The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 6/22/2016

John Lewis, Katherine Clark, Cory Booker

Date: June 22, 2016
Guest: John Lewis, Katherine Clark, Cory Booker

CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Although I doubt they are listening to me
because they are there on the House floor and they are fired up. They`re
going to be there all night. We`re going to see what happens next.

Josh Barro, Sabrina Siddiqui, thank you so much.

That is “ALL IN”. We will be following the developments all night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now, picking up our coverage.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: My latest proud moment in I am proud to work
with Chris Hayes is when you just ripped off an angry, top-of-your-head,
completely accurate detailed summery of the fiduciary rule of a way of
explaining what was going to happen next this fight.

You are a special kind of cat, Chris Hayes.

HAYES: Thank you, Rachel Maddow.

MADDOW: Well done.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour on what has turned out to be
a pretty dramatic day in the news. Congressman John Lewis is going to be
joining us live in a moment. He`s the one who kicked off who has been a
day long historically unprecedented sit in on the floor of the House today.
We`re also expecting a live hit with Senator Cory Booker who crossed from
one side of the Capitol over to the other today to go join these members of
the House in what they`re doing tonight, which is going and as I said,

We are also I should expecting a very late night of televised live
political coverage here at MSNBC tonight as this dramatic event in
Washington which started before noon today as it continues through night,
possibly into the early hours of tomorrow. One member of Congress today
when asked directly how long she was prepared to continue this sit in, she
responded by saying she was prepared to be there until hell freezes over.
We`ve got the thermostat with a video camera on it in hell to tell you if
that happens and that would send the Democrats home.

Even as things have gone nuts in this particular way in Washington today, I
do think at times like this as we keep an eye on what`s going on there
whether the Republicans are about to storm the House floor and whether or
not there`s going to be a physical space altercation between the House
Democrats and the House Republicans which House Republicans are threatening
to do over the course of this hour – I mean, this is really nuts and we
don`t know what`s going to happen over the course of this hour and we will
keep cameras on as best we can as we continue to monitor what is
essentially illegal streaming live video off the floor of the House.

But when crazy moments like this happen in Congress, I think it is fair to
remember that things do sometimes go crazy in Washington. It`s not like
really strange things never happen in Congress.

Por ejemplo, it was a hot summer day, a Friday in July in 2003 in the
summer of 2003 was a time when Washington was really on edge. The war in
Iraq had started that spring, President Obama had already declared “mission
accomplished”. It was clear that the war was grinding on and would
continue to do so indefinitely. At the same time that summer, the whole
rationale for the war, this idea that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
that rational was publicly unraveling.

That was all happening that hot tense summer in Washington, D.C., 2003. At
the time, Republicans were in control not only of the White House. They
were also in control of the Senate ad they were in control of the House.

So that was the stage on that hot July day and that Friday in July in 2003,
things really did go nuts. Even in a way more nuts than they did today.
When it happened in 2003, it started with a fight off a pension bill of all
things. Republicans were trying to pass something. Democrats were trying
to slow it down. When what otherwise might have been a standard partisan
dispute basically went completely off the rails.

Democrats decided in the midst of this argument they were having that they
were going to leave one of their Democratic members in the committee room
with all the Republicans while the rest of the Democrats retreated to
another room in the capitol to work out their strategy. Now,
unfortunately, or I guess fortunately, depending on your disposition, the
one guy who Democrats decided to leave behind to hold the fort against all
the rest of the Republicans was a famously, pugnacious, Democratic loose
cannon named Pete Stark.

And Pete Stark decided he was not going to just take up space and prevent
the Republicans from doing something by unanimous consent, by him objecting
he was not going to delay things politely until the rest of the Democrats
could get back in the room, no Pete Stark decided if he was going to be the
one Democrat in the room with those Republicans, he was going to fight with
all of those Republicans, almost literally.

After one Republican congressman, that hot July Friday, 2003, one
Republican congressman told Pete Stark that he should shut up and
thereafter transcripts from the time show Congressman Pete Stark saying to
that Republican congressman in response, quote, “You think you`re big
enough to make me you little wimp. Come on. Come over here and make me.
I dare you, you little fruit cake.”

And then he says it again, the transcript, “You little fruit cake. I said
you are a fruit cake.”

Now, depending on your view of the word fruit cake, depending on how you
like politics that was awesome a confrontation or a terrible confrontation.
Some liberals at the time started a campaign to double down on Pete Stark`s
fruit cake threat. They started a mini campaign to send actual fruit cakes
through the mail to Republican chairman of the committee. And for people
who did not want to shell out money, they started faxing pictures of fruit
cakes to all the chairmen`s various offices.

The idea was that the fruit cakes arriving in his mail and the fruit cakes
appearing on his fax machine would drive the committee chairman to
distraction. They just thought that would get under his skin, it would
rattle the guy, because that guy had shown weakness.

He had proven he could be rattled, because instead of rising to the
occasion and being the adult in the room when members of the committee
started telling each other to shut up, and threatening basically to beat
each other up in the committee room, what that chairman decided to do in
July 2003 after the :fruit cake, fruit cake, you`re a fruit cake, shut up,
come here, you little wimp, make me,” after that whole confrontation, what
the chairman decided was not only that he had had enough, but he decided he
had a novel idea for solving this problem in his committee. He called the

I think he actually called 911 or had a staffer call 911 from Congress and
they basically told the dispatcher at the police department, hey, would you
say some armed police officers into the U.S. Capitol to move these
Democrats members of my committee out of this room that they`re holed in
that I don`t want them in there anymore.

And the Metropolitan police were like, oh, no, don`t drag us into this,
that`s not what we do. They in turn called the House sergeant at arms to
see if the sergeant at arms would handle it. The sergeant at arms
reportedly went over, checked it out and basically told the committee
chairman that he and his committee members needed to stop being big babies,
they needed to work this out themselves. This was not a law enforcement
issue for cops, this was a political issue, leave the cops out of it.

Now, to his credit, that hair trigger committee chairman who called the
cops later took to the floor of the House and said with a lot of contrition
that he had been very wrong to call the cops. He said his decision to call
the police in on other members of Congress he said it was, quote, “plain

He didn`t exactly apologize but Congressman Bill Thomas, he did cry through
his whole contrite statement on the floor of the House and it was a very
humble statement and when he was done he got a big, big, big bipartisan
standing ovation in the House for him having been so contrite about what he
did which was in fact to call the cops on other members of the Congress.
Things sometimes do go nuts.

Another hot summer day in 2008 in the heat of the presidential campaign
that year when it was drill baby drill time in the Republican Party, House
Republicans for several days that July 2008, they all trooped down to the
floor of the House to give a whole bunch of speeches on drilling. There
were no cameras on, the microphones were turned off, even the lights were
off for most of it, but they gave all these speeches anyway begging to
drill, baby, drill, drill the Arctic.

Nancy Pelosi was in charge of the House at that point. She was speaker
when the Democrats held the majority. Pelosi kept the House in recess
through all of those Republican speeches on drilling while the Republican
members of Congress kept taking the floor in the dark basically just
talking themselves out.

Four years later, 2012, Nancy Pelosi was no longer speaker. She was the
minority leader by that point, and she led a walk out, a dramatic walk out
down the steps of the Capitol by House Democrats. That was when
Republicans were deciding to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt
of Congress.

So, Congress doesn`t always follow regular order. You have walk outs. You
have refusing to acknowledge the House is in recess. You have making
people giving speeches with no microphones and keeping the lights off. You
even at least have one example in modern times of Republican members of
Congress calling the cops on Democratic members of Congress not to mention
the “shut up, shut up, fruit cake, make me shut up” fights.

Things sometimes get nuts in Washington, especially in summer, I think,
especially in the post-1990s congressional era we`re still in where the
House mostly does nothing and the minority party in the House really never
is allowed do anything at all. Because of that pent up frustrations
sometimes lead to a real break with regular order. There are sometimes
moments when the House goes crazy, and all normal functioning of our
Congress breaks down.

But those moments are rare. They really do only happen every few years and
even when they do happen it has never before in the history of our Congress
been anything like what we have been watching unfold on day today and into
tonight. It was about 11:30 a.m. Eastern Time when legendary civil rights
activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis took to the floor, invited all
his colleagues to come stand on the House floor alongside him.

He gave a short, intense, emotional speech about gun violence and Congress
not responding to it in any meaningful way. He demanded that the House
vote on the narrowly targeted gun reforms that have 90 percent support
among the American people. They want to vote on the same things that the
Senate demanded on vote on last week with that 15-hour filibuster.

John Lewis gave the short, impassioned, emotional speech and then
unexpected he said he would not leave the floor of the House until those
votes happened. And then he and the Democratic members of the House who
stood there with him, they did something that nobody`s ever seen before.
They sat down in the well of the House.

There has never been a sit in on the floor of the House, never before


REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: The time for silence and patience is long
gone. We`re calling on the leadership of the House to bring common sense
gun control legislation to the House floor. Give us a vote. Let us vote.
We came here to do our job. We came here to work.

REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: I need to ask the Republicans what do they
really stand for? We stand for a moment of silence. I want you to know
probably most of you don`t know, I`m in a very small club in this House.
I`ve lost a family member to gun violence. My only brother. My only
sibling died at the hands of a gun.

I want to know whether you stand for him because they didn`t. A 5-year-old
killed in my neighborhood sitting on his mother`s lap, why didn`t they
stand for him? A 5-year-old boy playing in his backyard, shot down playing
football, why didn`t they stand for him?

I want to know what do they stand for? Do they stand for Trayvon Martin?
No. Did they stand for Jordan Davis? No. Did they stand for (INAUDIBLE)?
No. Did they stand for Michael Gardner or Tamir Rice? No, they didn`t.
What do they stand for?

REP. FRANK PALLONE (D), NEW JERSEY: If we stay here today, tonight,
tomorrow, whenever it is, and we demand a vote those cowards are allowed to
vote and show where they are. (INAUDIBLE) walk in the back of the room.
We`ve said there aren`t any Republicans on the floor. There are
Republicans on the floor. They`re hovering in the back.




REP. JIM MCGOVERN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Speaker Ryan, wherever you may be,
whether you`re hiding in your office or doing interviews on camera right
now, do your job. Remember this, you are the speaker of the House, not the
speaker of the NRA. You are the speaker of the entire House, Republicans
and Democrats alike. It is time that you do your job and let us have our

REP. WILLIAM KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS: America is sending out a 911 to
the only first responders that they have. That`s us. That`s Congress.
There`s no one else to answer that call. That`s our job. That`s our duty.

Speaker Ryan, answer the call.

REP. JOHN LARSON (D), CONNECTICUT: Mike Thompson handed me this news flash
that NRA radio show has put out. Here`s the news. The NRA radio show
compares participates and Representative John Lewis`s gun violence sit in
to criminals and terrorists. Does that firm up your determination to stand
on this floor?



LARSON: For a body that has held hostage, a group of individuals that
won`t even allow us to vote, so call John Lewis a terrorist because he`s
getting in the way. All we`re asking for is a vote. If that`s a terrorist
action, then I guess we`re all terrorists.

LEWIS: Sometimes you have do something out of the ordinary. Sometimes you
have to make a way out of no way. We have been too quiet for too long.
There comes a time when you have to say something, when you have to make a
little noise.


LEWIS: You have to move your feet. This is the time. Now is the time to
get in the way.


LEWIS: The time to act is now. We will be silent no more. The time for
silence is over. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


MADDOW: The impetus for today`s dramatic action is gun violence and the
fact that after the worst gun massacre in the history of our country there
are no votes to respond to that massacre or the broader problem of mass
shootings. That`s the broader impetus, obviously.

The specific impetus, though, appears to have come from two members of
Congress who you will be able to remember as a pair because conveniently,
they are Lewis and Clark.

Katherine Clark is a Democratic congresswoman from Massachusetts. She
decided the House had to do something, after Orlando, even though Speaker
Ryan was apparently planning no legislative action whatsoever.

She did participate last week in the walkout when Democratic Congressman
Jim Hines decided not to participate in that regular moment of silence that
Congress holds after mass shootings. She felt that she wanted to do
something more than that. She contacted Congressman John Lewis from
Georgia to try to work with him to come up with some other way they could
dramatize the problem to try to force some kind of action.

And together, the two of them apparently hatched this plan. As for how
long it`s going to go we don`t know. It`s been almost ten hours. When
Nancy Pelosi was asked today by reporters how long the Democrats would
continue their sit-in, her answer was, until we get a bill.

Congresswoman Maxine Waters was even more blunt. She took to the floor of
the House today and said, she was prepared to continue to sit-in until,
quote, “hell freezes over.” Well, hell is still apparently hot because the
Democrats are still there right now as I speak, and that is all because of
this idea and this action started by our next two guests.

Joining us live from the Capitol are Massachusetts Congresswoman Katherine
Clark and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

Thank you both so much for being here tonight. Congratulations on the
success of this effort so far.

LEWIS: Thank you so much for having us.


MADDOW: Congressman Lewis, let me start with you.

I know what you`ve said today about what your aim is here and what moved
you to do this. What specifically do you want in order to consider this
action successful? What would trigger an honorable reasonable successful
end to this as far as you`re concerned?

LEWIS: It is my desire and the desire of my colleagues and all of us on
the Democratic side for the speaker and the leadership of the Republicans
to bring a bill. Bring a bill to the floor and give us a vote. Let us

Vote for the American people. Vote for the little children. Vote for our
mothers and our fathers, our sisters and brothers. Vote for the people who
died, who were hurt in Orlando.

That`s all we`re asking for. Nothing more, nothing less.

MADDOW: Congresswoman Clark, I understand that part of the reason this
happened today is that you felt frustrated after Orlando that Congress
wasn`t doing enough, that you contacted Congressman Lewis and the two of
you came up with this plan together. Is that an accurate depiction of what
happened and where did you, how did you come up with this tactic

CLARK: Specifically, it came from Congressman Lewis who when I approached
him on the floor to say how much I wanted to end the silence in Congress,
that I couldn`t take any more moments of silence that weren`t followed by
action on behalf of grieving parents and grandparents and the American
public, we have do something.

And John Lewis in his way, incredible, generous person that he is, said he
wanted to do something dramatic and that he was in. I knew that if we have
John Lewis, the icon of the civil rights era, the conscience of Congress to
partner with so many others wanted to join immediately and worked over the
weekend to plan and pull this together.

So, it may have been a conversation that I started with Mr. Lewis but this
is really on behalf of the caucus for the American people.

MADDOW: Congresswoman, when we talk about that planning over the weekend,
let me ask you about one specific part of this. Part of the drama today
was when the C-Span cameras turned over because the Republicans gaveled the
House into recess. C-Span doesn`t control the cameras. Those cameras are
on when the House majority, the Republicans want them to be on.

In terms of your planning, did you know that was going to happen? Did you
have a plan to work around in terms of members of Congress streaming video
from the floor and sending out pictures from the floor? Was that an
improvised tactic when this happened and it was a surprise to you?

CLARK: We thought it would happen, but the fortunately we have some very
tech savvy members of Congress who were able to put it on Periscope and
allow C-Span to film that but we have been filming and taking pictures on
the floor to try and capture this moment for the American people because we
had hoped they would leave the microphones on, but they didn`t. And we
needed to be able to have the American people understand that all we`re
asking for is a vote on two very common sense measures.

MADDOW: Congressman Lewis, you are frequently described as a civil rights
icon, including by your colleague there with you tonight. I know from your
history you`re an expert tactician in terms of civil rights and civil

How long should this go on? How long are you prepared to go, sir? And
how do – how do you see it ending if congressman – Speaker Paul Ryan
decides not to allow a vote?

LEWIS: Well, we are prepared. We are prepared to stay here as long as it
takes. We are saying, no vote, no break, that if we cannot have a vote,
then we shouldn`t break within we should just stay here.

I`ve said to some of my colleagues that we`re anchored. We shall not be
moved like a tree planted by the rivers of waters. I remember during the
sit ins of the 1960s when someone would ask, John who should we do, I said
we must find a way to dramatize the issue, make it real, make it plain,
make it simple so we can educate and inspire the American people.

MADDOW: Congressman Lewis, let me ask you one last point about what we`re
anticipating this hour. Republican members of Congress have suggested that
they are going to physically arrive in the chamber sometime this hour,
they`re going to try to move House business forward on an unrelated piece
of legislation, they`re talking about basically a physical confrontation
between members, they`re not talking about violence but they`re talking
about stepping over members of the Democratic caucus who are occupying that
floor and sitting in.

What are you anticipating there and have you talked among your members
about how to respond if there is some uncomfortable physical proximity

LEWIS: We believe in the way of peace and love and a way of nonviolence.
We will respect the dignity and the worth of our colleagues but we shall
not be moved.

MADDOW: Congressman John Clark, Congresswoman – excuse me, Congressman
John Lewis and Congresswoman Katherine Clark, forgive me I have been trying
to give you guys the next Lewis and Clark that you deserve because of your
work in finding this particular path tonight.

Good luck tonight. Let us know how things go. Keep us apprised. Thank

CLARK: Thank you.

LEWIS: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead as this dramatic situation
continues in the House including what we are anticipating to be the arrival
of the Republican members of the House in some numbers over the course of
this next hour.

We`re going to have Senator Cory Booker here live as this historic sit-in
continues into the night.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: Democratic members of Congress continue their unexpected sit in
inside the U.S. Capitol tonight. Look at what`s happening outside the U.S.

What you see here is what appears to be a spontaneous gathering of people
outside the Capitol in support of what Democrats are doing inside it. We
took these images within the last hour. It`s twilight there in D.C.
People present are chanting “no break, no bill” on and off. That`s what
our reporters say. “No break, no bill” is, of course, what congressional
Democrats have been saying for over nine hours and counting tonight during
the sit-in on the House floor.

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is among the lawmakers who have skipped
outside from time to time to address the crowd of supporting protesters
there. It`s unclear exactly how many people gathered outside the capital
tonight. Some reports indicate we were talking about hundreds but not only
the protests inside but the protests outside is till going on at the U.S.
capital right now as we speak into the night tonight.

Much more ahead. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Do not adjust your set. I know that these pictures are fuzzy.
They`ve been fuzzy all day. We`ve been watching this sort of low-fi,
illegal, pirated video stream out of Congress all day today. But this is
the current live feed from the United States Congress, from the floor of
the House.

Democrats have been holding the House floor in some cases by sitting on
literally the floor of it since just before noon today. They are rounding
hour 9. C-Span cameras only operate in the House when the House majority
wants them to be operating and the House is in session which means we`ve
been looking at footage like this all day because the broadcast that we`re
able to get from the floor of the House is basically Facebook live and
Twitter video and Periscope video. It`s all streaming video and photo sent
by members themselves.

Now, the rules of the House say that members of Congress aren`t supposed to
do that. They are not supposed to transmit video from the floor of the
House, but members of Congress have been breaking that rule all day and at
times C-Span has been taking Periscope video as basically their pirated
feed from the floor of the House since the official cameras are turned off.

But House Democrats are demanding a vote on keeping suspected terrorists
from buying guns. They`re demanding a vote on expanding background checks.
Those are both wildly popular policies among the American people. Support
for those both of those measures up well over 80 percent, in some cases,
over 90 percent, large scale majority support for both measures among
Democrats and independents and Republicans and gun owners.

So far, House Republicans are showing no sign they`re going to it allow
that sort of vote. In fact, House Speaker Paul Ryan and the House
leadership seem to be indicating they plan on essentially storming the
floor which the Democrats are occupying in order to do other House business
on totally unrelated matters on issues not at all related to gun rights.
If, in fact, the House Republicans get there today, they will find a large
number of House Democrats and even Senates Democrats occupying that space,
there`s no word yet how the two camps will negotiate that physical space
if, in fact, House Republicans get in there and try to take over.

It`s a weird day. We do not get many days like this in our national
politics. I mean, one of the ways you could tell this day was different
was when Democratic senators kept leaving their side of the capital and
taking the long trek all the way across to the other side of the Capitol to
help the House colleagues to take part in this sit in.

One of the first senators who did that today was Senator Cory Booker from
New Jersey. He`s going to join us live from the Capitol shortly.

Stay right there.


MADDOW: We continue to watch the ongoing drama at the U.S. capital tonight
as Democrats have taken over the floor of the House in an unprecedented sit
in to try to force votes on gun reforms. We`ll keep sharp eye on those
proceedings as they continue into the late evening and perhaps overnight

While that`s underway, today has been a really interesting day in
presidential politics. The art of reading well from a teleprompter is not
a primary responsibility of the president of the United States, but by
necessity in these modern times, it is something that presidents have to do
a lot.

And with that in mind, deep breath, everybody, this could be your next four


to start working again, jobs, people are going to start working again.
Parents are going to start dreaming big for their children again, including
parents in our inner cities.


Americans, Americans, the people that we love, Americans. America first.
Make our country great again.

Americans are going to start believing in the future of our country.


MADDOW: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump today in his highly
anticipated speech which was delayed after the Orlando massacre. This was
the speech his campaign promoted as essentially his definitive case against
Hillary Clinton.

The Clinton campaign today responded with a point-by-point rebuttal of
Trump`s speech, and also with a dueling address by Hillary Clinton in which
she laid out her economic plan before a big and enthusiastic crowd. And
she, of course, continued to criticize Donald Trump as unfit for office.

So, this is going to be like now, for a few months, right? Trump versus
Clinton, Clinton versus Trump, rinse repeat, rinse repeat, rinse repeat,
just ad lib your bumper sticker slogans over and over again when you lose
your place in your speech and you can`t figure out what to say next.

On the Democratic side, though, there are two things going on outside the
immediate Clinton versus Trump comeback that are raising a lot of
expectations and a lot of interest, and both of them came to a head to came
to a head today and you should know about them. The first is about Bernie
Sanders, Secretary Clinton`s primary opponent.

He is still technically in the race. Senator Sanders campaign today
announced he`ll be giving a speech at town hall in New York tomorrow which
is a great venue. It`s the venue you pick when you want to give a big
speech that`s going to be remembered for a long time.

That late announcement about the speech tomorrow in New York City, it led
to speculation that maybe that speech tomorrow in New York City would be
Bernie Sanders` concession speech. That said his campaign spokesman
emphatically waved off that possibility to MSNBC today. The campaign
spokesman Michael Briggs told Danny Freeman today from MSNBC that Bernie
Sanders will not concede in that speech tomorrow night at town hall in New

That said in an interview on C-Span today, Senator Sanders did get pretty
close to conceding.


INTERVIEWER: Have you begun to prepare your speech for the convention?
Will you speak at the convention?

to say. It doesn`t appear I`m going to be the nominee, so I`m not going to
be determining the scope of the convention.


MADDOW: Bernie Sanders saying for the first time, “it doesn`t appear I`m
going to be the nominee.” So there`s that.

The other Democratic issue that`s sort of madly fizzing in presidential
politics today is the question of Hillary Clinton`s potential running mate.
As I say those words, the reason we are showing images of Massachusetts
Senator Elizabeth Warren is because multiple sources have now confirmed
that Elizabeth Warren is being vetted by Secretary Clinton`s campaign.

She`s not just being considered. She`s being vetted. We know that because
there are confirmed reports from Democratic sources that Senator Warren met
at her home in Washington, D.C. with the lawyer who is leading the vetting
process for the Clinton vice presidential selection.

Today, Senator Warren took a high profile role, sitting in with House
members in their day long and now night long protest over gun rights while
the Clinton campaign simultaneously put out this announcement today that
Clinton and Warren will be appearing together in Cincinnati on Monday for
their first joint appearance since Senator Warren endorsed Secretary

Now, Clinton and Warren campaigning together, talking about sharing their
shared vision for the country, that doesn`t necessarily mean that Hillary
Clinton is picking Elizabeth Warren for her vice president. It doesn`t
mean she`s already picked Elizabeth Warren for her vice president and this
is the roll out. But it does mean that Hillary Clinton is undoubtedly and
knowingly raising expectations that she is going to pick Elizabeth Warren.

And raising those expectations, that itself has real political
consequences. So, we don`t know yet but, hmm, watch this space.


MADDOW: The biggest domestic politics story right now is, of course, this
dramatic and unexpected takeover of the House by congressional Democrats.
They`re demanding a vote in the House on two widely popular gun reforms.
House members have been sitting in in the House of Representatives since
before noon today. There`s no sign yet of when this will end. We don`t
know if it will end any time tonight or if will go on through the evening
and into tomorrow.

Now, this didn`t exactly come out of nowhere. We know that Democrats have
frustrations on gun reform that have been building for months and years
now, but even though we know that bigger context, we really did not know
they were going to do this today and into tonight. So, the surprise of
this tactic, the dramatic and unprecedented nature of this tactic, the fact
that we have no idea how this is going to end, that makes this the biggest
domestic politics story in the country right now by a mile.

The biggest international politics story in the world right now by a mile
is the vote that`s going to happen tomorrow in the U.K. Tomorrow, the U.K.
is going to vote on whether or not Britain is leaving the European Union.
Today was the last furious day of campaigning by both sides before
tomorrow`s big vote.

Now, in terms of the logistics, considering the time difference between us
and the U.K., polls open across the U.K. at 7:00 a.m. local time tomorrow.
That`s 2:00 a.m. on the East Coast tonight. In a few hours polls open in
that vote. The polls will close 15 hours after they open so that`s 10:00
p.m. local time tomorrow night in the U.K. That means polls will close
5:00 p.m. Eastern here tomorrow afternoon.

The turnout is expected to be really, really high. Turnout on this vote is
expected to be something like 80 percent, which is extraordinary. The vote
is also expected to be close. Suspense is going to be high not only
because of the stakes of this vote, but also because there`s no exit
polling at all.

The first results will be real data. They won`t be projections. They`re
not expected until late tomorrow night, our local time here on the east
coast. Final results will likely not be announced until 2:00 a.m. East
Coast Time Friday morning maybe.

As I say, the polls and the run-up to tomorrow`s vote have been extremely,
extremely tight with very little to split, the leave camp and the remain
camp. Then, again, as we saw two years ago when the U.K. had their big
vote on whether Scotland should be an independent country, those polls were
spectacularly wrong.

So, these results are going to be hugely to the U.K., to the European
Union, frankly to the world and its financial markets, in an immediate
sense. But there`s true suspense about what`s going to happen with this
British vote.

So, stay with MSNBC during the day tomorrow and into the night tomorrow
night as results of this historic vote start coming in.

Stay with us right now for more on what`s going on with this dramatic scene
in the U.S. capital. Much more ahead tonight.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: Just a few minutes ago, Congressman John Lewis told us live here
on this program that he and his colleagues have no plans to end their
unprecedented sit in on the floor of the U.S. House, which is over ten
hours long now and counting. I kept asking Congressman Lewis how does this
end, can you envision getting what you want so that it ends, how will you
end it if you don`t get what you want? He really says they`re not planning
on ending it. And so, we really don`t know how long they`re going to go.

There`s one logistical thing to keep in mind here about this, this is not a
filibuster, the way you would see in the United States Senate. There`s no
agreed upon parliamentary way to hold the floor in the U.S. House. That`s
why we keep saying nothing like this has ever happened before.

There`s never been a sit-in on the floor the House before. There`s never
been an effort to occupy the floor of the House in an ongoing way to do
your own business instead of the letting the House and majority do their

Well, that means in the House there aren`t any existing rules to follow
about how long you have to stand or whether you`re allowed to step off the
floor, or whether you`re allowed to for example use the bathroom, which
ends up being the human factor that limits the length of filibusters.

There are no rules about stuff like that and House Democrats are doing this
in a group, which means House Democrats can as far as we know keep this up
for as long as they want, for as long as they can physically keep people,
some number of Democrats on the floor of the House. They say they`re
staying for the long run.

If they do stay for the long run, that does mean they`re going to need
something to eat. For that they got some help from Senator Elizabeth
Warren today. Watch.


REP. SANDER LEVIN: John, we`ve been joined by a number of senators.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I just brought Dunkin Donuts.



MADDOW: I know it sounds like a political point, but in this case, it`s
just a fact – Senator Elizabeth Warren delivers donuts.

Still ahead tonight, we will be joined by another senator who spent a long
time on the House floor today and into tonight. Cory Booker joins us in
just a moment. Quick break and I`m going right back.


MADDOW: OK, something appears to be shifting at the Capitol. As you know,
House Democrats started sitting in just before noon time, around 11:30 a.m.
Eastern tonight, they have been occupying the House floor ever since. They
are demanding votes on two very popular gun reform measures. They want a
vote on expanding background checks and they want a vote on people on the
no fly list being excluded from the right to by a firearm in this country.

We`ve been watching that all day. We had no idea how this was going to
end. There`s no filibuster rules in the House. There`s never been a sit-
in on the floor of the House by sitting members of Congress before. And in
fact, we don`t know what it would take for the House Democrats to end this
on their own terms.

What they`ve said is they want to vote on those measures. We`ve not heard
from House majority, we`ve not heard from Speaker Paul Ryan that he will
allow a vote on these measures they want voted on.

So, how does this end?

Well, one of the things we`ve been watching is noise from the Republican
side, indications from the Republican side that Republican members were
going to enter the House, that they were going to enter the House sometime
this evening and start other House business on matters unrelated to gun
reform. When that happens, if and when that happens, what you`ll see is
the video feed from the House will be less fuzzy because it will no longer
be a pirated video stream sent from the floor of the House by members of
the Congress basically illegally streaming video that we`re picking up and
C-Span is picking up and others.

At that point, if the Republicans do gavel the House back into session, the
real C-Span cameras will be turned back on and we`ll have a clear picture.
We`ve been watching all night to see if this is, in fact, going to happen.
They have sounded the buzzers in the capital to indicate the House is about
to come back in session so we`re expecting to see Republicans walking into
this scene on the House floor any moment.

One of the Democratic senators who has been helping out, who has been
sitting in with these House Democrats today is Cory Booker, Democratic
senator of New Jersey. Senator Booker joins us now live from the Capitol.

Senator Booker, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being with us.

SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you for having me on, Rachel.

MADDOW: How has it been for you today participating in this? Obviously,
you`re a visitor on the House floor, but you`ve been supporting your House
colleagues. How has it been? And what do you think has been achieved if

BOOKER: It`s been extraordinarily inspiring. I mean, you have a bunch of
House members who have basically said this is not going to be business as
usual. A moment of silence is not enough for the greatest mass shooting in
the history of the United States, and to see them take this action, which
is not only good in the context of just the House, but what it really does
is it inspires and informs more people in our nation to engage and begin to
put pressure like they did in the Senate on House Republicans to move and
try to do something in a compromised fashion with Democrats to make this a
safer nation.

MADDOW: Senator, there`s been a lot of anticipation and I think even some
worry about what we think is about to happen presently on the floor of the
House, which is that we`re expecting Republican members of the House to
basically wade into this scene, into this physical space that`s been
occupied by Democrats all day, in order to conduct business unrelated to
gun reform, in order to essentially try to end this. What do you
anticipate is going to happen there? What are your expectations?

BOOKER: Well, this is unprecedented. I literally ran back so I`m sweating
now to be here. Paul Ryan just walked past behind me.

I know something is about to go down on the floor but I sat over an hour
with my House colleagues, was one of those people streaming video and they
were resolute, they will not be moved. So, this is going to be an interest
moment in the history of the House where you have Democrats in an act of
civil disobedience occupying the House led by one of the most esteemed
member, right or left, in this country, this in elected office. Nobody has
more moral authority than John Lewis does.

So, it`s going to be interesting to see how Paul Ryan handles this. My
prayer is what you see happening in the Senate now, that despite pressure
from the NRA, you have Senate Republicans break with the NRA and try to
find common ground to move this forward. I`m hoping that happens in the
House as well, so that we can do something. It probably won`t be enough to
satisfy many of us, but at least it will be a step in the right direction
about protecting ourselves from these gaping loopholes that criminals,
terrorists, spousal abusers can exploit to get their hands on weapons.

MADDOW: Senator, I know enough about your past and how you got to where
you are because we`ve known each other a long time, that you`re a student
of social activism, social movements and how social justice gets achieved,
by hook or by crook. In that context, I have to ask you about the fact
there is about to be a confrontation. There is about to be literally a
confrontation of these two sides in that space.

Do you have any advice or any specific thought in terms of how to make that
as constructive and civil and I guess noble as possible?

BOOKER: Well, when you have somebody like John Lewis on the floor and I
had chills because I do remember the history that we share where John Lewis
in an act with many other hundreds of people stood on the bridge and
despite tear gas and billy clubs and violence where he bled the soil red.
I think it`s being led by a moral leader like John Lewis, I have no fear.

And the truth is, we tend to demonize each other on both sides of the
political aisle, I have a lot of faith, having gotten to know intimately a
lot of my Republican colleagues on the Senate side, they are good folks,
they don`t want a physical confrontation in the House or the Senate, I have
no fear of that happening.

But I do wonder, I have a big question mark in this unprecedented act by
Democrats, and a really bind that Paul Ryan in. I do not know how this
gets resolved in this moment right now and as soon as I leave you I`m going
to that floor to bear witness to what will be a historic moment.

MADDOW: We saw on your side of the capital when Chris Murphy took the lead
in that 15-hour filibuster just days ago, that did force a vote in the
Senate. Mitch McConnell was willing to essentially cave to those demands.
And when you helped, lots of other senators helped Chris Murphy hold that
floor for so long, the Senate did vote, but the Senate voted no, not only
on the Democratic gun reform measures that were so popular, supported by
such a large proportion of the public, but also on the Republican sort of
substitute measures on those same topics.

Does that feel like it was still in advance? I mean, you got the vote but
the vote was no. Did that just sort of satisfy the status quo or did you
get somewhere with that?

BOOKER: No. You and I both know in the history of this country, with big
movements, a finite defeat is not the final defeat. And what happened on
the Senate side I know is that thousands tens of thousands of Americans
were calling their legislators, their senator and both sides were feeling
that pressure.

So, after that defeat, it wasn`t over. You had Republican senators like
Susan Collins being willing for the first time, you see a lot of folks
willing to buck the NRA and work with Democrats to find some type of common
ground to move the ball forward.

So, I don`t see it as a defeat at all. I think this was an important
progression. Chris Murphy and others leading a filibuster, activating
people who really are living that tired saying of Washington that change
does not come from Washington, it comes to Washington, lots of people
brought their sentiment there, their passion, Republicans and Democrats,
gun owners and non-gun owners saying, how can we be willing to sell arms to
the enemy with people who are terrorist suspects being able to easily buy

So, I`m proud of what we`re seeing right now. We`re seeing movement
happen. Last I heard was between five and ten Republican senators who were
willing to go against the NRA and support Susan Collins bipartisan effort.
So, we`re making progress.

It`s not what I want to see with universal background checks to really stop
terrorists from, maybe you might close off one loophole, but they can still
go to backdoor, but progress is being made. The real thing right now and I
think the House is saying this, is we need more people to let their voices
be heard.

As has been said in history, the only thing necessary for evil to be
triumphant is for good people to do nothing. We need to put more pressure
on congressional actors, to do something about this, or else unfortunately
with the regularity of bloodshed in this country, with the regularity of
murder after murder, day after day, and with every two months or so, there
being a mass shooting, we must – we must do something now to prevent the
kind of routine bloodshed that is seen nowhere else on the planet earth
except here in the United States of America, with criminals and terrorists
and so easily get their hands on guns.

MADDOW: New Jersey Senator Cory Booker joining us live from the Capitol.

Two requests for you, Senator, number one is, stay in touch with us as this
continues over the course of the evening. And number two is please

BOOKER: Yes, thank you very much.

MADDOW: Thanks, Cory. It`s nice to see you.

BOOKER: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. Our coverage of this dramatic scene in the House
continues throughout the night.

Lawrence O`Donnell picks our coverage now.

Good evening, Lawrence.


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