Interview with Megan Rapinoe TRANSCRIPT: 7/9/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: All right. Michael Isikoff, great reporting.
Check out the podcast. Thank you.
That is ALL IN for this evening.
“THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW” starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel. I almost said “The Megan Rapinoe Show” starts right
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: You know, let`s be honest, any show that Megan
Rapinoe is on is the Megan Rapinoe Show. That`s true.
HAYES: That`s – I`m very excited for that interview.
MADDOW: Thank you. Me, too, to the point of being totally paralyzed, with
an inability to do anything all day.
HAYES: All right. I`m going to go to green room.
MADDOW: Thank you, my dear.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Let me start by saying I know why you`re all here right now. As Chris
mentioned, our guest for the interview tonight is, in fact, Megan Rapinoe,
the greatest living soccer player in the whole world, the captain of the
U.S. national team which just won the world cup. She literally is going to
be right here in just a few minutes, and, no, I can`t believe it either.
You know, people sometimes give me a hard time of whether I`m perfectly
objective on the matters on which we report on this show. Here is a matter
in which I profess absolutely zero objectivity at all.
To be honest, I`m still excited about the fact that she was here four years
ago. After the last time she and the U.S. national team won the World Cup.
But now after back-to-back world championship wins and the most goals in
the World Cup and everything else, on the night before New York throws the
U.S. national team a ticker tape parade tomorrow morning in the Canyon of
Heroes downtown, honestly, I`m, like, about to burst.
So, it`s true. Megan Rapinoe will be here live in studio coming up in just
a few minutes. To all of my myriad friends who suggested that this would
be a night they would like to be here in studio for the show and I told you
all no, I`m not even going to ask for your forgiveness. You have to
realize how crazy that was that you all asked me.
But I got to tell you we actually have a scoop to break tonight as well.
And, honestly, this has just been a day when it feels like the news is
being shot out of a cannon. There is a lot going on on a lot of different
fronts right now.
The calls are now at a fever pitch for the U.S. secretary of labor, Alex
Acosta, to resign from Trump`s cabinet. Before Trump appointed Alex Acosta
labor secretary, he was the U.S. attorney, the top federal prosecutor in
southern Florida and he is the one who made a non-prosecution deal with
billionaire Jeffrey Epstein even after the FBI had amassed evidence of
Epstein sexually abusing more than three dozen underage girls.
At the time, Alex Acosta himself was personally thanked by Epstein`s
lawyers for agreeing specifically not to tell any of Epstein`s victims
about that non-prosecution agreement until after it was already finalized
and those victims couldn`t do anything about it. There is a federal law
that says victims do have to be notified before prosecutors make that kind
of an agreement. A federal judge ruled earlier this year that Acosta`s
office broke that law when he went ahead with the deal in secret without
telling the victims. That alone, that ruling from a federal judge that
Acosta`s office had broken the law when they did that deal without telling
the victims, I mean, that alone made it somewhat astonishing that the Trump
administration did not fire Alex Acosta from his job in the cabinet or at
least that Acosta did not resign.
But that was a few months ago and now on top of all of that, now that
federal prosecutors in New York have themselves brought multiple federal
felony charges against Epstein, that just makes Alex Acosta`s previous
decision to let Epstein off the hook all the more inexplicable.
Well, President Trump today for his part said that he feels badly about the
situation. Specifically the president said that he feels badly for Alex
Acosta. That was his actual quote. I swear. The president said, quote: I
feel very badly, actually, for Secretary Acosta.
The president also reiterated that the White House is carrying out some
sort of review of Alex Acosta and his role in the Epstein case. That is
also what they said months ago when that federal judge ruled that Acosta
broke the law when he and his office made Epstein this deal. The White
House said then they were reviewing the matter. Apparently, it`s still
I mean, in terms of the pressure that Acosta is facing, lots of Democrats
today, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader
Chuck Schumer have called on Alex Acosta to resign from the cabinet. So
far, it`s interesting, no Republicans in Congress have done the same.
Democrats in the House, of course, could choose to start impeachment
proceedings against Acosta if they – if they wanted to. That would
involve, of course, holding hearings on what Acosta did in the Epstein
matter. There has been no formal move in that direction as yet, but it is
within the Democrats` power to launch impeachment proceedings against a
cabinet official like Alex Acosta if that`s what they wanted to do.
So, we are watching the Epstein case. We are watching this question of
whether Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is going to resign or get fired for
what he did to Epstein`s victims.
There is also a ton of other legal drama that unfolded over the course of
the day. We`re going to get to some of this news over the course of this
hour. In the case where the Trump administration is trying to change the
census and they keep getting stopped by the courts in their efforts to do
so, tonight, there was a very dramatic move by a federal judge in New York
City who blocked efforts by the Justice Department to swap out the whole
legal team that`s been working on that census case. There had been
speculation that the career Justice Department lawyers working on the
census case either wanted out because they didn`t feel like they could
responsibly keep working on it or alternatively that the Trump
administration was trying to force those career lawyers off the case in
order to replace them with more pliable Trump appointees.
But whichever it was, the Justice Department was trying to swap out all the
lawyers in the census case and a federal district court judge in New York
today blocked that effort to switch out all the lawyers in that case. So
that is a big new dramatic turn.
There is also dramatic developments today in the case of Mike Flynn,
President Trump`s first national security adviser. Very interesting
developments involving Felix Sater, who was a Trump – excuse me, a Trump
Organization employee/associate who testified for a very long time before
the house intelligence committee today. There is intriguing stuff sort of
bubbling and developing in terms of Robert Mueller`s planned testimony next
week and the members of his prosecution team who may be testifying at the
same time on the same day. So, there`s lots going on.
Like I said, the news is sort of like a confetti cannon today. Things are
going on all over the place and it sort of feels like if the news just got
frozen in amber tonight, we would still be full for the rest of the week in
terms of stuff to talk about. Just in terms of scandals and legal stuff.
But I mentioned that we have a scoop tonight, and this is something that
I`m sure you haven`t seen anything about today. I know that for sure
because this is a brand-new story that has just been broken by NBC News.
Now, the reporters on this story are Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley.
We`re going to be speaking with Jacob in just a moment.
But the origin of this story, I have to tell you, started with a tip that
we received on this show, a tip about the border that led to this reporting
that is allowing us to break this story tonight. The tip that we got was
specifically about this border station. This is the U.S. border patrol
station in Yuma, Arizona.
Now, you have not previously heard anything about this particular border
station in all of the recent reporting on the bad conditions and facilities
run near the border by the Trump administration. I mean, the ones that you
have heard about, we can put them on a map. The first homeland security
inspector general report that we got in may was about terrible conditions
in and around El Paso. That led to a bunch of follow-up reporting
including some especially dire reports about a facility just outside El
Paso in Clint, Texas.
Last week then we got another homeland security inspector general report
about Trump administration facilities further southeast from there in the
Rio Grande valley down at the southern most tip of Texas around Brownsville
and McAllen. Well, now this new reporting that we`ve got tonight is about
a facility on the left side of your screen there, sort of the northwest
part of the border – this section of the border that we`re talking about.
It`s a facility in Yuma, Arizona.
Yuma, Arizona is right at the sort of tip of Arizona where that state
borders both Mexico and California. And for the past few months, the
border patrol has been open about the fact that they were trying to
basically incarcerate, they were trying to handle more kids and families
there than they had the capacity to deal with. In May, local press
reported Yuma, they were erecting temporary awnings and fencing and they
had started locking up some immigrants outside because they felt that they
didn`t have enough space to keep people indoors anymore.
Just two weeks ago, “The Associated Press” reported that the Border Patrol
had put up a giant new tent at that facility in Yuma to make their station
there sort of more officially a prison camp. But in terms of the
conditions in which they are holding people, and specifically the
conditions in which they`re holding kids there, reporters Jacob Soboroff
and Julia Ainsley have tonight produced a story that is based on a
remarkable new trove of information on the conditions at Yuma. And this is
all previously unreported. This is all new.
Specifically what Jacob and Julia obtained are more than two dozen
significant incident reports. These are significant incident reports
written up by U.S. federal government personnel. They`re reports based on
things described by kids, kids who were all held by border patrol at the
Yuma border station. These are kids who are not supposed to be held by
border patrol for more than 72 hours. In all of these significant incident
reports, all of these kids nevertheless were held longer than 72 hours.
When they were moved out of the border patrol facility, they were put in
custody of a different federal agency that is supposed to take in kids.
They were moved to the custody of the Department of Health and Human
Services and its case managers from health and human services who wrote
these reports. They wrote down these significant incident reports based on
what these kids said happened to them while they were in border patrol
And picture these incident reports tell at one level is that the same
things the inspector general found in El Paso and in Clint and in McAllen
and in Brownsville and all of those facilities in between, those
descriptions of very bad conditions, particularly in which kids are being
held, according to these significant incident reports that NBC has obtained
tonight those conditions aren`t just happening in Texas, they`re also
extending to Arizona. This is apparently what they`re doing to kids
And I can show you some of the raw material that we`ve got. These are
direct quotes from the significant incident reports. So here`s one from a
teenage boy. Quote – the boy, quote, reported sleeping on the floor in a
very crowded room. He stated it must have been about 80 to 100 individuals
in the room. They didn`t have a shower.
The boy reported that he was told he had the right to one phone call but it
was never provided during his stay. He also reported sometimes being very
cold at night and struggling to find a spot to lay down due to the amount
of people in the room.
Here`s a different report from a teenage girl. Quote: Resident reported
that there were many girls in a small room. Resident reported that there
was not enough space to lay down to sleep as the room was overcrowded.
Here`s a significant incident report from a 16-year-old boy who was held
for 11 days and 12 nights. Quote: Minor disclosed that he did not have
access to take a shower or change his clothing while he was in custody.
Here`s a different teenage boy.
Child reported there were approximately 50 to 60 people in the holding area
where he was detained. Child reported that he would sleep on the floor and
he was not provided a pillow or blanket. Child reported that they would
not able to shower or clean themselves. Child reported that some of the
Homeland Security officials would respond negatively if anyone asked them
questions. Child reported that the Homeland Security officials would yell
at the detainees.
Another teenage boy reports, quote, that he was detained in a room with
approximately 70 other minors. The child reported that he was not able to
lay down to sleep due to a lack of space and had to sleep sitting down.
Here`s a different teenaged boy. Quote: Client reported he slept in a room
that accommodated about 60 other minors. Client states he slept on the
floor without an aluminum blanket. Client disclosed that the individuals
who were in the same room as him had to take turns sleeping as there was
not enough room on the floor for everyone to lay down. Client stated there
were no showers available.
Here is a significant ins didn`t report from a 14-year-old girl who was
locked up with her sister. Quote: Child reported sleeping on the floor as
they were placed in a room with 60 to 70 minors. Child reported there was
no room to lay down and often times they would not sleep. Child reported
they were not allowed to shower.
These incident reports just one after the other they describe similar
conditions. No space to lay down. No showers. No teeth brushing. No
changes of clothes. No phone calls.
Some kids in these incident reports describe getting sick in these
facilities. Here is a 15-year-old boy. Quote: Child reported that while
he was in Homeland Security custody, he felt sick and he had a fever. His
throat is causing him not to eat well. He denied receiving any medical
Child reported that he was provided with water during his stay. Child
disclosed that the water had a lot of chlorine. Child stated he was served
something to eat three times per day but since his throat hurt, he was
unable to eat.
Child also reported he slept on the floor without a mattress and he was not
provided with a blanket. Child disclosed that the temperature at night was
really cold. Child disclosed he slept in a large room with a total of 40
minors raging 14 to 16 years old. He was not given the opportunity to
So, again, this is all previously unreported information. There are more
than two dozen of these significant incident reports that have been
obtained by NBC News now that pertain to kids who were held at the Yuma
Border Patrol station in Yuma, Arizona.
Now, the fact that these reports exist, that means the Trump administration
knows about these conditions. I mean, these are – these are reports that
are made to federal workers. These are reports that are written by and
filed by case workers who work for the federal government.
But these reports date from April of this year through mid-June, and this
is the first public reporting of these conditions at all. The Trump
administration has known about this but they have not allowed any of this
information to become public. This is the first time these conditions have
I have to tell you, though, there are a couple of these reports that I`m
just going to single out for some specific attention here before we talk
with Jacob Soboroff about this reporting, because there are a couple of
these incident reports that describe specific alleged behavior by homeland
security staff that I just – that – it`s serious stuff and I just think
you need to know about it. The first one is an allegation of punishment
made against the kids. The second one is an allegation of sexual assault
by a homeland security officer.
The punishment allegation is this. This is from a 16-year-old boy. Client
stated that the water that he was given, the water tasted like chlorine.
Client disclosed that there were about 30 minors in the detention center as
well. The other minors started to complain about the food and water that
was being provided to them. Client stated that the minors started
protesting about it and because of it the officers took out all of the
So, this is an allegation that border patrol staff took away the mats on
which kids were allowed to sleep, specifically because they complained
about their water tasting like chlorine and having bad quality food. The
kids collectively in this describing spoke out against that and they were
collectively punished and they were forced to sleep on the floor and had
their mats taken away as punishment.
Here`s the other specific allegation I want to highlight. Again, Jacob
Soboroff and Julia Ainsley turned this up in their reporting as they
obtained these significant incident reports. This one I`ll tell you in
advance, this one is disturbing. It concerns a 15-year-old girl. I`m just
going to ready this verbatim from the significant incident report.
Quote: Minor reported that on April 8th, 2019, at approximately 9:00 p.m.,
she was inspected by a Homeland Security officer who was heavy-set, tall
and with a beard in front of many other immigrants, males, females,
children. Minor reports officer asked her to lift her shirt up to bra line
and put his hands inside her bra and touched her breast. Minor reported
that she felt embarrassed as the officer was speaking in English to other
officers and laughing.
Minor then said he asked her to pull her pants down to her waist to verify
she didn`t have other pants on underneath. However, minor said he then
pulled them down himself and touched her waist and pulled her underwear.
Minor reported officer then asked her to spread her legs and arms and
patted her down in a way that made her feel uncomfortable at she felt he
groped her body, her breast and private parts as well. Minor reported he
continued to laugh and speak in English with other officers during the
So, that verbatim was reported to a case manager working for the federal
government, working for the Trump administration, reported by this teenage
girl. Now, what was the response? Well, we can see the way it`s marked,
the way the response is marked by the case manager in the report.
There`s a category marked “staff response and intervention.” And after
that category on the form, the case manager has written in this case
manager provided empathetic listening and support as well as verbalized
relief and sense of safety.
There`s another category, “follow-up and/or resolution.” Case manager
writes this: this child will be receiving individualized counseling as
needed, as well as group counseling. This case manager will continue
providing support as needed and will communicate and coordinate with the
assigned clinician to ensure the child`s needs are being met.
Then there is a statement, a place to add recommendations.
Recommendations, case manager fills in assigned clinician to follow up as
needed. Then there is a place on the form where it says, reported to state
licensing. Case manager says “no.” Was the incident investigated? Case
manager says “no.”
So, according to this document, according to this significant incident
report filled out by a case manager at the Health and Human Services
Department, based on a conversation with a 16-year-old girl about her time
in custody, an incident that she said happened just before she turned 16,
when she was 15 years old. According to this document, the incident was
not investigated. The girl was 15 at the time she says this happened.
The Trump administration has known about this allegation for more than a
month because the date of this incident is June 5th. That`s when this girl
came forward to describe what happened to her. We know about it tonight
because reporters Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley obtained that
significant incident report.
It supposedly happened at the U.S. border patrol station in Yuma, Arizona.
The Trump administration has not released any information about conditions
at that facility, let alone incidents like this. Now that NBC News has
obtained this information, though, what`s going to happen in response?
Joining us now is one of the two reporters who broke this story, Jacob
Jacob, thank you for your time tonight. I appreciate you making time.
JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Rachel, thanks to you and thanks to
your team for collaborating with us on this.
MADDOW: Yes, I understand this originated with essentially a tip from a
viewer, somebody alerting us to the existence of these – of these incident
reports. Let he just ask you about your reporting process a little bit and
how you were able to verify what these were what they appear to be.
SOBOROFF: Well, these significant incident reports, Rachel, are basically
taken down by every single case manager at health and human services.
Everyone has an intake process and any time something is flagged, these
case managers fill out one of these forms and they submit them to a variety
of oversight agencies. And we were able to by looking at these forms and
triangulating them basically with other forms from other areas within the
Department of Homeland Security able to confirm that these cases, these
children, indeed, did make these allegations.
MADDOW: And, Jacob, I want to talk to you about a whole bunch of different
parts of this, but in that last incident report that I described, the one
that described what appears to be an alleged sexual assault. There is this
notation on this incident report that says explicitly that this incident
was not investigated. Do we have any more information on that?
Obviously because that involves a minor child and an allegation of what it
would appear to be sexual assault against a federal official in uniform,
where the way she describes it there would have been other witnesses who
could have potentially corroborated this story. One would expect that
there would be some sort of duty to report. It is surprising to see a
notation that this was not investigated.
Have you been able to get anything further from the government on this
incident in particular?
SOBOROFF: Yes, a couple of things I wanted to say about this particular
case, Rachel. The tragedy of this case is that this young girl lived
inside HHS custody with this story for quite some time before the story
came forward. She went into HHS custody, if you look at the documents
weeks earlier, she ultimately came forward and gave the record.
And we`ve gone to CBP. We`d asked them – had been hours that we asked
them and gone by with no response. If you don`t mind, guy the email in
minutes before we came on the show.
SOBOROFF: I want to read to you what CBP said about this particular
They said: U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats those in our custody
with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any
allegations of misconduct. The allegations do not align with common
practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated.
Here is the part about the sexual assaults – assault, I should say. It`s
important to note that the allegation of sexual assault is already under
investigation by the Department of Homeland Security`s Office of Inspector
SOBOROFF: And now, I suppose on the one hand that`s reassuring, but on the
other hand you`ve already raised the critical point. They`ve known about
this for quite some time. They`ve kept this under wraps and it wasn`t like
this happened yesterday.
They know where it happened. They know who is being alleged to be the
perpetrator in this incident and still nothing from the Department of
Homeland Security, beyond what we`ve just gotten.
MADDOW: And, again, the timing here is that this girl in early June, so a
little bit more than a month ago, told a case worker for Health and Human
Services that when she was in homeland security custody previously in
April, which for what it`s worth is before she turned 16 years old. She
describes in detail what she says was essentially a sexual assault by an
officer, by a uniformed officer. It took place in front of other people.
This statement that you just got from Customs and Border Patrol saying this
is under investigation by the inspector general office at Homeland
Security, that`s – that`s the first reference we`ve ever seen to a
potential sexual assault by a staff member, at least this particular one
being investigated, right? We`ve never heard before from the government
that this was being looked at.
SOBOROFF: As far as I know, that`s correct, Rachel.
And the other thing that is puzzling to me about this response, we put
forward and you read many serious allegations against border patrol agents
at the Yuma border patrol station, including retaliation by border patrol
officers to people literally protesting for clean food and clean water.
They mentioned nothing about that. They mentioned nothing about the
inspector general looking into that incident or any of the other dozens of
reports that we told them that we`ve obtained.
MADDOW: Wow. And the only confirmation we get that any of it`s being
looked at, I should mention, comes in response to a reporter calling them
and asking them questions about this.
Jacob, thanks for helping us get to the bottom of this story, helping us
follow up on those leads that we got. I know you`re going to stay on this
and I hope you`ll keep us apprised so we can update our viewers as well.
SOBOROFF: Absolutely, Rachel. Thanks so much.
MADDOW: MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff.
All right. Lots more to come here tonight. As you might have heard, the
captain of the U.S. women`s soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, is going to be here
live in just a moment. I know.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: She was 6 years old when the U.S. national team won the inaugural
women`s World Cup in 1991. She was 6. She was 14 when they won their
second World Cup title eight years later in a dramatic penalty shootout.
That was the one epitomized by Brandi Chastain and what was at that time
the most iconic photo of female sports celebration ever.
It was seven years after that when Megan Rapinoe made her debut for the
U.S. national team in 2006 at the tender age of 21. Her World Cup debut
came five years later in 2011 when she gained instant mega celebrity for
assisting on the possibly most dramatic goal in U.S. women`s World Cup
Rapinoe`s last – look at that! God, it still kills me. Rapinoe`s last
122nd minute cross to Abby Wambach who headed it in to tie Brazil in a game
the U.S. would go on to win, ecstasy for American fans, for American
soccer, for everybody alive and breathing and able to watch that game.
The U.S. did not win the final that year. But now, superstar Megan Rapinoe
returned to the U.S. where she did everything possible off the field to
promote American soccer, including having to suffer through some dumb cable
news/fans who could barely spit out a question.
In 2015, Megan Rapinoe got her first World Cup win as the U.S. team beat
Japan. That kind of world-changing victory brought with it the opportunity
to talk seriously about the inequities between how U.S. soccer treats its
male and its very well-accomplished female players.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MEGAN RAPINOE, WOMEN`S WORLD CUP CHAMPION: I mean, we know that we`ve
accomplished something amazing. We won the World Cup. That was the whole
But I think just a much bigger picture, now we can say, you know, 25
million people watched the game. We`re selling out these stadiums. We
have a victory tour. We`re not going to be playing in small stadiums for
And we`re making money now. We`re making money for sponsors. We`re making
money for our federation. We`re making money for FIFA.
And that just pushes us, you know, into that conversation and allows us to
have a strong argument when we do want more money, because we do deserve to
have more money.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was 2015 after they just won the World Cup that time.
Three months prior to the kickoff of this year`s World Cup, Megan Rapinoe,
along with 27 other members of the U.S. national team, was a plaintiff in a
lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. That gender discrimination
suit accused the federation of paying female players less than their male
counterparts on the men`s national team, despite having the same job
responsibilities and despite having had far more success on the field. I
mean, the U.S. has one fantastic world leading national soccer team. It
also has a men`s team.
But the two sides in that dispute from that lawsuit are about to enter
mediation. And then of course it was time for her to do the rest of her
talking on the field. Megan Rapinoe already a household name heading into
the World Cup among those who follow U.S. soccer.
But then, you know, turning on Rapinoe`s two goals in a decisive
quarterfinal victory over the hosts, France, culminating in an iconic goal
celebration that accompanied 1,000 headlines and now, honestly, after what
just happened in the World Cup, she is probably right now the most famous
American on the globe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Goal! U.S. wins.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After the final whistle declared the U.S. women a record four-time
World Cup champions, chants of “equal pay, equal pay” reverberated
throughout the stadium in Lyon.
Now as the new celebrity of a different kind and poster child for women`s
soccer, Megan Rapinoe is taking it on herself to help push the women`s game
forward in every possible way.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAPINOE: It`s pretty special to have that total transcendent moment,
outside of sport, outside of soccer, outside of anything, it`s like this is
so much bigger than just what`s happening on the field and the fans were
right there lockstep with us. We didn`t, you know, do the lawsuit and
everything just because the World Cup was coming up, but, you know, we
understand what kind of stage we`re on. We`re very aware of the attention
that we have, the platform that we have, and we are extremely aware of the
power of winning and performing and doing so in the style that we always
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Megan Rapinoe has won the World Cup twice. She`s won the Golden
Boot as top goal scorer. She`s won the Golden Ball as the tournament`s
Joining us for the interview is U.S. team captain, Megan Rapinoe.
RAPINOE: Hello. Hi.
MADDOW: It`s great to see you.
RAPINOE: Thank you for having me on again.
MADDOW: This is what you do – you win the World Cup and you come to THE
RACHEL MADDOW SHOW.
RAPINOE: It`s just what happens. This is it.
MADDOW: How have the last few days been for you? Have you slept?
RAPINOE: I slept a little bit. Not much. Got about an hour on the plane
ride home. Got a couple hours last night.
But I think I`m just on such a high, I can`t sleep. The adrenaline, the
nerves, just all of it, it`s such an exciting moment for us right now.
MADDOW: So how do you – do you all have, like, a plan as a group about
how you deal with the platform that you have now, the celebration, the way
you`re going to cope with the fame and the attention and everything?
MADDOW: Do you guys talk about that in advance or does everybody deal with
it their own way?
RAPINOE: We kind of do and we don`t. I think that we have such a close
group and we`re around each other so much, conversations are happening all
the time. We`re certainly much more organized and together this time
around than we were last time around. We will get into mediation obviously
after the World Cup, but I think at this moment everyone is like, this is -
- yes, it`s happening. And we certainly know how to take advantage of
these fun moments.
MADDOW: In terms of your leadership on the team, you`ve now – you are the
only woman who have ever started in three World Cup finals, is that right?
RAPINOE: I don`t know. Is that a thing?
MADDOW: I think that`s a thing. Yes.
You`re obviously team captain, veteran, you just turned 34, people are
talking about you not only for your impact on the game but for the
longevity of your impact on the game. Where do you feel like you are in
terms of your career?
RAPINOE: Definitely at the later stage as opposed to at the beginning
stage. I just turned 34, a couple of days before the final, actually. So,
I mean, I`m pretty realistic about that.
I want to keep playing. I don`t have any plans to retire right now, but
I`m still hurting from the game. So I feel like my age is catching me a
little bit more than it used to.
MADDOW: One of the reasons that I feel like your career is of national
interest, not just for you as an athlete but for you as an American is
because over the years, I feel like watching you just as a fan, I feel like
you have become more and more comfortable and more and more articulate in
terms of using the platform that you`ve got to say what you think ought to
be happening in the world.
You seem more calm, more capable, more eloquent than ever, and it seems
like that gets better over time. And so, that makes me want you to do this
I mean, obviously I want you to do this forever as a fan, but I also feel
like you – you`re really good at talking when you need to talk and saying
things that need to be said. I wonder how deliberately you`ve approached
that or if it`s just the process of maturing?
RAPINOE: I think a little bit of both. I try to be as educated as I can.
I think that helps when you get in front of the camera and you`re in a
moment and you`re like, what the hell am I supposed to say?
So I try to keep up with things. Watch THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, of course.
Keep myself woke.
I think, honestly, a lot of it comes just from my gut and from my heart.
I`m quite off the cuff, but I`m also very thoughtful and understand and
take a lot of pride and take very seriously the platform that we have and
understanding, you know, where my voice goes when I say things and trying
to use those things for good and trying to challenge people and constantly
bring the conversation and make people think and, you know, constantly re-
evaluate where we are in the world.
Are we doing enough? Are we good enough? Can we be better? And I think
the answer to those questions is always yes.
So I feel like for me – I feel a responsibility to do this. I`m
privileged to be a famous person and to be on this team and to be who I am,
and if I just stay silent, it seems awfully selfish.
MADDOW: One of the things that I felt, again, just as a fan, when the
president started criticizing you and attacking you is that I was mad at
him because I felt like he was going to rattle you when you needed to be
very focused on soccer for the country. You did not seem rattled by that.
I can`t imagine that it`s not distracting, though, that it doesn`t take up
some of your focus, some of your worry time, some of what you might
otherwise be devoting to your craft.
RAPINOE: Uh-huh. I don`t get into my mentions a lot. I`m not huge on
Twitter. I`m more of an Instagram person.
So I feel like I`m not in that flow a lot. Obviously, I hear about it and
I, of course, heard about the president`s tweets, and it did, it took a
minute, it took some focus for sure. It happened kind of at a good time.
We had just played a game and then had a little time before the next game.
Obviously it was before the France game, a very big one.
We have an incredible media team that travels with us everywhere, you know,
family and friends and my agents and everyone, I think just really
mobilized and rallied around me like what do you need, how can we address
this? And I think the way that we did it, we addressed it immediately in
the press conference. Just said it right out, I`m not sorry for what I
said, I stand by everything, and that was kind of it, and then I sort of
made everyone go back to what we were actually doing, which was trying to
win the World Cup.
MADDOW: And in terms of what that controversy was about. At that moment
in the press conference you said, like, I`m going to get this done right
MADDOW: And, no, I`m not going to take questions on that. We`re going to
talk about soccer. Sort of took control of the room.
On that subject with which you had the conflict with the president, though,
have you been invited to the White House?
RAPINOE: Not publicly and not to my knowledge and certainly not in the way
that everyone else is invited to the White House or not invited to the
White House. So, to my knowledge, we have not. I don`t know if there is
stuff going on behind the scenes, but obviously, the first interaction that
we had was very public and it`s very silent now.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back with Megan Rapinoe.
I want to talk to you about the mediation that`s forthcoming and what else
is coming up down the pike for you. I`m still so nervous. We`ll be right
MADDOW: Joining us once again is two-time World Cup winner U.S. national
team captain, Megan Rapinoe.
Megan, thank you for staying with us.
When you were here four years ago after winning the World Cup the last
time, we talked about the equal pay issue and about the gender disparity in
terms of how U.S. soccer treats men and women, and I wanted to play that
clip from your 2015 interview because I want people to know that this isn`t
a new thing that you just started working on now.
Tell me how that fight has changed.
RAPINOE: Well, I think it has changed dramatically now. I mean, I think,
to be honest, all over the world, I even had a brief conversation with
Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, after the game.
I think everyone realizes now, it`s like, OK, it`s time for the next step.
It`s time to work together to get this to a better place, be collaborative.
The conversation is not about equal pay anymore. It`s everybody.
It`s like, if you`re not down with equal pay at this point or equality or
whatever it is, like, you`re so far out of reality and the conversation
that we can`t even go there. I think it`s time to move to the next phase,
and I think everybody wants that. Nobody wants this contentious fight all
of the time.
I don`t want to fight with my bosses all the time. We don`t want to
constantly be doing this. We don`t want to file lawsuits. We don`t want
to, you know, constantly have that sort of animosity and, you know,
exchanging blows in one way or another. We`d much prefer to just move
forward because we know that the path forward and where we go from here
makes it better for everyone.
MADDOW: So, you`re expressing optimism that you`ve sort of won the
argument but you haven`t yet won the fight.
MADDOW: That you`ve persuaded everybody that you should get this, but it`s
now a question of effectuating it.
RAPINOE: Yes, definitely. I think that, you know, our team and really our
side, we`re really like how do we move forward and be collaborative with
this? I think that we have been very outspoken.
The federation has put a lot of resources and money and support behind the
team, and I think they do deserve credit for that when we talk about all
the other federations in the world, but just because you`re better than
someone who is bad doesn`t mean necessarily that you`re good, and I think
that we`ve proven in sort of every metric that we`ve come up against that
the conversation needs to move to the next piece. How do we do that
We need everybody to do it together. We need the federation. We need
FIFA. We need all the confederations around the world and players to be on
the same page because everybody`s input is valuable in moving this
MADDOW: It was striking to see in the moments immediately following the
final whistle, you get that “USA, USA” chant, but “equal pay, equal pay”
along that same cadence. I think fans want to know what they can do to
support that fight.
RAPINOE: Fans can come to games. Obviously, the national team games will
be a hot ticket. But we have nine teams in the NWSL. You can go for our
league games. You can support that way.
You can buy players` jerseys. You can lend your support in that way. You
can tell your friends about it. You can become season ticket holders.
I think in terms of that, that`s the easiest way for fans to get involved.
MADDOW: Uh-huh. In terms of what happens next for you, you`re very, very
famous now. You`ve been –
RAPINOE: I know.
MADDOW: In a way that as I mentioned I think you`ve shown incredible
poise. In terms of handling the tension that you`ve gotten and making sure
that things are still on your own terms. I wonder if you have any thoughts
about what comes next for you in terms of the kind of impact that you want
to have, both on the sport and in the country. Public Policy Polling
literally did a poll today.
RAPINOE: Oh, no.
MADDOW: Which was you versus Trump in a presidential contest and you beat
him by a point. So, I mean, I don`t think you`re going to announce that
you`re running for president.
RAPINOE: Yes. No, I`m not.
MADDOW: But what is ahead for you?
RAPINOE: My girlfriend actually just said, you need to be careful.
They`re going to ask you to run for president. You need to slow your roll.
MADDOW: I`m not asking you to run, just suggesting that others are polling
RAPINOE: They`re saying, people are saying it.
RAPINOE: I don`t know, to be honest. I think things have changed
dramatically in these, you know, just these couple of days.
RAPINOE: I`m excited to kind of dig in and see really where I can take
this. I think that I`ve been kind of wanting that for a number of years
and how do we – how do we bring it out of just sports and out of soccer
and out of the things that we have been doing and that I`ve been doing into
something way bigger?
And I think sort of the same as the equal pay argument, I kind of want to
stop just talking about things and, like, how do we put things in action?
How do we help? What do we do? What`s the best way to get people
mobilized, whether that`s in voting or just getting people more educated
and more plugged in to what`s happening in our politics and in our lives?
And I think I`m ready for that, like, next thing. I want to be more
impactful. I feel like the money where the mouth is the best way to go and
trying to, yes, I guess leverage this moment but also understand there is
something so much more.
MADDOW: I think the country is ready for you.
MADDOW: Megan Rapinoe, it`s an incredible honor to have you here. We
should mention that this is not a replica.
MADDOW: This is the actual World Cup trophy.
RAPINOE: This is her –
RAPINOE: – in all her glory.
MADDOW: It`s great to have you here. Congratulations. Come back soon.
RAPINOE: Thank you. Yes, of course.
MADDOW: Megan Rapinoe is the co-captain of the World Cup champion U.S.
national women`s soccer team, as if you needed me to say that.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: We got word today through federal court filings that were unsealed
in Washington that it appears that Trump national security adviser Mike
Flynn may be starting to uncooperate with prosecutors. Mike Flynn pled
guilty and entered into a plea agreement that required his cooperation more
than a year ago, but now Flynn is being newly described by prosecutors as a
conspirator in another criminal case. He will no longer be testifying for
the prosecution in that case.
And the judge who is about to sentence Mike Flynn supposedly on the basis
of how good he`s been cooperating with prosecutors, that judge is now
demanding an explanation for what is going on with Flynn and what is
changing with regard to his relationship with the U.S. government.
Whatever is happening with Flynn, we do expect some clarification to – to
his sentencing judge at least by the end of the day tomorrow. We think
that those filings may be public-facing, so by this time tomorrow night, we
may have more clarity on whatever is going on with Flynn, but it feels like
his case is blowing up.
I mentioned it sort of feels like the news is being shot out of a cannon
today. I should also tell you today the Judiciary Committee in the House
announced plans to issue subpoenas, new subpoenas to a dozen people named
as witnesses in the Mueller report including the president`s son-in-law
Jared Kushner, also former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Deputy
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, also former White House chief of staff
John Kelly, not to mention David Pecker from the “National Enquirer.”
Those subpoenas due to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee on
Thursday of this week.
And in addition to all that, Robert Mueller himself as of this point, he is
still due to testify publicly, testify in open-door hearings next week in
Congress, although that now seems to have sort of at least a cloud looming
behind it, if not a question mark. The Justice Department and Attorney
General William Barr in particular are now starting to make noises that
maybe William Barr doesn`t want that Mueller testimony to happen. Barr has
started suggesting that he and the Justice Department would be happy to
help Robert Mueller defy that congressional subpoena if he wants to. Hint,
That news just breaking as “The Wall Street Journal” was first to report
tonight on which two of Mueller`s prosecutors are also being summoned to
testify in addition to Mueller himself if, in fact, that testimony still
happens next week.
Congress did get testimony today from one interesting witness from the
Mueller report, Felix Sater, a longtime Trump associate who worked on the
Trump Tower Moscow project during the campaign with Michael Cohen. Felix
Sater testified today behind closed doors to House Intelligence Committee.
But after he left, the committee released a sort of extraordinary statement
that said in part, quote, while we do not typically comment on closed
interviews, Mr. Sater has not fully cooperated with the committee, and he
will remain under subpoena until he does so. Intriguing.
And on top of all of that, we also got word today that Christopher Steele,
the former British spy behind the dossier about Donald Trump`s ties to
Russia, Christopher Steele was interviewed for 16 hours last month by
investigators with the office of the justice department`s inspector
general. Whatever Christopher Steele told them, reportedly, the inspector
general found it credible enough to extend his investigation into how the
FBI handled its 2016 investigation of the Trump campaign`s ties to Russia.
All of that today.
I know it feels like it should be summer vacation right now, but
developments in all of those cases and investigations are basically coming
a mile a minute, and it looks like it is going to continue to be a very
busy week on all of those fronts. Stay sharp.
More to come. Stay with us.
MADDOW: That does it for us tonight. I will see you again tomorrow when
our guest for the interview here is going to be Senator Bernie Sanders.
His first interview on the show since he launched his 2020 presidential
Then, the following day on Thursday, we are going to have another
presidential contender, California Senator Kamala Harris is going to be
here as well.
Megan Rapinoe tonight. Bernie Sanders tomorrow. Kamala Harris the –
stressing myself out.
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