The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 9/13/17 Trump/Russia and Michael Flynn’s son
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: September 13, 2017
Guest: Mark Warner
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You are very kind and also a very good pitch
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, “ALL IN”: It`s true, though. I mean, that`s what
I`m most – I`m excited for you to interview her, but I think the thing I`m
most excited about is these usually are done in these sort of settings
where it`s not like – it just doesn`t have the freason (ph) of live
television, which – is a really a totally different thing. So, I`m
psyched that that`s the way this is happening.
MADDOW: Thank you. Well, it`s true because it`s unedited. It`s true
because it`s live and in the moment.
HAYES: You`re watching it.
MADDOW: And because she`s going to be here right on set. I couldn`t be
MADDOW: Thank you, my friend. Thanks, Chris.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. That interview with
Hillary Clinton will be live at this hour tomorrow night.
You know, when presidents and prime ministers and kings and queens and
members of various royal families come to visit to the United States, there
is a modern tradition, there`s modern diplomatic protocol that anybody in
that kind of a foreign leadership role notifies the U.S. government if they
are coming to the U.S.
So, any sort of world leader, any sort of significant member of a royal
family, if any of them are going to be present on U.S. soil, the United
States government expects to know about it in advance for security reasons
if nothing else. And it`s a pretty closely held protocol. That is the way
Well, this past December, December 2016, that protocol was broken because a
very senior member of the Emirati royal family, the crown prince of the
United Arab Emirates, he came to the United States in December in secret.
He did not notify the Obama administration. He did not notify the U.S.
government that he was coming and that`s weird.
That said, it`s not like he didn`t get noticed. He`s pretty high-profile
international figure. And U.S. intelligence agencies picked up the fact
that he was here. And his visit and their surveillance of his visit
presumably was way more intriguing to the intelligence community than it
might normally have been under normal circumstances, specifically because
he tried to sneak in, right?
You see somebody doing something like that`s a routine thing that they let
you know they`re going to do in advance and you pay attention, but you
don`t really pay that much attention. You find somebody sneaking in and
trying to do something without telling the government that he`s here,
they`re going to focus on that.
So, this guy didn`t tell the Obama administration that he was coming. The
intelligence community picked up that he was here and what they picked up
when they monitored his undeclared visit was that the crown prince of the
United Arab Emirates came to New York City and he came to Trump Tower for a
meeting. In December 2016, undisclosed to the U.S. government, the Emirati
crown prince met at Trump Tower with these guys, with Mike Flynn, soon to
be national security adviser, Steve Bannon, soon to be White House senior
strategist, and Jared Kushner, America`s own crown prince.
CNN reports today that when Obama national security adviser Susan Rice
unmasked the names of these three Americans, these three Trump advisers in
an intelligence intercept, it was because she was looking at an
intelligence intercept trying to figure out what the Emirati crown prince
was doing in the United States on this visit that he explicitly did not
declare with the U.S. government.
And that`s exactly the kind of circumstances under which national security
officials would unmask a U.S. name on an intelligence intercept, right? If
you need to do that in order to figure out what some foreign surveillance
target was up to in this country.
Well, in this case it turns out what he was up to was a secret meeting at
Trump Tower with Flynn and Bannon and Kushner.
That meeting at Trump Tower was on December 11th. And then the Emirati guy
turned up again. A month later, the same Emirati crown prince turned up in
the Seychelles islands for a meeting that was later reported out by “The
Washington Post.” This time in January, it was the Emirati crown prince
organizing the meeting. But the people having the meeting were Erik
Prince, major Trump donor, the founder of the controversial private
security firm Blackwater and incidentally the brother of education
secretary, Betsy DeVos.
So, it`s Erik Prince and that stealthy crown prince who had secretly been
meeting with Flynn and Bannon and Kushner at Trump Tower the month before.
He went to the Seychelles to set up Erik Prince in a meeting with a Russian
guy, with a representative of Vladimir Putin`s office.
As “The Washington Post” reported, the secret meeting in the Seychelles
between Trump`s representative, Erik Prince, and Putin`s representative, it
was set up by the Emirati crown prince and it was designed basically to set
up a secret back channel for communication between the Putin camp and the
Now, Erik Prince, Betsy DeVos` brother, he denies that that`s what that
meeting was about. He has admitted, yes, he was in the Seychelles. Yes,
it was a meeting set up by the Emirati crown prince. Yes, maybe he met the
Putin guy, but he says it was nothing. Or if it was anything, it was just
And just business is becoming kind of a theme of the day today. And, you
know, there`s a whole bunch of news going on right now.
Just this hour, we`ve got Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence
Committee who`s here tonight for the interview. We`ve got Katy Tur here
tonight. We`ve got news from the Virgin Islands where these ad hoc
evacuations continue to be under way seven days after Hurricane Irma hit.
We`ve got news from Florida today where a second nursing home was evacuated
late today after eight elderly people died at one facility in Hollywood,
Florida, despite the fact that this was literally across the street from a
hospital that was open and didn`t lose power during the storm.
Halfway around the world in Belarus, Russia is starting what`s happened to
be the largest Russian military exercise/demonstration since the Cold War.
There are significant fears as to whether or not this thing that Russia is
doing really is just an exercise or whether this might be designed to mask
the start of some other Russian military operation, which is what they did
at the start of the Ukraine invasion in 2014.
So, there`s lots going on right now. Lots worth keeping an eye on. A
bunch of that we`re going to be discussing this hour.
But today, just a ton of news broke on the Trump Russia investigation. And
in particular on the business side, on the business and financial ties that
seem to form this sticky web that is catching all the bugs here. Apart
from the CNN news that Susan Rice appears to have unmasked American names
from that Trump Tower meeting in December for a totally legit reason
related to a secret meeting held by a foreign leader without notice to the
U.S. government, apart from that news from CNN today, it was NBC News that
reported today that Mike Flynn`s son, Mike Flynn Jr. is himself subject of
an investigation by the former FBI Director Robert Mueller in his query
into links between the Trump campaign and the Russian attack on our
election last year.
Mike Flynn`s son is not an intelligence professional. His background,
reportedly he`s got an associates degree in golf course management. But
family business is family business, and his dad was certainly an
intelligence professional, and Mike Flynn Jr. was reportedly employed by
his dad at his dad`s consulting company. He served as his dad`s chief of
staff and he reportedly accompanied his dad on his father`s trip to Russia
in 2015, where he attended the gala anniversary party for Russia Today, the
Russia state-run media company, and where his dad famously had dinner with
Vladimir Putin and then he led a standing ovation for Putin when Putin was
introduced at the event.
Mike Flynn Jr. also appears to have been involved in the effort by a
Republican donor to contact Russian government hackers to try to obtain
information on Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Shane Harris at “The
Wall Street Journal” obtained an e-mail that that Republican activist and
donor Peter Smith sent out to try to get outside experts on board with his
effort to reach Russian government hackers to get them to further their
attacks on Hillary Clinton.
In that e-mail, quote, Peter Smith offered to make introductions to Mr.
Flynn`s son, Michael J. Flynn, who worked as chief of staff in his father`s
company. Mr. Smith`s email mentioned the son among a small number of other
people he said were helping in his effort.
Quote: In phone conversations, Peter Smith told a computer expert he was in
direct contact with that Mr. Flynn and his son, the expert said an anti-
Clinton research document prepared by Mr. Smith`s group identified the
younger Mr. Flynn as someone who would be associated with the effort.
So, Mike Flynn`s son, Mike Flynn Jr., his alleged role in that effort to
collude with Russian hackers with the campaign that was exposed by “The
Wall Street Journal” in June. Now, today, NBC cites four current and
former government officials that he`s the subject of Robert Mueller`s
inquiry, as of course is Michael Flynn Sr.
And today, things got much worse in the reporting about him. Back in June,
Jeff Stein, who is really well sourced on intelligence issues, Jeff Stein
reported for “Newsweek” back in June that one of the business dealings that
Mike Flynn Sr. never disclosed when he got to Washington was a Russian
partnership he was pitching to build 16, count them, 16 nuclear power
plants in Saudi Arabia, which needs a lot of things, but nuclear power
probably isn`t one of them.
Jeff Stein published this piece in June about Mike Flynn`s involvement in
that businessman and about Flynn taking a trip to the Middle East to meet
with people and to promote this Saudi Russian financed nuclear deal.
Because Mike Flynn never disclosed anything about this on his security
clearance applications or on his White House financial disclosures, that
sparked the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel, and
the top Democrat on the Oversight Committee, Elijah Cummings, to write to
Flynn`s reported business partners in that deal to try to get more
information about this would-be gigantic Russian business deal that Flynn
was involved in that he never disclosed.
Well, today that blew up. It all started with that reporting in June about
Flynn`s involvement in that deal, but today is the day it blew up. And you
can see the chronology unfold here, right? So, in June, there`s this news
week story about the Russian nuclear deal and Mike Flynn. In June, right
after that, Eliot Engel and Elijah Cummings write to the businesspeople
Flynn was working on this deal with and they asked for information about
Those folks respond to that letter they send to Congress the requested
information about this would-be Russian deal and Mike Flynn`s involvement
and Mike Flynn`s trip to the Middle East to promote it. And now this
morning, this morning, Elijah Cummings and Eliot Engel make the whole thing
Quote: We are writing today to thank you for your responses and to request
additional information. First, your responses provide multiple independent
confirmations that General Flynn traveled to the Middle East to meet with
foreign government officials and foreign business associates in June 2015
to promote this U.S.-Russian nuclear power project. Based on your
responses, it appears that General Flynn violated federal law by omitting
this trip and these foreign contacts from his security clearance, renewal
application in 2016 and concealing them from security clearance
investigators who interviewed him as part of his background check process.
Since these violations carry criminal penalties of up to five years in
prison, we`re providing your responses to special counsel Robert Mueller.
Thanks for the info on this guy you were in business with. What you told
us means he`s going to prison.
The congressmen then asked for further documentation about Mike Flynn`s
communications with foreign governments and foreigners about this business
deal. They asked these business associates of Flynn to prepare to come in
and testify to Congress on these matters.
But then they raised this one very provocative question. This trip to the
Middle East to promote this plan, these payments that Flynn got to be
involved in this potential deal, was this just 2015? Did this thing
actually end then or did it keep going on? Is it still going on? Did
Flynn still have a hand in on this Russian nuclear deal during the
campaign? Maybe even while he feels in the White House?
Here is how they put it in the letter: Your responses suggest that you and
other officials at your companies may have discussed this matter with Trump
administration officials during and after Mike Flynn`s tenure at the White
House. Quote: The American people deserve to know whether General Flynn
was secretly promoting the private interests of these businesses while he
was a campaign adviser, a transition official or President Trump`s national
So, big new alarming question here, right, in terms of national security,
in terms of foreign influence on our own government, and in terms of
corruption and conflict of interest. Was the Trump national security
adviser, Mike Flynn, secretly pursuing or trying to advance a gigantic
Russian business deal? Or was he being paid to promote one while he was
working in the White House as national security adviser?
So, that letter raising that provocative question, that letter from
Cummings and Engel, that was in my e-mail inbox at 7:30 this morning. By
3:00 this afternoon, the answer had arrived in “The Wall Street Journal”.
See the headline: Flynn promoted nuclear plant project while in the White
This prospect raised by these congressmen this morning is answered and
confirmed by “The Wall Street Journal” this afternoon. “The Journal”
describes the Russian nuclear deal as potentially being worth hundreds of
billions of dollars. Once he was national security adviser in the Trump
White House, “The Journal” reports that Mike Flynn did direct National
Security Council staff to meet with the companies involved in the Russian
“The Journal” cites former national security adviser staffers as being
basically horrified by what Flynn was doing, describing what he did as,
quote, outside normal channels and, quote, not the way things were supposed
to go and, quote, highly abnormal. According to “The Journal”, the ethics
advisers on the National Security Council actually told Flynn to remove
himself from this project but quote, the activity continued.
So, if you`re keeping track at home, the man who Donald Trump installed as
the top national security official in the White House did not disclose
thousands of dollars he was paid by a Russian air cargo company that was
tied to the Russian government in the summer of 2015. He did not disclose
thousands of dollars he was paid by a Russian software company tied to the
Russian intelligence services in the fall of 2015. He did not disclose
thousands of dollars and a free trip to Moscow for him and his son that
were provided to him in the winter of 2015 by a Russian state-run media
company. Nor did he obtain permission from the U.S. military to take that
trip to Moscow to take that money from the Russian government or to meet
with Russian President Vladimir Putin, all of which he was supposed to do,
he was warned he was supposed to do it and he didn`t do it anyway.
He then did not disclose that entities linked to the Turkish government
were paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars to represent the Turkish
government`s interests during the campaign. He then did not disclose his
contacts with Russian government officials during the presidential
transition. He specifically did not disclose that his contacts with
Russian government officials during the campaign and during the transition
included him talking about Russian sanctions with them.
And now we know he didn`t disclose his paid involvement and his paid
foreign travel to promote a gigantic Russian nuclear business deal in the
Middle East in 2015 during the transition and even during his short-lived
time as national security adviser. And now, the special counsel would also
like a word with his son, please, as well.
At the national security blog “Just Security” today, they did a Q and A
with somebody that used to work in the Office of Legal Counsel at the White
House on this last point, on this last point that was disclosed today by
these two Democrats on the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Oversight
Committee. They asked about basically how big a legal deal it is that
Flynn didn`t disclose this Russian nuclear deal and the trip that he took
to promote it.
Quote: question, if Flynn did indeed take this Middle East trip about the
Russian nuclear deal and he failed to disclose it on his security clearance
form, is that significant? Answer, an undisclosed effort to help broker a
deal for Russian entities is a huge revelation in the context of the Russia
investigations. It could be significant legally as it relates to FARA, the
Foreign Agent Registration Act, false statements or Espionage Act
investigations. The legal significance for each would turn on the nature
of Flynn`s role in the deal and his mental state about his failure to
Follow-up question, at this point, is it safe to say that Flynn has some
serious criminal liability? Answer, Mike Flynn is in significant legal
jeopardy of criminal prosecution.
So, there is one report tonight that Mike Flynn is again resisting a
subpoena to testify to congressional investigators. I`m not sure whether
or not is that single report is true, but we can ask Senator Mark Warner
about it in just a minute since reportedly that`s a matter concerning his
But there`s also news tonight about that second item on the list. One of
those Russian linked companies that paid Mike Flynn, that he initially
didn`t think to mention when it came to his financial disclosures,
Kaspersky Labs is just one of at least three different Russian entities
that started shoveling money Mike Flynn`s way once Donald Trump started
running for president, all payments that Mike Flynn initially didn`t
Well, today, the Department of Homeland Security banned all U.S. federal
agencies from using that company`s software, because of concerns about
Kaspersky having links to Russian intelligence and the possible use of
Kaspersky`s software to help Russia spy around the world.
And whether or not that decision today to ban the use of Kaspersky software
by all federal agencies, whether or not that has any relationship to the
Russian attack on our election last year, Kaspersky is now just one of a
number of tech companies that find itself at the center of these
Within the past week, Facebook has just started to admit that they took
Russian money for ads tied to fake accounts that tried to influence
Americans during the election last year. Now, we know those efforts
included trying to gin up anti-immigrant protests in real life on U.S.
soil. Now, that Facebook is admitting to those things, there are
increasingly urgent questions about whether or not Facebook is going to
allow investigators to figure out if it was – if it was basically part of
the crime scene for what the Russians did last year and for the crucial
question of whether or not the Trump campaign participated in it.
But there`s one last hard thing that got reported today, and if you`ve been
keeping a close eye on the Mueller investigation as the best hope for
finding out what happened last year and for bringing charges against anyone
involved, then I think this may be worrying. It`s about the Mueller
investigation appearing to be stymied, appearing to be blocked in terms of
their access to potentially critical witnesses.
We have been worrying about this for the Mueller investigation for a while.
We got some good concrete reporting today about how those worries are
coming to fruition. That story is ahead with Senator Mark Warner with the
Senate Intelligence Committee. We`ve got lots going on tonight.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), VICE CHAIRMAN, INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE: Well, I`m
disappointed that when Facebook came and presented to the Senate Intel
staff, they didn`t lay out this incident.
REPORTER: You said Facebook didn`t originally disclose this piece of
WARNER: Just knowing, I don`t – let me recheck this, but I do not believe
that in the presentation they made to their staff that – our staff that
they disclosed this item.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Representatives from the company Facebook met with the Senate
Intelligence Committee staff last week. As of yesterday, the top Democrat
on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, said that
as far as he`s aware, Facebook didn`t disclose to his committee this new
information that`s now been reported by “The Daily Beast”, that in addition
to buying ads on Facebook to try to influence the election, Russian
operatives also used Facebook to try to organize in-person protests across
the United States during the 2016 campaign.
Joining us now for the interview is Senator Mark Warner. He`s vice chair
of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Senator Warner, really appreciate your time tonight. Thank you so much for
WARNER: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, let me ask you first. I have a few questions about this
MADDOW: Did Facebook disclose to your committee the fact that in addition
to Russia funding ads related to the election, they also used Facebook to
try to organize real events? Did they disclose that they`ve confirmed that
when they met with your committee?
WARNER: No, they did not. Facebook – we had made a request. They sent a
team in. And remember, we`re talking about Facebook where – which over
half of Americans use every day. We made these inquiries back last winter
saying that we had heard and we thought that Facebook was both being
manipulated by some of the Russians, that there were fake accounts, they
were using this to, in effect, geo-target ads at certain communities to try
to depress vote in the election.
And Facebook`s initial reaction was, oh, that`s crazy, there`s nothing
there. Well, we now come to find, again, Facebook that half the Americans
use to get their news from every day, that everything we said and more was
true. They came in, made a presentation, said there was $100,000 plus of
paid advertising. There were 3,000-plus ads purchased.
And in that presentation, they showed the staff, certain of those ads, but
they didn`t allow the staff to keep any of that material. And I went back.
I figured you`d ask this question, and to my knowledge, they made no
reference to this effort to try to bring about protesters to an anti-
Muslim, anti-immigrant rally.
It`s why I think that we`re still at the tip of the iceberg. The fact is,
I don`t think Facebook has put the resources, the time, and I think there`s
a lot more. They`ve discovered one of the troll farms that came out of St.
Petersburg. My understanding is they didn`t even go back and check all
those accounts to see if they had put out other ads.
We know from past reporting that there are a number of these troll and
other efforts, Internet-based efforts that came out of other countries in
Eastern Europe that Russia was known to organize. We`ve not had any
evidence that they investigated those efforts as well. So, I think there`s
a lot more questions. I believe I have more questions coming out of their
staff interview than got answered. But clearly, there`s a lot more
questions that need to be asked and answered.
MADDOW: And in terms of their willingness to answer those questions and
your ability to compel them to, I was interested to see Facebook`s response
to “Bloomberg News” today. “Bloomberg” was reporting on this controversy
over whether or not Facebook is essentially part of the crime scene here,
needs to be available to investigators.
And what Facebook told “Bloomberg” today was that they weren`t going to
share any more details about how their platform was used during the
campaign, quote, for operational and security reasons.
And I don`t know what that means. They`re also citing the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act as saying some of the information that you guys
want access to may be protected by that Privacy Act. Given the way they`re
sort of being resistant so far, do you feel like you and your committee
have the ability to compel them to give you access to that data if they`re
not inclined as a company to do it?
WARNER: Well, Facebook is a company that`s a remarkable American success
story. Lots and lots of people rely on Facebook, not only for news, but
for other information and communication. A lot of that is based on trust.
I would think that Facebook would want to cooperate with us. They`ve
indicated in other releases that they would cooperate. I acknowledge that
this is an area where it`s kind of the Wild, Wild West, and there may be
need for additional rules.
But let`s go through two or three facts that we do know. One, clearly,
there were Russians paying for ads on Facebook, and we`ll see if the same
is the case with Twitter when they come in and talk to us. And to me, that
appears to be inappropriate. We have prohibitions against somebody putting
a foreign-based TV ad on MSNBC. I believe those same rules should apply on
social media sites.
We also know as well that there is this inability to kind of look at the
content. There may be some ad that runs on your show that I dislike or
disregard, but as an American citizen, I`ve got a right to look at that
content. What I think Facebook is saying we have no right as Americans to
look at the content that`s being used to affect our political dialogue.
And third, you know, the question of the number of these fake accounts,
they said they`ve identified I believe 470 fake accounts that might have
been tied to Russia with this one troll farm. To me, I look and think back
and say, well, Facebook didn`t take this seriously in our election. But by
the time the French elections came in the spring, Facebook themselves
reported they took down 50,000 accounts, 50,000 in France and 470 in
America. To me, I believe that the Russian effort to interfere in our
elections both using Facebook and Twitter but also attacking 21 states
electoral systems, hacking into both political parties, releasing
information only against one, to me, it seems that the Russian intervention
in the American election was extensive, coordinated and frankly
I`ve got to believe if they took that much on, there`s probably more if –
to be discovered if they took down 50,000 sites in France. I would think
they`d see equivalent numbers in the American elections, but that`s why
they need to be a little more transparent and come forward.
MADDOW: And the transparency obviously applies not to just them policing
their own platform and understanding what`s going on in being transparent
about it, but also helping investigators piece together what may have
WARNER: Right. Facebook needs our trust as we go through this. They
don`t have any of the same rules that apply to broadcasting stations, but
as more and more Americans and folks around the world rely upon them, I
think it does raise a host of new questions about who is going to curate
the information, what kind of validity do we feel like the information
that`s coming over.
Sometimes, the ads are only a piece. If you`ve got a series of false
accounts liking certain groups or certain pages, that may drive those
groups higher on the algorithms that would then appear on your Facebook
newsfeed. So, a lot more questions to ask. And again, my hope that they
would work with us because this increasingly is going to be the way people
communicate in the political world.
MADDOW: Senator Warner, I have one more matter that I want to ask you
about, which is something that I don`t think anybody else is worried about,
but I am. And it`s bugging me. It`s about the progress of various
WARNER: The programs that I – there`s a lot of stuff to be worried about.
MADDOW: Oh, good. Well, I have one big worry to ask you about. Do you
mind just sticking around with us for just one more second?
MADDOW: All right. Senator Warner will be back with us in just a moment.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Last week, Manu Raju, who`s a really great reporter at CNN, he had
this scoop. The headline was intensifying Russia probes could pit Capitol
Hill against Robert Mueller.
That scoop last week was a big deal because it documented for I think the
first time a known conflict between Congress and the special counsel,
Robert Mueller. The conflict was about former Trump campaign chair Paul
In late July, you`ll remember that the FBI raided Manafort`s house in
Virginia. That raid came less than 24 hours after Manafort had done an
interview with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Now, what did Manafort say to that committee that day? What did he testify
about which now seems especially interesting if him showing up for that
testimony was what sparked the surprise raid on Manafort`s house that night
after he testified?
Well, we don`t know what Manafort said in that testimony. And maybe that`s
not that weird because it was behind closed doors. What does seem a little
weird is that Robert Mueller, the special counsel, doesn`t know what
Manafort said either.
Thanks to that CNN report last week, we know that Mueller`s office asked
for the transcript of Manafort`s interview with the committee and didn`t
get it. Whatever Manafort gave to Congress, Mueller has no idea which
strategically may be important if Mueller`s strategy is to lean on Paul
Manafort to try to flip him to then use his testimony against the White
House. That only works if he knows what Manafort`s testimony is before the
White House gets it from friendly congressman or senator on the Republican
Well, now today, Manu Raju at CNN further reports that the same thing has
happened with the Senate testimony from Donald Trump Jr. Donald Trump Jr.
spoke to staffers on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Robert Mueller`s
office reportedly wants the transcript of that interview, but the committee
at least thus far won`t give it to Mueller.
Two instances now Senate committees interviewing key witnesses apparently
before Robert Mueller does and his special counsel part of the
investigation, but then the committee`s have refused to give Mueller
transcripts of what those witnesses said once he asked.
I don`t mean to be blunt here and I don`t know how all these deconfliction
things work, but are these congressional investigations now blocking what
Robert Mueller was trying to do? We knew there was going to be conflict.
Is what`s happening on Capitol Hill investigating the Russia matter, is it
blocking what the special counsel is trying to do?
Joining us now once again is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence
Committee, Senator Mark Warner.
Senator Warner, what is wrong with my worry about this matter?
WARNER: Well, I can`t speak to what happened with Donald Trump Jr. and the
Judiciary Committee. We expect to have Donald Trump Jr. at some point in
the future. We want to actually do it in an appropriate way. We want to
try to talk to as many other people in the room as possible first before we
bring in Mr. Trump Jr.
In terms of Manu`s report on Paul Manafort, I believe it is a little bit of
a stretch. I think we will work through this. I think we want – I can
tell you, I want Mr. Mueller to have all the tools he needs to pursue his
investigation, which could end up being a criminal investigation. Ours is
a counterintelligence investigation.
In terms of the case of Mr. Manafort, Mr. Manafort changed lawyers during
this time period, and I believe that will – that issue will ultimately be
resolved in terms of everybody getting the appropriate documents and
information they need.
There will be – you know, we do have different goals. And I want Mr.
Mueller to be successful, but I also think we have and we`re one of the
last bipartisan investigations going in this process. We have an
obligation back to all the Senate as well as the American people to see how
Russia intervened in our elections, was there collusion between the Trump
campaign and the Russians? And our standard of evidence is actually
different than what Mr. Mueller may adhere to.
But this question of conflict, I know Manu and he`s a great reporter, but
in terms of how the Senate Intelligence Committee and the special
prosecutors getting along, I think we will work through all those issues.
MADDOW: But to be clear, about what you mentioned there about Mr. Manafort
changing lawyers in the middle of this process, are you saying that whether
or not Mueller gets the transcript of that interview will depend on what
Manafort`s lawyer decides in that matter? Isn`t the transcript the
property of your committee to do with it what you want?
WARNER: Well, Rachel, we are going through these witnesses. We`d much
rather try to go through these witnesses on a voluntary basis rather than
using subpoenas because we want to try to get as much information as we
We – I can assure you, from the committee`s standpoint, we`re going to
want to have Mr. Manafort back and have a chance for we as senators to
question him as well. And we expect that to happen and, again, I can
assure you on the macro level in that long list of what you`ve gone through
just tonight in your program on the things to be concerned about, there
were many other things earlier in the show that you listed. I`m not sure I
would keep – be awake all night on this issue. I think we are going to
continue to work through deconfliction with special prosecutor Mueller.
We`ve had a very good working relationship with him.
MADDOW: Senator Mark Warner, top Democrat, the vice chair of the Senate
Intelligence Committee – I know you do not do a ton of interviews, sir. I
really appreciate you being here with us tonight and I hope you come back.
Thanks for helping us understand.
WARNER: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Appreciate it.
All right. We`ve got much more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This week, there were two intriguing developments about Russian
propaganda outlets that were both reported out by Michael Isikoff at Yahoo
News. On Monday, it was the news that Sputnik, the Russia government
funded news agency, Sputnik is now under investigation by the FBI. An
investigation into whether Sputnik is acting as an undeclared propaganda
arm of the Kremlin in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
And yesterday came the news about Russia Today, RT, the U.S. affiliate of
Russia Today being notified by the Justice Department that they must
register as a foreign agent. That is disseminating propaganda in the
So, both Sputnik and RT starting to feel some heat in this country this
week, ten months after they were named by the intelligence – or eight
months after they were named by the intelligence community for their role
in the Russian attack last year on the U.S. election.
But if you`re looking for something in this field of study to keep you up
at night, consider this person. Her name is Yulia Latynina. This is her
announcing on Twitter on the right side of your screen there that she and
her family were fleeing Russia, fearing for her life.
I don`t speak or read Russian but the little part in blue there at the end
of her tweet, I am told reputably that what that says is #Putin. So, this
is her announcing that she`s leaving Russia in fear for her life #Putin.
Unsettled even when translated.
That news from her came 24 hours after she was awarded the Freedom of the
Press Prize by the Russian Journalism Union, which is a prize named after
Anna Politkovskaya, a famous Russian journalist who was killed, shot down
in the lobby of her apartment building in Moscow in 2006.
Anna Politkovskaya, for whom that award is named, she wrote for “Novaya
Gazeta”, which is an independent newspaper in Russia. This woman, Yulia
Latynina, also writes a column for “Novaya Gazeta”, the independent Russian
news organization that employed Anna Politkovskaya. She`s been one of the
Kremlin`s most outspoken critics.
But now, after winning this award for freedom of the press, she`s now
fleeing the country. Yulia Latynina says that she has endured a
frightening string of attacks earlier this month. Her car mysteriously
caught fire in what she believes is an assassination attempt. In July, her
home was gassed.
Last year when she was on her way to work, she was doused with a bucket of
feces. Her parents have already fled Russia in fear for their lives. Now
so has she.
The Russian newspaper, “Novaya Gazeta”, says that Yulia Latynina did not
say that she was going. They also said that she is, quote, unlikely to
return anytime soon.
Yulia Latynina claims that she was being followed. For a time, she had
police protection, but after her car was set on fire, she said she was too
scared and she left town. She left her home country.
She was very clear about the larger issue about with a why she was leaving.
The forces that incubated those attacks, “Moscow Times” reports that Yulia
Latynina believed, quote, the harassment resulted from an atmosphere of
hostility toward opposition politicians and journalists actively encouraged
by the Russian authorities.
That`s what life is like for journalists in Russia. You become one of the
most known columnists in the country. You write things critical of the
Kremlin. You win a freedom of the press award named for another acclaimed
journalist who was shot dead in her apartment building and ultimately, you
end up having to leave the country.
When those kinds of threats, that kind of hostility is aimed at journalists
around the world, we tend to take it seriously as a matter of press
freedom. We tend to hold ourselves up as a place that is a beacon for
press freedom despite threats to it around the world. And so, when we
start playing with that as a country, that`s playing with fire basically
for the whole world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They`re not reporting it.
Katy, you`re not reporting it, Katy. But there`s something happening,
Katy. There`s something happening, Katy.
She`s back there, little Katy. She`s back there. What a lie it was – no.
What a lie – Katy Tur.
Third-rate reporter. Remember that. Third rate. Third rate.
KATY TUR, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Does that not give you pause?
TRUMP: No, it gives me no pause if –
TUR: To have a foreign government able to –
TRUMP: You know what gives me more pause, that a American in our
government, crooked Hillary Clinton, here is what gives me –
TRUMP: – I know you want to save her.
TUR: The Pew Research which is independent.
TRUMP: Don`t be naive, you`re a very naive person.
TUR: The Pew Research says that for immigrants on the whole create –
TRUMP: Come on, try getting it out. Try getting it out.
TUR: I`ll get it out.
TRUMP: I mean, I don`t know if you`re going to put it this on television,
but you don`t even know what you`re talking about. Trying getting it out.
Katy has not looked up once at me. The level of hatred is incredible.
When these people –
TUR: I`m tweeting what you`re saying.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: All presidents, all presidential candidates have had hostile
relationships with the press from time to time. This current president has
a totally different reaction to the press and a totally different take on
press freedom than any president that has ever gone before him. And the
person who most personifies his hostility, condescension and aggression
toward the press is NBC correspondent Katy Tur, who has now written a book
about it and she`s here next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AUDIENCE: CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks! CNN sucks!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Little bit of a glimpse of a day in the life of what it meant to
cover the Trump campaign this past election. Katy Tur spent more than 500
days covering the Trump campaign. Her new book about it is called
“Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American
Katy, my friend, congratulations. Well done.
TUR: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: This story to me is a great behind-the-scenes look about what it
takes to have been a campaign correspondent, but the thing that I found is
most scary and most prescient and worrying about it, the thing I come back
to is when you talk about people at Trump campaign rallies, screaming at
you saying terrible things of Hillary Clinton, being violent or talking in
terms that are very uncivil for American politics and you described them as
people who wouldn`t behave that way in normal life. There`s something
about being in a Trump environment gave people sort of permission to behave
in a way they wouldn`t normally behave.
TUR: I can`t imagine anyone walking around screaming assassinate that “B”
about anyone in this country in their regular lives, I can`t imagine being
called a C-word in my regular life just walking down the street or any of
the other names that I was called, any of the other names that other
reporters were called and believe me, it wasn`t just me. It was all of us.
Collectively, in this pen, there was something – you`re right, about the
Trump rallies that allowed them to unleash, allowed them to become that
version of themselves. That`s because the candidate on the stage could say
whatever he wanted. And face no repercussions for it.
And he never backed down. And they felt like they could do that. They
could unleash their anger.
And in many ways, Donald Trump was directing that anger at the press.
Here, look. I brought with me this little group of the elite, the
establishment, those who are keeping life not good for you.
MADDOW: Jeer them.
TUR: Jeer them. Here they are. I brought them here. They`re in a cage,
they`re in a pen. You can yell at them.
MADDOW: And so, if the traditional means of enforcing political norms and
the norms of civil discourse in this country is people are ashamed because
they`re chastened breaking them, in this case, it worked backwards.
MADDOW: How do you solve that? How do you salvage civil discourse? How
do you salvage the norms of political discourse in that context?
TUR: There`s an argument to say we went way too far with political
correctness, that people couldn`t tell a joke, patriotism was mistaken for
racism. And that`s a lot of who supported Donald Trump. They just felt
like they were being boxed in and they couldn`t be themselves anymore, any
version of themselves.
And maybe this is the overcorrection backwards and we are going to find
some happy medium again. I mean, you go back. Just look at shows you
would watch 10 years ago. Popular shows on broadcast TV, some of the jokes
they make in the shows, I can`t imagine seeing on a show today.
We really did correct a lot and people did feel it and they were angry
about it. And they felt like Donald Trump was helping them release all of
MADDOW: Katy, you talk about having done this as sort of an outsider, not
being a political journalist, not somebody who did the campaign thing
before this, not being an asset covering such a strange campaign this way,
I wonder now that you have been through that experience, now that you spent
those 500-plus days on the trail and that it gave you some – it gave you
some insight into what works and doesn`t and you were able to predict that
Trump was going to win and a lot of people thought he wasn`t to.
Does it make you want to do more of this kind of reporting?
MADDOW: Or do you want to regain your naivety?
TUR: No. I – in some ways, I think it was extraordinarily as you said
valuable to be naivety going into this. But I think what`s so valuable
coming out of it was the interactions I had, even the ugly interactions
with Donald Trump supporters.
MADDOW: That`s the most important thing in this book I think.
MADDOW: You`re talking to people supporting him, even when they were
screaming at you.
TUR: Even when they were screaming, because you learn so much about why
they voted for Donald Trump. And why they felt like he was the only
option. And many of them felt like he was the only option.
People saw what he was. They weren`t blind. They weren`t deaf. Some were
maybe putting their fingers in the ears and refusing to believe it, but
they saw who he was.
They just feel and felt back then that Washington was so broken, so
corrupt, so not out for them that somebody needed to come and throw a bomb
into it. And when the Trump administration says that, justification for
pretty much everything, they do have a point because Donald Trump
supporters were not Republicans or Democrats or independents. They were
Donald Trump supporters.
MADDOW: As a country, though, one of our values, one of our stated values
in our Constitution and one of the things we hold up in terms of ourselves
as a beacon to the world is freedom of the press and politicians and
presidents and presidential candidates have always had combat with members
of the press.
It`s different with Trump because he doesn`t even pay lip service to the
ideal that goes behind the idea of our First Amendment. What`s the
strategy for salvaging our respect for freedom of the press and the safety
of doing journalism in this country when he`s profited so much off of the
sort of two minutes of hate against journalists that he brought to the
campaign and then to those events that is you covered?
TUR: You do your job. If you`re a journalist, you do your job every
single day. And you do not back down.
You`re a journalist in Russia, you do your job every single day. And you
do not back down until you absolutely have to flee the country. Like the
woman you were just speaking of. But that`s how you maintain a freedom of
MADDOW: Just by behaving as one.
TUR: By behaving one. Ultimately, I don`t think – John McCain can come
up and say this is terrible, the president shouldn`t do it. Mitch
McConnell can get up and say, it`s terrible. The president shouldn`t do
Name your person. No one person is going to come out and finally wake
everybody in this country up and say, oh, yes, it`s not OK to do this.
Ultimately, it is the American people who are going to have to decide for
themselves that they`ve had enough with this angry, violent rhetoric and
they want to reinstitute some sort of balance because you have to remember
something. Without journalists, it`s just propaganda.
MADDOW: Katy Tur`s new book is called “Unbelievable: My Front Row Seat to
the Craziest Campaign in American History.” I have read a lot of campaign
books. This one I think is important because of the way that you were able
to put the people who were there who were trying to get such a rise out of
you at the center of the empathy in your narrative.
And I learned a lot. And you`re great. Thank you. Congratulations.
TUR: Thank you. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: All right. That does it for us tonight. We will see you again
tomorrow. Right here tomorrow in this studio sitting where Katy Tur is
right now will be Hillary Clinton. She will be here for a live interview
that I`m very excited about.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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