The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/16/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very,
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
So, today was amazing in the news. In just the news about politics
today, we changed the stories that we were going to cover and the order of
everything. We changed the show like 300 times did you say today because
new things kept happening all afternoon and into the evening, each of which
was more amazing than the things that had come before on this amazing news
Up to and including Jeb Bush slow-jamming the news with Jimmy Fallon
on the “Tonight Show” tonight which has just happened. We actually just
got the tape of it. We will have that for you in just a moment. It`s mind
In addition to that, we`ve got Donald Trump announcing that he is
running for the Republican nomination for the president of the United
States today. You obviously heard about that, got lots of press today.
But did you also hear that Donald Trump since he announced that he`s
running for president this morning, he has since then announced who he
wants his running mate to be.
It`s the first day he is running for the nomination for president,
but he`s already announced his running mate, who he`s running with, and he
says he and this running mate, unbeatable combination. They will
Now, since he made that announcement today, we have been trying all
afternoon and all evening to reach that person, to reach Donald Trump`s
would-be running mate to find out if she`s into the idea. Yes, she. We
will have that for you in just a moment.
Today is just nuts. Today is one of those days that is just nuts.
Too much stuff is going on and it is all interesting.
Even the stuff that`s going on about Scott Walker is interesting.
And Scott Walker is a politician about whom it is sometimes hard to get
viscerally excited. It`s nothing against him. He just has this very laid-
back Midwestern manner. Apparently part of him getting ready to run for
president was that he started doing classes with a speech coach to make him
sound less Midwestern, less Wisconsin, because I guess it was too calming
He`s trying to be more exciting. Excitement tends to be one of Scott
Walker`s challenges. But today, oh, yes.
One of the quirkier things to know about Scott Walker is that he says
that some of the major events in his life have been pegged to milestones in
the life of Ronald Reagan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I often joke that I know Ronald
Reagan`s birthday because it`s my wedding anniversary. But truth be told,
Tonette would tell you, I know my wedding anniversary because it`s Ronald
Reagan`s birthday. She`d fill you in on that, but it`s the truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Scott Walker and his wife got married on Ronald Reagan`s
birthday. So, their wedding anniversary is Ronald Reagan`s birthday.
He has the old told reporters that on Ronald Reagan`s birthday, which
is his wedding anniversary with his wife, he told reporter he and his wife
go out of their way that day to eat Ronald Reagan`s favorite foods. Happy
anniversary, here is a jelly bean.
Not long ago, Scott Walker also spoke at the Ronald Reagan Library
and it sent a shiver down his spine when he realized that not just his
wedding anniversary, but another super important day on his life happened
on another Ronald Reagan milestone day. This was truly spooky.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALKER: Nothing on that day that`s already as I anticipated saying
this, it`s going to give me action bit of a shiver, but not only did we
share the wedding anniversary with the birth, that we just celebrated our
20th and his 102nd anniversary of his birth, but as we approach the recall
election last year, it dawned on me – it hasn`t dawned on me right away as
they said it. But as we got closer, it dawned on me that June 5th just
happened to be the date that President Reagan was born into eternal life
back in 2004. It`s the day he passed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Scott Walker thinks it is maybe not a coincidence that the
anniversary of Ronald Reagan`s death fell on the day that Scott Walker had
his recall election as governor of Wisconsin, and he and his wife were
married on Ronald Reagan`s birthday.
And now, with Jeb Bush getting in the race for president and Scott
Walker and Chris Christie remaining the last super obvious candidates who
are very obviously running for president but who have not yet admitted
formally that they are running for president – well, today, “The Milwaukee
Journal Sentinel” published this report saying there are three insiders
close to Governor Walker who are now apparently leaking to “The Journal
Sentinel” the closely guarded secret that Scott Walker has finally picked
the date to announce formally that he is running for president.
He had his wedding on the anniversary of Ronald Reagan`s birth. He
had his life-changing, career-defining gubernatorial recall election on the
anniversary of Ronald Reagan`s death. And we now know, at least according
to “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel”, that Scott Walker will formally
announce that he is running for president on July 13th, which will be the
30th anniversary of the exact day that Ronald Reagan had a benign
noncancerous polyp removed from his large intestine.
I know, right? I know. Wow.
So in terms of who else is going to get in, we still don`t have a
date – I`m sorry, Jackie. I think I hurt Jackie.
We still don`t have a date for Chris Christie. Bobby Jindal actually
looks like he will be the next one in. He is getting in next Wednesday.
We spoke with Jim Gilmore`s campaign in waiting today. Jim Gilmore,
the former Republican of Virginia, very nice guy – his folks told us today
that he is still considering a run for the presidency. They sent us this
press release today, letting us know that Jim Gilmore is making his seventh
visit to New Hampshire. Seventh.
The Jim Gilmore folks told us that they can pretty much see the
writing on the wall, that there`s no chance that Governor Gilmore is going
to make it into the top ten candidates in national polling right now, which
means there`s no chance he`ll be allowed into the first nationally
televised Republican debate which will be hosted by FOX News on August 6.
I mean, so there`s Jim Gilmore, he`s got that issue.
It`s also Bobby Jindal who`s got that issue. Nobody when Bobby
Jindal announces, it seems pretty clear that he`s not going to make the cut
to make it into the first debate either. But even with that, right, even
with Rick Santorum maybe not making it in, Rick Perry maybe not making it
in, Rick Santorum maybe not making it in, Carly Fiorina, definitely not
making it in.
With all – John Kasich, forget about it, first debate is going to be
in Ohio. John Kasich is the governor of Ohio. He`s probably not going to
With all of those people not going to make it into the debate, more
likely not going to make it into the debate, it does seem pretty clear that
this man will make it into the debates.
Donald Trump had made noise about running for president in 2000, but
he didn`t run. He had made a lot of noise about running for president in
2012, but he didn`t run. Today, though, at the Trump Tower in New York
City, he announced that this year, he is actually going to run.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will tell you, I love my
life. I have a wonderful family. They`re saying, dad, you`re going to do
something that`s going to be so tough.
You know, all of my life I`ve heard that a truly successful person, a
really, really successful person and even modestly successful cannot run
for public office. Just can`t happen. And yet, that`s the mindset that
you need the make this country great again.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I am officially running for president of
the United States and we are going to make our country great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was real estate developer Donald Trump speaking today in
New York City.
Interestingly, though, when he was going to run for president in 2000
on the reform party ticket, people took that potential candidacy then at
least as seriously as they`re taking this candidacy now, and around that
lead, after that presidential election in 2000, Mr. Trump was asked in an
interview on the “Today” show, this is back in the fall of 1999, he was
asked on the “Today” show whether or not he had a running mate in mind for
his presidential bid then.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: Running mate. If you decide to go with this, who would
be the ideal running mate for Donald?
TRUMP: Oh, I think Oprah would be great.
TRUMP: I think that probably that would be serious, actually. There
are numerous people that would be good running mates. I think that you`d
have five or six people that would be actually great running mates and I
think I could convince them to run. If I decide to do this, I will have a
great running mate.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: When he was going to run for president in 2000, Donald Trump
said the first thing that popped into his head. He wanted Oprah Winfrey to
be his running mate. Oprah Winfrey at the time said, no, she was not
Today, now that Donald Trump is not just flirting with the run but
actually running, he apparently still likes the idea of a Donald
Trump/Oprah Winfrey ticket. He says that they would win easily, actually.
That`s a quote. That`s how he puts it. “We would win easily, actually.”
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I like Oprah. Is that supposed to be a bad thing?
TRUMP: No, I like Oprah.
INTERVIEWER: Who are the kind of people you`re going to run.
TRUMP: Oprah would be great. I`d love to have Oprah. I think we
would win easily, actually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I think we would win easily, actually.
So, we have put in a call to Oprah Winfrey`s enormous company today
to see if they would give us a statement to find out if over the course of
these past 16 years, that he`s been floating the idea, whether or not she
has warmed to the idea of being Donald Trump`s vice presidential running
mate. Whether she would like to be vice president to Donald Trump.
So far, we have not heard back from Ms. Winfrey. I`ll let you know.
I`m going to be sitting by the phones all night in the hopes that she might
call. Obviously, she`s probably not going to call. I would guess, if she
does call, that she`s going to say no.
But what if she did call and she said yes? What if Oprah is the
first person, she said yes to about that? I will be up all night. I will
have the ringer on. Oprah Winfrey, please call. That was awesome. Today
has been an amazing day in the news.
There were a few bumps today for Mr. Trump`s big launch. They did
apparently have to put barkers out on the street in Manhattan outside Trump
Tower to lure in random pedestrians and passersby in order to fill the room
for Mr. Trump when he made his announcement. That was reported by CNN
Also, Mr. Trump chose to play Neil Young`s song “Rockin` in the Free
World” for his hype music for the event. Since “Rockin` in the Free World”
is basically a song about the Republicans screwing the poor, you can
imagine that Neil Young was not all that excited about it becoming the
Donald Trump for president anthem.
After that happened at this event today, Neil Young released a
statement to “Mother Jones” magazine saying, quote, “Donald Trump`s use of
`Rockin` in the Free World` was not authorized.”
And then the very next sentence, there`s no like ellipses here,
there`s no other thing that I`m editing out. The first sentence is “Donald
Trump`s use of `Rockin` in the Free World` was not authorized.” And the
second is, “Mr. Young is a long time supporter of Bernie Sanders.”
So endorsement for Bernie Sanders and you can`t use my song. That
wasn`t great for Mr. Trump`s launch.
Also, the number crunchers at FiveThirtyEight.com took a look at not
just the current crop of people who are running for president in 2016.
They actually looked at all major president candidates dating back to 1980.
It turns out there are roughly 106 people who have run for president dating
back to 1980, at least people who are major enough candidates that there`s
publicly available data on their approval ratings and their disapproval
In that universe of data, out of all the more than 100 people who
have run for president in this modern era, Donald Trump beats them all.
Donald Trump has the highest disapproval rating of anybody on that list by
quite some distance. And there have been some really unpopular people who
have run for president.
I mean, no offense to my Uncle Pat, but Pat Buchanan was really
unpopular when he ran in 2000. Forty-three percent of people had a
negative view of Pat Buchanan when he ran for president in 2000 election.
That was the worst ever. Donald Trump is worse than that by 14 points, 57
percent of Republicans have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump and he is
running for the Republican nomination for president. So, that`s a
Now, it should be noted that Mr. Trump has not filed his official
paperwork to run with the FEC. You can check who has filed very easily on
the FEC Web site. It`s fun. There`s a gazillion people running.
Now that he has said out loud that he`s running, though, and he has
120 days before legally he has to file the paperwork. A lot of people
believe that even though he made this announcement that he`s running and he
has staff in Iowa, in New Hampshire and South Carolina and it looks more
like he`s running like he has in the past, a lot of people believe he will
never file the paperwork and mount a legal official run in part because
conceivably, that`s the sort of thing that might affect whether he`s able
to keep doing his reality TV slow appearances.
If Mr. Trump rides out the full 120 days from his announcement today,
though, let`s say he goes 119 1/2 days, which is the window that he`s got
before he actually has to file the paperwork and he gets out at the end of
that time so he doesn`t have to file, within that window, he`s still on
track to take part in these first Republican nationally televised
presidential debates. And to be in the second nationally televised
presidential debate, and possibly depending on when they schedule it, he
will also be in the third nationally televised Republican presidential
Nobody thinks that is going to put him and Oprah Winfrey any closer
to the White House. And it is likely to have a powerful effect on what the
Republican debates in there for the Republican primary process is going to
be like this year. Even during his announcement today, he was already
throwing absolute flaming trash at the other Republicans in the race,
particularly a bunch of the mainstream substantive candidates who might
have a real shot.
He started off right at the top of his remarks, throwing mud at Rick
Perry specifically because during Rick Perry`s announcement, it was really
hot remember, and Rick Perry looked a little sweaty. That`s unlike Mr.
Trump who`s today was perfectly air-conditioned. He said it right at the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: It`s great to be at Trump Tower. It`s great to be in a
wonderful city, New York. And it`s an honor to have everybody here. This
is beyond anybody`s expectations. There`s been no crowd like this.
And I can tell you, some of the candidates, they went in, they didn`t
know the air-conditioner didn`t work. They sweated like dogs. They didn`t
know the room was too big because they didn`t have anybody there.
How are they going to beat ISIS? I don`t think it`s going to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Dogs don`t sweat.
But imagine a nationally televised Republican presidential debate
which doesn`t include people like Rick Perry, maybe, or Rick Santorum or
Bobby Jindal or any of these actual high level politicians, but it does
include this guy, up there on stage with, say, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: But all of these politicians that I`m running against now,
they`re trying to distance – I mean, you looked at Bush, it took him five
days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn`t answer the question. He
didn`t know. I said, is he intelligent?
Then, I looked at Rubio. He was unable to answer the question. Is
Iraq is a good thing or a bad thing? He didn`t know. He couldn`t answer
How are these people going to lead us? How are we going to go back
and make it great again? We can`t. They don`t have a clue. They can`t
lead us. They can`t. They can`t even answer simple questions. It was
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Welcome to the Republican primary for president of the
This is now, for a long time what it`s going to be like. And by
putting FOX News in charge of the criteria for who`s allowed to compete for
the nomination, the Republican has just locked themselves into a deal where
for at a minimum, for one of their debates and for two for their debates,
maybe for three of their debates, maybe for all of their debates the he
files, this guy is going to be on stage. And the guy who came in second to
Mitt Romney in 2012 and a bunch of Republican governors of major states
will not be there in part because he is there. It`s just amazing.
But as promise, we do have a little something from former Florida
Governor Jeb Bush. Jeb Bush announced yesterday. Today was his first
official day, full day as a candidate. In terms of his announcement, he
did not have a big online response to his announcement. A lot of the
candidates have had a big online response.
Now, the lack of response to him online may be in part because Jeb
Bush doesn`t really have an online presence of any kind. So it`s hard to
know if the kind of flat response he got in social media and on the Web in
general, it`s hard to know that`s something you can hold against him in
terms of his campaign or if he`s just not even trying in terms of the web.
But tonight, in terms of big media, Jeb Bush will be appearing on the
“Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, and that will involve some slow-jamming
of the news by Jeb Bush. We have got our hands on that clip and that`s
MADDOW: Yesterday, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush announced his
candidacy for president. Tonight, he took his first step in appearing
presidential. It involves a late night talk show and a microphone and the
legendary Roots. That`s right after this.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: All right. Here it is. Tonight on the “Tonight Show with
Jimmy Fallon,” Jeb Bush slow-jams the news. I swear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m looking forward to hitting
the campaign trail and discussing the issues that are important to all
Americans. And having spirited debates with my fellow Republicans about
how to solve them.
JIMMY FALLON, TONIGHT SHOW: You don`t want to mess with Little
Jebby. Because when it comes to debating, he`s a master.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a master debater
FALLON: Now, that we`re talking about the issues, where do you stand
BUSH: Well, Jimmy, we`re a nation of immigrants and I believe
everyone should ever the chance to achieve the American dream. And to
translate that for all your Spanish speaking viewers (SPEAKING SPANISH)
FALLON: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Hold the telefono. I know I
just got back from Miami, but I didn`t think I was interviewing Governor
BUSH: Fire ball.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Jeb Bush on “The Tonight Show” tonight. That`s real,
Today was Jeb Bush`s first full day as an official candidate for
president. He was the 11th candidate to declare yesterday when he made his
big announcement in Miami. Governor Bush`s first big day, first full day
as a candidate was somewhat stepped on by the 12th candidate who entered
the race, a man who did to is on in New York City with a splash.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Sadly, the American dream is dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Running for president on the American dream is dead ticket,
former real estate (INAUDIBLE)
Joining us now, MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt who attended
Donald Trump`s presidential announcement earlier today.
Kasie, thank you. How was it?
KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Colorful.
MADDOW: He gave out prepared remarks and then did not give the
HUNT: And then blew through every prepared word that there was to
blow through. Yes, it kept going and going. It was Trump-tacular, I
guess. If you know well everything about Donald Trump, his personality,
his hair, his flamboyance was on display at Trump Tower.
MADDOW: I had Chris Matthews on the show last night because I feel
like I need help in understanding this. It`s like I can`t – I can`t tell
if this is politics or if this is just PR from a celebrity – the PR from a
celebrity thing that I don`t understand, right, because I don`t really
understand his celebrity.
I can`t tell if this is real politics. Is there a way to figure that
HUNT: Look, I think it`s a little bit of both. And it`s a lot of PR
obviously. It`s a lot of celebrity. I think Donald Trump wants to be seen
as someone would is a player. He knows in a field where he is the 12th
candidate, he can`t just talk about running if he wants to be in the
conversation. He has to actually take another step, he has to actually do
But do I think there is an element of Donald Trump that appeals to a
certain segment, particularly the Republican base. There`s a reason why
Mitt Romney ran Donald Trump robo calls in Michigan primary. I mean, that
happened for a reason.
And actually, after his announcement, the governor of Florida, Rick
Scott, got on the phone with Donald Trump when he was up in his office
later on. So, I mean, there are definitely Republican figures he has in
his office, a framed front page newspaper that Scott Walker, you know,
framed to him, signed and mailed to him after he won his gubernatorial
election most recently.
So, I mean, this is somebody who, you know, is connected to a lot of
people in the Republican –
MADDOW: So, you`re saying the upper echelons of the Republican Party
have been feeding him for a long time, making him feel like he`s a player,
and so now, he believes he is. I mean, well, I`m the reason put it that
way. He really is likely going to make it into the debates.
HUNT: He definitely could make it into the debates and he could push
off something like John Kasich, who is the sitting governor of Ohio.
MADDOW: Or Bobby Jindal, or Carly Fiorina, or potentially Rick
Perry, definitely Lindsey Graham. I mean, he`s not hard to be pushed.
MADDOW: I mean, if he`s going to be there in the debates, even if he
doesn`t file, he`s be – I can still be, depending on his polling in the
first debate, the second debate, maybe even the third debate, do the other
candidates have to strategize about that? He`s going to be on stage.
HUNT: Well, if, in fact, the media organizations do allow him, they
don`t change the criteria. I mean, I`ve talked to some Republicans who
say, you know what, the RNC made a big mistake in feeding these criteria to
media organizations –
MADDOW: Ding, ding, ding, yes.
HUNT: – precisely because of this issue. But yes, I mean, they are
going to have to figure out a way to deal with it. Maybe they all
collectively decided to ignore him. But, you know, if possibly you can put
them in a position where they can`t. I mean, I`m not exactly sure if
you`re a political operative, experienced political operative, how you
strategize around Donald Trump. It seems like a problem that no one has
ever had to solve before.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about one other thing. This is just one
special moment from the announcement today. We`ll play it and you tell me
what this means. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`m using my own money. I`m not using the lobbyists, I`m not
using donors. I don`t care. I`m really rich. I`ll show that in a second.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If this is a real campaign, A, he can really self-finance if
he wants to. He could be sort of his own billionaire, right? We talk
about these guys, everybody gets a billionaire. He could be his own. This
is like Foster Friess running, right? This is like Sheldon Adelson
HUNT: It strikes me that maybe Donald Trump has the most bones to
pick with the new campaign finance system because suddenly, he`s
potentially he`s on an equal playing field with all of these people who
haven`t made as much money. His favorite past time seems to be trashing
Mitt Romney for only having a few hundreds of millions of dollars, instead
of having apparently now he says $9 million in assets. We haven`t exactly
seen the full paperwork to back it up. But that`s the claim.
MADDOW: That was part of his speech, was announcing that he`s very,
very – amazing. Amazing.
MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt, I don`t usually envy you
your job. I usually think my job is better. Today, your job was better.
HUNT: Thank you, Rachel. I love my job.
MADDOW: All right.
We`ve got lots ahead. And I got to tell you, Kasie actually got to
sit down with Donald Trump for an interview today. You`re going to be able
to see it tomorrow morning on “MORNING JOE”, which means mandatory viewing
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I don`t know what it is with liberals and their bicycles,
but this is getting to be a thing in politics now. Secretary of state and
71-year-old human man John Kerry is fresh out of the hospital after he
crashed his bike just outside Geneva, Switzerland, and broke his right
Before John Kerry, it was Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer who
suffered a punctured lung and broken ribs when a car hit him on his bike,
the year before he joined the court. And then he crashed his bike again
and broke his shoulder in 2013.
Well, now, it`s Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker. Secretary
Pritzker was training for a triathlon this weekend when her bike apparently
hit some loose gravel and she fell down hard. Her office says she did not
break any bones, but the bruising on her hip is severe enough that she will
need at least a month to recover. And because of that, she has had to
cancel an official commerce secretary trip this week to Brazil.
And this is the part where I am supposed to make some joke about
lefties not being able to steer right, but honestly, I`m just worried about
you guys. Seriously, everybody, wear your helmets, go slower, try to stop
falling down and crashing into things. Your country needs you.
MADDOW: The founders of al Qaeda were these guys, right? Very well
known. Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and the number two leader
of the group was Ayman al-Zawahiri.
When bin Laden started sleeping with the fishies, there was no
question about who would takeover al Qaeda now that he was gone, because
Ayman al-Zawahiri had always been bin Laden`s second in command.
So, in 2011, bin Laden gets killed, right? SEAL Team 6 kills bin
Laden in 2011. He`s gone. Zawahiri takes over.
But that means a job opening, right? I mean, when Zawahiri stepped
up to become number one in al Qaeda central, they needed a new second in
The guy who eventually got tapped for that job, second in command to
Zawahiri, second in command for all of al Qaeda, running al Qaeda central,
that guy who got that job was this guy. And today, the U.S. government
announced that they just killed him.
There is a $25 million bounty on Zawahiri`s head, just like there was
for bin Laden when he was still alive. That $25 million bounty still
But there was a $10 million bounty on this guy`s head. I don`t know
if anybody is going to get paid that $10 million, but according to this
video released today from al Qaeda and according to the National Security
Council at the White House, the guy is dead, killed in a U.S. drone strike
Now, there`s a reason why everybody is calling this the biggest blow
against al Qaeda since the death of bin Laden. This is a really high
ranking guy. This is a huge deal, second in command to Zawahiri just got
Here is the thing, though, here`s a thing about what`s next –
October 28th, 2010, John Brennan, President Obama`s top counterterrorism
adviser gets a call about some very, very suspicious packages that were
heading to the United States. Saudi Arabia`s intelligence chief was
apparently the man who called him that Thursday night in 2010 to tell John
Brennan that they needed to go on high alert in the United States to find
two specific packages that were heading to the U.S.
Now, handily, the Saudi intelligent chief gave John Brennan specific
tracking packages and the specific destinations for where they were headed.
He said what they need to look for specifically were printer cartridges.
These printer cartridges, it turned out, were loaded into working laser jet
printers and those printers were, in fact, being shipped to the United
States. Specifically, they were addressed to destinations in Chicago.
They were shipped from Yemen.
And although from the outside they looked like normal printers,
stuffed with normal printer cartridges, even if you X-rayed these packages,
they just like normal printers with printer cartridges inside. In fact,
those printer cartridges were really powerful bombs.
The first package had left Yemen, on a passenger flight. The printer
cartridge bombs weren`t detected. That flight landed in Dubai where the
printer cartridge bombs weren`t detected. After Dubai, the cargo was moved
on to a UPS cargo plane headed for Germany. The printer cartridge bombs
weren`t detected. That plane landed in Germany, the cartridge bombs
The cargo from that plane was then loaded on to another plane headed
for the U.K. Still, no one detected the bomb. The U.K. was going to be
the last stop for that plane before it headed to America. That plane was
due to stop in Philly and then go on to Chicago. But when that cargo plane
arrived in the U.K., they caught it. They found the bomb, because of that
tip to John Brennan.
At East Midland Airport at 2:13 a.m. local time, British police and
bomb experts boarded that cargo plane. They found the box with that
tracking number on it. They opened it up. They found the printer. They
opened that up and found the cartridge. They found the bomb.
Scotland Yard said that bomb was fully operable. If that flight had
taken off for the U.S., that bomb would have blown up midair over the
Eastern United States.
The second package also left Yemen, bomb undetected, that one was
bound for Newark and then Chicago, but thanks to that tip to John Brennan,
they caught up to that package at a FedEx airport depot. By the time they
caught that bomb, it was 17 minutes from exploding when they finally found
Both bombs were basically completely undetectable had it not been for
those tips. Those bombs were made to evade all the anti-explosive
technologies, the x-ray detection, the bomb sniffing dogs, everything. And
they weren`t being detected until think got those tips with the tracking
numbers. If it wasn`t for that tip to Saudi Arabia, those packages, those
bombs would have made their way to the United States and they were big and
powerful enough and well-built enough to take those planes out of the sky.
That plot was put together by the al Qaeda chapter that`s called al
Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It`s al Qaeda in Yemen, basically. And
truth is that that plot is basically the closest we have come to a 9/11-
style attack on American soil since 9/11.
The other time we came really close to a 9/11 style attacks since
9/11 was when this guy got a significant quantity of live explosives onto a
U.S.-bound flight in 2010, less than a year before the printer cartridges.
Fortunately for us, unfortunately for him, he failed in trying to detonate
those explosives, but that plot, too, was al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula. Same group.
They haven`t brought a plane down yet, but three times they have
successfully smuggled significant quantities of live explosives unto planes
bound for the United States, when nobody else has managed anything like
So, here is the thing. The number two guy in al Qaeda central, the
number two guy to Zawahiri, the guy whose death the United States
government announced today, he was the number two guy in al Qaeda central.
He was also the leader, the number one guy of al Qaeda in the Arabian
Peninsula. He was the leader of those groups until now. He was the leader
of those groups when they pulled off those bomb plots.
For years, U.S. officials have judged that branch of al Qaeda to be
the biggest threat in the world in terms of a potential large scale
terrorist attack in the United States. And their leader is now dead.
But just like al Qaeda had to replace bin Laden, al Qaeda in the
Arabian Peninsula is also going to have to replace this guy. They`re going
to have to move up their second in command.
And in turns out their second in command who al Qaeda announced today
would be taking over for the guy who just got killed, their new leader of
the most dangerous branch of al Qaeda is apparently the guy who personally
masterminded the printer cartridge plot, which is the plot that was the
closest we`ve ever come to a 9/11 since 9/11.
That guy, the one who organized that attack is ascending the ranks.
I mean, for all the right reasons, right? The man is dead. The man who
has moved the more effective than any other terrorists in the world at
planning post-9/11 large scale attacks against Americans on American soil,
he just got a big promotion.
Joining us now is NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin.
Ayman, it`s great to see you. Thanks for –
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Great to be here,
MADDOW: Is that family tree right in terms of the al Qaeda
MOHYELDIN: Oh, absolutely. In fact, there are even more pieces in
that puzzle that we – and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, perhaps you
remember the name Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen whose also killed by
U.S. drone strike, but also a very central figure in the recruiting and the
messaging particularly to Westerners from al Qaeda in the Arabian
MADDOW: The biggest part of this story is that this is the highest
level killing of an al Qaeda operative. This is the highest level of the
al Qaeda hierarchy that the U.S. has struck since bin Laden.
One of the things that was surprising to me is that there was this
huge U.S. Special Forces presence in Yemen until March. And then because
of the Yemeni civil war and everything going on there, all the special
operators pulled out – and I thought that would mean the drone strikes and
all the other counterterrorism stuff in Yemen would basically stop. It
seems like it hasn`t stopped.
MOHYELDIN: Not at all. And the U.S. has certainly demonstrated the
capability. I don`t think anyone ever doubted it has the capability to
carry out these air strikes. I mean, not only is it operating in Libya
where they carried out that strike against the purported leader of al Qaeda
in Libya, in West Africa.
MADDOW: Right, this past weekend.
MOHYELDIN: Yes, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. But they also took out, as we
just saw, the leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. They`ve also
recently gone into Syria with Special Operations Forces where they don`t
have any presence on the ground inside Syria, but still managed to kill Abu
Sayyaf, who is the chief financier, if you will, of ISIS.
The U.S. definitely has the military capability. The question is,
does this strategy work in deterring the next generation of al Qaeda or
ISIS leaders from coming up?
MOHYELDIN: And what we`ve seen is that every time one of these
leaders is killed, the next generation is more dangerous, more lethal, more
– much more aggressive in trying to come after the United States and its
MADDOW: And you keep cutting off sort of the head of the snake and a
new head grows or a different snake pops up somewhere else.
I guess the other question, though, operationally, is whether or not
it is a surprise that very senior level al Qaeda leaders are still
vulnerable to this type of American military action. I mean, one of the
things we learned and sort of the bin Laden raid is the extreme stuff that
they take, especially at the highest levels to avoid being susceptible to
any of those sort of things.
This guy who was killed, is he more brazen? Was he more out in the
open than your typical al Qaeda? Is that much of a surprise they were able
to nail him?
MOHYELDIN: Well, these guys have to communicate. They live in some
remote parts of the world where it works to their advantage and their
disadvantage. There are remote places in Yemen and in Libya, and it`s
difficult for them to perhaps be the subject of a raid. But at the same
time, they have to communicate with their operatives, with people that are
sending the money and that`s where I think the biggest, if you will, leak
comes from. But –
MADDOW: Traceability, right, yes.
MOHYELDIN: Traceability, exactly.
And the U.S. at this point has been fighting this war for 15 years.
They`ve certainly developed an infrastructure of informants within many of
these groups, within intelligence agencies in the region. And they`re
using that information.
It`s easy to kill individuals. It`s harder to kill the ideas.
MOHYELDIN: And I think the biggest challenge right now is that 15
years later, the idea still exists. We`ve killed bin Laden. Many people
thought that was going to be a massive blow to al Qaeda, and what we are
seeing is al Qaeda is thriving in some parts of the world. We did the same
thing with Abu Musab Zarqawi in Iraq, we killed him, but then we saw the
rise of ISIS.
MADDOW: ISIS, out of what remained of his organization.
NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin – Ayman, it`s always
good to have you here.
MOHYELDIN: My pleasure.
MADDOW: Particularly because you are doing double duty, hosting way
too early as well. I will buy you something –
MOHYELDIN: You`re going to have to wake up tomorrow morning at 5:30
to watch with me.
MADDOW: All right. I`ll beg some sleep for you at least.
Thanks a lot, Ayman.
All right. Lots more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Programming note, it`s about the show and also not about the
First of all, the not about the show part, very important, is that
it`s my mother`s birthday today.
Hi, mom. Happy birthday!
And here is the about the show part – mom, tomorrow, on the occasion
of your birthday, I have planned for you tomorrow a really excellent story
for about the pope because I know you love the pope. And I know in most
families that would be a really weird birthday present to give your mom,
but not in mine. In my family, that`s perfectly normal, isn`t it? I think
Happy birthday, mom. I love you. Pope tomorrow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONNIE FLOYD, SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION PRESIDENT: I want to say
to every pastor today of the United States who believes the word of God,
this is a Bonheoffer moment for every pastor if the United States. While
some evangelicals – while some evangelicals may be bowing down to the
inception of the inclusiveness of same-sex marriage, or marriage in their
churches, we will not back down, nor will we be silent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He`s the leader of the Southern Baptists at their convention
today. He`s talking about the forthcoming ruling from the Supreme Court on
same-sex marriage. When he said this is a Bonheoffer moment for every
pastor in United States, what he is referencing, of course, is the German
Lutheran pastor that was part of a plot to kill Hitler during World War II.
So, the head of the Southern Baptists today saying American pastors
are going to have an assassinate Hitler moment if the Supreme Court says
that gay people can be married.
This is Reverend Ronnie Floyd from the Southern Baptists convention,
speaking today at their convention in Columbus, Ohio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FLOYD: I want to remind everyone today, humbly, the Supreme Court of
the United States is not the final authority. As for me, I declare to
everyone today as a minister of the gospel, I will not officiate over any
same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies. I completely refuse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Imagine who`s going to be disappointed by that. Who would
want him to officiate?
More on this ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Two years ago, police in Waterloo, Iowa, got a call from a
local resident. When the police arrived, they found a woman who had called
them. She was standing on her porch. And she was hammered. She was
And the Waterloo police decided to arrest her for public intoxication
at her own house, on her own porch.
The woman has argued ever since that her front porch is not actually
a public space, and if she was drunk she may have been intoxicated but she
was not publicly intoxicated. She was at her house.
The drunk lady on the porch in Waterloo, Iowa, took her case all the
way to the Iowa Supreme Court and now, the Supreme Court has ruled on her
Justice Daryl Hecht writing for the court, quote, “If the front
stairs of a single-family residence are always a public place, it would be
a crime to sit there calmly in a breezy summer day and sip a mojito, or
celebrate a professional achievement with a mixed drink of choice, or even
baste meat on the grill with a bourbon infused barbecue sauce unless one
first obtained a liquor license. We do not think the legislature intended
Iowa law to be so heavy-handed.”
She won. The drunk lady on the porch won. You can be drunk on your
own porch in Waterloo, Iowa. And the word mojito finally has made it in to
a Supreme Court decision.
When it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court still on mojito watch and
there is nothing so pressing as the can`t a girl be drunk on her own porch
case. But this is supposed to be the end of the Supreme Court`s term for
this year, it`s June. And there are a ton of cases of which they still
haven`t rule. In fact, they have so many cases still to roll on that they
have just announced that instead of just releasing rulings on Monday, like
they usually do, from here on out, they`re going to hand down rulings both
on Mondays and on Thursdays until they are all done.
One of the remaining cases about whether a church in Arizona should
be able to put up signs on the side of the road like this, another case
about this Spiderman web blaster toy where you shoot webs out of your wrist
like Spidey. There`s a really boring patent claim on this toy. Hopefully
the justices got silly string shooters to play with while making their
Another case is about this charming neo-Nazi who`s upset about his
Also, there were apparently tyrannical federal raisin regulations
that are finally getting weighed on the scales of justice. We`re waiting
on raisin justice.
We`re on rulings on all of those cases and a bunch more. They are
all due within the next two weeks. And in addition to all of those, we are
waiting on what happened to be some of the highest profile Supreme Court
cases in years. The case that might decide whether lethal injection is
constitutional, the case that may determine the fate of Obamacare and
whether millions of people lose their health insurance all in one fail
swoop, and the big gay marriage case which is generating a huge amount of
anxiety on both sides of the issue.
As a measure of that anxiety, consider this full page ad that just
run on “The Washington Post”. A pledge to resist if the court says states
have to recognize same-sex marriages. It says, “We will not honor any
decision by the Supreme Court that will force us to violate a clear
biblical understanding of marriage.”
The guy organizing this pledge said he expects the conservatives that
sign it will be fined and forced to go to jail for their objections to gay
people being allowed to get married. This pledge has been signed among
others by two Republican candidates for president this year, Mike Huckabee
and Rick Santorum, have both signed it. Rick Santorum was supposedly not
going to run on the anti-gay stuff this year but oh, well, can`t resist.
On Obamacare, on the death penalty, on this marriage case, and all
this pending big, big, big cases, it`s been pushed so late in the term. I
mean, it`s the second half of June already. People are going nuts trying
to figure out how the justices are going to rule on these really big cases.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took part in a public event on Saturday
night. “The Washington Post” sent a reporter to this event. On the verge
of hearing about all these cases, “The Washington Post” sent a reporter to
see how Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed at the event in case that may offer a
“Washington Post” reporter was able to provide this important
information. Quote, “She seemed in a good mood.” What? You guys, she
Ruth Bader Ginsburg seemed happy. Does that mean gay marriage is
about to be legal coast to coast? Does that mean millions of people will
keep health care or not? She did smile.
We really do just have to wait for the justices to release their
decisions on the days they choose at the pace they choose. Usually, when
world-changing Supreme Court cases are pending or even cases about raisin
law and neo-Nazi sentences and church road signs and Spiderman patents. I
mean, usually, when Supreme Court cases are pending and people are counting
on the outcomes, it`s all about Mondays. In this case, there are so many
rulings large and small pending between now and the end of the month, now,
it is not only about Mondays, it`s about Thursdays.
So, rulings on Mondays and Thursdays for the rest of this month until
they are done. We don`t know which case are going to come out on which
day, but watch this space as usual and maybe twice as often as you
otherwise would, and call me immediately if you see Clarence Thomas smiling
because that might be very, very important news.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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