IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/29/14

Guests: Michael McFaul

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. This house is in Reykjavik, in Iceland. Used to be the French consulate in Iceland. It`s kind of a cute house, right? In 1986 when the Cold War was still raging U.S. President Ronald Reagan and the leader of the Soviet Union at the time Mikhail Gorbachev, they spent a couple of cold dark October days at this house in Reykjavik, in Iceland trying to come up with an agreement to basically dial it back on the arms race, to try to mutually agree to get rid of some of the weapons that our two countries had built up in massive stockpiles over our years of not quite shooting at each other. And the pictures from that summit in 1986 were kind of remarkable. I mean look at them smiling at each other, shaking hands, right? Reagan and Gorbachev, meeting one on one, talking eye to eye, obviously both directly involved in those discussions. I mean our two standing off super powers meeting human to human, meeting man to man, meeting person to person. And ultimately at the very last minute of those talks in Reykjavik in 1986 the negotiations didn`t break down. Apparently Gorbachev asked for too much. He wanted a global ban on weapons in space. Ronald Reagan`s idea of star wars, right? Ronald Reagan would not agree to that demand, and so they went home from Reykjavik with nothing agreed to, but the two men had spent two days in each other`s company, two days talking to each other in good faith and it turns out that was something. It was not a total loss, because one year after those talks collapsed, in Reykjavik, one year later in 1987 Gorbachev and Reagan met again. This time, they did it in Washington. And this time it worked. It worked. And it working that night, in December 2000 - 1987, it led to one of those great network news opening sequences where you could tell everybody in the news business and all the politicians that they were covering, everybody was very excited about the story, everybody knew that this was a historic day, this was a really big deal and this was really big news. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president of the United States and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty. RONALD REAGAN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Today I, for the United States and the general secretary for the Soviet Union have signed the first agreement ever to eliminate an entire class of U.S. and Soviet nuclear weapons. We have made history. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From Washington, "NBC Nightly News" with Tom Brokaw. Tonight, the summit. TOM BROKAW, NBC ANCHOR: Good evening. President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev are off to a brisk start in their three day summer meeting. They have signed a treaty eliminating an immediate range nuclear weapons, more than 2,000 missiles altogether. That happened earlier this afternoon in the White House. The two leaders were seen on national television here and in the Soviet Union as they made their way to the East Room of the White House for the signing ceremonies. Mrs. Reagan and Mrs. Gorbachev were seated side by side. REAGAN: We have listened to the wisdom in an old Russian maxim, though my pronunciation may give you difficulty, the maxim is Doverai, no proverai. Trust but verify. (LAUGHTER) MIKHAIL GORBACHEV [through translator): You repeat that at every meeting. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) REAGAN: I like it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: He did like it. And that was a landmark moment and that was a landmark treaty that they signed. I mean it`s complicated in that it`s had a lot of parts and it`s been revised over the years, but what became newly important today about that treaty, what became huge news today, is that that treaty in 1987 between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, it banned both of our countries from shooting off ballistic missiles, or cruise missiles that had a range of between 300 miles and 3,400 miles. Missiles that could shoot any distance between those two, those were banned. That was agreed to in 1987. The United States has apparently believed, however, that Russia has been violating that treaty and testing missiles in that category since 2008. The U.S. started to worry about it in 2008, raised the issue on an informal basis, at least a couple of times since those suspicions first arose, but then today formally and officially the United States government called Russia out and accused them of violating this more than 25-year-old treaty that was agreed to by Reagan and Gorbachev. A protest was lodged today by President Obama. He wrote a formal letter of protest to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, it`s not clear what the penalty is for violating something like this or what exactly the U.S. can do to enforce it. Common wisdom about these things is usually that if you have a treaty like this, and one side breaks the treaty, then the other side breaks it too. So, I mean are you excited about the prospect of that? If you had been hoping that we would start shooting off cruise missiles or ballistic missiles that can fly thousands of miles? Maybe this is your lucky day. Maybe it will start doing that. But this - this happens at a very tense time. It happens for us at a very dysfunctional time in our own government and that matters in terms of the way we interact in this big confusing world right now. I mean consider that specific letter, that detail, the letter that had to go from President Obama to president Putin today. I mean President Putin is physically in Russia. His offices are in Moscow. And so, to deliver this letter physically, how does it get there? I mean with something as big a deal as this, you don`t e-mail it . (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: You don`t put a stamp on it or stick it in the mail. You have it delivered by diplomatic courier, you have it delivered by the embassy. And in fact, the U.S. embassy in Moscow was given the responsibility of physically delivering this letter to President Putin today from our own President Barack Obama. And that`s a big responsibility, right? And a formal responsibility. And you know what? We currently do not have anyone running our U.S. embassy in Moscow right now. We have an acting someone - we do not have an ambassador to Russia right now. There`s no U.S. Ambassador to handle even matters that are as big a deal as this and, you know, the world is not waiting for us to get our act today. The world continues to spin on its axis or increasingly continues to spin off its axis. I mean even just with Russia. President Obama and the E.U. today announced a dramatic increase in the sanctions against Russia because Russia itself annexed part of Ukraine this spring, in Crimea, because since then Russia has been supporting breakaway separatists in another part of Ukraine because the U.S. now says that Russia is no longer just supporting those rebels in eastern Ukraine, but is itself actively participating in the war itself against Ukraine by firing Russian artillery across the border in another country, because Russia or the separatists they are supporting are being blamed for that shoot-down of that Malaysia Airlines passenger jet two weeks ago and regardless of who`s actually responsible for it, the separatists do control the crash site and they have not only blocked investigators from accessing the site, they themselves have also tampered with the debris and taken some of the debris and neglected and mishandled the remains of the people who died in that crash and their personal effects. The world is mad at Russia for all of those reasons, and the anger in particular about the passenger plane being shot down. For all of those reasons that the E.U. decided now that they`re going to get off their wallet and they have leveled the most serious European sanctions against Russia since the Cold War. And the American sanctions were already very strong, but today what the president announced is going to rope off nearly one-third of Russia`s banks from the rest of the financial world. It will also - and this may be key. It will also block Russia from buying any technology that will help its oil industry. So no deep water oil production technology, no deep water oil exploration technology. No technology for fracking their oil that is locked up in shale deposits. Remember Exxon and Rosneft, the Russian oil company, they did the mother of all oil deals recently to do deep water exploration and shale oil exploration and exploitation in Russia. They did that huge deal not that long ago. If it turns out they can`t actually get at and produce that Russian oil, because of these new sanctions, and it hurts the biggest oil deal in the world, this Exxon deal, that`s going to hurt. So, Europe does its strongest sanctions. The U.S. upgrades its already stiff sanctions to include even something that might hurt Exxon. Imagine. So in a world gone mad and even if you just look at Russia, things between the United States and Russia are, as the president said today, not back into the Cold War, but effectively out of state of - well, it looks like a full-scale economic war, full-scare economic and diplomatic war between our two countries and we don`t have an ambassador to them right now. But we have been watching for the last few days as the most dysfunctional Congress ever, the most pointless Congress in the modern history of Congress, we`ve been watching for the past few days as they`ve been counting down to their last two work days before they go away until the fall. They leave on Thursday and they have -- after Thursday they have no other sustained work period in Congress until the end of the year. They will not come back to work after Thursday until deep into September, and as they count down toward that long, long, long vacation that they start at the end of this week, we`ve been watching the last few days as they try to get something, anything done. And today if you sensed a little ray of sunshine in the dark, it might have just been Congress getting close to maybe thinking about, starting to approve some of our ambassadors, including maybe even an ambassador to Russia. Yes. Do you think it`s about time? This is our new proposed ambassador to Russia. He did get a vote today in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, they approved his nomination. Now, he needs to be voted on by the full Senate. While voting on him today, they also then voted on a number of other new ambassadors and this is important. I mean heading into this week out of all the countries in the world where we have embassies, a quarter over them did not have an ambassador. Today finally as they`re racing for the exits, the Senate tried to fix some of that. And even though they did make some progress, it was still ridiculous because it`s this Congress and this Congress is ridiculous and today when they tried to approve this whole big swath of ambassadors, not enough senators were actually in the room to allow them to initially to take the vote. This is - this is incredible. They just didn`t come. Watch what happened today. They`re trying to get a whole bunch of ambassadors voted on all at once. Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey is presiding here with good humor. They`ve decided they`re going to vote on the ambassador to Russia. Yes, seems like a good idea on the day these huge sanctions on the cruise missile thing and all the rest of it, they decided they are going to vote on the ambassador to Russia. They also decided they want to vote on some other ambassadors, too, and they can`t because not enough members of the Senate were interested enough in this topic to actually show up and actually have a quorum to cast their votes. They were busy. Stuff to do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. BOB MENENDEZ (D-NEW JERSEY): We`re going to need still a couple of more members to actually vote out resolutions and nominees. But let me go through the agenda so we can advance the cause here. Next order of business is 11 nominees that I ask to be considered in block. Without objection the ambassador to Republic of Guatemala, ambassador to the French Republic and Principality of Monaco, Ireland, Moldova, Republic of Slovenia, Kazakhstan, Mr. Allen (ph), Mr. Allan Mustard to be ambassador to Turkmenistan, Rwanda, Republic of Turkey. Is there any- Senator Corker, is there any . SEN. BOB CORKER, (R ) TENNESEE, FOREIN RELATIONS COMMITTEE: I`ve got all the proxies here and these folks are unanimously supported. So, I look forward to us having enough members to vote them out. MENENDEZ: Any other members wishing to speak to any of these nominees? OK. We`ve now come to the end where we need bodies to vote. So -- we have one person short of being able to pass the business agenda, so I`m going to just momentarily -- we`re in the midst of calling offices. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So . (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: They did eventually call around. They did eventually wake up enough senators to get them to show up. So today we did get one step closer to having ambassadors to Russia, Guatemala, France, Monaco, Ireland, Moldova, Slovenia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Rwanda and Turkey. And not a minute too soon. We still have several dozen more standing by to be confirmed. I will say though, credit where credit is due. The Congress is hurrying along now. The Congress did today also approved the new secretary of Veterans Affairs. General Eric Shinseki resigned from that post this spring, replacing him will be Bob McDonald. He`s a former executive at Proctor & Gamble. Also, last night, just a few minutes before midnight, the conference committee members in the veterans -- on the veterans issue signed onto a compromised bill to try and reform the VA and fix the problems that have led to this scandal this year of so many veterans not being able to access care. They had to squeeze it in right before midnight so that that bill can be voted on at the last possible second on Thursday before Congress leaves them for more than a month. Interestingly, though, three Republican Senators on that conference committee did not sign off on that VA bill. Everybody else on the committee signed off on it and said they`re good with it. Three of them didn`t. One of them was Senator John McCain. We did not hear back from his office as today as to why he didn`t sign the VA bill. Bill. He`s an original sponsor and co-author of the Senate version of it. So, I think there`s no reason to think that he`s going to be against it ultimately. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida also did not sign the VA bill. We called his office about it today. This office did get back to us. They were very nice. They said Senator Rubio had to be out of town on the family matter, but he has every intention of signing on to the VA bill, and he will vote for it in the Senate. That leaves only one. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma as the only member of this conference committee who didn`t sign on to the VA bill. We reached out to Senator Coburn`s office. And they did get back to us later in the day. They indicated to us that Senator Coburn, actually, is not going to support the VA bill. He`s criticizing its cost. He says that it is business as usual. We`ll post this whole statement on our website which we got from Senator Coburn tonight. Leading up to this, though, I should tell you that Senator Coburn told the local press in Oklahoma about some of his concerns about the "Fix the VA." bill. He said he was concerned that the plans to build a new facility for health care for veterans in Oklahoma, new facility in Tulsa, he said he objected to those plans in his home state because what they were planning to build in Tulsa for the veterans was too nice. Tom Coburn told the Oklahoman, "They`re building a Taj Mahal when they should be building a medical clinic." Tom Coburn says they are trying to do too much for veterans in Oklahoma. He wants to make sure they scale back what veterans are going to get. So, if you`re a veteran and you live in Oklahoma, that`s what your senior senator thinks of you. You shouldn`t get anything too nice. But despite Senator Coburn, Congress is moving on that. Conference Committee members minus Sam, minus John McCain and Marco Rubio, they all signed out to it last night. And with that timing, with that happen before midnight, with the way the House works, they just might get there ahead of the deadline on Thursday to get this thing voted on and to the president. We will see. There was also a lot of noise, if not a lot of movement today on the Republicans in the House, potentially doing something on border issues. This is what the president had asked for in terms of resources for the border to deal with the influx of unaccompanied kids and young families from Central America on the border. The House Republicans initially came back and said they didn`t want to do that much. They wanted to do something more in this range, but the House Republicans are now actually planning on doing comes in at this level, and it only tries to address the problem for the next two months. Beyond just the size of what they`re trying to do or the lack thereof, it should also be noted that two-thirds of the House Republican proposal, two-thirds of it would go toward increased border security. Which makes for a nice bumper sticker. I mean but think about it. This bill is supposed to be dealing with the surge of unaccompanied minors at the border. What those unaccompanied minors by all accounts are doing is walking up to the border, trying to find a person in uniform and then turning themselves in to that person in uniform. Bolstering border security is utterly beside the point for this particular problem, but House Republicans are excited about it, even though it makes no sense. Remember, the part of their base that has been egging them on in this issue is the part they decided to hold protests a couple of weekends ago, against all of these kids coming to the border from Central America. The kids are coming from El Salvador and Honduras and Guatemala where we also don`t have an ambassador. They are coming from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the anti-immigrant conservative protesters this past weekend decided they were going to protest those kids by going to the consulate of Mexico. They went to a bunch of different Mexican consulates. The kids are not Mexican. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: That subtle point is beyond the scope of Republican politics on this issue. It`s so sure. A two-month bill, mostly for border security, which is irrelevant to the problem, why not? But credit where credit is due, there was some bare evidence of governance creeping forward today in Washington. And President Obama for his part did take a really big swipe at Russia today. He did it in conjunction with the European Union. He and the Europeans are now pushing Russia harder than they have been pushed in decades including hitting them on this missile treaty thing and hitting them on oil, which I think is where it really hurts. If we did have an ambassador to Russia right now, what would that ambassador advise the president on these matters, and what would that ambassador say about how all this is going to play out, now that Russia is being pushed harder than they have been since the Cold War. Well, the last American who actually did have that job will join us in just a moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MENENDEZ: So . (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Today the people of Ukraine, I hope, are seeing once again that the United States keeps its word. We`re going to continue to lead the international community in our support for the Ukrainian people and for the peace, the security, and the freedom that they very richly deserve. Thanks very much. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this a new Cold War, sir? OBAMA: No, it`s not a new Cold War. What it is, is a very specific issue related to Russia`s unwillingness to recognize that Ukraine can chart its own path and I think that if you listen to President Poroshenko, if you listen to the Ukrainian people they consistently said they seek good relations with Russia. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama today answering what seemed to be sort of an unexpected question, but saying bluntly, no, we`re not in a new Cold War with Russia, but, yes, he was announcing what appeared to be the widest and most aggressive acts of economic confrontation with Russia, certainly since the Cold War, Europe acting today in a way that is much wider and more aggressive than they ever have, and the United States ratcheting up what we were already doing as well including something that`s designed to hit the oil sector. Joining us now is the man who until February was our nation`s ambassador to Russia. He`s Michael McFaul, he`s currently a professor of political science at Stanford. Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for being with us. AMB. MICHAEL MCFAUL, FMR. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Thanks for having me, Rachel. MADDOW: Can you comment specifically on the sanctions that might affect the oil industry. You`ve talked before on this show about the importance of the Russian oil sector to their economy and the links to the Western oil sector in terms of exploiting it. Are these sanctions today going to be substantive? MCFAUL: They are substantive. And I think they had to be done. Putin has escalated in eastern Ukraine. He is not backing down. I think the president had no choice and the leaders of Europe had no choice. It will take time, however, for them to inflict pain on the oil industry in Russia and I think everybody needs to realize that this is not going to change Putin`s mind overnight, it`s not going to change his behavior overnight and to have economic costs, that`s something we usually measure in years, not weeks or months, but over time it will. And as you rightly said in your first segment, the Exxonmobil/Rosneft deal was the biggest joint venture in the history, well, maybe in the history of capitalism if it were to go through, to the $500 billion that they had planned. Russia needs that technology to go forward. Rosneft is specifically in the Arctic, and if that gets slowed down because of these sanctions, that will have real costs but over time, not immediately. MADDOW: It`s interesting to see that while there are direct sanctions on oil issues, there are not direct sanctions on gas. Europe obviously very dependent. Big swaths of Europe are very dependent specifically on Russian gas. I wonder with that carve-out for that very important economic issue, if you think that what Europe has done outside of the gas issue is an important uptick for them. They`ve been seen to be a little shier about sanctions than President Obama has. MCFAUL: It most certainly is an uptick. In fact, I was reading George Shultz`s memoirs earlier today. It was very nostalgic to hear the sound bites you started your show with, from Reagan and Gorbachev. I looked at the sanctions that Europe and the United States did after the crackdown on Solidarity in Poland. I would just remind our viewers, there was a big debate between the Europeans and the United States over funding and building of the gas pipeline. They were lesser sanctions, I think, than the ones we saw today. So that gives you I think some comparative perspective as to how serious this is. That said, you`re right, there was a carve-out for Gazprom. The largest Russian bank, the Sberbank, was also left off the list, and, of course, I think most disappointingly so far, the French have continued with their sale of their warships to Russia. That in my mind is a disappointment. MADDOW: That would also imply, though, that there is more room to grow if Russia continues to act in a way that continues to be provocative enough that it inspires more of a crackdown. I mean, looking at this in historical perspective, again I think raising the issue of how the west dealt with the Soviet Union when it was obviously in a very different economic place than it is now and we were in a different global economy than it was now, are there lessons in history in terms of what hurts enough, creates enough domestic pressure that Russian policies would change? What they`re doing in Ukraine, their rhetoric is a lot better but their actions seem to be a lot worse. MCFAUL: Well, history doesn`t tell us so much for a couple of reasons. One is the Russian companies, especially the banks and energy sector and others, they are more integrated in the world economy today, so the leverage is greater today than it was back in 1981 or `83 after the shoot- down of the Korean airline 007 where there also were some minor sanctions. But the second part of that is that there is more to be lost by the Europeans and for some American companies as well from those sanctions, and so that two-way street, I think, makes it harder to go forward with the sanctions. But, again, I am generally impressed with what happened today. I don`t predict Putin is going to change his mind overnight but I think it was a right step. MADDOW: Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, now professor of political science at Stanford. Thank you for your time tonight, sir, it`s always really nice to have you here. Thanks. MCFAUL: Thanks for having me. MADDOW: Again, the news today from Congress is that finally, with all of the stuff going on with Russia, finally, today the Senate took a big step toward approving a successor to Ambassador McFaul. We have not had one for several months. All right. We have lots more ahead tonight, including me driving a car in this studio on this set. We have not rehearsed it and we definitely should have rehearsed it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So tonight, we promised this last night. And it`s going to happen tonight. We`ve got exclusive reporting from on the ground in New Orleans, where a radically conservative protest movement has started storming into church services to disrupt them because they disagree with those churches. That story and that exclusive footage is next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: One of the hallmarks of the Republican Party after the Bush-Cheney era, one of things Republicans have done in this time in our American politics in that they will be remembered for is that they`ve come up with ways to close down tons of abortion clinics across America. Republicans since Bush and Cheney have come up with legislative strategies that they put into effect in multiple states to shut down clinics, half the clinics in Texas and Alabama. They`re aiming to close all but two clinics in that state; in Oklahoma, they think they`ll get all but one clinic shut down for the whole state. In Louisiana, the law they passed last month they think it`ll close all but one or two clinics in that state. And in all of these states when they pass these new laws to shut down clinics that do abortions, they never really say that they`re trying to shut down clinics that do abortions. They always say it`s for some other euphemistic reason, they usually cite safety or some other good-sounding, neutral- sounding rationale. They never come right out and say they`re trying to end access to abortion in their states -- except in Mississippi. There they admit it. The state`s governor in Mississippi has been totally open about what his state`s shut-down-the-clinics laws are designed to do. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PHIL BRYANT, MISSISSIPPI GOVERNOR: We`re going to continue to try to work to end abortion in Mississippi, and this is an historic day to begin that process. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was Mississippi`s governor in 2012 when he signed his state`s version of the law that`s been used in Republican controlled states across the country to stop women from being able to get abortions by closing down the clinics that provide abortions. And when Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed that law in his state, his state was already down to only one clinic left anyway. But the state legislature and Governor Bryant, they were very clear that they wanted Mississippi to not have abortion access anymore. They wanted that one clinic gone. They wanted there to be no place at all anywhere in Mississippi where a woman could legally get an abortion. Well, today a federal appeals court said that Mississippi can`t do that. The court blocked the state law that would have closed the last clinic in Mississippi. Mississippi had argued to the court that, yes, they did want to shut down that clinic but women in Mississippi, they said, could just drive to another state if they wanted to get that kind of care. The court said no to that. The court said, quote, "a woman has the constitutional right to end her pregnancy by abortion." H.B. 1390, a Mississippi state law, effectively extinguishes that right within Mississippi`s borders. As the AP put it today, the court ruled effectively that Mississippi may not shift to another state its obligation for established constitutional rights of its citizens. So now we know. As state after Republican-controlled state forces all of these clinics to close, now today with this ruling, we know what the court says is the limit, at least for now. You may be able to legislate half the clinics in Texas away, you may be able to legislate it down to one clinic in Oklahoma or one clinic in Alabama, but you cannot legislate away every last clinic in a state. You have to leave at least one. That`s the news today from the courts and that has been the story across the country for the past couple of years. I mean, mostly abortion clinics, women`s health centers have been closing. We do not have many new ones opening, which is why it was a big deal last year when Planned Parenthood announced that they were building a new women`s health care facility for the great city of New Orleans. Because of that close-down-the-clinics law that Louisiana passed last month, it`s not clear anymore what services Planned Parenthood will be able to provide at this new clinic, but they are building it and in the midst of building it, look who showed up. This was the scene in New Orleans earlier this month where anti-abortion protesters descended for a seven-day campaign to protest all over New Orleans, to protest at clinics, to protest at the construction site for the new clinic. They protested at the construction company and the contractors building the clinic. What they said they were doing was taking territory. The group who organized this week-long protest is now known as Operation Save America. You may know them by their old name, Operation Rescue. Operation Rescue is the group that got famous a couple of decades ago outside women`s clinics in Wichita, Kansas. They`re known for their radical apocalyptic brand of Christianity among other things. In their world view, you`re either with them on this issue or you are with Satan. Operation Save America likes to frame this issue as churches on one side, religious people on one side and abortion rights on the other. Religious people, churches on one side, women`s health care on the other. But when you talk to abortion doctors and you talk to pro-choice activists, as we have frequently done in covering this topic on this show, those folks also often talk about working on the pro-choice size from their own sense of mission, sometimes explicitly a sense of religious mission. In 2009 a follower of the radical anti-abortion movement in this country shot and killed this doctor, who ran a Wichita clinic. The doctor`s name was Dr. George Tiller and he was killed inside his church. He was killed inside his church where he was ushering at Sunday services. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sedgwick County 9-1-1. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Someone just came in and shot someone at a church. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Somebody shot someone? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Dr. Tiller, Dr. Tiller was just shot. MADDOW (voice-over): The man who killed Dr. Tiller was found with a Post- It Note on his dashboard containing the phone number of a local leader from Operation Rescue, the group that had been protesting outside his clinic. But the murder of Dr. Tiller did not happen at his clinic. It happened inside a church, inside his own church, his own religious sanctuary. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The story of abortion rights has never been as simple as church and anti-church the way the anti-abortion forces really want the country to see it. In New Orleans Planned Parenthood is building that new facility down the street from a Unitarian universalist church. When they had their groundbreaking for the new Planned Parenthood facility this spring it turned out it rained that day so they couldn`t hold the groundbreaking outside. They turned to their rain plan and their rain plan was to move the groundbreaking indoors. They moved it to their local church. They moved it to the Unitarian universalist church just a few blocks away. And they were welcomed there and the pews were packed with supporters of that new clinic. Now for the Unitarian church that was an act of hospitality and support for this new health care facility in their neighborhood. For the anti-abortion extremists who poured into New Orleans this month from out of town, what that church did apparently turned out to them to be an act of provocation and on the second day of their campaign in New Orleans, they showed up at the Unitarians` Sunday church service. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REV. DEANNA VANDIVER, FIRST UNITARIAN UNIVERSALIST CHURCH: We had begun our time together of collective prayer and meditation. We were lifting up the beloveds who we had lost in our community in the past two weeks and having a moment of silence. And out of that silence a voice came. We were all a little stunned. And suddenly they realized, wait, that`s not our script. And so in the midst of that silence, people started standing up and pulling off their button-down shirts and revealing their T-shirts of affiliation and just being very loud and disruptive and crying out malice and spewing out hate. And the youth who had spent the week studying to be leaders stood up and took hands and starting to circle around and they encouraged the rest of the congregation to take their hands and they circled around and we started the music and we started singing and encouraged everyone who could be with us respectfully to be with us respectfully and if you couldn`t to please take your disrespect past the threshold outside the church. So after that had happened, after the -- we had gathered back silence, the director of religious education went to check all the doors, went to check on the youth and apparently some of the ones who had left actually went over -- you`ve seen how the building is constructed. It`s mostly brick but on the religious education wing there`s actually some windows to the outside. So those who had left the sanctuary apparently went and took their grotesque signs and were pushing them up against the nursery window and screaming at the babies. And again, I lift up the young adults in the room who were in charge of the nursery and calmly picked them out and took them to an interior classroom and then left a sign on the door for the parents. KATE OSBORNE, MSNBC PRODUCER: How did (INAUDIBLE) make you feel? VANDIVER: In the moment, there`s a Brother Sign (ph) song that says, "some people do, do, do what they would have to do." So everybody did what they had to do in that moment. And I was and I never will be so proud of the people I serve. They moved from a place of love and compassion and respect, even while that was not what they were receiving from the people in the room. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That`s the Reverend Deanna Vandiver talking with our producer, Kate Osborne this week. Rev. Vandiver`s title is community minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in New Orleans. And she was in the pulpit that Sunday when anti-abortion protesters crashed the church and disrupted services and then stood outside the nursery windows to yell and protest at the little kids who were in the nursery for child care during Sunday services. We contacted the group that disrupted that church service that day. They call themselves, again, Operation Save America. Their spokesperson told us over the phone that some members of the group went too far that day in storming into the church and stopping their worship. She says they`ve been asked not do that. That said, on their website, Operation Save America describes what they did at that church as a big success. They`ve been bragging about it ever since, including here on their website. Their leader called what his protesters did in that church that day, quote, "dynamic witness." The perspective of the people inside the church, though, was a little different. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OSBORNE: What do you think their intent was? VANDIVER: I think their intent -- I try to imagine someone coming into my childhood church and starting to tell the people there as they`re worshipping, as they`re praying in their most sacred, holy, connected place, I try to imagine someone coming in and telling them that they`re wrong, that their God is not worthy, that their faith is not true and I can`t imagine it. I mean, I just can`t. And so that it would happen to our congregation, to our faith -- it just -- it speaks to me of the fear. It speaks to me of the fear in which people live. And I`m grateful my congregation`s -- the congregations I serve -- I serve three in this area as community minister - - I`m grateful that they`re not willing to live in fear. They`re going to stand on the side of love. OSBORNE: Did you feel like your congregation felt threatened by them? VANDIVER: I would say definitely some people did. And there was some language. I mean, many of them had not ever heard this language of malice, of hate. And never -- I mean, a sanctuary by definition is a sacred, holy, safe place. So the idea of that being -- that happening in there, I mean it is -- it`s vile. I`m not sure what happens next, but I`m really clear, even though faiths of all traditions have different ideas about family planning, one thing that I`m really clear about is that we have a pretty general moral consensus that freedom of religion is a founding principle of this country. And what happened here on Sunday was the opposite of that. We were holding our free church religious service and it was invaded by another religious group and we were told that we could not worship in the way we were worshipping. That`s ultimately undermining of the theory of this country`s founding. I don`t believe that people of good faith and goodwill will be allowed to, with good conscience, that to happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Two things are going on right now. Abortion clinics are closing all over the country where Republicans are in charge of state government. The Republican Party has effectively mainstreamed legislative tactics that really have worked, they really have successfully shut down clinics everywhere. And also the most radical and confrontational factions of the anti-abortion protest movement, they absolutely believe that they are the reason their movement is winning, particularly with the Supreme Court saying that protesters can`t be kept away from clinic entrances anymore, the ragged edge of the anti-abortion movement, the most confrontational edge of the anti-abortion movement, which has infrequently but regularly crossed over into violence, they believe that their movement is winning and that they are the reason why their movement is winning. They also believe that the way they can win all the way, the way they can achieve the criminal invasion of abortion in this country, full stop, and soon, the thing they believe they`re on the cusp of, they think they can get if they just protest harder now. They just protest harder and louder and closer and closer and closer. And this week that included going to this doctor`s house. That story is coming tomorrow. We hope you`ll be here with us for more on that. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So there are two ways in which the great state of Mississippi has made big news today. One is the one we just talked about at the big court case where Mississippi got told by the federal court system that they are not allowed to shut down the last abortion clinic in that state, even though they want to. So that`s one of the big Mississippi stories today. But the other big Mississippi story, in order to get to that one, we have to -- I have to get better at this -- we have to drive this car to Mississippi in order to figure out how to deal with that story. Aah! And that`s next. Oh, I`m terrible. There we go -- oh. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: There`s about to be a teeny tiny car crash on this show. But first, here`s why. Look. Uninsured rates sinks in second quarter, significant decline in uninsured rates since 2013. The verdict is in. ObamaCare lowers uninsured rates. Steep drop in the uninsured. ObamaCare driving down uninsured rates. Love ObamaCare or hate ObamaCare, it does mean that more people in our country have health insurance now. The verdict is in. There is an exception, though, it is the state of Mississippi. Second worst uninsured rate in the country and a state government that`s working double time to make sure it stays that way. When news broke this week that Mississippi might be the exception in the nation, it might be the only state in the country where the uninsured rate has actually gotten worse in the last few months and not better. Mississippi`s Republican Governor Phil Bryant responded to that news by saying it`s all ObamaCare`s fault. He said, quote, "If statistics show that that the ill-conceived and so-called Affordable Care Act is resulting in higher rates of uninsured people in Mississippi, I`d say that`s yet another example of a broken promise from Barack Obama." ObamaCare not working in Mississippi. And look how terrible it`s turning out for them in that state. ObamaCare must be a terrible thing. In the real world what`s happening is that Mississippi is doing everything it can to stop ObamaCare from working in that state. So it`s not working well in that state. And now they`re mad that it doesn`t work. I mean, Governor Bryant said he wouldn`t let the state create an exchange for people to buy insurance. He said it would be a gateway to ObamaCare. Mississippi`s insurance commissioner, a Republican, wanted to make a state exchange. It was called One, Mississippi. It seemed well designed, seemed like it would work. Governor Bryant refused to let that happen. The Feds said they would love to go ahead with "One, Mississippi," but thanks to Governor Bryant, it was impossible with the governor`s refusal to work with that. So the insurance commissioner, there`s no way to coordinate strategy with other agencies that he`s in charge of. Then natural, when faced with the other part of ObamaCare, the Mississippi governor said no to the Medicaid part, too, letting the federal government pay for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Mississippi residents to get health insurance on Medicaid. It would have wiped hundreds of thousands of people off the rolls of the uninsured in his state. It would have got them into health insurance. But the governor refused that. He said it was a fool`s errand. And besides, he said, uninsured people in Mississippi can always just go to the emergency room. That`s his strategy. Governor Phil Bryant of Mississippi has done everything in his power to prevent ObamaCare from working. He`s gone out of his way to wreck it and now he`s blaming it for not working in his state, which is pretty much like being given a fancy new racy sports car, like, say, this one, works fine. Works according to plan. Works according to directions. I`m terrible at it, but it does work. Right. But so this works, it`s fine, works as directed. But hey, I`m a governor who really does not want this thing I have to work. So in order to make sure that it does not work, I will do a little tinkering with this particular toy. I want to make sure the car doesn`t work as planned, so. That should do it. Now let`s see how Mississippi`s health care system works. This piece of junk, it doesn`t work. When I try to take this car that somebody gave me for a spin one more time, this thing`s a mess. Why does this stupid car not work? I`m never going to buy another car like this. Nobody should get a car like this. It`s a terrible car, it doesn`t work. I wonder why. Yes, Mississippi`s health system doesn`t work that well. There are a high number of people who don`t have insurance in that state. It`s a bad situation, presented with a way to make that better that`s working across the country, the governor of Mississippi decided instead to take a hammer to it. But hey, President Obama, now, it doesn`t work. What are you going to do about it? Terrible car. It`s maybe the most tortured metaphor we`ve ever done, but that does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL." Good evening, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END