The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/17/13

Guests:
Chris Smith, Trent Siebert
Transcript:

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home as well, for joining
us this hour.

If you go to the official Web site for the government of the state of
Florida, you will see there that you can click to meet the governor. And
there he is, you go and click on it, meet the governor, Florida`s
Republican Governor Rick Scott.

You can read about Governor Scott being married to his high school
sweetheart for 40 years and him serving in the Navy. It`s all there. Meet
the governor. And on that same Web site, for the government of Florida,
you can also click to meet the lieutenant governor.

Let`s try. OK, trouble. Error 404 page not found. Sorry, what you
are looking for isn`t here.

And this is not a mistake, because Florida – the great state of
Florida does not have a lieutenant governor. They have that job, they have
an elected office called lieutenant governor, but that job is vacant, which
makes for an interesting side note to this story that is underway right now
in the Sunshine State – protesters who have moved in to Florida Governor
Rick Scott`s office. They`re still there heading into night two, they
moved in yesterday and when night came last night, they rolled out sleeping
bags and they tucked in for the night.

At this hour, they appear to be settling in second night of peaceful
protest. Protest by means of showing up and staying put and refusing to go
home.

Law enforcement has said they can keep staying at the governor`s
office, as long as they do not disrupt official business while they are
there. The protesters say still tonight like they did last night that they
intend to wait to stay at the governor`s office until they get a meeting
with Governor Scott himself.

They`re calling on the governor to convene a special session of the
Florida state legislature to debate what they`re calling the “Trayvon
Martin Civil Rights Act”. They want that act to repeal Florida`s “Stand
Your Ground” law.

As you can see here, when these very determined protesters filed into
the governor and lieutenant governor`s office, stop the tape here, you see
that? Governor, implied comma, and lieutenant governor, but it`s an
interesting side note. There is no lieutenant governor right now for the
state of Florida.

And that is because the lieutenant governor that Florida had had to
resign in disgrace. In one of the strangest political scandals in this
country this year, at least, it was a big political scandal even by the
standards of the Florida which knows from lieutenant scandal.

But it was Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll who was elected
alongside Rick Scott in the Republican wave of 2010. She served in the
Florida legislature for seven years before she was elected lieutenant
governor.

While she served as a lawmaker, she also ran a PR firm. She said that
her PR firm`s main income came from this company which purports to be a
charity for America`s military veterans, helping vets struggling with
homelessness among other things.

After Jennifer Carroll got elected lieutenant governor, after she got
elected to the number two office in the state. She still as lieutenant
governor appeared in this PSA/ad for this group.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER CARROLL (R), FORMER FLORIDA LT. GOVERNOR: As a veteran who
served during the Gulf War, I personally know how hard it is for service
members to be apart from their families. Allied Veterans of the World is
making it easier for them (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLOIP)

MADDOW: OK. The national commander of this group, its leader, his
name is Jerry Bass. This video you see him in here comes from a couple of
years ago. If you`re looking for a more recent photo of Mr. Bass, we do
have this more recent mugshot of him, which was taken the day after
Jennifer Carroll had to resign her position as lieutenant governor, because
her PR firm and her association with him and his supposed veteran`s charity
made her continuing in office an untenable prospect.

Jerry Bass was arrested amid allegations that his group supposedly
raising money for veterans with the lieutenant governor`s help was actually
doing something else with the money that they raised. He was arrested in a
mass raid along with nearly 60 people, the suspects accused of
racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering and more. The IRS says
the so-called charity was a fraud. They appear to have taken in, quote,
“nearly $6 million in what appeared to be actual charitable donations to
veterans,” but that is only about 2 percent of the nearly $300 million they
raised during that time.

Investigators trying to find the other 98 percent of the money that
was raised supposedly for veterans found that the group instead lavished
millions of dollars on its leaders, spending on boats, beach front condos,
Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches.

Also just cash. Law enforcement seized about 300 bank accounts
containing about $65 million cash, along with the sports cars and the other
property.

Florida Republicans had taken about $300,000 as donations from this
group. But when the arrests all went down, 60 people arrested, right? And
this whole scheme gets exposed in the press, Florida Republicans go
embarrassed, rightfully so. Florida`s Republican Party immediately
announcing upon all those arrests they would give the 300 grand to real
veterans causes.

But, you know, Florida`s Republican lieutenant governor who was right
in the middle of this whole scandal herself, she did not sound nearly so
embarrassed as the rest of her party. In an interview right after she
resigned, Jennifer Carroll told “The New York Times”, quote, “I believe I
did a fantastic job.” Fantastic, fantastic job former Lieutenant Governor
Jennifer Carroll.

But before she resigned, but when she was still just the elected
official with the PR firm and the PSA for the fake veteran`s charity and
the Maseratis and the Ferraris and the 300 bank accounts and the $65
million cash, and the 60 people arrested, before all of that, Lieutenant
Governor Carroll is who Rick Scott put in charge of reviewing the “Stand
Your Ground” law, right after Trayvon Martin got killed last year and
before it was clear that George Zimmerman would face charges in that
killing. Rick Scott put her in charge of handpicked panel to consider
whether Florida`s “Stand Your Ground” law should be changed.

Quoting Governor Scott, “I have asked Lieutenant Governor Jennifer
Carroll to lead the task force, conduct public hearings, take testimony and
recommend actions, legislative and otherwise, to both protect our citizens
and safeguard our rights.

That panel held half a dozen meetings around the state last year,
taking testimony from citizens at the mic, Ms. Carroll`s task force tweeted
they would hold a meeting in Sanford, Florida, which is where Trayvon
Martin died. But the meeting they actually held that day happened in
another town. The task force appears to have not held a hearing in
Sanford.

In any case, Jennifer Carroll pledged her panel would conduct a fair
investigation. Reporters noted that four members of the panel were
legislators who had voted for “Stand Your Ground” when the bill passed in
2005. Those members included one of the co-authors of the bill, Republican
state lawmaker who had been the recipient of a ton of campaign cash from
the NRA.

But under the leadership of Florida`s lieutenant governor, before she
had to resign in disgrace, that was the Florida task force that studied
what should happen to the state`s “Stand Your Ground” law. They studied
that law for several months, and in November, this Jennifer Carroll task
force made its recommendation. They said the law should remain intact.
Tweak a little maybe, but basically leave it alone, leave “Stand Your
Ground” in place.

In February, they issued a fancier version of the same report with the
same conclusion, the honorable Jennifer Carroll, lieutenant governor,
saying hands off the Florida “Stand Your Ground” law. That was three weeks
before she would resign in disgrace, talking about what a fantastic job she
had done.

And that is the leg they are standing on in Florida right now. That
conclusion by that panel under her leadership is why Rick Scott says he
will not give in to protesters demands to reconsider, to re-debate the
state`s law about who can shoot who and when.

Governor Scott`s office e-mailing the today show yesterday saying,
quote, “immediately after” – excuse me, “immediately following Trayvon
Martin`s death, Governor Scott called a bipartisan special task force with
19 citizens to review Florida`s `Stand Your Ground` the law. The task
force recommended that the law should not be overturned and Governor Scott
agrees.”

No mention of who led the task force there.

Today, Governor Scott told reporters in Pensacola that it was great
the way protesters were using their First Amendment right to free speech.
The governor reportedly has not been back to the Capitol. He has not been
back to his office since this group of young protesters started this
occupation of his office.

They`ve been posting pictures and some vide on social media saying
that they are still in this for the long haul. They`re going strong. They
are not planning on leaving. And beyond their now two days wait for the
governor – look at the pressure on Florida and on Rick Scott to do
something that he`s refusing to do. U.S. Attorney General Eric holder
yesterday in Florida singling out the state`s “Stand Your Ground” law as
creating more violence than it prevents.

People around the country have been pledging they will boycott the
state of Florida until something gets done about the “Stand Your Ground”
law. That boycott got a big boost when Stevie Wonder said over the weekend
that he personally will hold out for change on the issue. The performer
made his announcement during a concert in Quebec.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN: I know I`m not everybody, I`m just one
person. I`m a human being. For the gift that God has given me, and for
whatever I mean, I decided today that until the “Stand Your Ground” law
abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HAYES: Mr. Wonder went on to say he will not play anywhere that has a
law like Florida`s “Stand Your Ground” law. But for right now the pressure
is most directly, most definitely on Florida.

Back when Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll was leading the task
force to the conclusion that “Stand Your Ground” was just find ands it
didn`t need to be reviewed, a separate panel led by Democratic State
Senator called for significant changes in the law.

State Senator Chris Smith formed his independent panel looking at the
law after he found that he could not get himself a seat on the official
Jennifer Carroll task force. He said the official panel would not listen
to the recommendations of his group about potential changes to that law.

Well, after the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict this weekend,
Senator Smith came forward to try again, to see if maybe now he can get
heard. I do not know whether Governor Scott is listening to Senator Smith,
but I think the state of Florida and a lot of the country might be ready
for it now.

Joining us now is Chris Smith, Florida state senator and Democratic
leader of the Florida Senate. Senator Smith, thank you very much for your
time tonight. It`s nice to have you here.

STATE SEN. CHRIS SMITH (D), FLORIDA: Thank you for having me, and for
your attention to this matter.

MADDOW: So, there was an official task force setup by the governor,
led by the former lieutenant governor, looking at the “Stand Your Ground”
law in the immediate aftermath of Trayvon Martin`s death, before we knew
that George Zimmerman would be charged at the state level in the scandal.
What is your criticism of that panel`s work and its conclusion that the law
is just fine?

SMITH: It was a handpicked panel and it was everyone that supported
the law, and I can`t help but contrast it with the panel that I did in
south Florida. My task force had public defenders and defense attorneys as
well as state attorneys and police officers. We had those that supported
the law and those that opposed the law and college professors, it was a
great group of people, and we had actual discussions of it, and people that
used it every day. And we came up with some good suggestions from it.

But when you look at what the governor put together, you kind of pick
the players and put them out there, even when it was asked, Chris Smith a
person who served in the legislature, I argued against it, voted against
it, and was a critic of it, I am a practicing attorney, when asked why I
wasn`t put on the panel, he said I didn`t apply. Then he had to backtrack
and said there was an application process, he just picked his own people.

MADDOW: What changes did your task force decide to – did you decide
it should all together be repealed or it could be left on the books but
fixed in some way?

SMITH: That`s the interesting part about it, because we have such a
diverse panel, we didn`t come up with the repeal of it, because there was
too much discussion on , and too much dissension on that.

We were a diverse panel, they came up with fixing it, taking out some
common sense things, saying such absurd things, if you were the aggressor,
if you go and begin the altercation, you should not avail yourself of this
immunity of “Stand Your Ground”, if you start the fight, you go looking for
a fight, you cannot rely on “Stand Your Ground” and the immunity that it
affords people.

MADDOW: What do you make of the pressure that`s being put on your
state right now to try to reconsider that law now in light of the state
level verdict? We see those young protesters, those young, earnest,
peaceful protesters at the governor`s office. We see boycotts of Florida
by performers like Stevie Wonder and increasingly larger number Americans
saying entire state should be boycotted because of this law. We saw that
very impassioned speech yesterday in Florida from the attorney general of
the United States saying the law essentially is an abomination.

Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the
governorship in your state. What do you think becomes of all of this
pressure?

SMITH: Well, think the pressure, it makes us at least discuss it.
During the last legislative session, I filed a bill that amended “Stand
Your Ground” and even Senator Simmons who served on the governor`s panel,
who`s one of the original architects, he even filed a bill with some of the
recommendations.

They didn`t hear any bill they were afraid of the discussion. They
were afraid of the debate. And went through an entire legislative session
where we many a myriad of crazy bills, but here`s something that`s central
to the well being of the Floridians, we didn`t even hear the bill. And
more people talking about it, we`ll at least have the discussion, at least
have the debate, we`re asking them why do you fear the debate? Let`s at
least discuss this and look at the statistics and what it`s cost.

We have a clear case now that shows “Stand Your Ground” has some
problems when the jury comes back and has to ask more questions. Now this
pressure will hopefully cause us to at least have the debate in the state
legislature this year.

MADDOW: Senator Chris Smith, Florida state senator, Democratic leader
of the Florida state Senate – sir, thank you very much for your time
tonight. Please stay in touch with us on this.

SMITH: Thank you so much.

MADDOW: Thank you. Thanks very much.

All right. We`ve got lots ahead tonight, including a new twist in the
Bob McDonnell corruption scandal. A whole new thing we didn`t know he was
doing before. Brand new stuff is coming up next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: So, the reason that governor ultrasound is called governor
ultrasound is before Bob McDonnell was elected governor of Virginia, he was
a state representative who had prioritized antiabortion activism in his
time in the legislature, sponsoring or co sponsoring 35 different anti-
abortion bills. Then, delegate Bob McDonnell has specifically fought for
legislation long before it was cool to force women in his state to have
medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds against their will as a kind of
Bob McDonnell imposed admission fee to being allowed to access your
supposedly constitutionally protected rights.

Then once he was elected governor, Republicans in the legislature
passed the ultrasound bill that he had long championed. Now, with a
Republican legislature to pass it, and with a conservative anti-abortion
activist Bob McDonnell as governor, Virginians started to realize that this
thing that these guys had wanted for so long might actually become law.

And in response to the statewide freak-out that that engendered, the
governor tried to distance himself from the whole idea as if he had nothing
to do with the whole ultrasound thing in the first place, even though it
was his bill. Bob McDonnell really is governor ultrasound. And so,
despite his best efforts, the name has stuck.

But forced ultrasounds are not the only anti-abortion consequence of
governor ultrasound`s scandal-laden turn as Virginia governor. He and his
attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, have also overseen a change in health
regulations in the state that is designed to shut down Virginia clinics
that provide abortions. Just this week, the clinic that does more
abortions than any other in the state closed its doors because of the new
regulations.

When governor ultrasound Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli moved to
change the state`s health regulations into a way for them to shut down
clinics, the state health board balked. They said, you know, the state is
free to change any regulation it wants to, to govern the construction of
new clinics that might open in the future, but changing the construction
rules governing clinics that already exist, well, that has no health and
safety purpose, it`s just a way to shut down clinics. It`s hijacking
what`s supposed to be a health related process to instead pursue this other
agenda.

So, the board of health said no. As we all know now, governor
ultrasound and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli decided they were going to
lean on the board, threatening individual board members, telling them that
they would be personally liable as individuals for the legal costs of the
state board of health if they didn`t do what they wanted on shutting down
these clinics.

It was crazy, but the threats worked and the board caved and the state
health commissioner interestingly resigned in protest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: News at 5 begins with breaking news. We have just
learned the state health commissioner is stepping down from her post all
because of abortion regulations the state health board approved last month.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In a letter to her colleagues, the state health commissioner
explained how specific sections of the Virginia code pertaining to the
development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continued to
be interpreted created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my
duties is compromised and in good faith, I can no longer serve in my role.

The health commissioner resigns in protest to all this the public
pressure, that is where the story takes dramatic turn back to governor
ultrasound, because “The Richmond Times Dispatch” today had to run a
refresher on that whole drama from last year about the health commissioner
resigning and the abortion clinics and the pressure and all that stuff.
They had to run a whole refresher on that drama from last year under this
picture in the newspaper today.

Wyndham home owned by Governor Bob McDonnell. Yes. So, there`s this
picture of this house, and under this picture of this very nice house, “The
Times Dispatch” has to explain former health commissioner Karen Remley
resigned last October citing political interference in the performance of
her duty as health commissioner, following the approval process for
restrictive new regulations imposed on the state`s existing abortion
clinics. And that is relevant to this house.

That`s all listed in the article that goes with the picture of this
house because once governor ultrasound lost his health commissioner and had
to appoint a new one, who hopefully wouldn`t be nearly so picky about
political interference with her doing her job, once he had to pick somebody
new to be health commissioner, he put her in this house, his house, the one
he owned personally.

Governor Bob McDonnell has found a way to defray part of his monthly
real expenses on the millions of dollars in property that he owns, by
renting his western Henrico County home to his handpicked state health
commissioner.

Dr. Cynthia C. Romero who took over as state health commissioner in
January has been renting the McDonnell`s $835,000 home in this tony
community. A McDonnell spokesman confirmed news that the governor entered
into a financial relationship with a top official under his supervision
comes as federal and state investigators probe the gifts the first family
and McDonnell have received during his time in office.

This is so weird. You did this too? He hires her, he handpicks her
for the job and now she pays his mortgage.

A mortgage he is under water on by tens of thousands of dollars. Must
be nice, right? Hey, doc, you need a job? Well, I need a tenant. Maybe
we can do business here. Wow.

Larry Sabato, the dean of Virginia politics says, quote, “This is
improper because it`s an obvious conflict of interest for the governor.
And anybody can see that. Suppose the governor wants to fire the
commissioner. Doesn`t anyone think he would consider losing the
substantial monthly rent?

Supposed the commissioner is unhappy about plumbing or repairs or rent
increases, does anyone think she might be hesitant to approach her boss?
It`s just plain bad judgment. And the latest sign that we have a governor
in Virginia whose sense of propriety is lacking.”

Yes, you think? And this is just the latest revelation after the
reports of Governor McDonnell and his family taking and never reporting
$145,000 in cash from a Virginia company that`s under federal
investigation, the engraved Rolex watch, the designer clothes, and the lake
house vacation, and the Ferrari, did I mention it was a white Ferrari?
None of which he has yet explained.

And as all of these allegations mount, Governor McDonnell has added
another high powered lawyer to his defense team, say former U.S. attorney
who does defense work. He`s also added a public relations specialist to
his defense team, although the governor`s cadre of now high power lawyers
is careful to note to the press that the PR guy is not being paid by
taxpayers or the governor`s PAC, which kind of makes you wonder who is
paying for the new PR guy. Maybe governor ultrasound finally pawned the
Rolex.

At this point in Virginia, the chief administrator of the Virginia
legislature is rummaging through state records, quote, “searching for clues
on what the legislature`s role should be if Governor McDonnell resigns or
has be removed from office. One Democrat who previously called for
governor ultrasound`s legislation is now calling instead for impeachment.

Conservative blogs in Virginia are now reporting rumors as if they are
facts that governor ultrasound is going to have to resign before he gets
indicted some day soon.

We still do not know what happens next in this metastasizing scandal
in Virginia. But at this point who would even take a bet on what we are
going to learn about him next? Rent? Seriously?

Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The thing about voter ID laws like the one in Pennsylvania is
that they were supposedly designed to prevent the scourge of voter fraud,
right? That`s why Republicans said they wrote those laws and passed them.
Voter fraud. So, in Pennsylvania, the 2012 election was supposed to be
better, supposed to be a better election, because voter ID made for less
voter fraud, right?

Right? Mr. Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman? Isn`t that the
reason?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We probably had a better election. Think about
this, we cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Sometimes people accidentally say what they`re not supposed
to say. That has just happened in Pennsylvania at a really crucially bad
time.

Hold on, there`s more.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The largest city in California, obviously, is Los Angeles.
If you are a northern California chauvinist or just from northern
California like I am, you would think that the second largest city in
California would be San Francisco or maybe San Jose. But that`s not true,
the second largest city in California is San Diego, below Los Angeles, down
near the Mexican border.

And the second largest city in California, San Diego has long been
seen as a pretty conservative place, at least by California standards –
heavy military presence, with Navy and Marine Corps bases, heavy defense
contractor presence. It`s been a conservative place for a long time.

That`s why it was a big deal, not just for California, but actually
just kind of a big deal when last year, San Diego elected a Democrat to be
mayor. That had not happened in 20 years. He was only the second Democrat
to be the mayor of San Diego in 40 years.

San Diego has been a real Republican stronghold. When it became clear
that Democratic U.S. Congressman Bob Filner who long represented the area
in Washington, co-founder of the progressive caucus in Washington, when it
became clear that Bob Filner had a real shot at winning the mayor`s race,
Democrats and progressives were just over the moon. And once he was
elected, groups like the San Diego Labor Council were able to say in their
view, San Diego had elected the most progressive big city mayor in the
entire country.

San Diego is the eighth largest city in the whole country, second
largest in California. And before Bob Filner became mayor, it was
basically guaranteed to be under Republican control.

But now, with Bob Filner under control, nothing is guaranteed, because
boy, howdy, has the Bob Filner as mayor thing turned out way differently
than everybody expected. No charges have been filed yet, no lawsuits have
been filed yet, but check your watch, say, every minute or so for updates
on that.

It started at the end of last week, when a former Democratic city
councilwoman, an ally of Bob Filner came out publicly to say that although
she had supported the mayor in the past, she had sent a letter to the mayor
asking for his resignation, saying I cannot describe how anguishing it is
to ask that you now vacate this office, and then she held a news
conference.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONNA FRYE: When I received credible firsthand evidence of more than
one woman being sexually harassed, I could not not act. I believe what
they have told me, and they need to know that they are not alone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Former counselor proceeded to say it was one of the hardest
decisions she had ever had to make to demand that Bob Filner resign.

That same day, the mayor responded with a direct to camera video
response apologizing, but not resigning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BOB FILNER (D), SAN DIEGO, CA: I begin today by apologizing to
you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me. The charges
made at today`s news conference are serious, when a friend like Donna Frye
is compelled to call for my resignation, I`m clearly doing something wrong.
And I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will
change my behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The mayor went on to say he was humbled, that he needed help,
he would participate in sexual harassment training along with his staff.
Although honestly there`s no indication his staff was the problem. That`s
how it started on Thursday, it`s gotten much worse since then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FRYE: On the sidewalk, the mayor suddenly in clear view of anyone who
might pass by grabbed and kissed her, jamming his tongue down her throat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no circumstance under which it would be
appropriate for the mayor to enter into an elevator with my client or any
person whom he employs and to tell them that they would do a better job on
that floor if they worked without their panties on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was Monday. A whole new raft of really specific
allegations on the city hall steps.

The mayor on his part is still saying that he will not resign, he put
out another statement saying he deserved due process, asserting the right
to defend himself against these allegations, which is certainly true, at
least in the abstract. Despite his earlier apology, the mayor is saying
that he is innocent of sexual harassment.

Day by day, women have been coming forward, though, with new accounts
of harassment, new stories of their experiences with Bob Filner. One of
them didn`t interview in silhouette with her voice altered in the local TV
station. She doesn`t work for Bob Filner, but she says she`s in contact
with him every day as part of her job, and explains why she did not come
forward sooner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I`m holding back is because I`m just an
ordinary woman and he`s – I`m not going to have any power, he has the
power. He`s mayor. What am I going to do?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: While this has all be coming to light, the mayor has been
losing supporters in droves. Two Democratic members of Congress, Susan
Davis and Scott Peters, have both called on him to resign. The former
secretary-treasurer of that labor council that helped to elect him says
that she is devastated by the news about him. The National Organization
for Women in San Diego has called for him to resign. The League for
Conservation Voters locally says they want him to resign.

His former fiancee who he had been calling the first lady of San
Diego, she is now calling for him to resign, also she is no longer his
fiancee.

This most unexpected scandal in San Diego steams toward what seems to
be a probable bad ending for Mayor Bob Filner and the city, the fact
remains at least right this second that no charges have been brought
against him. No lawsuit has been filed. No formal complaint of any kind
has been made against him. Just multiple increasingly detailed,
increasingly disgusting claims being made by lots and lots of women aired
out day by day in the press and on the steps of city hall – in the place
that calls itself America`s finest city.

Joining us now is Trent Seibert. He`s an investigative reporter at
the “San Diego Union Tribune.”

Mr. Seibert, thank you very much for being with us.

TRENT SEIBERT, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE: Thank you, Rachel. I
appreciate it.

MADDOW: So, first of all, let me ask you if I have characterized the
most important points of what`s happened so far. It all seems like it`s
kind of a dream, a bad dream.

SEIBERT: You`ve nailed it, Rachel. I mean, you`ve described it
better than anyone here has. It`s been crazy, it`s been bizarre, it`s been
creepy, I wish I had a better explanation. I have been covering politics
for 20 plus years and it`s seeing something like this has been odd.

MADDOW: Well, you know, the thing that strikes me in terms of the
details here, looking at that lawyer who was making the detailed case about
what he supposedly said in the elevator about underpants at work, right?
We`re getting these details, but that`s a lawyer making that case. And
Donna Frye is saying she`s heard from these specific women, and she needs
those women to know they`re not alone – how come none of this has turned
into formal complaints, lawsuits or charges at this point?

SEIBERT: Well, two things, I think it will soon. I think any moment
we`re going to see a lawsuit filed or claims filed that will lead to a
lawsuit. I think that`s happening any minute. It could happen as early as
tomorrow. That`s A.

B, these descriptions are so detailed. It`s just – and the people
telling the lawyers that are talking about these descriptions are so
credible in San Diego that it`s just tough to not give this credibility. I
mean, we`re talking about tongues down throats. We`re talking about the
mayor claiming he`s put his hand down shirts and touching. It`s just odd.
It`s very Spitzer like in a way.

MADDOW: Well, does there – is there anything in Bob Filner`s past
that would suggest that he would have problems like this? Obviously, he
has a reputation for being a hothead. I don`t see anywhere in his past,
any accusations of sexual misbehavior.

Has he defined himself on this saying that these charges are trumped
up, that these are his enemies?

SEIBERT: Well, I don`t think trumped up. I mean, these are former
allies. But give him this credit, that there have been no formal charges
filed, and, you know, he has spent time in Congress all these years and
without complaints, without charges.

Trust me, I have done the digging on this. No formal charges have
ever been filed against this individual, against Mayor Filner.

And, you know, he has said he`s hard to work with. He`s hard. He`s
tough on individuals. He`s tough on his employees many so boy, it`s a
difficult nut to crack.

MADDOW: Until we`ve got – until he`s got his chance to defend
himself and we can see that evidence out there, the evidence that`s been
made public, the accusations are so lurid.

Trent, has there been any effort either on the city council to try to
remove him or some sort of populous recall campaign?

SEIBERT: There is a recall campaign that I think is in the works, and
it will start being in the works starting Friday.

Again, part of the problem with Mayor Filner in here in San Diego is
the people that are complaining about him. It`s not just the regular GOP,
it`s not just oh, I`m a Republican and I`m going to go after this
Democratic mayor in this relatively conservative town here in California.
These are progressives that are coming after him now.

MADDOW: Right, yes.

SEIBERT: These are union leaders coming after him. That`s the
problem that he`s facing.

MADDOW: Trent Seibert, investigator reporter at the “San Diego Union
Tribune” – I have a feeling we will be talking to you about this again,
Trent, as this proceeds. Thank you very much for your time tonight.

SEIBERT: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. So, it turns out the sky is sort of falling in
Florida, and not in the politics way. In almost a literal way, that`s
coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: This is Gulf County, Florida, Gulf County is closed to
Tallahassee, up in the Florida Panhandle. As its name suggests, the county
is right on the water, on the Gulf of Mexico. Last Wednesday, a week ago
today, the 911 dispatcher in Gulf County, Florida, got a strange emergency
call. Somebody called 911 to say a flaming object had just plunged into
the water right offshore.

The caller told the dispatcher they saw a big flash of fire that
landed in the gulf. Soon other people started calling 911 as well,
reporting they had just seen a plane catch fire and crash into the Gulf of
Mexico.

And, of course, that is a terrifying thing to see as you are driving
along or going about your business in Gulf County, Florida.

About 15 minutes after people started calling 911 to report that they
maybe just witnessed an airliner going down. The local paper, the “The
Port St. Joe Star” posted this message on their Facebook page, quote,
“Several readers have contacted us about a fireball seen dropping into the
Gulf of Mexico along the horizon about 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday.
Tyndall Air Force Base notified the Gulf County Sheriff`s Office that the
object was a drone that caught fire.

Now, on Facebook, only four people liked that explanation. But come
on, that seems very helpful. That seems like very useful information, it
was not a regular airplane, it was a drone. Specifically, it was a drone
that had taken off from Tyndall Air Force Base, which is just up the road
from Gulf County. More specifically, it was a QF-4 drone which really
looks a lot like an old airplane because it is an old airplane. It`s a
type of military jet that`s been in use since the early `60s that we`ve
started turning into drones, sort of turning the plane into a drone so we
can use it to practice how to shoot planes out of the sky with other
aircraft or so we can practice how to avoid being shot.

Tyndall Air Force Base issued a release sometime after that drone
crash last week saying, quote, “The drone was carrying a small self-
district charge and had to be destroyed during for safety considerations
during its return to base following a routine operation.”

OK, so we used the self-district feature of this drone to blow it up
over the water, and it was all routine, sorry to disrupt your commute.

That was last Wednesday. Here`s what happened today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the second time in a week, Tyndall Air Force
Base drone has gone down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unmanned QF-4 drone crashed during takeoff at
about 8:25 this morning. And this is video of the huge plume of black
smoke created by the fire from that crash. The drone does contain a small
self-destruct charge, which is used to blow up the plane if it leaves the
preapproved flight plan. Because of that charge is still on board, Highway
98 is going to have to be closed throughout the morning commute tomorrow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Sorry for the inconvenience. Yes, that`s twice in one week.
The same kind of jet turned drone has crashed in the same area, except this
time the QF-4 crashed into land and not into water. It crashed near a
major highway, and we still do not know if that self-district device just
in case it gets out of control, we still don`t know if it`s already gone
off, or if we`re supposed to be waiting for some other big explosion to
come soon.

The Air Force put out another accidental drone crash statement saying
that they do not know the status of that self-destruct device on board, but
don`t worry, it`s battery will go out in 24 hours or so. I guess we wait
and see. Check back in.

Meanwhile, a major portion of Highway 98 will be closed for 24 hours,
causing all sorts of traffic may hem in that part of Florida. So,
terrifying and inconveniencing is what it seems to be like to live in a
place where there are a bunch of drone tests going on around you.

It makes you almost sympathize with the residents of a tiny Colorado
town called Deer Trail. The good people of Deer Trail, Colorado, are
mulling a local ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and
offer rewards for drone parts. Drone bounty hunting.

The ordinance specifies you can use any shotgun 12 gauge or smaller,
no background checks, totally anonymous, they would charge $25 per drone
hunting license. And you get a $100 reward per drone if you can present,
quote, “parts of an unmanned vehicle who`s marking and configurations are
consistent with those use in a similar craft known to be operated and owned
by the United States federal government.”

Drone bounty hunting probably not the right idea with the lawful
destruction of government property that goes along with it. But in the
meantime, if you live in Gulf County, Florida, can you be satisfied with
the drone destruction going on around you as part of your morning commute.

Meanwhile, stay indoors on Wednesday mornings.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Here`s an unexpected headline: Pennsylvania Republicans
looking to push out their own governor. This is the “National Journal”
today. Quote, “The biggest question in Pennsylvania politics right now
isn`t whether Tom Corbett will win re-election, it`s whether he will even
get the chance.”

Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett is not a particularly
well-known figure nationally, probably most nationally known for his
particular sensitivity on lady issues.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. TOM CORBETT (D), PENNSYLVANIA: You wouldn`t change it. As long
as it`s not on obtrusive, we`re still waiting to see.

REPORTER: Making them watch and – does that go too far in your mind?

CORBETT: I don`t know how you make anybody watch, OK, because you
just have to close your eyes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Just close your eyes while we`re forcing you to have this.

That`s not the only thing Pennsylvanians dislike about Tom Corbett
right now. By the numbers, they pretty much dislike everything about him
apparently.

In a world of deeply unpopular Tea Party governors, Rick Scott in
Florida, Paul LePage in Maine, Sam Brownback in Kansas, Tom Corbett really
is king of them all. In all the recent policy polling, no governor is in
worse standing with his public than Tom Corbett is. Even recent Republican
polling puts Tom Corbett in worse standing than any other governor.

But it is one thing to be widely disliked, it is another thing to be
so widely disliked that your own party wants to fire you to get you out of
the way. Unless Governor Corbett shows improvement in coming months,
Republicans expect the calls for him to step aside to reach a fever pitch.

According to one GOP operative in the state, speculation about
replacing the governor is rampant. Rampant and desperate, right?

Pennsylvania Republicans are more generally desperate right now. It`s
not just about their governor. They`re having such a rough time right now,
they seem to be letting their guard down.

This is tape that Think Progress posted today of the chairman of the
Republican Party in Pennsylvania explaining why Republicans in that state
want voter ID so badly.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about this, we cut Obama by 5 percent, which
was big. A lot of people cited that, he beat McCain by 10 percent, he only
beat Romney by 5 percent. I think that probably photo ID helped a bit in
that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Oh, you sure you want to admit that?

It would not be all that surprising if that is how Republicans talk
among themselves, but had is the chairman of the Republican Party in
Pennsylvania. And that`s a reporter sitting in front of him in plain view
in big machines with the glass on the front. Those are TV cameras.

And the blissfully unaware party chairman is not alone that the voter
ID laws are about beating Democrats in elections.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney
to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That was last year before the presidential election.

And Pennsylvania Republicans had to backpedal and bend over backwards
and tie themselves in knots saying, they didn`t mean it the way it sounded.
The voter ID is about election integrity and not at all about Republicans
giving themselves an advantage in elections, except that the party chairman
is just admitting it again, and he`s doing it at the same time that the
voter ID law he`s lauding for helping Republicans do better in elections is
literally on trial for that.

While the state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania is right now hearing
arguments about that voter ID law, and whether or not it really is just a
way for Republicans to try to win elections.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week while
Pennsylvania Republicans are going on TV saying, yes, actually it is a way
to just try to win elections. And grandmothers are in court testifying
they never missed an election before Pennsylvania voter ID made them miss
an election.

And while statisticians are testifying that Democrats are three times
as likely to not have the ID required by the new law, and minorities are
twice as likely as white people to not have the required ID, Pennsylvania
Republicans are just for whatever reason now, flat out admitting that the
whole idea that they want the law for is to skew elections in their favor
by blocking Democrats who can legally vote from legally voting.

They`re admitting it. Do they know they`re admitting it? Do they
think they`re only talking amongst themselves?

From Tom Corbett on down, subtlety has never really been an asset for
Pennsylvania Republicans. But right now, this is a whole new level.

That does it for us tonight. Thank you for being with us tonight.
We`re going to see you tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”

Have a great night.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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