The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/1/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 1, 2016
Guest: Tom Steyer, Michael McFaul
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Can you come over?
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: I`m on my way.
MADDOW: Thank you very much. We`ll see Chris Hayes in a different light,
literally, in a moment.
Thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour.
It`s a weird night. We`re officially having a weird night in the news.
First of all, we just, through the last hour, just covered this. And it
was interesting. The chyron at the bottom of the screen, that`s like the -
- see, there it is, the lower third thing, the red banner. The chyron on
the screen for most of our coverage for that live event tonight said,
“Trump holds first rally since election.”
And that`s just weird. I mean, I`m not criticizing the producers who wrote
that headline. It`s true. It`s just weird, right? It`s weird.
You have to sort of caption things that way as if it is a normal thing that
there would be rallies since the election, right? As if this is the first
one that we`ve been waiting for, as if it`s a normal thing that a
president-elect would keep holding campaign rallies after the campaign was
over, after the election.
I mean, presidents definitely hold big public events, right? Presidents
all the way back to the beginning of their being presidents, they have done
big public events for their own re-election efforts or to try to elect
other candidates who they support in other American elections, or
frequently presidents have done big public events after they`re elected to
try to sell the country on a specific idea, like supporting the
privatization of Social Security, we`ll do rallies for that or supporting
the auto bailout or something, right?
Presidents do public events. But this tonight, this Trump thing that we
just saw, this really isn`t something that we`ve had before in American
politics. This tonight, which we just covered, this was a campaign rally.
This was Trump holds first rally since election.
This was a campaign rally. This was just a rally in support of Donald
Trump. This was for no other purpose. It was not for an election, it was
not for another candidate, it was not for a policy, not to get the country
to do any specific thing. It was just a rally for him.
And as a country, this is not something we have a tradition of. I mean,
outside of campaigns, we`re not a country that is usually asked to convene
a mass rally in support of our leader, in the absence of any other
organizing imperative. But apparently, now, we`re a country that does
that. At least we did that tonight in Cincinnati.
And we`re told that this rally for the new president, for the president-
elect, this will be the first of many rallies like this that he holds. So,
that alone, just covering that, rallies since the election, that makes for
a weird night.
We have not heard from the president-elect for 3 1/2 weeks, since the
election, until tonight. Now that he has done this event, now we know what
he has had on his mind all this time, what he`s wanted to talk about all
this time. Turns out what he really wanted to talk about all this time is
how much he won the election by and also how terrible the media is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Remember when they said, he cannot win
North Carolina. So we had just won Ohio, Iowa, and we had just won
Florida. Breaking news, Donald Trump has won Florida. They say, whoa.
And we won it big. But then the people back there, the extremely dishonest
press said -
Very dishonest people.
How about when a major anchor who hosted a debate started crying when she
realized that we won? How about it?
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
No. Tell me this isn`t true.
Remember, you cannot get to 270, the dishonest press. Remember when they
said Donald Trump is going to lose to some guy I never even heard of. Who
is that guy?
He is going to lose to this guy. They go, for weeks, Texas is in play.
Then you turn on the television like two minutes later. Donald Trump has
won Texas. You know.
These are very, very dishonest people.
The bottom line is we won. We won. We won big.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We have not heard from him in 3 1/2 weeks since the election, but
now we know what`s been on his mind ever since that he`s been waiting to
talk to us about.
Joining us now is my friend Chris Hayes, the host of “ALL IN WITH CHRIS
Chris, I feel like I have to have another reality check with you.
HAYES: I know.
MADDOW: Thank you for being here.
HAYES: I`m glad to be here because I was so processing what I had just
seen on my own show that I had a hard time putting words to it.
MADDOW: I should say just logistically, first of all, it was late.
MADDOW: He was supposed to speak at 7:00, he didn`t start speaking until
an hour late. So, it ended up eating most of your show.
MADDOW: But you watched in real time.
HAYES: I watched it in real time and part of – look, this is something
that is evident early on, which is the man is who he is, temperamentally,
personality wise, that was never going to change. People would always be
talking about pivots. There would always be this kind of intense desire
from the Republican establishment parts of the punditry to will him to be a
MADDOW: Once he`s elected, he`s going to be sobered and changed.
HAYES: Yes, that is not true. That`s what tonight was. The campaign will
continue for four years, the rallies will probably continue. The
presidency will look different than it has in modern time times perhaps –
HAYES: Ever. It will look different than it ever has.
It will be this kind of, you know, Berlusconi is probably the best analog
in Italy. This kind of a constant, every day is a national drama with him
at the center. The thing you said about kind of, you know, a rally to sort
of luxuriate in the leader –
MADDOW: For him, for him, yes.
HAYES: – and to sort of pursue his vendettas against – I mean, it`s just
all new. I mean, it has a lot of the features of kind of cults of
personality, authoritarian populist leader in other places, Erdogan, Putin,
MADDOW: Orban, yes.
HAYES: – Viktor Orban in Hungary. I mean, that`s what we saw. You know,
that`s what we saw –
MADDOW: During the campaign and we`re still seeing it now. No change.
HAYES: No change. I mean, the other thing, we saw the division, right,
between like he wants to talk about the media and how much he won by and he
wants to relive election night, which he did, and then he`ll go back to the
prompter and the prompter is all Steve Bannon`s vision of sort of American
first nationalism, this sort of new ideological core for the Republican
It`s an ideological core that in many ways comes from the John Birch
Society, like circa 2005, 2006, when I was reporting on them opposing the
NAFTA superhighway, which didn`t exist, which is like, sort of get our
troops out of the Middle East, stop spending money there, shut down the
wall with immigrants, stop these trade deals. This kind of – the question
of what this looks like as a governing strategy or whether it`s just
Ryanism (ph) because Donald Trump is out doing rallies –
HAYES: – that`s the big unanswered question right now.
MADDOW: Well, I do think that there`s an interesting question, though, as
to what`s going on with the media, right? So, part of what you and I have
to deal with is like, well, this is happening in our hours.
MADDOW: He`s the president-elect. How much –
HAYES: This is first appearance.
MADDOW: This is the first appearance. Obviously, it`s important what he
says. We haven`t heard from him in 3 1/2 weeks. There`s so much media
gnashing of teeth over whether or not Trump has too much of just a camera
just put on him. And that`s – I think there`s a good argument to be had
about that. I think there`s good argument on both sides as to why that
happened during the campaign.
But now that he`s president, the sign that says you should put the camera
on him wins, right? Once he`s president, now that he`s president-elect,
he`s going to be president, you just put the camera on the president when
he speaks. That`s generally how these things go. That feels different for
him as a president than it does for anybody else that`s had that job since
we`ve been in media.
MADDOW: There`s also a question of what`s going on with him attacking the
media the way he is and what that means for the First Amendment, what that
means for the kinds of journalistic coverage he`s going to get.
HAYES: Absolutely. Today we know today for instance at the Carrier
factory, one of the investigative reporters, local reporter who had been
looking into Carrier was denied credentials. Now, it looks like Carrier
was the one that denied him credentials during this visit, but that`s not
good. I mean – and you know, the Trump people are very clear it wasn`t
them, so be clear about who did that.
MADDOW: But then he gets up at the podium and he goes after an anchor who
hosted a debate who cried, I mean, to personally single out somebody – to
intimidate somebody like that in the press, I mean, that`s just –
HAYES: I don`t have –
MADDOW: You don`t have that.
HAYES: – to essentially get rid of the White House press corps. All of
these traditions might fall by the wayside. We don`t know. But the fact
of the matter is he feels confident that he has a channel to talk to the
people he needs to talk to without, you know, the, quote, “dishonest
At the same time he also loves the media playing the foil. One of the
things that the press is in the midst of figuring out is, are you playing
the role of the heel in the wrestling match to his face even if you`re
mixing it up with him?
HAYES: Because there`s some way in which this national psycho drama around
him has been constructed when he`s fighting with the press, even if the
press are fighting with him over legitimate things and really trying to
hold him to account, which happens often, it is still this spectacle of
this kind of psycho drama, this kind of professional wrestling enterprise
that he has kind of created. Berlusconi was the same way.
I mean, I know Berlusconi better than other leaders because I spent time in
Italy and I study here and I have Italian friends and Italian relatives,
and he really did do the same time. There was this constant soap opera
around Silvio and what he was doing, and who he was fighting with. And
most of the time, he was fighting with the media and then the other half he
owned, and they were broadcasting Silvio`s message.
MADDOW: Right. And the only thing he couldn`t frame at the end was the
child prostitution prosecution.
HAYES: Yes, that`s right.
MADDOW: Yes, the bunga bunga.
MADDOW: Chris Hayes, host of “ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES” – thank you for
staying late, my friend.
MADDOW: Good to have you here.
All right. It`s interesting, in terms of how they are handling this coming
out day for the president-elect. They`ve done this unprecedented campaign
rally as Chris was just saying, a campaign rally basically without a
They also had the president-elect give victory lap remarks today at a
company that is about to send 1,300 American jobs to Mexico. We`re going
to have more on that later on in the show.
But this is the coming out day for the new president-elect. The first
we`ve heard from him since the election. First, we heard from him for 3
1/2 weeks. And for 3 1/2 weeks, they presumably have been planning this
return to the stage for him.
But in the middle of all that tonight, in this very carefully messaged day,
this big day, he`s back in the middle of all that, we also got an
interruption. We also got a big, new, totally unrelated announcement
unexpectedly. Trump has chosen retired Marine General James Mattis for
secretary of defense, leaked to “The Washington Post” tonight by people,
quote, “familiar with the decision.”
OK, that`s a big deal. Secretary of defense. This is one of the biggies.
This is huge news. Or maybe not.
After “The Washington Post” published that scoop tonight, the Trump folks
took it back. The Trump transition spokesman tweeted out quickly – no,
no, a decision has not been made with regard to the secretary of defense.
So, the article is wrong, the choice has not been made, at least not yet.
Good thing because that big news, of course, would step all over everything
else they were so carefully trying to convey today. But then it was back
on. Then Donald Trump`s son who is involved in the transition at the
highest levels, then he tweeted a link to the article that said Mattis
would be the choice.
OK. So, maybe Mattis is the choice. And then Trump`s son deleted that
tweet. So, OK, maybe it`s not – so the message of the day is victory lap
and for a minute, it was also we have a secretary of defense and then they
took it back and said, no, we do not have a secretary of defense, then
maybe we do, maybe we don`t.
And then tonight, in Cincinnati, turns out we do have a secretary of
defense after all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don`t want to tell you the this because I want to save the
suspension for next week.
So, I will not tell you, I refuse to tell you – and don`t let it outside
of this room. Do you promise? Raise your hand. Promise, promise.
So, I will not tell you that one of our great, great generals – don`t let
it outside, right? And, of course, the press is very honest, so they`ll
never let this go. Even though it`s all live. We`ve got about seven
We are going to appoint Mad Dog Mattis as our secretary of defense.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
But we`re not announcing it until Monday, so don`t tell anybody. Mad Dog.
He`s great. He is great.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Marine General James Mattis not formally announced as the new
administration`s pick for secretary of defense. Not announced yet, but
also announced by the president-elect as that news, which is really big
news, right? That news was breaking then unbreaking, then breaking again
I have to tell you, MSNBC also tonight reported some truly astonishing news
about the other most high profile job in the new administration, about
which the transition has yet to make an announcement. You`ve probably
noticed there`s been an incredible amount of attention to the meetings,
funny and otherwise, between Mitt Romney and the president-elect after Mitt
Romney spent the whole campaign denouncing Donald Trump as a fraud, a
conman and fundamentally dishonest person and a danger to the public.
It`s been a spectacle to watch that same Mitt Romney fawn over Donald Trump
now that he`s president-elect and now that the Trump folks have been
publicly musing about whether or not Mitt Romney might conceivably make a
good secretary of state.
The other named candidates, possible candidates for the secretary of state
job have been former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former General David
Petraeus, which would be an unusual choice right now if only for the sheer
fact that Petraeus is literally on probation right now after pleading
guilty to mishandling classified information and lying to the FBI about it.
It`s hard to say I`ve got to go to my confirmation hearings but I`ve got to
check with my probation officer to see if I`m cleared to cross state lines.
I mean, the three biggest jobs in the cabinet are attorney general, that`s
going to be Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, secretary of defense, we have
learned tonight that`s going to be General James Mattis. But the third one
is secretary of state, still outstanding.
And tonight, after all the attention to the Romney thing, Giuliani, lately
Petraeus, tonight, MSNBC reports that the secretary of state search is no
longer confined to those candidates that have been previously named by the
Trump folks. Believe it or don`t, MSNBC reports there are two new men
being considered for the secretary of state job.
Are you ready?
Recognize either of these two guys? If you don`t, the good news is that
even though you are going to have to memorize their names, you`re only
going to have to memorize one job title between them because MSNBC reports
tonight that the two new people in contention for secretary of state are
the current CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, and the former CEO of
ExxonMobil, Lee Raymond. Really?
Joining us now on short notice, I should say, because we just got in this
news. Joining us now, I`m very pleased to say, is Tom Steyer. He`s
founder and president of NextGen Climate.
Mr. Steyer, thank you very much for your time, particularly on short
TOM STEYER, NEXTGEN CLIMATE FOUNDER & PRESIDENT: Thank you for having me,
MADDOW: When I heard this news tonight, I have not been reporting on every
name that`s been floated for every job including the secretary of state
job. But when the current and former CEO of ExxonMobil were reported
tonight as possibilities, I feel flabbergasted. I wanted to get your
response to this news.
STEYER: I think this is completely chilling news. The idea that we with
turn over the secretary of state to the head of, the head of or the former
head of the largest private oil and gas company in the world, a company
which is a partner with Vladimir Putin in Russia, which is currently being
investigated criminally for misleading the American public about climate
change is something that should scare every American.
MADDOW: How do you see the issue of climate change, the issue of
ExxonMobil`s business? How do you see that fitting into international
diplomacy? Obviously, if we were talking about energy secretary, this
might be a different discussion. This would, I think, flabbergast
But how does Exxon function in international relations?
STEYER: Well, the largest agreement ever was the Paris agreement on
climate last year. A hundred ninety-four countries agreed that we needed
to control greenhouse gas emissions for the safety and welfare of people
around the world. To basically throw that agreement away, to say we`re
going to follow the lead of international oil, the interests of
international oil and Vladimir Putin is to take American leadership of the
world and oppose it to 193 other countries. It`s to isolate us and to
basically give up our leadership around the world. It`s a chilling
MADDOW: Steve Coll, one of the great journalists of our time, he wrote a
book called “Private Empire” about Exxon, which is one of the best books I
read in the last decade. And one of the things I found absolutely striking
and sort of paradigm changing for me, in his portrayal of Exxon, was that
they basically – if they look around the world at their international
interests and their basic take on it as a company is, you know, governments
come and go. Countries come and go, but Exxon is forever. International
oil interests transcend countries, outlast countries, are bigger and richer
than most of the countries we have to deal with. We are in that, words of
his title, a private empire.
That`s the sort of thing I feel like, I wanted to talk to you as an expert
on climate issues and the politics of these things, that`s the part of it
that I feel I can`t grasp. How a company that sees itself as bigger than
countries could represent our country in any way that made any sense for
the people of the United States of America.
STEYER: The idea that a company based in the United States of America
would put itself ahead of the interests of its fellow citizens I find
shocking and awful. The idea that somehow an oil company has interests
that go further than the interests and are deeper than the interests of the
American people, I find shocking. And the idea that they can ignore
science and proceed to line their own pockets and make as much money as
possible, regardless of the impact on their fellow citizens, I find
MADDOW: Tom Steyer, founder and president of Nextgen Climate – thanks for
joining us tonight.
STEYER: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: Nice to see you. I appreciate it.
Again, that news tonight from MSNBC, reporting that the secretary of state
job is wide open, that the names that you`ve heard before tonight are not
necessarily the only names in contention and that the two new names that
should be seen as in the hopper for secretary of state are the current and
immediately past CEO of the largest oil company in the world, ExxonMobil.
Much more to come on this very strange news night. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Do you recognize this foot? Do you recognize that? See right now
that smudge. Do you recognize this very famous foot? The very famous
blotch of blood on that ankle?
The owner of this very famous foot and bloody ankle, I`m telling you,
explains what went wrong today on what was supposed to be a big political
victory lap through the heartland. He explains why it didn`t work. That
story is next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The New England Patriots football team used to be called the
Boston Patriots. And while they were base in Boston, they played at a
whole bunch of different fields including Fenway Park. They never had a
regular home stadium when they were the Boston Patriots.
But in the early `70s, they finally got a stadium in a suburban town
outside Boston called Foxborough. Nobody thought they should change their
names to the Foxborough Patriots, though, in part because even until today,
nobody can spell Foxborough.
But that is when they got their new name. They didn`t become the
Foxborough Patriots. They stopped being the Boston Patriots, but they
started being, instead, the New England Patriots.
That made sense not just for spelling purposes because New England is
easier to spell than Foxborough. It made sense because they`re the only
NFL team in the whole region of New England.
Now, the Red Sox baseball team, they still call themselves the Boston Red
Sox. They do have a home field in Boston where they play. But like the
Patriots, the Red Sox are the only pro team of their kind in all of New
England. They`re the only major league baseball team in the whole region.
And as a person who lives in New England, I`m a Massachusetts resident, I
can tell you culturally it`s a bonding thing that there`s just the Red Sox
and they`re just the Patriots for all of New England. It`s a defining
thing about that whole region of the country that we all, for rooting in
baseball, we all root for the Red Sox. And if we`re rooting in football,
we all root for the Patriots.
It`s this one small thing that holds that whole region of all of different
states together culturally. Even though both of those teams are
headquartered and play all their home games in Massachusetts.
I think, though, I think the desire of the other New England states who
love their pro-teams, right, but they know that Massachusetts is home
field, right, I think the desire of the other New England states to exert a
little ownership, right, to stake a little claim to these beloved New
England pro sports teams, I think that desire on the part of non-
Massachusetts New England states, I think that might have played a little
bit of a role in one really, really, really stupid thing that Rhode Island
did in 2010.
There`s a famous former Red Sox pitcher named Curt Schilling and Curt
Schilling had retired from baseball and decided what he wanted to do was
start a videogame company. And as of 2010, they hadn`t yet released a
single game. They were not making any money. But they were headed up by
this famous pitcher from the Red Sox.
And they were operating out of Massachusetts. They had their headquarters
for this video game company in Maynard, Massachusetts.
Well, in 2010, the state of Rhode Island pounced. They decided they would
steal this company out of Massachusetts. They would lure Curt Schilling
and his embryonic video game company to leave Maynard, Massachusetts, and
instead plant their roots in Rhode Island. In order to get them to that,
in order to get that company out of Massachusetts and into Rhode Island,
they threw a ton of money at him. The state did.
The taxpayers of the state of Rhode Island took on loan guarantees of $75
million. So, this company is borrowing money. The taxpayers of the state
of Rhode Island said, we`ll guarantee your loan. If you can`t pay it back,
we`ll be on the hook – $75 million to bring this one baseball pitcher`s
video game company over to their state. And it was a terrible idea. It
was a disaster.
The company did release one video game once and then they went bankrupt.
And they fired everybody who worked for them. They got all that money in
Rhode Island in 2010 by the spring of 2012, they were out of business,
bankrupt, employing zero people. And the taxpayers were left holding the
And eventually, there were lawsuits to try to get some of the money back,
but those suits were able to recoup like a couple of million dollars here,
a couple million dollars there. In the end, bottom line, Rhode Island got
zero company, zero jobs, zero former Red Sox pitchers to claim as a
business tycoon or whatever. They got no company, no jobs and the
taxpayers of the state were on the hook for tens of millions of dollars in
this freebie money that they gave to this pitcher and his dumb failed
Incidentally, that same pitcher says he wants to run against Elizabeth
Warren for her U.S. Senate seat. Why not? You know, the public sector`s
been great to him already. Is there free money when you run for the
This kind of thing happens all over, though. One of the stories that
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker dragged into his presidential run like a
big old paint can tied on to his bumper with string was the story of how he
also found ways to give tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to
give those tens of millions of dollars away to companies that were either
moving into his state or that he wanted to keep from moving out of his
Scott Walker had a particular knack as Wisconsin governor for giving
taxpayer money to companies that would take the money and then leave the
state anyway. It didn`t help him that companies he did that for tended to
be run by his campaign contributors.
It especially did not help when local reporters in Wisconsin turned up the
fact that with one of those companies, Scott Walker gave them a ton of
taxpayer money, they pocketed the taxpayer money, then they outsourced
their jobs to another country anyway and then after the fact, after all of
that, after they took all this money from Scott Walker and then fired their
Wisconsin workers. After they did that, Scott Walker then gave them more
money, gave them more Wisconsin taxpayer money. Gave them a second grant
since they`d been so good.
This is a thing that politicians do now. It`s not actually a Republican or
a Democrat, not a very partisan thing. Politicians do this all over the
country. Any time you hear some Midwestern governor waxing rhapsodic about
the beauty of the free market, ask them how this works in their state, ask
them whether they`ve been part of these schemes. They do it all over.
And I got to say, credit where credit`s due. During the presidential
campaign, this was actually one of the economic arguments that was made by
Donald Trump that made some sense. And I`m not kidding. I`m not being
sarcastic. The arguments that he made about that particular scam in
policymaking, there was something to it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`ve watched as politicians talked about stopping countries from
leaving. Here`s a zero interest loan you don`t have to pay. Here`s tax
abatement of any kind you want. We`ll help your employees, because it
weren`t folks, that`s not what they need. That`s not what – they have
money. They want to go out. They want to move to another country and
because our politicians are so dumb, they want to sell their product to us
and not have any retribution, not have any consequence. So, all of that`s
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: All of that`s over. Our politicians are so dumb. They want to
give these companies a zero interest loan, you don`t have to pay this, you
want to give them a tax abatement. That`s so over, that`s so dumb.
That is exactly what Donald Trump announced today at the Carrier plant in
Indiana where he did his big victory lap about saving jobs. He had
campaigned throughout his entire campaign on how he was going to stop
companies from shipping jobs overseas. Specifically, he campaigned on how
he was going to stop Carrier from shipping jobs overseas and a very
specific way he`d stop them in doing it.
Not one of those dumb ways like other politicians had tried. He had his
own way. His way would work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I will call the head of Carrier and I will say, I hope you enjoy
your new building, I hope you enjoy your stay in Mexico. Every single air
conditioning unit that you build and send across our border, you`re going
to pay a 35 percent tax on that unit.
You`re going to pay a damn tax.
If companies want to fire their workers and leave for Mexico or other parts
of the world, there will be a tax of 35 percent for any product they want
to ship into this country. We will charge them a 35 percent tax where they
want to ship their products back into the United States. And they won`t
leave. Believe me. Those companies will not leave.
And if you think you`re going to make an air conditioning unit, Carrier,
you know about Carrier, they`re moving to Mexico. Think they`re going to
make air conditioners and send them right back into our country. No tax,
no tariff, 1,400 people gone.
Not going to happen. Because I`m going to just say very simply, you got a
35 percent tax to pay.
With me, they have repercussions. OK? With me, they have repercussions.
With me, we inform them that if you move, you`re going to pay a 35 percent
tax on every single air conditioner that pours across our now very secure
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: With him, it turns out they don`t have repercussions. None of
that is what he did. There`s not going to be some new tax on Carrier air
conditioners being shipped from Mexico, first of all. Second of all, those
units still are going to get shipped back to the United States from Mexico
because Carrier is still sending 1,300 jobs down there, and shutting down
their Huntington, Indiana, plant in order to do it.
And third, what Donald Trump did to convince the company to keep some of
the jobs here that they were going to ship to Mexico, what he actually did
was think Curt Schilling video game studio. That`s what he did. He got
Mike Pence to write them a check from the general fund of the state of
Indiana. He put Indiana taxpayers, state taxpayers on the hook for $7
million that`s going to be paid to this company, even though they`re still
sending 1,300 jobs to Mexico.
Trump got elected for inveighing against that, for saying, oh, you give
these companies zero interest loans, tax abatements, you – all these dumb
politicians do that. It`s dumb. That`s a terribly stupid thing that all
of our terrible politicians have done in the past. It would not happen
anymore under him. He would play hard ball. With him, there would be
But you know what? The only repercussion for Carrier is that they got $7
million in taxpayer money while still moving more than 1,000 jobs to Mexico
and closing a plant in Indiana. That`s what he took his victory lap for
today in Indiana, for mostly not succeeding at doing the thing he said
everybody else was stupid to ever do. Tada!
MADDOW: Rand Paul once spent 13 hours asking essentially one question over
and over and over again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: The main thing we`d like is a public
acknowledgment from the president or from the attorney general saying that
their policy is not to kill noncombatants in America. We`d like them to
say that they don`t have a legal authority to kill Americans on American
soil. I don`t think that they have the legal authority nor the
constitutional prerogative to do this and they just need to admit to that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Rand Paul did that for 13 hours. The day after Rand Paul did that
for 13 hours, this 13-hour filibuster in 2013, he got an answer to his
question. The attorney general wrote to him and answered him. Quote,
“Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an
American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that
question is no. Sincerely, Eric H. Holder Jr.”
Two sentences. Two sentences in total in response to 13 hours of him
asking the question. Sometimes in politics the shorter the message, the
bigger the impact, or at least the bigger the drama.
And that happened today, too, with a very, very, very short and very
dramatic message. And that`s next.
MADDOW: Behold the great Kremlin Palace. Today emerging from behind those
gigantic gold plated doors – wait until we get those at the White House –
was Vladimir Putin. Today was Vladimir Putin`s annual state of the nation
address. He said he looked forward to mutually beneficial relations with
the next American administration.
He also said that the new U.S./Russian relationship he`s looking forward to
could only work, quote, “on the basis of equality, mutual respect for
interests and noninterference in the internal affairs of each other.”
Noninterference in each other`s internal affairs like each other`s
In October, the month before our presidential election, the Department of
Homeland Security and the Director of National Intelligence officially and
formally declared that Russia was meddling in our election by, among other
things, hacking into the Democratic Party`s servers. Then, right after the
election, the head of the NSA put a pretty fine point on it. He publicly
affirmed unequivocally that Russia, yes, did hack into the U.S. election in
order to achieve a specific result.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADM. MICHAEL ROGERS, NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY DIRECTOR: There shouldn`t be
any doubt in anybody`s mind. This was not something that was done
casually. This was not something that was done by chance. This was not a
target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort
by a nation state to attempt to achieve a specific affect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Conscious effort by a nation state, Russia, to attempt to achieve
a specific effect in our election.
That`s what we`ve got publicly from the U.S. government about Russia
messing with our presidential election this year, which is honestly
profoundly unsettling even at this distance. And it still raises the
question about what we as a country are going to do about it.
But now, today, we got an amazing new mysterious plot twist. And it came
from the Democratic senators who are on the Intelligence Committee. Look
at this. They today released this cryptic, very short open letter to the
president. The whole thing is three sentences long. One of them is just
Look, this is the whole thing, ready? Quote, “Dear Mr. President, we
believe there is additional information concerning the Russian government
and the U.S. election that should be declassified and released to the
public. We`re conveying specifics through classified channels. Thank you
for your attention to this important matter.” And that`s it. Signed by
seven Democratic senators on the Intelligence Committee.
What is this additional information concerning the Russian government and
the U.S. election that they want declassified? They say they`re sending
specifics through classified channels. What is this about?
We can report tonight that the Republican senators on the Intelligence
Committee were also invited to add their names to this very short, very
intriguing letter but all the Republicans declined. The architect of this
letter is Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.
Today, we spoke with Senator Wyden`s office to basically try to pry some
more information out of them on this to try to figure out what this is
about, but that was a total no go. They were 100 percent tight lipped with
us. Whatever they`re referring to here is classified, they`re keeping it
classified but they`re letting us know through this open letter that they
have sent it to the president and they want him to talk about it to the
rest of us.
What`s this about? What could this be about?
Joining us now is Michael McFaul. He`s former U.S. ambassador to Russia.
He`s now professor of political science at Stanford University.
Mr. Ambassador, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being with us tonight.
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Sure. Thanks for having
MADDOW: What do you make of this three-sentence letter from these senators
tonight? What`s your reaction to this?
MCFAUL: Well, first of all, I don`t know the intelligence that they`re
referring to, right? I`ve been out of the government for a couple of
But it`s rather unprecedented that they would go public to ask the
executive branch to declassify information like this. I can`t remember
ever that happening when I was in the government. It obviously means that
they have read intelligence because they have clearances that is deeply
disturbing about what Russia did during our election. And while the
president, President Obama, is still at the White House, they want to get
that information out to the American people.
I could speculate about different hypothesis about it, but it seems to me
it must be something serious. They wouldn`t do it otherwise.
MADDOW: It seems to me two possibilities here. One, they know something
that is so materially different than what has been disclosed so far by the
head of the NSA, by the director of national intelligence, homeland
security director, they know something so materially different that it will
change the conversation and really sort of wake people up to the magnitude
of what Russia did here.
The other possibility is that they`re just frustrated that there hasn`t
been more of a public response to what the government has already said
about Russian intervention in the election and they`re hoping to keep the
story going or at least draw more attention to it by getting some more
information out there even if it`s not materially different.
On that latter point, have you been surprised that there hasn`t been more
of a reaction in the public and in our political system to what we know
about what Russia did?
MCFAUL: Yes, of course. I think – I mean, I`m so glad you read that
statement by President Putin because that`s a statement they`ve been
reading for 30 or 40 years, by the way. It goes back to Soviet times this
noninterference clause. And already, we do know that they intervened.
I mean, there`s no doubt that they hacked the DNC and stole that
information from a party and then that had political consequences because
of what WikiLeaks did with it. And because of the partisan electoral
nature of the debate before the election, we could never talk about the
national security implications of this in a serious way, but now is the
right time to do it. I`m glad they`re putting pressure on the
I know they didn`t want to do it. The White House did not want to do it
during the election because they, ironically, if you think about what
happened over with the FBI, but they did not want to put their thumb on the
scale one way or the other in the electoral process. But now, it`s over.
We should be able to know what these representatives know and then make our
own decisions about what happened with the Russian interference.
MADDOW: To be clear, you`re saying the White House didn`t want to talk
about this more publicly during the election because they felt like it
would essentially be intervening on Hillary Clinton`s behalf in the
election, because it would be implicating Russia in trying to help Trump
MADDOW: Dramatic stuff. Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia,
now professor of political science at Stanford – appreciate your time
tonight sir. Thank you.
MCFAUL: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: That`s kind of a dramatic revelation, isn`t it? I`m not sure if
that`s been reported elsewhere, but we will see what becomes of the new
administration and the Russian government, but what we know already, even
without new disclosures that have been asked for by these Democratic
senators, what we know already about the way Russia tried to help Trump win
is something that we haven`t reckoned with as all at citizens, let alone as
a political system. I feel like this is step one in a 50-step process.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: As of tonight, Hillary Clinton`s total vote count for the
presidential election is now 65.2 million. Donald Trump`s total vote count
for the presidential election is 62.7 million, which means, doing the math,
carry the one, which means she leads by 2.5 million votes and counting.
That`s about four times the margin that Richard Nixon won the presidency
with in 1968. It is more than 10 times the margin by which Kennedy won in
1960. Of course they also won the Electoral College.
On the other hand, it should be pointed out here, all the smack talk about
polls and the polling being wrong in this election, if you average the
national polls in terms of what the national lead was for Hillary Clinton
heading into election day, the national average of national polls that
Hillary Clinton was leading nationally by about 2 points, those polls were
right. She`s leading nationally by two points. Awesome!
MADDOW: Today, President Obama became the first U.S. president to publicly
support expanding the military draft to include women. The military, of
course, opened combat roles to women late last year. Once that happened,
the next question was, what about the draft? Would the draft include women
Quoting the president`s National Security Council, quote, “As old barriers
for military service are being removed, the administration supports – as a
logical next step – women registering for the Selective Service.”
The Pentagon has issued a statement of the policy – statement of support
for that policy now as well. Quote, “It makes sense for women to register
for selective service just as men must.”
The timing on this, that statement from the White House and the statement
from the Pentagon, it`s kind of fascinating timing. It`s not an accident.
This week, Tuesday of this week, Congress dropped a measure in a defense
bill that would have required women to register for the draft. “Military
Times” reporting that conservatives in the House and Senate took that out
of the defense bill on Tuesday of this week, now two days later, President
Obama and the Pentagon have come out in favor of leaving that in, women in
the draft. If women are in combat roles, women should be able to be
The president now openly supports women registering for the draft with the
backing of the Pentagon. Of course, the president does not have much time
left for policy matters like this. He knows he can`t necessarily get
something like this done before he leaves, particularly if Congress is
opposed. But he is sending this message to Congress and to the public,
don`t go backwards now. Don`t back up on this.
MADDOW: Last hour, President-elect Donald Trump made a surprise
announcement that he is naming Marine General James Mattis as his nominee
for secretary of defense. There`s a legal wrinkle with that, because
there`s a federal law that says, we`ve got civilian control of the
military, you can`t be secretary of defense if you were on active duty
anytime within the last seven years. General Mattis only retired three
years ago. Congress would have to pass a waiver to that law in order to
approve him for that job.
We`ve got a little bit of breaking news right at the end of the show
tonight. Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, she`s on the Armed
Services Committee. She has just put out a statement saying, “While I
deeply respect General Mattis` service, I will oppose a waiver. Civilian
control of our military is a fundamental principle of American democracy,
and I will not vote for an exception to this rule.”
We`ll see if that catches on, but that could be a big deal for a really big
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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