The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/11/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: All right. That is “ALL IN” for this
evening from Houston, Texas.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
This is Henry Kravis. Henry Kravis is a very, very, very wealthy man.
Right now, there are only 99 people in the United States who are known to
be richer than him. He`s worth like 5 billion with B dollars, nothing
wrong with that. Just saying that`s why you might have heard of him if you
Henry Kravis tonight is hosting a dinner at his home. I`m sure his
home is lovely. But in order to get into the dinner into his home, in
order to buy a ticket, you just need one simple thing. You need $1 times
100,000. And you have to want to give your $100,000 to Jeb Bush. To the
Jeb Bush for President super PAC – $100,000 per person for a fund-raiser.
That ticket price is shocking, even by Wall Street standards.
But it turns out that the shock is part of the tactic here. This in
part is Jeb Bush showing off to the other would-be candidates for president
in 2016, that he can get people to shell out $100,000 per person for a
chicken dinner for him at this stage of the race. They call it shock and
And it is aimed, yes, at raising a lot of money. But it`s also aimed
at the other candidates in the race to make them believe it is futile to
try to compete. I mean, Jeb Bush is doing it now in his run for the
presidency. But the all-time undisputed king of this tactic, the guy who
basically invented it in modern politics is Jeb Bush`s older brother,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: Of course, cash is king in a race for a
presidency. When it comes to filling the war chest, George W. Bush rules.
We continue in-depth.
Here`s NBC`s Lisa Myers.
LISA MYERS, NBC NEWS: To win the presidency, the Bush campaign needs
to suck up cash like a Texas twister. And so far, it`s on track.
Other candidates complain Bush has turned the Republican Party into
his personal ATM, leaving everyone else starved for cash. By the end of
this month, Bush`s war chest may top $20 million, more than the rest of the
Opponents complain Bush`s strategy is to overwhelm everyone else and
drive them out of the race.
UNIDENTIFEID FEMALE: His critics may say George W. Bush lacks depth
when it comes to his policy positions, but now, there`s fresh evidence of
the incredible depth of his financial support.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By all accounts the numbers are staggering and
unprecedented. The question now is, can other candidates survive?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The other candidates did not survive. George W. Bush locked
up basically all the money in the race on the Republican side in 1999 and
2000, locked up all that money, really early. And with that, intimidating,
some say even prohibitive fund-raising advantage, he forced out of the race
the people who were best placed to compete with him for the nomination for
president in 2000. That`s how he won the nomination. And then he won the
And now, W.`s younger brother, Jeb, is showing he`s mindful of his
brother`s legacy, as he mounts his own run, apparently in much the same way
– $100,000 a ticket to go to this dinner tonight.
But you know, if you are the third Bush trying to win the presidency
in less than 30 years, you can`t just be mindful of the time your brother
ran. You also have to be mindful of how your father did it as well.
George H.W. Bush, Poppy Bush, running for the first time in 1988, I have to
admit less than exciting. He had been Ronald Reagan`s vice president, he
basically ran as Ronald Reagan`s vice president, sort of a four more years
kind of thing.
The more searing experience for Poppy Bush was when he ran for a
second term. When he ran for reelection in 1992, he did not win. Bill
Clinton beat him. And for all the indelible moments over the years of
things going wrong for candidates while they were running for president,
you know, Gary Bauer falling backwards off a stage while flipping pancakes
at a Bisquick photo-op, our Howard Dean screaming into the microphone,
don`t do it! And whoever told Michael Dukakis that it would be a good idea
to put that tiny person in that giant tank.
I mean, for all of the indelible presidential campaigns, bad moments
over the years, John Kerry reborn – the most indelible presidential
campaign moment, that happens not just to candidates, but to a serving
president who was running for reelection, one of these indelible moments
that happened to a serving president was what happened to George H.W. Bush,
when he was running for reelection in 1992.
He had this remarkable staged for the press moment in Florida,
involving a carton of milk, an apple, and his own wide-eyed amazement.
“The New York Times” headline after this after this happened was, “Bush
encounters the supermarket amazed.” Quote, “He grabbed a quart of milk, a
light bulb and candy and ran them over the scanner. The look of wonder
flickered across his face, as he saw the item and price registered on the
cash register screen.”
Quote, “This is for checking out?” he said. “Amazed by some of the
In the years since that happened, that story has sort of taken on a
life of its own. Some people had tried to do debunk it. Of course, Poppy
Bush had been in a supermarket before. Of course, he was aware that
supermarkets had been using electronic scanners.
He just said he was amazed by it, because it`s still amazing all those
years later, right? They come up with a way to try to debunk it. But even
with all the pushback, that story stuck. It did not help Poppy Bush in his
reelection effort, that he looked like an out-of-touch super-rich guys who
didn`t know the fundamentals of peasant life, like how you pay for stuff in
And you would think that that story looms large in the Bush family
psyche of things that can go wrong when you are running for president. And
it might. But now, we are faced with the apparent inevitable candidacy of
one of Poppy Bush`s son, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
And the challenge that he`s got that nobody else has, is that he has
to define himself as a third kind of Bush. Right? We had Poppy Bush, and
we had George Bush, now, we`ve got Jeb and he has to differentiate himself
from those two previous presidents from his own nuclear family. And what
he appears to have settled on, what we have learned this week, is that he
wants to be the Tech Bush. E-Bush, if you will.
Now, here`s the first problem. It is hard to seem like a tech-savvy
candidate for president if you never thought to buy the Web site address
JebBushforpresident.com. But that web address actually belongs to two
adorable burly bears who were a couple in Oregon. They bought it several
years ago for $8. And they`re now busy turning JebBushforpresident.com,
into a gay rights Web site, because they can, because they own it, because
Jeb Bush, the Tech Bush, the E-Bush, he never thought he might need that
address, and so they got it.
This week, though, the Jeb Bush for president campaign, rolling him
out as the tech guy, they did start a big public buildup to some new Jeb
Bush for president Web site they were launching. We knew it would not be
at the obvious URL, jebbushforpresident.com because, again, the beardy gay
guys in Oregon own that, but the Jeb folks did a big conference call with
reporters, publicizing that they were going to launch a new site.
They said it was going to go online at midnight on Tuesday, right?
Midnight launch, that`s kind of a dramatic choice. They said it was going
to be a Web site with unprecedented transparency about this campaign,
unprecedented online release of Jeb Bush related information. Stay tuned
And when it went live at midnight, we found out what it was. The Web
site is jebbushemails.com. You type that into your browser. This pops up
as the splash page. Sort of a strained happy face from Governor Bush.
And the Web site is all about how much he loves the e-mail. E-mail
kept me connected to Floridians and focused on the mission of being their
governor. He talks about just how many e-mails he got when he was
governor, millions of emails. He wants you to know that his nickname when
he was governor was that they called him the e-governor.
But the launch of e-governor, e-Jeb, e-Bush, this is big tech coming
out. It has now run into another significant problem. Have you ever heard
of the phenomenon of doxxing? Sometimes it`s d-o-x-i-n-g, more frequently
Basically means somebody`s decided to hurt you, to maliciously go
after you on purpose by posting online your real personal information, your
private personal information. So that could mean something as simple as
your full name and your personal e-mail address, maybe also your date of
birth, your physical address.
In extreme doxxing attacks, it could also mean your bank account
numbers, your credit card numbers, your medical information, your Social
Security number. All your private stuff posted online for anybody to see.
This is the headline at Gizmodo about Jeb Bush`s new I was the e-
governor Web site. Quote, “Jeb Bush basically just doxxed thousands of
What Jeb Bush just published as part of his big campaign rollout this
week, what he just published at jebbushemails.com were not just e-mails
that he wrote to people in Florida, when he was the governor of Florida, it
wasn`t like a publication of his own correspondence, what he published are
the e-mails that people sent to him, hundreds of thousands of them.
He published them indiscriminately, including people`s specific
identifying information, personal information, real names, real addresses -
- the personal medical information of this child listed by name, including
his diagnosis, and what medications he was using for his treatment. Full
names, full addresses, real working phone numbers for people who wrote to
Jeb Bush with all sorts of long, involved emotional personal stories,
because he was their governor and they wanted help.
Medical diagnoses, problems with the law, work related issues.
Honestly, going through this stuff, I was surprised how much medical stuff
there was specifically. But it`s all there, published by Jeb Bush online,
including people`s real names with nothing blacked out. And at least in a
couple instances, this Jeb Bush document dump yet includes people`s full
legal names, along with their full Social Security numbers. We blurred
them out here, but they were not blurred out in what Jeb Bush posted online
I mean, even if you set aside the Social Security numbers and phone
numbers and addresses and full names and medical information and personal
stories that he published online yesterday, there`s also just the matter of
the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of personal e-mail addresses
that he posted online yesterday from these poor people who had the bad luck
to write to him, even people who thought ahead about that, and wrote things
like this, in their e-mails to Jeb Bush.
Look, this person wrote this big long personal e-mail and added on to
the end of it, look – please do not make this e-mail public to anybody. I
do not want my privacy violated especially by the media.
And then Jeb Bush posted that, that whole e-mail at JebBushemails.com.
After doing that, Jeb Bush then had to face reporters about this,
about whether he even understood what he had just done to all these people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: You released a bunch of emails, with a lot of Social
Security numbers released, a lot of personal information, some folks are
JEB BUSH (R), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Well, that was a matter of
public record in the department of state, so we just released what the
government gave us.
REPORTER: If you could do it differently, would you?
BUSH: Yes, if we have private information that`s out there, we would
take – we`re going to take it off, for sure.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You did that hundreds of thousands of times.
Jeb Bush and the Jeb Bush for president folks initially did try to
defend the release of those e-mails saying all of that personal information
wasn`t technically a secret. Anyone could have requested it with the
formal open records request to the Florida state government. And that is
the way the law works in Florida.
But, you know, it`s one thing to obtain somebody`s personal e-mail
address, you know, personal information because you were trying to get it
from the state of Florida by way of an open records request for old
personal e-mails that people sent to the former governor of the state, if
you thought to do that.
It`s another thing for that governor to create a flashy new Web site
that invites you to read all of these personal unredacted e-mails, so you
can appreciate his tech-savvy brilliance as the e-governor who perhaps
somebody could be our e-president.
After initially defending what they had done, the Jeb Bush folks later
in the day they said they had started doing after-the-fact redactions of
the stuff that they never bothered to check before they posted these
documents. Presumably, they will start with the Social Security numbers
and make a case by case determination about whether or not your story about
your sick child deserves you having your name blacked out, and your address
and your child`s name, and the list of medications your child takes.
I mean, it`s already up there now, but maybe they`ll take it down
later, they`ll get to it eventually. All this tech stuff is hard. So,
that has been the rollout of Jeb Bush as the electronic Bush, as the tech-
savvy guy among the Republican candidates.
I will say, though, that was only day two of the rollout of e-Bush,
the tech Republican. You might remember that day one started with Jeb Bush
announcing the hiring of a new young hip chief technology officer, to run
the technology for his presidential campaign PAC. The guy they hired was a
co-founder of hipster.com.
Hipster.com was supposed to be kind of like Instagram, but different
once upon a time. In 2012, hipster.com got famous because they had to
apologize publicly. Once people started to notice that if you signed up
for their hipster.com app, they would upload your entire address book off
your phone without your permission and take all of your contacts.
They were doing that without telling people they were doing that. So,
they had to apologize. A month after apologizing, AOL bought hipster.com.
And then a year later, AOL shut the thing down, so now, hipster.com just
goes to AOL.
The hipster.com founder is who Jeb Bush tapped to be his chief
technology officer. But when the Jeb Bush folks announced they hired him
this week on Monday to start this rollout of Jeb Bush the tech candidate,
that hiring announcement started this long awkward afternoon of the new guy
they just hired of having to delete parts of his Twitter history – because
it included tweets like this: “Most people don`t know that Halloween is
German for night that girls with low self-esteem dress like sluts.” Or
this one, quote, “New study confirms old belief, college female art majors
are sluts. Science majoring are also sluts, but uglier.” So, he seemed
The Jeb Bush campaign folks, I don`t know where they found him, but
they initially put out a statement saying that while they believe those
comments were inappropriate, basically no big deal. They said they were
inappropriate. They didn`t approve of those comments. They wanted them
taken down, but, quote, “Ethan is a great talent in the tech world and
we`re very excited to have him onboard.”
But while Jeb Bush was still very excited about his new hire, even
after reading his online musings about which sluts are uglier, turns out
the ugly slut stuff was just a taste. That was just amuse-bouche of that
was just the chief technology`s record of strongly worded opinions which he
expressed online for, oh, say, seven years or so before he was hand-picked
to run technology for Jeb Bush without anybody apparently ever noticing
this about him before they hit “send” on the, look who we just hired e-
It turns outs the ugly slut time of his life didn`t get into the stuff
that he previously had written about the blacks, and MLK, and how Africans
learned differently than whites. Yes.
Jeb Bush`s new chief technology officer tried to apologize via Twitter
for the slut stuff and the other twice, #learning, #maturing. That did not
save him in the end. Late last night, that guy resigned. Jeb Bush`s PAC
put out a statement saying that those regrettable and insensitive comments
do not reflect the views of Governor Bush.
So, just to recap. On day one of Jeb Bush`s roll-out as the e-
governor, he picked the chief technology officer who wrote online about
ugly sluts and how terrible black people are. On day two, he accidently
doxxed a significant portion of the population of Florida, and he had to
fire – I mean, accept the resignation of the technology officer who he had
hired on day one.
But this is how he`s going to run, apparently, not just as a former
governor, but as the former e-governor. He`s also not going to write a
book to run for president. He`s going to write an e-book. You want to
know what his e-book is about? It`s based on his e-mails.
And part of the rollout of his e-tech savvy-ness, he also made clear
yesterday he not only knows what Twitter is, he knows how Twitter sounds.
You would be surprised, turns out Twitter sounds remarkably like a turkey.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUSH: That will like up the Twitter – the Twitter universe, there`s
some heads exploding right now. I can feel it. Like –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Twitter turns out gobbles like a turkey. The beep, beep,
boop, boop thing in the supermarket counts your milks.
And running for president is harder than it looks, even when everyone
else in your nuclear family has already done it.
MADDOW: There`s late breaking news tonight from the White House. The
story has just been developing now. It concerns the hostage Kayla Mueller
who was killed while being held in Syria by ISIS. The White House just
released some new information about her time as a hostage.
NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell is going
to join us live in just a moment for a live report on this breaking news
story. We`re getting Andrea right now. We`re going to have her report
right after this.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: We have breaking news from the White House. This is just
happening within the last hour. It concerns the family of Kayla Mueller,
the young American hostage whose death in Syria was confirmed this week.
Tonight, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News has new reporting about the
efforts that Kayla Mueller`s family made as they tried to win her freedom
from ISIS. But also about her family`s continuing effort tonight to try to
set the record straight, now with new help from the White House about what
their daughter actually experienced personally, during her time as an ISIS
There`s been a flurry of anonymously sourced news reports about this
tonight, about what might have happened to Kayla Mueller while she was in
custody – the family and White House basically pushing back on that
Joining us with the latest is Andrea Mitchell, chief foreign affairs
correspondent for NBC News.
Andrea, thanks very much for being here on short notice.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEW CHIEF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: You
MADDOW: So, can –
MADDOW: Please, just go right ahead.
MITCHELL: The issue is that the family is distressed. And because of
that distress, they persuaded the White House to put out a statement
tonight which does involve declassifying some intelligence, things that the
White House does not usually do.
The National Security Council issued a statement debunking and denying
reports that have been published widely. They`ve been on other networks.
We have not published these reports that Kayla during her captivity was
under the protection of an ISIS commander. There were all sorts of
implications, it`s very distressing for the family, it had been denied,
denied to me by intelligence officials, denied, and sort of – you know,
not confirmed at all by the State Department or the White House.
But at this stage, they`re putting this statement out tonight just to
try to reassure people, and to try to protect the family from these
continuously anonymous circulating reports. Which I think did originate
with a foreign intelligence service, but nothing that to the best of my
knowledge has been confirmed by any of the U.S. intelligence agencies.
MADDOW: And just to be clear, I do not want to further the
information that the family and White House said is incomplete. And just
to be clear in terms of what is being debunked here, essentially the
implication of what`s being unanimously reported out there is that she
somehow was in cahoots with her captors, that being described as a hostage
isn`t fair, that she somehow was willingly associated with at least one man
who was a fighter in ISIS. And that is what – that is what the National
Security Council is saying they want people to not believe.
MITCHELL: And normally, they would not deny these things, because it
would involve intelligence. But what they`re saying now is, this is too
important, this family has suffered enough. These reports are simply not
MADDOW: In terms of the National Security Council spokesperson,
Bernadette Meehan, I`ll just read you part of the statement, so people know
exactly what they`re putting out.
“Out of respect for Kayla`s family, we haven`t shared details of her
time in ISIL captivity. In addition, as we have consistently made clear in
the past, we don`t discuss intelligence. At this time, given the distress
that anonymous sourced reports regarding her time in captivity are causing
her family, we are providing this comment with the Mueller family`s
consent. Reports that have been published by certain news outlets
regarding her time in captivity are speculative and unproven at this time.
The U.S. government continues to analyze any information regarding her
captivity but has not corroborated any of the multiple theories regarding
the conditions throughout the duration of her captivity.”
Basically, as far as you know, Andrea, does the family have a direct
line to the White House, that they were able to ask for this personally?
That`s how this happened?
MITCHELL: Yes. It`s Lisa Monaco and others in the National Security
Council have been working with them for 18 months. That is partly how,
with ISIS threatening to kill their daughter, they persuaded hundreds of
news organizations and reporters, including myself, not to report her name,
not to report her identity until, as you know, she was outed by ISIS
They do confirm – people have confirmed to me that the – at one
point, the family was so desperate with a 30-day execution warning from
ISIS, that they did ask the president to commute the sentence of a very
powerful and prominent terrorist who`s been – a woman who has been in a
Texas prison, Siddiqui, an al Qaeda terrorist, and convicted woman, and the
White House did not do that. And that 30-day period elapsed and they got
proof of life, so they knew that that threat evaporated.
They have done everybody to try to save their daughter, and with the
cooperation of the media. But since her death, it`s been widely reported -
- I mean, just all sorts of rumors and reports that, frankly, I was aware
of before she was outed, before she died, and we have not reported any of
this. And other people have. And it`s very distressing to a grieving
MADDOW: NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent, Andrea Mitchell
– Andrea, thank you for being here tonight –
MITCHELL: Sure thing.
MADDOW: – to help us explain. It`s really important stuff. I
MITCHELL: You bet.
MADDOW: Again, breaking news tonight, the White House putting out a
statement tonight from the National Security Council, declassifying
information related to intelligence they would not otherwise have
declassified, and they did it out of respect for Kayla Mueller`s family who
was very distressed that anonymously reports that have been aired, not by
MSNBC or NBC, but by other news outlets, basically insinuating that Kayla
Mueller may not have been an unwilling hostage with ISIS. Those reports
again described as very distressing to Kayla Mueller`s family. The
National Security Council saying they are speculative and unproven at this
Andrea further reporting tonight that in addition to the ransom
demands that ISIS made for her, that at one point they demanded a prisoner
exchange. And that request was furthered by Kayla Mueller`s family, they
asked the White House to go ahead with the prisoner exchange. The White
House did not for all the reasons they do not do it under other
circumstances as well.
All right. We`ve got lots more ahead. Please do stay with us.
MADDOW: You should know that this is the thing that happened today.
And now, here`s the thing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: And now, here`s the thing –
Today, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker became the latest 2016 hopeful
to take his campaign to London.
(Note to 2016 hopefuls: beware of London!)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I finish with a question? I assume it`s a
tradition now to ask visiting – particularly Republicans – senior
Republicans to come to London. And it`s not about cheese. And it`s not
about foreign affairs. It`s actually about evolution.
Do you – are you comfortable with the idea of Evolution? Do you
believe it? Do you accept it?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: For me, I`m going to punt on that
one as well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Really?
WALKER: That`s a question a politician shouldn`t be involved in one
way or another. I`m going to leave that up to you –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any British politician, right or left wing, they
would love – and say, yes, of course, evolution is true.
WALKER: To me, I said, it`s one of those I`m here to talk about
trade, not pontificate on other issues.
SUBTITLE: Governor Scott Walker “punts” on whether evolution is true.
London audience laughs out loud, in disbelief.
And that is a thing that happened.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Bobby Jindal on Muslim only no-go zones that he made up.
Chris Christie on vaccines. Now, Scott Walker on evolution. “I`m going to
punt on that.”
2016 candidates, London is quicksand. Danger, Republicans, danger.
Think twice about that trip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make no mistake: this
is a difficult mission. And it will remain difficult for some time. It`s
going to take time to dislodge these terrorists, especially from urban
areas. But our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the defensive,
and ISIL is going to lose.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama at the White House today making a formal
request to Congress that they retroactively authorize a war that we`ve
already been fighting for more than six months now.
It`s awkward. They`ve been relying on the congressional vote that was
taken right after 9/11, which authorized the U.S. military to fight the
people who carried out the 9/11 attacks. That`s been the authorization
until now. The down side of using that vote from 2001 as legal
justification for what we`re doing now in 2015 is obviously what we`re
doing now in 2015 has nothing to do with 2001 and 9/11 and Osama bin Laden
and all the other things that Congress meant when they passed that
resolution 14 years ago. That`s the down side.
The upside, however, is that that thing is still laying around,
available to be used. If it feels like we`re always at war somewhere, but
we never talk about it anymore, it`s because we are. Once Congress decided
to go to war after 9/11, they made no plan for ever stopping that war.
And so, the authorization for post-9/11 use of military force, that
has morphed indefinitely over the years to effectively authorize military
force anywhere, anytime, indefinitely. Today, President Obama announced
that he would like, finally, for the first time in more than a decade, for
Congress to take another vote on authorizing military force, this time,
specifically against is.
And this time, he wants to do it a little differently. Most
importantly, this time the authorization won`t just go on indefinitely
The authorization for military force that President Obama proposed
today comes in with a built-in expiration date. It expires in three years.
If as a country we decide we want to keep fighting after that three-year
period, we certainly can. But Congress would have to take another vote.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: So, this resolution will give our armed forces and our
coalition the continuity we need for the next three years. It is not a
timetable. It is not announcing that the mission is completed at any given
period. What it is saying is that Congress should revisit the issue at the
beginning of the next president`s term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If the case is compelling enough, that men and women from
America`s armed forces should be put in harm`s way, in a war context,
because the case is so compelling that we need to be doing that, then it
shouldn`t be that big of a problem to win a vote in Congress for them to do
that. That`s the way it`s set up, right?
But the timing that president decided there, the three-year timetable,
that would be awkward. If the Congress passes this resolution that
President Obama proposed today, to give legal authority to fight the war
against ISIS, it would expire 2015, plus three, carry – it would expire in
And, you know, maybe everything will be over in 2018. Maybe that will
be longer than what the military needs to complete this fight. Maybe it
will be all over by then.
But if it`s not, that means that three years from now, in 2018, with
the new president starting his or her second year in office, there will be
a Congress ramping up toward the 2018 midterm elections. You know, it
would be awkward. Obviously, a vote at that time on war, would be a
politically awkward thing. Very politically difficult for lots of members
of Congress taking a vote like that in an election year.
But that is a feature, not a bug. Congress is supposed to vote on
war. And it`s not supposed to be easy.
Congress hasn`t voted on war in more than a decade. And while they`ve
not said beep, we`ve been fighting wars for more than a decade, and the
country hasn`t much noticed, except for members of the military and their
families have watched as the civilian population has drifted further and
further and further from the wars that are supposedly fought in our names.
But it is supposed to be Congress` decision. It is supposed to be a
hard call for Congress. It`s cooked into the Constitution that way, so we
don`t remain a country constantly at war.
Fighting a war is hard enough for American service members. Fighting
politically about whether or not we ought to have a war is also supposed to
be difficult. And that hard political fight finally belatedly just started
Joining us now, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, ranking member of
the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Senator Murphy, it`s nice to see you. Thank you for being here.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY (D), CONNECTICUT: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So, you have been outspoken for the need for basically a
national progressive approach to foreign policy, and to national security.
You`ve argued that the hawks essentially so define our national security
range of debate, that progressives, people on the left side of the
spectrum, ought to speak out more firmly on these issues and decide more,
essentially who the progressives are on this issue.
Is this part of that? Does this authorization for the use of military
force fit into your argument on that?
MURPHY: Well, I think this debate is the defining moment for
progressives. I would argue it`s even worse than what you laid out. The
fact is, the only interesting foreign policy debate that`s been happening
in Congress over the past five years, has been between John McCain and his
interventionalists, and Rand Paul and his isolationists.
And there are a lot of us who are progressives, but are also
internationalists. We want America to play a role in the world. We just
want to make sure that we learn from the mistakes of the last ten years.
And the biggest mistake was thinking that the massive deployment of
American ground troops inside the Middle East was going to cure a problem
that was really a local, political and economic problem. We created more
terrorists than we actually killed during the ten years that we were in
So, this is a defining moment, which is why many of us want to proceed
with this authorization. But make sure that it limits us in a way that
makes sure that we don`t repeat the mistakes of the past, i.e., that we
don`t put another 100,000 ground troops inside the Middle East to fight
ISIS, which won`t make this country any safer. That`s going to be a
defining moment for progressives who want to be present on foreign policy
debates, and want to shape some ground for ourselves having learned the
lessons of the last decade.
MADDOW: What do you think about the specific language that the
president included in this draft today, that he says is meant to preclude
any authorization of a large-scale ground force of the kind you`re
describing? What do you think about his language?
MURPHY: Well, to start with, I think it`s remarkable that the
president is submitting authorization language to Congress that actually
binds him, that restricts his powers. That is probably unprecedented in
the post-World War II era. That being said, I think we`re going to have to
finesse the language that he`s given us.
He has two limiting factors in his draft. He said the troops can`t be
enduring, and that they can only be defensive. Well, there`s absolutely no
precedence built up around those two words. Enduring might be a year, but
to John McCain, it might be 10 years. The Department of Defense is by its
nature offensive in its operations.
So, these are terms that we`re going to have to work with.
But I think the president has made it clear, he`s not going to put
major combat troops on the ground. So, we just want to make sure we have
an authorization that holds true to the promise he`s made to the American
MADDOW: This authorization language proposed by the president today
would sunset the Iraq war authorization from back in 2002. It would leave
the post-9/11 authorization in place which has been used to justify all
sorts of things that have nothing to do with 9/11, all sorts of fight that
have nothing to do with al Qaeda over the years.
(A), that will be kept in place. Is that on the table in terms of the
debate? And is the proposal from the president duplicating some of the
problems from that 2001 authorization by defining not just ISIS, but ISIS
and associated persons or forces? Is this another kind of authorization
that could essentially justify wars all over the place?
MURPHY: Yes, this is a huge issue. We`ve got to make sure we get the
definition of the enemy right here, because what we`re seeing is that all
sorts of terrorist groups in other parts of the world are now flying the
ISIS banner. And if by simple affiliation with ISIS, the United States is
now at war with those organizations in those countries, then it opens up a
Pandora`s box. Not for this president, because I trust him, but for the
next president who`s going to get the authorization for at least a year.
So, we`ve got to get that definition right.
And here`s what we can do with the 2001 AUMF, Rachel. We can sunset
it after three years, just like we can sunset this authorization. So,
maybe we can`t figure it out right now, what should replace the 2001
authorization, but we can at least put a sunset on it so it forces us to
come back in one, two, or three years to get that authorization right for
the first and final time hopefully.
MADDOW: Senator Chris Murphy, speaking very clearly about this, but
also really broadening the discussion. I think energizing a lot of people
who usually felt alienated from this as a subject. Thanks for being here
tonight. It`s always a pleasure to have you here, sir. Thank you.
MURPHY: Great. Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead. Please do stay with
MADDOW: So, we have some more breaking news to report tonight. This
is really awful news, very sad news – having to do with a hugely respected
veteran reporter in the news industry.
It`s just been confirmed moments ago that longtime CBS News “60
Minutes” correspondent Bob Simon has died in a car crash tonight here on
New York City`s west side. A vehicle that Bob Simon was riding in is
reported to have rear-ended another vehicle on the road and run into a
median along the highway op the west side. Both the driver of the vehicle
that he was in and Bob Simon himself were removed from the car. Mr. Simon
later died at a nearby hospital. We currently do not know the status of
the driver of that car.
But, again, Bob Simon, longtime correspondent for “60 Minutes,” has
been killed in this car crash. Bob Simon was a longtime foreign
correspondent for CBS News. He covered the war in Vietnam. He`s recently
the unrest in the Middle East, including in Iraq and Egypt.
Bob Simon won more than 20 Emmy Awards for his work over the course of
his career, as well as a Peabody Award and a host of other highly esteemed
awards for his reporting over the years, on the decades. But again, this
very sad news breaking just within the last few minutes, is that Bob Simon,
CBS correspondent, has died tonight at the age of 73.
I`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Last night at around 5:00 p.m., a quiet apartment complex
near the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there
was a burst of gunfire.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, CHAPEL HILL 911 CALL)
CALLER: I just heard gunshots. I don`t know what building it came
from, but I heard kids screaming.
911 OPERATOR: OK. How long did you hear it?
CALLER: How long? Probably 30 seconds ago.
911 OPERATOR: How many shots did you hear?
CALLER: Multiple. I mean, at least between 5 and 10, I would say.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Shortly after police arrived on the scene, they found the
bodies of three young people: 23-year-old Deah Barakat, his wife Yusor Abu-
Salha, age 21, and her younger sister Razan, who is 19 years old.
Mr. Barakat was a doctoral student at UNC`s dentistry school. His
wife Yusor planned to enroll there in the fall. These two were just
married in December. Yusor`s younger sister was visiting from Raleigh.
She was studying architecture at North Carolina State, all three of them
were excellent students, all three of them were Muslim, all three of Arab
descent. The two sisters commonly wore head scarves.
And in addition to the grief of the loss of these three super-
promising young people in North Carolina, that fact about their ethnicity
and religion and the visible nature of the religious observance of the two
sisters that has led to concern and suspicion that they could have been
targeted and killed because of their religion.
Police have now arrested their upstairs neighbor as the only suspect
in the crime, 46-year-old Craig Steven Hicks. Mr. Hicks has been charged
with three counts of first degree murder.
The father of the two young women who were killed told the “Raleigh
News Observer” today that there had been friction between Craig Hicks and
his daughter and her husband before. He said Mr. Hicks had worn a gun
visibly during past confrontation, quote, he said, “This man had picked on
my daughter and her husband a couple times before and he talked with them
with his gun in his belt. They were uncomfortable, but they did not know
he would go this far.”
Chapel Hill police chief today put out a statement saying, “We
understand the concerns about the possibility that this was hate motivated.
We will exhaust every lead to determine if that is the case.”
That said, the Chapel Hill police put out a statement saying that
their preliminary investigation indicates the crime was motivated by an
ongoing neighbor dispute over parking at the apartment complex. Parking?
Maybe that does start to explain what happened, an everyday argument
over where to park the car, taken by one party to some awful level of
violence and three murders.
But the families of the victims say they are not convinced. Again,
here`s the father of the two young women who were just killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MOHAMMAD ABU-SALHA, VICTIMS` FATHER: We heard from the media, not
from the media, from the police that each one of these children had a
bullet in the head. This was an execution-style, this was a hate crime
from a neighbor our children spoke about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Police say they are investigating that possibility it could
have been a hate crime. It`s not clear what the motive was at this point.
As for what it`s worth, the suspect`s wife told reporters today in a live
statement that she is convinced this had nothing to do with religion.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAREN HICKS, WIFE OF CRAIG HICKS: I can say with my absolute belief
that this incident had nothing to do with religion or the victim`s faith,
but in fact, was related to the long-standing parking disputes that my
husband had with the neighbors. And our neighbors are various religions,
races, and creeds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Whatever turns out to have been the motive for these killings
in Chapel Hill, look at this. Thousands of people have gathered at UNC for
a vigil to honor the victims.
Joining us now is Mark Kleinschmidt. He`s the mayor of Chapel Hill,
Mayor Kleinschmidt, thank you for taking time to talk with us tonight.
I know this is a difficult time for your city.
MAYOR MARK KLEINSCHMIDT (D), CHAEPL HILL, NC: Yes, it has. All our
hearts are hurt tonight, as we`re just trying to find ways to comfort
ourselves in the face of just unspeakable and a very difficult to
understand event that happened in the last 24 hours.
MADDOW: Can you tell us how the investigation is being handled? And
what`s the status of these efforts that obviously a lot of people are very
concerned with beyond their grief at the crime about whether or not this
may have been a biased related crime that targeted these young people
because they were Muslim?
KLEINSCHMIDT: You know, I actually was just earlier this evening at a
table sitting with our police chief, members of the community, including
the council on – the Council on American and Islamic Relations. And we
were discussing just that, how should this investigation continue?
Our police chief was very clear – everything is on the table. We are
committing every resource and every relationship with every other
jurisdiction, including the federal government, to investigate what could
have motivated this man to act in this really irrational or impossible to
The earlier statements that were released recounted the initial – the
initial reasons that were provided. But I know, and I`m sure you and your
viewers know, that there is a lot that needs to be learned. I expect that
we will learn a lot.
And we`ve also received the confidence of the community and those I
was meeting with tonight, that they believe our law enforcement officers
are doing everything they can. And I will continue to insist tonight.
MADDOW: Imagine you`re heartened tonight at this vigil. A ton of
people out there tonight.
KLEINSCHMIDT: Yes, it was an extraordinary event. I stood on the
stage and looked out and could not see the edge of the crowd. It was
perfectly reflected of what kind of community we have here at Chapel Hill.
You know, we have a well-earned tradition of being considerate,
welcoming, compassionate, and peace-loving community. And while the events
of last night are a jarring contrast to that reputation, what occurred
tonight in that vigil truly represented what the values of this community
Tonight, the people of Chapel Hill, the student body at the university
are committing to living up to those values and we`re standing with each
other to provide that compassion that`s needed to get through these very
MADDOW: Chapel Hill Mayor Mark Kleinschmidt, thank you so much for
your time tonight, sir. Good luck to you.
KLEINSCHMIDT: Thank you for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: We appreciate it.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Tonight, Congress teed up President Obama for his first veto
since 2010 and the first veto on a big thing in forever. By a vote of 270-
152, the House voted tonight to force approval of the construction of the
Keystone pipeline. The president has promised to veto this legislation and
House Speaker John Boehner says that means that the president is, quote,
“standing with a bunch of left fringe extremists and anarchists.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We build pipelines
around America every single day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, yes, we do. We build pipelines all the time.
And as we await the first substantial veto of the Obama presidency,
we`ve got ourselves a little scoop about how that`s going. And that will
be here tomorrow night.
And I will see you then, because now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD
WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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