The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 05/29/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Oh, look, you guys are in my front row!
Awesome. Stay there. That`s awesome.
So great. Well done. Thanks you guys.
Thanks you at home for joining us this hour.
The morning that the U.S. House of Representatives voted yes that
they would impeach President Bill Clinton because of his extramarital
affair, it was that same morning in the House that the man who had just
been chosen to become speaker of the House he resigned, that same morning,
the day of the impeachment vote. He resigned in a surprise announcement on
the day of the Clinton impeachment vote.
We now know that that happened was because of this man, Larry Flynt,
the publisher of “Hustler” magazine. Larry Flynt ran this ad in the
“Washington Post” a few weeks before that House vote on impeaching Bill
The ad said “Reward: Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine announce a cash
offer of up to $1 million. Have you had an adulterous sexual encounter
with a current member of the United States Congress or a high-ranking
governor official? Can you provide documentary evidence of illicit sexual
relations with the congressman, senator or other prominent office holder?
If so, Larry Flynt and Hustler magazine will pay you up to $1 million if we
choose to publish your verified story and use your material.”
They ran that ad in “The Washington Post” in October of 1999, and by
December of 1999, it paid. It paid off presumably for whoever tipped Larry
Flynt and it played off for Larry Flynt when he got to claim the scalp of
the next speaker of the House, Bob Livingston, by outing Bob Livingston for
his affair and claiming a scalp actually on the day that the House of
Representatives was voting to impeach President Clinton for his affair.
Whatever you think of Larry Flynt and his life`s work, the man,
frankly, puts on a good pageant when it comes to teaching everybody the
meaning of the word hypocrisy. And so, it is one of those strange parts of
the denouement, right, of the raging Republican years from the mid `90s,
After Newt Gingrich and his Republican revolution and their great
political overreach against Bill Clinton, the Republican impeachment of
Bill Clinton, and the backlash against that, and Republicans losing the
mid-term elections in 1998 in the middle of the impeachment thing,
historically unprecedented losses for Republicans in those mid-term
And then they pushed Newt Gingrich out and they tried to clean up
their mess. But the first guy they picked to replace Newt Gingrich was
laid low by the publisher of “Hustler” magazine. American history.
And when Bob Livingston had to go in that scandal, the man they
picked instead was Denny Hastert. They picked Denny Hastert to become
speaker instead. And Denny Hastert went on to serve eight years as speaker
of the House, longer than other Republican House speaker before or since.
And now, today, all these years later, another shoe dropped that
frankly nobody was waiting for until it dropped. But now we know who and
what brought to light the Denny Hastert scandal that didn`t end his
political career but has resulted in a federal criminal indictment of Denny
Hastert years after he left Congress.
Last night in this federal indictment draft, we found out that
Speaker Hastert was being charged with structuring large cash withdrawals
from four of his bank accounts in a way that seemed designed to avoid the
rules which say you have to federally report large cash withdrawals from
your bank accounts. He was also charged with lying to the FBI about that
cash, about what those cash withdrawals were for.
So, the indictment spells out in detail the prosecutor`s view about
what Denny Hastert was actually using that for, $1.7 million so far, less
than half of what he apparently agreed to pay. What he was doing with all
that cash was allegedly paying it to someone to compensate for and conceal
his own misconduct toward this unnamed person sometime in years past. Now,
as of last night, we didn`t know what the alleged misconduct was, nor did
we know to whom Denny Hastert was allegedly paying this money.
Tonight, we still do not know to whom Denny Hastert was paying that
money, allegedly paying that money. But law enforcement sources now say,
anonymously and unofficially, they now say that the person in question, the
person to whom the money was being paid, was a male student who attended
the Illinois high school where Denny Hastert taught and coached wrestling
According to the indictment, Denny Hastert taught and coached at this
one high school in Illinois from 1965 to 1981. We don`t know when this
student was allegedly there, what years. But anonymous law enforcement
sources say that the alleged misconduct that led Denny Hastert to agree to
pay out $3.5 million in cash was sexual misconduct with this student who he
is now paying.
There`s a few things to figure out here. One is how and why this
came to light now after decades have gone by since the alleged misconduct,
including many years in which Denny Hastert was one of the most visible and
powerful and high ranking politicians in the country at a very, very
partisan time. And honestly, even in not a very partisan time, when you
got the kind of job that he had, it means people are constantly trying to
dig dirt on you, constantly – both the press and your political opponents.
People are always going through everything they can find about you to find
any shadow of scandal. Nobody ever turned it up until now.
From the indictment, we have some bread crumbs to follow in terms of
how it came to be. And it was the cash. The feds say in their indictment
that they started in 2013 looking into these large, suspicious cash
withdrawals that Dennis Hastert had been making from his bank accounts
since 2010. They said they started looking at those withdrawals to see if
he was using the cash for a criminal purpose.
In addition, because Dennis Hastert wasn`t just some average rich
Schmoe, he was a former very high ranking politician, they also say they
were looking to see if he was the victim of a criminal extortion related
to, among other matters, his prior positions in government. It turns out,
according to law enforcement sources today, he was not being criminally
extorted because of something he did while he was in public office. He was
allegedly being extorted because of something he allegedly did before he
was ever in office.
Isn`t that still extortion though? Wasn`t he still being shook down
or blackmailed? Isn`t that itself a crime?
Federal prosecutors believe and have explained in their indictment
that Denny Hastert was being shook down basically for this $3.5 mil and he
was paying it sloppily, which is why he got caught. But isn`t extortion
itself a crime? Why is there no indictment for whoever was extorting him,
shaking him down, blackmailing him?
And then there`s this other matter of what he was allegedly being
extorted for. And again, this is not in the indictment. This is according
to unanimous law enforcement sources speaking with multiple press outlets
today. But if federal prosecutors turned up evidence that Denny Hastert
engaged in some kind of sexual misconduct with a student while he was a
teacher and a coach, isn`t there an underlying crime there that we should
expect to also be charged?
“The Washington Post” says tonight, “No, that Dennis Hastert is not
expected to face any charges related to the alleged misconduct because
authorities don`t believe they have enough corroborating evidence to bring
a case against him,” end quote.
So, there`s this one accuser, who he allegedly was paying off but
that`s not enough to corroborate that the sexual abuse or sexual misconduct
actually happened. OK.
But then there`s this tonight from “The L.A. Times”. Look, a top
official who would not be identified speaking about the federal charges
said investigators also spoke with a second person, who raised similar
allegations that corroborated what the first student said. The second
person, however, was not being paid by Dennis Hastert.
“BuzzFeed” similarly reports tonight that federal prosecutors
considered but did not pursue additional charges against the former
speaker, which would have included reference to not just an individual A,
but an individual B, one of potentially several alleged victims.
Now, NBC News has not verified this aspect of the reporting, this
second person who can corroborate the sexual abuse allegations. NBC has
not – has not corroborated this aspect of the reporting and is not
testifying to it. That`s why I`m being specific in attributing it to the
“L.A. Times” and to “BuzzFeed.”
But where we`re at now is that Speaker Hastert has paid bail, he`s
out on his own recognizance, he`s due to be in court as soon as next week
to face these charges. But if these reports from law enforcement sources
today turn out to be accurate – I mean, two big questions, right?
If Dennis Hastert was being extorted, if he was being shook down by
someone he allegedly sexually abused when that person was a teenager and he
was a coach and a teacher, how is the decision made and is the decision now
made as to whether or not to charge his alleged sexual abuse victim for
shaking him down, for extorting him, for blackmailing him? Extortion is a
And, as another matter, how is the decision made and is the decision
made as to whether or not to charge Dennis Hastert of the underlying crime
of this alleged sexual misconduct with a kid or with kids while he was a
teacher and a coach back in Illinois before he ever entered politics?
Especially if prosecutors did talk to more than one kid, who says he or she
went through that with him, even if only one of the kids decided to
blackmail him for it decades down the road.
Legally, how did we get here? And what`s going to happen next?
Joining us is Jeffrey Cramer. He`s a former federal prosecutor.
He`s now the senior managing director of Kroll Investigations in Chicago.
Mr. Cramer, thanks very much for your time tonight. Appreciate you
JEFFREY CRAMER, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Good evening, Rachel.
MADDOW: Let me ask first about what appears to be extortion.
Haven`t prosecutors alleged here in the indictment that former Speaker
Dennis Hastert was essentially the victim of extortion, that he was being
shook down for this money or by somebody threatening to go public with it?
Isn`t extortion a crime?
CRAMER: Extortion is certainly a crime. But just because individual
A was not charged today, a couple of things: one, it doesn`t mean a charge
might not be coming down the line. Or it could be a charge exists right
now but is sealed, and we don`t know about it.
But I don`t think just because there are no charges pending at least
public live now, we don`t know what`s going to happen down the line.
MADDOW: I guess – I asked, too, keeping in mind other different
types of criminal charges against public officials where it`s more
typically what we`re looking at is something like bribery or an alleged
quid pro quo, and one of the questions for those of us who aren`t lawyers,
who aren`t involved in the justice system, is how can there be a bribee
without a briber? Shouldn`t people always be charged on both sides of the
crime if prosecutors can prove that the crime occurred?
CRAMER: I understand that, but I was making – distinguish between
the bribe situations that you just gave. And certainly in Chicago, in
Illinois, we have our fair share of officials who have gone that line. And
this office, U.S. attorneys office in Chicago, it`s frankly one of the best
offices in the country, and pursuing this kind of cases, although this
seems to have taken a pivot.
But here, you don`t have a bribee and a briber. You have individual
A, if it plays out, was a victim of sexual abuse at one point, who is then
turned into presumably an extortionist. And you have Dennis Hastert who
did the flip. At one point, he abused his position, if this plays out, and
is now the victim of an extortion.
So, it`s not a simple two people involved in a conspiracy. You have
the person who is looking for money, millions of dollars at one point, if
it`s true, was the victim of sexual abuse.
MADDOW: On the abuse allegations – and again, I want to be clear
the sexual misconduct, sexual abuse allegations, I`m sourcing them to
anonymous leaks from law enforcement officials who are not putting their
name on the record. It is not part of the indictment. But if those leaks
today are accurate, that the underlying past misdeed here is some sort of
sexual conduct, some kind of sexual abuse between Denny Hastert and a
student or students when he was a teacher, when he was a coach – what does
go into the determination about whether or not that conduct should be
charged as a crime?
CRAMER: It`s a calculus. And, you`re right, we don`t know exactly
what the misconduct was.
However, if you look at the indictment, the wording of where it lists
he was a teacher and a coach at the high school in a certain period of
time, federal prosecutors don`t put in language of that kind unless they`re
relevant. So, that had to be relevant to the misconduct. And therefore,
you have, one could argue, misconduct from what we know now that was worth
millions of dollars to Mr. Hastert to keep quiet.
So, there is a logic to what people are saying right now. And if it
was sexual abuse at that time, you can see why he would want to keep it
secret. But it`s a calculus prosecutors will look at into how to bring
these charges and equally important what language to put in the indictment.
I think they appropriately did not include that language in there
because it`s not relevant to the charge, which is structuring. It`s in and
of itself a pretty boring charge – structuring transactions so the banks
don`t alert the federal authorities that something over $10,000 is going in
or out. It`s that misconduct part right now that obviously has people`s
MADDOW: Is there a statute of limitations issue if these things did
happen sometime between 1965 and 1981, which is when he was at that school?
CRAMER: Certainly. I`m not sure what the statute of limitations was
for sexual misconduct or sexual abuse, or whatever it might be called at
that time. But now, we`re talking 25 years later. So, not only it`s the
corroboration factor that you discussed earlier, but there`s a statute of
limitations problem I would think.
MADDOW: Jeffrey Cramer, former federal prosecutor, now senior
managing director of Kroll Investigations, thanks for helping us understand
this. Very clarifying to talk to you about this. Thanks.
MADDOW: All right. Coming up, a thing I learned in today`s news
that surprised me so much that I`ve physically fell over. And that`s not
hyperbole and I can show you how it happened.
Plus, we`ve got, coming up tonight, a plan to defeat ISIS, courtesy
of President Trump.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: This week at the TRMS production meeting –
NAZANIN RAFSANJANI, TRMS SENIOR PRODUCER: I e-mailed him because we
have all his information. I didn`t call him because it`s like midnight
where he is.
MADDOW: I thought he was in Salt Lake City.
NAZANIN: It`s Salt Lake City in India.
MADDOW: Oh. That was so –
MADDOW: I don`t understand.
NAZANIN: Yes, there`s a Salt Lake City in Calcutta. Well, I mean, I
don`t think that`s what they call it.
SUBTITLE: What Salt Lake City, India, has to do with a huge national
story here in America. That`s coming up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This next story is a genuine mystery. It is a mystery that
has national significance. We exclusively – we think we exclusively have
solved parts of this mystery. And it begins in a place called Salt Lake
Now, when you think Salt Lake City, you think Utah, right? You think
Utah. You think, may be you think Mormon Church. You think beautiful
scenery, mountains. Salt Lake City equals Salt Lake City, Utah. But this
is what knocked me off my feet from sheer wonder at our news meeting
yesterday. The Salt Lake City at the center of this story is not the
Mormons and mountains one in Utah. This Salt Lake City is here just
outside Calcutta in India.
Salt Lake City is the westernized name for a suburb of Calcutta. It
was an area that was built. You can see some water there on the map, it
was built quite near of Salt Lake, hence the name Salt Lake City. Salt
Lake City, India, is hope to a company called Harris Pharma, LLP, what you
see there marked on the map.
Now, one available export from Harris Pharma in Salt Lake City into
the United States is a drug that they can manufacture or obtain that`s
called sodium thiopental. Sodium thiopental isn`t anesthetic. It has also
been a drug of choice for a number of states in this country when it comes
to killing people, killing prisoners by lethal injection.
The trouble is, the supply of sodium thiopental in the U.S. dried up
years ago. In 2011, the only company in the U.S. that made sodium
thiopental stopped manufacturing it. Since then, there is no approved U.S.
manufacturer or distributor for that drug.
And so, naturally the states that were relying on that drug to kill
their prisoners, they had to come up with plan B`s and plan C`s or plan D`s
to find either that drug somehow or find some other means of killing
And that`s where Harris pharma in Salt Lake City, India, comes in.
Specifically their CEO, a guy named Chris Harris. He tried to step in to
save the day.
Look at this. From Chris Harris to the Nebraska Department of
Corrections. It`s dated May 11, 2011, 6:02 a.m. Subject: supply. Quote,
“Hi, Steve. This is to state that my company is willing and capable to
supplying the required pharmaceutical products to the Department of
Corrections Nebraska, specifically sodium thiopental, for a period of five
years. Regards, Chris Harris, CEO, Harris Pharma.”
Now, the date is key because in May 2011, Nebraska was gearing up to
kill someone using lethal injection for the very first time ever. Nebraska
at the time had just switched from the electric chair to lethal injection.
They wanted to use it to kill this guy on June 14, 2011, but they didn`t
have enough sodium thiopental on hand to kill him – until Chris Harris
reached out from India and told Nebraska, no problem, I can sell you that
stuff, and he did.
Now, he was not a pharmacist, but he wanted to be the business guy in
middle of this arrangement. He wanted to be the middle man. So, he
arranged for Nebraska to import sodium thiopental from India, from Salt
Lake City India.
It ended up being a disaster because the DEA, the Drug Enforcement
Agency, found out what Nebraska was up to, and they came in and formally
admonished the state and they took the sodium thiopental away, and they
This is a memo that a Nebraska Corrections employee wrote around the
time, around that time after a conversation with the DEA. “The DEA is
going to come and collect the drugs away. The drugs will be destroyed.
The DEA could issue us an admonition.”
And that`s exactly what happened. Nebraska paid Chris Harris for
those drugs back in 2011. It doesn`t make it legal to send that drug from
India into the United States, and the DEA seized those drugs. And Nebraska
got in trouble and didn`t get to keep the drugs.
That prisoner, his name is Kerry Dean Moore, by the way, he was never
executed. He still lives on death row in Nebraska.
And this week, of course, the Nebraska legislature made international
headlines when their legislature voted to repeal the death penalty
altogether, and they did that in part – if you look at the reasoning of
this conservative lawmakers who voted to repeal, a lot of them explained
that part of their reasoning around this is that logistically speaking,
Nebraska couldn`t actually do it.
Nebraska couldn`t get the drugs they need to kill people. I mean,
they tried with Chris Harris and India. They failed and got in trouble.
But when the pro-death penalty side in Nebraska, including the governor,
when they were trying to convince the legislature that they shouldn`t
repeal it, they should keep the death penalty on the books, the governor,
the pro-death penalty side, argued that they would get the drugs. In fact,
finally, they had arranged to get the drugs. This whole idea that it was
impractical to carry out the death penalty in Nebraska, that argument was
over because they had the sodium thiopental.
This was the political statement from the Omaha police officer`s
union. “Nebraska will soon have the drugs necessary for lethal
Where did Nebraska get those drugs in the last month? Want to guess?
They got them once again from Chris Harris, Harris Pharma, LLP, Salt Lake
Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2015. Subject, hi. Quote, “Hi, Patrick.
Just wanted to let up know we have a few states who have already ordered
sodium thiopental. Would Nebraska be interested as I will have a few
thousand vials extra? Regards, Chris.”
Chris Harris was maybe using his 2011 contact there because he was
emailing the wrong people. This was response he got. “Hey, Chris. I`m
not sure where Corrections stands on this subject anymore, as I`m no longer
with them.” It took a while for Chris Harris to figure out who to email
now and how to reach the right people. But he eventually did.
And it turns out, Nebraska was super psyche to try with him again, to
buy sodium thiopental again from this guy, Chris Harris, in India, four
years after they tried and failed to do it the first time.
Chris Harris, by the way, from what we can tell, has no training as a
pharmacist. He`s been a middle man selling these drugs, but he is not, as
far as we know, trained in this field at all. Harris Pharma LLP does not
have a web site. This is the site they list but it is under construction.
We`ve e-mailed and called Chris Harris, he has not responded, but we
do know that Chris Harris has tried to sell sodium thiopental to other
states in the past, like Indiana and South Dakota. And states are buying
this from his company because there`s nowhere else they can get it. And
really, they can`t get it from him either. At least they can`t legally get
it from him.
The FDA told us, exclusively, last week, that it is against the law
for the state of Nebraska to import sodium thiopental into the United
States, which brings to this – last month, when Chris Harris got in touch
with Nebraska and convinced them to try to important sodium thiopental from
his company, he mentioned that two other states have placed an order with
him. Two other states have placed an order.
Well, if it`s not legal for Nebraska to do it, it`s not legal for
anybody to do it.
I should tell you, we have these documents thanks to the ACLU of
Nebraska filing a Freedom of Information request with the Nebraska
Corrections Department. But it raises this really interesting question,
because if it is illegal for Nebraska, it is illegal for anybody. So, when
he says, I got two other states importing from me, you want in on it?
Which two other states? Which two other states are right now in 2015
trying to get this drug into this country illegally?
He says two more states are doing it. Which ones? Which states?
If Chris Harris is telling the truth and his company is in the
process of making this drug for several American states, which ones? We
know about Nebraska, although it`s moot there now because they don`t have a
death penalty anymore as of this week, but who are those other states?
Law school at U.C. Berkeley says they are in the process of finding
out which states Chris Harris has maybe sold these drugs to. They`re
filing Freedom of Information Act requests in states all over the country
and trying to find out which states besides Nebraska are waiting right now
for their illegal sodium thiopental shipments from Salt Lake, India.
We spoke with the FDA again today. We asked them, could any state
legally import this drug to use for killing people. Maybe just the ban
applies to Nebraska. Can any state get around the ban on importing sodium
thiopental? They told us again tonight exclusively, they told us no.
Quote from the FDA, “Sodium thiopental is unlawful to import for the
purposes of lethal injections and that applies to all states who intend to
use it for that purpose.”
So, genuine mystery, right? This is a live mystery right now. Who
right now, which state government right now is trying to get this drug
illegally imported into this country from Harris Pharma in Salt Lake City,
The Nebraska attorney general said today meanwhile he plans to
challenge the repeal of the death penalty in his state. He says Nebraska
he wants to make sure it should still be able to kill the 10 people on
death row it promised to kill before this change in policy was enacted.
If he wants to go ahead with that, that means the shipment of
illegally imported sodium thiopental from Salt Lake City, India, can`t
arrive soon enough – I don`t know how they`re going to get it past the
This is a weird crime and punishment story. This is a weird laws
story. But part of the law here is not just about the crimes committed
that earned these guys a place on death row. Part of the law and the
criminal behavior here may very well be the state governments that are
trying to evade the feds and illegally get these drugs shipped in from a
foreign country that can`t legally sell it here, and this is a crime that
is apparently underway right now, and we are trying to figure out who the
Watch this space.
MADDOW: One thing to keep an eye on this weekend is that the U.S.
Senate is coming back to work this weekend on Sunday. They`ve been off for
a whole week for Memorial Day, don`t feel bad, but the Patriot Act is set
to expire on Sunday night. They`re back to try a last-minute vote to keep
the Patriot Act on the books.
I think the thought is forcing senators to work on a Sunday, pushing
them right to the very end of the deadline before the law expires, that
will just pressure them into passing the extension.
But Mitch McConnell wasn`t able to do that last week when he tried
the same thing before the Memorial Day break and so far there`s really no
concrete reason to think it`s going to be any different this Sunday. I
mean, if it were anyone other than Mitch McConnell trying to pull this off
on Sunday, I would say bye-bye Patriot Act, it`s gone as of this weekend.
But Mitch McConnell does have a habit of pulling rabbits out of a hat
at times like this. So, we will see. Sunday`s going to be weird for a
couple of reasons. I mean, first, obviously, it`s weird to have Sunday be
a work day in the Senate, but also it is weird to have any day in
Washington be suspenseful at this point.
But this Sunday is really going to be both. Nobody knows what`s
going to happen on this thing and it could be a very, very big deal. Watch
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could have here in Hebrew 666 on the can,
but my interest is the word Monster. What do you see in the “O”? There`s
a cross. You cannot deny that that is a cross.
And what is witchcraft? When the cross goes up side down. Bottoms
up and the devil laughs. Something to think about.
This is how clever Satan is and how he gets into the Christian home
and a Christian`s life and it breaks God`s heart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is how clever Satan is.
That lady, the Monster energy drink is the work of Satan lady, when
she is not warning people about the sign of the beast in their soft drinks,
she has a side gig as a disrupter of peaceful events that involve Muslim
(BEGIN VIDO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jesus Christ died on that cross over there. He
is the reason why we are to worship only him. Jesus Christ is our Lord and
Savior. We have built –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me explain the call for the prayer. The call
for the prayer, it is in Arabic.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was a Muslim service being held at the National Cathedral
in Washington, D.C. last November, and that`s the Monster energy drink lady
This is kind of the way she spends of days of her one and only life
on earth. She has told reporters she lives out of her car, she travels
around the country explaining to people that Satan is in their soft drinks
and she threatens and insult Muslim Americans wherever she can find and
tries to disrupt their peaceful events.
Aside from that, at National Cathedral event this year, she also
showed up in Texas at annual Muslim Day at the state capital, where Texas
Muslim kids come to the capital to learn about civics and their state
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I stand against Islam and the false Prophet
Mohammed! Islam will never dominate the United States, and by the grace of
God, it will not dominate Texas!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, it`s one thing to think this is the thing that the crazy
energy drink lady does alone, right? But at that Texas event, just outside
that tightly shot footage of her screaming, there was actually a bunch of
other people holding these we hate Muslim signs and screaming at the Muslim
kid there for civic day because of their religion.
And, you know, individual nuts or bigots showing off is gross enough.
It`s not like we haven`t seen this before in our country, right? But we
are in a modern American moment when it comes to prejudice and hate in that
it`s American Muslims who are now having to deal with this kind of thing to
a greater or lesser extent all the time.
So, this was in Texas. This is how those Muslim kids were taught
about Texas civics that day at their state capital.
This week, it was also this older couple in the Minneapolis suburbs
who were waiting in their car to pick up their teen-age son from a party
when a lady walked up and started screaming at them and pounding on the
windows of their car and told them that they were suspicious and she held
them at gunpoint. Here`s your not totally gratuitous mugshot of the lady
in that story in Minnesota this week.
And, you know, it is one thing for regular American Muslims doing
nothing wrong to have to deal with this kind of folks, of this kind of hate
and threat and harassment and bizarreness from individual nut balls. It is
another level of terror when it not just individuals doing it, it`s some
kind of organized effort.
And that is what`s happening tonight, right now actually, outside of
the Islamic community center in Phoenix, Arizona.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: The man behind the event openly admits he hates Islam and
wants protesters to ride in on motorcycles, bring their firearms and make a
statement as Muslims actually head in for prayer service.
REPORTER: The guy who is setting up this protest has been known to
walk these sidewalks in front of the mosque wearing a t-shirt with a curse
word followed by the word Islam. He`s encouraging those coming here to
show their support for the Second Amendment as well, come armed and
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Come armed and prepared as people funnel into that mosque to
That`s reporting by NBC`s Phoenix affiliate KPNX. The reporter there
was referencing this, an “F Islam” shirt that the organizer regularly wears
when he walks outside of this Muslim community center and harasses and
verbally attacks Muslims who are just trying to go to prayer peacefully at
their Islamic center.
The head of the Islamic Center where the protests are being held
tonight has responded to this planned event, telling those who are coming
to the mosque, people who are coming to try to pray, telling them not to
engage with the protesters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to tell our members what we told them
before, not to engage them and they`re not looking for an intellectual
discussion, they`re looking to stir up a controversy and we`re not going to
be part of it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, again, this is a live shot right now from that protest
tonight in Phoenix. There is a group of anti-Muslim, “we hate Muslim”
protesters and they have been met tonight by counter-protesters, people who
are angry about that message and it happening in their community.
The police, you can see them in a very organized line there in the
middle. They have separated both sides. We`re told tonight there have
been tense moments and some people have brought weapons, as instructed by
the organizer of this event. That`s happening in Phoenix, Arizona.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: We got new news on 2016, exclusive coming up here next.
We`ve got exclusive news tonight about two new potential contenders for the
presidential nomination because there just aren`t enough. That`s next.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: This winter, I learned ice fishing in New Hampshire. I
learned it on Lake Winnipesaukee. Look, got him! Ha!
Lake Winnipesaukee is a legendary ice fishing, fishing, boating,
vacationing outdoor wonderland in central New Hampshire. And tonight, Lake
Winnipesaukee has a boat floating on it that contains not one, not two, not
three, but four possible presidential contenders all in the same actual
It is a sunset cruise for one of the county Republican Party in New
Hampshire. And tonight, that sunset cruise has on it, Scott Walker, who
hasn`t announced yet, but everybody knows he`s running, and George Pataki,
who announced last night that he is running.
And also two other guys, who have been lurking anonymously down
toward the bottom of our chart of Republican candidates, Bob Ehrlich,
former governor of Maryland, and Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia,
who you might remember also made a run for the presidency in 2008. Those
two guys have been lurking at the bottom of our candidates chart for 2016,
not the most recognizable pair I know, but there they are. There they are.
There, they have been on our chart and they both tonight are on the Lake
Winnipesaukee sunset cruise with George Pataki and Scott Walker tonight.
And both of their offices told us today that we should count neither
of them out for 2016. They are both still actively considering a run for
the presidency, even though neither one of them is ready at this point to
make an official announcement. So keep your fingers crossed.
We also got word that this man has scheduled his announcement, June
16th, he says. And who knows what he will announce on June 16th, but he
has planned a trip to New Hampshire for the following day. And in the lead
up to that June 16th announcement, this man is preparing fertile ground for
his possible presidential run by making important and deft foreign policy
pronouncements like this one that he made this week with my friend Greta
Van Susteren on FOX News.
This is one of the best things that has been on TV so far for the
2016 race. This is so amazing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: I know how to bring ISIS to the table
quickly, or defeat ISIS very quickly. And I`m not going to tell you what
it is tonight. You know, one of the problems that we have –
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: Why won`t you tell?
TRUMP: I tell you, because I don`t want to, Greta. I`ll tell you
what, because I –
VAN SUSTEREN: Donald, why won`t you tell? We need all the help we
can get. We need a dialogue on this.
TRUMP: I`ll explain. If I win, I don`t want the enemy to know what
I`m doing. I don`t want the enemy to know what I`m doing. I don`t want
the enemy to know what I`m doing.
Unfortunately, I`ll probably have to tell at some point, but there is
a method of defeating them quickly and effectively and having total
victory. All I can tell you is that it is a foolproof way of winning, and
I`m not talking about what some people would say, but it is a foolproof way
of winning the war with ISIS and it will be absolutely 100 percent –
they`ll at a minimum come to the table and actually they`ll be defeated
very quickly – very, very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s a secret plan but it is foolproof and only he knows
about it. If kind of goes like this – ISIS, you`re fired!
But that man says he will make his announcement June 16th.
We`re also definitely going to get an announcement from Martin
O`Malley, former Maryland government tomorrow. We were also told today
that we`re going to get an announcement from former Rhode Island Governor
Linc Chafee on Wednesday.
And now we know to wait with baited breath on these two guys, Bob
Ehrlich and Jim Gilmore, who are definitely these two guys I`m just not
totally sure which is which, but I swear I will look it up and memorize it
with flash cards before they actually formally jump in the race.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Watch out! Truck!
Yay, Friday night news dump time.
Producer Julia Nutter, who is tonight`s player?
JULIA NUTTER, TRMS PRODUCER: Tonight`s player is Alison Sanford.
She`s from Easton, Maryland. She`s a marine scientist. She`s been to
Antarctica three times. And she has two kids, one in tenth grade and one
in sixth grade.
MADDOW: Alison, welcome.
ALISON SANFORD, EASTON, MARYLAND: Thanks. Thanks so much.
MADDOW: Is it Easton, Maryland or eastern Maryland?
MADDOW: Easton but not Eastern.
MADDOW: OK. Very good.
Your kids in tenth grade and sixth grade, have they ever seen this TV
SANFORD: Are you kidding? Yes.
MADDOW: OK. I was going to say, if we need to keep it a secret from
them that you`re here, that can be arranged.
SANFORD: No, not at all.
MADDOW: All right. Well, we`re really glad that you`re here. If
you`ve been to the end of the earth three times, this is obviously going to
be very easy for you. As you know, probably you`re going to get three
multiple choice questions about this week`s news. If you get two of the
questions right, you will win this piece of junk – Julia.
NUTTER: This adorable tiny TRMS cocktail shaker.
MADDOW: Very small, very teeny, we don`t even guarantee that it
The bonus tonight is a little weird. It is something random for you
that until tonight has been cluttering up our offices.
But tonight, we need your help. We are offering you a choice between
two options. So Julia, can you explain this?
NUTTER: The first option is this can, which inside contains many
puzzle pieces that create a puzzle and we`re not quite sure what that
puzzle is or if we have all the pieces, even.
MADDOW: Right. But we`re pretty sure it`s nothing dirty.
NUTTER: Yes. We`ve checked for body parts.
MADDOW: It might be offensive in some other way, but we can`t find
any body parts. So that`s a puzzle.
NUTTER: That`s the puzzle. And the second option is this awesome
piece of junk in our office, which reads “Herman Cain is an art project”.
MADDOW: Yes, and hopefully, Herman Cain won`t be an art project
again soon enough that we will need it back, but in which case we`d have to
call to get it back, Alison.
SANFORD: Yes, OK, I would give it back.
MADDOW: All right. We`re also going to need to bring in a
disembodied voice to judge your answers. Now, usually that is Steve Benen
from Maddow Blog, but Steve has a cold. He is so too ill tonight to sit in
judgment upon you. So we`re going to have one of our producers in the
control room do it. Your judge this evening is the all powerful and
omniscient Tricia McKinney.
Say hello, Tricia.
TRICIA MCKINNEY, TRMS PRODUCER: Hello, Alison.
SANFORD: Hey, Tricia.
MADDOW: There we go.
All right. Ready for your first question?
SANFORD: Yes, I`m ready.
MADDOW: OK. Last night`s show, we reported on the surprise federal
indictment of the long time speaker of the house Denny Hastert. Denny
Hastert first became House speaker during which national political scandal?
Was it, (A), the impeachment effort against President Bill Clinton, was it
(B), the Iran Contra affair, (C), Watergate, or (D), Abscam?
SANFORD: I am going to go with (A), the Clinton impeachment.
MADDOW: Tricia, did Alison get that right?
MCKINNEY: Well, you know, I`m going to have Rachel from yesterday
give the answer to Rachel from today.
MADDOW: Creepy. OK.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: All that turmoil in `98, after losing the midterms, the
middle of the impeachment, recognizing it`s a political disaster,
Republicans decided they needed to play it safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKINNEY: So the answer was, in fact, (A), the impeachment against
President Clinton and Alison was right.
MADDOW: Well done. One in the bag.
All right. Got to get two right to win at least the first prize.
Let`s go to question two. This one is actually going to be a visual one.
This week, we had not one but two candidates – two additional candidates
formally declare that they`re running for the Republican nomination on
On Tuesday, you will remember it was my friend Rick Santorum. And
then, yesterday, it was my friend George Pataki. Which of these people
were George Pataki?
Is it this man, (A)? Is it this man, (B)? Is it this man, (C)? Or
is it this man, (D)?
Alison, what do you think?
SANFORD: Well, C is the former governor in the state where I live
now. A is Bolton. He`s not – definitely not D. He is B.
MADDOW: Tricia, is that the right answer?
MCKINNEY: You know, I am going to defer to Alex Trebek.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEX TREBEK, JEOPARDY HOST: He took New York into the 21st century.
CONTESTANT: Who is Bloomberg?
TREBEK: No. Who is George Pataki?
MADDOW: Who is George Pataki?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKINNEY: Who indeed is George Pataki? The choice was B and Alison
was also right.
MADDOW: Well done. Alison is on a roll.
Ready for your last question now. This is from Tuesday`s show.
Tuesday`s show, we reported that the country that already have a
statue of their dictator wearing a fantastic cape and already has a statue
of their dictator standing on top of a tower rotating so he always faces
the sun. That country has a 69-foot tall statute of their dictator atop a
giant marble mountain riding a horse while carrying a dove.
Which country? Is it (A), Azerbaijan, (B), Turkmenistan, (C),
Uzbekistan, or (D), terrible-self-esteem-istan?
SANFORD: Wow. I`m pretty, I really – I`m a little less sure about
this one. It`s definitely not d.
MADDOW: Damn it.
SANFORD: It`s between B and C.
MADDOW: Jump in. Go with your gut.
SANFORD: B. Turkmenistan?
MADDOW: Tricia, do you have the answer for us?
MCKINNEY: Well, I think we really need to see that statue again.
MADDOW: All right.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Turkmenistan got a new dictator statue that makes all the
older ones that went before it look like hemmels. The new one is 69 feet
tall. It shows the country`s current dictator carrying a dove and riding a
horse. It`s covered in 24 karat gold leaf and it`s perched on top of a
giant cliff of white marble. It`s very subtle.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MCKINNEY: So as much as we were hoping she would go for terrible-
self-esteem-istan, it was actually Turkmenistan, choice B. She got it.
MADDOW: Alison, you swept. You swept.
All right. You`re definitely getting the leaky creaky cocktail
shaker. Do you want the “Herman Cain is an art project” banner or do you
want the puzzle that we don`t know what it`s a puzzle of?
SANFORD: Oh, I totally want the banner.
MADDOW: All right. Herman Cain is still an art project somewhere.
You get the banner. If he turns back into an art project, we`re going to
call for it back.
Alison, thank you so much. It was great to meet you. Great to have
SANFORD: Thank you. It was a pleasure. Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Well done. Whoo-hoo!
If you want to help us de-clutter our offices while playing at least
the most hoopty game in cable news, please send us an email,
firstname.lastname@example.org, tell us who you are, where you`re from and why you want
First, though, the warden would like a word.
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