Missouri governor charged with felony. TRANSCRIPT: 2/22/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: February 22, 2018
Guest: Andrew Cuomo
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN: That is “ALL IN” for this evening. Before you go, a reminder, you can now listen to the show as a podcast, find it wherever you usually get your podcast, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, aforementioned, begins now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I`m kind of on the edge of my seat as to what else Charlie has.
HAYES: You know what, you`re going to have to tune in the next time when we have Charlie on and find out.
MADDOW: Well teased. Thanks at home for joining us this hour.
Three major stories breaking all at the same time today and into tonight. We`ll start with the most startling.
This is the mug shot taken today of the serving Republican governor of Missouri, Eric Greitens. Eric Greitens is a former Navy SEAL, he was elected governor of Missouri in November, 2016, he was elected with just 51 percent of the vote. You might remember that Trump won the state of Missouri with 56 percent of the vote, so Greitens ran pretty well behind Trump but it was still enough for him to win that governorship.
Today, a grand jury in St. Louis indicted Governor Greitens for felony invasion of privacy. The case stems from news that broke last month about Governor Greitens having an extramarital affair. That he eventually admitted to. But that news also came with allegations that he had basically extorted the woman with whom he`d had the affair by taking pictures of her without her consent while she was naked and blindfolded and bound.
There were allegations made last month that he had basically threatened to use those pictures against her. Now, Governor Greitens admitted the affair. He denied the pictures part of the story but the alleged pictures part of the story is what led to his felony indictment today and what led to this mug shot. We`ll have more on what that means exactly and whether Missouri is going to keep this particular governor with his felony indictment and all.
That news about the governor broke late in the day today on a day that was otherwise dominated all day long by the kids from Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, who have flipped on the lights and scatter it had roaches when it comes to the national narrative about mass shootings and the civilian proliferation of military-style weapons. That narrative today got dark and at times a little confused both at a big conservative conference in Washington and at the White House itself. But as for this debate, these kids are not letting go.
As it continued through another day today, through an eighth day since the shooting at their school, you should know that tomorrow`s going to be a landmark day. Tomorrow is going to be the first legislative test of what these kids have done to lead the country in the wake of the massacre at their school last week. Tomorrow will be the first test of whether there will be a change of law and policy in response to what those kids went through last week and what they have been doing in the week since.
So, we`ve got more on that tonight and we`ve got an exclusive interview tonight about something that is new and surprising and potentially really important that four states are about to do together on guns. The governor of one of those states is going to join us here live tonight to break that news. You will want to see that. That is going to be exclusive here.
But while all that other news was breaking today, we also got – it`s not even Friday – a new 32-count federal indictment against the chairman of the Donald Trump for president campaign and the deputy chairman of that campaign as well. Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman and Rick Gates, the deputy chairman, they were both already indicted on a dozen counts, dozen felony counts in October in federal court in D.C. Well, today, they were hit with a superseding indictment not in D.C. but a neighboring district where both men live and where both of them, importantly, file their taxes, the eastern district of Virginia.
So, they were charged in October in D.C. They were charged today in Virginia. This means that a second grand jury, a whole different grand jury was involved in producing these charges against them. It wasn`t the same grand jury that indicted them before.
This shift in venue with these new charges also raises some very interesting questions as to where these guys are ultimately going to go on trial, and when, and how many times. There is now a non-zero chance that this new indictment means that these Trump campaign guys are going to go on trial in D.C., and then they are also going to go on trial in Virginia. So, we`ll have more on that in a moment with somebody who knows these things inside and out.
But here`s what I think we`ve just learned about the special counsel investigation and about the relationship between President Trump, the Trump campaign and all these dozens of financial and tax charges against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates. OK. You might remember this document.
A few months ago, MSNBC obtained this letter. It`s a letter and a list for talking points that Paul Manafort used in late February and early March 2016 to pitch himself, to pitch his services in the Trump campaign. Now, Manafort at this point in the winter of 2016, already 2016, he hadn`t been involved in electoral politics in the United States in decades. He had no profile at all in the modern Republican Party. He was on nobody`s list of people who anyone might pick to run their campaign, let alone Donald Trump when Trump needed to move on from his troubled Tasmanian devil phase when he had his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandoski.
But Glenn Thrush at the “New York Times” was first to report on how exactly Manafort, this unlikely character, pitched himself for the top job to take over after Lewandowski got fired. And then we at MSNBC got the letter and the talking points themselves and we know from this document that Manafort`s pitch to run the Trump campaign, it starts off as a pitch to Trump`s friend Tom Barrack. And it`s Manafort`s pitch about how he saw the election going, how he saw Trump`s best path forward toward winning the nomination, what the biggest hurdles would be and how he could do it.
But the last couple pages are talking points for Trump conversation and those are all talking points about why Manafort believes he is the right man for the job, the right man to run the campaign.
And look at point number one. This is what Manafort says he had to offer. Quote: my role, number one, I am not looking for a paid job.
Interesting. Paul Manafort now facing a dozen federal felony charges in D.C., another dozen and a half federal felony charges in Virginia, he ran the Trump campaign starting in March, 2016, for free, said he didn`t need a salary. Not looking for any money, he`s not the kind of guy who needs money.
That was a quirky detail about Trump bringing on Manafort, right? One, why is this guy running a presidential campaign? He`s only been operating in politics in the former Soviet Union for the past 15 years. What`s he doing now running a U.S. presidential campaign?
And, two, why is he working for free? Well, now, say hello to the new indictment, because now we`ve got a lot more of that plot. Manafort makes the pitch to run the Trump campaign for free in March, 2016.
Here`s what we now know was going on for Manafort in the months leading up to March 2016. The new indictment, pages 20 to 27 to be specific if you are going to read this before you go to bed tonight. They lay out a scene of absolute financial desperation for Paul Manafort.
And we don`t know why he was in a state of financial desperation, but we do see direct evidence of a scramble, a scramble by Manafort on multiple fronts to get his hands on a lot of cash, a lot of money. But it`s kind of a failing scramble.
Now, there are legal questions to get through here and we`ll get some help with those but the plot line question to get through for me, it`s been a sticky question from the very beginning, why was Paul Manafort offering to work full time for free at all? Especially why was he doing that given what we know was going on in his finances at the time.
This indictment describes a two-part scheme by Manafort and Gates. The first part will be familiar to you from the first indictment of them a few months ago, the first raft of charges against them. First part of the scheme, according to this indictment, takes place between 2006 and 2015. During that time, quote, Manafort and Gates generated tens of millions of dollars in income as a result of their Ukraine work.
Now, the special counsel alleges – and most of this was in the first indictment – Mueller`s office alleges that the money that they made in Ukraine, they hid it in offshore bank accounts and they launder that money and they did not report that money to the IRS. That was the basis of that first round of charges, but now in this new indictment they describe a second phase of the scheme and that didn`t take place between 2006 and 2015, it was after.
The second phase of the scheme took place, quote, between approximately 2015 and at least January 2017. So, this is the part that overlaps in time with Manafort and Gates working on the Trump campaign, right? Trump announces he`s running in 2015, he gets sworn in as president in January, 2017. So, that`s – that time period is phase two of their scheme.
Quote, when the Ukraine income dwindles after Yanukovych flees to Russia, Manafort with the assistance of Gates extracts money from Manafort`s real estate by a whole bunch of different fraudulent means. Quote: They devised and intended to devise, they executed and attempted to execute a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property by means of false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises.
So, there`s phase one, right? There`s this money spigot that Gates and Manafort are tapped into. This money spigot out of Ukraine from the pro-Putin Ukrainian dictator who they`re working for in Ukraine. That spigot of money gets shut off when the dictator gets overthrown in 2014. So, starting in 2015, they have to scramble for a new source of income.
And the scrambling – that scrambling, which is all described here in detail, in time it`s all happening right in the lead-up, right up to the moment when Manafort pitches himself to work on the Trump campaign for free. So, in 2015, he gets a loan from a financial institution where he lies to the bank about how much of his money he makes overseas. Then, quote, in late 2015 through early 2016, Manafort sought another cash loan, a construction loan that he said he would use to improve one of his properties.
Quote, Manafort never intended to limit use of the proceeds to construction as required by the loan contracts and he never did. Then again, same time period, in quote, late 2015 through early 2016, Manafort tries for yet another loan. The indictment says to get that loan, he lies again and says his daughter and his son-in-law are living at one of his properties when really he`s renting it out on Airbnb full time.
Quote, on January 26, 2016, Manafort writes to his son-in-law to advise him that when the bank appraiser comes to assess the condo his son-in-law should, quote, remember he believes that you`re living there.
According to the indictment, Manafort is trying and failing to jump through a million hoops to get these loans. There`s the lie about his daughter and son living in the condo that he`s trying to get this loan for. The indictment further on that loan says he also has Rick Gates obtain and submit false insurance documents to try to get that loan.
Quote, after Gates contacted the insurance broker and asked her to provide lender B with false information, Gates updated Manafort by e-mail on February 24th, 2016. Manafort replied to Gates on the same day, quote, good job on the insurance issues. Good job sending in those false insurance documents.
Then, for that same loan, Gates is sending in more false documentation. They send in back-dated documentation that falsely stated that a different $1.5 million loan had been forgiven. They falsely inflated Manafort`s income for 2015.
So there`s a scramble to get cash. A scramble to get cash loans with a lot of different kinds of alleged fraudulent documents and it`s all going on late 2015 through January/February 2016, right before Manafort applies in late February and early March to start working for Trump for free.
And this financial scrambling that he`s doing right up until that time, according to this indictment, that scrambling is not going well. In approximately February 2016, Manafort applies for a business loan from lender C. Manafort makes a series of false statements to lender C, including a false statement of assets and liabilities.
Then in March 2016, Manafort and Gates submit a doctored profit and loss statement which overstates their company`s income by more than $4 million. Gates reportedly tells the company`s bookkeeper to send him a profit-and-loss statement as a Microsoft Word document so he could edit it, so he could make changes to the profit-and-loss statement to boost the apparent income at the company so Manafort can get this loan.
But, quote, the bookkeeper refused. Quote, having failed to secure a falsified profit and loss statement from the bookkeeper, Gates falsified the profit and loss statement himself. Gates then sent the altered profit and loss statement to the lender. The statement claimed approximately $4.5 million in net income, whereas the true profit-and-loss statement showed a net income of less than $400,000.
So, they`re wildly inflating their income. They`re faking their profit-and-loss statements. They`re sending in false insurance documents. They`re lying about whether properties are rental properties or places where people live. They`re saying, I need this loan for construction, they`re not using that loan for construction.
So, Manafort in the portrait painted in this document, he is scrambling. Gates is helping him through all sorts of apparently illegal means. At one point in March 2016, the same month Manafort is pitching himself to the Trump campaign as a guy who doesn`t need to be paid at all, in March 2016, Manafort and Gates try to get Manafort yet another loan. For that one, they have a false profit-and-loss statement that overcomes the company`s income by, quote, more than two million dollars which is the amount the lender told Manafort he needed in order to qualify for the loan.
But at this point, it looks like it`s gone on too long. That cut-and-paste job for that profit-and-loss statement they were going to falsify, that one seems like a mess. Maybe the scramble was going on for so long they were just getting sloppy. Quote, when the document was first submitted to lender B, a conspirator working at lender B replied, quote: looks doctored, can`t someone just do a clean excel document and PDF it to me?
A subsequent version was submitted to the bank. They also at one point apparently ginned up a fake invoice for $2.4 million. They addressed it to “to whom it may concern.” Who promises to pay two whom it may concern $2.4 million? But they apparently ginned up this invoice to make it look like they were about to get paid $2.4 million.
Problem, though. Quote, the bank was unwilling to rely on the invoice to support Manafort`s stated income. They requested additional information. The bank was unable to obtain satisfactory support for Manafort`s stated income and the loan application was denied.
Why do you need all these different loans? Why do you need all this cash? We don`t know.
For some reason, times were tough and this stuff all happens in very close succession, all at once, late 2015 early 2016. These guys are doing back flips allegedly flagrantly illegal back flips to try to get cash for Manafort and increasingly it was not working. But then it all turned around. For some reason, Manafort himself to the Trump campaign as a full time volunteer, I don`t need to get paid, I don`t have money problems.
And then, thereafter, his money problems kind of start to turn around. And, again, look at the timing here, look at the timing. Between approximately July 2016 and January 2017, Manafort with the assistance of Gates sought and secured approximately $16 million, $16 million in two loans from lender D.
Finally, great relief. Money coming in. Let`s put late 2015 and early 2016 behind them. Thank God for lender D.
I mean, they were still apparently ripping off lender D. There was another doctored profit-and-loss statement where Gates took the real profit-and-loss statement. He converted it from a PDF file to a Word file, edited it, added $3.5 million to the real figures and then turned it back into a PDF and Manafort sent it in. They learned apparently not to use the bookkeeper anymore.
They even allegedly concocted a note from Rick Gates swearing that the $300,000 that was over 90 days past due on Paul Manafort`s American Express card, that was a big misunderstanding. They concocted a story for Lender D where Manafort and Gates told the banks, actually, Gates borrowed the card, he was good for it, pay no attention to how the, quote, delinquency on that American Express card significantly affected Paul Manafort`s credit score.
So, they still hand to scam lender D, but with Lender D, it worked. And again, look at the timeline. All of that scrambling in late 2015 and early 2016, all of that scrambling, and it`s increasingly not working out. But starting July 2016, Gates and Manafort, jackpot. They convinced lender D to cough up 16 million bucks.
We believe Lender D is the Federal Savings Bank, a small institution that lends specifically to U.S. military veterans in Chicago. Paul Manafort is not a U.S. military veteran, nor does he have anything to do with Chicago. The $16 million they gave him in loans, that was a huge chunk, that was like a quarter of the total loanable assets of that bank.
NBC reported yesterday that people who work at that bank questioned the propriety of those loans at the time. NBC also reports that Mueller is investigating those loans and that, quote, at least one of the bank employees who felt pressured into approving the deals is cooperating with Mueller`s investigators.
Well, “The Wall Street Journal” now reports that what Mueller`s team is investigating specifically is the question of whether those loans were a quid pro quo. Did that bank give that money to Manafort because by doing so, the head of that little bank came to believe that he would be appointed secretary of the United States Army by Donald Trump?
Quote: Steve Calk, the chief executive of the bank, because placing calls to the Pentagon and specifically to Army headquarters asking for briefings, to obtain information and prepare himself for a possible job that he apparently was convinced he was going to get. Mr. Calk`s overtures raised questions from military leaders as to how to respond.
So what is described in this indictment is that Paul Manafort for some reason, end of 2015, beginning of 2016, he was doing gymnastics to try to get his hands on lots of cash, lots of money at a frenetic pace, late 2015, early 2016. And he was, most of the time, failing, right up through March 2016.
And in March 2016, he takes this Trump gig for free and within a couple months, ka-ching, $16 million in loans which is being investigated as his payment for making this poor sod in Chicago think Trump was going to name him secretary of the Army.
Some other new things, in the old indictment, in the October indictment, Mueller`s team said that Rick Gates and Paul Manafort laundered $18 million. In the new indictment, they say it wasn`t $18 million that they laundered, it was $30 million. So, a lot more.
Where did they get the information on the additional $12 million? I don`t know. There has been a lot of speculation and reporting recently that any new charges, any new criminal allegations against Manafort in particular would come because Rick Gates was pleading guilty and he was starting to provide evidence against his old business partner Paul Manafort.
That is not what appears to have happened here. This new indictment has 18 new charges against Paul Manafort but it`s got 23 new charges against Rick Gates and there`s no sign of a new guilty plea from Rick Gates.
Now, there is some new drama about who Gates` lawyers are now. We`ll talk about that in a minute. We`re not sure how that relates here.
But there`s a couple other specifics to know. In the first indictment, the one back in October, there were no charges of tax fraud against Manafort and Gates. And that was interesting, especially to those of us who are lay observers of these things, because in that indictment back in October, there was a ton of description of tax fraud but no charges so that led people to ask back in October, hey, if Mueller has all this evidence about tax fraud, evasion by Manafort and Gates, where are the tax evasion charges?
They`re here. They didn`t charge him in October but those tax charges are here now. They`re in this one.
And there`s one more big question this new indictment raises. The foreshadowing we got from the court about what was going to come in this indictment came in two stages. First one was Friday night. On Friday night, Paul Manafort`s team said they – excuse me, Mueller`s team, sorry, M-people. Sorry.
On Friday night, Mueller`s investigators, Mueller`s team said they had new evidence of new criminal conduct by Paul Manafort. They said in a filing about Manafort`s bail package that there was bank fraud associated with some of the properties that Manafort had offered up to the court as his guarantee he wouldn`t flee the country to avoid trial. That`s why he`s not in jail, right? He`s out on bond. He`s out on essentially bail, saying, don`t worry, I won`t flee the country. Part of how you know that is because I`m putting up $10 million worth of property that the court can seize if I take off.
So, in a filing about Manafort`s bond package, on Friday night, Mueller`s team was like we see big bank fraud problems here. Those allegations appear to be what`s in this indictment now. So, there is a little foreshadowing on Friday night.
This morning then, the judge formally requested – excuse me, formally rejected a request by Manafort related to his bail package. Now, there are dozens of criminal charges related to the properties that Manafort put up as part of his bail. We now know. That`s what in this indictment that came out tonight.
Because Mueller`s team is raising all these questions about these properties and them being basically obtained by fraudulent means, does that mean that Paul Manafort is at risk of having his bail packages, bond package revoked. The reason you put up a bond package is to say you don`t need to put me in jail, you can have all of this property that`s very valuable, all of these assets if I take off. Those properties and these assets are so valuable, of course, I would never take off. You can be assured.
If there`s now a problem with those properties, is there a chance that Paul Manafort is going to have his bail revoked? Is one of the possibilities here now that we`ve got this new indictment that the court is going to put him in jail awaiting trial?
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Mr. Manafort, can you talk about the filing of your case was yesterday?
REPORTER: Any comments, sir?
REPORTER: Can you say why you were here today?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Reporters outside a federal courthouse in Washington, D.C. early this afternoon catching former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort on camera. Just a couple hours later, boom, 32 new felony charges against Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates.
Joining us now to help us understand what just happened here is Chuck Rosenberg, former senior FBI official as well as a former U.S. attorney for the eastern district of Virginia, which is where the grand jury that returned this new indictment today was seated.
Chuck, thank you for being here. It`s nice to have you here.
CHUCK ROSENBERG, FORMER U.S. ATTORNBEY: It`s nice to be here, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about the venue question. The first time of Manafort and Gates was from a grand jury in D.C. These new charges were from a grand jury in Virginia, in the eastern district of Virginia where you served as U.S. attorney.
Is there a reason for this change of venue? It seems unusual just as a lay observer?
ROSENBERG: It`s unusual but it`s not unheard of. If you want to charge Manafort and Gates, Rachel, at everything they did, you have to bring it in this case in two different places. It seems to me that they don`t have venue for the tax fraud charges in the District of Columbia. They probably don`t have venue in the eastern district of Virginia for the failure to register as foreign agents.
So, if you want to charge them with everything, if you want to run the table you have to do it in two different places.
MADDOW: Does this mean these guys could end up facing two different consecutive trials in these two different jurisdictions?
ROSENBERG: Yes, if they don`t plead guilty they`re going to be tried in one place first and the other place second. I don`t know who goes first, the judges will set date and the lawyers will argue about it, but, yes, you`re exactly right, Rachel.
MADDOW: Wow, I`ve seen some reporting that this would mean it would get consolidated into Virginia, which didn`t make sense to me. Consecutive trial seems nuts in its own right, but I guess that makes sense.
ROSENBERG: It does and it happens and I think your instincts are right on this.
MADDOW: Why do we get these tax charges now? The tax allegations were made months ago in that first indictment but we`re only seeing the charges on the tax matters today. Do you have any insight as to why that might be?
ROSENBERG: A little bit because I started doing criminal tax cases right out of law school with the Justice Department. The tax cases are more cumbersome, the review process before they`re approved for a prosecutor to bring them is more difficult. And so we had a hint, a whiff of the fact that there were going to be tax charges here, now we see them. It`s not surprising to me that they lag a little bit.
MADDOW: OK. Last question for you, Chuck. It seems to me that there are – and we saw hints of this before today, but it seems clear from this indictment there are serious questions being raised now by prosecutors about the properties that Manafort has put up as part of his bond package.
Is there a chance that what they`re aiming at here is that they want the court to put him in custody awaiting trial instead of keeping him on house arrest like he has been?
ROSENBERG: You know, if they change their minds and they want him held in custody, they`ll file a motion asking the court to do that. Now the judge has to, according to the law, to the bail reform act, Rachel, find the least restrictive combination of conditions that will reasonably assure a defendant`s appearance. That`s the standard in all bail cases. So, they might be able to argue – Manafort might be able to argue there`s some combination of properties and collateral and third-party signatures that will assure his appearance. I`m not certain this means bail will be revoked but I`m pretty certain it means it`s not going to get easier for him.
MADDOW: Chuck Rosenberg, former U.S. attorney for Virginia`s eastern district, former senior FBI official – thank you, Chuck. I`m really glad you`re able to be with us tonight. Appreciate it.
ROSENBERG: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Let me bring in Julia Ainsley, NBC`s national security and justice reporter.
Julia, thank you for having me.
JULIA AINSLEY, NBC NEWS NATIONAL SECURITY AND JUSTICE REPORTER: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: First, I want to read the statement we got on behalf of Paul Manafort from his spokesman. Manafort is innocent of the allegations set out in the newly filed indictments. He`s confident he`ll be acquitted of all charges. The new allegations against Mr. Manafort once again have nothing to do with Russia and 2016 election interference/collusion.
Mr. Manafort is confident he will be acquitted and violation of his constitutional rights will be remedied.
Let me ask you about one thing I`ve seen conflicting reports about, I don`t know what to make of it. Paul Manafort`s representation seems stable. Rick Gates` representation does not. He had an initial lawyer then dismissed him. Then he had three different lawyers, now dismissed them.
MADDOW: Now, then the third lawyer and now there`s some interesting reports from Betsy Woodruff at “The Daily Beast” that maybe the third lawyer Tom Green has been dismissed and there`s a new lawyer. Do you have clarity on this?
AINSLEY: So, we have not confirmed “The Daily Beast” reporting. We know that Tom Green was on the filing that we saw tonight. He is now representing Rick Gates and he put out a statement that said I am Rick Gates` lawyer.
AINSLEY: But “The Daily Beast” is standing by their reporting and I think what this shows and even just jumping into three different lawyers, whether or not it`s a fourth, shows Rick Gates is not as in this bold maybe stable situation as Paul Manafort. I mean, Paul Manafort`s representation as you just read has stayed throughout this entire thing that he is innocent. These money laundering charges they`re reading in here, they tried to talk us out of this, this summer, and now I`m reading it verbatim.
MADDOW: You mean reporting about this exact scheme.
AINSLEY: This exact –
AINSLEY: There`s no way you could use real estate in that way. Well, here it is. Rick Gates has been different and I think going into this, he thought as the deputy he wouldn`t have to have the same legal exposure as his boss Paul Manafort. And so, he might not have ramped up his legal representation in time, and then he sort of changed his tune. So, a week ago, we were hearing he had this third lawyer, he was going to cooperate and perhaps plead guilty and flip on Manafort and change his whole thing.
Today, this really changes the narrative and what we see is a man who is perhaps kind of stuck in a really tough place. What I`m hearing he might not have enough to offer Robert Mueller to be able to get this kind of cooperation, leniency, that he wants. So, I think it makes sense that there`s a lot of questions about his legal team.
He`s probably angry at legal advice he`s gotten in the past because he doesn`t know why he is being named and included in all the same things that Manafort is included with, especially since part of this, he was just hoping with –
MADDOW: Through all of this stuff about the malfeasance, the alleged malfeasance with banks and lending institutions, it`s all Gates helping Manafort commit fraudulent act.
AINSLEY: Exactly. This is a position I don`t think he expected to be in, so he`s taking a lot of his anger out on his legal representation, but it`s not clear that changing lawyers a fourth time is going to get him out of it.
MADDOW: Julia Ainsley, NBC national security and justice reporter, that`s been a bizarre side plot. We certainly don`t know how that`s going to end. But thank you for helping us –
AINSLEY: Thank you, we`ll follow it.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to come. Very, very, very busy news night and a big interview coming up on the show. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The First National Bank of Omaha claims to be the largest privately owned bank in the United States. Their Website is filled with a lot of wholesome inspiring stuff like, every bank should pass the good person test. Doing what`s right, helping others, giving back.”
Well, tonight, this banking goliath is cutting ties with a goliath of a different kind. For the past decade, one of the products that First National Bank of Omaha has offered its customers is the National Rifle Association visa card, the official credit card of the NRA.
Well, tonight, First National Bank of Omaha announced that that`s no more. Quote: Customer feedback has caused us to review our relationship with the NRA. As a result, First National Bank of Omaha will not renew its contract with the NRA to issue the NRA visa card.
Alongside that news comes a sign of another crack in the NRA`s grip on American politics. And that story is next.
MADDOW: Tomorrow is the day that Florida Republican Governor Rick Scott says that he and his fellow Republicans in his legislature will announce a package of reforms that that state`s gun laws. Part of that Florida package is expected to be that long guns like the AR-15 rifle used in last week`s Florida massacre would now be subjected to the same Florida age limits as handguns, you wouldn`t be able to buy one until you`re 21.
That age limit issue is expected to come up in the Florida reform package they`re going to unveil tomorrow. You should also know, though, that the NRA has come out and said they are absolutely opposed to any age limit like that. Florida has long been the NRA`s favorite state in terms of pushing the envelope for more and more extreme gun laws.
But Florida now has these kids, these high school students who are incredible, frankly, as a political force and in other ways. And they descended on the state capital yesterday in the biggest protest the state capital has seen in decades. And these kids are not just changing, they are driving a whole new narrative around this subject. And whatever you could have predicted about a gun law discussion in Florida, before eight days ago, I think right now, all bets are off for good predictions, nobody really knows what`s going to happen.
So, that will be interesting to watch tomorrow. What happens when the Republican governor and Republican legislature unveil their package of reforms tomorrow.
Alongside the suspense around that, though, here is one quite calm, doable, sober idea that`s being unveiled right now. Four Democratic governors of four northeastern states are now announcing their own regional coalition against gun violence. Governors of New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and Rhode Island say they are forming a regional effort, joining up to strengthen background checks by sharing information about people who are banned from buying guns in each of those states.
They plan to create a multistate task force to trace and intercept illegal guns across the region. They say they plan to collaborate on – and this is interesting – new gun violence research. Gun violence research has been banned by Congress at the federal level for over 20 years. Well, these northeastern governors say if the federal government won`t do it, then the Northeast will and they plan to share their findings nationwide.
So, a lot of eyes are going to be on Florida tomorrow to see what the Republicans there will come up with in terms of some sort of gun reform package. But we`re also about to find out if a whole group of states can do something constructive on their own terms, on a big enough scale that it could make a big enough difference for a region of the country, even if we are still stuck in our politics nationwide.
Joining us exclusively now for “The Interview” tonight is the governor of the great state of New York, Andrew Cuomo.
Governor Cuomo, thank you for being with us tonight. I really appreciate your time, sir.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Thank you. It`s my pleasure to be with you, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, how will this regional coalition work? Is there more planning to do or are you guys – do you feel like you have figured out exactly what you want to do and it`s just a matter of enacting it?
CUOMO: Yes. No, it`s – we figured out what we want to do and we`re all about action and results and you summed it up well.
Look, the national dialogue, I hope, the Florida massacre spurs real action but they`re setting the bar so low that I think it`s a foolish expectation. Raising the age limit from 18 to 21, bump stocks, these are incremental measures at best. It`s like trying to fight a forest fire with a garden hose and they`re going to fight now whether or not they can even get that done.
So I`m not – call me a cynic but I don`t believe the federal government is going to take any meaningful action. I believe the national electeds are afraid of this issue. I think the high school students are showing more leadership than their elected officials.
And if you`re a governor, the question is what can you do? Now, our states have better laws on the books than the federal laws. After the Sandy Hook massacre in Connecticut, New York passed a sensible gun controlled bill called the Safe Act, which has the model reforms that we`ve been looking for. Connecticut has good laws, Rhode Island has good laws, New Jersey has good laws.
The problem is, you`re limited by your own borders. So I can enforce those laws and I have that data in my state but if somebody drives across the border and goes to Connecticut to buy a gun, they don`t that information. So if the federal government won`t act and you can`t get a 50-state solution, well , then get what you can and start with state coalitions and that`s exactly what we`re doing now.
We have databases on mental health, we have databases on protective orders, we have databases on warrants for arrest, all of which would stop a purchaser in the state of New York. Share those databases with the other states so you`re taking what are good laws and you`re now expanding the footprint of that to a northeast coalition.
MADDOW: What do you expect to be the financial implications of this pact among these four states? Do you expect you`re going to need a lot of new funding, funding to be approved by the legislature, for example, in your state to get this going?
CUOMO: No. Money is tight, especially after what the federal government has done to states like New York with their federal tax bill, and eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes where they really targeted 12 states in this country, all Democratic states, all blue states and call it a tax cut and then raise taxes on our people 25 percent.
So, money is tight. This does not require additional resources, does not require legislation. We have the data. It`s just a collaborative sharing that we can do on our own. Four governors signed off. It`s just a function of executive authority, so we`re doing it.
And I think it`s – the recognition is we`re not going to wait for the federal government. I don`t believe they`re going to do anything meaningful. I think at best they take some incremental measures, which are more political crumbs just to throw out to the crowd. But even the definition of the issue is absurd.
And what this administration is very good at doing, Rachel, they define the issue in such absurd terms and then we engage on that absurd level. The problem is school safety, so we should arm teachers. And then we get into a discussion of how absurd that concept is, arming teachers.
I`m not going to – I`m not going to fall for the trap. They misdefined the problem. The problem is not school shootings. The problem is school shootings and shootings in malls and shootings in night clubs and shootings in concert halls. It is a societal problem.
The problem is mentally ill people and dangerous people having access to guns and especially high-powered assault weapons. 1934, this nation outlawed machine guns because they said it was too dangerous. God forbid, they fell in the wrong hands. Let`s be half as smart as they were in 1934.
So, so the real solution is not mental health, arm teachers. It`s mentally ill people that have access to guns. That`s the T and T, there`s two elements to the equation. They don`t want to talk about that, because if they did, you`d have to say, look, you need a universal background check system, no loopholes, no gun show loophole, et cetera.
You need a real mental health data base that also has the information that states like New York has put together. You need a reporting system where teachers can call in and say someone should investigate this person we think he may be mentally ill. And then you have to have the courage to look at the American people and say, look, assault weapons are too high a risk for the reward.
You don`t need them, you don`t hunt with them, and they can do such damage so quickly, 30-clip rounds. I mean, these can really kill dozens of people. I don`t think Washington has the stomach for it. I would like to see the national Democrats, frankly, put forth a real bill that defines the problem in actuality and defines a legislative solution in actuality rather than starting to talk about, well, the best we can get.
Tell the American people what the real problem is, tell them what the real solution is. Put it out there, have the political courage to put it out there and then whatever you get from a compromise is a second conversation. But at least let`s have the intelligent dialogue of the real ideas to solve the real problem.
MADDOW: Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, one of four Northeastern governors who`s forming a new pact on gun violence – sir, thanks for helping us understand this new initiative. Really good to have you here tonight, sir. Thank you.
CUOMO: Thank you for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Reporting on the courts on what`s in local courtrooms and local courthouses day in and day out is really important work. It`s not always thrilling, though.
Por ejemplo, the court`s reporter at “The St. Louis Post Dispatch” tweeted this from his beat today, quote, two metro postal workers indicted, one accused of stealing from the mail, the other of stashing mail in trash bags in her vehicle. That may have been the peek of that St. Louis reporter`s day today, the story of the missing mail in trash bags.
Instead, just a little while later, same reporter, saw something quite out of the ordinary. Quote: I just saw the Missouri Governor Eric Greitens being led away in the custody of the St. Louis sheriff.
Guys, did you guys see that? Was that the way I think it was? It`s true, it`s not somebody who looked uncannily like Republican Governor Eric Greitens. It was the actual governor being led away by the sheriff.
Today, Governor Eric Greitens of Missouri was indicted and taken into custody and booked at the St. Louis Justice Center. He`s charged with a felony count of invasion of privacy in the first degree. This charge comes one month after news first broke that Governor Greitens had had an extramarital affair in 2015 and that he allegedly had taken compromising photos of the woman with whom he had the affair without her permission, and then allegedly threatened to release the photos if she ever spoke publicly about shtupping him.
Governor Greitens has admitted to that affair. He denies the allegation of blackmail. After he was released tonight on his own recognizance, the Missouri governor issued a statement saying that while he made a personal mistake, he says he did not commit a crime. He casts the indictment as a partisan issue. He called the county attorney, quote, a reckless liberal prosecutor who uses her office to score political points.
It should be noted it was a grand jury that brought this indictment, not the prosecutor directly.
Now, it`s true that Missouri politics can sometimes seem like a brawl at home plate. But if Governor Greitens doesn`t ring any bells for you beyond his new handsome mug shot, you should know that since he took office last year in Missouri, Governor Greitens has been very controversial. He has managed to offend and alienate any number of his fellow Republicans in the state capital.
It`s not at all clear that his fellow republicans are ready to stand united behind him now that he has been indicted on a felony. The Republican led legislature tonight launched their own investigation into the Republican governor. The Republican House speaker says, quote, we will carefully examine the facts contained in the indictment and answer the question as to whether or not the governor can lead our state while a felony case moves forward.
I will tell you that attorneys for the governor have moved to dismiss the indictment and the governor is fighting the charge. But what happens next is not up to him, whether he remains as governor of Missouri is very much an open question tonight, even among his fellow Republicans who never liked him much any way.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.