The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/5/15
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
So, a whole bunch of things have just happened in political news
today, mostly late today, what`s been breaking today in the news is
relevant both in terms of policy and very much so in terms of politics.
But tonight`s news in politics is very different than this morning`s
news was in politics, because it`s just been one of those days when things
kept happening to change the narrative.
The first thing I should tell you about is that we just got news. We
just got word that President Obama is going to be going to Roseburg,
Oregon, this week. He is going on Friday. Roseburg, Oregon, of course, is
where the Umpqua Community College mass shooting was last week.
President Obama, of course, was visibly angry when he gave remark at
the White House a few days ago. In his presidential press conference on
Friday, President Obama went so far as to urge individual Americans to
become single issue voters on the issue of gun law reform. He said with
some emotion that he is not going to stop talking about this issue, even
though it upsets people when he does. He says something has to be done to
change politics around the issue of guns in the United States. And he
intends to do all he can to do that.
Well, now, President Obama, himself, will be going personally to the
site of our nation`s latest high profile mass shooting. So, that trip on
Friday to Roseburg, Oregon, that should put a big public spotlight, not
just on the gun`s issue, but on the president`s effort to change the
politics, the political dynamics around gun laws.
I think that spotlight is something Democrats up to and including the
president used to be sort of shy about, right? Democrats used to try to
avoid having to talk about guns, unless they were 100 percent inline with
the NRA, that some Democrats have.
But, increasingly, we seen over the last three years ago it`s more
evident than it has been, increasingly, Democrats who do want gun reforms
are now not only willing to talk about it. They`re very happy to get the
spotlight for it. They`re happy to get attention for it, because I think
Democrats have finally started to realize however loud the NRA is, frankly
the public is with Democrats on this issue, broadly speaking, to the extent
that Democrats do actually want some reforms around the nation`s gun laws.
And that changing dynamic in Democratic politics over the last few
years really coming to a head this year has created on the campaign trail
this year some really, really interesting dynamics among Democrats.
That`s, in part, because of Bernie Sanders, right?
As a congressman and a senator from the great rural pro-hunting state
of Vermont, Bernie Sanders took some non-pro gun control votes over the
course of his career. He did not support the Brady Bill, which mandated
background checks for people buying guns. Senator Sanders also did not
support legislation that would let people sue gun manufacturers, the same
way that normal companies get sued for liability when their products hurt
Now, in context, it`s not that Bernie Sanders should be seen as a
conservative on the issue of guns, he`s not conservative on any issue,
including guns. But unlike most other big hot topic issues, where Senator
Sanders is to the left of the typical Democrat, he is not to the left of a
typical Democrat on guns, at least, he hasn`t been in the past.
And that makes for some interesting cross currents, now that he is
running for president and doing so well for his run as president, because,
weirdly, that`s creating interesting room around him, particularly to his
left, as Democrats try to compete with each other for the favor of the
And so, we now got former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley, who has
been very aggressive on this guns issue. As a politician, he signed gun
reform legislation into law when he was Maryland governor. He has a
progressive record on the issue.
Well, now on the presidential campaign trail, Martin O`Malley is
calling for four specific things to be changed, four specific, easily
understandable, knowable big things to change around guns.
He wants there to be, number one, licenses for all gun purchases.
Number two you, he wants anybody buying a gun to be fingerprinted.
Number three, he wants illegal trafficking of guns to be a federal
crime, which means it would be taken much more seriously than it is now.
And the last thing he is proposing is very super interesting proposal,
which concerns the purchasing power of the federal government. One of the
biggest pushers of firearms in the United States is, obviously, the federal
government, all sorts of different federal agencies arm people for all
different sorts of purposes.
Martin O`Malley is proposing that as a huge purchaser of firearms in
this country, the federal government should use that power and only
purchase guns from companies who agree to the best technological safety
standards for their products, including microstamping, right?
He wants these guns where it`s a special treatment of the firework pin
in the gun, they microstamp every bullet essentially as it`s fired because
the firing pin is scored in a specific readable way. The consequence of
that is at least theoretically every single bullet can be easily traced to
the gun from which it`s fired. It`s basically fingerprinting for guns and
And, Martin O`Malley says the federal government only agrees to buy
firearms from countries that use that technology and all of a sudden,
American gun crimes get a lot easier to solve. Super interesting proposal
from Martin O`Malley.
Now, that said, in political terms, Martin O`Malley cannot get
arrested. I mean, yes, he is technically running for president. You
almost can`t tell that by looking at the polls.
PPP just unveiled a new national Democratic poll tonight. We`re going
to have more detail on this poll later in the show tonight, because it`s
But one little detail here. PPP decided basically to play a little
joke on the Democratic field. They polled on all the various Democrats
running for president, Hillary Clinton, Martin O`Malley, Bernie Sanders.
They also folded into the mix, among other people, Michael Dukakis,
Democratic nominee in 1998 lost to Poppy Bush by something like 12 points.
Even so turns out if you put Michael Dukakis`s name into the polls as
if he is running for president this year, Michael Dukakis beats Martin
So, that kind of mean, but it happens, and, you know, if, frankly,
realistically speaking, it does not appear Governor Martin O`Malley is a
threat to win the Democratic nomination this year.
That`s not the only reason to run, right? On this guns issue, Martin
O`Malley is being aggressive in a specific way. He is just not making the
case people should support him for president, because this is his platform
on guns. He is say, explicitly to the other campaigns and their
supporters. You know what, if you don`t support me, if you support Bernie
Sanders for president, you should pressure Bernie to support these same
ideas on guns.
And he is saying to Hillary Clinton supporters, hey, you may not
support me for president. You may support Hillary Clinton for president.
But if so, you should pressure her to support policies on guns.
So that is an earnest effort from Martin O`Malley, not just try to
compete for the Democratic nomination, which she`s trying to compete for,
but to make sure that the fact that he`s in the race matters, whether or
not he wins. The fact that he is in the race is making the conversation,
more substantive, on this policy issue.
And that – honestly, that`s awesome. I mean, that`s part of how a
part of politics is supposed to go. That`s a sign of a good race well
thought no matter who wins, when people who aren`t winning can nevertheless
inject substance and specificity where people might otherwise be able to
get away with.
So, good on Martin O`Malley.
And, in fact, today, Hillary Clinton unveiled her own series of
actions she says she could take on guns. A series of actions she says she
could take on the guns issue with or without Congress. Hmm.
These new proposals from Secretary Clinton today significantly ramp up
her aggressiveness on this issue. She seems to be very well-aware that by
doing this, particularly by saying I can do this without Congress, she
seems very well-aware she is inviting the hysteria that the gun lobby is
known for. I mean, she`s not explicitly saying, bring it on, but it`s
clear that Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, are starting to see the
gun lobby being mad at them as more a badge of pride than something to
worry about anymore.
Also, what Hillary Clinton has just done – this is fascinating – she
has just specifically put the Obama White House in a really interesting
position, because, yes, Martin O`Malley put forward specific policies he
wants. That`s interesting. Bernie Sanders has this record he comes from
the left, but not particularly on gun issues and so, he`s got stuff to
answer on that subject.
But what Hillary Clinton has done, it`s fascinating because how it
sets her up vis-a-vis the president. With these new policy proposals that
Hillary Clinton has just come out with. If she is right that this whole
list of stuff she says she could, if she is right that these are all things
that can be done by a president with or without Congress – well, that
raises the question of whether President Obama could do these things now,
too, if he wanted to.
I mean, President Obama is obviously very fired up on this issue of
gun reform. He has already taken a bunch of executive actions on issues
like research around guns and reporting requirements and other things that
he could do without Congress. But as Hillary Clinton has now identified,
that she has now identified a series of newly aggressive things a president
could do alone on enforcing the gun laws in this country, by rolling out
that list of policies right now, Secretary Clinton may not have just
changed the conversation around her own campaign, she could conceivably
move American policy on this issue right now, even before she is nominated
let alone I elected.
If the Obama White House looks at that list from Hillary Clinton and
says, oh, yes, some of those things could be done by the president with or
without Congress. She says they could be done.
If she`s right, President Obama should tell us why he`s not doing
them, himself. Fascinating.
So, that was the news late tonight. President Obama going to
Roseburg, Oregon, this week. We don`t know exactly what he is going to do
there. But the politics around this intractable issue have just very
quickly gotten way more specific and way more interesting.
And on the subject of Democrats becoming less afraid of attacking to
the left, Hillary Clinton`s move in that direction, in addition to all the
gun stuff, surprisingly, I think, was also manifest in her appearance on
“Saturday Night Live” this weekend.
I mean, I love me some political comedy – political comedy only very
rarely makes policy news, though, right? But in this “Saturday Night Live”
skit this weekend, the conceit was that the real Hillary Clinton was a
normal person, was a bartender named Val, and Val is having a conversation
with Hillary Clinton.
So, it`s Hillary Clinton talking with herself, the real Hillary
talking to a Hillary impersonator, which is very meta. It`s kind of hard
to wrap your head around until you see it.
But it ends up being, A, very funny, and, B, a really interesting way
for Secretary Clinton to make some public apologies. Some public apologies
for having taken so long to get to where she is now on issues like the
Keystone pipeline and on the issue of gay marriage.
I think this is her way of saying on “Saturday Night Live,” listen,
you guys, I`m sorry it took me so long to get it out there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary, I think you`ve heard enough and let`s
get down here.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh you go ahead. I will have one more drink.
Hey, bartender, keep them coming.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rough night?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you could say that. Whew. Hi, I`m Hillary
CLINTON: Hey, great name. I`m Val.
So, Hillary, what brings you here tonight?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I needed to blow off some steam I`ve had a
hard couple of 22 years.
CLINTON: Why, what do you do for a living?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, first, I`m a grandmother, second, I am a
human entrusted with there one green earth.
CLINTON: Oh, I get it, you`re a politician?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. And how about you?
CLINTON: Well, me, I`m just an ordinary citizen who believes the
Keystone pipeline will destroy our environment.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with you there. It did take me a long
time to decide that. But I am against it.
CLINTON: You know nothing wrong with taking your time. What`s
important is getting it right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I`ll drink to that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Mrs. Clinton. I`m so sorry to interrupt, I
just wanted to say my sister is gay, so thank you for all you have done for
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you are welcome.
CLINTON: It really is great how long you have supported gay marriage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I could have supported it sooner.
CLINTON: Well, you did it pretty soon.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It could have been sooner.
CLINTON: Fair point.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, then let us tap our fists in friendship.
Oh, I`m just so darn bummed, all anyone wants to talk about is Donald
CLINTON: Donald Trump, isn`t he the one that`s like, uh, you`re all
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is him, that is him.
CLINTON: Do you think he`ll win the primaries?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He must. I want to be the one to take him down.
I will destroy him and I will mount his hair in the Oval Office!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton and doppelganger on “Saturday Night Live”
there aren`t issues other than same-sex marriage and I don`t know if anyone
has a Donald Trump impression as good as hers, but that`s skit on “Saturday
Night Live” I think is how Secretary Clinton is kind of apologizing for how
long it took her to get to some of her new liberal positions on some new
some profile issues like Keystone and marriage.
It`s also incidentally the best political skit I seen on “Saturday
Night Live” in a very long time.
In terms of the other Democratic candidates, though, I am told there
is a lot going on right now and there is. Vice President Biden, of course,
has not said whether or not he will jump into the Democratic race for
president. He and Secretary Clinton gave dueling or if you prefer
complimentary appearances before the human rights campaign this weekend.
That`s the gay rights group. Both of them were very, very warmly received
That comes at a whole new round of unsourced by still breathless
speculation that Vice President Biden will declare soon, this week, maybe,
that he is going to get into the race, maybe.
I tend to not believe these stories, or pay too much attention to them
when they come out every few days, if only because they come out every few
days and the only sources to talk about why Joe Biden is going to run for
president are people who definitely want Joe Biden to run for president.
So, these people that don`t know anything, nevertheless, give these blind
quotes to the media, making it sound like of course he`ll run, because they
want to make it sound like he`s going to run because they want to persuade
him to run through the press.
Does any of that mean that he is going to run? Absolutely not. But
in that context, I have a new actual piece of data to give you with a name
attached about – it`s about whether or not Vice President Biden is going
to run as president. Then, as I said, this is a new piece of actual
information. It has a name. And the name is – the Reverend Al Sharpton.
Our beloved Reverend Al has just started his new weekend show Sunday
mornings at 8:00 on MSNBC. And this weekend in addition to getting his new
show off the ground, Reverend Al had a birthday. Happy birthday, Reverend
I can now hereby report that even though Vice President Biden and the
Reverend Al Sharpton have known each other for a while, that I have spoken
personally on several occasions, I can hereby report that this weekend for
the first time ever in the natural lifetime of the Reverend Al Sharpton,
Vice President Biden called him to wish him a happy birthday, which might
just be a nice to do.
It might also mean that Vice President Biden is definitely running for
president and wants to court the Reverend Al`s support. And so, therefore,
he called him on his birthday as a political – I don`t know. I don`t know
and neither do you. But now we both know that that information exists.
And while maybe candidate Joe Biden was delivering those birthday
wishes to Reverend Al and giving a campaign style speech at the Human
Rights Campaign, meanwhile on Saturday this weekend, Bernie Sanders was
holding spectacularly well-attended campaign rallies in the deep blue state
of Massachusetts. Out where I live in western Massachusetts, in
Springfield, Mass, the campaign had been telling the press that they were
expecting 2,000 to 3,000 people to turn out for an event at the Mass Mutual
Center in Springfield, Mass.
That event on Saturday did to the turn out 2,000 or 3,000 people. It
turned out 6,000 people. People were so enthusiastic for Bernie Sanders at
that rally that a local reporter for the Springfield Republican newspaper
called the crowd, quote, “deafening”.
After that rally in western Massachusetts for 6,000 people, Senator
Sanders drove east to Boston for a rally on Saturday that drew one of the
largest crowds that any candidate has had in any venue, anywhere in the
country since the whole start of the race. There were 20,000 people
Saturday night crammed into the Boston convention center to see Bernie
Sanders. The campaign says they counted another 4,000 people on top of
that outside the convention center, people in the overflow who couldn`t get
into the building.
“The Boston Globe” noting today that the previous crowd size record
set by any presidential primary candidate in Massachusetts before now was
Barack Obama in 2008 who turned out 10,000 people in Boston. If Bernie
Sanders, in fact, just turned out 24,000 in Boston. That means he not only
beat Barack Obama`s record from eight years ago, he more than doubled it.
That said, to be fair. Senator Sanders is from New England, he`s from
a neighboring state. He`s been a fixture invert politics forever. Vermont
and Massachusetts are close, both geographically and culturally on the
left. So, maybe you can think of these huge Springfield and Boston crowds
as kind of hometown crowds for Bernie Sanders. Sort of.
Maybe we should think of it that way. And you know, to be fair, maybe
any presidential candidate appearing before a home town crowd at this point
in the race could be counted on to turn out thousands or tens of thousands
of people at this point hometown, right? Any of them can do too, couldn`t
Of course not. Cue the trombone sound for one other Republican
presidential candidate this time, who is hoping to be president but who had
the saddest possible experience at home this weekend and that story is
Stay with us.
MADDOW: So Rand Paul went home to Kentucky this weekend to do a home
state event alongside the Republican candidate for governor in Kentucky.
That governor`s race in Kentucky is next month.
So, Rand Paul and Matt Bevin, Rand Paul, the presidential candidate,
and Matt Bevin, the gubernatorial candidate in Kentucky, they did a joint
campaign appearance on Saturday in Kentucky, big home state event in the
heat of the campaign. I mean, the presidential candidate there in person
and everything – they got a grand total of 50 people to turn out to see
And at that event which the local paper called “subdued”, Rand Paul
could not even get himself a presidential endorsement from the other guy he
was there is campaigning with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul, endorsing Matt
Bevin at the rally, just days after Bevin said he supports Ben Carson in
the presidential race.
SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s immaterial to me.
It`s also something I understand. I mean, there are going to be people I
know well who may not support me for the presidency but support me for the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Rand Paul talking to local CBS affiliate WKYT.
There is a lot that`s going on right now, particularly today, that I
think is fascinating on the Democratic side of the presidential race. But
on the Republican side of the race, really the most interesting questions
continue to be about the bottom of the field, about who is going to quit
next and how the field is going to be winnowed down.
Rand Paul really is teetering on the brink of perceived viability.
Headlines about his campaign right now look like this. A political wire,
“Paul says he`s not quitting.” This is at CBS, “Rand Paul campaign insists
it`s not folding tent.”
His hometown paper, “The Lexington Herald Leader”, when they covered
his sad trombone 50-person rally on Saturday, Senator Paul had to patiently
explain to the local reporters from that paper that, no, no, he was not
planning on dropping out of the race.
But there is a real question now as to whether or not he`s going to
make the main debate is taken at the next Republican debate which is coming
up in Colorado and it`s going to be aired by CNBC. Politico.com now saying
if you look at the polls being used to qualify people for that debate, if
you add up the qualifying polls for that debate right now, as best they can
tell, you would need two respondents, two actual individual people to
change their mind about Rand Paul.
Two people changing their minds would be enough for him to go from
making the debate to him not making the debate, two people. He is right on
the bubble. So this is a fascinating time.
The Republican Party just tonight released the schedule of when
delegates are going to be awarded in the race for the Republican
presidential nomination. It`s basically the map of when the Republican
race is going to be decided. It turns out, as expected, the Republican
party has decided to stack all the delegates super, super early in the
I mean, look at this. This is devastating. They`re going to do 133
delegates in February. And then look at March. More than 1,400 delegates
and then the rest just drizzle out over the next couple of months.
The Republican Party wants this over. They have stacked their
presidential nominating process this year so that it will all be decided
very early. They very clearly want this thing wrapped up by March.
And for some Republican candidates, that may be good news. But for
most of them, that means it`s going to wrap up way, way, way earlier than
Watch this space.
MADDOW: So they`re calling this a thousand year flood. The Carolinas
have seen unrelenting rainfall over the last few days, record breaking,
frankly, deadly rainfall, the deluge has claimed two lives in North
Carolina as of this evening, South Carolina officials say 11 people have
been killed in that state. The rain has come partly from Hurricane
Joaquin, partly from a local storm that would not quit.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley warning as water makes its way
from the midlands to the low country out to the sea, lakes in that area
will swell. Those lakes are formed by dams that are now straining to hold
the water. Below those dams are communities faced with the threat of yet
more flooding if those dams give way or they`re breached.
Ground zero for the new flooding is the capital city of Columbia,
which got six months worth of rain in two days, over the last two days.
That deluge has already submerged parts of suburban Columbia, South
Carolina, five people, almost half the deaths from this storm in that state
have already died here in this area, all of them in their cars, all of them
in flooding caused directly by rain.
But again, this area is also a part of 70-mile long network of dams
and lakes and streams, which eventually empty into the Congaree River. And
since Saturday, eight or nine dams have given way across the state. Three
of those where is here in the Gill`s Creek watershed.
And you see how the domino effect plays out. A dam breaks near the
top of this lake system, this overfilled lake then rushes down into the
next lake. And then another dam breaks and so on and so on. All eyes
right now, we are told, are on the Forest Lake Dam. If the Forest Lake Dam
breaks, and the second largest lake in that whole watershed will flow down
into Lake Katherine.
If Lake Katherine`s 3,000-foot dam breaks that, could be a seriously
major disaster. Two hundred thousand people live in that watershed in the
Gill`s Creek watershed.
Columbia, South Carolina, has been the scene of dramatic rescues all
day today. Tonight, mandatory evacuations are under way around those local
lakes and, of course, everybody is hoping we have seen the end of these
dams getting breached and getting blown.
Joining us now is MSNBC correspondent, Sarah Dallof. She`s near one
of the dams that officials are monitoring and are concerned may be giving
Sarah, thanks for being here. What are you seeing where you are now?
What`s the latest that you know?
SARAH DALLOF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rachel, there were some very
tense moments this afternoon. We were actually in a neighborhood where
residents had recently been allowed back in to kind of take stock of their
homes, see what was salvageable. They were inside their homes when the
news came that a dam upstream had broken and people needed to evacuate
And this is what officials were dealing with. This chain reaction of
dam breaches. You know, one would breach the water would travel down. The
next one wouldn`t be able to handle that sort of pressure and so on and so
forth. These are earthen dams.
Now, as you can see behind me the water knocking out the dams, but
actual asphalt, a foot layer thick of asphalt just tossed away like it was
nothing. You know, South Carolina, they were supposed to have dodged the
bullet, Hurricane Joaquin. But, instead, got the devastating flooding.
The main issue right now here in Columbia is that the drinking water
is contaminated. That was a huge issue earlier today. Five hospitals in
the area were reporting that they were in trouble because of this.
Luckily, firefighters were able to reach them. They think they`re going to
be able to keep them sustained with clean water for now. So, that is a
small sigh of relief.
Some residents, however, still without water, some people still
without electricity. There is also search teams that are going door-to-
door, checking for people who may have been trapped and clearing those
properties. Meanwhile, looking forward, rivers and streams still expected
to swell as the water makes its way down here to the midlands, down from
these affected areas.
And once that water level goes down, they`re still not out of the
woods yet. These roads, these bridges, these dams, they need to be
instructed for structural integrity. So, the governor had it right,
Rachel, when she said this is a long term recovery.
Back to you.
MADDOW: Sarah Dallof, MSNBC correspondent, Sara, thank you for being
with us tonight and helping us understand that. I appreciate it.
It is remarkable in these circumstances when there is so much
infrastructure involved that once the rain stops falling, it doesn`t
necessarily mean that the damage – that the risk has passed. So, in South
Carolina, while we saw that dramatic rescue efforts today, you know, the
rescue teams are still working. The inspections are still happening,
potentially further dams could go.
This is something that it`s going to be hard to tell when it`s
resolved. But it`s going to be a lot of digging out over a very long
period of time, and a lot of infrastructure rebuilding necessary in South
Carolina when this is all over. Scary stuff.
All right. Ahead, the Democrats now playing offense, Republicans are
apparently running out of reasons to continue their favorite partisan
committee in Congress. It`s creating all sort of ripples across all sorts
of politics. Details on that ahead.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Still ahead tonight –
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: In the past few years alone, I
have visited Poland, Hungria, Estonia, Russia and Georgia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Congressional Republicans are now facing a full blown mess in
their quest to find a new speaker of the House. But lucky for us, that
mess turns out to be even more fun and and even more unpredictable than
that fateful last visit of Congressman Kevin McCarthy to Hungria.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: In the past few years alone, I have visited Poland, Hungria
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. Flashback to the 1980s computers look like this, right?
No fancy icons, no pictures, lines and lines of texts. Sometimes if you
had a fancy ones, there would be different colors of texts to make it look
slightly more pretty.
The classic age of computing, right? The problem is, what you are
looking at is not from the 1980s, this is today. This is the system used
by the United States Secret Service right now in 2015, to store the kind of
very sensitive information that the Secret Service has access to.
In March of this year, that ridiculously antiquated system, without
the plot to smear a member of Congress. On March 24th this year, the
director of the Secret Service was testifying before Congress, testifying
about a pair of his agents allegedly being drunk and crashing a Secret
Service vehicle right into a bomb scare investigation at the White House.
While that testimony was going on, while the Secret Service director
was being grilled on Capitol Hill, a number of Secret Service agents back
at HQ decided to access that 1980s looking system and figured out that one
of the members of Congress who is raking the Secret Service director over
the coals that day, that congressman had himself once applied to become a
Secret Service agent. But wouldn`t you know it, he didn`t make the cut.
He was rejected. Ha ha.
Dozens of Secret Service agents accessed that information, which is in
violation both of agency policy and the law. They shared that information
with each other inside the agency, and then they decided to share it a
An assistant director of the Secret Service e-mailed a colleague,
quote, “Some information he might find embarrassing needs to get out, just
to be fair.”
And that information did get out, that internal personal file showing
that this member of Congress had been rejected by the Secret Service, that
information, was, in fact, leaked to the press, which is terrible. And
it`s yet another scandal for the Secret Service, a particularly stupid and
scandal but a scandal nonetheless.
The director of the Secret Service himself is not directly implicated
in this scandal, but he is now admitting that he learned about his agents
doing this earlier than he initially told investigators he learned about
it. The director is apparently not going to lose his job over the scandal,
though. He appeared today alongside his boss, Homeland Security Secretary
Jeh Johnson. Secretary Johnson said of the Secret Service director, quote,
“that he has a lot of confidence in him”.
But the person the Secret Service was trying to smear, but leaking
that disparaging job application about him, the person they were going
after in this stupid and petty scandal, that member of Congress might now
be the next speaker of the House, because it was Republican Congressman
Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He was the member of Congress who was grilling the
Secret Service director and he was the one who in turn had the Secret
Service leaked information about him applying to the Secret Service to try
to embarrass him.
I mean, if he becomes speaker, that would put Jason Chaffetz two heart
beats away from the presidency and, of course, the Secret Service
protection that comes with that job. Eek.
So, he might be speaker of the House. He might not. Still very much
a dark horse candidates.
Since John Boehner resigned as speaker, the man everyone expected to
replace him is California Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy is
definitely still the front runner for the speaker job. But Jason Chaffetz
is now running against him, in part, because of the awkward fact that very
frequently when Congressman McCarthy opens his mouth near a microphone, he
makes no sense.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCCARTHY: It defies belief that the president would allow the ban on
Iranian oil exports to be lifted, and also stand by Russia black mails an
entire continent, all the while keeping the place of the band on America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Stand by Russia black males an entire continent, all the
while keeping the place on the band of America.
Today, Jason Chaffetz went after that weakness in Kevin McCarthy by
saying that the Republicans need to elect a speaker, quote, “who speaks”.
Now there is more bad news for Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Today, the
still House Speaker John Boehner the actual vote on who the new speaker
will be won`t take place until the end of October. Now, the reason that`s
trouble is this: House Republicans are going to vote on Thursday, this
week, for who they want to be their nominee for speaker. They presumably
will nominate Kevin McCarthy. But then it`s going to be three long weeks
after that until the actual vote on the House floor takes place to install
him in the job.
Three weeks. Three weeks for that candidate to twist in the wind as
the choice of the establishment while anyone unhappy with that choice for
any reason gets to take shots at him.
I mean, any normal candidate in a position like this might try to play
offense for that three-week period. Take to the air waves, do as many
interviews as possible, be the speaker in waiting, get out there in public,
do a lot of public speaking, defend yourselves, stake out our grounds.
But if you`re Kevin McCarthy, anywhere near a microphone is enemy
territory. And so, it is unclear how he, in particular, is going to make
the case for himself against all the slings and arrows that inevitably will
be coming his way while they leave him out there as not yet the speaker for
three solid weeks.
But that is the plan the House Republicans have drawn up. That is the
mess the Republicans have made entirely for themselves in Washington right
now. But it`s not the only mess, because now the Democrats have just
decided to make things 100 times harder for the Republicans in Washington
right now – unusually for the Democrats, but they`re doing it.
And that story is next.
MADDOW: NBC News asked Hillary Clinton about the issue of Benghazi
today and the House Republican Benghazi committee that has been
investigating that scandal, supposed scandal. Hillary Clinton`s response
to the question was kind of surprising and very passionate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NBC NEWS: You mentioned your Republican rivals making hey of them.
NBC NEWS: I have to ask you, if the tables were turned and it was
Dick Cheney or Karl Rove who had a private e-mail account or server on
which they conducted all their government business, would you be as
CLINTON: I would have never done that. Look at the situation they
chose to exploit to go after me for political reasons – the death of four
Americans in Benghazi. I knew the ambassador. I identified him. I asked
him to go there. I asked the president to nominate him.
There have been seven investigations led mostly by Republicans in the
Congress and they were non-partisan and they reached conclusions that,
first of all, I and nobody did anything wrong but there were changes we
This committee was set up as they have admitted for the purpose of
making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans. I
would have never done that. And if I were president, and there were
Republicans or Democrats who were thinking about that, I would have done
anything to shut it down.
I have been around this political situation for a long time. But some
things are just beyond the pale. And I`m happy to go if it still is in
operation to testify. I am happy to turn over my e-mails.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I`m happy to go if the committee is still in operation.
Politics of the House Benghazi Committee have changed since the
leading Republican candidate for speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy,
admitted openly that the committee was created by House Republicans to
lower Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers.
Republicans had called this a serious, credible, nonpartisan
investigation into the attack on Benghazi diplomatic post in 2012. Even as
information they said would be kept secret has been leaked on a regular
basis to the press for the last few months, always in ways that seem
designed specifically to try to hurt Hillary Clinton.
Well, now, Democrats on the committee are going on offense about that.
Today, the five Democrats who are on that committee sent a letter to the
chairman of the committee saying they plan to release previously
undisclosed testimony that was given to that committee by one of Hillary
Clinton`s top aides, Cheryl Mills.
Cheryl Mills testified for eight hours before the committee last month
and after that testimony, the chairman, Trey Gowdy, said that testimony
would be treated as if it were testified.
Well, not really. As soon as she was done testifying, parts of it
were leaked from the committee. Parts of it seemed again clearly designed
to make Hillary Clinton look as bad as possible.
Well, now, the Democrats are threatening to release that testimony in
full to the American people, basically turning to go on offense on story on
which the Republicans have been on shaky ground for quite some time but now
they`re in a position almost unimaginable months ago because of what their
speaker in waiting has just admitted about what they are doing here.
Joining us now here in Los Angeles is Congressman Adam Schiff. He`s a
member of the Select Committer on Benghazi. He`s one of the five Democrats
to sign the letter threatening to release that testimony to the American
public against Chairman Trey Gowdy`s wishes.
Congressman Schiff, thanks for being here.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.
MADDOW: So, why threaten to release that full testimony? Why warn
the chairman you`re about to do that? What`s the goal?
SCHIFF: The goal is to really set the record straight and we have
experienced over the last 16 months that this committee has been in
existence selective leaks by the committee, by the chairman,
notwithstanding all the promises to work in a bipartisan way and not to
leak information. We`ve acted in a very partisan way, interviewing
witnesses without us present, not even telling us about the interviews when
they don`t corroborate their GOP conspiracy theories.
And then in the case of Cheryl Mills leaking, again, inaccurate
information, and we finally decided enough is enough. Their speaker in
waiting has acknowledged this was always about attacking Secretary Clinton,
and I think now that that is abundantly clear, not just from his
statements, even a month ago I wrote an op-ed in “The New York Times”
saying we should shut this committee down.
The reality is, after 16 months, after $4.5 million, we have no new
insight. Nothing new to tell the American people about what happened in
Benghazi, and one level that`s not surprising. We had seven or eight other
investigations before this one began.
But we basically have said enough is enough. If they`re going to
continue selectively leaking things, we are going to be publishing them in
their entirety so the American people can see the context.
MADDOW: If Chairman Gowdy, you were telling him, not asking him. If
he decides to stop you from doing this, is there anything he can do to stop
you? Can he say you`re breaking a rule then pun issue somehow in a way
that might make you not do this?
SCHIFF: No, there isn`t. If he has some argument that some part of
the interview is so sensitive it should be released, we`ll listen to what
he has to say. But no, there`s nothing that will prohibit us from doing
this. I think, frankly, there are many other interviews that all should be
published. Some like Sidney Blumenthal, a deposition, there are different
rules and may be prevent from unilaterally making a disclosure.
But if they`re going to continue to do this, they released selective
e-mails they wanted published but not others. They would release e-mails
about the witness but not the witness` testimony about the e-mails, we`re
going to put our foot down and say, enough is enough. We`re going to start
publishing these materials.
MADDOW: When Secretary Clinton raised the prospect the committee
might not exist by the time she`s due to testify to them on October 22nd,
is that a possibility. Do you think it`s possible the committee will be
ended some time soon?
SCHIFF: It`s a possibility the Democrats will end the participation.
We have a rigorous debate at the outset whether we should participate at
all. I frankly took the position we shouldn`t, this should be in effect
what it has become, which is solely about trying to attack Secretary
Now, there were good reasons to be in the room, and frankly, if we
hadn`t been in the room, we wouldn`t be in the position to be releasing
this transcript to be setting the record straight.
So, it was a tough call, but at the same time, our continued
participation gives this committee a patina of respectability it doesn`t
deserve. And at a certain point, we may just decide there`s nothing
productive for us to be part of this charade.
MADDOW: Congressman Adam Schiff from here in southern California,
thank you for your time tonight. It`s good to –
SCHIFF: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: – to get your take on this. Appreciate it.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: If you think of the most difficult places in the world, the
most challenging and frustrating and dangerous and at times God-forsaken
places in the world, one of those places got a break this weekend. A real
change. And that story`s next.
MADDOW: It has been 12 1/2 years since the George W. Bush
administration decided to launch the invasion of Iraq. That precipitated a
lot of things. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives. Saddam
Hussein is dead and gone.
Shiites are in charge of the Iraqi government now instead of the
Sunnis. The nation of Iran now has unprecedented influence and power both
in Iraq and throughout that whole region. The Sunni terrorist group ISIS
now controls the major Iraqi cities of Mosul and Ramadi.
Iraq is nowhere near recovering from what the U.S.-led war and its
aftermath did to Iraqi infrastructure and basic stuff like getting
electricity to the average Iraqi household.
But one of the day-to-day things in Iraq that started with the launch
of that war 12 1/2 years ago that`s been true since that war was launched
is that you can`t drive through the middle of Iraq`s capital city. This
whole big central swath of Baghdad was christened the Green Zone at the
start of the war, surrounded by concrete walls and check points that holds
the U.S. embassy, which is the biggest U.S. embassy in the world.
It holds government buildings and diplomatic facilities and fancy
housing for the protected class.
But regular Iraqis haven`t been able to go there for more than 12
years now – until this weekend. This weekend, the Iraqi prime minister
threw open the gates. The prime minister, himself, came down to one main
entrance the Green Zone and waved at people as they drove in welcoming them
to this part of their own city they`ve been kept out of for all these
And at one level, it is just simply a blessing and a relief for
Baghdad`s spectacularly terrible traffic. At another level, though, as
U.S. airstrikes continue in Iraq against ISIS and the U.S. military
fighting against the Taliban ticks back up in Afghanistan, and “The
Washington Post” front pages, a push/pull of a story suggesting that the
Obama administration might not bring home America`s 10,000 troops in
Afghanistan next year, as we get another day of news today that feels like
the wars never end, today a little practical piece of the American war in
their country just ended for Iraqis. And maybe it will only make taxi
rides more direct and maybe it will be a security nightmare.
But at least this weekend, as of this weekend, it means they have a
little bit more of their own country back to themselves under their own
That does it for us tonight.
Now it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL” who`s also
here in L.A. tonight.
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