Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, talks with Rachel Maddow about a new request by Democratic senators to President Barack Obama asking for the release of more information about Russia's role in the U.S. election. watch
Rachel Maddow reports on Donald Trump's publicity event at a Carrier manufacturing plant in Indiana after he used tax benefits and not the tax penalties he threatened on the campaign trail to convince the company to keep some jobs in the U.S. that had previously been planned for export to Mexico. watch
Tom Steyer, founder and president of NextGen Climate, talks with Rachel Maddow about reports that the current and former CEOs of ExxonMobil and being considered by President-elect Donald Trump as possible selections for secretary of state. watch
Chris Hayes talks with Rachel Maddow about Donald Trump's first public speech since winning the presidency, the first in a series of campaign-style rallies in which Trump gloated about his victory and insulted the media. watch
* Tennessee: "Three more people have died in the ferocious wildfire that erupted across Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park, authorities said Thursday, raising the death toll to 10 as officials continue to assess the damage."
* A bit of a surprise out of France: "French President Francois Hollande said on Thursday he would not seek a second term in office in the presidential election in 2017, an unprecedented move that leaves the way open for other left-wing candidates. It is the first time in decades that an incumbent French president has not sought re-election. Hollande is the most unpopular president on record."
* A bigger surprise out of California: "Gov. Jerry Brown has tapped House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) to be the next attorney general of California. He will succeed Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate in November."
* This is an important effort worth watching: "A Republican senator and a Democratic senator have joined forces to try to protect DREAMers and shield them from deportation as concerns mount that President-elect Donald Trump could repeal President Barack Obama's executive action to protect them."
* Putin intends to play Trump like a fiddle: "After a wave of euphoria among Russia's political elite over the victory of Donald J. Trump, President Vladimir V. Putin on Thursday gave a more measured response in his annual address to the nation, calling for cooperation but expressing misgivings over some of Mr. Trump's statements about nuclear weapons." read more
A Carrier employee tells me: “It might be a little bit of a publicity stunt, to tell you the truth." https://t.co/1x6j0Uyge5
As promised, Donald Trump is in Indiana today, celebrating himself for his role in an agreement with Carrier to keep some jobs in Indiana. "Companies are not going to leave the United States without consequences," the Republican president-elect declared this afternoon.
It's a nice little line, which happens to be ridiculous. In the case of Carrier, the "consequences" include the company accepting a ton of taxpayer money.
A source with knowledge of the state's negotiation with Carrier's parent company, United Technologies, said the deal would grant the parent company of Carrier Corp. $7 million in financial incentives over 10 years in exchange for a guarantee that the air and heating conditioning company would retain at least 1,000 jobs and invest $16 million into its Indiana operation.
Carrier confirmed Thursday that "the state of Indiana has offered Carrier a $7 million package over multiple years, contingent upon factors including employment, job retention and capital investment."
While the agreement is obviously good news for the workers who'll keep their jobs, let's not lose sight of the relevant details Donald Trump doesn't want to talk about.
1. Carrier jobs are still moving to Mexico. While the company will receive $7 million in taxpayer money to keep roughly 800 jobs in Indiana, the Wall Street Journalreports that Carrier "still plans to move 600 jobs from the Carrier plant to Mexico," plus moving another 700 other jobs that will be lost when it closes a separate plant in Huntington, Ind. In other words, under Trump's alleged triumph, the one that will teach a valuable lesson to American companies, Carrier is shipping 1,300 jobs from Indiana to Mexico, even as receives millions of dollars from the state.
2. This is the exact opposite of what Trump said he'd do. As a presidential candidate, Trump mocked government efforts to keep employers stateside with grants, tax incentives, and low-interest loans. Candidate Trump said that approach "doesn't work," which is why he'd use a stick rather than a carrot: "What you do is you tell them, 'You move to Mexico, you`re going to pay a 35 percent tax bringing these products that you make in Mexico back into the country.'"
Except, with Carrier, Trump's doing exactly what he promised not to do, ignoring the solution he assured voters would work "easily." read more
There's some disagreement among medical associations surrounding Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), Donald Trump's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. The American Medical Association, to the consternation of many of its members, is backing the right-wing congressman, while the National Physicians Alliance is not.
But it's an entirely different medical organization that's generating headlines this week, and for good reason. New York magazine noted today:
[T]he bright-red warning flags go beyond Price's policy stances. The congressman also belongs to a truly radical medical organization known as the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. And when you look into the specifics of what that group espouses it's hard not to shudder a little bit extra hard.
Science Blogs managing editor David Gorski, himself a surgeon, summed up what he knows about the AAPS in a helpful blog post. The short version is that the organization stands at direct odds, in myriad ways, with some of very foundational beliefs of evidence-based modern public-health research. As Gorski explains, the organization takes what is basically an Ayn Rand-ian view of the medical world in which doctors are brilliant superheroes constantly undermined by government meddling in the forms of demands for evidence and accountability and things like that.
A Mother Jonespiece from a few years ago added, "[D]espite the lab coats and the official-sounding name, the docs of the AAPS are hardly part of mainstream medical society. Think Glenn Beck with an MD."
The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons last came up a few years ago when Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who has all kinds of weird scientific beliefs, noted his affiliation with the group. It wasn't encouraging: the organization has expressed "doubts about the connection between HIV and AIDS and suggested that President Barack Obama may have been elected because he was able to hypnotize voters." The AAPS has also peddled discredited claims about vaccines and autism. read more
Today's installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Hillary Clinton's lead over Donald Trump in the popular vote passed the 2.5 million mark this morning, and the Democratic candidate also surpassed the 65 million-vote threshold. In American history, only President Obama has received more (and Clinton may yet match Obama's 65.9 million votes from 2012).
* In North Carolina's gubernatorial race, Roy Cooper's (D) lead over Pat McCrory (R) is now over 10,000 votes. The incumbent governor nevertheless urged the State Board of Elections to order a recount votes in Durham County, which it did yesterday.
* The U.S. Senate runoff election in Louisiana is a week from Saturday, and state Treasurer John Kennedy's (R) campaign hopes to get a boost this weekend with a campaign visit from Vice President-elect Mike Pence.
* Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) was announced the winner of his re-election bid this week, but he's not done fighting: the far-right Republican has apparently filed a libel suit against his Democratic challenger, retired Marine Col. Doug Applegate. Issa, who's suing for $10 million, claims Applegate's campaign commercials damaged his reputation.
* The Congressional Black Caucus, which will have its largest-ever membership in the new Congress, elected Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) as its new chairman yesterday. Though the final tally wasn't released, Richmond defeated Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.). read more
President Obama made his 23rd visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this week, and given how little time remains in his second term, it was likely the last time Obama will spend several hours visiting with wounded servicemen and women who've returned from Afghanistan and Iraq.
A New York Timesreport on this noted that Obama considers meeting with the wounded and their families to be "among the most sacred duties of his presidency. He rarely talks about his trips to Walter Reed, but his aides say that they have affected him deeply."
That's not at all surprising. What was surprising was seeing someone criticize this on the record.
Robert M. Gates, the former defense secretary, wrote in his memoir "Duty" that seeing the wounded and attending funerals took such an emotional toll that he had to resign. Critics see another effect. Over the course of his presidency, Mr. Obama has become increasingly unwilling to commit troops to wars in places like Libya, Syria and Iraq.
Eliot A. Cohen, an official in the George W. Bush administration who is now professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, said that Mr. Obama's trips to Walter Reed may have been the reason, and that future presidents should avoid the visits.
"A president has to be psychologically prepared to send people into harm's way and to get a good night's sleep," Mr. Cohen said. "And anything they do that might cripple them that way means they're not doing their job."
I've seen the president criticized for all sorts of strange reasons over the last eight years, but I'll admit, it never occurred to me Obama would be encouraged to spend less time visiting with injured troops and their families. read more
Americans who believed Donald Trump's populist-sounding campaign posturing received a wake-up call this week.
In a campaign commercial that ran just before the election, Donald J. Trump's voice boomed over a series of Wall Street images. He described "a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations."
The New York Stock Exchange, the hedge fund billionaire George Soros and the chief executive of the investment bank Goldman Sachs flashed across the screen.
Now Mr. Trump has named a former Goldman executive and co-investor with Mr. Soros to spearhead his economic policy.
It's not just Steven Mnuchin's Treasury nomination, of course. Trump, abandoning his "drain the swamp" vows, has chosen a series of billionaires, insiders, and powerful corporate-board members for his administration, giving them key posts.
The New York Timesreport added, "While that approach has been cheered by investors (the stocks of Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have been on a tear since the election), it stands in stark contrast to the populist campaign that Mr. Trump ran and the support he received from working-class voters across the country."
Bloomberg Politics spoke to hedge fund manager Whitney Tilson, who said of Trump's working-class voters, "I think Donald Trump conned them. I worried that he was going to do crazy things that would blow the system up. So the fact that he's appointing people from within the system is a good thing."
But this got me thinking about the exact nature of Trump's "con." read more
When Donald Trump and his team introduce a new cabinet pick, they're technically announcing a nomination: each of the president-elect's selections will need Senate confirmation before taking office. With a Republican-led Senate, that shouldn't be much of a problem.
But after reading this new Politico piece on Trump's proposed Treasury Secretary, it's hard not to wonder how GOP senators are going to defend supporting Steven Mnuchin.
Donald Trump wasn't the only person to see opportunity in the 2008 housing collapse. As the economy recovered from the rubble of failed banks, foreclosed homes and government bailouts, Steven Mnuchin emerged a winner.
That success is coming back to haunt the hedge fund manager and Hollywood producer who is Trump's choice for Treasury secretary. OneWest, a bank Mnuchin and his partners established during the collapse, has taken steady fire from regulators and consumer advocates for myriad failures ever since.
The article added, among other things, that Mnuchin foreclosed on a 90-year-old Florida woman "after a 27-cent payment error."
The list keeps going:
* Mnuchin "played hardball" with federal officials to profit from the 2008 global economic crash.
* Two housing advocacy groups alleged to U.S. regulators that Mnuchin's OneWest Bank "broke federal laws by keeping branches out of minority neighborhoods and making few mortgages to black and Latino borrowers."
* Mnuchin's OneWest Bank was also accused of squeezing Hurricane Sandy victims.
* When public interest groups balked at Mnuchin's sale of OneWest, "a parade of community-based nonprofits stepped forward to testify" in support of the bank. Politicofound that those same nonprofits "received tens of thousands of dollars each from the bank's foundation, which was run by Mnuchin." read more
A week after the presidential election, Donald Trump spoke via phone with British Prime Minister Theresa May, though it seems no one prepared the president-elect on the basics of diplomacy. Trump apparently told May, for example, "If you travel to the U.S., you should let me know."
The casual invitation "left civil servants amused and befuddled." In Trump's mind, the British prime minister might have plans to swing by America for a visit, in which case, the president-elect hoped May would give him a heads-up. What Trump doesn't realize is that May would only come if invited.
Yesterday, the Republican had another chat with a foreign leader, and as the Washington Postnoted, no one prepared Trump for this conversation, either.
Pakistan's Press Information Bureau on Wednesday released a readout of a phone call on Monday between Pakistan's prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and the U.S. president-elect, Donald Trump. The readout is unusual in that it focuses almost entirely on Trump's contributions to the conversation, and reproduces them in a voice that is unmistakably his.
The report from the Pakistani government is online in its entirety here, and it really must be read to be fully appreciated: "President Trump said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif you have a very good reputation. You are a terrific guy. You are doing amazing work which is visible in every way. I am looking forward to see you soon.... Your country is amazing with tremendous opportunities. Pakistanis are one of the most intelligent people. I am ready and willing to play any role that you want me to play to address and find solutions to the outstanding problems."
Of particular interest, the readout added, "On being invited to visit Pakistan by the Prime Minister, Mr. Trump said that he would love to come to a fantastic country, fantastic place of fantastic people. Please convey to the Pakistani people that they are amazing and all Pakistanis I have known are exceptional people, said Mr. Donald Trump."
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.