The Rachel Maddow Show Weekdays at 9PM


... more Duration: {{video.duration.momentjs}}

Rachel Maddow StoriesRSS

select from:

E.g., 10/14/2019
E.g., 10/14/2019

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 10.2.19

10/02/19 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* North Korea "fired a ballistic missile from the sea on Wednesday, South Korea's military said, a suggestion that it may have tested an underwater-launched missile for the first time in three years ahead of a resumption of nuclear talks with the United States this weekend."

* It's about time: "The Department of Homeland Security is beginning to address white supremacist terrorism as a primary security threat, breaking with a decade of flagging attention after bigoted mass shooters from New Zealand to Texas took the lives of nearly 100 people in the last six months."

* Perry's role is worth keeping an eye on: "Democrats investigating a whistleblower's allegations against President Donald Trump pressed Rick Perry on Tuesday for information about his May travels to Ukraine, opening a rare window into the energy secretary's role as an emissary for some of the administration's most sensitive international missions."

* A curious time for Sigal Mandelker to depart: "The Trump administration's top sanctions chief -- responsible for wielding the financial firepower of the world's most powerful economy as the White House's primary foreign policy tool -- is leaving for the private sector, top U.S. Treasury officials said."

* Good luck with that: "Speaking with Fox News' Laura Ingraham on Tuesday night, [President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani] proposed bringing a lawsuit against House Democrats for investigating the president in the wake of revelations involving Trump's interactions with Ukraine."

* Israel: "A long-brewing corruption case against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shifted to the next phase Wednesday, escalating the embattled premier's legal peril even as he fights to retain office following last month's closely divided election."

* I was surprised to see Sonny Perdue say this out loud and in public: "President Donald Trump's agriculture secretary said Tuesday during a stop in Wisconsin that he doesn't know if the family dairy farm can survive as the industry moves toward a factory farm model."

read more

President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence wave as they visit to Carrier factory, Dec. 1, 2016, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)

Trump's failure on manufacturing comes into sharper focus

10/02/19 12:43PM

CNBC's Kayla Tausche earlier this week asked White House trade advisor Peter Navarro about the nation's manufacturing sector. Navarro, who has Donald Trump's ear on these issues, was incredulous. "Manufacturing is strong as a rock," he said.

Yeah, about that...

U.S. manufacturing fell deeper into a contraction last month, erasing hope of a quick turnaround for the industry and handing a blow to President Trump's promises that he would revive blue-collar jobs and companies.

September marked the worst month for U.S. manufacturing in more than a decade -- since June 2009 -- according to the closely watched Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index. Companies blamed Trump's escalating trade war for many of their woes, putting pressure on the White House to show progress soon. Manufacturing remains a prominent industry in many swing states.... Manufacturing fell into a technical recession in the first half of the year, and the latest ISM data indicates the situation appears to be getting worse.

The Washington Post's report added that most analysts "agree that what's happening to manufacturing is evidence Trump's tariffs are doing real harm to the U.S. economy and is a warning sign for what could happen to other industries, especially as the tariffs expand by the end of the year onto nearly all Chinese products."

The article went on to quote Torsten Slok, chief economist at Deutsche Bank Securities, who told clients, "There is no end in sight to this slowdown, the recession risk is real."

Remember when Trump said trade wars were "good" and "easy to win"? I do.

read more

Wednesday's Campaign Round-Up, 10.2.19

10/02/19 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.

* Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was hospitalized yesterday in Las Vegas and "underwent a significant medical procedure after a blockage was found in one of his arteries." As NBC News' report added, "Sanders, who is 78, has canceled all of his campaign events 'until further notice.'"

* Buoyed by African-American support, Joe Biden leads the Democratic presidential field in South Carolina according to the latest Winthrop University poll. The former vice president has 37% support, followed by Elizabeth Warren at 17%. Bernie Sanders is third with 8%, followed by Kamala Harris at 7%.

* Speaking of the Palmetto State, some South Carolina Republicans, including former Rep. Bob Inglis, sued the state Republican Party this week "over its decision to cancel its GOP presidential primary next year."

* As difficult as this may seem to believe, Andrew Yang, a Democratic presidential candidate running for elected office for the first time, raised $10 million in the third quarter. That's "more than triple the $2.8 million Yang raised in the second quarter."

* Kamala Harris, meanwhile, raised $11.6 million between July and September, which is awfully close to the $11.8 million she raised in the second quarter.

* Former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.), whose 2020 presidential campaign has struggled to gain traction, has reportedly lost four key aides, including his state directors in Iowa and New Hampshire.

* Joe Biden's campaign released a new plan on gun policy today, which includes an assault-weapons ban. Under the blueprint, those Americans who already own assault weapons would be required to either register the weapons or sell them to the government.

read more

U.S. Border Patrol agents look for immigrants crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico (L), to the United States at dusk on July 24, 2014 near Mission, Texas. (Photo by John Moore/Getty)

Trump envisioned border moat 'stocked with snakes or alligators'

10/02/19 11:00AM

In Barack Obama's first term as president, Republicans issued a challenge to the Democratic White House: increasing border security would open the door to a bipartisan reform package. Obama accepted the offer at face value and significantly increased border security.

With this in mind, the Democratic president traveled to El Paso in May 2011 for a speech on immigration policy, and he explained at the time, "We have gone above and beyond what was requested by the very Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement. All the stuff they asked for, we've done."

Obama added, however, that GOP officials were complaining anyway. "Maybe they'll need a moat," he said to laughter. "Maybe they want alligators in the moat. They'll never be satisfied."

Obama's joke came to mind while reading a newly published report from the New York Times on Donald Trump's zealotry on border policy.

Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that could pierce human flesh.

After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told him that was illegal. But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That's not allowed either, they told him.

Among the things I found amazing about this was the idea of aides "seeking a cost estimate." I'm trying to imagine assorted officials in the West Wing, making calls and poking around online, trying to figure out what it would cost to buy a bunch of snakes and alligators for a moat, all in the hopes of satisfying their strange boss.

But as amusing as this may seem, it's the other part of the excerpt that's far more serious: Trump encouraged those around him to do things the law would not allow them to do.

read more


Controversy surrounding Trump's hotels grows even more serious

10/02/19 10:27AM

After the White House released the call summary last week, featuring a rough transcript of Donald Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the obvious scandal was the political pressure the Republican exerted. But this wasn't the only relevant detail.

In the same conversation, Zelensky seemed to be carefully playing an amazing game, going out of his way to flatter Trump, touting his campaign skills, agreeing with everything the Republican said, and even using the meaningless "drain the swamp" catchphrase.

But that's not all Zelensky said. "Actually, last time I traveled to the United States, I stayed in New York near Central Park, and I stayed at the Trump Tower," the Ukrainian leader said.

For nearly three years, the Republican's critics imagined hypothetical scenarios in which foreign officials would stay at a Trump-owned property, indirectly putting money in the American president's pocket, and then casually work it into conversations as a way of currying favor with the ethically-challenged man in the Oval Office. But in this case, the hypothetical became real.

Zelensky, desperate for U.S. aid in the midst of Russian aggression, believed it would be in his country's interests to both stay at Trump Tower and say so during a bilateral meeting.

It's an inherently corrupt dynamic that the American president is content to overlook. It's also a dynamic that others have been eager to exploit, as a new Politico report helps make clear.

House investigators are looking into an allegation that groups -- including at least one foreign government -- tried to ingratiate themselves to President Donald Trump by booking rooms at his hotels but never staying in them.

It's a previously unreported part of a broader examination by the House Oversight Committee, included in the Democrats' impeachment inquiry, into whether Trump broke the law by accepting money from U.S. or foreign governments at his properties.... The investigation began after the committee received information that two entities -- a trade association and a foreign government -- booked a large quantity of rooms but only used a fraction of them, according to a person familiar with the allegation who isn't authorized to speak for the committee.

This was probably inevitable. The Republican invited the world to spend money at his businesses, creating a unique historical opportunity: those hoping to influence an American president could add to his profits.

The allegation raised in the Politico report is brutal, but it's not at all surprising.

read more

New Ukraine bill emblematic of GOP's unserious posture toward scandal

10/02/19 09:20AM

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) issued a notable press announcement yesterday morning.

[Kennedy] announced today that he will file legislation after recess to ban the immediate family members of senior U.S. political officials from profiting in Ukraine.

Specifically, his bill will ban an immediate family member of a member of the Senate, the House, the president's cabinet, the vice president and/or the president from serving as a consultant, employee, independent contractor or board member for or owning 5% or more in any entity doing business in or with Ukraine. Immediate family members include parents, siblings and children.

How extraordinarily specific. The Louisiana Republican isn't concerned about officials' family members doing private-sector work in any other country except Ukraine.

There's no great mystery as to what's behind this little stunt: Kennedy is playing a game by crafting legislation intended to jab former Vice President Joe Biden. The senator isn't concerned about officials' family members profiting from foreign work in general -- Kennedy hasn't unveiled legislation, for example, that might affect Donald Trump's adult children and the enterprise that the president still profits from -- but the GOP lawmaker is focused on making some kind of partisan point about a leading Democratic presidential candidate.

As CNN's Jake Tapper reminded Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) the other day, "Either there's a principle that people should not benefit from their connections, or there isn't." For members of Congress like Kennedy, the principle only applies to Democratic families, which obviously makes it difficult to take his partisan games seriously.

But therein lies the rub: the presidential impeachment process is a fundamentally serious process, and too many members of Trump's party are focused on juvenile antics.

read more

Secretary of State Pompeo admits he was on Trump's scandalous call

10/02/19 08:40AM

After the public learned about Donald Trump pressing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for political assistance, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with ABC News' Martha Raddatz on Sept. 22 to discuss the burgeoning scandal. The Kansas Republican's strategy was based on a simple idea: feigning ignorance.

Indeed, when Raddatz asked the secretary about the call, Pompeo acted as if he didn't know relevant details. "You just gave me information about [an intelligence community] report, none of which we've seen," he said.

On Monday night, there were media reports that the secretary of State was actually on the phone call. This morning, Pompeo admitted that those reports were true.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Wednesday that he was on the controversial July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy which is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry launched by the House last week.

"I was on the phone call," he told the reporters during a news conference alongside Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

A Wall Street Journal report added this morning, "Mr. Pompeo has been asked several times previously about the call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky but until Wednesday hadn’t said that he listened in on the conversation."

It must've slipped his mind.

What’s more, as Rachel noted on the show on Monday night, this leaves Pompeo in a rather unique position. He knew his own State Department had signed off on U.S. military assistance to Ukraine; he knew that Trump was effectively making that aid dependent on a partisan electoral scheme; and he said nothing.

This further positions Pompeo near the center of the intensifying scandal that's likely to lead to the sitting president's impeachment. Indeed, it appears the nation's chief diplomat has quite a bit of explaining to do.

Consider some of the recent revelations:

read more

Trump accuses Dems of 'coup,' but flubs the word's meaning

10/02/19 08:00AM

Yesterday morning, Peter Navarro, the top voice on trade policy in Donald Trump's White House, appeared on Fox Business and equated the impeachment process with an "attempted coup d'etat," launched by Democrats whom he compared to Stalin's secret police.

Traditionally, White House officials wouldn't peddle such over-the-top rhetoric on national television, but Navarro's extremism is part of a larger push in far-right media to use the word "coup" when describing the congressional impeachment inquiry. It was, of course, only a matter of time before the president himself started using the word.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday escalated his attacks on Democrats' impeachment efforts, referring to the inquiry as a "coup."

"As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP," he said.

The Republican added that presidential impeachment would "take away the Power of the People, their VOTE, their Freedoms, their Second Amendment, Religion, Military, Border Wall, and their God-given rights as a Citizen of The United States of America!"

Trump's been on quite a rhetorical tear lately, hasn't he? In recent days, the sitting president has talked up the idea of prosecuting members of Congress who say things he doesn't like, casually throwing around accusations of "treason," and raising the prospect of a "Civil War-like fracture." Now he's moved on to "coup" references.

Responsible leaders, confident in their position, tend not to communicate this way. It's more in line with the kind of rhetoric one might expect from someone overcome with panic.

Regardless, Trump's latest tantrum struck me as notable for a few reasons, not the least of which is his unfamiliarity with the meaning of the word "coup."

read more

Ukraine suffers backslide at US support falters under Trump

Ukraine suffers backslide at US support falters under Trump

10/01/19 09:48PM

Senator Chris Murphy, a member of two of the committees that have been alerted by the State Department inspector general that he has something he urgently needs to show them, talks with Rachel Maddow about the Trump impeachment inquiry, Trump's Ukraine scandal, and how Donald Trump has weakened Ukraine's position against Russia. watch


About The Rachel Maddow Show

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.


Latest Book