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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/20/14

Guests: Brian Murphy

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home for joining us thus hour. There`s a lot going on in the news. We`ve got coming up this hour, a rather stunning report from Richard Engel in Ukraine. We`ve got that in just a few minutes. And it is totally worth sticking around if for nothing else that you want to see in this hour on the show. We`ve also got a story tonight that you will not see anywhere else. It`s out of Pennsylvania. A woman being criminally prosecuted for something you won`t believe she`s being prosecuted for. There`s also some new news tonight on the bridge scandal in Chris Christie`s New Jersey. One of the main figures in that scandal has one of his own actions, which at least appears to have been an illegal action, he has one of his own actions retroactively undone. It`s like annulled in history, which, frankly, if you could pick your own superpower, retroactively undoing illegal things would be a pretty good superpower to have. So, it`s a big show tonight. That`s all coming up this hour. But we`re going to start tonight right here. We generally try to avoid even oblique references to Nazis on this show. But in this case, it`s unavoidable because the swastika is giant and it`s right there on the cover. You see the subheading here of the book, "How the U.S. Government Hid the Nazi Discovery of Abiotic Oil from the American People." Remember the guy who wrote the "where`s the birth certificate" book and then President Obama released his long form birth certificate and they had to change the title of the book to "where`s the real birth circuit?" Remember that guy? His name is Jerome Corsi from "World Net Daily." Mr. Corsi has a few pet series. It`s not just President Obama`s birth certificate is fake and, therefore, President Obama is not really the president. There`s his theory that President Obama is both secretly gay and secretly gay married. Sorry, Michelle. "World Net Daily" guy Jerome Corsi also had the conspiracy theory that John Kerry did not really win his war medals in Vietnam. He also has a conspiracy theory, I`m not sure I understand, called "The Shroud Codex". But the book has a nice cover. He also thinks that Hitler is not dead. Hitler actually escaped Nazi Germany and is not plotting the Fourth Reich. That is not a novel. That`s his history. But my vote for Jerome Corsi`s weirdest theory of all is his Nazi oil conspiracy. See, Jerome Corsi believes -- no, he knows, no, he has exposed the truth -- he knows the one nice thing that Hitler did, one good thing about the Nazis is they discovered the real truth about oil, the truth that could break the black cold stranglehold. The great oil conspiracy that the "World Net Daily" guy has discovered is the fraudulent science that has been sold to the American people in order to enslave them. And this fraudulent science that has made America so vulnerable is the belief that oil is a fossil fuel. That it is a finite resource. He says that`s all a lie because oil, frankly, is a fresh new thing. It is a, according to him, it is a natural product made on a continual basis, deep within the earth. Oil isn`t a finite thing. It`s an abundant available resource. It`s free because Nazis! Yes, I`m not -- he`s making this up. I`m not making this up. This is a real thing that he believes. I`m not putting words into this mouth. He put those words there, himself. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEROME CORSI, WORLD NET DAILY: The book which is just out, "The Great Oil conspiracy," you can see it there -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. CORSI: -- is a book that basically argues that oil is not a fossil fuel. It`s not a biological product at all. That oil is an abiotic, a natural product of the earth created on an ongoing basis in the mantle of the earth. No ancient dinosaurs or decaying forests or plankton or ameba or any other biological material. That oil is actually plentiful and should be cheap, and natural gas, and we ought to be able to use hydrocarbon fuel abundantly without damaging the environment. I know this is a message that the left and mainstream media and the establishment doesn`t want communicated. Went back to the Nazi science and showed even at the end of World War II, our intelligence agents knew that the Nazis had already concluded this and the only country to take advantage of this knowledge at the end of World War II is Soviet Union. We buried the information. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Wow. So, there`s a proportion of the American right that believes this. Believes that the real reason America is really screwed in the world is because of some very complicated conspiracy that the United States has been denying the Nazi-discovered truth about fresh, free oil forever, we can use all we want. But the Russians, see, they`re getting ahead of us because the Russians know that truth and accept it. They didn`t have it hidden from them by their evil government. That`s why we`re doomed -- so says Jerome Corsi, author of several important treatises on President Obama being secretly gay married. Also, so says this guy. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LAURA LESLIE, WRAL: I`m thinking about what you`re saying about natural gas and that`s true. You know, obviously, it`s very cheap right now. You know, on the flip side, it`s a finite resource and fossil resource. I mean, is there -- JOHN SKVARLA, DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENT & NATURAL RESOURCES: There are some people who disagree with you. The Russians, for instance, have always drilled oil as if it`s a renewable resource. So far, they haven`t been proven wrong. There`s a lot of different scientific opinion on that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That man articulating the crazy "World Net Daily" conspiracy theory about the Russians knowing the Nazi secret that America denies about how oil isn`t finite, we`re making it fresh every day. That man is who North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory put in charge of the environment for the great state of North Carolina. He did that interview with North Carolina`s WRAL the day before he took office. Now, we asked John Skvarla`s office today at the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources what exactly he meant in that WRAL interview about these people who would disagree that oil is a fossil fuel, and whether he agrees with what he described as the Russian theory on this matter. We haven`t heard back from John Skvarla`s office yet, so we don`t know if he thinks like the World Net Daily guy does that the Russians learned this oil secret from the Nazis or if he thinks that the Russians learned this magic oil theory all by themselves. We don`t know why he believes it, but he apparently thinks it`s at least credible. He apparently thinks there`s legitimate scientific disagreement about what oil is really. There isn`t legitimate scientific disagreement about what oil is. There is not scientific disagreement about this matter that is serious. Yes, there is a Jerome Corsi book about it with a swastika on the cover and you can buy it at the "World Net Daily" superstore. There`s also this adorable astronomer who wrote very lengthy blog posts about this matter, until he died a decade ago. But in terms of an actual science -- did the Nazis secretly prove the earth cooks up a fresh batch of oil every day, it`s there for the taking, use all you want, we`ll make more? Hey, we`ll make more. Did that really happen in the real world? No, that did not happen. But when Republican Governor Pat McCrory in North Carolina needed somebody to be in charge of the most scientifically intensive of all state agencies, protecting the natural resources of North Carolina, he found somebody who apparently believes the "World Net Daily" conspiracy theory. A conspiracy theory like this obviously has some appeal, right? There`s a reason that some people would want to believe this. When John Skvarla first made those comments in that TV interview the day before he took office in North Carolina, the alt weekly, which is called "Indy Week" in the research triangle area in North Carolina, they reacted with some alarm to learning this was the guy who was going to be in charge of environmental issues for the state. They listen to his interview and then they took the claims to a retired geology professor from UNC, to ask if this theory about new oil being made every day has any scientific credence whatsoever. The professor told "Indy Week", no, the theory is, quote, in his words, "another idea that conservatives have latched on to as a way to denying that there`s any limitation that the earth places on the way we live." They also noted part of the reason this theory has some appeal is if you think that the earth is not very old. I mean, I`m not Bill Nye the Science Guy, but if you are a creationist, if you believe there is nothing actually old on earth, that God created all of us including the dinosaurs just a couple thousand years ago, then really if you think the earth is only a couple thousand years old, then there`s no room in that world view for understanding where oil came from. To understanding how oil derives from things that are millions of years old. It can`t be from stuff that`s millions of years old if we`ve only been here a couple thousands years and the whole world, too. So, if you need a theory that tells you we`re making new oil all the time, "World Net Daily" has one for you. Also President Obama`s secretly gay. Yes. In that same interview, as he was taking office, Pat McCrory`s top environmental official, Mr. Skvarla also said, of course, that he does not necessarily believe in climate change. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) LESLIE: First off, do you think climate change is a fact? SKVARLA: I think climate change is a science, and I think science is constantly in need of scrutiny. I have studied this every day for almost 10 years and I know there`s great divergence of opinion on the science of climate and there`s a whole lot of experts who are -- have different theories and opinions. I`m saying, look, I`m not ready -- I`m not ready to say which is right or wrong. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Turns out that view is shared by the governor of North Carolina who put Mr. Skvarla in charge of environmental issues for the state. This was Pat McCrory in North Carolina when he was running for governor in 2008. He was asked by an interviewer about global warming. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: It`s in god`s hands. Frankly, the world has been warming for a long time and back in the `70s, if you look at the covers of "Newsweek" and "Time," we were getting cold. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: It`s in God`s hands. You know, it`s one thing to have an abstract debate about not just climate change but whether or not science is a thing, whether or not science is real. But any abstract concerns about having people who deny science serving in public office became very concrete, very real concerns in North Carolina this past Super Bowl Sunday, when Duke Energy dumped tens of thousands of tons of toxic coal ash sludge into a 70-mile slick on the Dan River. There are 31 other pits just like this one that spilled -- just like this one that spilled all over the state of North Carolina. There`s 14 sites across North Carolina with what used to be 32 of these big ponds, these big pits full of coal ash. Now, it`s down to 31 of them, of course, because this one no longer is a big pit full of coal ash because the coal ash in the pit has run away downstream. When these guys -- when the McCrory administration took over, this was not just a disaster that was waiting to happen in North Carolina. This was a disaster that was already in progress when they took office. All of the Duke Energy coal ash pits, all across the state of North Carolina, all of them were already known to be leaking toxins. This was not an allegation that was refuted by the state. The state knew that was true. The state knew that was true when they put the World Net Daily Russian oil conspiracy guy in charge of that issue for the state. And in a way, that`s kind of hilarious, but it has also resulted since the spill in moments like this one that I`m going to show you now. This is the "oil might not be a fossil fuel" guy talking about what the state of North Carolina should do about all of these coal ash pits that they know are leaking toxins all over the state. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SKVARLA: Their only acceptable remedy was dig them up, move them to lined landfills and cover them. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oh, did that just get stuck? He goes on to say, their only acceptable remedy, environmentalists, "Their only acceptable remedy was dig them up, move them to lined landfills, and cover them. We`re talking 14 facilities and 32 coal ash ponds. I can assure you, it`s not that simple. There`s science that has to go into making these determinations. There are environmental scientists who say that`s the worst thing that can happen to the environment." "The answer is," he says, "nobody knows at this point in time." Nobody knows. Is oil a fossil fuel? Nobody knows. Is there climate change? Nobody knows. Should coal ash pits that are leaking toxins be cleaned up and moved somewhere safer? Nobody knows. Actually, on all of those fronts, everybody knows. This is not a he said/she said thing. There is scientific consensus on all of these matters. Luckily for North Carolina, the smart local press in North Carolina knows that, too. Look at this. WRAL asked the agency, Mr. Skvarla`s agency for a citation or source for the alleged concerns about environmental risks of cleaning up and moving these coal ash ponds. The agency was unable to provide any citation. A renowned national expert on coal ash ponds at Duke University says that`s because there isn`t one. Dr. Avner Vengosh of Duke University has published multiple studies on coal ash skills and contamination. Told about John Skvarla`s comments, the scientist tells WRAL, "There`s no published study that casts any doubt on whether moving coal ash out of leaky landfills is the best move for the environment." The exact quote from the scientist is this, "What are they talking about? Of course not. If there`s evidence of groundwater contamination and surface water contamination at the coal ash pond, then leaving it as is obviously isn`t an option if the environment is something you care about. You don`t need to be Joe chemist to figure that out", end quote. But what if you`re Jerome Corsi trying to figure that out? Or Governor Pat McCrory who apparently believes the same anti-science denialist nonsense about this disaster he`s supposed to be dealing with in his state right now? (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) MCCRORY: The best-case scenario is to move the ash ponds, but I also have to understand that in some cases, that option may not be environmental sound or may cause a worsening of the situation. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: Nope. Nope. That`s made up. Not true. You`ve got these big pits, these big ponds of stuff that are leaking toxins. Stopping the pollution on site, cleaning it up and moving the stuff somewhere safer is never going to make it worse, say actually scientists who study these things. What you`re supposed to do here is stop the pollution, clean it up and move it somewhere safer. There aren`t environmental scientists out there somewhere who think, actually just leave the stuff, that will be better. All right. But those guys probably believe in fossil fuels, too. They probably believe that President Obama is only married to Michelle Obama and not some other secret Muslim guy who he met in college who Jerome Corsi knows about. There are times when the conservative movement`s modern rejection of science is kind of hilarious. Like when Republicans got control of the House and put guys on the House science committee who say things like this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. PAUL BROUN (R), GEORGIA: I`ve come to understand that all that stuff I was taught about Evolution, embryology, Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Because the House is under Republican control, honestly, don`t tell anybody, but Congress doesn`t do anything. So, they can`t do much harm, right? The Science Committee in the House might be full of guys like that, but what are they really doing anyway? So, it is mostly just funny that that is the lies from the pit of hell kind of guy they want dealing with matters of science for Congress. Honestly, just look up the membership of the House Republican side of the Science Committee. It`s astonishing. The "lies from the pit of hell" guy is in good company. Look up house science committee and dinosaur flatulence and see what you find. It`s the kind of who are horror movie you laugh at, though, right? Not one that you actually scream at, when it happens in Congress, because Congress isn`t doing anything. In the states, though, they are doing stuff. In the states, people who hold statewide public office do actually run stuff that affects millions of people and when things go horribly wrong, the people who have statewide office and are appointed to statewide positions, they`re in charge of fixing it and if they get it wrong, it goes wrong for everybody. North Carolina right now is living through an unscientific non- controlled experiment about what happens when you put people in charge who believe stuff like this. Unless you have any hope that maybe this isn`t something government will fix, maybe industry will be better because, oh, at least industry doesn`t have the luxury of cockamamie ideologically- motivated science denialism that makes you believe that the Earth is only five minutes old because that`s more comforting to explain to people. Right, lest you think industry is going to fix this because they don`t have the same ideologically imposed constraints of the kinds of guys who get into this for political reasons. Lest you think the industry might be the way, if you want to know how Duke Energy shut down the spill at the Dan River. The third largest spill in American history, it started on Super Bowl Sunday. It flooded that river with all that toxic sludge all day Super Bowl Sunday, all day Monday, all day Tuesday. They couldn`t figure out how to stop the flow of these thousands of tons of toxic sludge into the river. They couldn`t stop it. It was not that they couldn`t clean up what they had already dumped into the river. They`d barely even started that now. They couldn`t stop the spill from continuing for days. They couldn`t figure out how to stop it. You want to know how they actually finally stopped it? The spill was of a pipe that flowed under a big pit of coal ash. So, here`s the pipe. All the coal ash is on top of it, right? They couldn`t get into the coal ash to go fix the pipe. Hey, you know, it`s really toxic stuff. We don`t want to be touching that. So, they built themselves a platform over the coal ash pit so they could sort of stage themselves on that platform and work from that platform to get at the pipe. You want to know how they finally stopped the pipe from leaking, a week into the spill? The platform that they built collapsed. And, hey, look, that`s what did it. The spill finally subsided when some 27 million gallons of water drained from the lagoon and a platform constructed for emergency operations collapsed into the sludge pit and buried the broken pipe in tons of rubble. All that material went into the pipe. That platform collapsed into the pipe and plugged it. Ta-da! That was their fix. Total collapse. That was how they stopped the spill. That`s how they stopped the third largest coal ash spill in the country days into it. And the guy quoted in that article there from the "Charlotte News and Observer" who`s explaining to lawmakers that`s how they finally got the pipe shut down, he`s one of the staff members of the Pat McCrory administration who`s had their personnel records subpoenaed along with the last batch of 18 subpoenas out to McCrory staffers asking them to report to federal prosecutors whether they ever exchanged money or things of value with Duke Energy since they`ve been employees of the McCrory administration supposedly overseeing that company while that company unleashed the third largest coal ash spill in history on the people and land of North Carolina. This North Carolina story and this federal criminal investigation into what`s happening in North Carolina is a terrible and amazing story from about a million different angles. Why the beltway refuses to care about it, I do not know, but it cannot last long. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Until two years ago these were the clinics providing abortion services in the state of the Pennsylvania then the Republican-controlled legislature and the Republican governor there passed laws aimed at shutting down clinics across the state. And since then, these clinics have been taken off the map. Roughly a third of the clinics in the state have shut down. And yes, if you are still near a densely populated urban area in Pennsylvania and you`re a woman who wants to get an abortion in that state, you may still be within driving distance of a clinic that can provide that service. If you`re not, Pennsylvania is a big state. There are a lot of parts of the state where the service may technically still be legal but the state government made sure it`s inaccessible, a third of the clinics in the states closing in the last two years. So, this is not a unique to Pennsylvania phenomenon. This is happening all over the country. Anywhere, frankly, that Republican legislatures and governors made shutting down clinics a priority which, in fact, is all over the country. In Pennsylvania, specifically, the shutdown of a third of the state`s clinics since Tom Corbett has been governor has just had one specific and potentially really important legal consequence. Not sure you`ll see the story anywhere else today, but I think it may end up being a landmark moment. Before the Supreme Court ruled in Roe V. Wade that states couldn`t ban abortion, that a woman`s right to have an abortion is a federally protected thing, before Roe, in states where abortion was illegal, it`s not like women did not get abortions. They just got them illegally. Women made due. They found a way because all sorts of women and all sorts of circumstances for all sorts of different reasons sometimes do not want to go through with a pregnancy. And in those cases, women are not easily deterred and women have always found ways to end pregnancies or at least try to even when that medical service of abortion has no been legally available to them. If you don`t believe me, find an American woman who`s 65 years old or older and ask her. She would have been 25 years old if she was 65 now when roe passed, asked if she knows anybody who ended a pregnancy before then, asked how it happened. But as the Republican Party has been more successful over the last few years than at any time since Roe at shutting down clinics across the country, people who support abortion rights and medical professionals have been getting increasingly worried that we might be going back to an era where American women self-induce abortions or otherwise find ways to do it illegally because they can`t access the medical procedure legally and that is the issue in a new case out of Pennsylvania. Two years ago the mother of a pregnant 16-year-old girl living in the smallest county in the state of Pennsylvania, without an abortion provider in the area, she helped her daughter terminate the daughter`s pregnancy. The mom worked as a nurse`s aide. She found an overseas drugstore on the Internet. She ordered a packet of medicine to induce the abortion. There were some complications that sent the young woman to the hospital. They are trying to do it on their own. Well, this month, her mother was charged with a felony. It`s a, quote, "felony count of medical consultation and judgment, dispensing medicine without a license, endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault." The mother says she purchased the drugs after not being able to find a clinic in her area that would perform a legal abortion. The mom is 38 years old. She`s now facing up to 15 years in prison. Joining us now to help understand the impact of this case is a former producer of this show, longtime reporter on issues of reproductive rights, Rebekah Dryden. It`s great to see you. Thanks for being here. REBEKAH DRYDEN, ALL IN PRODUCER: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, these pills, the woman who`s been charged in this case that she bought online, they`re legal. They`re FDA approved. They`re generally quite safe. But she`s facing charges for getting the drugs without a doctor`s approval. What exactly is the crime here? DRYDEN: Right, exactly. Well, she`s -- as you said, she`s charged with a few different crimes and some of them are misdemeanors and involve her daughter. Part of that is because she did have to go to the emergency room and have to be treated. Otherwise, no one would probably know about this and there would be no charges. But the felony, the big one there, is a Pennsylvania statute that basically says only doctors can perform abortions. MADDOW: And so as we look at the pre-Roe era to understand what women do to get abortions when they can`t access them illegally, we talk about those as the back alley days. We talk about surgical abortions, both self- induced, done by nonmedical professionals and done in bad circumstances. Since then, the technological change -- there are medications that people can use to induce abortions. But the issue is whether or not it`s going to bring people into contact with medical system because there can be complications. DRYDEN: Exactly. And, you know, the interesting thing here is that when we got medication abortions, which was in 2000, the idea among abortion providers was that this would be a great way for access because it`s so much easier to do, you could theoretically even use telemedicine. You could just, you know, if you`re in a rural place, you can be on the phone, or the video conference with the doctor who`s explaining how to take it and administering it. And you wouldn`t actually have to go to the clinic, which is a huge barrier to lots of women. And actually, as you`ve seen, and that mostly has become true, that many women have been taking advantage of access to abortion. It`s gone from in 2001, it was about 6 percent of abortions. In 2011, which is the latest we have data for, it was almost a quarter of all abortion, for medication abortions. But as you`ve seen women using them more, you`ve also seen the anti- abortion movement sort of notice and attack specifically medication abortions. So, right now, you`re seeing in the states, a big move to restrict specifically medication abortions and make it harder to access them as well. MADDOW: It is not just an act of furtherance, though, but sort of a leap to go from trying to make it hard to access abortion pills and actually prosecuting a woman and threatening to put her in jail for 15 years for accessing those pills for her daughter. Is there any way to know if this is an outlier or is it expected that this is going to be something that we see more of? DRYDEN: Well, this has happened before. This isn`t the first time. There was -- but it doesn`t tend to go well. In fact, even in the antiabortion movement, you will be hard pressed to find anyone saying yes, let`s go after women and prosecute them for performing their own illegal abortions for accessing these drugs. And that was the case in -- there was a 2010 case in Idaho in which a woman got illegal -- you know, obtained abortion drugs from the Internet. You know, did her own abortion and was charged under a similar kind of law that said you have a doctor to perform an abortion. And those charges were eventually dismissed and in fact she countersued the state. So, I would not expect that this will go well for anyone who continues to pursue these sorts of action, but you may well continue to see, because certainly you`re going to continue to see more and more women access these drugs without medical care, who can`t access them otherwise. MADDOW: What ends up being remarkable here is the Pennsylvania decision to charge. And they spent two years trying to come up with a charge to levy against this woman. It`s an amazing story. Rebekah Dryden, senior producer for "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES". We miss you every day. Thanks for being here. DRYDEN: Thank you. MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: You know who has had a harrowing day today? NBC`s Richard Engel. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD ENGEL, NBC: Protesters have turned this hotel lobby into a field hospital. The injured are still streaming in. We`ve seen volunteers using bed sheets to try and treat the wounds. And some of the injuries, at least appear to have come from live ammunition. The hotel lobby quickly turned into mayhem. No supplies have been stored here. The injured give care on the floor. We watched at least three protesters die. By afternoon, protesters were spreading across downtown Kiev. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Richard Engel in Kiev today for NBC. We`ve got more in just a moment. Please stay with us. (COMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ENGEL: We watched this woman confront hundreds of riot police alone, holding her ground, even while pelted with stones. The police rattled their heels for more. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has been in Sochi as part of NBC`s Olympics coverage for the past couple weeks but when intense street fighting broke out in Ukraine, Richard left the Olympics, he left Sochi and he bee-lined for Kiev. Richard is there now in the middle of the fighting. And I want you to see this new reporting he just filed tonight. This is incredible stuff. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ENGEL: Protesters charge police lines in independence scare this morning. Suddenly, the police were in retreat. Protesters in small groups advanced. But they were picked off. This man shot in the leg. Police fired on demonstrators, some with high-powered rifles. But then we saw the dedication that is keeping this movement alive. The protesters continued their charge, peering around corners, dodging bullets, diving for cover, recovering their wounded under fire. They paid a price for it. We watched them come back, limping, on stretchers. Some unconscious. Others dead. The wounded were rushed to a nearby hotel. In the lobby, a nurse tends to one man. Another couldn`t be saved. It`s a makeshift field hospital. Short staffed with few supplies. A body left by the front desk. Back outside, as the shooting subsided, the demonstrators moved to take new ground while they could. And build new barricades. And stockpile more weapons, Molotov cocktails and rocks. The advance had been costly, but it worked. The protesters expanded their terrain. This is the protesters` new frontline. The riot police have now withdrawn from this area in central Kiev, but the demonstrators clearly worry that they could come back. And that`s why they`re reinforcing their defenses. Alex, a 23-year-old financial consultant, helps guard the front line. How do you think this is going to end? Where does this go here? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe a little more victims, I guess. But finally the democracy will win. ENGEL: The war drums here are beating. There is little mood anymore for truces. (END VIDEOTAPE) MADDOW: NBC`s Richard Engel filed that report for us tonight from Kiev. There`s one other development today you should see. With the fighting in the streets, with police using live ammunition and now protesters in some cases shooting back at them with live ammunition, with worries at the Ukrainian president may be preparing to deploy the military against the protesters, it sometimes hard to see how the political process fits into this. Violence, after all, represents the failure of politics. But today, the parliament in Ukraine did convene just over half of the members of parliament turned up. The government had asked them to vote for what they called a nationwide anti-terrorism roundup, to round up protesters around the country, to crack down on the opposition in response to the protests. The government wanted that vote. Parliament today did take a vote on that bill. The vote was no. The parliament voted 236-0 to say no to rounding up the opposition. They voted instead that the Ukrainian government should reset all security forces to normal operations and should release the prisoners from the opposition that they had detained. Everybody voted no. There were zero yes votes, there were two abstentions. And when that overwhelming no vote came in, the members of the parliament cheered and hugged each other and then they sang their national anthem. This is a moment that might be beyond the political process for now. And nobody knows what the president of Ukraine will do with that law that was passed in parliament today in direct defiance of what he wants. But in the midst of war, and in the streets today, this wasn`t widely reported, but politics did happen, too. A political end to this is what`s needed because where politics ends in circumstances like this, where politics ends, it is only war that can begin. Here`s hoping for the political process as a way out. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Last week, the committee investigating the New Jersey bridge scandal issued 18 new subpoenas and we were first to report on this show that a significant portion of those 18 new subpoenas had one thing in common. They asked for information about not just the lanes on that bridge being shut down but specifically the cover-up, even more specifically, the planning of Bill Baroni`s testimony to the legislature. Where Mr. Baroni tried to hock that false cover story about what happened on the bridge saying it was about a traffic study. Well, most of the subpoenas issued last week asked about the cover-up. And a number of them asked specifically about a meeting that the committee seems to believe Bill Baroni attended along with Philip Kwon, a Christie appointed lawyer who helped prepped that testimony, and Regina Egea, who later promoted to be Governor Christie`s chief of staff and also the person named Nicole Crifo. Nicole Crifo has also been served with one of those subpoenas. She worked for Governor Christie as his legal adviser to the authorities unit. In other words, his liaison to the Port Authority. Or at least she worked for Governor Christie, past tense, because Nicole Crifo who investigators appear to believe they have been involved in a meeting about Bill Baroni`s false testimony, the same Nicole Crifo that we think was the Nicole referenced by David Wildstein while giving feedback to Bill Baroni on the traffic study, where David Wildstein assured him saying I texted Bridget and Nicole and they were very happy. That same, we think, Nicole Crifo no longer works for Chris Christie because she just got a brand new job. She just got a brand new job with, guess where? The Port Authority. She`s just been moved over to the Port Authority. They`ve just given her a new job there that comes with a nearly $75,000 a year raise. Again, she`s been subpoenaed for information apparently pertaining to Bill Baroni`s traffic study cover-up which may have been cooked up with David Wildstein at the Port Authority. That investigation is ongoing. And meanwhile, she`s hopping from the Christie administration to a new job at the Port Authority with a $75,000 raise. I would like to make a hyperbolic joke here about how this works, but New Jersey frankly just manufacturers its own hyperbole in real life everyday and there`s no topping it. And joining us now is Brian Murphy. He`s a former New Jersey political reporter who at one point worked at a blog run by one of the central figures in the scandal, David Wildstein. He`s been helping our own Steve Kornacki stayed way out in front on the reporting on this bridge scandal. Mr. Murphy, thank you very for being here. BRIAN MURPHY, BARUCH COLLEGE: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: So, obviously, being subpoenaed doesn`t mean you necessarily did anything wrong. Either way, seems like a strange time for a promotion, right? MURPHY: Yes, it`s an odd time to make the move. I saw it last night and kind of had the "seriously?" reaction. MADDOW: Yes. MURPHY: Especially since, I mean, I think you`ve pointed this out before. This is the -- this is our copy of the -- or at least my copy of the testimony that Bill Baroni gave to the state assembly in which I can find two sets of handwriting added to this. Both of them look female to me. It seems from the messages that we`ve seen that Nicole Crifo might have been involved in prepping Baroni for the testimony, which we know if Bill had to give under oath would have caused serious legal problems for him, and in fact, when he was subpoenaed to come and give that under oath again, he subsequently resigned. MADDOW: Yes. So, now, working at the Port Authority -- I mean, if they were trying to create the impression the Port Authority isn`t a political slush pile for New Jersey politics -- MURPHY: I don`t think they`re trying to create that impression. MADDOW: Court dates were set today for Bill Stepien and for Bridget Kelly. Court dates next month. They`re fighting handing over documents until the inquiry. That`s now heading into court. Everybody keeps saying that might take a long time. Does that become a sideshow that works on its own timeframe now or might not still be important to us figuring out what happened? MURPHY: I think it is important. I mean, obviously, there`s something in there if they`re fighting. I would imagine -- I shouldn`t say obvious. It seems to me that they`re fighting it for a reason. There`s something in there and they might be making a production doctrine argument, just by the act of producing the document, you are implicating yourself in a crime. Though it seems to me that the constitutional argument that they can make here is a little bit weaker. The New Jersey legislature has a right to investigate things. They have an obligation to conduct oversight of the executive. Under the New Jersey constitution actually, not bring up the impeachment word here, but the impeachment threshold is very low. It`s just a misdemeanor. It`s not a high crime, or a high misdemeanor. It`s just a misdemeanor. So, I think you can -- working backwards, you can see in order to even find something like that, the legislature has to have broad powers to conduct an investigation here. And simply, they have to turn over these documents. MADDOW: Is it -- do you expect that it will take months and months to resolve and we actually won`t hear anything from Bridget Kelly and Bill Stepien for a very long time? It`s further in this investigation. MURPHY: People who know more about this than I do tell me it could be really quick. The state courts might just decide to give the go ahead to the legislature right away. And it could even work its way up to the Supreme Court, but fairly quickly. MADDOW: At this point, regardless of what happens on that front, and that`s intriguing, are we expecting any further document releases? Is there anything on the horizon that we could expect in terms of things that are going to be made available to the public that might shed more light here? MURPHY: My understanding is that the committee chairs, Senator Loretta Weinberg and Assemblyman Wisniewski who, I think is a frequent guest of this show. MADDOW: Yes. MURPHY: That they`ve both seen David Wildstein`s un-redacted text messages to Bill Baroni. MADDOW: Not just the lawyers. The chairs have seen it. MURPHY: Right. So, they`re aware of what`s in them. And I think going forward, there`s a judgment that they`re going to make about how they proceed with releasing it. The standard had been that if once a hearing is held and they become part of the public record, then we all get to see them. I don`t know that -- they didn`t really commit whether or not they`re going to follow that course in the future. MADDOW: But it`s within their power to decide. MURPHY: That`s right. So, we could see them fairly soon. MADDOW: Former New Jersey political reporter -- Brian Murphy, thank you for helping us out. That was fascinating. MURPHY: Thanks a lot. MADDOW: We`ll be right back. There`s more on this story. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: A totally unexpected development in the Chris Christie bridge scandal today. I have -- I have learned to expect anything from this story, but I did not expect this today. All right. Last night on this show, we introduced you to this plot of land, it`s a nice place, right? It`s a parking lot in northern New Jersey just across the river from New York City. The entity that operates that parking lot has been trying for a few years now to figure out a way to maximize its profits, from operating that parking lot and a few others. In order to do that, they hired a top New Jersey law firm to help advise them on this matter. A law firm called Wolff and Samson. In 2010, they paid that firm somewhere in the neighborhood of $650,000 according to the "Bergen Record". Then the next year, they gave the law firm a huge raise. They paid them $1.5 million, all in the hopes that Wolff and Samson could help them figure out how to make more profit out of their parking lots. Well, the Samson in Wolff Samson is this gentleman, David Samson. And in addition to heading up that law firm, Mr. Samson is also the chairman of the state agency called the Port Authority. The Port Authority, and luck would have it, also happens to own that piece of land where the parking lot sits. Hmmm. In early 2012, Mr. Samson in his official role as chairman of the Port Authority decided that he would cast a vote to change the way his agency leased that land going forward. He voted that they should stop charging the entity that operated the parking lot, should stop charging them $900,000 per year, that they had been charging them and instead they should start charging them $1 -- $1 per year. Do the math. David Samson in private practice was being paid to help that entity maximize its profits, and then in public life, he voted to reduce their rent by -- just $1 a year. It`s amazing. That laugh out loud story broke yesterday morning on the front page of the "Bergen Record" newspaper. You can see their headline here. "New Port Authority conflict issue emerges." That story incidentally dropped on the same day that David Samson made his first public apology for his agency`s role in the bridge- gate scandal in New Jersey. If that was the end of it, that would still be an amazing story, right? I mean, toll payers lose $900,000 every year from here on out. So, a Chris Christie appointee can steer that money to his clients instead -- his clients who are paying him handsomely for that job. Yes, that alone would be kind of an amazingly simple story about how things work in New Jersey. But because this is New Jersey, of course, that isn`t the end of it. Today, the "Bergen Record" reports that David Samson and the Port Authority are making this go away now. They`re essentially trying to disappear the vote. Look at this. The Port Authority`s general counsel on Wednesday agreed to change the recorded board vote on the dollar a year lease deal after the board`s Chairman David Samson said he did not intend to vote on the contract. David Samson was present at the vote that day. He voted yes, but now two years later, he says actually he never intended to vote in the first place. He would like to retroactively recuse himself from that vote, please, two years later. In a letter to David Samson on Wednesday, the Port Authority general counsel told Mr. Samson, quote, "I have concluded that you intended to recuse on that matter, through clerical inadvertence, your recusal was not correctly noted." Clerical inadvertence -- I`m going to get that tattooed in Latin on my bag. A spokesman for David Samson didn`t provide answers to the "Bergen Record" yesterday, for their original story that ran yesterday. But today, she responded to the newspaper by providing that letter, the general counsel`s letter which says essentially that the vote in question never happened. It`s not like a divorce, more like an annulment, just never happened. The Port Authority`s general counsel says he now intends to, quote, "correct the board`s minutes to reflect David Samson`s recusal." I`m not sure I`ve ever seen anything as a retroactive recusal, but in New Jersey, we`re all learning that anything is possible. Late tonight, as a result of this developing story, as well as the agency`s role in the bridge-gate scandal, late tonight, New Jersey`s largest newspaper, "The Star-Ledger", published this editorial calling on David Samson to resign. So far, Chris Christie seems happy to keep him in the post. He says he`s quite confident that David Samson did nothing wrong, but the largest paper in New Jersey tonight says he`s got to go. Stay tuned. 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