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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/04/14

Guests: Joe Manchin

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts in this room. And I`m going to shut up. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I don`t mind. I`ll talk and you`ll talk in the corner. See? We`re all one big happy family, watching Alex at 4:00 and talking in the same studio. Thank you very much. And thanks to you at home for being in the studio with us this hour as well. All right. This is a man named Philip Kwon. Philip Kwon, Phil Kwon, he was an assistant prosecutor in the U.S. attorney`s office, the federal prosecutor`s office in New Jersey starting in the year 2000. Chris Christie was named to be the U.S. attorney in New Jersey in 2001. He actually started in the office in early 2002. So when Chris Christie got there, when he got to the prosecutor`s office, Phil Kwon was already working there. Chris Christie had no law enforcement background at all when George W. Bush named him to that top prosecutor`s job in New Jersey, but he held the prosecutor`s job for seven years. He even managed in that job to do it in such a high-profile way that it was seen as ultimately paving the way for his successful run for governor in 2009. And then when the new governor, Chris Christie, was sworn in in 2010, interestingly, he basically just raided his own office that he was coming from. He raided the U.S. attorney`s office, the federal prosecutor`s office where he`d been working for seven years in order to get all the new staff for his new administration. He hired people from his prosecutor`s office to be the governor`s senior counsel and also the governor`s chief counsel and the governor`s deputy chief counsel and New Jersey`s new head of homeland security, and the head of the authorities unit overseeing things like the Port Authority, the new attorney general for the state of New Jersey -- he pulled all of these folks out of the prosecutor`s office when he left that office to staff up his new administration as governor. The guy who`s in charge of Sandy relief under Chris Christie, he not only brought him over from the prosecutor`s office when he first became governor, Chris Christie created a brand new job for him that never existed before -- the new job, executive assistance attorney general, a job that never existed before he made it for the guy who he used to work with in the prosecutor`s office. Also, the first assistant attorney general, he hired Phil Kwon. So, Chris Christie and Phil Kwon had a relationship that started back in 2002 when Chris Christie came on as the U.S. attorney for the state of New Jersey. Their relationship spanned all seven years of Chris Christie`s time as U.S. attorney. And then when he became governor, when he brought all the people over from the prosecutor`s office into his new administration, Phil Kwon was one of them. He hired Phil Kwon right away into his administration when he started in 2010. So by 2012, when then-Governor Christie nominated Phil Kwon to a seat on the New Jersey Supreme Court, by that time, the governor and Phil Kwon had worked together for a decade. And then Chris Christie was more than just disappointed when Phil Kwon`s nomination to the Supreme Court was rejected by Democrats in the New Jersey state senate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Good evening. First of all, Phil Kwon, first and foremost, is a man of integrity, had the utmost privilege to witness that integrity firsthand. Where in his role as an assistant United States attorney, the first assistant attorney general of New Jersey, as a husband, a father, and a son. To see what Phil went through today is not only disappointing for me, personally, but frankly a disappointment for the state. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Phil Kwon was not made a New Jersey state Supreme Court justice in the end. Still, though, Governor Christie found Phil Kwon a very soft landing after he was rejected by the senate. Governor Christie installed him in a job with a six-figure salary as a lawyer at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He named him deputy general counsel at the Port Authority. And in that capacity, in that capacity at the Port Authority -- well, here`s a picture actually. This is -- see spot shadow there? That`s Phil Kwon on the right side of your screen. That`s Phil Kwon, longtime Chris Christie ally, his nominee for the New Jersey Supreme Court, his appointee to the Port Authority after more than a decade of them working together. That is Phil Kwon attending the testimony before the New Jersey legislature in which another Chris Christie nominee to the Port Authority told the legislature a false cover story about why access lanes were shut on to the George Washington Bridge in a way that gridlocked the town of Fort Lee. The access lanes to that bridge were not shut down because of a traffic study. And you can kind of tell at the time that they were telling that cover story that something was wrong with the story. That there was no traffic study. And maybe you could only tell that because nobody at this hearing before the legislature where they`re talking about the study, nobody actually seemed to be able to produce this supposed study. If it`s a study, it doesn`t just happen in your head, right? You document it in some way. So, that was a key moment at this testimony when it started to seem like maybe this study they`re talking about doesn`t really exist. This was kind of amazing. What they`re -- this is footage from the testimony. What they`re fighting about here is whether or not the legislature can see this supposed study, the supposed results from this fake study. And Bill Baroni from the Port Authority is trying to explain to the legislature why they can`t see it. The video is a little shaky here, particularly at the beginning, but it is crystal clear what they are saying. Check this out. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- at the Port Authority -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: -- who assemble this data. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just look at the numbers. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, there`s a report that exists. Because the week was cut short and it was never complete. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. So they did a two-day compilation of data. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was three because, but Monday`s data was so skewed by a accident on the -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. We`d like you to make that data available to the committee. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, I will have my counsel talk to your counsel as we have done before and discuss documents. No question. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a reason why those documents couldn`t be provided? > UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, because there are a lot smarter people. I want to make sure my lawyers talk to your lawyers. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are people smarter than you? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lots. Like you, Mr. Chairman. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hardly. Hardly. So you`re not willing to say whether you could provide us data? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever the lawyers tell me -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your lawyer`s here. Can he come up and testify about that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, he`s not going to come up and testify. Our lawyers -- come on, Chairman, that`s cute. But -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it`s not. Maybe he could come up and give us an answer. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, our lawyers has they`ve done multiple times over multiple issues will talk. They`re not going to do it in a public hearing. You know as well as I do, a lawyer is not going to testify at a hearing. Come on, Chairman. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just can tell us -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, just stop. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Mr. Chairman, just stop. Come on, Mr. Chairman, that`s cute. He`s not going -- no. The data that the legislature is asking for there was never handed over. And the lawyer who Bill Baroni just, like this, my lawyer, my counsel is here, the counsel, the lawyer who was supposedly this legal gatekeeper advising as to whether or not this data can be handed over to the legislature, this data that does not exist, that counsel, that lawyer is Phil Kwon -- longtime Chris Christie ally, Governor Christie`s nominee for the New Jersey Supreme Court. Governor Christie`s appointee to the Port Authority after a more than decade working together not just in the governor`s administration but in the prosecutor`s office before that, too. "The Wall Street Journal" reporting this week at Phil Kwon spent parts of four to five days prepping Bill Baroni to give that false testimony about a traffic study and that is not why those bridge lanes were shut down. And that testimony from that hearing showing that the decisions about what could and couldn`t be shown to the legislature about that fake study, those decisions were attributed to Phil Kwon who was sitting there in the room. Who else participated in cooking up and presenting the cover story of what happened on that bridge? Who else participated in cooking it up and presenting it besides Bill Baroni who has resigned and David Wildstein who has resigned? Is it possible that Phil Kwon was involved? If he wasn`t involved in preparing this false story that was told to the legislature, this cover story for what happened on that bridge that is still unexplained, if that`s not what Phil Kwon was doing, what else was he doing with Bill Baroni in the reported four to five days of preparation ahead of that testimony? And if Phil Kwon was involved as deputy general counsel at the Port Authority, does that mean there was wider involvement at the Port Authority in coming up with the cover story to obscure what happened on that bridge? Why was he the specific lawyer involved? This very, very close ally of Governor Christie? As far as we know, Phil Kwon has not received subpoena to turn over documents or testify either about the shutdown of lanes on the bridge or effort to cover it up by concocting this big traffic study idea. Governor Christie, himself, last night confirmed that his office has been subpoenaed not only by the state legislature but by his replacement as U.S. attorney in New Jersey, by the federal prosecutor`s office. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RADIO HOST: Has your office, your office, now, the governor`s office, not the campaign, been subpoenaed by the United States attorney? CHRISTIE: Yes. RADIO HOST: And when are those subpoenas due? CHRISTIE: You know, I don`t know, but I know that we`re -- the request -- and by the way, you know, they did that and I understand why they did it. We have already communicated to them we would cooperate voluntarily. They decided to send a subpoena. That`s fine. We -- we are complying with that in the same way that we`ll comply with the legislative subpoenas. As we get documents, I don`t know when the due date is. I`ll have to talk to lawyers about that. I don`t know. But we`ll comply and cooperate with the U.S. attorney`s inquiry into this and comply with any of the documents they requested that are appropriate to turn over as quickly as we uncover them. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confirming last night that his office has been subpoenaed by both the legislature and by federal prosecutors and that his office is cooperating with the subpoenas mostly. They are handing documents over, he says, on a rolling basis as they find them. Meaning they did not meet the original deadline from the legislature subpoena to hand everything over by yesterday. The deadline was, in fact, just about two hours before Governor Christie gave that interview last night. But reporting today in "The Wall Street Journal" and "The Bergen Record" turns up the fact a lot of the 18 individuals in two offices that received legislative subpoenas have asked for extensions. They`ve asked for more time. So, for example, the governor`s chief of staff, and his nominee for attorney general and his former chief counsel and two of his spokesmen and the Port Authority chairman who was appointed by Governor Christie, they are all reportedly responding to the subpoenas. Apparently none of them is invoking his or her Fifth Amendment rights, but they all say they will get their documents in over time on a rolling basis. Even with yesterday`s deadline rolling past now. Matt Mowers, for example, who is now the executive director of the Republican Party in the state of New Hampshire, he has been subpoenaed in this matter. He`s the person who reportedly called the mayor of Fort Lee, Mark Sokolich, and asked him to endorse Chris Christie for re-election. Mr. Mowers is also reportedly complying with the subpoena but "The Wall Street Journal" reports he asked for an extra week to get his documentation together. That means that his documentation should be in by a week from today, next Monday, February 10th. So, we got all this new information today about who is complying with subpoenas and how exactly they are complying. How long it`s going to take them past the initial deadline. We know about who has asked for extensions. We know that these four people on your screen here, Bill Baroni, Christina Lado, Philippe Danielides, Paul Nunziato, responded and turned in their documents already. And, of course, we know these Christie staffers, his campaign manager Bill Stepien and his deputy chief of staff Bridget Kelly have both invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and are refusing to turn over anything. Bridget Kelly, of course, is the person who worked in the governor`s office who sent that e-mail that said "time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee." She`s the one who then professed basically her delight at the havoc that was being caused in Fort Lee when the traffic problems they arranged did come to pass. But here`s the absolutely unexpected thing that happened in this scandal today. We know what the list is of people who have received subpoenas from the legislature, right? The legislature made that list public. It`s 18 people and two organizations. One of the two organizations is Governor Christie`s office. The other one is his re- election campaign. So, we know exactly who has received subpoenas from the legislature. Those ones that started to be due yesterday. Then, there`s other subpoenas. We know that in terms of the federal prosecutor`s subpoenas. We know that those subpoenas have gone out but we don`t know who they`ve gone to. The federal prosecutor in this case is much more tight-lipped than the legislature. They`re not saying who they sent subpoenas to. So, we only know when people said they received them. Governor Christie last night admitted that his office has been subpoenaed. His re-election campaign says they got a subpoena. The Republican Party of the state of New Jersey says they also got one. But other than that, we just don`t know. We don`t know who else has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors. But guess what happened today? When "The Bergen Record" and "Newark Star Ledger" called Bridget Kelly -- called Bridget Kelly`s lawyer to ask about her invoking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to hand over documents to the legislature, Bridget Kelly`s lawyer also just happened to mention that she has not gotten a subpoena from federal prosecutors. Really? Bridget Kelly? Not subpoenaed? The person who`s on the record essentially ordering the bridge closures has not been asked by the federal prosecutor to hand over any documents or any testimony? Her lawyer says they haven`t asked her for anything. Presumably, they might still at some date in the future, but they haven`t done it yet. It`s interesting, right? We asked David Wildstein`s attorney tonight if he has been subpoenaed by federal prosecutors. We did not hear back from Mr. Wildstein`s attorney. But think about what this means for a second. Federal prosecutors are investigating the Christie administration in New Jersey. We know the governor`s office, the governor`s re-election campaign, Republican Party of the state have all been subpoenaed in whatever that investigation is, but not the person who ordered up the traffic jam. Not the person who ordered up some traffic problems in Fort Lee while she was working in the governor`s office. The only other subpoena we know about from federal prosecutors is of the city of Hoboken. The city of Hoboken where the mayor of that city has alleged the Christie administration put pressure on her to approve a specific private development project as a condition of that city getting post-Hurricane Sandy funding. The mayor says she also met with federal prosecutors and handed over documents to them. We also know that federal prosecutors and FBI agents have conducted interviews in Hoboken with witnesses who say they can corroborate that mayor`s story, but at least not yet. Federal prosecutors are not asking anything of the Chris Christie staffer who shut down the bridge. It`s fascinating, right? The mean, the governor is still fending off questions about the bridge. He actually said last night that he still thinks maybe there was a traffic study. He and 19 other people and entities are either responding to the investigation by the legislature and turning over documents now, or they`re taking the Fifth. But when it comes to the criminal probe, when it comes to the federal prosecutors looking into this, the investigation right now looks less like it`s pointing at the bridge and more like it`s pointing at the allocation of money after Superstorm Sandy. Hold that thought. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Developers say this construction site is going to be a college town apartment tower packed with amenities. Like a parking deck, retail stores, even a fitness center. The building developer, a company called Beret, won $4.8 million in Sandy relief funds to help finish the project. But some neighbors are puzzled the aid money landed here because Superstorm Sandy dealt New Brunswick only a glancing blow. Was there flooding everywhere, were houses falling down? NADIA DAROVA, NEIGHBOR OF DEVELOPMENT: It was pretty much just trees and no electricity. That`s about it. REPORTER: A Rutgers University study found New Brunswick ranked 188th on the list of communities with the most storm-related hardship. DORIS NARKUM, STORM VICTIM: They don`t deserve the money. Let`s put it that way. They weren`t affected to the point, like, some of the towns were. REPORTER: Doris Narkum has been flirting with homelessness ever since Sandy destroyed her family`s house on the Jersey Shore. She is upset storm relief funds are going to this apartment tower in a hardly damaged town when a funding shortage stopped her rental assistance this winter. What do you expect to happen to you in the next week or so? NARKUM: I`m going to be evicted. I`m going to be homeless once again. REPORTER: The director of New Jersey`s housing and mortgage finance agency defended the New Brunswick apartment towers saying 48 of the 238 future apartments are going to be affordable and advertised to Sandy victims. And although the tower, itself, is not in a hard-hit town, it is in one of the nine counties declared a disaster area. ANTHONY L. MARCHETTA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: He made an announcement to the development community that you have any projects in those nine counties that would generate affordable housing, bring them on. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was a report by Chris Glorioso (ph), reporter of the local NBC station here in New York about federal money for Sandy relief going to a new apartment tower in a New Jersey town called New Brunswick that was not hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. That story broke after the "Newark Star-Ledger" had written up another story about a surprising use of federal money for Sandy relief. The town of Belleville, New Jersey, got $6 million of Sandy money that they directed to a senior center and housing complex. Officials barely mentioned Sandy when they talked about the project, and Belleville`s mayor told the "Star Ledger" that he didn`t know of any people in town who were displaced from their homes by the storm. A few weeks before the big announcement in Belleville about the senior center, that town`s Democratic mayor had said he planned to endorse Chris Christie for re-election because, quote, "I think the governor is going to help the town of Belleville with certain projects that we need." A couple of weeks after Chris Christie announced the project was going through, the local county executive also a Democrat added his endorsement for Chris Christie`s re-election. So, there are these questions about that Sandy money that went to New Brunswick which wasn`t all that hard hit by Sandy. Right after questions are raised about Sandy money that went to Belleville which wasn`t all that hard hit by Sandy. All that, of course, came after Steve Kornacki broke the story on this network about allegations concerning Sandy relief money in Hoboken, a town that was really hard hit by Sandy. Mayor Dawn Zimmer told Steve on MSNBC that the Christie administration steered far less federal aid to Hoboken than the town should have received given the storm flooded 80 percent of the town. Mayor Zimmer alleged that top members of the Christie administration told her if she wanted to see more federal money flowing to Hoboken, she would need to support a development project with ties to the powerful chairman of the Port Authority who had been appointed to that job by Chris Christie. The mayor says she would not go along with that and because she wouldn`t go along with that demand, the Christie administration held back federal disaster relief that she says Hoboken needs and deserves and still should get. Christie administration categorically denies the allegations made by Mayor Zimmer, so does the law firm of the Port Authority chairman which lobbied for that development project. The development company involved in that potential development project also says that it does nothing wrong. But mayor Zimmer has stuck to her story all this time, and ever since she first told it on national TV, federal prosecutors and FBI agents have been nosing around that story and nosing around Hoboken, starting the very next day after Steve`s initial report. Mayor Zimmer made those allegations about Sandy aid on Steve`s show on a Saturday here on MSNBC. The following day, the Sunday thereafter, she says she met with lawyers from the U.S. attorney`s office in Newark. She says she gave them her diary and other documents offering evidence in support of her allegations. The next day, Monday, FBI agents reportedly started questioning members of Mayor Zimmer`s staff. People who said they could possibly corroborate her story. Then, this past Friday, the U.S. attorney issued a subpoena to the city of Hoboken, itself, having to do with Mayor Zimmer`s allegations about Sandy aid. And we learn the central figure at the heart of the bridge scandal, Chris Christie`s fired deputy chief of staff, the one who appears to have ordered the bridge shutdown, we also learned today that she has not received a federal subpoena. We know the New Jersey Republican Party got one. Governor Christie`s re-election campaign got one. In a radio interview last night, Governor Christie says his own office got a federal subpoena. But his former deputy of chief, Bridget Kelly, who wrote "time for some traffic problems if Fort Lee", she does not seem to have received a subpoena. Her attorney told "The Bergen County Record" that federal prosecutors have not subpoenaed her. Interesting. Federal prosecutors started out saying they`d opened an inquiry into the closing of those toll lanes on that bridge back in September. Since then, they have not subpoenaed the central figure in that scandal, at least not yet. They have, however, interviewed the mayor of Hoboken and subpoenaed the city for records about her allegations related to Sandy funding. Does that mean in terms of the federal criminal investigation here this is now less about the bridge and more about Sandy aid? Is the federal investigation less about if politics led to a traffic jam and more if politics have factored into the recovery from the worst storm to ever hit the East Coast? Joining us now is Steve Kornacki, host of "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI" here on MSNBC. Steve`s covered New Jersey politics for years, including time spent working for David Wildstein at a nonpartisan New Jersey political blog. Steve, it`s great to have you here. STEVE KORNACKI, HOST, UP: Great to be here. MADDOW: You`ve been out in front of the story for weeks now. What do you make of the U.S. attorney subpoenaing the city of Hoboken but not Bridget Kelly who appears to have ordered the bridge lane shutdown? KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, you`re right. It`s curious. And I`m not well-sourced inside this U.S. attorney`s office and not a lot of people are, by the way. MADDOW: Nobody seems to be. KORNACKI: That`s a important thing to keep in mind here is this U.S. attorney is far different than his predecessor, Chris Christie. With Chris Christie, when there was the hint of scandal in the McGreevey administration, this is 10 years ago, Chris Christie, you know, they were raiding state Democratic headquarters. They were serving subpoenas left and right. There were things leaking out daily, very aggressive, very public investigation that played out in the press. Paul Fishman is 180 degrees from Chris Christie. It`s a very opaque office from that standpoint. So, it`s hard to tell what`s going on. The one thing I would say is, if you use the Hoboken one as an example, and the timeline you have there is pretty helpful. She came on our show that Saturday. She was in the U.S. attorney`s office the next day. She handed over her diary. The actual subpoenas of records, though, as you said, was almost two full weeks later that they got around to subpoenaing those records. Now, what we know when it comes to the George Washington bridge part of this, the subpoena served in the Republican state committee, subpoena Chris Christie`s re-election campaign, the lawyer for both of those entities had said that those subpoenas relate to the George Washington Bridge lane closures. So, we know those two subpoenas, we`re not entirely sure on what Christie`s office one is. But there was a bit of a lag time in the Hoboken one to get around to do something which would seem on the surface to be obvious. OK. She`s made the allegation, she turned over her diary. Let`s get the records from the city. It actually took them close to two weeks to getting around to doing that. The question is -- I understand there are people in Hoboken who had been willing to come forward. They still haven`t gotten around to talking to there. So, they might -- there`s also part of that. So, I was telling people in Trenton today, they weren`t necessarily reading too much into this. They were saying their sense is still ultimately that this is -- the bridge closure is something U.S. attorney is going to be looking at and saying their expectation still is something like Bridget Kelly, you will see a subpoena there at some point in the near future. MADDOW: Steve, one of the things you and I have talked about before is, if we`ve got an investigation with subpoena power happening from the legislature, and we`ve got the U.S. attorney looking into if not the same, at least similar allegations from a criminal federal perspective, what`s the chance that the existence, the co-existence of those two investigations might be a way for potential witnesses, potential targets of those investigations, to sort of wheedle out of having to answer either or both of them? Now that we`ve seen David Wildstein invoke the Fifth Amendment in refusing to testify, even as he handed over documents, we have seen Bill Stepien, Chris Christie`s campaign manager invoke the Fifth and refuse to hand over documents. We`ve seen Bridget Kelly invoke the Fifth and refused to hand over documents. Do we have further sense of how the Fifth Amendment and these co- existence investigations are sort of interacting here? And that was the one of the surprises over the weekend was the announcement that Reid Schar, who`s the counsel for the legislative committee, had met with the U.S. attorney, Paul Fishman, basically walked away from the meeting saying we have the green light to go forward and continue this investigation. That was a surprise to a number of people in Trenton because they felt the U.S. attorney was going to basically say, hey, you know, we got this one, there`s going to be overlapping issues here. The overlapping issues are going to allow, for instance, Bridget Kelly to, you know, say, you know, I can`t be subpoenaed twice for the same information for the sake of clarity. So, the expectation was that that was going to happen. Certain people said when Chris Christie was U.S. attorney, if there was a situation like that, there`s a little doubt Chris Christie would have stepped in and said, hey, get out of the way. MADDOW: This is mine. Yes. KORNACKI: So, but again, I was talking to somebody in Trenton tonight who said, look, you have a situation where people are starting to claim the Fifth Amendment. You ran through who so far is refusing to cooperate. You have extensions for a number of people. You have a few documents that are in. One of the scenarios that I think a lot of people in Trenton are thinking about right now is they don`t get full cooperation even from the people who`ve turned their documents in. A number of people follow the example of Stepien, follow the example of Kelly and say I`m not going to -- the legislative committee kind of at that point steps out of it and the U.S. attorney steps in a little more aggressive. Again, it was a surprise to people when this word came out that the counsel to the committee Reid Schar had gotten the go ahead from the U.S. attorney, apparently to go ahead with this, that was not necessarily what people have been expecting. MADDOW: None of this -- neither of the investigations is proceeding the way anybody expected them to nor are they proceeding together in a way anybody expected. The story is more fascinating than it ought to be. Steve Kornacki, host of "UP WITH STEVE KORNACKI", weekend mornings here in MSNBC -- Steve, thanks, always. KORNACKI: You`re welcome. MADDOW: Appreciate it. All right. Much more to come. Stay with us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRISTIE: It has not been perfect and it will not be perfect. I can guarantee you that. What we also know is that we have to count on each other to help each other. And I can tell you that the single largest reason why I ran for re-election was to finish this job. And so, we`re going to continue to do what we need to do to get this job done and get it done the right way. (INAUDIBLE) CHRISTIE: Definitely not taking questions, but if you want to come see me afterwards, I`m more than happy to do that. (INAUDIBLE) CHRISTIE: Well, if I ask you to come see me, that would imply that I would actually be there. So -- I`m sure you would, and we`re going to have some time afterwards to talk to me or talk to members of my staff. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Something to keep on eye on out of Norfolk, Virginia, today. A federal judge there today said she would rule, quote, "soon" on the constitutionality of Virginia`s ban on same-sex marriage. If the ban is struck down, it would make Virginia the first state in the South to have marriage equality. That alone makes that case worth watching. But consider also that the lawyers who are arguing against the Virginia ban are David Boies and Ted Olson, the two superstar Supreme Court litigators who faced off in Bush versus Gore in the year 2000, and who got California`s ban on gay marriage struck down at the Supreme Court this past summer. Nobody really knows what the judge meant when she said she would rule soon, but if she overturns the Virginia ban, it probably won`t be like what happened in Utah where that state`s feckless attorney forgot to ask for a stay and so everybody was able to get married as soon as the ruling happened. If the judge strikes down the Virginia ban, there will be a stay on the ruling at least temporarily, pending an appeal. But that whole process could start to happen at any moment. So, keep an eye on Norfolk, Virginia. And while you`re at it, keep your other eye uncomfortably on Oklahoma, because the way Oklahoma is dealing with their particular legal challenge on this issue turns out to be inadvertently hilarious. And that story is coming up. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D), WEST VIRGINIA: I sued EPA, and I`ll take dead aim at the cap and trade bill -- because it`s bad for Virginia. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In 2010, then-West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin sued the EPA over mountaintop coal mining regulations. Yes, Joe Manchin was a Democrat but he was a coal state governor. Once he became U.S. senator, Joe Manchin is pretty much maintained the role of opponent to environmental regulations, particularly anything to do with the coal industry and coal-fired power plants. Just as he promised the people of West Virginia he would do when he was running for Senate. In 2011, he introduced a bill in the Senate that would prevent the EPA from revoking Clean Water Act permits. That same year he also co-sponsored an amendment that would suspend the EPA`s regulation of greenhouse gases. This past summer, Senator Manchin was the only Senate Democrat to vote against the confirmation of President Obama`s choice to be the new head of the EPA. Then came January 9th of this year, four weeks ago, when a chemical spill paralyzed Governor Manchin`s state. It was a chemical used in the processing of coal. The banks of the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia, at the public water intake for Charleston`s drinking water supply. And that chemical it turns out was stored poorly in tanks maintained poorly by an essentially unregulated chemical storage chemical industry. When that chemical spilled right into the Elk River, it was an unprecedented disaster in modern times. One in six people in the state of West Virginia had no drinking water for days. And, frankly, you can forgive people for thinking that the safety of their drinking water may still be uncertain, given upward revisions in the amount of chemical that was spilled and even late revelations from company responsible that showed that it was not just one chemical that spilled, but two, forgot to mention the other one. The company`s called freedom industries. They filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy just about a week after the spill. After weeks of questions about responsibility and damages resulting from the spill and Freedom Industry`s liability for it, there`s news today a grand jury investigation has opened up by the U.S. attorney in West Virginia complete with subpoenas. The West Virginia EPA confirmed today two of their employees are among those who already testified in the federal criminal investigation. So, there is this issue of how to punish the people who are responsible for this disastrous spill. But there`s also now the issue going forward of how to stop this from happening again, and that may fall in part to Senator Joe Manchin who he would not mind me saying is not exactly a zealous regulator of the coal industry or other energy industries around it. Today in the wake of the Elk River chemical spill, Senator Joe Manchin joined with Senator Barbara Boxer of California who is the top Democrat on the environment committee. He also joined with his home state Senator Jay Rockefeller, they are introducing legislation aimed at preventing similar spills from happening in the future. The bill is called the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act, would require state inspections of above-ground chemical storage facilities. It would mandate that the chemical industry develop state approved emergency response plans. The bill would also guarantee that drinking water systems have the tools they need to respond to emergencies of this sort when they happen in the future. See, this is one of the things that makes people like Senator Joe Manchin, a very interesting figure in Washington, right? He was the pro- gun, pro-second amendment guy, lifetime member of the NRA with an "A" rating from the NRA who was willing to push for gun background checks this past summer. That bill failed but not on account of Joe Manchin trying like heck to get it through. In the case of the Elk River disaster, Joe Manchin, who has been a consistent vote against environmental regulation, who has championed the rights of the coal industry and energy, Joe Manchin reacted to this very unacceptable event in his home state by taking an unusual step to push for more regulation that could try to stop this in the future. What does that mean for the prospects of new regulation in the future and how effective they might be at stopping the next disaster like this? Joining us now for the interview is Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia. Senator Manchin, thank you so much for being here tonight. I really appreciate your time. MANCHIN: Thanks for having me again, Rachel. MADDOW: Am I right you don`t mind me saying you`ve been a critic of environmental regulation and regulation of the coal industry in the past? MANCHIN: Let me say, I want to be treated the same as all other mining in the country. You can`t just select one area of mining such as coal mining and then treat hard rock mining like nothing goes -- there`s no regulations, whatsoever. You know, it has to be consistent. Just treat us the same. That`s all I`ve asked for. And sometimes there`s things they`ve asked us to hit, certain criterias that haven`t been attainable. They haven`t shown they can be commercially viable. Whenever it`s there you can do something and technology is there to allow you to do it, it should be done. If you can`t do it, then, get out of the business. Sometimes they`re putting things out there that makes no sense whatsoever and they know themselves that it`s unattainable. So, those are the things I object to. I just want to be treated the same as every other state in the Union. MADDOW: Because you have been aggressive on that issue both as governor and a Senate candidate and now as a senator since you`ve been in Washington, do you think that affords you some more political, I guess, credibility, leverage, leeway to try to advance regulations in response to this spill that people might otherwise be suspicious about in terms of new mandates on the energy industry? MANCHIN: Well, let me just say, Rachel, this. We had horrible tragedies where we`ve lost wonderful miners. You know, it`s -- and there`s no excuse. If you can save a life, if you can protect a life, you should do it. I don`t care what political that comes. The bottom line was when we had our mine disasters, I knew that we could make it safer and better. I wanted every miner to be able to go to work in the morning with peace of mind and their family knowing they could return safely. So, we changed that. I wasn`t worried about I industry -- oh, they`ll get mad, they`ll do this or that. I knew it could be done. And we did it. And you know what? This water, everyone deserves to have clean drinking water. You just assume it`s going to be safe. This is a wake-up call not just for West Virginia but the entire country. I would have assumed like most people assume that above-ground storage was having regular inspections. But if it was not a material which was deemed a hazmat material, which was high priority, it didn`t get the same scrutiny as other things are getting. Well, we know now that any storage of any kind of a chemical next to a water or next to especially to a water treatment plan should be inspected very vigorously. This is what this bill does. If I wasn`t serious about this -- I mean, I did it the day after. We knew we had the spill. I talked to Barbara Boxer. She`s been wonderful, reached out. Our staffs have worked together. And we`ve got a good piece of legislation. And it should pass and it`s needed to be passed because I don`t think people around this country realize there`s a lot of things that we assume have been looked into that haven`t. MADDOW: And assuming that something`s there that isn`t, I actually think is a really key dynamic here, because to the extent this has been a national issue, you saw comments from the Speaker of the House John Boehner specifically asked about this issue whether there ought to be a national response. His answer was that he`s quite sure there are enough regulations on the books. There must have been some problem with the enforcement here but he knows there`s enough regulation and in fact we need to have fewer regulations. MANCHIN: Let me just tell you this, Rachel. I spoke to Speaker Boehner today, and I said, may I come over and explain to you what we`re dealing with? And I spoke to him on the phone, a meeting that the speaker and I are going to meet. I said, Speaker Boehner, you probably assumed the same as I did. Same as many of our colleagues probably did. That these above-ground storages, no matter what was in them, was being inspected properly. And they`re not. It`s not in the code. It`s not required. I said, I wish you would look at this. And he was very receptive. I think we can get positive movement. We just -- you know, we just didn`t know. MADDOW: Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia. Thank you for your time tonight, sir. I really appreciate you being willing to talk to me. MANCHIN: Absolutely. Let me just tell you, our goal in West Virginia is to have the best quality water in the country. We`re going to come out of this bigger and better and it`s the greatest place to come visit. MADDOW: Thank you. Senator Joe Manchin, always doing that part of your job very, very well. Thank you, sir. MANCHIN: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more ahead, including another bit of interesting and provocative news from the Christie administration scandal in New Jersey today, somebody who has previously not been linked at all to the scandal essentially saying that they are preparing to be looped in. An unusual move today by somebody you have heard of, and that story`s coming up. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Weirdest story of the day. On Halloween night last year, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel came to New York City, gave a speech in a hotel right around the corner from this studio. In that speech, the defense secretary called out nine states for defying the direct orders of the Pentagon. Texas, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and West Virginia, he said they were all states in which the National Guard was refusing equal treatment to service members who are married. If you`re in the military, and you are in a same sex couple and you are married, the federal government recognizes your marriage just like any other marriage. But in those nine states, the states were treating National Guard couples differently depending on whether their marriage was an opposite-sex marriage or same-sex one. Senator Hagel demanded in that speech that all 50 states needed to get in line, all 50 states needed to comply with federal law and use one standard for how they treat military family, including benefits and housing allowances and ID cards and everything else that applies to married National Guardsmen and National Guardswomen. Secretary Hagel gave that speech Halloween night. He gave those nine states a deadline of December 1st to get in compliance with federal law. And eventually, by hook or by crook, all nine of those states did, at least according to the letter of the law. But some of the states decided to do it in style. In South Carolina, and in Florida and in Oklahoma, those states decided than rather treat everybody with the same dignity that married couples had always been treated with in the surface, those states would instead go with door number two and they would treat everybody with a whole new kind of indignity and inconvenience. In South Carolina, Florida and Oklahoma, rather than let same-sex married couples get their benefits at state facilities the way straight couples do, those states decided that state facilities would stop processing benefits for married couples altogether. So now if you want to deal with your benefits and ID cards and all that other logistical stuff if your spouse, now guards men and women in those states can`t just go to state facilities where they do everybody else. They have to find a federally-run facility to handle any benefits related for their marriage. And that`s true for all married couples in those states now, even if your particular marriage is not the kind that, say, the Oklahoma state government is so afraid of. Now having closed down the proverbial public pool, rather than let everyone swim in it, now the great state of Oklahoma specifically is considering applying that policy approach, not just to members of the military, but to everybody in the state. After a federal judge struck down Oklahoma`s same-sex marriage ban a few weeks ago, not only did Oklahoma`s Republican Governor Mary Fallin decide she was going to appeal the decision, Republicans in the Oklahoma state legislature started talking about taking rather more drastic measures. Hey, if it worked for the National Guard, why can`t it work for the whole state? Faced with the prospect of the marriages of same-sex Oklahoma couples being legally recognized in that state, Oklahoma Republican legislators are now considering just getting rid of marriage in Oklahoma altogether for everyone. Seriously. Close the pool then! If they can swim then nobody swims. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Critics are calling it a political stunt. Supporters say it`s what Oklahomans want. STATE REP. MIKE TURNER (R), OKLAHOMA: They`re willing to have that discussion about whether or not marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all. REPORTER: Representative Mike Turner says his fellow conservative lawmakers feel the same way, finding a way around the court`s decision to strike down Oklahoma`s ban on same sex marriage by not providing marriage at all. Would it be realistic for the state of Oklahoma to say we`re not going to do marriage, period? TURNER: That would definitely be a realistic opportunity. And that`s something that would be part of the discussion. REPORTER: A decision that will be made possible by a current shell bill, something that can be changed at almost anytime to react to upcoming rulings on the same-sex marriage ban. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Pool`s closed, kids. School is canceled forever. Oklahoma Republican legislators are preparing their nuclear option in case things don`t go their way in court on their marriage case. They are considering abolishing marriage in Oklahoma, rather than face the horror of letting everyone get married, because family values. Get ready to live in sin, Oklahoma. Everybody. Equally. Watch this space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is a gentleman named Mike DuHaime. You see him on the left here next to Governor Christie. He was Governor Christie`s spokesman and top campaign strategist during his re-election campaign. He`s long been one of Governor Chris Christie`s closest advisers. He also ran Rudy Giuliani`s campaign for president in 2008. Mike DuHaime has not been implicated in the George Washington Bridge scandal, as far as anyone knows. He`s not mentioned substantively in any of the e-mails or documents thus far in the scandal. And that`s why it was a surprise announcement from his consulting firm today when they announce they have retained counsel in regards to the New Jersey prison scandal in event that Mike DuHaime is ever asked to produce documents or answer questions about it. Specifically, they`ve retained Marc Mukasey, one of the top white collar criminal defense attorneys in the country whose dad was attorney general under George W. Bush. Even as Mr. DuHaime says he was, quote, "wholly uninvolved" in the situation, he was Chris Christie`s top political adviser and as such, he has now decided to bring in the big legal guns anyway, even before anybody starts asking him anything, because apparently that`s what it`s like now to be part of the inner circle of New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie. Amazing. Now it is time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL". Thanks for being with us tonight. Have a great night. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END