ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
July 16, 2013
Guests: Jesse Jackson, Heather McGhee, Salamishah Tillet, Eliot Spitzer,
Harry Reid; Elizabeth Warren
CHRIS HAYES, HOST: Good evening, from New York. I`m Chris Hayes.
And we`ve got a packed show tonight.
The Reverend Jesse Jackson is here. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
is here. Senator Elizabeth Warren is here. And candidate for office of
New York City comptroller, Eliot Spitzer, is here.
There is a lot to talk about tonight.
But, first, the anger and frustration following the verdict in the
George Zimmerman case is being channeled into organized action. This is
not a one-day thing. Demonstration are expanding. Political pressure on
the system is mounting.
And at the NAACP convention in Orlando, Florida, just 32 miles from
where Trayvon Martin was shot and killed, a movement is coming into focus
as more than 1 million signatures have already been collected from NAACP
and Move On petitions combined, to demand the Justice Department bring
federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.
Today, speaking before the convention, Attorney General Eric Holder,
the Justice Department investigation into the killing of Trayvon Martin is
open an ongoing. And he criticized the kind of laws that help create the
climate he thinks led to Martin`s death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: It`s time to question laws that
senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and so dangerous conflict in
our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken.
There has always been a legal defense for using deadly force if -- and the
"if" is important -- if no safe retreat is available.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: This just one day after NAACP President Ben Jealous made clear
that the Trayvon Martin case is the painful lens through which the next
generation of civil rights movement will be witnessed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BEN JEALOUS, PRESIDENT, NAACP: We got the right to live in any gated
community, but we lost the right to know that the self-appointed community
watch volunteer would protect our kid and not kill them. We will make this
country safer for all of our children. We will roll back "Stand Your
Ground" laws. We will pass powerful anti-racial profiling ordinance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: As Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump put it, the message
coming out of the trial should be alarming to everybody.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: The United States Supreme
Court has said that the police cannot profile people. So, are we not going
to let ordinary citizens profile our children? This could be anybody`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Meanwhile, in the state`s capital, Tallahassee, a group of
student activists called the Dream Defenders occupied the rotunda and
staged a sit-in in the office of Governor Rick Scott. The protesters want
the governor to call a special session of the state legislature to address
Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law.
Governor Scott is out of town. The protesters say they will remain in
the building until they meet with the governor, himself. This, on the
heels of more peaceful protests yesterday across country, including
Minneapolis, Cleveland, Houston, Baltimore, and Atlanta.
In Los Angeles and Oakland, largely peaceful protests did result in
some violence and more than a dozen arrests. City officials made clear
that small disruptive groups were the exception and not the norm.
And in North Carolina`s state capital, the 11th installment of Moral
Monday saw its largest gathering ever as more than 5,000 people gathered in
Raleigh to protest regressive policy and legislation with thousands
honoring Trayvon Martin. Today my colleague, the Reverend Al Sharpton,
gathered with ministers outside the Justice Department to call for peaceful
protests in 100 cities this coming Saturday.
The push is for new federal charges against Zimmerman and for a change
in the kind of legislation that underpins this tragedy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REV. AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: People all over the country
will gather to show that we are not having a two or three-day anger fit.
This is a social movement for justice. The underlying problem with the
legislation of "Stand Your Ground" and the other issues that are
surrounding this have rendered us vulnerable to all kinds of attacks in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Joining me now is Reverend Jesse Jackson, founder and
president of the Rainbow Push Coalition.
And, Reverend, my first question to you is, do you get a sense,
there`s a consensus emerging about what the next steps are, what the fights
are now that the verdict is in? The first organizing around this case was
to get a trial, was to get an arrest and charges for George Zimmerman.
Then there was a verdict. What are the next steps now? What are the next
demands that organizers are making?
REV. JESSE JACKSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Well, first, Chris, the
backdrop is the Supreme Court removing federal protections from voter
oversight which is a real long-term threat that must be addressed in most
meaningful way. There`s the case of Trayvon which really is similar to
(INAUDIBLE). There`s a Trayvon in every town.
There`s an Oscar Grant in Oakland, for some movie is made,
"Fruitvale." There`s the Diallo case got shot one time in New York and
killed. Chicago, last year, 57 police shootings, 93 percent black or
So there`s a sense this season of undercurrent is crystallized in the
Trayvon Martin case. I think you`ll see massive protests. They ought to
be massive and with dignity and nonviolence and discipline, also into
registration, and that preparation to protect us from these rigid states
rights laws, the Supreme Court has opened this up two weeks ago.
HAYES: Reverend, if, when you just named a number of young black men
who have lost their lives to gunshots, some by police officers, some by
not. All of which raise tremendous amounts of outrage and frustration and
And my question to you is, if what is playing into these deaths, if
what played into t death of Trayvon Martin are hundreds of years of
history, of stereotyping, of prejudice and bias, apprehensions of young
black men, of the way they`re portrayed in our society, in the policies
that target them, as a practical matter of law enforcement, what is the
solution, then? If we can`t undo the history, what will prevent the next
Trayvon Martin in your mind?
JACKSON: Well, it`s a little progress. It is, in fact, Emmett Till
who was killed and the juror said they know that the killers were guilty
but they didn`t see his life worth of white men going to jail for. Then
you have another dimension when Medgar Evers was killed in the same basic
premise, an all-white jury that frees the known killers.
Now, you have the case of a known murderer who profiled -- racially
profiled Trayvon and pursued him over objections of the dispatchers, one
other little punk get away, then he murdered him and walked away from the
dead body and gave his gun to the police department where he found
sanctuary for 44 days.
It is amazing the similarities or pattern. But yet again, this
undercurrent of retrogression. We see the progress in so many areas. We
will not let even this break our spirit.
HAYES: Reverend, I understand today you spoke with Marissa Alexander.
She`s a woman we`ve talked about on the show. Tonight, Joy Reid who`s with
me, and many of the folks who covered her case.
She`s doing 20 years for firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-
husband, and she was prosecuted by Angela Corey. My understanding is you
actually met with her today.
JACKSON: Met with her today for about an hour. You know, she has
amazing, strong strength. She has been there for almost three years now.
Her three children visit her on a rather regular basis, who are now kept by
She was battered while she was pregnant. She had been pump feeding
her milk for her babies when she came on this particular occasion, and she
was attacked that day. In the end, she got a gun for fear.
Now, the prosecutor said it`s not fear, it`s anger. Well, there`s a
thin line between her being angry and her being afraid. If she wants to
shoot her husband, she could have hit him pointblank. She shot into the
wall and shot into the roof. For this, she`s now looking at 20 years and
that must be challenged and stopped. Same prosecutor in same jurisdiction.
HAYES: Reverend Jesse Jackson, thank you so much for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it.
JACKSON: Thank you.
HAYES: When we talk about justice for Trayvon Martin, there will be
no justice in some ways. Trayvon Martin is not coming back.
Marissa Alexander has the rest of her life ahead of us. If there`s a
concrete thing that I could see being done in the wake of this, some small
concession made to equal justice in her law, it would be a pardon for
Marissa Alexander, so she doesn`t spend the next 17 years of her life in
Joining me now is Salamishah Tillet, associate professor of English
and African studies at University of Pennsylvania, MSNBC contributor Joy
Reid, who`s also the managing editor of TheGrio.com, and Heather McGee,
vice president of progressive policy group, Demos.
Great to have you here.
All right. When we`re thinking about next steps -- justice for
Trayvon, the hashtag and on the sweatshirts. Justice for Trayvon meant an
arrest. It meant a prosecution. And now, there`s the verdict.
So, what does that phrase mean? And there`s a few things I see
circulating, right? "Stand Your Ground" laws. There has been tremendous
amount of confusion about the role that "Stand Your Ground" played in this
trial, and I, myself, having looked into it remain somewhat confused.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
HAYES: What is your understanding? Because there`s a lot of
conservatives are saying, you idiot liberals keep talking about stand your
ground. They didn`t use the "Stand Your Ground" defense. It has nothing
to do with this case. Are they right?
JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: They`re right in the sense that stand
your ground was not the way George Zimmerman`s defense chose to defend him.
HAYES: They did not invoke it as part of their defense.
REID: They absolutely did not. They had a right to do it during the
trial even though they waived the "Stand Your Ground" hearing, which would
have actually immunized George Zimmerman even from civil suits. They
waived that. So, they hadn`t used it.
But where it did come in were in two places. One, George Zimmerman`s
knowledge of "Stand Your Ground" when he gave his story to police. His
understanding of it as a defense for himself. The police department`s use
of it as a reason not to arrest him.
And third and most bizarrely, this juror who`s now come out and spoken
and she apparently used "Stand Your Ground".
HAYES: Used the phrase.
REID: She used the phrase. If she, in fact, was in that jury
deliberation room utilizing "Stand Your Ground": as a reason to acquit, she
was doing something she was not instructed to do. She was not going by the
HEATHER MCGHEE, DEMOS: And there`s another way it might have played a
role. There`s an excellent piece in "Tampa Bay Tribune" that catalogs all
of the "Stand Your Ground" cases in Florida since the law has been passed.
And one of the things that it finds is that concealed weapon permits
have gone up threefold since this law was passed. There is a creep of this
law and it`s changing the culture a bit, some criminologists, are finding
in Florida. The fact that George Zimmerman knew about "Stand Your Ground"
law, went to a training on it, meant that he was actually embolden to have
that, to go and be armed -- to leave the car and to know.
REID: Well, think about the fact his friend who trained him, who told
him what firearm to buy, the Kel-Tec .9 millimeter, they discussed these
The thing is ALEC and the NRA. Not only are they trying to encourage
gun ownership, but they are proactively wanting gun owners to understand
the defenses for use of your firearm. It`s actually in their interest for
people to understand how they can use their firearm and potentially defend
themselves, because it`s one more way to push away the --
HAYES: And also increase demand which is a huge part of what this is
The other thing I`m seeing coming out of the early conversations, the
petition, is the federal, is some kind of federal charges. What`s your
reaction to that, Salamishah, as people rally around that as a point of
SALAMISHAH TILLET, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I actually want to
pick up a little bit, Juror B-37, this anonymous juror. I think what
happened in that jury room, she told us that the decision was split three
ways. So I`ve been in juries and I`ve been sequestered and all that stuff.
There`s so much horse trading.
I mean, actually, for such a democratic process, it`s a very
undemocratic to get 6 or 12 people to consensus. I`m really interested on
she uses that, or how many people actually gave the other people who are
interested in second degree and manslaughter, how they were convinced to
come on to this other side. It was split three different ways. It took a
lot of horse trading and strong debate.
HAYES: Although it didn`t take that much because it was two days.
TILLET: But I think, I mean, for someone to believe second-degree
HAYES: To get from second-degree murder to not guilty is a long way
TILLET: I want to reiterate the ways the jurors misused that defense
that they didn`t invoke themselves.
HAYES: Right. And let me just also say that the other part of this,
right, "Stand Your Ground" is both a concept and a law. That`s part of the
confusion. It`s the principle, right? It`s a principle.
And part of what we are seeing come out of this, right, is that
fundamentally, there is a very old sense of American justice that is almost
pre-legal, that is pre-the state, right? Which is this idea of standing
your ground that, like, the only justice that happens on the frontier is
like meted out by people with guns. And then, I think, all our collective
notion of justice is like actually, this interaction should be mediated by
a well-trained, like state that has resources. So that those interactions
that happen, the one that led to the loss of life of this kid, don`t
That`s not the way that we want justice meted out at all.
REID: Even in Tombstone, Arizona, 19th century, you had to check your
gun, you couldn`t go into the saloon armed. But there is notion that is
throughout 50 states of the Castle Doctrine, what "Stand Your Ground" did
is that everywhere is your castle.
HAYES: I want to talk about the federal -- the notion of federal
charges and this bizarre, bizarre interview with the juror right after we
take this break.
HAYES: More on the fallout from the George Zimmerman case with our
But today was also a huge news day in Washington. And coming up, an
exclusive interview with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about the deal
struck today over the filibuster. And Senator Elizabeth Warren joins us to
talk about one of the results of that deal. The Senate has finally
confirmed the head of an agency that will help you stop your bank from
Don`t go away.
HAYES: All right. So here`s a quote from Juror B-37 in the case of
the state of Florida versus George Zimmerman.
"I think George Zimmerman is a man whose heart was in the right place
but just got displaced by the vandalism in the neighborhoods and wanting to
after these people so badly that he we went above and beyond what he really
should have done. I think his heart was in the right place, it just went
Still with me at the table: Salamishah Tillet from the University of
Pennsylvania, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid, and Heather McGhee from Demos.
I got to say, did not inspire a tremendous amount of confidence, the
interview with the one juror we`ve heard from. There seems to be a pretty
intense level cluelessness broadly. The identification with George
Zimmerman who she called George and not with Trayvon Martin, seemed to be
Then it just made me think about the fact in any high-profile case,
one of the things that screens people out that they know about the case.
And then it`s like, who are the people who don`t know about this huge case
that happened in their backyard?
HAYES: What does that produce in a jury?
REID: I question whether or not she didn`t know much about the case.
I have to be honest with you. I question a lot about the juror, including
how she got on the jury. Why she was not voir dired away when she said the
protests were riots.
REID: I think she know a lot more than she probably said. But that
HAYES: She also was very eager in voir dire to be on jury which is
REID: Book deal probably not having anything to do with that.
You know, she also had this instant notion from the very beginning
that George, George is a good intentioned, good guy. She couldn`t see
beyond George Zimmerman has a good guy and couldn`t see beyond Trayvon
Martin as a bad guy, or at least somebody, gosh darn, he looked like a bad
guy, there he was walk around in the rain, in the dark, at 7:30 at night
during a break in the all-star game. I mean, who walks around like that?
Well, you know what? Occasionally, black people do, and it is legal.
HAYES: Right. And my occasion is, when you see what was going
through her hair, gets back to the question I asked Reverend Jesse Jackson,
when I think about like what justice is, right? All those prejudices, all
of those assumptions that are apparently -- and, again, I don`t know this
woman at all, based on the text I have in front of me, that apparently
seemed to be undergirding her belief system and the way she perceives this
incident. All of those are put there by history and culture and a million
different things, right?
So, the question is, we want to stop future incidents like this
happening. Stand your ground laws. Concealed carry laws. Those are
places to look at it like concretely in terms of law. What do you think
about charges, federal charges for George Zimmerman, which a lot of people
are rallying around? Is that the answer here?
MCGHEE: So, I think it`s so much broader than this. I think that
Trayvon Martin`s parents would say the same thing. I mean, this is -- you
said you don`t know this woman`s heart. Well, the data actually knows all
of our hearts, right? We know the majority of Americans have anti-black
explicit bias. This is a study that was done by the "A.P." right before
the election, and an anti-Latino explicit bias, that`s around 51 percent.
When it comes to implicit bias, the kinds of, you know, firings that
our neurons are doing on an unconscious level without us even knowing it,
we`re up in 80 percent and 90 percent, including a plurality of people of
color. I often think racism and racial hierarchy specifically is like the
oxygen we breathe in this country. And some people have worked up a better
metabolism for not exhaling it.
HAYES: Right, right.
MCGHEE: But, in fact, that muscle has really been failed to exercise
because we haven`t had the kind of civil rights movement in this country
since before I was born.
HAYES: I think part of what is -- at least silver lining out of this
is the level of energy poured toward things that are direct and concrete.
Salamishah Tillet from University of Pennsylvania, MSNBC contributor
Joy Reid and Heather McGhee from Demos -- thank you all.
All right. Up next, former New York governor and sheriff of Wall
Street, Eliot Spitzer, is here to talk about today`s big victory for
consumers and big headache for too big to fail banks, and he has I guess
some other things happening politically with him that I`ve been meaning to
ask him about.
Stay with us.
HAYES: Big news out of Washington today.
A long-running and fiercely fought battle has been resolved sort of
shockingly in Democrats` favor. Simply by agreeing not to blow up Senate
filibuster rules today, Harry Reid convinced Senate Republicans to stop
blocking a number of key White House nominees -- perhaps the biggest,
clearest Democratic victory and frankly victory for American citizens.
That biggest victory out of the deal for the first time there is now
an officially confirmed director of the Consumer Financial Protection
Bureau. The new watchdog agency created under the Dodd/Frank Financial
Reform Bill, signed to law three years ago in which Republicans have been
trying to dismantle ever since.
Joining me now to talk about what this means for American consumers in
the fight over financial reform and to talk about other stuff going on in
his life right now, former governor of New York, Democrat Eliot Spitzer,
who is running for office of New York City comptroller. Plus, a new book
called "Protecting Capitalism: Case By Case."
Eliot, great to have you here.
ELIOT SPITZER (D), FORMER NEW YORK GOVERNOR: Thank you for inviting
HAYES: So, the CFPB now exists. You`ve been writing a lot about the
ways in which Dodd/Frank fall short. The CFPB, this development today,
what does it mean?
SPITZER: This is the one piece of unquestioned good news in
Dodd/Frank. It was Elizabeth Warren`s brain child. She, of course, was
chaperoning it through, should have been the first leader. The banks
opposed her so vigorously they basically got the White House to cave. But
sometimes things ricochet in a good way. She ends up in the Senate.
SPITZER: So, we have her and Richard Cordray. This is a dynamic duo.
Both clarity and voices, powerful, clearest, sharpest minds out there on
these issues. It`s a wonderful victory.
HAYES: OK, you`re running for New York City comptroller.
SPITZER: Right. You have an opponent named Scott Stringer, who`s
Manhattan borough president here. He was running unopposed until you got
into this race.
New York City has a kind of amazing public financing system. He has
opted into the public financing system. You have opted out.
He is now saying you should release your tax returns, all of them.
You`ve released a kind of summary version. But he wants to see all of
them. I guess the argument, I don`t think it`s an implausible one, is,
look, your personal wealth is the thing that is allowing you to opt out of
I want to play a clip for you attacking Mitt Romney for not releasing
his full tax returns. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SPITZER: Romney has now made paying taxes the litmus test for good,
moral standing in our community. He has done this by so avowedly
dismissing the 47 percent as dependents and slackers. So, why I have grown
tired and lost interest in Mitt`s tax returns, I have a sudden, newfound
interest in examining them. If payment is the ticket to moral uprightness,
I want to see if Mitt has punched his own ticket.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: So are you pulling a Mitt Romney here? Is there hypocrisy?
SPITZER: No, here`s the fundamental difference.
First let me say, public finance, the system in New York City, it`s a
good system. The difference is my opponent spent three years out raising
money. I got into this race nine days ago. Simply you can`t raise the
So what I`ve said is I`m going to spend money enough to be heard.
Competition is a good thing. Primaries are good. I want my record of
independence when it comes to finance, Wall Street, standing up for the
undocumented immigrants and all immigrants and workers.
I want that to be an opportunity for voters to say, yes, we will
permit you and ask you to be controller which is a financially and fiscally
important position. Now, in terms of the tax returns, the difference
between Mitt`s position and mine, the data that, and I hate to sort of put
these numbers out there, I released my income for the past two years and
the taxes I paid.
SPITZER: And, again, you can understand why I`m hesitant to say this.
Last year my income was a bit over $4 million. I paid over $2 million in
taxes. I paid 49 percent.
HAYES: Right. So the issue here is -- unlike Mitt Romney -- not to
cut you off there, the issue is you`re not paying this ridiculous rate.
SPITZER: That`s correct.
SPITZER: The year before, I paid 39.5 percent.
The reason is there -- what I`ve said is everybody`s going to see
exactly what I own. In terms of the properties, in terms of where the
revenue is coming from. But if the returns, themselves were released, they
would see data about each of those that would reveal data about other
people, partnerships that simply cannot and should not --
HAYES: But, Eliot, you know how this game works. You`ve sat in this
chair, right? It`s going to look like you have something to hide.
SPITZER: No, here`s the thing. I absolutely understand you`re going
to ask the question, you should ask the question. Having said that, I paid
49 percent and it seems to me the question that I wanted to ask when I
calculated these numbers is, why haven`t I fired my accountant? I don`t
know anybody, Chris, honestly, I don`t know anybody who pays 49 percent. I
called them this afternoon and I said, really?
I pay them. I`m glad to pay them. I believe in it, 49 percent.
HAYES: OK. I want to also ask you about some prominent women
politicians, prominent women leaders here. I think opinions about your
past and what they mean for how people evaluate your record. Obviously,
there`s a wide spectrum.
But I want to get you just to respond. Here`s -- this is Sonia
Osorio, president of New York chapter of NOW, speaking out about your
candidacy. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SONIA SORIO, NOW: Do we want an elected official who has broken the
law and who has participated in sustaining an industry that we all know has
a long history of exploiting women and girls?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: My question to you, do you consider yourself feminist?
SPITZER: Yes. I think, look, I hate to hide behind the line, life is
complicated. What I`ve said to the voters, look at the totality of my
record. I have been forthright, direct.
I resigned five years ago. Done a great deal between then and now,
teaching and writing, hosting a couple of TV shows, the things that may and
may not be available. I`ll let you determine.
SPITZER: Exactly. I don`t want to try to be humorous or frivolous
about the issue, though. The record I had was one of devout dedication to
women`s rights, on the issues of choice, on the issues of equal pay, on the
issues of anti-discrimination, both as attorney general, where we were
fervent in pursuing those cases, where we were fervent when I was governing
in seeking legislation. We passed and got passed an anti-human trafficking
HAYES: Quickly, as a feminist, it has to sting a little to look at
SPITZER: Sure it does. Look, absolutely. It hurts. I understand
it. I understand where they`re coming from. I respect that, too. But I`m
asking the public, look at the totally of the record.
HAYES: Former governor Eliot Spitzer. Thank you.
We will have the other Democratic candidate for New York City
comptroller, Manhattan Borough president, Scott Stringer, on the program on
an upcoming day.
All right, it wasn`t looking so good last night, but in light of the
day, there was finally a victory for Democrats in Washington. I will
explain and I will be joined by Senate majority leader Harry Reid.
HAYES: Last night, Senate majority leader Harry Reid looked Senate
Republicans in the eye and said to hell with institutional rules and norms,
I will nuke your filibuster of nominees. And I have the 51 votes to do it.
Over the past few days Harry Reid who has in the past been pretty
reluctant, frankly, to mess with the filibuster at all, managed to convince
Republicans he was serious this time that this he was actually going to go
through with the so-called nuclear option. That he had the 51 votes needed
to change Senate rules to allow for executive nominees and only executive
nominees to be confirmed by a simple majority vote.
And in response to Harry Reid`s credible brinksmanship, Senate
Republicans, well, fell right in line. Ladies and gentlemen tonight, I
come before you to say something I almost never said, but I get to say
Not only did Democrats win, but they got almost everything they wanted
in a stunning victory. This morning, Senate Democrats and Senate
Republicans reached a deal to not nuke the filibuster in exchange for a
vote on five of the seven stalled Obama nominees, including a vote on
Richard Cordray, the first director of the consumer financial protection
bureau. He was confirmed just hours ago by a vote of 66-34. And for a
little context, just six months ago, 43 Senate Republicans pledged to quote
"continue to oppose the consideration of any nominee regardless of party
affiliation to be the CFPB director until key structural changes to the
agency are made."
So, Richard Cordray`s confirmation is big. And so are the agreed upon
votes for the other four presidential nominees including Gina McCarthy as
head of the EPA and Thomas Perez, secretary of labor, both of whom have
been subjected to unprecedented Republican obstruction.
Now, there are two people who are getting, well frankly, a little
screwed here. Two nominees on the national labor relations board whose
credentials have not been questioned. But because a federal court ruled
their recess appointments out of bounds, have been replaced as part of the
Hours ago, the White House confirmed they will nominate Nancy Schiffer
and Kent Hirozawa in their place. And Republicans have promised not to
block those nominations which means the NLRB could actually be up and
functioning and enforcing the nation`s laws again which also means all
seven positions that were vacant and stalled should be filled before summer
Today, Harry Reid scored a rare and thorough victory for Democrats
because he and Senate Democrats are starting for better or worse to put the
lessons of the house Republican caucus into practice. The same tools that
have given us the sequester for which we seem incapable of escape.
The only way to get things done in this era of dysfunction and
polarization is to stop paying attention to taboos and norms and what just
isn`t done and threaten to do whatever it takes.
We`ll be right back with today`s big winner, Senate majority leader,
HAYES: As we have been talking about tonight, this has been a big day
for congressional Democrats, and really, for anyone who actually wants to
see the Senate status quo killed.
Senate majority leader Harry Reid exerted his will on Republicans to
finally stop the filibustering of President Obama`s nominees. I spoke with
majority leader about the big win and how he had to threaten to go nuclear
to make it happen.
Senator Reid, my takeaway from today`s deal seems to be this. I would
like you to tell me if I`m right or wrong. That the only way to get
Republicans to abide by the norms of the institution of the Senate is to
credibly threaten to destroy them.
SEN. HARRY REID (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: Well, I would hope that we
have been able to establish that we need to have a new norm around here.
What`s been going on for the last period of time has just not worked well
at all. Filibustering secretary of defense, CIA director. The people I
had on the cabinet, now it`s nine months average wait for them. So, I
don`t think we need to go back and more recriminations. We had a joint
caucus last night. It was very, very good.
HAYES: But with all due respect, Senator, the only way that this came
about was a real credible threat you were going to do this thing that would
have been fairly measure. A 51 vote to change the rules, what sense do you
have that this new norm will preserve without that being wielded that
things won`t go back to the way they were before?
REID: Chris, last night at the joint caucus I reminded everyone we
had a vote at 10:00 in the morning and that I had the votes. And there was
never any doubt about that. I was very fortunately, the caucus was with
me. And I think that that`s what was important. I think we were able to
get this done, and I think it would never have happened had we not gone
through the process we did.
HAYES: My understanding is as part of this deal that was announced
today, there is no agreement on your part to take the possibility of a
further use of the nuclear option in some further future foreseeable
circumstances off the table. So does that remain a possibility if we see
the Republican minority go back to their ways of old?
REID: I was asked if I could do that, and I said no. I could not. I
have to have the ability to protect not only the Senate, but the country.
And, listen, they want to filibuster, let them filibuster, and we will
override those filibusters, and if they get too out of hand, we`ll have to
revisit all these things again.
I don`t think that will be necessary. I really feel very comfortable
where we are. I think there`s -- you know, we have to move past this. We
have got student loans to do. We have to finish immigration. I have
talked to Senator Mikulski. We had a long visit about appropriations bill.
We have an energy bill that Jeanne Shaheen and Portman want to do together.
So, I feel it`s really a new day and hopefully, and I feel
comfortable, it`s going to be a new norm here in the United States Senate.
HAYES: I want to play this clip of you speaking in 2008 about the
nuclear option which has been making the rounds. I`m sure you`ve seen
this, Republicans pointing to this and other quotes. Take a listen to this
for just a moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REID: As long as I`m the leader, the answer is no. I don`t -- I
think we should just forget that. That is a black chapter in the history
of the Senate. I hope we never, ever get to that again because I really do
believe it will ruin our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was you talking about the invocation of the nuclear
option, about the 2005 invocation of the nuclear option by then senate
majority leader Bill Frist. You saying, look, I think this is a terrible
People watched what happened with you and Mitch McConnell. There are
a lot of people conclude that the role reversal on procedure is just mere
hypocrisy, that it just matters what side of the majority/minority line
you`re on. Is that the case?
REID: Of course, understand that was a different time, a different
issue. That dealt with lifetime appointments. That isn`t what we`re
talking about here. That`s why everyone knew I had the votes in my hip
pocket. We were talking about the fact that a president should have the
ability, put his team together, and that`s what it was all about. So you -
- people can go back and look at my book and talk about what I said those
many years ago.
The fact is, things have broken down very much since then. And
President Obama has not been able to put his people on the table. Look,
I`m kind of an expert at this. Lyndon Johnson was the leader of the same
period of time that I have been. He had to overcome one filibuster. I
have had to overcome 413 filibusters.
HAYES: So, if that`s the case, majority leader, then why should the
filibuster exist at all? There are a lot of people, I think, hoping today
that actually you`d press that button on the 51-senator vote precisely
because we view the filibuster, itself, fundamentally as an obstacle to
progress. What is the argument to have it at all?
REID: The Senate is a body that has been for, title was established
to protect minority rights. We have to make sure we do that. If there are
abuses, then, we have tools to do that. And I understand those tools as
well as anyone. That`s why we are where we are today.
We are today, we`ve given up none of our rights. We have all the
nominees that we requested. I mean, sometimes you have to take yes for an
answer. We had seven filibusters. We worked things out. They stopped
those. So when somebody tells you yes, it doesn`t make much sense to say,
yes, but, no.
HAYES: There`s no question that you got essentially all of what you
wanted going into today. I think a lot of people are very happy to see the
results. The only two people that probably aren`t happy are Sharon block
and Richard Griffin, who are the two NLRB nominees.
Am I wrong in thinking they got a raw deal here? They ended up
getting rescinded through no fault of their own. No one ever alleged in
either of these two individuals were anything but qualified for the board
they were nominated to sit on.
REID: I think they are going to be just fine. We may have other
arrangements for them down the road. It`s just cinch up your seat belt.
Don`t worry about Griffin. Block has 14 months to go in her term. I think
there will be a future for her in government sometime in the near future.
HAYES: Are you generally concerned about the uncertainty cast over
recess appointments by the federal court for appeals in the District of
Columbia? Does that now hamper the president`s ability to fill vacancies
when there is still, even after today, this breakthrough, a huge backlog of
positions that need t be filled?
REID: The president was forced to do what he did. From the time
we`ve been a country, the president when he stymied doing something with
deployments, he has a recess appointment. That is in our institution. The
decision reached by the D.C. court of appealed was foisted upon the
American people because we had some bad judges. We have not been able to
fill a spot there since Roberts except for the latest guy we the put on
there. And we have been waiting years and years.
We have three more coming up. We`re going to fight to get them. I
have confidence, as much as I disagree with the decisions of the Supreme
Court most of the time, I feel that the facts and law are on our side, but
I think except they will say the president has his institutional ability to
do recess appointments.
HAYES: Finally very quickly here, is Mitch McConnell the problem or
is it the caucus of the senators? If you could wave a magic wand and
change the makeup of the Republican senators, or change Mitch McConnell to
get things done, which would you do?
REID: This is not between Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. This is
about having the function of the Senate be what it should be. I -- this is
not about us. It`s not about Democrats and Republicans. About having a
body that the constitution set up that was supposed to work really well and
it has been working well. Especially with what is going on in the house,
we need to have an effective United States Senate, and I think in the
foreseeable future, we`re going to have one.
HAYES: We will be checking back on those words, hopefully in the
Senate majority leader Harry Reid. Great pleasure to have you this
evening. Thank you so much.
REID: My pleasure.
HAYES: After waiting for what felt like an eternity, we have a head
of the consumer financial protection bureau. It is a victory for consumers
and a victory for Senator Elizabeth Warren. She will be here to talk about
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: On this vote, the yes are
66. The nos are 34. The nomination is confirmed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Senator Elizabeth Warren flashing a big smile as she
presided over the vote to confirm Richard Cordray to head the consumer
financial protection bureau. It marks the first time in the history that
it has been actual confirmed director. Cordray was not the first person
President Obama wanted to head the new bureau created by the Dodd/Frank
Wall Street reform bill. The original plan was to nominate, well,
Elizabeth Warren, herself, to head the bureau since the entire idea was
hers to begin with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: This is an idea I have worked on for a long time, and I can
tell you why in five blunt words. The credit market is broken. The broken
credit market caused the current crisis, is perpetuating the crisis, and
will cause more crises in the future. Unless we fix it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It was not to be, however. Thanks largely to a Republican
temper tantrum and Elizabeth Warren`s decision to pursue another line of
But joining me now to discuss today`s news, as well as her proposal
for new ways to rein in Wall Street is Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat
And Senator, first I want to have you explain to me the following.
Richard Cordray has been running this bureau. It`s been up for two years
since Dodd/Frank was passed. Tomorrow he`s going to go run the bureau
again. What changes from yesterday to tomorrow in the fact that he is now
officially confirmed to head this position?
WARREN: Well, today, tomorrow, what we know for sure is now this
agency is here to stay. No more clouds over what it is legally entitled to
do, no more attacks that say maybe we`re going to be able to undercut it in
this way weaken it in that way. We have a full-fledged watchdog. The one
we fought for he`s going to be there to fight for us. I love it.
HAYES: Well, I don`t blame you for loving it. It is an amazing thing
to see something --
WARREN: It is.
HAYES: I remember reading, you wrote a piece in a very, very small
policy journal called "democracy" which still exists and turns out great
stuff. And I remember reading that piece that proposed this idea. You
basically said you have this great metaphor, you said look, if a toaster,
if one in ten toasters blows up in a home, we take that off the market,
have a consumer product safety commission. Why can`t we have something for
financial products? How does it feel to see something go from your brain
to the real world?
WARREN: It feels great, but let me tell you the main reason it feels
great. It feels great because it means that millions of people out there
are not going to get cheated the way they have been cheated in the last
several years. I`ll just give you a couple of examples.
WARREN: Yes. This agency has been under way for about two years now,
and already it has returned nearly half a billion dollars to consumers that
credit card companies cheated them out of. It has already set up a
complaint hotline so that if you think you got cheated on your checking
account by your bank or you think somebody else has cheated you on
mortgage, you can file a complaint. And there is a process by which you
may be able to get your money back. You should check the thing out. It`s
called CFPB. That`s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cfpb.gov.
There is a whole complaint process there and it`s working. It`s working
for tens of thousands of people. They got money back for military
HAYES: So senator, my question for you, if it`s working, then why
have your Republican colleagues been so committed to killing the thing to
the extent they were willing to write a letter and sign it and say, we
won`t just not confirm Richard Cordray, we won`t confirm anyone. Why would
they hate this thing that`s working?
WARREN: Because it`s working. Come on. This is money that`s staying
in the pockets of ordinary families. This is the money that`s staying in
the pockets of seniors and students and military families. Instead of the
money that`s getting sucked up by the big credit card companies. Instead
of the money getting sucked up by payday lenders.
That`s what this is really about. Let`s face this is about much and
this is about lobbyists. The bank lobbyists have been in the halls of the
United States Senate for years now fighting against the consumer agency.
They wanted that money to stay with their clients at big banks.
HAYES: One of the other places we`re seeing them fight is on two
front. The implementation of the landmark financial reform bill,
Dodd/Frank of which CFPB was one part. You now have a proposal along with
Senator John McCain to reinstate what`s known as Glass-Steagall which is
part of the banking act from the new deal that basically separated out
investment banking and commercial banking, the sort of boring banking as
you talked about it where you take deposits, you lend out money to local
small business. We have all seen it in wonderful light. And then there is
the high-risk stuff, the stuff on Wall Street with high yield. You want to
separate those back together. Why do you think this is the way to go to
rein in the excesses of Wall Street?
WARREN: Look, we need a lot of tools in the toolbox to deal with too
big to fail. And this one is an important tool. It says, effectively,
look, the hedge funds, the Wall Street traders can get out there and they
can take the risks they want to take. But they don`t get to use the money
in your grandma`s checking account to do that. They don`t get to take the
money out of someone`s savings account to do that. We just going to put a
wall back in place. Basic banking should be boring. Risk taking should
happen somewhere else.
HAYES: So this sounds eminently sensible to me and I have read a
million position papers on this and academic articles and there has been a
great deal today. And yet, we had this debate during Dodd/Frank and there
was this thing called the Volcker rule and the idea behind the Volcker rule
is it was basically a 21st century version of Glass-Steagall. It was going
to be regulatory rules that drew that church/state separation between the
risky stuff and insured stuff and it`s a year later from when we should
have the Volcker rule and we do not have it. What do you make of that?
WARREN: Well, in fact, I`m going to push the point further. You
remember when the crash occurred what we all talked about is that one of
the problems we had that created too big to fail was too much concentration
of the top. The big institutions were just too big and too concentrated.
Well, here`s what`s happened. The big four financial institutions are
30 percent bigger than they were five years ago. And so the big have
gotten bigger. And what that means is we just have to add another tool to
the toolbox. None of this, well, you know we`ll try to find our ways. We
should. We should. Do what we can to bring down risk in the system, but
Glass-Steagall is one way to do that and we should do it.
HAYES: Very quickly, senator, Jack Lew, who`s now in treasury,
heading up treasury. His confirmation hearings, referred to Glass-Steagall
as, quote, "anachronistic." Do you think the White House will be behind
you and senator McCain as you push this legislation?
WARREN: It`s like so many things. If you don`t get out there and
fight for what you believe in, I guarantee it doesn`t happen. I`m here
today to celebrate the consumer financial protection bureau. You want to
know how many people told me you could never get something like that
through. Well, we`re here. We`ve done it. We have a good, strong agency.
Glass-Steagall, we`re going to get out there. I have a good fighting
partner in John McCain. We are going to fight it.
HAYES: Senator Elizabeth Warren. Thank you so much.
WARREN: Thank you.
HAYES: That`s "All In" for this evening. "The Rachel Maddow show"
starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW: Chris Hayes. What
a bang up show this evening. Well done.
HAYES: Well, thank you very much. Thank you very much.
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