors in the new investigation are believed to be
looking into whether Walker`s successful 2012 recall campaign illegally
coordinated with independent conservative groups.
So, while one shoe dropped today, another one may be dangling just
above Scott Walker`s head.
Joining me now is Ruth Conniff. She`s the editor of the "Progressive
Magazine", where she has been covering the story.
Ruth, you spent all day hunkered down with these e-mails.
So, Scott Walker`s people are going to say look, big long
investigation, partisan witch hunt, they concluded it, all -- no
wrongdoing, no charges against me, this is old news. What do you say to
RUTH CONNIFF, EDITOR, PROGRESSIVE MAGAZINE: Well, a couple of things.
One thing is, yes, these partisan folks have called it a witch hunt from
the beginning. Unfortunately for them, a lot of those lead investigators
and judges are Republicans in this investigation. If you look at who`s
conducting it, it doesn`t stand up to scrutiny.
The second John Doe investigation which is still underway, as you
mentioned, is led by a rock-ribbed Republican, who is thought to be a Bush
appointee. The judge in Milwaukee in the first John Doe was Republican.
So, that just doesn`t hold water.
But more than that if you look at the e-mails as I have been doing all
day today, you can really that they speak for themselves, that what you see
is a governor who was an absolute micro manager, and I think when you talk
about the parallels of Chris Christie, it`s very apt. You have two men who
are very political and micro manage their campaigns and messaging and
staff, to the extent that Walker is typing on his BlackBerry what his chief
of staff should say about potentially damaging new reports.
So, when you look at the totality of these e-mails that came out
today, it`s really hard to believe that Walker had nothing to do with this
secret e-mail network, the laptop and the campaigning on taxpayer time.
HAYES: Yes, I`ve got to say, when you have sort of sniff testing
here, when you got your people installing a secret router, setting up a
secret e-mail system, sending a sort of introductory e-mail that says, hey,
welcome to the inner circle, using their laptop, that`s not the kind of
behavior that people who are doing the right thing. I mean, maybe they
are, but I think it`s fair that people when they hear this story have a
little suspicion about what exactly was going on in that office.
CONNIFF: Yes, I think it`s significant that there were 15 felony
convictions of the six people closest to Walker at this time. That his
right hand man Tim Russell (ph) is now in prison for improper acts while he
was serving the interests of Scott Walker.
And I think there`s another part of this that`s really important. And
that is -- it`s not just that they broke campaign finance law. It`s not
just that these people are in trouble. It`s illegal to spend your time
when you`re supposed to be serving the public actually running a campaign.
It`s that Walker and the people closest to him were so campaign oriented
that they completely neglected the public interest in order to serve the
purposes of the campaign, very much again like Christie.
HAYES: Yes, the sheer micro managing and pettiness of this political
operation, this is something that`s actually on the record. This wasn`t
revealed today. This is a story of the student regents appointment who was
this kid who was going to be appointed to the regent`s system, and they
found out he signed the recall petition, his mom was a teacher, he had done
it coming out of a grocery store, and, boom, they nixed the appointment.
It`s like -- these are -- this is an operation, nothing is getting
past them is the point.
CONNIFF: Yes, and I think the other thing is, you look at, why is the
public outrage about bridgegate? Well, because the public can understand
what it means to be tied up in traffic, for an ambulance to be tied up in
traffic to serve some political agenda?
The same thing is very visible in these emails. You have life and
death issues. You have a parking structure that collapses and kills a kid
and you have Walker and his staff talking on this e-mail network about how
to manage that politically and how to quash the potential lawsuit by the
family of a woman who died of starvation and a county supervised facility,
because that would be bad for the campaign. You know, it`s just -- again
and again and again, you see these campaign concerns and political concerns
completely overwhelming any sense of public service.
HAYES: Finally, I`ve got to read this one e-mail which blew me away.
This is an email that chief of staff Thomas Nardelli forwarded around to
his deputy, Kelly Rindfleisch is the one who did six months in jail. It`s
one of these right wing chain e-mails that is just offensive towards
everyone. The punchline is, I can handle being a black disabled one armed
drug addicted Jewish homosexual, but please, oh, dear God, don`t make me a
It`s just like, what -- who is the kind of person that gets this in
their inbox and says, like, oh, I`m going to send this to my employees and
subordinates on a campaign.
CONNIFF: Yes. I mean, I think in Wisconsin, Walker has survived the
John Doe investigation number one in terms of being both politically,
really, and legally in trouble. But I think the general public and the
United States of America looks at this guy, his buddies who are in jail,
and the people close to him, and the racist emails, and the whole picture,
and it`s not pretty.
HAYES: Ruth Conniff from the "Progressive Magazine" -- thanks for
coming on tonight. I really appreciate it.
CONNIFF: Great to be here.
HAYES: Joining me now, McKay Coppins, senior writer at "BuzzFeed".
McKay, you wrote this piece that I thought was one of the better
treatments of this, possibly the best, which was about the kind of behind
of the scenes freak out happening in the Republican money primary, the kind
of billionaire establishment club.
Chris Christie`s crisis plunges the Republican Party deeper into the
wilderness, the establishment freaks out as another son falls from grace.
I don`t think people quite realize how many eggs were being placed in
the Chris Christie basket, and how now they have to figure out what basket
to put those eggs in.
MCKAY COPPINS, BUZZFEED: Yes, absolutely. I mean, all through the
government shutdown, all through the various Tea Party stunts, all through
all of this, it was the establishment and money crowd and the GOP was
banking on Chris Christie, right? And then bridge gate happened and they
I spent several days calling all these people, they were panicking,
one name that consistently came up was Scott Walker. They said, OK, well,
it has to be a governor, because people hate Washington, it has to be
somebody who can relate to the mainstream, maybe Scott Walker. He came up
Now we have this huge trough of e-mails coming out and another scandal
threatening to engulf him. It`s like whack-a-mole, every one of these
people, times these people pops up, except they`re hitting themselves back
HAYES: Yes, and what I think is key here about Walker is, I think
there was a sense in which people thought him winning that recall election
essentially was like end of story, I`m inoculated I won. And that -- you
know, it was for a political perspective, impressive that he won that. He
beat it back. There was tons of outside money, there`s tons of outside
money on both sides.
But the guy still has to get re-elected and maybe run for president.
But all this stuff is still out there, and now, you have a second
investigation that looms over him based on the 2012 recall and no one knows
what`s going on behind closed doors.
COPPINS: Well, and this is the thing -- I think there is a
distinction between bridge gate and this. The public understands the
traffic jam better than they understand campaign laws, right?
COPPINS: That said, it`s the contents of these e-mails which we
widely don`t know much about so far, that could really kill him. We
already have you read that racist email, and reporters are going through
all these e-mails right now, that could kill him. Remember, he has a tough
re-election coming up. So, he has to clear that before he even gets to
2016, and then he`s going to have to deal with all the fallout then.
HAYES: Plus, you`ve got this really new phenomenon, right, which is
the billionaire`s primary. You always had the case before that you had was
called the moneyed primary and big money has been important.
But in post-Citizens United, you know, this is an increasingly large
slice of the pie coming from outside groups and these people are
increasingly coordinating with each other. And I think they`re going to
look to play king maker precisely because there are some people I think
they do not want to see -- what is that dynamic looking like. How
important is winning that billionaire primary?
COPPINS: Oh, it`s absolutely important. I mean, even in 2012 and
before, it was generally the establishment candidate that could get the
rich Republicans on his side that ended up winning the primary. Certainly,
that`s true going-forward.
You know, there`s all this talk about a Tea Party insurgency that
could propel Ted Cruz or Rand Paul. It`s possible, who knows?
But absolutely in the establishment primary, they need the
billionaires on their side, and Walker is not doing himself any favors.
HAYES: Those folks that you called around, when you called around
about the Chris Christie establishment, when those folks do look at
particularly Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, are there concerns of electability,
are there concerns these people are not particularly politically smart?
What is the worry there?
COPPINS: I think it depends on the candidate, right? With Ted Cruz,
they didn`t like the government shutdown for many, many reasons. They also
feel like he doesn`t play the game, right? His whole shtick is going to
war with the establishment, going to war with the money crowd and the
So, they don`t -- he doesn`t play the game. Rand Paul is a little
better at playing the game. He did show up at this fund-raiser a few
months ago in New York City. So, he`s a little better.
But they also have problems with his foreign policy. They want a
HAYES: Yes, this is a really important thing that I think gets lost
sometimes -- the billionaire primary, that crew of people tend to be quite
neocon-ish in their policy. And we`ve seen Chris Christie attempt to court
them when he`s made these public pronouncements on foreign policy, which is
outside this area. All of this is interesting, we`re going to be watching
the Walker situation.
McKay Coppins from "BuzzFeed" -- thanks a lot.
COPPINS: Thank you.
HAYES: Coming up, the fight over raising the minimum wage
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We know from
increases in minimum wage in the past that hundreds of thousands of low
income Americans have lost their jobs. And so, the very people the
president purports to help are the ones who are going to get hurt by this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: We know, says John Boehner -- well, not so fast. The full
truth of minimum wage is next.
And later, the right`s new favorite progressive villain. My exclusive
interview with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, all that ahead.
HAYES: We are awaiting a joint press conference to begin in Mexico,
at the North American Leaders Summit with President Obama, president of
Mexico and the prime minister of Canada. The president is in Mexico today
to talk about the Keystone pipeline, immigration reform, and a major new
Asian trade pact, the Transpacific partnership.
If there`s any news, we will sure to bring it to you.
We`ll be right back.
HAYES: Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office released its report
on raising the minimum wage and for the second time in one month,
Republicans are out front embracing the work of an agency they haven`t
always been so sweet on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The CBO has been busy.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Congressional Budget Office predicting half
a million Americans could lose their jobs if the minimum wage goes up.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You might get a raise when it comes to the
minimum wage, but that`s counting on the fact that you still have a job.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president`s push for higher minimum wage
HAYES (voice-over): Conservatives are out in full force, trumpeting
part of the latest Congressional Budget Report on the minimum wage. It`s
just their latest effort to crush the growing movement for a minimum wage
SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R), OHIO: Recently they said, today, you know,
gosh, if you did minimum wage, one impact is going to be, you`ll have fewer
SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: It`s pretty clear what they said
yesterday could cost up to a million jobs.
HAYES: While the right wing was spreading the gospel of the CBO, they
left out that in the same report, the CBO estimates that increasing the
minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would raise almost a million people out of
poverty, and would raise the incomes of 16.5 million low wage workers in an
But what`s been left out by conservatives isn`t as interesting as what
is being expressed. And that`s a newfound interest in what the CBO has to
say. But it wasn`t always this way.
REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R), TEXAS: We`ve got to do away with the CBO.
They are not fair.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER: If you`re serious about real
health reform, abolish the Congressional Budget Office. It is a dishonest
SEN. TOM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: Where you get your information, and
how accurate it is, and what the track record is very important. And CBO`s
track record on this kind of stuff is abysmal.
THUNE: Well, CBO says this, CBO says this -- well, because CBO uses
some pretty strange accounting conventions that aren`t used anywhere else
in the world. Here in Washington, D.C., I mean, any place else in the
world, you`d be in jail.
HAYES: Look, times have changed. Now, conservatives are endorsing
CBO reports. I think we`re going to see some real movement on Capitol
Hill, starting with immediately ending austerity.
After all, the CBO said the sequester, which the GOP has fought to
extend could cost up to 1.6 million jobs. So, how about ending the
madness, John Boehner?
Or immigration reform, which has passed the Senate last year, but has
yet to be brought up for a vote in the House. CBO said passing the
Senate`s immigration bill would grow the economy and shrink the deficit.
So, don`t you think it`s time for a vote, Eric Cantor?
And then there`s extending unemployment insurance. A bill Republicans
in the Senate have blocked for months. The CBO found it would increase GDP
and increase employment. What do you say, Mitch McConnell?
Over the past 36 hours, conservatives have decided to care about the
employment prospects of low wage workers, disingenuously using the CBO to
beat up on the president and defend big business. But don`t forget, if
conservatives actually cared about the employment prospect of low wage
workers, there are a lot of real ways they could show it.
Joining me now is economist Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for
Economic and Policy Research.
And, Dean, there are a lot of folks reacting -- economists reacting to
the CBO`s projection today. You`ve got Joe Stiglitz who says the analysis
underestimated the benefits and overestimated the costs, in some respects.
Lawrence Katz of Harvard said the budget office used a lot of off the
shelf estimates. If it emphasized findings of higher quality studies, it
would have find a smaller or negligible impact on total employment.
What`s your feeling?
DEAN BAKER, ECONOMIST: Well, you know, I agree with that sentiment to
some extent. I think it`s worth actually looking at the report, because,
you know, you made some of the points here. It`s -- you know, there`s a
lot of positive points here about the minimum wage increase, where they
sided with its proponent.
For example, big argument, some of the opponents of raising them, it`s
a bunch of kids that work after school at McDonald`s, they said no. You
know, only 12 percent of people would be benefited are teenagers. So, for
the most part, we`re talking about adults here.
Also, they added, you know, many of us have pointed out a spillover
effect. They said in total as many as 25 million workers would see higher
wages as a result of this pay increase.
Also, as you had almost a million people being lifted out of poverty,
most of the gains go to people who are near the poverty within two or three
times the poverty level. So, there are a lot of positives there.
Now, the thing the Republicans are running on is job loss. You know,
there`s a lot of research, and professor Stiglitz and Katz both referred to
that, indicating no job loss. We can`t rule out there will be no jobless.
But it`s important to understand what`s going on here, it`s not as
though, let`s take their number, 500,000. It`s not as if 500,000 people
are going to lose their jobs and the send the employer go, get out of here.
BAKER: Most likely they`re not going to be making hires they
otherwise would have made. They`ll see business expand and they would have
hired someone they put it off a little bit, or someone leaves and they
don`t replace them.
HAYES: And this gets to Lucy and the football dynamic with this
policy fights that drives me crazy. You get conservatives who will say,
this is -- I see this smart conservatives. This is an inefficient way of
helping people at the bottom of the weighing scale. We should do, you
know, X, Y, and Z, expand the earned income tax credit even more, have some
kind of guaranteed basic income.
Of course, if you ever push for those things, they`re going to find
reasons to defeat that too. The point is, is their political impetus to
help low wage workers? Who wants and who is standing against it?
BAKER: Well, there is a lot of political impetus. And I`ve seen
polling of this that shows even Republicans support it.
So, you know, this is a proposal as you mentioned, a number of states
have higher wages, Washington state are around $10 an hour, a little lower
than that, Oregon and California and other will be near there soon.
So, you have a lot of sentiment, a lot of things that are happening,
city governments are doing it, San Francisco is over 10 an hour. I should
know the exact number. But there`s a lot of cities that have higher
So, this is happening. There`s a lot of momentum. And, basically, it
sounds like the Republicans are going to oppose whatever is going to help
low wage workers. They`re going to find a reason to oppose it.
HAYES: Right. In terms of that momentum, two headlines that caught
my eye today, you`ve got Walmart which is studying whether they`re going to
come out in support -- Walmart -- if they`re going to come out and support
a hike in the minimum wage. The logic being their customers are people
making minimum wage, some significant percentage of them.
And Gap today announcing it will raise its minimum wage from $9 to
$10. There is a business case for raising the minimum wage, isn`t there?
BAKER: Well, there is. I mean, much of the research points to -- we
say there`s no job loss, part of the story there is that you reduce
turnover, you`ll increase productivity. Employers don`t want to be chasing
after workers. So, if you give them a reason to come back to work, there`s
lower turnover, higher productivity.
Another point I should make on this story, you know, when we talk
about, 500,000 fewer jobs. Basically, the story -- what that boils down
to, what does that look like from the standpoint of the workers, you`re
going to be working fewer hours, let`s say it`s roughly 2 percent. Roughly
2 percent fewer hours, you`re going to get about 20 percent more for each
hour you work. I think most people think that`s a good deal.
HAYES: Right. That`s a good tradeoff.
Economist Dean Baker, thank you so much.
The latest on Governor Chris Christie`s bridge gate scandal.
Plus, does the name Randy Mastro mean anything to you? Wait until you
hear the connection he has to Christie and the time he tried to destroy a
progressive political party in New York.
Those stories are coming up.
HAYES: Some news out of New Jersey today that is weird, frankly.
Given the context out of New Jersey that we`ve been talking about for weeks
now. Fort Lee has turned over more 2,200 pages of public records related
to bridgegate to an attorney for Governor Chris Christie. Now, that same
Christie attorney has also requested that the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark
Sokolich, submit to an interview with Christie`s lawyers. Sokolich has
Why is this weird? It is weird because for weeks now, what`s been
happening is that different entities have been issuing subpoenas in their
investigation of the governor`s office to get to the bottom of the
Bridgegate scandal. Now the governor is conducting his own internal
His lawyer, Randy Mastro, is requesting a key witness` information
through the state`s open record law. These laws exist so that people can
find things about their government. Here we have the state government
using these laws to find out things about its people.
Sure, it`s under the guise of asking the government of Fort Lee or the
government of Hoboken to turn over those records. But those records
include, for instance, what Fort Lee might have shared with reporters.
Instead of reporters using these sunshine laws to find out what the people
in power knew, the people in power are using these laws to find out what
the press knows.
The governor`s lawyer is also asking interviews with Mayor Mark
Sokolich of Fort Lee and Mayor Dawn Zimmer of Hoboken. While those mayors
can declined the requests and probably never under any circumstances have
to submit to an interview with Governor Christie`s lawyer, it gives you a
picture of what`s really going on here.
Municipal leaders that the Christie administration is currently at war
with, already accused of intimidating and punishing, are now being
bombarded with open records requests by Governor Christie`s lawyer, using
laws that were designed to increase transparency and hold people
What it amounts to in a brazen in broad daylight counter
investigation. That lawyer I mentioned, Randy Mastro, former Giuliani
chief of staff, is, by the way, the same guy who targeted the progressive
Working Families Party in New York with a lawsuit a few years ago that
"Daily News" columnist Errol Louis called a Republican hit job on the WFP.
And joining me now is Dan Cantor, who happens to be national director
of the Working Families` national progressive political organization,
previously served as executive director of the New York State Working
Dan, Randy Mastro served with Giuliani in the U.S. attorney`s office,
was a deputy mayor, was a chief of staff. He came after the Working
DAN CANTOR, NATIONAL DIRECTOR, WORKING FAMILIES PARTY: That`s true.
You know how there are lawyers who get famous for taking on pro bono
clients, helping people who don`t have much access, Thurgood Marshall, that
kind of thing, spent decades doing that kind of thing?
Mastro is the reverse. He finds the most powerful forces, the oil
industry, the real estate industry, and he`s their number one lawyer. And
he goes after their opponents. He went after the Working Families Party.
He`s been crushing these Indians in Ecuador on behalf of Chevron. It`s
gotten him a lot of notice. He`s a $1,000-an-hour lawyer for some of the
richest corporations in our country.
HAYES: He came after you guys. He said what you guys were doing was
illegal. It was brazenly illegal. You were abusing campaign finance laws.
CANTOR: Yes, there`s been lots of investigation, the Campaign Finance
Board, the U.S. attorney. None of it was true. It was day for night.
"The New York Post," one of Mastro`s allies, wrote scores of articles
about this. The whole thing was essentially fiction. But he`s so deep-
pocketed, we had to pay him to go away. It was a nuisance lawsuit. It was
cheaper to settle than to pay our lawyers, which we barely could pay
He could claim another notch, and he`s trying to get one. I can
predict, I think we can all predict two things about his work for Governor
Christie. One is the New Jersey taxpayers are going to spend a small
fortune paying Randy Mastro. It`s not coming out of Christie`s pocket, but
rather the taxpayers. And I think we can guarantee he`s not going to find
any wrongdoing by the governor. It`s not an independent investigation in
HAYES: I should note we solicited a comment from Randy Mastro. We
invited him on. He`s in transit. We will obviously bring you updates if
he gets back to us.
Yes, put yourself in the shoes of someone who gets a call from Randy
Mastro saying, we`re connecting this investigation. Turn over all your
CANTOR: Well, yes. I would say call a lawyer. "Businessweek" said
he had been hired in order to fend off the investigation of Cuomo -- of
He`s very much an attack kind of lawyer, thinks the best defense is a
good offense. He`s going to go on the offense against Governor
HAYES: You`re saying this is not -- you`re interpreting the hiring of
this guy. And I should say lawyers are paid to do things for their
clients. There`s nothing immoral or wrong or illegal about that.
CANTOR: That`s correct.
HAYES: A tough lawyer is what you want if you find yourself in a
But that this is someone who specializes also in -- he`s a political
figure. We should just state...
HAYES: The guy is as connected as you can be to metro area Republican
politics. This isn`t some guy plucked from the civil service.
CANTOR: No, that`s for sure true. Obviously, he was Giuliani`s most
important confidant and adviser.
Jim Hightower always had this great line about Giuliani. You need to
keep the beer cold, put it next to Rudy`s heart. It`s not so different
where Governor Christie or his attorney are concerned, it seems to me.
HAYES: Do you suspect that we will see a ratcheting up of the legal
battle here, that basically the first wave of stuff that was turned
happened kind of without a fight, particularly because of the people at
issue, but what we`re going to see now is just sort of all-out...
CANTOR: Yes, this is war. Obviously, the legislature has its own
attorneys trying to get information. Presumably, the press is going to try
to get some.
And Mastro, in theory doing the independent investigation, is going to
be trying to prevent it all from happening, going on the offense in this
kind of mind-boggling way you described at the outset.
Pretty optimistic that at the end the truth will come out. I think
it`s pretty likely Governor Christie will end up having to resign, because
he clearly either knew about it -- we called for his resignation. Tens of
thousands of people have already signed that petition, and we think there
will be more.
HAYES: That`s at ChristieJam.org.
Dan Cantor from the Working Families, thank you so much.
Coming up, my interview with the mayor of New York City, Bill de
Blasio. Stick around for that.
HAYES: A week ago, Tuesday, February 11, a Chevron fracking well
exploded in Greene County, Pennsylvania. It was terrifying. The fire
raged on through Saturday.
One person has been missing and presumed dead. In fact, just this
afternoon, state police reported recovering what they believe to be the
remains of that 27-year-old worker.
Chevron, which owns the well, released a statement today expressing
the company`s heartfelt sadness on learning this news. Fracking, as you
know, is an incredibly controversial practice. It`s spread across the
country, giving us cheap natural gas while producing a whole lot of
organizing and backlash, including often from residents who live around it.
People have complained about becoming sick from diminishing air
quality, about contaminated drinking water, spikes in earthquakes, and in
this case, they have watched a fire burn for five days and take the life of
one of their neighbors.
But don`t worry, residents of Greene County, Pennsylvania. Chevron
feels your pain.
As a token of your empathy, Chevron sent the following letter -- quote
-- "Dear neighbor, We`re sorry to have missed you. We wanted to provide
you with a status update on the February 11 incident. Chevron recognizes
the effect this had on the community. We value being a responsible member
of this community and will continue to strive to achieve incident-free
operations. We`re committed to taking action to safeguard our neighbors,
our employees, our contractors and the environment. If you have any
concerns, please call us."
Oh, and here`s a gift certificate for one large pizza. But that`s not
all. You also get one two liter drink, because you`re going to want to
wash it down, redeemable at the local Bobtown Pizza, and don`t forget to
read the fine print. This deal is valid only until May 1.
Keep in mind, Chevron made $21 billion last year. So, even if they
bought every one of those residents a pizza factory to mollify them, it
would still be a rounding error on their balance sheet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a real problem with what Mayor de Blasio is
trying to do in New York.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": Now, the Big Apple`s new chief
executive, he took progressivism now to a whole new level.
RUDY GIULIANI (R), FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK: We`re talking about
basically Marxist ideas.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s been slapped down twice. He wanted to raise
taxes right away, and then he wants to raise minimum wage right away.
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: De Blasio`s example
of courageous leadership is, I will change the city of New York, and rich
people will not pay more than a small soy latte.
How do you ridicule somebody who themselves is always saying...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But imagine...
NEIL CAVUTO, FOX NEWS: Charlie, you have been warning and saying that
this guy is to the left of left and makes prior liberal mayors pale by
comparison. What do you mean by that? Why are you worried?
CHARLES GASPARINO, FOX NEWS: Well, I call him comrade Bill de Blasio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The new scourge of the American right, the man who has
conservatives quaking in their boots as he channels the populism of our
time, in America`s financial capital, no less, is none other than New
York`s Mayor Bill de Blasio, the city`s first Democratic mayor in two
decades whose blowout, commanding electoral victory was rooted in a very
specific campaign focusing on inequality.
He called for an end to the NYPD`s stop and frisk policy. He said he
wanted to force luxury real estate developer storm build affordable
housing. He proposed raising taxes on the rich to pay for universal
preschool. And just weeks into his administration, some rich New Yorkers
said the mayor had it so out for them, he wasn`t plowing their streets.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: New York City`s brand-new mayor has been accused
of unfair treatment after that massive storm dumped nearly a foot of snow
on Manhattan, people on the Upper East Side saying the plow did not come
fast enough, while other areas seemed to have been cleared fairly quickly.
And they are blaming the newly elected mayor for this.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I assumed that maybe we were being targeted, that
maybe nobody cared about this part of town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: To his credit, the new mayor took the criticism, preposterous
as it might have seemed, in stride and said, more could have been done to
serve the Upper East Side.
Joining me now to outline his next battle plan in the terrifying,
unceasing class war he`s waging against job creators is none other than New
York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Mayor, it`s great to have you here.
BILL DE BLASIO (D), MAYOR OF NEW YORK: It`s great to be here, Chris.
HAYES: How do you -- you have become kind of a lightning rod in a
national sense. You represent something.
I want to play this sound of a guy across the river. Chris Christie
had something to says about you and your brand of governance. Take a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: When Rudy Giuliani, I mean, that
-- New York City was in a state of abject crisis, where they felt like they
needed somebody strong to take over the reins and move them in the right
And for 20 years, they had that type of leadership. New York City has
now gone back to its traditional routes, which is as a home of liberal
Democratic politics. And Bill de Blasio represents that. You want income
quality? That`s mediocrity. Everybody can have an equal mediocre salary.
That`s what we can afford. Or do you want the opportunity for greatness?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: What do you say to that?
DE BLASIO: I think our society can`t be great if we don`t address
I think, right now, we have sadly ended up in a situation where a lot
of people are working very, very hard and feel like they`re falling behind.
They`re not even breaking even. And right now in our city, 46 percent of
our people at or near the poverty level, that is not a formula for
I think Chris Christie couldn`t be more wrong. We have to fight
inequality so we can be great again. And New York City, by the way, is a
place over decades and decades that believed in using the tools of
government to create more fairness, that believed if people had
opportunity, immigrants or born here alike, that that would actually
energize the whole economy, the whole society.
And that`s slipped away so intensely. It`s our job in this time to
fight inequality and now allow what we have, which is a tale of two cities.
It`s not something we can allow.
HAYES: One of the tale of two cities themes you returned to in the
campaign was about stop and frisk. It was about police and the likelihood
of particularly young men of color being pulled over by police.
New York City was contesting a lawsuit finding that its practice was
unconstitutional. And one of the first things you have done as mayor is to
not appeal that. Was that a hard decision or an easy one?
DE BLASIO: It was something I said I would do and I believed in.
And I have to give a lot of credit to Bill Bratton, our police
commissioner, and Zachary Carter, who is the chief lawyer for the city. We
all got together and said, look, we`re not going to continue a lawsuit
meant to support a broken policy and an unfair policy. We`re going to come
to a settlement with the Civil Liberties Union and the Center for
Constitutional Rights and say, together, we`re going to end up with an
accountable plan to actually bring police and community back together and
respect constitutional rights.
HAYES: Now, here`s the rub. Now, look, these numbers are
fascinating. 2013, New Yorkers are stopped -- in 2011, New Yorkers are
stopped 685,724 times. By 2013, this is before you have even taken office,
it falls off the table, OK?
Is there a sense in which you and Commissioner Bratton can say, seven
weeks in, we have done it, mission accomplished, look at the numbers, we
are not doing the same thing, we entered into a settlement in a lawsuit,
cross that off the list?
DE BLASIO: No, there`s more work to be done.
Now, the reason those numbers started to turn was because there was a
movement in this town. I was honored to be a part of it. It was an
extraordinary Father`s Day march in June of 2012. It was really a pinnacle
point, where people demanded change from the grassroots.
And so the numbers, the police policies finally began to change. We
inherit a police department that needs a reset. And Commissioner Bratton
has really said it beautifully. He said very simple concepts. We need to
police in a way that is constitutional, respectful and compassionate.
He says this wherever he goes. And he`s telling his troops that
there`s going to be a new approach. And, by the way, a lot of cops on the
beat will be the first to say they look forward to being in greater unity
with communities and working together and not working off a quota, where
they have to get a certain number of stops, regardless of the validity.
And the other that Bratton says is very powerful. He says, you can`t
break the law to enforce the law. It`s going to take some time to make
sure that that approach reaches down to the grassroots in every precinct
and that there`s real accountability. But we`re going to do that with our
colleagues in the civil rights community and we`re going to get there.
HAYES: Stop and frisk was one of your big campaign pledges. The
other was universal pre-K and taxing millionaires.
You are now in a battle, I think it`s fair to say, with another
Democrat in the state. I want to talk about that right after we take this
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now a look at the unusual relationship between
New York`s new mayor and its governor. Both are Democrats, but senior
correspondent Eric Shawn tells us the similarities between Bill de Blasio
and Andrew Cuomo don`t extend much farther.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: A special welcome to my friend, the
mayor of New York.
ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS: They are friends, colleagues, and alumni of the
CUOMO: Good to have you here.
SHAWN: But, despite the warm feelings, New York state`s top Democrats
present conflicting political philosophies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: There`s a battle going on right now between the Democratic
governor of New York State and the Democratic mayor of New York City, who
is my guest.
And it`s over the mayor`s signature campaign promise to tax
millionaires, use that money to fund universal pre-K in New York City. The
governor has said he supports universal pre-K, but does not want to tax
millionaires. And, in fact, he said the idea of allowing New York City to
implement its own pre-K regime, and not doing so for the entire state was -
- quote -- "repugnant to the whole equity argument."
Back with me at the table is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
So, what`s the deal here?
DE BLASIO: We need pre-K for our kids in New York City if we expect
them to do well academically, we expect them to graduate, and we expect
them to be able to be relevant in the modern economy.
HAYES: The governor says he agrees with you.
DE BLASIO: So, I say we need a way to do it that`s actually reliable
and consistent and provides enough money.
The only way to do it, the only way to do it is to tax the wealthiest
New Yorkers, folks who make a half -million or more. I have a five-year
plan. It would bring us $530 million a year, over a half-a-billion dollars
a year. It would allow us to give pre-K to every child that qualifies
every year in New York City.
HAYES: What about this idea that I can`t just let New York City
implement this; I represent the entire state of New York; why don`t you
care about the kids in Schenectady and Syracuse and...
DE BLASIO: Oh, I do.
And I think one of the best things we could do is get full-day pre-K
up and running in New York City and use it as a model for the rest of the
state and for the rest of the country. But the bottom line is this. We
need to move forward and we need to pay for it. A tax on the wealthy is a
reliable way to do it.
At this point, it`s the only plan that has been put on the table that
actually could achieve it.
HAYES: But you need the state. So, what are you going to do? You
need the state to sign off. You can`t do this unilaterally, can you?
DE BLASIO: Look, I believe the governor truly cares about this issue.
And I have a longstanding relationship with him.
But I think the bottom line is, in a democracy, if the people believe
in an idea, that`s what carries the day. Obviously, this was a centerpiece
of my campaign. We won with a very strong margin on this platform. You
have seen incredible results in the public opinion polls that say people,
more and more believe pre-K is actually fundamentally necessary, and after-
school, which is another part of our plan, fundamentally necessary for our
school systems to work better, for our kids to be able to be ready for the
future -- by the way, for parents who are stressed more than ever,
HAYES: Look, but all the arguments -- you have persuaded me. I think
you persuaded a lot of people. You still got to get -- what are you going
to do? The governor says no.
DE BLASIO: In a democratic society, if enough people start to agree,
that changes what the assumptions are. That`s the bottom line.
As someone who was not supposed to be able to win the election I won -
- and we have seen this 1,000 times on other important issues, health care
and so many other issues -- we are told what can`t happen. I think the way
you find out what can happen is you build public support. You organize
people, you make the argument.
And the good news is, a year ago, we were talking about if there was
going to be pre-K. Today, we`re talking about when and how it`s going to
HAYES: This highlights one of the bigger problems, I think, which is
that you ran about -- you ran a campaign about the tale of two cities and
inequality. And then the question becomes, what can the mayor do?
So many things that create inequality in New York City are the product
of forces that are global, global finance, that are national, that are
baked in structurally into our economy that happen at the state level.
What can you do? Have you bitten off more than you can chew? Can you
actually deliver on shrinking this gap?
DE BLASIO: Sure, we can.
And it doesn`t mean that those other factors aren`t crucial and it
doesn`t mean we don`t wish that we had allies, for example, in Washington
who could really move this agenda. But, in the meantime, a city like New
York with tremendous resources and tremendous regulatory power, et cetera,
look, we`re getting paid sick days to a half-million more people than have
That`s an initiative I`m working on right now, and we expect to have
it done next month. A half-million more people will know that, if they get
sick, they don`t lose pay, in an economy where a lot of people are one
paycheck away from disaster.
We`re doing a lot of things to push up wage and benefit levels,
including living wage jobs, to say, if we subsidize a company, we expect
them to pay a living wage. We`re helping the fast-food workers to get a
better pay level. We`re doing a lot of things that a city can do to change
the rules and raise the floor for people.
HAYES: All right, final question. I want to ask you how you see your
You gave a speech to AIPAC, American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
It was a -- the speech wasn`t on the schedule. It was off the record. But
the contents were reported. And one of the things you said was that it was
part of your job description to be a defender of Israel.
DE BLASIO: Yes.
HAYES: And, obviously, we`re not going to resolve the very
complicated issues vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine.
But I got to say, as a New Yorker, I thought, I don`t know if that`s
true. I voted for this guy, and I don`t know if it`s part of the job
description for him to be the defender of Israel. It seems like he has got
enough on his plate. Is he the defender of the Ukrainians in the streets
who are crying out for their rights? Is he the defender of the Taiwanese
against the one-China policy?
Is it really your job? Is that your job description?
DE BLASIO: Look, I said something that was personal. I said
something that was about my beliefs that we have to defend the state of
I think that has everything to do with the alliance that we have with
Israel, the history we have, particularly as New Yorkers, the deep, deep
connection we have personally to Israel. And I think it`s also a matter of
protecting democracy. I think Israel`s stance as a pluralistic society
And it`s been under attack. And I think it is our job to support it.
So, that`s me speaking as the mayor of the city that is the closest to
Israel of any city on earth and has one of the largest Jewish populations
of any city on earth. And I think it is a fair role for me to play.
HAYES: All right, the mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, thank you so
much for your time, Mayor.
DE BLASIO: Thank you, Chris. It`s a pleasure.
HAYES: That is ALL IN for this evening.
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