The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 3/13/2017
Show: The Rachel Maddow Show
Date: March 13, 2017
Guest: Erik Mouthaan
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Happy Monday. Thanks for being with us here
There`s a lot going on in the news today and into this evening. The big
news that broke in Washington late this afternoon was word from the
Congressional Budget Office that the Republican plan to get rid of
Obamacare, the Republican plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would
throw 24 million Americans off their health insurance, which is absolutely
If you`re trying to get your head around 24 million Americans, how many
people that is, it is roughly – this is slightly understating the case,
but it is roughly the population of all of these states combined. Twenty-
four million people is the entire population of Vermont, Alabama, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Maine, New
Hampshire, Idaho, West Virginia, Nebraska, New Mexico, Kansas and Wyoming
combined, and then some. That`s the number of Americans who would get
thrown off their health insurance if this Republican thing passes to get
rid of Obamacare.
So, that is obviously big and alarming policy news. It`s big enough that
it is also very big political news. We`ll have more about the policy side
of it and political side of that coming up tonight. That was the news that
sort of struck Washington like a thunderbolt late this afternoon.
We`re actually going to start the show tonight on the subject of money,
lots and lots and lots and lots of money. Money obtained by means you
would rather not have to explain. If you have ill-gotten gains, if you
have money where you cannot account for its origin, not if you don`t want
to go to jail and it`s not a little money that we`re talking about, it`s
billions and billions of dollars, at that scale, at that size, it`s very
hard to turn that much illegal or shady money into something that you can
use, something you can access without getting arrested, right? If you`re
talking about billions of dollars in dirty money, billions of dollars where
you cannot explain where it came from, unless you got an industrial-sized
scheme from making your shady billions of dollars look legit, you may not
be able to use them.
Well, just a few weeks ago, at the end of January of this year, we learned
about one such industrial-sized scheme to make dirty money look legit. It
ran for about four or five years, from 2011 to 2015. It happened at a
bank, a big bank called Deutsche Bank. And this scheme that Deutsche Bank
got involved with was basically a fantastic, enormous washing machine for
illegal Russian money.
Deutsche Bank facilitated the laundering of about $10 billion worth of
dirty money out of Russia. That`s way bigger than your average money
laundering scheme. The way they were able to do it and get away with it
before they finally got caught, is that they moved the money through the
stock market, right? Stock markets are one of the only places on earth
where you can hide a few billion dollars here and there and maybe it just
gets lost in the sauce and nobody notices something went wrong with the way
that money was moving.
Basically, the scheme – again, from 2011 to 2015, it involved real stock
in real companies but fake deals. Both the buyer and the seller were in on
the deal, or in some cases, it was the same person. And it didn`t really
matter what the stock was. It didn`t really matter whether it was
economically smart or economically dumb to be buying that particular stock
on a particular day.
What they were doing with these stock trades was getting rid of their dirty
Russian money. I know it sounds gross when I say it that way, but that`s
what I mean. They used rubles, ill-gotten gains, right, they couldn`t
really explain where they came from. They used rubles to buy stock in
Russia and then outside of Russia, they would sell that same stock and get
paid in dollars.
So, it was a way to turn rubles into dollars. It was all the coordinated
thing. It was the same people doing the selling and the buying. It was
just a very big, very efficient system for moving, you know, $10 billion,
ultimately, in dirty Russian money out of Russia converted into dollars in
what looked like a legitimate transaction. At least it looked like a sort
of legitimate transaction, Deutsche Bank.
Notice what`s going on here? Eventually, Deutsche Bank got nailed and at
the end of January, they just got pinned to the wall for this scheme. They
let their offices be the vehicle for this illegal fake stock trading
scheme. And they had to pay a huge fine.
You know, and I never thought that I would have to learn this much about
Russian money laundering in order to follow the American presidency. But
these are the times we live in and so, we all have to learn new things.
I`m an old dog. I`m learning a new trick.
But it is kind of amazing when you start following Russian money laundering
schemes all around the world. It`s some exotic stuff and it happens all
over the world and there is a ton of it.
I mean, Russia`s a big country. Russia`s got 140-something million people.
But their economy, their GDP is like half of France. They`ve got more –
just turn the flag on its side.
Russia has more than doubled the population of France. They`ve gotten an
economy half the size of France. Why is that?
Part of that is because Russia is a kleptocracy. It is governed by
thieves. I mean, you keep hearing about Russia oligarchs. You know,
sociologically, it`s fascinating to see this brand new class of like oil
sheikh level wealth among this tiny group of shady Russian guys with broken
But it tells you something about what has happened to the economy in that
country and why Russia is still limping so badly in economic terms, nearly
30 years after the wall came down. It`s because this corrupt – remember,
it was supposed to be two super powers in the world?
Think about the economy of the United States and the economy of Russia,
right? In Russia, there`s this corrupt, elite class of connected thieves
at the top who have been siphoning money out of that country like they are
sticking a Shop-Vac into an ant farm. I know we`ve got a billionaire class
here and corruption here and we`ve got levels of wealth inequality in this
country we haven`t seen since the Gilded Age, I get it.
In Russia, it is on a different magnitude. The class, the politically
connected class at the top that is stealing is much smaller, is much more
connected to the country`s president and is much more traceable now in the
short amount of time in terms of the way they have yanked money out of that
country and the way they have spread it all over the world to hide it and
to disguise its origins.
Russian money laundering, you should look into it. It`s interesting.
But you know, a funny thing happened about that Deutsche Bank Russian money
laundering scheme when it got uncovered. As I said, just a few weeks ago,
end of January, Deutsche Bank had to pay $630 million in fines because it
got caught in that scheme.
But you know what happened on the day that fine was announced? Deutsche
Bank got fined $630 million. And their stock price went up. Up.
Investors were psyched. Whoo! Only $630 million.
Sounds like a big fine, but to those guys it was a relief. Oh. Easily
survivable. No problem.
Here`s the thing, though – there`s still reason for them to worry about
their Russian money laundering problem, because that $630 million fine that
they had to pay that was such a relief because it wasn`t too big, that was
a settlement that Deutsche Bank reached with New York state. That`s
interesting, with the state.
International banks have headquarters in New York City. New York state
regulates banks that are headquartered in New York through their Department
of Financial Services. The Department of Financial Services is who nailed
Deutsche Bank for the Russian money laundering thing. Made them pay that
$630 million fine. And that`s a good fine, that`s a lot of money and that
settled the matter as far as New York state was concerned.
But you know what? It`s not over because there`s also the feds. That was
the state level settlement. There`s also the fed, the federal government.
They`re going after Deutsche Bank on this, too.
And when the feds get you, that`s when things can really start to add up.
For example, Deutsche Bank got nailed just in December for a totally
different thing. Deutsche Bank got nailed in December by the feds for
their shady, illegal mortgage practices that led up to the financial
collapse in this country. And the fine there, the deal with the feds was
not some millions of dollars or even hundreds of millions of dollars. The
fine there was a $7 billion fine, billion with a “B.” That was for their
On that Russian money laundering scheme that Deutsche Bank already got
caught for, the state part of it might be settled for $630 million, but the
federal case is still opened, still being pursued by the feds. And you
know who has been pursing the federal case against Deutsche Bank?
Preet Bharara, who was just fired as the federal prosecutor in New York
when the Trump Justice Department moved suddenly and without warning to
remove all the U.S. attorneys around the country on Friday, including Preet
Bharara, even though both President Trump himself and Attorney General Jeff
Sessions himself had previously told Preet Bharara he could stay on the
And we reported on Friday night, you know, that other presidents have
replaced other U.S. attorneys or all of the U.S. attorneys before, but
nobody has ever fired all the U.S. attorneys the way the Trump folks did on
Friday night. Called them in the afternoon on Friday, told all the U.S.
attorneys, all without warning that they were all fired immediately. They
needed their desks cleaned and they need their keys turned in by midnight,
It`s never happened like that before. Why the rush? And why Preet
Bharara? Why is he included after you had given him personal assurance
that he was staying on?
That federal investigation into Russian money laundering by Deutsche Bank,
that`s one of many number of open investigations in the Justice Department
that has just had a wrench thrown in the works by those sudden firing of
the U.S. attorneys on Friday.
But looking at the Preet Bharara firing, looking at this shock to the
justice system that the Trump administration just levied, Deutsche Bank is
a particularly sensitive subject. Deutsche Bank is a particularly
sensitive subject of investigation for this president for a couple of
First of all, the former chairman of Deutsche Bank, he left in the middle
of all scandal of his bank. He ended up landing very softly, though, at
the Bank of Cyprus. Bank of Cyprus is itself a bank that has been in lots
of hot water for Russian money laundering accusations. The Deutsche Bank
chairman was installed as the chairman of the Bank of Cyprus by the major
shareholders of the Bank of Cyprus.
Major shareholders of the Bank of Cyprus include this Russian oligarch.
They called him the “King of Fertilizer”. He`s now becoming famous in this
country for having inexplicably paid Donald Trump $95 million for a single
house. It`s the single largest prize paid for a house in the United
States. He paid Donald Trump $95 million for that property even though
Trump himself had only paid $41 million for it a few years earlier.
Why did a Russian oligarch pay Donald Trump $50 million over what Donald
Trump paid for that property? We still don`t know. The King of Fertilizer
never stepped foot in the property. He`s certainly never lived there. He
has since torn it down. But Donald Trump pocketed more than $50 million in
that one sale, with that Russian oligarch, who is a major shareholder in
the Bank of Cyprus, which has been done and held up on Russian money
laundering allegations over the years and now.
In terms of the Bank of Cyprus, there is one American who is involved in
that bank. The one American who is a major shareholder of the Bank of
Cyprus and until recently was its vice chairman is our new commerce
secretary, longtime Donald Trump friend, Wilbur Ross.
So, the Deutsche Bank chairman landing there with the guy who inexplicably
gave Donald Trump $50 million and Donald Trump`s commerce secretary, that
makes Deutsche Bank a little bit of a sensitive subject.
The other reason Deutsche Bank is a sensitive subject for federal
investigations at this point is because the president himself owes more
money to Deutsche Bank than any other single lender in the world.
President Trump is in hock to Deutsche Bank to the tune of hundreds of
millions of dollars. Deutsche Bank is the largest known lender to Trump`s
So, summarily removing the prosecutor, going after Deutsche Bank, that has
personal implications for this president. But that`s not all because it`s
not just him. It`s his family.
This is the Waldorf Astoria. It`s a big, fancy stately hotel in New York
City – emphasis on stately. The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
always has a living suite at the Waldorf Astoria. Heads of state from all
over the world when they come to New York to do business at the U.N., they
stay at the Waldorf Astoria when they`re here.
The president of the United States stays at the Waldorf Astoria when he
comes to New York for the U.N. or for any other business, or at least that
used to be the case. That stopped in 2015 after a Chinese company bought
the Waldorf. The company called Anbang. Anbang has murky ownership but
nobody can ascertain.
There are widespread suspensions that Anbang is a tool of the Chinese
government and when Anbang bought the Waldorf Astoria and started rewiring
it, U.S. national security agencies deduced that they would no longer be
confident that the American president could stay there without being
bugged. And so, the U.S. president no longer stays at the Waldorf Astoria,
even before we got a U.S. president who has his own place in New York.
Anbang started off as a car insurance company in China but they have
somehow become a global behemoth and started buying property all over,
particularly in the United States. During the Obama administration, some
of the Anbang`s purchases were reviewed on national security grounds,
again, because this company appears to be a front for the Chinese
government and you can`t have foreign governments owning just anything in
the United States.
For example, this is the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, which is lovely.
Lovely sport, historic hotel, it`s right on San Diego bay. But look at the
Hotel Del Coronado on a map.
There`s the Hotel Del Coronado. On one side is Coronado Beach Dog Park,
which looks lovely. I was looking at it on satellite view today. Right on
the other side of it, our Navy base. It`s right next to a Navy base.
And so, when Anbang, this country linked to the Chinese government wanted
to buy that hotel, really, right next to the naval base? The Committee on
Foreign Investment in the United States blocked that purchase on national
security grounds. Well, now the Obama administration is gone and the Trump
administration is in effect, and now, Anbang, this Chinese company, wants
to do a huge new deal.
They want to buy a member of the beast, forgive me, 666 5th Avenue. When
666 5th Avenue was sold in 2007 for $1.8 billion, it was the most expensive
sale of a single building ever in the United States. Anbang just started
shopping around a deal to buy it now for more than a billion dollars over
that price from 2007. They`re valuing it at $2.85 billion for a single
building. I believe that would make it the most expensive building in
That huge inflation in price, over a billion dollars more than the last
time it was bought, that would result in a huge payout for the people who
bought it back in 2007. If this deal goes through, the people who bought
it back in 2007. If this deal goes through, the people who bought it back
in 2007 are now going to sell it to this Chinese company, they`re going to
make off like bandits.
And the people who bought it in 2007 are – hey, remember Jared? The
Kushner family, the Kushner real estate empire. And this new offer just
unveiled by Anbang, which is believed to be tied to the Chinese government,
the Kushners are looking at walking away with $400 million, including some
really inexplicable super nice sweeteners to the deal, like a $250 million
loan that the Kushners have outstanding on the property from their last re-
Part of this deal with Anbang would the make Kushers, they`ve got $250
million, they only have to pay back $50 million of it. It`s an 80 percent
off sale. Everything must go.
This would be a massive purchase, though, way bigger than the Hotel Del
Coronado. But like the Hotel Del Coronado or any other major purchase by a
company like this, this would have to be approved by a Committee on Foreign
Investment in the United States.
The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States isn`t an obscure
committee. Its members are basically the whole cabinet. Secretary of
defense, secretary of treasury, secretary of homeland security, secretary
of commerce, et cetera.
Yes. Sorry, actually. This would be the old committee on foreign
investment in the United States. That`s who was on it during the Obama
administration. Now, it`s the Trump administration in effect.
So, now, this is the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
that will be evaluating whether or not Jared`s family gets $400 million.
Hey, look, it`s Wilbur Ross from the Bank of Cyprus with the guy who paid
Donald Trump $50 million extra for the –
Two days before the Trump administration decided to surprise, fire, all of
the U.S. attorneys with no notice, get your things and clean out your desk
by midnight, turn in your keys, two days before that, on Wednesday of last
week, a group of watchdog organizations wrote to Preet Bharara as the U.S.
attorney for the southern district of New York, and they asked him based on
his jurisdiction to please look into whether or not the president was
illegally receiving payments from foreign governments through his
continuing ownership stake in the Trump Organization.
John Conyers, top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, he`s now written to
the Justice Department to ask for a list of all pending Justice Department
investigations that involve members of the Trump administration, members of
the Trump transition, members of the Trump campaign or the Trump
Organization. He says he wants that list of investigation so we can
understand the full implications of this weekend`s firings of the federal
Were any of those prosecutors fired because of the ongoing investigations
into the Trump campaign, or the Trump Organization, or the Trump
We don`t know why the Trump administration decided to fire all the U.S.
attorneys in the way they did on Friday, with no warning, with apparently
no preparation, with no replacements lined up to nominate for those
positions. We particularly don`t know why the president did a 180, did an
about-face and decided to throw out the U.S. attorney who has jurisdiction
over things like, hmm, Russian money laundering and the Trump business
But just one last point to chew on here. The Trump administration
demanded, surprise, demanded the resignation of all U.S. attorneys on
Friday afternoon. Preet Bharara didn`t do it. They asked for the
resignations from all of the U.S. attorneys, Preet Bharara did not do it.
He knew at the time, we all knew, that the president had the power to
remove him and that by standing up and saying, “I`m not going to resign,
you`re going to have to fire me,” ultimately, the president would fire him.
He knew that`s how it would work out.
But because Preet Bharara didn`t resign, because he took that stand and did
not submit his resignation when he was asked for on Friday, because he
said, you`re going to have to fire me and then they had to go through the
process of firing him, I mean, there was no suspense as to what the outcome
was going to be. There`s no suspense as to whether or not he`d be allowed
to keep his job, he knew he would have to go.
But because of the way he did it, because he didn`t resign, because he made
them fire him, he delayed the process. He didn`t get fired. He didn`t get
removed from office until Saturday afternoon.
By insisting he would not resign and they`d have to fire him, Preet Bharara
bought himself, as best as I can tell, about 24 hours and 29 minutes, 24.5
extra hours in office once he knew they were coming for him. So, as you
think about what pending investigations might have been rooted through that
office in New York, Trump campaign, Trump transition, Trump administration,
Trump organization, oh, and all of the banks in the world, what do you
think Preet Bharara did with that last 24 hours once he knew they were
coming for him?
Stay with us.
MADDOW: If he wasn`t the most famous U.S. attorney in the country before,
he certainly is now. That`s Preet Bharara, a U.S. attorney from the
southern district of New York.
Look at the scene today. This is him outside his office. These are all of
the people who work in the U.S. attorney`s office of the southern district
of New York, them giving him a long-standing ovation out in the cold today
as he leaves office.
He was asked for his resignation along with all of the other federal
prosecutors on Friday. He did not offer his resignation. On Saturday, he
tweeted, “I did not resign. Moments ago, I was fired.”
By waiting, by saying “No, he wouldn`t resign,” it`s one of the curious
things about the Preet Bharara`s tenure at the U.S. attorney`s office is
that he now leaves office having had this interesting interregnum, about 24
1/2 hours after he knew they were going to fire him but before he actually
Thinking about what he might have done with that time, with that little bit
of time that he earned himself by not quitting is one of the ongoing
mysteries about what the Justice Department just did here.
Joining us now is Michael Beschloss, NBC presidential historian.
Michael, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, I have characterized them firing all of the U.S. attorneys as
something that is unprecedented in some ways and not in others. Certainly
previous presidents have replaced all of the prosecutors, have gotten rid
of all of the U.S. attorneys. Sometimes they`ve announced it in one fell
MADDOW: But we haven`t had this instance where they`ve told them, you`re
all gone, no warning, nobody nominated to replace you, and you need to be
out by midnight. That`s new, right?
BESCHLOSS: No, they served said it by sun down. Reagan did it over the
course of his first two years. Bill Clinton announced it in March but gave
some of the U.S. attorneys some time to go out.
George W. Bush staged it. He said, it`s too much of a disruption to fire
everyone at once so it was done a little more gradually.
MADDOW: Michael, one of the things that we`re seeing in terms of what`s
happening in Washington right now and I think there`s a renewed focus on
Preet Bharara and some of the other U.S. attorneys in terms of they might
have been pursing Justice Department investigations into some of the
scandals of this administration, potential ties with Russia, we are
starting to see Democrats raising the prospect that they might peel off
from these congressional investigations, congressional intelligence
committees, both in the House and the Senate are supposed to be leading
these congressional investigations.
This weekend, Democrats started to say, we`re not sure that those are going
to be free and fair and independent investigations. Maybe we shouldn`t be
part of them.
Is that kind of negotiation, that kind of worry on the part of one party or
another, that is the sort of thing that has precedent in previous years?
BESCHLOSS: It is. And we would think of Devin Nunes and the house
committee investigating the ties between Donald Trump and Russia, plus, the
Russian attack on our election last year and interfering with democracy.
And Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat, saying, we might not stay involved
with this, you know, if the chairman does not pursue a vigorous
And, you know, the classic of investigations that really work would be the
Senate Watergate committee, 1973. Senate said by 77-0, let`s have this
committee. There was great cooperation.
Howard Baker, the Republican vice chairman was very much of a straight
shooter. He was trying to pursue truth. Same was true with the joint
committee that investigated Iran-Contra in 1987. Those are examples of
investigations where the committee saw great harmony between the two
parties, and most of all, the chairman and ranking member, they had not
said at the beginning we think the president is innocent or guilt.
The problem – the difference here is with Chairman Nunes, as we know, he
has said he doesn`t think there`s much to the ties between Donald Trump and
Russia. He was a member of the Trump transition team. He has said that
Michael Flynn was a victim and was doing great things for his country. He
rejected the intelligence report in January saying that the Russians did
try to help Donald Trump, so there`s no a sign that there`s that same kind
of a partisanship that you saw in those earlier hearings.
MADDOW: Michael Beschloss, NBC presidential historian – Michael, great to
see you. Thank you for being with us tonight.
BESCHLOSS: Pleasure. We will know soon.
MADDOW: Yes, we will.
All right. Much more to come, including a lesson that several members of
Congress learned this weekend which now has national implications for all
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Welcome home, Congressman Darrell Issa.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Do your job! Do your job! Do your job!
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: There is no change – if your child
before Obamacare was – hey. Hey. It`s not affordable and, by the way,
Obama liked calling it Obamacare.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: More than a thousand of Congressman Darrell Issa`s constituents
made their voices known inside back to back town halls he held in
Oceanside, California, this weekend. And that`s not counting the folks who
couldn`t get in and were waving signs and chanting outside.
Congressman Issa was re-elected in November by the teeny, tiniest of
margins. Since then, the spotlight on him has been intense in his own
district. Starting in January, constituents of his have been holding
weekly protests outside his California offices. Among other things,
they`ve been demanding that he hold a town hall so they can converse with
him. They have visited and left letters outside his office.
Last month, they crowd funded $6,000 to take out a full page ad in the
local “San Diego Tribune”, inviting him to an emergency town hall on health
care. They held that town hall on health care, but Darrell Issa did not
show up, which made for its own fun. Where is Darrell?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CROWD: Where is Darrell? Where is Darrell? Where is Darrell?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That kind of sustained pressure at home, week after week after
week after week, is now maybe showing some results. This weekend,
Congressman Issa did finally hold those two town halls. And after facing
his constituents at home, now, he is clarifying where he stands on the
Republican plan to get rid of Obamacare.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: Are you going to vote for the Speaker Ryan plan as it looks
ISSA: You know, I`m not prepared to vote for it as it is right now and I
think that`s not because of a specific, you know, this is unacceptable, but
because I think we can do better.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Today, the Congressional Budget Office announced that the
Republican plan to kill Obamacare will cause 24 million Americans to lose
their health insurance. That`s 24 million people who have insurance now
losing their insurance. That`s part of why the Republican plan to kill
Obamacare is not likely to survive.
Another reason why it`s not likely to survive is what members of Congress
are facing in their home districts. The only Republican senator who is
going to be running for re-election next year from a state that Hillary
Clinton won is Nevada Senator Dean Heller. And his constituents have found
their voice this year. They`ve been asking him for a town hall, among
Last month, they bought tickets to a private event in order to see him
because he wouldn`t do a public event with them. But at that private
event, the senator made them a promise. He said he would hold a town hall
if everybody going to the town hall agreed that they wouldn`t boo him.
No deal. Senator Heller has yet to hold a public in the flesh town hall.
He did hold a private event with constituents this weekend. According to
leaked audio of that event, Dean Heller told the crowd, quote, “Not
everything in the Affordable Care Act is bad. As we move forward and look
at what some of these changes and what`s occurring, I think we ought to
embrace what`s good in the Affordable Care Act.”
He also said, quote, “Do I believe all Americans should have access to
health care? Absolutely, I do.” That was on Saturday.
Again, today, the CBO projected that 24 million Americans would eventually
lose their health insurance under the new Republican plan to get rid of
Obamacare. But you know what? The first 14 million of those 24 million,
the first 14 million would lose coverage by 2018. Just in time for the
midterm elections, when Dean Heller and Darrell Issa will both be up for
re-election in what are likely to be the fights of their lives. You can
believe it`s on their calendars already.
MADDOW: This is Pauline Hanson. You can see her getting her champagne
glass filled outside of parliament in Australia. She`s an Australian
She`s also the head of a super conservative right wing populist party in
Australia called the One Nation Party. What she`s toasting there outside
of the Australian parliament is the election of Donald Trump drink up, the
day after the day after the election.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULINE HANSON, AUSTRALIAN SENATOR: I`m so excited that Donald Trump looks
like he`s just over the line, and I`m so happy about it because this is
putting out a clear message to everyone round the world that the people
power is now happening and now America, good on you guys. You`ve got it
right. I`m so happy that Donald Trump is there.
To Donald Trump, cheers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Pauline Hanson was very excited that day. She called it a clear
message to everyone around the world that the people power is now
Well, that – the people power did not happen for her this weekend. They
voted this weekend in a state election in Western Australia. Senator
Hanson`s party was projected to get a healthy 13 percent of the vote. They
did not get 13 percent. Her right-wing anti-immigrant party actually got
less than 5 percent of the vote. They bottomed out.
Rough weekend for the Trump loving nationalist party in Australia. No
champagne toasts this time.
We`re still just figuring out how our new president ate the Republican
Party, and became president in this country. But other countries around
the world can see us not making sense of it, but a lot of them are also
contending with their own version of this kind of politics within their own
national traditions. The Dutch have their elections coming up the day
And this is the Netherlands` right wing nationalist candidate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEERT WILDERS, DUTCH POLITICIAN: I always tell my American friends, if you
let Islam be seated on your soil, don`t be surprise that you will harvest
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are more than a billion Muslims in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you keep them out of North America or indeed in
WILDERS: I think we have to. If I would become the prime minister of the
Netherlands next year, after I would win the elections, close the Dutch
borders for immigrants from other countries immediately.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s Geert Wilders, speaking last year at the Republican
convention in this country. He`s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim. I don`t say
that in an ad hominem way. He`s literally been founded guilty of inciting
hatred against Muslims in the Netherlands.
But he`s giving the incumbent Dutch prime minister a run for his money.
The polls are close. It`s unclear exactly how it`s going to go on
Wednesday and some people in the Netherlands, I think it`s fair to say, are
rather freaked out about what might happen in their elections in two days.
They`ve been watching us tangle knee-deep in dealing with Russian
interference in our election wondering how that may have tipped the scales
one way or another in our experience. Well, the Dutch are trying to ensure
that there are no similar shenanigans in their election. They decided to
forego the use of electronic vote counting for this election this week.
They`re using paper ballots. Quote, “Voters will use red pencils to mark
paper ballots, which will be hand counted in each voting precincts, and
then tallied across the nations 20 voting districts.”
That`s how the 17 million citizens of the Netherlands will be voting this
Wednesday. Amid worries about Russian interference in their election with
this very provocative right-wing anti-immigrant candidate standing, they
are taking extra precautions to ensure the integrity of their elections.
Joining us now is Erik Mouthaan. He`s a North American correspondent for
Dutch RTL TV.
Mr. Mouthaan, thank you very much for being here. It`s really nice to see
ERIK MOUTHAAN, DUTCH RTL. NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Nice to see you.
MADDOW: So, every American likes to draw parallels from our experience to
explain every other country in the world and I know that`s a little bit
unfair. Can you give us the bottom line in terms of the prospects for
Geert Wilders and how the Dutch are approaching this election on Wednesday?
MOUTHAAN: Well, here they call him the Dutch Trump. He`s been in office
as a parliamentarian way longer than Donald Trump has been politically
active. He`s been –he`s actually one of the longest members in
And, yes, he could win. Right now, it looks like it`s going to be a tie
between four major parties but, you know, seeing the elections in the U.S.,
no one trusts the polls anymore. So, even the prime minister said, you
know, it could go either way. It looks like the prime minister may become
the biggest, but yes, it`s still possible.
MADDOW: What gives – what`s the basis for the concerns about potential
MOUTHAAN: Well, everyone saw what happened, of course, in the U.S. with
the FBI and CIA is saying about the Russians meddling in these elections
and they are worried it`s going to happen in Holland. We noticed that
there had been sort of like PR battles staged from Russia, just as you saw
here. There`s worries about hacking. There`s worries about leaks.
So, people are just very worried and skeptical and they just want to make
sure that everything is just on the up and up.
MADDOW: What are the Russian interests in this election?
MOUTHAAN: They just want – the sense that we`re hearing from our
parliamentarians and our, you know, secret service, is that they want to
sort of meddle. They want to sort of push a more pro-Russian or maybe a
less anti-Russian politics in Europe. Of course, we`ve seen with what`s
happening in the Ukraine and we had this horrendous moment when the plane
was shot down from Ukraine with 193 Dutch people on board and the Dutch
authorities suspect that Russians were somehow involved in that, maybe not
the Russian government but Russians on the ground.
So, there`s a lot of worry about what are the Russians trying to do and
people just want to make sure that democracy is working this time.
MADDOW: If Wilders does get the largest portion of the vote, is it a
foregone conclusion that he`ll be able to assemble a government? Obviously
with four parties neck in neck in the running, nobody is going to end up
with a majority.
MOUTHAAN: Right. And you need a coalition in my country, always in the
other parties have said, even the present prime minister said, “I will not
govern with this man.” Because you have to remember, this is someone who
is way to the right of Donald Trump when it comes to immigration. He wants
to close all mosques. He wants to ban the Koran, which is constitutionally
impossible in the Netherlands, of course.
But this is his moment and he says, “This is where it`s going to happen,
I`m going to be the largest party in Holland,” well, the polls are saying
it`s going to be really tight.
MADDOW: One of the other things we`ve been watching here with both
interest and I think it`s been viewed with concern from the point of view
of the Dutch is that there have been a lot of American conservatives far
right particularly anti-Islam American conservatives who have shoveled a
lot of money to Wilders and his party.
MOUTHAAN: Hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years and we`ve only
now seen that – that`s actually becoming a little less over this last
year. “The New York Times” is reporting that.
But, yes, there`s a large group of people in the U.S. who want to support
his anti-Islam message and they are very actively helping him buy, you
know, commercial time on TV, for instance.
MADDOW: Erik Mouthaan, North America correspondent for Dutch TRL – thank
you. Appreciate it.
MOUTHAAN: You`re welcome.
MADDOW: Let us know how it goes.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`ve reported in recent days about some of the unexplained,
unanswered questions concerning the firing of National Security Adviser
Mike Flynn after only 24 days on the job. We`ve also been reporting a
little bit on what`s happened to him since he was fired.
Since he was fired, last week, General Flynn was apparently persuaded to
retroactively file papers to declare himself a foreign agent. He was a
paid lobbyist, lobbying for the interests of the government of Turkey while
he was also helping to elect Donald Trump and serving in the Trump
transition, also, incidentally, while he was sitting in on ton secret
national security briefings.
But it turns out to be super important that he has filed those papers now.
The filings specifically end up being important, because we`re now learning
something from his “I am a foreign agent” papers that have finally made a
very mysterious episode from the campaign last year all of a sudden make
sense. Oh, that`s why that happened.
What we`re learning, what it means, and more still unexplained questions
about Michael Flynn next.
MADDOW: If you need a nominee for the sexiest word in politics you could
do worse than “cover-up.” And three weeks out from the election,
conservative media found one. Headline, “An Attempted Hillary e-mail
“Weekly Standard” reporting on October 15th, quote, “A senior State
Department official repeatedly pressed the FBI to change the classification
of e-mails stored on Hillary Clinton`s private server, according to FBI
interview summaries set to be released in coming days. The under secretary
of state for management discussed providing additional overseas slots for
the FBI in exchange for revisions to classifications of the sensitive e-
And then comes the runner-up sexiest words in politics. Quote, “The FBI
records official says that his colleague pressured him to declassify an e-
mail, quote, `in exchange for a quid pro quo.`” You`re not using that
phrase right. But, you know, coverup!
The Clinton State Department trying to cover up something about her e-mails
in a quid pro quo. Cue the avalanche.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got a FOX alert right now, the FBI releasing a
set of documents related to the Clinton e-mail investigation believed to be
connected to the allegations of this quid pro quo at the State Department.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Quote, “This is a flashing red light of potential
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A quid pro quo arrangement during the investigation
into Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The documents contain allegations of quid pro quo.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kennedy held a closed-door meeting with redacted and
redacted where Kennedy pointedly asked redacted to change the FBI`s
classification determination regarding one of Clinton`s e-mails.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: FOX News and conservative media took that coverup, quid pro quo,
flashing light of criminality, redacted, redacted, redacted. They took
that story, they grabbed that mystery bait and went straight for the bottom
of the pond. They played it three days straight. Coverup, quid pro quo!
A top staffer at the Clinton State Department accused of trying to trade
the FBI something they wanted if they helped disappear a Clinton e-mail
2016, heading into the election, FOX News stayed on that story long enough
that real news started to follow it up. When that happened, it started to
get walked back. First off, the redacted, redacted, redacted, now former
FBI official, who wasn`t named in those reports, he came forward and he
said that he was the one who suggested any kind of deal. Quote, “I`m the
one who threw that out there,” he told the “New York Times.”
And second, it was no big deal, this former FBI agent disputed he had ever
characterized his conversations with the State Department official as a
quid pro quo. Quote, “That`s a reach, I said hey, what`s this about,
listen, there was no collusion, there was absolutely no collusion”, he
said. “No story, nothing to see here, no collusion, that`s a reach.”
But the damage was done. Three straight days of quid pro quo, flashing red
light of criminality, coverup. Damage was done, well done. And
apparently, now, we know it was well paid, because now we have a new
revelation about this story.
Last week, the former national security adviser to the president filed some
new federal paperwork, Mike Flynn registered retroactively as a foreign
agent, finally admitting that he took paid work as a lobbyist for the
interests of the Turkish government during the presidential campaign where
when he was advising Donald Trump. General Flynn was, of course, pushed
out of the White House for his contacts during the transition for the
Russian government and for lying about them. But his work involving Turkey
is proving to be its own clingy scandal.
Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo has looked into General Flynn`s new
foreign agent filing and look what he found, the former FBI official at the
heart of that quid pro quo story? The one who walked it back after it had
spent three days on constant rotation at FOX News and the conservative
media? That former FBI official apparently was on Mike Flynn`s payroll
during the campaign. He`s started getting paid by Flynn about two weeks
before that scandal. He got $5,000 from General Flynn on October 4th, he
got $3,000 from Flynn on October 13th. That so happens to be two days
before the coverup quid pro quo story broke. Then he got another $20,000
from General Flynn down the line.
When he did walk back the story, he said he considers General Flynn a
friend. I`m sure that was so, quite sure. But it helps to know now his
friend the general was also his boss. He was on the general`s payroll.
Just as it helps to know his boss was a foreign agent – when he was
breaking that story all about Hillary Clinton`s e-mails.
It does make you wonder what else there is to learn about that particular
side of the story. Watch this space.
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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