The Rachel Maddow Show transcript, 5/19/16

Deborah Hersman, Rukmini Callimachi


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

on tonight.

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

watch lists.

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

been explained.

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.


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

on that.

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.

It`s Egyptian.

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

with us.



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



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!


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.


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.


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

will disagree.”

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

registered Republican.

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

right now.

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

specifically ahead.

Stay with us.




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,

folks, OK?


appear that it was an act of terrorism. Exactly how, of course, the

investigation will have to determine.


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.


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

news summary.

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

of days.

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.


Good evening, Lawrence.





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