The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 6/27/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: June 27, 2016
Guest: Amy Hagstrom Miller, Dahlia Lithwick
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: THE RACHE MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I love that you`re doing this series.
HAYES: Oh, thanks.
MADDOW: It`s great, great work. Well done.
HAYES: Thank you. Thanks.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Big news today. We do a thing on this show sometimes called “The
Best New Thing in the World”. We usually do it right at the end of the
show. We do it whenever there`s something that warrants it. It doesn`t
always happen regularly, when ever there is a best new thing, best new
thing in the world.
And a few days ago, we did a best new thing in the world that was
this guy. This Icelandic soccer commentator absolutely freaking losing his
mind in the greatest possible way. When his team – when Iceland scored an
important goal and won that game, it was just epic.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: It does not matter whether or not you care about soccer,
that was just an epic human expression of unbridled joy. That was our
“Best New Thing in the World” last week.
Well, now, tonight, that same team has just pulled off what`s being
called the greatest upset in this history of European soccer. Iceland, the
smallest country to ever make the European championship, the first times
Iceland has ever made it into this tournament, they just beat England
tonight, which is very sad for England because frankly England is having a
little bit of crisis at the moment and their soccer team getting beaten is
not going to make anybody feel any better in that country.
But you know what? For the Icelandic team, they really did just pull
off one of the greatest upsets in the history of that game. And so, the
Icelanders, they`re very excited.
And you heard how excited he was last week. Can you imagine how
excited their announcer was tonight? I mean, that was him before they beat
England tonight. Wait until you see how he absolutely melted down when
they won this match tonight, one of the greatest upsets in soccer history.
That is coming up on tonight`s show, because you`ve been very, very good.
That will make you happy even if you don`t like soccer, trust me. That`s
Also ahead tonight, by now you heard about the huge, huge ruling at
the Supreme Court striking down Texas`s abortion law. This is being called
the biggest legal victory for abortion rights in decades. The plaintiff
from that case, the healthcare provider who sued Texas and won that case
today, she is here tonight exclusively for the interview, very much looking
forward to that.
We`ve also got Dahlia Lithwick here tonight have another Supreme
Court case we have followed intensely to the point where we built these
complicated graphics showing all the different cash and prizes Virginia
Republican Bob McDonnell took from a rich businessman in return for helping
out his dietary supplement company. Dahlia Lithwick is here tonight to
explain why the Supreme Court ruled today that, yes, Bob McDonnell took all
those gifts and all that cash and, yes, he did then help out the guy who
gave him all that loot, but that`s OK now because that`s not called bribery
So, there`s lots to get to tonight, lots of really good guests
tonight, super interesting news day. Including the first ever joint
campaign appearance by Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth
Now, nobody knows exactly where Elizabeth Warren stands with the
other contenders to potentially be Hillary Clinton`s running mate. This
event today, But this was widely seen as basically and audition for the job
of running mate. And they didn`t stack the deck for this today. They
didn`t do this event like in Elizabeth Warren`s home state of
Massachusetts. They didn`t do this in some liberal enclave where they
could guarantee a rapturous response. They interestingly did this in
Hamilton County, Ohio, which some people consider to be the swingiest
county in the swingiest state in the whole country.
They were there today in Cincinnati, a place where Democrats really,
really would like to win and where it is not at all assured that they will.
Sort of a good test market.
And you know what? It seemed to go pretty well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Now, I`m here today
because I`m with her. Yes, her.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We`re all here today because we`re with her. And we`re going to work
our hearts out to make Hillary Clinton the next president of the United
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
Yes. I`m ready. Are you ready for this? Yes.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
We`re here with someone who gets up every single day and fights for
us, someone who has spent her whole life fighting for children, spent her
life fighting for women, spent her life fighting for families, fighting for
healthcare, fighting for human rights, fighting for a level playing field,
fighting for those who need her most. We`re here to fight side by side
with Hillary Clinton.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. If this is a running mate audition, that is step one
and two right there.
Number one, you have to show up. Put yourself out there on behalf of
the campaign, show that you are willing to do the work. Number two, you
have to clap right next to the microphone. You have to be a wholehearted
enthusiastic unreserved, not just an endorser but an enthusiast for your
party`s nominee. You need to sing their song.
And now, here comes step three. You have to show a robust appetite
for the jugular of the other party`s nominee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Now, Donald Trump says –
Donald Trump says he`ll make America great again. It`s right there.
No. It`s stamped on the front of his goofy hat.
You want to see goofy? Look at him in that hat.
When Donald Trump says he`ll make America great, he means make it
even greater for rich guys just like Donald Trump.
Great for the guys who don`t care how much they`ve already squeezed
from everyone else, great for the guys who always want more because that`s
who Donald Trump is, the guy who wants it all for himself. And watch out,
because he will crush you into the dirt to get whatever he wants. That`s
who he is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: OK. I just have one more clip. I think this one is worth
seeing because it`s sort of where she brings it all together and shows
evidence of the other thing that a potential running mate has to bring to
the trail ideally, at least, which is enthusiasm, energy – especially if
you are a candidate who`s not used to filling arenas and might need to
become one in time for the general election, you know, it might be helpful
to have a running mate used to that, who can do that, who can bring
thousands of people to their feet, who can basically get into a very large
room and blow the lid off.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: She doesn`t whine. She doesn`t run to Twitter to call her
opponents fat pigs or dummies. No. She just remembers who really needs
someone on their side, and she gets up and keeps right on fighting for the
people who need her most.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
AUDIENCE: Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, Hillary! Whoo!
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
WARREN: So here`s what it boils down to. Hillary has brains, she
has guts, she has thick skin and steady hands, but most of all, she has a
good heart and that`s what America needs. And that`s why I`m with her.
Are you with her? Are you with her?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, that was Elizabeth Warren today with Hillary Clinton in
swing state Ohio. You know what, maybe this was just a standard campaign
appearance. Maybe Hillary Clinton`s going to do this exact same thing with
lots of politicians and all the events are going to look like this. Maybe.
It did not look that way and it didn`t feel that way. What it felt
like is this might be the ticket. It`s at least clear that the Clinton
campaign is floating the idea of this as the ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I must say I
do just love to see how she gets under Donald Trump`s thin skin.
(CHEERS AND APPPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In political science, there is a basic model for explaining
the strategy when a presidential nominee picks their running mate. My
friend Steve Benen at Maddow Blog writes about this every four years for
both parties and every four years, it blows everybody`s mind and people
think Steve made it up because it`s such a good model and helpful
But it is an old political science model. It`s been around for a
long time. And the basic idea of it is this – it`s totally worth getting
because I think it clarifies these choices. When a presidential campaign
is looking for a vice president, they pick either an August, a November, or
If you pick and August, that means you are picking a running mate who
will help you in August and help you bring your own party at your party
convention in July or August, you want your own party to put aside past
infighting. You want everybody not only in your whole party structure but
your whole party base to agree this is a great choice and the two of you
together are a great ticket. You`re trying to repair or at least paper
over any hard feelings that might still exist in the primary. That`s an
The classic example of an August choice was in 1980 when Ronald
Reagan picked Poppy Bush not because he particularly liked Poppy Bush, but
because Poppy Bush had come in second to him in a very difficult primary
and the primary was divided and that was way to bring Republicans together.
In that case, it worked. So, Poppy Bush would be a prototypical August
You can also choose a November choice, a running mate who`s designed
to help you win in November, in the November election. Now, I don`t want
to prejudice you against November choices by saying this, because honestly,
sometimes a November choice makes a ton of sense, but the prototypical
example of somebody who is in November as a running mate would be John
McCain picking Sarah Palin.
Don`t jump to conclusions. It made sense at the time. He thought
after the Democrats had had their fractious primary between Obama and
Hillary Clinton in `08, John McCain thought picking a woman would help him
get disaffected voters who didn`t like Obama.
John McCain was also – excuse me, really old and he`s a Washington
institution. He thought he could compensate for both things by picking
somebody young and somebody completely unknown on the national stage. So,
Sarah Palin was a November choice. She`s a prototypical November choice.
She also ended up being a lot of other things but November was the
strategic thinking between – behind why they chose her. So, you can pick
an August, you can pick a November or you can pick a January.
And a January is somebody who you don`t necessarily think is going to
help you consolidate your party at your convention, you don`t necessarily
think they`re going to help you win the general election in November, but
you do know come inauguration day, when you are sworn in as president, that
person is good at governing. They`re going to be good and responsible at
helping you put together your administration.
And I know that sounds like the sort of the more admirable of these
three choices, but I don`t mean it that way. The prototypical January
choice as a vice-presidential running mate is probably the worst vice
president in this modern history of our country, Dick Cheney. So, don`t
let these prototypical examples of these kinds of choices make you think
one is better than the other.
They`re all just reasonably strategic differences to the same
problem, right? These are the three classic strategic categories for how
you pick a running mate, August, November, January.
Which one of these problems are you trying to solve? Do you have
worries within your own party? You have worries about the general
election. You have worries about your ability to govern? Do you want to
settle those worries among anybody in the electorate?
I mean, if that`s the framework in these poli-sci 101 barebones,
Elizabeth Warren would obviously be an August for Hillary Clinton, right?
I mean, that`s not to say she wouldn`t be great at governing or that she
wouldn`t help win the general election in November. But the first and
fundamental thing she would bring to the ticket would be consolidation of
Democratic and liberal support for Hillary Clinton. I mean, Hillary
Clinton is not going to put Bernie Sanders on the ticket, but putting
Elizabeth Warren on the ticket is probably the next best thing.
There have been some rumblings in the beltway press Democratic Wall
Street journals might be turned off by Elizabeth Warren getting tapped by
V.P. But you know what? That`s exactly the kind of of intraparty dispute
Hillary Clinton not only wants right now, she`s going to want to pound her
chest about and brag about if she is going to excite and consolidate the
Democratic Party base, as he wants to try to win over every Bernie Sanders
voter in the country and if she wants to run as an unabashed progressive
and even more progressive successor to Barack Obama and Joe Biden. A fight
with Democrats on Wall Street would actually be helpful to her with the
rest of the party.
So, Elizabeth Warren would be an August. Here`s the thing, though.
New polling just out, especially new polling just out from the “Washington
Post”/ABC poll suggests that maybe the Democratic Party doesn`t need an
August right now? Maybe the Democratic Party doesn`t need all that much
more unifying. It doesn`t need that much more persuading when it comes to
getting behind Clinton.
A month ago, when “The Washington Post” and ABC polled Bernie Sanders
supporters, 20 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters said they were going to
vote for Donald Trump in the general election. Now, one month later in the
same poll, that number is down to 8 percent. I know, it is still kind of
shocking to imagine even 8 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters voting for
Donald Trump, but in context, that`s a remarkably small number.
Compare it with the Obama-Clinton primary in 2008. This same poll,
“Washington Post”/ABC, they kept going back over and over again asking
Clinton supporters in `08 in the lead up to the general election, OK, your
candidate didn`t become the nominee? Didn`t become the nominee, are you
going to vote for the nominee, or are you going to vote for Obama, or are
you still so mad about the primary that you`re actually going to vote for
And a lot of Hillary Clinton supporters said they were going to vote
John McCain. And they didn`t give that up. This time eight years ago, 20
percent of Clinton supporters in the Democratic primary said they were
going to vote for John McCain. It actually went up in July to 22 percent.
Stayed around 18 percent and 19 percent in August and September.
By October 2008, a month before the election, still, the proportion
of Hillary Clinton supporters from the Democratic primary who said they
couldn`t bring themselves to vote for Obama and they were going to vote for
John McCain instead, it was still 14 percent in October. The equivalent
Bernie Sanders number right now is already down at 8 percent already.
So, straight up poli-sci analysis says the Democratic Party doesn`t
need an August right now, doesn`t need an August choice for vice president
in August coming out of the Democratic Convention in Philly, the Democrats
are going to be fine in terms of party unity.
But you know what? Poli-sci isn`t life. And the Clinton campaign
knows all that stuff I just said like everybody does, everybody knows those
basic details if you care about them. Still, the Clinton campaign is doing
something here with Elizabeth Warren today that really makes it look like
they`re going to pick her.
Regardless of those poli-sci expectations, they are raising real life
expectations that they`re going to pick Elizabeth Warren. You don`t do an
event like this with somebody you`re not going to pick, do you? If you
are, you`re raising the prospect of a real letdown, a real disappointment
in the Democratic base if they don`t now that they`re doing stuff like
So, who knows? Maybe they`re throwing the common wisdom out the
window here. And you know what? There`s one last point on that common
wisdom. It has generally been assumed by just about every observer of this
race that it would be too demographically ambitious, it would just be a
bridge too far for the Democratic Party to not just nominate a woman for
president for the first time, but to run an all-female ticket, to nominate
a woman for president and vice president.
I mean, regardless of the merit office any individual woman would-be
running mate, the idea of an all female ticket has basically been
unthinkable throughout this race. But there is one person who is very,
very, very important in Democratic politics right now who sees that as not
a problem at all. We have that on the record and on tape. And that`s
MADDOW: So with Hillary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren campaigning
together officially as of today, one of the last barriers standing to the
idea that Elizabeth Warren could be the Democratic vice presidential
running mate for Clinton this year is the widespread common wisdom that you
can`t have two women on the ticket.
Well, I was the first person to ever ask Hillary Clinton about that
on the record. If there is one person in Democratic politics who is
absolutely unconvinced by that common wisdom sees no problem whatsoever of
an all female ticket, that person is definitely Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So, is that common wisdom correct, that if you`re the
nominee, real politically speaking, it is out of question for you to choose
a woman as your running mate?
CLINTON: Absolutely not. Absolutely not.
CLINTON: I absolutely not. Look, I am going to do everything I can
to be the nominee so I have the great opportunity to make that decision.
We`re living in a very unusual political atmosphere. And we need people
who are tough enough, tenacious enough with a track record to take on the
forces that are arrayed against continuing progress to protect President
Obama`s legacy and the progress and accomplishments that he has labored to
achieve here at home and around the world. So, I`m looking for a team and
the most important member of that team would be whoever I ask to be my
running mate. And I`m not ruling anybody out.
MADDOW: You don`t have to choose some grisly Adams mountain man in
order to like comfort the people who`d be so freak out by the prospect of a
CLINTON: Well, yes, I`m going to look at a lot of people.
MADDOW: Grisly Adams.
CLINTON: I`m not sure, you know, Leo DiCaprio is available, but
we`ll see, right? I think what is –
MADDOW: You have to ask the bear.
CLINTON: Yes, ask the bear.
I think what`s important is to, you know, really look hard at the
talents, the experience, the energy, the commitment, the stamina, you know?
You know, you`re knocked down a lot in this kind of profession. And the
people who dust themselves off and get right back up are the people that I
feel the closest to. So, men, women, I`m going to be looking at anybody
who can fit that role for me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Hillary Clinton in January, her first interview
ever on this show.
And she flat-out rejected the idea without a moments hesitation,
rejected that an all female ticket was at all un-realistic and she
therefore have to pick some dude to be her running mate, the beardier, the
I don`t know if Hillary Clinton is going to pick Elizabeth Warren as
her running mate, but I do know it would be a bold choice if she did for a
lot of different reasons and we know after today that she doesn`t mind
letting us all to believer that she is about to pick Elizabeth Warren. I
mean, unless Hillary Clinton starts auditions like this one with other high
profile Democrats, I think there is no way to see this other than a,
frankly, very successful test run for what would be the first all female
presidential ticket in U.S. history.
MADDOW: It has been 22 years since any Democrat won statewide
elected office in the great state of Texas. But, a couple years ago, not
just Texas but a big portion of the country started to think that one
Democrat might be able to break that streak. She ran for governor in 2014
and, no, she didn`t win. The reason anybody even thought she had a chance
was a fight that she waged in Texas alone as a legislator but with
incredible support in the streets.
And that fight was three years ago. And it was electrifying at the
time but it took three full years to resolve and now today, three years on,
that fight has come to fruition. That fight has been won at the United
States Supreme Court.
This ruling today was one of the most important abortion rights
rulings ever, most significant apportion rights rulings in decades, and
we`ve got the lead plaintiff in the case for the interview next. Stay with
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WENDY DAVIS, FORMER TEXAS STATE SENATOR: I stand here before you
because you claim to be protecting the safety of women`s health issues
through passage of these legislative bills. That is a lie and everyone in
this room knows that to be true.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Texas State Senator Wendy Davis pacing herself. That was
three years ago. She was in hour four of what would end up being an 11-
hour filibuster against some of the harshest abortion restrictions in the
country. She spoke for 11 hours total, no breaks allowed, no food, no
water no leaning on anything, no speaking on any related subject, 11
At the end of those 11 straight hours, she and the thousands of
people who showed up to support her in this capitol that day and that
night, they did succeed in running out the clock on Texas`s new proposed
The Republicans were not able to pass the bills before that session
expired because of what Wendy Davis did that day.
That said, Governor Rick Perry called the legislature back for a
special session and the Republican-led legislature did pass the same law
then. Every way you heard of to make it harder for women to access
abortion, there`s a good chance the Republicans did it in Texas first.
That 2013 law required all abortion clinics to be built to the standards of
an ambulatory surgical center. Nearly impossible for most clinics that
required abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby
hospital, something almost no hospital would give them.
Under the law, the number of abortion providers in the nation`s
second largest state dropped from 44 providers in 2011 to 10 clinics – 10
clinics for 26 million people.
And then Republicans in state after state after state proceeded to
pass some version of the Texas law thereafter. And while those various
laws made their way through the courts, abortion providers and people
across the country who rely on those clinics, they have been living in this
limbo, could this clinic survive until the next ruling? Would that clinic
be the next to shut down?
Well, today at the Supreme Court, three years after her 11-hour
filibuster, Wendy Davis was vindicated. And because of this 5-3 ruling
today at the Supreme Court, some clinics will stay open. Some of the shut
clinics will probably reopen. The Supreme Court today not only struck down
the Texas regulations that Wendy Davis launched her 11 hour filibuster
against, they ruled decisively when they did, 5-3, they ruled the premise
of the law that it would protect women`s health was basically a shame.
Quoting from Justice Stephen Breyer`s majority opinion, quote, “We have
found nothing in Texas record evidence that shows that the new law advanced
Texas`s legitimate interests in protecting women`s health.”
We add that when directly asked in oral argument whether Texas knew
of a single instance in which the new requirement would have helped one
woman obtained better treatment, Texas admitted that there was no evidence
in the record of such a case.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote her own short blunt concurrence
that included this, quote, “Laws like HB-2 that do little or nothing for
health but rather strew impediments to abortion cannot survive judicial
This ruling today is the biggest abortion rights ruling in decades
and it comes from a very specific place. Amy Hagstrom Miller runs the
Whole Women`s Health network of clinics in Texas. We visited her in early
2014 just before the new anti-abortion laws in Texas forced her to close
her clinic in the border town of McAllen, Texas. That clinic was the last
abortion clinic in the entire Rio Grande Valley, which is an area the size
of Connecticut with a population of over a million people. Texas forced it
to shut down.
And then a few months later, it reopened but then it was open but
prohibited from providing services and then they could provide services
again. I mean, depending what twist the legal process the case was at in
the past few years, people who would otherwise have gone to that clinic for
case were forced instead to go without or to travel hundreds of miles for
care and to somehow scrounge up the money and resources to do tat.
Amy Hagstrom Miller has talked to us many times about the heartbreak
of having to turn people away. Well, today, at the United States Supreme
Court, she definitively won her case. Does that mean the clinics get to
stay open? Does that mean the shut ones reopen?
Joining us for the interview tonight is Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder
and CEO of Whole Women`s Health.
Ms. Miller, thanks very much for being with us tonight.
Congratulations on this ruling today.
AMY HAGSTROM MILLER, WHOLE WOMEN`S HEALTH FOUNDER & CEO: Oh, thank
you so much, Rachel. I have been looking forward to the day I get to talk
to you about this for a few years.
MADDOW: Well, tell me what this means for your organization and for
your clinic. What does the future look like?
MILLER: Oh, this is fantastic. I mean, on so many levels, it`s a
win. It shows that when you stand up to bully politicians that you can
win, that you can stand up to a government as powerful as the state of
Texas, and we have illustrated the harm and burden this law put forward for
women all throughout the state of Texas. And we got relief not only for
women in Texas but many states across the country.
This really was almost a referendum on the undue burden standard.
And Justice Breyer`s decision was powerful and they talked – they
basically just destroyed the idea an ambulatory surgical center or that
admitting privileges in any way for the women`s health. It`s been a great
decision. It`s been a great day.
MADDOW: I was struck that it was a 5-3 decision. One of the
elements of uncertainty was Justice Scalia passing. Everybody knows based
on his record how he likely would have ruled on a case like this. But even
without Justice Scalia there, a strong ruling and only been 5-4 had he been
there. I wonder if you feel it took too long for these cases to actually
get the court. That maybe if would have been even faster, this stuff could
have been shut down earlier and a lot more clinic access could have been
MILLER: You know, I thought about that today. I thought at one
point, this is the end of Wendy`s filibuster, it took us three years.
We`ve been running this filibuster for that long.
And, you know, my heart really breaks for all the women turned away
the last three years, who couldn`t get the healthcare they needed and
either had to travel hundreds of miles or they had to take matters into
their own hands. And, really, women deserve the respect and compassion and
dignity of having access to safe healthcare in their communities locally.
So, I feel very proud we were not only able to illustrate that burden
and tell those stories of real people and real people`s lives but that we
were able to restore justice.
MADDOW: In terms of Texas and such a huge population in Texas, such
a physically large state. And as you describe in such a hostile political
climate, what do you think is going to happen in terms of the time frame?
We`ve obviously seen dozens of clinics close just in this very short period
of time. Will it take a long time to reopen clinics? Will all clinics be
able to reopen? How many abortion providers do you think there will be a
few years down the road in Texas?
MILLER: You know, that`s a great question. And I think it`s
important to understand that clinics can`t reopen overnight. We had to
surrender our licenses and let go of our leases. Some of us had to sell
the buildings, that the physicians and staff have all gotten new jobs.
And so, that rebuilding of the fabric of care that had been providing
healthcare to women across the state is going to take us some time. It`s
going to take, you know, support from the communities. We`re going to have
to fund-raise, and basically figure out how can we rebuild this
infrastructure that provided care for women all throughout the state for so
MADDOW: One of the things I started wondering about reading Justice
Breyer`s ruling today, obviously, this was about that ambulatory surgical
standard and admitting privileges. I started thinking about other things
that have been put in place in states across the country would seem to at
least on the surface have no health consequences for women, to not actually
be about protecting women. They were just plainly about making abortion
harder to get, thinking specifically about stuff like these long waiting
period, this 48 hour and 72 hour waiting periods.
Do you think that this sort of redefinition of the undue burden
status is also going to put those kind of laws on notice?
MILLER: You know, I think this really – this is the first victory
we`ve had in decades. We really put a stop to the copycat legislation
flowing across the South and throughout the Midwest. I think it really
shined a bright light on the sort of sham laws that had been passing
without support of medical evidence and really without support of the
majority of American people.
And so, I think it shines a light on this sort of delayed access to
care, forced ultrasounds, this sort of mandatory scripts physicians are
required to read not based in medical evidence and many of the other sort
of targeted regulation of abortion providers that we`ve endured across the
So, Of course I`m hoping that this kind of case and ruling will shine
the light on that kind of situation and allow us to provide the care that
women need without this kind of interference.
MADDOW: Whether or not this case has those kind of echoes, this is a
huge enough ruling the Whole Women`s Health, the organization will have a
very prominent place in American jurisprudence in the way people study the
law and understand their rights in this matter forever.
MADDOW: Amy Hagstrom Miller, founder and CEO of Whole Women`s
Health. Thank you for being with us and stay in touch in the days ahead.
All right. Amy Hagstrom Miller joining us from Washington tonight
after that Supreme Court ruling. We`ve got much more ahead tonight.
Please stay with us.
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If Ferrari swag for yourself or your children is not your thing, you
could also show off your Ferrari ownership status by loaning your Ferrari
to your state`s governor, in exchange for political influence.
It turns out the United States Supreme Court has a surprisingly
positive opinion about that. And that`s coming up. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV ANCHOR: There`s been a lot of talk, of
course, about the eventual vice-presidential nominee. You have said you`re
not asking for the call, but it would be a tremendous honor and you`d be
very interested. If you did get that call, what would you bring to the
BOB MCDONNELL (R), FORMER VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: Well, you know, I`
going to let you experts pontificate about that. I`m not looking – I`ve
got a job held by Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry, the governor of
Virginia. It doesn`t get any better than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: In 2012, one of the top contenders for the job of being Mitt
Romney`s running mate was Bob McDonnell, governor of Virginia. The state`s
charismatic and staunchly pro-life governor who made a name for himself
nationwide, fighting for mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking abortions,
which as we just mentioned will likely be struck down as unconstitutional
At the time, Bob McDonnell was considered by Republicans to be an
engaging speaker but not too engaging, which was important because nobody
wanted a running mate who would upstage the nominee himself.
Ultimately, of course, the gig went to Congressman Paul Ryan instead.
Governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia did go on though to make news of his
own. He went on to become the first governor in Virginia history to be
convicted of a felony for things he did while in office.
Bob McDonnell in 2014 was convicted of 11 felony counts for bribery
and extortion, basically a list of felonies that claim – a list of
felonies associated with him using the power of his office to help a
wealthy Virginia businessman in exchange for thousands of dollars in just
cash and loans and designer clothing and engraved Rolex watch and free
luxury locations and a famous joyride in a white Ferrari.
Once Governor McDonnell and his wife were convicted on those bribery
charges in 2014, once they got their prison sentences, Bob McDonnell`s
vice-presidential prospects started to feel like a little wisp of an old
dream. But now, they`re back, right, because today, Bob McDonnell was
saved by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Quote, “There is no doubt this case is distasteful, it may be worse
than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes
and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the
government`s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute.”
Today, the Supreme Court told the federal prosecutors in Virginia
that their definition of an official act was basically too broad. Quote,
“To qualify as an official act, the public official must make a decision or
take an action on that question or matter or agree to do so. Setting up a
meeting or talking to another official or organizing an event without more
does not fit that definition of official act.”
And so basically, the bottom line here is that Bob McDonnell did set
up meetings, he did talk to other officials, he did organize events to help
this businessman who plied him with cash and swag and vacations and all the
rest, including the Ferrari ride. Well, what the Supreme Court decided
today, not that the facts of this matter were wrongly decided or wrongly
described, what they decided today is what he did was officially not
The Supreme Court today said basically, that`s gross but everybody
does it. It`s not officially corruption. So, prosecutors now have to
decide whether or not to retry Bob McDonnell. And presumably Donald Trump
has to decide if Bob McDonnell still looks like vice-presidential timber.
He is now officially available again.
Joining us now is Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at “Slate” and the
person best qualified to help us understand this decision today.
Dahlia, thank you for being here.
DAHLIA LITHWICK, SLATE: Hi there, Rachel.
MADDOW: Is Bob McDonnell going to get tried again or no?
LITHWICK: They`re going to have to decide if under this new standard
they can nick him for anything. You know, I think that`s probably going to
be a tough thing to do, given that, you know, the court is very clear
today. John Roberts says, you know, we`re not going to give an opinion on
whether under this new standard he`s guilty. We have no opinion on that.
You know, if you want to go back and try him again under the new standard,
have at it.
So, the court certainly leaves the door open. It sure doesn`t look
as though anything that he did, these five acts that we talk about, rise to
the level of the new level of corruption articulated today.
MADDOW: Well, I think about recent high profile public corruption
cases, convictions like Rod Blagojevich in Illinois for basically selling
off Barack Obama`s Senate seat or Sheldon Silver in the New York
legislature or, I mean, Bob Menendez who`s been indicted on corruption
charges, they`re all sort of for Bob McDonnell type stuff, using the power
of your office to favor somebody who gave you a bunch of money or gifts or
favors of some kind.
Are all those kinds of convictions now on the bubble?
LITHWICK: There was a piece today in the post that suggested the
second happiest person in America was Bob Menendez because of what you
said, which is, you know, it certainly looks as though he`s not on the
hook, either. It`s really important to understand, you know, what the
court says today, there`s no quo, right? There`s lots and lots of quid.
John Williams gave stuff and those Ferraris and those Rolexes, you know,
living high on the hog. But there`s no evidence that McDonald actually
committed these official actions that did anything.
And the real question, I think the question you`re asking, is, is
anyone dumb enough to do a quo that will rise to the level of this kind of
illegal quo? It will be like here is your bag of money, sir, selfie, let`s
take a picture of ourselves, will you give me the contract? I think that
will rise to the level now. But I think you`re quite right, Rachel, that
most of the public corruption convictions we`ve seen just don`t have
someone materially saying, I`m going to give you stuff in exchange for the
stuff you`re giving me and let`s commit to writing and take a picture.
MADDOW: Yes. Because, in fact, in that example, you would not only
have to take the selfie of accepting the bag of money, then when you were
awarded the contract, you would have to put in writing, as like a signing
statement with the contract, I`m giving this to you because you bribed me.
LITHWICK: Right. I want to be clear what`s in my head.
LITHWICK: What`s in my head right now I`m giving you stuff back that
I wouldn`t ordinarily give you. And, you know, it goes to this sort of
larger questions, you know, post-Citizens United, the court just doesn`t
see corruption unless there`s really bags of money and the selfie. It`s
But I think, you know, if I would try to be fair to the court, I
mean, let`s remember, this is a unanimous opinion, this gets the liberals.
I think what the court is really afraid of, and we heard this at oral
argument, is they`re afraid of rogue prosecutors who go out of their way to
bring sham charges. And so, what they`re trying the to do, Chief Justice
Roberts is clear, we can still go after public correction under this new
standard, we just don`t want to leave the kind of space that allows people
to, you know, tagged for things that are very, very much, in his telling,
what every politician does every day, they give constituents access and
attention because that`s their job.
MADDOW: Everybody does a defense. Dahlia, that`s my formal
MADDOW: This is why you have to have you on, because I would just
make that noise and consider it done.
Dahlia Lithwick, senior editor at “Slate” – thanks, Dahlia. Great
to have you here.
LITHWICK: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Still ahead, perhaps, the most excited person in
the world today, someone whose joy is so infectious, you will like it even
if you don`t care about what he`s so happy about.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Programming note: over this past weekend, we`ve got a chance
to do some brand new house to house reporting in Flint, Michigan. The
people of Flint, Michigan, are now in year three of the lead poisoning
disaster in that town that has turned everybody`s life upside down. Folks
in Flint are obviously worried about the long-term health of themselves and
their kids. Daily need like taking a shower and cooking when you don`t
trust the water and you`re in year three of not being able to, we`ve got
some brand new reporting for you from Flint from the neighborhoods from
Flint you`ll not see anywhere else and that`s right here on tomorrow
I hope you will be here for that. I hope you will also stick around
for the screaming happy man, that`s next.
MADDOW: If you thought things couldn`t get worse for the U.K.,
things did today in the form of soccer match. Like much of the U.K.`s
present state, this started last week, when Iceland, the smallest nation in
the European soccer championships, the smallest nation to ever make it into
that tournament, Iceland beat Austria and advanced to the knockout round.
They scored a dramatic goal to win the game. It was unexpected and very
That led to the most amazing commentator announcing that win in
Icelandic. You remember this.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: That commentator losing his mind over Iceland scoring that
goal and advancing to the next round. That was our best new thing in the
world last week.
Well, tonight, Iceland in one of the biggest upsets ever in European
soccer, Iceland whose manager is a part time dentist, Iceland beat all
mighty England 2-1. So, the Icelandic commentator who exploded with
happiness last week about Iceland beating Austria, basically he double
exploded tonight. Behold the man losing his mind in the best possible way.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: For pure unhinged joy for Iceland. Great for Iceland.
England, not so much. They`re now out of a championship. What those
players will be going home to what was set off by last week`s E.U. vote.
The turmoil is showing no signs of calming down in terms of the
financial impact after the Dow dropped 610 points on Friday. It dropped
another 260 today. Stocks in Europe closed way down across the board
On Friday, you`ll remember the pound fell to levels not seen since
the mid `80s. Today, it fell further and today, all three major credit
agencies, Moody`s and Fitch and Standard and Poor`s, they all downgraded
the U.K.`s credit rating.
We are five hours behind the U.K. Their local markets will open at
about five hours from now. Everybody is watching that nervously overnight.
Asian markets have already opened now. Right now, Asian stocks are down,
again. But it is early in the trading day. We`ll keep an eye on whether
this will continue being a disaster for the U.K. and for global markets or
whether the sounds of screaming Icelandic soccer announcers will start to
fade from the collective psyche of the U.K. We`ll see. Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD”. Ari Melber is sitting in for
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