The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/1/2015
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 1, 2015
Guest: Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, Steve Kornacki
WENDY DAVIS (D-TX), FORMER STATE SENATOR: – to the issue of
controlling women because when women`s reproductive autonomy is controlled,
their economic opportunity is controlled. There`s no question about it.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: All right. Wendy Davis, thank you.
DAVIS: Thank you, Chris.
HAYES: 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.
Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush just made a big
announcement tonight. I think. It`s a little bit hard to tell with Jeb
Bush, but I think that in Waterloo, Iowa, tonight, Jeb Bush has just
announced that he is going to pick a woman for a running mate. He`s going
to pick a female vice presidential running mate if he gets the Republican
I think that`s what he said. The caveat here is that it`s Jeb Bush.
And so sometimes, particularly when he thinks he`s got something important
to say, he kind of winds up to it and doesn`t exactly execute right and
it`s sometimes hard to know what he means when he talks.
But I think this is – judge for yourself. He may have meant
something else entirely and I`m just misunderstanding, but I think he said
he wants to pick a female running mate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think my dad loved Ronald
Reagan that his loyalty was proven out. As a result, he was given
responsibilities that allowed him to really add value to the relationship.
That kind of relationship I think is really important.
And should I be elected president, I would have my vice president, I
think she will be a great partner. I mean, did I say that out loud?
We always talk about this with one gender in mind. I think we`ve
reached the point in our country where maybe we should be a little less
gender specific about this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And then he didn`t elaborate. But that was Jeb Bush
speaking in Waterloo, Iowa, tonight about how he wants to be less gender
specific when it comes to talk about the vice presidency.
You see what I mean how it`s a little hard to know what he means? I
mean, when he says we always talk about this with one gender in mind, that
would – that would still be a roundabout way of saying it, but it would at
least make sense if nobody had nominated a female vice presidential running
mate before. But that`s happened already a couple of times, including
So, again, I cannot quite be sure if Jeb Bush just said he was going
to pick a woman as his running mate if he gets the nomination but he might
have been trying to say that tonight in Iowa, which at least is a good
effort on his part to make some news, to frankly get people to imagine the
prospect of him winning the nomination.
If Governor Bush does succeed in getting people to talk about this
new prospect so awkwardly floated by the candidate tonight, that would be
significantly better news for him than the other story that dropped into
presidential politics today like a cannonball into the kiddy pool. That
was these new numbers collected and published by NBC News today which
showed TV ad spending by each of the Republican presidential candidates.
This is not easy information to get. There`s no one place where all
this information can be easily garnered. You have to go out in the field
and get this stuff, especially when you want to look at the meaningful
number which is campaign spending, plus candidates supporting super PAC
spending. It can be hard to track this stuff down.
But NBC News got that work done and came up with what ended up being
a pretty eye-popping result today, because what you`re looking at there on
your screen right now, that`s all the ad spending from both candidates`
campaigns and super PACs supporting them on TV ads during the 2016 campaign
so far. This is all of the candidates except one, because there`s one
candidate who blows everybody else away in terms of how much money he has
spent. And that guy is Jeb Bush.
Look at this. Jeb Bush nearly triples his nearest competitor in
terms of how much ad spending any of the candidates have done this year.
Jeb Bush has spent $30 million already, just on TV ads, to try to improve
his standing among Republican primary voters.
And in that time, this is what`s happened, this is that little line
there, this is what`s happened to Jeb Bush`s standing in the polls in Iowa.
This is what`s happened to Jeb Bush`s standing in the polls in New
Hampshire. This is what has happened to Jeb Bush`s standing in the polls
in South Carolina. And this is what has happened to his standing in the
That`s what $30 million has bought him in ad spending. That`s the
polling result. That`s the performance he has had from spending almost as
much money as all of the other Republican presidential candidates combined
on his TV ads.
That is just terrible. You spend $30 million, you want your numbers
to go up.
But that dynamic which is phenomenal, that shows just how wrong all
of the old received common wisdom of how presidential politics works now
and how campaigns win and lose now. I mean, at the very outset of the 2016
campaign, Jeb Bush was clearly ripping a page out of his big brother`s
presidential playbook from a very long time ago when George W. Bush ran for
the first time in 2000, he basically cleared the field on the Republican
side. He intimidated people out of even try too long run against him by
virtue of the fact that he raised so much money so quickly.
George W. Bush in 2000 was loud and proud about his huge
unprecedented fund-raising numbers. And that worked as intimidation
basically to keep some would be competitors from even trying to run against
him. Jeb Bush tried the same thing this time around.
You know, a normal campaign might try to lower expectations in terms
of how much money they were going to raise and then they try to wow
everybody when it came time to announce their totals by telling everyone
they exceeded their goals.
The Jeb Bush campaign didn`t do it that way. They said we`re going
to raise $100 million immediately. We`re going to raise $100 million in
three months basically before the campaign even starts for anyone else.
They bragged ahead of time that they were going to raise that much money
and then they did it.
And the working theory was that that tactic would work the same way
for Jeb Bush as it did for his big brother. That shocking intimidating
fund-raising number would keep the Republican field nice and small, and
give Jeb instant front-runner status and an air of inevitability that would
pave his way to the nomination.
He really did raise all that money. He really did try that strategy,
$100 million announced loud and proud before the campaign even started.
That was just a tremendous fund-raising haul.
But after that point, nothing worked the way it was supposed to. I
mean, despite raising all that money, Jeb Bush ended up running in a
historically enormous 17-person Republican candidate field. And now that
he`s in that field, what was supposed to be so intimidating about all that
money, his ability to basically buy the primary by blanketing the airwaves
turns out it doesn`t work this year, turns out Jeb Bush`s money is no good.
He`s been spending money like he is on fire and the money is flame
retardant foam, but it is not working, $30 million spent already as of
December 1st. And he`s settled in the polls at 5 percent on a good day.
Now, the flipside of this truly strange phenomenon is the guy who
absolutely positively really is winning the race for the Republican
nomination. Donald Trump`s numbers are among the highest they have been
throughout his entire campaign right now. They`ve plateaued for a while
but they`re going back up again in most places.
And in some ways his lead, particularly his national lead looks all
the more commanding now that Ben Carson seems to be falling apart.
But look at where Donald Trump is compared to the rest of the field
and his ad spending. Donald Trump is there far right side of your screen.
He spent less money on ads than any other candidate.
According to these new numbers from NBC News, Jeb Bush is outspending
Donald Trump in terms of TV ads at approximate rate of 133 to 1. Jeb Bush
is spending over 130 times what Donald Trump is spending for the completely
And who knows, maybe Jeb Bush announcing today that he desires less
gender specificity in the thinking about the vice presidency, maybe that
will turn it all around for him. But in the meantime, with the rules of
previous campaigns not apparently applying to this one, the Republican
Party appears to be adjusting its expectations to account for the real, not
joking possibility of a Donald Trump Republican presidential nomination to
the point where “New York Times” reporter Jonathan Martin got a bunch of
Republican officials who are concerned about things like Senate races
around the country to tell him today that basically to state out loud to
him today, their fears about what a Trump candidacy would do to the rest of
the Republican Party.
Quoting today from Jonathan Martin`s article in “The New York Times”,
quote, “Many leading Republican officials strategists and donors now say
they fear that Mr. Trump`s nomination would lead to an electoral wipeout, a
sweeping defeat that could undo some of the gains Republicans have made in
recent congressional state and local elections.”
Matt Borges, who`s chairman of the Ohio Republican Party tells “The
Times”, quote, “If Donald Trump carries his message into the general
election in Ohio, we will hand this election to Hillary Clinton. We`ll
then try to salvage the rest of the ticket.”
A former Republican Party chairman from the state of Illinois tells
“The Times”, quote, “If Donald Trump is our nominee, the repercussions of
that in this state would be devastating.”
Brian Walsh who is described as a Republican campaign Senate veteran,
tells “The Times”, quote, “If we nominate a bad candidate like Donald
Trump, Senators like Rob Portman of Ohio or Kelly Ayotte in Hampshire are
not going to be able to outrun Hillary by that much and there goes the
An unnamed but, quote, “prominent” Republican senator also tells
Jonathan Martin at “The Times”, quote, “there is not a bit of confusion
among our members that if Donald Trump is the nominee, we`re going to get
wiped out.” Meaning Republicans are going to get wiped out in the United
And so, there is this is interesting panic in the Republican Party
that somebody should do something to ensure that Donald Trump doesn`t win
the presidential nomination. It looks like is he on track to do that right
now. But every time somebody goes at him, they get chewed up and spat out.
They end up the worse off for it and he doesn`t.
Rick Perry was the first Republican presidential competitor to really
try to make his campaign all about stopping Donald Trump. Rick Perry was
also the first Republican contender to drop out of the race.
Then, Bobby Jindal for a while made Donald Trump his cause, as well,
including lots of cute little Instagram videos attacking Donald Trump and
going out of his way to talk smack about Donald Trump. And now, Bobby
Jindal is out of the race, as well.
Lindsey Graham is willing to talk on the record any time to anyone
about how much he`s against Donald Trump and how much he wants Donald Trump
to not be the nominee and how terrible Donald Trump would be for the
Republican Party and the country, but part of the reason Lindsey Graham is
unavoidable for comment on that subject is because I don`t know you are
from Adam and neither does Eve, but he`ll return your phone call if you
call him. He`s not busy. He can`t even get into the kids table in the
debates anymore, he`s polling so low.
Rand Paul also tried to pick fights with Donald Trump when he was
still allowed onto the main teenage of the Republican debates. But now,
Rand Paul, he too has sunk so low that today, if the next Republican debate
were being blocked and staged today, Rand Paul is not polling high enough
right now to make it onto the main stage. He would be slated for the kids
table if the next debate were held today. He`s got two weeks to try to get
his numbers up to try to scramble back on the main stage.
It`s like each of these candidacies has just been cannon fodder for
the Trump phenomena. They`ve sort of proverbially shot themselves at
Donald Trump. None of them have hurt him at all. He`s doing better than
ever, and they have all suffered themselves quite significantly in the
And now we have a new contender, John Kasich has never been anything
other than a gutter ball in the polls all along but right now, his campaign
is basically devoting all of its energy to ads like this one against Donald
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CAMPAIGN AD)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now the poor guy, you got
to see this guy. I don`t know what I said. I don`t remember.
TV ANCHOR: He appeared to mock a reporter with a disability.
TRUMP: He`s going I don`t remember. Maybe that`s what I said.
TV ANCHOR: That reporter he is talking about is Serge Kovaleski, who
now works with “The New York Times”. As you can see right there, he
suffers from a chronic condition that impairs movement of his arm.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump says he mocking the reporter because he
didn`t know what the reporter looked like. But in truth, they have known
each other personally for years.
TRUMP: He`s going I don`t remember. Maybe that`s what I said.
SUBTITLE: Is someone like Donald Trump worthy of following in their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: None of the other Republican candidates who have taken
direct repeated shots at Donald Trump have had any effect on his popularity
I happen to think that John Kasich ad is really good. I can – I
mean, I`m only imagining but I can imagine people who like Donald Trump
potentially liking him a little bit less when they see that ad, in part
because the ad really says nothing against Mr. Trump. It just shows him.
But what you that ad stems from, what Donald Trump was talking about
when he mocked the disability of that reporter which has now led to this
ad, was this issue around 9/11 and Donald Trump`s claims that he personally
remembers seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey specifically in Jersey
City, New Jersey, celebrating and dancing in the streets when the World
Trade Center towers came down. He says he saw that. And he has repeated
that over and over and over again as everybody else who knows what happened
then says it didn`t happen.
But that you controversy is what Donald Trump was talking about when
he starred physically mocking that reporter. That what has led to what I
think is the most effective anti-Trump ad that anybody has run anywhere
And weirdly enough that one issue, that one set of lies he keeps
telling over and over and over again about 9/11 and this imagined reaction
of American Muslims to 9/11, this has now become one issue that seems like
it may be sticking to Donald Trump. In a year when none of the old rules
seem to apply and none of his rivals for the nomination seem to getting
anywhere near him for love or money, even for lots and lots and lots of
money, Jeb Bush, is this one issue that is getting bigger and not smaller
as Donald Trump continues to lead the field?
Joining us now somebody doing original reporting on this Trump story
about 9/11, his assertion Muslims in New Jersey were celebrating by the
thousands, MSNBC political correspondent Steve Kornacki.
Steve, thank you.
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Happy to be
MADDOW: How has this story from Donald Trump evolved? Obviously,
he`s sticking to it and he`s getting some mixed forms of support from some
other Republican sources now.
KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, obviously, he`s sticking by it 100 percent.
Rudy Giuliani has been a pretty good ally of Donald Trump through the years
came out today and very – seemed trying to be politely to put himself in
disagreement with Trump on this. He said it wasn`t thousands but there may
have been dozens, maybe 10, 11, maybe 30, 40 of Muslims, he was saying in
New York City after 9/11 who were celebrating this.
MADDOW: Which again wasn`t what Trump claimed. Trump claimed it was
thousands in Jersey City –
KORNACKI: He it almost sounded like he was saying what Donald Trump
was saying had something to it, not as much as what he was saying and
Giuliani offered a specific anecdote. He talked about a candy store owner
in New York City who according to Giuliani, he and his family had been
celebrating a local group of teenagers were upset when they saw this. They
came over and basically beat the guy up.
And Giuliani said this in a way that made it sound like the guy had
I thought it was curious. So, we went and looked at all the news
stories we could find from September 2001 in New York City. We found one
story – a series of stories about one incident involving a candy store
owner who a group of teenagers thought to be Muslim.
There`s a reporter who happened to be interviewing this candy store
owner as this happened. The reporter was interviewing him. He said a
group of five teenagers showed up. They asked the guy if he was a Muslim.
The guy barely spoke any English, didn`t seem to understand what was
happening. Next thing you knew, they knocked him out cold.
MADDOW: The teenagers attacked the store owner.
KORNACKI: The teenagers attacked him in front of the reporter,
knocked him out. His dentures were broken in half. There was blood on the
floor. The teenagers fled.
According to the reporter, they were never caught. They were never
taken into custody. There were no charges pressed.
Reporter told me he was absolutely certain this store owner had not
been celebrating or expressing any kind of glee about 9/11.
When we asked Giuliani`s people, we went to Giuliani`s office and
said, look, this is the only incident we can find that remotely matches
what you`re describing on the air, is this the incident? They said, no,
it`s not this incident. OK. What incident are you talking about?
MADDOW: A different candy store incident.
KORNACKI: We got a vague response that said he must have been told
MADDOW: But no citation what it was.
KORNACKI: No, they said this one article might shed light on this.
The article was a “New York Post” column from September 14th, 2001 which is
the same column that Donald Trump`s campaign is now sending around to
reporters and the author of that column says basically that anecdotally had
he heard about Arabs or Palestinians or Egyptians celebrating in Patterson
and parts of New Jersey. The author of that column then has since said
that he believes there might have been dozens celebrating in the greater
New York area but nothing on the scale.
MADDOW: But he didn`t see any of it. It was things had he heard
MADDOW: He wrote a column about rumors he heard at the time.
MADDOW: And the one piece about the candy store that you can find is
actually not about somebody celebrating 9/11 and being attacked because of
it, but it literally sounds like a hate crime, a guy who`s attacked for
being perceived to be a Muslim after 9/11.
KORNACKI: And the interesting thing we found in tracking that down,
in looking at all the key word searches we`re doing in the newspaper
databases, we found several stories from right after 9/11 in New York City,
around New York City, more than stories about Muslims in the streets
celebrating we saw people being targeted because they were Muslim or
because they were suspected of being Muslim.
There was another one, there was a Sikh individual who apparently was
confused people thought was a Muslim who was attacked. There were a number
of stories written in the days and weeks about that aspect of it which
we`re not hearing too much about it right now.
MADDOW: And the fears and efforts by responsible politicians to head
off attacks liking that is what prevented people from running off at the
mouth with rumors like Donald Trump is doing now even all these years
Steve, one last question on this. In terms of your political
analysis of this, is this 9/11 story with Donald Trump one of these things
that folks in mainstream politics think is going to hurt him but it`s not
going to, or does this potentially have some political peril for him?
KORNACKI: I – it`s one of those things you say now he`s the front-
runner for the Republican nomination. I would agree with that. That`s
where I put him.
KORNACKI: If he were somehow to win the nomination, this is the kind
of thing that can be remembered and that can create an impression and that
can haunt him as the general election candidate. I think there are a
number of things with Donald Trump that could happen with that. But in
terms of the Republican nomination right now, I`m not convinced it hurts
him in that race.
MADDOW: More than anything does.
MSNBC political correspondent, Steve Kornacki – thank you. Your
willingness to pull that thread all the way and get to the bottom of that
is really helpful.
KORNACKI: It`s interesting. Thanks.
MADDOW: Thanks, Steve.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So these are some live pictures we just got in or pictures
actually just from moments ago, an a couple minutes ago. We`ve been
keeping an eye tonight on Chicago.
This is an ongoing protest happening right now, Black Lives Matters
outside Chicago police headquarters. There was big and I think fairly
unexpected news out of Chicago today. The city`s top police officer there
was fired today after the officer involved shooting of an unarmed black
teenager and the fallout thereafter.
We`re going to have the latest from Chicago including an eye on those
protests just ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`ve got the latest on Chicago coming up in just a moment
as I just said. But President Obama has just arrived back home tonight in
Washington. He just got back from Paris where, of course, he was working
on the big international climate deal.
While he was in Paris working on the big international climate deal,
leaving behind a huge U.S. delegation there to negotiate America`s role in
that agreement, while that was all under way today, the Republican-led
Congress was working visibly to try to undermine our own president and our
own government`s negotiating position in those talks.
Congress today passed two bills directly aimed at undermining
President Obama`s Paris negotiations bills that would block the federal
rules to reduce power plant emissions in this country. Now, these votes in
both the house and Senate they were largely along party lines. Both of
these things will be vetoed. There`s really no question about that
But passing these things actually into law was never the point here,
they were timed specifically to try to cause President Obama maximum
embarrassment in his engagement with other countries as the leader of the
The Republican congressman who led the effort on these bills today
said, quote, “We want the world to know that there is disagreement with the
president on this issue.”
So, legislation specifically designed to undermine the president and
hurt his negotiating position with other world leaders while he was
overseas involved in those negotiations.
Your Congress at work, your American Congress at work.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: The head of the Chicago Police Department began today with
an interview early this morning on the local NBC affiliate in Chicago. For
the past week in Chicago, there`s really only been one big story. It`s
been the police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot 16
times by a single officer. That shooting happened more than a year ago in
Last week, just hours before a court order was about to force the
city to release the dashcam video of that shooting, just hours before that,
prosecutors charged the officer with first degree murder in that case. It
was more than a year after the shooting, and it was just hours before they
had to make public the video of that shooting.
The lawyer for that officer whose named Jason Van Dyke says that he
will fight the charge vigorously. The officer was released from jail
yesterday on a $1.5 million bond. But what that interviewer today on WMAQ
wanted to talk about with Chicago`s top police officer, what she wanted to
ask the Chicago police superintendent about this morning was this is
document which we have obtained tonight.
This is the preliminary press release that the Chicago Police
Department put out the day after Laquan McDonald was killed more than a
year ago. It says, quote, “Officers confronted the armed offender who
refused to comply with orders to drop the knife and copied to approach the
So the official press release echoed the police union`s statement
from the time of the shooting saying Laquan McDonald had lunged at police,
that he had posed a serious and immediate threat, but that description
which came first from the police union and then from the police department,
that description does not match what is on that dashcam video.
I`m only going to play a few seconds of it here. I`m not going to
show you the whole thing. This is your chance to look away if you do not
want to see it. If you do watch, you can see here, these are the moments
just before he is shot with the first of 16 bullets from one officer.
This is what the Chicago police department decided to publicly
describe as Laquan McDonald continuing to approach the officers. That`s
how they described it. And despite having that tape that showed the
opposite, they then went silent about it for a year.
And so early this morning, that local NBC affiliate in Chicago asked
the police superintendent, what explained that? What explained the
difference between what they knew, what they had seen and what they told
the public and let stay the public story for more than a year. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
INTERVIEWER: There was a press release that was put out by your
office a day after the shooting that said ha this young man was going
towards the police officer. I assume that you okayed that press release to
GARRY MCCARTHY, CHICAGO POLICE: Actually, I don`t review every
single press release but at the end of the day, I`m accountable.
INTERVIEWER: Exactly. So, when did you see the video we`re looking
at right here? When did you see that?
MCCARTHY: After the press release. I saw the video the next day.
The initial press release was mistaken, no two ways about it. I guess
that`s my fault because I`m accountable for it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The original press release was mistaken. But Chicago
officials left that mistaken impression out there for a year. They issued
that preliminary press release and never corrected it even after video of
the shooting had been viewed by everybody up to and including the police
superintendent. They said the investigation was on going and then they
stopped talking. Even though they knew that what was still out there as
the last thing the public had been told about this case was wrong, was
wrong. No two ways about it.
Last week, after the state`s attorney for Cook County announced a
murder charge for the officer in that killing, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
stood with his police superintendent, called for peace and calm and
Today, it was a different story. Today, Mayor Emanuel fired that
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, CHICAGO: This morning, I formally asked for his
resignation. Now is the time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront
the challenges the department and our community and our city are facing as
we go forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The mayor pointed out today that Laquan McDonald`s case is
still being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department, but the
scope of those investigations may get a lot bigger. Tonight, the Illinois
attorney general is calling for the Department of Justice to step in and
look at not just this one case but look at the entire Chicago Police
Department. The same way that the justice department has looked at
policing in Ferguson and Baltimore and Cleveland and other cities.
The Illinois A.G. is asking the U.S. attorney general, Loretta Lynch,
for a full investigation into the patterns and practices of the Chicago PD,
citing police killings and allegations going back more than 15 years.
Joining us now is Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve. She`s assistant
professor at the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University and
she`s done research on the Chicago Cook County court system. She`s author
of an upcoming book called “Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America`s
Professor, thanks for being here.
NICOLE GONZALEZ VAN CLEVE, TEMPLE UNIV. ASST. PROF. OF CRIMINAL
JUSTICE: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Obviously it`s always a matter of political accountability
when somebody who holds a top job gets fired. Do you think that getting
rid of this superintendent will have an effect on how things work in the
police department and in law enforcement in Cook County?
VAN CLEVE: You know, when you fire the leadership, it makes all you
have us feel better in terms of accountability. We don`t want to see many
of these leaders Anita Alvarez, perhaps Rahm Emanuel and definitely the
chief of police staying in office after we see such a terrible abuse of
power and a potential cover-up.
But as a sociologist, we know cultural change doesn`t come from – in
some ways getting rid of the leadership. There is rank and file racism in
the police department, racism that I saw in a decade study of the Cook
County court system, and it goes all the way into the prosecution`s office,
where I started back in 1997 and began researching it.
MADDOW: In a sociological study, especially a longitudinal one like
that, what are the manifestations of racism that you see?
VAN CLEVE: You know, again as a young person, prosecutors took me
under their wing. They refer to defendants as mopes which had all the
stigmatizing meanings as the “N” word. They paraded victims` photos with a
sense of one-upmanship and even my supervisor had framed a visual of an
evidence photo where a black boy had gotten shot by a store owner when he
tried to rob the store.
And I thought, you know, what a culture that there`s such a lack of
regard for life. And in that will environment, it became easy to lie or
hide moments of egregious abuse by the police officers. They walked into
the prosecutor`s office and they often talked about defendants using
blatant racism and prosecutors never corrected them. They looked the other
way. And they looked the other way on shaded cases where police officers
were altering you know arrest reports, making sure the amount of drugs
seized hit the felony limit and no one turned, you know it, didn`t make
anybody`s head turn.
MADDOW: In terms of the overall thesis of your book “Crook County”
and the way that this is playing out right now in Chicago, when you talk
about those sort of those cultural manifestations of racism and long-
standing ingrained just ways of doing business, can you tell what might
change those cultural things? I mean, obviously, the leadership is a
political accountability moment. If this is pervasive in the way you`re
describing, what would fix it?
VAN CLEVE: One prosecutor in my study he described a case that was
hauntingly similar to Laquan McDonald`s case. There was somebody a
defendant was shot. And the police officer`s stories didn`t make sense.
He had the wherewithal to try to go to upper management and at every level
of command, he was belittled.
At one point, he describes a top management throwing an ashtray at
him. They wouldn`t let him see Mayor Daley at the time. So, this is going
back really far.
So, there needs to be a way where good prosecutors and good police
officers can whistle blow, and be protected.
MADDOW: That`s a policy matter. I mean, whistleblower encouragement
and protection is something there`s an art to it. There`s a policy art to
VAN CLEVE: Right, there`s no protections for those prosecutors.
What you find is they leave the office, completely discouraged. And a lot
of them then become, they become desensitized. They look the other way
consistently even in the face of these terrible miscarriages of justice.
MADDOW: Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, assistant professor in criminal
justice at Temple University, again, the forthcoming “Crook County: Racism
and Injustice in America`s criminal courts.” Thank you for being here
We`re keeping an eye tonight on these protests underway now at
Chicago police headquarters. People in Chicago still very angry and very
upset and very emotional even with this news that the superintendent has
Thanks for being with us.
VAN CLEVE: Thank you.
MADDOW: We`ll be back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: June 19th, 5014, the middle of last summer, President Obama
announced he would send up to 300 U.S. soldiers back into Iraq, as military
advisors. That was June 19th.
Less than two weeks later, June 30th, the president sent a letter to
Congress deploying another 200 more troops to Iraq.
Six weeks later, August 14th, then Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
announced another 130 troops would be sent to Iraq again as military
Two and a half weeks after that, September 2nd, White House Press
Secretary Josh Earnest they would be sending 350 more.
A week later, September 10th, President Obama gave a speech where he
announced another 475 U.S. troops that would be sent to support and train
Iraqi and Kurdish forces.
Less than a month after that, November 7th, the White House announced
another 1500 more Americans into Iraq to train, advise and assist in the
mission against ISIS.
Then this summer, June 10th, 450 more military advisors announced in
a statement by White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. That was all in
Iraq. Then, October 30th, came the announcement by the White House that
the president was authorizing 50 Special Operations forces to deploy to
And now today, more. There are already about 3,500 U.S. troops in
Iraq. You know, added bit by bit, announcement by announcement, very
quietly over all this time. Now, it`s an additional deployment into Iraq
and this time they`re calling it a – what`s the phrase they`re using? –
specialized expeditionary targeting force, which as far as we know is a
term that nobody`s ever used before.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ASH CARTER, DEFENSE SECRETARY: In full coordination with the
government of Iraq, we`re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting
force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more
pressure on ISIL. These special operators will over time be able to
conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.
This is force will also be in a position to conduct unilateral operations
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A specialized expeditionary targeting force. That is what
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter is calling this latest deployment, a new
standing American force based inside Iraq with the intention of them
sometimes striking over the border inside Syria.
But a Pentagon official is telling NBC News even though we don`t have
direct word from Ash Carter about the size of that force, an official tells
NBC it`s going to be something in the Barack Obama of 100 to 150 special
So, this is the latest one, but it is just the latest one in what is
now over a year of escalation, a tacit, steady, undebated, undeclared
expansion of this U.S. war effort in Iraq and Syria. It is basically now a
constant and steady crescendo of escalation in this war, even though
there`s been no debate, no vote, and no political fight over it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Today at the TRMS production meeting.
JULIA NUTTER, TRMS PRODUCER: So, it does look like they showed some
racist and obscene photos at the press conference.
MADDOW: Tell me more.
NUTTER: I`m not happy about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes.
NUTTER: It`s not good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not good.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like here`s that. It`s the wrong kind of racist.
It`s not going to help.
MADDOW: They showed these?
NUTTER: I mean I`ve seen them.
MADDOW: What are you looking at?
NUTTER: This is the press conference. They showed this.
SUBTITLE: That story is coming up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Got another one.
In federal criminal court yesterday, a jury convicted the speaker of
the New York state assembly. The jury found the long time Democratic
speaker guilty of multiple corruption counts, including some nice stuff
like extortion and money laundering. The speaker faced seven criminal
charges and for each of the seven, the jury voted guilty.
Now, if you`re keeping track at home that makes three straight House
speakers criminally convicted in little more than a year. First, there was
South Carolina, and there was Rhode Island, now, we`ve got New York and we
may have go to go.
In Alabama, the House speaker was criminally indict last October and
then got re-elected after his indictment. Whoo-hoo! And he`s still
serving as house speaker while this case plays out. You go, Alabama.
We`re looking at you next.
But when it comes to statewide officials under criminal indictment,
one we`ve been watching is Kathleen Kane of Pennsylvania. She`s the first
Democrat and first woman elected to the state`s top legal job. But
Kathleen Kane now holds the distinction of being the practicing attorney
general of the state of Pennsylvania without actually being a practicing
The back story as to how she ended up getting indicted and stripped
of her law license has to do was porn and racist and obscene e-mails, but
not ones that were hers. Kathleen Kane was criminally indicted for
allegedly leaking grand jury documents to try to embarrass her political
opponents and then lying about those leaks. Those documents concerned
public officials and government employees in Pennsylvania looking at porn
and sending sexually he explicit and really, really racist e-mails while at
work using their work computers. She`s been charged with leaking that
And the way Kathleen Kane is fighting back, even after they indicted
her is by basically draping that dirty laundry all over Pennsylvania. As
we predicted that she would do, today at Philadelphia`s National
Constitution Center where you can explore America`s founding documents and
gaze upon 42 bronze life sized sculptures of the Founding Fathers. Today,
Kathleen Kane projected a bunch of hardcore pornography.
This is the video from the press event. We had to blur it this much
to make it presentable on basic cable. I should tell you that Kathleen
Kane has appointed a special administrator in this case, the former
attorney general of the state of Maryland. He says he plans to eventually
release all of the thousands and thousands of these sexually explicit,
racists, misogynist, anti-gay e-mails circulated by state officials on work
time at their work computers.
So, there appears to be plenty more where this came from. The
situation right now in Pennsylvania is basically pure chaos.
Because the Pennsylvania attorney general is not an attorney anymore,
nobody knows for sure whether she really can appoint this special
prosecutor she says she`s appointed. Pennsylvania criminal suspects are
saying the state`s charges against them do not count. The state senate is
moving ahead to try to remove Kathleen Kane from office. The attorney
general has this plan for defending herself that we cannot show you on TV.
It is pure chaos. Fascinating, but it is pure pixelated chaos at
MADDOW: So, one of the weirder hallmarks of the Obama era seem to be
the endless lineup of people trying and failing or trying and succeeding to
get on to the White House grounds where President Obama lives.
In March last year, a man climbed the White House fence in broad
daylight. Got arrested.
Later that summer, it was a toddler who didn`t jump the fence but was
able to squeeze right through it.
In September, another guy jumped the fence. That time, it triggered
Later that same month, there was another one, this time a guy not
only jumped the fence, he ran all the way across the north lawn, then ran
inside the White House. The man was armed with a life. He jumped the
fence, made it all the way across the lawn, made it through the north
portico doors, was well into the interior of the ground floor of the White
House before he was finally taken down by a Secret Service agent who had
finished his shift and was on his way home for the night.
It was after that that the Secret Service decided, yes, there`s a lot
of things wrong here, but maybe the White House fence itself could give us
a little more help in stopping these things from happening.
After that last incident where the guy ran into the White House, the
Secret Service and the Park Service installed these temporary bike racks
around the White House fence to try to deter people from getting near it,
maybe? Are bike racks an additional deterrent? It`s very hard to say.
But then this summer, the Secret Services and the National Park
service installed something now. They installed these temporary steel
spikes. They called them pencil protrusions. They screwed these pencil
protrusions into the top of the existing fence. They called it a removable
anti-climb mechanism. So, this intimidating bit of scenery here, this was
our attempt at a mock-up of the new and improved White House fence.
We wanted to understand was this just security theatre, right? Was
this something that would just have a visual effect, or could this
materially affect a person`s ability to get over the fence and on to the
White House grounds?
So, we got a mock-up of a new addition to the fence made in foam.
Yes, it lives on our window sill now in our offices. We got the one made
in foam. We also got one made a scale model made in metal.
And these new spikes that they added, these pencil protrusion spikes,
they seemed to us like they would make it way harder to climb the White
House fence. It certainly makes it tougher to get a hand hold without
hitting something spiking. But that`s what they stalled at the actual
White House this summer.
And since then, there`s been a noticeable quieting of people hoisting
themselves over the fence and making a beeline for the president`s house.
And it was apparently working, until Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving Day,
approximately 2:45 p.m., the first family is enjoying turkey dinner, dude
jump jumped over the new and improved spiky fence.
He`s a 22-year-old guy, a college student from Stanford, Connecticut.
We do not yet what his motives were. His lawyer says he was a politically
conscious young man who was trying to, quote, “deliver a message”. He was
arrested. He was ordered to get a mental health evaluation.
In terms of his penetration into the White House, though, he never
made it close into the actual building of the White House. He was caught
by Secret Service agents within moments of hitting the grass on the other
side of the fence.
But the point here, the point, is that he appeared to have no problem
of getting over the fence itself even with the brand-new spikes. Look,
here he is straddling the fence. You can see he has a binder in his mouth.
That`s supposedly his own rewritten version of the Constitution.
You can also see that without too much trouble, he was able to scale
the fence, swing his leg over the fence and the new pencil protrusion
spikes before landing safely on the ground on the other side without any
apparent holes being poked in his person. And then he lifts his hands in
the air just before he started running towards the White House when he was
then stop and arrested by the Secret Service.
But the hands issue ends up being key to figuring out how he did it.
Check out this photo again. Here`s what court documents say the fence
jumper had on him when they detained him – an American flag, which you can
see on his back here, the USB flash drive, the binder filled with paper and
weight lifting gloves.
It appears he was actually able to grab hold of the new spikier
spikes because of his low-tech hand protection in the form of a cheap pair
of padded weight lifting gloves. Apparently, that`s all it took. All this
extra spikey welded security, right, a whole addition to the White House
fence can apparently be foiled with weight lifts gloves you can buy at the
gym for 20 bucks.
National Park Service says the pencil protrusion spikes are not
supposed to be an end all-be all of the White House fence. They`re
temporary thing until they submit a design solution for some whole new
fence this upcoming summer.
But whatever they come up with, let this be a lesson, right? To test
a thing against basic sporting goods technology that maybe even somebody
busy writing his own version of a Constitution and printing into a binder
that he`s going to jump the fence with, even somebody like that has time
and opportunity to find this kind of equipment at the local strip mall.
We thought it was so good, but he beat it with this.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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