Early voting numbers surge. TRANSCRIPT: 10/30/2018, The Rachel Maddow Show.
Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: October 30, 2018
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: As it happens, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That was very nice.
HAYES: It`s great. It`s great stuff. You got a TV show. You got a
podcast. It`s all happening for Rachel Maddow.
MADDOW: You know, as a podcaster yourself, you know it`s freakin` hard.
HAYES: It is hard.
MADDOW: It`s one of the media that it seems simple.
HAYES: It`s a new medium. Not really, but –
MADDOW: I mean, you`ve done radio too, right? It seems like it`s a little
bit like radio. It`s like making a movie. It`s just that you have to make
it with no pictures.
HAYES: When you do with the ambition that you and your team have done
this, yes. They don`t all have to be like movies, but yours. It`s very
MADDOW: Yours is like a movie too. Anyway, thanks, Chris. Much
And thanks to you at home for joining us today. It`s been a big day in the
news. There`s been a lot of sort of curveballs in the news today.
We`re going to start, though, where we need to start, which is in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where today, there were funerals for three of the
11 people who were killed in the synagogue massacre on Saturday. City
leaders in Pittsburgh and Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh had asked President
Trump to please not come himself to Pittsburgh today on the first day of
the first funerals. City leaders had asked him to please wait until the
city has buried its dead, at least, if for no other reason than the
resources necessary to protect these funerals, having to be diverted to
instead protect the president.
They were not telling him he is never welcome in Pittsburgh. They were
just asking him to please at least put it off maybe until next week, right?
Preserve public safety resources in Pittsburgh so that the funerals can be
protected in case any sort of, you know, copycat attacker decides to come
out and attack the funerals, after the suspect in this case has killed
these people in the synagogue in the first place.
The president rejected all of those requests and showed up in Pittsburgh
today anyway, and that of course is a huge public safety ordeal for any
place a president of the United States shows up in any circumstances.
Today in Pittsburgh because of the president`s trip, they cleared out whole
areas of the city where he visited today. A staff writer for the
“Pittsburgh Tribune Review” named Dan Speicher (ph) today, he shot this
video of people who were held about a block away from the Tree of Life
synagogue, which of course is where the massacre happened on Saturday in
the city`s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Check this out.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: What they`re singing there in the street outside about a block
away from the Tree of Life synagogue while the president was visiting
today, obviously it`s a Hebrew song. I do not speak Hebrew, but a rough
translation of what they`re saying is my strength balanced with the song of
god will be my salvation. Oziv azemaza (ph).
The alleged killer from the synagogue shootings left online a trail
basically documenting what appears to have been his thinking before he
committed these killings. He apparently was convinced for some reason that
the United States was being invaded, invaded by immigrants and refugees and
asylum seekers. What he said online before he apparently committed all of
these murders is that he needed to kill Jews because Jewish charities that
help refugees, Jews in general were bringing these invaders into this
country, bringing on this invasion of the United States.
Those were apparently his last words online before these killings. HIAS,
which is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS likes to bring invaders in
that kill our people. I can`t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.
Screw your optics, I`m going in.
That`s apparently the last thing he said online before he went in and
killed 11 people. The massacre was on Saturday. Last night, Monday night,
the president went on Fox News to proclaim that there is an invasion going
on that our country is being invaded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s called an invasion of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The president said that on FOX News last night. He tweeted it as
well. This is an invasion of our country. This is after the massacre.
This, of course, is part of the president`s big push, his weeks-long push
to try to make the central issue of the election this year. Republican
voters` fear about a group of Central American migrants who are about a
thousand miles from the U.S. border. The guy who carried out the synagogue
murders in Pittsburgh had ranted online about the same migrant caravan that
the president and conservative media have been stoking all this excitement
Now, I don`t know if the suspect in the Pittsburgh massacre has TV access
in jail, but since he allegedly committed the worst attack against the
American Jewish community in the history of this country, saying he had to
do it to stop this invasion of our country, that the Jews were
facilitating, well, since he has been in jail, he probably likes what he
has been seeing on TV, if he has access to TV. The president held a
political rally just a few hours after the massacre that same night.
The music star Pharrell Williams now says he may sue the president for
playing the song “Happy” at that rally, which the president did, which was
just a few hours after the massacre. Since the killings, the president has
continued to echo the online claims by the suspected murderer about our
country being invaded. He`s insisting on saying that at every public
appearance now after the suspect in this case said online before he went
and killed all of those people, that it was to stop the invasion. The
president has been insisting on calling it that since.
The National Republican Party has also decided since the massacre to keep
running an ad that depicts a Democratic congressional candidate as being
secretly controlled by George Soros, Jewish billionaire who Fox News and
President Trump have turned into a bogeyman for almost everything. But in
particular, they`re now regularly all day long blaming him, blaming Soros
for somehow secretly orchestrating that supposed caravan invasion.
Now, about George Soros getting a pipe bomb in the mail last week allegedly
sent by a suspect who`s now also in custody, who appears to have been a
Trump super fan. Nothing about that has apparently caused any sort of
pause, any slowdown in the attacks on George Soros, not only from the
conservative media, but from the Republican Party nationally, which is
still running that anti-Soros ad, even after the pipe bombs. Also, since
the massacre in the synagogue, the president has announced the deployment
of thousands of active duty U.S. troops to the U.S. border to stop what he
is continually calling that invasion there.
There is no invasion on the U.S. border, and sending as many troops through
the border as are currently in Iraq won`t change that. But it turns out
when you call it an invasion, when you try to rally everybody about a fear
of an invasion, it turns out lots of people across the country have
different ideas about what might be a good way to stop that invasion. I
mean, what could be too extreme if the country is in fact being invaded by
shoeless moms and kids who are a thousand miles away.
The Fox News Channel has now recently started claiming that these invaders
are bringing disease, that they specifically have smallpox. They`re coming
here to kill us all with smallpox and stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID WARD: These individuals come from all over the world that have some
of the most extreme medical care in the world. And they`re coming in with
diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB that are going to affect our
people in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Smallpox was eradicated from the face of the earth in what, 1980?
But, you know, hey, you got to do what you got to do.
You know, Fox, it`s interesting, did realize after they broadcast those
claims on the air that the caravan was bringing smallpox and leprosy and
TB. They didn`t realize after they broadcast those claims on the air that
they might have a little bit of a problem with what was asserted there, so
they did go back to clean it up, sort of assure their audience, I know what
you just heard here, but actually, who knows?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier in this hour, one of our guests said some of
the people in the caravan may have diseases like leprosy and TB. Well, we
want to say we have no way of independently confirming this, and we wanted
to clarify that point for you.
Now, Saturday`s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Now, segue, Saturday`s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue.
Did we mention the guy who thought he had to do that thought he had to kill
as many Jews as possible to stop them from orchestrating this invasion?
And when we say the invasion will also bring leprosy, smallpox, forget that
we said smallpox. We won`t even correct for that, that was embarrassing.
It`s not really on the earth anymore.
But leprosy and TB, you know, we don`t know for sure. Haven`t confirmed
that, but we`re just putting it out there. Just want to clarify.
That was yesterday on Fox News Channel.
So, the president was not deterred by requests from Jewish leaders and city
leaders in Pittsburgh asking him to please stay away from basically the
smoldering wreckage in that city today. He went in there anyway. But to
the extent that the invasion at the border idea was the big idea from
President Trump for the midterm election, a disease-ridden foreign invasion
secretly organized by a Jew, to the extent that is the get out the vote
program for the elections this year, for Republican candidates this year,
courtesy of the White House and conservative media.
And it is. The president is happy to admit that is what he wants the
election to be about. To the extent that`s the game plan, it does maybe
make the focus wobble just a little bit when those things they are trying
to build their election campaign around, those things that they are making
up and stoking and trying to scare voters with, those things are actually
also linked to a serial pipe bombing campaign and a true blue massacre of
mostly elderly Jews on U.S. soil.
That does wobble the lens a little bit, right? It might make it a little
bit of a harder sell for the election, maybe. Depending on how much more
they think the country can bear.
And so, in this last week before the election, we are starting to see I
think some new gambits now, some new attempted closing arguments, since the
ones they`ve been really counting on are starting to feel a little
In terms of new stuff, you are going to love the thing they just tried to
cook up about Robert Mueller. We`ve got this story coming up in just a
moment. It will literally make you laugh out loud. Absolutely amazing.
But there remains this can`t boil it down fact that people are going to
vote for a new Congress one week from today. And no matter what story line
is being invented or hyped or perverted by the White House, ahead of those
elections next week, there remains this can`t boil it down truth that if
the Republican Party, if President Trump`s Republican Party loses enough
seats in either the House or in the Senate to actually lose control of
either of those chambers, if that happens, if enough Democratic members of
Congress win to flip control of either the House or the Senate to the
Democratic Party, that will change the country in a specific way.
What that will mean is that the actions of the Trump White House and the
Trump administration will finally be, you know, overseen, right? Remember
congressional oversight? It will be overseen. It will be scrutinized. If
need be, they will be investigated by congressional committees that are no
longer just there to help the president do stuff and to attack his
detractors and his enemies.
In every dark moment in American democracy, and we are in a dark moment
right now, the vote is the way out, right? That`s the – it sounds simple.
It sounds reductive. But that is the bargain you make as a democratic
Democracy can be a frustrating system. It can be very inefficient. Lots
of problems can arise in democratic societies. But in a democracy, the
solution to all of our problems, no matter how dark things get is always to
vote in a way that will change things, always. Electing to be a Democratic
society means we agree that we will use this one tool as a country to make
things better when they need to be made better.
And it is frustrating, but that`s what democracy is. It`s a self-governing
philosophy. It tells us that`s the one tool you get to fix things, so it`s
the one tool you use. And if you decide to give up on that tool and pursue
things through other means, other more direct means, you`re doing a lot of
things, but you`re not participating in the democratic way of life that we
have chosen as a country.
And so with next week`s election, if the vote shows that the country has
elected to go in a very different direction than the way we are going right
now, it`s not like that will make awes fundamentally different country,
right? It won`t be a spiritual change. We will still be the people who we
are today. But if we make that change as a country a week from tonight, it
will have a practical effect. If there is behavior by this White House and
by this administration that you think might reasonably be checked or
corrected, or if need be reined in by another branch of government, that is
what could happen, depending on next week`s vote and how it goes that is
the chance that`s afforded by this election.
That`s the chance afforded to you when you go to vote for who you think
should represent your congressional district and who you think should be
your center. That`s the choice you get to make. A lot of – there is a
lot of lofty rhetoric, right, when you get to be one week around the elect,
especially at time when things are going in ways that are so scary in this
But get practical about this. What`s the one thing you can change? You
can change whether or not the administration has a check over it or
doesn`t, by how you vote for your member of Congress.
Here is just one very specific example, just from today`s headlines. Just
today a Trump cabinet secretary was referred to the U.S. Justice Department
for criminal investigation. It`s Ryan Zinke, the Trump-appointed head of
the interior department. He made headlines recently for trying awkwardly
to fire the independent inspector general who had opened multiple
simultaneous investigations into him based on various claims of corruption.
Zinke sort of hilariously failed in his effort to fire that independent
inspector general who was investigating him, and now tonight, “The
Washington Post” is first to report that one of her investigations into
Ryan Zinke has resulted in a referral of him to the Justice Department for
criminal investigation. Now we don`t know which of her investigations has
led to this. We don`t know what the specific claims are that have led to
this Justice Department referral.
A senior White House official tells the “Washington Post” tonight, quote,
the White House understands that the investigation is looking into whether
the secretary used his office to help himself. It`s vague, but it doesn`t
seem good. But if a cabinet secretary has now been referred to the Justice
Department for criminal investigation for using his public office to enrich
himself, that`s like what Congress was made for, right?
Getting all het up about that and figuring that out and getting to the
bottom of it and exposing it and getting justice for that, being able to
assure the American people that that kind of corruption is not happening,
that anybody who is corrupt in that way will be found out, caught, held
accountable, and expelled from public office. I mean, that`s kind of why
we have a Congress.
I mean, they make laws, but they also do this. This is the oversight role
of Congress. This is what they`re built for.
Well, this congress, though, controlled by the Republicans, if you have
been waiting to hear a peep out of them, a peep of concern, even about just
this one thing involving Ryan Zinke, which has apparently resulted in a
criminal referral as of today, you have not heard any of those peeps
because there has been none, because the Republicans are in control of
Congress. And while they are in control of Congress, they`re not going to
do anything about any of this stuff.
Today, three Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut,
Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Ron Wyden of Oregon, they wrote to
Secretary Zinke telling him, quote, to immediately cease any efforts to use
the office of the secretary of the interior for personal gain. The
senators also directed him to, quote, fully reimburse the public for your
private use of public resources.
And when Democratic senators are in a minority, a letter like that will
absolutely be ignored. But if they were in the majority, Ryan Zinke might
actually have to do those things, double-time. That`s in the Senate.
Here`s Raul Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona. He is the leading Democrat on
the House Natural Resources Committee. He tells “The Post” today, quote,
if Democrats are given the opportunity to hold a congressional majority
next year, Secretary Zinke will be called to testify in February, meaning
right after they`re sworn in, on why his conduct in office merited referral
to the Justice Department, whether that referral was related to the recent
attempted firing of his inspector general, and his many other failings and
scandals, which needless to say is not happening if the Democrats don`t
take control of the House next week.
We are one week out. Are the Democrats going to take control of the House?
We can sort of maybe almost tell from here.
That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s a week from election night. More than a half dozen states
from around the country have already surpassed the total number of early
votes that were cast in the last election, the last congressional election
in 2014. They`ve already beat the 2014 numbers, even though we`ve still
got a week to go.
But we`re close enough now to actual election night that honestly, I`m
ready for just a bottom line assessment. Are the Republicans going to keep
control of Congress, or are the Democrats going to flip it? What are the
Joining us now is the great Steve Kornacki, MSNBC national political
correspondent and our elections guru.
Steve, I`ve been looking forward to this. Please, school me. School all
of us. What do you think is going to happen in the House?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so, let`s
take you through a sort of snapshot of the battleground right now. So,
again, right now, this is what the map looks like as Congress has
constituted. And for Democrats, it means they need to get a net gain of 23
next week, a net gain of 23 of these red districts need to flip blue.
Let`s take you through this in a couple tiers to show you why Democrats are
favored going into this next week. So, first of all, we say it`s a net
gain of 23. Technically, we should make this clear there are two seats on
the map. One of them is in Minnesota and one of them in is in
Pennsylvania, where they did that redistricting this year there are two
seats on the map that look right now that they are likely to be Democratic
seats that flip into Republican hands.
So, that 23 could very quickly go to 25. So, 25, if you say that`s the
target for Democrats. But now look at the flip side. If there are two
Democratic seats that are likely to go to Republican hands, how about the
most vulnerable Republicans?
Well, look, that is already a much wider group of districts right there.
And I can just take you through some of these. This one here in New
Jersey, there is polling that`s got the Democrat ahead by double-digits
right here. These are all Republican seats.
There is polling here. This one looks gone. Republicans aren`t even
contesting this one in New Jersey. These two here in the corner of
Pennsylvania, again, because of redistricting, they are as good as gone for
Basically, in this region right here, these are seven Republican-held seats
where the polling has Democrats ahead by high single digits into the low
double-digits, maybe even better. And, again, you just see this across the
map. Democrats could trip up in one of these, you know, maybe one or two
of these, but the expectation is there are 17 seats right here there are 17
seats here where the expectation is Democrats are going to take the vast
majority of these, very possibly all of these.
So, those are just the ripest targets for Democrats. And again, it would
take that magic number for them into the single digits. And this is where
when we say Democrats are favored, this is why, because then you move into
the next year. These are the additional Democratic targets.
So if they come through that first tier we just talked about, needing only
a gain of single digits, what do we have right here? We have 50 additional
Republican-held districts where you`ve got polling in a number of these
districts, in Maine too. There is polling that has the Democrat ahead
there have been polls that have the Democrat ahead.
New York, 19. There was a poll today that had the Democrat ahead.
Pennsylvania, one. There has been polled and has the Democrat ahead.
There has polling that has the Republican ahead as well.
But basically, you`ve got all of these competitive districts in here, and
it`s looks like if Democrats essentially get I would say a quarter of
these, of this tier, if they can pick off a quarter of these Republican-
held seats on top of what I show you`d before, that would probably do it
for them. So there is just – the Republicans need everything to break
their way when you get into this tier of Republican-held seats. There are
so many that are likely to go so quickly in the suburbs, in those districts
that Hillary Clinton won. It puts Democrats in a position where they`re on
offense when you get into this tier of districts.
And there are so many different paths that open up when you look at 50
different Republican-held seats here with you can make a case Democrats
have a shot at everything right there.
MADDOW: And, Steve, when you`re talking about them collectively like that,
when boluses of what`s at risk, and what potentially be in rich for each
party, that makes me feel like what`s the most important thing to watch for
next week might be national dynamics, might be the sorts of things that
will create widespread enthusiasm or depress enthusiasm in a big way. Is
that the right way to look at it?
When you`ve been on the precipice of elections like, this do you find that
national events start driving the ultimate bottom line?
KORNACKI: I think so, because one of the common threads in this tier of
districts, I`ll just show you, if you go inside of these. Like in Maine
right here, Republican held seat, the polling shows maybe Democrats ahead
by a couple of points right there. If you take a look at Pennsylvania 1,
this is right outside Pennsylvania, there was a poll yesterday. The
Republican up by one point.
I think the question you start to ask if you look nationally there, is
there something that is going to happen that is going to move it national
lay couple of points, one way or the other. If all of these districts kind
of collectively move two points in the Democrats` advantage, then a flood
of them I think could move into the Democratic column. Now, if all of them
collectively kind of move two points into the Republican favor, the
Republican column, then the Republicans could hold on to the bulk of these
I think overall, it paints a picture where I think nationally you could say
on this end, maybe around five seats. Maybe Republicans could hold on to
the chamber by about five seats, if things really broke their way. And at
the other end of it, Democrats could post a gain of like 50 seats if
everything broke there.
So, I think that`s kind of the range we`re operating in where everything,
if you think of Trump in 2016, everything broke his way on election night
and he found just the path that got him to the presidency, the equivalent
of that in the House would leave the Republicans with a majority I would
say about five seats. And if you switch it a couple of points and it broke
in the Democrats` favor, I think you`re talking about a very sizeable wave
and a very sizable majority for them coming out next week.
MADDOW: It seems like one of the things that is possible within the range
you`re defining is a week from tonight, we`re not only going to be here
late, we`re going to be here indefinitely because it`s – right? It`s
within the realm of possibility that there will be enough close races and
the numbers overall for House chamber control might be tight enough that
this is the sort of thing that we won`t know a week from tonight.
KORNACKI: And I think that`s one of those if you get the scenario where it
doesn`t break decisively to one party or the other, and you`re kind of
going district by district through the night, and it`s two points here and
one point there, you could have a lot of close races in the East Coast,
Central Time Zone. A when you get out west, look at the districts in
California that are competitive.
Remember that California, a lot of the vote is not going to be counted on
election night. It`s not going to be counted the next day. It`s not going
to be counted the next week. It might take into December to get the vote
out of California.
MADDOW: Because of absentee ballots?
KORNACKI: Mail-in ballots.
KORNACKI: Anything that`s in the mail on Election Day will eventually get
counted. We saw this in the primary back in June. I think they finally
certified the primary results. It was either at the very end of June or
even into July when they certified it.
This is one of the reasons in 2016 Hillary Clinton`s popular vote advantage
nationally didn`t really come into focus until a month after the election
because so much of it was from California, and the California vote was so
slow in coming in that that 2.7 million vote lead for Hillary Clinton
really didn`t come into focus until December of 2016.
MADDOW: Steve Kornacki, thank you. That was super clarifying. I`m really
actually quite looking forward to staying up with you a week from tonight.
Thank you, my friend.
KORNACKI: Looking forward to it too.
MADDOW: I will also tell you, having grown up in California, it has been a
generation that Californians believed that their vote had a federal impact,
that their vote had – could change the direction of the country rather
than just their state. If you or anyone you know lives in California, you
need to know about this election that maybe more than any other state in
the country, it is the votes of Californians that may decide in a very big
way the political direction of this country for the next two years.
Not to stress you out or anything.
All right. Lots more to get to tonight, including a truly bizarre story
about the Robert Mueller investigation that had the special counsel calling
in the FBI to newly investigate something today. It doesn`t sound like a
story that will make you laugh out loud, but it will make you laugh out
loud. That story is next.
MADDOW: It started almost two weeks ago when this little thistle popped up
in the lawn. Quote, spoke to a prominent D.C. insider today who told me
there are several women prepared to make credible allegations against dirty
cop Robert Mueller, a couple of weeks ago. And then we got another one
really early this morning. Quote, several media stories tell me a
scandalous story about Robert Mueller is breaking tomorrow. Should it be
interesting. Stay tuned.
Stay tuned. Those tweets, both of them are from a guy you have never heard
of, who is a right wing pro-Trump Twitter personality, to the extent he is
known at all in pro-Trump Twitter circles, is there a thing? This is a guy
known for spreading pro-Trump conspiracy theories. And there he was in the
early hours of the morning today hyping what he says is a scandal about
Robert Mueller, a whole different kind of scandal that`s due to hit
He went on to brag to “The Daily Beast” about his friend Jack Burkman (ph)
who is a controversial radio host who is also known for spreading pro-Trump
conspiracy theories. You might remember when he tried to hold a fundraiser
for Rick Gates, the Trump deputy campaign manager earlier this past year
while Gates was on house arrest. It resulted in Gates getting in a lot of
trouble with his case.
But in any case, this Twitter guy, the pro-Trump Twitter guy said this
whole scandal about Mueller was about to be revealed because his friend
Jack Burkman had hired an intelligence firm, a firm called Surefire
Intelligence to assist with his investigation into special counsel Robert
Mueller`s scary, scary past.
And then Jack Burkman said himself he was ready, almost ready to reveal the
terrible news that he had discovered, quote, on Thursday, November 1 at the
Rosslyn Holiday Inn at noon, we will reveal the first of special counsel
Robert Mueller`s sex assault victims.
Because you can always fit more conspiracy nonsense on the head of a pin,
the right wing website Gateway Pundit, where the pro-Trump Twitter guy is a
writer, that website then posted online that they had obtained a physical
document of some kind that detailed these supposed accusations against
Robert Mueller, and they did post what looks like a document. And it`s
complete with redactions, mysterious redactions, and then this is the
header on the document, “international private intelligence.”
Quote: Investigation of sexual misconduct accusation against Robert S.
Mueller III. At the bottom, it says confidential raw intelligence
document. It`s all very weird, all very weird.
It turns out when I said this was about a pro-Trump Twitter personality
you`d never heard of? It turns out the whole secret intelligence firm
behind this dossier of terrible dirt about Robert Mueller that`s going to
be revealed at a holiday inn later this week, it turns out that secret
intelligence firm is his mom.
The story gets better from there. That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Sort of a strange thing happened today. Reporters started talking
openly about the fact they`d all been contacted over the past several weeks
by a woman who said she had been contacted by someone with a firm called
Surefire Intelligence. Surefire Intelligence was offering money to this
woman in exchange for her making a false claim against special counsel
Robert Mueller. She said the person who contacted her offered to pay off
all of her credit card debt, plus give her an additional $20,000 in
exchange for her signing a false affidavit claiming that Robert Mueller at
one point sexually harassed her.
Now the man from this supposed intelligence firm, this Surefire
Intelligence, claimed that he had been hired by a prominent right-wing D.C.
lobbyist and conspiracy theorist named Jack Burkman. That claim was made
in the offer to this woman that she should fill out this false affidavit.
Now, the woman who ended up telling reporters about this offer to smear
Mueller for money, she is apparently not the only one. There`s another
woman named Jennifer Taub, who`s an associate professor in Vermont Law
School. She was also contacted by that same supposed intelligence firm, by
They contacted her over e-mail, and this person supposedly from this
intelligence firm asked her about her past encounters with Robert Mueller.
The person also offered to compensate her, quote, at whatever rate you see
fit. Here`s the thing. This Vermont law professor who got this offer,
I`ll pay you if you want to talk to me about your encounters with Robert
Mueller, that woman has never met Robert Mueller. She doesn`t know him.
She`s never met him. She doesn`t know what any of this about.
Upon receiving that e-mail offering her money to talk about her Robert
Mueller encounters, she did what is probably the smart thing. She sent it
on to Robert Mueller. She sent to it the special counsel`s office so they
at least know this was happening.
Ultimately, what we`ve seen over the course of today is that reporters have
started to dig into Surefire Intelligence and this guy who supposedly had
been hired to look into Robert Mueller`s supposed past. Now I mentioned a
moment ago that the person hyping that a big scandal was to be break
concerning Robert Mueller is sort of a little known pro-Trump Twitter
personality. He is a guy named Jacob Wohl.
That`s who has been saying hey, this lobbyist is about to break this big
scandal about Robert Mueller here. He`s hired an intelligence firm, and
that intelligence firm has done an investigation and found out this
terrible thing about Robert Mueller. Well, when you look into the
intelligence firm here, it appears that the managing partner from this
intelligence firm is in fact that pro-Trump Twitter kid who has been saying
this big scandal is about to break.
The top image that is backlit on the Surefire Intelligence website is
Matthew Cohen. That`s his LinkedIn picture. The other pictures which
match it exactly are this pro-Trump Twitter kid Jacob Wohl.
It also occurs that a number of people who supposedly work at this Surefire
Intelligence agency are just head shots or stock photos or supermodels.
For example, the man who supposedly contacted Professor Jennifer Taub,
Simon Frick from Surefire, looks exact likely Christopher Waltz. The guy
from “Inglorious Bastards.” Wow, what are the odds?
So, Jacob Wohl, the guy who has been hyping that this Robert Mueller
scandal is about to break, he declined to talk to NBC about his own
involvement with this appears what to be fake intelligence firm, Surefire
Intelligence. When NBC looked into it, though, NBC discovered that Jacob
Wohl`s own e-mail is listed in the domain records for Surefire website.
And my favorite part of the story, it turns out when you call Surefire
Intelligence, those calls go to a voice mail message that links to another
phone number, and that phone number belongs to Jacob Wohl`s mom. And maybe
his mom is an awesome super spy, but I should also tell you that the
dossier, right, about Mueller stamped “international private intelligence”,
it`s no longer online. Now when you go to that website, it says, quote, we
took the documents down and we are currently investigating these
There are also very serious allegations against Jacob Wohl. We are looking
into this. And update we spoke with Jacob and we are interviewing him
tomorrow. We will post the interview.
So, the place where Jacob Wohl works is now going to try to milk this for
another couple of days.
The one serious place this thing lands is that Robert Mueller and the
special counsel`s office has now referred this matter to the FBI for
investigation. From the spokesman to the special counsel, who never says
anything, quote, when we learned last week of allegations that women were
offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we
immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.
Joining us now is NBC News tech and media reporter Ben Collins, who
reported this out today.
Ben, great to have you here.
BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS TECH AND MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: This is super weird.
COLLINS: It is.
MADDOW: The thing that we all first learned about this was that the
special counsel`s office had referred this for investigation to the FBI,
and it was like whoa, first of all the special counsel`s office speaks.
Second of all, they referred it to the FBI for investigation. It must be a
COLLINS: Yes, hypothetically.
MADDOW: Then –
COLLINS: Oh, and then the world happened, right?
COLLINS: We saw what was going on. So, this – the very first thing you
do is you make a phone call as a reporter. We called Surefire on the phone
number listed on the Website. And the phone number redirected us to this
other phone number. We looked up that phone number, and again, it went to
his mom`s phone number.
Again, it could be a family plan, whatever.
COLLINS: We don`t want to blame her necessarily.
MADDOW: What intelligence firm doesn`t have that?
COLLINS: We don`t want to implicate people and their son`s weird misdeeds
that they do all the time.
MADDOW: I`m sure she`s delighted that he used her number for this.
COLLINS: And he has gotten her into some schemes in the past too, because
he used to be a hedge fund manager, even though he is only 22 years old.
Trusting Jacob Wohl to begin with if you`re a person who follows Donald
Trump is probably not a great idea.
MADDOW: It does appear this is an effort the way that Mr. Wohl`s employer,
this conservative website, which is it`s definitely a conspiracy theory
promoting pro-Trump website 100 percent. They`re also in this media
environment and in this Republican politics environment, they tend to be
sort of influential. They start conspiracy theories that other people on
the right tend to run with.
MADDOW: To the extent that this is happening one week before the election,
it does appear to be an effort on the far right to launch some sort of
October surprise scandal about Robert Mueller.
MADDOW: And the question is whether or not it`s going to be seen as a
scandal about these guys who are trying to do it or whether it will get any
COLLINS: So it`s so transparently bad from the get-go, again, the fake
celebrities and things like that. Jacob is known for this sort of thing.
Last year, he was pushing the migrant caravan conspiracy. You saw what
that leads to this weekend, right?
And Gateway Pundit has been down this path millions of times before. There
have been trial balloons in the past about, you know, fake allegations that
these people have picked up in the past too. So, look, thankfully, I think
the media did its job here. We did what we needed to do from the outset to
really get the actual reality of the information out there before he
launched this whole thing.
It was a ploy from him to see how far the “believe any woman” thing would
happen, and it`s transparent. And, again, I cover crooked weird stuff all
the time. This is like the most transparently bad thing I`ve seen in a
very long time.
MADDOW: And do you think that because the special counsel`s office has
referred it to the FBI for investigation, is this the sort of thing where
there is potentially criminal liability here in terms of what they`ve been
trying to do?
COLLINS: You figure he smeared somebody in public on purpose using
fabricated documents. The other thing this guy – so Robert Mueller is
supposed to have committed this assault on a specific day in 2010. He was
in jury duty. We know where he was. So –
MADDOW: Literally that day?
COLLINS: That day with the specific accusation.
MADDOW: – specific acquisitions, he reported for jury duty.
COLLINS: Yes, exactly. So, there`s – I don`t – look, I`m not a guy who
can tell you of lying this badly is a crime, but if it, is this is – it`s
MADDOW: Ben Collins, NBC News reporter, really appreciate your help.
COLLINS: Sure. Absolutely. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: On his way to a campaign rally in 2004 when he was running for re-
election as president, then-President George W. Bush signed a new law. He
reportedly signed it on Air Force One on his way to a rally. When he got
to the campaign rally in Florida, he announced to the crowd what he had
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Today, I sign the Global Anti-Semitism
Review Act of 2004. This will all commit the government to keep a record
of anti-Semitic acts throughout the world, and also a record of responses
to those acts. This nation will keep watch. We will make sure that the
ancient impulse of anti-Semitism never finds a home in the modern world.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act signed into law by President
George W. Bush in 2004. That law created a new special envoy at the State
Department whose job would be to document anti-Semitic incidents in the
United States and around the world and importantly to come up with
strategies to combat such incidents.
Since President Bush create that post 14 years ago, there have been three
special envoys for combating anti-Semitism. But the last one departed in
January 2017, at the end of the Obama administration. Under the Trump
administration, that position has been held vacant since then, all this
After the position sat empty for six months, then-Secretary of State Rex
Tillerson suggested that maybe it wasn`t a good idea top of someone
fighting anti-Semitism in the state department, maybe that could make the
problem worse. Secretary Tillerson suggested that if we had an envoy
focused on fighting anti-Semitism, maybe that would make everybody else
stop working so hard against it.
Rex Tillerson has been gone as secretary of state since March. In May of
this year, a full 16 months into the administration, the new Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo got asked about the still-vacant special envoy position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: In 2004, I authored the anti-Semitism
special envoy. That too has not been filled and I know you care about
combating the scourge of anti-Semitism which is rising all over the globe.
Please move on that as well.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: You have my word. We`ll move on them.
SMITH: I appreciate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You have my word, we will move on that. That was five months ago.
How`s that going?
Now, today, three days after the worst attack on American Jews in the
history of this country, that same Republican lawmaker who got that
promise, you have my word, we will move on that five months ago, today he
says that he`s heard that maybe the Trump administration now will actually
name somebody to that job.
Maybe. Might be. Might be soon. Who knows? Or maybe not. Not yet, at
Today, as you know, the first funeral was held for the first victims of
Saturday`s shooting at the tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, despite
requests, over requests from Pittsburgh`s mayor and other community leaders
for the president not to visit until the funerals concluded.
This afternoon, the president showed up anyway. He went to the synagogue
and to the local hospital where victims are being treated. And the top
four Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were invited to join
the president in Pittsburgh, they all declined as did all members of the
Pennsylvania congressional delegation, all of them said I have other
Howard Fineman reports today that his sources in Pittsburgh tell him that
the White House ran kind of a scam to try to get some public officials,
anyone to agree to meet with Trump on this trip. According to Howard
Fineman`s reporting, the White House was so desperate that they, quote,
called top Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh officials one at a time and lied to
each of them saying that the others had agreed to meet with Trump and,
therefore, wouldn`t this new official meet as well? Everybody else was
According to “The Washington Post,” Trump offered to visit with the family
of Daniel Stein. His funeral was held today. His nephew said the family
declined in part because of Trump`s comments in the aftermath of the
shooting when he said the whole reason this happened is the synagogue
didn`t have an armed guard for services.
He told the paper, quote: Everybody feels that the words were
inappropriate. Quote, he was blaming the community.
And then he showed up against their wishes endangering the ability of the
city to protect mourners at the funeral, so the city would have to protect
him instead. And then he left. He made no public comments, so at least
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO RANGEL-LOPEZ, DODGE CITY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: So that`s an
absurd thing for a town this size and for a community that`s 60 percent
Hispanic. It`s ridiculous to think that only one location is here to suit
the needs of 13,000 plus voters.
(END VIEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, I want to let you know we were just back from a reporting
trip to Dodge City, Kansas, a town where voter suppression efforts this
year have captured the nation`s imagination. Dodge City is the majority
Hispanic town in Kansas where there`s only once place to vote.
This year, they moved that one polling place way out of town. We are just
back from going there to check the reason officials gave for having done
this to their voting location. You`re going to want to see what we found.
We`re going to have that special report tomorrow night from Dodge City,
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again then.
It`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Good evening, Lawrence.
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