The Rachel Maddow Show Weekdays at 9PM


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

Rachel Maddow StoriesRSS

select from:

E.g., 6/23/2018
E.g., 6/23/2018

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 6.5.18

06/05/18 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Trade war: "U.S. pork farmers could lose $100 million annually, after Mexico said it would slap a massive tariff on pork imports to retaliate against President Donald Trump's aluminum and steel import levies, according to an estimate by the Iowa Farm Bureau."

* Appointing this guy really was a bad idea: "German politicians are calling for Donald Trump's ambassador to Berlin to be expelled after he was accused of meddling in domestic politics. Richard Grenell caused outrage over the weekend when he told right-wing outlet Breitbart that he wanted to 'empower other conservatives throughout Europe.'"

* Arkansas: "This week, Arkansas becomes the first state in the nation, and in the nation's history, to require its non-disabled adult Medicaid expansion population to work or volunteer 80 hours a month to maintain their health care benefits."

* Mangiante Papadopoulos, George Papadopoulos' wife, "has taken to right-wing media to proclaim that Papadopoulos played no role in collusion with Russia. On Fox News Monday night, she expressed her hope that Trump would pardon her husband."

* I'm skeptical about those assurances: "A Republican senator says he has been assured by the Trump administration that any North Korean nuclear deal would be submitted to Congress for approval. Sen. James Risch of Idaho made the remarks Tuesday during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing featuring two North Korea experts."

* The inevitable appeal: "The Justice Department is appealing a ruling made last month that President Trump cannot block followers to his Twitter account based on their political views, according to a court filing."

* Pentagon: "U.S. military operations killed approximately 500 civilians in 2017, as President Trump took command of the Pentagon and U.S. troops pursued the Islamic State and other militants overseas, a report made public on Friday found."

read more

Image: President Trump speaks at swearing in ceremonies for new CIA Director Haspel

Trump's exaggerations on jobs are wrong and unnecessary

06/05/18 01:02PM

As Donald Trump's first year in office wrapped up, the Republican president bragged about the nation's job totals as if they represented an extraordinary accomplishment. They didn't: job growth in 2017 was actually the worst in seven years.

So far in 2018, the numbers look better, which has apparently led Trump to take his rhetoric in an even more irresponsible direction. Take some of his tweets from yesterday:

"In many ways this is the greatest economy in the HISTORY of America and the best time EVER to look for a job! ... Best Economy & Jobs EVER"

Over the first 16 months of Trump's presidency, the economy has created 2.97 million jobs. What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing. It's a perfectly good number, reflecting a healthy job market. But what he may not know is that in the preceding 16 months -- in other words, Barack Obama's final 16 months in office -- the economy created 3.45 million jobs.

Let's take this a step further. So far in 2018, the economy has added 1.047 million jobs, which again, is an encouraging figure. But to put this in context, consider the January-to-May job totals from the last several years:

2012: 1,034,000
2013: 1,047,000
2014: 1,180,000
2015: 1,144,000
2016: 803,000
2017: 862,000
2018: 1,047,000

What Donald Trump, eager to repeat self-aggrandizing boasts, seems to miss is a simple truth: there's a difference between seeing the strongest job growth in the history of the United States and seeing the strongest job growth since 2015.

read more

Tuesday's Campaign Round-Up, 6.5.18

06/05/18 12:00PM

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

* It's Primary Day in eight states, though many of the most important contests are in California, where the state's top-two "jungle" primary system risks locking out Democrats in some key congressional districts. Pay particular attention to the results in the 48th, 39th, 49th, 10th, and 50th districts.

* Voters in the Golden State will also see primaries in two big statewide contests: California's gubernatorial race and the U.S. Senate race. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) are expected to easily come out on top, but it's less clear who'll finish second and advance to the general election. (Donald Trump reiterated his support for GOP gubernatorial hopeful John Cox this morning.)

* It's also Primary Day in Iowa, and among the key races is the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Businessman Fred Hubbell (D) appears to be the frontrunner.

* In Montana, Republicans will choose a nominee to take on Sen. Jon Tester (D) in the fall, and despite his apparently false claims about being a rancher, state Auditor Matthew Rosendale (R) seems likely to prevail.

* In Mississippi, incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker (R) faces a primary rival, and several Dems are vying for the right to take him on in November, but this race became a lot less interesting after former Sen. Thad Cochran (R) stepped down for health reasons, and several top-tier candidates jumped into the race to replace him.

* In South Dakota, an interesting GOP gubernatorial primary will be resolved today, pitting Rep. Kristi Noem against state Attorney General Marty Jackley. The winner will face state Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton (D) in November.

read more

A man holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare in Miami, Fla in 2015. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty)

As health care premiums rise, responsibility shifts to Republicans

06/05/18 11:20AM

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) recently had an interesting back and forth on Twitter about health care. The New York Democrat said American consumers are facing higher premiums because of Republican policies, while the Texas Republican replied, "Make no mistake: this is solely caused by Obamacare."

At face value, this probably seems like a stale and predictable exercise: each side of the partisan divide is blaming the other for developments that the public won't like. But the answer is a knowable thing. Either Schumer is correct or Cornyn is. There are factual details available that take this out of the realm of political sniping and into clarifying light.

So, which is it? What's driving the sudden spike in premiums? We need only ask those responsible for the rates. Take yesterday, for example.

"With respect to the individual market, the single biggest justification offered by insurers for the requested increases is the Trump Administration's repeal of the individual mandate penalty," New York's Department of Financial Services said in a statement.

"Insurers have attributed approximately half of their requested rate increases to the risks they see resulting from its repeal."

New York is by no means unique. Insurers in states across the country have been submitting rate hikes to regulators, and they're all saying the same thing: Republican changes to the Affordable Care Act, spearheaded by Donald Trump, have undermined the American market.

Reporting on the latest data from the Congressional Budget Office, Axios recently added, "Insurance premiums tend to go up every year, but the magnitude of these increases stems largely from the repeal of the ACA's individual mandate, the expansion of skimpy short-term plans, and the decision last year to cut off the law's cost-sharing payments."

When the president took these actions, quite a few of us said his moves would make things worse. The bill is now due -- though it's not Trump who'll pay more, it's the consumers he chose to punish out of political spite.

read more


White House picks a bad time to brag about Trump's foreign relationships

06/05/18 10:40AM

Donald Trump and his team made a fuss yesterday about his presidency reaching the 500-day mark, and at yesterday's press briefing a reporter asked Sarah Huckabee Sanders what Trump considers his top foreign-policy achievement.

"I think that there have been a number of major foreign policy achievements," she replied. "Certainly, I think the strengthening of relationships with a number of foreign leaders."

Given the timing, perhaps she should've led with something else.

A call about trade and migration between US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron soured last week after Macron candidly criticized Trump's policies, two sources familiar with the call told CNN.

"Just bad. It was terrible," one source told CNN. "Macron thought he would be able to speak his mind, based on the relationship. But Trump can't handle being criticized like that."

That CNN report ran a day after Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau's interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd aired on "Meet the Press," in which Trudeau condemned the claim from the Trump White House that new tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum are necessary for American national security interests.

"Our soldiers who had fought and died together on the beaches of World War II ... and the mountains of Afghanistan, and have stood shoulder to shoulder in some of the most difficult places in the world, that are always there for each other, somehow -- this is insulting to them," Trudeau said.

He added, "The idea that the Canadian steel that's in military, military vehicles in the United States, the Canadian aluminum that makes your, your fighter jets is somehow now a threat? The idea that we are somehow a national security threat to the United States is quite frankly insulting and unacceptable."

In recent months, we've heard similar comments from officials in more than a few allied nations. Indeed, Vox noted in May that Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, the branch of the European Union that brings the heads of EU member states together to plan priorities, said, "Looking at latest decisions of [Donald Trump] someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies."

That was before Trump announced the imposition of trade tariffs on many of our closest allies.

read more

Paul LePage

Judge orders LePage to implement voter-approved Medicaid expansion

06/05/18 10:00AM

Looking at a map of states that have embraced Medicaid expansion through the Affordable Care Act, the northeast stands out. Every state east of Lake Michigan and north of Virginia has already taken advantage of the opportunity, to the benefit of millions.

Maine's path, however, has been far more complicated. As regular readers may recall, the state's legislature made repeated attempts to pass Medicaid expansion, but Gov. Paul LePage (R) wouldn't budge, blocking it at every opportunity. Last fall, Maine voters took matters into their own hands and easily passed the health care policy through the ballot box.

But LePage still balked, refusing to implement Medicaid expansion. Not surprisingly, the matter ended up in court, where the Republican governor, nearing the end of his second term, suffered a predictable defeat yesterday. The Portland Press Herald  reported:

A Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the LePage administration must follow the voter-approved Medicaid expansion law and submit a state plan amendment next week that sets the health coverage in motion for thousands of low-income Mainers.

The court set a June 11 deadline for the state to file the amendment with the federal government.

Though the governor's office can appeal this ruling, it increases the likelihood that Maine will implement the policy and expand coverage to roughly 70,000 low-income Mainers.

This comes less than a week after policymakers approved Medicaid expansion in Virginia, bringing the new total of states that have embraced the policy to 33 (including Maine).

read more

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks with Donald Trump during a Tea Party Patriots rally against the Iran nuclear deal on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sept. 9, 2015. (Photo by Pete Marovich/Bloomberg/Getty)

Asked about Trump's pardon power, Cruz offers 18 seconds of silence

06/05/18 09:20AM

The evolution of Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) perspective on Donald Trump has been amazing to watch. In June 2015, for example, the month Trump launched his candidacy, the Texas Republican declared, "I like Donald Trump. I think he's terrific.... I think he speaks the truth."

Asked about Trump's racist antics, Cruz added soon after, "He has a colorful way of speaking. It is not the way I speak. But I'm not going to engage in the media game of throwing rocks and attacking other Republicans. I'm just not going to do it."

That, of course, was when the senator assumed Trump was a sideshow clown whose time in the spotlight would quickly fade. When the reality-show host became the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, and he went after the Texan's family, Cruz's posture changed. Indeed, as their rivalry intensified, Cruz told Americans that Trump is a “pathological liar,” a “bully,” a “narcissist,” “utterly amoral,” and my personal favorite, a “sniveling coward.”

But now that the senator is running for re-election, Cruz has come full circle, deciding to reinvent himself as a presidential ally, his previous condemnations notwithstanding.

But this uneasy alliance is not without challenges. Yesterday, for example, Trump declared he has an "absolute right" to pardon himself -- a claim Cruz surely knows to be wrong. Is he willing to say so? The Weekly Standard  reported overnight:

[W]hen asked whether he agreed with Trump about the president's pardoning ability, Texas senator Ted Cruz fell silent for 18 seconds until, prompted by a reporter, he said that he hadn't studied that particular aspect of constitutional law.

The audio of the exchange, posted by the Weekly Standard's Haley Byrd, is online here. After the Texas senator's 18 seconds of silence, Cruz eventually said, "That is not a constitutional issue I've studied."

As evasive answers go, I've heard worse, but in this case, there's no reason to accept the line at face value.

read more

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders holds the daily briefing at the White House, September 12, 2017.

Facing credibility test, White House's Sanders struggles badly

06/05/18 08:40AM

Last summer, after the public learned about the infamous Trump Tower meeting between Russian operatives and Trump campaign officials, Donald Trump Jr. issued a highly misleading statement about the pre-election gathering. It wasn't long before reporters wanted to know if the president was involved in crafting the statement, possibly implicating him in a cover-up.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, speaking from the podium in the West Wing, categorically told journalists that Trump "certainly didn't dictate" the statement. According to a memo Trump's lawyers sent to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, however, the president did, in fact, dictate the statement.

Which of these conflicting claims is true? Sanders was offered a chance to set the record straight yesterday -- but it didn't go well.

Q: I want to ask you about the lawyer's letter to the Special Counsel. You said, last August, that the President did not dictate a statement about the Trump Tower meeting during the campaign. But the lawyers wrote to the Special Counsel that the President did dictate that statement. What's the reason for that discrepancy?

SANDERS: Like you said, this is from a letter from the outside counsel, and I direct you to them to answer that question.

Another reporter later asked whether she'd like to retract her answer from last summer. "Once again, this is a reference back to a letter from the outside counsel," Sanders replied. "I can't answer, and I would direct you to them."

It was a striking moment. Given a chance to defend her own credibility, the White House press secretary didn't bother. Reporters are apparently supposed to ask the president's legal team why Sanders failed to tell the truth about a key detail in an ongoing scandal.

read more

Image: FILE: Paul Manafort Resigns As Trump Campaign Chair

Trump faces one-two punch with news on Cohen and Manafort

06/05/18 08:00AM

If Donald Trump's recent legal assertions have seemed a little frantic, it may be because the president is already having a difficult week.

After the FBI raided the home and office of Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney and "fixer," the New York lawyer tried to shield the contents from federal law enforcement's review, claiming the materials were protected by attorney-client privilege. A federal judge appointed a special master to carefully examine the information and declare privileged information off-limits.

Yesterday, we learned that this hasn't turned out especially well for the president's lawyer: the review determined that "only a tiny fraction" of the materials can be kept from federal prosecutors. As Rachel noted on the show last night, Cohen's argument effectively fell flat.

A few hours later, things got just a little worse for Trump World, as Paul Manafort, who ran the president's 2016 campaign, confronted new allegations.

Manafort, of course, is awaiting trial on multiple felony counts, ranging from bank fraud to money laundering, with criminal charges pending in two separate courts simultaneously. For now, Manafort is out on bail, effectively living under house arrest. That may soon change.

Federal prosecutors asked a judge Monday night to revoke bail for Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, alleging that he tried to tamper with potential witnesses while on pretrial release. [...]

According to an FBI affidavit included with the motion, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Manafort used encrypted messaging applications in February to try to reach two unnamed business partners who could be witnesses to his alleged fraud and money laundering.

One of the potential witnesses said he believed Manafort's outreach was an attempt to "suborn perjury" or to instruct him to lie after a superseding indictment was filed in February against Manafort.

If the judge in this case agrees to the prosecutors' request, Manafort's bail will be revoked and he'll likely go to jail pending his trial.

read more


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