The Rachel Maddow Show Transcript, 9/20/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: September 20, 2016
Guest: Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: That`s “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: How did I know that at some point, we`d get
around to the size of his flag pole?
HAYES: That was a choice detail.
MADDOW: Unsubtle from the news gods there.
HAYES: Choice detail.
MADDOW: Very unsubtle. Thank you, my friend. Appreciate that.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. It`s good to have you with
We`ve got Elizabeth Warren here live in just a moment. That`s coming up in
just a few minutes. Very excited to talk with Senator Warren tonight. She
had a huge day on Capitol Hill.
We`ve also got an interview tonight with New Jersey Senator Cory Booker,
who it is always good to get on the show but particularly in light of the
bombings this weekend and the suspected bomber being shot and apprehended
on the street in Linden, New Jersey, it`s particularly good tonight to have
Senator Booker here.
There are now federal criminal charges against that suspected bomber as of
last night. You might remember, he`d only been charged in conjunction with
that shootout with police officers in Linden. Now, he has been charged
federally for the bombings themselves.
And in that charge sheet, in that criminal complaint, there are
considerable brand-new details we did not know before about who he is and
what he did and why. That`s straight ahead tonight.
In terms of campaign news, we`ve also got some really stark news tonight
that I believe is exclusive to us. I don`t think anybody else has this,
but it`s about how Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton handled their
respective meetings with world leaders thus far, world leaders who are in
New York this week for the U.N. General Assembly.
In the case of one particular world leader, he met with both Hillary
Clinton and Donald Trump yesterday, one after the other. We`re now told
that those two meetings had quite radically different outcomes. It`s a
fascinating story. And we`ve got that ahead tonight.
I believe, as I said, that that is an exclusive story to us and you won`t
hear that anywhere else.
But we start tonight with what is the home base for both of our expected
guests tonight, the United States Senate. Democrats pretty much concede
this year that they have no chance of winning back control of the House in
November. There just aren`t enough competitive districts in the country
right now, thanks to partisan gerrymandering.
So, the best Democrats are hoping for, even if they have a great night in
November, the best they`re hoping for is to get about halfway there towards
unseating House Speaker Paul Ryan and putting the House back in Democratic
control. Democrats would have to flip about 30 seats in order to make the
House Democratic again. They think they might, might be able to get about
half that, they might be able to get about 15 seats.
So, they`re not really even expecting any chance of taking over the House.
That said, the Senate is another thing altogether. Right now, of course,
as you know, both the House and the Senate are Republican-controlled.
That`s why you don`t hear much in terms of policy coming out of Washington,
right, with Capitol Hill red and the White House blue, and the fact that
there`s no purple left anymore in D.C.`s ideological real estate. Nothing
So, but the Democrats, even though they know they can`t get back the House
this year, they have been really high on their chances of taking back the
Senate. They`ve been very enthusiastic about that. They really think they
can take back the Senate, and that`s in part because Democrats tend to do
better in getting their voters to turn out in presidential election years
and Senate races can`t be gerrymandered, right? Senators are elected in
whole state elections.
But it`s also because of a kind of an accident of the map and accident of
the timing this year, basically by accident, a ton of Republican senators
are up for re-election. And what is particularly exciting for Democrats
this year is that a ton of Republican senators are up for re-election
specifically in states where Clinton is likely to win the presidential
election or where she`ll have a great shot at winning. Places like
Illinois where Clinton will definitely win the presidential race.
Mark Kirk is the Republican Senate incumbent there. New Hampshire, it is
Kelly Ayotte, Pennsylvania, it`s Pat Toomey, Wisconsin, it`s old Ron
Johnson. In Ohio, it`s Rob Portman, in Iowa, Chuck Grassley, in North
Carolina, it`s Richard Burr, who is barely even campaigning to hold on to
All of those states are very much in the mix in terms the of Hillary
Clinton being at the top of the ticket, having a very good shot at carrying
that state at the presidential level for the Democratic Party. That would
create a very favorable environment for the Senate races that are also
going to be happening in those states, for the Democratic challengers for
all these incumbent Republican senators, even the state of Florida, right?
Florida, the presidential race is always close. Looks like it will be
close this year. Who knows? Hillary Clinton certainly has a good chance
of winning Florida.
I mean, in Florida, it`s interesting. They`ve got this weird Senate
election this year where Marco Rubio basically dug himself up and brought
himself back from the dead after pledging for a long time emphatically,
very clearly, that he definitely would not run for re-election for his
Senate seat. Now, he`s running for re-election for his Senate seat. But
that makes him sort of not a typical incumbent.
He`s got that big obvious broken promise. He had his dramatically failed
presidential campaign that included him losing his home state of Florida
really badly, and there`s super hard fought presidential race in Florida,
where we don`t know who`s going to win. It just sort of scrambles the
chances, makes that Florida Senate race interesting, more than just with
Marco Rubio incumbent senator.
Beyond those states, if Hillary Clinton has a particularly great year at
the top of the ticket, Democrats might also be looking greedily at some
other typically red states like Arizona or Georgia or Missouri where the
Republican incumbent senators are John McCain and Johnny Isakson and Roy
Blount. Those are all Republican senators, veteran senators who are up for
re-election in those usually red states. If Hillary Clinton has a great
night on November 8th, Republican incumbent senators could be on the hot
seat even in states like that.
The problem for Democrats, is it doesn`t necessarily look like Hillary
Clinton is going to have a great night on November 8th. I mean, we don`t
know. We`re still, seven weeks out, something, who is counting? Exactly
seven weeks from tonight.
But the polls are basically sort of tied up in the presidential race. If
the polls continue to stay this close or if Donald Trump pulls out ahead,
there may not be Clinton coattails for all these Democratic senator
candidates to grab on to.
And there`s this other factor which ought to get a lot more attention than
it`s getting this year and that is money. A lot of Republican big donors
and these gigantic conservative PACs, for a variety of reasons, a lot of
those folks don`t want to spend their money on Donald Trump this year,
regardless of how he`s doing in the polls for the presidential race. Yes,
most Republicans are on board with Donald Trump, but a substantial minority
particularly of the donor class is not.
And those who are not on board with Donald Trump in the donor class,
they`re not just not spending money this year, instead, in many cases,
they`re redirecting the money they would have otherwise spent in the
presidential, they`re redirecting that money down ballot to help Republican
So, you combine those couple of things, right? You combine what is now a
tight presidential race, an unexpected, unusual maybe even unprecedented
diversion of Republican cash away from the presidential race and into the
Senate races and – well, you know what happens next, right?
I mean, this is “The New York Times” polling unit today. They`ve just
flopped their Senate projection this year. After a very long stretch in
which they were projecting that Democrats would get control of the Senate
this year, now as of today, “The New York Times” projecting that actually
Republicans will keep control of the Senate.
“The Washington Post” has also now just done their first Senate control
projection as of today and “The Washington Post” is projecting the same
thing as “The New York Times.” They`re also saying that Republicans are
likely to keep control of the Senate.
And this news sort of hits at a couple levels, right? On the one hand,
this ought to be a flashing red light. It ought to be a flare in the night
for Democratic donors to get off their wallets and start supporting
Democratic Senate campaigns.
I mean, for so that`s people with more money than time, right? For people
– Democrats who have more time than money, this is also the kind of red
flag that ought to send lots of Democratic would-be volunteers to go out
and find out how they can knock on doors or phone bank or otherwise
volunteer for their nearest plausible Senate Democratic contender. The
change in these projections, right now, it looks like the Republicans are
going to keep control of the Senate, that will be a jolt. That will be a
red flag to a lot of liberals and Democrats in this country, particularly
liberals and Democrats who have been sitting on their hands thus far in
this election or in this case the donor class, not just sitting on their
hands but sitting on their big, fat wallets.
But this news is doing something interesting in the various power centers
of the Democratic Party. Look, for example, at the great state of Ohio.
That`s where Republican incumbent Senator Rob Portman is facing a challenge
from the Democratic governor of the state, Ted Strickland. And that race
looks like one that some parts of the Democratic Party are basically giving
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, also one of the major PACs
supporting Democratic Senate candidates this year in Ohio, both of them
look like they`re basically triaging Ted Strickland out of contention. He
hasn`t been doing well in the polls. He hasn`t led in the polls since May.
So, Democrats are not quite cutting him loose, but they have gone through a
few weeks of delaying, redirecting resources they were planning on spending
on him, sending that money elsewhere.
And that`s not, you know, the fat lady singing for Ted Strickland. That`s
not the end of the road, just seven weeks out. But when you are a
Democratic candidate and the DSCC, the Democratic Senate Campaign
Committee, starts cutting their resources for your campaign, that`s not a
That said, even with that going on in terms of the official mainstream
establishment Democratic Party, check out Ohio this past weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Oh, thank you, thank you, thank
you for that introduction. And hello, Ohio! It is good to be here!
You guys are fabulous. I love you best because you`re loud. Yes. That`s
what we need in this campaign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts senator, along with Ohio
Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, did this event this weekend for Ted
Strickland. They`re not at all giving up on Ted Strickland`s Senate
campaign in Ohio, even as the Democratic Party and some of these big
Democratic super PACs do scale way back on him.
And it`s interesting. When Senator Elizabeth Warren endorsed Hillary
Clinton back in June, which he did on this show you might remember, she
said at the time that she was going to do this – not just that she`d work
her heart out to try to elect Hillary Clinton, but she would also work her
heart out to get Hillary Clinton a Democratic Senate that she could work
with, after she is sworn as president next year.
And so, part of what you have to watch in these critical Senate races is
not just what the Democratic Party is doing and not just what the big super
PACs are doing, part of what you have to watch is what is Elizabeth Warren
doing, right, because she`s kind of her own thing. And there she was in
Pennsylvania campaigning for Hillary Clinton, but also campaigning for the
Democratic Senate candidate against Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania. The
Democratic candidate there, her name is Katie McGinty.
Then, this weekend, there she was in Ohio, two days in Ohio, campaigning
yes for Hillary Clinton in Ohio, but also campaigning her heart out for
Democratic Senate candidate Ted Strickland. Maybe some other parts of the
Democratic establishment are triaging him. Elizabeth Warren clearly is
At the end of this week, Elizabeth Warren is going to be in New Hampshire,
campaigning, yes, for Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. But also for
Maggie Hassan, who is the Democratic Senate candidate up there who is
trying and very well might unseat Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte.
So, this is an interesting dynamic, right? The Democratic Party isn`t just
a thing. We`ve paid attention to the different dynamics inside the
Republican Party. There are dynamics that work inside the Democratic Party
I mean, it`s one thing to look at the prospects for Senate control next
year in terms of what the presidential race might do to those partisan
odds, but there is something to look at here other than the top of the
ticket. There are other dynamics at work in Democratic politics besides
the presidential race. And yes, some of those dynamics surround Vermont
Independent Senator Bernie Sanders after his huge presidential primary run
For his part, Senator Sanders just endorsed, or the PAC that was created
out of his campaign effort, I should say, they just endorsed ten candidates
who are running for state legislatures and state senate and other lower
level and even county offices this year. So, the Bernie Sanders sort of
part of the Democratic movement is doing a lot of interesting down-ballot
stuff on their own terms and in their own way this year.
The other real locus of power and energy in the Democratic Party at the
national level is around Elizabeth Warren. And yes, Elizabeth Warren is a
good and energetic campaigner, and it is, you know, nice and appreciated,
whatever, some well known senator travels all over the country and supports
campaigns well outside his or her home state. That`s always nice.
But what gives Senator Elizabeth Warren the power that she`s got in
Democratic politics, the following she`s got among the Democratic base, the
national name recognition and, therefore, the attention and even the
momentum that she can bring to somebody else`s campaign simply by showing
up and saying, hey, support this person, it`s not just that she`s there,
not just that she shows up and she talks good. The source of her power is
what she`s famous for nationwide. It`s her status as a force of nature
when it comes to watchdogging big business and Wall Street and the big
banks in particular.
And the most valuable bank in the world right now is called Wells Fargo.
You might have seen in the business pages or even on the front pages, a
couple weeks ago, Wells Fargo paid $185 million in mostly fines. It was
mostly – partly fines. It was partly what they had to pay back to their
customers for a huge years-long scam in which the bank basically drove up
its own stock price, made itself seem more valuable, made itself seem like
it was growing faster than it actually was by this scam. This scam in
which they artificially inflated the number of accounts that each of their
customers had at Wells Fargo.
They gave their low-level employees quotas that they had to fill in terms
of the number of new accounts they had to open for Wells Fargo`s existing
customers. And that resulted in millions of fake accounts, false credit
card accounts, false checking accounts, false savings accounts, all created
by Wells Fargo employees in the name of their customers so they can meet
these quotas. So, Wells Fargo would look like they had tons of accounts
from their customers, so that would boost their stock price.
It hurt their customers, screwed with their customers` credit ratings,
right, put customers on the hook for fees for these accounts that they
never ask for, and didn`t want and didn`t know they had.
And when they got caught, the bank tried to blame just low-level employees.
It fired thousands of low-level employees for having done this terrible
thing. All the while, their executives at the bank got superrich from
their own stock options because customers having all these multiple
accounts made the bank look more valuable for Wall Street investors. They
created these pernicious incentives inside the company for their low-level
employees to do something unethical and wrong and illegal in order to boost
the company specifically in a way that would make their executives rich.
And then they tried to say, oh, yeah, it`s all of our terrible tellers, our
terrible bank managers. We`ll get rid of those small fries. We`re fine.
It`s one of the – not just one of the biggest scandals in banking since
the financial catastrophe in 2008, it`s also one of the most easy to
understand. It`s one of the easiest to see in terms of what`s so grotesque
And today, the bank`s CEO got a chance, lucky him, to answer for it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: You haven`t resigned. You haven`t returned a single nickel of
your personal earnings. You haven`t fired a single senior executive.
Instead, evidently, your definition of accountable is to push the blame to
your low-level employees who don`t have the money for a fancy PR firm to
defend themselves. It`s gutless leadership.
Other big banks average fewer than three accounts per customer, but you set
the target at eight accounts. Every customer of Wells should have eight
accounts with the bank. And that`s not because you ran the numbers and
found that the average customer needed eight banking accounts. It is
because, quote, “eight rhymes with great”.
This was your rationale right there in your 2010 annual report.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Eight rhymes with great? Eight rhymes with great? Really?
That`s how they tried to cram eight different accounts on to all of their
customers because eight rhymes with great?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Do you know how much the value of your stock went up while this
scam was going on?
JOHN STUMPF, WELLS FARGO CEO: It`s all of my compensation is in our public
WARREN: Do you know how much it was?
STUMPF: It`s all in the public filing.
WARREN: Oh, you`re right. It is all in the public records because I
looked it up.
While this scam was going on, you personally held an average of 6.75
million share of Wells stock. The share price during this time period went
up by about $30, which comes out to more than $200 million in gains all for
Now, here`s what really gets me about this, Mr. Stumpf, if one of your
tellers took a handful of $20 bills out of the cash drawer, they would
probably be looking at criminal charges for theft. They could end up in
But you squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat
customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds
of millions of dollars in your own pocket. And when it all blew up, you
kept your job, you kept your multimillion dollar bonuses, and you went on
television to blame thousands of $12-an-hour employees who were just trying
to meet cross-sell quotas that made you rich.
This is about accountability. You should resign. You should give back the
money that you took while this scam was going on and you should be
criminally investigated by both the Department of Justice and the
Securities and Exchange Commission.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Do you need a minute? Do you need to cool off after that? You
only have a minute – Because Senator Elizabeth Warren`s here next.
MADDOW: As I mentioned at the top of the show, we`ve got Elizabeth Warren
here next. We`ve got New Jersey Senator Cory Booker here tonight.
We asked Senator Booker to be here tonight because the FBI just released
its detailed statement of charges and its detailed explanation of the
evidence that they`ve got against the suspected New York and New Jersey
So, Senator Warren is here live next. Senator Booker is on deck.
There`s a lot to come. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: In July, right on Fourth of July, the FBI director explained in
great detail why the FBI was not bringing charges against Hillary Clinton,
and what they thought of all the evidence that they went through while they
were considering that decision.
Last week, Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to the FBI director and asked if
he would please make the same kind of statement explaining why the FBI
didn`t recommend charges against the nine bankers who were referred to the
Department of Justice for possible prosecution when the Financial Crisis
Inquiry Commission found that in the financial crisis, those individual
nine bankers were involved in possible serious violations of federal law.
Yes, if you can explain it for the Clinton thing, how about the financial
crisis that almost destroyed the world? Hmm.
No word back yet from the FBI, we`re told.
But then today, the CEO of the world`s most valuable bank, he was treated
to Senator Warren`s tender ministrations at the U.S. Senate as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: This just isn`t right. A cashier who steals a handful of twenties
is held accountable but Wall Street executives who almost never hold
themselves accountable, not now and not in 2008 when they crushed the
worldwide economy. The only way that Wall Street will change is if
executives face jail time when they preside over massive frauds.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now for the interview is Senator Elizabeth Warren of
Senator Warren, thank you very much for making time to talk to us tonight.
Really appreciate you being here.
WARREN: Thank you very much for having me.
MADDOW: So, your questioning of the Wells Fargo CEO was very heated today,
I think is the right word. Why did you decide to roast him over that spit
the way you did today at that hearing?
WARREN: Well, why not? I mean, look, here is a guy who says, “I`m
accountable,” and then his notion of accountability is he keeps his job.
He keeps the millions of dollars in bonuses that he made while this scam
goes on. He keeps all the money from his stock improving because of the
scam that was going on. And then blames the scam on more than 5,000 low-
level employees and says, “Oh, he didn`t know anything about it.”
You know, there just comes a point when you have to say, enough. You can`t
keep doing this. Remember, right at the heart of the 2008 crisis was, in a
sense, exactly the same thing. It was that giant financial institutions,
not community banks, not credit unions, giant financial institutions
figured out that they could make buckets of money by cheating their own
Now, the lead-up to 2008 was far more elaborate and had lots of people in
it and lots of different kinds of financial instruments. But at its heart,
that`s what it was all about, about those mortgages, about those subprime
mortgages that tricked people, that trapped people, that fooled the people.
So, what happens? It`s eight years later and Wall Street says, “No, no,
no, no, no, no we`ve changed, we`ve changed, we`ve changed.”
And then it comes out that Wells Fargo, the biggest bank in the world, has
been out there doing something called “cross-selling”, and what it really
means is they squeezed their employees until their employees made up
checking accounts and credit card accounts, squeezed them that hard. Why?
So they could then go right back to Wall Street and keep pumping their
numbers – pumping their numbers and saying, our stock is worth more and
more and more. Our company is worth more and more and more, because look
at all these accounts we`ve got.
You know, there`s got to come a time when you say to these CEOs no. Not
only no, but you are going to be held personally responsible for this. As
long as these guys can get rich and waltz out the door, nothing on Wall
Street is going to change.
MADDOW: That personal accountability issue is something that Wall Street
is not used to hearing anything other than rhetoric about. They`re not
used to hearing anything pointed and possible about that prospect.
But you raise this as well in your letter to the FBI last week and to the
Department of Justice inspector general saying, listen, if you`re willing
to go public and explain your reasoning and your rationale for the Hillary
Clinton e-mail scandal, what you thought of all the evidence and why you
didn`t recommend charges in this case, please do so also for these nine
bankers who were recommended for possible prosecution because of the
Why did you decide to go to the FBI about that now? And do you actually
think they`ll release any of that information?
WARREN: Sure. Let`s talk about the now. You remember that after the
crisis, Congress set up something called the Financial Crisis Inquiry
Commission. And their job was to go out and to hold hearings and to look
at books and records and get people in and to figure out what went wrong in
the crisis. It was bipartisan.
And, boy, did they get out and work. I mean, they took tons of information
in. Then, they wrote this great big report, this giant report, and they
boxed up all the rest of their papers and records and so on and sent them
over to the archives as they were required to do by law, where they were
sealed for five years.
So, OK, that sounds fine. A few months ago, they became unsealed because
it had been five years.
So, my staffers go over and get the boxes out and start digging through
them. And it turns out that the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission had
recommended, based on the data they had seen, specific people who should be
investigated as having caused the financial crisis and specific financial
institutions. So, they were referred to the Justice Department.
So, this isn`t like just vaguely, why didn`t you hold somebody accountable.
They sent over names and they did it based on all the evidence and data
that they had collected.
So, what happened? What happened? And the answer is basically nothing.
So, I sent two letters last week. One was I sent it directly to the
inspector general of the Department of Justice. And I said, could you
please find out what happened to those criminal referrals and, you know,
just going to let the rest of us know.
But the second was to the director of the FBI because I listened really
closely when he got up and talked about Hillary Clinton. And he had said,
“You know, the FBI`s general policy is if we don`t issue an indictment, we
don`t say anything about it.” I understand that.
But he said, in effect, there`s a new standard and the new standard is when
there is – I believe his words were “intense public interest”. When there
is intense public interest, then, man, we`re going to release everything
we`ve got. We`re going to go ahead and give you all the investigative
reports and what will happen. I`m going to stand up and do a big press
conference, he said. Then he goes over to Capitol Hill and testifies all
OK. If that`s the new standard, I believe there is intense public interest
in the people and institutions that caused the 2008 financial crisis, that
cost millions of people their homes, millions of people their jobs,
millions of people their retirement accounts – the Dallas Fed estimates
cost this economy $14 trillion. That kind of sounds like intense public
interest to me.
So, I asked him to apply his new standard for the intense public interest
cases and release the same kind of information he released in the case of
Hillary Clinton and her e-mails.
MADDOW: You haven`t heard back from him, have you?
WARREN: Not so far.
MADDOW: We called the FBI and the Department of Justice and asked if and
when they`re planning on writing back, and they wouldn`t tell us either.
Senator, do you have a plane to catch or do you mind holding for one more
second so I can ask you a thing?
WARREN: I can hold.
MADDOW: Thank you very much.
Senator Elizabeth Warren will be back with us in just a moment. Thanks,
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WARREN: Oh, thank you. Thank you, thank you for that introduction. And
hello, Ohio! It is good to be here!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren campaigning this weekend in Ohio for Ted
Strickland and his Senate race against Rob Portman in that state.
Senator, thanks for sticking with us. I really appreciate it.
MADDOW: I talked at the top of the show a little bit about how the
electoral projections for the Senate right now, some of them, including
“The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” are both saying that
actually the Republicans are more likely than the Democrats to be
controlling the Senate next year based on polling right now. We`ve also
seen Hillary Clinton`s lead over Donald Trump evaporate to a significant
extent both in national polls and swing state polls.
What is – having been to all these states, campaigning for these
Democratic senators, do you have a diagnosis for why that might be
happening right now? Do you have a proposed cure for how to fix it?
WARREN: Look, I don`t – my job is not to diagnose what`s gone wrong. My
job is to get out there and fight back, because that`s what we have to do.
I mean, let me try just two words for you: Supreme Court.
Even if Hillary gets elected, if we can`t get a Democratic Senate, then
we`re going to have trouble confirming someone to the Supreme Court. She`s
going to have trouble being able to field a team, you know, having someone
at the Department of Justice who actually cares about accountability,
having someone at the Department of Labor, having people at the
Environmental Protection Agency.
If Hillary Clinton has to step into the White House on the first day in
opposition to a Congress that is controlled in both Houses by Republicans,
then she really will have her back against the wall.
So, my view on this is, number one, is to take the White House, to hang on
to it with Hillary Clinton. But right behind that, we have got to take
back control of the United States Senate. The Supreme Court depends on it.
And actually, just getting out there and doing the basic work of government
depends on it.
MADDOW: Senator Elizabeth Warren, I do appreciate you sticking with me and
for giving us this much time tonight. It`s nice to see you. Thank you.
All right. We`ve got much more ahead tonight. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: So, tonight, the FBI has released the criminal complaint against
Ahmad Rahami, laying out charges against him for the bombings this weekend
in New Jersey and New York. Also making clear that at least in the FBI`s
eyes, this is not only a clear-cut case of getting the right guy, thanks in
part to him leaving 12 fingerprints on one of the unexploded bombs.
They`re also laying out their evidence that, at least according to them,
this is unequivocally Islamic terrorism.
They`re laying that case out in great detail. We just got a ton of
information that we did not have about this alleged plot and this alleged
bomber before. That`s ahead.
MADDOW: So, tonight, Ahmad Rahami who is officially charged federally for
the bombing attacks in New York and New Jersey this weekend. The charges
include the use of weapons of mass destruction, the bombs, and the bombing
of a place of public use.
The complaint also, though, has a lot of previously unreported details
including just how much evidence was gleaned from that 27th Street pressure
cooker bomb that didn`t explode. Quote, “Approximately 12 fingerprints
were recovered from the bomb including on the pressure cooker, the duct
tape and the triggering cellular telephone. An FBI analysis concluded that
each of these 12 fingerprints recovered from the bomb was a positive match
to Mr. Rahami.”
Also, there`s new detail on the surveillance camera footage. According to
the FBI, a person believed to be Mr. Rahami was seen in the vicinity of the
first bomb in 23rd Street at 7:53 p.m., approximately 37 minutes before the
explosion. The FBI then says that same individual was then spotted on 27th
Street two minutes after the explosion of the 23rd Street bomb.
The FBI also says that Rahami bought several bomb ingredients on eBay
between June 20th and August 10th of this year. They were able to ferret
out that information in part because he used the genius alibi of his real
name as his eBay user name and his real address in Perth Amboy, New Jersey,
to obtain materials that they say were used to make the bombs. Quote, “On
or about August 10th, 2016, an eBay user named Ahmad Rahami purchased an
item described in part as citric acid USP food grade five-pound pack.”
The complaint also says that same eBay user also bought circuit boards and
electric igniters on eBay. The same individuals also said to have
purchased lead balls, basically slingshot ammo, presumably to serve as
extra shrapnel in the explosion. The FBI also says authorities did use the
cell phones that were strapped into the bombs to help identify Rahami.
And then, of course, there`s the very provocative issue and important issue
of Rahami`s motivation. What`s in this FBI complaint tonight confirms
reporting that was out earlier today, which said that Mr. Rahami was in the
possession of some kind of journal, at least handwritten documents when he
was captured. Written in this journal among other things was the
following, according to the FBI, laudatory references to Anwar al-Awlaki
and Nidal Hasan, who shot and killed 13 people at Ft. Hood, Texas, also,
quote, “Brother Osama bin Laden”.
The handwritten document closes as follows, “god willing, the sounds of the
bombs will be heard in the streets, gunshots to your police, death to your
Given that much of the story played out across New Jersey over the past
couple of days, it`s particularly good that we`re joined tonight by Cory
Booker, Democratic senator from New Jersey and a member of the Senate
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Senator Booker, it`s really nice to see you. Thank you for being here
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D), NEW JERSEY: Thank you for having me on, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, I know that you can`t talk about classified information, but I
know that you`ve been briefed in terms of what happened in your state and
in New York over the weekend, and we`ve all now seen this complaint in
terms of the charges.
Is there anything that particularly surprises you or particularly alarms
you and worries you about what you`ve heard about this plot?
BOOKER: Well, I think the most alarming thing at this point, obviously,
the investigation is ongoing, to see that there was anybody at all that
worked with him, but also if people who have knowledge of this that should
have come forward that didn`t come forward. But right now, we see what one
individual can do that has been so radicalized or radical jihadist inspired
by al Qaeda, inspired by other terrorist acts, what one individual can do
with about ten devices spread between two states.
It is very challenging, I think, to realize the kind of damage that one
person could inflict. And I think we are at a point where we`re so
fortunate, not only in terms of the explosions, the one at Seaside Heights
literally not having anybody around, all the way to the two police officers
who are really heroes from Linden who took fire, one getting shot multiple
times in a bulletproof vest, how fortunate we are that he wasn`t able to
carry out the level of carnage that he so desired.
MADDOW: Senator, one of the things that has been I think heartening about
this, if anything is, is the speed with which he was caught, the speed with
which we went from the incidents, the attacks, the bewildering nature of
the attacks and the devices to him actually being apprehended by police by
rush hour on Monday morning.
On the other hand, as you mention, there is this ongoing concern – and I
guess I want to know from you if you have any other information on this.
About the prospect that other people might have been either involved or had
reason to know that he was doing something. That something was up, that
something was coming or that he was working with explosives, something else
that reasonably should have been cause to tip off the police.
BOOKER: Well, first of all, I think the first part of what you said is
really important to understand. In the hours after the explosions in New
Jersey talking to some of our officials at the federal and state level, one
thing from each conversation that I was encouraged by was the confidence
with which the investigators had, that this person or persons at that
point, we did not know, would be brought to justice, that we have such good
– not only intelligence apparatus, but coordination at the local, state
and federal level. The lessons we`ve learned from past attacks. We are
getting very good at tracking down those people who dare to do such
And so, that said, you know, my perspective now is to continue to learn
lessons so that we can be better prepared not just to respond and react,
but to prevent these things from happening in the first place. I serve on
the Homeland Security Committee and pushing bipartisan legislation to make
sure that whether it is our airlines which now have tremendous security
involved, but also from our rail lines to our ports to other soft targets,
to make sure we`re doing what`s necessary.
And then there`s a whole other layer of this about beginning to analyze
what is radicalizing people, how can we prevent people from being
radicalized or if someone in the community is taking on certain behavior,
how can we build the kind of networks that are really acting to stop
individuals before they move to the point where they want to carry
MADDOW: Senator, do we know about anything in terms of other involvement,
involvement of other people, either people who might have known about the
lead up to this attack or people who might have helped?
BOOKER: Again, I want to be cautious about what I talk about, but at this
point, investigators think publicly, from what we know right now, this
person is operating alone.
BOOKER: But we are going to pursue every single angle on this. And, you
know, obviously, his wife is overseas. We`re trying to bring her back into
this country. We`re dealing with interviews with family members. You can
be sure it will be very thorough to make sure whether he operated in
coordination with other people or, again, if people know something and did
not say something or do something, we`re going to find out about that as
MADDOW: Senator Corey Booker of New Jersey, who sits on the Homeland
Security Committee, Senator, I know this is a busy time, trying time for
your state – thanks for making time for us. Nice to see you.
BOOKER: Thank you for covering this. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Still ahead tonight, we`ve got that exclusive on how the two
presidential candidates had apparently opposite experiences with the same
foreign leader yesterday – super weird, super interesting story. That`s
But meanwhile, hey, look at this. Turns out Ron Paul`s presidential
campaign manager doesn`t have to go to prison, and I can prove it. See the
big smile? See how happy he is? That`s the proof.
Prosecutors had been asking for him to serve just over two years in prison.
Instead, we learned today, he will get two years on probation and six
months home confinement. If you feel like you recognize this gentleman her
with Ron Paul, it`s because Jesse Benton, his name is, he was a big deal in
the Ron Paul/Rand Paul wing of the Republican politics for a long time.
Jesse Benton ran the super PAC for Ron Paul`s presidential campaign this
year. He ran the whole campaign for Ron Paul`s presidential bid in 2012.
And that`s where he got into trouble.
An under-appreciated fact about the Ron Paul presidential campaign in 2012
is that they basically tried to bribe their way to a win in the Iowa
caucuses. Six days before Iowa in 2012, the Michele Bachmann Iowa co-chair
inexplicably and suddenly switched teams, said he was dropping Michele
Bachmann, and he was going to support Ron Paul instead. We now know he was
paid to make that switch, more than $70,000.
And now today, Jesse Benton, Ron Paul campaign manager and another long
time Ron Paul/Rand Paul staffer, they have both been not only convicted but
also sentenced for their role in covering up that bribe. They both got six
months home confinement, lots of community service, a $10,000 fine and two
years probation. And that means if you do the math, carry the four, that
means Jesse Benton should be off probation just in time for Rand Paul to
start up the family business of running for president again.
It`s a good business, it turns out, low overhead, lots of attention – a
surprising lack of prison time.
MADDOW: U.N. General Assembly is under way in New York. President Obama
today gave his final remarks as president to the General Assembly.
On the sidelines of that, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took
meetings with foreign leaders. Hillary Clinton met with leaders from
Ukraine and Japan and Egypt. Donald Trump just took one. He met with the
head of Egypt.
President of Egypt, as you know, he used to be the head of the military in
Egypt, became president in military coup. Thousands of dissidents have
been killed and imprisoned since he took over. In the so-called “election”
that chose him for president, he got 97 percent of the vote. Ninety-seven
percent, that is not a number found in nature.
But Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both took a meeting with that same guy
yesterday. And check out the difference. The Trump campaign put out this
press statement about their meeting, quoting, “Mr. Trump thanks President
el-Sisi and the Egyptian people for what they`ve done in defense of their
country and for the betterment of the world. Mr. Trump expressed to
President el-Sisi his strong support for Egypt`s war on terrorism. Mr.
Trump said that if he were fortunate enough to win the election in
November, he would invite President el-Sisi on official visit to the United
States and would be honored to himself visit Egypt,” and then they made
It could not have been more effusive. Putin`s going to be jealous.
Now, look at the Clinton meeting. It starts off kind of the same.
“Secretary Clinton and President Sisi had a constructive discussion about
bilateral ties and cooperation on a wide range of issues, including
But now, notice the change, “Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of
respect for rule of law and human rights to Egypt`s future progress.” And,
oh, then there`s this part, quote, “Secretary Clinton called for the
release of U.S. citizen Aya Hijazi and raised concerns about prosecution of
Egyptian human rights organizations and activists.”
So, no kiss. No.
Clinton goes and meets with a military strong man dictator and presses him
on the American human rights worker who he`s had locked up since 2014 and
the other human rights organizations and activists he`s got locked up,
tells him that the U.S. expects better of human rights, and the way he
treats American citizens, not to mention his own dissidents.
Trump takes a meeting the same day with the same guy and tells the guy,
“Hey, you know, I really like what you`ve done with the place. I`d love
for you to come visit sometime or maybe you could come visit me.”
It`s a big, complicated world out there, filled of all sorts of different
kind of world leaders. We have a very stark choice to make in terms of how
we want the United States to be positioned in this big, bad world.
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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