The Rachel Maddow Show transcript, 5/19/16
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW for May 19, 2016, MSNBC
Byline: Rachel Maddow
Guest: Deborah Hersman, Rukmini Callimachi
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Thanks for
joining us this hour.
Usually at this point in the show, I have a teleprompter. But at
this point, there is not a teleprompter.
I’m just going to make it up as we go on. Do we have a teleprompter I can use here?
All right. Well, the thing we`re covering tonight is obviously the
major story not only in the United States but around the globe about this
crash of the EgyptAir flight. In the last year, there have been two
instances where Islamic terror groups have claimed credit for exploding a
bomb on board a passenger plane.
This one was an Airbus A320 plane which had the capacity to seat 220
people. This plane was nowhere near full on the day it was bombed. It was
bombed on February 2nd of this year. There were 81 people on board
including the bomber who was apparently given the bomb he exploded on board
the plane when he was inside the airport in Somalia.
This is footage from inside of the airport in what it appears to show
is the bomb disguised as a laptop or at least something that would fit into
a laptop case being given to the passenger inside the Somali airport by
what appeared to be airport workers. He ended up getting on board that
plane. It was an Airbus A321. It was supposed to be a two hour flight to
the capital of Djibouti.
But 20 minutes into the flight when the plane was at 14,000 feet,
that bomb, which that terrorist had brought on board the plane, the bomb
went off and the bomb was a success. It was not a dud. It exploded, but
the explosion on board that plane was also basically a miracle because as
you can see in some of the images, what that bomb did was blow a hole in
the fuselage of the plane that was just big enough to suck the bomber out
of that aircraft and send him to his death, but it was not such a massive
hole in the fuselage that the plane completely broke apart.
And the heroic work of the crew of that aircraft on Daallo Airlines
Flight 159 back in February, the heroic pilot and co-pilot of the aircraft,
they were able to safely land that plane even with that huge hole in the
fuselage. The bomber was killed but no one else was killed or even
That`s one of the two in the past year where Islamic terrorists have
been able to get a bomb on board a plane and explode it. That was one of
the two. That was February of this year.
The other one was far more deadly. And interestingly it was also an
Airbus. It was an Airbus A321. The same that was bombed in Somalia.
But this other time in the past year, this other time when Islamic
terror groups have been able to get a bomb on board a plane and blow it up,
this time it was a chartered passenger flight. It was flying from a resort
city in Egypt called Sharm el-Sheikh. It was flying a bunch of Russian
tourists from Sharm el-Sheikh back to St. Petersburg in Russia.
An ISIS affiliated terrorist group in the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt
claimed credit for smuggling a bomb on board that plane. When that bomb
exploded, it didn`t take that aircraft all the way down. All 224 people
were killed when the bomb blew up. That was this past October. October
So the Somali incident was February of this year. The Egypt crash
over the Sinai was last October.
Now, obviously you can go further back in time to find more instances
of bombed flights and terrorists targeting passenger airliners. But even
if you just look at the two instances we have had in the past year, it`s
clear that international terrorist groups are actively targeting passenger
airlines with bombs.
I mean, despite heightened aviation security in the West and in the
world, they have been able to explode bombs on board passenger aircraft.
I mean, even more recently than those incidents. In March of this
year, there was another incident on board a passenger plane. An incident
of the kind that seems like it shouldn`t be possible that this happens
anymore but in March of this year, it was a short hop EgyptAir flight from
Alexandria to Cairo. So, taking off inside Egypt, landing in another city
inside Egypt. And a man was somehow able to hijack that plane in March, he
diverted the course from Egypt to cypress after he smuggled on board
something he claimed was an explosives belt.
The bomb that he smuggled on board, it turned out to be fake.
Obviously, he`s the guy on the left there, not the guy on the right. But
it seemed real enough to people on board the plane to authorities at the
time that he was able to divert that aircraft, terrorize passengers, forced
an hours long stand off with authorities.
Now, in that instance, you see the guy coming out of the window at
the front of the plane? In that instance, the man was said to be either
mentally ill or motivated by personal dispute. It doesn`t seem to have
been international terrorism. But how did he pull off that kind of
hijacking in Egypt of all places, right? This happened in March. This
happened less than six months after 224 people got killed in Egyptian
airspace after taking off from an Egypt airport.
So, if you are inclined to worry about aviation security, there are
places in the world there are instances just over the past year that give
good reason to worry about aviation security.
If you are inclined to worry about international terrorists targeting
passenger flights, there is direct evidence that they have proven not just
intention but also the capability to do that, at least some places in the
That said, even with being fully aware of those kinds of difficult
truths, we can`t say tonight for certain that that is what happened to
EgyptAir Flight 804. If you`ve been dipping in and out of this news
together about EgyptAir Flight 804, a lot of what you heard earlier in the
day has been disproven or retracted.
There are a lot of reports today that the wreckage of the plane had
been found. We`re now told that the wreckage of the plane has definitely
not been found. There were reports earlier today that terrorist groups
were claiming responsibility for downing this plane. We`re now told that
none of the claims of responsibility thus far at least are seen as
particularly credible. We`re going to have more on that in the show later
Now, further on the terrorism angle there, were reports today that
terrorist sympathizers online were circulating pictures of the bomb that
must have been used to take down EgyptAir Flight 804 – well, now it is
clear to us that the bomb photos that were circulating online during the
course of the day were mostly pictures of the type of soda can bomb that
was used to take down that Sharm el-Sheikh plane in October. It has
nothing to do with today.
For whatever reason, plane crashes and plane crashes disappearing,
they do not bring out the best in data driven journalism and information
driven discussion. We end up, whenever something like this happens, we end
up with way more miss information than real information especially in the
first few days.
But here is what we do know for sure right now. This plane, it`s an
Airbus a320. Took off from Paris last night after 11:00 p.m. local time it
was bound for Cairo. It should have been a four hour flight. There does
not seem to be anything suspicious about the plane itself. It was a 13-
year-old Airbus A320. Those claims are expected in their commercial life
to last 30 or 40 years.
So, this was basically still a young plane. The pilot was 36 years
old. The co-pilot was 24 years old. Between them, they had nearly 10,000
hours of flight time. EgyptAir has released their full names, said that
the pilot and co-pilot. They both passed background checks and security
screenings for the airline, including the crew and three air marshals on
board. There were a total of 66 people on board the plane all together.
U.S. intelligence agencies are among the investigators who have
looked into the passenger manifest. At least from an American perspective,
we`re told none of the passengers were listed on any American terrorist
But after an unremarkable, totally normal start to the flight, about
30 minutes before that flight was due to land in Cairo, it was about eleven
and a half miles into Egyptian air space, something happened that has not
The Greek government says on their military radar, they saw the plane
suddenly make a 90 degree turn to the left and then just as suddenly, it
circled 360 degrees to the right. It then plunged from its cruising
altitude of 37,000 feet down to 15,000 feet down to 10,000 feet down to
9,000 feet and then it dropped off the radar.
And despite all of supposition today, all of the single sourced later
discredited reporting today, what I just described to you about what we
know about this flight is literally all that we know for sure about this
flight. And yes, it could have been some sort of catastrophic structural
or mechanical failure, although that`s almost unheard of on big passenger
jetliners these days.
In fact, in all of 2015, all of last year there, was not a single
fatality reported anywhere in the world on a passenger jetliner that was
attributed to a malfunction of the plane or bad weather or any kind of
simple, noncriminal pilot error. It doesn`t mean it couldn`t have happened
in this EgyptAir flight today, but it does mean it would be very, very
unusual if that is what happened.
Whatever happened to this flight could have also been the result of
some sort of intentional act. Some sort of criminal act by one of the
pilots, we have certainly seen that before although, again, there is no
indication at this point at all that that might have been what happened
with this EgyptAir flight.
It also, of course, could have been an act of terrorism. Government
officials in multiple countries and political candidates in our own have
already suggested out loud that terrorism is the likely explanation for
what happened here. But in terms of what we know versus what we`re
guessing, we honestly can`t say one way or the other. Instead of adding to
the supposition of what might have happened here and what therefore mean,
what I`m curious to know now is how we`re going to find out the facts of
what happened here, and basically how we`re going to get from all of this
supposition to actual information, what happens next in terms of this
We do know that this is an EgyptAir flight that appears to have
disappeared in Egyptian airspace. We know that most of the people on board
were Egyptians. Egypt is therefore going to be taking the lead in the
The plane itself was built in France. The plane took off from
France. After Egypt, France is the country of citizenship for most of the
people on board the plane. France will therefore also be intimately
involved in the investigation. So, the investigation is going to be led by
Egypt and France.
Now, there is a quirk in international aviation crews so the country
where the engines of the plane were manufactured, that country should also
expect to be involved in the investigation of an aviation incident of this
kind. In this case, that would be the United States of America because
they were apparently Pratt and Whitney engines onboard the Airbus which are
manufactured in the United States. So, the U.S. will presumably be
involved in some way too.
But Egypt is in the lead along with France. No wreckage has been
found. What happens next?
Joining us now is someone who has led crash investigations in the
past. Deborah Hersman is the former chair of the NTSB, National
Transportation Safety Board. She`s now CEO of the National Safety Council.
Ms. Hersman, thank you for being here. Tragic circumstances, but
we`re happy to have you with us.
DEBORAH HERSMAN, FORMER NTSB CHAIR: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, what haps in the investigation here now? This far into
an incident of this kind? What is happening right now?
HERSMAN: So the investigators on the ground and the response
agencies that are on the ground really in the first 24 hours, they`re
focusing on recovery, if there is any search and rescue to be done to focus
But it has been a long day for them so not much is happening tonight
on the ground because it`s probably the first opportunity they have to
sleep. But there are a lot of people doing work in the background to
gather records and information, identify all those workers at the airport
that may have been interacted with the crew or inspected the aircraft or
done any maintenance. So, there is a lot of pieces coming together.
But one of the most critical things that they need is they need those
black boxes and they`ve got to identify the wreckage in order to get those.
MADDOW: In terms of American involvement, I`ve heard it described in
the past that the NTSB, U.S. authorities as investigators and names like
this have seen as the international gold standard, essentially seen as the
best in the business and have set a lot of the standards for how all
countries like to be able to investigate these things.
That said, the U.S. will not be in the lead here. I`ve heard some
discussion today that there may be tension between the Egyptian authorities
about allowing American investigators to play a significant role here
because of past conflicts between the Egyptians and the Americans on
incidents like this.
Can you shed any light on that?
HERSMAN: Sure. There are long standing international protocols,
they`re established by the International Civil Aviation Organization or
ICAO, and it determines who leads the investigation.
As you mentioned earlier, because this event occurred in Egyptian air
space, if it is on the land it is pretty clear that it is going to be led
by the country where the event occurs, but if it is in the water, if it`s
in international waters there, are decisions that have to be made there.
But if it is in Egyptian air space, they`ll take the lead. It is the
country of origin of the aircraft. That`s where the carrier is flagged.
But the French, as you mentioned to do have a role in the
investigation because they manufactured the aircraft. So they`re the state
of design and state of manufacturer. That being said, the French are
really good at this. Behind the United States, I would say the French do
as many investigations as we do of large commercial aircraft. And that`s
because the U.S. has Boeing and the French have Airbus. And so, they`re
the big participants in the large commercial aircraft investigations.
You mentioned the Pratt and Whitney engines. Again, part of
international protocol, if you have parts of the aircraft, major parts of
the aircraft, and there probably are other parts, whether it is the
avionics or other equipment that could have been manufactured in the United
States, those representatives through the NTSB lend assistance.
MADDOW: Deborah Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety
Council, former chair of the NTSB – thanks for helping us understand all
this. I know it`s very early days of this investigation. But people with
your expertise are who are going to tell us what this all means in the end.
Appreciate your time tonight.
HERSMAN: Thank you.
MADDOW: The people investigating what happened to EgyptAir 804
obviously have a long way to go. We`re going to be looking at one key
question in the investigation a little later on in the show, and the
questions and suppositions that have been raised about the prospect of
But we`re also going to look tonight at a surprise development in the
American presidential race, possibly a game changer from an unexpected
A lot going on tonight. We`ve got a big show for you tonight. Stay
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: June 7th, 2016 will be the California primary. This year,
is that when you, if you`re ahead in the vote, if you`re ahead in pledged
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am ahead in the vote,
Rachel! I`m way ahead in the vote! Now, wait a minute. Look, I have the
greatest respect for Senator Sanders but really, what he and his supporters
are now saying just doesn`t add up!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Now we know. Turns out it wasn`t just me she was annoyed
with. It turns out former secretary of state Hillary Clinton feels that
same way about the same issue when other people ask her about it as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, CNN)
CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: So you get into the general election, if
you`re the nominee for your party.
CLINTON: I will be the nominee for my party, Chris. That is already
done in effect. There is no way that I won`t be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton today interjecting on CNN to say if? If?
There is no way. She doesn`t end up not being the nominee of the
Democratic Party this year. That is clearly the view for Hillary Clinton
it has been for some time. That is clearly the view of her campaign. That
is increasingly the almost unanimous view of observers of this race just
looking at the math and the fact that Secretary Clinton has already sewn 96
percent of the delegates she needs to be able to win the nomination at this
But the Bernie Sanders campaign for sure is not there yet, and today,
they put out this statement criticizing Secretary Clinton for the remark on
CNN, and saying, quote, “We expect voters in the remaining eight contests
Despite Hillary Clinton`s lead in her race against Bernie Sanders,
likely insurmountable lead. The Republican Party settling on Donald Trump
full stop as their presumptive nominee has meant that the Democratic Party
is now the place where the drama is in the presidential politics, at least
it`s been that way for the last few weeks.
But now, today, in the midst of all this other national and
international news, today, there was a fascinating and unexpected little
bombshell that just blew up on what used to be the political margins, but
now, this year might end up being the political main stage and that big
surprise development today is our main political story of the night and
that`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: OK. You`re going to tell me this does not matter and I know
why you`re going to tell me that. I get it, I get it. I get it. I`m
usually the person who says this.
But here are three reasons, three numbers in fact that explain why I
think it does matter. The three numbers here are six, ten, and 50.
Let`s start with six. Six is the number of towns in Massachusetts
that did not vote for that state`s Republican vote when he ran for
reelection in 1994. There are 351 towns in Massachusetts, 351 towns. All
but six of them voted to reelect the Republican governor in that state that
year and that was at a time when only 15 percent of the state was
But look at the map. Look at how much that Republican governor won
that state that year. The Republican governor who got reelected that year
in that state by such a massive margin, by the biggest margin ever in the
history of that state was a guy named Bill Weld.
Bill Weld was a socially liberal fiscally conservative Republican.
We don`t have those anymore, but we used to. And Bill Weld used to be kind
of the paragon example of that kind of political beast.
Bill Weld was elected governor of Massachusetts in 1990, the first
time that state had elected a Republican governor in 20 years. But he was
so popular. His time in office was seen as such a success that his
reelection margin in 1994 broke every record in the state.
On fiscal issues, he was conservative and successful honestly. The
Libertarian Cato Institute praised him during his time in office as the
greatest governor in the nation. On social issues, he was liberal. He
made the conservatives in his own party throw fits at the Republican
convention in 1992 and 1996 when he gave a pro-choice speech. When he
insisted on being pro gay rights, when he argued aggressively that the
party ought to scrap the anti-abortion language in the Republican Party
There used to be Republicans like that. Bill Weld was among the last
of them. They don`t make them like that anymore. But that is how you end
up with sort of a remarkable electoral records like he had in
Massachusetts, right? The Republican governor in a blue state winning all
but six of the 351 towns and cities in that state. So, that is the number
Now, here is the number ten. This is a dime. This is a gold dime.
You can see it is marked there one tenth of one ounce of fine gold.
Here is what is on the other side of that dime. Look. It`s David
Koch. That`s David Koch in the back. David Koch of the Koch brothers.
In 1980, the Libertarian Party ran a guy named Ed Clark as their
presidential nominee and they ran billionaire Koch brother David Koch as
his presidential running mate.
As the Libertarian presidential ticket that year, their campaign
minted these gold dimes. Basically, as kind of party favors, like campaign
trinkets for their fundraisers and their supporters.
It also tells you how these guys thought of themselves, right?
Libertarian sense of their self-worth that even though they were running
for office, they were already printing money with their own heads on it.
Despite that supreme Caesar like self confidence, Ed Clark and David
Koch got nowhere in that campaign. They ended up with 1 percent of the
vote nationwide. That ended up being the last time either Koch brother
made a personal attempt at running for office.
After the failed and fairly expensive effort in 1980, gold dimes and
all, the Koch brothers instead just moved to bankrolling other Republican
candidates instead of running for office themselves.
This year, though, that bankrolling Republican candidate strategy has
fallen apart for them a little bit, because this year in the presidential
race, the Koch brothers do not like the presidential option that the
Republican Party has presented them with. David Koch`s brother Charles has
gone so far this year to even float the idea that they might support
Hillary Clinton instead of Donald Trump, even though it made him basically
turn green when he said it.
A lot of Republicans like Donald Trump just fine, but some
Republicans don`t, including some party leaders like the last Republican
nominee Mitt Romney, like party zillionaire donors, the Koch brothers.
They really don`t like Donald Trump. They really don`t want to vote for
Hillary Clinton either.
What those guys are looking for basically is a plan C. That`s what
led to all of these sort of pitiful beltway news stories about
conservatives looking for another option, looking for an independent
candidacy. Looking for some kind of third party run or maybe they`ll just
run individual Republicans in individual states here and there as a
symbolic protest as a way that conservatives and Republicans can vote for
someone at the top of the ticket other than Hillary Clinton or Donald
In that search for a plan C among Republicans and conservatives, that
brings us to our third and final number, which is the number 50. Because
there is only one political party in the United States other than the
Democratic Party and the Republican Party that is likely to have ballot
access this year in all 50 states. And that is the Libertarian Party which
honestly, usually isn`t that big a deal.
Gary Johnson, the former two term governor of New Mexico, he was the
Libertarian Party`s presidential nominee in 2012. He did about as well as
the David Koch ticket did back in 1980, got about 1 percent of the vote.
Gary Johnson is running again this year. He wants to be the Libertarian
Party`s presidential party nominee this year. They will make their
decision as to who will be the nominee at the national convention over
Memorial Day in Orlando, Florida.
But honestly there, hasn`t been any sign yet that Gary Johnson was
catching any more fire this time around than he did in 2012. FEC filings
showed at the end of March, Gary Johnson had a grand total of about $35,000
in his campaign bank account, which is not much for running for president.
Here is the thing, though. Compared to 2012, compared to 1980,
compared to any other election in the last 40 years, the Republican Party
nominating Donald Trump to run against Hillary Clinton means that a lot
more Republican voters and donors may be looking for a plan C.
They`re too right wing to ever consider voting for Hillary Clinton
but they can`t stomach Donald Trump on their own side. A lot of those
folks feel like it`s irresponsible or just wrong to not vote at all, so
there has been an effort to try to find some sort of plan C.
If we`re honest about it, there isn`t any way that an independent
candidate can get ballot access in all 50 states at this late point in the
process. Some of the states have had their deadlines passed. Other states
had the deadlines steaming down towards us very quickly and a lot of work
and a lot of money has to be spent in order to get it done. Getting on the
ballot in all 50 states right now with an independent candidacy is just not
But the Libertarian candidate this year, almost assuredly will be on
the ballot in all 50 states. They`ve got ballot access.
And just for kicks, the FOX News national presidential poll that came
out last night, included Gary Johnson, the Libertarian guy when they polled
people across the country yesterday on the presidential performances, Gary
Johnson, who most didn`t know was running this year, Gary Johnson in this
new FOX News poll polls 10 percent against Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
That`s interesting in its own right, it is also potentially huge if
Gary Johnson does get the Libertarian nomination and can build on the 10
percent support even just a little bit, and that is because the rules for
the general election debates say that a third party candidate can qualify
to be in those debates right up there with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton
if that candidate hits 15 percent in five national polls.
It is a little more complicated than that. It`s a little more
specific than that, but that`s basically it. You need to be polling at 15
percent nationwide to get into the presidential debates.
Gary Johnson is already apparently polling at 10 percent nationwide.
How hard would it be to get to 15?
So, you combine all of those things together, right? The unusual
appetite on the right for a non-Trump option. The Libertarian Party all
but assuredly having 50 state ballot access already this year.
Huge donors like the Koch brothers being uninterested in supporting
Donald Trump but have been supportive of the Libertarian Party in the past.
David Koch having, in fact, run himself on the Libertarian Party in the
past. I mean, you combine all of the factors and it starts to feel like
maybe this Libertarian Party option this year, maybe it could be a bigger
deal than it usually is. If only the Libertarian Party this year, with all
of the variables at work, if only the party could get a little less fringe,
right, if they could get a little closer tomorrow what establishment
Republicans are comfortable with.
If only they could make themselves more Republican-ish than they
usually are, particularly if they could do that with someone who seems
electorally viable. Someone who poses no risks of being another one
percent candidate like all the Libertarians have been in the past
Well, today, Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party announced that if
he gets the Libertarian nomination for president which is likely to do. He
would like his running mate to be Bill Weld. Bill Weld, the guy who won
all but six towns in Massachusetts when he ran for reelection there in the
deep blue state as a fiscally conservative socially liberal Republican.
Bill Weld has apparently agreed to be Gary Johnson`s running mate on
the Libertarian Party selects them at the national convention on Memorial
Day. Bill Weld running on the Libertarian ticket with Gary Johnson.
This is like if you`ve been playing adult pick up soccer after work
and it is fine and it keeps you in shape but you just found out that David
Beckham is joining your team. And, yes, you know, David Beckham is
retired. He`s got kind of like a modeling career or something going on,
kind of seems like he`s mostly just a full time dad, but yes, he`s still
David freaking Beckham. It kind of makes you feel differently about your
team and about your chances in pick up soccer playing against other teams.
There was a brief flurry today of frankly poorly sourced excitement
at a conservative website called “The Daily Caller” when they suggested the
Koch brothers were planning to support Gary Johnson and Bill Weld with tens
of millions of dollars in a general election effort. The Koch organization
is denying that they have made any such commitment, but if there that were
to come to happen, if that were to come to pass, which is not
inconceivable, then this third party prospect which is somewhere between a
joke and a fantasy for years now – this year, maybe this is a year it
might be a real thing.
Just in case you were starting to feel like this election this year
was going to be boring.
MADDOW: The explosives were hidden in a pick-up truck filled with
fruits and vegetables. That was the first attack last week, a car bomb
detonated around 10:00 a.m. Wednesday morning, killed 70 people, wounded
87. ISIS claimed responsibility.
Later that same day, Wednesday afternoon, two more bombings. One
suicide bombing, one car bomb, both at police check points, another 26
people killed on top of the 70 that had been killed that morning. Again,
ISIS claimed responsibility.
Four days later on Sunday, this weekend, it was a complex attack on a
gas plant. At 6:00 a.m., three bombs, three car bombs exploded at the
front gate. After the car bombs, six men wearing explosive belts stormed
into the plant and blew up the gas tanks which created this huge fire ball.
Fourteen people killed, including five police officers in that attack.
Again, ISIS claimed responsibility.
Then two days later, on Tuesday this week, it was four more attacks
all in one day. One suicide bomb in the middle of an outdoor market, 39
people killed. ISIS claimed responsibility. Before the end of that same
day on Tuesday, they hit two more markets and a crowded restaurant. Seven
people killed at the restaurant, 33 people killed at the other two markets.
That is just in the past week all in Iraq. ISIS claiming
responsibility for most of those attacks. More than 200 people killed over
the past week – relentless, hugely bloody and not much Western news
The way you get a lot of Western news coverage is some kind of
spectacular attack. One preferably that touches the West, an international
incident like maybe bringing down a plane.
As we mentioned earlier in the show, that is what an ISIS affiliate
claimed credit for in October when they detonated a bomb on a Russian
charter passenger jet over Egypt`s killing all 224 people on board.
One thing that seems important about that ISIS attack, now, in
retrospect is that ISIS claimed responsibility for that bomb on board that
plane the same day that plane crashed. That crash over Egypt, the one in
October, that crash was in the morning.
By that afternoon of the same day, ISIS was claiming credit. They
were publicizing it by issuing an ISIS urgent media bulletin. They were
talking about it on is radio.
Well, today, after another plane disappeared in Egyptian air space,
this EgyptAir flight, talk turned quickly to the possibility that ISIS was
again responsible for this.
Well, one very good reporter who follows ISIS closely makes a habit
of listening to ISIS multilingual radio daily news bulletin. Yes, ISIS has
a radio daily news bulletin that they release every day, in French,
English, Arabic, and Russian.
That reporter who listens to that every day, Rukmini Callimachi of
“The New York Times”, she says that ISIS today, in its news bulletin today,
made no mention of this Egypt airplane. They also did not mention the
plane in the ISIS wire service where they post on their recent activities.
Despite all of the speculation, we honestly do not know what happened
to the EgyptAir flight. But does what we know about ISIS and al Qaeda and
how they operate and how they communicate, does that tell us anything
important about whether they could have done this? We`ve got more on that
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What just happened about
12 hours ago, a plane got blown out of the sky. And if anything, if
anybody thinks it wasn`t blown out of the sky, you`re 100 percent wrong,
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, Chris, it does
appear that it was an act of terrorism. Exactly how, of course, the
investigation will have to determine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is what two out of the three major party candidates
running for president right now are saying about the disappearance of the
Egypt Air jetliner that was lost today. That`s how they are characterizing
Also consider, reporting from “The New York Times” beat reporter
essentially on ISIS and al Qaeda, who says today, quote, “Today, we have a
situation where a plane went missing and officials are suggesting
As for ISIS, though, zippo. No official confirmation. Zippo.
Joining us now is Rukmini Callimachi. She`s “New York Times”
correspondent focusing on ISIS and al Qaeda.
Rukmini, thank you for being here.
RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, THE NEW YORK TIMES CORRESPONDENT: Thank you for
having me again.
MADDOW: So, ISIS has a daily news bulletin, a wire service thing and
a radio show?
CALLIMACHI: They have their own radio show and they put out a daily
And what is interesting here is that after every other major attack
that we`ve seen in certainly in Europe but also in Iraq, they always claim
it and they claim it quite quickly, usually within hours or within a couple
We`re now very much on the outer edges of that. They haven`t claimed
this attack on any of their forums, not on the radio station, not on their
kind of “A.P.” wire service, if you will. Not on the media outlets and so
it is quite puzzling.
MADDOW: Have you ever seen an attack that was attributed to them
with some authority that seemed to be them that they didn`t claim?
CALLIMACHI: The only ones we didn`t see are in Turkey. There are
several major suicide attacks in Turkey and officials there that have
claimed it is ISIS. ISIS has not claimed them but the reasoning there is
that ISIS really needs Turkey. They need to have the borders not be
completely shut down. They need, it`s their rear base, if you will.
MADDOW: Their messaging may be different around Turkey even though
they`re still using the same tactics.
CALLIMACHI: That is the theory. Certainly for something like this,
which would, if this was indeed an act of terror as officials are now
implying, it would very much shake the confidence of Europe. This is a
plane that departed from Charles de Gaulle Airport only months of the
November 13th attacks. It should be on heightened alert. So, if there was
an explosive on board or a terrorist on board, how did that lapse happen?
MADDOW: We have seen some reporting today, and I`ve been sort of
cautioning over the course of this hour in terms of what has been out there
today about the discussion, there have been some claims of responsibility
or reported claims of responsibility about this incident. Are any of them
considered to be credible?
CALLIMACHI: None of them are credible. The claims of responsibility
that have propagated on Twitter are allegedly from Amaq, which is again
ISIS`s so-called wire service. I am on their Amaq Telegram Channel, which
is an app where they propagate their information. There has been nothing
on there and other analysts have not seen it either.
So, you know, you know how these things go out there, retweeted, et
cetera. As far as I think credible sources are concerned there, is no
claim of responsibility by ISIS yet.
MADDOW: Are they cheering for it? Are they applauding that it
CALLIMACHI: That is also the strange thing. There has been a little
bit of fan boy, you know, cheering, certainly last night right after the
news broke, but very little. Very, very little.
Immediately after the November 13th attacks, hours before, the claim
of responsibility came, they were all over social media applauding this
incident and here, there is a silence not only from the official wing of
ISIS, but also their sympathizers are remarkably quiet and honestly, we
don`t know what to make of it. I mean, one theory is that ISIS was not
MADDOW: Is that – I mean, at this point, we still, like with all of
rest of it, we just need more information.
CALLIMACHI: We do, we do. It could be another terrorist group.
Obviously, al Qaeda is the most likely to be in that category but al Qaeda
is very much on the run right now. Literally, a few weeks ago, they lost
their seat in Mukalla, in southern Yemen, AQAP, the Arabian peninsula
version of al Qaeda, was always considered to be the one that is likely to
carry out an attack on a commercial flight. So, it would be curious that
it would be al Qaeda.
MADDOW: It sounds like – obviously anybody jumping to conclusions
without knowing what happened here is speaking out of turn, but it sounds
like the terrorism suppositions, particularly the ISIS suppositions right
now are early.
MADDOW: Even if they end up being born out.
MADDOW: Rukmini Callimachi, thank you for being our visitor from the
fact based world. It is good to have you here. I appreciate it.
CALLIMACHI: Thank you.
MADDOW: Rukmini is a “New York Times” correspondent who focuses on
ISIS and al Qaeda. You should read everything she writes. Pretty much.
Google alert. It`s really simple technology. I`ll show you how later.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Under ordinary circumstance, the indictment of this guy I
think would still make news. It`s a 30-year-old man from Waldorf,
Maryland. He`s been charged with illegally trying to transport explosive
through the mail, also position of a machine gun, also, abusing a minor to
produce child pornography.
So, explosives, machine guns and child pornography That`s the kind
of combination you might notice, even if it just popped on the wire
What makes that particular indictment national headline news today,
though, is that at the time of this man`s indictment yesterday, he was an
elected delegate, scheduled to be at this summer`s national convention as a
delegate for Donald Trump.
That gig is now apparently over for him. The Trump campaign
responded to news at this indictment today saying, quote, “We strongly
condemn these allegations and leave it in the capable hands of law
enforcement. He will be replaced immediately.”
Now, honestly, realistically, you can`t hold campaigns or candidates
accountable for every action, every indictment even of every single one of
their delegates. But this is not the first time a Donald Trump delegate
has made news for disturbing reasons.
Earlier this month, we reported on another Trump delegate, a self
proclaimed white nationalist named William Johnson, the head of the
American Freedom Party. After “Mother Jones” first reported on William
Johnson`s white nationalist background and the fact that he was selected as
an official Donald Trump delegate. The Trump campaign quickly responded to
that news by severing ties with him. They blamed him being listed as a
delegate as a, quote, “database error”.
But then, just days later, William Johnson`s white nationalist party
posted this on their Facebook page. It said, “Here`s what they don`t know,
we have more delegates.”
Today, William Johnson tells “Mother Jones” that, yes, in fact, he
knows of at least one other American Freedom Party member, another member
of this white nationalist group, he says from an eastern state who will
attend the Republican convention, as a, quote, “honorary delegate”. He
also says he knows of additional white nationalist Trump delegates who have
been in touch with his movement`s leaders.
For now, he said, those delegates want to remain anonymous. But he
suggested that Donald Trump`s rise in Republican politics will eventually
motivate other white nationalists to express their views publicly. He told
“Mother Jones”, quote, “Talk to me in eight months, and more people will be
out, particularly if Trump gets elected.”
And maybe this whole thing is a bunch of anonymous hooey from not
very bright experts in total freaking racist nonsense. Or maybe they will
come out of the woodwork now.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: Former Speaker of the House Denny Hastert, America`s longest
serving Republican speaker of the House, he was sentenced a few weeks ago
to 15 months in federal prison. He pled guilty to financial crimes related
to hush money he paid to a man who says that Denny Hastert molested him
when he was in high school. Denny Hastert admitted in open court that he
molested multiple boys or mistreated multiple boys while he was working as
a wrestling coach in the `60s and `70s.
Today, a judge ordered to report to federal prison on June 22nd.
June 22nd, Denny Hastert will join the long list and storied list of
congressional alumni who have also spent time and the care of the federal
Bureau of Prisons.
Former New York Congressman Michael Grim, served seven months
recently in Pennsylvania, at the McKean Federal Correctional Institution.
Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi is serving his sentence at the Federal
Correctional Institute near Morgantown, West Virginia. Fellow Illinois
Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr. split his sentence between the federal
correctional complex near Raleigh North Carolina and the federal prison
camp in Montgomery, Alabama.
We don`t know where Speaker Hastert is going to end up. He has been
seriously ill in recent months. So, that may be a consideration.
“Politico” reports today that he`ll likely be incarcerated in a federal
prison hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. But that was not in the judge`s
The judge`s order said that the speaker is to, quote, “surrender to
the designated institution on June 22nd by 2:00 p.m.” So, now we know when
Denny Hastert goes to prison. We`ll let you know when we find out where
he`s going to prison.
But we did learn one other thing today. We learned that federal
inmate number for one of the highest ranking officials to be imprisoned for
anything. His number will be 47991-424, aka, Mr. Speaker.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, “The Washington Post” just broken some news within the
last hour about this fight that we`ve been watching very closely between
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and the question of how the Democratic
presidential primary is going to end. “The Washington Post” is now
headlining that Democratic National Committee may be changing course, and
offering Bernie Sanders concessions at the convention.
Specifically, what Abbey Philip and Anne Gearan are reporting at “The
Washington Post” is that they may offer the Sanders campaign seats on
basically the platform committee at the convention. There`s a 15-person
drafting committee for the platform. “The Washington Post” is now
reporting at the last hour, that the DNC and the campaigns are going to
reach a final agreement on this by the end of this week. And Sanders will
be getting more from the Democratic committee than they originally offered
Obviously, this is an effort to keep Sanders inside the tent as this
increasingly acrimonious fight between him and Hillary Clinton and the
Democratic Party threatens to really derail the overall Democratic project
right now of running against Donald Trump. That`s just news breaking from
“The Washington Post” right now.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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