The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 3/25/2016

Guests:
Jennifer Roberts
Transcript:

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW

Date: March 25, 2016
Guest: Jennifer Roberts

CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That is “ALL IN” for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now, live from San Francisco.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.

HAYES: You bet.

MADDOW: Happy Friday.

HAYES: You too.

MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Today was the day in the American presidential race where we descended from
the Republican presidential front-runner insulting the wife of another
Republican presidential candidate – we descended from that to the
“National Enquirer” publishing lurid sexual allegations about the candidate
whose wife the front-runner just insulted. That candidate is denying the
“National Enquirer” story, but bleeh.

That is apparently how the Republicans are trying to decide on their
presidential nominee this year. So, that story`s ahead – or at least as
much of that as we can stomach is ahead this hour.

We`ve also got news this hour that is totally outside the political realm,
but it`s potentially a very big deal in national security news. That`s
ahead this hour.

We`ve also got news this hour which has not been reported anywhere else in
the national media about something that the Republican National Committee
just did, which is so sleazy I actually feel personal anger about it.

That does not happen to me with all that many news stories and especially
with all that many partisan politics stories, but this is so gross I almost
cannot believe they are doing it. And I hope they will stop. We`ve got
that story ahead tonight.

I hereby predict that that story will gross you out. I hereby guess that
today`s story of this alleged Republican sex scandal already has grossed
you out.

And so, because I want us to be friends, because it`s Friday, because I`m
in a nice place, San Francisco, as a little palate cleanser, as a little
digestive relief before we get into those uglier stories. Tonight, let`s
do ourselves a little favor and just start with something adorable.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I grew up in a family
without a lot of money. My parents never went to college. I want every
kid in Oregon and Washington and Vermont to understand that if he or she
does their schoolwork seriously, does well, takes school – what? Oh.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Now, you see, this little bird doesn`t know it. Oh, my –

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I think – I think there may be some symbolism here.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

I know it doesn`t look like it, but that bird is really a dove asking us
for world peace. No more wars.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Senator Bernie Sanders today, manifestly delighted by a little
bird. I`m guessing a sparrow maybe? I don`t know. I`m not great with
birds.

But oh, my God, did the crowd go nuts for that little birdie. Even before
the bird landed on the podium, when it was just on the stage the crowd was
going nuts for that little bird.

And it`s kind of amazing for a few different reasons. Number one, it`s not
that weird that there was a bird in that venue. That venue is the Moda
Center in Portland, Oregon, which is a huge arena. Over 11,000 people
showed up to that event. But if you`re in a building that big, a building
big enough to have that big a crowd, it`s not that weird that a bird might
get in. You know? Like in airports it`s not that weird to see a bird
flying around the airports. It`s a big place. I mean, any room that
large, yes, you know, a sparrow might squeak in.

But still, my God. Portland loved that bird today. And, of course, the
other reason this is so amazing is because god bless Portland and the whole
idea of putting a bird on it in Portland specifically. I mean, this is
like a liberal TV dream come true. Almost literally this is a liberal TV
dream come true.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. I`m Bryce Shivers (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. I`m Lisa Eversmith (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE & FEMALE: And we put birds on things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today, we`re to go to a store on Mississippi Avenue.
Nothing has birds on it. But you know what we`re going to do? We`re going
to put birds on things.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Spruce it up. Make it pretty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Put a bird on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m putting a bird on this teapot. It`s a bird. I bet
you it`s flying all over the beach.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What a sad little tote bag. I know. I`ll put a bird
on it. Did you see this bag before I? Didn`t. Now there`s a bird. It`s
flying. It`s free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to put this bird right on this card.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s pretty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You like, that ma`am?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fantastic.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m putting a bird on toast.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put a bird on it!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Put a bird on it is one of the jokes from “Portlandia,” from the
excellent TV show that is all about making fun of Portland for being so
Portland.

And then today, in Portland, in front of a crowd of more than 11,000
absolutely thrilled Portland supporters, Bernie Sanders literally did put a
bird on it. I mean, I can only imagine the amount of eye-rolling that this
causes in the Hillary Clinton campaign when something like this happens.

But you know what? Happy Friday. For whatever it`s worth whether or not
you think that was literally a sign of world peace from the heavens, it did
put a giant smile on Bernie Sanders`s face, let alone everybody else in
that room. And that is a rare treat in this political world. So absorb
that. That is a thing that happened today. And it happened in Portland,
Oregon, today in front of this huge crowd.

It`s interesting, though. Logistically Oregon is not actually due to vote
in the Democratic presidential race until mid-May. So bird or not, this
was a very interesting side trip that senator Sanders took today to
Portland to do that really, really big rally, bird and all. He was
actually on his way into the Northwest to do what`s expected to be possibly
an even bigger rally tonight in Seattle, Washington, because Washington
will be voting tomorrow morning on the Democratic side of the presidential
race.

And it`s interesting. Washington has a little bit of an unusual political
history when it comes to presidential primaries and caucuses. In 1988,
when Washington state was holding their presidential caucus on the
Republican side, Washington shocked everybody including most of the
Republican establishment in the state when they didn`t pick the favorite
that year. They didn`t pick the sitting vice president, George H.W. Bush.
Instead, they picked Pat Robertson.

Pat Robertson. Yes. Pat Robertson did not win many states in 1988 against
Poppy Bush. But he did win the caucuses in Washington state of all places,
which kind of freaked out the Republican Party in Washington at the time.
Freaked them out enough that they basically stopped using the caucus
system.

They`ve still got the caucuses on the books, but on the Republican side
they don`t really use those caucuses anymore. They instead pick their
choice for the Republican nominee at a primary in late May.

On the Democratic side, it`s basically the mirror image. Democrats in
Washington will technically also have a primary in late May. But where
Democrats are really going to pick their choice for presidential nominee is
at their caucuses tomorrow morning.

So, the parties have differed in Washington state as to how they do these
things. Even on the Democratic side, though, Washington is a little bit
strange in terms of the way they do their caucuses. One of the things you
can generally say about states that hold caucuses instead of primaries is
that caucuses ask a little bit more of your average voter.

Usually with caucuses, the bottom line is you actually physically have to
show up at the date and time that the caucus is happening in order to
participate in it. That`s a little bit more onerous than just being able
to vote anytime on Election Day or mail in your earlier absentee ballot
like you do for a primary. That`s why caucus turnout is often lower than
primaries.

In Washington state, though, even though they are going to have a caucus
tomorrow, here`s the thing. More than 30,000 Washington Democrats are
planning on participating in those caucuses without actually turning up for
them. More than 30,000 Washington Democrats have filled out something
called a surrogate affidavit, which essentially lets you participate in the
caucuses by mail without ever having to show up while the caucus is
happening.

This is something according to the “Seattle Times” that a few hundred
people used to do in the Democratic caucuses when they held them every four
years. But both the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign have been
encouraging people to do that year – do that this year in order to
basically bank those votes. So, tens of thousands of Democrats have
decided to caucus that way already. They won`t physically show up tomorrow
but they`ve already submitted their votes.

Given the numbers of how many people have done that, how many people have
turned in these surrogate affidavits, they`re expecting a really big
overall turnout in tomorrow`s Washington caucuses. Now, you might remember
that this past week in Idaho, which is right next door to Washington state,
the Democrats actually broke the all-time record for turnout in their
caucus there.

Bernie Sanders won Idaho by a mile. He won with 78 percent of the votes.
He won in 43 out of the 44 counties in the state. And he did get huge
turnout. Record-breaking turnout in Idaho, which is a big deal at any
time. It`s particularly a big deal when in general Democratic turnout has
been down from 2008 in almost every state that has voted so far this year.

Bernie Sanders and his campaign appear to have basically a knack for the
caucus system this year, particularly in smaller states. There have been
nine states that have voted thus far with caucuses instead of primaries.

Bernie Sanders has won seven of the nine caucus states. The only two he
didn`t win were Iowa, which was so close, less than half a percentage point
between Sanders and Clinton in Iowa, and he also did not win the caucuses
in Nevada. Other than that Bernie Sanders has won all of the caucuses.

And Washington state, which is going to vote tomorrow in a caucus, it does
appear to be wired for Bernie Sanders in that way and in lots of other ways
as well. In some places, for example, the word “socialist” next to Bernie
Sanders`s name is seen as an insurmountable barrier for a lot of voters.

In Washington`s largest city, Seattle, they were quite happy to elect a
self-declared socialist to the city council in 2013. Also, Seattle per
capita has raised more money for Bernie Sanders than any other large city
in the United States. Overall in Seattle, Bernie Sanders has twice as many
individual campaign donors in that city as Hillary Clinton does.

That said, Seattle and Washington more broadly, they`re not likely to be a
totally lost cause for Hillary Clinton. She has endorsements, for example,
from the state`s governor, Jay Inslee. She has endorsements from both of
the state`s U.S. senators, Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray. She has
endorsements from all six of the Democrats who Washington state sends to
Congress. They have all endorsed Hillary Clinton.

That not only means she will benefit from the power of their endorsement.
It also means that she`s locked up the support of nine of the state`s 17
super delegates with those endorsements. No matter how she does in
tomorrow`s popular vote in the Washington state caucus.

Seattle I should mention also has an excellent alternative weekly newspaper
called, “The Stranger.” and they both sort of teased their own readership
and also made an interesting political point when “The Stranger” this week
distributed these two different editions of their paper. Apparently, they
sent out we endorse Sanders editions of the paper to neighborhoods in
Seattle they think will endorse Bernie Sanders, and they sent out we
endorse Clinton editions of the same paper to neighborhoods that they think
will go for Clinton.

So they were sort of trying to trick people, sort of trying to bamboozle
their readers a little bit. But most of all, I think they were just trying
to make a point which they spelled out on their editorial page as this,
quote, “Don`t be an idiot. Vote for the Democratic nominee this November,”
regardless of whether or not it is Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

So, we will see what happens tomorrow in Washington. There`s a lot of
delegates at stake in addition to those 17 super delegates, there are 101
pledged delegates. Because of who Seattle-s because of who Washington,
because it`s a caucus, there are a lot of reasons that both campaigns are
pretty confident that Bernie Sanders will win a big victory in that state,
he`ll win a lion`s share of those delegates. If nothing else, he should
also consider the history here.

In 1992, when Bill Clinton was running in Washington state in the
Democratic caucuses that year, he came in fourth in Washington. When Bill
Clinton ran there, first place was Paul Tsongas. Second place was
uncommitted. And third place was Jerry Brown. Fourth place was Bill
Clinton.

So, it`s hard to see Washington state as Clinton country. But we shall
see. That will be a fun one to watch in tomorrow`s political news.

Also tomorrow, there will be Democratic caucuses in Hawaii and in Alaska.
In Hawaii, I think Bernie Sanders would also be favored in that state
regardless. But this year in particular, you have to think he`ll be helped
by his high-profile endorsement from Democratic congresswoman and Iraq war
vet, Tulsi Gabbard. She`s not only done a lot of media appearances and
campaign appearances on his behalf, she`s also cut Hawaii-specific ads
urging people to caucus for him in that state tomorrow.

The third state where there`s a Democratic caucus tomorrow is Alaska. And
again, this is the third out of three taking place tomorrow where it`s both
a caucus and a state that`s more generally thought to favor Sanders over
Clinton in terms of the Democratic electorate.

That advantage, though, is being pressed in Alaska by the Sanders campaign,
taking absolutely nothing for granted. I mean, on the Clinton side, no
Clinton family members or campaign surrogates let alone the candidate
herself have made their way up to Alaska to campaign for tomorrow`s
caucuses.

But Bernie Sanders`s wife, Jane, arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, yesterday,
did a campaign event there yesterday. She stayed overnight. She`s doing
campaign events all day today in Alaska. She`s staying overnight again and
she`s doing more campaign events in Alaska tomorrow in advance of the
Democrats in that state heading to their caucuses.

Three straight days in Alaska from the candidate`s wife. Obviously, that
is a big investment in her time and in campaign resources.

So, the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign in the big picture
they`ve got to be looking ahead to some of the big states that are coming
up in the calendar like Wisconsin and a few other states. But this
weekend, tomorrow, both sides expect it to be Sanders, Sanders, Sanders, in
Washington and Hawaii and in Alaska.

Now, the Republicans this weekend are sitting it out basically. The
Republicans don`t have any contests this weekend but they also have no
contests all next week. It`s this weird hole in the Republican calendar.

But in Alaska, something weird just happened today on the Republican side.
Republicans voted in their caucus in Alaska on March 1st. They held a
caucus. It was won by Ted Cruz.

These were the results in Alaska: Ted Cruz 36 percent, Donald Trump 34
percent, Marco Rubio just at the 15 percent threshold that you needed to be
able to get any delegates below that threshold. You had Ben Carson in
fourth place and John Kasich a distant fifth.

So, looking at those results, there were three candidates who looked like
they were going to get delegates out of Alaska on the Republican side. Ted
Cruz and Donald Trump who are both still in the race, and also Marco Rubio,
who has since dropped out.

Now, the rules of the Alaska Republican party say if a candidate gets
delegates at those caucuses but then drops out of the race within a certain
time frame, that dropout will get his or her delegates reallocated among
the surviving candidates. The Alaska Republican Party has just gone
through that reallocation process for giving away Marco Rubio`s delegates
now that he`s quit. And now it no longer looks like Ted Cruz won Alaska.

With the new allocations of delegates in Alaska, even though Ted Cruz came
in first place when they caucused a few weeks ago, the new delegate
allocation shows Alaska to be a tie, 14 delegates each for Ted Cruz and
Donald Trump.

And in any normal year, in any other year in recent decades, that would be
an uninteresting campaign footnote that had no real consequences in terms
of the overall project of running for president. But this year, that math
about who gets one delegate here and one delegate there, this year that`s
everything. That part of the race to the Republican nomination, the
piecing together of individual delegates here and there, that is how this
race is going to be won or lost.

And it, yes, has something to do with winning states, winning primaries and
caucuses on these big election nights. But that`s not the end of the story
when it comes to delegates.

“The Wall Street Journal,” Politico.com, NBC News, lots of big national
media organizations are now devoting reporting resources to follow the
delegate trail in all of these individual states to see which candidates
are actually putting together delegates who will do the concrete nuts and
bolts of voting that will actually pick the Republican nominee at the end
of the day at the national convention this summer.

And just as we suspected, it turns out the fight for those delegates is
under way already. It`s hard to follow. It`s going to be a big shock when
it`s all revealed at the national convention in Cleveland because it`s not
going to look anything like who purportedly won all these states.

For example, in Georgia there`s good evidence now that although Donald
Trump won Georgia on what we thought was its election night, Georgia`s
delegates may not support Donald Trump at all. Georgia delegates have
effectively been organized by the Ted Cruz campaign.

Same deal in Louisiana. Where on election night in Louisiana, it looked
like Donald Trump won the state but the delegates slates that are being put
together, particularly the delegates that are taking over decision-making
bodies like rules committees and credentialing committees, those are folks
who are not in support of Donald Trump even though he technically won the
state. It turns out those delegates have been organized again by Ted Cruz.

In South Dakota, voters at large have not even had a chance to vote yet for
who they like in South Dakota. But when it comes to sending delegates to
the Republican convention, the delegate operation in South Dakota again
appears to be already wired by Ted Cruz.

In the Virgin Islands, which we have been having a really good time
covering ever since the Republican Party chairman in the Virgin Islands
told us that he believes the party vice chairman is a neo Nazi or a Nazi
sympathizer and a felon, it`s been fun to cover the Virgin Islands
Republican party. In the Virgin Islands their delegate slate in terms of
who they`re sending to the national convention, that`s now being hashed out
in court. There`s already legal battles over this stuff.

So, on the Democratic side, it looks like it`s what you think it is. The
Democrats will pick their nominee on election days, on days like tomorrow,
when Democrats will turn out to caucus in Alaska and Hawaii and Washington.

On the Republican side, though, those election days we keep covering, those
primaries and caucuses, they are entertaining, they are interesting. They
are a snapshot of the race. But it`s starting to feel like the real fight,
the real decision-making, the real determinative work about who`s going to
be the nominee isn`t happening on those nights. It`s happening in these
much harder to see, harder to follow, harder to report quieter, and in some
cases closed-door events in these precinct and county and district and
state conventions all over the country with almost no connection to the
primary and caucus calendar after all.

And, you know, we keep talking about the big fight that`s probably going to
happen at the Republican convention this July in Cleveland. What is still
sort of harder to see, harder to focus on but unavoidably true is that that
fight for that convention is already under way right now. It is admittedly
hard to see. It is admittedly hard to cover.

On days like this, it is extra hard to see and extra hard to cover because
it gets overshadowed by the slime and the mire of how ugly and personal the
Republican contest has just become, including the “National Enquirer” of it
all.

That story and the difficulty of covering the real consequential fight
while all of this other slime is flying around in that race, that`s ahead
tonight.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Things have been getting u-g-l-y ain`t got no alibi ugly between
the top two Republican presidential candidates for a while now. But,
today, their ugliness veered into new territory. Territory so ugly I am
almost not allowed to go there on TV. We will buckle our seat belts and
try to go there without getting me fired, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: She doesn`t have the strength.
She doesn`t have the stamina to be president.

Hillary Clinton does not have the stamina, doesn`t have the energy. She
doesn`t have it.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: You recently said she has low energy, very low
energy, doesn`t have the stamina to be president. You`re roughly the same
age as Hillary Clinton. Now, why do you say that?

TRUMP: I think she doesn`t have the stamina. You watch her life, you
watch how she`ll go away for three, four days. She`ll come back. She`ll
go – I just don`t think she has the stamina.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Watch how she`ll go away for three or four days. She doesn`t have
the stamina to keep up the campaign.

Let me note for the record that Donald Trump`s last campaign appearance was
this past Monday. It`s now Friday. He has not scheduled another campaign
appearance until next Tuesday. That`s eight straight days without a
campaign event, which in an eye for an eye world would presumably raise
issues of his stamina and his strength.

But this isn`t an eye for an eye world or an eye for an eye campaign.
Turns out this one is a more complex bazaar of body parts. And so, Donald
Trump`s eight days off the campaign trail has instead led to a call from
one of his rivals for a psych eval.

The Ted Cruz campaign manager today said, “Missing, sleazy Donald. Why no
events in the past four days? None planned for eight. Ever had a
psychological evaluation? What`s hiding in your medical records? Release
them.”

See, this is nice. See, Donald Trump and his campaign call Ted Cruz “Lyin`
Ted” and now Ted Cruz and his campaign call Donald Trump “Sleazy Donald”.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: With this pattern he should
not be surprised to see people calling him sleazy Donald.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Can you imagine if the Democratic race were like this too? The
whole country would jump off a cliff.

Fortunately, it`s nothing like this on the Democratic side at all. But it
is becoming more and more and more like this on the Republican side every
day now to the point where it`s actually becoming almost hard to report
some of this stuff without breaking our own news division rules about what
is OK and not OK to put on television.

Let`s talk about just the last few days. Monday was the last day we saw
Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Then, Tuesday he posted a response
online to this anti-Donald Trump ad which had been run on Facebook in Utah
apparently by an anti-Trump super PAC. The ad encourages people to vote
for Ted Cruz instead of Donald frump because Mr. Trump`s wife had done
photo shoots like this in her modeling career and therefore she would be a
bad first lady or something?

Mr. Trump on Tuesday tweeted this threat, that he would “spill the beans”
about Ted Cruz`s wife in response to that super PAC ad that had the picture
of his wife. Senator Cruz responded to that threat from Mr. Trump by
calling Mr. Trump a coward. Then Mr. Cruz decided to up the adjective
quotient in this war by calling Mr. Trump not just a coward but a sniveling
coward!

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Donald, you`re a sniveling coward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Meanwhile, the Trump campaign followed through on their threat to
spill the proverbial beans that they had threatened to spill concerning
Senator Cruz`s wife. They were not necessarily the Trumpiest beans in the
world.

A Trump campaign spokeswoman told Steve Kornacki today that the
aforementioned beans concerning Senator Cruz`s wife include the fact she
worked for the Bush administration, she supported NAFTA, she was a member
of the Council on Foreign Relations and she worked for Goldman Sachs.

Those are the beans? Those are the subheadings on her Wikipedia entry.
How could that be what`s causing all the fist shaking and threatening and
Ted Cruz using the word “sniveling” and Donald Trump going into hiding for
a week? What`s going on here in this depressing and increasingly stupid
contest?

Well, we still don`t know, because we still don`t know where this is going
to end. But after that mess of a week thus far, this is the wall the
Republican presidential nominating contest veered into at speed today. A
tabloid “National Enquirer” story alleging that Senator Ted Cruz has had
lots of extramarital affairs.

Senator Cruz today vehemently denied that story. He also accused Donald
Trump of being behind that story.

Donald Trump for his part says he had nothing to do with the sorry and he
sure hopes it isn`t true, but in the same statement, he went out of his way
to reference other salacious allegations the “National Enquirer” has made
in the past about other people, which were things that did turn out to be
true.

So this is how the Republican Party is picking its presidential nominee
this year. Lyin` Ted or Sleazy Donald. Or John Kasich, I guess, even
though nobody has yet bothered to bestow upon him a kindergarten-variety
nickname, which presumably means he`s not really in the running.

And you and I have the luxury of being able to shower and think nice
thoughts in order to cleanse ourselves of stories like this. Our next
guest does not, sadly. That`s next.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: Let me be clear: this “National Enquirer” story is garbage. It is
complete and utter lies. It is a tabloid smear. And it is a smear that
has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Ted Cruz today speaking in Wisconsin. The very nice person I know
who has done nothing wrong but who is nevertheless saddled with the daily
responsibility of covering not only Mr. Trump but also his henchmen if he
does in fact have any is my friend MSNBC political correspondent Katy Tur.

Katy, thank you for being here. And I`m sorry in advance.

KATY TUR, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: For the record, I shower, Rachel. I
shower on a daily basis.

MADDOW: Yes. I know. But you can never get clean, because you know what
you have to go back and cover the next day.

TUR: I`m like the Shakespeare play. Anyway, go on.

MADDOW: This is getting Shakespearean but it`s also becoming almost
vaudevillian. It`s becoming like hard to follow in a way that – simply
because it seems ridiculous. I mean, should we see this campaign as having
just veered suddenly off a cliff? Or from your daily coverage of the
stuff, do you feel like it`s been heading here for a while now? We should
have sort of seen this coming.

TUR: It`s been heading here for a while. I think we should have seen this
as a nap progression in this entire campaign season. This is a campaign
that started off calling some Mexicans crossing the border rapists and
criminals. That was the tone set from day one.

Donald Trump himself by the establishment was called the clown. He was
called the side show, P.T. Barnum, a number of other things. So the name
calling was there from the very beginning.

Donald Trump went on with that, called John McCain not a war hero, has been
calling people losers throughout this entire campaign season, nicknaming
the other candidates. There`s Lyin` Ted, as you mentioned. There`s baby
Rubio, sweaty Rubio, and a host of other things.

So, certainly, the tone in this campaign season is far below what it
normally is for a presidential campaign season. That certainly is because
of Donald Trump`s presence. He has brought it to that level. So the idea
that suddenly we`re in the muck talking about a “National Enquirer” story
that is circulating wild speculation and rumors about alleged affairs
should not come as a surprise for anyone who`s been following this campaign
as closely as somebody like me.

MADDOW: Well, let`s be – let`s be straightforward about this “Enquirer”
story. As far as I can tell and as far as I can see, it`s not only poorly
sourced, it`s not sourced at all. They present no evidence at all. The
Cruz campaign and at least two of the five women implicated in the
“Enquirer” story say it`s absolutely not true, not a word of it.

Do we have any idea of the likelihood that this was planted by the Trump
campaign? Should we just see this as a tabloid story and sort of blame the
“National Enquirer” or are there any Trump fingerprints on this?

TUR: We don`t know for sure. But we can say that Roger Stone is the first
quote and Roger Stone was an operative for Donald Trump for some time. Has
not been one, though, since early on in this campaign season. He certainly
has not worked for Donald Trump, on the books at least for quite some time.

Also, there`s a number of things. Donald Trump has a close relationship
with the “National Enquirer.” He wrote an article for them. They endorsed
them. He`s friends with the “Enquirer`s” founder. So there seem to be
deep ties when it comes to his relationship with that tabloid. But that`s
about as far as it goes.

When it comes to the Donald Trump campaign, they haven`t done oppo. Not
like the other campaigns have done. Certainly not like the Rubio campaign
or the Jeb Bush campaign or the Ted Cruz campaign. There isn`t an oppo guy
or gal that works on their campaign and is sneakily putting things out into
the press for their benefit that hurts other candidates.

Donald Trump himself is the oppo guy, the opposition person for that
campaign. He tweets out the negative stories that he wants out there. And
even if he tweets out something that isn`t necessarily based in fact, that
he doesn`t necessarily know about, what he does, and we saw it with this as
well, is say, “I`m not sure if it`s true, I`m just hearing this, I hope
it`s not true, this is what the rumors are saying. People are talking
about this.”

And in that way, he`s able to cast doubt on a candidate. He certainly did
that when it came to Ben Carson. He did that with Marco Rubio. He did
that with Jeb Bush.

He`s done that throughout this entire campaign season. He`s trying to do
that with Ted Cruz. Remember he tried to cast doubt when it came to his
Canadian birth.

We haven`t heard that in quite some time. And now instead of talking about
that sort of thing we`re now talking about sex scandals. So, when Donald
Trump is seeing the news cycle move away from them, he`s trying to get it
back towards him. I think that`s what we saw in this case.

Brussels was happening. The news cycle was not talking about Donald Trump.
Suddenly, there`s a tweet out there that nobody knew about. An anti-Trump
super PAC ad that nobody knew about with Melania with a “GQ” cover talking
about is this who you want as your first lady essentially in Utah, and now,
the news cycle is back on Donald Trump. The headlines are back on Donald
Trump, instead of being on somebody like Ted Cruz talking about patrolling
Muslim neighborhoods.

MADDOW: MSNBC political correspondent Katy Tur, I did not mean to cast
aspersions on your hygiene. I just have lots of sympathy for what you have
to do every day. And I`m grateful for you being willing to talk to me
about it. Thank you, my friend.

TUR: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you, Katy.

All right. We got some much needed news today that has nothing to do with
what we were just talking about. It`s actually a big and important
national security story. That`s ahead.

Plus, the thing that made me legitimately angry that was just done by the
National Republican Party. And I hope they will stop doing it.

That`s all ahead. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The city of Charlotte, North Carolina, has gone way out of its way
to make itself very, very friendly to business, businesses large and small.
Most famously, Charlotte, North Carolina is the home of Bank of America.
It`s also the second largest hub for American airlines.

PayPal just announced plans for a new operations center in Charlotte.
Apple has a data center and also big solar farms in the area. Facebook has
a data center in nearby forest city.

The home improvement chain Lowe`s is based in the Charlotte suburbs. The
NBA is set to host its all-star game in Charlotte next year. ESPN has been
looking at the Charlotte Motor Speedway for its Summer X Games.

And all these major companies with operations in and around Charlotte,
North Carolina, they are all now freaking out about what the state of North
Carolina has just done. Because as part of its overall civic ethos and
part of its effort to keep attracting world-class businesses, the city of
Charlotte recently passed an anti-discrimination ordinance. It`s a simple
anti-discrimination ordinance. It says in Charlotte you can`t discriminate
against someone for being gay or lesbian or transgender.

That was such a source of outrage to North Carolina Republicans that this
week they called the North Carolina general assembly, the legislature, back
early for an emergency session. Lawmakers cut short their vacations. They
rushed back to the state capitol to get rid of that anti-discrimination
ordinance and to make it illegal for any city in North Carolina to ever
pass an anti-discrimination ordinance again.

The Republicans in the legislature did this all in the space of 12 hours,
with such a small amount of debate-w so little transparency that the
Democrats in the legislature simply walked out in protest before the vote
was even taken. And North Carolina`s Republican Governor Pat McCrory ended
up sitting in his office waiting for the Republicans in the legislature to
send him this bill late on the night that it passed so that he could sign
it as soon as possible.

And Governor Pat McCrory and Republican state legislators may be super
psyched about the fact that they got this done. And they may be super
psyched about the fact North Carolina cities are now not allowed to prevent
discrimination against gay and transgender people.

But Pat McCrory now has hundreds of protesters outside his house and all
these big global businesses needing to attract both customers and people
who are willing to go to North Carolina to work there. They are full-scale
freaking out about what has just happened in the Tar Heel State.

One person I do not envy right now right in the middle of all this is the
mayor of the great city of Charlotte, North Carolina. Mayor Jennifer
Roberts joins us now.

Mayor Roberts, thank you for your time. I know this is an incredibly busy
time for you. I really appreciate you being here.

MAYOR JENNIFER ROBERTS (D), CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA: Well, I appreciate
your having me on this evening.

MADDOW: What is the state of this fight right now? Do you have any
options left as a city? What`s going to happen next?

ROBERTS: Well, I tell you, Rachel. As you mentioned, the speed and the
secrecy with which this came down have us still trying to figure out what
this law actually means for Charlotte and for businesses and for the way we
operate our own facilities because we`ve had, you know, our arena and our
convention center have been inclusive and equal for many years. And now,
we`re trying to figure out, you know, what it actually means for how we go
forward.

And we`re hearing a lot from our business community. We`re hearing from a
lot of folks around the country in support of what Charlotte did in terms
of being inclusive. And we`re trying to figure out if we can overturn
this.

MADDOW: Were you surprised by the ferociousness of the statewide
Republican response to this anti-discrimination ordinance you that passed?
Did you know this sort of backlash – I don`t even want to call it
backlash. This sort of response would come from the state`s Republicans?

ROBERTS: I was frankly appalled at the speed and the as you said special
session called for emergency needs to allow people to discriminate.
Because really when the state came back and put in its own anti-
discrimination, which included race, religion, national origin, left out
sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, what they did
was sanction discrimination against our LGBT community.

And I am appalled. The fact that someone can walk out of their business
and find a sign in front of a restaurant that says “no gays welcome here”
and that will be perfectly legal.

MADDOW: The mayor – or excuse me, the governor of Georgia is considering
now whether to sign similar legislation in Georgia. We went through
something sort of related to this in Indiana about a year or so ago.

And in both cases, in Indiana looking ahead in Georgia, and what you`re
experiencing right now in Charlotte and more broadly in North Carolina, is
the prospect of major companies and sports leagues and all sorts of
considerable employers being palpably appalled by this policy decision and
threatening to take their business elsewhere because they think they may
get – that it not only violates their own ethics as a company but it may
ensure some backlash from their own customer base and their own employees
if they continue to do business with Charlotte, with North Carolina, with
these other places that have considered it.

How are you trying to mitigate that as a mayor? What kind of conversations
are you having with big employers in your city?

ROBERTS: Well, I have spent a lot of time on the phone with our major
employers. And they know that to attract the best talent they have been
welcoming and inclusive for years. Many of them actually have support
teams who help teams transition if they`re transgender. Help them through
that process. And so, you know, they understand that talent comes in all
forms and shapes and they need to be inclusive and welcoming, as does
Charlotte.

And we are in conversations with our business leaders, our faith leaders,
our community leaders to talk about, you know, the values that we have in
Charlotte. Our values are to be inclusive. We do not discriminate.

And Charlotte did the right thing in standing up and supporting equality
and equal rights. We want to work with our companies to send that message
and to make sure that people understand those are not Charlotte values,
those are not North Carolina values. I think that our values have been
hijacked by some political moves, by some extremists at a certain point who
went much broader than they needed to. And we`re going to continue to have
conversations and see what we can do to let people know Charlotte is still
a wonderful place and we want to continue to have that voice heard.

MADDOW: Jennifer Roberts, the mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina, one of
the great cities in the American South – thank you very much for talking
with us about this tonight. Please keep us surprised as this fight goes
on. I really appreciate talking to you.

ROBERTS: Thank you so much.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Not that long ago on this show, we set up sendittorachel.com.
It`s very simply a means by which you can see us something. If you come
across something in your daily life that seems important, particularly if
it`s related to politics, but really anything. If you come across
something important, you think it`s news, you don`t already see it in the
news – well, send it to us, sendtoitrachel.com.

Through the magic of send it to Rachel.com, we`ve learned that voters
throughout the country have been seeing this. Kind of makes your heart
race a little bit when you see this, right? That big red lettering. It`s
an absolute with “past due”, right, in bold red letters. Notice of
delinquency. It`s designed to look like a bill that is delinquent in being
paid.

Inside that scary looking envelope is a letter which says the recipient is
in delinquency. The recipient has funds that are past due, circled in red.
That letter is from Reince Priebus, chairman of the National Republican
Party.

Now, this is not actually a bill, over due or otherwise. This is a fund
raising mailer. It is aimed to scare anyone into thinking that you owe
someone money. And so, you know, maybe a bill collector is going to come
after you and maybe your credit is about to get screwed up.

This is the kind of sleazy tactic obviously that elderly voters especially
are susceptible to, especially if you maybe can`t read the fine right, or,
you know?

There`s an extra hot place in hell for someone who tries to scam the
elderly, let alone scare them, even if not for a B.S. political reason.
This is for a B.S. political reason though. This is my opinion but I think
it`s disgusting and think the Republican National Committee should stop
doing this.

And when you see stuff like this, trying to scare old people into thinking
they`ve got overdue bills, and they need to send Reince Priebus money in
order to take care of that threat, you see stuff like this, let us know.
This is news. This is also disgusting, but in this case, it`s news.
Sendittorachel.com.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Heads up for tonight. Ahead of tomorrow`s Democratic caucuses in
Hawaii, and Alaska and Washington state, the Bernie Sanders campaign is
gearing up for what`s expected a truly mammoth event in Seattle.

These are some shots that people lining up to get into the venue. It`s
apparently taking a long time for people to get in because of security.

But keep in mind, even in more conservative parts of Washington state, the
Sanders` campaign has turned out 8,000, and 9,000 person rallies this past
week in places like Vancouver, Washington and Spokane. But this one in
Seattle tonight, this one is expected to be truly big.

You`ll want to stay tuned after the show tonight as we`ll have continuing
live coverage of tonight`s political events, with my friend Ari Melber,
including what is expected to be a very, very big rally in Seattle.

We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Sometimes it`s hard to keep the names straight. Sometimes it`s
hard to keep the fake names straight, even if you know the real names. But
every once in a while they get one that`s a big enough deal that you can
tell who he is, you can tell how important he is. You can appreciate how
hard it was to get them and based simply on the dollar amount they put on
his head.

The rewards for justice program pays for tips to find international
terrorists. They pay out reward money for people who led U.S. forces, for
example, to each of Saddam Hussein`s son, Uday and Qusay.

They paid out reward money to whoever ratted out Ramsey Yousef, who planned
the World Center bombing in 1993.

The biggest reward that was ever offered by had rewards for justice program
was for a tip leading to Osama bin Laden. Since they got him the, they
moved that $25 million reward they had on him over to the guy that replaced
him, to Ayman al-Zawahiri.

So, Zawahiri is kind of the top of the food chain in terms of terrorists
wanted by the U.S., there`s one guy, the head of al Qaeda, $25 million.

And then, for the whole Middle East, there are three guys at the next level
down. It`s a $10 million reward for the top al Qaeda facilitator in Iran,
also for the head of the Haqqani Network, and also for the head of ISIS.
They`re all $10 million rewards.

And one level below that, look at this – there`s just these two guys.
There`s a $7 million reward for either the head Boko Haram in Nigeria or
there`s the same reward for the guy they just got.

I know it`s hard to keep these guys straight but there are only two guys in
the whole world for whom the U.S. is offering a $7 million reward for a tip
leading to their capture. The head of Boko Haram and this guy who they say
they just got from the top leadership in ISIS.

I mean, as far as the U.S. rewards for justice program goes, the only ISIS
leader more valuable as a target is the head of ISIS, the guy who`s
declared himself the caliph, right, al Baghdadi.

And I don`t know if anyone`s going to get the $7 million reward for this
guy they just got, with the 12 aliases and the huge $7 million dead or
alive reward on his head. But apparently, the way they got him was U.S.
Special Forces dropping out of helicopters to intercept the vehicle he was
traveling in, in Iraq, and now, they say he`s dead.

ISIS, obviously, is capable of carrying out complex and devastating attacks
in the West when they send their fighters and their trainees to places like
Brussels and Paris. But for whatever it`s worth, they do seem to be under
duress at home in Iraq and Syria, with them now losing territory that held
in Ramadi land around Mosul and in Palmyra, and in Sinjar, and now, their
highest profile leadership getting checked off this very short American
list of the most wanted men in the world.

Thanks to Congress, this is an unauthorized and undeclared war that the
U.S. military is fighting against ISIS, but today is the day where that war
got a big win.

That does it for us tonight.

My friend Ari Melber is here now to pick up our live we`re coverage,
including tonight`s Bernie Sanders`s rally in Seattle.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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