The Rachel Maddow Show Weekdays at 9PM

Help

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

Rachel Maddow StoriesRSS

select from:

E.g., 12/9/2016
E.g., 12/9/2016
A sign identifies the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington, D.C. on May 7, 2010. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty)

Congress holds IRS impeachment vote as Trump eyes new commissioner

12/07/16 09:20AM

The 114th Congress is, mercifully, nearly over, but as we saw yesterday, lawmakers aren't quite done considering ridiculous ideas. The Wall Street Journal reported:
The House of Representatives turned aside an attempt by conservative hard-liners to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen for his handling of congressional investigations into the tax agency.

Instead, in a 342-72 vote, the House sent the issue back to the Judiciary Committee, which hasn't held a formal impeachment hearing or voted on the matter.
The vote effectively ends the impeachment crusade, at least for a while. The House's GOP majority could start the process anew next year, but there wouldn't be any point.

The fact that this even reached the House floor yesterday is something of an embarrassment. Circling back to our previous coverage, the IRS "scandal" was discredited years ago -- Koskinen wasn't even at the tax agency when the imaginary controversy unfolded -- and as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) documented in May, charges that Koskinen was part of some kind of after-the-fact cover-up don't make any sense.

Koskinen took on the job of improving the IRS out of a sense of duty -- the president asked this veteran public official to tackle a thankless task, and Koskinen reluctantly agreed. For his trouble, a sizable group of far-right House Republicans have tried to impeach him, for reasons even they have struggled to explain.

Of course, whether or not Congress approves, Koskinen won't lead the IRS much longer. As the Journal's article added, Koskinen, who's now 77, "serves a fixed term that ends in November 2017. [Donald Trump] could force him out or could wait until the end of Mr. Koskinen's term and appoint his successor, who must be confirmed by the Senate."

And that raises some interesting possibilities.
read more

Empty hospital emergency room. (Stock photo by  DreamPictures/Getty Images)

Hospitals: GOP may create 'an unprecedented public health crisis'

12/07/16 08:40AM

Hospitals are not known for being especially political or ideological. Everyone gets sick; everyone occasionally has a medical emergency; and so everyone has a vested interest in making sure hospitals are stable and secure facilities.

And with that in mind, when American hospitals start to panic in response to Republican threats, the public ought to take note. The Washington Post reported yesterday:
The nation's hospital industry warned President-elect Trump and congressional leaders on Tuesday that repealing the Affordable Care Act could cost hospitals $165 billion by the middle of the next decade and trigger "an unprecedented public health crisis."

The two main trade groups for U.S. hospitals dispatched a letter to the incoming president and Capitol Hill's top four leaders, saying that the government should help hospitals avoid massive financial losses if the law is rescinded in a way that causes a surge of uninsured patients.
The dire warning was issued alongside this study (pdf) from the AHA and the Federation of American Hospitals, detailing the severe financial consequences for the industry if the nation's current system unravels as a result of the Republican agenda.

Joann Anderson, the president and CEO of Southeastern Health in Lumberton, North Carolina, told reporters yesterday that hospitals face dangerous and systemic disruptions from the GOP's plans. "A repeal-and-replace initiative is frightening," Anderson said. "To think about going through another dramatic, sudden, rapid change for an organization that teeters on being able to stay alive and provide services is gut-wrenching."

I'm curious about how easily warnings such as these can be dismissed as trivial. In recent years, Republicans and their allies have reflexively ignored related warnings about the repeal crusade by dismissing the ideologies of the messengers: reports from universities are ignored because scholars are liberals; reports from news organizations are ignored because journalists are liberals; reports based on arithmetic are ignored because math is liberal, and so on.

But what about hospitals? Does the right see major medical institutions as political enemies whose warnings don't matter?
read more

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the Brady press briefing room at the White House, on Nov. 14, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Andrew Harnik/AP)

Without mentioning his name, Obama sends Trump a subtle reminder

12/07/16 08:00AM

President Obama will wrap up his second term next month, leaving him limited opportunities for major, big-picture speeches. As was clear in Tampa yesterday, however, Obama is eager to take advantage of his remaining time in office to speak to his legacy -- and his successor. Slate's Fred Kaplan helped set the stage:
President Obama on Tuesday delivered his final national security speech as commander in chief. The address had been planned well before the election, his deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, had told reporters in advance. The intention was to summarize the things the president had accomplished and the guidelines that the next one, whoever he or she might be, would be wise to follow in the year ahead.

But the unmistakable subject of the speech Obama gave in front of a crowd of servicemen and women at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, was the man he never actually named, Donald Trump.
If you missed the speech, the transcript is online, and if you read it, pay particular attention to the repeated instances in which Obama sent not-so-subtle shots across his successor's bow.

* On torture: "We prohibited torture, everywhere, at all times -- and that includes tactics like waterboarding. And at no time has anybody who has worked with me told me that doing so has cost us good intelligence. (Applause.) When we do capture terrorists, despite all the political rhetoric about the need to strip terrorists of their rights, our interrogation teams have obtained valuable information from terrorists without resorting to torture, without operating outside the law."

* On civil liberties: "[W]e have to uphold the civil liberties that define us. Terrorists want us to turn on one another.... The United States of America is not a country that imposes religious tests as a price for freedom."

* On Muslims: "We are fighting terrorists who claim to fight on behalf of Islam. But they do not speak for over a billion Muslims around the world, and they do not speak for American Muslims, including many who wear the uniform of the United States of America's military. If we stigmatize good, patriotic Muslims, that just feeds the terrorists' narrative. It fuels the same false grievances that they use to motivate people to kill. If we act like this is a war between the United States and Islam, we're not just going to lose more Americans to terrorist attacks, but we'll also lose sight of the very principles we claim to defend."

* On American principles: "[O]ver these last eight years, we have demonstrated that staying true to our traditions as a nation of laws advances our security as well as our values.... We can get these terrorists and stay true to who we are."
read more

Tuesday's Mini-Report, 12.6.16

12/06/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* It's hard to know for sure if this claim is true: "President-elect Donald Trump sold all his shares in companies in June, his spokesman said Tuesday, a move that could have created a cash windfall as he ramped up to begin a costly general election presidential campaign that at the time he claimed he would personally support with 'major contributions.'"

* More on Boeing tomorrow: "President-elect Donald Trump threatened to cancel Boeing's order for the new Air Force One in a Tuesday morning tweet, citing high costs. In a surprise appearance in front of reporters at Trump Tower after sending the social media message, Trump expanded on his latest target for negotiation."

* Carrier keeps ending up in the news: "Carrier Corp., the maker of air conditioners that was persuaded by President-elect Donald Trump to abort plans to close a U.S. factory, is increasing prices to stay competitive as higher costs weigh on the industry."

* Buckle up: "Iran's president fired a warning shot at Donald Trump Tuesday, cautioning the President-elect that he would not allow him to 'tear up' Iran's landmark nuclear deal with world powers."

* Wells Fargo: "The bank has sought to kill lawsuits that its customers have filed over the creation of as many as two million sham accounts by moving the cases into private arbitration — a secretive legal process that often favors corporations. Lawyers for the bank's customers say the legal motions are an attempt to limit the bank's accountability for the widespread fraud and deny its customers their day in open court."

* Rep. Katherine Clark's (D-Mass.) "Presidential Accountability Act" seems like a good idea: "President-elect Donald Trump's intention to separate himself from his companies is not good enough to avoid conflicts of interest, according to a Democratic lawmaker whose bill would require the billionaire to make the break official."
read more

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn arrives at Trump Tower, Nov. 17, 2016. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and high level positions for the new administration. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty)

Incoming National Security Advisor loves his conspiracy theories

12/06/16 01:03PM

The problem of ridiculous "fake news" stories making the rounds, confusing voters who don't know better, has proven to be one of the year's most notable political developments, but the issue took on new salience over the weekend. As we discussed yesterday, a gunman opened fire in a DC pizza shop because, according to police reports, he believed online, right-wing conspiracy theories about the restaurant.

As best as I can tell, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, who'll soon become the White House National Security Advisor, didn't disseminate the specific "pizzagate" nonsense -- but his chief of staff and son did, prompting new questions about the son's role on the Trump transition team. Though there's some evidence he was part of the organization, a Trump spokesperson said this morning that is no longer the case.

But Michael Flynn Sr. is still prepared to take on extremely important responsibilities next month, and while he didn't push "pizzagate," he did promote similar conspiracy theories ahead of the presidential election. Politico reports today on just how big a problem this has been for Flynn.
As Donald Trump's national security adviser, retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn will have to advise the president of the veracity of foreign and domestic threats, separating those that require immediate policy action from propaganda or misinformation.

But Flynn himself has used social media to promote a series of outrageous conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and their inner circles in recent months -- pushing dubious factoids at least 16 times since Aug. 9, according to a POLITICO review of his Twitter posts. Flynn, who has 106,000 Twitter followers, has used the platform to retweet accusations that Clinton is involved with child sex trafficking and has "secretly waged war" on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that Obama is a "jihadi" who "laundered" money for Muslim terrorists.
Typically, when we hear about random folks who believe such garbage, we think of it in inconsequential terms -- because these people are not in positions of authority.

But when the president of the United States has a chief national security advisor who struggles to separate fact from politically satisfying fiction, but who nevertheless is responsible for identifying key information that should matter to the man in the Oval Office, there's a real problem.
read more

Tuesday's Campaign Round-Up, 12.6.16

12/06/16 12:00PM

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

* At a weekend rally in Louisiana, Vice President-elect Mike Pence declared that Donald Trump won a "decisive, landslide victory." As of this morning, Hillary Clinton's lead in the popular vote is up to 2.65 million votes.

* House Democrats agreed yesterday to give Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) a second term as chairman of the DCCC.

* On the other side of the aisle, the right-wing House Freedom Caucus yesterday chose Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) as its next chairman. Meadows, known for his repeated clashes with former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), will take the reins from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

* A new Quinnipiac poll shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's (R) approval rating dropping to just 19%. In more than two decades of polling, Quinnipiac has never seen a less popular governor in any state. The results are in line with a new Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll, which puts Christie's approval rating at 18%.

* Trump caused Boeing's stock price to drop quickly this morning after publishing a tweet that read, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!" By some accounts, Trump exaggerated the figures.

* In related news, Trump tweeted yesterday, "If the press would cover me accurately & honorably, I would have far less reason to 'tweet.' Sadly, I don't know if that will ever happen!" I have no idea why he put "tweet" in quotes.

* Outgoing Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), one of the Republican incumbents who lost this year, is refusing to talk to the Democrat who defeated him, Rep.-elect Josh Gottheimer. Apparently, Gottheimer has called Garrett and sent him certified mail to discuss the transition, but the Republican hasn't acknowledged the outreach.
read more

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with press on Sept. 5, 2016, aboard his campaign plane, while flying over Ohio, as Vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence looks on. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)

Unwilling to focus on substance, Trump sidelines policy team

12/06/16 11:28AM

Before the election, Donald Trump and his team made a deliberate decision to avoid substance and policy details. One of the Republican candidate's top policy advisers said after the conventions that the typical American voter would be "bored to tears" if the campaign focused on substance -- a sentiment Trump himself endorsed in June when he said "the public doesn't care" about public policy.

In May, Politico quoted a campaign insider saying Trump didn't want to "waste time on policy." The Trump source added at the time, "It won't be until after he is elected ... that he will figure out exactly what he is going to do."

Well, the election has come and gone, and as Politico reports today, Trump still isn't focused on what, exactly, he's going to do.
While Donald Trump dines on frog legs with Mitt Romney and meets with a parade of lawmakers and governors in his gold-plated Midtown skyscraper, most of his transition staff are hunkered down in Washington, D.C., writing detailed governing plans for his first 100 days.

But so far, Trump and his inner circle have largely ignored those plans as they focus on top appointments and lean on the advice of politicians, CEOs and donors, rather than on their transition staff, say sources close to the transition.

The president-elect, meanwhile, has been more likely to set policy on Twitter than through consultation with his D.C. advisers.
The article quoted a Republican official involved in past transitions who said Team Trump's approach "is not a recipe for smooth governance."

Politico added that Trump's focus is on "personality" over "policy."
read more

Then, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a campaign rally in Cleveland, Ohio, on Oct. 22, 2016. (Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Trump's lawyer suggests the president-elect's fraud claim isn't true

12/06/16 10:40AM

As you've probably heard, there are progressive efforts underway to force recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania -- three traditionally "blue" states where Donald Trump narrowly prevailed. Had these three states, where literally every independent poll showed Hillary Clinton ahead in the months leading up to Election Day, voted Democratic, Trump would've lost.

But therein lies the problem for the president-elect's detractors: in order to make a difference in the election's outcome, these recounts would have to flip all three states, which is extraordinarily unlikely. If I were on Team Trump, I'd probably tell recount activists, "Go ahead and waste your money on this. Knock yourself out while we get ready for Inauguration Day."

Oddly enough, however, Trump and his supporters are actually pushing back aggressively against the recounts, filing lawsuits and making every possible effort to derail the process.

It's difficult to speculate about their motivation. Maybe Trump is feeling a little touchy about losing the popular vote by such a wide margin, and any attempt to further undermine the legitimacy of his looming presidency triggers fierce resistance.

Whatever the cause for the pushback, the Washington Post read the court filings from Trump's attorneys and came across a fascinating tidbit.
In court filings submitted in an effort to block recount efforts by Green Party candidate Jill Stein in Michigan and Pennsylvania, attorneys for the president-elect stated unequivocally that there was, in fact, no evidence that any voter fraud had occurred.

The most direct statement was made in the Trump campaign's filing in Michigan.

"On what basis does Stein seek to disenfranchise Michigan citizens? None really, save for speculation," it reads. "All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake."
Is that so. Perhaps now would be a good time to ask whether or not Donald Trump's lawyers have talked to Donald Trump.
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 claims about jobs saved at Carrier come into question

12/06/16 10:00AM

Donald Trump visited a Carrier plant in Indiana last week, touting his role in a controversial deal in which the company will receive $7 million in taxpayer money to save some domestic jobs, even as Carrier announced plans to move even more jobs to Mexico. As part of his appearance, the president-elect referenced some relatively specific numbers.

"I will tell you that United Technologies and Carrier stepped it up," he said, "and now they're keeping -- actually the number's over 1,100 people, which is so great, which is so great."

Is that true? Not exactly. WTHR, the NBC affiliate in Indianapolis, took a closer look and found that the agreement "may not have saved as many factory jobs" as Trump claimed.
"We found out today that more jobs are leaving than what we originally thought," [Carrier worker T.J. Bray, who's also a communications rep for the union] said. "It seemed like since Thursday, it was 1,100 [jobs saved] then it was maybe 900 and then now we're at 700. So I'm hoping it doesn't go any lower than that."

Union workers got a letter at the plant saying Trump's deal with Carrier will save only 730 factory jobs in Indianapolis, plus 70 salaried positions -- 553 jobs in the plant's fan coil lines are still moving to Monterrey, Mexico. All 700 workers at Carrier's Huntington plant will also lose their jobs.
As for Trump's "1,100" figure, the president-elect was apparently including 350 research and development jobs that, according to the local report, "were never going to move to Mexico in the first place. Those were jobs that Carrier said all along would stay in Indianapolis."

Hmm. So Trump is directing $7 million to a company that's sending more jobs to Mexico than it's keeping in the U.S.; he's relying on the opposite policy he promised to pursue as a candidate; and he's exaggerating the number of saved jobs.

This is the president-elect's big public-relations triumph?
read more

Republican Electoral College member announces opposition to Trump

12/06/16 09:00AM

Add up the states Donald Trump won in this year's presidential election, and you end up with 306 electoral votes, more than enough to put the Republican amateur in the White House. In practice, however, that's probably not the number he'll end up with.

When members of the Electoral College meet in two weeks to officially choose the next president and vice president, most of their votes aren't automatic. Actual people, effectively anonymous to the American public, will be responsible for casting ballots that decide the election.

And though it's widely assumed that electors will vote the way they're supposed to, history offers plenty of examples of "faithless electors" who go their own way. This year will apparently add to the list: Texas' Christopher Suprun, pledged to the Trump/Pence ticket, has decided he cannot support the GOP nominees. In a New York Times op-ed, Suprun, a paramedic and 9/11 first-responder, explained his reasoning.
The election of the next president is not yet a done deal. Electors of conscience can still do the right thing for the good of the country. Presidential electors have the legal right and a constitutional duty to vote their conscience. I believe electors should unify behind a Republican alternative, an honorable and qualified man or woman such as Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. I pray my fellow electors will do their job and join with me in discovering who that person should be.

Fifteen years ago, I swore an oath to defend my country and Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. On Dec. 19, I will do it again.
This is, of course, exactly what many progressive activists have been hoping for: a Republican elector, driven by a sense of patriotic duty, concluding that Trump simply doesn't belong in the Oval Office.

But while I don't like dashing progressive hopes, it's worth noting that Suprun's declaration isn't likely to change the outcome of the election.
read more

Obamacare Tax Subsidies Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty)

Why the GOP will regret making health care promises it can't keep

12/06/16 08:00AM

Most Republican leaders have coalesced around a health care strategy called "repeal and delay," which we discussed late last week. The basic idea is that GOP officials, once they take control of every lever of federal power, will pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but delay the implementation for a few years, leaving "Obamacare" intact until at least 2019.

Between now and then, the gambit will move on to its second phase: Republicans will use those three years to come up with their own ACA alternative, an effort that's already been ongoing for seven years, to no avail.

There are all kinds of problems with this scheme, which we'll cover in more detail as the process moves forward, and with the House Freedom Caucus already balking, it's not a foregone conclusion that "repeal and delay" can pass. But putting that aside for now, it's worth pausing to appreciate the health-care promises Republicans are making -- which they almost certainly won't be able to keep.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) talked to "60 Minutes" the other day, and told CBS's Scott Pelley that ACA repeal will be "the first bill" Congress tackles in January. When the correspondent asked if Republicans are "pulling the rug out from under the 20 million people," the Republican leader said, "No, no," as if the very idea was absurd.

"We want to make sure that we have a good transition period, so that people can get better coverage at a better price," Ryan said. The Speaker then committed to protecting consumers with pre-existing conditions -- he called it "a very important feature of any health-care system" -- and allowing young adults to stay on their parents' plan until the age of 26. It led to this exchange:
PELLEY: Is your plan going to cover everyone in America?

RYAN: We will give everyone access to affordable health-care coverage.
Yesterday, the Speaker added, in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that the Republican approach will make sure that "no one is left out in the cold" and "no one is worse off."

Ryan's writing checks that his party can't cash.
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