The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 4/4/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: April 4, 2016
Guest: Yamiche Alcindor, Mordecai Lee
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: It will be interesting to see how it checks
Charlie Pierce, Ms. Conniff, thanks for being with me tonight. Appreciate
That is “ALL IN” for this evening, live from the lakefront brewery in
Milwaukee, on a beautiful and cold and snowy opening day here in Wisconsin.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Well done. Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.
Thanks to you at home for joining us.
Speaking of snow, this was the view from my driveway this morning. And
yes, I know, lovely scene. But that`s also ridiculous for what is supposed
to be opening day of baseball season, right? It`s supposed to be spring.
And the dogs love it. I`m sure the snowplow drivers are delighted to have
a little extra work when they didn`t expect it. But come on! Anyway. So,
There`s also a lot going on in the world today even if it did not snow
buckets where you live. The biggest story in international news today is
possibly one of the biggest global corruption stories ever told.
Now, in this Panama paper story that have been big American names that have
been dropped yet. But in this massive dump from a law firm that apparently
helped the rich and powerful hide their money offshore, this story is
apparently just gotten started. Over the past 48 hours, we`re told there
is more to come in terms of information from this data dump. If you`re
waiting for big powerful American names to drop in this story, there will
likely be some of those American names. Those will be forthcoming in days
So, we have what we`ve got so far on that story ahead for you tonight,
including an absurdly cinematic armed robbery that explains about who these
guys are and what got leaked.
We`ve also got news tonight about star crossed and newly single American
governor who today, surprise, went to prison.
Also coming up right at the end of the show this hour, we`ve got a big
headline from an unexpected place. It`s actually news from a red state
which nevertheless looks like very good news for the Democratic Party. And
I`m not sure this news has gotten any other national attention. I think
it`s potentially a big deal. We`ve got that coming up right at the end of
the hour tonight.
But we`re going to start tonight`s news with America`s 31st largest city, I
think, in terms of population. Milwaukee is right between Louisville and
Albuquerque. Milwaukee is home to about 600,000 people. It`s the biggest
city in Wisconsin by a lot.
Downtown Milwaukee, if you look at it on a map, it couldn`t be more
classical and elegant in the way that city center is laid out against that
dominant feature of the city, which is a huge lakefront on Lake Michigan.
Milwaukee has got two big rivers that come together in the spot they called
the Confluence, just in shore from the lake there.
There are two major highways that also come together downtown. The east
west interstate, and the north-south interstate, which crossed in the
downtown, right by the big university, right by the train station. It`s
just a quintessential American city in terms of its layout. It`s
quintessentially Midwestern, but also quintessentially American.
And tonight, right at the heart of that classically laid out Midwestern
downtown, we really thought it was going to be mad house tonight, because
zoom way this here. Do we have a zoom? Yes, there we go.
All right. You know what the Shrine Circus is? Think old school circus.
Think unreconstructed circus, not some re-imagined Las Vegas shiny show
version of it. But like down and dirty, elephant poop circus.
The Shrine Circus is going to be tonight at the Panther Arena right there
in downtown Milwaukee. Panther Arena has got 12,000 seats. The Panther
Arena is right next door to the Milwaukee Theater, right next door. The
Milwaukee Theater has 7,000 seats.
Then if you go right across the street, literally right across the street,
that`s – there`s a parking lot there, the dark rectangle and right
adjacent to the parking lot is what`s called the Wisconsin Convention
Center. That`s set up tonight with 5,000 seats.
So, those three venues, literally adjacent to one another on the same city
block, those are all going off at the same time tonight in Milwaukee,
because simultaneously, tonight, there`s the shrine circus at the Panther
Arena. The next door, there`s a Donald Trump rally at the 7,000-seat
Milwaukee Theater. And then across the street, there`s a Bernie Sanders
rally at the convention center with its 5,000 seats.
So, 12,000 seats next door to 7,000 seats streets across from 5,000 seats.
All one square block, all tonight.
We know that the Milwaukee police set up a special incident command post
right there tonight, expecting basically a mob scene in this part of
But then look what happened. Nobody showed up for the Donald Trump rally,
at least. The circus went off as expected. The Bernie rally was a little
smaller than usual. The Donald Trump rally appears to be a total bust.
Not only no line to get in, no crowds outside, but a room that`s more than
half empty, and we`re told by reporters there that a lot of seats that are
filled are filled just with reporters.
We await the inevitable statement from the Donald Trump about how 400,000
people turned out for that Donald Trump event tonight in Milwaukee, right?
On the Republican side of the presidential race, that`s an interesting
thing to happen on the eve of the voting in Wisconsin. It`s basically, two
things going on right now. Big picture of the overall race.
The first is what`s, I think, increasingly getting attention as basically
the real contest to pick a Republican presidential nominee. That`s the
effort to lock up delegates to the national convention by hook or by crook.
This weekend, there were various levels of delegate selection happening in
the Republican side in North Dakota, in Tennessee and in Colorado.
And in all three of those states this weekend, it`s the Ted Cruz campaign
that appears to have outmaneuvered and out-organized Donald Trump by a
mile, let alone John Kasich. North Dakota appears to be sending an almost
entirely pro-Ted Cruz delegation to the Republican convention this summer.
In Tennessee, Donald Trump won the primary by 14 points. But this weekend,
his campaign got furious with the decisions made by the state Republican
Party to pick a bunch of special individuals for delegate slots for
Tennessee, people who do not appear to support Donald Trump.
In Colorado, they pick their delegates in multiple ways over multiple days.
There were six delegates at stake in Colorado Republican`s decision making
process on Saturday. All six of the delegates at stake on Saturday appear
to be Ted Cruz folks.
So, that is one level. That`s maybe the most direct level in which the
Republican contest is happening. The delegate fight, it`s little harder to
follow. It`s definitely lower profile in terms of the news stories in
these various states where these things happen.
Part of the reason people find it frustrating to pay attention to or even
to cover is because it`s so wildly undemocratic with a small d, let alone
nontransparent. But that is how the Republican Party is going to pick who
their nominee is, with those delegate fights and all of these states. And
that fight is well under way. Ted Cruz appears to be cleaning up in that
fight. That`s one thing that`s happening.
The other thing that`s happening in the Republican race, in contrast it`s
sort of starting to feel like it`s more for show, but it`s great show. It
does still matter. And that is this overt campaigning and vying for
victory in the remaining statewide caucuses and primaries.
Now, there has not been a statewide caucus or primary on the Republican
side since March 22nd. If you feel relaxed, here is why. We have just
gone through this big kind of unexplained hole in the Republican primary
calendar over these last couple of weeks. And that alone, this 14-day
waiting period between races, that alone was probably going to put a
spotlight on Wisconsin`s primary tomorrow because we haven`t had one in a
Even without that calendar driven focus, Wisconsin I think is going to be
fascinating on the Republican side this year because the Republican
electorate in Wisconsin, this year, appears to be fickle. Is that the
right word? Easily distracted? Maybe volatile is the right word? Maybe
they`re cocoa for cocoa puffs, I don`t know. They don`t seem to be able to
focus on any one thing for that long.
In the early polling in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans were definitely
sure that Marco Rubio was their guy. The start of polling in Wisconsin, it
was all Marco Rubio. Then, Marco Rubio stopped leading in the polls, and
they were all in for Scott Walker for their own Republican governor in
Wisconsin. Then that didn`t last. They decided they didn`t like Scott
Walker anymore and then they decided they like either Donald Trump or Ben
Carson. Trump and Carson went through a period in Wisconsin where the two
of them were trading the lead in the polls.
Then, Wisconsin voters decided they didn`t like Ben Carson and Donald Trump
started trading the lead with Ted Cruz. Now, Wisconsin Republicans appear
to have decided they don`t like Donald Trump anymore and they just like Ted
Cruz. He`s their guy. Who knows by this time tomorrow, they might be all
in for somebody else entirely?
But as Ted Cruz tries to that I can this momentary lead in this fickle
Wisconsin polls, and he tries to turn it into a victory tomorrow, he has
been buoyed by support by Scott Walker. Governor Walker of Wisconsin who
ended up endorsing Ted Cruz after he ran his own terrible, terrible
campaign, Scott Walker for president campaign.
Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin I think was only second to Jeb Bush this
year in the lopsidedness of the ratio between his expectations and his
performance. I mean, Scott Walker, a lot of people thought he was going to
walk to the nomination. Instead, he just completely bombed. Remember when
people asked him that like standard candidate question, you know, are you
ready to be commander in chief? What about you, has qualified you to be
commander in chief of the American military?
Scott Walker`s go-to answer for that was that he was a really, really good
boy scout. He didn`t just say it once. That was like his prepared stock
answer. I would be an excellent commander in chief because, have you seen
what I did as a boy scout?
It was just – I`m sure he was an amazing boy scout. I love boy scouts,
but that`s a bad answer when running for president. He was just
astonishingly bad as a presidential candidate.
But Governor Scott Walker is still governor in Wisconsin. He`s now a home
state asset to Ted Cruz. And, you know, he seems like he means it as a Ted
Cruz endorser. He`s one of the few recent endorsers of Ted Cruz who
doesn`t talk about Senator Ted Cruz like he`s a slightly less virulent
strain of food poisoning than the fatal botulism that party is likely if
they nominate Donald Trump.
If as expected, Donald Trump loses Wisconsin to Ted Cruz tomorrow, that
won`t much change the state of the Republican race. Everybody will still
need to do what they got to do in order to move forward.
If Mr. Trump wins, though, I think because Ted Cruz is now so widely
expected to win tomorrow and to win by a considerable margin, I think if
Mr. Trump ends up winning instead, that would now be considered such a
major upset that it would reasonably boost momentum for Mr. Trump`s
campaign. It could end up greasing things for him for the remainder of the
Republican primary calendar. We shall see.
I should also tell you, heading into tomorrow`s vote in Wisconsin, you
should know that a new round of racist white nationalist robocalls has gone
out in that state in support of Mr. Trump`s campaign. This is at least the
third round of these white nationalist pro-Donald Trump robocalls that we
heard about this year over the course of the Republican primary. They do
not appear to have anything to do with the Trump campaign.
They say explicitly that Mr. Trump has not authorized this message, but
this is what people are hearing when they pick up their phone in Wisconsin
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WHITE NATIONALIST ROBOCALL FOR TRUMP: The American National Super PAC
makes this call to support Donald Trump. My name is Mary Mitchell and I`m
a member of the American Freedom Party. I am voting for Donald Trump
because he will not only be presidential, he will put America first.
Furthermore, he will respect all women and will help preserve western
If you vote for Donald Trump, he will be a fine president. He will select
the very best persons to be in his cabinet and the entire world will
benefit from his leadership.
This message is paid for by William Johnson, a farmer and a white
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: A white nationalist.
Previous iterations of these pro-Donald Trump white nationalist robocalls
have been more overtly racist. Previous iterations of these calls have
talked about like protecting beautiful white children and saying the United
States should only accept white people as immigrants. This one doesn`t use
the word “white” until the end. It does talk about Donald Trump preserving
western civilization, but then, at the end, you get paid for by this white
The racist group that`s behind these things that pays for them says that
the Wisconsin version of this call has produced less of a backlash than the
calls they did in other states. They did keep the white nationalist thing
at the end though on purpose.
The guy paying for the ad told “The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel” today,
quote, “I want people to feel to hear, to feel comfortable with the term
`white nationalist`.” So, it`s important it`s still on the calls.
Now, again, to reiterate, there`s no evidence that the Trump campaign has
anything to do with this. A Trump campaign spokesperson e-mailed a
statement today saying the Trump campaign condemns these views. But this
is I think at least the sixth state this year where we have been able to
document these calls going out on behalf of Donald Trump before that state
voted in the Republican primary.
And like it or not, approve of it or not, this really is part of the
character of the Republican presidential race this year. White
nationalists think the Donald Trump campaign is their ticket to legitimacy
and getting you just used to the idea of the sound of those words “white
On the Democratic side of the race, polls in Wisconsin show a slightly
closer race than on the Republican side. Bernie Sanders appears to be
pretty clearly in the lead, but the numbers broadly speaking are closer in
the Democratic race than they are the Republican race. Both campaigns have
said publicly they expect the Wisconsin race to be tight tomorrow on the
Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton appear also to be in striking
agreement about one other thing that will be on the ballot tomorrow that
hasn`t gotten national attention but will be front of mind for a lot of
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I understand, not
that I`m all that knowledgeable about local politics, but I understand that
Governor Scott is trying to maintain control of the Supreme Court with a
justice who should not stay on the Supreme Court. This is why I hope that
large voter turn out on Tuesday will help elect JoAnne Kloppenburg to the
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, right now, there`s
walker appointed judge running for the highest court in this state. She
has actually said – I had to read this three times. She has actually
said, birth control is morally abhorrent and doctors who provide it, namely
birth control, and women who use it, namely birth control, are party to
Let me say that again. She compared birth control, which millions of women
use every year to murder. There is no place on any Supreme Court or any
court in this country. No place at all for Rebecca Bradley`s decades-long
track record of dangerous rhetoric against women, survivors of sexual
assault and the LGBT community.
So, tonight, I`m adding my voice to the chorus across Wisconsin saying no
to discrimination, no to hate speech and no to Bradley.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both campaigning to win in
Wisconsin, but they`re also campaigning against this person, Rebecca
Bradley, who is a recent appointee of Scott Walker to the Wisconsin Supreme
Court. Governor Walker and Rebecca Bradley were also briefly classmates at
I mentioned that big campus right in downtown Milwaukee, where the
interstates come together, they were both there at the same time in the
`90s, while Rebecca Bradley was a columnist for the student paper.
And it`s interesting, those anti-birth control comments that Hillary
Clinton quoted this weekend in Wisconsin, those are actually from much more
recently. Those are from an op-ed she wrote in 2006. It`s actually the
college paper stuff from even earlier, from the `90s, which I think is
going to be front of mind for a lot of Wisconsin voters who are going to be
headed to the polls tomorrow, if only it`s had tons of local coverage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV ANCHOR: War over words. A Wisconsin Supreme Court
justice under fire for what she wrote in college and now, some are calling
for her resignation. Justice Rebecca Bradley is apologizing for anti-gay
opinion pieces she wrote 24 years ago while attending Marquette College.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE TV ANCHOR: Katie Crowther is live from downtown, outside
the Milwaukee Club. That`s where Bradley attended a fund-raising event in
Katie, did she confront the controversy?
KATIE CROWTHER, REPORTER: Charles and Carol, they didn`t even let us in
the event. We were here waiting outside to speak with her. And she went
around the back through back entrance and never came out to talk with us.
Instead, her campaign team sent a written statement.
“I am frankly embarrassed at the content and tone of what I wrote those
many years ago, I apologize.”
Justice Rebecca Bradley said she`s sorry for the word she wrote in
Marquette University`s student newspaper back in 1992. Liberal group One
Wisconsin Now revealed a column and two letters to the editor where Bradley
described homosexuality as an abnormal sexual preference, saying, “The
homosexuals and drug addicts who do kill themselves and others through
their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”
She also said people would be better off contracting AIDS than cancer
because the politically correct disease will get all the funding.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, this person who Governor Scott Walker appointed to the
Wisconsin state Supreme Court, she also, I thought this was interesting,
wrote this in response to Bill Clinton being elected president back in
1992. She wrote, quote, “Congratulations, everyone. We`ve now elected a
tree-hugging, baby-killing, pot-smoking, flag-burning, queer-loving, draft-
dodging, bull spouting `60s radical socialist adulterer to the highest
office in our nation. Doesn`t it make you proud to be an American? We
just had an election which proves the majority of voters are totally stupid
or entirely evil.”
She said at the same column that anybody who voted for Bill Clinton in
1992, quote, “condones drug use, homosexuality, AIDS-producing sex,
adultery and murder.”
And then Scott Walker put her on the state Supreme Court. And this is the
first time since she`s been on the state Supreme Court that Wisconsin
voters are going to have a chance to vote on whether Rebecca Bradley should
keep that job.
So, the three remaining Republican candidates are going to be competing
tomorrow for the Republican presidential nomination in Wisconsin. The two
remaining Democratic candidates will be competing tomorrow for the
Democratic nomination in Wisconsin.
But Wisconsin tomorrow will also be particularly on the Democratic side, a
little bit of an audition for each of these Democratic candidates to
demonstrate whether and how well they can help Democrats and progressives,
other than themselves, win critical down ticket races. A lot of people are
going to vote tomorrow in Wisconsin are going to be thinking about the
presidential race. A lot of people are going to be thinking about this
down ticket race as well.
Can the candidates affect that race with the way they campaign? It`s
emerging as one of the big points of contention between Hillary Clinton and
Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. We`ve got more on that ahead
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Get your calendar or open up the calendar thingy on your phone, or
whatever you use, because here is what you`re going to do tomorrow night.
It`s election night.
And our special election coverage will kick off with “MEET THE PRESS DAILY”
hosted by Chuck Todd at 5:00 Eastern and Steve Kornacki takes over at 6:00,
followed by Chris Matthews with a special edition of “HARDBALL” live from
Milwaukee at 7:00. Then, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, I`m going to be joined here
by Brian Williams and Chris Matthews and the whole team with our live wall-
to-wall coverage of the Wisconsin primary.
So, basically starts as soon as you get your butt down in front of the TV
and it will go until there`s nothing left to say, which hopefully will be
some time before dawn.
So, take your B-12. (INAUDIBLE) Waukesha. Tonight is Wisconsin Eve. You
will spend primary night tomorrow night with us.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: There`s a lot of anger going on in the
presidential campaign. And it may have many sources, but one of the
sources certainly is the way the average American is being treated by this
particular economy. Today, we do something about that in a very
significant way, to sign into law the minimum wage of $15 an hour to give
voice to the power and the fervor and the belief of all the people standing
here, and all the people I represent.
This is an important day. It`s not the end of the struggle but an
important step forward. Let`s keep it going. We`re not stopping here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: California`s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown today signing
legislation that will raise California`s minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour
over the next few years. Simultaneously while that was happening, three
time zones east, it was the Democratic governor of New York signing New
York`s version of that same bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo signing off today
on plan to raise the New York state minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour.
Plus, I should mention, another bill giving new parents up to 12 weeks of
paid time off. Hey, look, family values.
California and New York are such big states that with these two states
making the simultaneously big leap forward, this means the bottom line for
making a living, the minimum wage is about to jump substantially for nearly
one in five Americans. Fifty-nine million people live in California and
New York. The lowest legal wage is going to go up to $15 an hour. Just a
That was bicoastal blue state governance today. That`s what you get in
states with Democratic governors and legislatures.
Meanwhile, in red state America, expectations and horizons are wildly
different. In red state America today, we are waiting for example to see
whether the governor of Mississippi will sign the new discrimination bill
the legislature passed there this past week in North Carolina. They`re
trying to figure out whether the state is going to lose billions of dollars
in federal funding because of the discrimination bill that the governor
just signed the other day.
Those are just two examples, right? National elections, for obvious
reasons, get the lion`s share of national media attention. And there`s
nothing wrong with that. Who`s president and who controls Congress? Those
are hugely important things.
But when it comes to a lot of the day-to-day political decisions that can
dramatically and quickly change how we live, what often matters more than
federal elections are down ticket elections, right? Your mayor, your state
rep, your governor.
Do you live in a red state or do you live in a blue state? Your life may
be pretty radically different depending on your answer to that question.
In the national contest for the Democratic presidential election this year,
the fate of Democrats down ticket from the presidential race, governors and
senators and representatives and legislatures and mayors, the fate of those
races has become a fairly new point of contention between Hillary Clinton
and Bernie Sanders. Both candidates have entered into fundraising
agreements with the Democratic National Committee, but so far, only
Secretary Clinton is raising money for the Democratic Party alongside the
money she`s raising for herself. Senator Sanders has not ruled out doing
that sometime in future, but he`s not doing it yet.
And now, newly, that is one of the ways that Secretary Clinton is running
against Senator Sanders.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: I`m also a Democrat and have been a proud Democrat all my adult
life. I think that`s kind of important if we`re selecting somebody to be
the Democratic nominee of the Democratic Party.
But what it also means is that I know how important to elect state
legislatures, to elect Democratic governors, to elect a Democratic Senate
and House of Representatives.
As Tammy said, I came and campaigned for her, boy, a long time ago, `98,
was it `98, I just met a young woman outside who said I first heard you
speak when I was ten years old and you came to campaign for Tammy Baldwin
running for the House of Representatives.
I`m proud of that, friends.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Secretary Clinton this weekend in Wisconsin, just sort of a new
part of her pitch, a new part of her stump speech. She`s bragging about
her past support for other Democrats, in this case, including Wisconsin
Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, but also promising that that`s what you
get if you get her as a nominee.
And this appears to be a new fault line, a new point of contention between
the two Democratic candidates. It`s now part of Secretary Clinton`s stump
speech, it`s something she brings up in interviews unprompted.
I mean, Senator Sanders is poised to win tomorrow in Wisconsin, as the
Democratic race continues to evolve. How is his campaign handling this new
challenge? Is this new fight between the candidates ultimately going to
redound to more help for down state Democrats in what is increasingly
becoming a red state country?
Joining us now is Yamiche Alcindor. She`s a national reporter for “The New
Yamiche, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here.
YAMICHE ALCINDOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES, NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Thanks
for having me.
MADDOW: So, you`ve been closely covering the Sanders campaign. You`ve
written a couple of really interesting pieces about sort of what it`s like
to be with the Sanders campaign. Where would you describe them as in their
trajectory? How do you think things with that campaign over the course of
these last few months?
ALCINDOR: Senator Sanders is coming into the realization I think maybe
after the fall he could really win this thing. He started off, even though
his campaign kind of didn`t want to say it, I think they started off
thinking, OK, this is really a long shot. Let`s try to get our message out
here. And now, they`re starting to see kind of in January, that hey, we
could really get this.
Because of that, they have become way more pointed in their attacks on
Hillary Clinton and he kind of crossed into things he thought was personal
attacks but they`re not personal. It`s attacking on her Goldman Sach`s
speeches, kind of bringing up fossil fuel money. So, I think what he`s
really done is kind of come in to this idea and started to listen to his
advisors who said, look, this is where she`s vulnerable, let`s talk about
MADDOW: There is this sort of an unusual issue in both parties this year
where you`ve got somebody who`s running very strong who has never strongly
been identified with that party before. The Republican Party, obviously,
it`s Donald Trump. Very type of candidate but also somebody who`s never
really been identified with this party before, Bernie Sanders. And now,
Hillary Clinton seems to be going right at that with this difference
between them on whether or not their fundraising prowess respectively
should be directed toward other Democratic candidates.
Do you think – where do you think the Sanders campaign is going to come
out on that issue?
ALCINDOR: I think the Sanders campaign is going to say, look, we explained
why he ran as a Democrat. We explained that when he started he wanted –
he was an independent but he thought within this two-party system, that he
has to run as a Democrat and now, he`s ready to do the things that
Democrats do which is possibly help the Democratic Party out later on.
Yesterday in Wisconsin, he said, you know, I`ve been able to raise with
individual donations, six million people have given the my campaign. That
means that this could be the future of the party.
And he said the future of the party, which I imagine means that he`s
saying, look, Democrats, I`m able to help you. He`s been caucuses with
them since 1991. So, even though he`s not a Democrat in name he`s been
doing this. I think the other thing that`s important is his brand was
never, “I`m an establishment Democrat. Look at the things I`ve done for
the Democratic Party”. His brand has always been, “I`m an outsider. This
is something different than what you`re used to.”
So, I think that while Secretary Clinton is making these claims in saying,
hey, look, you know me, I`m a Democrat, his brand has never been that. So,
I think that that`s kind of the interesting thing that`s going on there and
I think that`s what he –
MADDOW: Which is why I think she`s hitting him on it, because I think she
knows for him to answer that, he`s got to say, like, yes, I`m happy to be
captain of team Democrat while also holding on to the thing that makes him
so appealing to some many Democrats and independents, which is that he sort
of stands alone.
Yamiche Alcindor, I`ve enjoyed your reporting on everything I`ve ever read
that you`ve done. I`m really happy you`re at “The Times”. Thanks for
being here tonight.
ALCINDOR: Thanks for having me.
All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, this right here is the view from inside a government building
as thousands of people protest a scandal that is, on the one hand,
sprawling and massive, and for this person, it`s as local as he has own
office window, which has been pelted with a lot of eggs, also apparently
yogurt. They`re throwing eggs and yogurt over this remarkable scandal and
it sounds delicious. But that story is next.
On November 26th, 1983, six men broke into a warehouse in London. That was
partially owned by the security company Brink`s. They were acting on a tip
that one of the vaults in that warehouse reportedly held 3 million British
pounds in cash, in bills.
The whole heist was quite ostentatiously British actually. One of the
robbers wore a narrow brimmed top hat over his ski mask. Nutty (ph).
What was most surprising about this very British robbery though was not
what they looked like, it`s what they found when they stormed into the
warehouse. They found something way more valuable than the stacks of
British pound notes they were expecting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV ANCHOR: A gold theft in London this morning is
being called the richest robbery in British history, and one of the biggest
of all time anywhere. Gold bars worth more than $37 million were taken
from a warehouse near Heathrow Airport. Six men wearing hoods overpowered
six warehouse guards, handcuffed them, doused them with gasoline and
threatened to set them on fire.
REPORTER: London police believe it was an inside job and now, they are not
permitting anyone inside this warehouse, where a gang made a $37 million
haul in gold bullion over eh weekend. Robbers walked past an elaborate
foolproof alarm system that didn`t fool them. They knew all about it.
Once inside, they overpowered security guards and made off with six tons of
Commander Frank Cater, top detective of Scotland Yard`s robbery squad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were together in the boxes. Something six feet in
length. Perhaps three to three and a half feet in height and about two and
a half to three feet across.
REPORTER: The gold bars looked like these but may look a lot different
now. They could have been melted down to prevent identification. That was
the plot of a British movie 30 years ago and if this is what the real
crooks did this weekend, then Scotland Yard`s job will be much tougher.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Amazing news report from the time from 1983. British papers at
the time called it the crime of the century. Media suspicions about what
the crooks might do with the stolen gold wars ended up being spot on. Some
of the bars were melted down to prevent the gold from getting traced back
to the people who stole it.
Still though, even without the bars on their hands, they still needed a way
to hide the huge sum of money they just acquired in this robbery. A little
over a year after the Brink`s-Mat robbery, the crooks apparently approached
a law firm in Panama to help them form a shell company which would then
basically shelter all the money. That law firm`s name was Mossack Fonseca.
The firm`s founder, Mr. Mossack, apparently had more than an inkling of
what was going on here. An internal memo written by him at the time
describes the company as, quote, “apparently involved in the management of
the money from the famous theft from Brink`s-Mat in London.”
The reason we know about this is because of some amazing story that`s just
broken. I mean, you get back to the criminality here and the allegations
here and it also sort of winds around on itself. In the case of the
Brink`s-Mat, robbery, I mean, instead doing anything about fact that they
knew they were laundering money, instead of helping authorities solve one
of the biggest crimes in British history, Mr. Mossack and his firm
allegedly, quote, “took steps that prevented British police from gaining
control of the shell company that was hiding all the money.”
The reason all of this is becoming known is because of new reporting that
just came out that`s the result of one of the biggest data leaks in
history. They`re calling it the “Panama Papers”.
More than 11 million internal documents from this law firm, from Mossack
Fonseca, were leaked to a German newspaper, which shared them with more
than 100 other news organizations. Those documents purport to show how
everybody from politicians to celebrities to drug traffickers to star
athletes, they`ve all been hiding billions of dollars in fairly sketchy
One of the biggest figures tied to the scandal is Russian President
Vladimir Putin, who`s now describing the scandal as an effort to take down
Russia. Vladimir Putin is not named specifically in the leak, but some of
his closest friends are, and in the leaked documents, his friends appeared
to have shuffled more than $2 billion through banks and shadow offshore
The British Prime Minister David Cameron, he doesn`t appear in the leak,
but his late father is mentioned. “The Guardian” describes it as such,
quote, “He ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in
Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents, including a part-time
bishop to sign its paper work.”
Today, more than 10,000 protesters gathered in the capital city of Iceland,
calling for the ouster of that country`s prime minister, after he appeared
in the documents. They egged the Icelandic parliament building as well.
The prime minister and his wife are both named in the documents. They
appear in the documents to be hiding millions of dollars offshore in the
British Virgin Islands.
Tonight at least, the Icelandic prime minister is vowing not to resign.
There are 12 current and former world leaders, heads of state who are
mentioned in the leaks. The German paper that got this leak in the first
place, they say the reason there are no American names so far in the
scandal, it`s not because there aren`t any Americans doing this sort of
thing, it`s not because there aren`t any Americans listed in the leaked
documents, it`s just because they haven`t gotten around to publishing the
American names yet, but they`re coming. Buckle up.
MADDOW: I`m not in the habit of giving advice around here, but if I ever
start, my first handy hint for governors will be this: when it`s been
widely reported that you`re under criminal investigation, do not stage a
photo op of yourself in a prison.
But that is what Alabama Governor Robert Bentley did this past week, as
Alabama legislators filed impeachment proceedings against him and as the
state ethics commission and state attorney general were reported to be
investigating him, as well as the U.S. attorney in Alabama, all in
conjunction with scandal in which this family values conservative governor
continues to deny having an affair with his top political staffer let alone
using state resources or campaign funds to further or conceal that alleged
affair. Even as the good people of Alabama have been treated to long audio
tapes of the governor having phone sex with this person who he still says
he never touched.
She has since resigned from state government, the woman with whom he
allegedly had the affair, but he has not stepped down. He`s facing
possible impeachment and he is reportedly facing multiple criminal
investigations including a federal one.
And so, last week it was a remarkable thing when he chose to do a photo-op
in state prison. But then today he did it again. I know he no longer has
his trusted top political advisor around to tell him not to do things like
this. She had to quit after the alleged affair.
But you think a person couldn`t get to be governor if the political
instincts didn`t suggest this is not the best time to show everybody what
it would look like if they opened the prison gate and let you in for keeps.
As part of the prison visit today, Governor Bentley did take questions from
reporters, and he wound up giving one of his longest apologies yet for
whatever he did, which he still won`t say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY (R), ALABAMA: I`ve asked God to forgive, but I`ve
asked other people to forgive me. I`ve already done that. I have truly
asked the people of this state, that are the most loving and the best
people in the world, I have asked them to forgive me.
And, you know, it`s mine. I own it. I own it. I did it. I point no
fingers at anybody else. I made no excuses for that. I own my problem.
It`s not your problem. It`s not your problem. You have other my problem.
It`s not your problem. It`s my problem and I have to deal with that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It may not be his problem, but the woman he says didn`t have the
affair with, she`s the one who had to resign.
Robert Bentley said today that his troubles are not affecting his ability
to govern the state of Alabama. He says for him, this is all in the
rearview mirror now. And that may be true for him. It is probably not
true for the people of his state.
Here he is at the prison commissary, for example.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: God bless Governor Scott
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Your governor is a rock star.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Ted Cruz in Waukesha, Wisconsin, tonight campaigning on
the eve of tomorrow`s Republican primary, alongside “God bless Wisconsin
Governor Scott Walker”.
Joining us now is Mordecai Lee. He`s one of the great scholars and deans
of Wisconsin`s amazing politics.
Professor Lee, don`t be too nice about it. You know it`s true. It`s great
to see you, sir.
MORDECAI LEE, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: I`m
just trying to give the taxpayers their money`s worth.
MADDOW: Oh, very good.
Well, listen, we`ve spoken a few times over the past few years, mostly
because Wisconsin has been through some really bitter partisan fighting.
Enormous protests over the governor killing union rights. They tried to
recall Governor Walker.
So, Wisconsin`s about to step into a very hot political spotlight tomorrow
night. How`s things there now?
LEE: Things are very excited and very politicized. I think that tomorrow
we`re going to see kind of a Noah`s flood of a turnout of voters.
You remember when you covered the Supreme Court race that you mentioned in
the earlier segment, that was a million and a half voters for a lousy
Supreme Court race. Tomorrow, we`ve got another Supreme Court race and two
presidential races. I think we`re going to break all records. I think the
Government Accountability Board is underestimating when they say 1.3 –
1.75 million. I`ll bet on 2 million votes.
MADDOW: Is there any worry that the new voter restriction that`s have gone
into effect in Wisconsin, themselves a product of – or the subject of lots
of bitter partisan fighting, things like voter ID and other sorts of
restrictions shortening early voting, any of that maybe going to dampen
turnout at all?
LEE: I think you`re really onto something because we`ve had only two low
turnout voter elections with the voter ID. Tomorrow, as turnout expands,
you`re going to get people with below average education, below average
income, and possibly below average documentation. So, I think there`s a
possibility of both lines and problems for people who have never faced it
before. The higher the turnout, the more problems there will be.
MADDOW: Has there been a good voter education effort in terms of new voter
ID law and the other things that are going to be different about voting
LEE: There`s been a little bit but not much. Last week, Governor Walker
also signed a law that allowed veterans to use their V.A. ID card instead
of any other ID. But otherwise, ID problems could happen he easily for
people who have moved, for students who don`t have their address on their
ID cards. I think we`ve got a problem around the corner.
MADDOW: It`s been interesting at the very end of this race in Wisconsin to
see Governor Walker play such a big role with his endorsement of Ted Cruz.
He had a sharp, sharp turn in the presidential race. His presidential
effort didn`t go well and it was over quickly.
Did that hurt him in the state?
LEE: It hurt him a lot with the independents. His support number is now
at about 38 percent, 39 percent. And you know what`s so interesting is
that Ted Cruz is doing a kind of political jujitsu. He`s saying that
President Obama has mismanaged the economy but Governor Walker`s reforms
have helped the economy. I`m not quite sure how that balances out.
MADDOW: All good things go to my guy. All bad things go to the other guy.
I know how to play that game.
Mordecai Lee, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin –
I know this is like Christmas for you on steroids. Thanks for being with
us tonight, sir. Good to see you.
LEE: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Up next, some unexpected good news for the Democratic
Party coming out of a very red state. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So big vote tomorrow in Wisconsin. Everybody`s very excited for
But here`s something else to keep an eye on. Through the first half of
this presidential primary season, the big worry for Democrats has been
turnout. Republican turnout`s been up in state after state and Democratic
numbers have been down all over the place. At least that was true for a
In this recent string of states that voted not in a primary but in a
caucus, though, Democrats actually got some unexpectedly large numbers in
terms of turnout in Idaho and Utah and Alaska. Crowds were so big in Utah
that counties ran out of ballots and had to print more. Crowds in Idaho
were so big it took all night to get results.
Well, now we have some news about the next Democratic caucuses, which are
going to be held this week on Saturday in Wyoming. Check this out.
“The Casper Star Tribune” now reporting that in six Wyoming counties, they
have already decided they need to move their Democratic caucus sites into
larger venues because they are expecting huge turnout, possibly record
turnout, which of course would be a nice thing for Democrats if those
warnings and worries prove true.
Democrats would love to start earning bragging rights on turnout. In
Wyoming of all places? Sure. Why not? Nothing else this year makes
sense. Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow at 8:00.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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