The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/28/15

Guests:
Ed O`Keefe, Nina Khrushcheva, Jennifer Dlouhy
Transcript:

CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW with Steve Kornacki in for Rachel starts now.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC GUEST HOST: All right. Thanks to you at home
for joining us this hour. Rachel has the night off.

So, it turns out that you can buy a lot of things if you log on to
Craigslist in Des Moines, Iowa, of all places. For example, right now,
there`s an antique mall that`s up for sale on Craigslist Des Moines. Now,
it`s not an antique. It`s actually an entire shopping mall. And it can be
yours for a cool $375,000.

You can also find a surprisingly large variety of pythons on
Craigslist Des Moines. This particular one is being listed as being,
quote, “very docile.” It will let you hold him, no problem. You can even
touch him on his nose. And he`s just fine with it.

Here`s a whole collection of romance books. These are books you can
buy if you want to be prepared for those long winter months.

And also, as of today, on Craigslist Des Moines, you can now buy a
Trump campaign bus. This bus was posted on Craigslist Des Moines earlier
this afternoon. It`s a bus that had previously been used by the Donald
Trump campaign for some events in Iowa.

Now, it`s not actually quite as exciting as you might picture a Trump
campaign bus being. Under all that big “Make America Great Again” wrapping
that you see there, well, underneath that it`s really just a 1998 Greyhound
bus with literally a million miles on it.

But there you have it. You`re looking at it right there. If you are
in the market for a 17-year-old converted Greyhound bus that was once
briefly used by Donald Trump`s presidential campaign and you have $175,000
to blow – well, here`s your big chance. And all thanks to Craigslist Des
Moines.

The thing about Donald Trump the candidate is that he`s beginning to
feel very much like your average run-of-the-mill long haul bus that`s been
wrapped up in a loud, brash exterior. There was a time when he was just
the renegade Republican candidate, when he was willing to buck the party on
everything, to buck the party on anything. And in a lot of ways Donald
Trump is still that renegade candidate.

But that also might be changing a little bit right before our eyes.
One of the reasons that Donald Trump alarmed the Republican establishment
was because he went around this summer talking about raising taxes on the
wealthy. In fact, that became a major talking point for him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would let people that are
making hundreds of millions of dollars a year pay some tax because right
now they`re paying very little tax and I think it`s outrageous. You know,
the middle class built this country, not the hedge fund guys. But I know
people in hedge funds, they pay almost nothing. And it`s ridiculous, OK?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So that was not rhetoric that we`re used to hearing from
national Republican leaders. This was populist economic rhetoric from
Donald Trump. This was rhetoric you might actually hear from a Democrat.

So that was the build-up for today. Donald Trump, the renegade
Republican, ready to go to war with his party`s establishment on the issue
of taxes, on how much the wealthy should be paying in taxes.

And then came today. And today was the release of Donald Trump`s
actual tax plan. He called it “Tax reform that will make America great
again”. And as it turns out, the Republican establishment doesn`t actually
have much to worry about, because for all of that populist economic talk
this summer, the plan that Donald Trump actually trotted out today, it may
actually be more beneficial to the wealthiest Americans than even his rival
Jeb Bush`s plan.

Quote, “While he`s selling it as a boon for the middle class, the
biggest gains would likely flow to the wealthy by cutting tax rates on
capital gains and investment income the way Wall Street makes money.” That
is an analysis by CNBC`s Robert Frank.

If anything, the biggest anti-tax crusaders in the Republican Party,
the ones who maybe were most worried about what Donald Trump was going to
say when he finally weighed in with a plan on taxes – well, those anti-tax
leaders in the Republican Party, they actually loved what they heard from
Donald Trump today.

Grover Norquist, for instance, he`s become famous for having
candidates, for having Republican candidates sign an anti-tax oath. Today,
though, “Politico” says that he gave the tax plan a wink. Quote, this is
from Norquist, “Trump`s plan is certainly consistent with the taxpayer
protection pledge.” That`s the pledge he asks every Republican candidate
to sign. More pointedly, Trump himself was adamant today that no one
should think of him as any kind of a populist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: No, I`m not a populist. No, I`m not. I`m a man of great
common sense. I`m a man that`s built a tremendous company with the best
locations in real estate, the best everything. You`re here at one of them.
I have many of these.

I did a great job. I`ve employed tens of thousands of people. I
employ now thousands and thousands of people. I`ve done a good job, but I
wouldn`t say populist at all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Yes, Trump remains for now the front-runner in the
Republican race though his lead is in increasingly tenuous lead. Another
new poll confirming this, Trump at 21 percent in a brand new NBC News/”Wall
Street Journal” poll. And Dr. Ben Carson right behind him, one point
behind at 20 percent. Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Carly Fiorina, they
are tied for third place, 11 percent for each of them.

The stacking of that top tier may not be all that surprising. We`ve
known for a long time now that Trump has been leading the Republican field
and the so-called outsider candidates have all collectively been the story
of the summer. They`ve all been surging this summer.

But there is also in that poll that you`re looking at on your screen
right there, there is also this – the other story of this new poll, the
other big story of the Republican race so far this year. It`s a story that
seemed utterly unimaginable when the campaign began. It`s the story of Jeb
Bush, who began this year with his campaign promising what they called a
shock-and-awe strategy.

It was a strategy that was going to lock down the nomination for him
almost effortlessly. And now, Jeb Bush is all the way back in fifth place.
He has just 7 percent of the support in this new NBC News/”Wall Street
Journal” poll.

Just take a look at this decline. In April of this year, just a few
months ago, Jeb Bush was sitting at 23 percent. He was in first place. In
June, he was still at 22 percent. By July, that number had been chopped
down to 14 percent.

And now, in September he is all the way back in single digits at just
7 percent. Just seven out of 100 Republicans saying that Jeb Bush would be
their choice for president if they had to vote right now.

And it would be one thing if Bush were still holding firm in the early
primary states, in Iowa, New Hampshire, those places because that would
offer up a bit of a lifeline for him. He could win there, then get a big
bounce, then move those numbers up nationally. But that`s not the case
right now. He`s polling in fifth place in New Hampshire. He`s behind
Donald Trump there, he`s behind Carly Fiorina, behind Ben Carson, behind
even Senator Marco Rubio. He`s been perking up lately.

And in Florida, that`s the state where Jeb Bush was governor for eight
years, he is also trailing. Donald Trump has nearly triple Jeb`s support
in Florida. Bush trails Rubio in Florida by close to 10 points.

But Bush at least in interviews is sticking with his line that there`s
nothing to worry about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running the hard campaign,
running with heart, and we`re making great progress. These polls really
don`t matter. They don`t – they don`t filter out the people that aren`t
going to vote. It`s just – I know it`s an obsession because it kind of
frames the debate for people for that week. But I`m in it for the long
haul.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: Whether or not Bush is actually in it for the long haul,
it`s hard to accept his assertion that his campaign is making great
progress. It`s hard to accept that when you`ve seen his support drop from
23 percent, just a few months ago, all the way down to just 7 percent.
Obviously, in terms of polling, it`s the opposite of progress.

And while Bush might be acting as if there`s nothing to see here, you
get a sense that the campaign may be getting worried. His campaign has
announced plans to reserve TV ad time in those key early primary states.
And Bush himself signaled today, quote, “that he`s got plenty of money in
the bank” to stay on the campaign trail leading up to next year`s early
primaries.

But all the money in the world cannot buy enthusiasm. And that is
something that he`s starting to lose with his biggest supporters. “The
Washington Post” reporting today that, quote, “it`s make or break time for
Jeb Bush” with, quote, “top donors warning that the former Florida governor
needs to demonstrate growth in the polls over the next month or face
serious defections among supporters.”

One party fund-raiser even adding, quote, “what I hear everywhere when
you say Jeb`s name is if you want to lose the general election nominate
Jeb.”

Now, forget losing the general election for a minute. At this point,
becoming the Republican nominee is looking more and more like an uphill
battle for the guy who at the beginning of all this was supposed to
practically coast to the Republican nomination.

Joining us now is Ed O`Keefe, political reporter for “The Washington
Post.” Ed wrote that story today.

Ed, thanks for being with us tonight.

Well, let`s get to what you`re hearing from these Bush donors. How
much do they need to see him move up in these polls over the next month,
and what are the consequences in terms of defections? How many defections
are we talking about here if he doesn`t make that number?

ED O`KEEFE, THE WASHINGTON POST: I think they`re looking frankly for
just positive trajectory. Instead of sliding back, as you demonstrated in
those graphics, they just want to see him climbing again, out of the single
digits, into the double digits again. Any example of growth, any evidence
of growth they`ll be happy with.

As for how many would leave, that`s unclear. But these are people
who`ve given significantly not only to his campaign but also in some cases
to the super PAC that is supporting his bid. They can give unlimited
amounts there. They can give the limited amounts of course to the
campaign.

And these people are spending a lot of time in addition to their money
trying to get other people to give money. And look, donors who give
financial resources and their time understandably get a little skittish
when they see what you were demonstrating there, the popularity is down,
that the enthusiasm may not be there and even in his own home state, he`s
suffering and unable to stay in front.

So, whether we see it widespread or whether we see it among a few
proponent ones remains to be seen, but they are saying, if this keeps up,
we`re getting out.

KORNACKI: Well, that`s interesting, Ed. I mean, it`s got to be
worrying his campaign too. Because I mean, the old line there, good news
begets good news, the opposite of that is bad news begets more bad news.

And I`m just thinking you`ve got this polling decline we showed right
there. If the numbers do not perk up in the next month and then the
headlines move to what you`re suggesting, major Bush donor switches to
Rubio, major Bush donor switches to Kasich, whoever it may be, that creates
maybe even a meltdown scenario for the campaign. What are they doing to
respond to this?

O`KEEFE: They`re raising a lot of money. Despite the fact that some
fund-raisers may be saying that they`re not going to stick around if things
get bad, remember, this is a guy who has raised a significant amount and
continues to. He kept a breakneck schedule in the third quarter, which
ends on Wednesday night, raising money all across the country.

The belief among those donors, among campaign aides who are somewhat
familiar with it is that they had a good quarter, they were able to keep
pace with what they did when they started off in mid-June and that they
will be able to demonstrate they still have significant financial support.

Separate of that is his super PAC, Right to Rise, this group he was
fund-raising for before he became a candidate and now is walled off and
operating separately. It`s believed they also had a good quarter and will
continue raising a lot of money. That group is spending about $27 million
at least between now and the start of the primaries and caucuses on
television ads.

Today, as you pointed out earlier, the campaign itself has set aside
about $8 million for ads in New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Iowa in the
hopes that that will help in the closing days as well.

And look, they point, some of them, privately to what Kasich was
doing. His super PAC starts running ads for him in New Hampshire.
Suddenly his numbers bounced. Now that Bush is airing ads or his super PAC
is airing ads they believe that the numbers will turn around, as well for
him.

KORNACKI: Yes, I can vouch for that. I was up in Boston over the
weekend. You get all those ads aimed at New Hampshire in the Boston
stations. I saw a ton of Jeb Bush ads over the weekend.

But quick bottom line question you look at the first two states,
everybody looks at Iowa and says this is a terrible match for Jeb Bush,
he`s not going to win Iowa. New Hampshire, he`s got to win there or this
campaign ends. Is that fair to say?

O`KEEFE: I think so. I think if you had to rank the three for Bush
folks they would tell you it`s New Hampshire, then South Carolina, then
Iowa. Frankly, if they place, if they place third in Iowa, I think that`s
a big victory for them. They would tell you, of course, publicly and even
privately they`re going to do better than that, but the numbers at least
right now suggest they won`t.

New Hampshire, a place that he spent the most time, just a few days
more than his home state of Florida campaigning by our estimates, or by our
review of his schedule.

South Carolina`s the place they feel can do very well because his
brother and his father remain quite popular there. His national security
positions expected to do well with the state that has a large military and
veterans population.

Iowa is a different character. And we`ve seen the numbers there go in
the direction of other folks. He will continue appearing there, but they
will not put in the same amount of resource that they`re putting elsewhere.

KORNACKI: All right. Well, they`re putting the resources in,
spending the money. We will see over the next month if they get a return
on that money.

Ed O`Keefe, political reporter for the “Washington Post,” thanks for
being here tonight. Appreciate it

O`KEEFE: Anytime.

KORNACKI: All right. Ahead, on the Democratic side, new polling that
proves that the only thing that`s different from a couple months ago is
everything.

Plus, an amazing update on a story this show has been covering for a
long time. It turned out in a way that these kinds of stories never turn
out, ever.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Sometimes we get a picture over the wires that`s worth a
thousand words and it raises a whole lot of questions. Today was a perfect
example. Today, the two most powerful leaders in the world attempted to
say cheers. At least I think. If this picture were a martini, you might
call it perfectly chilled.

What happened today when President Obama met President Putin? That
story is ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: Every year at this time, world leaders descend on New York.
They make speeches. They draw attention to their favorite causes. They
hobnob on the sidelines.

I`m talking not about the United Nations, where they opened the
general assembly this weekend, but instead I`m talking about the Clinton
Global Initiative. For years now, U.N. week has also been CGI Week, a
lavish, star-studded affair presided over by former President Bill Clinton.

You`ll see celebrities, power brokers, heads of state, all of them
gathering to talk big ideas and to pledge money to solve the world`s
biggest problems.

President Obama has made it a point of stopping by the Clinton Global
Initiative every single year around this time. And this is how Bill
Clinton has fashioned his post-presidential persona, as a jetsetting do-
gooder. It`s also gone a good way toward making the Clinton family a sort
of a non-partisan American institution, a family that was seen for a few
years there as above the fray of the political slugfest.

It`s a big part of why Hillary Clinton looked so formidable when she
launched her presidential campaign. It`s why she led her prospective
Democratic rivals including the sitting vice president by more than 50
points in the polls.

It was a level of strength that we had never before seen from a non-
incumbent president running for president. That`s how things looked when
this campaign started. But six months later, of course, it`s now a very
different story. For one thing, this is the first year that President
Obama has not made time for the Clinton confab during U.N. week.

And in the polls not only has Bernie Sanders topped Hillary Clinton in
some New Hampshire and Iowa surveys. Even in the new NBC News/”Wall Street
Journal” national poll, it`s out just today, Sanders is giving her a real
run for her money. Hillary Clinton now holds just a seven-point lead over
Bernie Sanders, 42 percent to 35 percent.

And that`s with Joe Biden, who hasn`t even decided whether he`s going
to run for president, pulling in 17 percent and siphoning votes away from
Clinton to do it. When the vice president`s taken out of the mix, by the
way, Clinton`s lead does go to 53 percent to 38 percent over Sanders, a
healthier margin for her, although again, worth noting, that is still much
closer than anyone thought things were going to be at any point in a
Clinton-Sanders race.

That`s not the only way a potential Joe Biden candidacy is upsetting
Hillary Clinton`s standing in the polls, take a look at these head-to-head
match-ups also from today`s NBC News poll.

Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 10 points, but Joe Biden
beating him by more than 20 points. Clinton just barely leading Jeb Bush,
45-44. Biden clobbering him by eight points. Republican Ben Carson
actually beating Hillary Clinton in a general election trial, but Biden
coming out eight points ahead of Carson. Carly Fiorina besting Clinton by
a point. Biden besting Fiorina by six.

Just a few months ago, the idea that Hillary Clinton would be just
barely beating a socialist from Vermont in the Democratic primary, that she
would be doing worse, substantially worse in some cases in head-to-head
match-ups than someone who isn`t even in the race, that idea just a few
months ago was inconceivable.

Now, let`s be fair. There is good reason to think that Joe Biden`s
strong poll numbers right now are a lot like Hillary Clinton`s six months
ago. Joe Biden right now is largely above the political fray. He is not
actually in the campaign. He`s been getting great press, all of this
clearly undoubtedly boosting his numbers.

But still, if you`re Joe Biden, if you`re agonizing over whether to
jump in this race, whether to run one last campaign for president at the
age of 72 – well, these poll numbers have got to be awfully tempting for
you. Without lifting a finger, Biden has already qualified for the first
Democratic debate that`s going to be held next month. According to the
criteria that CNN, which will be airing it, according to the criteria they
have announced, the vice president wouldn`t even have to file paperwork to
run until the day after the debate.

Now, in personal terms, we know this is a wrenching decision for
Biden. As he told Stephen Colbert earlier this month, the grief over
losing his son this year may just be too much for him to wage a national
campaign.

But this is also a tough call for Biden in strictly political terms
because for all the temptation in those poll numbers we just showed you,
there`s also the potential for disaster, because it`s possible that Biden
could lose not just to Hillary Clinton but also to Bernie Sanders in those
early primary states, that Biden would finish a distant third place, that
he`d be forced to make an embarrassing exit, an especially humbling way for
a sitting vice president to exit the political stage probably for good. So
there`s that on the one hand.

But then on the other hand there is another possibility. What if
Biden gets in? What if he pulls off a win in one of those first two
states? What if he wins Iowa? What if he wins New Hampshire?

What if he proves that he really is a viable candidate, that he
actually can beat Hillary, that he really does have a shot at the
Democratic nomination for president? What if he then takes that
credibility and creates a one-on-one race with Hillary in South Carolina?

Think about this. The Clinton team right now thinks of South Carolina
as their firewall state. They think of it right now because of their
strong standing with African-American voters. African-American voters
barely exist in New Hampshire and Iowa but they make up about half of South
Carolina`s Democratic primary electorate. Right now, they`re very strong
for Hillary Clinton.

But remember, South Carolina was Barack Obama`s breakthrough state
back in 2008. It`s the state where he crushed Hillary Clinton and
decisively turned around the Democratic race. And those same African-
American voters keyed that victory, and with them Obama remains deeply and
immensely popular.

So what if Joe Biden, what if Barack Obama`s loyal vice president
comes to South Carolina next February with a real chance to knock off
Hillary Clinton, to do exactly what Barack Obama did back in 2008? And
what if, and this is a big, big, big if, but what if the president then at
that moment decided to reward his ever-loyal vice president, a man with
whom by all accounts he has grown very close to personally, what if the
president used that occasion, that moment to recommend to those South
Carolina voters that they cast their ballots for his vice president, for
Joe Biden?

Again, it`s a huge, huge if. But it`s the kind of thinking, it`s the
kind of gaming all of this out, that will get any ambitious politician`s
mind racing. It is the kind of thinking that maybe could make Joe Biden
look at those polls we showed you at the top of this segment and say yeah,
you know what? I am going to take a shot at this.

While Biden mulls and agonizes, the clock is ticking. His time to
make a decision to get in this race or to stay out, it is quickly running
out. He`s going to need to say something. He`s going to need to say
something soon.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: This was the scene in Portland, Oregon, this summer. A
dozen protesters dangling from the St. John`s Bridge. They rappelled over
the side of that bridge suspended in mid-air at various heights over the
river, right directly in the path of an icebreaker belonging to a giant oil
company. That company, Shell Oil, needed to get that icebreaker under the
bridge on its way up the Oregon coast into the Arctic.

It was an amazing standoff between the environmentalists on one side
and Shell. And tonight, we have an amazing and a surprising conclusion to
that story.

That`s ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: One way to get the pope to notice you or at least to glance
your way during one of those huge papal parades is to do this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The pope says that you have a sense of humor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: So there you go. Dressing your baby up as the pope will
get her noticed by the pope. That happened on Saturday at the papal parade
on the Ben Franklin Parkway down in Philadelphia.

Before he went to Philadelphia on Friday, the pope spoke at the United
Nations General Assembly. And he seems to have had an impact on many.
Then he left yesterday.

And today, it seems like the gloves are off at the U.N. That started
this morning at the United Nations, where again, the pope spoke just days
ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Consider Russia`s
annexation of Crimea and further aggression in eastern Ukraine. America
has few economic interests in Ukraine. We recognize the deep and complex
history between Russia and Ukraine.

But we cannot stand by when the sovereignty and territorial integrity
of a nation is flagrantly violated. If that happens without consequence in
Ukraine, it could happen to any nation gathered here today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: President Obama went on to criticize Russia`s support for
Syria`s president. That happened first thing in the morning today.

Then, a little more than an hour after that, Russian President
Vladimir Putin took to the same podium and he fired back. He essentially
accused the United States of enforcing its will on others. He said that
it`s an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government
as they try to fight ISIS. He talked about creating a broad international
coalition to fight ISIS, a competing coalition of sorts, something
President Obama and the United States didn`t see coming.

Then, a couple of hours later, those two leaders, Presidents Obama and
Putin, sat down for lunch. The U.N. secretary-general`s table, and this is
how that toast between them looked. And yes, part of that awkwardness has
to do with Ukraine and Russia annexing Crimea and the sanctions we`ve
imposed on Russia because of that.

But as of late, it also has to do with Russia deploying warplanes and
tanks and weapons in Syria to support the Syrian government. After all of
that, today, President Obama and President Putin sat for their first
private meeting in two years.

And this is what happened right before that meeting.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Thank you, everybody.

REPORTER: Will you work together?

REPORTER: Can you make progress on Syria?

REPORTER: Can you make a deal?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That entire photo op lasted, and I`m being generous here,
maybe 15 seconds total.

And from the moment they walked in that door to the moment that they
stood in front of the cameras and rigidly shook hands, then made their way
back to the door, 15 seconds total right there.

Now, that big meeting between Obama and Putin, the first of its kind
again in two years, that private meeting was scheduled to last for an hour,
but reportedly it did run for just over 90 minutes.

Now, we don`t know exactly what happened in the meeting, but we do
know it`s their first private face-to-face meeting in two years. We know
that it went longer than planned. Initial readouts from the meeting
indicated the first half focused on Ukraine, the second half on Syria.

Reports indicate that President Obama and President Putin agreed to
discuss a political transition in Syria but that they don`t agree on how to
move forward.

So, will tonight`s meeting change anything?

Joining us now is Nina Khrushcheva. She`s a professor of
international affairs at the New School University. She is the author of
“The Lost Khrushchev: A Journey Into the Gulag of the Russian Mind.”

She is also, I should mention, the granddaughter of former Soviet
Premier Nikita Khrushchev.

Thank you for joining us, Nina. Appreciate it.

NINA KHRUSHCHEVA, COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS/NEW SCHOOL UNIVERSITY:
Thank you. Thank you.

KORNACKI: So – well, first of all, that photo op we just showed, I
mean, I guess it`s obligatory that they come out and do that. That`s as
obligatory as it gets. We weren`t inside that meeting.

But what do you think that meeting was like tonight?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, I think the meeting was positive because they
spent 90 minutes talking, which is already a good thing. Expecting that
they would have warmer body language I think was pretty much ridiculous. I
mean, they did not talk. They really have disagreements.

But also, they clearly have a personal dislike of each other. Barack
Obama calls Putin the slouchy kid at the back of the classroom. Vladimir
Putin never insults Barack Obama personally but always says, well, it`s
actually a bad idea to insult leaders, what if you need something from
them, really shooting at the United States, at the fact that he`s
personally insulted by the Americans.

So I think that should have been expected. We`re probably even
wasting our time discussing the bad relationship. I think what`s important
is that they claim their stakes. I mean, they really set it out in their
speeches at the United Nations. However, both said that they want to
cooperate, they want to create some sort of coalition, especially Putin,
wanted to lead an international coalition in Syria and cooperate with Iraq
and the United States and whatnot.

And the same thing said Barack Obama. So, in this sense they`re
actually talking which is already a great step forward, and then privately
for 90 minutes.

And Putin said the meeting went very well. After the meeting, he gave
a few interviews. He said it was a very cooperative meeting and also they
had disagreements but it was very constructive, as they put it,
constructive disagreements.

And also in private conversation apparently, there`s already Russian
stories coming out that Barack Obama showed respect, which is very
important for Putin. And therefore I think maybe this conversation
actually will move things forward.

KORNACKI: So, what about – let`s take the issue of Syria because
there`s a fundamental difference here. Putin wants to support Assad,
doesn`t think we should be actively trying to overthrow him. He wants to
prop him up. And the United States says it`s absolutely unacceptable for
Assad to remain in power.

Can you see any way to reconcile those two positions?

KHRUSHCHEVA: Well, I think we can reconcile because when the United
States says it is unacceptable, it has been unacceptable for three years.
So, Assad is still there. So it is acceptable then, so there must be some
sort of condition for him not to stay as long as Russia wants but stay for
the time period to convince Russia and the world and the Middle East in
general is that it`s not going to go the Libya way, it`s not going into
that whole disarray of the Gadhafi way.

So, when Barack Obama says Putin annexed Crimea and the international
law, Putin shoots back and says, fine, we can actually support your strikes
in Iraq because Iraq requested those air strikes, but when you`re striking
Syria, it`s against the law because they never accepted that.

So, I think somewhere there is a military international cooperation
that they can figure out. But I think what`s important here is if Putin –
I mean, if Barack Obama showed respect as Putin said is Putin is saying you
can only deal with me the way I am. I`m telling you what I am. And if you
agree with that, then we can come to mutual understanding and I may even
make concessions. But it`s only if you agree to deal with me the way I am.

And I think today that`s what happened. Putin set out his claims and
Barack Obama said fine, I`m going to talk to you anyway. And that I think
could be a way to cooperate further.

KORNACKI: A lot of people would love to have been in that meeting
earlier today. Again, the first time in two years they sat down –

KHRUSHCHEVA: You and I.

KORNACKI: – face to face and talk.

Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at New School –
thank you for joining us tonight.

KHRUSHCHEVA: Thank you.

KORNACKI: Appreciate it.

And next up, a reminder that every once in a while, goliath actually
loses.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: All right. This is something exciting we just found out
about moments ago. We want to give a huge congratulations to our friend
Chris Hayes and to the crew at “ALL IN” because they just won an Emmy
tonight for outstanding news discussion and analysis.

It`s for their show “50-Year War: The Changing Face of Poverty.” They
did amazing work on that. We are so happy they were recognized tonight for
all of that work.

We`re going to post a link to their award-winning work at
MaddowBlog.com. Again, congratulations to Chris Hayes and his fantastic
team over at “ALL IN.” We are all very proud of you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KORNACKI: All right. It was the last week of July in Portland,
Oregon. High over the famous Willamette River, environmental protesters
were hanging out under the St. John`s Bridge. They had rappelled over the
side of that bridge. They were hanging there like trapeze artists. And
they were doing that so they could try to stop a giant icebreaker run by
Shell Oil from leaving port and heading to the Alaskan Arctic to drill for
oil.

This wasn`t the first time they`d put themselves between a Shell
vessel and its destination. Back in April, as Shell moved a drilling rig
across the Pacific, heading for its Arctic drilling patch, back then,
Greenpeace activists climbed aboard that rig in the middle of the Pacific
Ocean, to try to get Shell to drop their plans. Then, in May swarms of
kayakers in Seattle protested a Shell rig coming into port before it was
supposed to go to Alaska.

In June, a month after that, they tried to block it from leaving for
Alaska. And in July, it was that protest under the bridge that caused
shell`s icebreaker to stop. Shell had to get an emergency court order to
have those activists physically removed from the bridge so that the company
could get the rig on its way.

Shell Oil has been working for seven years now to drill for oil in
what is basically uncharted territory off the northern coast of Alaska.
For the company, the project has basically been a nonstop, $7 billion,
seven-year headache.

Three years ago, one of Shell`s drilling rigs lost its moorings and
nearly ran aground in Alaska`s Aleutian Islands and also briefly caught
fire after some sort of explosion. The other drilling rig Shell brought
with them that year broke free from its tow line and crashed into an
island.

In May, the Obama administration approved permits for Shell to drill
off the coast of Alaska. That seemed to finally clear the way. And then
this summer, Shell did start to drill.

And today, we got the first big announcement from Shell as to what
they found after all those years, after all those billions of dollars
spent. And the answer is, well, not much. Shell executives today say they
drilled down 6,800 feet, about 80 miles offshore in the Chukchi Sea of
Alaska, excuse me, and turned up basically nothing.

And so, Shell announced today that the company is giving up the
expedition altogether. Quote, “Shell has found indications of oil and gas,
but these are not sufficient to warrant further exploration. The well will
be sealed and abandoned in accordance with U.S. regulations.”

One Shell executive calling it, quote, “a clearly disappointing
exploration outcome” – which is kind of amazing when you think about it.
Shell has been absolutely determined to drill for oil in the Alaskan
Arctic. No matter the political cost or the cost of getting started or the
cost of months and years, all that it`s spent on the bet that you could
drill for oil safely in the harshest and most remote places, that you could
drill for oil, that you would find it and that that bet would pay off big
for you for doing all of that.

But today, Shell essentially said that for all they`ve poured into
this project, they`re better off just taking a loss. This is a huge
turnaround for a corporate giant on one of the most environmentally
sensitive issues in the country.

And joining us now is Jennifer Dlouhy, energy reporter for the
“Houston Chronicle.” Jennifer has been covering had.

Thanks for being here tonight.

Well, Jennifer, first of all, from your reporting, is this as big a
deal, as big a turnaround for Shell as it would seem, to spend all this
money and then sort of throw up their arms and say all right, we`re
leaving?

JENNIFER DLOUHY, HOUSTON CHRONICLES ENERGY REPORTER: It`s a
tremendously big deal. It`s not that often that an oil company invests $7
billion in a project and that one well determines its outcome and then they
walk away. This doesn`t happen that often.

KORNACKI: And how much more expensive is it to extract oil in Arctic
waters versus, say, the Gulf of Mexico which we hear about much more often?

DLOUHY: Right. So, the Gulf of Mexico has been under exploration and
under oil development for decades, since the 1950s. And by contrast, you
know, the Arctic does not have – the U.S. Arctic anyway doesn`t have
pipelines. It doesn`t have production facilities.

So, any oil company doesn`t just have to find the crude that they want
to produce and sell. They need to find a way to get it to market. So they
have to build all of those facilities. And that`s an extraordinary
undertaking, the amount of environmental analysis that would go into it is
huge. It`s quite costly.

KORNACKI: So, is there – is there a ripple effect to this? Shell
isn`t going to do this. Does this mean that no one is going to be drilling
in the Arctic or is somebody else going to take a shot at?

DLOUHY: There are some drilling in other parts of the Arctic, the
Russian Arctic, for instance, and there`s been some interest in the
Canadian Arctic although that has diminished lately among low oil prices.

But for the U.S. Arctic, it doesn`t look likely that anyone`s going to
be up there actively drilling far away from shore anytime soon. There are
a couple other companies that hold leases in the Chukchi Sea, but they`ve
held back. They`ve, you know, cited regulatory concerns, you know,
concerns about evolving mandates, federal mandates that would govern Arctic
drilling.

And so, it seems unlikely that they would follow Shell`s pursuit out
there. I mean, this is a cautionary tale for anyone else who wants to
drill out there.

KORNACKI: And what is it you think? I mean, obviously, this was
always going to be a complicated process. But what pushed Shell over the
edge to at this point say, all right, that`s it?

DLOUHY: Well, Shell has a new CEO. Royal Dutch Shell has a new CEO
from a couple of years ago. He came in. He was a little skeptical of this
big spend on the Arctic drilling campaign.

He was willing. He was convinced to see it out for a few more years.
Always said if we don`t get the results we want, being Shell, we will walk
away. For Shell, not getting the results, that means not getting gas,
that`s not very lucrative to sell right now or they don`t enough crude.

We`re talking, you know, a multibillion dollar cash of crude. They
basically said, “We`ll walk away. We cannot sustain this when we`re
cutting capital expenditure, we`re cutting oil drilling everywhere else
around the world.

KORNACKI: All right. Jennifer Dlouhy, energy reporter for the
“Houston Chronicle” – appreciate the time tonight. Thank you.

DLOUHY: Thank you.

KORNACKI: All right. Straight ahead, a special report about the
congressman who wants to become the next speaker of the House, including a
very memorable cow. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN DICKERSON, FACE THE NATION/CBS: Well, are they unrealistic about
what can be done in government? That`s the dysfunction –

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Absolutely, they`re
unrealistic. But, you know, the Bible says beware of false prophets.
There are people out there, you know, spreading noise about how much can
get done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KORNACKI: That was soon to be former House Speaker John Boehner this
weekend on “Face the Nation”, talking about some of his fellow Republicans
and what he says are their unrealistic expectations about how government
should work.

And it`s those issues, that inability to reconcile with the far right
contingent of his own party that has now led Boehner to step down as
speaker.

The passing the gavel probably won`t make the problems he faced from
his own party go away. As we`ve seen during this presidential campaign,
one of the issues that has driven the deepest divide within the Republican
Party is immigration.

Today, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, he is currently the second
ranking Republican in the House, he`s right behind Boehner. Today, Kevin
McCarthy announced his intention to run for speaker. He did it just after
delivering a notably hawkish foreign policy speech.

Was that speech, was that hawkish speech an effort to court some of
the more conservative members of the House Republican conference? Probably
a little too early to tell and we should say that McCarthy right now is the
overwhelming favorite to replace Boehner and to become the next speaker of
the House.

And the fight over immigration that`s dividing his party is one that
definitely does hit home for him. McCarthy`s house district is based in
Bakersfield, California, a district one-third Latino that he represents.
It depends heavily on agriculture, on oil.

This weekend, MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff went to Bakersfield
to find out how the locals feel about their congressman, a man who very
soon may be just two heartbeats away from the presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Greetings from Bakersfield,
California, the 23rd congressional district, also known as Kevin McCarthy
country.

So, this is the Buck Owens Crystal Palace. It`s pretty much the main
attraction in Bakersfield, founded by country music superstar Buck Owens.

You know the reason I came up here is because Bakersfield is about to
become like the center of American politics because your local congressman
might become the speaker of the House.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right.

SOBOROFF: It`s pretty exciting.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s an excellent person, too.

SOBOROFF: What are these, apples?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SOBOROFF: They`re so good. We don`t call 911. What does that mean?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We handle our business –

SOBOROFF: In Bakersfield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

SOBOROFF: Do you know your local congressman?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we`ve got, got Kevin McCarthy.

SOBOROFF: That`s right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a good guy. He understands Bakersfield.

SOBOROFF: What do you think of Kevin McCarthy?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I like him.

CHRISTIE VARGAS, BAKERSFIELD RESIDENT: He zipped into a parking lot
in front of me, and it was a compact parking space.

SOBOROFF: No.

VARGAS: Yes, he did.

SOBOROFF: Come on.

VARGAS: In an SUV. I said, that`s it. Don`t like him.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We like Kevin.

SOBOROFF: Sounds like he might be the next speaker of the House of
Representative.

LYNDA SAVELBERG, BAKERSFIELD RESIDENT: I think that would be a really
good move.

I think he has the valley`s interest at heart.

SAL SAVELBERG, BAKERSFIELD RESIDENT: Relates to the common man, I
think, too.

SOBOROFF: What do you guys do here?

S. SAVELBERG: Well, I`m kind of semi retired, oil and gas, land man.
She`s an educator.

SOBOROFF: Oil and gas is extremely important to this area?

S. SAVELBERG: And ag, yes, too.

SOBOROFF: Agriculture, oil and gas.

S. SAVELBERG: Yes.

SOBOROFF: Do you want to see him tackle things like immigration
reform?

L. SAVELBERG: I think immigration reform is important?

SOBOROFF: What is important here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For her, fairies are important.

SOBOROFF: Fairies?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Bakersfield.

SOBOROFF: Fairies are so important.

Do you want to see immigration reform passed?

ISAAC DENNIS, BAKERSFIELD: People know the reality if we send –

SOBOROFF: Eleven million people.

DENNIS: Yes, are we – the price of strawberries is going to
quadruple, like produce is going to go through the roof.

SOBOROFF: This morning, I was at a farmer`s market on other side of
town, and it seemed to be Kevin McCarthy country. If I ask you guys today,
is Kevin McCarthy going to support immigration reform, what would you say
here?

ARTURO RODRIGUEZ, UNITED FARM WORKERS PRESIDENT: Well, I would say
that he`s got a choice to make and he`s got to decide. Is he going to
represent his business? Agri business is the number one business here
within his district. Immigration reform is critical to the success of ag
and throughout the district, as well as throughout the state and country.

SOBOROFF: So you`re the chairman of current county young Republicans.

PHILLIP PETERS, KERN COUNTY YOUNG REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT: That`s right.

SOBOROFF: That`s a position that Kevin McCarthy once held?

PETERS: That`s a fact.

SOBOROFF: What is the number one people here want to see him take up
in Washington?

PETERS: I think immigration is a big issue. I think it`s really
going to be a tightrope for Kevin if he gets elected to the position.

SOBOROFF: Will we see comprehensive immigration reform in the
Congress and will it pass under Kevin McCarthy?

PETERS: I don`t know that I can answer that. I think Kevin is
definitely going to work towards something that`s going to benefit the
people in his district.

SOBOROFF: Sounds like a maybe.

PETERS: It sounds like a maybe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KORNACKI: Joining us now from Los Angeles is MSNBC correspondent
Jacob Soboroff.

Jacob, you spent the weekend in Bakersfield. Really interesting some
of the quotes you collected or some of the interviews. The thing about
Boehner that he wouldn`t do these last few years, Republicans and even some
pro-reformed Republicans not in the Congress, always saying he should do is
take that comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate and
put it on the floor, the House for a vote.

John Boehner wouldn`t do that, too much resistance in the right of his
own party. Here comes Kevin McCarthy, looks like he will be the next
speaker. Look at this district, it`s one-third Latino. Is there a reason
he would approach this issue differently than John Boehner as speaker?

SOBOROFF: You know, I can`t answer that question for you. But what
can I tell you, Steve, is the fact on the ground in Kern County is that the
agriculture industry there is incredibly important as the people told me in
the piece, the local residents there.

And without migrant labor, both documented and undocumented migrant
labor, that industry would not be the same as it is today. And I think
that`s why you see people so supportive there regardless of what Kevin
McCarthy is going to do of the idea of comprehensive immigration reform.

KORNACKI: Jacob Soboroff, MSNBC correspondent, that was a very fun
and informative piece. Thank you for doing that. Appreciate it.

SOBOROFF: Thank you, sir.

KORNACKI: And that does it for us today. Rachel Maddow will be back
tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”

Good evening, Lawrence.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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