Trump and Putin meeting slammed as “treasonous.” TRANSCRIPT: 07/16/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show.
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: July 16, 2018
Guest: Glen Caplin
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us today.
All right. First, deep breath. Not that deep.
This was a big day. Let`s talk about what happened and with the full and
complete expectation that more of it may yet happen while we are talking
tonight. Things are at a boil. Things are going fast now. This is a time
when everybody needs to pay attention.
Here on this show, really since the summer of 2016, we have covered the
Russia angle on the candidacy and then the administration of the current
president probably more than anybody else in the national press, and I will
admit that. I have been teased for that a lot. I`ve been criticized for
Also, I know that the intensity of our coverage, of what we now know of, as
the Russia scandal, the intensity of that coverage, our sort of dedication
to the story, by necessity has squeezed out time that we may have devoted
to other worth stories. I know that. I`m totally cognizant of that.
But let me just say on this of all days, here`s why we have covered this
story so intensely. Since it first became clear that there was something
wrong and illicit and unexplained about the relationship between this
particular foreign adversary and the unlikely rise of this unlikely
politician who shocked everyone by winning the last U.S. presidential
election – I mean, there was no explicable reason why as a presidential
candidate, he would step with such excruciating care to avoid ever saying
anything remotely negative or critical about Russia and its president.
There was no explicable reason why he would dig out of the vault a campaign
chairman who had not worked in American politics for more than a generation
but he had spent more than the past decade doing Vladimir Putin`s political
bidding overseas in the former Soviet Union. There was no explicable
reason to name a guy quite recently and quite literally caught up in a
Russian spy ring in New York as one of his five foreign policy advisers,
when this is a guy nobody had ever, ever heard of. There was no explicable
reason to keep secret the fact that he did in fact have pending business
deals in Russia during the campaign.
I mean, from a man who loves to brag about even the smallest and most
unimpressive business endeavors, right, his stakes, his vodka, his terrible
wine, right, there was no explicable reason why he wouldn`t brag that on
the day of one of the early Republican presidential primary debates, that
very day, he had signed a letter of intent to build the tallest building in
Russia. There was no explicable reason why he wouldn`t admit to that.
There was no explicable reason why the Trump campaign would intervene in
the Republican Party`s national platform to make it more pro-Russia and
then cover up their tracks and deny that they`d had anything to do with it.
There was no explicable reason why so many Russians attended the Trump
inauguration. There was no explicable reason why he surprised everyone by
inviting the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador into the
Oval Office with no notice, no U.S. media and apparently no limit on his
willingness to disclose to those Russian officials codeword level
intelligence from our closest foreign allies.
There was no explicable reason for any of those things, unless you were
willing to believe the worst. And honestly, who wants to believe the
worst, right? You don`t want to reckon with it. You don`t want to think
too hard about the worst case scenario because for one thing it raises very
uncomfortable questions about what we should do as a country, what we
should do as citizens if the worst case is true.
I mean for everything that we have been through as a country, for every
kind of trial and challenge and intrigue and embarrassment and scandal that
we have been through as a nation, we haven`t ever had to reckon with the
possibility that somebody has ascended to the presidency of the United
States to serve the interests of another country rather than our own.
What`s the corrective to that, how do you remedy that these are no longer
hypothetical questions. This is where we are and I recognize it sounds
nuts to say it even now, even tonight, but there`s a reason there is a big
national freak-out happening right now over what the president just did in
I mean, whatever happened in the long private meeting he insisted on taking
with Vladimir Putin today with no other American officials present,
whatever happened there, what happened in public thereafter has really
shaken the country today for the worst possible reasons.
Before today, no serving U.S. president has ever before taken sides with a
foreign government against our own, let alone a foreign government that has
just attacked our country. And if the president did that today because he
has some reason to serve that other country rather than our own, then –
well, then a lot that has previously been inexplicable is now explicable,
and that`s the worst case scenario and deep breath. It means we`re going
to have to come to terms with this as a country and we`re going to have to
come to terms with what we need to do next as a country to fix this.
And in order to do that, the blinders have to come off. We have to be
real. Happily, just at the time that we need that, we are getting some
serious help from the rapidly unspooling legal case that surrounds this
From the special counsel`s office, from the FBI, from the national security
division at the Justice Department, from the courtrooms where these
multiple cases are now moving forward, the story of what Russia did to our
country and who might have helped them and how and how much trouble they
might be in for that, it`s just now starting to come into focus the
different pieces of it.
And on that front, there`s been a whole bunch of developments. When I said
that things might continue to develop while we`re talking tonight over the
course of this hour, I mean it. There have been developments not just over
the past few days and today even while the summit was happening but into
this evening, we`ve got a bunch of new developments that have actually
given us as citizens a lot more clarity, a lot of new clarity in terms of
what happened to us and what evidence law enforcement and
counterintelligence investigators have been able to assemble.
And when we can look at the evidence that they`ve been able to nail down,
where they have shown their work which they have done so much of in the
past few days, that gives us a view of where it looks like they are heading
which again is a further help to us in terms of figuring out who we are,
who we want to be and how we are going to deal with what is now a serious
national security crisis for our country.
So, to that end, I think the legal case here is not necessarily the way we
fix this as a country – I don`t know what is the way we fix this as a
country. It`s certainly the way that we find out what`s going on and get
And to that end, in terms of the evolution of this legal case, let me start
with one small development that didn`t get very much attention today and
I`m leading with this not because it`s the most important thing but simply
because I think you might not have heard about it. It`s a new development
in the case of Paul Manafort, the president`s campaign chair.
Manafort, of course, is in jail now awaiting two different federal trials
on multiple felony charges in each jurisdiction. Now, the first
jurisdiction in which Manafort was charged was actually Washington, D.C.
The judge set a trial date for Manafort in D.C. in September.
The second jurisdiction in which he was charged was in Virginia, the
Eastern District of Virginia, and even though those charges came second,
the Eastern District of Virginia is known as the rocket docket. They like
to go fast.
Don`t ask a judge in Eastern District of Virginia for a delay in your
trial. Don`t take a long recess at your trial. Don`t ask the judge to
make your trial itself take too long. In the Eastern District of Virginia,
they like to go fast, sometimes faster than either the prosecutors or the
defense is comfortable with.
In Manafort`s Virginia trial, not only did they set his trial date for July
two months ahead of his dc trial date even though he was charged in D.C.
first, but the judge in Manafort`s case in Virginia has really sped things
along, turned down Manafort`s request for a delay in the trial. He also
turned down prosecutor`s request for a longer period of time to be blocked
out on the judge`s calendar for the trial.
They wanted a three-week trial and he was like, no, you should be able to
get this done in one week. I`m obsessed with the fact that I`m giving you
two weeks. That`s terrible. Go faster. Fast, fast, fast.
He wants to get this thing done. That`s what this docket is known for and
that`s what this judge is known for.
And that`s why it is surprising and potentially very interesting today that
in Paul Manafort`s case today in the rocket docket Eastern District of
Virginia, the judge just handed out a big delay, just postponed a hearing
that was due to happen in Manafort`s case tomorrow morning.
This was going to be an interesting part of the case anyway. It`s a
hearing to discuss a lot of different procedural elements of the case, some
of the last-ditch things Manafort`s defense appears to be trying in order
to try to get him off the hook. Tomorrow was going to be that hearing, but
the judge now says that`ll be delayed until next week. And no, we don`t
I mean, it`s totally possible that the judge has a toothache, right, or
needs to get his car inspected and so just realize like, oh, can`t meet
tomorrow for some totally anodyne reason – totally possible.
But it is also worth noting that things have been going very badly for
Manafort and his defense team in his case. His lawyers have lost on
literally every single motion and request they have made to the judge up to
and including Paul Manafort being moved several days ago to a new jail he
did not want to be moved to, a move that occasions the public release of
this mug shot.
If this hearing in Manafort`s case is being delayed until next week because
of some significant new development in the case, what everybody is
obviously on the edge of their seat about is the prospect that the new
significant development occasioning the delay could be that he`s
potentially considering a guilty plea or some other kind of negotiation
with prosecutors. He`s the only American charged thus far in the entire
Russia legal case who has not pled guilty and/or agreed to cooperate with
prosecutors. If he does so, that would be a big deal.
So, you should know that`s going on in the matter of our case. And as we
were getting that surprising bit – small bit of information out of the
Eastern District of Virginia today, as we were getting that information,
the Justice Department today announced a surprise new indictment. Now,
this has made a lot more headlines.
A lot of the reporting on this indictment today sort of credulously
describes the woman who was charged today. Maria Butina, as a Russian gun
rights activist. Take that with a grain of salt. There isn`t a gun rights
movement in Russia, let alone one that she is part of.
There aren`t gun rights in Russia. There`s no gun rights movement in
Russia. The idea that Vladimir Putin and his political party with which
she has allied, the idea that they would support that kind of activism on
Russian soil is ridiculous. That`d be like hearing that Mike Pence was
going to be grand marshal of a gay pride parade near you, right? Does not
What Maria Butina is and has been visibly so for a few years now is the
sort of odd Russian appendage to the American gun rights movement to the
NRA specifically and associated conservative organizations that are
influential in the Republican Party.
A couple of months ago, you might remember as reporting that among the
American officials she and another Russian who she`s associated with and
Russian official named Alexander Torshin, among the Americans they were
able to get to go for this laughable gun rights in Russia scam that they
were pulling was John Bolton. John Bolton who`s the new Trump national
I mean, Maria Butina was arrested yesterday and is being charged as a
secret agent of the Russian Federation. John Bolton, national security
adviser, not that long ago was persuaded to make a video address for her
supposed gun rights group in Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Today, you`re engaged in a
historic debate about the possible expansion of your freedoms. Should the
Russian people have the right to bear arms?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Today, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in
Washington, D.C., the person who arranged for John Bolton to make that
address on Russian gun rights, she was charged with conspiracy to act as an
agent of the Russian Federation within the United States. Quote, the FBI`s
investigation has revealed that Maria Butina, the defendant, was working in
the U.S. at the direction of an unnamed Russian official who was described
elsewhere in the criminal complaint as a high-level official in the Russian
government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian
Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank.
Now, again, that Russian official isn`t named in the criminal complaint but
it`s clear as a bell that he`s Alexander Torshin, who has sort of been her
longtime associate in this effort with the NRA.
As described in the complaint today, Torshin, quote, directed Maria
Butina`s activities in furtherance of this conspiracy. Quote, the FBI`s
investigation has further revealed that Butina and Torshin took steps to
develop relationships with American politicians in order to establish
private or as she called them back channel lines of communication. These
lines could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the U.S.
national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian
The criminal complaint goes on to describe what seems to be a Russian
government supported effort to use Alexander Torshin and Maria Butina to
influence the Republican Party in the United States using the NRA as
Russia`s point of leverage. And it`s clear from the context in this
criminal complaint that the political party in question here is definitely
the Republican Party and the gun rights organization in question here is
definitely the NRA. So, that`s sort of how you have to read it.
But knowing that, the FBI obtains with what they call her project proposal
for this spying operation. And if you insert the relevant proper nouns
about the Republican Party and the NRA, it`s pretty striking what she says
as of March 2015 she was trying to do.
This is her project proposal. The first line of the project proposal
reads: Project description diplomacy. It goes on to state that a major
U.S. political party, the Republican Party, would likely obtain control
over the U.S. government after the 2016 elections. Hmm.
Project proposal says, quote: The Republican Party is traditionally
associated with negative and aggressive foreign policy particularly with
regard to Russia. However, now with the right to negotiate seems best to
build constructive relations. The project proposal also notes the central
place and influence in the Republican Party played by the NRA. The NRA,
according to Butina, is the, quote, largest sponsor of elections to the
U.S. Congress, as well as a sponsor of the CPAC Conference and other
Now, that`s her project proposal for this influence operation which the FBI
says she was running here illegally in the United States, to influence the
Republican Party on behalf of the Russian government, to infiltrate and
influence them. Now, that`s her project proposal she`s writing in March
Why would somebody working for the Russian government believe in March of
2015 that the Republican Party was likely to obtain control over the U.S.
government in the elections the following year in 2016? Why`d she think
that? Why does she think that enough to be so sure that she was going to
predicate this whole influence operation over a period of years on that
Also, why in the spring of 2015 did she think she had the, quote, it`s a –
the right to negotiate? Why would the Russian government believe in 2015
they had the right to negotiate what the positions of the Republican Party
would be ahead of the 2016 elections?
Again, don`t know, but we are likely to find out. The FBI lays out in
detail in this criminal complaint how she worked on behalf of the Russian
government to set up contacts and secret communications between unnamed
U.S. persons and the Russian government. We don`t know who U.S. person two
is in the criminal complaint, but a year after her project proposal, in
March 2016, Maria Butina reportedly emailed U.S. person two and said that
this Russian official Alexander Torshin had confirmed to her his desire in
our Russian-American project and said that a representative of the Russian
presidential administration had expressed approval for building this
So, Putin approved of her building this back channel to the American
Republican Party through the NRA, a back-channel that went from the Kremlin
to the Republican Party using the NRA as the conduit, approved by Russian
presidents – the Russian presidential administration.
According to the complaint also, as the election results for the election
came in overnight as November 8th turned into November 9th, 2016, Maria
Butina engaged in Twitter direct messages with Alexander Torshin, with her
apparent handler in the Russian government. That night as the election
returns came in, according to the criminal complaint, she said to him,
quote: I`m going to sleep, it`s 3:00 a.m. here, I am ready for further
Later that month, having arranged for a large Russian delegation to attend
the National Prayer Breakfast, which took place in early 2017, right after
the Trump inauguration, Maria Butina, according to the complaint, sent to
another U.S. person a list of the Russians who would be attending the
prayer breakfast. Quote: Butina stated that the people on the list are
handpicked by Alexander Torshin and me and are very influential in Russia.
They are coming to establish a back channel of communication. That was an
email to U.S. person one.
The importance of this new indictment – I was going to say twofold, I
think it`s threefold.
First, this is a collusion indictment. This is a criminal allegation from
the national security division of the Justice Department and the FBI that
an agent of the Russian government was working in Republican and
conservative politics in this country to among other things set up secret
contacts and secret lines of communication with the Kremlin, with support
from and approval from Vladimir Putin. That`s one. This is a collusion
indictment, and there`s U.S. persons who are described but not named in
this indictment, presumably we will come to know who those U.S. persons
are. That`s one.
Number two, in our own politics, of course, this has very large
implications for the freaking NRA and its continuing role in American
politics and in the Republican Party and in the conservative movement. I
mean, this will, if nothing else, put a very hot fire under the question of
whether the NRA may also have been used not just for a Russian influence
operation in the United States but potentially as a means of funneling
Russian money into the United States to influence the election.
But there`s one last way in which I think that this indictment of Maria
Butina is going to be really important going forward and that`s the
logistics. This indictment is not only going to be interesting on its
first day. This is going to be a gift that keeps on giving because unlike
the indictments of all the other Russians, all the other 26 Russians who
have been criminally charged thus far in the Mueller investigation, unlike
those 26, Maria Butina was here and they have arrested her. The other 26
Russians charged will likely never ever set foot in a U.S. courtroom or
ever again on U.S. soil, not as long as the us Justice Department exists.
But Maria Butina was here. They apparently executed search warrants on her
residence in April. That`s according to a statement from her lawyer today.
Then over the weekend, an arrest warrant was very quietly issued for her.
We don`t know why. She was arrested yesterday.
On Sunday, her lawyer says without notice to counsel, she is currently
being held without bond. Court filings today indicate that a notification
has been made to the Russian consulate that the U.S. is holding one of
Russia`s citizens. She is expected to appear in court for a hearing on
Wednesday, in federal court in Washington, D.C.
And what that means is that in all likelihood in this case. There`s going
to be a case there`s going to be a trial that is unlike the Internet
Research Agency indictments from February and it`s unlike the 12 Russians
from Russian military intelligence who were indicted on Friday. In those
cases, we`ve got names and descriptions and very serious crimes alleged,
but those Russians aren`t going to end up in an American courtroom. In
this case, they`ve got her.
So, we`re going to see her in court on Wednesday and we`re going to be able
to see the fight over these charges unfold in public in a way we can
observe. And, of course, this all follows the incredible bundle of new
information that we got on Friday when those 12 GRU officers were indicted
for their attack on the Democratic Party in the Clinton campaign during the
When the president today stood there in Helsinki next to Vladimir Putin and
said he doesn`t believe the U.S. government on the question of whether or
not Russia messed with our election, when he instead cited Putin`s denial
as very strong and very powerful, part of the reason that caused such an
explosion of outrage today is because he said that standing next to
Vladimir Putin. But it`s also because he said it immediately after the
U.S. government published reams of information that has the Russians dead
to rights on what they did and they`ve shown their work and it`s very
I mean, in the Friday indictment, they trace the bitcoin payments used by
these GRU officers to set up the first website where they dumped the stolen
documents from the Democratic Party. They follow the bitcoin. They follow
the money. They connect the money used to set up DCLeaks.com to the same
funds being used to set up malicious domains that were used to spend –
send those spear phishing emails to the Democratic Party, which is how they
hacked and stole the documents in the first place.
That means the publication and dissemination of the stolen materials are
linked by evidence, linked by a money trail to the way they stole the
materials in the first place. That means the hacking and stealing of the
data was part of the same criminal operation as the dissemination of the
data. That means anybody who aided and abetted in any part of that aided
and abetted in that major crime. We know that`s all the same people doing
all the same work with all the same money for all the same purpose. Any
Americans involved in that.
Twitter account they set up for DCLeaks was operated from the same computer
that posted online fake American identities that pushed hashtags like
#blacksagainstHillary. The Guccifer 2.0 Twitter feed was run through the
same virtual private network that was registered on the same server where
they hosted more of these spear-phishing domains. And that whole virtual
private network was paid for out of the same pool of bitcoin that they used
to buy space on a server in Malaysia from which they ran the DCLeaks.com
We don`t have to memorize all of those strands in the spider web, but it`s
all laid out in detail in the indictment. All of the different parts of
it, the propaganda to make people believe there was controversy about and
hatred for Hillary Clinton that did not exist in nature, that was faked by
the Russian government. Those were the same people and it was the same
operation that was stealing material from the Democratic Party in the
And those were the same people and it was the same operation that staged
the release of those stolen documents to cause maximum political pain,
first through DCLeaks and then through Guccifer and then through WikiLeaks,
all the same people, all the same military intelligence operatives, all the
same money, all the same computers. And that gives us incredible insight
into what the crime was and who done it.
But it also ought to give us an appreciation for how much detail U.S. law
enforcement and U.S. counterintelligence has been able to get about what
happened to us. They got the names of the individual Russian military
intelligence officers associated with specific fake online personas that
spewed anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda during the campaign. They knew who
was masquerading as who. They know which GRU officer was at which computer
at which date and which time deleting files and accounts and running
programs to clear his tracks when he worried that the FBI was on to him.
And one of the things we have yet to talk about tonight but we`re going to
talk about with somebody who was right there in the middle of it while it
happened is the very, very serious allegation raised in the Friday
indictment that the Russian operation with or without the help of American
confederates that is still unclear, they appear to have done stuff or at
least tried to do stuff that wasn`t just about swaying public opinion and
stealing stuff that was then turned back around into the U.S. media,
thereby manipulating the U.S. news media and the way it covered the
The indictment says beyond all that, that the Russians targeted field
operation plans when they stole stuff from the Democratic Party and they
stole hundreds of thousands of individual voter files, and they stole
something that they described as the test applications related to the DNC`s
analytics – the DNC`s analytics.
If this president was elected not just with an illegal boost from Russia in
the form of propaganda and social media manipulation and documents that
were stolen and then turned loose on the public, if this president was
elected because Russian military intelligence obtained for him his
opponents field operation plans and voter files and the Democratic Party`s
analytics, that is not like cheating on the test anymore. That is like
having the insert key with you when you sat down to purportedly take the
test. And that`s not an influence information – influence operation
That is – I mean, that that is that is something as I said at the top we
need to really seriously reckon with as a country maybe for the first time
and without blinders on. We now need to get this right.
The president publicly took sides with Russia against the U.S. government
today and that really has occasioned a national freak-out. But at this
moment, it is worth being clear-eyed and specific about what has gone wrong
here, what the danger is and what the best way is for America to fix a
problem like this one, which is like nothing we have ever confronted before
as a nation. We have to get this right.
Big night tonight. Stay buckled in. Lots to come.
MADDOW: Was it a surprising day really? Was it a surprise? Clearly,
people are shocked, but I have a nominee for least surprising moment at the
Trump-Putin press conference today.
It was when President Trump found a way to brag about his election win over
Hillary Clinton. It was actually a question posed to Vladimir Putin and
Trump jumped in to answer himself, just to make sure everybody heard again
that he won that election fair and square with no Russian help and the
whole Russia investigations just sour grapes from the Democrats who did he
mention he beat them? And the president brings that up at every
opportunity, says that all the time.
Here is something to note though in the indictment that came down a couple
days ago from the special counsel, federal prosecutors in that indictment
are essentially raising the prospect that among the things Russia stole
from the Democrats were things that Russia could have used to help the
Trump campaign in a material way in its campaign operations, not just a
disinformation campaign, not just – you know, Facebook posts and social
media manipulation to try to make Americans hate each other in a divisive
According to the indictment that was handed down on Friday, the Russian
government`s hackers, quote, targeted computers containing information such
as opposition research and field operation plans for the 2016 elections.
Also, quote, in or around September 2016, the conspirators successfully
gained access to Democratic Party computers hosted on a third party cloud
computing service. These computers contained test applications related to
the DNC`s analytics.
Quote, after conducting reconnaissance, the conspirators gathered data by
creating backups or snapshots of the DNC`s cloud-based systems. And that
sounds like, you know, one in a – one in a list of a million things that
the Democrats stole. Just focus in on that for a second.
Two months before the election, Russian government hackers set out to and
in fact succeeded in stealing the Democratic Party`s analytics, which I
think means it`s detailed information on its own voters, which is the
Democratic Party`s map for how they planned to try to contest and win the
election. If that ended up with the opposing campaign or with the Russian
government, what could they have done with that information?
Joining us now is Glen Caplin. He`s a former senior national spokesman for
the Hillary Clinton campaign. A big part of Mr. Caplin`s job on the
campaign was studying the Russian hacking operation in real time and trying
to explain what was happening.
Glen, thank you for being here.
GLEN CAPLIN, CLINTON CAMPAIGN FORMER SENIOR NATIONAL SPOKESMAN: Thanks.
Nice to be back.
MADDOW: Let me just ask, whether that very detailed indictment, more than
300 people in the Democratic Party in the Hillary campaign being targeted
than being able to get follow people`s keystrokes and screenshots, getting
field operations data, going after the analytics that were on the
Democratic Party servers. Does that comport with your understanding of
what happened to you?
CAPLIN: Yes, it`s both not surprising and mind-blowing at the same time.
But it completely comports with what we`ve known back to July of 2016. And
last time I was here, we talked about the switch and tactics for example
from Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks to WikiLeaks being a change in strategy.
What you saw on this indictment is where it says WikiLeaks said to Russian
intelligence, we will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.
CAPLIN: And they talked about actual timing.
So, it lays out exactly what we`ve been saying for last year and a half.
MADDOW: And that evolution was fascinating actually. Reading that in the
indictment, it suddenly sort of became clear to me, that kind of
disambiguated it for me. They started with DCLeaks. First, they tried to
create a Website called Election Leaks.
MADDOW: They couldn`t do that for some reason. They got DC Leaks. They
purported to be American hacktivists, then when the Democratic Party called
in CrowdStrike to do an assessment about what happened with that hack and
they fingered Russia and said this looks like a Russian government, then
they formed the Guccifer 2.0 persona in response to say, no, no, no, it`s
not Russia, I`m a lone hacker.
And then WikiLeaks comes to Guccifer, the Russian GRU, and says we can do
MADDOW: And start specifically looking for information they can – they
can use, that WikiLeaks can use, and that Russia can use to attract Bernie
CAPLIN: Correct and WikiLeaks says to GRU that this would be a good time
to sow discord between Hillary and Bernie voters.
MADDOW: And Russia obliges.
CAPLIN: Obliges. And one fact to remember is it`s not a – it`s not new
news that Guccifer 2.0 is a front for Russian intelligence.
CAPLIN: There was reams of reports that came out in summer of 2016 said
So, when Trump official campaign officials say, oh, I wasn`t talking to
Russian intelligence – please, come on. It`s nonsense.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about the analytics.
So, September, so we`re talking like maximum eight weeks before the
election, they somehow – the Russian military intelligence hackers somehow
get the DNC`s analytics or data related to the DNC`s analytics off this –
off this cloud server.
What does that mean? What our analytics and what kind of information is
that? What utility would information like that be?
CAPLIN: A lot of utility. So, analytics provides a window into individual
and who – what voters the campaign needs to talk to. So, it will tell you
things like which voters you think are persuadable, which voters you think
are likely to turn out.
MADDOW: Which voters literally, which voters, which individual people?
CAPLIN: Correct. That`s the individual level.
And you have to remember, Democratic campaigns organizations know their
voters better the Republicans do and vice-versa, right? So, it`s
extraordinarily valuable for your opponent to have that kind of data about
individual voters about who you think is going to turn out, who you think
is persuadable, who you think is going to vote for your candidate, who you
think is enthusiastic?
MADDOW: So, if you and the Clinton campaign had had that kind of – had
had the analytics from the Trump campaign, from the other side, that had
fallen out of the sky and you had had that, you`d be able to you`ll be able
to turn your campaign around in order to use that information to defeat
CAPLIN: It would be enormously helpful. And remember, you use – a
campaign use analytics to decide we`re going to buy TV advertising.
CAPLIN: Who you going to target, literally target on social media. So,
your opponent having that would be deeply, deeply problematic.
And this is an important point – before election day, a story came out
where a senior Trump official was on background said we have three major
voter suppression operations underway.
MADDOW: And remember this, it was a weird thing to go to be in the press,
like you don`t announce we`re doing voter suppression campaign.
CAPLIN: And especially when your whole thing is the election is rigged,
it`s even more bizarre. It`s not something a campaign would come out and
say it. But they were very, very specific.
He said, quote: They`re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win
overwhelmingly, idealistic white liberals, young women and African-
MADDOW: So, that`s in the press ahead –
CAPLIN: That`s in the press before Election Day. And so, when I saw the
July 27th date in the Mueller indictment, which is interesting for many
MADDOW: Which is when Trump says Russia if you`re listening, would want
those 33,000 emails –
CAPLIN: Which caught our attention on the campaign loudly that day. And
clearly, the Russians were listening as well.
So, when you think of July 27, and you think to this story before election
day, where their stated goal is voter suppression – well, one of the most
valuable things you can use analytics for is who you target –
MADDOW: You`re implying that they may have said that to the press in order
to signal Russia what they wanted done with that information?
CAPLIN: Absolute possibility.
MADDOW: Glen Caplin is former senior national spokesman for the Hillary
Clinton campaign – Glen, thank you for coming in. Much appreciated.
CAPLIN: Nice to be here. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Lots more to get to tonight, miles and miles and miles
of news to get to before we sleep. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s not just you. This is how it looked overseas from “The
Guardian” newspaper in the U.K.: Trump treasonous after siding with Putin
on election meddling. This is from “Le Monde” in France, this translates
to: Trump`s weakness in front of Putin even scandalizes the Republican
ranks. In Spain, this says: Trump surrenders to Putin after humiliating
This is Germany, (SPEAKING GERMAN) how`s my German? That means some of the
autocrats, unless somebody`s playing a joke on me. It could mean anything,
I have no idea.
This was the front page in Finland right after the summit which took place
in Finland. That one you can read in any language, Trump zero, Putin one.
So, yes, now today, we need to figure out as a country of what we`re going
to do now that the U.S. president is openly siding with another government
against our own. It`s kind of comforting I guess to know that the rest of
the world doesn`t really know how to process it either, but we do have a
few guests coming up to help us understand it. Hold strong, eat some
Wheaties in the break. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is a Nice Kodak moment between Russia`s Foreign Minister
Sergey Lavrov and our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it`s helpfully
documented by the Russian foreign ministry today. This was Lavrov at
today`s summit, snagging the best seat in the house, right next to Putin.
There`s the right-hand man literally.
When Lavrov was asked today how this summit went, he basically burst with
happiness like a grape. He told Russian state media that today was, quote,
fabulous, better than super. And I didn`t have to add the ellipses there,
that`s literally how he said it, fabulous, better than super that`s how
they`re viewing it in the Kremlin.
Joining us now is Michael McFaul former U.S. ambassador to Russia and now
an NBC news analyst.
Ambassador McFaul, I know you have been up all night. I know this has been
a remarkable 24-hour period. Thank you for being with us tonight.
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Glad to be here.
MADDOW: With a little bit of time to reflect on what you saw and the
importance of these events, I wanted to ask what you think of the fact that
there is kind of a national freak-out happening in this country today about
what the president did. The behavior of presidents at foreign summits is
always of interest, it`s always newsworthy. This seems to have shaken this
country today and I wonder if you feel with a little reflection that that`s
MCFAUL: Yes, it is striking to be, Rachel, that it has gotten an
overwhelming reaction all over the country, all over the world, too. Just
remember what you said earlier. You and I have been talking about this for
many years already. Many years, I want to emphasize that.
But because there was such a focus on the president today standing next to
Putin, that created the image and it would have been so easy for him to
push back just a little bit, right? I`m sure that`s what his advisors told
him to do before that press conference and yet he didn`t do it and I just
think it was jarring to see him doing that standing right next to Vladimir
Putin. Hopefully, it`s a wake-up call for our country to take this a much
MADDOW: What would “taking it more seriously” mean in nuts-and-bolts
terms? since I`ve been on the air tonight, I`ve just been starting to see
the first images from protests that are taking place right now across the
street from the White House seemingly spontaneous protests breaking out.
We have seen calls today for members of Trumps national security team to
resign, for senior intelligence officials to resign.
Obviously, the country is taking this seriously. You can see that from the
reaction. But do you agree with these calls for resignation, with these
calls that people should be out in the street, sort of if not now, when?
MCFAUL: Well, resignations are always a tough call because when they
leave, then things could get worse. So I know some of those people. I`ve
known some of the people who`ve been fired by President Trump, and I know
But I do think we need a greater national debate about what`s going on.
Again, you and I`ve been doing this for a long time, but a lot of people
haven`t joined that debate and in particular, Republicans need to step up.
They need to speak out and not just the familiar voices, because this is a
national security crisis, and the president of the United States flew all
the way to Finland, met with Vladimir Putin, and basically capitulated.
It felt like appeasement watching it and there`s no explanation to it,
right? That`s the – you have an explanation.
MCFAUL: We`ve been just discussing possible scenarios, but there`s really
no way to describe it. I mean, do you really think President Trump cares
about arms control? That was his big takeaway. You know, we`re going to
do arms control now. I`ll bet you he doesn`t even know what`s in the new
And so, when you think about that way, you put it all together, you think
why is it that he is so, so willing to step over himself, to lavish praise
on Vladimir Putin? I think the American people and our government demand
that we get an answer to that question.
MADDOW: Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, thank you, sir.
Again, I know it`s been a very long 24 hours. Thanks for being with us.
That timestamp is for real. He`s up before 5:00 a.m. in Finland. This
time of year, Finland is bright for a lot of a night, but still, that`s a
lot to ask of Ambassador McFaul.
I will just underscore that his bottom line assessment there that would
this is a national security crisis. This is a national security crisis at
least, as far as I can tell. The question is how we handle it. Usually
when we have a national security crisis in this country, we look to the
president to lead us. In this case, the national security crisis is the
president and I`m not sure we know who will lead us out of this, but we`re
going to find out soon.
More to come here tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: What you`re hearing there is you`re the puppet, you`re the puppet.
So, the president`s home. He just landed at Andrews Air Base and then took
a helicopter from there to the White House, whereupon welcome home, Mr.
President, a humble and hastily called protest was waiting for him across
the street from the White House.
I think we`ve got a shot of Texas – yes, Texas Democratic Congressman
Joaquin Castro the bullhorn there. Also, these giant illuminated letters
that spell L-I-A-R, which is rail backwards but I think they`ve got it
facing the right way for him to read it. Welcome home, Mr. President.
Joining us now is Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian.
Mr. Beschloss, thank you for being here.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I want to give you the chance to respond to what you saw today.
Just with the historians, I – how big a deal was this?
BESCHLOSS: We are living in a national emergency. We may not have known
it 24 hours ago, we do now.
You know, I have been studying and writing about presidents since I was 20
years old. I never thought I would live to say this – this is a president
who now has demonstrated that he deserves suspicion is acting on behalf of
another country over his own. We`ve had presidents we`ve never had this
situation before. This is something that`s a real crisis.
MADDOW: You describe this as a national emergency. Ambassador Michael
McFaul just described this as a national security crisis. A lot of the
most dramatic history of the U.S. presidencies – of the U.S. presidency is
about presidents rising to the occasion or not at the time –
MADDOW: – of national emergencies and national security crises.
Watergate is the only other time I can think of in modern history where
there was a national crisis where the president was the crisis or was part
of the crisis.
MADDOW: That`s why we keep going back to Watergate in terms of I think
trying to understand the magnitude here.
But when it`s a national security matter, when it`s a foreign policy
matter, when it`s an intelligence matter like this and the president is not
the one to lead the country out of this problem, do we have anything from
history that helps us understand who we look to for leadership instead?
BESCHLOSS: Sadly, we don`t. I mean or a good thing we don`t because we`ve
never had a said – you know, Nixon did terrible things, but no one ever
suspected seriously that he was acting on behalf of Russia or some other
foreign powers. So, we can`t look back in history and say this is the way
we did it.
On the other hand, you know, this is the time for members of Congress to
step out, particularly members of Donald Trump`s own party. Republicans
during Richard Nixon went to the White House and said, you can`t stay there
anymore. You know, this is not what our party stands for, we can no longer
If we see tomorrow morning that members Republican leaders in the House and
Senate are still saying, you know, yes, this was a terrible press
conference but we`re still for Donald Trump, then we`ve got an even bigger
problem. We also have elections this fall.
MADDOW: Also, that question about Republicans and their role here, in
sharp relief with the latest indictment tonight about a Russian influence
operation targeting the Republican Party.
BESCHLOSS: You have to make sure these elections work.
MADDOW: Michael Beschloss, NBC news presidential historian – thank you,
BESCHLOSS: Thank you.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I have once again eaten the real estate of my neighbor. I`m
sorry. We`ll see you tomorrow night.
Now it`s past time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Sorry, Lawrence. Good evening, sir.
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