The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 5/24/17 Ben Jacobs attacked

Greg Farrell

Date: May 24, 2017
Guest: Greg Farrell

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

There`s a lot going on tonight. We are looking ahead to a big election
tomorrow, congressional election that really on paper ought to be a shoo-
in. But, you know, in this day and age in our country right now, who

That congressional race tomorrow was already a big political question mark
before the news broke tonight that the Republican candidate in the race
appears to have attacked, physically attacked, a reporter tonight on the
eve of the election.

The reporter in question here is Ben Jacobs who writes for “The Guardian”
newspaper. Ben Jacobs is an experienced, well-known reporter. I`ll tell
you just in terms of this building, lots of people who work here at MSNBC
and at NBC know him, particularly because he did a lot of campaign coverage
over the past campaign cycle.

In case, you haven`t heard this audio yet, I just want to play you the
audio recording that Ben Jacobs says he was rolling on his own recorder
when this incident happened tonight in mo Montana. This is pretty
incredible. Listen to this.


BEN JACOBS, THE GUARDIAN: – the CBO score. Because, you know, you`ve
been waiting to make your decision about health care until you saw the
bill, and it just came out –

about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there`s not going to be time. I`m just curious –

GIANFORTE: OK, speak with Shane, please.

JACOBS: But, you got to –

GIANFORTE: I`m sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here
you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing.
You with “The Guardian”?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here? I`d also like to call
the police. Can I get you guys` names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body-slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


MADDOW: You`d like me to get the hell out of here, I`d also like to call
the police.

Again, it`s clear who the voices are, right, but that was Ben Jacobs of
“The Guardian” newspaper. This happened just tonight. He was apparently
physically attacked by the Republican candidate who is running in the
Montana congressional election tomorrow.

The candidate`s name is Greg Gianforte. After this incident happened,
police were called to the scene. Mr. Gianforte was not arrested at the
scene but the reporter, Ben Jacobs, did get taken away by ambulance to a
nearby medical center to get checked out.

We believe we are about to have a live interview from the hospital with
that reporter, with Ben Jacobs, in just a couple of minutes. You will
definitely want to be here for that.

We`ve also got a few more pieces of how this fit together including what
appears to be the 911 call, the call to police immediately after it
happened. Plus we have a response now from the Gianforte campaign, their
version of events. We will get to that and, again, I think we are going to
get Ben Jacobs himself live with us in just a moment.

So, that`s all ahead. You will want to be here for that.

Before we can get to that, though, before we get to Ben, let me tell you
about some other news we are tracking tonight. For one, we are following
that story that Ben Jacobs was trying to ask Greg Gianforte about, for
which he was rewarded with broken glasses and a trip to the emergency room.
It`s the big policy story in Washington today that he was asking Gianforte
about – the Republican plan to get rid of Obamacare, to kill the
Affordable Care Act. That plan got its price tag today from the
nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

You might remember that the assessment, the CBO assessment of the last
version of the Republicans` health care bill said that version of the bill
would throw 24 million Americans off their health insurance. Well, now,
we`ve got the estimate on the newer version of the Republican bill, the one
House Republicans already passed a couple weeks ago, and the new estimate
says that their new bill will not throw 24 million Americans off their
health insurance. It will throw 23 million Americans off – 23 million
Americans off their health insurance instead. So, there`s that.

This is, again, the bill House Republicans already passed before they even
got this estimate of how much it would cost the country. The Senate still
has not acted on the bill. Now at least they know what it will do to the
country if they act on it.

So, we`re looking that, watching the implications and particularly the
prospects of whether that means health reform might pass.

Also getting some news from the president and his continued contacts with
foreign leaders, although in this case it`s not necessarily the ones he`s
visiting on his high-profile overseas trip. The new news about the
president and foreign leaders is that the government of the Philippines has
now released a transcript of their president talking to President Trump.

Now, we had heard about this conversation before but now some new details.
In addition to Trump praising Philippine President Duterte for drug
policies, thought to be responsible for the killings of thousands of
people, in addition to praising him for a great job on his drug policies,
the Filipino transcript, the Philippine government transcript of that
conversation also indicates that our president, president of the United
States, appears to have decided of had his own accord, once again, to blurt
out some fairly highly classified information to a foreign leader.

In this case, he appears to have given Duterte, President Duterte of the
Philippines, the location of two U.S. nuclear submarines.

Now, it`s one thing to tell other governments or to make public statements
about where our ships are. I mean, oftentimes, that`s not classified and
besides, especially a ship as big as an aircraft carrier, you can see them,
right? You can – if you look. But submarines, submarines are sub-marine
for a reason. The location of U.S. nuclear subs is classified information
that does not get publicized by the Pentagon, except in highly specific and
deliberate instances.

In this case, it was disclosed to the president of the Philippines
apparently just because the president was on the phone with him. So
there`s that.

Also tonight, CNN is reporting on the latest Russia trouble for the
attorney general, Jeff Sessions. Jeff Sessions, of course, was a key
member of the Donald Trump for president campaign. He was the earliest and
for a long time the only endorser of Donald Trump for president in the
United States Senate. We now know thanks to reporting from “The Washington
Post” that while Jeff Sessions was working on the Trump campaign, he took
at least two meetings with the Russian government. He took at least two
meetings with the Russian ambassador.

Now, at Jeff Sessions` confirmation hearing, he was asked directly if he
had contact with Russian officials during the campaign. Jeff Sessions
said, no, he hadn`t. Only after “The Washington Post” reported on Sessions
having those multiple Russian meetings did Sessions go back and
retroactively change the answers he had given to the Senate.

But now, after that, CNN reports that when Jeff Sessions applied for his
security clearance, once again he didn`t disclose his Russian meetings.

Now, the Department of Justice spokesperson is basically saying this is all
just a big misunderstanding. But if CNN`s reporting bears out here, that
would mean we have their national security adviser Mike Flynn on his
security clearance application not disclosing his multiple meetings with
Russian officials. It would mean we`ve also got senior presidential
adviser and favored son-in-law Jared Kushner also on his security clearance
application, also not disclosing is multiple meetings with Russian

And now, in addition to that, we`ve got the sitting attorney general of the
United States on his security clearance application not disclosing his
multiple meetings with Russian officials. Why this pattern?

Also, “The New York Times” reports tonight that U.S. intelligence agencies
last summer received information about, quote, senior Russian intelligence
and political officials discussing top Trump aides Mike Flynn and Paul
Manafort. These top Russian officials essentially bragging about their
links to Flynn and Manafort in talking about exerting influence over then
presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Now, this report on the front page of “The New York Times” tonight, it
follows CNN reporting from a few days ago about Russian officials being
heard on intercepted phone calls bragging about their ties to Mike Flynn
specifically. Now, “The Times” report tonight expands that to include both
Flynn and Manafort although they don`t say if these Russian communications
that the U.S. intelligence community got access to were intercepted phone
calls or something else. In fact, “The Times”, if you read it closely,
isn`t even saying directly that U.S. agencies did this surveillance
directly themselves.

There`s also another piece of this that came into focus in a strange way.
A week after the inauguration, and we now know it was the day before Sally
Yates, the acting attorney general, went up to the White House to warn the
White House that the Justice Department believed the new national security
adviser was compromised by the Russians, the day before Sally Yates went up
with that blockbuster warning about Mike Flynn, which the White House had
no reaction to for 18 days, the day before she went up to the White House ,
this strange and sort of low-profile story appeared on the inside pages of
the “New York Times.”

Top Russian cyber crimes agent arrested on charge of treason. Now, we had
also picked this up it at the time from some Russian news sources, but “The
Times” when they did their reporting, they added a lot to our understanding
of it, and it was just a fascinating thing. This was reported, again, in
late January, but the thing that happened they`re reporting on happened the
month before in December and it was quite dramatic. In December, there had
been a high-level meeting at the FSB, the Russian spy service that used to
be the KGB.

It was an FSB meeting of basically their cyber unit, what they called their
information security department. And at that meeting, at the FSB,
apparently, officers burst into the room, grabbed the deputy chief of the
information security department at the FSB. They threw a bag over his head
and they dragged him out of the room in front of everybody else.

This is a very senior FSB officer in the cyber unit getting bagged and
dragged out of a meeting at the FSB and there was no reporting about it at
all in Russia or here for a few weeks. But then the following month we did
find out about it when we found out he was being charged with treason.

“The New York Times” called it one of the highest profile detentions for
treason within the FSB since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Intriguing
story, weird story when it happened. It was reported and discussed here in
the United States first because it`s like a big John Le Carre deal, right,
when a senior FSB officer gets his head bagged and gets dragged out of a
room at the FSB, right? That`s just a big deal.

But it also got traction and got discussed here specifically because that
unit of the FSB whose deputy chief was arrested in that way his FSB unit
was implicated by U.S. intelligence agencies in the attack on the U.S.
presidential election last year. His unit is one of the Russian government
entities that was named by the U.S. intelligence community as having
carried out the attack on our election. And then he gets arrested for
treason, for helping or providing information to a foreign power against
Russia`s interests.

And that arrest also came as U.S. intelligence agencies started collecting
information on that Russian attack that his unit was part of. That arrest
also happened as that unconfirmed dossier of supposed dirt that the
Russians had on Donald Trump started to circulate. We`re still describing
it as an unconfirmed dossier although some things have been borne out by
subsequent reporting, which means that Christopher Steele, the MI-6 agent
in the U.K. who put that together had sources inside Russia or connected to
Russia who were feeding him true information about what Russia was doing to
attack our election.

So when people get arrested and charged with treason in Russia, not
surprisingly, they tend to disappear. So, we don`t know much more about
the case even now since that first report surfaced in January.

But today, another piece of that story suddenly got lit up because there
was another person who was arrested in Russia at the same time as that top
FSB official, the guy who got the bag over his head and dragged out of the
meeting and charged with treason. There was another person arrested at the
same time. According to “The New York Times”, it was, quote, one of
Russia`s leading private sector cyber security experts, the head of
computer incident response investigations at a company called Kaspersky

Kaspersky Labs, you`ve heard that name before. They are well known
computer that sells tons of consumer friendly antivirus software in the
United States. Millions of Americans used it.

But Kaspersky Labs is a company that is based in Moscow. They have faced
persistent questions about their links to the Russian government and
Russian intelligence. The head of Kaspersky Labs says he has nothing to do
with the Russian government and nothing to do with Russian intelligence,
but those questions have persisted and U.S. intelligence officials have
been outspoken about their suspicions about Kaspersky Labs and their links
to the Russian government.

Back in January, we learned that a top guy from Kaspersky Labs was arrested
in Russia, alongside the deputy chief of the FSB unit that was implicated
in the attack on our election.

Then in March, Congressman Elijah Cummings in the House Oversight Committee
released information that Mike Flynn, Trump`s national security adviser,
had not just been paid by RT, by Russian state-run television. Mike Flynn
had also been paid by speaking gigs by a Russian cargo plane company and
also by Kaspersky Labs.

And now tonight, ABC News reports that the Senate Intelligence Committee
met behind closed doors today in classified session for a briefing from top
FBI and Homeland Security officials on Kaspersky Labs.

So, we`re following these threads. The Senate Intelligence Committee got a
closed door briefing today on a Russian firm that is linked to Mike Flynn
that is also linked to that mysterious treason arrest at the FSB right
after our election.

That`s – those are the dots. I do not know what the connections are
between the dots or if there are any, but this is one of those nights
things are sort of moving fast. We are following a bunch of different news
stories tonight.

I`m going to take a break right now because we are hoping to check in with
Ben Jacobs, with “The Guardian” newspaper reporter who says he was
physically attacked by the Republican candidate for that Montana
congressional seat tonight where the election is tomorrow. Ben Jacobs was
taken from the scene of the alleged attack by ambulance to a nearby medical
center, and we`re going to have more on that story next, including what we
hope will be an interview with Ben Jacobs.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: I have covered a lot of weird things in politics particularly in
state-level politics. This is one of the strangest election eves I`ve ever
been part of covering, though.

We are following the special election in Montana for that state`s lone
congressional seat. Montana voters tomorrow will choose a replacement for
former Congressman Ryan Zinke, who got named secretary of the interior
under the new administration.

Now, Montana is a big state but there aren`t that many people in it. So,
the whole state is one big congressional district. This is a race for a
seat in the House of Representatives where the whole state gets to vote in
this election.

And this race to replace Ryan Zinke is between the Republican candidate on
the left side of your screen, Greg Gianforte, and the Democratic candidate
on the right side of your screen, Rob Quist.

And before tonight, you might have said both candidates have issues of
different kinds. They`ve each had their share of some embarrassing
headlines. The campaign has been interesting to watch. Both parties have
thrown considerable amount of money into this race, and we were sort of
planning on covering those elements of the race tonight. But what`s just
happened tonight on Montana on the eve of the special election is at a
whole other level.

Earlier this evening, but not that long ago, a reporter for “The Guardian”
newspaper, Ben Jacobs, just after 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time, he posted this,
quote: Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses.

And then a little while later, “The Guardian” newspaper which Ben Jacobs
works for, they posted audio of what happened. Here it is.


JACOBS: – the CBO score. Because, you know, you`ve been waiting to make
your decision about health care until you saw the bill, and it just came
out –

GIANFORTE: We`ll talk to you about that later.

JACOBS: Yeah, but there`s not going to be time. I`m just curious –

GIANFORTE: OK, speak with Shane, please.

JACOBS: But, you got to –

GIANFORTE: I`m sick and tired of you guys! The last guy that came in here
you did the same thing. Get the hell out of here!

JACOBS: Jesus!

GIANFORTE: get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing.
You with “The Guardian”?

JACOBS: Yes, and you just broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: The last guy did the same damn thing.

JACOBS: You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses.

GIANFORTE: Get the hell out of here.

JACOBS: You`d like me to get the hell out of here? I`d also like to call
the police. Can I get you guys` names?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, you got to leave.

JACOBS: He just body-slammed me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got to leave.


MADDOW: The reporter`s instinct there, turning to the other people in the
room who just presumably saw what happened, can I get your names? And they
forced him out of the room.

I also like him saying you`d like me to get the hell out of here, I would
like to call the police. Well, after the incident, the police were called.
Reporter Ben Jacobs apparently went to a local hospital where we are told
he is getting x-rays on his elbow.

We do know an ambulance arrived at the scene. We do know that medics
examined Ben Jacobs there.

We`ve also just gotten in the dispatch audio from the county sheriff.


DISPATCHER: – assault –

DISPATCHER: It`s right in the area of 228 Discovery Drive. RP states that
he was just assaulted by Greg Gianforte. States Greg body slammed him and
kicked his arm. RP has the recording it. Break.

We`re sending medical to the RP. His name is Ben Jacobs.

DISPATCHER: Stage for law enforcement for an assault.

Stage for law enforcement for an assault.

FIRST RESPONDER: I`m on scene for staged law enforcement at 212 Discovery.


MADDOW: We`re sending medical to the RP. The RP in the case is the
reporting party, meaning this is the person who called it in.

This is – this is – dispatch audio for the local police being called to
the scene and trying to get the interview with the person who`s been x-
rayed at the local – this is not the way we usually spend the eve of an
election in this country. I mean, allegations of a politician assaulting a
reporter are not how we do politics anywhere in America.

Within the past few minutes the Greg Gianforte campaign has released a
statement with their version of what happened. I`m just going to read it
to you in full.

Quote: Tonight, as Greg was giving a separate interview in a private
office, “The Guardian`s” Ben Jacobs entered the office without permission,
aggressively shoved a recorder in Greg`s face and began asking badgering
questions. Jacobs was asked to leave. After asking Jacobs to lower the
recorder, Jacobs declined. Greg then attempted to grab the phone pushed in
his face. Jacobs grabbed Greg`s wrist and spun away from Greg pushing them
both to the ground.

It is unfortunate that this aggressive behavior from a liberal journalist
created this scene at our campaign volunteer barbecue.

That is the statement tonight from the campaign for Greg Gianforte,
Republican for Congress in Montana, apparently from the statement alleging
that he was assaulted by Ben Jacobs, by the reporter.

As I said we are trying to get Ben Jacobs on the line from the hospital.
We believe that he is being x-rayed right now or that he has just been x-
rayed and I`m not going to bring him on the air with us.

But he did call my dear colleague Chris Hayes from the hospital at a time
not that long ago and explained in his words what happened from his
perspective. We have that.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Right now, we have Ben Jacobs.
That`s “The Guardian” reporter in Bozeman, Montana, who has been covering
the congressional race that is set to have an election tomorrow, who says
he was body slammed tonight by the Republican candidate, Greg Gianforte.

Ben, are you there?

BEN JACOBS, REPORTER, THE GUARDIAN (via telephone): I`m here. Thanks for
having me.

HAYES: Are you OK?

JACOBS: I`m going to get my elbow checked out. I landed on my elbow, and
it`s not – it`s less than comfortable. I`m making sure that it`s OK
because I`m one-handed typing right now.

HAYES: Can you – so you were at this event. It was at a campaign stop
with volunteers. And there was a room that the candidate was in. He was
going to do a TV interview. Take us through what happened.

JACOBS: So that he was doing a TV interview, and I`d been pressing the
campaign for a few days to sort of grab Gianforte one-on-one. And they
told me that they decided in the past they weren`t. And I just want to –
I figured he was standing around there and just to reach out and get his
response to the CBO score that he had been talking about that he`d been
holding off his opinion on health care, we understand, until he saw the CBO

But went up and asked him about it and sort of said – you know, tried to -
- he said, talk to my communications person, I just followed up and said,
you know, you`ve been talking about this. Just wanted to get your

And then he sort of said, no, I`ve had enough. And next thing I know, I`m
being body slammed. And he – you know, he`s on top of me for a second.
My glasses are broken. It`s the strangest – the strangest moment in my
entire life reporting.

HAYES: Does he scream and raise his voice while he does it, or he just
body slams you?

JACOBS: I mean, the audio said that he sort of, talk to my communications
person. I said (ph), just a follow-up, and he grabs my recorder, and the
audio should be up right now on “The Guardian”.

And, yes, throws me down. My glasses break. He sort of, I think – I`m
pretty sure he`s on top of me wailing for a second, and then screams at me
to get the hell out. And then his staffer comes in and it`s just very
strange and mortifying because, you know, I`m used to – I don`t mind being
blown off by politicians, and I also am always terribly uncomfortable being
part of a story. And now, it seems like I became the story.


MADDOW: Ben Jacobs, reporter for “The Guardian,” speaking with colleague
Chris Hayes not long ago this evening after he says he was body slammed by
the Republican candidate who is running for Congress in Montana.

I will tell you, in terms of figuring what happened here, obviously, the
Gianforte campaign has released a statement here essentially saying that
Ben Jacobs was the assaulter here and that he – what was the phrase they
used? That he grabbed Greg by the wrist. He grabbed Greg`s wrist and spun
away from Greg pushing them both to the ground. Essentially counter-
accusing the reporter of having assaulted the candidate.

The one public witness statement that we have here is from Alexis Levinson,
who is a reporter for “BuzzFeed News”, who was also covering this event
that Ben Jacobs was covering and what she described on Twitter, she says
this happened behind a half closed door so I did not see it all. But here
is what it looked like. Ben walked no a room where a local it TV room was
set up for Gianforte. All of a sudden, I heard a joined crash and saw
Ben`s feet fly in the air as he hit the floor, heard very angry yelling, as
did all the volunteers in the room, sounded like Gianforte.

So, we`re expecting that the sheriff`s department may make further
statements about this tonight. We expect the people of Montana will
probably make a statement about it tomorrow. I mean, up until now, the
Montana special election for this congressional seat had been considered
kind of a tossup which is remarkable.

Montana hasn`t sent a Democrat to Congress since the late `90s. Montana is
notoriously difficult to poll. Donald Trump winning the state by 20
points. What does that mean for a congressional election that comes
thereafter? We don`t know.

Coming into this election eve, the outcome had already been anybody`s
guess. But what happens now with police involved, with an ambulance ride
involved, with a reporter being x-rayed for injuries with broken glasses,
with witness statements about what happened – I mean, how this plays with
the voters, who knows? And what this does to our politics, we`ll see.

Polls start opening in Montana tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. local time. We will
keep you posted.


MADDOW: So we`re still keeping our eyes on this remarkable turn of events
in Montana tonight where they`re prepping for a congressional election
tomorrow, and a reporter for “The Guardian” newspaper tonight apparently
made an audio recording while the Republican candidate and he got into some
sort of physical altercation – a physical altercation after which the
reporter had to go to the hospital for x-rays. He says he was body slammed
by the Republican candidate in the race. The Republican candidate has put
out a statement saying it went exactly the opposite way.

We will let you know more about that tonight as we learn more, including
the physical status of the reporter and whether charges are going to be
filed. But if you`re thinking about what might happen in that Montana race
tomorrow in terms of its results, that was expected to be that very close
race tomorrow, which is interesting enough, there were also two surprise
election results just yesterday that you might want to factor into your
thinking in terms of the electoral politics part of this.

In the great state of New Hampshire, in Carroll County, which includes the
Republican leaning town of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, yesterday, a Democrat
defeated the Republican for a seat in the New Hampshire House. The vote
was 811-755 which shows you what small scale politics this is.

But according to the town clerk, this was the first time a Democrat was
elected to the state house from the town of Wolfeboro since 1913, over a
century. So, that was an upset last night in that one special election in
New Hampshire.

The same kind of thing happened in Long Island in New York. In the 9th
assembly district of New York, a state lawmaker seat. In that special
election, a progressive union-backed Democrat beat the conservative
candidate, and this is notable because, again, it happened in what is
considered to be another heavily Republican seat.

But a Democrat was able to pull off that win. She won that New York
assembly seat by 16 points, 58 percent to 42 percent. Yes, these are
little races. These are local legislative seats. They are not the most
consequential elections in the world except for people who live in those

But you can see Democrats getting super excited about even little elections
like that and what the small scale results might portend for bigger
elections coming up like, say, the congressional race, which is a statewide
race, in Montana tomorrow which has just been turned upside-down.

We are living in weird times in more ways and at more levels than one.


MADDOW: The value of the ruble is low against the U.S. dollar. One ruble
is a little less than two pennies which causes problems if you`re Russian
and you`re trying to buy things made in another country. It also poses
particular challenges, though, if you need to turn a lot of rubles into a
lot of dollars. For example, if you wanted to end up with, like, $10
billion, you`d need to start with 563 billion rubles. That would get you
$10 billion U.S. dollars.

And I single out that amount because that`s how much money a group of super
rich Russians snuck out of Russia using a major internationally known bank,
at least according to U.S. prosecutors. It`s part of a money-laundering
scheme 2011 or so, involving Deutsche Bank, a major bank. American federal
and state regulators say that what Deutsche Bank did was basically take in
money that the Russian clients had obtained through insalubrious means.
They took in those ill-gotten rubles and basically helped the Russians wash
those rubles through the stock market so what they got on the other side of
it were clean U.S. dollars.

Prosecutors say this big bank, Deutsche Bank, helped these Russians move a
ton of their dirty money out of Russia, $10 billion worth of money. Now,
the bank has already coughed up fines, big fines to the state of New York
and to the U.K. because the transactions also went through London.
Altogether, Deutsche Bank has paid finds of $630 million for its part in
the Russian money laundering scheme.

Today, we learned another shoe may drop for them. “Bloomberg” reports
today that Deutsche Bank, in addition to that previous liability, they may
be close to settling with the U.S. Federal Reserve, with the Feds, for
their role in the Deutsche Bank money laundering scheme. They`re about to
make another payout for letting billions of dollars move out of Russia
through their bank.

How big a problem is that for Deutsche Bank? And the reason I ask is not
because of the fullness of my heart for Deutsche Bank, it`s because of the
other brand-new problem that Deutsche Bank just got today. Today, the
Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee sent a letter to the
head of Deutsche Bank and asked him to fork over to Congress any documents
from the bank`s own review of this whole Russian money laundering mess, and
they also want information about Deutsche Bank`s dealing with the president
of the United States, specifically the $300 million in loans the sitting
president still apparently owes back to that bank.

Quote, from their letter: Congress remains in the dark on whether loans
Deutsche Bank made to President Trump were guaranteed by the Russian
government or were in any way connected to Russia.

I`ve always thought of these things as two different stories, Deutsche Bank
having this Russian money laundering problem and Deutsche Bank being the
largest known lender to Donald Trump. I`ve never thought about the two
stories being the same story.

Are they? How would we know?

I mean, House Democrats alone can`t force Deutsche Bank to turn over
anything. They need the Republican colleagues to help them because they`re
in the minority.

But why are they asking? Is there any reason to believe those two stories
are connected? And are they likely to learn anything this way? How is
Deutsche Bank going to respond?

Joining us now is Greg Farrell. He`s the investigative reporter on the
legal enforcement team at “Bloomberg News”.

Mr. Farrell, I appreciate your reporting tonight.


MADDOW: You know this stuff infinitely better. I can barely spell bank.

But am I right to say that the Deutsche Bank Russian money-laundering
liability and them being an outstanding lender of considerable size to
Donald Trump, those have been seen as very separate issues, haven`t they?

FARRELL: Yes, that`s correct.

MADDOW: The House Democrats seem to be connecting them in their letter.
Is that fishing or is there any reason to ask the questions they`re asking?

FARRELL: They`re suggesting it but there`s no evidence right now. The
problem for the White House with all of the noise around Russia is that it
leads to questions like this being asked, since a number of questions have
not been asked thoroughly in other areas of Russia, it sort of opens up the
possibility, well, maybe there`s some connection here.

But we don`t have any evidence that there`s any connection between the
mirror trading in Russia and the loans made by Deutsche Bank`s private bank
a few years ago to then Donald Trump private citizen.

MADDOW: And the mirror trading – this money laundering scheme, obviously,
we`ve seen them settle with the U.K. We`ve seen them settle with New York
state authorities.


MADDOW: Now it appears they`re settling with –

FARRELL: The Federal Reserve.

MADDOW: Yes. There had been questions, I think – not so much questions
as to more like worries that maybe the federal government under President
Donald Trump with his personal debt being held by Deutsche Bank, that maybe
there`d be some question as to whether or not they`d continue to be as
aggressive with Deutsche Bank as they were before.

Was there any sign any of that changed in the time Trump has been

FARRELL: Well, so, this will be a signal case to answer that question,
because this is a serious matter. We have serious prosecutors here in
Manhattan at the U.S. attorney`s office, as well the main Justice
Department has spent a lot of time and energy on this. So, I think after
whatever decision they come to will tell a lot about how serious they`re
taking this.

MADDOW: How big is this – the mirror trading, the Russian money
laundering, liability for Deutsche Bank? Is this an existential challenge
for the bank? Is this something they`re looking at potentially crippling

FARRELL: About a year ago, a year and a half ago one might have thought
that. But I don`t think so now. I have no idea because the Feds have been
very tightlipped about how they`re doing this but some signals we have are
the fines that have arrived already. It`s not as though the New York state
regulator asked for $2 billion signaling the Fed – that the Justice
Department might go much higher.

The bank, as we reported today, has had a number of other run-ins with the
U.S. regulatory system and at least one deferred prosecution. And it`s
within the power of the Justice Department to say, OK, we might tear that
up and force you to make a plea in this previous case because of your
conduct here. But I don`t see it as existential.

MADDOW: And we`ll know. I guess we`ll know when we know.

FARRELL: Yes, exactly.

MADDOW: We can guess about it before it happens but we`ll know when we

Greg Farrell, investigative reporter on the legal enforcement team at
“Bloomberg” – very clarifying. Thank you for being here.

FARRELL: Thank you so much.

MADDOW: Good to have you here, sir.

All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: There is an increasingly widespread expectation that this new
administration for all its problems and concerns, they may be about to send
lots more American troops into battle. This administration interestingly
early on just stopped announcing their new deployments into Iraq and Syria.
Then they announced the White House would basically stop deciding about
deployments and just let the Pentagon do what it wants.

The war in Afghanistan may be getting thousands more American troops
anytime soon. Already, we are seeing new deployments back to parts of
Afghanistan that Americans fought in years ago but they haven`t fought in
since. As the marines went back into Helmand Province a couple weeks ago,
this was the headline in “The Guardian,” quote: It feels like Groundhog

I think the American people have a lot of bandwidth right now for paying
attention to this administration and particularly where this administration
is going wrong. At the point they`re not just going wrong in Washington, I
think it remains an open question whether we have the bandwidth as a
country to stay up on, to focus on, to even fight amongst ourselves about
when they`re going wrong involving the military, when they are going wrong
involving national security, when they are going wrong about sending young
men and women into harm`s way.

One pressing question about that right now is, can the movies maybe help
with that?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, listen up. This is going to be tough. I`m not
going to mince words about this. This will be tough.

This will probably be the toughest mission that any of you will all
experience. This is the real deal. Marjah is Taliban ground zero.

This is going to be IEDs everywhere. This is going to be their best guys,
and they`re going to be prepared.

They know we`re coming, gentlemen. They`ve known we`re coming for weeks.
So, don`t be under any illusion. This will get ugly.

We`re going to lose, guys. I am not going to lie to you about that. There
will be casualties.

But if you keep your wits about you, if you have faith in your ability, if
you have faith in the ability of the men next to you, you will come out the
tail end of this.

I have faith in you. I know who you are. You are proud members of the
toughest (EXPLETIVE DELETED) fighting force this world has ever known.

Carry that knowledge with you. Carry it with pride. Do you understand me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you understand me?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s right. And any of you so inclined, I`m going to
ask this chaplain to say a prayer for us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, captain.

Let us pray. Almighty God, as these Marines prepare for battle, we pray
that your holy spirit will guide them.


MADDOW: That is from a new movie that comes out this week. It`s called
“War Machine.” You might have heard that Brad Pitt is the lead.

The actor Scoot McNairy plays Michael Hastings. In 2010, journalist
Michael Hastings published a profile in “Rolling Stone” magazine of General
Stanley McChrystal, who was then the commanding U.S. general in
Afghanistan, and famously, Michael`s profile of General McChrystal ended
McChrystal`s military career.

That profile eventually became a book. That book became this new movie,
which launches on Netflix on Friday. And Michael Hastings did not live to
see it. He died in 2013.

But Michael was a friend of mine. He was a transient critic of the
counterinsurgency doctrine that kept the war in Afghanistan going for so
long. And now, maybe his work and Brad freaking Pitt is the one thing that
can get the country talking and fighting about the Afghanistan war again as
this truly unimaginable new commander-in-chief apparently is trying to
start it back up again with gusto.

Joining us now is a woman who was married to the late Michael Hastings, my
friend Elise Jordan.

Elise, it`s great to see you.


MADDOW: I picked that clip because I found it riveting, but also I think
one of the things that has been lost as people started to hear about the
film is that it`s very pro-soldier. It`s very pro-people fighting this
war, to the point where it really dwells on difficult conversations and
confrontations between troops on the ground and military leaders, and
difficult conversations between military leaders and civilian leaders.

Reading Michael`s book, knowing how he approached this, seeing the movie,
it makes me feel like we are so far from being able to do that as a
country, to have those hard conversations. Do you feel that way?

JORDAN: Well, what I am just so shocked about is that it`s 2017, and this
book came out in 2012. The original story was published in 2010. And we
literally are having the exact same debate over again that more troops in
Afghanistan will bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.

The Taliban didn`t come to the negotiating table when there were 100,000
foreign troops in Afghanistan. I don`t think another five or six are going
to change the tide. That was what this book and the film is about, just
the hubris that goes into a lot of these wars in thinking that we can
control something militarily without – in incomplete absence of a broader

Right now, I think that`s what we`re seeing with President Trump`s
strategy. It`s just the continued militarization of American foreign
policy, without an ambassador in Afghanistan these days. Yet we might add
more troops.

MADDOW: And the movie ends obviously Michael`s book and his reporting was
about very much making all of the different personalities, at all these
different levels the decision tree, making them leap off the page and make
you learn something about this you never thought you would know.

But there is the overall structural thing here, which is that this is the
longest war in American this. There has been Americans killing and dying
in Afghanistan since 2001, and this debate about whether marginal new
numbers are going to somehow turn things around. It feels to me like a
specialist debate. It`s like for people who are involved in high level
foreign policy discussions rather than anybody for Congress feeling like
they didn`t need to compete on those grounds.

That`s the part of it that`s getting worse, not better over time.

JORDAN: Well, just the common sense element of, hey, let`s look at what
we`re doing here. Maybe if we`re reinventing the wheel every year, and
literally a new group of people comes in every year, the, you know,
transfer, deployments. And if results stay the same, maybe we should
reevaluate what we`re doing.

And why with the original profile, Michael was interested in how everyone
in this rarefied world of media and national security, they knew the
ambassador and the general couldn`t stand each other. They knew there was
so much dysfunction at the high levels of the war. And yet, we expect
these men and women go out to Helmand and practice counterinsurgency and to
do the absolute impossible.

And so, he wanted to write about it. There`s such a disconnect between the
upper echelons that are supposed to be navigating this war that how can we
expect to have a result that is worth sending young American men and women
to die for.


JORDAN: And I think that`s the thing that the movie hits so – it hits it
very well, and also Michael`s humor comes out, too. Just because you can`t
look at what has happened and not notice just the complete absurdity that
surrounds these war zones and how we go about creating mini Americas over

MADDOW: Elise Jordan, thank you for shepherding this through so that it
gets to happen. I mean, when Michael died, one of the things that happened
you inherited his legacy and how we would all continue to live it and
continue to learn from him, which I know has not been the easiest thing in
your life. So thank you for doing that.

JORDAN: Thank you for having me, Rachel. Thanks for being a supporter.

MADDOW: All right.

Elise Jordan is my guest. The movie is called “War Machine.” It launches
on Netflix on Friday. Brad Pitt, Scoot McNairy, Tilda Swinton, Ben
Kingsley, who is astonishing. You should watch it. “War Machine.”

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: So we are awaiting a live press conference. It`s scheduled for
the next hour from the county sheriff in Montana, the Gallatin County
sheriff is expected to provide more details on this bizarre incident
tonight in Montana between a reporter and the Republican candidate for
Montana`s lone congressional seat, a candidate in a election that`s due to
be held tomorrow.

The reporter for “The Guardian” newspaper, Ben Jacobs, tonight, made an
audio recording of his interactions with Republican candidate Greg
Gianforte while clearly some physical altercation took place between them.

Now the reporter said consistently that he was body slammed by the
Republican candidate. An account from another reporter who partially
witnessed the incident would seem at least to back him up on that. But the
candidate put out a statement tonight saying no, basically that he was
assaulted by the reporter.

So this is a bizarre turn for the night before that big election. The
county sheriff there is going to be holding a press conference in that
incident very soon. MSNBC will keep you updated tonight as we learn more.

But that does it for us. We`ll see you again tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD.”

Ari Melber sitting in for Lawrence tonight.

Good evening, Ari.


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