ALL IN with CHRIS HAYES
February 10, 2014
Guests: Darry Isherwood, Ted Strickland, Tim Carney, Jeremy Scahill;
Cameron Weiss; Mike Pesca; Esera Tuaolo
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Good evening from New York. I`m Chris
Breaking news from New Jersey tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE REP. JOHN WISNIEWSKI (D), NEW JERSEY: The committee met in
executive session and discussed the issuance of additional subpoenas, in
accordance with the process that we went through last time. Once the
subpoenas are served, we`ll let you know who the subjects were of the
subpoenas. But again, we don`t want them to find out on the 6:00 news but
when they receive the subpoenas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was, of course, New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski
this evening, acknowledging his committee investigating the bridge scandal
has issued new subpoenas.
NBC News and "The Star Ledger" have confirmed the committee will issue
18 new subpoenas, including two to Governor Chris Christie`s office and
people in his inner circle. Committee today also passed motions demanding
that Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Stepien, two central figures in the
scandal, who have refused to cooperate, do in fact turn over documents and
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The objections raised by Bridget Anne Kelly are
invalid. The committee compels the production of those same books,
records, correspondence and other documents and materials and electronic
records and data to the committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: If Kelly and Stepien do not comply, the motion authorizes
special counsels to take all necessary steps to enforce earlier subpoenas
and compel the pair to turn over records.
Meanwhile, new report today indicates the committee will be looking at
helicopter records to see if Christie, himself, had an aerial view of the
now infamous traffic jam on September 11th when he flew back to Trenton in
a helicopter after a memorial event at Ground Zero.
Joining me now, Darryl Isherwood, senior political reporter for
The significance today, seems to me that we are entering this phase
now where basically it is all-out war. Right?
I mean, the first phase of this was this investigation bubbled up,
people didn`t pay a lot of attention. You guys did. We did here on this
network. We sort of started looking at it early. The big bombshell e-
mails came out.
And now, you`ve got people digging into their trenches. Bill Stepien,
Bridget Anne Kelly and the committee saying hand it over, them saying no.
I think that is going to be more and more the tenor of this as we go
DARRYL ISHERWOOD, NJ.COM: Yes, I think you`re right. And I think the
issuance of all these new subpoenas exactly say, you know, we`re not
playing around, we`re going to get every piece of paper out there that
exists on this thing and get to bottom of it.
And, you know, there are names on the subpoena list I didn`t
recognize, which tells you they`re digging deep into the strata of
appointees and people like that. So, it`s --
HAYES: Is there a way to compel people to turn over documents? Seem
to me if you`re invoking the Constitution here, it`s going to be some
authority other than the New Jersey investigative committee with a final
say on this.
ISHERWOOD: I think that`s correct. I don`t know the ins and outs of
how they do compel them. It`s sort vague and to take all necessary steps.
I don`t know what the necessary steps are. I assume going before a judge
who would then compel the person to submit the response.
HAYES: In terms of the hardball here -- the hardball has been
escalating in a bunch of different ways. On the Hoboken allegation, to
Mayor Dawn Zimmer`s allegations about the kind of quid pro quo being
offered or ordered by the Christie administration that she expedited
private development exchange for Sandy Money. Christie`s lawyer has
started playing hardball going after Zimmer saying we wan to sit down with
you, hand us over your records, Zimmer rebuffing that over the weekend.
You broke some news today in your paper about another step they`re
ISHERWOOD: Yes, I just -- just about 20 minutes ago, as a matter of
fact, got ahold of an open public records request from Christie`s attorney
to the city asking for all documents between, all correspondence between
city officials and "The New York Times", which I find a little bit strange
and they`re also looking for documents turned over as a result of an open
public records request.
HAYES: Let`s be clear here about what`s happening. This is the
lawyer for Chris Christie who is defending the governor, essentially,
right? He is his advocate. He has his interests in mind.
Putting himself in the role as investigator getting to the bottom of
it, going after someone who has leveled a possibly criminal allegation
against the governor to say, hey, give us what you have -- I mean, that
seems like, frankly, witness tampering.
ISHERWOOD: Well, they also requested this journal that Mayor Zimmer
has kept where she outlined, documented these allegations. And, yes, I
think, I mean, this is an open public records request. It`s something you
or I could walk down there and do. It`s also sending a message that, hey,
you know, you`re going to the press, you`re handing over all this stuff, we
want to know what you got, who you`re talking to, we want to know what
you`re giving them.
HAYES: And what is the next shoe to drop here? I mean, it sounds
like Wildstein is sort of circling around. Someone leaked this item to the
"New York Post" today basically saying, take a look -- we might take a look
at these helicopter records to see if the governor went out of his way to
fly over the traffic jam.
Who has the goods and where, what`s going to happen next as the
subpoenas start coming in?
ISHERWOOD: The helicopter piece is fascinating. We talked a lot
about this today. Are they acting on some tip or is this a hunch from
somebody saying, let`s check this out? I don`t know how detailed
helicopter flight plans are, but if they can find he was circling, you
know, you get this picture of the evil laugh as he circles over Fort Lee.
ISHERWOOD: I mean, I don`t know if it`s that detailed and don`t know
if they have a tip that says check this out.
HAYES: Shooting arrows in the dark.
ISHERWOOD: Check it out. They want to see if David Wildstein had
flown in the helicopter with Christie.
I think the administration came out today and said, no, he did not. I
think I remember seeing that early in the day. But it seems like there is
some aspect of shooting in the dark and who knows what they`re getting.
HAYES: We`re going to see an increasingly all-out war all against all
on the legal front as this escalates.
General Isherwood from NJ.com -- thank you for your time.
ISHERWOOD: Thank you.
HAYES: Every single development like the ones we saw today compounds
a feeling that`s increasingly evident in people and institutions that have
invested in Chris Christie and that is regret.
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, well, well. How about
this, New Jersey?
HAYES (voice-over): We all know the story of Chris Christie`s re-
election. He won a second term with overwhelming bipartisan support. That
was then. This is now.
Remember, Chris Christie waltzed to a blowout victory in New Jersey
with a wink and a nod from establishment Democrats from New Jersey all the
way up to the White House. Now some of the Democrats may be wishing they
put up more of a fight.
Christie`s Democratic opponent, Barbara Buono, says she only got the
support she was seeking after she lost. She got a letter from Hillary
Clinton, a phone call from the vice president, and nothing from New
Jersey`s junior senator.
As Buono described it to "The New York Times," no, no, no, no, no. I
didn`t get help from a lot of people and he, meaning Cory Booker, was one
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz came at the very end of the
campaign like you are at a funeral. Now, Wasserman-Schultz is a reliable
public presence, questioning Governor Christie`s decision to leave.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D), FLORIDA: One thing is abundantly
clear. Chris Christie created an environment of intimidation in his office
that was directed at his own constituent.
HAYES: And it`s not just Democrats. New Jersey`s largest newspaper,
"The Star Ledger" walked back its endorsement of Chris Christie last year,
admitting the paper, quote, "blew this one."
And then there`s the Republican governors association which is likely
experiencing buyers remorse.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, he`s a distraction to the RGA. If
Republicans` job is electing governors, and you got a guy running the RGA
that has Republican candidates running away from him, that`s a serious
HAYES: RGA made Chris Christie their chairman and top fund-raiser in
November. Over the past few weeks, Christie`s been traveling around the
country to fund raise for candidates. The problem: none of the problems
he`s working to elect want to be seen with him.
First, there was Florida where things didn`t quite go as planned.
REPORTER: Governor Christie, do you have a few seconds, sir?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Alas, the normally talkative New Jersey governor
would not stop. In fact, if it wasn`t for this brief sighting in Palm
Beach Saturday, you`d be hard pressed to find evidence Chris Christie was
HAYES: Christie was supposed to be in the Sunshine State to campaign
for Rick Scott. Instead, Rick Scott spent the weekend avoiding a public
appearance with Christie.
Then, there was Christie`s trip to Texas last week where both the
current governor and the man who hopes to succeed him stayed away from
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chris Christie in town, Republican Governors
Association. Rick Perry, Greg Abbott, nowhere to be found.
HAYES: And tomorrow, Christie heads to Chicago, Illinois, where all
four Republican candidates running for governor in the state are taking a
pass on seeing him. After winning a second term in a blue state, Chris
Christie was supposed to be the face of a resurgent GOP across the country.
Instead, he has turned into the poster boy for buyer beware.
HAYES: Joining me now, former governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland. He`s
Governor, how important are these two bodies, the RGA and the DGA?
The Democratic counterpart. How important are they particularly in midterm
years for raising money, raising visibility and getting folks elected at
the state level?
TED STRICKLAND (D), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: Very important. I mean,
both the RGA and the DGA put considerable money into these campaigns. And
to have Christie now traveling around the country in his wounded condition,
trying to raise money, I think is the spectacle.
Republican candidates are avoiding Christie like I would avoid someone
who had the swine flu. He is not helping them, and here in Chicago, he`s
going to be here tomorrow making a speech, and we`ve been told that none of
the candidates for the Republican nomination for governor are willing to
meet with him.
That says a lot about what they think about his future, doesn`t it?
HAYES: Can they get rid of him? This is the question we were trying
to figure out today. Is this essentially you`ve got a guy who is now
unfireable from this job?
STRICKLAND: Well, one newspaper said he ought to resign before he is
embarrassed by being asked to get out. I cannot imagine why the
Republicans running for governor in any state would want this man within
100 miles. He`s an embarrassment now to his own state and has is
increasingly becoming an embarrassment, I think, for the entire Republican
If I were running for governor, I can tell you, I would do what all
these other candidates have done in Florida, in Texas, now here in
Illinois. Avoid him like the plague.
HAYES: The amount of money that`s being raised at the state level
gets higher and higher every year, particularly for statewide races, in a
post-Citizens United era. Republican Governors Association last year out-
raising the DGA, $52.5 million to $28 million. So, the fundraising --
that`s not Governor Christie who is raising that money.
Is it possible that you just can fly into the places, be ignored,
shunned by the candidate and get the donors to come, and write you checks
and basically get back on the plane and do your job?
STRICKLAND: Well, apparently, if he`s having meetings, they`re
secretive because he`s doing very little publicly. As far as we know, he`s
not having massive gatherings for these fund-raising events. Maybe he`s
going to individuals and asking them for money.
But the fact is that I think the RGA`s going to have to take a real
serious look. Do they want Chris Christie to be the face of their efforts
to win these seats in these various states? I would hope -- I would think
Quite frankly, as a Democrat, I hope he stays on as the leader of the
RGA. I think that would be the best thing that could happen to our
HAYES: Let me ask you this as a Democrat. How do you respond to the
article about Barbara Buono today in which she said we`re talking about
Christie and the RGA and infrastructure nationwide that helps candidates
win or lose in a given election? She basically says the Democratic Party
ran away from her, right now if everyone`s looking at Chris Christie and
saying how did this guy get re-elected, she`s saying it because the
infrastructure wasn`t there at the national level for her.
STRICKLAND: Well, I went to New Jersey and had an event for Barbara
Buono. I think she was a great candidate. She`s a terrific person.
And it is true, I think, that perhaps there were some Democrats that
didn`t get behind her as she wanted them to. But, you know, we`ve got to
move forward, and the fact is that Chris Christie had a lot of people
bamboozled and fooled. He has been a bully. He`s called -- a man who
actually served this country as a Navy SEAL, he called him an idiot. He
pointed his finger in the face of a teacher.
Over the months he`s acted as a bully, and a lot of people saw that as
strength. They are now seeing Chris Christie for what he really is. He`s
a guy who blames others for his problems. He won`t take responsibility.
His staff, perhaps with his knowledge, we don`t know for sure,
actually put human life at risk by closing down those lanes on that bridge
and interfering with the ability of emergency vehicles to respond as they
should be able to respond in an emergency.
He`s got a lot to answer for, and, you know, it`s been a month since
he held that press conference. We know no more today than we did a month
HAYES: We will be learning more I`m sure. Former Governor Ted
Strickland of Ohio, thank you.
STRICKLAND: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, a historic first in the sports world today brings
us the very likely prospect we could see the first openly gay player in the
national football league this year. The agent representing Michael Sam
will join us ahead. Stick around for that.
HAYES: We tried to kill it once, but there`s an Obamacare zombie lie
that refuses to die, next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. ROY BLUNT (R), MISSOURI: This number is about three times as big
as the number that was on the table when people that voted for the
president`s health care bill voted for it in 2009 and 2010 when the
estimate then was that it would cost about the equivalent of about 800,000
full-time jobs. Now, they`re saying 2.3 million.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Democrats hit the Sunday shows trying to spin
the Obamacare job kill.
REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: We`re going to have parents being
able to come home working reasonable hours. The fact of the matter is we
need a better work/life balance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, is this a war on the American worker?
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
HAYES: All right. We are watching an Obamacare zombie lie come back
from the dead before our eyes. Remember, CBO came out with a new report
estimating a reduction in full-time equivalent employment -- that phrase is
important -- of about 2.3 million full-time workers because of the
Affordable Care Act.
The right wing freaked out. This was confirmation. Obamacare was
killing jobs. So everyone tried to take a stake and put it through the
heart of that particular lie.
Congressman Paul Ryan, himself, said, "Just to understand this, it is
not that employers are laying people off, it`s that people aren`t working
in the workforce."
The CBO`s Douglas Elmendorf repeatedly set the record straight in his
own congressional testimony. The CBO, itself, answered this frequently
asked question. Will 2.5 million people lose their jobs in 2024 because of
the ACA? Answer: no, we would not describe our estimates in that way.
We did this ourselves, an entire segment last week. And just look at
the segment we ran last week is being portrayed on Breitbart.com. "MSNBC`s
Chris Hayes acknowledges full-time job losses due to Obamacare. ALL IN
anchor was joined by Heartland`s Ben Domenech to discuss recent revelations
out of the CBO that Obamacare and the subsidies will increase the number of
full-time jobs. Hayes admitted that was indeed the case, but suggested a
decrease in workforce participation isn`t necessarily a bad thing."
But, of course, I said no such thing. In fact, the whole point of the
segment is that there is a difference between jobs and hours worked that`s
going to change, according to CBO, is the number of hours worked. The
number of hours people want to work, a simple distinction.
I had a good faith discussion with Ben about how there`s going to be a
disincentive effect in some cases.
So, the "Washington Free Beacon" does its own version. "Hayes admits
Obamacare full-time job losses not some right wing attack." There it is,
propagating out. Hayes admits, Hayes admits, Hayes admits. That`s how it
And now, in their world, the zombie lie is converted into a fact, they
could use an ad like this against Democratic Senator Kay Hagan of North
Carolina. Congressional Budget Office estimates 2 million lost jobs due to
And Alaska senate candidate Dan Sullivan says in a press release "New
report, Begichcare" Begichcare, that`s funny, "is a job killer", referring
to the Democratic Senator Mark Begich.
And all of this, and this is the deeper question at the heart of the
debate around the employment effects of something like Obamacare, which is
whether our foremost policy goals should be a society in which everyone is
working as much as humanly possible? I say no. So, actually, does my next
guest, a conservative.
Joining me is Tim Carney, senior political columnist at the
Tim, I though you had a great column on this, a very honest column, in
which you said Obamacare discourages work for better and for worse, where
you basically ask the question, OK, if there`s some part of the population
that`s going to work less because of Obamacare, is that a good or bad
thing? And you basically say, it depends.
TIM CARNEY, WASHINGTON EXAMINER: Yes. And to be clear, I do not like
Obamacare. I`d repeal Obamacare if I could. I would double repeal
HAYES: You`d vote 41 times to repeal it if you had your druthers.
CARNEY: Yes, exactly.
What should we think about this effect of Obamacare? Obamacare, the
subsidies there make it more likely that people will leave the workforce or
work less. Now, there are some bad things about this and there are good
things about it.
I do emphasize the good things is that I know lots of people who are
in a situation where the man has a job that pays him decently. The woman
has a job that barely pays her. She`s a front desk secretary at a big
corporation, but she gets the health care so she keeps working even though
she would rather stay home. They`re paying through the nose for childcare,
but the real benefit is the health insurance.
So, getting people out of job lock is a good thing. On the other
hand, one of the real downsides of the safety net is that it creates a
disincentive for work.
CARNEY: So the people who are staying home aren`t people who can`t
find a job or are disabled but some of these are people who say, I could
work, but the gains to working are so little because of the expanded safety
net and that can really have a negative effect on the economy and on
HAYES: And we should say, let`s take that example and turn it around,
right? In terms of the kind of gender roles you`re talking about in the
family you`re talking about. There are maybe women who are home and want
to work, right? But because of the way the subsidies are structured, it
doesn`t quite cash out to make sense because they`re going to give out the
That is precisely the thing at the margins I said wasn`t some right
wing attack job so everyone`s clear.
I agree with you that that`s a real question. One thing I think has
gotten a little lost in this, we`re talking about an economy that has about
135 million full-time jobs. So the employment effects here, we`re talking
about 2 million jobs, they`re real. They`re going to affect some people,.
but this isn`t some wholesale change in the way people are going to make
labor decisions. I mean, we should just be clear about the overall scope
of how big this economy is and the decisions people are making about
whether to work or not which check through about ten more things before I
think they even get to Obamacare in these limited cases.
CARNEY: Yes, but I also think one of the ways you have to understand
this is that we`ve got this federal government that creates a distortion
that drives health insurance into the place where we work. The employer-
based health care system, you know, is due to price controls in the past
and tax favoritism --
HAYES: The tax favoritism is a big -- the tax favoritism is the
reason we have it, right?
CARNEY: So, but this is such a Washington way, and frankly, a
Democrat way to handle this that we`ve got subsidies for employer-based
health care so we answer that with new subsidies for individual-based
health care instead of just getting rid of the subsidies for the employer-
based health care. I think that would get us out of the question that you
and I think are very interesting. We could move it out of the policy
Well, should we have more people working? Do we need more leisure?
Well, if you weren`t subsidizing job lock, we could leave that largely to
individual choice and not play chess masters with that.
HAYES: This is the issue we have, right? We have health care tied to
employment. One of the things that`s fascinating about watching the
Affordable Care Act debate play out, I`ve seen a lot of conservatives and
single payer lefties like myself arrive at the same point which is less
disentangle the two. Of course, the entire reason we kept them entangled
is because it was politically untenable to wrench people away from it. We
saw exactly how resistant people are to change in their health insurance.
CARNEY: Yes --
HAYES: Tim Carney with "The Washington Examiner" -- we will continue
this another time. It`s always great to have you on. Thanks for coming.
CARNEY: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: Coming up, a groundbreaking story in the world of football. A
star college player who`s an NFL prospect comes out. His agent tells us
what it could mean for his career and the sport, ahead.
HAYES: So there`s this word, a kind of technical word that has been
at the center of the explosive public debate over NSA spying, precipitated
by the Edward Snowden revelations and right around when the first news
leaked of bulk call record collection, Karen Healy, a political scientist
very cleverly showed how powerful this abstract sounding word really was.
Using a few lists of different organizations and their membership at
the time of the revolution, the American Revolution, Healy was able to
produce a fairly simple map of social relations that showed that a fellow
by the name of Paul Revere was more or less the most influential rabble-
rouser in all of Massachusetts and likely to be up to something not quite
kosher from the English crown perspective.
Now, for months, the president and his allies argued again and again
that metadata, which is the word we use to describe this kind of data, that
metadata collection isn`t much of a privacy threat because the NSA isn`t
listening in on your calls. They`re just looking into who you talk to and
how long your calls are and what`s the harm in that, anyway?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it comes to
telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls. What the
intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations
of calls. They are not looking at people`s names and they`re not looking
at on tent but by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may
identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Well, today`s news brings us a blockbuster story from the
newly launched Web site, "The Intercept", that shows how powerful metadata
really is. The NSA is using metadata as, quote, "the primary method to
locate targets for lethal drone strikes." In other words, metadata is
being used right now by the United States government to target people for
killing. As in don`t worry, they`re not listening to your phone calls.
They`re just running an algorithm to determine whether you`re going to blow
Quote, "In one tactic the NSA geolocates the sim card or hand set of a
suspected terrorist`s mobile phone, enabling the CIA and U.S. military to
conduct night raids and drone strikes to kill or capture the individual in
possession of the device."
Which means that we, as a country, are right now targeting and killing
individuals without knowing for sure who the person we are killing is.
Because we are literally targeting sim cards and blowing up whoever`s
attached to them.
Joining me now, Jeremy Scahill, who just started up a new digital
magazine called "The Intercept." He`s also writer and producer of the film
"Dirty Wars," which has been nominated for an Academy Award, based on his
book by the same name.
Jeremy, so I think I understand that basically what you`re saying, and
the reporting that you have in "The Intercept" today, is we are actually
targeting sim cards. The thing that we are targeting, the thing that we`re
going after and sending a drone strike at, is a cell phone, essentially,
and a chip inside a cell phone, as opposed to this individual who`s 27 and
we know trained here and there.
JEREMY SCAHILL, "THE INTERCEPT": Right. We have a new source for us
who worked with the NSA and actually was a drone operator for the elite
joint Special Operations command, JSOC, of the U.S. military. And he said,
you know, people get hung up on the idea that we have a kill list, but
actually, it`s not a kill list. It`s a list of either sim cards or numbers
that are associated with handsets.
And so when the U.S. military or the CIA are targeting individuals,
they don`t necessarily know the identity. They just know that they`re
targeting that phone or that sim card. And it`s a system rife with errors.
And, you know, just to emphasize the point you`re making, which is a
good one about metadata, you can have a scenario where there`s these so-
called signature strikes where the U.S. doesn`t actually know the identity
of a person they`re intending to kill. They just know that their phone has
been in a certain location...
SCAHILL: ... has called other phones on the watch list or has been in
a mosque or at a particular restaurant. So it`s rife with errors and opens
the door for, I think, a lot of the civilian deaths we`ve seen.
HAYES: Yes, that I think -- there`s a whole variety of issues
whenever we talk about the targeted killing program in terms of moral ones
and constitutional ones and legal ones and efficacy.
But let`s just narrow in on this narrow question, which I think is I
think everyone, there`s a consensus that no one wants to see a completely
random waiter at a restaurant blown up by a warhead that we sent, because
he happened to end up with a sim card that was calling the wrong people.
And that is the question here, right? If we don`t know who the actual
person is, it does seem like there is quite a lot of open space for error
SCAHILL: Exactly. I mean, we`re sort of in this era already of pre-
crime, where you have President Obama in office. His advisers know that if
there`s another major attack on the U.S. homeland that he`s political
toast. And so what they`ve sort of done is go way overboard in trying to
preempt any potential attack against the United States.
And what they`ve done is, instead of sending actual U.S. operatives on
the ground, which would constitute humint, or human intelligence, they`re
relying 90 percent or more on what`s called sigint or imint. Signals
intelligence or imagery intelligence.
And so what we have are strikes being authorized on the idea that we
believe that this phone or this sim card is associated with someone who is
up to no good.
And if you think about it in the context, this could come back at home
very, very quickly, not necessarily in a militarized drone strike. The
president says he`s against that. But in using it to target individuals in
the United States based on our cell phone.
What if you lend your cell phone to someone else, and you happen to be
in Yemen? You send your kid to the grocery store to pick up something, and
that`s the moment the CIA decides to strike?
I mean, this is a system -- and we`ve heard from insiders, Chris, who
have been part of this and defend the program to the extent that it has
taken out people, but they say, "Look, the potential for errors means that
we should put a pause button on it, step back and look at how this is
essentially death by metadata."
HAYES: There is another report in the A.P. today, four anonymous
officials basically saying the U.S. is currently contemplating a targeted
killing action against an American citizen. This story was strange to me
for a number of reasons. One, why are they talking now? Two, what is the
purpose? And three, it seemed to kind of bury the lead, which is that
we`ve already done this. I`m not quite clear what would be new here. How
do you react to that story?
SCAHILL: Right. I mean, as you know, because you`ve talked about
this probably more than almost anyone on corporate television, you know,
President Obama has admitted that the U.S. has killed four U.S. citizens in
a drone strike. The most prominent Anwar Awlaki, this American citizen.
To me, Chris, politically, this indicates that the White House has
already made a decision that they`re going to kill another American citizen
and they`re sort of floating a balloon out to the American public.
This raises very, very serious issues about the constitutionality of
the drone strike program, whether or not the U.S. believes it can kill its
own citizens without even charging them with a crime, where the president
has sort of emperor-like powers should be something that our court should
take up very, very quickly and that should be the subject of much debate in
Congress and not just from the Rand Pauls and the Justin Amashes of the
world. It should be something the Democrats should actually pay attention
HAYES: Jeremy Scahill from the new site "The Intercept." His film
"Dirty Wars." Good luck with the Academy Awards, Jeremy.
SCAHILL: Thanks, Chris.
HAYES: All right. Coming up, the player who could be the first
openly gay man in the NFL. His agent will be here, ahead.
HAYES: All right. This weekend saw the biggest civil rights march in
the south since the civil rights movement. Organizers estimate as many as
100,000 people converged on the state capital in Raleigh, North Carolina,
to kick off this year`s Moral Monday Movement, which we`ve covered closely
here at ALL IN.
It`s a movement of protest and civil disobedience held at the North
Carolina capitol on Mondays, when the legislature is in session, aimed at
combating the right-wing overreach of the state`s Republican government
that has slashed the early voting period, enacted a suppressive voter I.D.
law, blocked Medicaid expansion for hundreds of thousands of North
Carolinians who need it, approved extreme abortion restrictions, cut
jobless benefits, and -- and this is my personal favorite -- raised taxes
on the state`s poorest families.
Moral Monday has taken a huge toll on Republican Governor Pat McCrory.
Approval ratings have dropped from 49 percent to just 37 percent since the
And as the governor right now scrambles to respond to the state`s
largest coal ash spill and Moral Mondays spread to Georgia, where they`re
going to take on Republican control of the state government there, this
weekend`s protest reminds us just how high the stakes are for what we
sometimes call off-year elections.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MICHAEL SAM, FOOTBALL PLAYER: I`m not afraid to tell the world of who
I am. I am Michael Sam. I`m a college graduate. I`m African-American.
And I`m gay.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Michael Sam, who will likely become the first openly gay
player in the NFL, just as soon as he`s drafted in May, came out this
weekend. Sam publicly spoke about his sexual orientation for the first
time in interviews last night with both ESPN and "The New York Times."
And as Sam acknowledged in the interviews, this is a pretty freaking
big deal, because it stands to change the face of the NFL and possibly
professional sports as we know it.
As "Out Sports" points out, "His role in the movement toward LGBT
equality in sports will be simply playing the sport as an out gay man, a
role many have been waiting years for someone to step into."
For his college teammates, it`s a role he stepped into last summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM: I told my teammates this past August. I came out to my
teammates, and they took it great. They rallied around me; they supported
me. And I couldn`t have asked for better teammates.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SAM: As publication "Out Sports" summarized, "Sam played the entire
2013 season, leading the SEC in sacks and leading his team to a win in the
Cotton Bowl as a gay man out to his team and coaching staff."
The Southeastern Conference is widely considered the best in college
football. Mizzou was one of the top teams last year. And Michael Sam was
one of Mizzou`s most valuable players.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARVIN FOSTER, SAM`S TEAMMATE: We`re talking about SEC defensive
player of the year, Michael Sam. You know, as long as he`s making plays,
who cares if he likes boys or girls, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: The public response has also, for the most part, been
overwhelmingly positive, President Obama tweeting out "Congratulations on
leading the way. That`s real sportsmanship." The first lady tweeting,
"You`re an inspiration to all of us. We couldn`t be prouder of your
courage both on and off the field."
And Sam is getting support from NFL players, too. Like Tampa Bay Bucs
tight end Tom Crabtree, who tweeted, "Good for Michael Sam. Takes courage
for where he is in his career and where we are as a league. I applaud
And Seattle Seahawks defensive back and Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith:
"There is no room for bigotry in American sports. It takes courage to
change the culture."
But some of the reaction from those not actually charged with playing
the game -- the scouts, the assistant coaches, the folks in charge of
player personnel, the executives -- that is not so positive.
"Sports Illustrated" granted anonymity to several executives and
coaches in return for their honesty. One of them, a NFL player personnel
assistant, told "S.I.," "In the coming decade or two, it`s going to be
acceptable, but at this point in time it`s still a man`s man game. To call
somebody a gay slur is still so common place. It`d chemically imbalance an
NFL locker room and meeting room."
Joining me now is Cameron Weiss, who is Michael Sam`s agent.
Cameron, first question is, I want to get your response to those
anonymous quotes in the "S.E." article which are making the rounds today.
What do you -- what do you feel when you hear that?
CAMERON WEISS, MICHAEL SAM`S AGENT: I feel sad for the person who
said that, actually. You know, I think that we have a problem here in that
there`s a really vocal minority, and they get so much play in the media.
I`ve had just an outpouring of texts, calls and e-mails from friends
of mine, colleagues of mine that work on the team side, whether it be
scouts, front office guys, guys on coaching staffs, thanking us,
congratulating us and just overall a lot of good will here. So I think --
I don`t think it`s reflective of all front offices at all.
HAYES: That`s really interesting, because there`s -- there`s --
everyone`s been waiting in some ways for who will be the first, you know,
out gay athlete in one of the four major sports here in North America. And
it`s a pretty courageous thing to do it before draft day.
Did you know that Michael Sam was gay and out? And did you guys have
a plan for doing this now?
WEISS: Absolutely. We knew Michael was gay before we signed him.
Not for a very long time but long enough to put this plan into place.
Now, as far as the exact timing, no, that changed. You know, being in
Mobile for the Senior Bowl kind of adjusted our perspective on where Mike
was out and how ready he was and, you know, who knew this story and how
many reporters were on the cusp of breaking it. So we really wanted to do
this thing proactively, to let Mike control the story and deliver the
message the way he should.
HAYES: Yes. It`s been reported in the past that recruits, prospects
for the NFL combine have had questions like "Do you have a girlfriend? Are
you married? Do you like girls?" This is from Oakland Raiders tight end
Nick Kasa, being asked these questions. "It was kind of weird. They would
ask you with a straight face. It`s a pretty weird experience altogether."
Do you feel like you were going to get -- that Michael was essentially
going be outed by the process of the draft if he didn`t come forward
WEISS: You know, that was definitely a concern. It wasn`t the major
overriding factor. A lot of it had to do with Mike just wanting to be
honest and be who he is.
But the timing couldn`t have been better with all that happening last
year and the NFL being able to set strong precedent and put their foot
down. And they`ve really just been an amazing ally here in this whole
process, and their policy is very accepting. And they welcomed Mike with
open arms last night, and we were just very excited about it.
HAYES: It`s a pretty big deal. I mean, this is -- this is historic.
If he`s drafted, if he signs, he will be the first out player doing this.
And there`s going to be a lot of pressure on him. There shouldn`t be. It
shouldn`t even be a story. We shouldn`t even be covering it. But that`s
not the world we live in.
Do you think he`s ready to labor with that? It`s hard enough to be a
rookie in the NFL.
WEISS: I think he is. You know, Mike`s a very unique guy, and you
heard him last night talking about his family story and the way he grew up.
And it`s truly just remarkable that he`s a productive member of society,
let alone the sexuality stuff, being all that he went through. He takes
things in stride. He lives in the moment. And if there`s anyone that`s
ever been ready for this, it`s Mike.
WEISS: Yes, I want to play this clip of him talking about his
upbringing. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM: I endured so much in my past, so much tragedy. And growing up,
seeing my older brother killed from a gunshot wound. Seeing my -- not
knowing that my older sister died when she was a baby and I never got the
chance to meet her. My older -- my second oldest brother went missing in
1998, and me and my little sister was the last ones to see him, and we
pronounced him dead two years later.
My other two brothers being in and out of jail since eighth grade,
currently both in jail.
Telling the world I`m gay is nothing compared to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: Cameron, the NFL draft has become this big television event,
year and year out; it gets bigger every year. I have a feeling this year
that there`s going to be even more people tuning in, cheering for your
WEISS: I certainly hope so. And I want to say that there was
definitely a time in this country when sports were ahead of the curve. You
know, when Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier, we were far ahead of,
you know, any of the civil rights changes that had happened yet.
And you know, if people pass over Mike because of his sexuality, I
think it`s going to be a sad moment for us all, because it will truly
signify the fact that sports have fallen just very, very far behind the
rest of society in terms of, you know, where we`re at and our acceptance
HAYES: Yes. Yes. And I`d be willing to take the bet that that`s not
going to happen.
Michael Sam`s agent, Cameron Weiss. Thanks so much.
WEISS: Thank you.
HAYES: More on this story with Mike Pesca from NPR and a former NFL
player who came out after he left the league. Stick around for that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How accepted would a gay teammate be?
JONATHAN VILMA, NEW ORLEANS SAINTS: I think that he would not be
accepted as much as we think he would be accepted.
I don`t want people to just naturally assume, oh, we`re all
homophobic. That`s really not the case. I imagine, if he`s the guy next
to me and I get dressed naked, taking a shower, the whole nine, and it just
so happens he looks at me, how am I supposed to respond?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: That was Jonathan Vilma, the New Orleans Saints, talking to
ESPN about the acceptance, or lack thereof, in the locker room for gay
We`re back. And joining me now, Mike Pesca, sports correspondent for
NPR. And Esera Tuaolo, former defensive lineman for the NFL and author of
"Alone in the Trenches: My Life as a Gay Man in the NFL."
Esera, I guess the first question goes to you, about how common are
attitudes like those we heard from Jonathan Vilma, who I should note
recently, tonight actually, kind of walked back some of that? What do you
-- what environment do you think Michael Sam is going to be walking into?
ESERA TUAOLO, FORMER NFL DEFENSIVE LINEMAN: Well, you know, we`re
definitely living in different times. You know, back when I came out, back
in, you know, 1991, it was definitely a different story. But in the last
decade, we definitely have -- you know, have come a long way. We still
have baby steps to go forward. But I really do believe that Michael will
be accepted and will be welcomed into the NFL.
All because of -- I mean, let`s face it here. I mean, this is what
we`ve been waiting for, right? This is what -- we wanted a superstar
collegiate athlete or NFL star to come out. Well, we got -- we got the
superstar collegiate athlete coming out. And let me tell you, I`m very
excited, and the way he did it. And I`m very excited to see what the
future has in store for him.
HAYES: Yes, I mean, Mike, it strikes me as a pretty amazing thing to
do this on the eve of the draft. I mean, to basically be like, "Hey, guys,
this is what it is. And, like, it`s on you if you want to be a bunch of
bigoted jerks and, like, drop me down in the draft," because that`s -- he
just put his cards on the table.
MIKE PESCA, NPR SPORTS: Yes, and it felt like he was -- his hand was
forced a little bit. That`s why they explained he had to do it. But you
know, he is the SEC defensive player of the year. The last seven of those
guys were drafted in the first round.
PESCA: So he really should be drafted. They don`t say he`s going to
be drafted in the first three rounds, but he really should make a team.
And unlike the other prominent gay athletes like Jason Collins and like
some of the other ones who we said, well, maybe there`s a reason they`re
not on a team, there`s no reason...
HAYES: That`s exactly right. That`s right. Yes, this is one of the
things where everyone is going to watch draft day, and it`s kind of a red
light/green light kind of thing. Right? Like, you know what has happened,
if in terms of where he goes in that draft.
PESCA: Right. And the thing the -- that those unnamed NFL execs are
saying, the word they use is a distraction, right? I just want to think
about this for a second. We don`t want to draft him. He might have to do
other interviews. You know, he`d be a distraction.
People don`t want to think of themselves as bigoted or prejudiced.
People don`t see themselves as prejudiced. But saying this guy is a
distraction, own it. You`re saying, "I get to discriminate against him."
HAYES: That`s right.
PESCA: So own it: "I`d like to think of a reason to discriminate
against him. That`s my reason."
HAYES: Esera, you were in a locker room, like there`s nothing but
HAYES: I mean, for the love of God, you`ve got Ben Roethlisberger
accused of sexual assault.
HAYES: You have, I mean, player after player involved in very
serious, sometimes quite heinous legal situations. That just doesn`t stand
TUAOLO: That`s why -- that`s why it`s so surprising that, you know,
to start a rumor about someone that he`s gay or to call somebody a fag or a
queer is worse than any of all of -- any of that.
So I mean, you know, like I said, we`re living in different times.
And the great thing about what Michael is doing is that he`s -- he`s doing
something I never had. And the biggest fear for me was somebody finding
out that I was gay. And, you know, he`s doing this the opposite way, where
he`s going in there without that crippling secret.
TUAOLO: You know, he`s going to go there and he`s going to play to
the best of his potential, because he doesn`t have to deal with any of that
stress or any of the pain or any of the crap, that, you know, we have to
face as closeted athletes.
HAYES: Did anyone -- did anyone ever find out your secret when you
were in the closet in the NFL?
TUAOLO: Oh, absolutely not. You know, absolutely not. We -- you
know, during the times when I played, it was very difficult meeting -- you
know, any time someone would lash out, call somebody a fag, you know,
things like that, people would laugh; it would be pushed under the rug.
Now which is very encouraging, is that when somebody lashes out, a
coach or a player, they`re held accountable for their actions.
TUAOLO: You know, the great thing that he will have -- he will have
support, but also he`ll have those haters along with that.
TUAOLO: But the great thing, like he`ll have some support.
HAYES: I thought it was really interesting, Mike, that one of the
things they were saying in talking about him is here`s a guy who`s out, OK?
He`s out to his teammates. He didn`t want to go back in the closet. Like,
what is he going to do? Show up in the NFL and just start pretending to
date women and go from being an out person who`s a full human being to
being a closeted person?
PESCA: Right. And the whole argument that maybe an NFL team can`t
take it, Missouri went 12-2. They were the fifth-ranked team in the
HAYES: A bunch of quote/unquote amateur athletes, right, who are able
to find a way to, like...
PESCA: Who had all the image mechanisms without all the message
management. An NFL team can do it. So you have to do a few extra
interviews. Is that really going to dismantle a team?
HAYES: Esera, do you think -- do you expect that there will be a kind
of floodgate effect here? You know, we`ve seen this in other parts of the
struggle for LGBT equality. Do you think we`ll just start seeing this as
more of a matter of course or routine?
TUAOLO: You know, we figured that that would have happened when Jason
Collins came out. You know, I`m not sure. But it definitely opens up the
door for the possibility of another athlete coming out. Only because of
the support that he`s, Michael is getting from the country, from everyone.
The president of the United States, I mean, you know, so that`s -- I`m
hoping -- I`m hoping that the players that I know that are in the league
that are closeted and the players that I doesn`t know that are in the
league that are closeted, I hope this is -- this will give them some type
of strength to step out into their truth.
HAYES: I love the fact from the sheer perspective of kind of
stereotype destroying, that this is like this jacked 6`3" beast who is just
an incredible defensive player, and he`s going to be the first gay athlete.
It`s really -- it`s really remarkable. I`m just -- I`m incredibly
impressed by this young man.
Mike Pesca, former NPR and -- from NPR and the daily podcast on
"Slate" covering the Olympics, and former NFL player Esera Tuaolo. Thank
you so much.
That is all for this evening. "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right
Good evening, Rachel.
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