The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 8/30/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: August 30, 2016
Guest: Bill Nemitz
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: It`s going to be casual Chris Hayes late night?
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: Casual Chris Hayes.
HAYES: It`s a special doubleheader evening game version of your humble
MADDOW: Have you been chaffing all this time, wanting to do your show
without a tie, and this is just you?
HAYES: I like them both. Different sides of the same person.
MADDOW: Wow. I`m very excited. Thank you, my friend. See you later,
Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
We`re keeping an eye on a few ongoing stories tonight, including some
interesting news about the presidential campaign that has just broken in
the last few minutes. We`re going to have the reporter who broke that
story here with us, I think, live in just a moment, although that`s still
being worked out.
This is the scene tonight right now in Everett, Washington. This is a live
shot of the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington, where Donald Trump is
slated to take the stage for a rally there within the hour.
This is worth watching tonight for a couple of reasons. One of which is
just that it`s very strange for them to be doing this event there tonight.
I mean, this event tonight, this Xfinity Arena, it`s a big arena. It holds
10,000 people. The Trump campaign said they had RSVPs for like 13,000
people who wanted to attend this thing, and that must make them feel great.
That`s a lot of Trump supporters who will presumably be roaring back at
Donald Trump tonight when he gives his remarks at this big event.
But a 10,000-seat arena is also an expensive thing to rent, and heading
into this phase of the campaign, heading into Labor Day in a presidential
election year, a presidential candidate`s time is unbelievably precious.
So why are they spending their candidate`s time and their donors` money to
I mean, no matter what happens, and no matter how many people – how many
thousands of people turn out to cheer for Donald Trump tonight at this
event in Washington state, that you see on the left side of your screen
here, there honestly is no way that Donald Trump is going to win Washington
I mean, Mitt Romney lost Washington state by 15 points. John McCain lost
Washington state by 17 points. And, yes, I guess anything is possible, in
politics and who knows, maybe this year will be different. But the latest
polling in Washington shows Donald Trump losing by even more than those
guys did. The latest polling has Donald Trump trailing in that state by 19
So, why is he there tonight? Doing a fund-raiser or something in a state
that you can`t compete in, that might make sense. Spending your donors`
money to rent yourself a giant arena in a state you won`t compete in, that
honestly makes no sense.
And it`s not like the Trump campaign has all the battleground states
covered, so they can afford to take random side trips like this, to set
their donors` mono fire. PBS “NewsHour” did some great reporting today on
the ground level state of the race. They literally counted granular
evidence of what the campaigns are doing in 15 states. They compiled
office data for 15 states. They spoke with state and national campaign
officials. They cross referenced with FEC spending reports, checked local
news coverage, they did this granular quantitative reporting, and the
overall numbers they came up with are very stark.
In these 15 competitive states, they looked at, the Clinton campaign has
tripled the number of campaign offices that the Trump campaign does. But
the state by state detail is even worse. In Virginia, the Trump campaign
claims to have 18 offices, but all 18 of them turn out to be regular
offices run by the Republican Party. The Trump campaign itself appears to
have zero campaign offices in Virginia.
In other major states, where they`re supposedly going flat out, the numbers
are almost unbelievable. Take Pennsylvania, where the Clinton operating 36
field offices, according to PBS. The Trump campaign, in contrast, has two
– 36 offices versus two offices.
In North Carolina, the Clinton campaign has 26 field offices. The Trump
campaign has one.
In Florida, the Clinton campaign reportedly has 34 field offices across the
state. The Trump campaign again has one. They have one campaign office in
So, if you have been donating your hard-earned money to the Trump campaign,
rest assured there`s almost no chance that your money is being spent to
open field offices and staff, get out the vote operation centers in states
where Donald Trump actually needs to fight to win. Rest assured they`re
not spending your money on that.
What they are spending your money on is paying to rent Donald Trump a big
10,000-seat arena in Washington state, which should be awesome tonight.
Why are they doing this?
That said, tomorrow Donald Trump will go somewhere that might be a
battleground state this year, if Republicans have a truly terrible year,
and they have to resort to fighting to hold on to a state like Arizona.
After Washington state tonight, Trump will head tomorrow to Phoenix,
Arizona, for what the campaign has been calling a major speech on illegal
If you take them at their word that this is going to be a major speech on
illegal immigration, then it is also awkward that on the eve of that major
speech on illegal immigration, “Mother Jones” today published a long,
deeply reported piece on Donald Trump`s modeling agency, and what is
alleged to be its standard practice of hiring models from overseas, who
were not legally allowed to work here.
Trump`s modeling agency allegedly encouraged models to lie on their customs
and immigration forms as a matter of course. Quote, “If they ask you any
questions, you`re just here for meetings.”
Donald Trump`s campaign has declined to answer questions about these latest
allegations – again, awkwardly coming the night before he gives his big
illegal immigration speech. The Trump campaign is saying all questions
should be referred to Trump`s modeling agency, but Trump`s modeling agency
also has not responded to requests for comment.
And, you know, this kind of reporting is awkward at anytime, whoever you
are, but it`s particularly awkward, after you`re supposedly trying to
reclaim your signature issue, your hard-line stance on illegal immigrants.
So, tonight, Donald Trump appearing inexplicably in Everett, Washington.
Tomorrow, he`ll be in Phoenix, Arizona, for this illegal immigration
speech. But as I said at the top of the show, we do have some breaking
news, just in the past hour, about the Trump campaign.
Just within the last few minutes, “The Washington Post” has reported this
news. The headline is “Trump considers last-minute meeting in Mexico with
the country`s president.” So, between the speech tonight in Washington
state and the immigration speech tomorrow night in Arizona, “The Washington
Post” is now reporting that Donald Trump is considering flying to Mexico
City to meet with the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
“The Washington Post” reporting tonight that talks between the Trump
campaign and Mexican officials are ongoing. People informed of these plans
requested anonymity due to the sensitivity surrounding the planning. They
said that as of late tonight, talks between the Trump campaign and Mexican
officials are ongoing. Trump is reportedly interested in going but
logistics and will security concerns are still being sorted out.
According to “The Washington Post”, Robert Costa and Karen DeYoung,
tonight, representatives for the Trump campaign reached out early this week
to the U.S. embassy in Mexico to talk about these intentions. That`s
according to a person in Mexico, familiar with communication between the
Is Donald Trump going to sneak off into another country tomorrow before his
big speech on illegal immigration?
Joining us now is Robert Costa, national political reporter for “The
Washington Post”, who broke this story tonight with Karen DeYoung.
Robert, thanks very much for joining us, especially on such short notice.
Really appreciate it.
ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Hello from “The Post”
MADDOW: From deep inside “The Post” newsroom.
Robert, first of all, tell me what the overall plan is here. Had there
been some plan under way for Trump and the Mexican president to meet in
some other circumstances, and they`ve decided to move it to Mexico? Is
this something that`s all been brand-new, that`s all recently planned?
COSTA: Well, Rachel, weeks ago, the Mexican president made clear publicly
that he`d be willing to meet with Donald Trump. And according to my
sources, and Karen DeYoung`s sources in both Mexico and the United States,
the Mexican president also extended a letter, an invitation to Trump to
come meet to discuss economic and political issues in Mexico City.
Trump over the weekend met with his advisers in New Jersey, his weekend
retreat, did some debate prep and also thought through what he wanted to do
this week to really make some headlines, to be cast as a populist
statesman, how his campaign sees it. So, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News
urged him to come and think about going to Mexico, and this is how it all
came together as a legitimate consideration.
MADDOW: Robert, the Mexican government obviously has not been pleased with
the way Donald Trump has talked about Mexican immigrants, has talked about
the Mexican government, has talked about Mexico paying for the wall that
Donald Trump pledges he`s going to build.
Do we know anything about the Mexican side of these negotiations, such as
they are, and why they want to meet with Donald Trump?
COSTA: Well, we know the Mexican president is interested in meeting with
all major American political figures. That`s clear out of the Mexican side
of our reporting.
But the fact that this meeting is being discussed and Trump wants to go to
Mexico City, to fly there, doesn`t necessarily mean it`s going to happen.
There`s still a lot of talk, that the Mexican president could come under
pressure once this news happen and broke, to maybe not have the meeting and
that Trump`s using it as a political opportunity rather than a policy
So, a lot of things are fluid right now, but we`re confident these
discussions have been very active and Trump`s leaning toward going
MADDOW: One last question for you, Robert. In terms of your previous
reporting, what you understand about presidential campaigns at this stage,
particularly candidates with Secret Service protection. Presumably there
would be a lot of logistical and security things that would have to be
worked out in order for a presidential candidate to make a very, very
short-notice international trip, even if it is just a trip to Mexico. That
side of things, do we know if that is settled or if the Secret Service has
been given enough leeway to make this happen in a safe way that they`re
COSTA: We`ve been told that the Secret Service is very concerned about the
security here. And this is – not that Mexico`s a hostile country, but
that the welcome for Trump could be hostile from protesters and others.
And whenever someone with Secret Service protection goes abroad, it calls
for intense and increased protection. So these are things that are all
being discussed tonight as Trump still tries to make the trip.
MADDOW: Robert Costa, national political reporter for “The Washington
Post,” with this intriguing scoop tonight.
Robert, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate it.
COSTA: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Again, this news just posted just moments ago at “The Washington
Post,” the headline is, “Trump considers last-minute meeting in the Mexico
with the Mexican president.” Donald Trump is expected, again, tonight,
within the hour, to be appearing in Everett, Washington, at a giant rally,
or at least a rally at a giant venue.
I think there are legitimate political questions as to what Donald Trump`s
campaign is doing, spending money to rent a 10,000-seat venue in a state
like Washington where the campaign has real absolutely no chance of getting
anywhere near winning in November unless November is going to be something
very different than we expect.
He`s going to be speaking at this rally tonight in Everett, Washington.
He`s then due to be at a fund-raiser tomorrow morning in the state of
California. Tomorrow night, he`s supposed to be in Phoenix, Arizona to,
give his speech at the Phoenix Convention Center on illegal immigration.
But between that, California morning fund-raiser and the Phoenix speech
tomorrow night, Robert Costa and Karen DeYoung at “The Washington Post”
tonight reporting that Donald Trump is attempting to negotiate and arrange
a last-minute trip to Mexico. Maybe Mexico will pay for it.
We`ve got much more to come tonight on what has turned out to be a very
busy news day and news night.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Again tonight, we do have this breaking news, intriguing news from
“The Washington Post” that Donald Trump is reportedly considering flying to
Mexico City at the last minute tomorrow, to meet with the president of
Mexico. We don`t know if the campaign is going to be able to pull this
off, but apparently, they`re trying to get Donald Trump into Mexico just
hours before his speech on illegal immigration that`s scheduled for
tomorrow night in Phoenix, Arizona.
This is potentially very big news reported tonight by “The Washington
Post.” It did just break moments ago. It`s in fact still breaking.
Since Donald Trump has said part of his problem with immigration to this
country is that Mexico sends its rapists and criminals as immigrants into
the United States. If this meeting between Donald Trump and the Mexican
president does happen tomorrow, I imagine it will probably be a sparky one.
But we don`t know.
Again, these late details just reported tonight, within the last few
minutes from “The Washington Post.”
We`ve got lots more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: For one hour next week, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take
the same stage for the first time in this general election. It will be the
candidate`s first time participating in a forum together. Their first and
possibly their only meeting before the presidential debates start. It`s
going to happen a week from tomorrow.
MSNBC, NBC, and IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, will be
hosting both of the presidential candidates from the two major parties in
the Commander-in-Chief Forum. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appearing
back to back, talking about national security and veterans issues and war
and peace. And the audience for that event will be filled with veterans
and service members.
Because this general election isn`t really otherwise focusing on national
security issues, that forum next week may be the first time we get to hear
from both of the candidates on honestly what is otherwise the biggest non-
political news in the world tonight, because tonight there is very, very
big national security news.
Tonight, ISIS says one of their top guys has just been killed. When ISIS
announced in 2014 that they were now a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and all
Muslims should move there to be part of the caliphate, the guy who made
that announcement was Abu Mohammed al Adnani. When ISIS changed its mind
and said, no, no, actually Muslims who support is should not come to Iraq
and Syria, they should stay home and commit acts of terrorism in their home
country, that was the same guy who made that announcement, that was al
When ISIS this year announced its supporters should make a special effort
to launch attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year, that
announcement was made by the same guy, Abu Mohammed al Adnani.
He`s not the head of the caliphate, the guy who they all pledge allegiance
to when they commit terrorist attacks, he`s not al Baghdadi. But honestly,
al Baghdadi, that guy hasn`t been seen anywhere in years. This footage you
see of him here, this was the last time anybody saw him, in the summer of
The guy from ISIS, the top ranking guy from ISIS who we do still see, the
one who appears frequently, the one who issues all their public statements,
the one who calls for attacks in the West, the one who declares that this
year, Ramadan should be a Ramadan where there are lots of terrorist
attacks, the guy who runs all of ISIS`s propaganda and communications, runs
all of their online strategy, organizes all the video of combat and videos
of beheadings and videos of torture, that guy is al Adnani, Abu Mohammed
al-Adnani. And that is the one who is apparently just been killed.
There were earlier unconfirmed reports he might have been killed in or near
Aleppo. But now, ISIS itself is saying that al Adnani has been killed.
U.S. officials aren`t confirming it. But if he is dead, this is, by far,
the highest ranking person ever taken out within ISIS.
Rukmini Callimachi at “The New York Times” reported earlier this year that
al-Adnani is not – should not just be seen as the spokesman for ISIS, and
the chief strategist and chief of propaganda for ISIS. She reported
earlier this summer that al Adnani has basically been personally directing
all of ISIS`s external operations, which means he`s been in charge of
recruiting ISIS supporters internationally, overseeing their training and
their direction, organizing and instigating them to carry out terrorist
attacks at home.
Al Adnani is considered to be responsible basically for the whole effort by
ISIS to kill people not in Iraq and Syria, but in the West. The Bataclan
attacks in Paris, the Brussels attack, the Bangladesh cafe attack, all of
these things that have American civilians so freaked out about whether
they`re going to attack us here, that we started screaming and panicking
and running into the tarmac anytime there`s a loud noise at a major U.S.
airport, this is the guy who was organizing all of the attacks in the West.
This was a $5 million bounty on this guy`s head, and for a reason.
If Abu Mohammed al-Adnani is dead, as ISIS said he is, that`s huge. I
mean, that`s not exactly the head off the snake, but it`s like maybe the
neck – snakes have necks?
Joining us now from Rome is Rukmini Callimachi. She`s “The New York Times”
correspondent who specialized in ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Rukmini, it`s really nice of you to stay after the middle of the night to
be here with us. Thanks for being here.
RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, U.S. officials are not yet officially confirming this death.
From what you`re able to see online and what you`re able to see from your
sources, what do you make of the sources that are claiming that he`s dead?
Do those sources seem credible?
CALLIMACHI: Well, it`s being claimed in the most legitimate ISIS channels,
starting with the Amaq news agency, and just a few hours ago, they released
it in their main newsletter. So, as far as ISIS is concerned, this is
They have, however, incorrectly claimed their leader`s deaths before.
Abaaoud, the guy who was behind the Bataclan attack, faked his own death
before, but not at this level. So, at least as far as ISIS is concerned,
this seems to be legit.
MADDOW: And, Rukmini, if he is, in fact, dead, do we know anything? Do we
have any good information about how he was killed, how he was tracked down,
by whom? If he was killed in Aleppo, obviously, there`s been a lot of
fighting by a lot of different fractions, including air strikes from
coalition and Russian forces in that area.
CALLIMACHI: What (AUDIO GAP) saying is that he was killed in Aleppo
province on the battlefield, as he was going to check on a position. That
is their version of events.
We know that the U.S. is claiming a strike in the general area. They have
not yet confirmed that he was the one who was killed in that strike. But
it could be that that strike is the one that took him out.
MADDOW: Rukmini, you recently interviewed a young German guy, who had gone
to Syria to fight with ISIS.
MADDOW: And he came back disillusioned. It was a remarkable interview.
We featured it on the show. And I remember from that interview that he
told you that this guy, al Adnani, was in his words the big man behind
everything. Everything goes back to him.
What did he mean by that? What is your understanding of what al Adnani was
doing inside ISIS, how important he was?
CALLIMACHI: Sure. To the world, Adnani is the mouthpiece of the group.
He`s the spokesman, as you outlined. He`s the one that the major
statements are channeled through.
In our culture, a spokesman is not necessarily a leader. A spokesman is
somebody who is carrying water for the leader. That`s very different
inside ISIS. He`s much more than just the mouthpiece of this group.
According to Harry Sarfo and according to several other recently arrested
members of ISIS who spoke to French and European investigators, he was also
the head of the Emni, when is the so-called secret service of ISIS.
And it is that body, a very secretive body, that within it has a unit that
is dedicated to carrying out attacks in the west. The Bataclan attack
originated within that group. And we know that Adnani was very much the
yay or nay voice at the top of that hierarchy, deciding what target to hit,
which fighters would go, what resources would be attributed to it, and then
the propaganda scheme that would go around that particular attack.
He remains a very secretive figure. Harry Sarfo, who was enlisted in
ISIS`s special forces, described how at the end of a very arduous training,
that went through many levels, the people who managed to graduate from the
special forces would be taken to see Adnani. But before taken to see him,
they were blindfolded, they`re put in the back of a car, they were driven
in zigzags for hours across the countryside, so they would have no idea
where they were.
And then they would be let out of the car, brought before Adnani, and with
the blindfold still on, told to recite an oath of allegiance to Adnani,
never seeing him.
So, that gives you – if that anecdote is accurate, it gives you a sense of
the operational security that he operated under. There are very few
photographs of him that exist, which I think is on purpose. It suggests a
man who is trying to at some level keep himself secret, because of his high
importance within the group.
MADDOW: Rukmini Callimachi, “New York Times” correspondent focusing on
ISIS and al Qaeda – Rukmini, thank you. Again, particularly for staying
up into the middle of the night where you are to be with us. I really
CALLIMACHI: Thank you.
MADDOW: Again, this is not Baghdadi, right? This is not the guy who is
head of the caliphate, but to the extent that we know anything about the
way that ISIS operates, and particularly the way that ISIS is trying to
wreak havoc in the West, this appears to be the guy who was running it all.
Running online recruiting, running all communications strategy, running all
of their visual propaganda, and deliberately okay – deliberately
organizing and strategizing around all of – almost all of the spectacular
attacks in the west that we know that ISIS has ever been able to pull off.
So, if that is the guy who has been killed, and again, U.S. officials are
not yet confirming whether or not he`s dead, if he is in fact dead, this is
a really big deal for ISIS and particularly for the threat that ISIS poses
outside of Iraq and Syria. Huge news tonight.
All right, lots more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The largest protected area of ocean in the whole world is called -
MADDOW: I will say it one more time. Or this guy will.
MADDOW: It`s hard to say. Forgive me for not attempting it.
But I think it`s neat and it`s the nation`s newest national monument. It`s
the biggest we`ve had anywhere.
And President Obama is supposed to fly to Hawaii tomorrow, so he can be
there to dedicate this new national monument on Thursday. There`s one
problem, though, which is this – which is supposed to get to Hawaii not
long after President Obama does.
Hurricane Madeline peaked as a category 4, back down to a 3, sustained
winds of 115 miles an hour. Madeline remains big enough for Hawaii to feel
the effects of the storm during the president`s visit, even if it doesn`t
make direct landfall.
And then after that, another category 3, Hurricane Lester is still trailing
right behind Hurricane Madeline. Current forecasting shows Lester will
likely get weaker over the next few days, but still, right now, we`re
looking at two cat 3 hurricanes, one right after the other.
These storm tracks you`re seeing here are projections, what they show is
what`s possible in terms of the direction of the storms. Over the next
several days, though, Hawaii will be paying attention to these tracks and
maps and possibilities.
At best, the islands can expect some really heavy rainfall and some rough
seas. So far, they`re also expecting a visit from the president. That`s
apparently still on. But we will keep you posted as we learn more.
MADDOW: Breaking political news tonight from Florida, results from Senate
and congressional primaries are coming in. There are some interesting
In the contest for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida, Marco Rubio won his
Republican primary tonight easily. He beat businessman and vocal Donald
Trump supporter Carlos Beruff.
On the Democratic side, Congressman Patrick Murphy comfortably beat
Congressman Alan Grayson tonight. So, that means it will be Marco Rubio
versus Patrick Murphy for the Florida Senate seat in the fall.
Also big news tonight out of Florida, 12-term Florida Congresswoman Corrine
Brown, she`s currently famous right now, because she`s under indictment on
22 corruption charges. Well, tonight, Corrine Brown lost her Democratic
primary in her home district in Florida. That makes her only the fifth
incumbent member of Congress to lose his or her seat this cycle in a
primary. She`s only the second Democratic incumbent to lose this cycle.
Before tonight, the only other Democratic incumbent to lose this whole year
was Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah, who lost because he had also
been indicted. In his case, on 29 counts.
Apparently, being under federal indictment does matter this year, which is
But the big race everybody was watching, the South Florida district that`s
currently represented by former Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie
Wasserman Schultz. She was facing a very tough primary challenge from
progressive candidate Tim Canova.
Breaking just within the last few minutes, “The Associated Press” has now
declared that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has held on to her seat. She`s won
that race. She was declared the winner, beating her challenger 57-42
percent. That`s with 55 percent of precincts reporting.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of course, was basically pushed out as chair of
the DNC last month. Tim Canova, who boasted what his campaign called the
largest field operation of any congressional race in the country, he raised
just under $4 million, had four campaign offices in the district, he had
over 40 paid staffers, hundreds of volunteers being knocking on 10,000
doors a week.
But we now can tell you tonight, it was not enough. Tim Canova also
famously was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders early on sent out
fundraising pleas on Tim Canova`s behalf only to ultimately vanish down the
stretch. In his primary against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders lost this
particular district in South Florida by a 2-1 margin, but with Tim Canova`s
loss tonight, a lot of people will be wondering why Bernie Sanders scaled
back his support for Tim Canova so dramatically after initially coming out
for him in such a big way.
Either way, it`s not an ideal start for the Bernie Sanders revolution„
which says they are going to help down-ticket candidates all over the
country. This was the first big test of that since Our Revolution was
founded and for Tim Canova, it did not end well.
We`ve got much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The FBI keeps all sorts of criminal justice statistics, including
arrests state by state, on specific kinds of crimes. We know from FBI data
for the most recent year available, 2014, that in the great state of Maine
in 2014, there were 1,211 people arrested in that state that year for
selling or manufacturing drugs. Of those 1,211 arrests, about 170 of those
people were black.
Nevertheless, Maine`s Republican governor appears to be gripped by a
terrible racial fantasy that he knows what the drug problem is in Maine,
and the drug problem in Maine is black people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Let me tell you something, black people come
up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that.
REPORTER: Governor, we`re not trying to get into a battle. We just want
to see –
LEPAGE: You`re a sick bunch of people. You make me so sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Maine`s Republican Governor Paul LePage a few days ago, yelling at
reporters in the midst of what has now turned into a seemingly unstoppable
e eruption from him. The people of Maine got the first sign that the
eruption was starting, the first rumbles of the magma, when the governor
announced at a town hall meeting last week, that he was keeping a binder of
all the drug dealers in Maine. And forget whatever`s in the statistics,
the governor basically said he was sure from what he sees in his binder
that he`s keeping, this binder that he carries around with him, or keeps in
his office, he said he`s sure from that binder, that, quote, “90-plus
percent of the pictures in my book, and it`s a three-ring binder, 90
percent of them are black and Hispanic people.”
First, the governor talked about the binder`s existence, then news
organizations, including us, requested under freedom of access laws to
please see the governor`s binder, so we could figure out what he`s flipping
through at night with a flashlight under the covers that`s got him so
excited. The more he tried to elaborate on this binder and his proof that
the drug problem in Maine is all about black people, the more he tried to
talk about it, the worse he got. Including this novel take from him on how
you can tell the two sides apart in this war. Basically how you can tell
who to shoot at.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEPAGE: When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in
red and you dress in blue. You shoot at red. Don`t you? You`ve been in
uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy.
And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are
people of color or people of Hispanic origin.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The enemy right now, the enemy you shoot at are people of color.
People of Hispanic origin. That obviously caused some hard questions from
the local press, some criticism from local lawmakers.
One Democratic state rep told reporters that the governor`s racially
charged remarks were not going to help get to any real solutions on Maine`s
very real drug problem. That fairly mild criticism from one state rep led
the governor to do this, which, fair warning, is rough around the edges in
terms of the language, about you this happened.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard
LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a
racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker. I want to talk to you – I want
you to prove that I`m racist. I`ve spent my life helping black people and
you little son of a bitch socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker. You – I
need you to – just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public
because I`m after you. Thank you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Thank you.
After leaving that voice mail asking the state lawmaker to make it public,
the governor couldn`t let it go. He`s the one who told reporters that he
had left that voice mail, and said that he wanted to point a gun right
between that same lawmaker`s eyes.
We have since learned that after he left that initial voice mail for that
lawmaker and after he told reporters that I want to point a gun right
between his eyes, the governor then called that same state rep back again,
asking him to meet him in person. The governor later specified that he
wanted to meet this state rep in his hometown. In the state rep`s hometown
of Westbrook, Maine, for an event that was due to happen tomorrow night.
Now, that event has been canceled and Paul LePage is explaining himself a
little bit, but doing so in a way that is unlikely to make things any
better for him.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GEORGE HALE, HOST: At any point, wasn`t there a little voice in the back
of your head that said, this may not be a good idea?
LEPAGE: You know, George, in all fairness, this is the one time in my
entire life – and I`ve been through a lot of things, but this is the first
time in my life I couldn`t breathe, I was so angry. I literally couldn`t
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Governor Paul LePage speaking today about being so angry he could
not breathe and he could not control what he said. He`s fending off calls
for his resignation, mostly from Democrats, but also from some members of
his own party. So, on this radio interview today, he was asked if he does
plan to resign.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
HALE: Can we anticipate that you`re going to finish out your term?
LEPAGE: I don`t know, George. I`m, I`m – as I said earlier, I`m looking
at all options. I think some things that I`ve asked to do are beyond my
ability and I`m not going to say that I`m not going to finish it. I`m not
saying that I am gonna finish it.
What I`m going to do right now is I`m taking one step at a time. I want to
meet with Mr. Gattine. Then, I want to meet with my team at the office and
we`re going to look at what`s the proper options to move the state forward.
It`s about making sure that we can move the state forward.
And it`s really one thing to have one party behind you. It`s another thing
not to have any party behind you. So, that`s very important.
You know, it`s not about me. And it`s not about anything else but the
Maine people. We have to move Maine forward, whether it`s me or somebody
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Whether it`s me or somebody else. Maine Governor Paul LePage on
the radio today, suggesting he might not last as governor, particularly now
that his own party, at least parts of him, appear to be wavering on him a
But, you know, it`s Paul LePage, so who knows? Even though he said
multiple times that he might quit, he then followed it up with a tweet you
saying, of course, he wouldn`t quit. These rumors of his demise are
Well, tonight, this rally happened tonight in the state capital of Augusta,
Maine. Pretty good crowd in Maine there. Several hundred people at least,
gathering to say that Governor Paul LePage really needs to resign.
A few blocks away, though, Republican members of the statehouse and state
senate met in an extraordinary out of session caucus to talk about what to
do here and what the Republican Party of Maine is going to do with their
governor. If members of the legislature do vote to hold a special session,
ultimately it might not matter whether or not Paul LePage resigns. If the
legislature decided to hold a session, they could decide just to throw him
MADDOW: Maine governor –
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
LEPAGE: It`s about the Maine people. If I`ve lost my ability to convince
the Maine people that`s what we need and that`s the type of people we need
in Augusta, then, you know, maybe it is time to move on.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Maybe it is time to move on. Maine Governor Paul LePage in a
radio interview this morning, saying he might resign as governor. Then
this afternoon, he tweeted that, of course he wouldn`t resign as governor.
This evening, there was a rally in the capital of Augusta, calling for Paul
LePage`s resignation, as Republican legislative leaders met just a few
blocks away from that rally to figure out what they are going to do about
their embattled and increasingly profane governor.
Joining us now from Augusta is “Portland Press Herald” columnist, Bill
Bill, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being with us tonight.
BILL NEMITZ, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD: You too, Rachel. Good to be with you.
MADDOW: What`s going on with the Republican legislatures and how they are
oriented toward Paul LePage right now?
NEMITZ: Well, that`s a good question. The Republican house members did
meet in caucus this evening, and basically punted. They announced coming
out that they did not take a formal vote. They were pressed by a number of
media present as to what they`re going to do.
They didn`t say what they`re going to do other than the minority leader
said there will not be a special session, meaning the entire legislature
cannot gather to deliberate as a body to what to do with Governor LePage,
be that censure him, impeach him, be that do anything.
So, right now, from a legislative standpoint, the whole thing is kind of a
standstill. nobody knows what happens next.
MADDOW: So, no special session means no action to try to force him out of
office. But I guess there`s still the question of whether or not
Republicans still stand behind him staying as governor.
I wanted to ask you about one who Republican state senator who wrote a
message to her constituents this weekend, and it was remarkable language.
She wrote to her constituents, “I share your deep concerns regarding the
governor`s behavior, what I do not know is whether it`s due to substance
abuse, mental illness or pure ignorance. Things definitely appear to be
out of control.”
Is that an isolated sentiment among other Republicans in Maine, or more
Republicans than just the one coming out and saying stuff like this.
NEMITZ: No, it isn`t. In fact, the Senate president – the Senate
Republican leader went out of his way to say that she is, I think he used
the term, `she`s not an island”, but there are others who share that
sentiment. That would be Amy Volk of the town of Scarborough.
She`s in an area that is more moderate area and she is in a predicament
that many of the Republicans in those types of areas find themselves.
They`re heading into an election season right now. They need to be elected
with the support of many moderates, perhaps even some Democrats, and they
need very much to distance themselves from this governor.
And without the opportunity of a special session in order to demonstrate to
their voters that they`re not in this guy`s back pocket, they`re going to
be in a lot of trouble. So, that particular group of Republicans in the
legislature are feeling extremely vulnerable right now and they`re, I
think, ringing their hands wondering what they`re going to do between now
and November to convince their constituents that they`re worth electing or
MADDOW: Bill, if this was behavior that we had seen from a celebrity or an
athlete or somebody else who is well-known for that kind of a reason rather
than a political reason, what they would do – what the PR gospel says they
should do is go to rehab, announce some sort of thing that you`re doing as
an intervention that you can come back healed and moved on.
Is there – do you have any sense of what Paul LePage might do? Might he
seek some sort of help, might he take sometime away, might he – he doesn`t
feel like he`s going to resign, do you have any sense of what else he might
NEMITZ: There was a lot of talk of that at a rally this evening. A lot of
people were coming right out and saying that in the most immediate sense is
the best solution, is for him to step aside, as they put it. For him to
get some help. He had said earlier today that there are some things he
just cannot do.
It was hard to parse that as to what he – what he truly meant by that. My
reading of that was that therapy or treatment or whatever it might be,
might very well fall under that category, just something that he is
constitutionally unable to do. I think the closest he came to a therapy
coach was that radio interview that he did this morning when George asked
him, “Was there a little voice inside your head that said maybe I shouldn`t
be doing this?” And LePage quite candidly said, this was the first time in
my life that I literally couldn`t breathe.
And it struck me – that`s exactly the kind of thing you might hear someone
say to a therapist. Unfortunately, in this case he was speaking to talk
That`s the closest we got into it.
MADDOW: That`s usually labeled as “rock bottom” in the marginalia of the
MADDOW: Bill Nemitz, columnist of “The Portland Press Herald” – Bill,
thanks for keeping us apprised. Appreciate you being here. Thank you.
NEMITZ: Sure thing, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I know we`ve been talking a lot about Maine recently on the show
and some really, really, really, really ugly politics in Maine,
specifically on the part of Maine`s Republican governor.
But I do want to say that Maine is beautiful. And Maine, particularly, has
beautiful wild life. They have the largest moose population and black bear
population in the entire continental United States. In Maine, they`re
blessed with a ton of beautiful white tailed deer. Maine also has this
super cute guy, hey toughty. That`s the Canada lynx, which you can find in
But you know what Maine is not known for, among all of their amazing wild
life, they`re not known for snakes, particularly, really, really big
snakes. But in June of this year, someone in the town of Westbrook, Maine
called police to say that they had seen a snake and not just any snake, but
a snake that was as long as a truck right in the middle of Maine.
Giant snakes are in indigenous to Maine. They have a lot of other giant
animals. They don`t have giant snakes.
But the police department said, sure, big guy, we`ll look into it. And
nothing really came of it. But a few days later there was another sighting
and Westbrook police officer was on an overnight patrol at 3:30 in the
morning, the police officer saw a large snake eating a large mammal, quote,
“possibly a beaver”. The police department was very super clear in their
statement that they were, quote, “not joking.”
But still, there was no proof other than this sighting even if one of the
sightings was by a police officer. And then, a couple of months later,
this turned up in Westbrook, Maine.
Now, as you can see that`s not a snake, but it is a 12`1” long snake skin,
12 feet long. This is like, how do you feel about snakes. This is kind of
stuff of the stuff of nightmares, right? I mean, 12 feet is insane.
Twelve feet is a distance – 12 feet is, can we show this, 12 feet is where
I`m sitting over to where Nick is standing. Hi, Nick.
NICK TUTH: Hi, Rachel.
MADDOW: Today, reptile expert who did some tests confirmed what kind of
snake leaves behind a 12 foot long snake skin Westbrook, Maine, the
scientist said that particular snake skin belongs to an anaconda – an
anaconda in Westbrook, Maine.
So, there might be a 12-foot-long anaconda that looks just like this one on
the loose in Westbrook, Maine, right now, and a brand new Chinese game,
because it shed it`s old one. If you live in Westbrook, please close your
windows and lock your doors.
Westbrook has anacondas apparently. It`s not getting a visit from out of
control terrifying Maine Republican governor Paul LePage. The governor is
continuing his public meltdown. He had planned to visit Westbrook
tomorrow, the home of Democratic legislature he called and swore at and
threatened this week.
But the status report as of tonight for Westbrook, Maine, is that Paul
LePage`s threatening visit is cancelled for tomorrow. But Westbrook`s
anaconda`s problem is still apparently present and accounted for. Sleep
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s
time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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