All In With Chris Hayes, Friday, November 7th, 2014
Read the transcript from the Friday show
Show: ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
Date: November 7, 2014
Guest: Tom Goldstein, Cheryl Atkinson
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Tonight on ALL IN.
SHARYL ATTKISSON, JOURNALIST: Although they were monitoring me
surreptitiously, they had the ability to operate my computers remotely.
HAYES: A former reporter who claimed the government hacked her
ATTKISSON: They paid special attention to file I had on Benghazi.
HAYES: I go one-on-one with Sharyl Attkisson.
Who is the "they"?
Then, late-breaking news of an official presidential nominee for
Plus, the president has his first post-midterm meeting with all
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not going to
judge ideas based on whether they`re Democratic or Republican. I`m going
to be judging them based on whether or not they work.
HAYES: Former Congressman Barney Frank will join me live tonight.
Then, the Supreme Court agrees to take on Obamacare again. What that
could mean for the future of the law.
Plus, the power of fear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s failing on a comprehensive strategy for
ISIS. And, incidentally, she`s failing on a comprehensive strategy for
addressing the Ebola threat.
HAYES: Voters cites ISIS and Ebola as top concerns this election.
We`ll look at the political science that explains how that helped
ALL IN starts right now.
HAYES: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
Just two hours ago, the White House confirmed its pick for the new
attorney general. On the same day that President Obama sat down in the
White House with congressional leadership, following the midterm elections
and on the same day the Pentagon announced U.S. military presence in Iraq
At the end of a very busy news day today, the White House said
tomorrow, the president will officially nominate Loretta Lynch to succeed
Eric Holder as attorney general.
Lynch is the United States attorney for the eastern district of New
York and has been confirmed by the Senate in 2000 and in 2010, both times
She also charged Republican Congressman Michael Grimm with wire fraud
and perjury earlier this year.
Earlier today in his lunchtime meeting with congressional leaders,
President Obama was able to tout some clear accomplishments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: The good news is, today, we saw another good set of jobs
numbers. We now have 56 consecutive months of job growth. More than 10.6
million jobs have been created and the unemployment rate is now down to 5.8
percent. Even as we enter into a new Congress, the previous Congress has
the opportunity still to make progress on a whole bunch of fronts into the
middle class, and I`m confident we can get that done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: A number of specific legislative issues were address in
today`s meeting, including much that needs to be done this year during the
current lame duck Congress, according to the White House, like emergency
funding to combat Ebola and the request for an additional $5.6 billion in
the fight against ISIS, in the very day the Pentagon announced it deploy up
to 1,500 additional U.S. personnel to Iraq in the coming months in what it
calls a non-combat role to advise, assist and train Iraqi forces. That
deployment will double the U.S. troop presence in Iraq.
Today`s two-hour lunch meeting also devoted a healthy amount of time
to what has merged as the biggest brewing conflict between the White House
and the emboldened Republican majority. The president now reiterated
several times to take executive action on immigration reform.
Soon after Speaker John Boehner departed the White House, his office
issued a statement reading in part, "The speaker warned that unilateral
action by the president on executive amnesty will erase any chances of
doing immigration reform and will also make it harder for Congress and the
White House to work together successfully on other areas where there might
otherwise be common ground."
Ditto from House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MAJORITY LEADER: We also expressed to
him, if more executive actions are taken, that will make it difficult for
us to always work together. We think we should start with a fresh start.
We`ve got a lot of bills in this house that have moved to the Senate on
economics, on jobs creation, and that`s really where our focus should be.
To me, we should have the wisdom to listen but the courage to lead, and I
think January should be an opportunity that we focus on that and not have a
situation, why do executive orders when you have legislative process which
America expects to see? I go to go.
(END IDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In its own statement today, the White House reiterated the
president`s commitment to taking action on immigration reform, in light of
the House`s inability to pass a comprehensive bill.
Joining me now, Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, Barney
Frank, also an NBC contributor, and a veteran of -- you were there, you`ve
been the majority, you`ve been the minority. You`ve lived through
impeachment in Clinton, you lived through the Bush years, and Iraq war, and
the financial crisis and the first few years of the Obama administration.
What do you think of this fight that`s now brewing over the
FMR. REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I think the Republicans
are not too strong substantively. First of all, this notion that he`s
preempting them, the Senate pass a bipartisan bill. Let`s not forget that.
It was a bipartisan bill that passed in the United States Senate that
wouldn`t even come up in the House. I just heard my former colleague Kevin
McCarthy complained that the House passed bills and the Senate didn`t take
it up. The Senate passed a bipartisan bill and the House wouldn`t let the
subject come up.
So, the notion that the president is somehow preempting them, they
refused to do anything.
HAYES: So, you think he should do it?
FRANK: Yes. Exactly what he should do has to be -- he cannot
abdicate a statute, but there`s one other point I want to make.
The terrible statement that Boehner and McCarthy both made, and Mitch
McConnell made, the president does something on immigration with which they
disagree, that will stop from working together where they do agree, that is
the essence of obstructionism. The fact is, you go to a legislative body
and you agree, I work with people on this and I don`t work with them on
that. But there`s threat. That`s what we`re talking about.
If you do what you may have the legal right to do, I think the
president couldn`t do it within his constitutional right, we will withhold
efforts elsewhere. In other words, what they`re saying to him, is there
are some areas where we think it would be good public policy for you not to
work together. But you`ll with so mad at you, we won`t do it.
McConnell actually said in the worse act of self-degradation I`ve
heard on the long time --
HAYES: I agree with this.
FRANK: He said, if he does that immigration thing, it would be like
waving a red flag in front of the bull. His party is the bull, a dumb,
outraged animal overreacting to a piece of cloth. And if the president
does what he has a legal right to do, they`re going to punish the country
by not doing other things that they think are good. That`s the --
HAYES: That`s a really important point, because what you`re saying
there bears some emphasis. The whole way that working together across a
lot of differences works, is you just find the Venn diagram and you ignore
all the other crazy nonsense they do, because otherwise, you can never work
with these people.
FRANK: Look, you`ve got to establish this. Trey Gowdy, who`s a big
a Tea Party guy, and he`s the one who they put in charge of Benghazi, he
actually said in "The New York Times" that he had a meeting with Eric
Holder, because Holder has been very good, and some of the conservatives
agree, that we owe for jail people, knocking people up for possession of
drugs, it`s a terribly unfair thing, it perpetuates racial unfairness, and
he said, you know, a lot of people on our side, conservative Republicans,
agree with Holder on this whole question of reform. But we can`t do
anything because of his position on same-sex marriage.
I mean, that`s the definition of this extremism. If you disagree
with one issue, they will then, I guess, punish the country by not working
together on things where they agree.
HAYES: So, you`ve got this immigration fight. You`ve now got two
other things that are sort of cued up, right? There`s a Loretta Lynch.
She`s been -- it`s a smart move I think by the White House because she`s
got impeccable credentials. She`s the first black woman who would be
attorney general and twice she`s been nominated by acclimation.
FRANK: She`s a prosecutor. They can`t claim that she`s a body who
has no particular law enforcement. She`s a tough prosecutor from Brooklyn,
a place not unfamiliar with crimes.
HAYES: What`s your prediction on whether this ends being a fight or
not, the Republican Senate --
FRANK: Oh, I think they will confirm her, unless they can definitely
find out something. Remember, the filibuster doesn`t work. And let me
just address any potential objection to them doing it in the lame duck
Any objection by the Republicans to this is hypocritical, because you
mentioned one of the things that I was thinking. The Republican House
impeached Bill Clinton, the technical term, he wasn`t convicted in the
Senate, they impeached Bill Clinton of the lame-duck session in 1998.
And, in fact, Chris, I`ve done this analysis, I`ve mentioned in my
book, a book plug, it`s the members of Congress who were elected in 1998
were voting, rather than the previous ones.
HAYES: That`s right.
FRANK: One of the articles wouldn`t have passed. Several members,
Republicans, who were defeated in 1998, voted to impeach Bill Clinton and
their votes made a critical difference on one of the two impeachment
HAYES: One of the all time lame duck power move.
FRANK: You can impeach a president during a lame duck session, but
you can`t confirm an attorney general is obvious nonsense.
HAYES: So then you go an authorization to use a military force with
ISIS. We got the announcement from the Pentagon today. What I thought was
so interesting about the campaign on this was, there was lots of Sturm und
Drang about this, about ISIS, and the president doesn`t take it seriously.
But very little policy disagreements, as far as I can tell. It seems like
what`s going to happen is that both parties are going to be passed big
majorities to give the president authorization.
FRANK: I`m sorry about that. But one of the things is interesting,
both sides agreed to put it off until after the election. I give the
president credit. He`s been unfairly criticized because with regard with
Syria, he said, "I will bomb them if they use chemical weapons", and he
then said, which was entirely appropriate, "If Congress will authorize
that." And when Congress refused to do it, and he didn`t defy Congress, he
In other words, the Republicans in this case attacked him for not
acting unilaterally when Congress didn`t want to. And I honor that.
But my own view is that this is a great mistake. I`m for bombing
those murderers, but in terms of advisors and trainers, look, the advisers
are fighters. I haven`t talked to one guy who had been in Iraq several
times as an adviser and said, am I right standing next to them and
shooting? Of course, it does. You don`t go into battle with people --
FRANK: And as far as trainers are concerned, why would they need
trainers? Who trained ISIL? Who trained the Taliban? It`s not as if the
people on our side, you don`t hear them about the good guys. But the
people who we`re hoping win, they don`t have any disadvantage of others
except morale, except energy, and you can`t overcome that with trainers.
HAYES: So, let me ask you this finally, what`s your read on John
Boehner? I mean, you`ve been next to the guy. You know the guy pretty
well. You`ve watched him work. What`s the deal with John Boehner?
FRANK: I think he`s a sad case. Look, John Boehner, let`s go back
to 2002 and 2003, when he helped George Bush and Ted Kennedy in that No
Child Left Behind, which is, of course, the antithesis of what the
conservatives (ph) today. John Boehner is a mainstream conservative, no
great ideological conviction.
There`s a French president who -- a French king, he was a Protestant.
And he was about to become the king and he had to convert. And he said
Paris is worth a mass.
HAYES: That`s exactly right.
FRANK: Well, what Boehner is saying is the speakership is worth a
Tea Party. He has clearly lead to accommodate people with whom his career
says he doesn`t agree, to be the speaker. So, he got to be the speaker,
but, at the sacrifice of any ability to do anything he thinks is important.
HAYES: Paris is worth a mass.
Former Congressman Barney Frank, always a pleasure. Thank you.
Congressman Frank is going to be a guest tomorrow on Steve Kornacki
show "UP" at Eastern, with his sister, on a special family edition of "Up
Against the Clock." You do not want to miss that.
All right. Just when you thought Obamacare was finally, finally here
to stay, the Supreme Court says they`ll be hearing a case that could
basically eviscerate it. Buckle up. That`s next.
HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) is the lead to an actual story that actually
aired on a real TV news cast last night in America. It is not a scene from
the film "Anchorman 2" or an elaborate joke written by racist uncle. It is
a news report.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: This is a photo of Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges armed in
armed with a man flashing what law enforcement agencies tell us is a known
gang sign for a north side gang.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: In Minneapolis St. Paul, ABC affiliate KSTP had the exclusive
on that story last night. The mayor of a major U.S. city caught on camera
flashing gang signs.
If those did not look like gang signs to you, if you think the mayor
and the gentleman she posed for a photo with were simply pointing at each
other, you thought accusing them of flashing gang signs seems perhaps even
racially tinged, you`re not alone.
A website called Twitter.com has your back on this. Its users have
collectively dubbed the story #pointergate. There`s some today`s greatest
hits. Someone turned up this photo of President Reagan flashing a gang
sign. There`s Bill Clinton a gang sign with convicted felon Nelson
Mandela. Of course, Snoop Dogg was once seen flashing a gang sign with
convicted felon Martha Stewart, double gang signs from Vice President
Biden, Donald Trump with one of the Baldwin gang, and perhaps best of all,
breaking news from KSTP, journalist finds a whole page of gang signs on his
Sometimes a good Twitter mocking is just what the doctor ordered.
But here`s the kicker: if you go with the ALL IN WITH CHRIS Facebook page,
we have posted a video taken in Minneapolis that very day and it includes
the moment that gang sign photo was taken. If you watch it, you might
learn a thing or two about that young man, and you wish that KSTP had taken
the time to do before going with this utterly embarrassing report.
HAYES: June 28th, 2012, a very important day in the presidency of
Barack Obama. That was the day that this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Earlier today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality
of the Affordable Care Act, the name of the health care reform we passed
two years ago. In doing so, they`ve reaffirmed a fundamental principle,
that here in America, in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no illness or
accident should lead to any family`s financial ruin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: After all, the legislative battles of Obamacare and the Tea
Party protests and the endless, endless political fights, when the Supreme
Court upheld the individual mandate, it felt like the moment that President
Obama`s signature law was cemented once and for all.
That is until today, because today, the Supreme Court decided to hear
yet another challenge to Obamacare, this time on hinging on a Constitution
with a single phrase in the text of the law. That issue, whether the 36
states can offer the insurance subsidies that make the whole Affordable
Care Act work. The law states those subsidies are available through,
quote, "an exchange established by the state under section 1311 under the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act." That`s the full name of the
It later establishes that if a state elects not to set up its own
exchange, that responsibility falls to the federal government.
And it has been evident, I`ve got to say, to just about nearly
everyone, with some notable exceptions, that Congress intended the
subsidies to be offered through both state and federal exchanges. In fact,
some of the chairs of the relevant congressional committees at the time of
the law`s passage argued just that, in an op-ed last week. Quote, "None of
us contemplated that the bill as enacted could be misconstrued to limit
financial help only to people in states opting to directly run health
Some opponents of Obamacare argue that that single phrase in the law
should be interpreted literally, only the state exchanges can offer
insurance subsidies. And up to this point, their argument has only managed
to convince a few conservative judges. But now, it will go before the
Supreme Court. If a majority of the justices buy the argument, according
to one estimate, listen to this, 4.7 million people would lose their
subsidies and probably their insurance and the individual market, as a
whole, could very well fall entirely apart.
Joining me now, Tom Goldstein, cofounder and publisher of
SCOTUSblog.com, a blog covering the Supreme Court. He`s argued numerous
cases before the court, including as a member of former Vice President Al
Gore`s legal team in Bush v. Gore.
Tom, are you surprised they took the case?
TOM GOLDSTEIN, SCOTUSBLOG.COM: I`m not. It seemed destined for this
to be a Supreme Court case. The issue is so important. The legal
question, even though the administration is likely to win, is really close.
The justices are familiar with the law. They decided, I think, that
they need to take it now because a lot of the provisions that are affected
by the subsidies go into effect over the next couple of years. So, they`ve
decided we`ve got to get an answer.
HAYES: Why do you think -- you just said the administration is
likely to win. Why do you say that?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, everybody knows this statute is a bit of a wet
mess, there are a bunch of provisions in it that aren`t clear. And there
are hundreds of them that the administration has had to implement --
executive agencies all the time have to interpret ambiguous provisions in
And this is just one of those where there are other provisions of the
same law in which everybody agrees that they have to be referring to the
federal government. And I think that`s what happened here, and the
administration reasonably said, look, because the law says the states will
establish the exchange, that`s why there`s the reference to the state
established exchanges. But the law also says, hey, if the states won`t
step up and do it, the federal government has to take care of it.
HAYES: Here`s one of the things that I think about. The Supreme
Court is a legal body but it`s also a political body. It exists in the
world of politics. And I think about the day that the Supreme Court
announces to 5 million people, you`re now going to pay $2,000 more or
$3,000 more in insurance that you cannot afford. We`re basically going to
destroy your insurance.
And I just imagine what that would do for the institution of the
court for the court to announce such a thing.
GOLDSTEIN: Well, I have to say that if I think the justices really
believe that the law required that result, they would do it. They would
say with regret, and they`d say, go back to Congress and get a new law.
But if it`s a close case, the law says, the doctrine of the Supreme
Court says you give the administration the benefit of the doubt. And what
I really learned in the last challenge to Obamacare that you talked about
in introducing the story, is that the five justices there, including the
chief justice, decided, look, this is a political question. It`s not one
that`s going to be resolved by the Supreme Court. We`ve been debating for
decades. And we`re not going to overturn. I think the same thing is
probably going to happen here.
HAYES: There`s also, I keep pressing here, you made this key point,
I just want to sort of re-affirm this.
Statutes are complicated all over the place, not just the Affordable
Care Act. I mean, statutory interpretation is a complicated undertaking.
And agencies that implement laws have to do it all the time, and they get
contested a lot. There`s some pretty good Supreme Court precedent that
says basically, you defer to the agencies, right?
GOLDSTEIN: Yes. The world has to work that way because there`s so
many laws that it`s unclear exactly what congress wanted.
The job of the executive branch is to put the laws into effect. And
so, the federal register, which is the document that produces these
regulations, is filed with -- there`s got to be hundreds of thousands of
pages of regulations. And the rule of law is if the statute is ambiguous
and the agency`s charged with implementing the statute the way that the IRS
is here, then it gets to interpret it.
HAYES: Tom Goldstein, thank you very much.
GOLDSTEIN: Thanks for having me.
HAYES: All right. We`ve got a post-election mystery. Do all the
women listed on the supporters` page for the political party Governor
Andrew Cuomo created actually support that party? We will attempt to solve
that mystery, next.
HAYES: Gather around, because there`s a little mystery, a small
mystery, kind of like a hanging thread off of Tuesday`s election that I
want to talk about, that involves the governor of New York and a woman
who`s been on this show. The governor of New York is Andrew Cuomo. And he
won on Tuesday, relatively easily.
But it was not a total sweep for the Democrats because the Democrats
are not going to have control of the state Senate, which means that Cuomo
is in the governorship, and Republicans control the Senate, which means New
York has divided government. And that is a really big deal, because
progressives in New York desperately wanted unified Democratic control of
the government so they could pass a bunch of progressive legislation.
They wanted that for a while, but Andrew Cuomo -- Andrew Cuomo, a guy
that you think would be in favor of that, he`s a Democrat after all, has
been kind of ambivalent. In fact, he`s got kind of a thing about ticking
And so, what happened was Andrew Cuomo made a promise to a
progressive party here in New York called the Working Families Party. Now,
they both needed each other even though they both kind of hated each other.
Progressives in the Working Family Party wanted Andrew Cuomo to appear on
their ballot line so they could get a lot of votes on their ballot line and
stay on the ballot. Andrew Cuomo wanted the endorsement of the Working
Families Party so he could consolidate his liberal support.
And so they came to an agreement. Andrew Cuomo would get the
nomination, but he`d have to go out and campaign hard to get that Senate
majority. This is what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Let`s unify around the simple goal
taking back the Senate. Democrats in rural areas, urban areas, up state,
down state, if we all come together, community activists, unions, we can do
this. Politics is often about seizing the moment. And this is our moment
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If you`re looking at that video and saying it looks like a
hostage video, you`re wondering if there`s a gun pointed at him off-camera
-- well, you`re not mistaken, because almost soon after that, Cuomo
preceded to pretty sharply back away from that pledge. He didn`t spend a
ton of time campaigning for Senate Democrats. In fact, he took a ton of
money from his considerable war chest and decided to spend it on starting
an entirely new political party focusing on women, which, of course, who
could be opposed to that. He called it the Women`s Equality Party.
Now, people notice this funny about the Women`s Equality Party, which
was just created ex nihilo by Andrew Cuomo with some spare campaign cash,
which is that the initials for it, WEP, sure did look a heck of a lot like
the WFP, which is the Working Families Party name. And so, the more
cynical minded who saw this whole thing going though that Andrew Cuomo
spent a couple millions of campaign cash for the petty purpose of confusing
voters into not voting for the Working Families Party, the group of
progressives that he had managed to get the nomination from.
Are you following? OK.
Well, here`s where it gets interesting. The Woman`s Equality Party,
they have a list of supporters on their Web site, prominent women. One of
the names is a woman who`s been on this show. Her name is Linda Sarsour.
We`ve had her on a show to talk about a variety of issues. She`s an
activist in Brooklyn.
And I noticed the other day, Linda Sarsour when we`re talking about
this issue tweeted, "I never signed on. I never attended any events or
rallies. So, hat needs to be corrected. I am on it." Huh!
There are also some other supporters, prominent ones, who would later
record videos urging people not to vote for the Women`s Equality Party, the
newly formed party by Andrew Cuomo, but, instead, the Working Families
Party, the one that was basically at open war with him, that include New
York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Congressmember Nydia
Velazquez, Manhattan borough president, Gale Brower.
You can see they all released videos urging people to vote that way.
So, we talked to the Women`s Equality Party and said, what`s the deal
here? Linda Sansour, she`s on your Web site. She`s telling us she never
endorsed your party.
They said, "We regret we did not receive her request and her name
will be removed from our Web site promptly."
Their statement on the three other women, Gale Brewer, Melissa Mark-
Viverito, and Congresswoman Velazquez, all joined the Women`s Equality
Party advisory committee when the party was formed.
This whole thing got me thinking about an old tweet from conservative
David Frum. He once said, "Republican politicians fear the GOP base,
Democratic politicians hate the Democratic base.
Never has that seemed more true than here in New York State of Andrew
Cuomo three days after the election.
HAYES: Looking at the headlines three days after the election, it`s
very easy to forget that the news cycle before the election was utterly,
completely dominated by scary stories in the weeks before it, the dual
threats posed by ISIS and Ebola chief among them.
And today, we`ve got some news on both of these threats. Today`s
Ebola news is that by the end of the day, Texas will be free of the deadly
As for the ISIS threat, New York Times reports this week that the
deadly terrifying momentum of the ISIS force appears to be stalling.
The threat from Ebola and ISIS seemed to be receding now, but they
were the dominating features of the 2014 campaign season. And that might
have actually helped Republicans. Because we know from some very
interesting political science research that conservatives and liberals
process fear differently. And that fear motivates and incites
conservatives more than it does liberals.
In a recent study on the matter, (inaudible) scientist John Hibbing
arguing that conservatives have something called negativity bias, which
suggests that conservatives react to threats with greater negativity and
motivated information processing than their liberal counterparts.
Joining me now, Richard Kim, executive editor of The Nation.com. And
I just think this is one part of the story of what happened on Tuesday
that`s been completely lost, because the news cycle moves so quickly we`re
all like, oh right ISIS and Ebola, what happened to that?
RICHARD KIM, THE NATION.COM: Yeah, I think, like, the perfect
expression of that for me was when Representative Mike Kelly from
Pennsylvania suggested that American ISIS recruits would fly to Liberia,
infect themselves with Ebola, fly back
to the United States and commit bioterrorism. It was like perfect hot fear
sandwich, you know, you just couldn`t get any better than that.
HAYES: You`re right. And there was this interesting dynamic that was
playing between the media -- I`m part of that media, so I`m not going to
hold it at arm`s length -- playing between the media that we`re covering
ISIS and bola which
are both very much genuine news stories and the campaign trail where you
saw Scott Brown warning about -- Tom Cotton saying that ISIS fighters were
going to come over the border. Tom Tillis, they were all pumping this.
And we know from this really interesting cognitive political research that
this does things to people`s brains, particularly conservative.
KIM: It does. And I think the science there is really interesting.
I also don`t think, though, that Democrats should concede the politics
of fear to Republicans. You know, the world is a pretty scary and
precarious place -- you could lose your job and fall into poverty, you can
lose your health insurance and get sick and spiral into debt.
HAYES: You`re saying you want Democrats to out scare Republicans.
KIM: Well, and they did it because, look, these are real threats --
the threat of being shot by a cop, the threat of losing your job, the
threat of dying, those are real threats that the government has a duty to
And I think when Democrats in this midterm messaged that, for example,
another Ferguson might happen. Republican politics are going to create
more Trayvon martins. That had an effect on turnout. And I don`t think
are sort -- these rational fears.
HAYES: You`re actually sort of -- you`re calling for a kind of race
to the fear bottom.
KIM: No, no, no.
I think, you -- look, you connect fears to real issues that voters are
legitimately anxious about -- whether you could feed your family, whether
you could go to the hospital, whether you are discriminated a gain, those
are rational fears to have. And those are fears that a social safety net
and a fair society can also mitigate.
HAYES: There`s also, though, something about it that feels so grossly
grossly instrumental to me, which is like now that everybody got what they
needed out of ISIS and Ebola it`s kind of like -- like we`re not going to
talk about that.
Like, you know, no one`s -- no one`s running around today being like,
hey guys, remember the CDC told us they knew how to get this under control,
like -- it looks like you guys did your job..
KIM: I think, for example, the war on women messaging was clunky.
You kow, it did seem pandering. It seemed like the Democrats had nothing
better than just of like hoping for another Richard Murdoch, you know,
instead of connecting those
issues about reproductive health to women`s economic future, is their
ability to take care of their families.
HAYES: And the anxieties that people feel, I think that`s a
lesson, like -- yeah, the world is scary and it is anxiety producing and
part of politics is addressing those head on. And I don`t think Democrats
did a good job this cycle, even if Republicans did on somewhat dubious
Richard Kim, thank you very much.
All right, my interview with former CBS News investigative
Cheryl Atkinson about her new book in which she claims the government
hacked into her computers because it didn`t like what she was reporting on.
HAYES: Former CBS News correspondent Cheryl Atkinson who left the
network this year after tow decades is out with a new book called
"StoneWalled" in which she makes a bombshell allegation that the U.S.
government hacked into her home
and work computers in an apparent attempt to monitor and interfere with her
Atkinson departed CBS News amid criticism over her reporting on
Benghazi, Fast and Furious and other alleged scandals being pursued by
conservatives and Republicans.
While CBS executives reportedly came to doubt the impartiality of her
reporting, conservative groups honored Atkinson as a mainstream media ally.
Atkinson contributes her break with CBS News to a combination of
liberal bias and an increasing hostility to investigative reporting from a
network afraid to anger powerful forces.
She maintains the network increasingly refused to run her stories on
Benghazi and other issues, though an "All In" analysis found that CBS has
actually run far more Benghazi stories on its nightly newscast than either
NBC or ABC.
Atkinson joined me to discuss the explosive allegations in her book.
HAYES: So there`s this claim about hacking in the book that`s the
sort of center of the book. And in response to people questioning it or
wanting kind of further corroboration, you released this cell phone video.
I think we have it. Could we show that video for a second?
So this, as you see, it`s like a word document. And there`s just
words being erased mysteriously, your hands aren`t on the keyboard, that
there`s just words being erased right in front of you, which, as a writer,
would be terrifying, actually. I could think of nothing more terrifying.
But I`m a little confused, is the claim that that is documentation of
government entity hacking your computer in realtime?
CHERYL ATKINSON, FRM. CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: No. Thank you for
And it was not released, just to clarify in response to questions
about the case, for example, it was just a video pre-released before the
book came out.
That I would call a visual anecdote of something that happened some
months after the three computer forensics exams confirmed these highly
sophisticated remote intrusions.
Hacking is one way to call it, I guess. But I consider it as non-
technical person, a long-term monitoring and surveillance based on the
dates that the computer forensics showed.
HAYES: But I just want to connect the video to that. But the video
you think is an instance of some remote surveillance?
ATKINSON: The video is an instance of when I was working at home, at
time in particular, facing a lot of specific pushback and problems with the
White House, in fact, that day, in particular, in which the access of my
computer, I couldn`t control it for a period of time.
And although some people have kind of mistakenly -- without the
forensics of course, and the context analyzed it. What really happened, if
you look in the first couple of seconds, pages were wiping in a matter of a
couple of seconds. It wasn`t sort of a backspace key, which doesn`t exist,
or a delete key on the computer being held down.
HAYES: Yeah, so people -- there`s been a number of accounts of people
who are obviously looking at this third hand who are saying -- computer
experts saying this looks like someone with a stuck space key or a stuck
key. I mean, I guess my question about this video is this is a really big
claim. It`s not a claim that`s
implausible on its face the government would hack into a reporter`s
computer. That seemed I could be persuaded by that claim. But that`s a
really big claim, particularly the idea that live as you`re watching,
someone is remotely -- presumably knowing that you`ve loaded this file,
remotely deleting your text in
front of you. What is the evidence that that is happening?
ATKINSON: You mean besides me observing it happening?
HAYES: Well, computers do crazy all the time and I don`t think we
make the judgment -- like, my computer will do nutty things where I went
through periods where my laptop was clicking on stuff I wasn`t clicking on,
but I didn`t think, well, there`s the NSA.
ATKINSON: And certainly I didn`t when things were happening the year
I never dreamed, you know, I was being surveilled by anybody. It was only
after sources and then the computer forensics exam. So with that, I guess,
context, the months of time that passed after that under which I was
getting more and more forensic evidence about what they were doing and what
they were capable of, one of the things that forensics evidence showed was
although they were monitoring me
surreptitiously, they had the ability to operate my computers remotely as
if they were sitting in front of it. So I knew the capability existed. I
wouldn`t have known that a year before.
HAYES: I`m sorry. Let me just ask this question. Who is the they?
ATKINSON: In which sentence, I`m sorry.
HAYES: Like, the "they were able to surveil. They were monitoring
the computer. They had the capability. Who is the they?
ATKINSON: Whoever it would be that was responsible.
HAYES: But who is that?
ATKINSON: Well, therein lies the question. I think that that`s a
of what the computer forensics investigation is aiming toward and what
we`re trying to look at.
HAYES: But you write in the book that you had a source told you who
ATKINSON: Yes, yes.
HAYES: So then you should -- then you know.
ATKINSON: I think I know who was responsible in the macro sense for
being behind the effort, not necessarily the guy sitting behind the
keyboard if such a
thing exists. But, yes, I`m not going to throw out the name, because that
was based on a human source that I trust, but it`s not something that I`m
with naming and releasing.
HAYES: So there`s one source who told you unnamed who is doing this
to your computer or who is engineering what you say is the surveillance of
ATKINSON: That`s right.
HAYES: And now, when you talk about these -- but, you don`t want to
name that person or you don`t want to confront those people publicly
because you don`t want expose that source or you`re not confident in it?
ATKINSON: I just have reasons. I`m following the advice of my
attorney. This is very much ongoing. And I`m just not comfortable with
using the name right now. I don`t think it`s a good idea.
HAYES: So, Cheryl, here`s my question to you. You`re a reporter.
dogged reporter, as shown in the book. And, you know, there`s that old
saying for an editor, I`m sure you`ve heard, like, if your mother says she
loves you, check it out. And, you know, there`s this feeling I think we
have in journalism that big
claims need sort of big corroboration. And it just seems like when I`m
through your book and I`m sort of -- I`m watching the interviews, it`s,
like, there`s some unnamed forensic experts. I can`t talk to them.
There`s one guy who`s named, but he has got a confidentiality agreement.
And then there`s an unnamed source and so it`s like maybe it`s true, but it
just seems so impossible to
independently verify that what you are alleging, which is a really big deal
crime committed against you and a violation of the constitution, that
there`s nothing I could hold onto to kind of double check the work?
ATKINSON: I get it. And, you know, I would say two things to that.
I think there will be more information forthcoming. Some people will never
be satisfied with what they hear. But I also think that I`ve seen people
who ask questions keep a great deal of understandable skepticism on me and
none on the entities raising with the so-called counter experts who, to my
surprise, would be willing to venture an expert an opinion on something for
which they have no forensic evidence or no firsthand information. And,
yet, their claims being unequivocally accepted, for example, that the
backspace key being held down. And without their credentials being
questioned and yet pretty much everything I say understandably and
skepitcaly viewed. I just think that`s part of the problem I discuss in
HAYES: Right. But there`s a little bit of an asymmetry. I mean,
you`re the one who is saying -- I mean, you`re saying this -- and, again, I
want to be very
clear about this, the idea that the U.S. government would surveil or hack
into the computer of a journalist is a, both a serious accusation and, b,
not to me ridiculous or implausible or the kind of thing you should just
slough off. That could happen. I could see that happening.
We know the powers the NSA has. But is there any -- I guess my
is there any way that me, Chris Hayes, who is persuadable on this can talk
to someone? Is there like an independent forensic expert that I could sit
computer with? Is there a named source who would say it on the record,
like is there any way that we can confirm this in a publicly accessible
ATKINSON: I think that you can look at a partial press release that
partially discusses one of the three forensic exams that CBS News put out
that confirmed equivocally what I give a little more detail about in my
book of the highly sophisticated remote intrusions that took place in my
I think these hints of information that you have that corroborate what
I say, yes, then there may be, at this point in time, what for someone like
you would require a leap of faith. And you are certainly within your right
to say hey, I don`t see the evidence there.
I`m not here trying to convince you of something that you find
unconvincing. I`m just telling you, in this book, my experiences and
observations and you can do with that what you will.
HAYES: When we come back, the second half of my interview with Cheryl
Atkinson in which I ask her to respond to all the folks who think her new
basically part of a campaign to get a job on Fox News. Her response ahead.
HAYES: We`re back with the second half of my interview with former
CBS News correspondent Cheryl Atkinson who alleges in her new book
"Stonewalled" she was the victim of a sophisticated hacking campaign by the
U.S. government. I asked her why
she thinks she was hacked.
ATKINSON: Considering what they looked at. In one case, the
forensics exam showed they paid special attention to a file I had on
Benghazi. In another case, they paid special attention to photographs I
had taken that were relevant to Fast and Furious.
And the only theory that I can come up with that makes the most sense,
placing it with the forensic evidence and the timing, is that they were
surveilling and monitoring me, whoever the interlopers were, to find out
who I was speaking to,
who was speaking to me, much as they were apparently legally doing who the
government was legally doing in the case of Associated Press and Fox News.
There were efforts to find out what leakers were speaking to these people.
And I, too, was dealing with government whistleblowers and sources that I
think people woudl be curious to know about.
HAYES: But, again, the they there is the U.S. federal government in
capacity is your assertion?
ATKINSON: My assertion is that the forensic examinations showed that
there were government ties, in other words, the very first one said the
software used was a commercial, nonattributal software proprietary to a
government agency. Now, I don`t know everything that that means. That was
the phrasing provided to me. But I was told that the software was used by
either one of four three-letter federal
agencies, that was what was reported to me.
I certainly didn`t originally suspect that or know about that. I
certainly never thought the government was surveilling me when this all
started, it was only when the forensics evidence came back.
HAYES: So, I want to lay out the most cynical interpretation of what
you`re doing so you can respond to it, because there are some people who
are interpreting it this way. Here`s what they say. You perhaps notice
that there`s a very
active world of conservative media. It can be very lucrative. People sell
a lot of books.
And, you know, you`ve got this book. You were at a book party with
Darryl Issa and a bunch of Fox News personalities and conservative
luminaries and people I think look at this and think, oh, well, she just
sort of saw the writing on the wall. She was not happy at CBS, or she was
being pushed out, or she had beef with management and she thought I can
make myself you know a big conservative hero and go out in sort of cash in
on the world of conservative media. What do you say to people who are
watching this and drawing that interpretation?
ATKINSON: Well, the first thing -- and again it`s discussed in the
book. When you take second hand reporting, for example, you weren`t at the
book party. I don`t blame you from picking up the news that was reported
and assuming it was some sort of conservative party based on what was
reported. They left out the fact that
there were people there from the Center for Public Integrity, from
Propublica, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter, whistleblowers,
the former director of the ACORN office in Washington, D.C. This certainly
was a very mixed party. But, as the media reported it, yes, they made it
sound like some sort of conservative party.
HAYES: Darryl Issa was there, though, right?
ATKINSON: Absolutely. There were conservatives and liberals there
praising me. So, you can cherry-pick half of them and yes, conservatives
were there praising me. Yes, that`s true.
But to leave out the other part is I think sort of a syndrome that`s
been going on in the reporting about what I do.
As to whether you think I`m cashing in on this, you`re free to draw
that conclusion. I really don`t know what to say to that except if you
want the read the book and find it interesting, you can draw your own
conclusion and some people
may say yes, that`s exactly what`s happening. And others may find it to be
an honest and insightful work (inaudible) some things in the media.
HAYES: I will give you points for your response to an accusation
you`re cashing in to say buy the book and find out whether I am or not.
That is extremely -- extremely well played.
What is next for you?
Here, let me ask you this question, you`re sitting here talking to me
right now. And look, I don`t -- like, if you know, there`s some people
saying, well, she`s a conservative and you`re saying I`m politically
agnostic. I could care less what your politics are. My feeling is that
people should just be honest about them anyway, right.
But like, people -- people are watching you, like, are we going to see
a Fox News contributor or writing for a conservative outlet next? I mean,
can you tell me right here that that`s not the way this is going?
ATKINSON: I can`t tell you what`s next. I haven`t made any decisions
or commitments. But I don`t know if you`ve had a chance to read the book,
maybe not, but many things in there talk about the conservative/corporate
bias in the news that slants stories versus the liberal bias. The idea
that this is somehow a book that goes for conservative interest has been
perpetuated that notion by the same people that want to discredit and
disparage what I do in my opinion.
HAYES: There is a lot of stuff about corporate interests. There`s a
lot of stuff about advertisers and advertorials and there`s a lot of stuff
about the fluffiness of the news and the impossibility of investigation and
investigative reporting and getting it in even when, you know, it might
threaten important business interests. So that -- I totally agree on that.
ATKINSON: And political stories such as Rachel Maddow on MSNBC
praising my work, my investigation into Republican Steven Boyer (ph) who
resigned from congress a short time after my investigation into him, the
Emmy awards I`ve won investigating Bush administration, for example, the
bait and switch on TARP, the bank bail out. The Emmy I won last year
involving the investigation I did on Republican freshmen and the hypocrisy
of their fundraising as they hobnobbed down in Key Largo with the big money
So, I think it`s a little over simplistic and perhaps unfair, but not
surprising to paint my book or me as somebody who is cashing in on
conservative interests or solely considered conservative interests.
HAYES: But Cheryl, come on. You know where your bread is being
buttered right now. I mean, you are like the toast of the town over at Fox
ATKINSON: I guess if you say so. I would say this is maybe the first
or second time I`ve been invited on your network, but it`s not because I`ve
invites me to speak somewhere. I`ve also been on C-SPAN and Al Jazeera
quite frequently, and ABC this week and HBO. I`ve had discussions with
many different networks and places.
I certainly am not skewing my appearances. And I think they are
skewed in their reporting, the diverse groups that I`ve appeared on,
people want to report about me as a conservative, they just say that I`ve
Fox and they`ve ignored all of these other places where I`ve appeared.
HAYES: Cheryl Atkinson, thank you very much. I really appreciated
ATKINSON: Chris, thanks.
HAYES: That is "All In" for this evening. The Rachel Maddow Show
starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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