The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 04/22/15
CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN: Dr. Michelle Forcier and psychotherapist Jean
Malpas, thank you both. Really appreciate it. Great to have you here.
That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, man.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. This is
going to be a great show.
The interview tonight is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
President Obama, of course, did that interview yesterday with Chris
Matthews on “HARDBALL,” in which the president said he loves Elizabeth
Warren. He thinks of Elizabeth Warren as a great ally. But on one issue
before the country right now, and in particular, one issue before the
Democratic Party right now, the president said he completely disagrees with
Senator Elizabeth Warren is here tonight to respond, and to explain
her point of view on this issue. I`m very much looking forward to that.
Again, Senator Elizabeth Warren here tonight for “The Interview”. It is
always good to have her on the show.
She honestly doesn`t do that many interviews, especially as
proportionate of the number she is asked for. So, I do always feel really
lucky wherever we can get her and we got her tonight.
And it feels particularly lucky to get her tonight, while she was in
the midst of that big political controversy, and this dialogue with the
president that she`s now having in public. But it`s lucky to get her in
the midst of that, and also while there is so much other interesting
political news going on right now.
Today, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released this video
from her presidential campaign, asking people to sign up and volunteer for
that campaign, but also declaring that she is going to run for president in
2016, using a Howard Dean-style 50-state strategy. They`re trying to form
organizing committees, according to this video released today, organizing
committees in all 50 states and in all U.S. territories. That`s what
they`re trying to get volunteers for right now in every state of the
Now, a 50-state strategy has enormous visceral appeal, right? It`s
like the idealist`s platonic form of how you ought righteously to campaign
for a national office like the presidency.
The 50-state strategy idea does tend to run into some practical
concerns down the road, though, like, whether or not it really makes sense
to have a full-scale Hillary Clinton for president operation in a state
like, you know, Alabama, when there`s an opportunity cost to that. When
you might reasonably send those Alabama volunteers to, you know, Georgia,
say, or somebody else where they might get more traction. I don`t know.
But that campaign announcement today from the Hillary Clinton folks
is really strategically interesting in terms of how she`s going to run and
it could end up being competitively really important in terms of the race.
Also, news today from this person. Do you know who this person is?
This is a person called Carly Fiorina. She was the CEO of the
computer company HP for six years before she left on not-great terms. Ms.
Fiorina then turned full-time to Republican politics. She ran for Senate
against Barbara Boxer in California, in the very, very, very Republican
year of 2010, but even though it was a very, very Republican year, Carly
Fiorina lost that Senate race to Barbara Boxer in California by ten points.
Today, though, she said that on May 4th, she, Carly Fiorina, will
announce that she is running for the Republican nomination for president of
the United States, which is exciting. There will be at least one woman
running for the nomination on the Republican side.
However, what is immediately awkward about this news today, about
Carly Fiorina, is that another Republican presidential candidate has
already picked May 4th as the day that was going to be his announcement
day. Retired surgeon Ben Carson said days ago that he was going to
announce his run on May 4th, but now Carly Fiorina is going to announce her
run on May 4th as well. And the next day, after that, on May 5th, Mike
Huckabee is apparently going to announce.
So, if the point of announcing is to steal the spotlight for a
minute, right? To get everybody`s attention, to get people to pay
attention to you, you, you in a big, crowded field. That Monday and
Tuesday at the beginning of May, May 4th and 5th, are kind of going to be a
waste of energy for these three candidates – wasting energy when they
can`t really afford to, because they`re not exactly household names.
This is going to be like turning your porch light on in the middle of
a bright, sunny day. Yes, you`re illuminating something, but only from
about an inch away.
There are a ton of candidates running on the Republican side. The
New England press reporting on how the candidates, in their trips to New
Hampshire, reported over the weekend that by their count, there`s something
like maybe 19, maybe 21 different Republican candidates who are all
campaigning on and off in New Hampshire right now. There`s a ton of them.
And particularly if you`re a candidate who people, you know, innately
don`t take seriously, right, and who may be doesn`t have an actual job
right now that keeps you in the limelight, like, if you are, for example, a
former HP executive, from years ago, or a retired doctor, or a former FOX
News host, like Mike Huckabee, or, you know, whatever you are, if you`re
George Pataki right now, if you are anybody who doesn`t have a regular
high-profile job that keeps you in the limelight, your presidential
announcement day, that might be your best, it might even be your only
chance to get attention to the prospects of your presidential candidacy.
You don`t want to waste it. And those three guys are all going to
apparently announce within 24 hours.
Now, if you do have a day job in politics, you have off slight
advantage over guys like that. You do, if you have a day job, that`s a
high-profile job in politics, you have other options for making national
attentions and making people pay attention to you. So, if you`re looking
at that kind of third tier, not very well-known candidates or candidates
that people aren`t necessarily, immediately, taking seriously, people like
Carly Fiorina or Ben Carson or even Mike Huckabee, one of the other best-
known names in that tier, sort of at that level, is Louisiana Governor
But for him, at least as the governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal has
the option for running for president in part on the basis of the way he
runs Louisiana. He can use his governorship as part of his presidential
And Louisiana, right now, in part, because of Bobby Jindal`s
presidential hopes, is about to run into a little bit of a political buzz
saw. At least, that`s what it seems like is about to happen.
This is Indiana`s Republican Governor Mike Pence. Before a few weeks
ago, Mike Pence was also one of the people talked about as a potential
presidential candidate, about the level of a Bobby Jindal or a Mike
Huckabee or a Carly Fiorina. Mike Huckabee is a very well-known guy in
Republican politics before becoming governor of Indiana, he had a long
career in Washington, he has lots and lots of friends among the
heavyweights in the Republican Party.
Mike Pence has been sort of on the edge of presidential possibility
for numerous cycles. This year, he`s been stoking interest in himself as a
potential presidential candidate. He was telling reporters he was actively
considering making a run in 2016, people were actively considering him as a
possible dark horse contender for the nomination, until that all stopped
when Indiana had its big oops a few weeks ago, right?
I mean, you`ll remember how this went. It started with a signing
ceremony attended by mostly nuns and friars. Governor Pence as trying to
identify this as squarely a religious matter, signed a discrimination bill
into law in Indiana, which briefly but intensely put Indiana at the center
of a national firestorm of criticism, particularly from the business world.
The backlash against Mike Pence`s anti-gay discrimination bill in
Indiana was not only national news, it visibly shook him, in a way that I
think instantly shook him out of consideration as a potential national
leader. He was thrown for such a loop by what he did in Indiana. He
seemed so unprepared, so shocked and so – unable to handle the pressure
once it came. And he eventually tried to take it all back. Days after
passing the law, he climbed down from praising the bill to saying – well,
at least the bill shouldn`t be changed, to then saying, oh, the bill should
definitely be changed, to then changing it. It was a mess.
A group called Alliance Defending Freedom had been pushing that bill
in Indiana, and in lots of other red states around the country, after what
Mike Pence in Indiana went through, though, when they passed it, a lot of
other states that had been poised to pass exactly the same thing were able
to bail out at the last minute, and either change their Mike Pence-style
bill or abandon them altogether.
The Alliance Defending Freedom Group, incidentally, this is a special
for you regular watchers of THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, you may remember that
the Alliance Defending Freedom is the same group that also pushed to have
pages about human reproduction ripped out of the honors biology textbooks
in Gilbert, Arizona. Remember that story? Same group. That didn`t work
But while their efforts to pass these discrimination bills around the
country basically got waylaid by the Mike Pence disaster if Indiana, and
all of these other states that were considering it pulled back or changed
their bills, because of what happened to Mike Pence in Indiana, in Bobby
Jindal`s Louisiana, they`re still steaming ahead with it. It`s a former
Alliance Defending Freedom staffer, who`s the Louisiana state legislator,
who has sponsored the bill in that state.
The reason that the Louisiana bill has not died there the way it has
died everywhere, after Mike Pence`s experience, is because Bobby Jindal,
running for president, says he wants to sign it. He wants that bill for
Louisiana, even as huge business interests in the state, companies like
IBM, and Electronic Arts companies that Bobby Jindal personally wooed to
come open new facilities in Louisiana, even as those business have objected
and said Louisiana shouldn`t do this, this will jeopardize their business
interest in Louisiana, Bobby Jindal says he still wants to do it. Screw
those business leaders, even the ones that he personally lobbied to come to
Louisiana, he wants to do this discrimination bill.
And yes, Bobby Jindal appears to want to run for president. And it`s
hard the not to imagine this is part of his strategy. And even though the
Beltway never talks about it this way, social conservatism and super
controversial social issues like that remain still right at the heart of
Republican policy around the country and right at the heart of Republican
politics at the national level.
This really is what is important to them. And it`s going to be the
dynamic at hand, as they all start competing for the nomination, all the
several dozens of them. And that is fascinating for those of us watching
it from anywhere in the country right now, because social issues, even as
the beltway says they are not important, they are manifesting in Republican
politics constantly and increasingly, and social issues right now, as this
key issue in how the Republicans are going to pick their nominee, social
issues right now are fast-moving in terms of public opinion, and totally
unpredictable in terms of what`s going to crop up as a policy challenge.
For example, just next week, the Supreme Court of the United States
will be hearing the big same-sex marriage case that could affect same-sex
marriage laws and marriage laws more broadly if all 50 states. The FOX
News Channel host Bill O`Reilly is already gearing up on his TV show
nightly, gearing up for those oral arguments next week by crusading against
Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan, saying that
those justices should be pushed somehow to recuse themselves from the
marriage case, because they, as individual judges, have officiated at same-
sex weddings, so therefore they`re too biased to rule in the case.
All of the Republican presidential contenders this year, or at least
all the ones that I can name off the top of my head, all of them are
against marriage rights. They`re all against gay couples being allowed to
get married, even as most of the country is OK with it. I mean, the
Republican hopefuls for president, because of the distance between them and
public opinion on this issue, they`re having a hard time talking about gay
rights and gay marriage already.
If the Supreme Court in this case next week hands down a ruling, that
has nationwide impact – well, those conversations about gay rights and the
competition between Republican candidates ton gay rights issue is going to
get a lot more complicated than it is right now and a lot weird than it is
right now and that`s going to happen very, very fast.
And then the day right after the marriage case is heard next week,
the very next day, it`s going to be the lethal injection case at the
Supreme Court. And we`ve been focusing on that here, on this show, in the
last couple of days, because there is something factually really strange
going on about that case, and it feels to me like it`s about to become a
giant neon flashing national question mark.
As you know, the case the Supreme Court will hear on lethal
injections next week out of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is one state among many
that`s had trouble with its lethal injection procedures in the last few
months and years. This past Friday, Oklahoma`s Republican governor, Mary
Fallin, signed a new law just ahead of those Supreme Court arguments which
sets Oklahoma up with a backup plan. A backup means of injection – means
of execution, in case their use of lethal injection is used by the Supreme
Court in next week`s case.
Oklahoma is a deep red state. Oklahoma is a very, very, very pro-
death penalty state. But Oklahoma has now invented and put into state law
very quickly a new form of execution that`s never been done before. Not
only here in the United States, but anywhere in the world. And they have
done it at a time when the death penalty and the politics around it are
It`s no longer as simple as liberals not liking the death penalty and
conservatives liking the death penalty. I mean, there`s still a little bit
of that, but it`s getting way woollier.
Just this legislative session, the very Republican Montana state
legislator advanced a bill to repeal the death penalty in Montana. The
bill ultimately failed down the line, but the fact that it got as far as it
did was like a shock wave in Montana politics. Nobody news there was as
much opposition to the death penalty, even among conservative Republicans.
But that bill uncovered a whole current of opposition to the death penalty
that nobody had tested before.
Same thing in Nebraska. Nebraska is a nominally nonpartisan
legislature, but overwhelmingly dominated by Republican and conservative
legislators. Nevertheless, conservative Nebraska just passed a bill to
repeal the death penalty in that state. And they passed it by a big
It`s not a done deal. It has a couple more votes it has to go
through. There`s talk of a filibuster, there`s talk from the Nebraska
governor that I knew he might veto the repeal. But if that repeal bill
keeps passing the same way it did last week, in Nebraska, they`ve got a
veto-proof majority to repeal the death penalty in deep red Republican
So, there`s this weird dynamic going on that`s making all of this
really unpredictable and really fascinating. You have the process of
lethal injection, logistically becoming totally chaotic. It may get struck
down by the Supreme Court in this case next week. Even if it doesn`t,
there are almost no states in the country that actually have a way to get
the drugs that are used for lethal injection anymore. That`s happening in
just the nuts and bolts level. It`s just becoming impossible logistically
to do it.
Then, in right-wing politics, there`s this broader move on the right,
supported by people like the Koch brothers and others to have Republicans
change tact on criminal justice issues, including sentencing reform and
drug policy and all this other kind of broad criminal justice stuff. But
that apparently extends to changing conservative views on the death
penalty. It`s conservative groups and Republican advocacy groups that have
been making progress in red states, to try to get them to get rid of their
death penalty for conservative reasons, in addition to liberals being
against it for all the reasons that liberals are.
And in the middle of all of that, basically on the eve of this
Supreme Court case, there`s Oklahoma. There`s Oklahoma. Oklahoma, the
inventor of lethal injection in the first place, now inventing America`s
newest form of execution, one which they say has the advantage of not
requiring the participation or even the input of doctors or scientists of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PROF. CHRISTINE PAPPAS, EAST CENTRAL UNIVERSITY: People have made
fun of us because, oh, you know, you have no medical background, how dare
you go out and try to do this? Well, that`s with it`s come to, because no
doctors can be involved, it is left to people who don`t know. So, I mean,
we do the best that we can.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is an Oklahoma legal studies professor named Christine
Pappas, who was involved in the research team who recommended to the
Oklahoma legislature that the state invent this new form of capital
punishment, which would use nitrogen gas to kill prisoners for the first
time anywhere in the country, anywhere in the world.
Professor Pappas, I should say, is personally against the death
penalty. She said she had qualms about participating in this research, in
terms of the state inventing a new method for killing prisoners, because
she`s against the death penalty, but she said she hoped her research
efforts could help find the most humane option possible.
We ended up sending our producer, Kate Osborn, down to Oklahoma to
talk with professor Pappas and the other folks who came up with this new
method of execution in part because we had a hard time figuring out where
it came from. There`s an intersection track on where the electric chair
came from, and where the gas chamber, the first one, came from, and lethal
injection came from, but where did this idea from nitrogen gas come from?
It has never been done anywhere in the world.
And the basis on which Oklahoma decided to adopt this new method of
killing people turns out had surprises at every turn once we started
Here`s an example, this is “The Merck Manual”. It`s a very, very
common medical reference book. It`s the best-selling medical textbook in
the world and it has been forever. In the draft report to the Oklahoma
legislature, recommending that they start using nitrogen to kill people,
“The Merck Manual” is referenced as the Merrick manual. Its article on
respiratory acidosis is listed as repertory acidosis.
When you take a look at the first supporting research that was filed
with the Oklahoma legislature to back up the recommendation, to back up the
case that Oklahoma ought to start using nitrogen to kill people, the first
two pieces of evidence that they gave to the legislature were this article
from “Slate” magazine from last May, which was written by a “Slate”
magazine writer, not a scientific or expert document of any kind.
The second piece of evidence was this article, which is an opinion
piece from the conservative magazine, “The National Review,” which was
written in 1995, by this guy. And he does say that he believes that
nitrogen asphyxiation, in his words is, quote, “the perfect method of
The source of his expertise on this, though, I mean – I mean no
offense, but he describes himself online as an amateur screenwriter. His
latest screenplay, according to his Web site, was adapted into a play
called “The Blood Countess.” It`s premiering at a North Hollywood theater
company called Zombie Joes, which the poster notes is right across the
street from the KFC.
This guy who wrote the piece for “National Review” in 1995 genuinely
seems like a nice guy. He is a good writer. I can attest. His article 20
years ago for the “National Review” about why he thought killing people
with nitrogen might be a good way to kill people, it`s a very well-written
But he really is just an amateur screenwriter. His website today
lists him as available for hire, delivering creativity on demand and on
He wrote to us this week when we contacted him about his role in what
Oklahoma has done. He wrote to us that he is pleased by what he called “my
invention.” He was pleased that “my invention” is finally being taken up
20 years after he wrote that article.
It does kind of seem like he is the guy who invented this. And now,
it is the law in one U.S. state.
If Oklahoma gets its lethal injection statute struck down by the
Supreme Court in this case next week, this really is what they`re turning
to – this nitrogen idea, which this screenwriter invented, and wrote about
in a conservative magazine 20 years ago.
Oklahoma state lawmakers say they have had inquiries from lawmakers
in 19 states who say that they might want to do it too now that Oklahoma`s
So, this kind of feels like an edge of the diving board moment,
right? In this case next week, lethal injection might go away across the
country, all across the country. And in the 32 death penalty states we`ve
got in this country, mostly red states, all across the country, they are
then going to have to decide what they`re going to do about capital
Are they going to go like those conservatives in the Nebraska
legislature want to do, and maybe get rid of capital punishment altogether.
There are definitely strong winds blowing that direction, including some
winds from the political right, or are they going to find a backup plan?
Are they going to follow the lead of Oklahoma, which states have done
before, that`s how he got lethal injection in the first place, when stated
followed Oklahoma after Oklahoma invented lethal injection as a new way to
kill people in the late `70s?
That national decision, Nebraska or Oklahoma, is about to be foisted
on us as a country and on the National Republican Party and the leaders of
national conservative thought, in the middle of a presidential campaign
that is already looking like it`s going to be dominated by social
conservative activism, that the beltway really does not get and that often
makes absolutely no factual sense. Tada!
MADDOW: God bless C-SPAN. Watch what happens here.
This is the U.S. Senate today. They`re voting on the bill that the
Republicans say they want to vote on before they vote on Loretta Lynch for
attorney general. They`re handling an amendment to that bill here, one
that was put up by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.
And when senators are voting on an amendment like this, there is the
traditional sacred milling around time, which is what you see here on the
Senate floor. So, you can see Senator Dianne Feinstein there in the sort
of burgundy suit. You can see Senator Al Franken, Senator Kelly Ayotte.
But watch this part. This is Senator Harry Reid, with the arrow
there. And you remember now that Harry Reid has to wear sunglasses, even
indoors, because of the eye injury he got while he was working out on New
Year`s Day, he had to wear the sunglasses even talking to me last week.
So, he`s in the Senate today, Harry Reid is there, he is wearing his
sunglasses, has he has to do everywhere. He`s wearing his sunglasses on
the Senate floor.
And then look what happens, Rand Paul comes swaggering up to the
front of the Senate and he pops on his shades and sticks his hand out at
Harry Reid, and Harry Reid leaves him hanging there for a second, but then,
boom bipartisan fist bump. Look. Puts on the shades and sticks his hand
out and Harry Reid looks at him, oh, fist bump.
There`s this moment where you`re not sure what`s going to happen
like, if that`s going to be a fight or what. The way we know it was a bit
of a tense moment is because of Senator Elizabeth Warren. That`s her in
the purple/blue thing here.
Look how she reacts. She`s talking to Debbie Stabenow and sees Rand
Paul coming. And she`s like, she moves over there. Hey, do I need to get
this there? Are you guys seeing this?
I love the body language there. I love C-SPAN. I love C-SPAN every
And Senator Elizabeth Warren is here for the interview tonight, to
talk about not the Rand Paul fist bump, but if she wants to, I won`t stop
her. That`s still ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We are rich in the news right now in the category of big
things that have not yet happened, they are likely to happen, but we`re not
certain they will, and if they do happen, it will be a very big deal.
Here`s case in point, obviously, there`s Loretta Lynch. President
Obama nominated her to be attorney general last November. She has been
waiting for a vote ever since.
We have heard Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promise multiple
times he was going to hold a vote on Loretta Lynch`s nomination, but
despite those promises, he has so far never done it. And this is the
longest period any attorney general candidate has ever waited at this stage
in their nomination.
Well, once again now, we have been promised by Mitch McConnell that
there is about to be a vote on Loretta Lynch. It`s supposed to happen
tomorrow at 9:30 in the morning. But as I said, we`ve been burned on this
before, by the Republican-led Senate, so maybe we`re about to finally get a
vote on the new attorney general, but don`t count your chickens. Believe
it when you see it.
Also, separate story, keep an eye on the subject of this “Washington
Post” scoop today. “The Post” reports exclusively today that there`s about
to be a big upsurge in the number of prisoners transferred out of
Guantanamo, maybe ten of them by June, maybe more than 50 of them by the
end of the year.
OK, maybe. I`ll believe it when we see it, especially since no one
has been transferred out of Guantanamo for months now.
But then there`s this – dropped in casually, in the second to laugh
paragraph of this scoop, like it`s no biggie, quote, “White House officials
are also exploring options for the unilateral closure of the prison at
The White House is working on way for President Obama to unilaterally
finally close Guantanamo with or without Congress? Really? Tell me more.
If that`s possible, if that does happen welcome to the anything big
national security story of 2015 and likely 2016 and maybe longer than that.
As of today, “The Washington Post” is alone in reporting that.
Again, it is the second to last paragraph of an otherwise unrelated story,
but if that bears out, then obviously that will be a very, very huge deal.
As always, watch this space.
MADDOW: Here`s what it sounds like when Harry Reid says it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLP)
SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: The answer is, not only no, but hell
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: How do you really feel?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Even when he`s mad, even when he`s using mild swears and
he`s wearing his tough-guy glasses, Harry Reid is still a soft-spoken dude.
But here`s how it sounds when he says it.
Here`s how it sounds when Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren says
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Are you ready to fight?
No more secret deals! No more special deals for multi-national
corporations! Are you ready to fight? Are you ready to fight anymore
deals that say we`re going to help the rich get richer and leave everyone
else behind? Are you ready to fight that?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren speaking last week at a union
event, a rally with the steelworkers, not just opposing this thing, but
trying to make sure there is a national fight against it.
And that has led to headlines like this and like this and like this,
because what she is fighting and what other progressive Democrats are
fighting is something the Obama administration is negotiating as an
international deal, something that Congress is now deciding to do about,
and something that President Obama just took issue with this way, to
MSNBC`s own Chris Matthews.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I love Elizabeth.
We`re allies on a whole host of issues, but she`s wrong on this.
Now, understandably, folks in labor and some progressives are
suspicious generally, because of the experiences they saw in the past. But
my point is, don`t fight the last war. Wait and see what we actually have
in this deal, before you make those judgments. I would not be doing this
trade deal if I did not think it was good for the middle class.
And when you hear folks make a lot of suggestions about how bad this
trade deal is, when you dig into the facts, they are wrong. I am happy to
debate this, and I`m sure Jerry and others are, based on the actual facts.
This is the most progressive framework for trade we have ever had.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama and Senator Elizabeth Warren have been
allies on issues large and small since his first days in politics and even
But when the president singled her out yesterday, she was not shy
about firing back. She sent out this tweet. “The Obama administration
says I`m wrong – we shouldn`t worry about the trade deal, so why can`t the
American people read the deal?”
And that link to this blog post, you can`t read this, saying that
Congress shouldn`t give the administration the authority to negotiate the
deal without Congress`s input, as long as what`s in the deal is being kept
from the public.
Quote, “The administration says, I`m wrong, but people like you can`t
see the actual deal. The government doesn`t want you to read this massive
new trade agreement. It`s top secret. Why? Here`s the real answer people
have given me. We can`t make this deal public, because if the American
people saw what was in it, they would be opposed to it.”
So, we reached out to the Obama administration today, and an
administration official told us that the complete text of the trade deal is
available to be read by members of Congress, upon request. Members of
Congress can, if they ask, go look at the deal in a secure office. The
official called that standard practice for any international deal that`s
still being negotiated.
The fast track legislation being considered now includes a provision
that would make the trade agreement available to the public, online, before
Congress votes on it. The administration also says there would be a public
comment period, 60 days, before the president signs it.
But what Senator Warren says is true right now, the public cannot,
now, see the deal. And the Senate Finance Committee was supposed to vote
on the fast track authority earlier today, until Senator Bernie Sanders
forced a delay, so that committee had to say there well into the night
The bill is still ultimately expected to pass the Democrat`s
progressive, populist wing has not managed to derail this thing. But
clearly, they are not done.
What comes next? And how do you respond when the president tells you
with a smile that he loves you, but you`re wrong.
Senator Elizabeth Warren joins us next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: When I hear critics of the possibility of us instituting the
most progressive trade deal in our history, their answer, I guess, is the
status quo. The status quo is not working for us. I`ve got to say, Chris,
that some of the information that`s been getting thrown out there plays
into legitimate fears that Democratic voters have and progressives have,
but it`s simply not true. It`s simply not the facts.
I love Elizabeth. We`re allies on a whole host of issues, but she`s
wrong on this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Elizabeth, as known to most people, as Massachusetts Senator
Elizabeth Warren. And that was President Obama in his interview with Chris
Matthews yesterday, taking on Senator Warren specifically on the issue of
trade. She is wrong, he said there, in case you missed it.
Senator Warren has been a vocal opponent, alongside Bernie Sanders
and Sherrod Brown and some other Senate Democrats, a vocal opponent of the
trade deal that the White House is negotiating right now with 11 countries
in the Asia Pacific region, also including Canada and Mexico.
The president says this is the most progressive trade deal in
history, but the progressives in his own party, perhaps most notably,
Senator Warren, really do oppose this deal. And they oppose it publicly
And joining us exclusively tonight for “The Interview” is Senator
Elizabeth Warren to talk about it.
Senator Warren, thank you so much for being here tonight.
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Thank you. It`s good to
MADDOW: So, you have said, part of the problem here is that the
public can`t read this deal. Therefore, Congress shouldn`t grease the
wheels to it being OK`d, before the public can find out what`s in it.
Have you been able to read the deal?
WARREN: Yes. So, senators can go and read it. People in the House
of Representatives can go and read it. But we`re not allowed to talk about
So, now, it`s the case that the president says that he wants the
American people to judge this deal based on the facts, but to do that, he`s
got to make the deal public. Otherwise, the American people can`t judge it
on the facts. You won`t put the facts out there.
The press should be able to see this. People should be able to dig
into it. If it`s a great deal for families, like the president says, or a
great deal for workers, then put it out there and let them see it before we
have to grease the skids to get the deal done.
MADDOW: On the issue of who has information about what`s in the
deal, the administration told us today that there will be a public comment
period before the trade agreement is signed by the president, that the
public will be able to see it online for a certain amount of time, before
any decision is made. Does that assuage any of your fears about this?
WARREN: Look, they`re asking us to vote now on greasing the skids,
so that we give up now any chance to be able to amend it, any chance to be
able to block it, any chance to be able to slow it down. Give all that up,
and then you`ll get to see the deal on the other side.
I just don`t think that`s reasonable, and let me tell you partly why.
We can talk about the facts that the American people can`t see, but there`s
one fact that the American people can see. And that is, how the
negotiation process worked.
So, you know, these negotiations have been going on for a long time.
And there are 28 different working groups for it. Eighty-five percent of
the people in those working groups are senior executives in various
industries that are going to be affected, or, they are lobbyists, for those
industries. They`re the ones who have helped shape the deals. They`re the
ones who have helped determine what that deal is going to look like on the
And my view is – when the process is rigged, then the outcome is
likely to be rigged, too.
MADDOW: So, you`re saying that the corporate interest that will be
directly involved in this, and who most want the deal, even as most labor
interests are saying they are not interested in this deal, you`re saying
those corporate interests do have all the access, not only to seeing what`s
in it, but in fact to shaping what`s in it?
WARREN: They`ve been in there now for months and months and months -
- during the negotiations, the back and forth, helping shape this deal.
And I just think it`s time to say no. What we want to do here is we
want to say, put the deal out there, so the American people can see it and
let`s have a debate on the facts.
And I`ll tell you this, I started a petition now, after I listened to
the president, I said, you know, let`s hear from the American people. It`s
at ElizabethWarren.com. It`s right there on the front page. For the
American people to say, no, we want to see this deal before you grease the
skids, not afterwards.
MADDOW: In terms of your dialogue with President Obama about this.
Obviously, it`s got to turn your head a little bit when the president calls
you out by name and says that he loves you, but you`re wrong. You`ve
obviously had a constructive relationship with the president in the past,
you have been an ally of his, and he of yours, on a lot of issues in the
Is it a surprise to you that you find yourself at such odds with him
on this? And do you see any possible path where you two may end up
agreeing or more on the same page about this? Are you inextricably at odds
WARREN: Yes, I`m always, always here to talk to the president and to
try to be constructive in any way possible. But let me remind you about
this greasing the skids part of it – this is a deal that lasts, the
greasing lasts at least until 2018. And most likely, because of the way
it`s constructed, until 2021, which means it`s partly about the deal
negotiated by this president.
But, look, I hope that we have great people that I love in the White
House. I hope we have great people running the Senate and the House. I
want to see Democrats in charge everywhere.
But do understand, once the skids are greased with this Trade
Promotion Authority, it lasts into the next president and potentially even
the president after that. They will have the same capacity to run these
deals through and to run them through with very little input from anyone
other than the industries that are involved, and with very little oversight
from the public and virtually no ability to stop it from the Senate or the
House and that really has me worried.
MADDOW: It looks like the fast track authority may go ahead.
Obviously, you guys have slowed it down. Your complaints have really I
think changed the trajectory, by which it would have been discussed,
without you being so vocal on it, you and Sherrod Brown and Bernie Sanders,
and the other leaders on this issue.
If you don`t win the vote and the fast track authority is approved,
are there other ways that you think that you can get your point across on
WARREN: You know, I think part of this is making sure that people
are heard from. You know, for me, this is basic democracy 101. I want
people to be able to see the first deal that`s lined up. Before they say,
“Yes, it`s OK, let`s put Congress on a fast track to make that sort of
thing work,” I want them to be able to see it, and I want them to be able
to debate it.
And I want to say, we`re not going to agree, right a blank check for
whatever some subsequent president may negotiate on down the line in a
second deal, a third deal, or whatever. For me, this is just kind of
fundamental principles about how democracy is supposed to work. American
workers have really been slammed by past trade deals. They have not been
good for us here in America. It`s not been good for American
If this is a better deal, then hang it out there in public and let us
take a look at it. Let us have a public conversation, based on the facts.
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren, thank you so much for your time
tonight. It`s always great to see you. Thank you.
WARREN: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right, coming up next – saving the planet one squirt
gun at a time. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Today at the TRMS production meeting –
Look at this one! The Muppet smile. (INAUDIBLE)
SUBTITLE: That story is coming up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: On January 28th, 1969, an oil rig six miles off the coast of
Santa Barbara, California, suffered a massive blowout and released 100,000
barrels of crude oil into the Santa Barbara channel over the course of 10
days. That giant oil spilled killed thousands of birds and all sorts of
marine life that lived in that channel. It was the largest oil spill ever
to affect U.S. waters until that point.
And it was that terrible oil spill in 1969 and the sad attempts to
soak up those thousands of barrels of oil with pitiful means of rescue like
straw that inspired one United States senator, Senator Gaylord Nelson from
Wisconsin, to a new idea. He looked at that effort and thought, hey, maybe
there`s some way we could get the country to focus, just for a day, on the
way that we Americans are ruining the environment.
His staff raised money to do Vietnam protester style teachings on the
issue of the environment. They wanted college students on board so they
specifically picked a day they thought would be easy for younger people,
maybe a Wednesday in spring would be best, somewhere between spring break
But that`s the story of how today, April 22nd, became Earth Day.
This was the front page of the “New York Times,” 45 years ago, look.
Millions join Earth Day observances all across the nation. Huge, light
hearted throngs ambled down auto less streets in New York as the city
heeded Earth Day`s call for a regeneration of a polluted environment by
celebrating the exuberant rite of spring.
In Washington, D.C., it was exuberance of a different kind.
Protesters spilled oil outside the Department of the Interior to protest
offshore oil drilling.
On college campuses, student protesters spilled squirt guns with real
oil and shot it at each other to make a point. These protesters squirting
oil at that poor guy were at Tulane in New Orleans. And so, in the wake of
that offshore spill in Santa Barbara, amid an upsurge of interest in how to
treat the planet better, a company called the Container Corporation of
America tried to do their part.
They held a nationwide student contest to create a new symbol for
recycled paper. The winner of the contest was this guy, a cute 23-year-old
grad student from USC named Gary Anderson. He $2,000 for his winning
submission, which was this.
And to this day, that symbol, the Mobius loop of three arrows chasing
each other, to this day, 45 years down the road, that symbol serves the
practical purpose of signaling to you that it`s OK to recycle your plastic
bottle or cardboard box or your plastic bag or bottle. It also, around the
world it means reduce, reuse or recycle.
Well, at 10:00 Eastern tonight, right after the show, MSNBC is going
to air a brand new documentary. It`s gotten a lot of attention so far
because it`s really good and it focuses on those 3Rs, it focuses in
reducing waste, and not in the way you might have expected it.
The documentary is called “Just Eat It.” You`ve probably heard about
it in recent days. It`s going to air right here on MSNBC in just a few
minutes. It`s going to be followed by a special conversation led by
MSNBC`s new food correspondent, the great Tom Colicchio. That`s tonight in
just a couple of minutes. You do not want to miss it.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world today, it`s very simple, it`s
very easy, it is this. It`s the handful of baby crocodiles. That is the
best new thing in the world today. We`re just going to cut to the chase –
a handful of extremely endangered Cuban baby crocodiles.
And if you want to know who you can thank for that incredible image,
the answer, of course, is Fidel Castro. Those baby crocodile`s parents
were given by Fidel Castro to Vladimir Shatalov, a Soviet cosmonaut 40
years ago. Kind of a we`re communist, you`re communist, here is your
crocodile door prize.
For a while, those crocodiles live in the cosmonaut`s apartment in
Russia until his wife made him give them up, for obvious reasons, they`re
crocodiles. Then, they were moved to the Moscow City zoo and then the
crocodiles were sent to a zoo in Sweden, which wanted them very badly.
The Cuba to Russia crocodile have been living at that zoo in Sweden
since 1981. Once they got settled in, they started breeding in 1984. In
the `90s, the Swedish zoo named their breeding pair Castro and Hillary, as
in Hillary Clinton with two Ls and everything. It was the `90s.
Meanwhile, as Castro and Hillary were happily mating in Sweden, the
Cuban crocodile were falling off a cliff back home. Cuban crocodiles used
to be found across the Caribbean. Now, they`re found in only two swamps in
Cuba. Turns out American crocs have flooded the region and interbreeding
with the American ones have decimated the Cuban population. It`s now
estimated to be less than 4,000 Cuban crocs in the whole planet.
Well, last year, Cuban authorities asked the Swedish zoo if they
could have some of Castro and Hillary`s babies. They asked for some of the
offspring to release back into the Cuban wild. This week, those Cuban baby
crocodiles whose parents traveled from Cuba to Russia to Sweden, those
babies arrived back in Havana. They`re going to be kept quarantined for a
month in a crocodile home somewhere because they`re still very young and
very vulnerable. But when they are of age, they`ll be released into the
wild, hoping that adding additional Cuban crocodiles to the genetic poll
will help keep the species alive. You can do it, you guys!
In that effort to help get these highly endangered baby Cuban
crocodiles back to Cuba is how we got this amazing picture, which is
obviously the best new thing in the world. Look at their little faces.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for a brand new, long awaited MSNBC documentary film,
“Just Eat It.” Here`s my colleague Tom Colicchio. Have a great night.
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