The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 3/22/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: March 22, 2016
Guest: Malcolm Nance, Ali Soufan
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Talk with you later on tonight as we go
into our rolling coverage, the Democratic and Republican candidates for
president tonight are both competing in a big delegate rich primary in the
great state of Arizona. In caucuses, they will also be competing. It`s
turned out to be an unexpectedly exciting race in both parties in the great
state of Utah.
Right now, we`re looking down the barrel of a poll closing just on
the Democratic side in the state of Idaho. You`ll remember that
Republicans had their caucus in Idaho two weeks ago. Ted Cruz won the
Idaho caucus two weeks ago. But the Democrats are competing in Idaho
Polls just closed in Idaho. They are just closing within the next 15
seconds. NBC News will be able to gives its first characterization of the
Idaho race as these polls close in the next, three, two, one seconds.
So, right now, in Idaho, this is the Democratic caucuses. There are
27 delegates at stake. This is the first characterization of NBC News.
The race in Idaho tonight on the Democratic side. Too early to call.
Obviously, we`ll keep an eye on that as we get further information. But
those polls have just closed in Idaho.
Bernie Sanders is favored tonight on the Democratic side in both
states that are holding caucuses. He`s favored in the Idaho caucuses and
in the Utah caucuses tonight.
This Idaho race has a bit of an interesting history because Idaho in
2008 became kind of the big exemplar of a stealth strategy that Barack
Obama used in his campaign against Hillary Clinton used in 2008. The Obama
campaign racked up big wins and large numbers of delegates in these low
profile/low population states that held caucuses. It sort of happened
underneath the radar but that`s a big part of how he won in 2008.
In 2008, in little old Idaho, where only something like one in ten
registered voters is a Democrat, in 2008, it was a real sign that something
was going on with the Obama caucus strategy when then candidate Barack
Obama showed up at Boise State on the Saturday before the Idaho caucuses in
2008. And he turned out 14,000 people at a rally.
Any time a Democrat turns out 14,000 people in Idaho, you know
something is going on opinion sure enough in the caucuses in Idaho in 2008,
Barack Obama went onto beat Hillary Clinton by a margin of 80-17. Not 18
to 17 but 80 to 17.
And when you win by a margin that big, even in small state, you get a
big delegate haul. That`s what now President Obama did in the 2008 Idaho
So, even though Bernie Sanders is favored to win tonight in Idaho,
there are some interesting questions as to whether or not he can pull off
something equally dramatic as that. Senator Sander has been campaigning
hard. He`s been spending money in Idaho while Hillary Clinton has not.
He`s also been visiting Idaho when Hillary Clinton has not. Senator
Sanders held a big rally in Idaho Falls this past Friday. He turned out
more than 3,000 people at a high school in Idaho Falls, Idaho, this past
Then, yesterday, Senator Sanders was back in Idaho. He had his own
very big rally in Boise. He didn`t match candidate Obama`s 14,000 people
in Boise in 2008, but Bernie Sanders yesterday did turn out 7,000 people in
Boise. And that`s a lot.
So, again, this is the NBC News characterization of Idaho caucus
results at this time. Polls have just closed there in the last three
minutes. We`ll keep an eye on those Idaho Democratic results as we get
more information from the Idaho Democratic Party.
But the key issue there on Idaho will be not whether or not Senator
Sanders wins, as it`s expected, but if he wins, how much he wins by.
Therefore how many delegates he can get out of that state. Idaho results
is now, in their live issue. We obviously can`t predict when we`ll have a
call in that state, but you will be first to know.
Overall, this will be a big hurly burly night of news around here.
Obviously, it`s a completely separate from the electoral results that are
We`re also going to continue to cover the response to this brutal
terrorist attack which killed at least 30 people at the international
airport in Brussels and on the Brussels subway today. As I speak, those
attacks started roughly 18 hours ago, but the reason you have been seeing
continuing blanket coverage of this story today is because, obviously, the
investigation is fully under way. The political response is fully under
We do actually expect continuing breaking news out of that situation
in Brussels and the investigation into that attack and we will bring it
over the course of what we expect to be a very, very late evening and a
long night around here.
As that happens, though, as that sort of news channel is completely
open here, we are also expecting what are going to turn out to be pretty
important election results tonight. The first poll closing we`ve already
got, as I mentioned, this is Idaho. This is the Democrats only, the
caucuses just closed. So, that is now something we`re awaiting results.
At the end of this hour at 10:00 p.m. Eastern Time, we`re also going
to get poll closings in the post consequential race tonight, which is the
Arizona primary. It`s the host consequential result tonight both in the
Republican Party and the Democratic Party. And Arizona`s important tonight
in the sense that there`s a big delegate haul at stake for both parties in
the state of Arizona.
It`s also the first major primary contest in the West. So, it`s
important not only in its own terms but also for what Arizona might
forecast tonight about other big important delegate rich states in the West
like, for example, California.
So, on the Democratic side, there are 75 delegates and ten super
delegates at stake in Arizona tonight. The polling in the Arizona
Democratic race has been spare, infrequent. The Arizona poling does show
Hillary Clinton with a lead in that state, but honestly, after what
happened in Michigan this year, sparse polling in big states is newly
suspect on the Democratic side and nobody is leaning too hard on the polls
that have come out of Arizona.
Other than the polling, though, there are reasons why Hillary Clinton
is expected to do well in Arizona tonight. One reason is she won the state
of Arizona in 2008 against Barack Obama. She beat Obama there in 2008 by
eight points. She did particularly well in the state with Latino voters
who are expected to make up about a fifth of the electorate on the
Democratic side tonight in Arizona.
The state`s primary is also closed to independents or to anybody who
isn`t a registered Democrat. So, Bernie Sanders, across the country, he`s
done well with non-Democrats who have voted in Democratic primaries. Those
people will not be able to vote in the Democratic primary in Arizona
tonight. It`s Democrats only. So, that`s another advantage to Secretary
Clinton in the state.
One final advantage Secretary Clinton has is evident in the early
vote. Arizonans love voting early, more than almost any other state.
We`re going to have an exclusive look of what we know the state later on
this hour before polls closed. We`ve got some exclusive data that may tell
us how things will go there tonight based on who has voted in the state.
Stay tuned for that.
That said, with all those advantages for Hillary Clinton and how well
at least doing in the polling there`s been in Arizona, it should be noted
that Bernie Sanders has been pulling out the stops in the way in terms of
the way he`s campaigned in Arizona. He`s been campaigning really hard.
He`s done rallies in cities all over the state, including Phoenix and
Tucson and even late last night he was in Flagstaff.
Senator Sanders also spent more money in Arizona than other campaign
on the Democratic or the Republican side. He`s doubled Hillary Clinton in
ad spending in Arizona. So, we`ll see. If Bernie Sanders is not able to
pull off an upset victory in Arizona, it will not be for lack of trying
because his campaign as really tried there.
On the Republican side, the polling that we have looks good for
Donald Trump in Arizona. Now, again, just like on the Democratic side,
there`s not a ton of polling in Arizona for the Republicans, but all the
polling does show Mr. Trump leading by fairly healthy margin. Mr. Trump
also has a list of endorsements from the who`s who of anti-immigrant hard
liners in the state of Arizona, including the former Governor Jan Brewer
and the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Mr. Trump`s recent “build the wall” anti-immigrant campaign resonated
early on in Arizona, even before we knew that message would catch fire for
Republicans across the country. Right after Donald Trump announced he was
running in June, one of the first really giant rallies that he had, one of
the first events where the turn out shocked people around the country was
rally he did in Phoenix, Arizona, in July, touting his radical anti-
immigrant stance in a state where the Republican electorate was apparently
quite prime to hear that.
So, for that reason and others, Arizona very much looks like Donald
Trump country tonight. If Donald Trump does win in Arizona tonight, it
will be a big deal for his march toward the Republican presidential
nomination. Arizona is not just a winner-take-all state in terms of
delegates, it`s the third largest winner take all state that there is in
terms of the Republican delegate count.
But I would just interject one thing to think about as we`re heading
toward this poll closing which will come in about 51 minutes. It will come
at the top of this hour. And one interjection I would make here concerns
In a winner-take-all state, by definition, nothing matters other than
winning, right? If you`re not going to win the state, there`s no reason to
bother competing there. Getting a strong second place is absolutely no
better than getting a distance third or fourth or fifth place. You either
win or you get zippo.
And that`s why we have not seen John Kasich not campaign at all in
Arizona, right? Why waste your (INAUDIBLE). There`s no sense even turning
up in the state, let alone spending a dollar there unless you have a shot
at first place.
Well, with that understanding, here is Ted Cruz campaigning in
Arizona over the last few days. The Ted Cruz campaign has spent more than
$600,000 on ads in Arizona. They`ve almost doubled Donald Trump`s ad
spending in the state.
Why bother spending that? Why bother sending your candidate there?
Why bother doing campaign events there? Why bother spending more than half
a million dollars there in ads in you know you aren`t likely to win?
I mean, it doesn`t matter if you come in second or third. It`s first
The effort expended by the Ted Cruz campaign in Arizona, honestly, is
dumb. Unless there`s something in their internal polling that tells them
that Ted Cruz might have a chance to win that state tonight.
And, so, yes, the polling and all the common wisdom says that Arizona
is Donald Trump`s state to lose tonight, but if Ted Cruz pulls off an upset
in Arizona, that would be huge in terms of the race for the Republican
nomination. It would be very important in terms of overall momentum and
the perceived strength of the candidates, but it would also be a story
foretold by the Cruz campaign`s decision leading up to tonight`s vote.
Something internal to their campaign tells them it`s worth tell Cruz
campaigning there. That doesn`t make sense unless they might win. So,
maybe it`s a big head fake, but stick a pin in that. To me, that pin says
upset possible in Arizona.
We will start to get the results in from Arizona when the polls close
there at the top of this hour. And then a half hour after that, we will
start the get the first data out of the great state of Utah.
Both Democrats and Republicans are competing in Utah tonight. On the
Democratic side, it`s caucus just like Idaho. And just like Idaho, Bernie
Sanders is widely expected he`s going to win in Utah. There`s been no
recent polling at Utah at all. Anything is possible. Bernie Sanders is
favored to win in Idaho and Utah. We`re going to get the first Democratic
results from Utah starting in about in about an hour and twenty minutes
from now. Those will start coming in about 10:30 p.m. Eastern. These are
live pictures here out of the caucuses tonight.
Now, on the Republican side in Utah tonight, we`re going to also get
some results from Utah. They will come in significantly later than the
Democratic results. And that is in part because Utah Republicans are doing
a real live experiment tonight with trying to do some of their caucusing
online. People are participating in the caucus on the Republican side in
Utah from the comfort of their PJs with their iPads stacked on the beer
belly. Pardon because me it`s Utah, it`s not a beer belly.
But for whatever reason they are doing this experiment in Utah about
voting online, and for whatever reason, that also means that they`re not
expecting to report results until well after midnight Eastern Time.
So, as we keep an eye on all these election results rolling in
tonight, as we continue to cover the situation in Brussels as well, I will
leave you with just one more thing to keep an eye on. One more thing that
will be important in tonight`s rolling election coverage. It`s something
important about a race that on the surface doesn`t seem that all important
but I think it is. It`s about Utah. It`s about the Republican side of the
race in Utah.
In Utah tonight, there`s 40 delegates at stake. Ted Cruz is favored
to win in the Utah caucuses tonight. The reason that on a night like this,
there`s so much more attention to Arizona than to Utah is in part because
Arizona, as you can see does have a few more delegates at stake tonight.
But honestly, the reason that Arizona is getting the lion share of
attention, everybody thinks the most important by far is because on the
Republican side tonight, Arizona is winner take all. So, it`s a really big
prize for whoever wins that state.
Utah is not winner take all. The delegates will – in Utah will be
apportioned between the different candidates depending on how well they do.
That is true unless somebody is able to pull off 50 percent of the vote in
If the winner in Utah gets more than 50 percent of the vote, in this
case, that will likely be Ted Cruz, getting 50 percent or more of the vote,
if he can do that, then all of a sudden, Utah is almost as important as
Arizona. In fact, Utah may be one of the most important states in this
part of the race, because if Ted Cruz can beat 50 percent in Utah tonight,
then Utah will become a winner-take-all state, and Ted Cruz will get all 40
delegates out of Utah.
And that will be nice for him in his own effort to amass delegates
and make a case for himself that the Republican convention this summer,
that he ought to be the nominee of the Republican Party. Those 40
delegates would be a nice prize for Ted Cruz.
But more importantly than that, if Ted Cruz is able to beat 50
percent of the vote, if he`s able to take all of Utah`s delegates, the more
important consequence of that is that that kind of a result would deny
Donald Trump any of the delegates from Utah. And denying Donald Trump
delegates is more important than any other Republican candidate can do in
the race right now, because the race in the Republican Party right now is
not to beat Donald Trump. Neither Ted Cruz nor John Kasich is in a
position to beat Donald Trump.
The race in the Republican Party right now is to try to survive until
the convention. It`s to try to prevent Donald Trump from winning before
the convention. To try to suppress the number of delegates that Donald
Trump is able to get out of states so he doesn`t hit the 1,237 delegate
threshold that he needs to lock up the nomination before that convention
and thereby deny anybody else a shot at it.
So, yes, on the surface level, this Utah caucus, this secondary race
tonight that`s going to be decided on the Republican side after Arizona,
it`s going to be decided late. It doesn`t look like it`s all that
important. Looks like Ted Cruz is favored. Why do I care?
The reason you care is because if Ted Cruz cannot only win in Utah
but win by a big enough margin there to take every delegate and deny Donald
Trump any delegate out of that state, that could be a big deal. That would
be an upset of a different magnitude. So, he`s trying for an upset in
Arizona. He`s trying for this winner take all upset in Utah. If Ted Cruz
is able to pull off one or both of those tonight, it`s a huge night on the
Republican side of the race, and a really big night for Ted Cruz.
So, that`s all ahead tonight. We wait Idaho Democrat results after
polls closed at the top of this past hour, 16 minutes ago. We await
Arizona results from both parties at the end of this hour about 44 minutes
from now. We await Utah results thereafter first from the Democrats and
later from the Republicans this evening. It`s going to be a long night
getting in the results.
We also today saw the candidates, all three Republicans and both
Democratic candidates, we saw them today tested in a different way today.
We saw them all tested today as they were asked to respond to the terrorist
attack in Belgium. Then, they were all asked to respond to how the other
candidates responded to the terrorists attack in Belgium.
We`ll be talking about that tonight, including with some of the best
and most experienced counterterrorism experts in the country. We`ve got
all that still to come tonight.
Thank you for being with us tonight. It is going to be a big night
here and we`re going to be here late. Keep it right here with us all night
long. We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: United States has to
offer whatever help we can to Belgium and the other European countries.
But we have to work closely together with our friends and our allies. We
have to form coalitions of nations willing to defeat ISIS with us.
And, so, when I think about what we have to do, I see the challenge
ahead as one we`re where bringing the world together, where we are leading
the world against these terrorist networks, where some of my opponents want
to build walls and shut the world off. Well, you tell me, how high does
the wall have to be to keep the Internet out, right?
You know, that`s not the world we live in any longer. We got to take
them on on the Internet. We need our great tech companies to be helping us
We have to shut their sites down. We have to intervene where we can
to prevent radicalization of homegrown terrorism.
And we need everybody on the front lines, everybody, particularly, I
will add, American Muslims because they are the ones who should be calling
the FBI and law enforcement to say somebody suspicious is going on. I want
them to feel like they are part of our defense, not that they`re being
insulted and isolated and left out, which will be dangerous to us. That
doesn`t make sense, my friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, today, speaking in
Washington state about her own plans, her own approach to fighting ISIS.
Also responding implicitly to what Republican presidential candidates
proposed on that subject today as well in the wake of Brussels attack.
Donald Trump proposing closing off our borders today in response to
the attack, also reiterating his pledge to ban all Muslims from entering
the United States.
Not to be outdone, though, Texas Senator Ted Cruz today said that the
United States should, quote, “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods.” And
he did not mean in Belgium. He meant in the United States. That brought
about a doo wop response even from his fellow Republicans today. I`ll have
more on that ahead.
MADDOW: The first time ISIS struck in Europe, the first time an is
linked attack two lives in Europe was two years ago in Belgium, in
Brussels. It was at the Jewish museum of Belgium.
A 29-year-old man believed to have spent time in Syria being trained
by ISIS, he walked into that Jewish museum armed with a handgun and a rifle
and he started shooting. In less than two minutes, he killed three people
and critically wounded a fourth person who would later die from his
But after his less than two minutes of shooting, that Saturday
afternoon in Brussels, the gunman ran. He got away. He got away on foot.
He got away for almost a week before he was finally found not in Belgium
but in France. They found him in Marseilles, at a train station.
And so, Belgium and France we are intertwined in the first fatal ISIS
attack in Europe two years ago. The attacker was a Frenchman of Algerian
origin. He committed the attack in Belgium and he crossed back into France
and ended up fighting extradition from France to Belgium to face trial for
And the crossover between France and Belgium isn`t hard to
understand, right? It`s easy to see how it works and why it works just
looking at a map. But this specific crossover has come up specifically in
the context of terrorism.
In 1980, a motorcycle bomb went off in a synagogue in Paris, killed
four people. Exactly one year later, a twin bombing, a car bomb went off
in a synagogue in Antwerp. These two were seen as bookends attacks, first
in France and then in Belgium.
In the mid-1980s, radical communist groups took responsibility for
more than 20 bombings of sites connected to NATO and various defense
contractors. On one day in 1985, these communist groups bombed an office
in Versailles in France, and simultaneously, a fuel pipeline 40 miles west
of Brussels in Belgium, and then ten hours later that say day, they set off
fatal bomb blast at a 16th century court building in the city of Liege in
Belgium, France then Belgium, France then Belgium, France then Belgium.
And now, in our era of terrorism, again, it`s France and Belgium.
After the “Charlie Hebdo” attacks, you`ll remember there was a second phase
of those attacks that involved a police officer being shot and killed in
the street and then a hostage stand off in a kosher market in Paris where
four people were killed before police killed the gunman, right?
One of the postscripts to that attack is when a gun dealer in Belgium
confessed to police that he had supplied the weaponry in Belgium that was
then trucked across the border into France to be used in that Paris attack.
And then it was November of last year, and it was the coordinated and
complex shooting attack in Paris, the deadliest attack since World War II.
The first suicide bombing in France, one of the largest and most complex
coordinated suicide bomber attacks anywhere in the world.
And when Paris was over and traced the attackers` origin, they traced
them, including their ring leader, to Belgium. And then this past week
when they finally, four months down the road from Paris, when they finally
tracked down the one surviving Paris attacker who participated in a Paris
attack but who got away, they found him naturally in Belgium. They found
him in Brussels.
And now, today, four days after they got him, Brussels, itself, is
the subject of the deadliest attack in that country since World War II,
another complex, coordinated attack. What appears to have been three bombs
at the international airport in Brussels, two of which detonated, one of
which did not.
That was followed an hour later by a follow-on attack on the Brussels
subway, at the crowded heart of morning rush hour. All in all, the death
toll stands at 31 with over 200 people injured, some of them grievously.
And the choice of Brussels as a target is not hard to understand,
right? The heart of Europe, the headquarters of the European Union and the
European Commission. That bomb blast at the subway, only 500 meters from
the buildings of the European Parliament. I mean, if you`re looking for a
civilian target with European resonance, there you are.
This also, in some ways, feels like a bookends to Paris, or at least
like a second one after Paris. ISIS claiming credit, multiple attackers,
suicide attackers, functioning suicide bombs. A coordinated multisite
Belgian authorities had warned after they arrested the last
outstanding Paris attacker just a few days ago, they warned that there
could be follow on attacks either in response to his arrest or attacks
could be actuated he had been involved this planning since he had been free
from Paris. France then Belgium, France then Belgium.
What happened today in Belgium, in Brussels is singularly terrible.
But if there is an identifiable through line from other attacks to this
one, if this is connected to other previous attacks, and to ISIS as an
organization, does that help, does that help the authorities find everyone
connected to this? Does that help them stop the next one? Does that give
them more to work with than if this were a standalone, unique, unconnected
Joining us now is Malcolm Nance. He`s the former U.S.
counterterrorism and intelligence officer. He`s also the author recently
of “Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe”.
Malcolm, it`s nice to see you again. Thanks for being here.
MALCOLM NANCE, FORMER U.S. COUNTERTERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE OFFICER:
Sorry to be here on a such a bad sad day.
MADDOW: It is. Whenever you`re in the studio, sadly, it`s for a bad
What about that last question that I asked, about finding out
everybody who`s connected to this, unraveling the plot, stopping the next
one? Does it help to have a connection to previous attacks, other
organizations, a through line with previous incidents?
NANCE: It does and it doesn`t.
NANCE: And I know that`s not a satisfying answer. But let`s look at
how organizations used to be. Some of the examples you showed from the
1970s and 1980s, what we in the counterterrorism community call the good
old days, back when you had groups like Action Direct, the combative
communist cells, Baader-Meinhof Gang, and Red Army Faction.
They used to be directed organizations who are directly funded by the
former Soviet Union. They were given weapons and equipments through
pathways we could clearly identify, and we knew when and where they were
just about operating.
And they operated in compartmentalization, which means they didn`t
communicate with each other. When one group received its weapons, it
didn`t know how it received its weapons. Weapons magically appeared, they
got their weapons. The orders would magically appear and sometimes they
didn`t know their commanders.
That`s not the way it`s worked with the al Qaeda organization. They
used a sort of mafia organization, where they operated with a Code of
Omerta. We used to say catch one, you`ve got them all. Everybody within
the cell does logistics. Everybody in the cell does laundry. Everybody
builds weapons. Everybody goes out and dies in a suicide bombing.
ISIS is that model on steroids. But now, what I think we`re seeing
after the Paris attacks is Paris wasn`t singular. As you said, you had the
attack on the Jewish museum, the attack on the train station, the attacks
on the Jewish school children in France.
All these are part of now what I think is a deeper constellation of
terrorist cells. They are acting by direction. What I think is Europe is
turning into a battle front for ISIS, just like one of the provinces in
Syria is a battle front for ISIS.
So, with that what we`re going to see is we`re going to see groups
that are completely independent of each over now that will be more
compartmentalized, like the old communist groups, and then you could catch
a group and have no idea that another group is carrying out a plot.
MADDOW: And that to me, there`s one part of it that stands out to me
as maybe, maybe different than that terrifying scenario you just laid out.
I mean, obviously, the thing that`s worrying is that it`s essentially all
over the counter, right? That you don`t need a specialized pipeline of
weapons from some identifiable foreign nefarious source. If there`s a gun
market available in any country, then that becomes a source of weaponry for
this groups, for example.
That part that seems not over the counter is the explosives, and
specifically the explosive vests and suicide belts and luggage bombs that
may have been used. That`s something you can`t necessarily just pick up on
the street. You can`t be a run-of-the-mill criminal who can do that sort
NANCE: No. And the operatives who are coming back from Syria are
already well-trained. I just did, you know, this book I just wrote is a
deep study of the battle tactics and how they fight.
One of the components of how they fight is everyone on the offense
carries suicide weapons. Everyone on the defense is required to use
suicide weapons. They have to build these explosives in the field.
Creating TATP isn`t hard if you have the skill, you have practice.
You have bomb masters over there who are teaching you this at a graduate
level study. That`s what these gentlemen are. They are getting the
lessons to where they can go back to France, a super market, a pharmacy and
build a very competent weapon system, twisting the nails, just like it`s
described in the “Dabiq” magazine, you know, how to build a bomb in your
mom`s kitchen and laying them out in a proper format so they have the best
effect anti-personnel effect.
And these people who are coming back, they are trained operatives.
They are not amateurs. Maybe some of the bombers are amateurs, but the
people who are building those weapons, who are running bomb factories as we
saw in Paris, absolute professionals and they are going to have repopulated
Europe. And you`re just going to have to start dealing with essentially
special forces level attacks.
MADDOW: Malcolm Nance, former U.S. counterterrorism intelligence
officer and terrorism expert. Malcolm`s new book is called “Defeating
ISIS” – good timing for a terrible reason.
Malcolm, thank you. Appreciate you being here, my friend. It`s nice
to see you.
Still ahead, why even some Republicans were upset and outraged today
by what one presidential candidate had to say in response to the attacks in
Brussels. We`ve got that after we come back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: In Britain today, at the British prime minister`s house,
that is the Belgium flag flying above 10 Downing Street. The Belgium flag
flying in Britain tonight at half staff.
In Paris, the Eiffel Tower is lit up tonight in the black, yellow and
red of the Belgian flag. As is the world`s tallest skyscraper in Dubai, as
this the Trevi Fountain in Rome. As in the main courthouse in Lyon, in
France. As is the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, in Germany.
Nations around the world expressing solidarity with Belgium today and
tonight in the small way that we do this kind of thing now with light and
color. But here in New York City tonight, a poignant difference. The
Empire State Building is staying dark. It`s sort of an opposite and equal
tribute tonight in New York.
We`ll have much more ahead. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think I`ve heard
also, is this true, I don`t know if this is true or not, but Cruz said we
should start patrolling Muslim neighborhoods or something? Is that – is
REPORTER: And waterboarding.
KASICH: Well, well, look, my sense of it is, is we`re not at war
with Islam. We`re at war with radical Islam. Secondly, you know, in our
country, we don`t want to create divisions where we say you`re religion,
you`re a Muslim, so we`re going to keep an eye on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich
responding to what he heard was a statement from his fellow Republican
presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Senator Cruz put out a written statement
today in response to the attacks in Belgium which said in part, quote, “We
need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods
before they become radicalized.”
Senator Cruz was given multiple opportunities today in press
conferences and interviews to explain exactly what he meant by patrol and
secure and how that would prevent radicalization. But he declined to be
specific nor would he name a particular neighborhood that he thinks might
require such patrolling and securing. Nor is it clear how many Muslims
have to be in particular place before it qualify as a Muslim neighborhood
that ought to be patrolled and secured.
Senator Cruz did clarify he wasn`t talking about doing this in some
country overseas. He was talking about patrolling and securing Muslim
neighborhoods in the United States.
Joining us now is Ali Soufan. He`s a former FBI agent and an expert
in counterterrorism. He`s now CEO and founder of the Soufan Group.
Ali, it`s nice to see you. Thank you for being here.
ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI AGENT: Nice to see you, always.
MADDOW: Let me ask your big picture take on this attack in Brussels.
Obviously, people were looking at Belgium, looking at Brussels because of
the connection to the Paris attacks, because of a high number of Belgians
who had traveled to Iraq and Syria and connected with ISIS and come back.
The geographic location of t his next attack is a surprise.
Does the character of the attacks surprise you at all or does it say
anything important about what just happened?
SOUFAN: No, it seems it`s an ISIS attack. I mean, they`ve been
using mostly suicide vests. We`ve seen that in Syria, we`ve seen that in
Iraq, we`ve seen that in Lebanon. We`ve seen that in many of the previous
attacks even in Paris on November 13th.
So, this is exactly the modus operandi, if you want to call it, of
ISIS, right? But the situation, as you mentioned, there`s a totally
different threat not only in Belgium and Brussels, but over the whole
continent of Europe. From Europe, from western countries, we had more than
5,000 of their citizens who went to the conflict zone in Iraq and Syria. A
lot of them joined ISIS. Between 20 and 40 percent are coming back.
So, the law enforcement, the intelligence agencies in Europe are
overwhelmed with this high number of returnees. I mean, if you want to do
surveillance on one specific individual, you need a whole team of officers
to participate in such an operation.
Also, what we have today is something different that most of these
recruits, they know each other. They are friends with each other as we`ve
seen from the French attack and the Brussels cells. Sometimes they grew up
in the same neighborhood, which makes it kind of difficult for law
enforcement to penetrate.
MADDOW: To get between them because they`re so close.
SOUFAN: Exactly. So, you know what`s going on.
Also on the same time, they haven`t been like the traditional terror
cells before. They haven`t been communicating in the open. You know, we
have secure apps and even though without the secure apps, they have some
sort of an independent authority to carry out attacks and where they are.
So, there`s less and less detectable communication with Raqqa or with
Mosul or wherever the headquarter of the cell is. So, we`ve been seeing
that. Now also add to it a lot of laws and rules and regulations in the
E.U., in Europe.
It`s a lot easier for people to travel from country to country than
information to be shared between countries. So, now, you have a person
like Abdeslam, who rented a car, get a couple of terrorists with him from
Brussels. They drove all the way to France, conducted the attack and he
actually came back and he was arrested about four months later about a
block from where he grew up in the same neighborhood in Molenbeek.
That gives you an idea about the difficulties the Europeans are
having in sharing information sometimes with each other. In order to deal
with threat, the one you have 5,000 foreign fighters from Europe went and
joined ISIS and other terrorist groups and sometimes some of them did not
probably join the terrorist group, but this is a huge number.
When you have that, you need to figure out a new system that goes
with open border. It`s great to have open borders. You need a system
where you can share information about those individuals that`s going, at
least a suspected individual that`s going from one place to another.
You mentioned area of the Jewish museum, the attack in Brussels.
That`s a perfect example where you have a French guy, came back from Syria
to Germany, drove to Brussels, conducted a terrorist attack in Brussels,
ran back to France.
MADDOW: Back to France, right.
SOUFAN: Interestingly enough, the German (INAUDIBLE) suspected guy
who was in Syria and probably a terrorist, but they can only tell the
French, and the French cannot tell the Belgians because of privacy laws
inside the E.U. So, that kind of gives you an idea the difficulty the
Europeans have and why it`s extremely important for them to actually look
into changing some of the laws they have to deal with this new threat.
MADDOW: Yes, there`s going to be some – there`s got to be some
parallel development in Europe, and among different European countries the
way there was between intelligence agencies in the United States after 9/11
to break down these barriers.
MADDOW: Ali Soufan, former FBI agent, CEO now and founder of the
Soufan Group – Ali, thank you very much.
SOUFAN: Thank you.
MADDOW: It`s invaluable to see you. I always see you in bad
circumstances, my friend. Thank you. We`ll be right back. Stay with us
tonight. Lots to come.
MADDOW: As we continue to keep an eye on events in the wake of the
Brussels terrorists attack. We are also just 11 minutes now away from the
polls closing in Arizona.
Coming up next, right here, we`ve got an exclusive look at the early
data out of Arizona. This is not exit poll data. This is voting data.
This is an exclusive look that nobody else has as to what is going to
happen in that important state tonight. This is a big news night. Stay
MADDOW: So, we`re less than ten minutes away from the latest poll
closings in Arizona. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both favored to
win in Arizona tonight, according to the most recent polling, but those
campaigns will also be happy with what we can now report exclusively about
the early and absentee vote in Arizona.
According to exclusive data provided by NBC`s data partner,
TargetSmart, data analyzed by NBC News, over 370,000 Arizona Republicans
and nearly 300,000 Arizona Democrats already cast ballots prior to today`s
primary in that state. That amounts to 29 percent of registered Democrats
and about 31 percent of all registered Republicans who have already voted.
Now, on the Democratic side in terms of the data that we`ve got about
who has voted early so far in the states, those young voters, voters under
30 who Bernie Sanders does well with across the country, they make up a
very small portion of the electorate who`s already have banked its votes in
this Arizona primary. Voters under the age of 30 are under 7 percent of
the early vote in Arizona. That is probably not a great sign for Bernie
Sanders` campaign, at least with the early vote.
The fact that such a high proportion of the state votes early also
makes it hard for anybody to surge at the last minute and over take an
early front-runner. There`s this sort of inescapable fact in Arizona that
by the time you`re making your last minute case, your election day case to
the voters of that state, a lot of them, most of them who are going to vote
will already have voted.
And that`s also a very big deal on the Republican side of this
Arizona race because not only have huge numbers of Democrats already voted
in Arizona, huge numbers of Arizona Republicans have already voted and we
also know from the voter file data that a huge number of Republicans not
only voted early or absentee, they voted earlier absentee before March
15th, before a week ago when Marco Rubio got out of the race. And so, we
may see a significant portion of the vote tonight come in for Marco Rubio
Based on polling of those who voted early, that number could be as
high as 50,000 votes for Marco Rubio.
We don`t know exactly what that means in terms of how those votes
might have conceivably disbursed among the other candidates, but common
wisdom says a Marco Rubio vote would be an anti-Donald Trump, so an early
vote being effectively wasted on Mr. Rubio since he no longer in the race,
that should probably redound to Donald Trump`s advantage, but we will know
more very soon when polls close in Arizona in less than eight minutes.
BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC ANCHOR: Our family has grown by one, which
must mean we are on route to a poll closing somewhere.
MADDOW: Either that or there`s a weird surprise pregnancy.
WILLIAMS: OK. We`re off to a good one.
We have Arizona closing in three minutes. Tony Dokoupil is outside
an Arizona polling place.
Tony, can you hear us? Tony?
TONY DOKOUPIL, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Brian, how are you doing?
I`m in Nogales, Arizona, which is the largest border community in Arizona.
Just a couple of hundred yards from Mexico, in fact, looking past my
camera, I`m looking into Mexico.
Polling station`s over my shoulder. This is not a state like Ohio
where you can run inside the station. We have to stay 75 feet away, but
those square lights in there, those are the actual ballots, cheerful,
little squares of light, and we`ve had a trickle here.
And you might expect because this town woke up to see what everyone
else saw on the news, the terrible images out of Brussels and then the
tangential relationship to the southern border, Ted Cruz bringing it up as
a security issue, visiting the site not far from here last week, and then
saying we don`t want terrorist infiltrating the border not far from here.
Donald Trump, of course, reiterating his desire to build a wall.
You might expect a change in the character of the voters here, but
you don`t sense it. We`ve talked about this all day long. And there`s a
kind of paradox here.
In Arizona, the closer you get to the boarder, the less concerned
people seem to be about border security. Part of that reason may be
because they have a wall here already. The Obama administration, a lot of
people don`t realize this, built 700 miles of border fencing because of a
2006 direction from Congress.
People don`t like that wall. They think it`s ineffective. They
think it`s silly. You bring up the Trump wall, the reactions are more
negative. You get a smile and shake of the head.
People want to see less restriction here, not more. So, this event,
this terror attack in Brussels, which any other year, in any other state,
you might expect a change in the vote in a state like this, there`s no
change at all. People have already made their minds up. They`re close to
the border. They want to see less restriction, not more, Brian.
WILLIAMS: Tony Dokoupil in Nogales, Arizona.
An official good evening to all, we are 49 seconds away from the
closing in Arizona in what is admittedly a split screen night in America,
because of the news we have witnessed and covered all day long, and we
understand that a lot of Americans don`t have politics top of mind perhaps,
but cover both we must and will. We will talk about both along the way
They are caucusing in Utah. We have a picture of caucus-goers in
Salt Lake City. That result is the closing there is at 10:30 Eastern Time.
And in exactly 10 seconds, we will have a poll closing in the state
Let`s roll that animation that says Arizona.
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