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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/17/13

Guests: Chris Smith, Trent Siebert

RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: And thanks to you at home as well, for joining us this hour. If you go to the official Web site for the government of the state of Florida, you will see there that you can click to meet the governor. And there he is, you go and click on it, meet the governor, Florida`s Republican Governor Rick Scott. You can read about Governor Scott being married to his high school sweetheart for 40 years and him serving in the Navy. It`s all there. Meet the governor. And on that same Web site, for the government of Florida, you can also click to meet the lieutenant governor. Let`s try. OK, trouble. Error 404 page not found. Sorry, what you are looking for isn`t here. And this is not a mistake, because Florida -- the great state of Florida does not have a lieutenant governor. They have that job, they have an elected office called lieutenant governor, but that job is vacant, which makes for an interesting side note to this story that is underway right now in the Sunshine State -- protesters who have moved in to Florida Governor Rick Scott`s office. They`re still there heading into night two, they moved in yesterday and when night came last night, they rolled out sleeping bags and they tucked in for the night. At this hour, they appear to be settling in second night of peaceful protest. Protest by means of showing up and staying put and refusing to go home. Law enforcement has said they can keep staying at the governor`s office, as long as they do not disrupt official business while they are there. The protesters say still tonight like they did last night that they intend to wait to stay at the governor`s office until they get a meeting with Governor Scott himself. They`re calling on the governor to convene a special session of the Florida state legislature to debate what they`re calling the "Trayvon Martin Civil Rights Act". They want that act to repeal Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law. As you can see here, when these very determined protesters filed into the governor and lieutenant governor`s office, stop the tape here, you see that? Governor, implied comma, and lieutenant governor, but it`s an interesting side note. There is no lieutenant governor right now for the state of Florida. And that is because the lieutenant governor that Florida had had to resign in disgrace. In one of the strangest political scandals in this country this year, at least, it was a big political scandal even by the standards of the Florida which knows from lieutenant scandal. But it was Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll who was elected alongside Rick Scott in the Republican wave of 2010. She served in the Florida legislature for seven years before she was elected lieutenant governor. While she served as a lawmaker, she also ran a PR firm. She said that her PR firm`s main income came from this company which purports to be a charity for America`s military veterans, helping vets struggling with homelessness among other things. After Jennifer Carroll got elected lieutenant governor, after she got elected to the number two office in the state. She still as lieutenant governor appeared in this PSA/ad for this group. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENNIFER CARROLL (R), FORMER FLORIDA LT. GOVERNOR: As a veteran who served during the Gulf War, I personally know how hard it is for service members to be apart from their families. Allied Veterans of the World is making it easier for them (INAUDIBLE). (END VIDEO CLOIP) MADDOW: OK. The national commander of this group, its leader, his name is Jerry Bass. This video you see him in here comes from a couple of years ago. If you`re looking for a more recent photo of Mr. Bass, we do have this more recent mugshot of him, which was taken the day after Jennifer Carroll had to resign her position as lieutenant governor, because her PR firm and her association with him and his supposed veteran`s charity made her continuing in office an untenable prospect. Jerry Bass was arrested amid allegations that his group supposedly raising money for veterans with the lieutenant governor`s help was actually doing something else with the money that they raised. He was arrested in a mass raid along with nearly 60 people, the suspects accused of racketeering, illegal gambling, money laundering and more. The IRS says the so-called charity was a fraud. They appear to have taken in, quote, "nearly $6 million in what appeared to be actual charitable donations to veterans," but that is only about 2 percent of the nearly $300 million they raised during that time. Investigators trying to find the other 98 percent of the money that was raised supposedly for veterans found that the group instead lavished millions of dollars on its leaders, spending on boats, beach front condos, Maseratis, Ferraris and Porsches. Also just cash. Law enforcement seized about 300 bank accounts containing about $65 million cash, along with the sports cars and the other property. Florida Republicans had taken about $300,000 as donations from this group. But when the arrests all went down, 60 people arrested, right? And this whole scheme gets exposed in the press, Florida Republicans go embarrassed, rightfully so. Florida`s Republican Party immediately announcing upon all those arrests they would give the 300 grand to real veterans causes. But, you know, Florida`s Republican lieutenant governor who was right in the middle of this whole scandal herself, she did not sound nearly so embarrassed as the rest of her party. In an interview right after she resigned, Jennifer Carroll told "The New York Times", quote, "I believe I did a fantastic job." Fantastic, fantastic job former Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll. But before she resigned, but when she was still just the elected official with the PR firm and the PSA for the fake veteran`s charity and the Maseratis and the Ferraris and the 300 bank accounts and the $65 million cash, and the 60 people arrested, before all of that, Lieutenant Governor Carroll is who Rick Scott put in charge of reviewing the "Stand Your Ground" law, right after Trayvon Martin got killed last year and before it was clear that George Zimmerman would face charges in that killing. Rick Scott put her in charge of handpicked panel to consider whether Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law should be changed. Quoting Governor Scott, "I have asked Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll to lead the task force, conduct public hearings, take testimony and recommend actions, legislative and otherwise, to both protect our citizens and safeguard our rights. That panel held half a dozen meetings around the state last year, taking testimony from citizens at the mic, Ms. Carroll`s task force tweeted they would hold a meeting in Sanford, Florida, which is where Trayvon Martin died. But the meeting they actually held that day happened in another town. The task force appears to have not held a hearing in Sanford. In any case, Jennifer Carroll pledged her panel would conduct a fair investigation. Reporters noted that four members of the panel were legislators who had voted for "Stand Your Ground" when the bill passed in 2005. Those members included one of the co-authors of the bill, Republican state lawmaker who had been the recipient of a ton of campaign cash from the NRA. But under the leadership of Florida`s lieutenant governor, before she had to resign in disgrace, that was the Florida task force that studied what should happen to the state`s "Stand Your Ground" law. They studied that law for several months, and in November, this Jennifer Carroll task force made its recommendation. They said the law should remain intact. Tweak a little maybe, but basically leave it alone, leave "Stand Your Ground" in place. In February, they issued a fancier version of the same report with the same conclusion, the honorable Jennifer Carroll, lieutenant governor, saying hands off the Florida "Stand Your Ground" law. That was three weeks before she would resign in disgrace, talking about what a fantastic job she had done. And that is the leg they are standing on in Florida right now. That conclusion by that panel under her leadership is why Rick Scott says he will not give in to protesters demands to reconsider, to re-debate the state`s law about who can shoot who and when. Governor Scott`s office e-mailing the today show yesterday saying, quote, "immediately after" -- excuse me, "immediately following Trayvon Martin`s death, Governor Scott called a bipartisan special task force with 19 citizens to review Florida`s `Stand Your Ground` the law. The task force recommended that the law should not be overturned and Governor Scott agrees." No mention of who led the task force there. Today, Governor Scott told reporters in Pensacola that it was great the way protesters were using their First Amendment right to free speech. The governor reportedly has not been back to the Capitol. He has not been back to his office since this group of young protesters started this occupation of his office. They`ve been posting pictures and some vide on social media saying that they are still in this for the long haul. They`re going strong. They are not planning on leaving. And beyond their now two days wait for the governor -- look at the pressure on Florida and on Rick Scott to do something that he`s refusing to do. U.S. Attorney General Eric holder yesterday in Florida singling out the state`s "Stand Your Ground" law as creating more violence than it prevents. People around the country have been pledging they will boycott the state of Florida until something gets done about the "Stand Your Ground" law. That boycott got a big boost when Stevie Wonder said over the weekend that he personally will hold out for change on the issue. The performer made his announcement during a concert in Quebec. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEVIE WONDER, MUSICIAN: I know I`m not everybody, I`m just one person. I`m a human being. For the gift that God has given me, and for whatever I mean, I decided today that until the "Stand Your Ground" law abolished in Florida, I will never perform there again. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) HAYES: Mr. Wonder went on to say he will not play anywhere that has a law like Florida`s "Stand Your Ground" law. But for right now the pressure is most directly, most definitely on Florida. Back when Lieutenant Governor Jennifer Carroll was leading the task force to the conclusion that "Stand Your Ground" was just find ands it didn`t need to be reviewed, a separate panel led by Democratic State Senator called for significant changes in the law. State Senator Chris Smith formed his independent panel looking at the law after he found that he could not get himself a seat on the official Jennifer Carroll task force. He said the official panel would not listen to the recommendations of his group about potential changes to that law. Well, after the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman verdict this weekend, Senator Smith came forward to try again, to see if maybe now he can get heard. I do not know whether Governor Scott is listening to Senator Smith, but I think the state of Florida and a lot of the country might be ready for it now. Joining us now is Chris Smith, Florida state senator and Democratic leader of the Florida Senate. Senator Smith, thank you very much for your time tonight. It`s nice to have you here. STATE SEN. CHRIS SMITH (D), FLORIDA: Thank you for having me, and for your attention to this matter. MADDOW: So, there was an official task force setup by the governor, led by the former lieutenant governor, looking at the "Stand Your Ground" law in the immediate aftermath of Trayvon Martin`s death, before we knew that George Zimmerman would be charged at the state level in the scandal. What is your criticism of that panel`s work and its conclusion that the law is just fine? SMITH: It was a handpicked panel and it was everyone that supported the law, and I can`t help but contrast it with the panel that I did in south Florida. My task force had public defenders and defense attorneys as well as state attorneys and police officers. We had those that supported the law and those that opposed the law and college professors, it was a great group of people, and we had actual discussions of it, and people that used it every day. And we came up with some good suggestions from it. But when you look at what the governor put together, you kind of pick the players and put them out there, even when it was asked, Chris Smith a person who served in the legislature, I argued against it, voted against it, and was a critic of it, I am a practicing attorney, when asked why I wasn`t put on the panel, he said I didn`t apply. Then he had to backtrack and said there was an application process, he just picked his own people. MADDOW: What changes did your task force decide to -- did you decide it should all together be repealed or it could be left on the books but fixed in some way? SMITH: That`s the interesting part about it, because we have such a diverse panel, we didn`t come up with the repeal of it, because there was too much discussion on , and too much dissension on that. We were a diverse panel, they came up with fixing it, taking out some common sense things, saying such absurd things, if you were the aggressor, if you go and begin the altercation, you should not avail yourself of this immunity of "Stand Your Ground", if you start the fight, you go looking for a fight, you cannot rely on "Stand Your Ground" and the immunity that it affords people. MADDOW: What do you make of the pressure that`s being put on your state right now to try to reconsider that law now in light of the state level verdict? We see those young protesters, those young, earnest, peaceful protesters at the governor`s office. We see boycotts of Florida by performers like Stevie Wonder and increasingly larger number Americans saying entire state should be boycotted because of this law. We saw that very impassioned speech yesterday in Florida from the attorney general of the United States saying the law essentially is an abomination. Republicans control both houses of the legislature and the governorship in your state. What do you think becomes of all of this pressure? SMITH: Well, think the pressure, it makes us at least discuss it. During the last legislative session, I filed a bill that amended "Stand Your Ground" and even Senator Simmons who served on the governor`s panel, who`s one of the original architects, he even filed a bill with some of the recommendations. They didn`t hear any bill they were afraid of the discussion. They were afraid of the debate. And went through an entire legislative session where we many a myriad of crazy bills, but here`s something that`s central to the well being of the Floridians, we didn`t even hear the bill. And more people talking about it, we`ll at least have the discussion, at least have the debate, we`re asking them why do you fear the debate? Let`s at least discuss this and look at the statistics and what it`s cost. We have a clear case now that shows "Stand Your Ground" has some problems when the jury comes back and has to ask more questions. Now this pressure will hopefully cause us to at least have the debate in the state legislature this year. MADDOW: Senator Chris Smith, Florida state senator, Democratic leader of the Florida state Senate -- sir, thank you very much for your time tonight. Please stay in touch with us on this. SMITH: Thank you so much. MADDOW: Thank you. Thanks very much. All right. We`ve got lots ahead tonight, including a new twist in the Bob McDonnell corruption scandal. A whole new thing we didn`t know he was doing before. Brand new stuff is coming up next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, the reason that governor ultrasound is called governor ultrasound is before Bob McDonnell was elected governor of Virginia, he was a state representative who had prioritized antiabortion activism in his time in the legislature, sponsoring or co sponsoring 35 different anti- abortion bills. Then, delegate Bob McDonnell has specifically fought for legislation long before it was cool to force women in his state to have medically unnecessary vaginal ultrasounds against their will as a kind of Bob McDonnell imposed admission fee to being allowed to access your supposedly constitutionally protected rights. Then once he was elected governor, Republicans in the legislature passed the ultrasound bill that he had long championed. Now, with a Republican legislature to pass it, and with a conservative anti-abortion activist Bob McDonnell as governor, Virginians started to realize that this thing that these guys had wanted for so long might actually become law. And in response to the statewide freak-out that that engendered, the governor tried to distance himself from the whole idea as if he had nothing to do with the whole ultrasound thing in the first place, even though it was his bill. Bob McDonnell really is governor ultrasound. And so, despite his best efforts, the name has stuck. But forced ultrasounds are not the only anti-abortion consequence of governor ultrasound`s scandal-laden turn as Virginia governor. He and his attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, have also overseen a change in health regulations in the state that is designed to shut down Virginia clinics that provide abortions. Just this week, the clinic that does more abortions than any other in the state closed its doors because of the new regulations. When governor ultrasound Bob McDonnell and Ken Cuccinelli moved to change the state`s health regulations into a way for them to shut down clinics, the state health board balked. They said, you know, the state is free to change any regulation it wants to, to govern the construction of new clinics that might open in the future, but changing the construction rules governing clinics that already exist, well, that has no health and safety purpose, it`s just a way to shut down clinics. It`s hijacking what`s supposed to be a health related process to instead pursue this other agenda. So, the board of health said no. As we all know now, governor ultrasound and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli decided they were going to lean on the board, threatening individual board members, telling them that they would be personally liable as individuals for the legal costs of the state board of health if they didn`t do what they wanted on shutting down these clinics. It was crazy, but the threats worked and the board caved and the state health commissioner interestingly resigned in protest. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: News at 5 begins with breaking news. We have just learned the state health commissioner is stepping down from her post all because of abortion regulations the state health board approved last month. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In a letter to her colleagues, the state health commissioner explained how specific sections of the Virginia code pertaining to the development and enforcement of these regulations have been and continued to be interpreted created an environment in which my ability to fulfill my duties is compromised and in good faith, I can no longer serve in my role. The health commissioner resigns in protest to all this the public pressure, that is where the story takes dramatic turn back to governor ultrasound, because "The Richmond Times Dispatch" today had to run a refresher on that whole drama from last year about the health commissioner resigning and the abortion clinics and the pressure and all that stuff. They had to run a whole refresher on that drama from last year under this picture in the newspaper today. Wyndham home owned by Governor Bob McDonnell. Yes. So, there`s this picture of this house, and under this picture of this very nice house, "The Times Dispatch" has to explain former health commissioner Karen Remley resigned last October citing political interference in the performance of her duty as health commissioner, following the approval process for restrictive new regulations imposed on the state`s existing abortion clinics. And that is relevant to this house. That`s all listed in the article that goes with the picture of this house because once governor ultrasound lost his health commissioner and had to appoint a new one, who hopefully wouldn`t be nearly so picky about political interference with her doing her job, once he had to pick somebody new to be health commissioner, he put her in this house, his house, the one he owned personally. Governor Bob McDonnell has found a way to defray part of his monthly real expenses on the millions of dollars in property that he owns, by renting his western Henrico County home to his handpicked state health commissioner. Dr. Cynthia C. Romero who took over as state health commissioner in January has been renting the McDonnell`s $835,000 home in this tony community. A McDonnell spokesman confirmed news that the governor entered into a financial relationship with a top official under his supervision comes as federal and state investigators probe the gifts the first family and McDonnell have received during his time in office. This is so weird. You did this too? He hires her, he handpicks her for the job and now she pays his mortgage. A mortgage he is under water on by tens of thousands of dollars. Must be nice, right? Hey, doc, you need a job? Well, I need a tenant. Maybe we can do business here. Wow. Larry Sabato, the dean of Virginia politics says, quote, "This is improper because it`s an obvious conflict of interest for the governor. And anybody can see that. Suppose the governor wants to fire the commissioner. Doesn`t anyone think he would consider losing the substantial monthly rent? Supposed the commissioner is unhappy about plumbing or repairs or rent increases, does anyone think she might be hesitant to approach her boss? It`s just plain bad judgment. And the latest sign that we have a governor in Virginia whose sense of propriety is lacking." Yes, you think? And this is just the latest revelation after the reports of Governor McDonnell and his family taking and never reporting $145,000 in cash from a Virginia company that`s under federal investigation, the engraved Rolex watch, the designer clothes, and the lake house vacation, and the Ferrari, did I mention it was a white Ferrari? None of which he has yet explained. And as all of these allegations mount, Governor McDonnell has added another high powered lawyer to his defense team, say former U.S. attorney who does defense work. He`s also added a public relations specialist to his defense team, although the governor`s cadre of now high power lawyers is careful to note to the press that the PR guy is not being paid by taxpayers or the governor`s PAC, which kind of makes you wonder who is paying for the new PR guy. Maybe governor ultrasound finally pawned the Rolex. At this point in Virginia, the chief administrator of the Virginia legislature is rummaging through state records, quote, "searching for clues on what the legislature`s role should be if Governor McDonnell resigns or has be removed from office. One Democrat who previously called for governor ultrasound`s legislation is now calling instead for impeachment. Conservative blogs in Virginia are now reporting rumors as if they are facts that governor ultrasound is going to have to resign before he gets indicted some day soon. We still do not know what happens next in this metastasizing scandal in Virginia. But at this point who would even take a bet on what we are going to learn about him next? Rent? Seriously? Stay tuned. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The thing about voter ID laws like the one in Pennsylvania is that they were supposedly designed to prevent the scourge of voter fraud, right? That`s why Republicans said they wrote those laws and passed them. Voter fraud. So, in Pennsylvania, the 2012 election was supposed to be better, supposed to be a better election, because voter ID made for less voter fraud, right? Right? Mr. Pennsylvania Republican Party chairman? Isn`t that the reason? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We probably had a better election. Think about this, we cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Sometimes people accidentally say what they`re not supposed to say. That has just happened in Pennsylvania at a really crucially bad time. Hold on, there`s more. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The largest city in California, obviously, is Los Angeles. If you are a northern California chauvinist or just from northern California like I am, you would think that the second largest city in California would be San Francisco or maybe San Jose. But that`s not true, the second largest city in California is San Diego, below Los Angeles, down near the Mexican border. And the second largest city in California, San Diego has long been seen as a pretty conservative place, at least by California standards -- heavy military presence, with Navy and Marine Corps bases, heavy defense contractor presence. It`s been a conservative place for a long time. That`s why it was a big deal, not just for California, but actually just kind of a big deal when last year, San Diego elected a Democrat to be mayor. That had not happened in 20 years. He was only the second Democrat to be the mayor of San Diego in 40 years. San Diego has been a real Republican stronghold. When it became clear that Democratic U.S. Congressman Bob Filner who long represented the area in Washington, co-founder of the progressive caucus in Washington, when it became clear that Bob Filner had a real shot at winning the mayor`s race, Democrats and progressives were just over the moon. And once he was elected, groups like the San Diego Labor Council were able to say in their view, San Diego had elected the most progressive big city mayor in the entire country. San Diego is the eighth largest city in the whole country, second largest in California. And before Bob Filner became mayor, it was basically guaranteed to be under Republican control. But now, with Bob Filner under control, nothing is guaranteed, because boy, howdy, has the Bob Filner as mayor thing turned out way differently than everybody expected. No charges have been filed yet, no lawsuits have been filed yet, but check your watch, say, every minute or so for updates on that. It started at the end of last week, when a former Democratic city councilwoman, an ally of Bob Filner came out publicly to say that although she had supported the mayor in the past, she had sent a letter to the mayor asking for his resignation, saying I cannot describe how anguishing it is to ask that you now vacate this office, and then she held a news conference. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONNA FRYE: When I received credible firsthand evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed, I could not not act. I believe what they have told me, and they need to know that they are not alone. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Former counselor proceeded to say it was one of the hardest decisions she had ever had to make to demand that Bob Filner resign. That same day, the mayor responded with a direct to camera video response apologizing, but not resigning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAYOR BOB FILNER (D), SAN DIEGO, CA: I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me. The charges made at today`s news conference are serious, when a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I`m clearly doing something wrong. And I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will change my behavior. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The mayor went on to say he was humbled, that he needed help, he would participate in sexual harassment training along with his staff. Although honestly there`s no indication his staff was the problem. That`s how it started on Thursday, it`s gotten much worse since then. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) FRYE: On the sidewalk, the mayor suddenly in clear view of anyone who might pass by grabbed and kissed her, jamming his tongue down her throat. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no circumstance under which it would be appropriate for the mayor to enter into an elevator with my client or any person whom he employs and to tell them that they would do a better job on that floor if they worked without their panties on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Monday. A whole new raft of really specific allegations on the city hall steps. The mayor on his part is still saying that he will not resign, he put out another statement saying he deserved due process, asserting the right to defend himself against these allegations, which is certainly true, at least in the abstract. Despite his earlier apology, the mayor is saying that he is innocent of sexual harassment. Day by day, women have been coming forward, though, with new accounts of harassment, new stories of their experiences with Bob Filner. One of them didn`t interview in silhouette with her voice altered in the local TV station. She doesn`t work for Bob Filner, but she says she`s in contact with him every day as part of her job, and explains why she did not come forward sooner. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I`m holding back is because I`m just an ordinary woman and he`s -- I`m not going to have any power, he has the power. He`s mayor. What am I going to do? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: While this has all be coming to light, the mayor has been losing supporters in droves. Two Democratic members of Congress, Susan Davis and Scott Peters, have both called on him to resign. The former secretary-treasurer of that labor council that helped to elect him says that she is devastated by the news about him. The National Organization for Women in San Diego has called for him to resign. The League for Conservation Voters locally says they want him to resign. His former fiancee who he had been calling the first lady of San Diego, she is now calling for him to resign, also she is no longer his fiancee. This most unexpected scandal in San Diego steams toward what seems to be a probable bad ending for Mayor Bob Filner and the city, the fact remains at least right this second that no charges have been brought against him. No lawsuit has been filed. No formal complaint of any kind has been made against him. Just multiple increasingly detailed, increasingly disgusting claims being made by lots and lots of women aired out day by day in the press and on the steps of city hall -- in the place that calls itself America`s finest city. Joining us now is Trent Seibert. He`s an investigative reporter at the "San Diego Union Tribune." Mr. Seibert, thank you very much for being with us. TRENT SEIBERT, SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE: Thank you, Rachel. I appreciate it. MADDOW: So, first of all, let me ask you if I have characterized the most important points of what`s happened so far. It all seems like it`s kind of a dream, a bad dream. SEIBERT: You`ve nailed it, Rachel. I mean, you`ve described it better than anyone here has. It`s been crazy, it`s been bizarre, it`s been creepy, I wish I had a better explanation. I have been covering politics for 20 plus years and it`s seeing something like this has been odd. MADDOW: Well, you know, the thing that strikes me in terms of the details here, looking at that lawyer who was making the detailed case about what he supposedly said in the elevator about underpants at work, right? We`re getting these details, but that`s a lawyer making that case. And Donna Frye is saying she`s heard from these specific women, and she needs those women to know they`re not alone -- how come none of this has turned into formal complaints, lawsuits or charges at this point? SEIBERT: Well, two things, I think it will soon. I think any moment we`re going to see a lawsuit filed or claims filed that will lead to a lawsuit. I think that`s happening any minute. It could happen as early as tomorrow. That`s A. B, these descriptions are so detailed. It`s just -- and the people telling the lawyers that are talking about these descriptions are so credible in San Diego that it`s just tough to not give this credibility. I mean, we`re talking about tongues down throats. We`re talking about the mayor claiming he`s put his hand down shirts and touching. It`s just odd. It`s very Spitzer like in a way. MADDOW: Well, does there -- is there anything in Bob Filner`s past that would suggest that he would have problems like this? Obviously, he has a reputation for being a hothead. I don`t see anywhere in his past, any accusations of sexual misbehavior. Has he defined himself on this saying that these charges are trumped up, that these are his enemies? SEIBERT: Well, I don`t think trumped up. I mean, these are former allies. But give him this credit, that there have been no formal charges filed, and, you know, he has spent time in Congress all these years and without complaints, without charges. Trust me, I have done the digging on this. No formal charges have ever been filed against this individual, against Mayor Filner. And, you know, he has said he`s hard to work with. He`s hard. He`s tough on individuals. He`s tough on his employees many so boy, it`s a difficult nut to crack. MADDOW: Until we`ve got -- until he`s got his chance to defend himself and we can see that evidence out there, the evidence that`s been made public, the accusations are so lurid. Trent, has there been any effort either on the city council to try to remove him or some sort of populous recall campaign? SEIBERT: There is a recall campaign that I think is in the works, and it will start being in the works starting Friday. Again, part of the problem with Mayor Filner in here in San Diego is the people that are complaining about him. It`s not just the regular GOP, it`s not just oh, I`m a Republican and I`m going to go after this Democratic mayor in this relatively conservative town here in California. These are progressives that are coming after him now. MADDOW: Right, yes. SEIBERT: These are union leaders coming after him. That`s the problem that he`s facing. MADDOW: Trent Seibert, investigator reporter at the "San Diego Union Tribune" -- I have a feeling we will be talking to you about this again, Trent, as this proceeds. Thank you very much for your time tonight. SEIBERT: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. So, it turns out the sky is sort of falling in Florida, and not in the politics way. In almost a literal way, that`s coming up. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is Gulf County, Florida, Gulf County is closed to Tallahassee, up in the Florida Panhandle. As its name suggests, the county is right on the water, on the Gulf of Mexico. Last Wednesday, a week ago today, the 911 dispatcher in Gulf County, Florida, got a strange emergency call. Somebody called 911 to say a flaming object had just plunged into the water right offshore. The caller told the dispatcher they saw a big flash of fire that landed in the gulf. Soon other people started calling 911 as well, reporting they had just seen a plane catch fire and crash into the Gulf of Mexico. And, of course, that is a terrifying thing to see as you are driving along or going about your business in Gulf County, Florida. About 15 minutes after people started calling 911 to report that they maybe just witnessed an airliner going down. The local paper, the "The Port St. Joe Star" posted this message on their Facebook page, quote, "Several readers have contacted us about a fireball seen dropping into the Gulf of Mexico along the horizon about 11:30 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday. Tyndall Air Force Base notified the Gulf County Sheriff`s Office that the object was a drone that caught fire. Now, on Facebook, only four people liked that explanation. But come on, that seems very helpful. That seems like very useful information, it was not a regular airplane, it was a drone. Specifically, it was a drone that had taken off from Tyndall Air Force Base, which is just up the road from Gulf County. More specifically, it was a QF-4 drone which really looks a lot like an old airplane because it is an old airplane. It`s a type of military jet that`s been in use since the early `60s that we`ve started turning into drones, sort of turning the plane into a drone so we can use it to practice how to shoot planes out of the sky with other aircraft or so we can practice how to avoid being shot. Tyndall Air Force Base issued a release sometime after that drone crash last week saying, quote, "The drone was carrying a small self- district charge and had to be destroyed during for safety considerations during its return to base following a routine operation." OK, so we used the self-district feature of this drone to blow it up over the water, and it was all routine, sorry to disrupt your commute. That was last Wednesday. Here`s what happened today. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the second time in a week, Tyndall Air Force Base drone has gone down. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An unmanned QF-4 drone crashed during takeoff at about 8:25 this morning. And this is video of the huge plume of black smoke created by the fire from that crash. The drone does contain a small self-destruct charge, which is used to blow up the plane if it leaves the preapproved flight plan. Because of that charge is still on board, Highway 98 is going to have to be closed throughout the morning commute tomorrow. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Sorry for the inconvenience. Yes, that`s twice in one week. The same kind of jet turned drone has crashed in the same area, except this time the QF-4 crashed into land and not into water. It crashed near a major highway, and we still do not know if that self-district device just in case it gets out of control, we still don`t know if it`s already gone off, or if we`re supposed to be waiting for some other big explosion to come soon. The Air Force put out another accidental drone crash statement saying that they do not know the status of that self-destruct device on board, but don`t worry, it`s battery will go out in 24 hours or so. I guess we wait and see. Check back in. Meanwhile, a major portion of Highway 98 will be closed for 24 hours, causing all sorts of traffic may hem in that part of Florida. So, terrifying and inconveniencing is what it seems to be like to live in a place where there are a bunch of drone tests going on around you. It makes you almost sympathize with the residents of a tiny Colorado town called Deer Trail. The good people of Deer Trail, Colorado, are mulling a local ordinance that would create drone hunting licenses and offer rewards for drone parts. Drone bounty hunting. The ordinance specifies you can use any shotgun 12 gauge or smaller, no background checks, totally anonymous, they would charge $25 per drone hunting license. And you get a $100 reward per drone if you can present, quote, "parts of an unmanned vehicle who`s marking and configurations are consistent with those use in a similar craft known to be operated and owned by the United States federal government." Drone bounty hunting probably not the right idea with the lawful destruction of government property that goes along with it. But in the meantime, if you live in Gulf County, Florida, can you be satisfied with the drone destruction going on around you as part of your morning commute. Meanwhile, stay indoors on Wednesday mornings. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Here`s an unexpected headline: Pennsylvania Republicans looking to push out their own governor. This is the "National Journal" today. Quote, "The biggest question in Pennsylvania politics right now isn`t whether Tom Corbett will win re-election, it`s whether he will even get the chance." Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett is not a particularly well-known figure nationally, probably most nationally known for his particular sensitivity on lady issues. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. TOM CORBETT (D), PENNSYLVANIA: You wouldn`t change it. As long as it`s not on obtrusive, we`re still waiting to see. REPORTER: Making them watch and -- does that go too far in your mind? CORBETT: I don`t know how you make anybody watch, OK, because you just have to close your eyes. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Just close your eyes while we`re forcing you to have this. That`s not the only thing Pennsylvanians dislike about Tom Corbett right now. By the numbers, they pretty much dislike everything about him apparently. In a world of deeply unpopular Tea Party governors, Rick Scott in Florida, Paul LePage in Maine, Sam Brownback in Kansas, Tom Corbett really is king of them all. In all the recent policy polling, no governor is in worse standing with his public than Tom Corbett is. Even recent Republican polling puts Tom Corbett in worse standing than any other governor. But it is one thing to be widely disliked, it is another thing to be so widely disliked that your own party wants to fire you to get you out of the way. Unless Governor Corbett shows improvement in coming months, Republicans expect the calls for him to step aside to reach a fever pitch. According to one GOP operative in the state, speculation about replacing the governor is rampant. Rampant and desperate, right? Pennsylvania Republicans are more generally desperate right now. It`s not just about their governor. They`re having such a rough time right now, they seem to be letting their guard down. This is tape that Think Progress posted today of the chairman of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania explaining why Republicans in that state want voter ID so badly. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Think about this, we cut Obama by 5 percent, which was big. A lot of people cited that, he beat McCain by 10 percent, he only beat Romney by 5 percent. I think that probably photo ID helped a bit in that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oh, you sure you want to admit that? It would not be all that surprising if that is how Republicans talk among themselves, but had is the chairman of the Republican Party in Pennsylvania. And that`s a reporter sitting in front of him in plain view in big machines with the glass on the front. Those are TV cameras. And the blissfully unaware party chairman is not alone that the voter ID laws are about beating Democrats in elections. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was last year before the presidential election. And Pennsylvania Republicans had to backpedal and bend over backwards and tie themselves in knots saying, they didn`t mean it the way it sounded. The voter ID is about election integrity and not at all about Republicans giving themselves an advantage in elections, except that the party chairman is just admitting it again, and he`s doing it at the same time that the voter ID law he`s lauding for helping Republicans do better in elections is literally on trial for that. While the state Supreme Court in Pennsylvania is right now hearing arguments about that voter ID law, and whether or not it really is just a way for Republicans to try to win elections. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court is hearing arguments this week while Pennsylvania Republicans are going on TV saying, yes, actually it is a way to just try to win elections. And grandmothers are in court testifying they never missed an election before Pennsylvania voter ID made them miss an election. And while statisticians are testifying that Democrats are three times as likely to not have the ID required by the new law, and minorities are twice as likely as white people to not have the required ID, Pennsylvania Republicans are just for whatever reason now, flat out admitting that the whole idea that they want the law for is to skew elections in their favor by blocking Democrats who can legally vote from legally voting. They`re admitting it. Do they know they`re admitting it? Do they think they`re only talking amongst themselves? From Tom Corbett on down, subtlety has never really been an asset for Pennsylvania Republicans. But right now, this is a whole new level. That does it for us tonight. Thank you for being with us tonight. We`re going to see you tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END