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A child walks past a graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the walls of a bar in the old town in Vilnius, Lithuania, May 14, 2016. (Photo by Mindaugas Kulbis/AP)

New questions surround Putin's interest in Trump's election

07/25/16 08:00AM

In his first public remarks as a vice presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) took some time to highlight Donald Trump's ugly rhetorical record. "Donald Trump trash talks folks with disabilities," Kaine noted, "trash talks Mexican Americans and Latinos, whether they're new immigrants or governors or federal judges; trash talks women; trash talks our allies; and calls the military a disaster."
 
After someone in the Miami audience made a comment that was hard to hear, Kaine paused and said, "Oh, you're right, he doesn't trash talk everybody -- he likes Vladimir Putin."
 
Interest in the Republican presidential candidate's ties to -- and affection for -- Russia's autocratic leader have been simmering for months, but what was once a relatively obscure issue is making its way from the back-burner to the front. ABC News had this report yesterday:
Hillary Clinton's campaign manager Robby Mook said candidate Donald was pushing for a "pro-Russian" platform and cited experts who say that Russian state actors were behind the recent leak of Democratic National Committee emails in an attempt to help Trump win.
 
"Experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, took all these emails, and now are leaking them out through these websites," Mook told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday. "It's troubling that some experts are now telling us that this was done by the Russians for the purpose of helping Donald Trump."
 
Mook also suggested that the GOP nominee altered the Republican party platform to make it more attractive to Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime. "It was concerning last week that Donald Trump changed the Republican platform to become what some experts would regard as pro-Russian," Mook said.
Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign chairman, called the allegations "pure obfuscation," which (a) is an odd way to phrase a denial; and (b) dubious given Manafort's own ties to Putin's regime.
 
Team Trump's credibility problems notwithstanding, it's not overstating matters to suggest Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election may be the biggest political bombshell of the year -- or in several years. I realize there are plenty of shiny objects on the political landscape, but this is becoming an issue that shouldn't be ignored.
 
The evidence is not yet conclusive. The available information, however, points in an alarming direction:
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.,participate in a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., July 14, 2016. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP)

Hillary Clinton decides to raise Kaine

07/23/16 10:17AM

In retrospect, Hillary Clinton gave Charlie Rose a pretty big hint about her intentions earlier this week. Asked about Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and his self-professed "boring" personality, Clinton said, "And I love that about him. I mean, he's never lost an election. He was a world-class mayor, governor and senator, and is one of the most highly respected senators I know."
 
And now, if the Democrat has her way, he'll be the next vice president of the United States.
Hillary Clinton has selected Sen. Tim Kaine as her running mate. Clinton announced the choice to her supporters by text message Friday evening "I'm thrilled to tell you this first: I've chosen Sen. Tim Kaine as my running mate."
 
Clinton and Kaine are slated to appear together at a joint rally in Miami, Florida on Saturday.
There's a lot to this, so let's dig in.
 
Let's hear the basics on Tim Kaine.
 
He's been widely recognized as Clinton's most likely pick, largely because he checks several key boxes: Kaine is a smart, popular senator from a swing state who's fluent in Spanish. He's respected among his colleagues, and he's worked his way up the ladder, having served as a mayor, lieutenant governor, governor, and senator.
 
Wasn't he a big part of Barack Obama's team back in the day?
 
Yep. In 2007, when much of the Democratic establishment was rallying behind Hillary Clinton, then-Gov. Kaine became the first prominent Dem to back Obama's presidential campaign. He was reportedly the runner-up for VP in 2008.
 
Why didn't he get the nod at the time?
 
Because Obama wanted someone with foreign-policy experience -- which Kaine has since picked up as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. In fact, no senator in either party has been more outspoken on the importance of the White House receiving congressional authorization to fight ISIS. He also was a prominent supporter of the Iran nuclear deal.
 
Rumor has it Tim Kaine is pretty boring.

On the July 22, 2016 TRMS

07/23/16 12:15AM

Tonight's guests:

  • Kristen Welker, NBC News correspondent
  • Steve Kornacki, MSNBC political reporter
  • Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenhood
  • Ben Jealous, former president of the NAACP and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress
  • Jeff Schapiro, political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch
  • Joan Walsh, national affairs correspondent for The Nation

read more

Programming notes for the next couple days!

Programming notes for the next couple days!

07/22/16 09:46PM

Rachel Maddow alerts viewers to upcoming programming highlights, including Time Kaine and Hillary Clinton making their first joint appearance, Maddow appearing on Meet the Press and the start of MSNBC's coverage of the Democratic National Convention. watch

Kaine 'a believer in possibilities'

Kaine 'a believer in possibilities'

07/22/16 09:38PM

Jeff Schapiro, political reporter for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, talks with Rachel Maddow about the political strengths and weaknesses of Senator Tim Kaine and where he fits on the political spectrum. watch

What Tim Kaine means for electoral map math

What Tim Kaine means for electoral map math

07/22/16 09:32PM

Steve Kornacki looks at what the addition of Senator Tim Kaine to the Hillary Clinton ticket could mean for the electoral math in the general election, potentially limited Donald Trump's possible paths to victory. watch

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Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.

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