Trump, Kim Jong Un shook hands at DMZ. TRANSCRIPT: 7/1/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
JULIET EILPERIN, SENIOR NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON
POST: – a flight show they haven`t had in the past. So, there`s no
question that this is going to be a really major celebration and some
people are going to love it and some people will not. So, we`ll just have
to see how that transpires.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: We will see how it goes.
Juliet Eilperin and Chris Lu, thank you both for being with me.
That is ALL IN this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you
This is Alexander Fleming, who was born in Scotland in 1881 who`s trained
as a doctor and research scientist. In 1914, his career was interrupted
when he went off to serve in World War I. He served for the duration of
the war. He returned back in 1918 whereupon he became a professor at St.
Mary`s Medical School in London, which is where he had done his own medical
training before the war.
Alexander Fleming`s research was about bacteria and viruses and vaccines.
And in 1928, in his lab at St. Mary`s, Alexander Fleming had a very
fortuitous and ultimately world changing encounter with dirty dishes. He
had been working with a fairly nasty strain of staph bacteria in his lab
when he found by accident that one of the culture plates he had been
working with, I guess had been neglected or, I don`t know, maybe somehow
cross contaminated, in any case, it had started to grow a little bit of
And under normal circumstance, that might be cause for regret. Oh, no,
this is spoiled. Or, you know, you would be at least mildly grossed out
and that would be cause for throwing it out or cleaning up the culture
plate. But what Fleming noticed that day in 1928 and what ultimately
changed the world and saved millions of lives was that on that culture
plate in which he had been growing that staph bacteria, there was a splotch
around that spot of mold. And in that splotch spreading out from the edges
of the mold, there was no bacteria, which meant it occurred to him that
that mold was killing the bacteria.
And in that moment, Alexander Fleming asked the key question, which is –
hey, what`s in that mold? Fleming ended up writing a paper about his
discovery. It was published in the following year in 1929 to not much
acclaim and not much notice. But years later, almost a decade later,
scientists working at a lab at the University of Oxford, they came across
Alexander Fleming`s 1929 paper. And they decided that this fairly obscured
discovery, this thing about the mold killing off the bacteria, it looked
like it might be promising.
And so, the scientists at Oxford decided to start working on it. And over
the course of 1939 and 1940 and into 1941, they turned that initial
discovery into something promising indeed, because the anti-bacterial
substance that Alexander Fleming had stumbled upon and discovered in that
moldy dish a decade earlier was something that he called penicillin. And
by 1941, those researchers at Oxford had figured out how to turn that
penicillin mold discovery into a medical treatment and it was something
quite close to a miracle cure that could stop all kinds of infections.
And think about what that meant at that particular time and that particular
place, right? English researchers developing this miracle medical cure in
1941. I mean, England had just gone to war against Germany in 1939 and
become the Second World War. By 1941, things were not going awesome to say
the least, right?
But this team of scientists at Oxford, they had taken Alexander Fleming`s
discovery and they produced something that could change everything. I
mean, for the world at large in the long run, it could change everything.
But for the war in the short run, it could change everything, too.
I mean, penicillin as a miracle cure for all kinds of infections, it wasn`t
exactly on par with the discovery of the atomic bomb, right? But it was
kind of the closest medical equivalent at the time. I mean, if they could
only figure out in the allied side how to mass produce this miracle cure
which the Germans did not have, allied soldiers would have a huge new
advantage in the war not in terms of their ability to kill the enemy, but
in terms of their own ability to survive their own wounds and their own
battlefield illnesses. If they could only get this stuff made and
distributed in quantity, this could absolutely be a game changer. But how
could they do that?
Well, 78 years ago tomorrow on July 2nd, 1941, two scientists from that
oxford lab flew across the Atlantic from England, to the United States,
carrying a very, very, very precious suitcase which contained a bunch of
carefully wrapped glass vials of freeze dried penicillin and they landed in
the United States to see if here in the United States, it could be mass
produced into a medical treatment that could be used in the war effort.
And the reason they came here was because America had the know-how and the
capability to do it. I mean, in July of 1941, America was not yet in the
war. America`s resources were there for not strained in the way the allied
resources were fighting the war already. More importantly than that,
though, America had the kind of scientific, can do capacity and acumen that
the allies needed to get this crucially important job done.
And so, those Oxford scientists flew over here and they went to the U.S.
government. They went to the best place in the world to try to pull off
this big scientific leap. They went to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
to the northern regional research lab of the agricultural research service
at the USDA. And there, they unpacked their freeze-dried vials of this
mold and they got to work figuring out how to devise some sort of method
for industrial scale production of this medical treatment that they had
just invented based on penicillin.
And the scientists at USDA got to work on it immediately. They tried a
gazillion different things and ultimately in short order, they did it.
They were soon using 10,000 gallon vats and obscure corn sugars and
different types of temperature and humidity controls. By the time U.S.
soldiers were joining the allied land invasion of Europe on D-Day, of June
of 1944, part of what the U.S. and the allies had on their side in the war
effort were tens of thousands of doses of penicillin.
By 1945, British news reels were reporting on U.S. mass production of the
most important medical advance of the war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Industrial monument to the miracle drug. Mass production
penicillin plant of Terre Haute, Indiana, one of many, where the life-
saving medicine is now being manufactured wholesale. It comes from mold
like you`ve seen on spoiled food processed by rapid fermentation. The
penicillin then dehydrated. Each fermentation batch of 12,000 gallons use
about 15,000 gallons of concentrated penicillin.
(END VIDOE CLIP)
MADDOW: Scientists employed by the U.S. federal government who made it
possible for America and thereby the allies to mass produce penicillin
during World War II. Specifically, it was scientists working for the USDA.
And even that division of the USDA, the Agricultural Research Service, ARS,
it still exists. It is still a world leading elite headquarters for all
types of practical and consequential scientific research.
And if you are feeling a little tremor in the plot here, it`s because as
you might imagine, today cutting edge practical scientific research and
analysis having to do with, you know, the natural world and how to grow
things and agriculture at every scale in this day and age, that inevitably
means talking about climate and climate change. And even if you are not
talking about the causes of climate change, you are necessarily going to be
talking about its impact, and coping with it, and predicting it and
hopefully potentially mitigating it however you can, even when that takes
place within the U.S. federal government, which is led by a president named
Donald J. Trump.
At the Democratic presidential debate last week, one of the big takeaways I
think both substantively and stylistically was the degree to which the
candidates wanted to be seen to be competing with each other in part on the
basis of whose most serious about it and who is most aggressive on the need
to address the issue of climate. They are all fighting over who should be
seen as having the best climate plan, who has the best understanding of the
threats from climate change, who has the best practical ability to get big
things done to address climate change, right?
And so, at this high level of American electoral politics for the first
time, we really are going to have a big contest for national leadership
that at least for a certain extent centers on the issue of climate change
and what we are supposed to do about it as a country. And that itself is a
landmark thing, that contest among the Democrats, that is going to be
fascinating to watch, right? They all want to not only do something about
it, but we get to see them all compete as to who can set themselves apart
on this issue, who can connect the most with voters on that issue, who can
prove the ability to get practical things done on that issue.
So, that`s happening in Democratic electoral politics in the way we`ve
never really seen before. But meanwhile, simultaneously, within the
federal government right now led by Donald Trump, there is already super
high level practical research and analysis happening at a world class level
on how to predict and cope with and e meliorate climate change.
That is happening, scientists at places like USDA are leading the world in
that kind of research. And that is happening despite the best efforts of
the Trump administration to shut all of that down. Politico.com recently
rounded up a whole bunch of recent findings from scientists at USDA,
including from ARS, from Agricultural Research Service, the same part of
USDA that developed the ability to mass produce penicillin in World War II.
Scientists at that agency today have produced a whole litany of super
consequential, super practical stuff about climate change that the Trump
administration has been trying to kybosh. They had to at least ensure that
these findings from USDA scientists never get distributed, definitely never
get publicized. And this is – this is practical stuff. This is
consequential stuff that scientists working for the federal government have
figure the out and produced to a peer-reviewed level and this is stuff that
is ready to go. The Trump administration has been trying to keep it all
I mean, even if you are – you`re not a scientist or you`re not
particularly well-versed in this field, you look at the subjects of this
research and you can understand why it might be important to get this stuff
out there. In April of last year, for example, a USDA scientist looked at
prairie grasses that are important for grazing cattle. They found that as
the level of carbon dioxide goes up in the atmosphere, that super sort of
charges the photosynthesis process for those grasses, the practical
consequences for that for the cows that eat those grasses is that the
protein content of those grasses drops.
So, if you are involved in, you know, ranching or anything else that has to
do with cattle production, learning that increased CO2, the hallmark of
climate change, is going to reduce the protein content of what your cows
are eating, that`s good to know. That`s important for just practical
planning, right? USDA scientists figured it out. The Trump administration
is covering it up.
2017, super practical findings for farmers dealing with nutrient run off
and agricultural pollution particularly in the Mississippi Delta, as a
consequence of climate change. USDA scientists study how farmers can make
relatively simple very practical choices that can have a big impact on
that, things like not tilling their soil and planting cover crops. USDA
scientists quantifying the kind of effect steps like that can have as
farmers are dealing with increased pollution and run off problems.
Last summer, a promising finding from USDA scientists that coffee can be a
sort of canary in the coal mine test subject for scientist who are trying
to monitor and anticipate how pest biology is going to change as carbon
dioxide levels go up. Coffee is already being affected by increased CO2.
So, USDA scientists have been studying how coffee specifically might help
when it comes to studying insects and weeds and growth patterns and other
stuff that might change as levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere go
And then – and then there is this one, which is like, again, even if this
is not your field, right? Just like step back and appreciate the biblical
consequence of this type of research. Arguably the most important food
crop on planet earth is rice. More than 600 million people on Earth get
more than half of their calories or protein from rice on a daily basis.
Earlier this year, USDA scientists came to a potentially earth-shaking
conclusion about rice. They found that as carbon dioxide increases in the
atmosphere, rice loses its vitamins, which means the crop that more than
600 million humans count on for most of their diet is going to get
significantly less nutritious as carbon dioxide levels rise. Think about
the consequences of that, right?
The Trump administration buried that. They even tried to block outside
scientists who worked at other institutions. People – scientists who
worked from other institutions with the USDA scientists on that study, the
Trump administration tried to block their outside institutions from putting
out any press releases or statements announcing these findings. They
wanted to make sure to keep them quiet.
You are only dealing with potential starvation of 600 million people or
massive changes in nutritional needs for 600 million people. Why would
anyone need to know about that?
Politico.com interviewed one USDA scientist who spoke on the condition of
anonymity to avoid the possibility of retaliation. That scientist told
“Politico”, quote, why the hell is the U.S., which is ostensibly the leader
in scientific research, ignoring this? It`s not like this is something
esoteric. We`re working on something that has dire consequences for the
entire planet. Quote: You can only postpone reality for so long.
So, I know everybody decries partisanship and the two parties increasingly
being on two different planets. I know. But there is only one earth and
here on earth one, the partisan divide on this subject in particular and
the different partisan experience right now of this subject in Washington
is just nuts.
I mean, here`s the Democrats right now, in a 20-way, no holds barred, full-
scale wrestling match trying to appear to be the most aggressive and the
most invested and the most knowledgeable and the most committed to taking
climate change seriously and to doing something about it. While the
Republican administration in Washington oversees a world renowned,
incredibly capable, incredibly advanced coterie of scientists who really
are already working on the most practical stuff possible when it comes to
dealing with climate change, right? Peer-reviewed world class science,
which is already happening with U.S. taxpayers have already paid for and
ready to be published and the Trump administration is taking that stuff and
actively shutting it down, refusing to release that research.
And as we have talked about a couple of times here on the show, in the last
couple of weeks, the Trump administration is also right now trying to
dismantle a big chunk of the whole scientific capacity at that pioneering
agency, at USDA.
“The Washington Post” reports today that it really does seem like this is
now going to happen within the next two weeks. Quote: These USDA employees
face a stark choice, move or be fired. Scientists at USDA were recently
given a document with two blank boxes on it. They were told they needed to
check one of the two boxes.
Option A, accept a forced transfer a thousand miles away out of Washington,
away from USDA and the rest of the federal government to a city where there
are not even offices for them. There`s no building to move them into. Or
option B, agree to be fired, for the crime of refusing to be moved halfway
across the country for no reason.
I mean, these are scientists who, you know, do analyses of global commodity
production and the economic impact of various trade and agriculture
policies. I mean, these are the specifically scientists who look at the
effects of climate change on agriculture. As the Trump administration has
clamped down on their work and now announced that hundreds of them will be
relocated on zero notice on a mandatory basis to Kansas City and if you
don`t move, you will be fired.
The scientists themselves are warning that this is going to decimate the
ranks of scientists at one of America`s premier scientific institutions.
These agencies are going to lose 80 percent, 90 percent, or 100 percent of
their scientists all at once, two weeks from today.
Quote: In the resource and rural economics division, more than 90 percent
of employees who study conservation and the environment and the economy may
leave. And the food economics division which studies nutrition programs,
food safety and pricing, the attrition rate could reach as high as 89
percent. We`re to lose 80, 90, 100 percent of scientists of this part of
the U.S. government?
These scientists were told for the first time on June 13th that they were
going to need to move their families immediately or quit. They were given
one month to make the decision. They needed to tell the agency which it`s
going to be, move 1,000 miles on no notice with your family immediately or
be fired. And they were given one month to make the decision.
The decision is due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, July 15th, two
weeks from today. And again, there is no building, there is no office to
move these people into in Kansas City. The Agricultural and Applied
Economics Association did the math and thinks that this move will come at a
cost to U.S. taxpayers of $80 million to $180 million. Oh, for that low,
low price, we fire all of these scientists in this part of the government.
Congratulations. What else can we get you for that money?
I mean, as I mentioned, we have been covering this since the scientists
have been sounding the alarm, since the scientists were told all of a
sudden out of nowhere, no public comment, no negotiations, no chance to
even go see the site. They need to uproot their families and move or get
And we have been covering this over the past few weeks. I think there was
some expectation from everybody who we talked about it that the Trump
administration was going for it. They were trying this gambit, basically
using this forced relocation thing as a way to try to empty out this part
of the scientific capacity of the U.S. government.
There was some expectations we talked to about this story for our coverage
that the Trump administration would be blocked from going ahead with this.
But I am here to tell you that it now looks like time is running out and it
looks like they are going to do it unless something changes in sort order.
The scientists themselves are doing everything they can and then some.
They themselves voted recently to form a union only by forming a union and
making a formal demand as a newly unionized workforce that they get an
agreement from to talk for the first time about this move to start
negotiating about it for the first time.
The agency has now told the scientists that they are happy to start
negotiations and the discussions with them on July 16th, which is the day
after all the scientists will be fired if they don`t move. The day after
is when they are willing to start talking about it.
The other path here is that Democrats in Congress have also been trying to
block what the Trump administration is doing here, but as “The Washington
Post” reports today, you see in the had the line, Democrats are running out
of options to stop Trump from doing this. The member of Congress from the
District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, is suggesting as a last act of
desperation, the scientists should go to court and sue to try to stop them
from doing it. She is suggesting that maybe litigation is the only best
last hope here.
But the other dynamic at work here is now a robustly joined Democratic
presidential campaign in which the biggest names in Democratic politics in
which these candidates are all competing to see who can be the most
effective on the issue of climate, right? That is happening right now.
While the tip of the spear scientists working on the most practical
imaginable challenges that come from climate change right now, they are all
getting fired two weeks from today. And that part of the U.S. government
is essentially being shut down unless somebody can figure out a way to stop
And so, it is this remarkable confluence of dynamics and events, right? I
mean, climate change is important to Democratic voters. Climate change is
important to young voters of all stripes.
Climate change often seems big and overwhelming for something like humans
can worry about it, but not do much about it. What can you do? Climate
change, we are talking about the scale of the earth. What can you do,
But, well, here`s a thing our government is doing right now over the next
14 days, to decimate the most advanced and practical climate science in the
world and to disassemble the U.S. government`s ability to ever do it again.
Those scientists are going to be fired two weeks from today. And the Trump
administration will either be stopped or they will not. And if they are
not stopped, this kind of world leading elite scientific capacity that we
have built and paid for as American taxpayers for generations, that
literally helped the allies win World War II.
I mean, that is capacity that will be really hard to ever get back, ever,
after you fire hundreds of scientists all working at the top of their game,
fire hundreds of them all at once, two weeks from today. Tick tock.
MADDOW: We`ve got some harrowing stories and images today from
congressional visit to border patrol facilities in Texas. A number of
members of Congress say at those facilities, they witnessed immigrants
being held in what they describe as appalling conditions.
This visit from members of Congress came on the heels of reports in recent
weeks about border patrol stations in Clint, Texas and McAllen, Texas, and
other locations. Lawyers visited the Clint facility last month and
reported that hundreds ever kids were in dismal conditions including kids
basically being put in charge of caring for one another without the human
capacity or the physical facilities to do so.
This video was taken at one facility today by Democratic Texas Congressman
Joaquin Castro, who`s the brother of presidential candidate Julian Castro.
Congressman Castro and some of his congressional colleagues spoke with
several women who were being held in a small cell there. I see them
sitting on the floor of the cell.
The women told lawmakers many had been separated from their kids and had
been denied showers and ability to bathe and denied medication after this
visit today to the facilities. Members of Congress described what they had
seen to the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): When we went into the cell, it was clear that
the water was not running. There was a toilet, but there was no running
water for people to drink. In fact, one of the women said that she was
told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What we saw today was
unconscionable. No child should ever be separated from their parents. No
child should ever be taken from their family. No woman should ever be
locked up in a pen when they have done no harm to another human being.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): But I want to talk about their parents, the
mothers, the abuelas, the tias, the madres that I sat with who wept openly
in our arms, not even knowing our names, because of the trauma they are
experiencing and because they don`t know where their children are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Members of Congress outside of Border Patrol facilities in Texas
after visiting with immigrants detained inside. And then this evening, the
“Associated Press” obtained this video of an interview with the 12-year-old
girl held for almost two weeks in a Texas border patrol facility.
Nobody is supposed to be in a border patrol facility for longer than 72
hours and she was held for more than two weeks. A lawyer is working on the
girl`s case. The girl said she and her 6-year-old sister were taken away
from their aunt when they crossed the border with their aunt last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON GRIFFITH, ATTORNEY: Can you tell me what it was like inside the
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: They gave us little
food. Some children did not bathe, they didn`t bathe them. They treated
us badly where we were. They were mean to us.
GRIFFITH: Were there many children there?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: Yes, there were many
children and they were treated badly. They didn`t bathe. They gave little
food, children were crying.
GRIFFITH: And where did you sleep? Did you sleep on beds?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: They slept on just the
GRIFFITH: Did they give you blankets or not?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: They would only give
us one blanket.
GRIFFITH: And was it enough to withstand the cold?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: No, some children were
sick. They said that they`d take them to hospitals, but they wouldn`t take
GRIFFITH: And would they sometimes scream? (Referring to other children)
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: Yes, some children,
like the age of my sister, they would cry for their mother or their father.
They cried for their aunt, they missed them.
GRIFFITH: Anything else you might remember from inside the detention
center, that made you scared or feel uncomfortable?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: The way they treated
us. Some children did not sleep, almost. It was ugly in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That video of a 12-year-old girl held at the border patrol
facility in Clint, Texas, for two weeks. That was obtained by the
“Associated Press” this evening.
Joining us now is Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York. He is the high
profile chairman of the very powerful House Judiciary Committee, which does
have jurisdictions over a bunch of details involved here.
Mr. Chairman, thanks for being here.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Thank you.
MADDOW: There`s a number of things I want to talk to you about tonight.
Thank you for coming in.
But I have to ask your reaction to what you heard from your House
colleagues there and from these other reports that we`ve had about the
facilities on the border. Obviously, your committee has some jurisdiction
on this matter.
NADLER: We do, but we don`t control the agencies. Obviously, what we saw
today was disgusting. When we were at the border a couple of months ago,
we saw also – although they didn`t let us talk to the kids, we saw very
disgusting conditions then.
This is inhumane. This is – frankly, I think it`s criminal. There ought
to be criminal prosecutions of some of the agency heads and some of the
people for child abuse. This is clearly child abuse. It violates a half
MADDOW: Do you think it should be pursued as federal prosecution or do you
think this is a matter of state law?
NADLER: Well, probably both. Probably both.
MADDOW: In terms of what can be done, I know there was a lot of conflict
and controversy within the Democratic Caucus last week as to whether or not
the house bill, which included restrictions on the way that the Trump
administration and the agencies can treat immigrants, whether that bill
would supersede the Senate bill that didn`t include any of those
restriction and ultimately the Senate bill went forward and that was a
source of controversy within the caucus.
Can you talk to us at all about that decision?
NADLER: Well, I voted against the final bill because I didn`t have enough
guarantees in my opinion that the money would be used to give them proper
medical and other attention. And it didn`t have enough guarantees that the
Trump administration wouldn`t divert funds to more detention instead of
But the money has been appropriated and ought to be used now quickly to
make conditions better, to – and, of course, it`s one thing to make the
conditions better, which is what the money is for. Secondly, these kids
should not be separated from their parents or relatives in the first place.
That is unconscionable and not necessary legally. It`s just more of the
administration determining to torture people in order to be a deterrent for
people coming over the border, which they no longer admit is the case but
that he admitted it was the purpose a few months ago.
MADDOW: As we – as we continue to get these ongoing reports of kids and
families being held in appalling conditions and we continue to get reports
about kids being separated from their parents, it sort of feels like no
level of criticism makes an impact. Nothing makes a difference in terms of
what the Trump administration does. The inspector general at the
Department of Homeland Security last month had an appalling report on the
conditions in which immigrants were being held. “BuzzFeed” is reporting
that there`s another I.G. report that`s going to come out that`s describing
even worse conditions and we`ve got these firsthand reports from the little
girl and from lawyers who have been there and now, from member who have
It just feels like none of that ever goes anywhere. The Trump
administration is not shamed by these reports at all, nor are they acting
to change anything.
NADLER: That`s correct. And just as the story with the scientists, they
are just going to go ahead and destroy the government`s ability to do
science. Let`s put our heads in the sand so we don`t know what`s
NADLER: The executive branch is in charge of – you can have lawsuits and
the lawsuits might result in court orders to have better – that`s the only
thing I can think of right away. I mean, for Congress to pass laws, they
have to be enforced. And it takes months to pass laws at best.
MADDOW: Is it possible to impeach individual officials who are in charge
of these agencies and hold their feet to the fire in the House?
NADLER: It is technically possible to impeach mid-level officials, but
that takes a long time and that`s not the answer here.
MADDOW: Congressman Jerry Nadler is the chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, I have a number of things I want to ask you about, including
your expected visit from Robert Mueller, which is coming up shortly. We
will be right back with Chairman Nadler after this. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Joining us once again is Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York.
He`s the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for being here.
You`ve got Robert Mueller coming in to testify before your committee,
thanks to a subpoena in 16 days. I want to ask about the negotiations that
led to that and what are the sort of terms that you set around the –
leading up to the subpoena that might give us an expectation of what the
day is going to be like.
NADLER: Well, the problem was that Mueller didn`t want to testify in
private at all. He was happy to testify in front of our Judiciary
Committee and the Intelligence Committee and have a transcript released a
day or two later, but he was not willing to testify in public. We thought
it absolutely essential that he testify in public so people could see it
and hear it. That was what the negotiation was all about.
And the agreement reached is he will come in on the 17th and he will
testify for about two to two and a half hours in front of the Judiciary
Committee. Then he will testify for another two hours or so in front of
the Intelligence Committee in public. And then he will testify in private
in front of the Judiciary Committee and then in private in front of the –
MADDOW: He`s going to do a closed session with each committee?
NADLER: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: And that will be him, not his staff?
NADLER: Those – what is what unclear.
NADLER: The public testimony in front of each committee will be him.
MADDOW: And the closed testimony , it`s still – when I talked to
Congressman Schiff about this last week, he suggested that Mueller himself
won`t be there in the closed testimony and it will be staff instead. But
with you, that`s still not sure?
NADLER: It`s unclear.
MADDOW: So, if you got –
NADLER: It may very well be his deputies.
MADDOW: And do you know how many of them it would be, if it`s going to be
not Mueller but rather his deputies?
NADLER: Probably one or two.
MADDOW: Which ones?
NADLER: I`m not going to say the names.
MADDOW: I knew you weren`t, I could tell. I have to ask.
So, imagining that two or two and a half hours for the open session. How -
NADLER: For each committee.
MADDOW: For each committee. But you`re going first, right judiciary
NADLER: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: So, you`ve got him for the first two, two and a half hours. How
do you plan to approach that in terms of getting the most and the most
critical information out of him? Is this going to be questioning by you
and the ranking member or by all the members? Are you going to have staff
NADLER: No, it`s going to be by the members. It will be by the members,
in the normal order. We will question him about this – the question about
the report, first of all, his report led not just report, his investigation
led to 37 indictments.
It led to the outlining in the report of 10 instances of obstruction of
justice by the president. It led to the revelation of repeated instances
of the president instructing people to lie to investigators and the public
in order to cover up what he had done. This is rather important stuff, and
it has to be – it has to be explored.
So we will be going through all of that, and we`ll also ask him questions,
I`m not going to list exactly what the questions are, obviously, but I
imagine we`ll be asking questions about the misleading, the
misrepresentation of his report by the attorney general. You know, the
president and the attorney general have conducted a campaign of lies and
misrepresentations and the president said they found no collusion and no
The report did not find no collusion. The report did not find no
obstruction. It`s a simple lie and he`ll have to – we will ask him to
clarify both of those.
The attorney general misrepresented the report in public. Mueller wrote a
letter saying you misrepresented the report. We`ll ask him I`m sure in
what way was it misrepresented.
There`s been a campaign to lull the American people into thinking that
everything is fine, whereas in fact that report shows repeated instances of
obstruction of justice by the president. It shows that the Russians
attacked our election and that there were hundreds of contacts, between 100
and 170 as I recall, contacts between campaign officials and people
representing the Russian government that the campaign welcomed the help of
the Russian government in its attempt to swing the campaign to Trump.
All of that is in the report and all of that has been lied about by the
president and the attorney general. We have to correct the record and let
the people hear so people can see and the American people can see what, in
fact, was going on.
MADDOW: Has there been or do you anticipate an effort by the Justice
Department or White House to curtail his testimony or keep him from talking
about anything in particular?
NADLER: Well, they are doing that to every other witness and we will be
going to court on that shortly, but I would be surprised if they tried to
do it many Mueller because he does not work for the Justice Department and
I don`t think he would stand for it. They have no legal right. With Hope
Hicks and McGahn and others, they have used this so-called claim of
absolutely immunity. You may not talk about anything.
And, of course, Hope Hicks obeyed that with White House lawyers sitting
there and telling her don`t answer the question of where your desk was
located, don`t answer a question about anything. They have done it with
I don`t think that – I mean, there`s clearly no legal right to do that. I
don`t think Mueller would allow himself to be coerced into such an illegal
and unpatriotic attitude.
MADDOW: Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, the chairman of the
Judiciary Committee – sir, thank you. Appreciate you being here. Thanks
for coming in.
NADLER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The Singaporean declaration for such a grandiose title, it was
very small. It`s just over 400 words. But it promised a lot on that
Quote: Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment
to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The Singaporean declaration, that w3as a year ago, June 2018. President
Trump and the North Korean dictator sat down to sign the historic agreement
about North Korea abandoning its nuclear program. Our president promised
in Sharpie that he would build a new relationship with North Korea only if
and when they got rid of all their nuclear weapons.
It has been more than a year since that agreement was signed. In that
time, North Korea has made basically zero effort toward any form of
denuclearization despite what they promised. And so, naturally, there have
been to be consequences for that sort of thing, right? You can`t break a
promise like that with power like the United States of America and expect
it to go unnoticed.
Well, they were consequences finally this weekend. The consequences were
that the U.S. president went to North Korea this weekend for the first time
ever and called it a great honor. It`s like a backwards reward system for
North Korea reneging on their part of that last deal.
A sitting U.S. president has never stepped foot in North Korea before. It
was such an unprecedented, shocking thing, reporters literally counted the
number of steps President Trump took inside North Korea. For the record,
it was 20.
The visit of Trump to North Korea has been covered in North Korea as the
biggest propaganda coup of Kim Jong-un`s life, handshakes, shoulder
patting, much glad-handing. The North Korean dictator greeted as a friend
and peer of the leader of the free world, met with no conditions, hosting
the U.S. president on North Korean soil.
Our president said he was proud to have visited North Korea and said it was
a, quote, great honor. He later invited the North Korean dictator come
visit the White House too, which goes without saying has also never
We know that the North Korean dictator is getting out of President Trump.
Why is he getting nothing out of them and how does this exchange,
Hold that thought.
MADDOW: Joining us here in studio is Dr. Sue Mi Terry. She`s the former
director for Korea, Japan and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security
Council. Before that, she was also a senior analyst on Korean issues at
And, Dr. Terry, it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks for being here.
SUE MI TERRY, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Thanks for
having me on.
MADDOW: My basic layman`s not subject matter expert perception of what
happened here is that the North Korean government and dictator just got a
really big propaganda victory. Chairman Kim being seen as a peer and
friend of the leader of the free world and the U.S. does not seem to have
gotten anything from North Korea.
Is that a fair assessment?
TERRY: We`ve got zero. As you said, it`s been a year, it`s been over a
year since the Singapore declaration, since that historic meetings. We
don`t have even an understanding of what denuclearization means. We have a
There is no agreed upon definition on denuclearization. We don`t have a
road map. We don`t have a timeline. We don`t have declaration of their
nuclear missile program.
We have nothing. And we just gave them this big propaganda coup for Kim
And I know President Trump said before, oh, President Obama has been
begging to meet with North Koreans. No, he has not. No U.S. president
dared – went to North Korea, even the North Koreans consistently wanted to
meet with the U.S. president.
So, I`m afraid to say we have not made any progress.
MADDOW: Break this down in a simple way for somebody who is, again,
totally outside this subject matter expertise. Why has every previous
president resisted those requests from the North Korean government? Why
has no other U.S. president ever stepped foot on North Korean soil?
TERRY: Because you are legitimatizing Kim Jong-un, and previous to him,
Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean leader. North Korea, we don`t talk about
human rights, but we have to remember North Korea is the greatest violator
of human rights in the world right now. They are building a nuclear
program and just had six nuclear tests, and they tested intercontinental
ballistic missiles. They posed threats to the region.
So, you have to get something for the summit because it is legitimizing his
rule and it is big propaganda coup for the Kim family. So, shouldn`t we
get something out of that? We have not and it`s been a year.
MADDOW: And what is the practical impact of that propaganda coup?
Absolutely, there`s no question as to the Kim family`s grip on power in
North Korea. How does it help them? How does it enable them, for them to
have the kind of propaganda victory they just got from Trump?
TERRY: Well, for domestically, it does strengthen his power even further,
and internationally, it does normalize him, right? North Korea`s goal is
to get international acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear weapons power,
like Pakistan, like India. So, we are normalizing him, right?
It looks like the North Korean leader is our peer. They`re sitting there
meeting, walking, talking. So, you are normalizing him even
internationally. I think that perception is very, very important for the
North Korean leader.
MADDOW: In terms of what happens next, obviously, the president, part of
what is unusual about the relationship between the United States and North
Korea in the Trump era is that the president is so personally effusive for
that dictator, welcoming, complimentary, praising him, seemingly giving him
everything he wants.
Do you have in mind sort of a worse case scenario in terms of what Trump
might give to North Korea or will he be able to?
TERRY: I do. I mean, right now, they also spent 53 minutes together and
we don`t have a readout of that 53 minutes. What did Trump promise Kim?
And I think Kim Jong-un does want a deal with President Trump because he
thinks President Trump is the best possible person to have a deal with.
No U.S. president, future, Democrat or Republican, would ever put alliance
equities like peace treaty, like putting how U.S. to respond South Korea on
the table for discussion. So, I do think Kim wants some sort of a deal
with President Trump, because he thinks he will get the best kind of deal
with this particular president.
MADDOW: He`s got a better shot with him than with anybody else.
Dr. Sue Mi Terry, former director for Korea and Japan and Oceanic Affairs
of the National Security Council, former senior analyst on Korean issues at
the CIA, thank you for coming in. It`s good to see.
TERRY: Thanks for having me on.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Programming note: this time tomorrow or 9:00 tomorrow, we`re going
to be joined here in studio by Democratic presidential candidate Julian
Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Obama`s former housing secretary.
Julian Castro is going to be joining us here live, first time we`ve got a
chance to talk to him since his very impressive debate performance on night
one of the Democratic debates last week.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
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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