The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/24/15
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy
About a month ago, the government of Cuba reopened its embassy in
Washington and the U.S. reopened the long shut American embassy in Cuba.
That American flag going up in Havana is one of those things that will
absolutely make the first paragraph of any history every written about the
presidency of Barack Obama., right? Foreign follows can be complicated and
fraught. Most progress in foreign policy is two steps forward, one step
But for just sheer simple symbolism, you cannot beat reopening an
embassy. Now, it`s another one, this time in Tehran. Except this time,
it`s not us. This time it`s the British embassy in Iran`s capital city.
It`s also Iran`s embassy in London.
Both of those embassies have been shut for the past four years after
anti-British protests in the Iranian capital in November, 2011, turned
violent. Anti-British crowds physically attacked the British embassy
itself. They tore down lion statues that were in the front of the British
embassy in front of the building. They eventually overran that facility.
The U.K. shut down that embassy in Tehran. They expelled Iranian diplomats
and shut down the Iranian embassy in London.
And both the Iranian embassy in London and the British embassies in
Tehran have been shut for the past four years until now. They have just
reopened with a little bit of fanfare. Just as John Kerry flew to Havana
to oversee the raising of the U.S. flag over our reopened embassy in
Havana, the Brits also sent their foreign secretary all the way to Iran.
They sent him to Tehran to reopen the British embassy there is, as well.
Well, guess who he brought with him. This is the British foreign
secretary. It`s the equivalent of their secretary of state. Guess who he
brought with him?
He brought with him to Iran Shell Oil. He brought with him the vice
president of Shell Oil. Shell`s executive vice president for commercial
and new business development. That guy from Shell Oil went with the
British foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, on this trip to go reopen the
British embassy in Iran.
We`re trying to figure out if that guy from Shell actually went on
the same plane with the British foreign secretary. We think that he did.
We have asked Shell for confirmation on that. Shell quite possibly has
lost my phone number and has not called me back yet but we`ll let you know
if they do.
But that spectacle of the British government literally bringing an
oil company with them to reopen their embassy in Tehran, there`s nothing
subtle about it, right?
That spectacle today brings us to the end of President Obama`s
vacation. Sort of.
President Obama did just end his vacation. He was on Martha`s
Vineyard. As presidential vacations go, this was very low key. Unlike
previous vacations, the president on this one, he didn`t have to rush back
to rush back to Washington, D.C., to handle some emergency, he didn`t have
to roll out the traveling presidential vacation podium and gave some
statement on something from a vacation house lawn like he`s had to do on
No, this was low key. We got one picture of the president wearing a
bike helmet and going on a bike ride. You know what? It is absolutely
responsible. You have to wear a helmet when you go on a bike ride. It
does, however, violate the president putting something on his head rule –
unavoidably but there`s the president with something on his head.
I`m happy to see the president get two weeks of real R&R. Right?
Total, total time off.
But as of today he is back. He came back to Washington today and his
first order of business on his first day back from two weeks of vacation
was lunch with Vice President Joe Biden. This is a regular thing between
the president and vice president. Their regular Monday lunch dates are
apparently part of the deal that Joe Biden says he made with President
Obama when he agreed to become his running mate in the first place.
But today, ooh, that lunch, right? Today speculation reaching fever
pitch that vice president Biden might himself decide to run for president,
and if you ever had the chance to be a fly on the wall at one of those
lunches, today is the day you would want to be there, right? We`re going
to have more on the prospects of a Joe Biden presidential run coming up in
a couple minutes on this show.
You might have heard today for example that Vice President Biden
filed his FEC paperwork to formally start a run for president. If you
heard that today – that is not true. And the way that rumor turns out to
be not true is hilarious. That story is coming up.
But President Obama upon coming back from vacation today after two
weeks, his first order of business was that lunch with Joe Biden which I
would have died to be in on. Second order of business was going to Las
Vegas. That`s the sort of thing you can do on your first day back from
vacation when you have your own plane.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You don`t have to
share my passion for fighting climate change. A lot of Americans are going
solar and becoming more energy efficient not because of tree huggers,
although, trees, you know, are important.
Just want you to know.
But because they`re cost cutters. They like saving money. And I`m
all for consumers saving money because that means they can spend it on
Solar isn`t just for the green crowd any more. It`s for the green
eye shade crowd, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking tonight. That speech actually just
ended in Las Vegas, Nevada. A little while ago.
He was in Las Vegas tonight part of Senate Democratic leader Harry
Reid`s annual client change conference. And actually, the speech from the
president tonight in Las Vegas is just the start of what`s going to be a
whole week of events and speeches and trips that the president is going to
do focusing on the issue of climate. After this Vegas trip tonight, he`s
going to be going to New Orleans to mark the tenth anniversary of the
Hurricane Katrina disaster which killed more than 1,800 people and swamped
a whole coastal swath of the southeastern United States, including the
great city of New Orleans.
President Obama will be in New Orleans this week to talk about the
toll of Katrina and New Orleans`s decade of recovery since that disaster,
also be talking about the issue of resiliency against climate change going
forward, how the whole part of the country, how New Orleans in particular,
is getting beyond just the political debate around climate change. And by
necessity, they`re getting on with the business of coping with climate
change and planning to survive it.
From New Orleans, President Obama will then go to Alaska. He will
visit Anchorage and Seward, Alaska. He will then head way, way north.
He`ll become the first sitting U.S. president to ever visit the Arctic.
This is Kotzebue, Alaska. I think that`s how you say the name of it.
Kotzebue, Alaska. It`s a community of about 3,300 people in northwest
Alaska, and if you want to talk about resiliency in dealing with the rising
seas, Kotzebue is about – it`s one of about three dozen communities in
Alaska that has a FEMA-approved disaster mitigation plan for coping with
the seas rising, with the ocean rising high enough that it basically plans
to swallow these villages.
Not far from Kotzebue, just north from there, is a town called
Kivalina. And Kivalina has already passed the planning and worrying stage.
They`re already at the stage where they have to be moving their community
inward, away from the rising sea.
The Obama administration has set aside about $50 million to relocate
Alaska communities that are on the coast that will be inundated by the sea
as sea levels rise because of climate change. That one town Kivalina is
moving first and moving that one town alone is already estimated to cost
$100 million, which is twice what the federal government has set aside to
move all three dozen of those threatened towns.
So, President Obama has a big week. Speaking on climate tonight in
Las Vegas, then he`s off to talk about surviving the next super storm in
New Orleans, then he`s off to Alaska where climate change is already eating
And that culmination of this big week in Alaska is going to be
unavoidably politically awkward for the president, because of his own
policies affecting that part of the world and the issue he`s there to talk
While President Obama was on vacation, his administration gave the
final green light for Shell Oil to start drilling offshore in the Arctic
for oil. There`s never been deep offshore oil drilling in the Arctic like
Shell is doing up there off the coast of Alaska right now. But because the
Obama administration said they could, Shell has now started that process.
And depending on how you feel about the arctic and how you feel about
Shell Oil and its many talents, it may feel better or worse to you to have
Shell drilling in the Arctic instead of, say, Iran. Right? Pick your
geopolitical and environmental poison.
But which poison you pick will be determined, probably be most
determined by the other major thing that happened in the world today to
welcome President Obama back from his vacation – something that was a big
enough deal in the world, a big enough deal in this country, at least, that
it warranted an NBC News special report that interrupted Ellen DeGeneres.
It was that is serious. I know.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELLEN DEGENERES, TV HOST: I have my own site, it`s called Ellen
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
It`s only been up for a few months but it`s the number one video site
with my name on it. So –
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
You know what`s greats about Ellen Tube is that the content is fun
for your whole family.
ANNOUNCER: This is an NBC News special report. Here`s Lester Holt.
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: And we come on at the end of a very
busy and volatile trading day at the New York Stock Exchange, closing bell
rings right now after a three and a half point drop-off. The Dow finishing
below 586 after going as low as – below a thousand points at one point
early this morning.
Several attempts at a late-day come back but started dropping again
with the last few minutes and the Dow Jones Industrial Average now down
three and a half, 586.13, the NASDAQ and S&P made similar falls today.
This selloff which began last week on fears of what`s happening in China.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was an NBC News special report today cutting into all
of the other NBC broadcasts around the country. That was broadcast around
the country at 4:00 Eastern Time to mark a remarkable and remarkably bad
day in the markets as the closing bell rang on the New York Stock Exchange
at 4:00 p.m.
Lester Holt there saying it was 586 points. By the time everything
settled, it was actually 588 points off the Dow today.
This drop-off today, it was a global thing. Worries about the
Chinese economy seemed to be driving most of it and the Chinese stock
market and shanghai took the hardest hit. It dropped 8.5 percent. That
would be the equivalent of our Dow Jones dropping 1,400 points today.
The Dow did not drop that much but it did drop 588 points, which is a
lot. This is the third consecutive day on which the Dow has lost hundreds
of points each day.
If you add up the point loss over the past three days, Thursday, and
Friday, and then today that is the biggest point drop in three days in the
history of the Dow.
And one of the things that is bottoming out as markets plummet around
the world and here at home, one of the things that`s bottoming out is oil.
I mean, oil prices have been dropping anyway all summer long. There`s just
more supply that there is demand, but with this current routing in the
markets, international and U.S. oil prices are the lowest they have been as
of today, in more than six years.
Oil is now selling at less than $40 a barrel. That`s the lowest it
has been since February, 2009, which is the month after President Obama was
sworn into office. If you remember what was going at that time in the
world and the economy, that can be a little unsettling. We`re not getting
back to that, are we?
Because, yes, oil prices have been dropping generally. Part of the
reason they have fallen through the floor today, they`ve fall on the a six-
year low today, below $40 a barrel, is because of worries not just about
how much oil is being drill and where, but about whether big economies
like, say, China, might be slowing down enough that demand for oil, demand
for energy of all kinds is about to plummet simply because economies are
about to tank.
I mean, whether or not you followed the stock market, right? Whether
or not you`ve got money in the stock market – it`s one thing to have a
little wiggle in the market, a little shimmy the markets. It`s another
thing to see the markets wiggling and shimmying and squirming and freaking
out because the markets are worried about a slowdown in civilization. It`s
one thing to see them happening inside the financial world, it`s another
thing to see the financial world freak out about the real world.
And so, as the president comes back from his vacation and start this
is big week of very awkwardly focusing on climate and energy and oil after
he`s just approved drilling in the Arctic, how important is it that oil has
just dropped below $40 a barrel? What`s that going to do to the politics
around this issue, what`s that going to do to Shell`s effort to drill the
Arctic, for example?
But in bigger sense, should we be freaked out about what happened in
downtown New York and in stock markets around the world? Is this – what
looks like a crash today – is this normal? It`s one of the things markets
do? Should we see this as a regular healthy part of how the world economy
works or is this something bigger and badder?
Whether or not you have money in the stock market, is this worth
being scared about? And how will we know and when will we know?
Joining us now is Alan Krueger, former chairman of the White House
Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama. He`s now professor at
Professor Krueger, it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks for
ALAN KRUEGER, PRINCETON PROFESSOR: My pleasure.
MADDOW: So, the Dow was down big today for a third straight day,
markets around the world were down today. Should we see this as something
to worry about or this something that markets do? Is this something that`s
uncomfortable but shouldn`t make us feel differently than we otherwise do
about the economy broadly speaking?
KRUEGER: Well, that`s a great question. Markets are volatile.
There`s nothing that I`m seeing in the economic data for the U.S. that lead
me to panic about the real economy, the job markets continuing to heal.
The lower price of oil should actually help U.S. consumers. That should
help spending going forward.
I worry a little bit about Congress playing games again the debt
ceiling in the fall, but I don`t think anything significant has changed in
the U.S. data as far as I can tell.
Now, of course, China is a worry, but the links that we have to China
are relatively small.
So, I think what we`re most likely to see is an episode like we have
seen many times before where the stock market tends to overreact, but
fortunately, that doesn`t have significant effects for the real economy.
MADDOW: One of the reasons I wanted to talk to you about this
specifically today is because there is this interesting juxtaposition of
the president doing a – what`s going to be a big push on the issue of
climate, there`s a lot of really pointed politics on the issue of climate
and energy particularly with the president not just giving the speech
tonight, but also going to Alaska and the drilling issue in Alaska.
From your perspective having served on the Council of Economic
Advisors, thinking about how politicians make decisions on policy informed
by the economy, should we expect policy to change? Policy goals to change?
Even short-term policy calculations to change with – because oil is down
below $40 a barrel, is that going to make a difference to this
KRUEGER: I think the administration is focused on the effects of
fossil fuel on climate change, which are quite severe and which you
emphasized in your previous segment.
I don`t think that that will change. In fact, in my own opinion, I
think now is a good time to increase the tax that we have on gasoline.
That hasn`t increase since the early 1980s.
What better time when the price of gasoline is very low than to raise
the price. In fact, what I would like that see us do is adjust the price
so it moves inversely with the price of oil to smooth out fluctuations for
consumers. Unfortunately, I think Congress is unlikely to do that but that
would be a wonderful source of revenue for if I canning our roads and
highways, and Congress is stuck in terms of funding the highway bill.
But I think as far as the president is concerned, he`s focused on
kind of the longer run and he`s certainly going to make efforts to support
alternative fuels, I think the economics of that get a little bit more
difficult as price of gasoline and also natural gas drop in the current
MADDOW: Right, exactly. Seeing the president today talking about
unveiling these proposals around renewable energy you have to think about
the fact that they become comparatively more expensive when oil is so –
when oil is so cheap to burn, at least in monetary terms.
Alan Krueger, former chairman of the White House Council of Economic
Advisors, thanks for being here tonight. Nice to have you here.
KRUEGER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Still ahead, one marquee Republican candidate
for president, two amazing stories, including exclusive footage of an FBI
raid involving one of his top staffers and how that might affect
presidential politics. An FBI raid. You will not see this footage
Stay with us tonight.
MADDOW: If you are one of those Americans who really, really, really
wants Joe Biden to run for president this year, you got some really good
news today. But there`s a big question mark about it. And that`s ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In June – which is not that long ago – “The Washington
Post” published good news for Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry.
Right after he announced his presidential bid, Rick Perry got a big
conservative backer in Iowa, a former U.S. Senate candidate from Iowa, a
talk radio host, very prominent Iowa conservative, a named Sam Clovis and
Sam Clovis plighted his trough with Rick Perry with great enthusiasm.
He told “The Washington Post”, quote, “I`m a fighter pilot and I
would fly my wing through the gates of hell with Rick Perry.”
Through the gates of hell – but apparently not through two and a
half weeks of not being paid. “The Associated Press” today first to report
that Sam Clovis, the chairman of the Rick Perry for president campaign in
Iowa, Rick Perry`s Iowa chairman, has just quit. Now, he tells the
“Washington Post,” quote, “Rick Perry is a great man, it was my honor to be
part of this but it`s time to move on.”
Rick Perry has not been paying his campaign staff for a couple weeks
now, basically since FOX News wouldn`t allow him to compete in the prime
time Republican candidates` debate and he had to be at the consolation
prize kids` table debate instead.
This afternoon, there was a squib on one conservative Web site saying
that Rick Perry was paying his staff again now – at least some of them.
But even if that`s true, it apparently did not come soon enough to save
Rick Perry`s own Iowa campaign chairman, who really never should have said
he was going to fly Rick Perry through the gates of hell if he wasn`t even
planning on flying with him through August.
But this is really bad news for Rick Perry`s presidential hopes.
More than ever, Rick Perry`s campaign is on death watch.
But even as it seems like he may be soon getting out, there`s some
surprising news tonight for the first time tonight. There is news that
makes me think that Vice President Biden might get into the presidential
I have been a 100 percent skeptic on this story all summer long. But
what just got reported tonight about Joe Biden is giving me pause for the
first time. And that`s next.
MADDOW: Move over, Limberbutt McCubbins, because now Sir Cookie
Zealot is also running for president. As is a D.C. statehood party
candidate named American Cookies. Bippy the Clown is formerly running for
president this year, as is Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi, as is Sparkle Lady Kauai,
as is Rocky Balboa, good for him, and Fidel Castro. We`re going to want to
look into that one.
A man named Jason Borne is running, though he spells his name without
the “U.” Lucille Hamster, candidate for president, anybody? Mr. Pepe Le
Froge is running as an independent. Cap`n Crunch is running.
There`s an FEC filing for a candidate for president named But Stuff.
Tom Brady Sketch is running for president. That`s going to be a hard sell.
He`s not even going to win Massachusetts.
You know, Tom Brady Sketch probably no harder a sell than his Majesty
Satan Lord of the Underworld Prince of Darkness who has also filed to run
as a Republican, interestingly enough.
You thought it was bad when Deez Nuts was the joke candidate
everybody could name. Mr. Nuts filed paperwork to run for president which
was a funny thing,
But then the Public Policy Polling furthered the Deez Nuts for that
joke by polling in the state of North Carolina. He got 9 percent.
The ensuing publicity around that joke and the poll on that joke has
now resulted in lots more joke candidates filing paperwork to run for
president. A lot more. Butt stuff and Cap `n Crunk and Pepe Le Froge and
the rest of them.
I have to say, lots of the joke candidate names are way too dirty to
read on TV. But you can look them up yourself on the FEC Web site if you
so desire, if you`ve got an appetite for a lot of jokes about genitals and
butts. Turns out I do! I found it very distracting all day to read the
FEC filings, especially the ones that have come in in the last few days.
But amid all those fake filings that have come in in the last few
days, today, there was one that made me do a double take. Look.
Whoa. He`s filed?
After about a second and a half I realized, no, this is not a real
filing for vice president, that`s not how you spell his middle name. The
middle name doesn`t have two “E`s” on the end of it. Also, I can guarantee
you that Mr. Biden would never run with the campaign committee which is
listed on this form. That`s the name of the campaign committee.
But the reason there is a flurry now of more than one fake Joe Biden
FEC filings for president, I mean, amid all of the dirty ones and other
joke ones that have been filed in the last few days ever since the Deez
Nuts poll, the reason there`s Joe Biden fake ones now is because of all
this renewed chatter that Vice President Biden might run for the
First, it was the “New York Times” report on Saturday he met with
Elizabeth Warren, the senator from Massachusetts, liberal hero. Met with
her. This weekend. OK, that`s interesting. But you know what? A lot of
people have talked with Elizabeth Warren and not all of them have decided
to run for president.
After that, though, it was “The Washington Post.” “Washington Post”
reporting today that vice president Biden has invited big Democratic donors
to meet with him after right after Labor Day, to talk about the prospects
of him running. OK, that`s something specific. Honestly, I`m still
But then there was news. Late today, after the vice president had
his regular lunch with President Obama today, there was news today or
rather one tweet today from one CNN reporter saying that a top Democrat has
told CNN that at this lunch today, President Obama gave Vice President
Biden his blessing to run for president, if Vice President Biden decides he
OK, now you`ve piqued my interest. If that`s true – I have been
skeptical all summer long with these reports that the vice president is
going to run, I have been 100 percent skeptical. But if that`s true, if
President Obama has come back from two weeks vacation, sat down with Vice
President Biden in the oval office and effectively encouraged him to run
for president – well, then, I take that seriously. The question is, is
that report true?
Hold that thought.
MADDOW: To be honest with you, to be totally honest, speaking
personally, I have been a total skeptic about the prospect that Vice
President Joe Biden would run for president this year. I have been a 100
percent total skeptic about it until tonight, when something was reported
that I have to tell you NBC News has not verified, but if it turns out to
be true, then I am a skeptic no longer.
And that this report is, it`s a report that came out late tonight.
Just one report, it`s from CNN. It is anonymously sourced. But what they
have reported is that President Obama had lunch with Biden today and at
that lunch President Obama gave Vice President Biden, quote, “his blessing”
to run for president if the vice president chooses to do so.
If that happened, I feel much less skeptical about the prospect that
he would run. Is that warranted? And is this report true?
Joining us now is Karen Tumulty. She`s a national political
correspondent for “The Washington Post.” Karen, it`s nice to see you.
Thanks for being here.
KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s great to be here.
MADDOW: In terms of your reporting and your understanding of this
event today, what do you make of this report that President Obama gave the
vice president his blessing to run?
TUMULTY: I think that, you know, essentially, smoke signals coming
out of the Naval Observatory do suggest the vice president is looking for a
way to get to yes on this. And I think that – you know, saying that the
president gave his blessing to this could mean any number of things.
The fact is it is not Barack Obama`s job to be playing defensive
tackle for Hillary Clinton, so that if his own vice president comes to him
and says I am exploring this it is hard to imagine him suggesting he not do
this, after all the things that these two men have been through together.
That`s not the same as endorsing him, however.
MADDOW: In terms of what this means and why I think it feels so
significant though, obviously, Secretary Clinton was President Obama`s
secretary of state. Vice President Biden was and remains his vice
president. The idea that Secretary Clinton couldn`t count on him
essentially to keep the race boxed out as it is does feel like not an
endorsement but it does feel like sort of an act of furtherance toward an
announcement. I mean, what are you watching for in terms of tangible
things to see whether or not this is going to happen?
TUMULTY: Well, I have been talking to people on the ground in key
states and Vice President Biden has a lot of support in places like South
Carolina where he has spent a lot of time, where he was best friends with
their long time senator, Fritz Hollings. He gave the eulogy at Strom
Thurmond`s funeral. And there`s a lot of hard feelings left over from the
2008 primary campaign.
So, he does have pockets of support on the ground in places.
Probably he`d start out way behind in Iowa. The second place I`m finding
support for this idea of him running is in the donor community,
specifically among the big bundlers who decided to go with Barack Obama
rather than Hillary Clinton in 2008.
And a number of them are – who had misgivings about her then
continue to, and are really worried about the performance of the campaign,
the Clinton campaign not just on the e-mail controversy but, you know, just
in general and sort of the imperial way in which it`s being run.
MADDOW: Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for “The
Washington Post”, that`s very helpful for understanding this. I feel like
the next step here is to try to get those big donors to talk if not on the
record then at least on background, because I do feel like that may be
those – that`s the level of conversation at which these things may be
decided, as gross that sounds.
TUMULTY: They`re into the tactics, yes.
MADDOW: Exactly. Karen, thanks for being here, I appreciate it.
TUMULTY: Thank you.
MADDOW: Ahead, life for one Republican candidate just got better and
potentially a whole lot worse. We`ve got some exclusive foot many to show
you tonight that you won`t see anywhere else. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So, we`ve acquired exclusive footage, videotape of an FBI
raid. And ultimately it could be very important for the presidential hopes
of one very high profile marquee Republican presidential candidate. You
will not see this anywhere else. That`s coming up. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So, last month, a writer at “Reason Magazine”, a libertarian
magazine, noticed something worrying about one of the Republican campaigns
for president. Catherine Mangu Ward at “Reason Magazine”, she looked at
all the subject lines of all the e-mails she was getting from one of the
campaigns. And she found it to be worrying.
These are the subject lines. “I`m afraid it has come to this.”
“This is a tough e-mail to write.” “This is horrible.” “This could get
ugly.” “Am I on my own?”
She tweeted out a screen shot of her inbox with this caption “You
guys, I`m worried about Rand Paul.”
It`s been more of the same since then from the Rand Paul campaign.
This one titled “Please help.” Another one, “Has it all been decided?”
“Is this all there is?”
The Rand Paul for president campaign is not built on sunshine and
rainbows. It`s not a happy warrior kind of campaign. It`s more like a
worried warrior kind of campaign or just a worried – it`s very anxious.
It`s a very anxious campaign.
But this weekend, the Rand Paul campaign had reason to be anxious as
the Kentucky Republican Party had to vote on Saturday as to whether or not
they would allow Senator Paul to run for president and run for reelection
to his Senate seat at the same time.
Under Kentucky law, you got to choose one or the other. It`s against
Kentucky law to run for two different positions in the same election. Rand
Paul came up with a way around that law, though, it would involve the
Republican Party in Kentucky holding its primary as normal but also in
addition to that they`d have to hold a caucus as well just so Rand Paul
could run for president and Senate at the same time.
That`s a hassle. It`s expensive. It`s a total break from anything
Kentucky`s ever done in the past. And Kentucky Republicans have been
worried about this Rand Paul plan anyway because they`re worried they might
lose his U.S. Senate seat to a Democrat unless they`ve got somebody running
full time and with their full attention to try to hold that Senate seat.
So, the Republican Party needed to vote on Saturday. Rand Paul needs
add two-thirds vote from the Republican Party executive committee to get
permission from them so he could run for Senate and president at the same
time. Again, the Rand Paul campaign is an anxious campaign to begin with.
They worry about everything.
This could get ugly. Am I on my own? Has it all been decided?
They are worriers anyway and this Saturday vote was worth worrying
about. “The Lexington Herald-Leader” describing committee members as,
quote, “skittish” heading into Saturday`s vote.
Kentucky Republicans were increasingly getting quoted in the press
worrying out loud about whether Rand Paul was putting the U.S. Senate seat
at risk, questioning why they were taking that risk with so that Senate
seat, given Rand Paul`s very, very slim chancing of winning the Republican
On Friday`s show, here, looking ahead to that Saturday vote, I raised
the prospect that we should be watching for Rand Paul to potentially get
out of the presidential race even sooner than Texas governor Rick Perry
might if that Kentucky vote went against Rand Paul on Saturday and he had
to choose either Senate reelection or presidential run.
His home state Republican Party forcing him to choose, to decide
between running for Senate or for president.
Well, on Saturday, that vote happened and Rand Paul won! Tada! Only
about a third of the executive committee showed up for that vote. But of
the people who showed up, he got two thirds majority that he need, and so,
Rand Paul will keep running for his Senate seat and president at the same
time. Nothing to worry about after all.
Unless, of course, you want to worry about the footage of that FBI
ride that MSNBC has just obtain which had races the prospect of that
another very uncomfortable shoe could be about to drop for Rand Paul and
his presidential hopes.
This could get ugly. Is this all there is?
That story and the exclusive FBI raid footage is next.
MADDOW: OK. You`re not going to see this anywhere else. I think
this is a remarkable story. It is a political story but it starts with a
burglary as all good political stories do. It`s a burglary that took place
last summer just outside Providence, Rhode Island, in a small called North
Scituate, Rhode Island.
It was a summer night last July in a house along this wooded road in
North Scituate was broken into. The circumstances around that burglary
were sort of fishy from the beginning because the family that lived in the
House on that street was out of the state on vacation at the time of the
break-in. So, presumably whoever broke in maybe knew the house would be an
easy target with the family away.
The main thing taken from the house during that robbery was a laptop
computer. The place wasn`t ransacked but a single laptop computer was
The local police chief said the burglary appeared to be well
orchestrated and it seemed interesting to him, it was not a typical break-
in because not much else was taken except that one item, that one laptop.
So, that break in took place last summer, suburban Rhode Island. At
this point, that is still considered to be an unsolved crime that local
police there are still investigating. Stick a pin in that for a moment.
There is some exclusive video that we have obtained here at MSNBC,
I`m going to show in just a moment. And it shows an FBI raid in progress.
It`s dramatic piece of tape involves FBI agents storming into a house at
dawn with their guns drawn. The FBI has showed up to make an arrest. This
was really an intense piece of tape that has not been previously released.
It all centers though around one of the Republican candidates for
president this year. It involves Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.
More specifically, it involves people who have surrounded Rand Paul for
When Rand Paul decided to jump into politics, he essentially
inherited an entire political infrastructure from his father. Ron Paul had
been in national politics for decades. He was a perennial protest
candidate for president on the Republican side.
During those campaigns he built up not just a crew of supporters but
a crew of political operatives which when Rand became a politician, Rand
inherited. And one of the things that those political operatives allegedly
did in pursuit of getting Ron Paul elected president has now led to
multiple federal indictments, has to do with a high profile endorsement
that Ron Paul got right before the Iowa caucuses in 2012.
On the eve of those caucuses, the Ron Paul campaign got an Iowa state
senator to switch sides, to throw his support from Michele Bachmann who he
had been campaigning for and instead support Ron Paul. It was a big coup
at the time. It was supposed to be a sign he had momentum heading into the
Election Day in Iowa. But that endorsement from that state senator was
allegedly the result of a bribe. That Republican state senator came out
and publicly said so, he said the Rand Paul campaign paid him for their
endorsement. They were making secret payments to him over the course of
months in 2012. That senator ultimately pled guilty in Federal Court for
his role in that bribery scandal.
The Ron Paul aides who were allegedly involved in that plot included
Ron Paul`s campaign manager at the time, this gentleman with him here, his
name is Jesse Benton, as well this gentlemen how see in the bow tie. His
name is Dimitri Kesari. You see him here standing alongside that Iowa
state senator that they were allegedly bribing for his endorsement at the
These two guys here, Jesse Benton and Dimitri Kesari, they were two
of the Paul family associates who were indicted earlier this month by the
Justice Department for their role in that bribery scheme. They both deny
Jesse Benton received a summons to appear in federal court upon being
indicted. He appeared in court this past Thursday. He pled not guilty.
But Dimitri Kesari, didn`t just get a summons telling him to turn up in
court. Dimitri had his home visited by the FBI.
And this tape I`m about to show you is tape that was obtained by
MSNBC. It was obtained by MSNBC`s Anthony Terrell. And it shows the FBI
raid on Dmitri Kesari`s house in suburban Virginia. This is earlier this
month. The raid took place early in the morning, like 6:00 in the morning.
FBI agents came in with their guns drawn, woke up the whole family
that morning. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on down. Put it your hands up on top of
your head and come on down. Put it your hands up and come on down. Come
It`s OK. Everything`s fine. Come on down. Put your hands on top of
your head. Let`s go outside, please? Right outside.
Is your dad home? Is your dad home?
Is your dad home?
WIFE: They are sleeping, OK? They`re still asleep. So, don`t be
that scared. OK?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cool down. Cool down.
WIFE: I can`t even see.
UNIDETNTIFIED MALE: Mr. Kesari, Dimitri come down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: FBI agents calling out for Dimitri Kesari, searching the
house for him. Dimitri Kesari was nowhere to be found. It turns out he
was in Des Moines, he was in Iowa where he was indicted the next day.
But that FBI raid on Dimitri Kesari`s house in Virginia, that was an
intense scene. Multiple FBI agents involved. Many of them in bulletproof
vests. They rolled up to this house at dawn with their weapons out.
And this was not for some violent crime, right? This was for an
alleged campaign finance violation. You look at that video. It seems to
be a pretty surprisingly large show of force for alleged campaign finance
But the other thing to know about Dimitri Kesari, the Paul family
associate, who the FBI was looking for that morning, is that he is
currently a named suspect in a burglary, a burglary that took place last
summer in Rhode Island, that house that was broken into in suburban Rhode
Island last July, that House is owned by the parents of a young man who
worked on the Ron Paul for President campaign in 2012.
This young man reportedly roomed with Dimitri Kesari in Iowa during
that campaign. Again, that was the campaign where Dimitri Kesari and other
Paul family associates were allegedly bribing that local state senator.
That young man after that campaign was over, it`s a very sad story, he
passed away suddenly. He died in July 2013 at the age of 26. There`s just
an outpouring of grief and support for his family when he died.
And on the one-year anniversary of his death, his parents were given
an anonymous gift for them to essentially get away for a weekend. They
were given a trip to Kennebunkport, Maine. While they were gone for that
trip that some anonymous donor so generously paid for them to go on, their
home was broken into. Their home back in Rhode Island was broken into and
the thing that was taken was a laptop, which is a laptop their son had used
to do political work when he was working for the Ron Paul campaign.
This is an unsolved mystery. There is no indication about who broke
into that house. But the local police chief in Rhode Island is now
publicly naming Dimitri Kesari as a suspect in that burglary case. He says
that the timing of that break-in with the family away on vacation, that
somebody else paid for, the police chief says that does not appear to be a
He says the operation was, quote, “well-orchestrated and the evidence
does not suggest a typical burglary where thieves are aiming to steal money
or valuables.” He says the person behind this break-in appears to have
been searching for something specific.
And crucially look at this – he says that Dimitri Kesari was in in
Rhode Island at that time at the time of the break in. Quote, “He was in
Rhode Island at the time during the weekend.”
The police chief says his department has been cooperating with
federal authorities and that investigators from his office have traveled to
Virginia try to interview Dimitri Kesari. That they said, so far, they
have been unable to. We spoke with an attorney for Dimitri Kesari today
who told us that his client has not been charged in this burglary case. He
says police officials in Rhode Island have been in touch but that Mr.
Kesari he has not been charged with anything.
But that on going burglary investigation in Rhode Island in which a
laptop with political work linked to the Ron Paul presidential campaign was
stolen, that burglary investigation could at least in part explain why the
FBI raided Dimitri Kesari`s home in Virginia earlier this month with such
an overwhelming display of force, which otherwise seems quite unwarranted.
We asked the FBI whether that burglary case in Rhode Island led to
this response that you see the on this video, this type of response. They
would not say directly but they told us, quote, “The FBI assesses each
individual independently when determine diagnose how to effect an arrest.”
This scandal involving the Ron Paul for president campaign in 2012,
the scandal involving an alleged bribe to an Iowa state senator for his
endorsement, this thing has already led to the federal indictments of two
officials helping to get Rand Paul elected president.
And it is turning out to be sort of, you know, the onion of scandals,
right? I don`t mean the onion as in the satirical newspaper. I mean every
time you peel open one layer of this thing, there is another absolutely
incredible layer lurking just underneath.
We will keep an eye on this story as it develops. Please watch this
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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