The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/20/15
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.
It was a liberal sweep of proportions that no one expected. These are
the Canadian provinces, the ten Canadian provinces and these are the
Canadian provinces in which the liberal party last night either swept up
every single seat that that province has in parliament or they at least won
the majority. And turns out when you take every single seat in all of the
Atlantic provinces, and you take a majority of the seats in the big
population centers of Quebec and Ontario – well, that`s all you need.
And that surprising liberal wave last night is how the great nation of
Canada ousted this guy after nearly ten years in power as a conservative
party prime minister and they replaced him instead with this guy – 43-
year-old liberal party leader Justin Trudeau whose party last night went
from 36 seats in parliament to, boing, 184 seats, thus putting the liberal
party solidly in the majority and thus drastically changing Canada`s
political direction from fairly hard right, which is was under Stephen
Harper, hard right for almost a solid decade, to the new government that
they`re getting now under Trudeau which is beak a center left government.
There aren`t just two major parties in Canada like there are here.
So, it`s a little more complicated than that. It`s not a direct analogy.
But basically Canada was George W. Bush and now any are – now there`s
somebody in the American Democratic Party. We don`t know the exactly who.
We`ll see how Justin Trudeau ends up governing before we I think make our
American analogy there.
But in the short term, for the United States, this big unexpected
change in the Canadian government last night is going to have specific near
term consequences for our country. First off, Canada is going to stop
participating in the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria against
President Obama spoke with the new prime minister in Canada today by
phone. Partly, that`s just a nice thing you do when a close ally gets a
new leader. But we`re also told in that phone call, the new Canadian Prime
Minister Justin Trudeau, he told President Obama Canada will be withdrawing
its fighter jets from Iraq and from Syria from that campaign against ISIS.
So, all change.
There`s also going to be a change on environmental policy. These
election results last night mean that instead of Canada being run by a guy
who thinks that global warming is a hoax and a conspiracy ala Senator James
Inhofe, instead the new prime minister says he will personally lead
Canada`s delegation to the big climate world summit that`s going to happen
in Paris in a few weeks.
There`s some skepticism in many environmental circles as to whether or
not Trudeau will be good on client issues, particularly because he
apparently supports the Keystone pipeline and some other things that
environmentalists are against both in Canada and here. But, you know, at
least he thinks global warming is not some nasty trick, right, and at least
he`s pledging to be in on the discussion. So, we shall see.
This big change in Canada last night also means at a personal level
that Canada is getting its first ever family legacy leader at the top,
because Justin Trudeau is the son of legendary Canadian Prime Minister
Pierre Trudeau who led the government from the 1968 to 1994. Pierre
Trudeau was prime minister for 16 years except for one eight-month
interregnum in the middle of his term in office, which is too boring to
But he was there for a long time. He was a very consequential liberal
leader in Canada. And now, his son is going to be the new prime minister
at the age of 43.
I mean, in some countries, in this country, we have some experience
with children following their parent into the presidency. We had John
Adams and then John Quincy Adams. We had George Bush and then we had
George W. Bush.
But Canada never before has had the child of a former leader become
leader himself. And because they`re doing that now, it is therefore
tempting to see parallel for our own presidential election for what
everybody thought was going to be a Bush III versus Clinton II presidential
As it turns out, that is not what we`ve got here in terms of
presidential front runners. At least not on the Republican side, not
unless Fred Trump was secretly president at some point and everybody has
It turns out the closer parallel to this political stunner last night
among our northern neighbors, the closer parallel for us here is not our
presidential race. But instead, it`s this contest.
This is Congressman Paul Ryan tonight being chased by reporters and
looking fairly miserable about it. As he and other House Republicans
started meeting tonight at the U.S. Capitol – meetings at which the new
Republican leader of Congress might have been or might not have been
chosen. We`ll find out.
I mean, current Speaker John Boehner surprised everyone about three
weeks ago when he announced suddenly that he would quit as speaker and quit
Congress altogether. For a hot minute, it appeared that he would be
replaced by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy but then McCarthy`s bid
disappeared into a puff of smoke and since then everybody and his sister
has been floated as a potential speaker of the House. The only problem
being none of them appear to have the support necessary to get the job if
they ran for it.
Tonight on FOX News, with my friend Bret Baier, outgoing House Speaker
John Boehner or at least wannabe outgoing House Speaker John Boehner
expressed high hopes that all this Republican drama would be over soon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS: Why should Ryan even consider taking this job
after the treatment you received as House speaker in this job?
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Well, somebody has to
have this job. And while I`ve taken my share of grief, I learned a long
time ago that you`ve got to play the cards you`re dealt. I`ve plays the
cards I was dealt every day.
Now, I`ll tell you, I`ve had a lot of bad hands. And I never got a
day where I had five aces in my hand. But I think Paul Ryan has the skills
to do this job and I hope he does decide to run and if he does, I think
he`ll be elected.
BAIER: At this hour, we`re told Paul Ryan is meeting with the House
Freedom Caucus. Talking with them, clearly an indication he`s warmed to
throwing his hat in the ring.
Do you know what Paul Ryan is going to do?
BOEHNER: No, but I do expect we`ll know later on this evening what
his answer is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s funny, as soon as John Boehner said that on FOX News
tonight, we`ll know later this evening what his answer is, as soon as he
said that, Paul Ryan`s office came out and said that, “No, no, that`s not
true.” A Paul Ryan spokesman came out and said, “Thanks, Speaker Boehner
as if I wasn`t getting enough e-mails. We don`t expect a final decision
Then again, one decision did kind of happen. I mean, the reason all
eyes have been on Congressman Paul Ryan in the speaker contest is it
because of two very incompatible things that are either known or strongly
suspected about this leadership problem that the Republicans have.
The first thing is that Paul Ryan has been very clear about the fact
he doesn`t want the job of speaker. The second thing has been that Paul
Ryan is apparently the only Republican who could conceivably get the job of
speaker if he decided to run for it. Not wanting it and being the only guy
who can get it has been a difficult tension.
And this is not the same kind you have decision as deciding whether or
not to run for president, right? This is Paul Ryan deciding whether or not
to run to be the leader of his party in the legislature.
Now, in Canada, when you`re the young, fit, 40 something guy who gets
the job of leading your party in the legislature, you know, if you`re –
this is Justin Trudeau, by the way, his boxing career – if your party does
well and you`re the legislative leader of your party in, Canada, you get
the prime minister job, you get the rough equivalent of the American
presidency as your job. Leaving your party in the legislature leads to the
top job if you`re in a parliamentary democracy like Canada.
In the United States though, leading your party in the legislature
doesn`t ever get you a president-type job. It gets you a John Boehner-type
job which John Boehner will be the first to tell you even tonight, it is
not that good a job. It`s no fun. Even he when you have a huge majority
in the House, it kind of stinks as a job and he`s happy to give it up.
John Boehner has been very un-shy about talking about how difficult it
is to be speaker. And being speaker particularly with this group of
Republicans, it is not a glamorous job. It doesn`t appear to be an
attractive job and has not appeared to be attractive to the only guy who
apparently could take the job if he could be persuaded to want it.
These House Republican meetings were going on all night tonight in the
capital. John Boehner said we`ll get a decision tonight. Paul Ryan`s
office said we won`t get a decision tonight. But those meetings on Capitol
Hill tonight did just wrap up a short time ago and Congressman Ryan did
come out and speak to reporters.
And after all these days and weeks of saying he would not take the job
and after his office saying even tonight we wouldn`t hear from him tonight
whether he would take the job, tonight, Paul Ryan came out and said, yes,
he will take the job and run for speaker, but only if the whole Republican
Party embraces him as their consensus candidate and only if they meet his
other conditions for running.
He says he wants changes to house rules. He says he wants changes for
how the party can fire a speaker, which is the process called vacating the
chair. He also said at some length that he will not give up family time to
travel and raise money.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: I cannot and I will not give up my
family time. I may not be on the road as often as previous speakers, but I
pledge to try and make up for it with more time communicating our vision,
What I told members is, if you can agree to these requests, and if I
can truly be a unifying figure, then I will gladly serve. And if I`m not
unifying, that will be fine, as well. I`ll be happy to stay where I am at
the Ways and Means Committee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now live from Capitol Hill is Frank Thorp. He`s
NBC News Capitol Hill producer and reporter.
Frank, it`s great to have you tonight. Thanks for being with us.
FRANK THORP, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL PRODUCER: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: So, Paul Ryan all this time has been saying “I don`t want the
job”. And then John Boehner said tonight Paul Ryan`s going to say whether
or not he wants the job and Paul Ryan`s office said, no, no, no, he won`t
say, he won`t tell you tonight.
And then Paul Ryan came out and said, I do sort of want the job. But
I probably won`t take it unless do you this whole big long list of things.
Is that basically what just happened?
THORP: Basically, yes. Paul Ryan basically said he would take the
job if the Republican conference agrees to these conditions he has. You
listed them yourself.
They involved his family. They involved some rule changes. They
involved a big word he`s been using over and over again is the idea of
unity. He wants to unify the conference.
But the reality is he wants to do this. He`s given the conference
until the end of the week to decide whether or not think can unify around
him. He`s asked that the three major caucuses of the Republican Party come
back and basically say, OK, we`ll endorse you as the speaker of the House.
Those three caucuses are the RSC, which is Conservative Republicans, the
Freedom Caucus which is very conservative Republicans and then the Tuesday
Group which is more of the moderates.
And that`s not a slam dunk. I mean, you know, the idea that the
Freedom Caucus is going to coalesce around Paul Ryan here is not
necessarily something that we can say is definitely going to happen. And
one of the major hang-ups is the idea that he wants to change the House
rules like you said, to take away the ability to vacate the chair, the
ability to fire the speaker. He wants that done away with. And
conservatives don`t want to give that up.
MADDOW: Frank, in terms of that consensus factor, you described the
Republican Study Committee, the Tuesday Group and the Freedom Caucus as
these three major caucuses in the Republican Party he wants support from.
Is he asking just – when he says he wants consensus and a unified vote of
support for him, does he just mean he wants the members of those caucuses
to support him or is he actually saying that he wants every single
Republican House member to support him? Do we have a number attached to
what he`s thinking of as consensus?
THORP: No, there`s no number. I mean, there`s no expectation that
Paul Ryan will get every single member of the Republican conference. I
mean, there were members walking out of that conference meeting today who
said basically – you know, he sold his story but you know, I`m still not
going to support him.
The idea is, though, according to Matt Fuller, he`s a reporter for
“Roll Call”, who is kind of the scribe of the Freedom Caucus, he says that
they need a four fifths majority in the caucus to make any kind of policy
announcements, any policy positions here. So, they`re going to need a
four-fifths majority to come out and endorse Ryan.
I mean, he`ll get the Tuesday group, the moderates were all about
this, he already had some of the moderate Republicans who had said they
would consider running for speaker say that they would drop out now that
Paul Ryan is announcing that he`s going to do this. So, they`re already
behind this idea. The real question is whether or not the freedom caucus
can get around some of the hang-ups that they`re going to have with some of
MADDOW: Frank Thorp, NBC`s Capitol Hill producer – and, Frank,
thanks very much for this kind of an exciting night in Capitol Hill
tonight. I really don`t know how this is going to end. Thanks for being
MADDOW: We`ll tell you tonight that one of those Republicans who
dropped out of the speaker`s race when Ryan said he would get in was Jason
Chaffetz. Jason Chaffetz got in the race around the time that Kevin
McCarthy started to look a little wobbly as the potential next speaker.
But, you know, Paul Ryan coming out tonight, he made lengthy remarks.
He`s clearly trying to persuade Republicans to put aside their objections
to him and coalesce around his candidacy. Maybe he`s going to move some of
But the Freedom Caucus already has a candidate. They like this guy
Daniel Webster in Florida. They`re going to have to be persuaded, as Frank
says, by an 80 percent margin to dump their previously stated support for
one of their own guys and all move over to Paul Ryan in order for this to
I think we`re going to get a lot of news from the Beltway that Paul
Ryan is the next speaker. But until those super hard-line conservatives
sign up with him in great proportion, this is not yet done.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: My greatest worry is the consequence of not stepping up. Of
some day having my own kids ask me, when the stakes were so high, why
didn`t you do all you could do? Why didn`t you stand and fight for my
future when had you a chance to do so?
None of us wants to hear that question. And none of us should ever
I have shown my colleagues what I think success looks like. What I
think it takes to unify and lead and how my family commitments come first.
I have left this decision in their hands. And should they agree with these
requests, then I am happy and I am willing to get to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LUKE RUSSERT, NBC NEWS CAPITOL HILL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Ryan, do you
think that you possess the capabilities of actually unifying this
conference? They`ve gone after John Boehner`s head. They`ve gone after
Kevin McCarthy`s head. What assurances do you have that you won`t be the
RYAN: I laid out for our conference what I think it takes to unify
this conference, what I think it haves to have a successful speakership,
and it`s in their hands. I`ll leave it up to my colleagues to decide if I
am that unifying person.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Republican Congressman Paul Ryan tonight coming out in a
somewhat surprise move and saying he will be as speaker of the House if and
only if nobody says no to him, if and only if his Republican colleagues
unite behind him as speaker. It`s in their hands.
And they need to decide by Friday. And I hope they do one way or the
other, because ten days later, two weeks from tonight, November 3rd which
is already marked in your calendar as election day, two weeks from tonight
is also the date the CBO says is now debt ceiling day.
So think about the time frame here. Paul Ryan says he wants a
decision on whether or not he`s going to be the next speaker by Friday.
Thereafter, they have to schedule some sort of vote and he has to
become the new speaker. It all better happen in a rush because the
following Tuesday is the absolute drop dead deadline by which this Congress
needs to vote to raise the debt ceiling or you can take the whole American
economy out behind the woodshed in the backyard and kill it with a dull ax.
So, no pressure you guys. Take your time.
MADDOW: There`s some news to get to on the 2016 front today. There`s
some exciting news or at least consequential news on the Democratic side
which we`re going to get to in just a moment. There`s also some
interesting news on the Republican side in terms of polling.
But the juiciest piece of just plain gossip on the Republican side
today is what Jeb Bush`s brother said about Ted Cruz.
Politico.com today naturally is the source for the high school locker
room gossip story of the day which is that George W. Bush, former President
George W. Bush speaking at a high dollar fund raiser for his brother`s
presidential campaign two days ago in Denver apparently, reportedly,
apropos of nothing, volunteered to the assembled donors at that event that
when it comes to Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, quote,
“I just don`t like the guy.”
So, that`s the news from the junior high part of the 2016 race. Jeb`s
brother doesn`t like Ted. Meow!
That said, we do have more substantive news including some really,
really good news for one otherwise sad sack Republican candidate. And that
existentially good news for that candidate is coming up later on.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN MODERATOR: You`ve all made a few people upset
over your political careers. Which enemy are you most proud of?
JIM WEBB (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`d have to say the enemy
soldier that threw the grenade that wounded me but he`s not around right
now to talk to.
COOPER: All right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Former Virginia senator, former navy secretary, U.S. marine
combat veteran Jim Webb announced today at a press conference in Washington
that he is dropping his bid for the Democratic nomination for president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Do you still consider yourself a Democrat though? Would
you use that term to describe yourself?
WEBB: We`ll think about that.
REPORTER: Should the polls hold up and Hillary Clinton becomes the
nominee for the Democratic Party, Donald Trump becomes the nominee for the
Republican Party, could you see yourself supporting one of these two
WEBB: I honestly – if we ran an independent race that worked and got
traction, I honestly could see us beating both of them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: By us he means I.
Senator Jim Webb never really seemed like he was running all that hard
for the Democratic nomination for president. Now he says officially that
he isn`t anymore. Unless he decided to not really run as an independent in
which case he says he`ll win, he`ll beat both Hillary Clinton and Donald
Trump, which is hard to imagine. That`s how he thinks of himself.
Jim Webb gets out of the race at a time when he was polling at 2
percent nationwide. That`s low enough for “The New York Times” to dismiss
him in a headline today as a, quote, “blip in the polls.”
But it`s actually better polling than two of the other candidates who
are running for the Democratic nomination right now. The latest NBC/”Wall
Street Journal” indeed has Jim Webb at only 2 percent but that same poll
has Martin O`Malley at only 1 percent and that same poll has Lincoln Chafee
receiving the support of precisely one person, one person telling pollsters
that they will support him. And that`s good enough for zero percent in
that poll with the world`s saddest instance of numerical rounding.
I mean, there does continue to be a lot of chatter and speculation as
to whether or not Vice President Biden will jump into the Democratic
presidential race late in the game. One union leader from the
International Association of Firefighters who spoke to the vice president
on Friday and says he was left with the impression in that Friday call that
Vice President Biden will be running, today that same union leader tells
Andrea Mitchell he has since spoken to the vice president again and he is
now, quote, “preparing as though the vice president is going to declare his
And maybe Vice President Biden will declare his candidacy. We`ll see.
I don`t know. And you don`t know either. And nobody who says they know
actually knows – unless the person telling you that is named Joe Biden in
which case please call me.
Barring that, as of today, we are still waiting on Vice President
Biden`s decision. With Jim Webb`s decision today we know if the vice
president does decide to get in, at least the pool he`ll be jumping into
will be smaller by one.
Watch this space.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETTY WHITE: Before I was old enough to date, I`d already experienced
a dozen glorious romances. I also had known the terror of going down with
the Titanic, the triumph of the little engine that could and the thrill of
solving a case with Sherlock Holmes. Reading was my passion then. Still
You see, the more you read, the more you know. The better you do in
school, the better you do in life. That`s a promise.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Thank you, Betty White. The more you know. It`s the
venerable long-standing memorable PSA campaign from our parent company NBC.
Now, our redheaded stepchild cable news version of it is called “You
Know More Now”.
When a news story has a cliffhanger and then we finally do get answers
to that big news mystery, then. You know more now.
In May, we reported on a strange story in which a bunch of U.S. states
appeared to be trying to buy drugs from a mysterious somewhat shady
character in Salt Lake City. And by Salt Lake City, I do not mean Utah. I
mean the other one. Salt Lake City, India.
One of these – I`m not kidding – one of the strangest on going
dramas in U.S. law enforcement over the past few years has been dilemma
created in death penalty states when mainstream companies that make
prescription drugs stopped being willing to sell those drugs to American
prisons. I mean, once United States drug companies cottoned to the fact
that prisons were not buying some of these drugs to use in the infirmary,
they were buying these drugs to kill people, to kill prisoners in legal
executions, drug companies just opted out and stopped doing it.
And when that happened, that created this sort of amazing case study
in targeted activism but it`s also has serious nuts and bolts consequences
in this country over a period of years, including right now. Just last
night, the state of Ohio announced even though they`ve got 25 people with
execution dates and the handful of people they were planning on killing in
the next few months, the state of Ohio is not even going to try to kill
anybody in their prisons until 2017 at the earliest now, not because they
don`t want to kill those prisoners because they can`t get their hands on
the drugs they need to kill their prisoners.
And so, John Kasich, running for president has to go through the
awkward exercise of signing basically gubernatorial reprieves for all these
murders on death row whose executions he would otherwise be potentially
overseeing. They will all live at least until 2017 because Ohio can`t get
the drugs. That was just last night.
Today, in Oklahoma, the head of that state`s prison system and the
warden of the specific prison where they kill people in Oklahoma, both of
those officials were reportedly today testifying under oath to a grand jury
as the state of Oklahoma continues an investigation into what went wrong
recently when the wrong drug was packaged up and sent to the site of a
pending execution last month along with the syringes. When they realized
it was the wrong drug, they called that execution off with less than two
hours to spare.
Thereafter though, Oklahoma realized that the same wrong drug had been
shipped to the site of another Oklahoma execution this past January. And
in that case, nobody noticed and they actually killed that guy with that
drug. They were not legally allowed to kill people with.
By all accounts, the warden and the corrects commissioner in Oklahoma
were absolutely furious about being forced to testify to this grand jury
today but they got subpoenaed, and that testimony reportedly happened today
behind closed doors in Oklahoma.
In the state of Nebraska, it`s been even more fascinating because in
Nebraska, there`s been a political uprising around this issue that has
happened right alongside all of these logistical difficulties. In the
weird awesome nonpartisan unicameral Nebraska legislature, they voted this
year to end the death penalty, to take it off the books in that state.
Nebraska`s governor, however, wanted to keep the death penalty and he, in
fact, has led a successful petition campaign now to get the repeal put on
hold until next year until Nebraska residents get to vote yes or no on
whether the state should have the death penalty next November.
What that means in terms of the repeal being on hold, if that sounds
confusing, because it is. It`s like a quadruple negative. It means for
the next year, nobody really knows if Nebraska has a death penalty or not.
They had it on the books but they hadn`t killed anybody in 15 years. Then,
when they were getting close, this he took it off the books. But now, the
process of taking it off the books has been paused for a year.
Meanwhile, there continue to be ten people on death row and there
continue to be capital murder trials in Nebraska in which prosecutors
theoretically could seek the death penalty if it exists but who knows if it
And through all of that political chaos, the staunch supporter of the
death penalty who sits in the state house in Nebraska, the governor of the
state of Nebraska, he has wanted to prove all along that the logistical
concerns were not going to be what stops capital punishment in Nebraska.
He has been insistent if he can just get the politics to go his way,
Nebraska will have no trouble killing its prisoners were purposeful
overdoses of legal pharmaceuticals used for something other than their FDA
The question is, how to get those pharmaceuticals? How to get those
drugs? And that is how we ended up learning that there is a Salt Lake City
in India – because Nebraska apparently hatched a plan months ago with a
purported drug seller in India who apparently told Nebraska, that he could
legally get the state of Nebraska huge quantities of lethal injection drugs
that no other state has legally been able to get.
This purported drug seller said he could not only get the drugs, he
could ship Nebraska the drugs. He could ship them huge quantities of the
drugs and it will all somehow be legal. And the Nebraska apparently bought
it. Nebraska apparently sent him $54,000 worth of taxpayer money to buy
these miraculously legal and easy to obtain lethal injection drugs.
Who is this magical source for lethal drugs that Nebraska found? How
is he able to promise these drugs to Nebraska when no other state in the
country is able to get them really? As the whole death penalty process in
the United States is basically grinding to a halt because nobody can get
the drugs to kill the prisoners, who is this Salt Lake City, India,
connection who says he can take care of this whole problem? No questions
asked. Just please pay the cash up front.
The good folks at BuzzFeed must have just gone to Salt Lake City,
India, to figure this out.
Joining us from “BuzzFeed” is Chris McDaniel. He heads up death
penalty reporting at “BuzzFeed News”. He and his colleague Tasneem
Nashrulla reported the story together. Tasneem went to the India and two
of them came out with a story today. What they reported is fairly jaw-
Chris, it`s great to have you here. Congratulations on the scoop.
CHRIS MCDANIEL, BUZZFEED DEATH PENALTY REPORTER: Thank you for having
MADDOW: Who is this too good to be true source?
MCDANIEL: The too good to be true source is Chris Harris. He runs a
company called Harris Pharma. It`s basically just him.
And he sold execution drugs to states illegally a few times in the
MADDOW: Illegally under U.S. law.
MCDANIEL: Illegally under U.S. law, that`s correct. There`s no FDA
approved manufacturer of sodium thiopental. It`s illegal to import
unapproved substances that aren`t FDA approved.
This time what was different though is that he claims he is a
manufacturer. This is a guy without a pharmaceutical background. He has
more of a sales call center background.
MADDOW: In previous instances, he had said or you guys at least have
been able to follow the trail to figure out he got drugs in manufacturers
who were legit manufacturers and sort of redirected them to the U.S.
MCDANIEL: Yes, those manufacturers allege he lied in getting their
drugs and said they were going to Africa and instead sold them for a profit
to states that would use it for the death penalty.
MADDOW: But now he says he`s making them.
MCDANIEL: Yes, he lists himself as a manufacturer. He has twos
business addresses and my reporter Tasneem, my co-worker Tasneem went to
these two facilities. The facility that he registered with the FDA we
found is just a small office studio that he rents in Salt Lake City in
MADDOW: So, it`s not a factory?
MCDANIEL: No, it is not a factory.
MADDOW: It`s like just a cubicle arm like a little office.
MCDANIEL: Just a tiny office. We spoke to people who work in the
building and they were like no, of course not. Drugs are not being made
The other office that he lists on DEA forms as where Harris Pharma is
located. Tasneem went there, as well. We found out that it`s just an owed
apartment building he used to live at. We spoke to the landlord and some
neighbors, found you the out that Harris had moved out a couple of years
ago and had not paid the landlord for a lot of the rent.
MADDOW: Oh, wow. OK. And that`s the – those are the drug
MCDANIEL: Those are the two the facilities that we know about.
MADDOW: So you guys have published a photo of sodium thiopental with
the Harris Pharma label on it. That`s presumably what he`s marketing to
all these states.
Do we have an idea where it really came from?
MCDANIEL: No, we answer aid lot of questions if the story but it
raised so many more. Harris was not interested in speaking with us. We
worked on the story for four months consistently he did not want to speak
with us and he would not answer where these drugs were coming from.
Well, the number of states who have a mess on their hands in terms of
not having a way too kill the prisoners they want to kill is an interesting
story on its own right. But the states that have turned to this guy as the
solution to that problem, it`s fascinating.
Thank you so much for moving the ball so far forward on this story.
It`s been fascinating from the beginning. But this is the most interesting
part so far.
MCDANIEL: Well, thank you, Rachel.
All right. Chris McDaniel heads up death penalty reporting “BuzzFeed
News” and he`s really good at it and good on “BuzzFeed News” for having a
beat reporter on the death penalty.
It is one of the most amazing stories in American policy right now.
It`s uncovered and each new bit of it is more explosive than the last.
Lots more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: In advance of Hillary Clinton`s testimony to the very
controversial Benghazi committee, the day after tomorrow on Thursday,
tonight, her publisher announced that the chapter on Benghazi from her last
book – from Hillary Clinton`s last book is being made available free to
everyone on the Web as of tonight. So, if you want to read what Simon and
Schuster calls the fullest distillation of her role in the events being
investigated by the House and you want to read that distillation before she
appears before that the investigation in the House on Thursday, that is
chapter from her bookish “Hard Choices” is online for free tonight. They
set up a brand-new Web site for it, HillaryClintonmemoir.com.
And then the first interview that Secretary Clinton is going to do
after that full day of Benghazi committee testimony on Thursday, the first
interview after that testimony is going to be right here on this show.
Right here in this room, Friday night at 9:00. Just saying.
Lots more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Still got news ahead about one Republican presidential
candidate who had a spectacularly great day today. Best day yet of his
whole campaign. That story is still ahead.
But here is one to watch in the news over the next 24, 26 hours.
Because when the clock strikes midnight tomorrow night, the attorney
general of the state of Pennsylvania, that state`s top lawyer, she will no
longer have an active license to practice law. Attorney General Kathleen
Kane in Pennsylvania, she`s been indicted for allegedly leaking
embarrassing information from a grand jury investigation to what she says
are sexist, racist and pornographic work e-mail habits of certain public
officials in Pennsylvania.
Since being indicted for those alleged leaks, Kathleen Kane has
promised that she will release the porny and racist e-mails that she
collected in her investigation with names of public officials still
attached. She has, in fact, started doing just that. She is fighting
back. She`s also not resigning.
But since she is under indictment, the state Supreme Court has ordered
her law license suspended effective 12:01 Thursday morning, which means
midnight tomorrow night.
Now, having your law license suspended does not remove Kathleen Kane
from office. She has said that she will not resign as attorney general but
that raises an interesting question. How can you be the state`s top
attorney without a law license?
Apparently, that is a question Kathleen Kane herself is now trying to
figure out, as well. Her spokesman says tomorrow, she`s going to be
meeting with her own legal team to determine what legal duties she`s
allowed to still carry out. And which legal duties she has to give up
because of the whole no law license thing.
She`s going to be sending around a memo which charts the so far
uncharted territory that explains what an attorney general can do once
they`re no longer allowed to practice as an attorney. That`s all going to
come to pass or it`s at least going to come to a head tomorrow night at
Nobody knows what it means or what it`s going to look like. There`s
no precedent for anything like this in Pennsylvania or as far as we know in
any other state either.
I mean, in politics, there`s supposed to being in new under the sun
but this, this is new.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: The next Republican presidential debate is next week.
Wednesday night. This will be the third one.
After the last debate, after the second one, two interesting things
happened to change the dynamics of the Republican race for president. The
first one, the most dramatic was that Scott Walker dropped out.
The second thing that happened after that debate is that one candidate
got a huge boost in the polls. Nobody got a bigger bump out of that last
debate than this candidate, Carly if yes or no that. Remember, they had to
change the debate criteria at the last minute in order to let her into that
debate, but people thought she did so well in that debate her poll numbers
went through the roof thereafter.
That appears now to be over. New national CNN polling out today has
Carly Fiorina dropping from 15 percent in their September poll after their
debate, down to a miserable 4 percent in that same poll today. Carly
Fiorina`s numbers have just collapsed. She did, inarguably, get a big
boost out of that second debate, but for whatever reason she could not
sustain it and now she`s done in, like, Chris Christie territory.
That said, there`s some good news here, which is that even though 4
percent is terrible for Carly Fiorina, 4 percent is actually spectacular
news for Chris Christie. I mean, not only is that a really high number for
him, but he really needs it right now. There`s only one more day for any
more qualifying polls to come out to determine which candidates are going
to make it on to the stage for the next Republican debate.
And as I say, that 4 percent is terrible for Carly Fiorina. It`s
terrible in absolute terms as a polling value, but for somebody doing as
terribly as Chris Christie has been doing in his run for the presidency,
that 4 percent is golden. That 4 percent might be enough to guarantee that
he makes it on to the main stage in next week`s debate.
And the same joy applies to our old friend Rand Paul who in this same
CNN poll pulls in a whopping 5 percent, which ties Rand Paul with Mike
Huckabee. And hopefully for Senator Rand Paul, it pads his polling average
enough so he, too, will make it into the Republican presidential debate
main stage next week.
There`s also good news in this new poll at the top for the man who`s
becoming the prohibitive, if not the permanent front-runner for the
Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump. Donald Trump is still in
this new poll, leading by a mile. Leading by more than he`s ever led by in
the CNN poll he was leading with 24 percent in the last CNN poll. He`s now
leading with 27 percent in the CNN poll.
In the NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll that`s out this week, and the
Monmouth poll out this week, Donald Trump is leading with the biggest
numbers he`s had in the entire campaign thus far. Donald Trump is not
fading opinion, he`s doing great.
So much so, in fact, that the Republican establishment freak-out,
which we talked about on last night`s show, the Republican establishment
freak-out that Donald Trump looks like he really might win the nomination,
that establishment freak-out has now apparently solidified in a specific
plan to try to stop him from getting the nomination.
A conservative website called “The Washington Examiner” reporting
today that the one group that has been running anti-Donald Trump ads so
far, a group called Club for growth, may not only think that their anti-
Donald Trump ads have softened the support for him in Iowa, they`re now
pitching to Republican donors that the anti-Donald Trump effort they have
been running on the airwaves needs to be radically expanded.
They want to take the template of those two anti-Trump ads they`ve
been running in Iowa and they want to double down on them. Actually, they
want to quintuple down on them. They`re seeking establishment Republican
do nations to run five times as many negative ads against Donald Trump as
they`re already running in Iowa and they want to expand those ads to
include not just Iowa but also New Hampshire.
So, in terms of today`s news, it was definitely a very bad day for
Carly Fiorina. For Donald Trump, he got good news from the polls today,
but his polling numbers might be so good now they ultimately turn into bad
news for him because they may be activating a huge anti-Trump effort within
the Republican Party.
At the bottom of the Republican ticket, Rand Paul and Chris Christie,
they got a little boost out of their polling numbers today at a time they
really needed it.
Further down, even towards more of the bottom of the bottom, Bobby
Jindal got an asterisk in the CNN poll today, which is a nice way of saying
he either got less than 1 percent or he just flat-out got zero percent, but
we don`t want to be rude. That seals his fate as a gutter ball candidate
who doesn`t have a prayer of making it on to the main debate stage.
The Bobby Jindal campaign today raised the prospect that if he`s
confined to the kids table debate next week in the CNBC debate, Governor
Jindal might not even bother to show up.
That would presumably be the end of the Bobby Jindal presidential
campaign. But who knows? Maybe he has a secret plan we don`t understand
to win the nomination any way without making it into the debates. I don`t
Here`s the really big news, though. I said earlier that there was one
presidential candidate who got an absolute triumph of today, an existential
triumph of in today`s news. The kind of news that is almost impossible to
overstate in terms of its importance to this one candidate and to his one
And here is that spectacular news. For that Republican debate next
week, we`ve been focused on the 2.5 percent polling average cutoff that
candidates need to meet in order to make it on to the main debate stage.
That 2.5 percent threshold is the threshold that candidates like Rand Paul
and Chris Christie, even Mike Huckabee, they`ve been flirting with in terms
of whether or not they were going to make the main debate stage.
It now looks like all of those three candidates are going to clear 2.5
percent. They are going to make the main stage. That`s been an
interesting drama to watch.
But there`s another qualifier. There`s been one other qualifying
threshold for next week`s debate that has not gotten as much attention, but
it has been looming as a potentially end of the world catastrophe of
existential proportions for a candidate named Lindsay Graham. Because,
yes, sure, you may need 2 1/2 percent as an average of national polls now
to make unto the main debate stage. Lindsey Graham was never going to get
But in order to even be able to make it to the kid`s table, you also
had to jump one hurdle, one teeny, teeny, teeny, teeny, teeny, tiny little
hurdle. You didn`t have to get any polling average over all these
qualifying polls or any period of time, you didn`t have to sustain any
level of support for any amount of time. You just had to get in one poll,
any one poll, just once, you had to pop at 1 percent.
And before today, these were the results for the qualifying polls for
the next Lindsey Graham, zero percent, zero percent, zero percent, zero
percent, zero percent, zero percent, and zero percent. Seven straight
polls Lindsey Graham shooting the moon, batting 1.000, absolutely perfect,
if by perfect you mean complete purity of zero percent failure.
Well, today – thank you, CNN, Lindsey Graham, triumph, 1 percent.
Lindsey Graham finally got 1 percent in one poll, which means he`s into the
We`ve looked into the internals of the CNN poll. We tried to figure
out the exact math that may have resulted in this triumph for Lindsey
Graham. We`re pretty sure this existential victory for him to continuing
to exist as a candidate instead of being exiled even from the kids table.
We`re pretty sure this golden triumph of under a double rainbow for Lindsey
Graham is thanks to four people, four individual human beings who were
polled somewhere in the country by CNN – four people, maybe five, who told
CNN their first choice for president is Lindsey Graham.
I don`t know who those people are, but there`s only four of them.
Lindsey Graham should buy them all a house or a car, or give them a little
shoulder massage or something.
Presidential campaigns are a big deal. These candidates are competing
to become leader of the free world, but sometimes presidential campaign of
life or death comes down to opinions of a group of randomly selected
American citizens who are small enough to fit comfortably inside a Nissan
Congratulations, Lindsey Graham. You had the best day in American
politics by far.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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