The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/01/14
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks very much, man.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Big show
There`s lots to report, including the unanimous decision by a subset
of NBA owners tonight to move forward with forcing the owner of the L.A.
Clippers to sell his basketball team after he got a lifetime ban from the
sport earlier this week when racist remarks of his turned up on the
Also on the show tonight, it turns out there has been a very
unexpected ending to the old Cliven Bundy militia standoff thing in Nevada.
If you thought that story was over, congratulations, you`re right. It is.
But what got left behind there physically after the story turns out is
truly weird. And we`ve got the details on that coming up.
We`ve also got news tonight out of Oregon that I have to tell you,
we`ll peek behind the scenes. We spent three days fact-checking this story
out of Oregon because I personally did not believe it. I thought we were
But after three days of checking I am now satisfied that this is a
true story. And if it is in fact a true story, I think it is the best
story of the year so far in terms of this year`s elections and running for
So, we`ve got lots going on tonight. We`ve got a big show.
But we start tonight in Tulsa. Tulsa, Oklahoma. The CBS affiliate
in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is called KOTV. And they did something in their local
newscast tonight in Tulsa that`s very unusual for local news. They re-
aired a segment from their own station that they had first shown nine years
ago in 2005.
Now, if you are a fan of this show, particularly this segment on this
show, you`ll know that we are constantly showing historical old news
footage on the show. That`s because of a personal weakness of my own.
But for a local news station in their drive-time, 5:00 news
broadcast, to show an old segment like that, that`s a strange decision.
But considering the context of what`s going on right now in the Tulsa media
market, what they did today at KOTV, it makes a lot of sense.
Watch this. This is what they showed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: We sent people to this place from the four corners of
Oklahoma to cut deals and make laws. Their pictures line the back
hallways, faces lost to history. We don`t remember them. But every day,
we live by their decisions.
One of them sent to the house by the voters of south Tulsa in 1974,
wishes desperately that he could step back in time and recast one of his
votes. Instead Bill Wiseman (ph), soon to be a priest in the Episcopal
Church, grapples with the conscience of an up-and-coming lawmaker who
failed in the clutch and the muffled anguish of condemned men.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a terrible thing to have one`s most
notorious reputation be based on coming up with a new way to kill people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is an interview that KOTV in Tulsa taped in 2005, with
the man who wrote the world`s first lethal injection law. The protocol was
dreamed up by the state medical examiner in Oklahoma. He`s the first
person who came up with the idea for and a recipe for lethal injection.
But when it came to propose it as law, the first state law in the country
to prescribe injecting people with deliberately misused pharmaceuticals as
a way of killing them, when it came time to do that, Bill Wiseman in
Oklahoma was the first man who did it anywhere in the country.
And nearly 30 years after he did that, in this interview from 2005,
he could still remember the language of that bill from the `70s and he
could still remember by heart.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It said an intravenous saline drip shall be
established into which will be introduced an ultra short acting barbiturate
in combination with a chemical paralytic.
REPORTER: In 1977, Oklahoma became the first government in the world
to adopt death by lethal injection. And Bill Wiseman, who so hates of idea
of taking human life, gained his footnote in history.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t hear the word “lethal injection” or
“execution” or anything else without feeling a tug because it`s tied to me.
I mean, I`ll always be tied to it.
REPORTER: And now, with his recipe for death having spread to 37
states, Wiseman fears than instead of making capital punishment more humane
he`s made it instead even easier for squeamish judges and juries to order
the ultimate penalty – a man of deep faith who lost his moral bearings at
a critical moment, who still mourns the character and courage that slipped
away that day so long ago.
And if there`s to be a final judgment, who waits to hear his life`s
But how does the man who came up with the recipe for lethal
injection, what does he do on judgment day?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The same thing everyone else does. Throw
ourselves on the mercy of God. Say that we have done wrong and we`re
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: It`s easier I think to shape your newscasts in such an
overtly religious way when you`re broadcasting in a place like Tulsa, like
KOTV does. So, it`s interesting to see in its own right.
But it is also fascinating that they remembered and then they found
from their archives from 2005 and then they re-aired tonight that
interview, nine years after it ran the first time because now it is not
just the man who invented lethal injection who fell into moral and
political turmoil because of it, left politics and joined the priesthood.
Now, it is not just his personal story in Oklahoma. Now it is the
state of Oklahoma and to a certain extent the rest of the states in our
country that are still executing people, who have fallen into turmoil as
well because of the events of this week.
In Oklahoma specifically, part of the political turmoil is over the
overt and aggressive political interference that effectively forced the
carrying out of the execution in Oklahoma this week that went so terribly
wrong and made national headlines. When the two prisoners who were set to
be executed on Tuesday night raised questions about the untested
experimental drug combination that was going to be used for the first time
to kill them, the state Supreme Court in Oklahoma agreed that their
execution should be delayed until some of those questions could be
It was only after the state`s governor, Republican Mary Fallin,
responded to that ruling by calling it an outrage and saying the state was
going to go ahead with the executions anyway, never mind the Supreme Court,
and only after Republican state lawmakers responded to her by saying they
agreed and they threatened to impeach justices who voted for that delay, it
was only then that the Supreme Court reversed itself, they caved and ruled
OK, that executions can go forward under that intense political pressure.
As it turns out, substantively, it seems like prisoners questioning
the state`s secrecy around those drugs and where they got them and whether
or not they would work, those questions really did need but under Mary
Fallin`s political pressure, the state rushed ahead with those killings and
they rushed ahead to disastrous effect.
So, there`s good reason for the turmoil over this issue in Oklahoma
specifically. But there`s also pretty good reason for national concern
about this issue as well and that`s because of the Supreme Court.
When the Supreme Court took a case that would let them rule on
whether or not killing prisoners with injected pharmaceuticals was the kind
of thing that violated our constitution`s ban on cruel and unusual
punishment, the Supreme Court chose a case to rule on that issue that was
specifically from the state of Kentucky. Kentucky`s a state where the
three-drug protocol for killing people this way very specifically followed
that recipe that was first written into law by Oklahoma legislator-turned-
priest Bill Wiseman.
But states all across the country copied that protocol. First a
sedative called sodium thiopental, and then something to paralyze you, then
something to stop your heart. That three-drug combination specifically is
what the Supreme Court ruled on in 2008. That specific combination is what
they ruled to be constitutional.
The court essentially said it`s unconstitutional to inflict too much
pain while killing a prisoner. That`s cruel and unusual punishment. And
the Eighth Amendment says you can`t do that.
But they said if a state follows this standard combination that
Kentucky is using, that Oklahoma invented, the standard combination of
drugs that basically everybody across the state is using, if you follow
that combination then the Supreme Court said there isn`t a constitutionally
significant risk of significant pain. And so the execution can go ahead.
And the court ruled very specifically on exactly the combination that Bill
Wiseman first spelled out in law and that dozens of other states soon
The ruling from the Supreme Court in 2008 mentions the phrase sodium
thiopental 47 different times, because it was specific. That`s what they
were evaluating. They specifically ruled that drug combinations starting
with sodium thiopental were constitutional because if they started with
sodium thiopental, they wouldn`t cause too much pain.
There`s no more sodium thiopental. It`s no longer made in this
country or imported into this country, and no states still use that drug in
their lethal injection protocols. And that lethal injection protocol
involving that drug, that`s the one the Supreme Court said was legal.
What about the rest of them? Since the states started tinkering
around looking for other drugs to use instead of sodium thiopental, there`s
been case after case after case of executions going on for extended periods
of time, people appearing not to be unconscious when they are killed,
people saying things like “you`re butchering me” or “I can feel my whole
body burning” before they die.
And then, of course, two nights ago in Oklahoma, another untested
drug combination went so wrong that authorities tried to stop the execution
after it was already under way. And in that crisis context, with the state
trying to stop an execution they already started and then calling off
another execution that they were going to do in the same room on the same
gurney with the same drugs and the same personnel less than an hour after
the first execution went wrong – with the state now calling off all
executions and the governor who was in such a rush to get those prisoners
killed announcing a review of a policy she was so confident in last week
that she defied the state`s constitution to try to force the courts to go
ahead over the court`s objections.
And at a moment when states around the country are on shaky
constitutional ground with these new experimental combinations they`re
trying on these guinea pig prisoners, where the question of whether the
Supreme Court ruling blessing the legality of lethal injection executions
even applies to these new experimental drug combos they`re now trying in
the states, with all of that in motion now, today, the state of Oklahoma
released new granular details about what they say happened.
They released their own new account of what happened and a lot of it
is very different from what we understood from eyewitnesses on Tuesday
night, or in fact from what the state had previously explained.
Before they released this new timeline today, this was what was on
the record from the state explaining what happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT PATTON, OKLAHOMA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: Ladies and
gentlemen, I`m going to make this a short statement. I will not be taking
any questions. So please don`t scream and holler at me.
But I`m going to let you know what I know at this point in time. As
those that were inside witnessed, it was determined that he was sedated at
approximately seven minutes into the execution. At that time, we began
pushing the second and third drugs in the protocol. There was some concern
at that time that the drugs were not having the effect. So, the doctor
observed the line and determined that the line had blown.
After conferring with the warden, and unknown how much drugs had went
into him, it was my decision at that time to stop the execution. At
approximately 7:06 hours, the inmate suffered what appears to be a massive
heart attack and passed away.
That is it. That is all my statement. That is all the information I
have at this time.
REPORTER: Sir, can I just ask you one quick question? At what point
what drugs were being administered that this started happening -
PATTON: As I said, we pushed all three drugs and we determined that
it was not having the side effect. So we checked and the line had blown.
REPORTER: Why did you decide to lower the curtain?
PATTON: So the physician could check the vein. And that`s for the
privacy of the –
REPORTER: When did he pass away?
PATTON: 0706 hours.
REPORTER: What does the line is blown mean?
PATTON: The vein blew.
REPORTER: The vein blew?
REPORTER: The vein.
REPORTER: Lockett`s vein?
REPORTER: What does that mean?
PATTON: His vein exploded.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: His vein – what does it mean? What does it mean the vein
blew? It means the vein exploded. His vein exploded? Yes. Where was he
when he died? He was inside the execution chamber.
Before today, that`s what we had. It`s interesting, right? I mean,
what does it mean to say a vein exploded? What happened in there?
I mean, reporters clearly trying to get at the overall question of
whether the thing that happened Tuesday night in Oklahoma is something that
could happen again if they tried to do this again. Was this a one-off
freak occurrence or did something go wrong in the procedure here?
Well, today the state tried to clear up some of the details by
releasing a new timeline of what happened. And it really does tell a
pretty different story than what we were told before.
This is what they released today: 5:27 p.m. So a half hour before
the execution was supposed to start. “Phlebotomist enters execution
chamber to determine appropriate placement for I.V. The phlebotomist
examined the man`s left and right arms, left and right legs and both feet
to locate a viable insertion point. No viable point of entry was located.
The doctor then examined his neck and then went to the groin area,” end
And then at 6:18 p.m., so 51 minutes into trying to find a vein, they
say, quote, “The I.V. insertion process is complete. Insertion point was
covered way sheet to prevent witness viewing of the groin area.” In fact,
eyewitnesses later said the entire body of the prisoner was covered with
that sheet up to his neck.
At 6:20 p.m., phlebotomist exits execution chamber app at 6:18 they
got it into him somehow. We don`t know who did it. But at two minutes
after that, the phlebotomist left.
So, the state protocol in Oklahoma says if you`re being lethally
injected by the state you`re supposed to get the drugs pumped into your
arms, into both arms at once. That`s the written protocol that the state
has put out. That`s why it didn`t make sense on Tuesday night when they
were saying it was a blown vein, that it was a vein failure that caused the
If the protocol calls for you to be injected in both arms at once,
blowing one vein shouldn`t stop the process. Now, today, they say actually
he was being injected not according to protocol in his arms but rather in
his groin. Presumably that means in his femoral artery.
Frankly, that`s the kind of thing that your run-of-the-mill
phlebotomist usually wouldn`t do. They don`t say whether the doctor did
the I.V. insertion into his femoral artery or the phlebotomist tried, but
inserting an I.V. line into a femoral artery in the groin, that is a more
advanced medical procedure than your typical blood draw or setting up your
typical I.V. line.
Then, according to the state seven minutes after they started
administering the first drug, the sedative, through that I.V. line that
they inserted into his groin, the doctor in the execution chamber said that
the prisoner was still conscious. Three minutes after that the doctor said
okay, now he`s unconscious. And that was their cue to start adding the
other two drugs, the one that paralyzes you, including your lungs, so you
asphyxiate to death, and the one that is supposed to stop your heart.
But then the official Oklahoma timeline that they released today sits
silent for nine minutes and doesn`t mention anything about what happened
We know from eyewitnesses who were there to see it that three minutes
after they shot the paralyzing drug and the drug that`s supposed to stop
your heart into him, three minutes after they started those drugs it became
clear to witnesses that he actually was not unconscious.
If you`re unconscious, you don`t move and you don`t speak. He moved.
He writhed in apparent pain. He spoke and strained against the straps
holding him down. He was not unconscious.
And the witnesses saw him writhe and twitch and kick and speak for
six minutes. Then it`s only after they saw that for six minutes where the
state of Oklahoma decided to pull down the blinds, so the witnesses
couldn`t see what was going to happen next. They say at that point the
phlebotomist and the doctor checked the I.V. line, and for the next 14
minutes behind the closed shades with no witnesses seeing what was going on
quote, “The doctor reported that the blood vein had chanced and that the
drugs had either absorbed into tissue, leaked out or both.”
Quote, “The warden immediately contacted the director of corrections
by phone and reported the information to the director. The director asked
the following question. Have enough drugs been administered to cause
death? The doctor responded, no.”
This seems like a really important point. Not enough drugs had been
given to him to kill him. That was the point of view of the doctor who was
monitoring the execution.
Have enough drugs been administered to cause death? The doctor
Then the warden asked the doctor another question. The director
asked, is another vein available? And if so, are there enough drugs
remaining? The doctor responded no to both questions.
So then the corrections director asks the crucial question again.
Quote, “The director requested clarification as to whether enough drugs had
been administered to cause death. The doctor responded no.”
And all of that discussion took until 6:56 p.m. The blinds had been
shut to the witnesses for 14 minutes at that point. No one could see what
happened. But at 6:56 p.m., the director of corrections called off the
execution.” That`s the phrase they use. “Director calls off execution.”
The execution process was ended. Because after all, the doctor on
the scene said they had not gotten enough drugs into the man to kill him.
Who knows what they`re talking about when they say the vein they were using
But they say they did not have the option to continue to try to get
more drugs into him through that vein or artery since it didn`t even work
the first time and then they said the vein exploded. They said the drugs
had either absorbed into tissue or had leaked out, didn`t work the first
So, the doctor said they had not gotten enough drugs into him to kill
him. They had no physical means by which they could get any more drugs
into him at that point. And besides, they didn`t have any more drugs
anyway. They were out.
So, with him still alive under those circumstances and no way to keep
killing him, they called it off. And they kept the blinds down.
And then 10 minutes after that, they said he was dead. How did they
The state of Oklahoma says it failed in its efforts to kill him with
drugs when they first started injecting him. They did not have any more
drugs or any other means of injecting him after that first try.
But then while the blinds were drawn, when witnesses said it was not
at all clear to them if the man was alive or dead when his lawyer said he
assumed at that point they were going to try to resuscitate him, try to
revive him. When they stopped trying to kill him by a lethal injection
process that did not kill him, he somehow died anyway, behind the closed
So how did they kill him? They`ve now shipped his body out of state.
They`ve shipped his body to Texas. The Dallas medical examiner would not
confirm it to us when we contacted them today, but “The Associated Press”
reports that Dallas is where they are doing the autopsy on this man`s body.
There is no written protocol in Oklahoma for what to do if you want
to stop an execution once you`ve started it or what to do if one goes
wrong. Oklahoma refuses to say if they spent that unaccounted for time
behind those closed blinds after they called off the execution. They
refuse to say whether or not they tried to resuscitate the man, whether
they tried to keep him alive.
What they did to revive him if anything. They won`t say what they
did at all for that time. But somehow after concluding that trying to
lethally inject him wasn`t going to kill him he died. How does this make
sense? What happened in that room, and how do we know if it was legal?
Joining us now is Dr. David Waisel. He`s an anesthesiologist. He`s
an associate professor of anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. He`s
testified in several death penalty cases.
Dr. Waisel, thank you for being with us.
DR. DAVID WAISEL, HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: First, let me ask you if I`m – I`m a layman, I have no
medical background at all. Did I say anything wrong there in terms of the
different drugs involved there and what they are supposed to do?
WAISEL: Actually, there is one thing I`d like to correct because
many of your viewers are probably patients at some point. A blown vein is
a colloquial term we use to mean that the iv catheter is no longer
successfully infusing into the vein. And it can be just because the
catheter fell out of the vein or could be because the vein ruptured, which
is not uncommon. It happens when you fall and have a bruise.
So, your viewers shouldn`t be concerned if they hear a physician use
that term with them.
MADDOW: So when the director of corrections was asked to clarify
that point exactly by those reporters in the room, they said what do you
mean the line was blown, he said the vein exploded and he sort of made a
gesture like this with his hands. Does that – are you saying that that
also comports with that sort of colloquial description of what might happen
with an I.V.?
WAISEL: We would use the term “ruptured”, exploded seems a rather
MADDOW: OK. The three drugs that were used in this combination, the
sedative first, followed by these other two drugs, how are they supposed to
work to kill a person?
WAISEL: Well, they`re intended very similar to what was described
back in the late `70s, the first drug, the midazolam is to put the inmate
to sleep. The second drug, the paralytic, is to prevent the inmate from
moving. And that`s mostly for cosmesis. That does no advantage toward
causing the inmate`s death. It`s merely to make it look pretty.
The third drug, the potassium chloride is designed to stop the heart,
and that is what kills the inmate.
MADDOW: So, in terms of that second drug you`re saying it`s
essentially there for the witnesses` benefit so that you don`t see the
prisoner writhe or move or physically react in any way.
I guess the other side of that coin, does that also mean that if you
are seeing the prisoner move or speak or writhe in some way it means that
that second drug, that paralyzing agent hasn`t taken for some reason?
WAISEL: That`s correct on both points.
Based on the eyewitness descriptions and the information released by
the state in terms of the way he reacted, does it seem like – can you tell
from those observations if any of the drugs had their intended effect?
WAISEL: Based on what I have heard, it strikes me that some amount
of the midazolam got into the inmate because he did appear to fall asleep
at some point. And then it does seem that the I.V. became blown or that
was no longer in place, so that when the injection of the second and third
drug, the paralytic and the potassium chloride, caused a significant amount
of pain because it was being injected into the soft tissue and so he
responded to it.
MADDOW: So meaning the blown vein in this case, losing the I.V.
connection as intended might have meant that the needle went through the
side of his artery, through the side of his vein into his soft tissue,
that`s where the rest of that medication – medication, I can`t call it
that. The rest of those pharmaceuticals went. They went basically into
his leg, into his groin, instead of into his bloodstream?
MADDOW: And that would be a very painful thing?
MADDOW: In terms of how he died, a heart attack – when they say
that potassium chloride is designed to stop your heart and they also say
that the cause of death here at least as far as they can tell is a massive
heart attack, is – do those two things make sense? Does it seem like the
potassium chloride designed to stop his heart, whether or not it was
injected properly, may have been what killed him? Could it cause a heart
WAISEL: Yes. First of all, a heart attack, or a myocardial
infarction, is a very specific diagnosis. And I don`t really know how they
came up with that. I`m presuming they saw his heart stop.
And I could see two mechanisms for it. One is the gentleman had a
bad heart, he was under a lot of stress, and he just had a heart attack
just like people do and there was no way of treating it.
The other, though, is that the potassium chloride or the paralytic
agent was slowly reabsorbed to cause either difficulty moving or to cause
an increase of potassium in his body which eventually reached a point to
cause his death.
MADDOW: And in that latter circumstance that would be a very painful
– that would presumably be a very painful process?
WAISEL: I would imagine, especially given what the eyewitness saw.
MADDOW: Yes. The reason I`m asking about pain other than just human
empathy is because the amount of pain that a person experienced during the
execution is important to whether or not an execution is constitutional in
this country, at least the way the Supreme Court has most recently defined
But I just want to ask you one last medical point on this. In terms
of the prospect of the execution having been stopped or them attempting to
stop it, might it be possible to resuscitate or revive or provide some sort
of antidote to somebody who had been partially lethally injected with these
chemicals in a way that wasn`t working as intended? There`s this large
period of time that`s unaccounted for where we don`t know what they did.
We know the man`s lawyer says he assumed they were trying to
resuscitate him, once they said the execution was no longer going forward.
Could someone be potentially revived or resuscitated when halfway
through this process?
WAISEL: Oh, of course. But you need the proper physicians with the
proper skills, with the proper equipment, with the proper colleagues to do
this. I doubt they have that setting in an execution chamber.
MADDOW: Dr. David Waisel, associate professor of anesthesia at
Harvard Medical Center, thank you for helping us understand the facts of
this. It`s gory and hard to understand but it`s really important in terms
of the policy here. Thank you.
WAISEL: Thank you.
MADDOW: I appreciate it.
Lots ahead tonight, including a really excellent story out of Oregon
tonight that will make you feel a lot better about Congress than you
already do. I promise you, you have to stay for that story tonight. It`s
Stay with us.
MADDOW: There`s some late news to report tonight on the efforts of
the National Basketball Association to sever themselves from this guy.
This, of course, is Donald Sterling, who is still as of this moment the
owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. On Tuesday this week, the commissioner
of the NBA announced that he was banning Donald Sterling from the NBA for
life after racist comments from Mr. Sterling turned up online over the
weekend and an NBA investigation determined that the words were in fact
Tonight, we have learned that the process of actually separating
Donald Sterling from his team has also now begun. Today, a committee of
ten NBA owners convened a special conference call in order to discuss,
quote, “the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling`s ownership of
the Los Angeles Clippers.”
During that call, the 10 owners in a unanimous vote decided they
would, quote, “move forward as expeditiously as possible with that
The NBA constitution lays out a specific process by which an NBA
owner can be forced out. It will ultimately take a vote from 3/4 of the
league`s owners. But that process has now officially begun. And with this
unanimous committee vote today it has not begun auspiciously for Donald
Sterling if he was hoping to hold on to his team.
The same committee of ten NBA owners is going to reconvene next week
to discuss their next steps, but again it will take 3/4 of the owners in
the league to strip him of his team.
This may yet be a long and drawn out legal battle. Mr. Sterling is
known to like to fight his battles in court. It`s still unclear whether
and to what degree he`s going to fight this. But the NBA does not appear
to be wasting any time on this issue.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Interstate 15 runs through southeastern Nevada, from prim
along the California border, I-15 continues up through Vegas, up through
Mesquite, up through Bunkerville to the Arizona border. Recently, reports
started circulating that armed militia members near Bunkerville had taken
up posts along the interstate, along I-15 and nearby state route 170,
wearing bulletproof vests and army fatigues and carrying loaded military-
People driving through the area have reportedly said they are scared
by the armed influx of these paramilitary-looking guys. Local residents
have been calling the police chief and asking if it is safe to drive
through their own neighborhoods.
The self-style militia men live along the highway. They live along
the interstate. They sleep in tents at night. Reports have also started
to circulate that these armed militia men have even started to set up armed
checkpoints on local roads, requiring people who live in the area to prove
it before they allow them to pass through.
Here`s a photo that reportedly shows a member of an armed militia at
a checkpoint in Nevada. No, this isn`t eastern Ukraine on a dry day. This
is Nevada, and that`s an armed volunteer militia man manning a checkpoint.
It turns out all of these militia men and their armed checkpoints for
local residents, they`re all of course linked to this guy. The whole
Cliven Bundy/let me tell you what I know about the Negro/cattle-grazing
armed standoff, from a national media perspective it is over. Even our
friends at the FOX News Channel are finally over it.
But for the people who live where that standoff happened, for the
people who are residents of Bunkerville and surrounding communities, it
isn`t over. Even two weeks after the showdown with the bureau of land
management it isn`t over. The armed militia guys didn`t leave. They`re
still there. And in some cases, they are essentially trying to control who
comes in and goes out of that area. Still, now.
Democratic Congressman Steven Horsford, the congressman who
represents that part of Nevada, he recently went to Bunkerville to meet
with local leaders and residents. He ended up sending this letter
afterwards to the Clark County sheriff saying his constituents “fear for
their safety because of these armed men in their communities.” And he`s
asking the sheriff to investigate the presence of these armed bands of
vigilantes in Bunkerville.
Now, there`s no doubt that the armed militias are still there. This
is a recent video of a group of militia men including a man who identifies
himself as a spokesman for the militia talking about how it`s their duty to
defend what they call their battlefield. But of course because this is the
fantasy world of pretend military, it`s also worth noting that there are
different armed militia groups in this area. It isn`t just one big group
of militia men with their, you know, AK-47s and they all get along and sing
kumbaya every night before they bed down around the campfire and intimidate
people on the interstate.
No, it turns out they`re fighting with each other. Recent reports
indicate that there is now actually quite severe infighting between the
different armed groups of pretend soldiers, which includes putting up super
melodramatic YouTube videos and according to them pulling guns on each
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEWART RHODES, OATH KEEPERS FOUNDER: He was assaulted. So tell us
STEVE HOMAN, OATH KEEPERS BOARD OF DIRECTORS: The gentleman came and
he all of a sudden started running at me and hit me right in the chest with
his forearm and put me down.
RHODES: So he came and forearmed you in the chest?
HOMAN: Yes. He was running when he did it.
RHODES: And this is the tip of the iceberg of the cluster out there.
One of our guys from Montana, Rick Delap (ph), who was there from the
beginning, he`s been out for two weeks in the dirt, two of the
mountaineering guys came up to him, were aggressing on him, then one of
them ran back to his vehicle and grabbed an A.R. and came back with an A.R.
in his hand and Rick had to draw on him and the two ran off. That was this
close to him having to shoot that ding-a-ling.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: They pushed me. And they had guns. It was terrible. I
felt very threatened.
These are the armed guys. What have you guys exactly been doing in
Bunkerville? Aren`t you the militia guys who descended on Nevada and
basically declared war on the federal government because you had your guns
that you got at the gun store? Now you`re all scared because other guys
there also have guns and they`re intimidating you with them?
Things are getting out of control, apparently, in Bunkerville. Long
after the rest of the national media has left behind.
The congressman who represents Bunkerville now has this mess to clean
up for his constituents, joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RHODES: Two of the mountaineering guys came up to him, were
aggressing on him, then one of them ran back to his vehicle and grabbed an
A.R. and came back with an A.R. in his hand and Rick had to draw on him and
the two ran off. That was this close to him having to shoot that ding-a-
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was that close to having to shoot that ding-a-ling.
And that is what Cliven Bundy`s neighbors are so worried about now.
A stranger deciding they have to shoot somebody, maybe another armed
stranger who came to Nevada in the hopes of taking part in the great
fantasy uprising against the tyrannical government, or maybe just a local
resident who didn`t know what to make of these armed outsiders reportedly
setting up checkpoints and stopping some local residents on their way home
from work, asking for proof of residency.
This is happening in Nevada. Not some other country that`s at war.
That`s happening here.
Joining us now is Congressman Steven Horsford. He represents
Nevada`s 4th district including the Bundy ranch.
Congressman Horsford, thanks very much for being here. It`s nice to
have you here.
REP. STEVEN HORSFORD (D), NEVADA: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, what are your constituents telling you about their
interactions with these separatist guys? I mean, from a national
perspective I have to admit I assumed they would leave once their fantasy
standoff was over.
HORSFORD: Well, we thought they would leave as well, Rachel. And
that`s what the residents who live in Bunkerville and the surrounding
communities want. They want these separatists, these armed separatists
from outside of the state, to leave.
And we`re calling on the governor, Senator Heller, and others who
made Cliven Bundy out to be a patriot to stand with the residents who feel
very intimidated by the situation. Local businesses are being impacted by
the loss of revenue. People don`t feel safe. And it`s totally
unacceptable. And it`s time for these armed separatists to leave our
MADDOW: In terms of what they are describing in their infighting,
which – I mean, on the one hand it is hard not to laugh at them because
they take themselves so seriously and they`re so clearly living in a
On the other hand, what they are describing in some cases are crimes,
at least on the videotape that was posted that we showed a clip of before.
They`re describing an assault. People pointing weapons at one another in a
threatening way in itself is a crime in most circumstances. When you sent
a letter to the Clark County sheriff expressing those concerns, including
about this potential criminal behavior, has he responded yet? Do you
expect him to?
HORSFORD: He has responded, indicating that there is an
investigation, based on the concerns of residents who`ve contacted my
office about this. And it`s not just the checkpoints. It`s also the fact
that separatist groups themselves said, quote, “We`re not to pull people
over unless we have probable cause.”
You don`t have the authority to pull anybody over. You are not law
enforcement. And it`s why we need you to leave our community. You`re not
providing public safety. In fact, you`re posing a threat to safety.
MADDOW: In terms of wanting them to leave, it sounds like that`s
what your constituents are suggesting most pressingly. How do you think
Obviously, it is a free country. And they can be where they want to
be as long as they`re within the law. What do you anticipate might be the
best strategy of just getting them to go home?
HORSFORD: Well, I think the best strategy at this point is for every
elected official in our state, from the governor, Senator Heller on down,
to join, to be united, to stand with the residents of Bunkerville, the
overwhelming majority who do not want these armed separatists in their
This is a community of about 1,200 people. They`re law-abiding.
They`re concerned about their community, their children. They do not want
these outside people who have ulterior motives in their community any
They want to return to normal. And we need elected officials to be
united and send a united message that it`s time for them to leave.
MADDOW: Congressman Steven Horsford of Nevada, who represents the
area that includes the Bundy ranch and the surrounding towns that
incredibly are still dealing with an armed militia men hangover from this
story. Good luck to you, sir. Thanks for being with us to help us
HORSFORD: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I appreciate it. I should mention Cliven Bundy himself is
now asking supporters to file criminal complaints against people they
believe have acted illegally during the standoff. See if that happens.
All right. Still coming up, a story out of Oregon that I told you
you have to stay for. You really have to stay for it. You haven`t heard
this story anywhere. I didn`t believe for three days that it`s true. It`s
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Kids these days have a saying, it`s more like a phrase than
a saying, I guess, head desk. Have you heard anybody say head desk? The
Urban Dictionary defines head desk as when your head connects with your
desk, often as an expression of frustration or disappoint.
This is an example of what head desk looks like and sounds like on
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
ART ROBINSON: The interruption was not caused by the delay. It`s
just the speed of light, madam. It`s much faster than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Gentleman in that clip is named Art Robinson. He was a
Republican candidate for Congress from Oregon in 2010. And that exchange
about speed of light and having satellite delay, that was not the weirdest
exchange of that interview. It was just the straw that caused the head
But now, amazing news, that guy, the only person who has made me hurt
myself on purpose on television, he`s chairman of the Republican Party of
the state of Oregon. And he has done something that I wouldn`t believe if
it wasn`t him. But you probably won`t believe it anyway, even though it is
him. And that story is next.
MADDOW: Peter DeFazio is not a permanent congressman but is running
for his 15th term for Oregon and running for the third time in a row this
year against this guy who currently leads for THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW hall
of fame balloting for weirdest interview on this show ever.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You have advocated that radioactive waste should be
dissolved in water and, quote, “widely dispersed in the ocean.”
ROBINSON: The statements that you have just made are untrue.
MADDOW: Wait. I was quoting you.
ROBINSON: What you have done is take tiny excerpts from a vast
amount of writing that I have done on this scientific subject.
MADDOW: Can I ask you about something else that you`ve written in
your newsletter and you can tell me that I`m taking out of context?
ROBINSON: You can ask me anything you want. You`re running the
MADDOW: You deposited in print, there was no editor, you weren`t
taken out of context.
ROBINSON: Here we go again.
MADDOW: That AIDS was a government conspiracy, that the government
was misclassifying –
ROBINSON: I absolutely deny that. I never, ever in my life made a
statement like that. You are lying. I never made a statement like that
and I know it. You are lying. The statement you just made is an outright
MADDOW: Quoting from Mr. Robinson`s newsletter, quote –
ROBINSON: No way. No way. You are lying. I`ve never in my life
written that statement.
MADDOW: Only government classification of more and more diseased
types as AIDS cases has kept the number of victims at politically necessary
levels. You wrote it. I`m quoting it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Art Robinson, leading the Republican wacky
candidate caucus of 2010.
Art Robinson runs something called the Oregon Institute of Science
and Medicine. He has lots of ideas, lots of ideas.
Radiation is good for you. We should sprinkle it all over the
country for our health. AIDS is not real. It`s a government conspiracy.
Public schools should be abolished.
Now, Art Robinson comes from the part of the fringe that might not be
much more than dusty lint at this point. But in 2010, he had the benefit
of an outside group, a super PAC, that ran ads attacking Peter DeFazio and
selling Art Robinson as a scientist, a new voice, a smarter choice.
That outside group turned out to be funded largely by one guy, a
hedge fund billionaire in New York. But his New York money made Art
Robinson a contender in Oregon. He got within 10 points of Peter DeFazio
of the 2010 election. Seriously, the sprinkle radiation all over the
country guy got within ten points. Money is a very powerful thing.
In their second contest, without that helpful outside money and with
a bigger turnout for the presidential election, their second matchup, as
you can tell, was not nearly so close.
But Art Robinson wasn`t done. Last year, he got himself named the
chairman of the Oregon Republican Party. I am not kidding. And this year,
he announced that he would take on Peter DeFazio and run for Congress
We actually asked the Long Island hedge fund owner today whether he
would be backing Art Robinson again like he did in 2010. If we ever hear
back from the guy, we`ll let you know. Never going to happen.
The Web site for the PAC that he funned his money through, I should
let you know, is now for sale. So, maybe we should take that as a sign.
Meanwhile, Peter DeFazio has the “who is Art Robinson” site cued up
for round three of running against him again. And a flyer from Art
Robinson is now landing in mailboxes all over Oregon. Art Robinson is
asking Oregon residents for donations but this time he`s not asking for
monetary donations. No, this time he`s asking for Oregon residents to
please send him their bodily fluids in a jar.
Look at this. We first got this tweeted to us by Kip Anderson, an
appeal from Art Robinson. We need your urine.
Could this be real? Yes, it could. Art Robinson sent us a copy of
the brochure today and it`s real.
He says he`s researching ways to spot disease by looking at your pee.
He has his ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometer ready to go. He says
he just needs to be able to calibrate it and for that he says he needs
15,000 people to mail him a urine sample every six months for the next five
So, this is not a one-time deal. This is a relationship. Art
Robinson, chair of the Oregon Republican Party and Republican congressional
candidate again, is asking you to please promise to send him a jar of your
pee twice a year for the next five years starting now.
The need for pee is urgent. Not the need to pee, the need for pee,
sent by mail. They`re asking people in Oregon for now. But he says you
can donate regardless of where you live. Just mail in the form, they will
handle the rest.
Even though he says, in at least one of these brochures, he says that
most people know him because of him running and running and running for
Congress, Art Robinson tell us that this is not a political deal. He says
it has nothing to do with politics. He told us tonight, he says, quote,
“It`s just my job.”
So the pee and the Congress, they are unrelated. If you live in his
district, Art Robinson would please like your vote. If you live anywhere
else on planet Earth and you`ve got to go, Art Robinson would like you to
send him your pee, every six months until approximately 2019. Seriously.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD.” Have a great night. Bye.
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