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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/10/14

Guests: Jon Tester, Mark Mazzetti

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, man. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. In one point in our nation`s recent history, a man named Rick Perry was definitely going to be president. At the end of President Obama`s first term, Republicans were circling. They had that great midterm election in 2010 when the whole country went red. They thought, you know, on the heels of that election after Obamacare and all the rest of it, they thought they had a great chance of making President Barack Obama a one-term president. They just needed the right candidate to knock him off. And in the summer of 2011, sort of circus had already started in the Republican primary. Had Michele Bachmann running and Herman Cain and Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, and all these other people who are not the right guy, right? They never definitely going to be president. None of those people were. And that circus was under way in the summer of 2011. And Republicans knew they had a great opportunity but knew these folks were not their candidate so they thought they had their prayers answered, when in August of that year, the candidate who was perfectly designed by God to defeat Barack Obama in an election in 2012, he finally got around to announcing that he was going to run. And Rick Perry is good-looking, he`s got an amazing head of very presidential hair. He had been governor of Texas for, like, 150 years. He wears boots. He has an accent. He`s very, very conservative. Business likes him. Social conservatives like him. Rick Perry on paper was perfect. He was definitely going to be president, or at least he was definitely going to be the Republican nominee for president. The week that he announced, Gallup did a nationwide poll of Republican voters and Republican-leaning voters, those voters picked Rick Perry as their nominee by a mile. The number of Republican and Republican- leading voters who picked Rick Perry as their preferred nominee for president was 29 percent. And that may not sound like much, 29 percent, but there were a million people in the Republican field at that point, and with that 29 percent, Governor Perry was first by a mile. The next closest contender was Mitt Romney who was 12 points behind Rick Perry. The week that rick Perry announced. Rick Perry was going to be the nominee, and he was probably going to get elected president. On paper, he was perfect. And then the campaign started. The first rumblings that something might be wrong were sort of subtle, frankly. It was the first few major debates. Nothing went terribly wrong for Rick Perry at his first four presidential debates, but it was like he was sleeping through them. He was boring. He was stiff. He was awkward. He had weird body language. It didn`t seem like he particularly understood all of the questions. He kept repeating the same things over and over again when they were plainly not related to the things other people were talking about. He was just unimpressive. The governor, himself, acknowledged he wasn`t doing that great. He told CBS News in October of that year that debates weren`t his strong suit. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I just try to get up every day and do my job and, you know, debates are not my strong suit. But, you know, we get up and do them and we just try to let people see our passion. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Oh, people would come to see his passion all right, but not the way he wanted. In that actual moment there that we showed you when he was walking out of the debate venue and starting to talk to the cameras from CBS, that was kind of the actual moment that was the start of it all falling apart because he left that debate that night. His next stop after talking to his cameras right outside the debate was a fraternity on the campus of Dartmouth College, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He did the debate. He didn`t do very well. He told everybody, debates aren`t my strong suit. Then he went right to the frat house, whereupon a fraternity brother asked Governor Perry a question about states rights. And Governor Perry responded that he was very much in favor of states rights. He said, quote, "It was actually the reason that we fought the revolution in the 16th century. Was to get away from that kind of onerous crown." The 16th century for the American Revolution. You know, when people screw up what century it is, it`s usually that you don`t remember if you`re talking about something that happened in the 1700s. That`s not the 17th century. That`s the 18th century. But to talk about the American Revolution happening in the 16th -- that would be the 1500s. I mean, that was just kind of -- that was weird. That was a weird moment. And now looking back in retrospect, we maybe should have seen that that was a sign that something might be wrong with this candidacy. Because very shortly thereafter, it did become more than clear that something really was very wrong. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to actually get you out of here right at 9:00, so last thing -- first of all, Governor Perry, you can`t leave New Hampshire without getting a couple of things. Essentials from New Hampshire. First thing is, we call this -- in New Hampshire we call it liquid gold. But you`ll put it on your pancakes and waffles and whatever other Southern food you eat down in Texas. But this is pure maple syrup from the state of New Hampshire. (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: There has still been no explanation for what was going on with Rick Perry at the loving up on some maple syrup speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, during his run for president. He ended up speaking to this group. This is a group that claims to be able to cure people of the curse of homosexuality. The governor appeared to definitely have a good time at that event, but also it seemed like there was something else going on there, something was off about the governor there. It has always been interesting to me that that tape, that appearance by Rick Perry, when he was on the campaign trail running for president, that did not get a ton of attention. I actually think it`s possible that tape people felt was too embarrassing to show. For whatever reason, that tape never received a lot of airtime. But not long after that sort of remarkable appearance, things really did very publicly fall apart for Rick Perry. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: And I will tell you, it`s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, education, and the -- what`s the third one there? Let`s see. RON PAUL (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You mean five. PERRY: OK, five. OK. So, Commerce, Education and the -- MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: EPA. PERRY: EPA, there you go. MODERATOR: Seriously? Is the EPA the one you`re talking about? PERRY: No, sir. No, sir. We were talking about the agencies of government -- EPA needs to be rebuilt. There`s no doubt about that. MODERATOR: But you can`t name the third one? PERRY: The third agency of government I would do away with, Education, the Commerce, and let`s see -- I can`t. The third one I can`t. Sorry. Oops. MODERATOR: What about the EPA -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That oops, a lot of people thought the oops would be the end of Rick Perry`s campaign for president. I mean, he came in as the front- runner. He was supposed to be the guy who was almost a shoo-in to win the nomination, and then, oops. That was not the end of it, though. He didn`t drop out. Not that long after the oops experience, Rick Perry told a group of college students in New Hampshire that he would appreciate their votes if they were 21 years old by November 12th. The voting age in the United States is actually 18. And the election was being held on November 6th. That same day, Governor Perry went on CNN and said this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: Washington has abused the Constitution. You go back to the -- a decade ago with Woodrow Wilson. We start, you know, the 16th Amendment and allow for the income tax. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: You go -- you go back a decade ago to Woodrow -- Woodrow? Woodrow Wilson was president from 1913 to 1921. So if you go back a decade to the presidency -- I don`t know. Then, a little bit more than a week after that, Governor Perry had a serious conversation with a voter about our wars in Afghanistan and in Iran. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About the two next wars. How do you feel about it? PERRY: She asked about Iran, Afghanistan. And I try not to -- I try not to make a connection between -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iraq. PERRY: Excuse me, Iraq. Thank you very much. That will be on the front page of the something. Iraq. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: He was still in the presidential race at that point. He was not yet dropping out. But the day after he talked about war in Iran, I mean Iraq, front page of something, the day after that, he was asked about President Obama`s nominees to the Supreme Court. He decided in that question that he would comment specifically on Supreme Court justice -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: When you see his appointment of two -- from my perspective, inarguably -- activist judges, whether it was -- not Montemayor -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sonia Sotomayor? PERRY: Sotomayor. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Sotomayor, darn it! Rick Perry just did not cut it as a presidential candidate. It was just thing after thing after thing. And when the Iowa caucuses happened on January 3rd, he came in fifth just ahead of Michele Bachmann, just behind Newt Gingrich and all the other guys. This is from the guy who came into the race not that long before as the prohibitive front-runner. On the night of those Iowa caucuses, he told reporters basically that he was quitting the race. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PERRY: Would the voters` decision tonight in Iowa, I`ve decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight`s caucus, determine whether there`s a path forward for myself in this race. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In presidential politics, that is how you quit. You say you`re going home to think about whether you are going to quit. That`s quitting in presidential politics. Then, Rick Perry kind of did it again after basically quitting the night of the Iowa caucuses, as you saw right there, he did go home to Texas whereupon he then announced he was running again. Because why not? He had come in fifth in Iowa. He came in sixth in New Hampshire. He got 0.71 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary. But he said he was coming back into the race because he had a plan to win in South Carolina. He did not win in South Carolina. He dropped out for good from the presidential race two days before the primary in South Carolina. But that little extension of his campaign, I should mention, it did give him another opportunity to screw just one more thing up. Just before the South Carolina primary, he was in a debate in which he stated that Turkey, the nation of Turkey should be kicked out of NATO because he said it was a nation run by Islamic terrorists. Turkey. Turkey was very angry with this, as you might imagine. So, as Rick Perry was failing, he did manage to create a small and inexplicable international incident where nobody had any idea what he was talking about, but it did make everybody very angry and that ended up being the one way that his presidential campaign made a splash. Oops. Rick Perry was the perfect candidate on paper. In real life, Rick Perry was a disaster. What has been fascinating to watch since then is that Governor Rick Perry of Texas appears to have taken one lesson from his disastrous campaign for president in 2012. He clearly wants to run again in 2016 and he apparently looks back on that 2012 campaign and surveys that landscape with the oops and the weird making out with the syrup and the Supreme Court Justice Montemayor and Turkey`s run by terrorists and the American Revolution was fought in the 1500, and you have to be 21 to vote a week and a half after the election actually is and not remembering where the other war is, and Woodrow Wilson was the president a decade ago. I mean, Rick Perry looks back at that astounding landscape of his live human performance as a presidential candidate and he has apparently decided that none of that was the problem. He has apparently decided that this was the one thing for him that actually was a problem. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MODERATOR: How do you feel being criticized by a number of these other candidates on the stage for being too soft on immigration, sir? PERRY: Well, I feel pretty normal getting criticized by these folks, but the fact of the matter is this -- there is nobody on this stage who has spent more time working on border security than I have. But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they`ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don`t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children because they will become a drag on our society. This was a state issue. Texans voted on it, and I still support it greatly. (CHEERS) MODERATOR: Senator Santorum -- (BOOS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So it starts off a few very loud cheers there, initially. But then they get drowned out and went on to be a very loud and long chorus of booing. And that booing apparently is what Rick Perry has been stewing about these past 2 1/2, 3 years or so when he thinks about what he wishes he could have done differently or what he wishes he could do over about his presidential run, because other than his new fashionable eye glasses, the one major makeover that Governor Rick Perry has gone through since his disastrous presidential run is that he no longer makes the mistake of talking about immigrants or the issue of immigration without pounding his chest. And so, with this current real crisis on the border, which is very much focused on Texas, that`s where this big surge of unaccompanied kids and young families have turned up on the border, Rick Perry`s proposal to President Obama for what ought to be done, the one thing that President Obama says rick Perry demanded of him yesterday that`s not already being proposed by the Obama administration, the one thing Governor Perry wants is that he wants the National Guard sent to the border. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The governor`s one concern that he mentioned to me was is that setting aside the supplemental, I should go ahead and authorize having National Guard troops surge at the border right away. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: In the face of this very real, very big crisis happening in his state, this National Guard thing, this is the one idea that governor rick Perry wants to be known for. Send the military. Send troops. Send the National Guard. It`s very important to him after what happened to him a few years ago. It`s very important to him that he sound very tough on this issue, and, of course, there`s nothing tougher than sending troops. Ask the cadet. But troops and the National Guard, it should be noted, are also completely irrelevant to this particular crisis on the border right now. I don`t mean that in the sense like, oh, people have a difference of opinion with the governor about the appropriate policy respond to this kind of crisis on the border. I mean, as an empirical matter, putting troops in armed positions on the border is irrelevant to this crisis. It would have absolutely no effect on this crisis, because what sets this border crisis apart is that this is not a situation in which people are sneaking across the border. This particular crisis is one that manifests as people walking up to border patrol agents and surrendering themselves to them. Walking up to border patrol agents and turning themselves in. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIKP) TV ANCHOR: Just into the Channel 5 newsroom, border patrol agents just picked up some illegal immigrants. TV ANCHOR: And what makes it unusual is that they gave themselves up just as they stepped on to U.S. soil. REPORTER: A border patrol spokesman tells us they needed those vans because women and children were crossing this part of the river on rafts and immediately giving themselves up. REPORTER: Border patrol says up to 1,000 parents and children surrender to them each day. BORDER PATROL AGENT: We`re not having to chase them down anymore. Like I said, they`re family units or unaccompanied children. And they come over here, they want to get caught. They make no quarrels about being caught. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Governor Rick Perry of Texas is dying to have a national comeback in politics and he apparently thinks that in order to do that, he needs to have a do-over on seeming too soft on immigration issues. He needs to seem super tough. So, he is calling for armed troops on the border to deal with this problem. What exactly would armed troops do in this situation to help? I mean, threaten to shoot kids and moms while these kids and moms are peacefully turning themselves in with their hands in the air? I mean, immigration crises come in all different sorts of shapes and sizes, but in this particular one, nobody`s chasing anybody. Nobody`s sneaking across the border. This is not a problem that something is unguarded and we need more guards. These folks who are coming across in this particular crisis are looking for border patrol agents, seeking them out and handing themselves over. They would please like to be taken into custody. How is having troops there going to help make that not happen? "USA Today" editorialized on this, this morning. "The National Guard can be of little help because for the most part these children are turning themselves in as soon as they get to the border." Right. And that is why nobody asks Governor Rick Perry for his opinion on big policy matters. But policy will have to be the way that this problem gets solved. The president did have to meet with Governor Perry yesterday and listen to his National Guard suggestion. Thanks, Governor. Putting that behind him, the president today in Austin gave a rip- snorting speech where he went after Congress in very aggressive terms for basically not making sense on this issue, in his estimation, for trying to find political capital in this crisis instead of just fixing this crisis. I don`t know if he has done this before, but President Obama today called on, honestly, the most foul-mouthed character ever played by the actor Mark Wahlberg in order to make his point about Congress. It went like this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: There`s a great movie called "The Departed." Little violent for kids, but there`s this scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg, yes, they`re on a stakeout, and somehow the guy loses the guy that they`re tracking, and Wahlberg`s all upset and, you know, yelling at the guy. The guy looks up and says, "Who are you?" Wahlberg says, "I`m the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy." Sometimes I feel like saying to these guys, I`m the guy doing my job, you must be the other guy. (APPLAUSE) So rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time, wastes taxpayer money, I`ve got a better idea. Do something. (CHEERS) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The president has requested nearly $4 billion to basically surge resources both at the border and throughout the systems that are processing these kids and families for deportation and that are handling them until they can be sent back. And there are mixed reports and fast- changing reports out of Washington over the last 24 hours about whether or not Republicans in Congress are going to vote for any of those resources. Or whether they are going to follow Rick Perry`s lead instead, the former presidential front-runner, after all, who really, really, really did look good on paper. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The Republican Party unveiled its congressional lawsuit against President Obama today. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has been saying for a couple of weeks now that House Republicans were going to file a lawsuit against the president because they object to actions he has taken as president. But before today, they wouldn`t say what exactly those actions were to which they objected. Just before they released that specific information, finally tonight, President Obama had this to say about their lawsuit at his speech in Austin, Texas. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: There are a number of Republicans in Congress, including a number of the Texas delegation who are mad at me for taking these actions. They actually plan to sue me. The truth is, even with all the actions I`ve taken this year, I`m issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So -- so, it`s not clear, you know, how it is the Republicans didn`t seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did. Maybe it`s just me they don`t like. I don`t know. Maybe there`s some principle out there that I haven`t discerned. That I haven`t figured out. You know? You hear some of them -- "sue him," "impeach him." Really? (LAUGHTER) Really? For what? (CHEERS) You`re going to sue me for doing my job? OK. I mean, think about that. Use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job, while you don`t do your job. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama made those remarks at about midday today, early afternoon, calling on Congress to pass the emergency appropriation he`s calling for to address the crisis on the border, criticizing House Republicans for refusing to vote on immigration reform though the Senate passed it by a huge margin. He went into this in the speech. He was also teasing congressional Republicans as you just saw for suing him. That was early afternoon today. Then at 5:30 Eastern Time today, the House Republicans released the details of that lawsuit against President Obama. Speaker John Boehner had previously announced he`d be suing, but he wouldn`t say for what. Well, today, they announced what they`re suing the president for is him delaying for one year one part of the health reform law, the part that requires employers of a certain size to provide health insurance for their employees. House Republicans do not like that part of the law. They do not want it to be implemented ever. But now they are suing President Obama for not implementing it sooner, because he made the decision to do so, himself. It`s kind of a weird moment. But this weird moment is happening at a time when there is a legitimate crisis. Not a made up political crisis, but a real crisis on the Southern border specifically in Texas, and the president has put an emergency proposal on the table right now to address it right now in Congress. In the same Congress that just today sued the president. That makes me not like the odds here. But joining us now is a senator who`s in a much better position to know what the odds really are, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, member of both the Appropriations Committee and Homeland Security Committee. Senator, as such, I know you were at the hearing today on the crisis on the border and the emergency legislation to try to handle it. Thanks for being with us tonight to help us understand what`s going on in Washington. SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: It does seem improbable to me, given congressional politics right now, that President Obama is going to get what he`s asking for in terms of surging resources to deal with this situation on the border. What is your sense of it? TESTER: Well, I`m very hopeful that we`ll be able to take his proposal and justify it and make sure it does what it needs to do to handle some 60,000 kids, most of them from the age of 14 to 18, on the border. Look, we`ve got a big problem. We cannot ignore it like we`ve ignored the Highway Trust Fund, and like we`ve ignored immigration reform, and like we`ve ignored so many things in Congress. This is a problem that we need to address, and the quicker we can address it, I think the more humanely we can treat these children that are on the border and get them back to their homeland. Look, as a father and a grandfather, I cannot tell you what could be going through these parents` mind as they put them on a bus or a train or in a van to ship them north to our border. It`s got to be gut-wrenching. We need to deal with this problem and we need to deal with it in a way that makes sense for the American taxpayer, and for those kids that are on the border also. So, I am hopeful that the Senate will pass a supplemental that will solve the problems. Look, the agencies are in front of the appropriations committee today. They got asked some tough questions. They`re going to give us the answers we want or there may be a problem, but I have full confidence that they will. I thought Jeh Johnson, in particular, and Sylvia Burwell did a great job, and I think that we`ll get the questions answers and I think it will go out of the Senate because we just can`t do nothing in this particular instance. Now, in hindsight, it would have been great if the House would have taken up that bipartisan immigration bill that we passed a year and a half ago, because if the speaker would have put that on the floor, and if you put it on the floor now, I think it would pass the House of Representatives. If that would have been done a year and a half ago, we would not be here today talking about $3.7 billion or $4.3 billion in an emergency supplemental. MADDOW: In terms of House Republicans, their role in the overall decision-making process about what gets done for us as a country right now, President Obama yesterday, he said Governor Perry, quoting from the president here, "Governor Perry, he suggested maybe you need to go ahead and act and that might convince Republicans that they should go ahead and pass the supplemental." Then the president said, "I had to remind him I`m getting sued right now by Mr. Boehner apparently for doing ahead and acting instead of going through Congress." I mean, with this lawsuit moving ahead today, the House Republicans framing their relationship with the president in literally a litigious way, does that make things even worse or is that a reflection of how bad they are? TESTER: Well, it certainly doesn`t help. That`s for sure. I mean, I think the lawsuit is silly on a number of different fronts. But the bottom line is, politics trumps policy most the time around here. This issue is not going to go away unless we deal with it in Congress, and we need to deal with it in Congress and give the president the tools that he needs, give the administration the tools that they need to be able to solve this problem that`s on our southern border right now. And if we don`t do that, it will be a total dereliction of duty. MADDOW: I have to ask you, Senator, I don`t want you to name names, because it will poison it, it will jinx it at least, but when you talk to your Republican colleagues about this, when you see them interact with witnesses in hearings and stuff, do you get the sense that there are some practical impulses arising among your Republican colleagues here to try to get this done? Are you sensing that this is being treated in a partisan way? Again, don`t name names. Do you feel they`re moving in a constructive way? TESTER: Look, there are some on the Appropriations Committee today that treated it very partisanly. There are others that I felt wanted answers to questions that were reasonable questions. They`re thinking folks. And I think -- I cannot speak for the House Republicans, but I think there are enough Senate Republicans that want to do the right thing that will help put this country on a path that it needs to be put on that I think we`ll get enough votes. I may be overly optimistic, but I don`t think so. I think that there are enough reasonable folks on both sides of the aisle that we can get this supplemental passed. It may not be exactly what the president has put forth, but I think it`s going to -- I think whatever we end up with will be something that will accomplish the job that needs to be done on the southern border. And that is, you know, process these kids. Do it very humanely and get them back to their homeland. I think that`s what needs to happen. Plus, a very strong media effort in Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador in particular to let the parents know that if they ship their kids north, it`s not going to be as the drug cartel have told them it`s going to be. MADDOW: Senator Jon Tester of Montana, you`re in a position to know how these things may go. I really appreciate you helping us understand it tonight, sir. Thank you. TESTER: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: Thank you. I think Senator Tester making news with that estimation of how this thing is going to go in the Senate. I think he may be right. We`ll have much more ahead, including a best new thing starring Richard Nixon like you`ve never, ever heard him before. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: As a general rule when a sentence starts like this -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Let me say something before we get off the gay thing -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: When a sentence starts like that, it`s a good chance you`re going to want to hear the end of it. And when it`s former President Richard Nixon saying that, you`re not going to want to hear the end of it, you`re going to want it hear it on a loop. And that tape is tonight`s best new thing in the world, and it will blow your mind. And that is coming up. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Over Memorial Day weekend, President Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan to visit with troops. The president was joined by country singer Brad Paisley on that trip who performed for about an hour before the president spoke. This was an unannounced secret trip. They always are now whenever presidents go to war zones. But on that secret trip, something strange happened. The White House sent out a list to news organizations of the names of U.S. officials who were set to brief the president while he was in Afghanistan. It`s a fairly routine thing to do on a presidential trip. Except this time that list given to the news media included the name of the CIA`s station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan. That list accidentally outed the name of the highest ranking CIA spy in that country and outed it to 6,000 reporters. That happened on Memorial Day weekend. Terrible. Then, last week, an employee of Germany`s intelligence agency, their version of the CIA, was arrested inside Germany and then reportedly he confessed to stealing German government secrets and selling them to the CIA. The CIA had apparently cultivated an asset inside Germany`s intelligence agency but then he got caught. When a CIA asset gets caught and confesses, that means the CIA got caught. And since the German government and our government are supposed to be the best of friends, obviously, that`s going to upset Germany. Germany is going to be upset we are in their country turning their agent and stealing their stuff when we`re supposed to be the best of friends. So, first, the station chief in Kabul, that`s terrible for the CIA. Now, this in Germany -- also terrible for the CIA. But then it gets worse because the day after that guy got arrested in Germany, President Obama placed a call to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. They had all sorts of stuff to talk about. The delicate situation in Russia and Ukraine. Germany`s role of keeping Europe and the U.S. on the same page and dealing with Vladimir Putin, all that stuff. But during that call the two leaders did not talk about the fact a CIA asset had just been arrested in Germany the day before and did not talk about that matter because nobody told President Obama that it had happened. The CIA obviously knew that their guy had been arrested the day before, but nobody told the White House. And so the president of the United States blithely called the chancellor of Germany having no idea this just happened. The CIA didn`t tell the president. Terrible, right? But, oh, wait, there`s more. Because the Germans really are mad that the CIA is recruiting assets inside the German government to steal German secrets and sell them to us, right? After the intelligence agency guy was arrested, the Germans summoned the U.S. ambassador in Germany and yelled at him and everything. But then right after the U.S. ambassador got summoned, got taken to the woodshed by the German government, oh, hey, look, it happened again. Another German, this one reportedly working in Germany`s defense department also suspected of spying on behalf of the U.S. government. Stealing German government secrets and selling them to us. If it bears out, this looks like another possible CIA asset outed inside the German government. Germany, our great ally who is now really, really, really mad at us. Today, Germany kicked out of that country the CIA station chief for Germany, which is the kind of thing that you might expect an enemy to do or even a frenemy like Pakistan who did this a few years ago. But Germany? When President Obama started his second term, he appointed John Brennan to be the new head of the CIA. John Brennan said he wanted the CIA to stop focusing so much on killing people. The CIA had become basically a branch of the military after 9/11. He said he wanted them to get back to their real purpose as an agency which is collecting intelligence -- less killing, more traditional spying. Now, though, it has been one terrible story of the CIA screwing up the basic work of spying even against our own best allies. Outing their own people, own assets, totally failing the president by not telling the White House what was going on, as he called other world leaders who did know what was going on. This is terrible. Is this a sign that that agency really is getting back to the work of spying and they`re like an agency in transition and they`re just rusty? Or is this just an agency that is flailing in a more typical way? Joining us now is Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for "The New York Times," the author of "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, A Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth", Mr. Mazzetti, thank you very much for being with us. MARK MAZZETTI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me on. MADDOW: I am not an expert on spy stuff except for fake spy stuff that happens in movies and books. In the real spying world, isn`t it unusual and sloppy to get caught spying on your own ally? MAZZETTI: Yes, you definitely don`t want to get caught and if you do, it`s unusual certainly to get outed publicly. Normally, if this happens, it would be dealt with quietly. It`s really unusual for the government of the country to make a public announcement and expel the senior-most spy in a country. So, what we saw today was extraordinary from the perspective of a close ally like Germany making this public and embarrassing statement and saying that they wanted the top American spy out. MADDOW: So, what does that say about Germany`s decision to handle it that way? Is this being handled by them in this unusually loud and confrontational way because of their own domestic politics around this issue? Or does this mean something specifically about their relationship with us and how mad they are? MAZZETTI: I think it`s partly domestic politics, but it also shows that they`re really mad, and I think it`s a signal in part because they feel like the United States doesn`t recognize how mad they really are. And recall, this has been going on for months since the Snowden revelations last year that the NSA was spying on Angela Merkel`s cell phone, among other things. And this was a big deal in Germany, and I think this feeling is that the United States didn`t appreciate this and appreciate how much of a situation it put Merkel in. And so, what we`re seeing -- what we saw today is not just a reaction to what`s happened over the last week, but what`s happened over the last several months. MADDOW: Mark, let me ask you specifically about something you reported for "The Times", which the president did not apparently know about the CIA asset being arrested in Germany when he called Angela Merkel to talk to her about different matters. I would guess that CIA Director John Brennan or the agency more broadly is expected to keep the White House apprised of stuff like that, anything that might have international consequences, and obviously this does. What does that say about what`s going on at the CIA, and what are the consequences of that going to be here in Washington and in Langley and in terms of how the CIA functions within our own government? MAZZETTI: You know, it`s -- as we reported, it`s unclear why the White House wasn`t told or at least the president wasn`t told about the arrest. It happened at least, you know, 24 hours before President Obama got on the phone with Merkel. You know, why it was bottled up in the CIA where it was bottled up, you know, these are issues that are not just, you know, low-level arrests. When you`re talking about, as we said, a close ally, you would want to know if you`re the president something as important as this, because the reason he got on the phone with Merkel was to ask her to do something, and you need to know if you`re going to ask another leader to do something, you know, she might have leverage over you because of something happened in her country. So, if you`re the president, you obviously want to know everything. MADDOW: Yes, it`s astonishing, actually. The thing about your beat in covering intelligence matters like this and our effort to try to stay apprised of them is we know so little of what goes on, but what we know about what`s going on here is slightly jaw dropping. Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for "The New York Times" -- thanks, Mark. It`s nice to see you, appreciate it. MAZZETTI: All right. Thank you. MADDOW: Thank you. All right. There is something coming up on the show next that has to do with pants. And even if you have no interest in anything else in the news today, trust me, you want to hear the thing about pants. Even if you hate pants, you`re going to want to hear this next thing. That`s next. Pants. Trust me. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I have long believed that this piece of presidential tape, this Oval Office audio recording is the single greatest piece of presidential audiotape that has ever existed. This is President Lyndon B. Johnson ordering pants over the phone. When I die, bury me with this tape. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT: The pockets, when you sit down in the chair, the knife and your money comes out. So I need it at least another inch in the pockets. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. JOHNSON: Now, another thing, the crotch down where your nuts hang, it`s always a little too tight. So when you make them up, give me an inch that I can let out there, because they cut me. It`s like riding a wire fence. These are almost the best I`ve had anywhere in the United States. But when I gained a little weight, they cut me under there. So, leave me -- you never did have much margin there. Let`s see if you can leave me about an inch from where the zipper ends around under my - - back to my bunghole so I can let it out there if I need to. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: The burp is the best part of the whole thing. I`ve long believed that`s the greatest piece of presidential audiotape that has ever surfaced. But that piece has just gotten some equally current competition from another president. New tapes had just been released. They are astonishing. It`s a different president. It competes with that, and that`s the best new thing in the world and that`s next. Stay with us, please? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The best new thing in the world. Quote, "When I got home, I was too tired to sleep, but I rested and you were summoned in finally, and you came, a vision, visibly plain, a goddess in human form and a perfect form, clad only in flowing hair." Possibly the least explicit line written in 1913 by former President Warren G. Harding. For years before he became president, Warren Harding maintained a secret correspondence with his mistress, Carrie Phillips. The Library of Congress, you may have heard, scheduled to make public all of these recently unearthed love letters later this month. Although that affair had largely ended by the time Warren G. Harding became president, he didn`t stop his philandering ways when he was in the White House. He also apparently managed to maintain a whole separate affair in a coat closet at the White House while he was president. Giddy up, Warren. But these letters to his mistress, they are really not subtle things. There is lots of not faithful language. It`s all very, very clear what`s going on here. And because of that, for a while, it seemed like the Warren Harding really dirty love letters were going to be the big news in ex-presidents this month. But oh, no, it`s not that, because today, "Vanity Fair" magazine topped a new treasure trove of Richard Nixon tapes. And, yes, there are thousands of hours of Nixon Oval Office audio recordings floating around, but "Vanity Fair" today posted a couple of gems from Nixon audio recordings that I do not think have been published before. So, this is President Nixon talking with Henry Kissinger and also his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman. The three of them stating around waxing philosophical about the gay. This is April 1971. I`ve got two clips to play for you. This is the first one. The audio is a little rough at times but just listen to this. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) NIXON: Let me say something before we get off the gay thing. I don`t want my views misunderstood. I am the most tolerant person on that anybody in this shop. They -- they have a problem. They`re born that way. You know that. That`s all. I think they are. But the point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders and others bring them in that direction, and teachers. And if you look over the history of societies, you will find, of course, that some of the highly intelligent people, Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, all were homosexuals. Nero, of course, was in a public way, in with a boy in Rome. H.R. HALDEMAN, CHIEF OF STAFF: There`s a whole bunch of Roman emperors -- NIXON: But the point is, look at that, once a society moves in that direction, the vitality goes out of that society. Now isn`t that right, Henry? HENRY KISSINGER, NATL. SECURITY ADVISOR: Well -- NIXON: Do you see other change, anywhere where it doesn`t fit? KISSINGER: That`s certainly been the case in antiquity. The Romans were notorious - HALDEMAN: The Greeks. KISSINGER: -- homosexuals. NIXON: By God, I am not going to have a situation where we pass along a law indicating, "Well, now, kids, just go out and be gay." They can do it. Just leave them alone. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: They can do it. Just leave them alone, but they will suck all of the vitality out of society. Richard Nixon proclaiming to be very tolerant -- the most tolerant in the White House in the issue of homosexuals. But that`s not the best thing in the world today. That best new thing in the world today is actually the next part of that conversation where President Nixon is informed to his utter surprise that ladies in this country occasionally swear. He did not think that women ever swear. And listen to his reaction when he finds out that they do. Hit it. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) NIXON: I mean, you`ve got to stop at a certain point. Why is it that the girls don`t swear? Because a man, when he swears, people can`t tolerate a girl who is a -- HALDEMAN: Girls do swear. NIXON: Huh? Oh, they do know? But, nevertheless, it removes something from them. They don`t even realize it. A man drunk and a man swears, people will tolerate, and say that`s a sign of masculinity or something other damn thing. We all do it. We all swear. But you show me a girl that swears and I`ll show you an awful unattractive person. All femininity is gone. And none of the smart girls do swear, incidentally. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: According to President Richard Nixon, none of the smart girls swear, because it removes something from them. So, Richard Nixon is good with the gays, even if they suck all of the vitality out of society. He`s good with drunken men with swearing, but if there`s one thing Richard Nixon cannot abide -- (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) NIXON: But you show me a girl that swears and I`ll show you an awful unattractive person. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: That judgment of humanity from Richard Nixon of all people that is definitely the best new thing in the world today. Damn it. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Thanks for being with us. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END