The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 11/17/14

Guests: John Stanton, Aldo Seoane

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thanks to you at home as well for joining us this hour. So, the pope -- it turns out the pope faxes. Specifically, the pope faxes this man. His name is Cardinal Sean O`Malley of Boston and on the occasion of the pope, Pope Francis announcing his first visit to the United States, "60 Minutes" has just done a profile of Cardinal Sean O`Malley, certainly the most influential American in the whole Catholic Church now, and apparently somebody with whom the pope shares a love of faxing. They fax. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEAN PATRICK O`MALLEY, CARDINAL OF BOSTON: Usually we fax. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? O`MALLEY: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You fax with the pope? O`MALLEY: Yes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People still communicate by fax? O`MALLEY: Still communicate by fax. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like with letters or -- O`MALLEY: Uh-huh. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? O`MALLEY: Very quick and efficient and a little more private than -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Most people think -- O`MALLEY: Paper. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, really? Most people think texting is quicker than faxing. O`MALLEY: Well, the pope and I aren`t into texting. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: No texting, just faxing. There are reasonable arguments to be made about how influential the Catholic Church or any church is in U.S. politics at any given time. But we are at this really interesting moment right now where the new pope just announced plans to visit this country. He has also just demoted who was the highest ranking American at the Vatican, Cardinal Raymond Burke had been the archbishop of St. Louis before the previous pope. Pope Benedict named him a cardinal. And he was known for making the most of all the extravagances that come with being a cardinal, but you don`t have to wear them all the time if you don`t want to. Aside from being flamboyant enough in his personal presentation while he was in Rome, so flamboyant other church officials asked him to tone it down, the other thing that Cardinal Raymond Burke had been known for was being aggressively conservative and partisan in his politics, in his American politics. He after all was the cardinal who said he would refuse to give communion to John Kerry. When John Kerry was a candidate for president, he would refuse that on the basis of John Kerry`s politics. After Senator Ted Kennedy died, the same cardinal said that Senator Ted Kennedy should have been denied a Catholic funeral because of his politics. Well, the new pope just demoted that American cardinal in Rome. He had been effectively the chief justice of the Vatican Supreme Court. He just got demoted. And the American cardinal who is ascendant now instead is Cardinal Sean O`Malley of Boston who prefers to be called Cardinal Shawn. He wears the brown sack cloth of a Franciscan monk. He`s now being profiled in to see what he wants and where his influence might be felt. And that`s in part because the biggest question mark looming over American politics right now, the big immediate freak out and anticipation and guessing game in American politics right now is over the issue of immigration. And our American cardinal who is a confidante to the pope, who faxes with the pope, who stays with him in his apartment when he visits Rome now, this American cardinal has not just been outspoken, he has been a real activist on the issue of immigration. It was Cardinal Sean O`Malley and eight other American Catholic bishops who went to Arizona earlier this year and walked one of the trails through the desert where immigrants trying to cross into this country have died by the dozens if not the hundreds from dehydration in the heat of the desert. Cardinal O`Malley and the bishops walked that path through the desert. They went to the border. They left a wreath at the border in honor of immigrants who have died trying to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. And then, he and these eight bishops did this remarkable thing. They set up a cross border mass. That fence there that sort of corrugated metal wall behind them, that`s the border fence that divides Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Mexico. And in April this year, we covered it at the time, they said mass in English and in Spanish at the border for an ad hoc congregation that surrounded them on both sides of the border. And, you`ve ever been to a Catholic mass, you know that the apex of any Catholic mass is always the giving of communion. When it came time to do communion at the border mass, the bishops gave communion both to the people on the American side of the border, people in front of them, but also through the border fence, they gave communion to the people in Nogales, Mexico, on the Mexican side of that wall. So, there`s this incredibly official American cardinal making his case in very dramatic ways, making his case for compassion on the issue of immigration and the need for immigration reform. It`s not just these demonstrations of solidarity and compassion like this mass at the border. Same cardinal has also written to the Obama administration telling them to start deporting so many people. They need to find a way to reform immigration policy. And he is the closest thing that Americans have to somebody at the center of power in the church. He faxes with the pope every day. I mean, that`s weird on the one hand because who knew people still faxed anything ever. But also -- it is also deja vu weird because back in the golden age of faxing, back in the 1980s, it was the same situation being the Catholic Church being mad about immigration and them trying to get the president to do something about it. Back in the golden age of faxing, the president who Catholics were mad at then about immigration was Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan had signed the last big policy change we had as a country on immigration. He signed a bill that made it so millions of people who were here illegally could apply for legal residence. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TOM BROKAW, NBC NEWS: President Reagan today signed a massive immigration reform law which will affect the status of millions of immigrants who are now here illegally. The new law grants amnesty to illegal aliens who lived here before 1982. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The reason the Catholic Bishops got mad at Ronald Reagan in the `80 about that policy is not because they disagreed with the overall goals of what he was trying to do. It`s because of the technicalities of the way that policy worked. In order to qualify for legal status, you lad had to have been here for a specific number of years. That law was passed in 1986. You had to have lived before 1982. The problem in the way that worked out for individual families is that maybe not everybody has been here or been alive for all the same amount of time, right? Sometimes a parent would have been here for the right number of years but their child would not qualify. There was this strict determination about those time limits for who would be deported and who would be allowed to stay. And that created a problem in which parents would be allowed to be here but their children would be deported without them. There were weird eventualities that weren`t the way that policy was planned but that were the way that policy was working out. And so, Ronald Reagan signed that law in 1986. Then, the Catholic bishops started lobbying President Reagan to make a change. Tweak enforcement of that law so families wouldn`t be separated. So, if immigrant parents could get legal status, their kids could, too, and their families wouldn`t have to be broken apart. It was a powerful case to make, a powerful argument around that. And the year after Ronald Reagan had signed this law in 1986, Congress did try to vote on a change to that law that would have made the adjustment that the Catholic bishops were asking for. They tried but it ended up not getting all the way through Congress. And so, in response, Ronald Reagan decided to fix it himself. Ronald Reagan took administrative action to expand on that existing policy. In 1987, the Reagan administration announced that even though Congress hadn`t changed the law, President Reagan would do it himself. He would make a change himself so that kids couldn`t be deported if their parents had obtained legal status. But the bishops kept pushing and advocates kept pushing because even under the tweaked interpretation of the law, even after President Reagan`s executive action, there was some still fairly common circumstances in which this law still would result in families being split up. And Congress, even after Ronald Reagan had taken that executive action, Congress again tried on its own to take up legislation to make yet another fix of a law, wouldn`t apply just to kids of people who had been legalized but also it account for other immediate family members like spouses. So marriages wouldn`t have to be broken up by this law. Congress took up that law. They thought they were going to be able to pass a tweak to it, but they couldn`t get it done in Congress. By then, it was George H.W. Bush who was president and he, too, like Ronald Reagan, decided to take executive action on his own to expand basically the number of people here illegally in this country who would nevertheless be spared from deportation because of executive action by the president. The total number of people to whom, quote, "deferred deportation" was extended by those actions was about 40 percent of what was believed to be the total population of undocumented immigrants in this country at the time, 40 percent. The executive action that President Obama is now contemplating would also apply to about 40 percent of the undocumented immigrant population in this country. So, it`s roughly on the same scale. And it remains to be scene exactly what President Obama is going to propose. But if they do anything like the White House has said to expect, it`s going to be right in line with the kind of huge categorical protections from deportation that were ordered by executive authority by two of the last three Republican presidents, one of whom is now a saint. Sorry. Sainthood thing not official yet. Sorry. Jumped the gun. Conservative media and the Republican Party are so upset by the prospect of Barack Obama doing what Poppy Bush and St. Reagan did, that they`re having a hard time among themselves figuring out if the appropriate response will be to impeach him or to sue him or to shut down the government or all of the above. On FOX News recently, one of their primetime hosts asked a Republican senator if maybe Republicans in Congress should consider defunding the entire Justice Department in order to try to make President Obama not do this. Now why would getting rid of the Justice Department, which, I don`t know, prosecutes all federal crimes and has some other stuff to do, why would it help to get rid of the Justice Department? I don`t know, but it sounds big and clearly this calls for something big. When Ronald Reagan did this, the right did not mind. When George H.W. Bush did it, they did not mind. They were so un-outraged by what Poppy Bush did in his huge executive order on immigration that a few months after he did it, Republicans in Congress voted to codify his policy. So, the provisions he implemented wouldn`t expire at the end of his term as president. Now though that this president is considering the exact same kind of thing, naturally, it`s the end of the world. On FOX News, every time they talk about what President Obama is about to do on immigration they still talk about impeaching him. Everywhere else in Republican-ville they seem to be settling on the idea not of impeachment but another government shutdown. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: If they can call refusing to fund Obama`s unconstitutional power grabs, shutting down the government. It well needs to be shut down if that`s what it takes. (END AUDIO CLIP) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Senator Thune, are Republican leaders now seriously considering somehow linking opposition to executive action with government funding? Either by setting up a situation that will result in a government shutdown when funding runs out on December 11th or just passing the short-term bills, month by month and keeping this fight going and helping government fighting hostage? SEN. JOHN THUNE (R), SOUTH DAKOTA: I think Republicans, Chris, are looking at different options about how best to respond to the president`s unilateral action which many people believe is unconstitutional, unlawful action on this particular issue. But my concern is I don`t -- shutting the government down doesn`t solve the problem. WALLACE: So, very briefly, you`re saying you don`t think that Republicans should take the bait if you will, and do anything to shut down the government? THUNE: Well, it doesn`t solve the problem, Chris. But, look, we`re having those discussions. We were only in for a couple of days. We`ll continue to meet about this. I know the House leaders are talking about it. The Senate leaders are talking about it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We`re having those discussions. We were in for a couple of days this last week. We`re continuing to meet about this. House leaders are talking about it. Senate leaders are talking about it. It won`t work, but we`re thinking -- we`re thinking. Government shutdown to stop immigration reform is also being pushed now by the Washington think tank, the Heritage Foundation, that was so instrumental in organizing and whipping for and sustaining the last Republican government shutdown which was less than a year ago. Remember the defund Obamacare thing and the whole government shutdown effort around that? That was the Heritage Foundation pushing the government shutdown as a magical means of defunding Obamacare which did not happen, even though they did shut down the government. Now, they are pushing for the government shutdown as a magical means of stopping amnesty, stopping President Obama from taking executive action on immigration reform. So, some things don`t change. If you are against government in general if you think the federal government in particular is worthless or better yet evil, then shutting down that worthless/evil thing may seem like a good solution to any problem. You know, it`s good on its own terms, even if it doesn`t ever accomplish something. So, the fake defund Obamacare thing, shut down the government. Stop President Obama on immigration reform or make it look like you`re trying to, defund the government. Tuesday? Defund the government. Wintry mix, defund the government. Some things don`t change in terms of what to expect in the short term from actors like this. But the larger cycles on these sometimes don`t change either. Pope Francis has announced he`s coming to the United States while the top American cardinal -- top American bishop in the church is leading mass in English and Spanish, praising immigrants on the border, calling for compassionate reform to help immigrant families. Right now, they want President Obama to act. In 1987, they wanted President Ronald Reagan to act. 1987, it was Pope John Paul in Los Angeles attracting in the largest crowd in the history of Dodgers Stadium to a mass he conducted in English and Spanish. He said -- the papal mass most strongly celebrated newcomers from the migrants who marched up the spine of California to found its missions two centuries ago to those who are more recently drawn to its shores. "The L.A. Times" reported at the time, one of the loudest ovations came when the pope commended Catholic officials for their activism, in assisting undocumented aliens to become citizens. The pope at that mass, again, he spoke in English and Spanish before this huge stadium full of immigrants in Los Angeles. He spoke in English and Spanish. He said, "Today, in the church in Los Angeles, Christ is Anglo and Hispanic. Christ is Chinese and black. Christ is Vietnamese and Irish. Christ is Korean and Italian. Christ is Japanese and Filipino. Christ is Native American, Croatian, Samoan." Now, don`t be mad at me about that. That was Pope John Paul putting a heck of a lot of pressure on political leaders on this country in 1987 to act compassionately toward immigrants and their families. To fix immigration reform in a way that would be more compassionate to hold families together. Some things don`t change. And Ronald Reagan took that kind of executive action to fix immigration reform in 1987. And George H.W. Bush took that kind of executive action to fix immigration reform in 1990. And President Obama is about to do it, too. He might do it as soon as -- well, what time is it now? He may do it as soon as this week some time. It`s fax time all over again. It is 1987 all over again, except this time there`s FOX News and talk radio and Heritage Foundation and the right has decided to be enraged -- I should say this iteration of the Heritage Foundation. And this time, the right has decided to be enraged by the prospects of this policy change. And so, even though we have been here before and we have achieved it peacefully and the sky didn`t fall, and we have been here before, this time, we are barreling toward a self-imposed collapse in Washington because now the way we have evolved is that we just can`t handle things like this anymore even though we`ve done them before. Joining us now is John Stanton, Washington bureau chief from "BuzzFeed". John, thanks very much for joining us. It`s nice to see you. JOHN STANTON, BUZZFEED: It`s good to be here. MADDOW: I was amazed to go back and see the comparison in 1987 with the kind of pressure that the Catholic bishops were putting on Reagan then, and the kind of pressure that`s been put by advocates and by Catholic bishops and by others on President Obama now. That is so parallel. What seems very, very different is the other side of it. What seems very different is the character of the anti-immigrant lobby. I guess I have to ask if that squares with what you`re seeing right now with this furor over the prospect of immigration reform in Washington. STANTON: I mean, to a certain degree, yes. A bit of it, though, also is just the general -- really just distaste for President Obama on the Republican side. He can be almost doing frankly anything on a unilateral or executive basis and Republicans would probably get outraged. You know, they have this sort of pending lawsuit about executive orders that`s been nebulous. And, you know, maybe it`s Obamacare. Maybe it`s immigration. Maybe it`s this other thing. And I think that`s getting mixed up with sort of the traditional parts of the Republican Party that were unhappy with President Reagan`s bill but never came out as hard as they are now, and has really been stoked by this really strong anti-Obama strain within the party and the general sort of partisan nastiness that`s been going on in Washington since 2010. MADDOW: It seems like the political power, though, so it can -- of trying to make a huge hubbub, like an impeachment level hubbub or a government level hubbub or something like that, or even lawsuit against the president level upset over this defends on being to be able to say this has never been done before. That no president has ever taken any sort of action like this. Is the debate in Washington happening just sort of in an historical context where we don`t talk about anything that happened before last Tuesday or is the George H.W. Bush and the Ronald Reagan experience at all seen as relevant? STANTON: No. I mean, Republicans, you know, they`ve had a pretty good way of forgetting the parts of Ronald Reagan that don`t go with what modern conservatism believes in. And I think it`s happening here again, you know? On the face of it, you know, do you say the law was passed by Congress? His job is to enforce the law. So, if he`s not enforcing the law, that seems like unconstitutional. But if you look at it from a legal basis or precedent, there`s clear legal precedent for him to be able to do this. You know, prosecutorial discretion and things like that, allow them to make these kind of decisions. And, you know, it`s a purely political fight. They don`t really -- you know, the past in Washington doesn`t really matter much. Last week didn`t matter much in Washington these days. MADDOW: In terms of timing looking forward, instead of timing looking back, do you have any sense of when the White House is going to make its action? STANTON: We`ve heard differing reports, possibly Wednesday but maybe more likely on Thursday. They`ve sort of started sending out feelers to the activist groups to prepare to have rallies to support the White House. They`re talking with some of the Hispanic caucus to try to get them ready to be behind the president on this. So, it sounds like it could be in the next, you know, 48 hours. MADDOW: Wow. OK. John Stanton, Washington bureau chief for "BuzzFeed" -- John, thank you very much. Great to see you. STANTON: Good to see you. MADDOW: Thanks. All right. We`ve got lots more ahead on this very busy news day, including some important bunk -- no, wait, debunking the function, the junction, that thing at the end of the show. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If you are a diehard fan of Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, today is your local day because it turns out, you can download a high resolution portrait of Senator Franken and of his wife Franni directly from the senator`s campaign Web site, ready to be framed and mounted on a wall near you. Neat. You can also treat yourself to a number of random stock video like movie clips of Senator Al Franken, like this one, which is called Franken in diner. It`s a heartwarming three-second long tale of the senator silently hobnobbing with fellow diners. Really, it`s three seconds. You can also check out this one called "Franken reading to children." It`s a two-second long snapshot of the senator reading to children at a classroom. Then, there`s Franken with couple at table. Senator Franken, very quickly, chatting wordlessly with a man and a woman at the table -- that`s it. This is not an Al Franken thing specifically. Name a candidate this year and I`ll show you an out of context inane video of the candidate doing some random generic thing on a loop. If you want Mitch McConnell just smiling for no reason for example, you can have lots and lots of inane short videos of Mitch McConnell smiling for no reason. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: This wordless nonsensical piece of tape was not art. It was posted to Mitch McConnell`s YouTube account back in March. There`s no narration. No voiceover, just this. And again, it`s not him just being creepy. The whole system is creepy. Everybody is creepy. Everybody has to be creepy in this system. Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan posted a non-campaign ad video earlier this year in which he spends a good chunk of time just staring creepily into the camera or maybe into your soul. And that`s it. That`s all that happens. What these are, these wordless non-campaign ad videos are pretty blatant attempts at bending the rules, rules that nobody enforces anyway. The Federal Election Commission, the FEC, says super PACs can raise and spend all the money they want in support of the candidate, but they cannot coordinate what they are doing with that candidate who they love so much. So, the PAC can`t, like, go to a diner with Al Franken and shoot an ad with him there. They can`t set up a camera crew in Mitch McConnell`s office to catch him smiling and just the right twinkly light and then use it as an ad for that candidate. They can`t work together. So, they can`t go shoot pictures of their candidate for an ad. So, the campaigns realize if they just happened to post extensive photos and wordless videos of their candidates online and if super PACs just happen to stumble upon that video and use it in their own political ads, then nobody would be breaking any rules. Nobody is coordinating. We just found this picture of Mitch McConnell smiling. We thought we`d use it. Since the campaigns were not sending that video directly to the PACs, they were instead simply putting it out there publicly for the world. Technically, they`re not breaking that no-coordination rule. Now, whether that line of thinking really does fall in line with the actual law that has yet to be cleared up by the FEC, frankly because nothing is ever cleared up by the FEC and there are no enforced (AUDIO GAP) anymore. Well, in any case now, here`s a new one, new tactic. Chris Moody, who`s now at CNN, is now reporting that Republican super PACs in the last election devised a way to give their internal secret, really valuable polling data to Republican campaigns. Now, you`re not supposed to be able to coordinate. But you know how in spy movies, there`s always like a fake rock with a trap door in the Moscow park, or there`s like a specific loose brick in an underpass somewhere, and the spy knows where the loose brick is, and also, his handler knows where the loose brick is. So, these spies use public but inconspicuous, unnoticeable spots to drop information, to hide information in public that somebody else then knows to come pick up. That`s like spy novel 101. That technique is called a dead drop. What Chris Moody just reported about the last election is that the Republicans built a dead drop online. Look at this. "Republicans and outside groups used anonymous Twitter accounts to share internal polling data ahead of the midterms. The Twitter accounts were hidden in plain sight, the profiles were publicly available, but they were meaningless without knowledge of how to find them and decode the information." So, like, look at one of these tweets. This is the tweet: Fl-44- 42/44-44/35-35/42-41/49-47. And then what appears to be a date, 10/22/14 and then there`s the number 26, 2-6. So, that`s a coded tweet posted, as you can see, on October 25th. If I`m right about that last part of the tweet being a date, that would be polling data they are posting from the 22nd of October 2014. My guess is the first two letters in the tweet are the state, Florida, and the last two numbers are the congressional districts where those polling results are from, districts 2 through 6, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. So, my guess is those are the internal polling numbers for each of those districts taken on that date. Quote, "The accounts CNN renewed were active ahead of this month`s election. They were live until November 3rd but then they were deleted minutes after CNN contacted the National Republican Committee with questions." So, they posted these coded tweets with this internal, non-public, very valuable information might help in terms of targeting your campaign resources, right? But you can`t coordinate, so you do it anonymously. They pulled down the accounts. There some are surviving screen shots of what they were doing. And if this was a super spy way of coordinating between super PACs and the campaigns that they want to help, but legally they can`t communicate with, then plainly this would be illegal. It would be illegal coordination -- if we actually enforced the laws around illegal campaign stuff anymore. But we don`t. We don`t. In response to the CNN piece today, the vice chair of the FEC tweeted that, yes, this issue may come before the FEC at some point but, quote, "coordination rules are sadly murky." Rules that are supposed to prevent this sort of thing -- wet noodle. Who knows? So, knock yourself out with the fake rock Twitter dead drops. Nobody is coming after you apparently. One side benefit of this whole murky business is that if you do ever need tape of Senator Al Franken at a kitchen table going like this -- that we can do. The senator`s campaign can take care of you on that. Watch. Oh, yes. See? That you can have. The more you know. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Late break update. One of the last two U.S. Senate seats to be decided this year. Tonight, which is 13 days out from Election Day, we finally have a winner in Alaska. Democratic Senator Mark Begich of Alaska has tonight conceded his Senate seat to his Republican challenger in that race, Dan Sullivan. A number of news outlets, including this one, had called the race for Dan Sullivan. Late last week, NBC News characterized Dan Sullivan as the apparent winner of the race, but Senator Begich insisted that all of the remaining ballots be counted because there was a lot of them outstanding in Alaska. The state of Alaska tonight is still counting ballots and they don`t plan to officially certify a winner in that race until later this month, but Senator Begich is apparently seeing the writing on the wall in terms of the numbers that have come in thus far, and he has now thrown it in. He says he called to congratulate his opponent Dan Sullivan earlier today. And that results in Alaska tonight means that there`s now just one Senate race left in the whole country that remains unresolved. It`s a race that Democrats are trying desperately to hold on to, and it involves one of the more inexplicable political strategies that I think I`ve ever seen in them trying to do that. That story is next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This was the scene outside Senator Mary Landrieu`s house in Washington, D.C. A giant inflatable pipeline across her front yard put there by opponents of the Keystone oil pipeline. Good morning, Senator Landrieu. How`s your weekend? Senator Landrieu is from Louisiana. She`s a Democrat and she`s in real danger of losing her seat in the Senate. She now appears to be trailing by double digits in a December 6th runoff against her challenger, who`s Republican congressman named Bill Cassidy. Congressman Cassidy is the sponsor of a bill that passed last week in the House that would clear the way for the Keystone pipeline. Mary Landrieu has also been pushing for the Senate to vote for the Keystone pipeline as well. Last week, Mary Landrieu told her Senate colleagues she believes that the pipeline has the votes to pass right away. She demanded a vote on Keystone in this lame-duck session while Democrats still control the Senate and coincidentally while she is still running for re-election. Senator Landrieu wants you to see her getting her opponent`s bill passed. That`s what -- that`s why she -- that`s how she -- she seems to be saying basically, "Vote for me because I agree with my opponent, and I can help get done what he wants to do." It`s kind of a definition of an insane way to win an election. But despite that, Mary Landrieu is getting what she wants. The Senate is scheduled to start voting on the Keystone pipeline tomorrow. It`s not at all clear she`s got the 60 votes that she needs but she needs to get it passed the Senate, but she did get that inflatable pipeline on her front lawn today. Regardless of what happens with the vote on Capitol Hill, there are also local votes that need to happen on Keystone. The pipeline would cross several states on its way south from Canada. And one of those states in Nebraska, they have not yet settled the question of which state agency would give permission for that. Depending on how the state supreme court rules in Nebraska, the decision could come down to the Nebraska Public Service Commission. You may never have heard of this august body but you can bet the pipeline company has. So, we have the federal vote in Washington happening tomorrow and we`ve got the local vote in Nebraska that still has to happen. Also, though, regardless of what happens in either of those, there might be a local war over this. And the state of South Dakota, the tribes of the Sioux Nation say they don`t want the Keystone pipeline coming through their land, and they`re serious about it. A couple of years ago, a native radio station issued an action alert for Lakota people to stop oil trucks moving through. They ended up in a six-hour standoff, a physical standoff and stopped those trucks. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MARIE RANDALL, OGLALA LAKOTA NATION: This is our reservation. This is our community. And look at 300 some children over there. And maybe a thousand people over here. Lakota people, Lakota Nation we`re standing on. And why are they coming through here. You`re all Lakotas. Stand up for your rights. We have the greatest foundation in this world. I`m 93 years old. How long more am I going to be saying, this is your foundation. Protect it. At least we have our nation and we can say you cannot come through here with whatever you have. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We say you cannot come through here with whatever you have. I should tell you, those trucks they were blocking did not turn out to be Keystone trucks specifically. But as a show proverbial force, that was a show of proverbial force. You can tell how seriously the Lakota take this pipeline by how long they`ve continued to say no. This spring, a coalition of cowboys and Indians set up a camp on the Washington Mall. Cowboys and Indians as a phrase, has become a little chunk of American idiom that is all but separated from those very real things. But this was very literally true, cowboys and Indians, and they said they`d do anything to stop this pipeline. Anything and everything they could. And this morning, there they were in front of Senator Landrieu`s house trying again to stop this Keystone pipeline. On Friday, after the House voted to approve Keystone, the Rosebud Sioux released a statement calling that vote an act of war, and the president of the Rosebud Sioux posted a statement saying, quote, "The House has now signed our death warrants and the death warrants of our children and grandchildren. The Rosebud Sioux tribe will not allow this pipeline through our lands. Authorizing Keystone XL is an act of war against our people." The Rosebud president telling reporters, quote, "Act of war means that we`re going to have to take legal maneuvers now. We`re going to protect our land and our way of life." We`re going to protect our way of life on the high plains and reservation and National Mall and now on Mary Landrieu`s front lawn. Joining us now is Aldo Seoane. He`s a co-director of the Wica Agli Native American activist group and he was part of the protest today at Senator Landrieu`s house. Mr. Seoane, thank you very much for being here. It`s a pleasure to have you here. ALDO SEOANE, WICA AGLI TRIBAL NATIONS: It`s an honor to be here. MADDOW: So, what does it mean to you personally? How do you understand this provocative phrase that this vote was an act of war? What does that mean to you? SEOANE: I won`t begin to speculate on what chairman was saying or what the Rosebud Sioux Tribe is saying. What I do know is from being on the ground, you know, we take this very seriously. I`m under the impression what we`re looking at is TransCanada, the Keystone XL pipeline, them attempting to come through our reservation, that would be considered an act of war against the pipeline itself, not against the U.S. government. MADDOW: In terms of what that would mean on the ground at the reservation, when you say that you -- that the pipeline won`t be allowed to come through the reservation, what do you think could be done? What do you think could be done? What do you expect might happen on the ground? SEOANE: Well, it`s not going to come through. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe is a part of the Great Sioux Nation and the Ft. Laramie Treaties both 1851, 1868, define that area. And that`s pretty much the entire state of South Dakota going into Wyoming, North Dakota, part of Nebraska, over to the east side of the Missouri River. That entire territory is part of the Great Sioux Nation and a consensus not to let that pipeline go through. Back in March 29th of this year, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe set up a spiritual encampment to pray that the world would wake up to this, that our treaties would be honored, that the treaties are the tribe would be honored and that Keystone XL would follow proper consultation procedures and that the government would support its due diligence process. And that it would continue with its policy on tribal consultation and work with tribes in finding solutions for this. That pipeline opposition camp has been standing. It`s been manned 24 hours a day, and it`s been said by President Scott (ph) and by President Brewer of the Oglala Sioux Tribe this pipeline will not come through the territory and they`ll stop it by any means necessary. MADDOW: Are there conditions under which you would accept or the people of the Sioux Nation would consider accepting the pipeline through the land? Is it a decision that`s already made or is there a political process among the tribes for deciding about a project like this or for being consulted? SEOANE: My understanding is, no. This pipeline is in no way wanted. We have seen and been a part of actions where we`ve been hearing that, including the D.C. action, the Reject and Protect Action. We`ve heard our chairmans talk and the chairmans of the Rosebud tribe and (INAUDIBLE) other indigenous groups say we don`t want tar sands. It`s too risky for our communities both to the land, to the water, to the people. So, I don`t think that there is any proper strategy for this to go through or any kind of handling of this. MADDOW: Aldo Seoane, co-director Wica Agli Native American activist group -- thanks for helping us understand this tonight. Appreciate you being here. SEOANE: Thank you so much. MADDOW: All right. We have a lot more ahead, including a Debunktion Junction where we debunk me -- which doesn`t feel good. That will be fun for you guys, I guess. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Torrential downpours and -- everybody`s favorite -- wintry mix made for a cold and raw and wet Monday in lots of places on the East Coast. It was one of those days where if you had an event scheduled to be held outside, you called for the backup plan and moved it inside. But today in D.C., there was one event that couldn`t be moved inside. This morning, in that driving rain, on the north side of the U.S. Capitol, a bipartisan group gathered under trench coats and umbrellas and tents to plant a tree. This bare but tall American sycamore tree was propped up and put into the ground this morning in memory of Emmett Till. You know his name. Emmett Till was 14 years old when he was beaten, tortured and murdered while visiting his relatives in the Mississippi Delta in the summer of 1955. If you think about your civil rights history, 1955 is early, right? Fourteen-year-old Emmett Till`s murder that summer, 1955, helped spark the civil rights movement in the South, particularly after his mother insisted an human being buried in an open casket so the world could see what was done to her son in Mississippi. Well, today, in Washington, Emmett Till was officially recognized with a sort of living memorial at the U.S. Capitol. Nearly 60 years after his death, Attorney General Eric Holder spoke in the driving rain today about that murder and about the symbolism of this memorial that will now mark his life. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Although Emmett Till died senselessly and far too soon, it can never -- it can never be said that he died in vain. His tragic murder galvanized millions to action. And today, we commemorate this legacy by planting a tree in his honor -- a tree that will become his living memorial here at the heart of our republic, in the shadow of the United States Capitol. Like the work it symbolizes and the cause it represents, this tree will outlast all of us. Like our ongoing efforts, it will honor the enduring legacy of a young man, a boy really, who never had the chance to grow old. And it will ensure that Emmett Till`s story, his example, and his too short life will be preserved forever. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Attorney General Eric Holder speaking there. The man over his right shoulder is U.S. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, the whole Mississippi congressional delegation there today. Eric Holder went on today in his remarks today, "In remembering that young man in the way we do today, we ennoble our nation and make our union more perfect." Today is one of those days where it felt like the weather befitted the occasion. This was an important occasion. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Hoot, hoot, Debunktion Junction, what`s my function? All right. Two weeks ago, D.C. voted to legalize pot. Sixty-five percent yes, to just 28 percent no. A district of Columbia joined Oregon and Alaska in voting to legalize weed on election day this year. But, for D.C., of course, it`s not that simple. Even before D.C. voters exercised their franchise to say, yes, we want legal pot, there was already a congressman vowing to block D.C.`s legalization if that`s the way the vote went. Because the U.S. Congress actually has finally say on anything and all D.C. legislation for whatever reason, and because of Congress` history of imposing their views on D.C., the day after the election, I warned, we warned that D.C. should expect some meddling. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republicans love doing this to D.C. In 2009, the D.C. City Council voted to legalize same-sex Americans and then two Utah Republicans introduced bills in Congress to try to block what D.C. had voted to do. In 2010, Congress decided to take D.C.`s locally passed gun laws away. In 2011, Republicans in Congress blocked D.C.`s own locally decide, locally funded abortion policies. Now they are doing it again. D.C. votes to legalize pot as Republicans sweep to power in Senate and expand their majority in the House. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was the day after the election. They`re doing it again. That was the day after the election. Now, it`s like two weeks later, right? So, is that true or false? That Congress is set to meddle in D.C. affairs once again, this time to block D.C. from legalizing pot? Is it true or is it false? (BUZZER) MADDOW: False? False? (BUZZER) MADDOW: It`s hard to believe, but false. So, yes, we thought there would be more of a fight by Congress, specifically by Republicans. But look at "The Washington Post" today. "With focus elsewhere, GOP Congress shows little interest in blocking pot legalization in D.C." Senator Lindsey Graham, "To be honest, that`s pretty far down my list of priorities." Ohio Senator Rob Portman says he hasn`t given it one thought. Senator John McCain says he`s focused on other things. So, at least publicly, the Republican Party says they`ll not interfere with D.C. legalizing pot. They`re not. (BUZZER) MADDOW: So they say. Take them at their word until they give us a reason not to. We`ll see. All right, next up. To Oregon. Dr. Monica Wehby was a Republican Senate candidate in Oregon. She ran as a challenger against Senator Jeff Merkley. Dr. Wehby did not win. She lost by quite a lot. Dr. Monica Wehby had a lot of issues she stood for in this campaign, but if there were two things that the Dr. Monica Wehby really wanted you to know about her, they were number one, she`s a doctor. And number two, she really doesn`t like Obamacare. That`s what her whole campaign was about. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. MONICA WEHBY (R), THEN-OREGON SENATE CANDIDATE: It`s not brain surgery. Obamacare is bad for Oregon. I`m Dr. Monica Wehby. As a pediatric neurosurgeon, I know firsthand how devastating Obamacare is for Oregon families and patients. It`s why I`m the only candidate for Senate who has fought to stop it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The only Senate candidate who has fought to stop it. I don`t know even know what that means. But her campaign slogan was even anti-Obamacare. "Keep your doctor, change your senator" was her campaign slogan. Well, now that Dr. Wehby isn`t going to be a senator, now that she`s lost that election, there are reports she has applied for a new job in Oregon. She`s applied for the job of running Obamacare in Oregon. Is that true or is that false? (RING) MADDOW: Oh, yes, it`s true. This is amazing. One issue anti- Obamacare candidate loses election, applies for the job of running Obamacare. "The Oregonian" is now reporting that the day after she lost the Senate race, Dr. Wehby called Oregon`s governor to ask about a job opening specifically directing the Oregon Health Authority, which would make her the state`s top official in charge of implementing Obamacare, which is something she campaigned against as devastating to Oregon. And so, now, she wants to run it! Not busy anymore. Ta-da! 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 Content and programming copyright 2014 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2014 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.