During a mini-monologue Wednesday night, All In host Chris Hayes complained that “someone like John Yoo wrote a legal memo that facilitated the US implementing torture, which is a war crime” has a “nice tenured perch at Berkeley Law School.” Yoo, who served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General during the George W. Bush administration, responded to Hayes’s attack; in part by calling the MSNBC host a “pipsqueak.”
Hayes’s mention of Yoo, whom he dubbed a “torture architect,” came as part of a larger monologue trashing recently departed Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; which concluded with Hayes asking “will Nielsen pay a reputational, social, professional price for ripping thousands of children from their parents’ arms with no plan to track and reunite them? For imposing this cruelty and trauma on thousands of blameless children?” Hayes expressed his fear that “everyone in polite society and establishment Washington” will “welcome her back with open arms,” citing Yoo’s successful career after his service in the Bush administration as an example of his worst nightmare coming true.
Hayes stressed that he did not think Nielsen “should be necessarily heckled in every Mexican restaurant she goes to for the rest of her life” but argued that she still deserved to “face some sanction, opprobrium because if elite institutions and corporate America simply welcome her back, in the same way that I’m not so sure we won’t torture again, I’m not sure we won’t rip children from their mothers’ arms again.” In other words, Nielsen deserves to be blacklisted because of her tenure in the Trump administration.
For his part, Yoo responded to Hayes’s depiction of him as a war criminal on The Ingraham Angle Thursday night: “No one ever told me that one of the perks of being in the government would be being second-guessed by some...pipsqueak at MSNBC years later.” During Yoo’s appearance on The Ingraham Angle, host Laura Ingraham talked about how “the left is trying to make former Trump officials into pariahs,” adding “they never want people to be able to work again.”
Ingraham’s analysis is backed up by Hayes’s mini-monologue as well as a monologue from “comedian” Samantha Bee, who issued a plea to businesses all across America: “Whatever you do, do not give Kirstjen Nielsen another f***ing job.” Ingraham indicated that Bee may get her wish, without mentioning the TBS host directly. Ingraham discussed the left’s efforts to blacklist former Trump administration officials by talking about how liberals have created petitions urging “CEOs and universities not to give them jobs.”
Ingraham concluded the segment with Yoo by describing the left’s efforts to blacklist Trump administration alumni as an indication of “how desperate the left has become,” adding “I want conservatives to be able to work in any field including universities.” As the recent comments from Hayes and Bee indicate, many in the “tolerant left” do not feel the same way.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Wednesday’s edition of All In is below. Click “expand” to read more.
All In With Chris Hayes
CHRIS HAYES: Today is Kirstjen Nielsen’s last day as Homeland Security Secretary and Nielsen and her defenders are already undertaking a reputational rehab project. As Politico puts it, “one that casts her not as an enabler of the President’s most controversial immigration policies, but as a guardrail against even more extreme action.” Ah, yes. But for me, things would have gotten really bad. Good thing I was there on the inside to restrain the President’s worst impulses. It’s as risible as it is pathetic. Nielsen was the only…was the one who not only signed off on child separation, but signed off on it knowing what it would do because she herself had reservations about it if the reporting is to be believed. And then she’s the one who went out and not only implemented it but lied to the American people over and over again. She lied to us about what was happening in the first place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KIRSTJEN NIELSEN: The children are not being used as a pawn. We are trying to protect the children, which is why I am asking Congress to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: She lied about the rationale that it was a deterrent and she attempted to have us all believe that what was plainly happening in front of our faces was not happening in front of our faces and then she got snide and defensive and condescending and angry when anyone challenged her on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Are you intending for this to play out as it is playing out? Are you intending for parents to be separated from their children? Are you intending to send a message?
NIELSEN: I…I find that offensive. No because why, why would I ever create a policy that purposely does that?
REPORTER: Perhaps as a deterrence?
NIELSEN: No. The way that it works…
REPORTER: The Chief of Staff said it’s a deterrence.
NIELSEN: That’s not the question that you asked me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: No one made her do that. She could have walked away and resigned in protest. She chose to stay and do all of that. So if her reputation is in tatters, well, that’s on her. She made those choices, she’s a grown up and now she has to go out into the world and the question is how will the world receive her? That’s really an open question because we’ve lived through a George W. Bush administration in which someone like John Yoo wrote a legal memo that facilitated the US implementing torture, which is a war crime. John Yoo wrote a memo saying that certain kinds of torture didn’t actually, legally count as torture and he gave it to Jay Bybee, who signed off on it and then our country tortured people. According to the Senate’s CIA torture report, “waterboarding as a ‘series of near drownings,’ sleep deprivation for up to a week, unnecessary ‘rectal feeding’ and death threats.” And Bybee and Yoo became infamous in the moment for their torture advocacy but guess where they are now? John Yoo has a nice tenured perch at Berkeley Law School of all places. John Yoo, torture architect, dodging through drum circles on his way to class. And Jay Bybee? What happened to him? Oh, he’s a federal judge for life, no recrimination; they paid no price for their complicity in war crimes. The question now becomes will Nielsen pay a reputational, social, professional price for ripping thousands of children from their parents’ arms with no plan to track and reunite them? For imposing this cruelty and trauma on thousands of blameless children? Or is everyone in polite society and establishment Washington just going to welcome her back with open arms because she was doing her best? Now, to be clear, I don’t think she should be necessarily heckled in every Mexican restaurant she goes to for the rest of her life, but she should face some sanction, opprobrium. Because if elite institutions and corporate America simply welcomes her back, then in the same way that I’m not so sure we won’t torture again, I’m not sure we won’t rip children from their mothers’ arms again.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of The Ingraham Angle is below. Click “expand” to read more.
The Ingraham Angle
LAURA INGRAHAM: And this next question kind of applies to both of you. Both of you, well, John still at a university, Ken Starr was at Pepperdine and then Baylor. But now, and I talked about this yesterday. The left, to both of you, is trying to make former Trump officials into pariahs; that they’ll never be able to work again. They have petitions urging, urging CEOs and universities not to give them jobs and this is what MSNBC’s Chris Hayes said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES: We have lived through a George W. Bush administration in which someone like John Yoo wrote a legal memo that facilitated the US implementing torture, which is a war crime. John Yoo has a nice tenured perch at Berkeley Law School of all places. John Yoo, torture architect, dodging through drum circles on his way to class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
INGRAHAM: John, your response.
JOHN YOO: I didn’t even see that. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Laura but I got to say no one ever told me that one of the perks of being in the government would be being second guessed by some, you know, pipsqueak at MSNBC years later. I mean, while this guy’s probably in college, trying to pull all-nighters and get hot coffee at 1 AM, the serious point is, we were sending men and women to Afghanistan, some of them to die, to stop a future terrorist attack and I wanted to do is…my small part as a lawyer was to make sure they had all the tools…
YOO: …at their disposal, within the law, to stop the next attack. And that’s what we did in the Bush administration and there were no other successful fallen attacks. The Obama administration stopped these policies and unfortunately we’ve had a litany of attacks…
INGRAHAM: Oh, it’s…
YOO: …the Boston Marathon…
INGRAHAM: Yeah. Well, they never wanted people to work…
YOO: San Bernardino…
INGRAHAM: …again. I…
YOO: …and so on.
INGRAHAM: …mean, we all know that. They never want people to be able to work again. That is how desperate the left has become and I want conservatives to be able to work in any field including universities, thank you both very much.