The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/7/2016
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: December 7, 2016
Guest: Xavier Becerra
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: All right. That is “ALL IN” for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You`re very cute when you`re jealous, Chris.
HAYES: How can you not be?
MADDOW: I know. Well done, man. Thanks.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
In April 2009, just a couple months after President Barack Obama was sworn
in for the first time, one youngish proudly eccentric Silicon Valley
billionaire declared sort of a public manifesto. Didn`t make that much of
a splash outside Silicon Valley because he`s kind of a known eccentric and
so, therefore, whatever he`s on about now sort of tends to be seen as an
interesting thing if you care about him, but if you don`t, it doesn`t
necessarily mean it will have any wider impact on the world.
Still, though, what this Silicon Valley billionaire had to say right after
Barack Obama was sworn in in 2009, it was controversial enough that even
though I think people do just expect weird stuff from him, looking back on
it now, even now, it stands out. What he proclaimed in 2009 in this
manifesto was that democracy was over. Freedom was dead. And the only
hope for humankind would be for us all en masse to abandon the country.
And in fact, everybody should abandon every country because democracy and
freedom is dead in every country in the whole world. And what we should
all do instead is we should all leave every country on earth and move into
the oceans. He says, quote, “Because there are new truly free places left
in our world, I suspect that the mode of escape must involve some sort of
new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered
And then he proposed a couple of options. One of these hitherto untried
processes would be that we should all move into space. He seems to think
that this would actually be the best option for what we all plan to do, but
sadly, too impractical. Quote, “The final frontier still has a barrier to
entry. Rocket technologies have seen only modest advances since the 1960s.
So, outer space still remains almost impossibly far away.” That`s very
But that wasn`t the only option. He also offered one other next best
option for humankind. He called it, quote, “much more realistic than space
travel.” He declared that what we humans must do at this point in human
history is that we must move into the sea. We should become sea dwellers.
Quote, “Between cyber space and outer space lies the possibility of
settling the oceans. We may have reached the stage at which it is
economically feasible or where it will soon be economically feasible. It
is a realistic risk. I eagerly support this.”
The idea was that we should basically build new teeny, tiny personal
cities, city-states, unlike shipping containers that are floating in the
ocean. Float them out in the ocean somewhere, declare ourselves king.
Obviously, you need a plan to never need rescuing from your tiny island
nation. And you would work hard to live happily on a floating shipping
container island somewhere and, you know, barring in rapid advance in
rocket ship technology that can get us to outer space instead which would
be better, we would colonize the sea and that would be our best option for
escaping the hell on earth that the United States had become by April 2009
when he wrote this manifesto.
You know, interestingly, it wasn`t just a reaction to Barack Obama being
elected president of the United States, although I do have a guess that the
inauguration in 2009 might have been a approximate cause for this little
freak-out. But according to our eccentric billionaire, it didn`t just
instantly become hell on earth in the spring of 2009. It didn`t get bad in
the 2000s. According to him in fact, specifically, the problem began at a
very surprising time, at a time you can identify very precisely in history.
Quote, “The last decade in American history during which one could be
genuinely optimistic about politics was the 1920s.” The 1920s?
When I first heard about this manifesto, I thought the longing for the
1920s might be something like maybe about prohibition. Maybe he`s like a
really tough teetotaler, when we couldn`t drink legally. I don`t think it
has anything to do with that. I don`t know. Maybe he thought prohibition
It turns out, it seems like to him, the 1920s are the target era for when
things were last okay on earth. The 1920s were the last time it was good
to be alive in America, according to him, because that was the last moment
in politics, that was really the last moment in human history when men
could truly be free before women ruined it, because women got the right to
vote, and then they started voting. And that, the impact of women voting,
starting with women suffrage in 1920, the impact of women voting, that`s
what killed America. It killed the world! It killed it. It ended any
reason to ever have democracy anywhere ever again on earth.
Quote, “Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the
extension of the franchise to women have rendered the notion of a
capitalist democracy into an oxymoron.” Quote, “I no longer believe that
freedom and democracy are compatible.”
That`s a remarkable argument, right? Once you give women the vote, then
you can`t have freedom anymore. Better to have nobody voting, better to
have no more democracy than have women voting because women voting killed
the country and now, the country has been dead for almost 100 years and
everybody is enslaved.
As long as women have the vote, capitalist democracy is impossible, freedom
is annihilated, and the only way that human – sorry, humans can ever be
free again is to move into space, presumably with no girls allowed. If we
can`t move into space, we have to move into the oceans.
Weird dude, right?
That is why I thought it was weird when the Republican Party gave that dude
a prime time speaking slot on the last night of the Republican National
Convention this summer.
I remember covering the convention at the time. And everybody else
involved in covering the convention is like, oh, yeah, this is where the
Internet billionaire guy is going to be talking, this early Trump supporter
from Silicon Valley. I was like, OK, yes, those things are true, good to
know those things about him. But also he really does want us all to form
new countries on shipping containers floating in the ocean because
democracy and freedom can`t exist as long as women vote. He`s the guy with
the anti-democracy manifesto.
How can the Republican Party be showcasing somebody who thinks we all have
to abandon this country and move into the sea? How can they be doing this?
Sometimes in space, no one can hear you scream. It`s probably true in
shipping containers on the open seas as well. But there he was at the RNC,
which was freaking nuts, but there he was.
And today we learn that, at his request, the Trump folks have put two
people from his hedge fund in charge of transition efforts at the
Department of Treasury and the Department of Commerce. And beyond that the
big one he`s apparently going for in the new administration is the FDA of
all things, the Food and Drug Administration, which is in charge of keeping
our food safe and making sure that vaccines and drugs and stuff are not
just safe but also effective.
Peter Thiel, this eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire who is convinced
that women voting killed the country and now, we need to abolish democracy
and move into the sea. He`s suggested that an executive from one of his
financial firms is the guy who the Trump administration should appoint to
run the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA.
This guy is not a doctor. He has no medical background, unlike every other
FDA director for the last half a century. But he does share two grand
plans, at least two that we know of. He shares two grand plans with this
billionaire eccentric who apparently has Donald Trump`s ear and who the RNC
had speak at their convention.
They apparently share at least two big ideas, two big plans. The first
thing that we know they`re on the same page about is moving into the sea.
Honestly, this guy is on the board of the “let us live in shipping
containers on the ocean” group. He`s on the board of the sea studding
organization which wants to give everybody their own country in the form of
a floating island on the ocean, so you can all be, you know, your own king.
We can all be our own islands, literally, not just like a Simon and
Now, that passion, that cause, that work of his that we should colonize the
seas and all become our own countries, that may or may not be of
consequence if he indeed gets to run the FDA. I don`t know if that will
come up around like, you know, vitamin labeling or whatever.
But the other grand plan that he shares with his patron, with the eccentric
billionaire Peter Thiel, the other thing that he and Peter Thiel are both
onboard with, their other big project is the belief – in all seriousness -
- that we do not really have to die if we don`t want to. Well, some people
have to die. But some people don`t have to die.
Look at this. This is from the very start of Peter Thiel`s manifesto that
I was quoting from before. This thing he published right after Obama was
inaugurated in the spring of 2009. This is how we start.
Quote, “I stand against the ideology of the inevitability of the death of
every individual.” Did you know that was an ideology? That`s quite an
Sure, some people inevitably have to die, but according to Peter Thiel not
everybody has to die. “I stand against the ideology of the inevitability
of the death of every individual.” That is part of – that`s the prologue
of Peter Thiel`s manifesto why we shouldn`t have democracy anymore, how
women voting killed the country and how we have to move either into space
or into the sea.
It`s something he`s been working on as a secret plan for years. We don`t
know exactly how Peter Thiel is doing it but there have been multiple
reports that he`s involved in some sort of regimen that he believes will
prevent his death forever, which makes me want to go mwah-ha-ha, right?
Does it make you want to like, hide the bats?
Apparently, he`s serious about it, as his colleague, his employee, this
person he`s apparently now having the Trump transition consider as the
leading candidate to run the Food and Drug Administration. Here`s that guy
just two years ago giving a speech on immortality and how venture
capitalists and investors need to change the way they`re spending money and
investing and stuff in order to get us there if we can only invent good new
business models that will make us live forever. There`s a way to do it.
I`ll play you a little clip. I`ll warn you he`s a very, very boring
speaker, but immortality really is what this whole speech is about. What
he calls rejuvenation and reversing aging. So, at least, the right people
just don`t have to die anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM O`NEILL, MITHRIL CAPITAL MANAGEMENT COO: Rejuvenation and reversing
aging does not fit the narrow definition of singularity. But it does have
a common problem, there`s no business model. It`s scientifically
achievable. I think most of us believe that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Scientifically achievable. Most of us believe that.
And when he says rejuvenation and reversing aging, to be clear, he`s not
talking about like better skin care that like makes your wrinkles disappear
as if you have reverse aged. He`s literally reverse aging. So, like,
you`re 71. You`re never going to be 72 and that`s not because you`re going
to die because next year you`re going to be 68 or maybe 38, depends on how
much you take.
I mean, not aging. You can stay the same age forever or you can get even
younger if you want to. And the lucky ones who presumably can afford it or
whatever can live forever with or without the vampiric feeding on others.
So, ahem, what do we make of this? I mean, you can see why Peter Thiel is
putting this guy forward for a high ranking influential position in the new
administration, right? This guy is right out of his crazy billionaire
wheelhouse moving into private floating islands in the sea for freedom.
Also, eternal life.
But now, here`s “Bloomberg News” reporting him as the first named candidate
for the position of FDA administrator in the new Trump administration.
Incidentally, he said in that same speech, the same boring speech that I
just showed you that clip from, he said in that same speech that maybe when
it comes to pharmaceuticals in this country, we shouldn`t have clinical
trials for drugs anymore.
We should just put drugs out on the open market, just sell them, let people
use them. See what happens and the free market will sort it out. And
that`s – if anything got attention about this guy today, that proposal got
attention. And I get that, I get that that would be a very intense change
at the FDA. That would be sort of undoing the whole process of the FDA.
But I have to say, even as a person who kind of cares about the FDA, I am a
person who cares about the drug approval process, I find it hard to care
about that statement from him. I find it hard to focus on that statement
from him about the futility of clinical trials. When he made that
statement in the context of a broader overall speech of how we really all
can live forever, mwah-ha-ha. This is nuts.
He`s not talking in a religious context, like, you know, get right with God
and you can have eternal – it`s not this. This is not heaven. This is
“you still get to live in San Leandro for the rest of your life.” This is
like, “you get to be 1,000 years old and look 30”. They`re working on it.
And that is apparently who Trump is considering to run the Food and Drug
Administration. That happened today.
The incoming administration also announced today that Linda McMahon who is
a wrestling executive – she`s also a very wealthy Republican donor, she
donated $6.5 million to the Trump for president effort – she was announced
today as the Trump administration`s nominee to lead the Small Business
Transition also announced today that the long serving Republican governor
of Iowa, Terry Branstad, will be the incoming administration`s new choice
to be the ambassador to China.
The transition also announced a name to head up the EPA. That`s an
interesting one. We`ll have more on him in just a moment.
But the really big position that was announced today, not just floated like
this EPA guy, but actually announced today, was the designated nominee for
the Department of Homeland Security. The largest agency in government, in
fact, I think, the largest organization of any kind in the world is the
U.S. Department of Defense. The second largest agency after that in our
government is Veterans Affairs and the third largest agency after that is
Department of Homeland Security.
After 9/11, 22 different agencies, everything from airport security to the
Coast Guard to the Secret Service to the Plum Island Animal Disease Center,
all these different organizations and agencies from all these different
parts of the government were all cobbled together into a giant, giant new
mega agency. It was the biggest reorganization of government since right
after World War II when we created the Defense Department.
We created Homeland Security. It created this sort of mega domestic
security remit under one cabinet official. And we never had something like
this before as a country. It`s something much more like having a home
secretary in Britain or in lots of other countries, they call somebody in
this position the minister of the interior.
We`ve never had something this overarching in terms of domestic security.
But because this kind of job is specifically a domestic job focused on
things that happen at home, focused on things that happen at homeland as
we`ve all learned to be comfortable saying.
One thing that you see around the world in Democratic countries that have
this kind of position is that when you have a home secretary type position
or you have a minister of the interior type position in democracies all
around the world, one hallmark of that type of government position is that
it is not held by somebody from the military, because democracies don`t use
their militaries on their own soil, right? Democracies don`t use their
militaries to control their own people. They don`t use military force for
In democracies, you don`t want the military becoming a political weapon
used at home by the nation`s leader. You don`t want the military becoming
a separate political actor on their own terms, with their own designs on
domestic power, like, you know, Egypt or the military took over after
democracy had picked a bad leader.
For all those big picture civics reasons, military leaders all over the
world are kept pretty deliberately separate and apart from this specific
piece of domestic governing. When you have ministers of the interior,
secretaries of the interior, they are not former military officials,
they`re not military officer, around the world.
Despite that norm and the reasons for it, the incoming administration
announced for the fist time in the history of having a Department of
Homeland Security, the person they want to head it will be a general, a
general who has been out of the service less than a year, a general who has
a 45-year career in the armed services.
And that does not speak at all to General John Kelly`s good reputation and
the high esteem people have for him both inside and outside the service.
It doesn`t say anything about whether he personally will be good for this
job. But it`s just unprecedented to have three generals and counting in
cabinet level leadership jobs in our civilian government.
I mean, we`ve got a general as national security adviser. We`ve got a
general heading up the Department of Defense. We`ve got a general heading
up Department of Homeland Security and counting. Will there be more?
It is unprecedented and even a little bit of an international shock wave
for a democracy like ours to put a military leader into this specific job,
because putting a military leader in charge of domestic security, that`s
something that non-democracies do a lot of, but other democracies don`t
tend to do that. This is something that we`ve certainly never done before.
But when the going gets weird, the going tends to get really weird. And
things are getting weird and none of this is weird enough that I think we
should start planning on living forever on floating shipping containers
until all the democracies die and we can be free again.
But the people who are counting on that and see that as the kind of
solution that we ought to be thinking about for our nation and our world
right now – I`m not kidding – those folks are helping make decisions
right at the top right now in our country.
This is not a time to stop paying attention.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Lots of focus right now in the news on what`s going on with the
incoming administration. Tonight, I`m here to tell you there`s also really
interesting news on the states that are digging in their heels and planning
on not going along with the new direction of the country. Very interesting
news on that front ahead.
MADDOW: Music. Terrible, terrible music played by me straight ahead.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get involved in your schools because if our kids go
down the tubes, we go with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: “The More You Know”.
And now, to our off-brand cable news version of that called “You Know More
MADDOW: Thank you, Nick.
So, sometimes there`s something in the news that ends in a bit of a cliff-
hanger. We don`t know how it`s going to turn out. But then later, we find
out how it turned out. We find out more about how the whole situation
resolved and the cliff-hanger is essentially solved. We learn how it all
When that happens, we call it you know more now.
So, on Monday, one of the more unexpected stories in politics was that
former Vice President Al Gore showed up at Trump Tower, and he was not
lost. He was there to meet with the president-elect. It was a weird
The guy whose climate change documentary won an Oscar, the guy who made it
his life`s work to convince people about climate change and get them to
fight pit. There he is meeting with the guy who says climate change is a
hoax invented by and for the Chinese. So, it`s an interesting thing. Kind
of a conundrum, right?
I mean, if Donald Trump is willing to meet with somebody like Al Gore, what
does this mean that we should expect from him on environmental policy?
Well, you know more now. Because today, we learned who Donald Trump plans
to nominate to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. And it turns out
it`s the negative photo image of Al Gore. It`s Al Gore backwards. It`s
Erog La. Backwards Al Gore, Erog La.
The actual name is Scott Pruitt. He`s the attorney general of the state of
Oklahoma. Here`s a little taste of Scott Pruitt on climate change.
Quote, “Global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our
time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree
about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the
actions of mankind.” He wrote this in 2016.
In 2011, an oil and gas company called Devon Energy this letter to the
Oklahoma attorney general, to Scott Pruitt`s office. If you look at the
cover page, it says, “EPA letter draft”. That`s a three-page draft letter.
And it`s addressed to then-EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
And the letter basically complains that the EPA vastly overstated how much
air pollution is coming out of drilling for natural gas in the state of
Oklahoma. So, Devon Energy and this draft letter, they suggested letting
the EPA know how wrong they are about this issue. So, Devon Energy drafted
But they did not send the letter to the EPA. They sent that letter to the
Oklahoma attorney general`s office. They sent it to Scott Pruitt. And
when Scott Pruitt got this letter from Devon Energy, he hit control A,
select all control A, copy, new document, control V, paste and then send.
He forwarded the entire draft letter from Devon Energy directly to the EPA.
He only changed a couple words in the entire letter. He did take care to
put it on his official attorney general masthead as if he had written it.
But it was, in fact, a letter written by the oil industry, directly written
by Devon Industry.
Mr. Pruitt has also sued the Environmental Protection Agency several times.
One of those cases is still going through the courts. So, if he is
confirmed as the new administrator of the EPA on day one of his new job,
Scott Pruitt will inherit a lawsuit against the EPA that he brought against
And if you were not really sure about what he thinks about the EPA, which
is Trump administration is going to put him in charge of, this is a line
out of his official state bio. He brags, quote, “Scott Pruitt is a leading
advocate, Scott Pruitt is a leading advocate against the EPA`s activist
agenda.” A leading advocate against the EPA`s activist agenda. He will
now be in charge of the EPA`s activist agenda.
You kind of have to admire the gumption on this one. But the cliff-hanger
is over. Your next EPA administrator, not Al Gore.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is George Ord. George Ord was a naturalist back in the
1800s. He studied animals. One of the things he did was he got to name
You may call it the grizzly bear, but George Ord named it Ursus Horribilis.
Ursus being the Latin word for bear and Horribilis being, you can work out
for your own.
Grizzly bears are huge. Male grizzlies can weigh up to 1,700 pounds.
National Park Service says if you`re ever attacked by a grizzly bear, your
best bet is to play dead otherwise you might provoke it. And if you
provoke it and it weighs 1,700 pounds, soon you will not have to play dead
because – yeah.
Grizzlies live in the U.S. now in parts of Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
and Washington state. And there`s one state that no longer has grizzly
bears, but they so identify with what a grizzly bear is like that they`ve
kept their variety of Ursus Horribilis as their state animal. And that
state has apparently been provoked politically speaking. And right now,
they are just starting to growl and that very interesting provocative story
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Back in June on the one-year anniversary of announcing his
campaign, Donald J. Trump held a rally in Dallas, Texas. It was kind of a
bad one, actually. Seven protesters were removed from inside the rally.
Outside the rally, bunch of fights erupted between protesters and Trump
supporters. Some people actually got hurt that day.
But that disaster of a rally in Texas, in Dallas, it did give us these
guys. “Make Texas Mexico again”.
Because Texas is amazing. Texas is amazing and pushy and creative and
The official state tourism campaign in Texas tells you straight up, it`s
like a whole other country. And that`s not just a slogan. A significant
number of Texans think of their membership in the Union as a little
This past summer when asked if they would like to secede in case Hillary
Clinton won the White House, 40 percent of voters in Texas said, yes, if
Clinton wins, they would like to secede.
I mean, to that point, you can find entertaining pockets of the secession
sentiment all over the country, whether seceding because of Clinton or
seceding to go back to Mexico. In northern California, it`s a group of Tea
Party and libertarian types that have been pushing to secede from the rest
of California. They want to break off and be in their own state called
Jefferson. They want to be Jeffersonians.
Now, their saga in California has a new twist. Since Donald Trump was
elected president, not Hillary Clinton, but Donald Trump, certain pockets
of liberals in California have started to talk Texas style by seceding.
But in their case, they don`t want to secede from California. They want
California to secede from the United States. They`re calling it Calexit,
like Brexit but west coast lefty style.
I don`t think they actually would like to take the right wing Jeffersonians
when they seceded, but presumably that would be up for negotiation once the
Articles of Confederacy are filed.
For now, though, the Jeffersonians and Calexiters and everybody else in
that huge state, they are all lumped together in what is a definitely blue
state, Hillary Clinton won California nearly 2-1.
California in that same election also just elected the nation`s second ever
African-American female U.S. senator in Kamala Harris, who had been
California`s attorney general. At the same time, Democrats won
supermajorities in both houses of the California legislature.
Californians also voted to legalize recreational pot after having medical
marijuana for years. Californians also voted to ban plastic bags in
stores. Californians also voted for new gun safety laws on top of ones the
California governor already signed earlier this year.
California has been a real laboratory of progressive social policy for a
while, no matter who is in charge 2,500 miles away in Washington, D.C.
Well, now that the president is going to be Donald Trump, California has a
lot to lose. If the federal government decides to come after California
for its progressive governance, California will prove to be a rich target
field for an activist federal government that wants to change California to
be more like the Trump administration wants it to be.
On the flip side, because of its size and its economic might and the sheer
dominance of its Democrats, California is also particularly well-situated
for a fight, if California Democrats want one or if the Trump
administration wants one.
It turns out from the California side, they seem that they maybe do want to
fight. This is from Democratic leaders in the California statehouse the
morning after the Trump election. Quote, “We will maximize the time during
the presidential transition to defend our accomplishments using every tool
at our disposal. We will not be dragged back into the past. We will lead
the resistance to any effort that would shred our social fabric or our
Constitution. California was not part or this nation when its history
began but we are clearly now the keeper of its future.”
We are clearly now the keeper of the nation`s future. If that`s the case,
if that`s what California Democrats want, to safeguard the future, not just
for their state but for the United States, what would that look like? How
would they do that? How does California plan to hold a president at bay?
Could they take a cue, say, from Texas?
That was the idea from “The L.A. Times,” the other day. For the fast eight
years, the leading opponent of the Obama administration at least in the
courts really was Texas. Texas has sued the Obama administration 45 times,
on Obamacare, on immigration, on abortion, EPA regulation, transgender
rights, affirmative action, you name it, Texas has sued the Obama
administration over it.
And, frequently, Texas has lost those suits but sometimes they`ve won.
They stopped the administration from putting some policies into effect.
And when they couldn`t stop the president, they at least made his job that
much harder and slower and made a lot of things, cost tons more political
capital than they otherwise might have. That`s what Texas did during the
If there is a state in the country that is positioned to do that from a
progressive direction in the Trump era, I think it`s unarguable that
California would be that state. And if California is going to fight the
Trump White House in court, that might will be brought by the California
attorney general. And the attorney general they just had just won a U.S.
I mean, nobody would say that Kamala Harris would shrink from any fight,
but she`s off to a whole new arena, for a whole new area of fighting. So,
it`s not going to be her, then who? Who will defend California and its
progressive policies? Who will fight this fight for California but who
will also make this stand? If it`s going to be made in court, who will
make the stand for the nation`s future that California Democrats say they
intend to make?
We have a best guess about that. Joining us now for “The Interview” is
Xavier Becerra, Democratic congressman from California. He`s just been
nominated by California`s governor for the role of the California state
attorney general. He has accepted.
He told reporters, quote, “If you want to take on a forward leaning state
that`s prepared to defend its rights and interests, then come at us.”
Congressman Becerra, it`s great to have you here tonight. Thank you so
much for being here.
REP. XAVIER BECERRA (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks, Rachel. And what a lead-in.
MADDOW: Do you – do you – does it strike you wrong? Do you object at
all to this idea that California might have a role vis-a-vis the Trump
administration something akin to what Texas has done to the Obama
BECERRA: We`ll have a role because we`re California. And more often than
not, as goes California, so goes the nation. But I will say this, I don`t
think California is looking to pick a fight. We`re just ready to fight if
someone tries to stop us from moving forward, some progressive values that
have helped so many Californians. Thirty – nearly 39 million people
We are a growing economy. It`s sixth economic power in the world. And
we`re not going to stop. And we`re not interested in having folks try to
stop us. We`ll look at the Constitution of the United States and we`ll
look at our California constitution and recognize that as any other state,
we will do whatever the U.S. Constitution allows us to do to protect our
people and advance our interests.
MADDOW: One of the flashpoints already is clearly going to be the issue of
immigration. This week, Democratic leaders in your state announced a bill
that would ban state and local law enforcement from helping the federal
government round up undocumented immigrants. Another bill would require
President Trump to get approval from California voters before building a
wall along the Mexican border with California.
If things like this get passed, if they get signed by the governor, if they
become California law, do you expect you`ll be defending these things in
BECERRA: I would hope that the federal government would recognize that
states have the purview to take on the protection of their people, the
advancement of their economy. And I would – so long as we`re not doing
something that`s against the U.S. Constitution, we should have the right to
move forward. If we don`t want to see walls built along our southern
border, we will do everything we can to make sure that our people
understand that we have a good working relationship with Mexico. We have a
lot of folks that go back and forth. I`m the son of Mexican immigrants.
And so, we recognize, we – about 40 years ago, we went through this fight
that so many people in this country are going through on immigration.
We`ve gone well beyond that. I remember Pete Wilson and Prop 187 in 1994.
At that point, we were probably considered a purple state, maybe in some
eyes, a red state. Today, we`re a blue state and much of that because of
prop 187 and Pete Wilson.
MADDOW: Congressman, I remember talking to you about the veepstakes when
Hillary Clinton was considering vice presidential running mates. I
remember talking with you about the prospect that you might be chosen for
that ticket, about what it meant to be the top ranking Latino in the House
Can you tell me about your decision to leave the House? A lot of people
thought that you were on track for bigger things in Congress, if not
beyond. Certainly, a possibility of you being speaker of the House at some
point in the future. Why did you decide to leave Washington and go back
home to California?
BECERRA: Rachel, I think you`ll recall at that stage, what I said was, I`d
like to be able to serve my country and my state wherever I can make the
biggest difference. So, I worked very hard for the last 25 years as a
member of Congress. I`m very fortunate privilege.
I hoped that Hillary Clinton could be our president but we move forward and
when they opportunity game from Governor Brown and I`m thrilled that he`d
give me this confidence to be the next A.G. in California, I believe I can
make a difference nor not just my state but again for the country, because
as goes California, so goes the nation.
MADDOW: Congressman, as this moves forward in your home state, I hope
you`ll keep lines of communication with us. A lot of people all over the
country whether or not they have a stake in California are really thinking
about California`s leadership right now in the country and I hope you`ll
stay in touch with us about what`s going on in the state and your state
BECERRA: Stay tuned.
MADDOW: Thanks, sir.
All right. Congressman Xavier Becerra will soon be taking over as
California A.G. I will say, one of the things to keep an eye on in terms
of this California fight, one of the other bills that the Democrats in the
California legislature have proposed would ban state agencies from helping
the federal government compile a registry of Muslims in this country, which
is something that the Trump administration has threatened. And despite a
lot of reports to the contrary, they have not actually backed off from.
If you see California go with things like that, if those become legal
battles, expect to see other blue states at least all around the country
join in with California in fights that become more collective than just one
state, even if California does take point on this stuff.
Super interesting politics right now.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: If you`re keeping track at home. If you`re keeping track for
history, I can tell you that Hillary Clinton has extended her lead over
Donald Trump in the presidential election. She now leads the president-
elect by nearly 2.7 million votes. That means she is beating him in the
popular vote by two full percentage points, which would be mostly just a
historic curiosity at this point if the Trump folks didn`t keep insisting
that they won in a landslide.
MADDOW: So, we`re at a point in American history, we`re at a moment in the
news where I think it is easy to lose your bearings. Where it`s hard to
keep track of what`s a mild surprise and what`s a genuine shock.
At a time like this, though, particularly when things are literally in
transition, I – even though it`s hard, I think it`s important to try to
stay focused on what is important, on what is truly a big deal, and not
just small and novel. The next story that we`re going to do tonight, our
final story tonight is what I think is the biggest deal that so far is
being treated as a curiosity. The thing that I think needs a lot of very
serious attention, even though it`s so far being dismissed.
And that`s next.
MADDOW: I recognize not everybody is taking this all this seriously. But
to me, it seems like a serious thing. Nobody is taking it all that
seriously. Part of the way you can tell that is nobody is even asking him
about it. But even then, he goes out of his way to bring this guy up
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS: Let me go back to secretary of state for a second.
I want to read off some of the names that it`s been reported you`re
considering for that position. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, David Petraeus,
Bob Corker, and Ambassador John Bolton. Have you now crossed any of those
names off your list?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: Well, I think I have in my own mind. I
don`t want to say which ones. But I think I have in my own mind. And
there are some other – we have great, great gentlemen, the head, the boss
over at Exxon.
LAUER: Rex Tillerson.
TRUMP: And he has built a tremendous company over a period of years with
LAUER: Let me go back to Mitt Romney. Is he still under consideration?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Everybody wants to talk about Mitt Romney and these other
political figures. But the president-elect himself goes out of the way to
say actually you should ask me about this guy, who really is in
consideration for secretary of state, this guy who runs Exxon.
Here he is receiving the highest award that Russia gives to non-Russian
citizens. He`ll be our new secretary of state? He is in the running for
I know there is a lot to keep up with the transition. But I keep sticking
a pin in this for a reason, because if this is real, it`s astonishing.
Here is part of why. You know how there is this huge possible deal between
AT&T and Time Warner right now, one of the huge mega mergers that is
running into static on Capitol Hill because in part, it would be such a
huge deal. AT&T-Time Warner would be an $85 billion deal. That`s an
almost unfathomably large number, $85 billion.
But for context, the deal on the line, if Trump goes ahead with this Exxon
guy, it`s not $85 billion. It`s $500 billion. Exxon for a long time was
the biggest, richest company on earth. Even when Apple got bigger than
them, they were still the biggest oil company on earth, which lasted until
Putin started jailing the heads of the other oil companies in Russia and
taking over those companies. Then and only then did Exxon get beat as the
largest oil company on earth when it was surpassed by the Russian
government`s oil company, which is called Rosneft.
And then what happened is those two giant companies, the mother of all oil
companies and the mother of mother of all oil companies, those two giants
got together to do a joint exploration deal, the biggest oil deal in the
history of deals. It was so big, it was expected to change the historical
trajectory of Russia. It was the deal that got the Exxon CEO Russia`s
That deal between Exxon and Rosneft was said to be a $500 billion deal.
And that was before they discovered a brand new oil field in the Kara Sea,
just north of Siberia.
So, $500 billion deal between two of the largest companies in modern
history, the two largest oil companies ever, half trillion deal. And that
was before they discovered a new billion barrels of oil they weren`t
And then the whole thing fell apart. Right after they discovered the
billion barrel field, the whole thing got stopped in its tracks because of
sanctions. That messed with Ukraine and Putin invading Crimea, the Obama
administration punched them in the face with sanctions. And the biggest
deal anybody had ever heard of, one of the biggest commercial deals in the
history of deals was stopped.
You know who would be in an excellent position to undo those sanctions?
Well, you would expect the American secretary of state to be in a good
position to do that. Rex Tillerson, the CEO of Exxon, personally holds
more than $150 million in Exxon shares.
You want to know what happened to those shares alone if the sanctions went
away and that $500 Russia deal went back on? Do you know what would happen
to the value of Exxon, to the power of Exxon if that got turned on right
It would be great for Exxon. It would be great for Russia. It would not
be so great for the United States. Those sanctions are there for a reason.
But hey, who is calling the shots around here anyway?
Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson has never worked anywhere else in his adult life.
He joined Exxon in 1975. He has never had another job. So, obviously, his
next job should be secretary of state, for the United States.
I wonder where he would take his first trip abroad. I wonder who would be
the first world lead they`re he would call after he was sworn in.
I know nobody else is focusing on it. But they are keeping this prospect
alive. And it is astonishing.
And 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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