The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/21/14
HAYES: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you.
Congratulations on that interview, man.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
On Tuesday of this week, in the middle of the day around noontime, a
young man, 25-year-old man named Kajieme Powell who walked into a
convenience store in north St. Louis, Missouri, according to the police
description of this day, and other reports, the young man reportedly
shoplifted from the store, although he made no effort to conceal the fact
that he was doing so. He picked up two sodas, two energy drinks then
walked out of the store without paying.
The young man then reportedly – after he left the store, he came
back into the store and took another item off the shelf and, again, left
the store without paying. The store employee on duty right then reportedly
spoke with the young man, told him he needed to pay for these items. The
young man did not.
And at that point, somebody at that store contacted police. Police
say they also got a second 911 call from a St. Louis alderwoman who was at
her own business nearby. She saw the incident happen. She called police
Apparently, she described this young man to police as behaving
erratically on the street in front of the store. Police say she reported
to police that the young man was holding a knife.
And the video you`re about to see here was shot by a bystander.
Somebody who happened to be walking by and noticed what was going on and at
this point in the timeline, this video apparently shows what happened next
after the police were called.
And the young man in question here, you`ll see in just a moment, he`s
wearing khaki pants, some sort of dark colored cardigan or sweatshirt over
what looks to be a white crewneck shirt. You see him there on the curb.
And what you see him put down there on the curb, those apparently are
the two sodas, two energy drinks he took from the convenience store. The
young man is sort of walking back and forth.
He apparently purposely sat down the two items, two sodas he stole
from the store. He`s not drinking them, he`s not hiding them, he`s
certainly not making an effort to get away, to run off with them or
anything. He`s put those things down on the curb. He`s walking back and
forth, sort of stalking back and forth.
I`m just going to – I`m going to let this run here for a second and
you`ll hear the guy who`s shooting the video sort of narrate what it is
that he is seeing. And the man who`s shooting the video – he swears
sometimes when he`s talking so we`ve taken out the swear words. You will
not hear those.
But basically, what appears to have happened is this guy taking the
video has come upon this scene, he`s narrating what`s going on. He`s kind
of making fun of this young man or at least verbally observing and
describing what he thinks is this man`s odd behavior and what appears to be
happening is this young man appears to know and these observers appear to
know that the police are on their way.
This incident which started with him taking those items out of that
convenience store and not paying for them. At this point has resulted in
him putting those apparently stolen items down on the street. And it`s
about to result in the police arriving and confronting that young man over
what happened in the store.
Everybody seems to be in on that fact at this point in the video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just offered two sodas – a drink. He straight
put them on the ground, bro, like daring someone to touch them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not how you do it, bro. You know what
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not how you do it, bro.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police going to pull up. Going to call the
police? He`s bagging up. He`s got his gun out. Oh. Oh. Oh.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And we have frozen the video right there at that instant as
late as we can because it is the policy of MSNBC and NBC News that we do
not show video of people being killed on camera.
But what happens immediately after this instant is the police open
fire on this young man. Both police shoot at him. They fire in very quick
succession. Again, both officers fire. You can clearly hear the distinct
sound of at least nine shots being fired.
The Metropolitan Police Department in St. Louis says that both
officers fired six shots for a total of 12. On the tape, you can clearly
hear nine, and all nine of those shots that you can hear are fired within
And the entire incident from when police pull up to the curb, and
when they fire those shots and they stop firing, that entire incident, the
entire length of time from when they arrive on the scene to when they have
fired those shots and the man is on the ground, a grand total of 23
seconds, the entire incident.
The officers have their guns drawn from the get-go as you can see
when they pull up. And in significantly less than 30 seconds, the police
arrive at that scene, the young man says to them something that sounds
like, shoot me, shoot me now. The police continually give them verbal
orders. The young man moves toward the officers in the way you can see in
the video, and then at least nine bullets are fired and the young man died
at the scene.
The police say the young man was holding a knife. They say they
recovered a knife that was described as something like a steak knife from
Once they had shot the young man and he was lying on the ground, as
you`ll see in this next part of the footage, the bystanders, including what
appears to be the man shooting the video, they seem to be upset when
they`re observing the police roll the young man over after he was already
on the ground shot. They roll him over and handcuff him.
We do not know if the young man was dead at this point that they
rolled him over and handcuffed him, but the bystanders clearly thought that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, here we go again. They just killed this man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look how they`re flipping him over when he`s
already dead, man. That`s messed up, dog.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re putting him in cuffs. Oh, my God. They
just killed this man. He didn`t have a gun on him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re cuffing him. Why are they cuffing him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re cuffing him. He already dead. He
already dead. You all see this for yourself. The man is already dead.
They`re cuffing him. They`re cuffing him.
I got everything on camera. From the time it started and everything.
Oh, my God. They just killed them, y`all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We blurred the young man`s body on the street, as you can
The police shooting of Kajieme Powell on Tuesday of this week, police
said he was 23 years old, it turns out he was 25 years old. This happened
Tuesday of this week, it happened 10 days into a community crisis, in some
ways a national crisis over another fatal police shooting of a young black
man in the St. Louis area.
The shooting of Kajieme Powell, of which we have this remarkable
video account, this took place in North St. Louis, less than four miles
from where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson, Missouri,
police, the previous weekend.
And even as the anger and upset and protests have continued over the
killing of Michael Brown, there has not been nearly as much protest in this
immediately adjacent community of North St. Louis after this other more
recent police shooting, and part of that may be community perceptions about
the merits of the shooting, itself. The one we just showed you, and
whether or not the police were justified in this shooting.
Particularly there`s that crucial detail where the police say that he
had a knife. But part of it may also be the transparency with which the
St. Louis Police Department has treated this matter.
Less than 90 minutes after Kajieme Powell was shot by St. Louis
police officers, less than an hour and a half later, the St. Louis City
police chief was out there a the site of the shooting giving an official
police account of what happened and then he immediately thereafter took
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM DOTSON, ST. LOUIS POLICE CHIEF: So what we know right now is
that we have a suspect who was involved in a theft, who was – department
was contacted, acting erratically, armed with a knife. Police officers
responded. When they responded, the suspect did not respond to verbal
commands to drop his weapon. He approached both officers. When he closed
within three, four feet of the knife, in what was described as an overhand
grip, the officers fired their weapon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Again, that was less than 90 minutes after the police
Now that this video has emerged, there are empirical questions to
consider about whether or not the police chief`s description of how the
shooting happened comports with the video evidence that we now have in
terms of, for example, how close the young man was to the officers and
whether any knife that the suspect may or may not have had was, in fact, a
lethal threat to those officers in the way that this young man may have had
it in his hand. Whether the police officers used an appropriate amount of
force based on what they thought the threat was. There are empirical
questions to consider, right?
And, again, it is remarkable to see this entire altercation start and
end within 23 seconds of police officers arriving on the scene. Within 23
seconds, they have arrived at the curb and somewhere between nine and 12
shots have been fired and the man is dead.
But the fact remains that the police chief was there, barely more
than an hour after the shooting happened on the scene to give the
department`s official description of what happened, to take press questions
right away. When it emerged that there was bystander video of what
happened, that bystander video was obtained by the police, by the St. Louis
City police, and it was the police department that then released this video
publicly, apparently without any sort of editing, although we cannot say
that for sure.
We obtained – we obtained this video from the police. We did not
have to obtain it through other means.
Today, we directed a series of follow-up questions to the St. Louis
Metropolitan Police about the shooting and about what is depicted in the
video. The department responded almost immediately to our questions. We
asked them if the officer in the incident had dash cam video recorders or
uniform cam video recorders. We said, if not, do other St. Louis police
officers have them?
The police got back to us quickly with the response, answered
directly, said, “The officer`s patrol vehicle was not equipped with a dash
camera. Some patrol vehicles are, but this one was not.” They also said,
“None of our officers wear body cameras.”
We then asked, is there any other video record of the incident on
Tuesday, other than the cell phone video the department has now released?
Again, a quick response, they say they have obtained another cell phone
video but say the incident, itself, was not captured on the video. OK.
We also asked, were the officer in the indictment armed with tasers?
Answer from the department, “Yes, the officers in this incident did have
tasers.” But obviously they did not choose to use them. They went
straight for the lead.
Yes, the officers had tasers. Yes, they did not use them. And the
St. Louis police chief, Sam Dotson, answered questions about why his
officers did not use the tasers that they had instead of their guns, when
he was asked a similar question this morning on CNN.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOTSON: Certainly, a taser is an option that`s available to the
officers, but tasers aren`t 100 percent. So, you`ve got an individual
armed with a knife who`s moving towards you, not listening to any verbal
commands, continues, says, “Shoot me now, kill me now.” If the taser
misses, the suspect continues on and hurts an officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The St. Louis city police chief, Sam Dotson speaking with
CNN, I said this morning. That was late last night.
This police shooting and the tape of it, this lightning escalation
from guy stealing soda, to guy putting soda on the curb apparently, to guy
shot multiple times by two police officers, and the guy ending up being
dead on the sidewalk less than 30 seconds after police are on the scene,
that lightning escalation, that is a horrible thing – it`s just – I mean,
regardless of what you think happened, it`s a horrible thing to witness,
because however you feel about the police use of force here and the police
rules of engagement in situations like this, whether or not this was
This unequivocally, regardless of how you feel about the legality of
this, it is a horrible thing to witness because a young man lost his life.
In a tinderbox community, though, the St. Louis police seem to have averted
mass protest and even potential of civil unrest over this kind of shooting
simply by virtue of talking about it immediately, being transparent, making
so much information available so quickly and so widely and without
Contrast that with the neighboring police department right over the
city line from north St. Louis in Ferguson, where we are now 12 days into
what has been a civic crisis of significant magnitude over the shooting of
18-year-old Michael Brown. The Ferguson police department still has not
released a police report from the shooting of Michael Brown.
They did release a full police report and video and stills from what
they admit is an unrelated incident in which the shooting victim, Michael
Brown, they say, was implicated in a theft at a convenience store earlier
in the day on the day police killed him. They released all of that, but no
police report still to this day from the shooting of Michael Brown. They
still have also not released the autopsy results from the county autopsy of
Today, the Ferguson police department turned down a request from NBC
News to please see the personnel file of the officer who`s been named as
the shooter of Michael Brown. The only thing they would release is his
name, the day he was hired and his salary. They would not release any
other details from his police file.
The one substantive police – excuse me, the one substantive piece of
information that the Ferguson police department did decide to release about
the officer implicated in this shooting, the one piece of information they
have decided to release was this video that they released today showing the
officer in question receiving a commendation from the city council for good
That was what they released today about the officer involved in this
shooting. Still, though, no police report, still no autopsy, still,
though, on day 12, at least as of night 11 last night, things do seem to
have calmed down some in terms of the level of protest and upset on
Today, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon ordered that the Missouri National
Guard start withdrawing from the streets of Ferguson after being deployed
there for four days. The resolution here, though, is going to be a long
haul, and it seems clear that nobody quite knows what to expect over the
You can see some of the, I guess the continuing turmoil, at least the
continuing uncertainty, the continuing tension. You could see it today at
the Justice Center in Clayton, Missouri. Local elected officials and
community leaders today tried to turn in a batch of petition signatures,
70,000 signatures asking for the county prosecutor to recuse himself from
the Michael Brown case because the community does not want him on the case.
They want a special prosecutor to be appointed to take this case instead.
Even that very civil, inside-the-system kind of activism today in
broad daylight at the Justice Center, even that today could not happen
without real tension and without some real upset.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER: I`m the executive assistant for the prosecutor`s office.
STATE SEN. JAMILAH NASHEED (D), MISSOURI: Senator Nasheed. We want
to deliver these here signatures to the prosecutor`s office.
OFFICER: I`ll accept them for you then we have a statement from Mr.
McCulloch to hand to you.
NASHEED: OK. So, you`re going to need people to help you take them
OFFICER: That`s right. I got people here to do it.
NASHEED: No, we want to take them up.
OFFICER: No, Mr. McCulloch is not available.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a state official.
OFFICER: I know. Mr. McCulloch is not available. This is the first
we`ve heard of this morning. So, we weren`t able to (INAUDIBLE)
NASHEED: We just want to take them to the office. We have a few
OFFICER: I know.
NASHEED: And this is a public entity.
OFFICER: Yes, I know.
NASHEED: This is our First Amendment right. I`m an elected
OFFICER: I know.
NASHEED: Senator for the state of Missouri.
OFFICER: Yes, ma`am.
NASHEED: How dare you tell me I can`t go up –
OFFICER: Ma`am, ma`am.
CROWD: This is a public building.
OFFICER 2: If you step over the line, you`re going to be arrested.
CROWD: It`s a public building. It`s a public building.
CROWD: She is a state senator.
CROWD: It`s a public building.
NASHEED: What you`re doing –
NASHEED: And I`m taking the signatures. Don`t touch me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t touch her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is Kenneth Murdock. He`s host of the
“Murdock Report” on WGMU AM radio in St. Louis.
Mr. Murdock, thank you for being with us. It`s a pleasure to have
KENNETH MURDOCK, WGMU RADIO ST. LOUIS: Hi, Rachel. It`s a pleasure
to be on your show.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about the footage that has now been released
from the police shooting that took place on Tuesday. I`m wondering, have
the – you know, we watched these two shootings having such different
reactions in North St. Louis and in Ferguson.
Do you think that the video that`s been released is going to change
any of the community reaction to that shooting? And how do you see the
difference in the way these two shootings have been responded to?
MURDOCK: Well, I think there`s a lot of issues happening here. This
new video of another politician shooting has thrown another stick on our
already burning fire, which has the community wondering what happens when
you give local police officers so much firepower that they start to think
like soldiers and forget they`re peace officers.
Many people in the community are concerned that they don`t know what
anymore constitute an escalation of force. We saw the video, and the
police officers said there was some kind of overhand knife grip and attack,
and the video doesn`t quite show that. So, once again there`s this room
for fantasy, because there seems to be a long time for the wheels of
justice to come around when the community is wanting answers.
We want grand jury indictments on one case and we want quicker moving
wheels of justice and we want dashboard cameras and things that would help
the community be assured from primary sources of information that police
officers are acting like peace officers and not like soldiers.
MADDOW: Looking at things over the course of last night, and late
night last night and through today, seeing the declining number of arrests,
knowing that you and I can have a conversation right now without you having
to shout over protesters like I`ve had to do sometimes over the course of
the last few days when we`ve been talking to people on that same spot. It
does seem like things are calmer now on the streets.
Do you think that`s just a surface indication, do you think the upset
is sort of still the same, it`s just manifesting differently? How do you
think this is going to play out over the next few days and weeks?
MURDOCK: I think the streets are very tense right now, and I think a
lot of citizens don`t really understand the – on the Mike Brown case, the
grand jury process and how long that can take, and on the new case, the
Powell being shot case, a lot of people are just more concerned, is it safe
to be out on the street or interact with law enforcement? It`s a shame
that we have seniors right here in Ferguson where I`m standing now scared
to get their medicine and things like that and have higher-up politicians
like our lieutenant governor playing word games against the governor, when
seniors need his help right now.
So, there`s a lot of complex issues right now. But for those viewers
of yours who believed in things like trickle-down theory, I`ll let them
know that Ferguson and St. Louis City and St. Louis County have not felt
this water from trickle down. And when you have a mixture of both poverty
and racism and systemic problems and police forcing agencies, then you
create a toxic mix that we all need to unpack together.
MADDOW: Kenneth Murdock, host of “The Murdock Report” on WGMU AM
radio on St. Louis, joining us live from Ferguson right now – thank you
for being with us, sir. It`s nice to see you. Thank you.
MURDOCK: Thank you very much, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead, including a report
from NBC`s Richard Engel and the latest adventures of the latest indicted
Republican serving governor in this country.
Please stay with us. Lots to come tonight.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS: U.S. military officials expected American
airstrikes against ISIS would be coming soon, and that ISIS would likely
take its revenge on its American hostages, at least four of them, including
reporter James Foley.
The president authorized a rescue mission, but the White House said
the hostages were in danger with each passing day in custody.
In early July, with an unspecified number of U.S. warplanes providing
cover, radar-resistant helicopters crossed into Syrian airspace. They
headed north of the city of Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold, landing by an oil
refinery. Delta Force commandos killed several ISIS fighters in a
But the hostages were gone. The military had just missed them,
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s some of Richard Engel`s reporting from tonight`s “NBC
“The Washington Post” is now reporting some detail on the story of
the American journalist Jim Foley, who`s taken hostage in Syria two years
ago, and who was killed on camera, beheaded by the Sunni militant group
ISIS in a video they posted online this week.
“The Washington Post” is now reporting that newspaper had learned on
its own that there had been an attempt made by U.S. Special Operations
troops inside Syria to rescue Jim Foley and other hostages being held by
When the White House released that information that there had been
that raid, when they released that information late yesterday, that there
had been this raid by U.S. forces inside Syria and that it had not been
successful because the hostages were not there when the teams landed, when
they released that information, the National Security Council said that
they had not intended to ever release information about that raid. The
only reason they did is because they felt forced to because media outlets
had learned about the raid through other means and media outlets were about
to report it.
Well, “The Washington Post” now says that they had, in fact, inquired
at the White House about that raid yesterday morning before the White House
admitted to it yesterday afternoon. And then briefed a small group of
reporters on exactly what happened.
You may remember from the Osama bin Laden raid in Pakistan in 2011
that the Navy SEALs who carried out that mission were brought into Pakistan
and dropped at the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad by Black Hawk
helicopters that had been heavily modified. They are both heavily armed
and heavily modified presumably to try to avoid turning up on radar as they
sprinted across the border for the secret mission in a place where U.S.
forces were not supposed to be operating.
Well, the same thing was reportedly done on this raid inside Syria,
the same U.S. army 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. The group
called the night stalkers. They, again, were called in for a stealth
helicopter mission to ferry special operations forces into somewhere the
United States does not admit they are going to.
In the bin Laden raid, it was SEAL Team 6, a development group. In
this case, the National Security Council says the special operators were a
joint force from multiple services. They included Delta Force commandos
and they flew in on these modified Black Hawks.
“The New York Times” reports that the raid included an exchange of
fire with is militants on the ground. They report that one of the special
operations aircraft was fired at from the ground and one U.S. commando was
slightly wounded in that part of the incident. But ultimately, there were
no U.S. casualties in that raid.
It`s the first time U.S. forces have been on the ground during the
Syrian civil war as far as we know. There were no U.S. casualties, there
were also no hostages rescued. U.S. officials told reporters,
“intelligence is not an exact science.”
But we also now know that part of the intelligence that gave the
White House the confidence to plan and OK that raid came from at least six
European hostages who had been held by is before but then were freed this
spring. And those six European hostages were debriefed by U.S.
intelligence once they were out of ISIS` captivity and they were safely out
In March, it was journalists from Spain who were released by ISIS
after being held for months. The following month, in April, it was
journalists from France, who were released by ISIS.
And there is this narrative out there that other militant groups
around the world kidnap people for ransom but when is does it it`s for
other reasons. ISIS just kills for terror and for propaganda but not for
Well, in the case of those French and Spanish journalists who were
held by ISIS, but who are released this spring and then able to provide the
intel for planning this raid, it appears that ISIS really was holding them
for money, because although the French and Spanish and other European
countries don`t admit to paying ransoms to terrorist groups like is and al
Qaeda in exchange for hostages, it`s widely known that they do.
The U.S. and the U.K. do not pay ransom for hostages, but other
countries do and those European journalists were released in March and
April this spring and then apparently those European journalists were able
to provide information to the U.S. government to help the U.S. government
plan this raid, this raid that ultimately did not work. But it gave them
the confidence to try.
The CEO of “Global Post” where Jim Foley was working at the time he
died, the CEO of “GlobalPost” says the released hostages were also able to
tell that publication that there were more than a dozen European and
American hostages being held in the same place as Jim Foley. He said that
they told them they were being held in eastern Syria. He also says they
were very clear that their captors, the people actually holding them, were
When Jim Foley`s parents spoke publicly yesterday about their son and
about losing him, one of the details they were able to share was that one
of those freed European hostages had been able to bring them home a message
from their son, Jim. Jim Foley could not get a letter sent to his family,
but he wrote a letter to them while he was in captivity. He had one of his
fellow hostages memorize the letter so that if and when that fellow hostage
was ever freed, he could recite it from memory to Jim Foley`s parents, John
and Diane Foley.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN FOLEY, JIM FOLEY`S FATHER: We`re very sure now that he could
feel the prayers and we think his strength came from God, strength –
DIANE FOLEY, JIM FOLEY`S MOTHER: We know it did. As a matter of
fact, we are the only American family that has never received a letter from
Jim. They apparently were all confiscated. So the last hostage to come
out – please –
J. FOLEY: Yes.
D. FOLEY: – Daniel, memorized a letter from Jim. And within hours
of his freedom, he was good enough to call and voice that letter to us.
And it just spoke of his yearning to see all of us once again. So, anyway,
so we`re very grateful for that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Within hours of his freedom, he called Jim Foley`s freedoms
to voice that letter to us that he had memorized. The parents of Jim Foley
there who was murdered by is militants.
Jim Foley`s mom also shared in that statement that the other hostage
who is named in the execution video this week, they also threatened they`d
behead if U.S. air strikes don`t stop in northern Iraq, his name is Steven
Sotloff. John and Diane Foley said yesterday Steven Sotloff`s family had
told them they should mention Steven Sotloff being a hostage when they made
their statement yesterday, that it was OK with them and, in fact, they
wanted them to beg for his life publicly in the hope that that might spare
They also said the other American hostages being held by is, being
held with Steven and Jim, those families have decided to keep their loved
ones anonymous in the hopes that that might be a strategy to try to keep
There are more Americans including Steven Sotloff who are still being
held by the same group that killed Jim Foley. More Americans and
apparently British hostages as well and presumably more other Europeans
even though some Europeans have been saved by the payment of ransom in the
past, including the very recent past.
If the U.S. and the U.K. are not going to pay ransom for hostages,
what else can be done to try to save them? What else can be done?
We now know the details and why there was one raid already, a special
operations raid to try to save those hostages. It did not succeed, but
will they try again? Could they try again?
This is a terrifying work in progress.
MADDOW: Behold. Texas Governor Rick Perry noted lover of guns.
This is Rick Perry firing off a six shooter at an event in downtown Ft.
Worth, Texas, back in April 2010 and really enjoying himself as he does so.
Turns out, though, that guns and gun owners who are under indictment,
those are two things that do not always mix well. And that unexpected
story is next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: January 2012, night of the Iowa caucuses, then-Republican
presidential hopeful Rick Perry finished fifth place. Rick Perry got into
presidential race with all of this anticipation, all of this fanfare. I
totally thought he was going to win it.
But he turned out to be a terrible candidate, came in fifth place in
Iowa, and then that night he announced he was returning home to Texas and
he was going to reassess his campaign. And that`s how you say, I`m
quitting in presidential politics. You say, I`m going to reassess my
But in Rick Perry`s case, he apparently really was just planning to
reassess his campaign because the very next day, he tweeted out this
remarkable photo of himself jogging. Saying this, “The next leg of the
marathon is the Palmetto State. Here we come, South Carolina.”
And that tweet and that picture was his official announcement that he
was staying in the race.
Now, what was not clear from the photo of jogging, Spandex-clad Rick
Perry was whether or not in that moment, he was carrying a laser-sighted
.38 caliber Ruger pistol because he`s known to take one of those along with
him whenever he`s out for a light run.
Two years prior, while he jogging in his neighborhood outside of
Austin, Governor Perry reportedly gunned down a coyote with a single
hollow-point bullet while he was out jogging. And since the governor has a
concealed carry permit, he was able to take the predator by surprise.
If you`re wondering how a person jogs and carries a laser sighted .38
caliber pistol at the same time, we`re told he apparently carries it in a
belt. I`m guessing it it`s more like a fanny pack, but the official line
is it`s a gun belt that he wears while jogging. OK.
But for a guy whose laser sighted pistol is important enough to him
he carries it even while jogging, you can imagine how upsetting it might be
now that Governor Rick Perry is in the process right this second of losing
his concealed carry handgun permit. At least he ought to be in the process
of losing it.
The “Austin American Statesman” reports this week by virtue of being
indicted for a crime for which the potential punishment is more than a year
in prison, Governor Rick Perry of Texas has now lost the right to purchase
any new guns and any new ammunition. He also cannot receive new guns or
ammunition as gifts. In case you were thinking of it.
The state Department of Public Safety, when notified about this kind
of indictment, they`re also supposed to contact the governor to tell him
that his concealed handgun license is also being suspended, until the
conclusion of this case.
As the “Statesman” says this week, “Cue the cheering coyotes.”
Governor Rick Perry`s two-part felony indictment was filed Friday.
Tuesday, he got his mug shot taken, minus his usual handsome glasses.
Tomorrow, he`s due to be arraigned in court in Austin, although the
governor is not is expected to be there personally for the arraignment.
He`s expected, instead, to be in New Hampshire where he quite obviously if
not officially will be campaigning for president again, while under
Rick Perry thinks the felony indictment thing is no barrier to
running for president right now. The national media, including the Beltway
media, conservative media, and much of the liberal media as well has
settled on common wisdom now that the indictment really isn`t that big a
deal for Rick Perry, that it will have no problem beating the charges.
Maybe it will even help him run for president somehow.
But you know what, in Texas the grand jury that indicted him is
pushing back on that now, pushing back on it hard saying they took their
responsibilities seriously and these indictments indicate a serious and
solid case against governor. Texas papers like the “Dallas Morning News”
are editorializing, hey, not so fast, this case is for real, it deserves a
The same paper which incidentally is the largest paper in the state,
this week, they published a top story about how two other Texas district
attorneys were arrested and convicted on DWI incidents while they were in
office as D.A.s and Rick Perry was in office as governor, but when those
D.A.s had DWIs, Governor Perry said nothing. That`s important because it
raises questions about why the governor did get so upset and demand a
resignation and threaten a veto and then, in fact, issue a veto of state
funding in reaction to this one D.A. getting in the same kind of trouble, a
Rick Perry`s veto of state funding in that D.A.`s office, veto of
state funding as retaliation against that Democratic D.A., that`s the heart
of the felony charges against him.
That D.A. earned his ire and his veto of state funding, even when
other D.A.s in the same predicament did not.
I should mention the other D.A.s who had DWIs that Rick Perry didn`t
care about, those D.A.s were Republicans. The one he retaliated against
was a Democrat, and she is a Democrat who also happens to run out of her
office the unit that investigates ethics for Texas state officials.
The knee-jerk national press reaction has been to write off this
indictment as no big deal for Rick Perry. It should be noted that a lot of
people in Texas are saying not so fast.
Joining us is Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the “Dallas
Wayne, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here.
WAYNE SLATER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Great to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: So you`ve been writing about this recently about the sort of
conventional wisdom which is now sort of the Beltway wisdom, too, on the
Perry indictment, that it`s just a smear campaign, that he`s got nothing to
worry about. Why do you think that narrative has developed?
SLATER: I think the big reason is because especially folks at a
distance, in the Beltway, thoughtful folks, smart people, people who
understand politics, seize first on the politics, and Rick Perry has been
very successful at framing the narrative right out of the box, this is
politics. Partisan politics attack.
So, the conventional wisdom has emerged that says, what happened here
was the governor vetoed some money, as from governors are allowed to do,
for a district attorney who is a Democrat, and the Democrats in the
Democratic Travis County came after him in an unfair attack.
So, I think you look at the politics. It`s an easy message, and in
politics, bumper stickers will beat a position paper any time, and the
bumper sticker argument, this is all politics has been very persuasive.
MADDOW: Well, it doesn`t seem like that narrative is at least as
uniformly held in Texas as it is starting to be in the Beltway press, and
maybe I`m oversimplifying in terms of how the Beltway is viewing this. I
certainly look at this indictment and think it`s at least interesting and
not something to write off.
But do you feel like there are the nuances about who`s involved in
bringing this case or about what the actual charges are against the
governor that are appreciated in Texas, that maybe haven`t translated so
far to a national stage?
SLATER: Yes, absolutely. And I don`t want to say that folks
elsewhere, beltway or otherwise, are all wrong. Some of the elements, some
of the facts are right, but they`re not complete.
When you twin looking at this as we in Texas do, have a clearer
sense, well, at least a more detailed sense of the details of the case, you
learn this other stuff. We know this other stuff.
For example, is this a political attack by partisan Democrats who go
after Rick Perry? The Travis County district attorney is not prosecuting
Rick Perry. She has recused herself.
This prosecution is being handled basically by Republicans. A
Republican judge appointed by George W. Bush to the state bench when Bush
was governor, who appointed a special prosecutor who, himself, was a
federal prosecutor in the administration of Father Bush, Bush 41, and who
has the support, had the support of our Texas two Republican senators, John
Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison, when he was considered for U.S. attorney
job. The whole prosecution is being done by Republicans.
So, the claims that it`s a Democrat, a smear job, simply doesn`t hold
Also, the claim that Perry`s making is this is about a veto. It`s
actually not about a veto. It`s about more than a veto. It`s about the
allegation of coercion. It`s basically that you use state money, the
prosecution says, in order to try to muscle a duly elected state official,
or a county official out of office despite what her local voters thought
about whether that ought to happen.
It`s as if you`re saying, look, a veto`s legal, and you can say, I
wish somebody would leave office. That`s free speech. But you may not be
able to link the two. As if a campaign contribution is legal and you can
ask somebody to do something. But the moment you link these two legal acts
involving coercion, persuasion, or bribery, and in this case, abuse of
authority is the allegation, then you have problems.
Rick Perry has bigger problems than the sort of conventional wisdom
MADDOW: I see it that way as well. But I think it`s because I`ve
been reading you and reading the Texas press and reading the Texas press
across multiple different outlets and multiple different papers from
multiple different perspectives, seems like Texas is taking this more
seriously than everybody else is. I think on this one, you guys are
Wayne Slater, senior political writer for the “Dallas Morning News” -
- thanks for helping us sort it out, Wayne. I appreciate it.
SLATER: Good to be with you.
MADDOW: I will say – as people look at Rick Perry as a potential
2016 contender. You know, he`s taking this New Hampshire trip tomorrow,
people talk about this indictment. If you`re thinking about looking at
whether or not Rick Perry is a viable 2016 contender and thinking about
looking at these indictments as part of that, get behind the pay wall,
right? Pay for subscriptions to the Texas publication of your choice.
Start reading Texas papers on this. The coverage is like reading it from
Mars when you compare stuff that`s being written in Washington.
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: We`re looking at live pictures right now of Ferguson,
Missouri. Today, the state`s governor decided to withdraw the National
Guard from Ferguson. Also, the local school board announced that school
will open there on Monday.
Tonight`s relative peace has come in the face of some controversial
developments, as we talked about earlier in the show. One of those
developments is the release of a video of Tuesday`s fatal shooting of a
young African-American man by St. Louis police.
Early yesterday morning, Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson
said he thought they turned a corner in Ferguson. Time will tell, but
tonight protests and police both appear to be quite peaceful.
We`ll keep you updated.
MADDOW: OK. For the first time ever, and hopefully the last, this
is the worst new thing in the world today. Today marks the end of an era
in our RACHEL MADDOW SHOW`s almost six years of history.
Today, our staff said goodbye to this guy, our executive producer
Bill Wolff, the man who invented the show out of whole cloth. Today is
Bill`s last day. He`s leaving us.
And he`s not leaving us for any bad reason. Bill apparently got some
sweet new job on an easy show, with a much better schedule. And we hate
for him that and will hate him forever. But we are happy that Alison and
Isaac will get to see more of him now.
You may not know at home how important an executive producer is to a
show. A lot of what these guys do happens behind the scenes but they help
shape the editorial vision of the show, they hire and manage the staff.
They run interference with the management, when necessary. An executive
producer has to tend to the care of feeding of needy and insecure hosts
from time to time.
But in Bill Wolff`s case, Bill has done all that and a lot more. As
the actor-manager of the TRMS players, Bill has been our whaling boat
captain and also our Russian spy. And also our alleged parking meter fee
who stuffed his pants pockets with quarters.
He was our orange skinned congressman handing out tobacco lobby
checks in the House floor. Lo, these many years, Bill Wolff has been our
alpha and our omega.
BILL WOLFF, TRMS EXEC. PRODUCER: Well, hi, everybody. I`M Bill
Wolff, the executive producer of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. Rachel has a
well-earned night off tonight, but there are things going on in this world
worth knowing on this bleary, not exactly holiday, not exactly workday.
And that is why I`m wearing a necktie.
We were hoping to tell to the story and he said, what show do you
represent? I said, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW. And he said that`s
MADDOW: That`s unacceptable was his response to you saying at the
end of the show?
WOLFF: Yes. And then, so I was getting the feeling it wasn`t going
to happen like that.
MADDOW: Bill was unable to answer my question today because he was
playing the part of a flamingo.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, haven`t we met last summer in
WOLFF: No. I think it was the Hamptons.
MADDOW: Seriously, come on. That is Bill Wolff in a wolf t-shirt.
Are you guys literally in a bar with 100 people?
WOLFF: We are literally in a bar. My dad is here finally watching
my only marketable job skill, leaning on a bar.
This crazy race for the Senate in Alaska. And so, I kept on a beard
until it was settled. And it`s almost settled.
Oh, look at this, whoo-hoo! This is already the best day of my life.
Anything for my job. It`s all in the name of journalism.
Oh, dear God. You have done it. Thank you so much.
WOLFF: That`s horrible.
I got sick as a dog, literally, just sick as a dog, couldn`t get it
better. It felt like people with hammers were behind each one of my eyes
for about 22 hours.
Rachel, (INAUDIBLE) at 2-year-old. He`s very sensitive at these
MADDOW: So you couldn`t go, but you got somebody else to cover for
WOLFF: That`s exactly right. I think the best way to tell you is
just to show the tape.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Rachel. This is Carol Lynn Wolff (ph).
I`m Bill`s mother. Bill couldn`t come today. He`s not feeling well.
MADDOW: You use fight songs to get yourself psyche for this show
WOLFF: Yes, I do.
MADDOW: If you follow our show online, you may know that Bill does
short videos promoting what`s happening on the show each tight.
WOLFF: I`m not from Ohio, I`m from Missouri. But I love all
marching band. The best thing in the world.
This is humiliating.
MADDOW: No, it`s brilliant. It`s like you`ve become an animal, like
a weepy, fired up, emotional in all good ways animal.
WOLFF: I bring myself to tears.
MADDOW: That right there, that perfect nerd and schmaltz and
enthusiasm and mensch, that is our beloved Bill Wolff. Bill, man, we`re so
mad that you are leaving. We are really going to miss you. You leaving us
is the worst new thing in the world today and we wish you all the best. We
would not be here without you.
That does it for us tonight. Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH
Good evening, Lawrence.
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