Iceland smallest country to qualify for World Cup. TRANSCRIPT: 03/26/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: March 26, 2018
Guest: Raja Krishnamoorthi, Jennifer Palmieri
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us this
hour. Happy to have you here. Happy Monday.
Iceland is very, very small. Area-wise in terms of land mass, Iceland is
about the size of Guatemala or South Korea. The difference is that nobody
lives in Iceland.
Like I said, South Korea and Iceland are roughly equivalent in terms of
their land area, but in South Korea, there are 51 million people there.
Guess how many people live in Iceland, which is roughly the same size? On
a land mass the same size as South Korea with 51 million people, Iceland
has a grand total of 330,000 people, a third of 1 million.
The whole population of Iceland is considerably smaller than the population
of the city of Wichita in Kansas. Teeny, teeny, teeny tiny.
And so, when you see this many people coming out to all do one thing in
Iceland, not only is that impressive, it means you`re looking at a not
insignificant proportion of the whole population that have country. And in
this instance, what all these Icelanders are out there doing is doing their
special cheer for their soccer team.
The World Cup is about to start. World Cup starts in June. The World Cup
is like the Olympics, happens once every four years except unlike the
Olympics, not every country gets to send a team to the World Cup. You have
to qualify to get your country`s soccer team into the World Cup and that`s
very hard to do.
For example, the United States men`s team did not qualify to be in the
World Cup this year. But Iceland did, Iceland with a population of 330,000
people total. The head coach of the Iceland men`s national soccer team has
a second job. He also works as a dentist.
Seriously, the whole country transforms itself into a cheerleading squad
for the team because there are so few people in the country, everybody has
to pitch in for everything. After knocking England out of the Euro 2016
soccer competition in a match that turned the soccer world on its head,
Iceland went on to become the tiniest country to ever qualify for a spot in
the World Cup. They are very proud of that.
And now tonight, we can report that even though the Icelandic team will be
going to the World Cup this year, nobody from Iceland`s government will go
with them. No public officials will go to the World Cup with the Icelandic
men`s team. And that`s because the World Cup this year is going to be held
in Russia and that`s a problem.
As of today, Iceland joined 20 something other countries in taking
coordinated action against Russia in retaliation for the nerve agent attack
on a former Russian spy on a park bench in the U.K. earlier this month.
The U.K. already announced that they were expelling diplomats in response
to that assassination attempt on their soil. Well, today, 16 other E.U.
countries plus Ukraine, plus Canada, plus Albania and Norway and Macedonia,
plus the United States all announced the expulsion of Russian diplomats and
Russian personnel from all those countries. Not to mention Iceland`s shot
at the World Cup, which all of Iceland is very, very excited about this
year. The team will go but no public officials.
What was announced today is the largest collective expulsion of Russian
officials from other countries ever. And for those of us here in the
United States, given what is going on with the investigation of the current
president and his campaign and any potential links to Russia, which did
intervene to try to help him win the presidential election, for us, it`s
obviously a big deal the United States is one of the countries that decided
to participate in this big coordinated action against Russia. That was not
at all a sure thing, right?
We found out that Britain was asking other countries to do this in
solidarity with them because this attack happened on their soil. It was
not a sure thing the United States would participate in something like
that. So, we`ll have more on that coming up a little later on in the show,
including what we think we`ve been able to figure out about how this
decision came about inside the U.S. government and the question of the
involvement of the president specifically.
But this massive coordinated announcement, this show of international
solidarity for what the U.K. believes Russia did on their soil, it`s a
diplomatic coup by any measure. Right? This is a very impressive court or
coordinated ago. The diplomats and world leaders who put this together did
an impressive thing here.
For most of the past few years, Russia`s international belligerent hasn`t
went up against very determined resistance, whether it was shutting down
the flow of natural gas into Ukraine and into Europe in the dead of winter,
turning Ukraine`s power grid on and off at will, invading and seizing
Crimea, messing with our election, assassinating Russians on foreign soil -
- they have been smashing the place up at will for awhile now. But this
coordinated diplomatic effort today, it was this unified, single voice
response from France, Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania,
Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Estonia, Croatia, Finland, Hungary,
Latvia, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, Canada, Albania, Norway, Macedonia, the
United States, Great Britain because of something that Russia did in Great
And that kind of international solidarity with Britain and that sort of
unified front, that`s Vladimir Putin`s least favorite thing in the world.
And the fact that it came together on behalf of Britain while Britain is in
the middle of trying to leave the European Union. That is unexpected on a
lot of different levels.
And speaking of Britain trying to leave the European Union, all this
Cambridge Analytica stuff that has been in the news recently, that just
took another very serious turn today on that very issue. Whistle-blowers
have come forward and produced a substantial stack of documentation about
the vote that Britain took, to leave the E.U., the so-called Brexit
election, when they voted they were going to leave the E.U.
According to these whistle-blowers, they say these documents they have
obtained and handed over to the authorities from the leave campaign, a side
of the vote that wanted the U.K. to leave the E.U, these whistleblowers say
the leave campaign was illegally funded for that election and the illegal
funding, they say, was shifted to companies related to Cambridge Analytica,
which was the data firm for the Trump campaign in our presidential election
That news about the leave campaign and these allegations of illegal
funding, that news comes on the same day here in the United States, the
Federal Trade Commission, the FTC, confirmed that they are starting a
formal investigation into Facebook, based on Facebook`s relationship with
And that news comes at the time “The Washington Post” reports when they
worked on various Republican campaigns before the presidential election,
during the 2014 midterms, for everyone from a congressional candidate in
Oregon to Colorado Republican legislative candidates, to the Senate
campaign of Thom Tillis, “The Washington Post” says Cambridge Analytica
assigned dozens of non-U.S. citizens to work on these campaigns. So, in
addition to whistleblowers saying that foreign citizens were providing
campaign strategy and messaging advice to Republican candidates in 2014,
“The Post” also spoke with people who worked at Cambridge Analytica at the
time who said it seemed pretty clear to them at that time that what they
were doing in these Republican campaigns in 2014 appeared to be illegal.
Quote, two former Cambridge Analytica workers that spoke on the conditions
of anonymity because of the fear that they may have violated laws in their
campaign work said concerns about the legality of Cambridge Analytica`s
work in the U.S. were a regular subject of employee conversations at the
company, especially after the 2014 vote.
Two former workers said employees worried the company was giving its
foreign employees potentially inaccurate immigration documents to provide
upon entering the United States. The document showed that they were not
there to work but, in fact, they had arrived for the purpose of advising
Republican campaigns. Fake immigration documents?
Again, these allegations are about Republican campaigns in the 2014
midterms, so that`s before Cambridge Analytica became the data operations
of the Donald Trump for president campaign.
So, there`s been a lot of reporting and a lot of scandal around Cambridge
Analytica in recent days, but the pace these stories are coming out and the
reaction in different jurisdictions, it`s a lot. We`re going to have a
little more on that story ahead tonight, and I expect that we`re going to
have quite a lot more on that story in coming days.
But tonight, we`re about to be joined by a Democratic member of Congress
who appears to have stumbled upon some I guess surprising news about White
House senior advisor and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
One thing to know about Jared Kushner and his tenure in the White House is
that Jared Kushner has a very, very good lawyer. He`s not himself a lawyer
but, boy, did he pick a good one. His lawyer is one of those Washington
legends who turns up in high-profile cases involving very high-profile
politicians on both sides of the aisle, with a common thread uniting all of
his clients is all they all seem to win, or get exonerated, even when it
seems like the facts are very much against them.
Jared Kushner`s lawyer is the man you see on the left there with Senator
Bob Menendez. Jared Kushner`s lawyer`s name is Abbe Lowell. He`s the real
deal, top drawer Washington lawyer.
Before that, Mr. Kushner was also represented by Jamie Gorelick, who was
also the real deal, top drawer. And that high-powered, highly competent,
very well-respected top drawer legal representation is important in its own
right for Jared Kushner particularly with this new news that has been
On a more human level, though, it`s also just a – well, it`s a striking
contrast with what`s been going on with the president himself. As of this
weekend, it appears that the president has no serious legal representation
with the Russia scandal. The president`s lead lawyer on the Russia matter
had been this man, John Dowd. So, for example, that`s who had been
negotiating with Robert Mueller and his prosecutors about when and whether
and how the president might end up being questioned by the special counsel
and his team.
And I know it feels like there`s been a lot of chaotic lawyering and a
strange cast of characters around the president when it comes to his legal
defense, but what has happened there and happened on that subject in the
last week, which has resulted in the president no longer having really a
Russia legal defense, I got – it`s been nuts but what just happened in the
past week is almost impossible to believe. We can now tell from the
reporting that`s happened over the weekend and into today that it appears
what happened with John Dowd is that the reason he quit, the reason the
president`s lead lawyer on the Russia scandal submitted his resignation and
walked out in the middle of the investigation is because the president
announced that he was making an addition to his legal team. He said he was
bringing on a guy he had seen on Fox News, a guy named Joseph diGenova.
Now, whatever the president`s reasons were for wanting to bring Mr.
DiGenova onto his team, we know it came at a very high cost. It caused his
lead lawyer on the Russia scandal to quit and walk out. Maybe that kind of
a risk, maybe that kind of a trade-off felt worth it at the time to the
president but that was a bad calculation, because we now know that at the
time the president took that risk and thereby watched his lead Russia
lawyer, watched John Dowd walk out the door because of it, at the time, the
president hadn`t even met Joe DiGenova yet, this new guy he was bringing
It cost the president so much to bring on this new guy and then when he
finally met this new guy, turns out he didn`t like him. Thursday night,
Joe DiGenova and his wife were finally invited to the White House to meet
the president for the first time and the president didn`t like them.
According to politico.com, quote, the couple looked disheveled when they
came to meet with the president, which helped convince the president that
they weren`t the right fit.
“The New York Times” was slightly more delicate about it, saying that once
the president finally met Mr. DiGenova and his wife, the president, quote,
did not believe he had personal chemistry with them.
“The Washington Post” had the saddest, most unvarnished take on it. The
president wanted diGenova to be on his legal team even though he didn`t
know him because the president enjoyed Mr. diGenova`s TV appearance.
However, once he announced he hired him and brought him to the White House
to meet him, quote, the president was less impressed with Mr. diGenova than
he had been while watching him on television.
You`re kind of shorter than I thought. I don`t even know if he`s short.
The president is not hiring Joseph diGenova or his wife after all, but
announcing that he was hiring them before he even bothered to meet them
cost him the representation of his actual lead lawyer on the Russia
scandal, who has been representing him for months and coordinating that
whole response. And so now, at this late date in the Russia scandal, the
president really doesn`t have a lawyer. He has Jay Sekulow, who goes on TV
and talks about the case, and also does a right wing talk radio show that
sometimes talks about it, Mr. Sekulow is now reassuring reporters that even
though it looks like it`s only him, there are some other lawyers who work
at his activist group who have been helping him out too.
But that`s it. Even in a best case scenario that we believe Jay Sekulow
and friends are representing the president, that`s it. That`s who is
handling legal representation for the president of the United States in the
most serious national security scandal to loom over any American president.
The talk show host guy.
And that is striking in its own right. It`s astonishing when you add in
the fact that other people in the Trump administration who are not the
president have been able to get themselves real lawyers.
I mean, the vice president, Mike Pence, he has a Russia lawyer. He has a
real Russia lawyer, a real lawyer named Richard Cullen.
Hope Hicks, recently resigned White House communications director, not yet
30 years old, she`s got a real lawyer. Robert Trout is her lawyer. He`s
the real deal.
Reince Priebus, former chief of staff, Steve Bannon, former chief
strategist, Don McGahn, who for some reason is still White House counsel,
they`re all utilizing a guy named William Burke as their Russia lawyer.
He`s a real deal.
And Jared Kushner has got freaking Abbe Lowell. If you had a friend in
Washington who was facing very serious legal trouble as a public official,
you would want Abbe Lowell to be your friend`s lawyer. I don`t know
whether or not you feel friendly towards Jared Kushner but that is the
situation he`s in right now, both in terms of who his lawyer is and how
much trouble it looks like he might be in.
It appears that his sort of lawyering firepower is matching his legal
liability. Mr. Kushner`s legal exposure in the Russia scandal and related
matters started off deep but they have been getting deeper ever since. It
was only last summer when we learned that six months into the new
administration, Jared Kushner had already revised his financial disclosure
forms 39 times and counting. Like did he have any other job or was he just
full time revising his forms?
As the Russia scandal has been reported out, we`ve learned that Mr. Kushner
was also in a lot of secret meetings involving the Russian government that
were not initially disclosed, including the Trump Tower meeting during the
campaign and his meeting during the transition with the head of a
sanctioned Russian bank. Last May is when we learned that after one of his
undisclosed conversations with the Russian ambassador, the ambassador
communicated back home to his superiors in Moscow slightly befuddled by the
request that Jared Kushner had sought to create a secret secure method of
communication between himself and the Kremlin, even going so far as to ask
the ambassador if he could maybe start communicating with the Russian
government using secure channels from inside Russian diplomatic facilities.
So, to keep his Kremlin communication secret, he was offering that he would
go to the Russian embassy to make his calls to the Kremlin. And yes, Abbe
Lowell is good, but that`s nuts. That`s nuts.
And now this year in 2018, things have just gotten more and more serious.
“The New Yorker” reporting in January that Jared Kushner had been meeting
alone outside diplomatic channels with multiple foreign leaders including
repeatedly the ambassador to China. Further reporting that Chinese
officials were overheard on intelligence intercepts talking about Jared
Kushner bringing up his family`s real estate business and its interests
while talking policy with the Chinese government as a White House official.
Then in February, it was “The Washington Post” reporting that intelligence
intercepts from at least four different countries showed foreign officials
discussing ways to manipulate Jared Kushner in his White House role,
including the opportunities they saw for leverage over him based on his
family`s real estate business and his family`s real estate business`s
pursuit of foreign investment.
That was a sort of landmark piece of reporting about Jared Kushner, not
just because of what we learned about how Kushner has been comporting
himself as a White House official. That also ended up being a really
important report in “The Washington Post”, because that`s where we learned
Kushner`s difficulty getting a security clearance were coming from inside
the house. They weren`t just because the FBI or the Justice Department
turned up something they were uncomfortable with having to do with Jared
Kushner. That reporting from “The Washington Post” in February is how we
learned the White House itself was a little worried about Jared Kushner.
They were seeing evidence about Kushner`s behavior as a White House
official that caused other White House officials to kibosh his security
Quote: national security adviser H.R. McMaster learned that Jared Kushner
had contacts with foreign officials that he didn`t coordinate through the
National Security Council and he didn`t officially report them. The issue
of foreign officials talking about their meetings with Kushner and their
perceptions of his vulnerabilities were raised in H.R. McMaster`s daily
intelligence briefings. Officials in the White House were concerned that
Kushner was naive and being tricked in conversations with foreign
Quote: Kushner`s contacts with certain government officials raised concerns
inside the White House and became a reason he`s been unable to obtain a
permanent security clearance.
So, it wasn`t just some hang up at the FBI or him not being able to get the
39th version of his form straight. What the White House and the national
security advisor observed about Kushner`s behavior in the White House, that
was the problem. So he got that from “The Washington Post” in February.
Jared has problems based on what intelligence officials inside the White
House have seen about his behavior since he`s been inside the White House.
That was “Washington Post” February 27th. The very next night, February
28th, “New York Times” broke their own scoop, that two companies gave a
half billion dollars, billion with a “B,” $500 million in loans to Jared
Kushner`s real estate company right after executives from those two firms
took meetings in the White House with Jared. Apollo Global Management gave
Kushner Companies $184 million after one of their top executives met with
Jared in the White House.
Similarly, Citigroup forked over $325 million to Jared`s family real estate
company after a Citigroup executive met with Jared in the White House.
February 28th, that`s in “The New York Times.” And then a funny thing
happened. A Democratic member of Congress wrote to the Office of
Government Ethics to ask for an advisory opinion on any ethics issues that
might emerge from that “New York Times” reporting.
Quote: Dear Acting Director David J. Apol, on February 28th, “The New York
Times” reported that senior advisor to the president, Jared Kushner`s
family businesses received over half a billion dollars in private loans
from two financial companies shortly after their executives met with Mr.
Kushner in the White House. I respectfully request that you provide an
advisory opinion on these matters and this member of Congress lays out the
concerns, raised in this article about Jared Kushner not being divested
from his active business entities` financial holdings.
Jared Kushner having personally guaranteed loans to a private business
while he`s serving as a White House official. Jared Kushner meeting with
potential investors and creditors in the business entities while he`s in a
position to do favors for them as a White House official.
Quote, do these actions by Mr. Kushner constitute a breach of his ethical
obligations to the American people?
Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to your
response. Sincerely, Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democratic member of Congress
from the eighth district of Illinois.
And although he signs this letter saying, I look forward to your response,
does he really think he`s going to get a response to this?
He has. And it comes with a big surprise.
The Office of Government Ethics wrote back and broke some news. The Office
of Government Ethics wrote back, laying out the serious ethical and
potentially criminal matters that could be at stake with Jared Kushner`s
behavior as it pertains to these gigantic loans his family`s company got
from people he met with as a White House official.
But according to the Office of Government Ethics, this matter of Jared
Kushner`s liabilities on this issue, it`s already under investigation
inside the White House. Quote, I have discussed this matter with the White
House counsel`s office in order to ensure they have begun the process of
ascertaining the facts necessary to determine whether any law or regulation
has been violated. During that discussion, the White House informed me
they have already begun this process.
So, it was weird at the outset that the president hired his son-in-law to
be a White House senior advisor. But now we know that since he`s been in
that role, other White House officials, not the president, have stripped
Jared Kushner of his security clearance. They`ve actively got him under
investigation for a half billion dollars that found its way to his family`s
real estate company after he took meetings with those in a position to
direct those funds.
How sustainable is this? I mean, it`s been weird in an ongoing way that
the president`s son-in-law has way better lawyers in the Russia than the
president does in the Russia investigation. But with Mr. Kushner, at
least, it seems clear his lawyers are very much earning their pay.
We`ve got more on this news scoop and the member of Congress who figured it
out. That story is next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The wheels of government and the wheels of government scandal
frequently turn quietly and where you can`t see them. Well, now, a letter
from the Office of Government Ethics has unexpectedly revealed the White
House counsel`s office is revealing whether Jared Kushner violated ethics
rules when his company took hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans right
after executives from two financial firms took White House meetings with
On receiving that letter from the Office of Government Ethics, two
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee tonight have written to the
White House counsel, to Don McGahn, to try to get more information about
what we`ve just learned is an ongoing ethics investigation into Kushner`s
business dealings. They are asking for reams of documents and they`re
asking for them by April 10th. Moving fast.
Joining us now is Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who is on the House
Oversight Committee, who appears to have uncovered this scandal.
Congressman, thank you for being here.
REP. RAJA KRISHNAMOORTHI (D), ILLINOIS: I`m glad to be here. Thank you so
MADDOW: This is something I didn`t know was going on until we saw this
letter from the Office of Government Ethics back to you. Did you know what
you were going to get when you query the ethics office?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: No, we wrote it on March 1st, following “The New York
Times” piece, and three weeks later on Friday, late afternoon, we receive
the response and it was a surprise. And so, now, we`re following up.
MADDOW: When the Government Ethics Office, part of the news they broke is
that they said that the White House counsel`s office is already looking
into this matter as an ethics issue.
MADDOW: But the letter goes into some detail as to what ethical issues and
potential criminal issues could be at stake here.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Correct. I mean, it talks about potential bribery laws
being violated, of course, ethical violations. Basically the whole gist of
it is, you know, a public official has to put national interests first,
personal interests second, and the whole question here with Jared Kushner
is whether he reversed it and put his personal interest first at the
expense of the public interest.
MADDOW: Do you – I guess what is your reaction to learning the Office of
White House counsel is doing this investigation? I mean, on the one hand,
it is remarkable that a senior White House official is undergoing this sort
of ethics query while still serving in the White House after having been
stripped of his security clearance. On the other hand, I don`t know
whether an investigation by Don McGahn is something that would keep me up
KRISHNAMOORTHI: You know, I`m from Illinois. We have a very strong sense
of smell about corruption. You know, definitely in this White House, you
smell a lot of wrongdoing. Don McGahn has kind of been a witness to a lot
We`re very disappointed he hasn`t investigated a lot of it up to this
point. However, on this particular issue, it appears that an investigation
is underway and, you know, let`s see what happens. We demanded the
information with regard to this investigation. Confirmation is happening.
We need to find out the facts so we can also judge the conclusions of the
MADDOW: Now, you and I believe Congressman Cummings have written to Don
McGahn seeking more information, any other Republicans on the Oversight
Committee at all interested in joining your request for information here?
KRISHNAMOORTHI: You know, it turns out no. Chairman Gowdy has not
participated so far. You know, on a separate but related matter which you
brought up before with regard to security clearances, that too was an area
where we were hoping that Chairman Gowdy would subpoena records related to
Kushner`s application for security clearances. However, he didn`t follow
up on that either.
At this point, you know, we`re still hoping for answers. I was very
surprised there was a response to this letter.
MADDOW: Me, too.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: And that there is confirmation an investigation is
underway. And, you know, the House may very well flip in the next
election. If the answers aren`t going to be provided now, they`re going to
be sought later, as well. And so, it`s a question of when are they going
to answer them?
MADDOW: Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, House Oversight Committee
representing Illinois`s eighth district. Thanks for coming in.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Thank you so much, Rachel. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Hey, so some kids did some marching over the weekend. You might
have heard about it. The demonstration organizers by the survivors of the
mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida
drew hundreds of thousands of people in Washington D.C. this weekend.
We have seen two gigantic, gigantic days of protests since Trump was sworn
in as president. The gigantic women`s marches the day after the
inauguration and then the truly epic numbers that turned out this weekend.
Huge numbers in D.C., hundreds of thousands of people. But also really big
demonstrations in basically every other major city and lots of small cities
and towns across the country. “The New York Times” says there were
parallel marches in every single American state and on every continent
But the marchers were not the end of the story. Organizers say these
really big marchers were staging grounds for what`s coming next. After
this weekend, the student activists are also planning a nationwide school
walkout for April 20th. Before that, the students were calling for student
initiated town halls in every single congressional district in the country
on April 7th. They want every member of Congress to hold a congressional
town hall in their home district April 7th.
The kids say if they can`t get their member of Congress to do it, they`re
going to ask their member of Congress` opponent for the November election
to do it instead. These kids are not going away.
Watch this space.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID HOGG, STUDENT AT MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS HS: When politicians send
thoughts and prayers with no action, we say no more. And to those
applications supported by the NRA, that allow the continued slaughter of
our children and our future, I say get your resumes ready.
CROWD (chanting): Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote them out! Vote
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Trump presidency is 14 months old. In that time, there have
been a couple legit blockbuster books about the Trump presidency, books
that weren`t just written by a famous person, or weren`t just always going
to sell because it was a celebrity thing, books that exceeded expectations
and dominated the news cycle.
The first was “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff`s book. The second one, which
was currently number one on “The New York Times`” bestseller`s list is
“Russian Roulette” by David Corn and Michael Isikoff about Russian
interference in the election. There definitely will be more blockbuster
books about this presidency. Hillary Clinton`s memoir about the campaign,
“What Happened”, that obviously sold a gazillion copies, although you would
expect that to do well given who she is and what she saw.
But there are two teeny tiny little books that marked this turn in politics
in a very big way. They are small, specific, very powerful books. Now,
almost register like a long magazine article, a one big thick idea rather
than as a sort of treaties or like a long form book.
The first one, people think it`s controversial that I`m saying this, but
the first one is this book on tyranny by Timothy Snyder. Whether or not
you talked to your friends about it, everybody you know has been reading
and re-reading on tyranny over the course of this year. It`s the sort of
sleeper bestseller. And again, a small work of terrifying power.
But now, we`re about to get the second small, very specific, very powerful
dart of a book that people are going to be carrying around in their
backpacks and their purses and bags for a long time. This new book is from
the person who was the communications director from the Clinton campaign,
Jennifer Palmieri. It`s called “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to
the Women Who Will Run the World.” And it is, as I say, it is a small
book. It`s a fearless little book.
Let me read you something. Palmieri writes, quote: It`s election night
around 10:00 p.m. I`m in a small suite. On the 10th floor of the
Peninsula Hotel that`s been set up as work space for the staff. My
colleague Huma Abedin sat down next to me to ask me about the latest
What are you saying? I`m saying there is a very good chance Donald Trump
will be the next president of the United States. Huma nods. I recognize
It`s the same nod I gave when Robby Mook, our campaign manager, called me
at Hillary`s hotel the night of Iowa caucus which we were predicted to win
by as many as six points, to say that he thought we would win but it would
be really, really, really, really, really close and maybe I should come
over to the headquarters. It`s the same nod Hillary gave 10 days earlier
on the plane in Cedar Rapids, when I broke the news that Comey had re-
opened the e-mail investigation.
It`s the same nod I gave when Robby pulled me aside just two hours earlier
at the Peninsula Hotel to say something was off in a few of the states.
Well, something was off in almost all of the states.
Huma nods. The way we have throughout the campaign as we absorbed more bad
news processed another mountain we`d have to climb, we`re 22 points down in
New Hampshire. We`ll lose the Wisconsin primary by 22 points. Her FBI
interview will be on July 2nd.
There`s a really awful video of Trump from at “Access Hollywood.”
WikiLeaks just dumped a bunch of Podesta`s emails. It looks like the
transcripts of Hillary`s Wall Street speeches are out there.
I register Huma`s reaction to the news that we are likely to lose. Her
stoicism is remarkable but not surprising. Huma nods because it is all she
or I know on this campaign. We never permitted ourselves any other kind of
reaction to bad news.
You don`t blanch. You don`t panic. You show no emotion. I can handle
this. I can handle anything.
Joining us for the interview is Jennifer Palmieri, former director of
communications for the Clinton campaign and the author of “Dear Madam
President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Rule the World”, which is
just coming out.
JENNIFER PALMIERI, CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Oh my gosh.
Thank you so much.
MADDOW: I did not expect this kind of book from you.
PALMIERI: Oh, really? Yes, it is – I did intend to write something very
different and I feel like I learned a lot on watching what happened to a
woman on the campaign trail, and I felt like I learned a lot in two decades
of politics, working at really high levels in a male dominated field and I
didn`t want to write a campaign book.
I wanted to write a book that is for young women and girls that are coming
up now to say this is what I lived through. These are the lessons. You`re
still going to face obstacles but these are the lessons I learned that will
show you how you can succeed. Even though there`s obstacles, still do it,
MADDOW: You have a very striking diagnosis that you give very early on in
the book and again, it`s a short book. You get right to the point. This
is a thick straight line.
PALMIERI: It`s chock-full.
MADDOW: Yes, but it`s – you basically say that we ran Hillary Clinton for
president and you say in our own mind, you did not think that was going to
be an insurmountable barrier. You thought having had an African-African
president elected in this country would have been a bigger barrier to leap
than the gender barrier. And then you said when it came time to run her
for president, you ran her as somebody who could be basically just like a
PALMIERI: Yes. Yes.
MADDOW: You didn`t run her to be a different kind of leader.
PALMIERI: Right, we had – I think – it occurred to me one day we had
made her the female facsimile of the qualities we look for in a male
president. And I think – and it was sort of a gut punch because you
realize – and that`s part of the reason I wrote the book, because you`re
like, there is a fundamental flaw in our thinking because our thinking is
still aligned about leadership is based on men. And when you`re running
for president, there were no other options, right, there was no other
And I think that`s what Hillary`s generation had to do, right? I mean,
it`s not just running for president. It`s in each profession that the baby
boomer women were in, they had to prove, I can do this, I can do it just as
good as a man and just the same as a man. I`m tough. I can prove I am
And now we see the unimaginable happened, right? Donald Trump is
president. Anything, so imagine what else is possible. I think now we can
imagine how women can operate in a new way.
It`s like – they spent – the world spent 500 years making politics and
the workplace a comfortable place for men, right? Like I don`t think
people really process that. So, it`s not – it wasn`t built with us in
mind. So, don`t expect that the rules are going to fit for you. Make your
So, that`s why the chapter you`re reading about Huma nodding, I call that
chapter a nod less cry more. It`s time for you to make the workplace work
for you. It was created without you in mind. So, if you`re moved to cry
because you are frustrated or angry or you feel really passionate about
what you`re saying and even though you`re at work, go ahead and do it.
Don`t hold yourself back.
And these are the – so it`s those lessons that I learned during the
campaign and, you know, what I learned in working with President Obama was
really empowering. I figured out a way to get over the impostor syndrome
that a lot of women feel because the communications director for the
president of the United States, that`s a scary deal.
And you realize if you hold back, you`re not doing your job. You realize
if women hold themselves back as we often do, we don`t want to speak up,
unless we`re called upon, you`re not giving the world your – its due.
You`re not giving your best self, and that`s how I learned to speak – how
I learned to – ways that I learned to succeed even though we still find
these obstacles or these doubts.
MADDOW: The first half of the book basically, there is a lot of detail and
sort of granular walking us through the revelation about how the campaign
was going to end.
MADDOW: The revelation of the loss and what it was like at a personal
level and the exhaustion and the disbelief and the frustration and the
upset that you sort of describe things in a way as feeling other worldly in
But you also say there was some polling at the end of the campaign internal
to the Clinton campaign that should have let you know things – that there
might be a problem.
PALMIERI: There was – it was possible, right? And what I`m trying to get
at is a sense of when something that you can`t imagine would happen that is
so devastating and I want people to know how devastating it was. It felt
Like I woke up on Wednesday, November 9th and felt like my phone wouldn`t
work because I was in a different universe. That`s how much it impacted
We had inklings that it was possible but one in three chance, one in four
chance, but still, you know, at a gut level you felt like you were going to
win. There was some karmic insurance that we were going to win because it
was so hard and it was so clear that she was the right –
MADDOW: I think that is President Obama`s confident assertions when he
would get asked questions about Trump and for a while, he avoided answering
questions about Trump, and when eventually when he was moved to, he started
to and he would always end them by saying, he`s assuring the country he`s
not going to be president.
PALMIERI: Right. America is not going to do this. America isn`t going to
elect him. And then it happened so what are we going to make of this and I
think in the beginning women were pretty devastated and I certainly was.
And then you saw something remarkable happen, which is women could decide
either I`m going to decide that it was right that he won and, you know,
that`s the kind of men that win in America or what that election proves is
that we women are limiting ourselves in the way we think about our own
selves, and I`m going to go and create new rules. These rules do not work.
They are obsolete. They are out of date.
And I think that`s what Hillary`s candidacy ended up proving.
MADDOW: Ending up winning.
PALMIERI: Ended up winning, yes, and if she had won, she could have easily
won and if she would have won, we still would have had these challenges,
but there is something very empowering.
You know, at the march this weekend, they had Yolanda King, MLK`s
granddaughter. So, she was so amazing. She spoke. She was fearless. She
was joyful and like all little girls, she had so much confidence.
And then you think, I watched her and I thought, at some point, girls learn
to be inhibited. That is a learned behavior. That is not natural. What`s
natural is how confident she was and how confident Emma Gonzalez was, and
how proud Emma Gonzalez was to stand at the podium and cry.
Like I don`t want those girls to lose those qualities and that is – you
know, that is women – that is what women leadership looks like and that`s
women leading in a new way, and that`s what the lessons that I conveyed
from my experiences for them, for young women, for girls then I hope for
boys, too, because they need to understand what those obstacles are that
MADDOW: “Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run
the World”, this is not a typical campaign memoir. This is a – like I
said, this is a dart.
Jennifer Palmieri, congratulations on doing this. I sat down and read it
in one sitting and could not get up until I was done. Thanks.
PALMIERI: Thank you.
All right. Much more to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Here`s a surprising update. A couple of weeks ago, we reported
that the RNC was throwing President Trump a high dollar fund-raiser in
Beverly Hills. We had the invitation. You could see from the invitation
that that one of the hosts was a man named Elliott Broidy, RNC deputy
Elliott Broidy cordially invites you to an evening with Donald J. Trump.
Elliott Broidy invites to this fundraiser.
Well, now, we can update the story to tell you that Elliott Brody did not
show up for that event he invited you to. According to the “New York
Times”, quote, as scrutiny has mounted around Mr. Broidy, Republican
officials signaled he would be a distraction at a high dollar fund-raiser
with Mr. Trump in Los Angeles. After conversations with RNC Ronna
McDaniel, Mr. Broidy volunteered not to attend.
You know, we should have known. We had noted at the time that it seemed
sort of nuts that the RNC was going to put the president in the same room
with Elliott Broidy right now given the clown car full of stories about
Elliott Broidy that`s broken over the past few weeks.
First, there was the leaked proposal that he would earn $70 million to $80
million if the Justice Department somehow decided to drop a corruption
investigation into the Malaysian government. Then more leaked documents
seemed to show Elliott Broidy pushing the agenda of the United Arab
Emirates in an Oval Office meeting with Trump, coordinating with an adviser
to the UAE who`d helped Broidy scored hundreds of millions of dollars worth
of contracts from that country.
Then it was documents showing Elliott Broidy pitching himself just before
the inauguration as somebody who could help Russian companies get off the
U.S. sanctions list for a fee to Elliott Broidy.
Just today, “The A.P.” reports that George Nader, the guy who got Broidy
those millions of dollars of contracts in the UAE, Mr. Nader gave Broidy
millions more to bankroll a lobbying campaign in Washington against Qatar,
a project that included Broidy shoveling campaign contributions to
Republican members of Congress.
That business partner of Elliott – oh, my god. That was so cool. Do it
MADDOW: That`s it? We can`t do it at will? It just happens like that?
The business partner of Elliott Broidy is George Nader, the guy who`s
implicated in all these stuff that`s being dribbed and drabbed out about
Elliott Broidy over days and weeks, Nader, of course, is now a cooperating
witness in the Mueller investigation. He`s been granted immunity by
So, Nader`s got immunity. Nader is cooperating with Mueller, and all these
stories are coming out about Elliott Broidy, you would think the RNC would
be nervous having him this guy host fund-raisers with the president.
Today, Elliott Broidy filed a lawsuit against Qatar, alleging that its
government is responsible for hacking Mr. Broidy`s e-mails and documents
and leaking them out to the press, all in an effort to discredit him. The
question of who obtained Broidy`s e-mails and he`s parceling them out to
reporters and why, that is definitely a story in its own right.
But in the meantime, it probably is time for the Republican National
Committee to start facing some questions about why this particular guy is
still inviting people to fund-raisers with the president and serving as the
RNC`s deputy finance chair.
MADDOW: Last night`s interview with Stormy Daniels on “60 Minutes” on CBS
had an audience of 22 million people. Biggest audience for “60 Minutes” in
a decade. Stormy Daniels`s lawyer is about to be a guest right here live
on MSNBC on “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”, which is a TV show
that happens to start right now.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced,
distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the
prior written permission of ASC Services II Media, LLC. You may not alter
or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the