The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/04/14
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts in this room. And I`m going to shut up.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I don`t mind. I`ll talk and you`ll talk
in the corner.
See? We`re all one big happy family, watching Alex at 4:00 and
talking in the same studio. Thank you very much.
And thanks to you at home for being in the studio with us this hour as
All right. This is a man named Philip Kwon. Philip Kwon, Phil Kwon,
he was an assistant prosecutor in the U.S. attorney`s office, the federal
prosecutor`s office in New Jersey starting in the year 2000.
Chris Christie was named to be the U.S. attorney in New Jersey in
2001. He actually started in the office in early 2002. So when Chris
Christie got there, when he got to the prosecutor`s office, Phil Kwon was
already working there.
Chris Christie had no law enforcement background at all when George W.
Bush named him to that top prosecutor`s job in New Jersey, but he held the
prosecutor`s job for seven years. He even managed in that job to do it in
such a high-profile way that it was seen as ultimately paving the way for
his successful run for governor in 2009.
And then when the new governor, Chris Christie, was sworn in in 2010,
interestingly, he basically just raided his own office that he was coming
from. He raided the U.S. attorney`s office, the federal prosecutor`s
office where he`d been working for seven years in order to get all the new
staff for his new administration.
He hired people from his prosecutor`s office to be the governor`s
senior counsel and also the governor`s chief counsel and the governor`s
deputy chief counsel and New Jersey`s new head of homeland security, and
the head of the authorities unit overseeing things like the Port Authority,
the new attorney general for the state of New Jersey – he pulled all of
these folks out of the prosecutor`s office when he left that office to
staff up his new administration as governor.
The guy who`s in charge of Sandy relief under Chris Christie, he not
only brought him over from the prosecutor`s office when he first became
governor, Chris Christie created a brand new job for him that never existed
before – the new job, executive assistance attorney general, a job that
never existed before he made it for the guy who he used to work with in the
Also, the first assistant attorney general, he hired Phil Kwon. So,
Chris Christie and Phil Kwon had a relationship that started back in 2002
when Chris Christie came on as the U.S. attorney for the state of New
Jersey. Their relationship spanned all seven years of Chris Christie`s
time as U.S. attorney. And then when he became governor, when he brought
all the people over from the prosecutor`s office into his new
administration, Phil Kwon was one of them.
He hired Phil Kwon right away into his administration when he started
in 2010. So by 2012, when then-Governor Christie nominated Phil Kwon to a
seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court, by that time, the governor and Phil
Kwon had worked together for a decade. And then Chris Christie was more
than just disappointed when Phil Kwon`s nomination to the Supreme Court was
rejected by Democrats in the New Jersey state senate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Good evening.
First of all, Phil Kwon, first and foremost, is a man of integrity,
had the utmost privilege to witness that integrity firsthand. Where in his
role as an assistant United States attorney, the first assistant attorney
general of New Jersey, as a husband, a father, and a son.
To see what Phil went through today is not only disappointing for me,
personally, but frankly a disappointment for the state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Phil Kwon was not made a New Jersey state Supreme Court
justice in the end. Still, though, Governor Christie found Phil Kwon a
very soft landing after he was rejected by the senate. Governor Christie
installed him in a job with a six-figure salary as a lawyer at the Port
Authority of New York and New Jersey. He named him deputy general counsel
at the Port Authority.
And in that capacity, in that capacity at the Port Authority – well,
here`s a picture actually. This is – see spot shadow there? That`s Phil
Kwon on the right side of your screen. That`s Phil Kwon, longtime Chris
Christie ally, his nominee for the New Jersey Supreme Court, his appointee
to the Port Authority after more than a decade of them working together.
That is Phil Kwon attending the testimony before the New Jersey legislature
in which another Chris Christie nominee to the Port Authority told the
legislature a false cover story about why access lanes were shut on to the
George Washington Bridge in a way that gridlocked the town of Fort Lee.
The access lanes to that bridge were not shut down because of a
traffic study. And you can kind of tell at the time that they were telling
that cover story that something was wrong with the story. That there was
no traffic study. And maybe you could only tell that because nobody at
this hearing before the legislature where they`re talking about the study,
nobody actually seemed to be able to produce this supposed study. If it`s
a study, it doesn`t just happen in your head, right? You document it in
So, that was a key moment at this testimony when it started to seem
like maybe this study they`re talking about doesn`t really exist. This was
kind of amazing.
What they`re – this is footage from the testimony. What they`re
fighting about here is whether or not the legislature can see this supposed
study, the supposed results from this fake study. And Bill Baroni from the
Port Authority is trying to explain to the legislature why they can`t see
The video is a little shaky here, particularly at the beginning, but
it is crystal clear what they are saying. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: – at the Port Authority –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: – who assemble this data.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just look at the numbers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, there`s a report that exists. Because the
week was cut short and it was never complete.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So they did a two-day compilation of data.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was three because, but Monday`s data was so
skewed by a accident on the –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We`d like you to make that data available to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, I will have my counsel talk to your
counsel as we have done before and discuss documents. No question.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a reason why those documents couldn`t be
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, because there are a lot smarter people. I
want to make sure my lawyers talk to your lawyers.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people smarter than you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots. Like you, Mr. Chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hardly. Hardly. So you`re not willing to say
whether you could provide us data?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever the lawyers tell me –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your lawyer`s here. Can he come up and testify
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he`s not going to come up and testify. Our
lawyers – come on, Chairman, that`s cute. But –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not. Maybe he could come up and give us
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, our lawyers has they`ve done
multiple times over multiple issues will talk. They`re not going to do it
in a public hearing. You know as well as I do, a lawyer is not going to
testify at a hearing. Come on, Chairman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just can tell us –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, just stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Mr. Chairman, just stop. Come on, Mr. Chairman, that`s cute.
He`s not going – no. The data that the legislature is asking for there
was never handed over.
And the lawyer who Bill Baroni just, like this, my lawyer, my counsel
is here, the counsel, the lawyer who was supposedly this legal gatekeeper
advising as to whether or not this data can be handed over to the
legislature, this data that does not exist, that counsel, that lawyer is
Phil Kwon – longtime Chris Christie ally, Governor Christie`s nominee for
the New Jersey Supreme Court. Governor Christie`s appointee to the Port
Authority after a more than decade working together not just in the
governor`s administration but in the prosecutor`s office before that, too.
“The Wall Street Journal” reporting this week at Phil Kwon spent parts
of four to five days prepping Bill Baroni to give that false testimony
about a traffic study and that is not why those bridge lanes were shut
down. And that testimony from that hearing showing that the decisions
about what could and couldn`t be shown to the legislature about that fake
study, those decisions were attributed to Phil Kwon who was sitting there
in the room.
Who else participated in cooking up and presenting the cover story of
what happened on that bridge? Who else participated in cooking it up and
presenting it besides Bill Baroni who has resigned and David Wildstein who
has resigned? Is it possible that Phil Kwon was involved?
If he wasn`t involved in preparing this false story that was told to
the legislature, this cover story for what happened on that bridge that is
still unexplained, if that`s not what Phil Kwon was doing, what else was he
doing with Bill Baroni in the reported four to five days of preparation
ahead of that testimony?
And if Phil Kwon was involved as deputy general counsel at the Port
Authority, does that mean there was wider involvement at the Port Authority
in coming up with the cover story to obscure what happened on that bridge?
Why was he the specific lawyer involved? This very, very close ally of
As far as we know, Phil Kwon has not received subpoena to turn over
documents or testify either about the shutdown of lanes on the bridge or
effort to cover it up by concocting this big traffic study idea. Governor
Christie, himself, last night confirmed that his office has been subpoenaed
not only by the state legislature but by his replacement as U.S. attorney
in New Jersey, by the federal prosecutor`s office.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RADIO HOST: Has your office, your office, now, the governor`s office,
not the campaign, been subpoenaed by the United States attorney?
RADIO HOST: And when are those subpoenas due?
CHRISTIE: You know, I don`t know, but I know that we`re – the
request – and by the way, you know, they did that and I understand why
they did it. We have already communicated to them we would cooperate
voluntarily. They decided to send a subpoena. That`s fine.
We – we are complying with that in the same way that we`ll comply
with the legislative subpoenas. As we get documents, I don`t know when the
due date is. I`ll have to talk to lawyers about that. I don`t know.
But we`ll comply and cooperate with the U.S. attorney`s inquiry into
this and comply with any of the documents they requested that are
appropriate to turn over as quickly as we uncover them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confirming last night that
his office has been subpoenaed by both the legislature and by federal
prosecutors and that his office is cooperating with the subpoenas mostly.
They are handing documents over, he says, on a rolling basis as they find
them. Meaning they did not meet the original deadline from the legislature
subpoena to hand everything over by yesterday. The deadline was, in fact,
just about two hours before Governor Christie gave that interview last
But reporting today in “The Wall Street Journal” and “The Bergen
Record” turns up the fact a lot of the 18 individuals in two offices that
received legislative subpoenas have asked for extensions. They`ve asked
for more time.
So, for example, the governor`s chief of staff, and his nominee for
attorney general and his former chief counsel and two of his spokesmen and
the Port Authority chairman who was appointed by Governor Christie, they
are all reportedly responding to the subpoenas. Apparently none of them is
invoking his or her Fifth Amendment rights, but they all say they will get
their documents in over time on a rolling basis. Even with yesterday`s
deadline rolling past now.
Matt Mowers, for example, who is now the executive director of the
Republican Party in the state of New Hampshire, he has been subpoenaed in
this matter. He`s the person who reportedly called the mayor of Fort Lee,
Mark Sokolich, and asked him to endorse Chris Christie for re-election.
Mr. Mowers is also reportedly complying with the subpoena but “The Wall
Street Journal” reports he asked for an extra week to get his documentation
together. That means that his documentation should be in by a week from
today, next Monday, February 10th.
So, we got all this new information today about who is complying with
subpoenas and how exactly they are complying. How long it`s going to take
them past the initial deadline. We know about who has asked for
extensions. We know that these four people on your screen here, Bill
Baroni, Christina Lado, Philippe Danielides, Paul Nunziato, responded and
turned in their documents already.
And, of course, we know these Christie staffers, his campaign manager
Bill Stepien and his deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly have both invoked
their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and are refusing to
turn over anything.
Bridget Kelly, of course, is the person who worked in the governor`s
office who sent that e-mail that said “time for some traffic problems in
Fort Lee.” She`s the one who then professed basically her delight at the
havoc that was being caused in Fort Lee when the traffic problems they
arranged did come to pass.
But here`s the absolutely unexpected thing that happened in this
scandal today. We know what the list is of people who have received
subpoenas from the legislature, right? The legislature made that list
public. It`s 18 people and two organizations. One of the two
organizations is Governor Christie`s office. The other one is his re-
So, we know exactly who has received subpoenas from the legislature.
Those ones that started to be due yesterday. Then, there`s other
subpoenas. We know that in terms of the federal prosecutor`s subpoenas.
We know that those subpoenas have gone out but we don`t know who they`ve
The federal prosecutor in this case is much more tight-lipped than the
legislature. They`re not saying who they sent subpoenas to. So, we only
know when people said they received them. Governor Christie last night
admitted that his office has been subpoenaed. His re-election campaign
says they got a subpoena. The Republican Party of the state of New Jersey
says they also got one.
But other than that, we just don`t know. We don`t know who else has
been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors.
But guess what happened today? When “The Bergen Record” and “Newark
Star Ledger” called Bridget Kelly – called Bridget Kelly`s lawyer to ask
about her invoking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to hand over documents
to the legislature, Bridget Kelly`s lawyer also just happened to mention
that she has not gotten a subpoena from federal prosecutors.
Really? Bridget Kelly? Not subpoenaed? The person who`s on the
record essentially ordering the bridge closures has not been asked by the
federal prosecutor to hand over any documents or any testimony? Her lawyer
says they haven`t asked her for anything.
Presumably, they might still at some date in the future, but they
haven`t done it yet. It`s interesting, right?
We asked David Wildstein`s attorney tonight if he has been subpoenaed
by federal prosecutors. We did not hear back from Mr. Wildstein`s
But think about what this means for a second. Federal prosecutors are
investigating the Christie administration in New Jersey. We know the
governor`s office, the governor`s re-election campaign, Republican Party of
the state have all been subpoenaed in whatever that investigation is, but
not the person who ordered up the traffic jam. Not the person who ordered
up some traffic problems in Fort Lee while she was working in the
The only other subpoena we know about from federal prosecutors is of
the city of Hoboken. The city of Hoboken where the mayor of that city has
alleged the Christie administration put pressure on her to approve a
specific private development project as a condition of that city getting
post-Hurricane Sandy funding.
The mayor says she also met with federal prosecutors and handed over
documents to them. We also know that federal prosecutors and FBI agents
have conducted interviews in Hoboken with witnesses who say they can
corroborate that mayor`s story, but at least not yet.
Federal prosecutors are not asking anything of the Chris Christie
staffer who shut down the bridge. It`s fascinating, right? The mean, the
governor is still fending off questions about the bridge.
He actually said last night that he still thinks maybe there was a
traffic study. He and 19 other people and entities are either responding
to the investigation by the legislature and turning over documents now, or
they`re taking the Fifth. But when it comes to the criminal probe, when it
comes to the federal prosecutors looking into this, the investigation right
now looks less like it`s pointing at the bridge and more like it`s pointing
at the allocation of money after Superstorm Sandy.
Hold that thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Developers say this construction site is going to be a
college town apartment tower packed with amenities. Like a parking deck,
retail stores, even a fitness center. The building developer, a company
called Beret, won $4.8 million in Sandy relief funds to help finish the
project. But some neighbors are puzzled the aid money landed here because
Superstorm Sandy dealt New Brunswick only a glancing blow.
Was there flooding everywhere, were houses falling down?
NADIA DAROVA, NEIGHBOR OF DEVELOPMENT: It was pretty much just trees
and no electricity. That`s about it.
REPORTER: A Rutgers University study found New Brunswick ranked 188th
on the list of communities with the most storm-related hardship.
DORIS NARKUM, STORM VICTIM: They don`t deserve the money. Let`s put
it that way. They weren`t affected to the point, like, some of the towns
REPORTER: Doris Narkum has been flirting with homelessness ever since
Sandy destroyed her family`s house on the Jersey Shore. She is upset storm
relief funds are going to this apartment tower in a hardly damaged town
when a funding shortage stopped her rental assistance this winter.
What do you expect to happen to you in the next week or so?
NARKUM: I`m going to be evicted. I`m going to be homeless once
REPORTER: The director of New Jersey`s housing and mortgage finance
agency defended the New Brunswick apartment towers saying 48 of the 238
future apartments are going to be affordable and advertised to Sandy
victims. And although the tower, itself, is not in a hard-hit town, it is
in one of the nine counties declared a disaster area.
ANTHONY L. MARCHETTA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: He made an announcement to
the development community that you have any projects in those nine counties
that would generate affordable housing, bring them on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was a report by Chris Glorioso (ph), reporter of the
local NBC station here in New York about federal money for Sandy relief
going to a new apartment tower in a New Jersey town called New Brunswick
that was not hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. That story broke after the
“Newark Star-Ledger” had written up another story about a surprising use of
federal money for Sandy relief.
The town of Belleville, New Jersey, got $6 million of Sandy money that
they directed to a senior center and housing complex. Officials barely
mentioned Sandy when they talked about the project, and Belleville`s mayor
told the “Star Ledger” that he didn`t know of any people in town who were
displaced from their homes by the storm.
A few weeks before the big announcement in Belleville about the senior
center, that town`s Democratic mayor had said he planned to endorse Chris
Christie for re-election because, quote, “I think the governor is going to
help the town of Belleville with certain projects that we need.”
A couple of weeks after Chris Christie announced the project was going
through, the local county executive also a Democrat added his endorsement
for Chris Christie`s re-election.
So, there are these questions about that Sandy money that went to New
Brunswick which wasn`t all that hard hit by Sandy. Right after questions
are raised about Sandy money that went to Belleville which wasn`t all that
hard hit by Sandy.
All that, of course, came after Steve Kornacki broke the story on this
network about allegations concerning Sandy relief money in Hoboken, a town
that was really hard hit by Sandy. Mayor Dawn Zimmer told Steve on MSNBC
that the Christie administration steered far less federal aid to Hoboken
than the town should have received given the storm flooded 80 percent of
the town. Mayor Zimmer alleged that top members of the Christie
administration told her if she wanted to see more federal money flowing to
Hoboken, she would need to support a development project with ties to the
powerful chairman of the Port Authority who had been appointed to that job
by Chris Christie.
The mayor says she would not go along with that and because she
wouldn`t go along with that demand, the Christie administration held back
federal disaster relief that she says Hoboken needs and deserves and still
should get. Christie administration categorically denies the allegations
made by Mayor Zimmer, so does the law firm of the Port Authority chairman
which lobbied for that development project. The development company
involved in that potential development project also says that it does
But mayor Zimmer has stuck to her story all this time, and ever since
she first told it on national TV, federal prosecutors and FBI agents have
been nosing around that story and nosing around Hoboken, starting the very
next day after Steve`s initial report.
Mayor Zimmer made those allegations about Sandy aid on Steve`s show on
a Saturday here on MSNBC. The following day, the Sunday thereafter, she
says she met with lawyers from the U.S. attorney`s office in Newark. She
says she gave them her diary and other documents offering evidence in
support of her allegations. The next day, Monday, FBI agents reportedly
started questioning members of Mayor Zimmer`s staff. People who said they
could possibly corroborate her story.
Then, this past Friday, the U.S. attorney issued a subpoena to the
city of Hoboken, itself, having to do with Mayor Zimmer`s allegations about
And we learn the central figure at the heart of the bridge scandal,
Chris Christie`s fired deputy chief of staff, the one who appears to have
ordered the bridge shutdown, we also learned today that she has not
received a federal subpoena. We know the New Jersey Republican Party got
one. Governor Christie`s re-election campaign got one. In a radio
interview last night, Governor Christie says his own office got a federal
But his former deputy of chief, Bridget Kelly, who wrote “time for
some traffic problems if Fort Lee”, she does not seem to have received a
subpoena. Her attorney told “The Bergen County Record” that federal
prosecutors have not subpoenaed her. Interesting.
Federal prosecutors started out saying they`d opened an inquiry into
the closing of those toll lanes on that bridge back in September. Since
then, they have not subpoenaed the central figure in that scandal, at least
not yet. They have, however, interviewed the mayor of Hoboken and
subpoenaed the city for records about her allegations related to Sandy
Does that mean in terms of the federal criminal investigation here
this is now less about the bridge and more about Sandy aid? Is the federal
investigation less about if politics led to a traffic jam and more if
politics have factored into the recovery from the worst storm to ever hit
the East Coast?
Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, host of “UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI”
here on MSNBC. Steve`s covered New Jersey politics for years, including
time spent working for David Wildstein at a nonpartisan New Jersey
Steve, it`s great to have you here.
STEVE KORNACKI, HOST, UP: Great to be here.
MADDOW: You`ve been out in front of the story for weeks now. What do
you make of the U.S. attorney subpoenaing the city of Hoboken but not
Bridget Kelly who appears to have ordered the bridge lane shutdown?
KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, you`re right. It`s curious. And I`m not
well-sourced inside this U.S. attorney`s office and not a lot of people
are, by the way.
MADDOW: Nobody seems to be.
KORNACKI: That`s a important thing to keep in mind here is this U.S.
attorney is far different than his predecessor, Chris Christie. With Chris
Christie, when there was the hint of scandal in the McGreevey
administration, this is 10 years ago, Chris Christie, you know, they were
raiding state Democratic headquarters. They were serving subpoenas left
and right. There were things leaking out daily, very aggressive, very
public investigation that played out in the press.
Paul Fishman is 180 degrees from Chris Christie. It`s a very opaque
office from that standpoint. So, it`s hard to tell what`s going on. The
one thing I would say is, if you use the Hoboken one as an example, and the
timeline you have there is pretty helpful. She came on our show that
Saturday. She was in the U.S. attorney`s office the next day. She handed
over her diary. The actual subpoenas of records, though, as you said, was
almost two full weeks later that they got around to subpoenaing those
Now, what we know when it comes to the George Washington bridge part
of this, the subpoena served in the Republican state committee, subpoena
Chris Christie`s re-election campaign, the lawyer for both of those
entities had said that those subpoenas relate to the George Washington
Bridge lane closures.
So, we know those two subpoenas, we`re not entirely sure on what
Christie`s office one is. But there was a bit of a lag time in the Hoboken
one to get around to do something which would seem on the surface to be
obvious. OK. She`s made the allegation, she turned over her diary. Let`s
get the records from the city.
It actually took them close to two weeks to getting around to doing
that. The question is – I understand there are people in Hoboken who had
been willing to come forward. They still haven`t gotten around to talking
to there. So, they might – there`s also part of that.
So, I was telling people in Trenton today, they weren`t necessarily
reading too much into this. They were saying their sense is still
ultimately that this is – the bridge closure is something U.S. attorney is
going to be looking at and saying their expectation still is something like
Bridget Kelly, you will see a subpoena there at some point in the near
MADDOW: Steve, one of the things you and I have talked about before
is, if we`ve got an investigation with subpoena power happening from the
legislature, and we`ve got the U.S. attorney looking into if not the same,
at least similar allegations from a criminal federal perspective, what`s
the chance that the existence, the co-existence of those two investigations
might be a way for potential witnesses, potential targets of those
investigations, to sort of wheedle out of having to answer either or both
Now that we`ve seen David Wildstein invoke the Fifth Amendment in
refusing to testify, even as he handed over documents, we have seen Bill
Stepien, Chris Christie`s campaign manager invoke the Fifth and refuse to
hand over documents. We`ve seen Bridget Kelly invoke the Fifth and refused
to hand over documents.
Do we have further sense of how the Fifth Amendment and these co-
existence investigations are sort of interacting here?
And that was the one of the surprises over the weekend was the
announcement that Reid Schar, who`s the counsel for the legislative
committee, had met with the U.S. attorney, Paul Fishman, basically walked
away from the meeting saying we have the green light to go forward and
continue this investigation.
That was a surprise to a number of people in Trenton because they felt
the U.S. attorney was going to basically say, hey, you know, we got this
one, there`s going to be overlapping issues here. The overlapping issues
are going to allow, for instance, Bridget Kelly to, you know, say, you
know, I can`t be subpoenaed twice for the same information for the sake of
So, the expectation was that that was going to happen. Certain people
said when Chris Christie was U.S. attorney, if there was a situation like
that, there`s a little doubt Chris Christie would have stepped in and said,
hey, get out of the way.
MADDOW: This is mine. Yes.
KORNACKI: So, but again, I was talking to somebody in Trenton tonight
who said, look, you have a situation where people are starting to claim the
Fifth Amendment. You ran through who so far is refusing to cooperate. You
have extensions for a number of people. You have a few documents that are
One of the scenarios that I think a lot of people in Trenton are
thinking about right now is they don`t get full cooperation even from the
people who`ve turned their documents in. A number of people follow the
example of Stepien, follow the example of Kelly and say I`m not going to –
the legislative committee kind of at that point steps out of it and the
U.S. attorney steps in a little more aggressive.
Again, it was a surprise to people when this word came out that the
counsel to the committee Reid Schar had gotten the go ahead from the U.S.
attorney, apparently to go ahead with this, that was not necessarily what
people have been expecting.
MADDOW: None of this – neither of the investigations is proceeding
the way anybody expected them to nor are they proceeding together in a way
anybody expected. The story is more fascinating than it ought to be.
Steve Kornacki, host of “UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI”, weekend mornings
here in MSNBC – Steve, thanks, always.
KORNACKI: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
All right. Much more to come. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRISTIE: It has not been perfect and it will not be perfect. I can
guarantee you that. What we also know is that we have to count on each
other to help each other. And I can tell you that the single largest
reason why I ran for re-election was to finish this job. And so, we`re
going to continue to do what we need to do to get this job done and get it
done the right way.
CHRISTIE: Definitely not taking questions, but if you want to come
see me afterwards, I`m more than happy to do that.
CHRISTIE: Well, if I ask you to come see me, that would imply that I
would actually be there. So – I`m sure you would, and we`re going to have
some time afterwards to talk to me or talk to members of my staff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Something to keep on eye on out of Norfolk, Virginia, today.
A federal judge there today said she would rule, quote, “soon” on the
constitutionality of Virginia`s ban on same-sex marriage. If the ban is
struck down, it would make Virginia the first state in the South to have
marriage equality. That alone makes that case worth watching.
But consider also that the lawyers who are arguing against the
Virginia ban are David Boies and Ted Olson, the two superstar Supreme Court
litigators who faced off in Bush versus Gore in the year 2000, and who got
California`s ban on gay marriage struck down at the Supreme Court this past
Nobody really knows what the judge meant when she said she would rule
soon, but if she overturns the Virginia ban, it probably won`t be like what
happened in Utah where that state`s feckless attorney forgot to ask for a
stay and so everybody was able to get married as soon as the ruling
If the judge strikes down the Virginia ban, there will be a stay on
the ruling at least temporarily, pending an appeal. But that whole process
could start to happen at any moment. So, keep an eye on Norfolk, Virginia.
And while you`re at it, keep your other eye uncomfortably on Oklahoma,
because the way Oklahoma is dealing with their particular legal challenge
on this issue turns out to be inadvertently hilarious. And that story is
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I sued EPA, and I`ll take dead
aim at the cap and trade bill – because it`s bad for Virginia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In 2010, then-West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin sued the EPA
over mountaintop coal mining regulations. Yes, Joe Manchin was a Democrat
but he was a coal state governor.
Once he became U.S. senator, Joe Manchin is pretty much maintained the
role of opponent to environmental regulations, particularly anything to do
with the coal industry and coal-fired power plants. Just as he promised
the people of West Virginia he would do when he was running for Senate.
In 2011, he introduced a bill in the Senate that would prevent the EPA
from revoking Clean Water Act permits. That same year he also co-sponsored
an amendment that would suspend the EPA`s regulation of greenhouse gases.
This past summer, Senator Manchin was the only Senate Democrat to vote
against the confirmation of President Obama`s choice to be the new head of
Then came January 9th of this year, four weeks ago, when a chemical
spill paralyzed Governor Manchin`s state. It was a chemical used in the
processing of coal. The banks of the Elk River in Charleston, West
Virginia, at the public water intake for Charleston`s drinking water
And that chemical it turns out was stored poorly in tanks maintained
poorly by an essentially unregulated chemical storage chemical industry.
When that chemical spilled right into the Elk River, it was an
unprecedented disaster in modern times. One in six people in the state of
West Virginia had no drinking water for days. And, frankly, you can
forgive people for thinking that the safety of their drinking water may
still be uncertain, given upward revisions in the amount of chemical that
was spilled and even late revelations from company responsible that showed
that it was not just one chemical that spilled, but two, forgot to mention
the other one.
The company`s called freedom industries. They filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy just about a week after the spill. After weeks of questions
about responsibility and damages resulting from the spill and Freedom
Industry`s liability for it, there`s news today a grand jury investigation
has opened up by the U.S. attorney in West Virginia complete with
subpoenas. The West Virginia EPA confirmed today two of their employees
are among those who already testified in the federal criminal
So, there is this issue of how to punish the people who are
responsible for this disastrous spill.
But there`s also now the issue going forward of how to stop this from
happening again, and that may fall in part to Senator Joe Manchin who he
would not mind me saying is not exactly a zealous regulator of the coal
industry or other energy industries around it.
Today in the wake of the Elk River chemical spill, Senator Joe Manchin
joined with Senator Barbara Boxer of California who is the top Democrat on
the environment committee. He also joined with his home state Senator Jay
Rockefeller, they are introducing legislation aimed at preventing similar
spills from happening in the future.
The bill is called the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection
Act, would require state inspections of above-ground chemical storage
facilities. It would mandate that the chemical industry develop state
approved emergency response plans.
The bill would also guarantee that drinking water systems have the
tools they need to respond to emergencies of this sort when they happen in
See, this is one of the things that makes people like Senator Joe
Manchin, a very interesting figure in Washington, right? He was the pro-
gun, pro-second amendment guy, lifetime member of the NRA with an “A”
rating from the NRA who was willing to push for gun background checks this
past summer. That bill failed but not on account of Joe Manchin trying
like heck to get it through.
In the case of the Elk River disaster, Joe Manchin, who has been a
consistent vote against environmental regulation, who has championed the
rights of the coal industry and energy, Joe Manchin reacted to this very
unacceptable event in his home state by taking an unusual step to push for
more regulation that could try to stop this in the future.
What does that mean for the prospects of new regulation in the future
and how effective they might be at stopping the next disaster like this?
Joining us now for the interview is Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of
Senator Manchin, thank you so much for being here tonight. I really
appreciate your time.
MANCHIN: Thanks for having me again, Rachel.
MADDOW: Am I right you don`t mind me saying you`ve been a critic of
environmental regulation and regulation of the coal industry in the past?
MANCHIN: Let me say, I want to be treated the same as all other
mining in the country. You can`t just select one area of mining such as
coal mining and then treat hard rock mining like nothing goes – there`s no
You know, it has to be consistent. Just treat us the same. That`s
all I`ve asked for. And sometimes there`s things they`ve asked us to hit,
certain criterias that haven`t been attainable. They haven`t shown they
can be commercially viable.
Whenever it`s there you can do something and technology is there to
allow you to do it, it should be done. If you can`t do it, then, get out
of the business.
Sometimes they`re putting things out there that makes no sense
whatsoever and they know themselves that it`s unattainable. So, those are
the things I object to. I just want to be treated the same as every other
state in the Union.
MADDOW: Because you have been aggressive on that issue both as
governor and a Senate candidate and now as a senator since you`ve been in
Washington, do you think that affords you some more political, I guess,
credibility, leverage, leeway to try to advance regulations in response to
this spill that people might otherwise be suspicious about in terms of new
mandates on the energy industry?
MANCHIN: Well, let me just say, Rachel, this. We had horrible
tragedies where we`ve lost wonderful miners. You know, it`s – and there`s
no excuse. If you can save a life, if you can protect a life, you should
I don`t care what political that comes. The bottom line was when we
had our mine disasters, I knew that we could make it safer and better. I
wanted every miner to be able to go to work in the morning with peace of
mind and their family knowing they could return safely.
So, we changed that. I wasn`t worried about I industry – oh, they`ll
get mad, they`ll do this or that. I knew it could be done. And we did it.
And you know what? This water, everyone deserves to have clean
drinking water. You just assume it`s going to be safe.
This is a wake-up call not just for West Virginia but the entire
country. I would have assumed like most people assume that above-ground
storage was having regular inspections. But if it was not a material which
was deemed a hazmat material, which was high priority, it didn`t get the
same scrutiny as other things are getting.
Well, we know now that any storage of any kind of a chemical next to a
water or next to especially to a water treatment plan should be inspected
very vigorously. This is what this bill does.
If I wasn`t serious about this – I mean, I did it the day after. We
knew we had the spill. I talked to Barbara Boxer. She`s been wonderful,
reached out. Our staffs have worked together. And we`ve got a good piece
And it should pass and it`s needed to be passed because I don`t think
people around this country realize there`s a lot of things that we assume
have been looked into that haven`t.
MADDOW: And assuming that something`s there that isn`t, I actually
think is a really key dynamic here, because to the extent this has been a
national issue, you saw comments from the Speaker of the House John Boehner
specifically asked about this issue whether there ought to be a national
response. His answer was that he`s quite sure there are enough regulations
on the books.
There must have been some problem with the enforcement here but he
knows there`s enough regulation and in fact we need to have fewer
MANCHIN: Let me just tell you this, Rachel. I spoke to Speaker
Boehner today, and I said, may I come over and explain to you what we`re
dealing with? And I spoke to him on the phone, a meeting that the speaker
and I are going to meet.
I said, Speaker Boehner, you probably assumed the same as I did. Same
as many of our colleagues probably did. That these above-ground storages,
no matter what was in them, was being inspected properly.
And they`re not. It`s not in the code. It`s not required. I said, I
wish you would look at this. And he was very receptive.
I think we can get positive movement. We just – you know, we just
MADDOW: Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia. Thank you
for your time tonight, sir. I really appreciate you being willing to talk
MANCHIN: Absolutely. Let me just tell you, our goal in West Virginia
is to have the best quality water in the country. We`re going to come out
of this bigger and better and it`s the greatest place to come visit.
MADDOW: Thank you. Senator Joe Manchin, always doing that part of
your job very, very well. Thank you, sir.
MANCHIN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead, including another bit
of interesting and provocative news from the Christie administration
scandal in New Jersey today, somebody who has previously not been linked at
all to the scandal essentially saying that they are preparing to be looped
An unusual move today by somebody you have heard of, and that story`s
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Weirdest story of the day. On Halloween night last year,
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came to New York City, gave a speech in a
hotel right around the corner from this studio.
In that speech, the defense secretary called out nine states for
defying the direct orders of the Pentagon. Texas, Indiana, Georgia,
Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West
Virginia, he said they were all states in which the National Guard was
refusing equal treatment to service members who are married.
If you`re in the military, and you are in a same sex couple and you
are married, the federal government recognizes your marriage just like any
other marriage. But in those nine states, the states were treating
National Guard couples differently depending on whether their marriage was
an opposite-sex marriage or same-sex one.
Senator Hagel demanded in that speech that all 50 states needed to get
in line, all 50 states needed to comply with federal law and use one
standard for how they treat military family, including benefits and housing
allowances and ID cards and everything else that applies to married
National Guardsmen and National Guardswomen.
Secretary Hagel gave that speech Halloween night. He gave those nine
states a deadline of December 1st to get in compliance with federal law.
And eventually, by hook or by crook, all nine of those states did, at least
according to the letter of the law.
But some of the states decided to do it in style. In South Carolina,
and in Florida and in Oklahoma, those states decided than rather treat
everybody with the same dignity that married couples had always been
treated with in the surface, those states would instead go with door number
two and they would treat everybody with a whole new kind of indignity and
In South Carolina, Florida and Oklahoma, rather than let same-sex
married couples get their benefits at state facilities the way straight
couples do, those states decided that state facilities would stop
processing benefits for married couples altogether. So now if you want to
deal with your benefits and ID cards and all that other logistical stuff if
your spouse, now guards men and women in those states can`t just go to
state facilities where they do everybody else. They have to find a
federally-run facility to handle any benefits related for their marriage.
And that`s true for all married couples in those states now, even if
your particular marriage is not the kind that, say, the Oklahoma state
government is so afraid of.
Now having closed down the proverbial public pool, rather than let
everyone swim in it, now the great state of Oklahoma specifically is
considering applying that policy approach, not just to members of the
military, but to everybody in the state.
After a federal judge struck down Oklahoma`s same-sex marriage ban a
few weeks ago, not only did Oklahoma`s Republican Governor Mary Fallin
decide she was going to appeal the decision, Republicans in the Oklahoma
state legislature started talking about taking rather more drastic
measures. Hey, if it worked for the National Guard, why can`t it work for
the whole state?
Faced with the prospect of the marriages of same-sex Oklahoma couples
being legally recognized in that state, Oklahoma Republican legislators are
now considering just getting rid of marriage in Oklahoma altogether for
Close the pool then! If they can swim then nobody swims. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Critics are calling it a political stunt. Supporters say
it`s what Oklahomans want.
STATE REP. MIKE TURNER (R), OKLAHOMA: They`re willing to have that
discussion about whether or not marriage needs to be regulated by the state
REPORTER: Representative Mike Turner says his fellow conservative
lawmakers feel the same way, finding a way around the court`s decision to
strike down Oklahoma`s ban on same sex marriage by not providing marriage
Would it be realistic for the state of Oklahoma to say we`re not going
to do marriage, period?
TURNER: That would definitely be a realistic opportunity. And that`s
something that would be part of the discussion.
REPORTER: A decision that will be made possible by a current shell
bill, something that can be changed at almost anytime to react to upcoming
rulings on the same-sex marriage ban.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Pool`s closed, kids. School is canceled forever. Oklahoma
Republican legislators are preparing their nuclear option in case things
don`t go their way in court on their marriage case. They are considering
abolishing marriage in Oklahoma, rather than face the horror of letting
everyone get married, because family values.
Get ready to live in sin, Oklahoma. Everybody. Equally. Watch this
MADDOW: This is a gentleman named Mike DuHaime. You see him on the
left here next to Governor Christie. He was Governor Christie`s spokesman
and top campaign strategist during his re-election campaign. He`s long
been one of Governor Chris Christie`s closest advisers. He also ran Rudy
Giuliani`s campaign for president in 2008.
Mike DuHaime has not been implicated in the George Washington Bridge
scandal, as far as anyone knows. He`s not mentioned substantively in any
of the e-mails or documents thus far in the scandal. And that`s why it was
a surprise announcement from his consulting firm today when they announce
they have retained counsel in regards to the New Jersey prison scandal in
event that Mike DuHaime is ever asked to produce documents or answer
questions about it.
Specifically, they`ve retained Marc Mukasey, one of the top white
collar criminal defense attorneys in the country whose dad was attorney
general under George W. Bush. Even as Mr. DuHaime says he was, quote,
“wholly uninvolved” in the situation, he was Chris Christie`s top political
adviser and as such, he has now decided to bring in the big legal guns
anyway, even before anybody starts asking him anything, because apparently
that`s what it`s like now to be part of the inner circle of New Jersey
Republican Governor Chris Christie. Amazing.
Now it is time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Thanks for being with us tonight. Have a great night.
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