The Rachel Maddow Show Weekdays at 9PM

Help

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

Rachel Maddow StoriesRSS

select from:

E.g., 7/23/2017
E.g., 7/23/2017

Tuesday's Campaign Round-Up, 7.11.17

07/11/17 12:00PM

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

* In a bit of a surprise, Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) is ending his gubernatorial campaign in Colorado, just three months after kicking off his bid for statewide office. The decision comes on the heels of Rep. Jared Polis (D) launching a gubernatorial campaign of his own -- and Polis' deep pockets appear to have had an intimidating effect.

* In Alabama's U.S. Senate special election, Rep. Mo Brooks (R) has launched his first television ad, which features his vow to fight for a border wall, and his willingness to read the Bible to other senators.

* On a related note, Brooks' top rival, appointed Sen. Luther Strange (R), told local voters over the weekend that Donald Trump "is the greatest thing that's happened to this country." Strange added, "I consider it a Biblical miracle that he's there."

* DNC Chairman Tom Perez yesterday announced a new investment in grassroots organizing at the state level. The Washington Post reported, "In October, the DNC will give a $10,000 monthly grant to each state party, running through the 2018 midterms -- a one-third increase over its 2016 commitments, which came when the party's presidential campaign was winning the money wars."

* In West Virginia, the field of Republicans hoping to take on Sen. Joe Manchin (D) is getting a little crowded, with state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R) kicking off his statewide campaign yesterday. His principal rival appears to be Rep. Evan Jenkins (R).

* Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, is running a gubernatorial campaign in his native Florida, but his first attempt at statewide office appears to be struggling: his campaign manager, deputy campaign manager, and finance director all quit Gillum's team last week.

read more

Image: FILE PHOTO --  U.S. President Trump and German Chancellor Merkel give a joint news conference in Washington

The list of Kushner's meetings with Russians keeps getting longer

07/11/17 11:20AM

The story first came to public light in April. The New York Times reported that Jared Kushner, Donald Trump's powerful son-in-law, sought the top-secret security clearance before starting his position in the White House, and at the time, "he was required to disclose all encounters with foreign government officials over the last seven years."

The article added that failing to disclose foreign contacts can, in some instances, lead to officials losing “access to intelligence, or worse."

This was relevant because Kushner had failed to disclose a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a separate meeting with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a Russian state-owned bank, Vnesheconombank (or VEB). It's suddenly relevant anew, however, in light of the June 2016 meeting Kushner attended with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and a Kremlin-linked lawyer. The latest New York Times report noted:

The president learned from his aides about the 2016 meeting at the end of the trip, according to a White House official. But some people in the White House had known for several days that it had occurred, because Mr. Kushner had revised his foreign contact disclosure document to include it.

Much of the focus over the last few days has been on Trump Jr., and for good reason. He reportedly received an email suggesting the Russian government wanted to help elect his father, and Trump Jr. was apparently prepared to collude with Russia to that end.

But have you noticed just how many meetings Kushner attended with Russians, which he initially failed to disclose?

read more

A voter walks to an empty electronic voting booth at a Madison, Miss., precinct, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

Trump manages to make his voting commission even worse

07/11/17 10:40AM

I was under the mistaken impression that Donald Trump's ridiculous "voter integrity" commission couldn't possibly get any worse. I stand corrected.

President Donald Trump announced on Monday night that J. Christian Adams, a conservative attorney who has spearheaded efforts around the country to purge voters from the rolls, would be joining the president's commission to investigate voter fraud. [...]

After leaving a post in the Voting Section of the Department of Justice, Adams began a quest to purge voter rolls around the country. As detailed by Mother Jones, Adams has sent threatening letters and filed several lawsuits against counties that he claims have too many names on the voter rolls. The actions largely target rural counties with large minority populations, although last year he and his former colleagues began targeting areas with large Democratic populations in swing states as well.

J. Christian Adams first crossed my radar several years ago. After joining the Bush/Cheney Justice Department, Adams rose to public prominence as the "chief agitator" behind the ridiculous New Black Panther Party story -- alleging two black men with braids in their beards were intimidating white people while loitering outside a Philadelphia voting precinct in 2008.

In the years that followed, Adams began "pushing restrictive elections laws and voter purges across the country."

And now, he's been tapped by the Trump White House to serve on a voting commission, which exists because the president's feelings were hurt when he received 3 million fewer votes than his opponent.

read more

Iraqi special forces advance towards the city of Mosul, Iraq on Oct. 19, 2016. (Photo by Khalid Mohammed/AP)

Despite condemning the mission, Trump praises success in Mosul

07/11/17 10:02AM

When ISIS seized control of Mosul two years ago, it sent a chilling signal to much of the world. The fact that Iraqi forces have now effectively driven ISIS out of Iraq’s second largest city is therefore a major development.

Indeed, Donald Trump issued a statement late yesterday, celebrating the developments. It read in part:

"We have made tremendous progress against ISIS -- more in the past 6 months than in the years since ISIS became a major threat. The victory in Mosul, a city where ISIS once proclaimed its so-called 'caliphate,' signals that its days in Iraq and Syria are numbered. We will continue to seek the total destruction of ISIS."

What the White House statement neglected to mention is just how opposed Trump was to the mission from the outset.

read more

Vice President-elect Mike Pence speaks to reporters at Trump Tower, Nov. 29, 2016 in New York, N.Y. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty)

Mike Pence voices support for radical health care alternative

07/11/17 09:20AM

If Senate Republicans fail to pass their regressive health care plan, there's quite a bit of support among GOP members to strike a bipartisan deal with Senate Democrats and move on to other issues. There is, however, a radically different approach that's also on the table.

Donald Trump published a tweet two weeks ago in which he said he supports a repeal-and-delay model in which Congress immediately repeals the Affordable Care Act, and then figures out a replacement model at some point down the road. Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh asked Mike Pence if he's on board with such an approach, and the vice president, after dismissing the idea of bipartisan policymaking out of hand, replied:

"We believe if they can't pass this carefully crafted repeal-and-replace bill -- do those two things simultaneously -- we ought to just repeal only, and then have enough time built into that legislation to craft replacement legislation."

First, to describe the current Senate Republican blueprint as "carefully crafted" is plainly ridiculous. For anyone who takes this issue seriously, the legislation is a joke. Second, it's not exactly a good sign that GOP leaders are currently arguing about what to do after their health care legislation dies.

But let's put that aside and consider the substantive, policy implications of what the vice president just publicly endorsed.

read more

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to reporters in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, May 17, 2016. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

McConnell far from giving up on a far-right health care overhaul

07/11/17 08:40AM

It's hard not to feel a sense of déjà vu. A few weeks ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), after writing a health care bill in secret, said he'd unveil his legislation on a Thursday, receive a report from the Congressional Budget Office the following Monday, and then hold a vote a few days later.

And here we are again, with McConnell writing a revised bill in secret, announcing a plan to unveil the legislation on Thursday, getting word from the CBO on Monday, and holding a vote a few days later. Politico reported:

Republican leaders are frantically pushing for a vote on the Senate's ailing Obamacare repeal bill next week, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell racing to placate warring moderates and conservatives with a new draft due within days, according to senators and aides.

New bill text could be unveiled to senators as soon as Thursday, according to sources familiar with the proposal. A Congressional Budget Office score is likely to follow as soon as next Monday.

What's unclear is whether the Senate Republican leadership will have more success this time than the last.

An increasingly popular talking point among GOP lawmakers is the idea that their unpopular health care bill no longer exists, since McConnell's office is rewriting it. Like too many of the Republican arguments on health care, that's deliberately misleading: by all accounts, McConnell is looking to tweak, not fundamentally overhaul, the blueprint he unveiled in June.

And so we're left with another head-counting exercise. Are 50 GOP senators prepared to vote for this thing or not?

read more

Donald Trump, Jr., son of Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump, speaks during the second day session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, July 19, 2016. (Photo by Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Collusion allegations come into focus in the Trump-Russia scandal

07/11/17 08:00AM

Yesterday afternoon, a Trump Organization spokesman confirmed that Donald Trump Jr. has hired a private attorney, Alan Futerfas, to represent his interests as the investigation into the Russia scandal continues. In light of the latest reporting from the New York Times, the decision to lawyer up was probably wise.

Before arranging a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer he believed would offer him compromising information about Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump Jr. was informed in an email that the material was part of a Russian government effort to aid his father's candidacy, according to three people with knowledge of the email.

The email to the younger Mr. Trump was sent by Rob Goldstone, a publicist and former British tabloid reporter who helped broker the June 2016 meeting.

For context, it's important to appreciate the evolution of the story in recent days. On Saturday night, the Times first reported on Trump Jr. having met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, which the president's son said was a discussion about adoption policy. A day later, the story advanced: Trump Jr. acknowledged that he participated in the meeting because he hoped to acquire dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian attorney.

Trump was, in other words, effectively admitting that he tried to collude with a Russian national.

But this latest revelation is clearly the most dramatic to date. Trump Jr. was reportedly told, in writing, that the Russian government wanted to help elect his father -- at which point the Republican's son agreed to a meeting in order to collude with Moscow.

It's hard to overstate the significance of revelations like these. Dan Pfeiffer, a former top advisor in the Obama White House, noted overnight, "Not in the wildest Democratic fantasy did we think there would be an email to a Trump clearly stating a Russian government effort to help."

read more

Monday's Mini-Report, 7.10.17

07/10/17 05:33PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Russia scandal: "The Senate Intelligence Committee is interested in talking to Donald Trump. Jr., the eldest son of the president, about his meeting with a Russian lawyer last June, a well-placed committee source tells NBC News."

* Mosul: "Iraqi security forces have wrested control of Mosul from ISIS and are now clearing portions of the city's historic quarter of explosives and hidden enemy fighters, the U.S. military said Monday."

* Turkey: "Addressing huge throngs of people at a rally in Istanbul on Sunday, the leader of Turkey's mainstream opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, issued a thunderous demand for an end to an ongoing government crackdown under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The rally represented the largest public display of opposition to the clampdown Erdogan's government since he survived a failed military coup attempt nearly a year ago."

* It's curious why China would do this for Russia: "Beijing has blocked any mention of Vladimir Putin on popular posts on Sina Weibo, the Twitter-like microblogging service, giving Russia's president an immunity from public criticism usually reserved for China's Communist party elite."

* The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau isn't dead yet: "The nation's consumer watchdog is adopting a rule on Monday that would pry open the courtroom doors for millions of Americans, restoring their right to bring class-action lawsuits against financial firms."

* Bad idea in Kentucky: "In a move the state says would save money but cut another 9,000 people from Medicaid, Gov. Matt Bevin's administration is seeking permission from the federal government for more changes to the state-federal health plan that serves 1.4 million Kentuckians."

* True: "Politics aside, we know how to fix Obamacare."

read more

Image: FILES-US-POLITICS-PROBE-INTELLIGENCE-COMEY

Trump accuses Comey of illegal leak in latest dubious charge

07/10/17 04:39PM

We've come a long way since Donald Trump blew a kiss to James Comey at a White House gathering six months ago. The president, who fired the former FBI director because of his opposition to the investigation into the Russia scandal, today took his contempt for Comey in a new direction.

President Donald Trump went after former FBI director James Comey on Twitter Monday, accusing him of breaking the law by leaking classified information to the news media.

But that isn't true, according to Comey's friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, who received some of the memos and shared some elements with reporters.

"James Comey leaked CLASSIFIED INFORMATION to the media," the president declared. "That is so illegal!"

It's tempting to say that it's not every day that a sitting president of the United States accuses the former director of the FBI of a felony, but in the Trump era, I'm afraid developments like these tend to occur quite regularly.

The trouble, of course, is that Trump doesn't appear to have any idea what he's talking about. The tweet came in response to a report he saw on Fox News, which aired a segment based on a report in The Hill, which didn't say what the confused president thinks it said.

Heads of state of global superpowers should, as a rule, read articles before using them to publicly accuse former FBI directors of crimes.

read more

Image: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence departs a healthcare meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington

Team Trump's pre-election Russian contacts draw fresh scrutiny

07/10/17 12:30PM

There's no shortage of interesting angles to the latest reports about Donald Trump Jr. and his chat with a Kremlin-linked lawyer during the campaign, but as TPM noted, the revelations have renewed interest in "the Trump administration's denials that any such meetings took place."

"Did any adviser or anybody in the Trump campaign have any contact with the Russians who were trying to meddle in the election?" CBS's John Dickerson asked then Vice President-elect Mike Pence on Jan. 15.

"Of course not," Pence replied.

The specific wording of the question doesn't do Pence any favors: a Russian lawyer trying to meddle in the election had a private chat with Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort -- because the campaign thought the lawyer would dish dirt on Hillary Clinton.

We now know, of course, that this is one of several important falsehoods the vice president has peddled since the election, including a variety of bogus claims related to the Trump-Russia scandal.

But what sometimes gets lost in the shuffle is the fact that Pence wasn't the only one denying the interactions between the campaign and the foreign adversary trying to help the campaign.

read more

Pages

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.

MaddowBlog_Appendix_logo

#Maddow

Latest Book