The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/10/2015
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 10, 2015
Guest: Sherrod Brown, Dan Moynihan
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us
this hour. Got a big show for you tonight.
Before the Bridgegate scandal broke open in New Jersey, one of
Governor Chris Christie`s top political staffers left New Jersey. He quit
team Chris Christie to instead go take a job in the crucial early primary
state of New Hampshire.
This was a brilliant move by Chris Christie, right, in terms of
positioning himself for his presidential run. He installed one of his own
top guys as executive director of the state Republican Party in New
Hampshire. If you`re going to run for president, particularly you`re going
to run for president with a campaign focused on New Hampshire, that`s
genius. Inside guy, right? Great move.
And then the Bridgegate scandal happened. And it turned out that
staffer who Chris Christie so brilliantly sent to go be his guy in New
Hampshire, turns out that guy was right in the middle of all the
controversy over Bridgegate. He ultimately got subpoenaed and was forced
to testify in the investigation into Bridgegate. He got dragged right
through the middle of it.
So, just like that, presto, Chris Christie`s brilliant political move
concerning the New Hampshire state Republican Party, became one of the most
interesting mini scandals involving the New Hampshire Republican Party.
Are New Hampshire Republicans unnerved by their executive director of their
state party having to testify in the Bridgegate scandal? Interesting.
Well, now that Chris Christie is at 3 percent, wa, wa, nationally,
everything about him and his political scandals is pretty much an
irrelevance in the presidential race. But it turns out the Republican
Party of New Hampshire has a more interesting mini-controversy roiling its
ranks as we get closer and closer to the New Hampshire primary.
This is Jennifer Horn. She`s the state chair of the Republican Party.
And this week when Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump put
out his proposal that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United
States the New Hampshire state Republican chair Jennifer Horn put out this
statement in response.
It says, quote, “While my position is certainly political, I am an
American first. There should never be a day in the United States of
America when people are excluded based solely on their race or religion.
It is un-Republican. It is unconstitutional. And it is un-American.”
From a mainstream point of view, that statement you`d kind of expect,
right? Somewhere between righteous and yeah, duh. Because there has been
so much mainstream revulsion at this proposal by Donald Trump to ban all
Muslims from entering this country, that kind of statement is sort of what
you`re expecting from leaders at all levels who might feel compelled to
In Republican-ville, though, what Jennifer Horn just did with that
statement, she stepped in it. And, boy, is she going to get in trouble for
doing something like that?
State legislators who support the Republican presidential front-
runner, who support Donald Trump, have now started an effort to oust
Jennifer Horn as the chair of the Republican Party in the state of New
Hampshire because of that statement she put out objecting to Donald Trump`s
position that Muslims should be banned from this country.
It is true that here and there, there have been individual Republicans
who have expressed some dismay or have expressed some criticism about
Donald Trump proposing to ban all Muslims from the United States, but this
idea that Republicans as a group have risen up in mutual condemnation of
Donald Trump for doing this, that is absolute bullpucky. And in fact,
criticizing Donald Trump may cost the chair of the New Hampshire Republican
Party her job.
Last night, we had these first polling results from Bloomberg in which
they asked Republican voters whether they agreed or disagree with Donald
Trump`s proposal to ban all Muslims from this country. Nearly 2/3 of
Republican voters told Bloomberg in that poll that they agree with Donald
Trump on that proposal.
We now tonight have a more scientifically sound look at that question
from the NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll. There`s nothing wrong with the
Bloomberg poll. It was just a snap poll taken only over the course of one
day. It`s considered to be sort of better form in polling to poll people
over a longer period of time.
NBC/”Wall Street Journal” has now done that. And if you are as a
person horrified by Donald Trump`s proposal to ban Muslims from this
country, you`ll be heartened to see that Americans by and large, a majority
of Americans don`t agree with Mr. Trump`s proposal. But when it comes to
Republicans, Republicans are not so sure. They kind of like it.
The new NBC/”Wall Street Journal” poll I stated out tonight says the
portion of Republican voters who are against Donald Trump`s proposal to ban
all Muslims from this country, Republicans against, that`s 36 percent. The
proportion of Republicans who say they agree with Donald Trump, they like
that proposal from him, is 42 percent. More Republicans like it than
don`t, 22 percent have no opinion.
So there is widespread mainstream upset. I think it`s fair to say in
many cases even disgust for what Donald Trump has proposed. But
Republicans do not feel that way. These remarks, this proposal has not
hurt Donald Trump. And you can see that in the direct polling on that
proposal. You can also see it in his overall numbers, which right now are
going through the roof.
“The New York Times”/CBS poll just came out. Polled Republican voters
nationwide both before and after Donald Trump made his proposal to ban all
Muslims in the country. So, this polling reflects both time before he made
the proposal and time since, and overall bottom line his numbers are
He`s at 35 percent support, nationwide. That gives him a 19-point
lead over his nearest competitor. He`s almost lapping the rest of that
There`s this I think unintentionally hilarious reporting tonight from
“The Washington Post” which says that Republican Party chairman Reince
Priebus on Monday night this week convened a large group of Republican
Party leaders to talk about the prospect of the Republican Party might have
to decide on their nominee at their nominating convention this year.
Attendees were reportedly sent home with homework that they should look
into the circumstances surrounding the 1976 Republican presidential
nominating convention because that was the last time the Republican Party
went to their nominating convention without having a clear nominee.
The reason I say this reporting is unintentionally hilarious is
because, what do you mean no clear nominee? Look at the national polling.
If there`s one thing the national polling and this early state polling
shows right now, it`s there`s a clear nominee.
Republicans at the upper echelons of the Republican Party may purport
to have mixed feelings about Donald Trump. But Republican voters really
don`t. They have less mixed feelings about him than they ever had.
And despite all of this facile beltway noise about how disgusted
Republicans supposedly are with Donald Trump`s proposals and what those
proposals might say about the Republican Party and how much they want to
distance themselves as a party from him and how much damage he`s doing, you
know what? It has now been three days since Donald Trump made his written
proposal that all Muslims should be banned from the United States. So far,
no one in Republican leadership and nobody running against him for the
Republican presidential nomination has said that as a result of what he has
done, they will not support him if he ends up being the nominee of their
party. Nobody has said that.
And right now, he is on track to be the nominee of their party. And
although it completely bewilders the Beltway press to realize that his
increasing radicalism is putting more wind in his sails and not less, that
is the situation. That is the particular gale that blew Donald Trump into
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, tonight for an event at which he asked for and
ultimately received the endorsement of the New England Police Benevolent
This was just supposed to be a meeting of Donald Trump and that police
group. This is not supposed to be a public event. But there is so much
energy around his candidacy right now that the public, those who love
Donald Trump and those who really don`t, decided that if he was going to be
there, they were going to turn out anyway.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a problem. There are beliefs coming
into this country that do not coincide with our constitutional rights, our
amendments, our Bill of Rights. And if they cannot – if their beliefs are
complete opposite of what we believe in and how we function in this
country, then it does not belong in this country.
REPORTER: How do you think that would work? At the border, you know
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want the wall up. I want the wall up on the
southern border. I want the walls up on the northern border. This
country, we have to protect it. We, the people.
And I will support Mr. Trump when he becomes president. It`s we the
people that will back him up and get this country back on its two feet and
be a strong country, a strong nation, a nation of people that are
Excuse me. I`m sorry. Yes, I`m like –
REPORTER: What are your thoughts on the Republican Party in general?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was a registered independent. I switched
right over to the Republican Party.
REPORTER: You`re not a total Trump diehard necessarily?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I support him and I`m supporting what I
believe he meant when he said I`ll ban Muslim immigration. I don`t think
he`s a racist. I think he was talking about that we need to step back and
re-examine the vetting process and get it right. We`re getting it wrong.
People are being killed in America and it`s going to get worse unless it
gets better. Unless we stop what we`re doing wrong and start doing it
REPORTER: So you think it`s Trump just being smart in this
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do. I do. I don`t think he meant all – you
know, he wasn`t attacking one religion and saying banning an entire
religion. I don`t think he meant that.
(END VFIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: One Donald Trump supporter in New Hampshire speaking with
NBC`s Katy Tur tonight saying that he does not believe that Donald Trump
meant to ban everyone from an entire religion from this country.
I have to say for the record that is in fact what Donald Trump is
proposing. He is proposing banning all Muslim entry into this country,
quoting from him directly. It was a written statement. He is – and I`m
quoting him. “Calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims
entering the United States.” His supporters may not believe that`s what he
meant, but that`s what he`s proposing.
This event tonight in Portsmouth was, again, not supposed to be a
public event, but Donald Trump`s supporters turned out in large numbers as
did people who are not Donald Trump supporters. Again, this is just
tonight in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What brings you out here today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m here just to – just to – in solidarity
with others who are very concerned about Donald Trump`s very racist and
bigoted remarks about Muslims and about trying to deal with the problems of
terrorism by banning everybody who has a certain religious belief. I think
that`s un-American. It`s unconstitutional. And it`s stirring up hatred
and anger. And it`s all about just trying to attract attention but to the
detriment of all of us really, and our safety.
REPORTER: Why is it important to get out here and be on the street
with a sign and be visible rather than –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess I just feel that I need to be with
people who stand for caring and love and the values that I believe in. And
I want to – I don`t want to be alone sitting in front of a TV watching
this. I want to be part of a movement that`s standing up and saying we
need to do something to speak the truth about what America is really about.
It`s not about hatred. It`s not an American value.
REPORTER: What brings you out here today?
UNIDENTIFIED FEAMALE: Tired of listening to Donald Trump spout off
hatred, anger, fear-mongering on people, ruining America. I just can`t
stand listening to it anymore.
My Muslim friends, my African-American friends, my Hispanic friends,
it`s exhausting. It`s not OK. It wasn`t that long ago that the Irish
people were pariahs? Who`s next?
My family`s been in this town since the 1600s. If anyone should go,
it should be him, not us. He needs to leave. If anything, he`s not
welcome in my town.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Portsmouth, New Hampshire, tonight turning out for and
against Donald Trump as he collected an important endorsement from the New
England Police Benevolent Association. It wasn`t at all clear that he was
going to get that endorsement when he went, but he got it.
In New Hampshire right now, polls say that not only is Donald Trump
set to win that state in the primary, he`s set to win that state by a lot.
Same goes more or less for Mr. Trump in Iowa. Same goes definitely for Mr.
Trump in South Carolina. Same goes definitely for Mr. Trump nationally.
However impossible the beltway press would portray this to be, the
Republican Party and its voters do unequivocally seem poised to choose as
their presidential nominee this man who really is proposing to ban all
Muslims from entering the United States and everything else about him.
They said it couldn`t be done, but it`s time to stop pretending that this
is an impossibility and start to recognize – it`s time to recognize that
this really is happening. Tick-tock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFFICER JERRY FLYNN, RET., NEW ENGLAND PBA EXEC. DIRECTOR: We stand
here united today to introduce our candidate for the next president of the
United States, Donald J. Trump.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I want to thank everybody.
I`ll tell you what, Jerry, this is something that means something to me. A
lot. That`s why I made this special trip tonight. I said this is only a
five-minute speech. But it`s a really – it`s a lifetime – you know, I`d
call it almost – it`s called the lifetime improvement award. I`m
improving with this award.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: About 2:00 this afternoon this was the D.C. headquarters for
CAIR, C-A-I-R, which is the Council on American Islamic Relations. The
CAIR offices in D.C. were evacuated today after some sort of suspicious
foreign substance was sent to that office by mail. It was described as a
white powdery substance that was accompanied by a message that read, quote,
“Die a painful death.”
The Council on American Islamic Relations offices in D.C. evacuated
after they received that in the mail today, but we`re told that initial
tests indicate the white powdery substance found in that package is not
dangerous. So, that was about 2:00 Eastern Time this afternoon.
Then about 90 minutes later, this was an office of the same
organization, the Council on American Islamic Relations, this was their
office in Santa Clara, California. And again, 90 minutes after the D.C.
office evacuated, the Santa Clara offices were evacuated.
Another envelope discovered at that office containing a suspicious
white substance. The sender on that package reportedly used the name
“infidel” on that package, according to NBC News. Several CAIR employees
were taken to the hospital after that mailing was received to be checked
We`re also told now that the FBI has been brought in on that
investigation. Two offices for the Council on Islamic Relations, one in
D.C., one in California evacuated today after receiving packages with
suspicious substances within two hours of each other. We`ll keep you
posted on any developments.
MADDOW: Frustrated about ISIS? Wish the U.S. government would do
something more than we`re already doing to try to stop them, to try to shut
them down, to try to reduce their international threat? Wish we`d really
go like at the core of them, like go at their financing, get at their
money, really find ways to shut them down systematically?
Well, then here`s your guy. He`s name is Adam Szubin. We reported on
him right before Thanksgiving. His career track is very bipartisan. He`s
a professional guy, not a partisan guy. He worked for the George W. Bush
Justice Department. For years, he`s been working for the Treasury
And his specialty is stopping money from getting to terrorist groups
like al Qaeda and al Shabaab in Somalia and ISIS. He is our government`s
go-to specialist when it comes to tracking and stopping terrorist
financing. Back in April, he was nominated by President Obama to become
our nation`s undersecretary of the treasury for terrorism and financial
crimes, nominated in April.
Since then it`s been, well, almost 250 days and, nothing. Zippo.
They held a confirmation hearing on him in September at which point the
Republican chair of the Banking Committee holding the confirmation hearing
said he seemed like he was eminently qualified. But since then, nothing.
And yesterday, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown apparently just had it. He
took to the Senate floor to try to make the case why Adam Szubin needs to
be confirmed to this job now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Mr. Szubin heads what is in effect
treasury`s economic war room, managing U.S. efforts to combat terrorist
financing and fight financial crimes. He can do his job better if he`s not
acting, but he`s in fact the confirmed nomination – the confirmed nominee
of the president of the United States. Nobody`s in a better position in
our government, nobody, than Mr. Szubin, and I want him confirmed so that
he can do his job better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This Senate is at a 30-year low in terms of confirming
nominees. This particular committee, the Banking Committee, has confirmed
zero nominees this year.
But with all the talk about ISIS and doing something to fight ISIS,
you`d think that maybe the guy to fight ISIS financing with a bipartisan
pedigree and everybody thinks he`s eminently qualified and there are no
substantive objections to him whatsoever, you`d think maybe that might be
Democrats are trying to get this done right now before Congress leaves
town for the holidays. Senator Sherrod Brown tried to push through a
confirmation vote. When he did, Republicans said no. The chairman of the
Banking Committee is Republican Senator Richard Shelby. He said when asked
about this particular nomination, quote, “We are not going to vote now. We
are going home for Christmas.”
Joining us now is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.
Senator Brown, thank you very much for being here. I really
appreciate your time tonight.
BROWN: Thanks for doing this story.
MADDOW: This feels to me like something on its merits that is utterly
non-partisan, utterly non-controversial. I`ve heard no objections to Mr.
Szubin either in terms of his biography or his past performance. Is there
any substantive objection? If there isn`t, why isn`t this happening?
BROWN: You said it exactly right, Rachel, eminently qualified
according to Chairman Shelby. No objections to him personally that I`ve
ever heard, started with the Bush administration. I don`t know which
political party he is. Someone in the administration said I assume he`s a
Republican, but again, he might not be after being blocked for almost 250
days by a partisan majority that won`t do much of anything.
There are dozens of confirmations that have just been frozen. The
banking committee it`s 0 for 137. We also have the Export Import Bank even
though it`s now law again, can`t do big deals because they don`t have a
quorum because the Banking Committee won`t move on a nominee that`s been
out there for months and months and months. Same story.
And the most amazing one, though, is Adam Szubin. This gentleman is
qualified. He`s not partisan in any way. He`s the guy, as you say, that`s
in the right position to choke off ISIS – to choke off ISIS funding
through using sanctions through the international banking system. He`s
also the guy that is charged with making sure Iran, before any of the
sanctions are lifted on Iran, to make sure they`re not cheating.
His job is exactly what Republicans say President Obama should do.
But in the end he was appointed by President Obama. So that apparently
cancels out any of his qualifications and undermines any importance he
might have for our country.
It really is tragic. This committee has done 20 appointments,
confirmations a year for the last 15 years. This year it`s done zero.
It`s pretty tragic.
MADDOW: Senator, forgive my ignorance on this. I know this is a
knowable known. I just don`t know it.
If Senator Shelby could be persuaded this was something important that
the country really need, that this was something, for the particularly if
penal who are freaked out about ISIS right now, this is a concrete thing
that could be done to advance our country`s fight against ISIS. If he
wanted to do it, how long would something like this take? How much time
would it take to confirm it?
BROWN: It could take two minutes. I`ve seen many committee action
when`s there`s agreement, particularly confirmations. During a vote, we go
off the floor of the Senate, 30 feet away into a room called the
President`s Room. They just – you go in and sign or put your hand up.
You confirm. You move.
We could do it in committee. Then it could be done by you see on the
floor. In fact, yesterday, I went to the floor with a nomination for Mr.
Szubin and a number of others, five others in different agencies. And I
asked for unanimous consent to just move it out of committee, put it on the
floor, confirm, right like that. Each time, Senator Shelby, Chairman
Shelby stood up and said object.
If he had not objected, if he had not been out there and objected,
then the nominations would have been confirmed in a matter of – I was on
the floor maybe 11 or 12 minutes with six nominations. They all could have
So, this is by design. This is their effort. This is what they are
doing. They don`t want President Obama to be able to accomplish much of
anything. It`s ambassadors. It`s all kind of officials dealing with
terrorism, dealing with foreign affairs, and dealing with domestic issues,
the Export-Import Bank.
Every time Senator Shelby objects, it costs Americans jobs, good-
paying manufacturing jobs that will lead to exports and it`s just terrible
policy. I guess they don`t want the president to get credit for anything.
MADDOW: Senator Sherrod Brown, thank you for being here.
One of the reasons I particularly appreciate you being here tonight is
because of the very important news I was just informed of which is that
your family has just reproduced in an important way. You have a new
grandson named Milo Sherrod Molina. Is that right? Is he named after you?
BROWN: We do. And Kaitlyn and Alejandro, the parents, Alejandro was
actually a political refugee 30 years ago when he came to this country.
His mother and father are from El Salvador. Their lives were
threatened. She was a journalist, you will be glad to know. And they came
here and he is a citizen of the United States and he gave us – he and she
gave us a new grandson today. And I`m going to Providence, Rhode Island,
to see them tomorrow. So thank you.
MADDOW: He is impossibly beautiful. Congratulations.
BROWN: Thanks so much.
MADDOW: Thank you, sir.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: On Monday, it will be three years since the elementary school
massacre at Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty first-graders and
six teachers and staff members all killed by one 20-year-old armed with a
semi-automatic assault rifle that was fitted with extended magazines to
hold extra bullets. Also a semi-automatic handgun.
After that massacre, that mass shooting, Connecticut banned more than
100 kinds of military-style assault rifles and the state moved to limit the
size of ammunition magazines to ones that only hold ten bullets or less.
Well, now less than two weeks after the planned parenthood mass
shooting in Colorado and just over a week since the mass shooting in San
Bernardino, California, Connecticut is going to act again.
Today, Connecticut`s Governor Dan Malloy announced he`s going to sign
an executive order that will ban the sale of guns in his state to anyone
who appears on a federal terrorism watch list.
Right now, it`s totally legal for anyone on a terror watch list to buy
all the guns they want. Even people who are on the no-fly list and aren`t
allowed to board a commercial airliner in this country, they nevertheless
are legally allowed to buy semi-automatic assault rifles and handguns in
Congress voted on but failed to close that terror watch list loophole
last week but now, Connecticut`s governor says he`ll close it himself.
Governor Malloy saying today, “If Congress will not act, we in the states
will.” At least he will.
In terms of federal action on guns, there is also word tonight that
President Obama himself may now be in the final stages of crafting a brand
new executive action of some kind on guns. It`s reportedly an order that
would close most of the loophole that lets some gun sales happen without
any background check whatsoever. Now, it`s not clear what exactly the
order will be. It`s not clear when the president will announce that
executive action. But White House adviser Valerie Jarrett said last night
that people should expect it soon.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Last week, the former host of “The Daily Show,” Jon Stewart,
joined 9/11 first responders as they went door to door in Congress trying
to drum up support for legislation that helps the first responders who got
sick after helping in the rescue and cleanup effort after 9/11. They
visited lots of lawmakers` offices who have not yet backed that bill. Mr.
Stewart said that instead of face-to-face meetings with lawmakers mostly
what they got were business cards.
One of those first responders doing that round by round of all the
office that`s day says he took those business cards and threw them in the
trash. Here`s part of how he explained why.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, geez.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are we looking at here? What are these cards
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All the guys who were killed – I went to their
services. So when you go to the service you would have a card of the guy
that was killed. And these are all – 12 guys from my firehouse were
killed. And then the rest were in my battalion and guys I just – I knew,
I worked with, over the years.
So these come with me wherever I go, those guys. You get stage 4
cancer, you don`t complain. I got 14 more years than my friends. They`re
all here. I look at them to put realistic terms of what`s going on in
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. Perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Perspective.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Meanwhile, we`re picking up business cards from
(END VIDEO CLP)
MADDOW: Meanwhile, we`re picking up business cards. What you saw
there were the prayer cards that FDNY veteran Ray Pfeiffer has collected
after attending the wakes of first responders who died, both on 9/11 and in
the years since. At this point, he says he has about 50 of them and the
stack keeps growing.
Since this past 9/11 anniversary alone, 19 first responders have died
from 9/11-related illnesses, 19 in the last three months.
So, the 9/11 Health Care and Compensation Act was first passed in 2010
thanks in large part to Jon Stewart`s shaming members of Congress into
supporting it. But much of that law expired in October. And the rest is
going to expire next year unless Congress acts.
So far, Congress has not acted. It was widely expected that the 9/11
bill would be included in this month`s transportation bill. But Senator
Mitch McConnell stripped it out of that legislation. Now, there are
rumblings that it could be included in a comprehensive spending bill that`s
expected to come up next week.
This is a bill that if they pass it, it would permanently extend these
health benefits for first responders so they stop having to go to Capitol
Hill begging every few years.
Well, tonight we reached out to Speaker Paul Ryan`s office for
confirmation as to whether or not this thing is ever going to get a
freaking vote. A member of his office responded with this, quote, “Speaker
Ryan has committed to reauthorize the program, and he will keep his word.
We expect it will be included in one of the year-end legislative items. We
have not stated what vehicle at this point, but it`ll get done.”
It`s not that this thing doesn`t have support. You need 218 votes to
pass something in the House. This has 266 co-sponsors, 75 of whom are
Republican. It only needs to get brought out for a vote. It just needs to
be the leadership saying let`s vote on it.
In the meantime, people like Ray Pfeiffer are still collecting prayer
cards waiting for Congress to act.
Joining us now is Dan Moynihan, 9/11 first responder. And along with
others, he`s been trying to get this bill passed.
Dan, thank you for coming tonight.
DAN MOYNIHAN, 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER: Thank you for again for having me
MADDOW: Yes. So, we got the statement from Paul Ryan saying it`ll
happen, we give our word, we`ve committed to doing it, we`re not saying how
we`re doing it yet.
MADDOW: How does that make you feel?
MOYNIHAN: The leadership has made promises to attach this bill to
whatever is moving at the end of the year. I do take them at their word.
I feel like they awe are very, very close. I do think that we`re going to
get this done. I feel like we`re so super close, and I do think that Ryan
and McConnell will inevitably get this done.
The problem is, I do then get reports that there are staffers on one
of the committees that they`re rewording things in a new bill that tries to
take money out of the bill. Then there`s another staffer that rewords –
they`re putting another bill out that tries to get this – remove the name
of the hero police officer who died of World Trade Center related illnesses
MADDOW: Take Zadroga off the name –
MOYNIHAN: Take James Zadroga – Police Office James Zadroga off the
name of the bill.
MADDOW: Why would that be important?
MOYNIHAN: God only knows, but this is the kind of stuff that is now
being – yes.
MADDOW: Do you understand why they took it off the highway bill?
They knew that they were going to pass the highway bill, which itself is a
congressional miracle. They knew they were going to. It was part of that.
MOYNIHAN: Right. It was supposedly on the transportation bill last
Tuesday which was then voted on and signed into law by the president.
MADDOW: And they took it out.
MOYNIHAN: They took it off.
MADDOW: Do we know why?
MOYNIHAN: I am led to understand that it was because of Senator
McConnell, that he took it out of the bill.
MADDOW: So at this point you have confidence in the word from Speaker
Ryan. You think it`s going to get done. It`s not done yet.
MOYNIHAN: Speaker Ryan and Senator McConnell now said it will
definitely be in the bill, in the omnibus bill or one of the other vehicles
at the end of the year.
MOYNIHAN: Here`s the thing. You know, we have 266 co-sponsors in the
house. There should be 435 co-sponsors in the House. There are 67 co-
sponsors in the Senate. There should be 100 co-sponsors in the Senate.
There are word of, well, how – you know, when we got taken out of the
transportation bill, our pay-for got stolen. And everybody`s like what`s
your pay for? There should be people falling over themselves to have a pay
for, a new pay for. There should be a stand-alone up and down vote for
People should be falling over themselves since this is people from 433
out of 435 congressional districts responded to this city – it also covers
people from the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania – to vote for this
bill. And yet this is the stuff that we`re dealing with.
And Ray Pfeiffer, who we saw in that video, I spoke with this
afternoon. And you know, when we go through the metal detectors, we make
all these – people ask me how do you make all these meetings back and
forth and go back and forth in D.C.?
Ray Pfeiffer sets off every metal detector because when we go down
there his cancer has metastasized to a hip, he had that replaced,
metastasized to a shoulder, had that replaced be, metastasized to two ribs,
and the guy is half metal now, he`s a bionic man.
MADDOW: And he has to spend all his time fighting for this.
MOYNIHAN: Right, and this is what happens.
MADDOW: Dan Moynihan –
MOYNIHAN: And then on the other side we have phenomenal advocates
like Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America who fight for us. And I know
I mentioned him last time I was on the show but he`s back on the Hill now.
He is recovering from cancer himself.
But Congressman Mark Takai from the Hawaii 1st who`s made sure he`s
back in the district now to vote for our bill when it comes to it. And
these are the amazing people who do go and fight for us. So out of all the
mess that`s down there we do have amazing people like yourself as well who
make sure we get air time. Jon Stewart, who makes sure that we get air
time to make sure this bill passed.
MADDOW: It`s amazing the fight is this hard.
Dan Moynihan, 9/11 first responder, hope to have you back soon as it
MOYNIHAN: Thank you.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: If you, like me, the statistical actuaries of the culture
world, say you also like the NPR show “This American Life.” One of the
greatest cultural products of my generation, stunning in its consistent
goodness, “This American Life” has also had some amazing spinoffs,
including the most successful and influential podcast in the universe.
It`s called “Serial.”
It`s an audio podcast. “Serial`s” first season was about an almost
forgotten Baltimore murder case from 15 years ago. It was just a monster
hit. “Serial” has been downloaded something like 100 million times.
It won a Peabody Award. There was even another really successful
podcast that was just people talking about the “Serial” podcast.
“Serial`s” popularity may even have contributed to the convicted murder in
that old case now getting a new hearing in that case.
In the year since the first season of “Serial” ended, the question has
been, how are they going to top that? How will “Serial” top 100 million
downloads and a Peabody and changing the entire media landscape and
changing that case and being not just popular but really, really great?
How are we going to top that?
Now, we know. Today at 6:00 a.m., with no fanfare and no warning
“Serial” released the first episode of the second season of “Serial” which
features for the first time ever Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl talking about
his decision to abandon his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and how that led to
his being kidnapped and held by the Taliban for almost five years. Check
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
BOWE BERGDAHL: You know what DUSTWUN is, right?
MARK BOAL, SCREENWRITER: What is?
BERGDAHL: DUSTWUN. The radio signal.
SARAH KOENIGH, HOST: DUSTWUN stands for “duty status whereabouts
unknown”. It`s the army`s version of “man overboard”.
BERGDAHL: DUSTWUN is a radio signal put out over the radio when a
soldier goes missing in the combat field.
BERGDAHL: Or a soldier is taken captive.
KOENIG: Slow-simmering and methodical, Bowe formulated a plan. He
would create a crisis, a DUSTWUN, in order to call attention to another
crisis. Bowe says he had serious concerns, concerns that began back in
basic training and which persisted throughout his deployment in Afghanistan
regarding bad leadership within his unit.
BERGDAHL: And what I was seeing from my first unit all the way up
into Afghanistan, alls I was seeing was basically leadership failure to the
point that the lives of the guys standing next to me were literally, from
what I could see, in danger of something seriously going wrong and somebody
KOENIG: This is a big point of conflict, maybe the big point of
conflict in Bowe`s story. The question generally of Bowe`s true motives
for leaving his post, and specifically whether his description of what was
happening around him is accurate or believable.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: They`ve got Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl telling his own very
debated story himself, starting from his initial plan and his motivation to
the moment that he found himself alone in the middle of the night in the
open desert. Twenty minutes out he says, “I`m going, good grief, I`m in
over my head.”
Bowe Bergdahl returned home last year to a debate over whether he
deserved to be rescued. Republicans in Congress charging President Obama`s
trade of five Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl was illegal. The Army
still considering whether to court-martial him for desertion and possibly
for endangering the troops who searched for him.
His lawyer says he thinks that Bowe Bergdahl appearing in this podcast
may help his case by allowing his client`s story to be heard.
But this is the first time we have heard Bowe Bergdahl tell his own
story in his own words. The folks at “Serial” say they have 25 hours of
recorded conversations with him to build this on. So, the podcast you
couldn`t escape last year is now playing on a whole new level.
This is the part where I would usually tell you to watch this space,
but in this case you have to listen to it.
MADDOW: Chinese capital city of Beijing this week issued their first
ever red alert. The smog is so bad, the government closed schools for
three days. Some of the worst particulate pollution was 40 times the level
the world health organization says is safe. Air pollution is so bad now
that sometimes the result – it results in highway closures because you
literally cannot see through the air well enough to drive safely at that
Air pollution is a visible problem in China in all its terrifying
toxic awfulness. You can look at it.
Not every environmental disaster comes billowing at you in ways you
can see. But when it comes to reacting to disasters like that, then
inspiring action, seeing it, sometimes helps.
Last week, we reported on a giant ongoing pollution disaster, a huge
mega-size gas leak in California. The San Fernando Valley in southern
California. The leak is coming from a plant called the Aliso Canyon
natural gas storage facility, a storage well more than 8,000 feet under
ground went bad somehow in October. Ever since then, it`s been leaking
natural gas, plus the additive they put in natural gas so you can smell it
when it`s leaking.
People nearby have been getting headaches and nausea and nosebleeds
and respiratory problems. It`s bad enough that hundreds of homes in the
town of Porter Ranch, California, have now been evacuated. The city of
L.A. is suing the company that owns the well.
And it`s way not over. The company says they don`t know how to stop
this leak. They say it may take four months to drill a new rig basically,
drill a new well in order to stop the leak in the old one. Four months.
And in the meantime, the scale of this thing is nuts. State air
quality regulators estimate the leak is releasing 50,000 kilograms of
methane per hour, which basically makes this one leak account for 25
percent of California`s daily greenhouse gas emissions. This is like
driving 160,000 cars for a year.
What`s happening right now in Porter Ranch is hard to get your head
around in part because big things are hard to get your head around. But
it`s also hard because you can`t see it. Except now, you can see it
because tonight, we have some remarkable new images from this disaster.
An environmental group called Earth Works went out last week and got
this image of Porter Ranch. No big deal. Beautiful day, looks nice,
But now, look, here`s that same landscape as seen through an infrared
camera. With the infrared camera, you can see the big billowing black
cloud of methane gas.
The activists say they went out on two separate days using a special
forward-looking infrared camera so you can see what it looks like a mile
away from the storage facility with your regular eyes, or you can see the
large plum of gunk as captured by this special camera.
These infrared cameras are on the cutting edge for detecting leaks at
oil and gas facilities. They`re a state-approved method for monitoring
storage tanks in some states. But now, they`re helping us see what the
people in this California town have been smelling and getting royally sick
from since October.
Just tonight, lawyers for some of the homeowners in Porter Ranch
released this exclusive footage – we`re the only ones who got it – this
is in color. And this is what they say is the methane cloud. This is time
lapse footage from an infrared camera sped up 60 times.
It`s one thing to read about this kind of disaster in the papers.
It`s another thing to watch it barreling down from the sky.
And again, they say their best guest is that this keeps going for
another four months, at best.
MADDOW: Eight months ago, the city of Baltimore was on fire after a
young man named Freddie Gray died in police custody and the city rose up.
The blockbuster trial in that case is now under way.
Tomorrow night, the great Chris Hayes has some new reporting from
Baltimore related to that case and otherwise.
Look at what he`s done. This is pretty great.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cell phone videos shows the moments after –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The 25-year-old can be seen on the ground –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family`s lawyer says the man`s spine –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Freddie Gray would end up with a sever the
spine. He would later die.
CHRIS HAYES, ALL IN (voice-over): Residents of Baltimore took to the
streets over the death of a man named Freddie Gray. But days of peaceful
protest eventually gave way to destruction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s it! No more.
HAYES: The cameras came in, and America watched a city in chaos.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s crazy. I don`t have any words for it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Stop the violence, please!
HAYES: This is the story of what happened after the cameras left.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The majority of the people who are protesting are
still in the same predicaments we were in.
HAYES: We went back to Baltimore and spoke with residents assessing
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We didn`t riot because it`s something we wanted to
do. It`s just we`re just tired.
HAYES: A police force under the gun.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think people are angry and it is not just with
HAYES: And a city in the midst of an enduring crisis.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freddie Gray became an unwilling mark to make us
hold up the mirror and look at ours.
HAYES: Now, as the trials for the police officers charged in
connection with Freddie Gray`s death begin, a city with a troubled past –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This has been going on way before Freddie Gray.
HAYES: – and an uncertain future finds itself at a cross roads.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are at a very significant point in the life of
HAYES: Tomorrow, “ALL IN” goes back to Baltimore.
MADDOW: This is remarkable stuff that Chris Hayes has done. It`s
going to be an “ALL IN” special report called “Back to Baltimore”. It`s
going to air tomorrow night right here on MSNBC at the familiar time of
That does it for us tonight.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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