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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 01/27/15

Guests: John Brabender, Carol Leonnig

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC NACHOR: Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. HAYES: You bet. MADDOW: And thank to you at home for joining us this hour. Once upon a time, the George W. Bush administration paid people to do positive new stories about them. It was ten years ago this month that "USA Today" broke the news that the U.S. Education Department under George W. Bush had entered into a PR contract that included payments of almost a quarter million dollars to this guy to do positive stories in the news as if he were a journalist about the Bush administration`s education policies. His name was Armstrong Williams. He`d hosted a TV show and a radio show called "The Right Side." He was also a syndicated columnist at the time. But when the news came out that Armstrong Williams was getting paid by the federal government to do positive stories about them that was a really big embarrassment for the Bush administration. It also made Armstrong Williams very famous in a bad way. He ended up losing all his fake journalistic gigs at the time. Ten years down the road though now, Armstrong Williams is back. It is his production company that created the hour long campaign video, which purports to be a documentary about Ben Carson, Ben Carson is a doctor, Tea Party favorite who is apparently going to run for president this year. And you know maybe Armstrong Williams is an incredibly talented story teller. The Department of Education thought so once upon a time. Maybe there is a good reason to hire him Armstrong Williams to tell purportedly factual, purportedly journalistic stories about you. That are actually paid for propaganda. But if you did so, there is a reason you would not necessarily put the name Armstrong Williams on something like that. It is embarrassing, right? I mean it ought to be embarrassing to associate yourself with the government paying for good news coverage, but Ben Carson has done that, and the lack of shame around that sort of history also brings us to today`s news in Indiana. Today was supposed to be a big day of good press for the very ambitious governor of Indiana. Mike Pence, as I say, a very ambitious guy, very much wants to have a national profile. The Mike Pence administration in Indiana have been planning for a very long time that today would basically be his big breakout day for getting a big, positive national news story about Mike Pence, the conservative leader. Today they thought he was really going to make it on to the map. Because today is the day Mike Pence`s administration was due to announce a deal, but they came to with the Obama administration about how Obamacare will be implemented in that state, they thought this would be a great news story from Mike Pence. He`s been looking for one of those as he tries to establish a national profile, presumably to try to build some momentum for him as the 2016 presidential candidate. Unfortunately for Mike Pence, all of the news that he wanted to make today was overshadowed by his own Armstrong Williams problem. This was the headline in the "Indianapolis Star" yesterday. Governor Mike Pence`s state run news outlet will compete with media. A reporter at the "Indy Star" named Tom LoBianco got a hold of internal launch documents for some things that Mike Pence was starting inside Indiana state government, called "Just IN," Capital I, Capital In, as in Indiana. He apparently has been in the process of starting "Just IN" as "the state of Indiana news service. As described in the star, it is a state-run. Taxpayer funded news outlet that will make prewritten news stories available to Indiana media as well as sometimes break news about his administration. So that was the headline last night in "The Indianapolis Star." That gave way to this cascade of headlines immediately thereafter. Columnist, Mike Pence`s horrible idea. Another columnist, governor, killed the Pence News agency now. Those naturally gave way to the inevitable, next headline, Governor Pence, said to be clarifying state-run news plan. Governor Pence now saying it`s all been one big misunderstanding. The governor today lamenting these reports that this was intended to be a news agency. Saying what he was actually launching was meant to be a resource, not a news source. That is maybe what he is saying now, as he tries to clean it up. That`s not actually what he was trying to launch, at least according to the documents that have been published by the star. Look, these has been frequently asked questions that were circulated internally about Mike Pence`s new state run news agency. Question: does "Just IN" cater to the media or to a general audience? Answer, both. We do expect reporters to find the site useful, "Just IN" however, will function as a news outlet in its own right. The government of Indiana, under Governor Mike Pence, really was in the process of launching a state-run news outlet, you know, like "Press TV" in Iran, or "Russia Today" or the Chinese news agencies that we all turn to to hear the good news about Beijing`s excellent air quality, but in the way of doing that, the local press, the real local press in Indiana caught him doing it, and now Governor Mike Pence is having to dial it back. And because he had to spend all day today fending off questions about this thing, and dealing with the tide of negative press that he earned himself in the process, he managed to stop all over what was supposed to be his big day of great national press about his Obamacare deal. And so, yes, Indiana Governor, former congressman Mike Pence may want to be a Republican candidate for president in 2016, so far he is not setting himself up for that very well. In the real world of our politics right now, though, there is a case to be made that whether or not a guy like Mike Pence is a good candidate, is behaving in a way that would attract voters to him, there`s a case to be made that that doesn`t actually really matter right now, at least at the stage of the game. Because the thing that keeps a basically anonymous, somewhat ham-handed, pretty forgettable politician like Mike Pence, in circulation as a potential top tier 2016 presidential candidate is nothing about whether or not he handles things well in the state of Indiana. The reason that he keeps circulating as a potential top to your candidate, is because he has two very, very important friends. Hi, guys. For the past year, you would be forgiven for thinking that Mike Pence is a lot more famous than he is. For the number of mentions he gets in the top tier beltway press, right? But the focus is always the same thing about all his beltway mentions. It is not about his deal on Medicaid in Indiana, or whether or not he is trying to start a - version of "Pravda", right? It`s not about anything he is doing as governor. It really is about the fact that the Koch brothers love him. It`s about the fact that his staff and his former staff is very well placed within the Koch work of activists and funders. Mike Pence himself gets granted individual personal audiences with the Koch brothers when he requests them. Now, that`s what -- to these headlines. Mike Pence`s Koch brothers` advantage. Mike Pence heading into a private dinner featuring remarks from David Koch, tells reporters at that sitting, how grateful he is for David Koch and for the Koch network of activists. Here`s "Bloomberg News": Mike Pence, a Koch favorite, mauls 2016 running for president." Winking at 2015, Indiana Governor Mike Pence courts Koch brothers." American politics right now is in a place and out of time where it sort of it`s sort of being strided into top tier politicians and non-top tier politicians. It`s fascinating. You wouldn`t expect that things get strided (ph) along these lines. I mean at one level, it matters whether or not you are terrible and embarrassing, and do things that make people laugh out loud at you. Yes, on one level that still matters. But may matter less than whether or not you have got the support of a couple of very key funders who like you and have liked you for a long time. Over the last few days, there`s still been this remarkable clarification about who is actually a contender in our politics right now and how that gets decided. Just over the past few days, before the big East Coast snowstorm, right? We had two nearly simultaneous events that made it very clear. Who is making a serious run, and has a real chance, and who on the other side is just making noise. For a lot of category, for the just making noise category, we had an excellent showcase in Iowa this weekend, and what unexpectedly became clear in Iowa is that none of the people who have previously run for president appear to be making a serious -- and threatening run for it this year. You wouldn`t necessarily expect this before you see them in action. But the people who have run before are all the worst, apparently, at running again. I did not expect this until I saw some of the speeches. But honestly the speeches were really weird and at times really, really inexplicably bad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it`s been said, and I`m sure you`ve heard it. There are two things you should never see. You should never see a law or a sausage made. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have seen both. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I still eat sausage. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I can attest to the fact that neither are very pretty. And in the case of a sausage, you and I will get this in a way nobody else in America does. But if you`re going to have some sausage, you have got to kill some pigs. (LAUGHTER) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And folks, there are a lot of people in America who want the sausage, they just don`t want to kill any pigs. We need to do some pig killing to get to the sausage. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We need to do some - At this point in the speech, we`re like what are we talking about here? Are we still talking about this legislation or is this something different? "The Daily Show" lost its mind over this clip last night, and for good reason. Mike Huckabee is one of the candidates who in years past, Democrats have been the most worried about in terms of his natural political skills. He may have had those skills at one point. He doesn`t have them on display right now. Also, sorry to do this, but former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, she told Politico last week that she was seriously interested in running. Her appearance in Iowa this weekend makes it clear that that is not a risk to the nation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SARAH PALIN: Racism, sexism, whatever, really, it`s kind of Orwellian observing how that works, that rule of Saul Alinsky`s no doubt, that the left employs, disgusting charges from the left that reverse them. You know - it is they who point a finger, not really - they have triple that amount of fingers pointing right back at them. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: If you point forward, there are three fingers pointing back at you, but you know what that leaves unexplained -- Even with all the finger- pointing and the angry fist shaking, and the demonstrance of excitement from people like Rick Perry, none of this in terms of people who have run before, none of this feels like people who were going to make a serious run for president. I mean of all the -- who might run again, look at Rick Perry. I mean Rick Perry on paper, he still seems like the best one, in terms of what he has got going for him. But then you see him up there, giving these speeches and it`s like no -- no . (CROSSTALK) MADDOW: It`s really, it`s not going to be him. Somebody give him a bottle of syrup to hug. And then today, in Texas, actually, there was another round of headlines about Rick Perry`s criminal and felony corruption charges. Rick Perry was charged with two felony counts of corruption in August. Today, a judge in Texas rejected for the second time his lawyer`s appeal to have that case dismissed, which means that the felony corruption charges against him, I mean this case in which he has been indicted. There is a mug shot and everything. This is going to go -- to churn on for months yet. Even if he ultimately is exonerated in this case, it is going to go on for a long time into the presidential campaign period. And so Rick Perry? No. Sarah Palin? No. Mike Huckabee? No. It just appears -- wouldn`t have expected this, but appears that on the Republican side, none of the people who have been contenders before really seem like they`re going to be contenders this time around. But meanwhile, at the same time that Iowa was showcasing who is not going to be in contention, at the same time in Palm Springs this weekend, Palm Springs, California, the Koch brothers donor network were highlighting non- retread candidates who have not run for president before, but who the Koch brothers and their donor networks are taking very seriously this time around. Mike Pence, Koch brother`s favorite, could not be there apparently in Palm Springs this weekend, but they made sure his name circulated in all the advanced press about who they were talking to, and who they like for 2016. So the first time they allowed a webstream of a candidate forum from this Koch brothers` donor event. It was three Republican senators who have not previously run for president, but who plainly are all running this time - Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul. And while the noise and spectacle in Iowa got the bulk of attention, I think, mostly just because it was funny, the Koch brother`s network implicitly overshadowed the Iowa circus. And they did it by taking seriously a whole different cast of characters, and also by announcing the Koch brothers` donor network spending goals for 2016. Just for perspective, the $889 million that the Koch brothers say their network will raise and spend on the Republican effort to take the White House in 2016. That number that is more than twice what the Republican Party itself raised and spent on its effort to take the White House last time around in 2012. More than double. In any rational universe, there is no way that somebody like Mike Pence and his abortive state run news agency would be taken seriously as a national candidate. There is no reason to expect a guy like that would organically bubble to the top of people who are being considered for a national office. But in the Republican politics right now it`s not a rational universe necessarily. It`s these guys universe. Not the party`s and not anyone else`s. And that explains almost more than anything who gets taken seriously and who is floundering in a sea of (INAUDIBLE). If they are the ones who just --makes the decisions about who gets to be in contention. What does that say to us all, overall, about our national decision making process, about who we get to choose from for our national leaders. Joining us now is Republican strategist John Brabender. He was Rick Santorum`s chief strategist during the 2012 campaign. Mr. Brabender, it`s really nice to see you. Thanks very much for being with us. JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah. Actually, you haven`t had me on forever and I just want to say, I miss these little chats. (LAUGHTER) BRABENDER: So, I appreciate the opportunity, especially after watching that 12 minutes, certainly this should be fun. MADDOW: Well, I miss you too! (LAUGHTER) BRABENDER: Thank you. MADDOW: And I think I should ask as actually as a foundational question, if you are going to work with Rick Santorum if he runs again? Or if you plighting your with any of these guys for 2016? BRABENDER: Yeah, and I really -- some of the other ones, but I will say this. I`m loyal if nothing else. I have been on all of Rick`s campaigns since 1990 when he ran and won for the House of Representatives and if Rick so chooses to move forward, it`s highly likely that`s where I will end up. But the good news for me right now, is there are no announced candidates, I`m not under contract with anybody, and just like Armstrong Williams, if you want to offer me a quarter of million dollars . (LAUGHTER) BRABENDER: I`m happy to be out to say good things about you, Rachel. MADDOW: Let`s say that -- let`s say that Rick Santorum doesn`t run. And so, and you have the option of jumping in to support a candidate either because you are going to staff the campaign or just because as citizen, you want to support somebody. How do the Koch brothers affect your decision making process about who is viable and who is not? BRABENDER: Yeah, I mean, personally that would not affect me at all. I would -- Yeah, I mean if you`re going to do a presidential race, and you have got to understand, even for a consultant it`s a great expense to do that. Because you`re giving up a lot of other races, your time, your family, everything else. You`d better be really like that candidate. So, that -- that`s number one. Number two is, you look at how much authority you are going to have within that campaign. But I will honestly say this. It is easy to make mockery of some of these candidates by taking little snippets of what they said. On Saturday, but I actually think it`s the majority of them are a pretty strong team, and if you really look at what they were trying to accomplish on Saturday, each one came with a completely different goal and agenda and in most cases they accomplish that. MADDOW: What I`m interested in, as we watched the Republicans trying to figure out the size of their field, and who counts as a top tier candidate, is who gets to make the decision? I mean who do you watch for applause lines in front of social conservative activist in Iowa? Do you look at those high dollar donor events? Do you look at the beltway -- do you look at the Beltway press? What is -- who are the relevant decision makers at this point as we try to sort down from 20 candidates to a handful? BRABENDER: Let`s look back at 2012, to be honest about it. Rick Santorum ended up winning the Iowa straw poll, which we all know, right? He actually spent less on advertising than any of the other candidates. He had -- spent -- we spent less than a $100,000 on advertising. He actually had his super PAC list, then less than any of the other super PACs. You know, a lot of people say why is Iowa first? I`ll tell you why they are first, they take it incredibly serious. They kick the tires, they take it for test drives, they look under the hood and they drive it again. And so, the point is, you are not going to come in and spend a lot of money and buy Iowa, you have to earn Iowa. And so, it`s not where somebody is going to pick and say, here is who is going to be the nominee, and I`m going to buy that nomination. That`s an affront to people in Iowa and it does not work. MADDOW: In terms of the big donors and the relationship with the party, when it gets to the point of a general election, what will it mean if the party is outspent two to one by outside forces that do whatever they want and don`t have any internal accountability in terms of the Republican sort of power? BRABENDER: Yeah, I think we all agree on both sides, it is not a particularly good thing. I can tell you from running campaigns it`s even difficult. Because we no longer can always control the agenda or the message. Sometimes it`s the outside groups, but presidential races are unlike anything else. In a senator race, a governor`s race, an outside group can dump a lot of money and it can make a huge difference. In a presidential race, there is so much press coverage, and people get to know the candidates so personally, that generally that outside money has much less of an impact. Even when it`s in the quantities that you are talking about. MADDOW: John Brabender, Republican strategist, I really appreciate you being willing to talk with me about this stuff. I can`t ever get any Republicans to come on the show, but you`ve never been anything other than sweet and a real treat to be here. So, thank you so much. BRABENDER: Thank you, hope to see you soon. Keep it. MADDOW: All right. And tell Rick Santorum I said hi. All right . (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Lots more to come tonight, including justice being served a half century late, plus some science that involves the third floor men`s room right outside this studio. Please, stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, can in 90 seconds, can you let two pounds of air pressure out of 11 footballs? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if there were ten people waiting in the bathroom? (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The cold snowy weather provided one big unexpected advantage yesterday. In the state of West Virginia, when in the middle of the afternoon, it suddenly became very advantageous that there was a lot of snow on the ground because this happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This Enterprise gas pipeline erupted sending flames hundreds of feet in the air. People on both sides of the river could see it. And the calls began to pour into our newsroom. The explosion caused Archer Hill Road (INAUDIBLE) to be shut down for hours with only first responders allowed near the fire. I was able to see this fireball first hand, thanks to a neighbor who took me on his ATV near the explosion site. We, of course, stayed at a safe distance, but even from there, I could smell the gushes (ph) fume, feel the heat, and here the roar of the flames. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Another day, another pipeline goes kablewy. Look at that footage. What is going on right now with pipelines? Last weekend, it was the Yellowstone River. 12 inch diameter oil pipeline, when it boom for reasons that are still unexplained, and that spill dumped tens of thousands of gallons of oil directly into the pristine Yellowstone River in Montana. Just a few days after that spill, we learned about another pipeline, nearby to that Montana one, this time in North Dakota, it was a three million gallon spill of toxic petroleum and chemical brine, a byproduct of the drilling industry. The previous record for a brine spill in North Dakota was a million gallons that was nearly a decade ago, they are still cleaning that one up. This new one is three times the size of the previous record. And nobody has any idea how much damage it has done, and what` it`s going to take to clean it up. 3 million gallons. That same day we found out about another busted pipeline, also in North Dakota, that was a smaller spill, only about 100,000 gallons of toxic chemical-laden drilling brine. And now the latest pipeline cablowe (ph) is in West Virginia. This one was a natural gas pipeline. Some of the other pipelines that have burst in the past couple of weeks are older pipelines. Maybe that`s part of the reason that they went kaput. This one that just went boom in Virginia is a brand new pipeline. It carries natural gas from the Marcela Shell down through a corner of West Virginia and across Ohio and eventually connects down to Texas. But that pipeline that just blew up in West Virginia, it`s only been in operation for a year. A year, but for some reason yesterday it blew up and created that huge fireball. The company that operates the pipeline is working with the federal government to try to figure out what went wrong there, what caused this. The local fire chief does credit the weather yesterday, the snow storm with helping to keep that fire from being more of a problem. That said there was no snow advantage for the last natural gas pipeline explosion that we have this month. That one was in Mississippi, two weeks ago just before the Yellowstone River spill, that one created a plume of smoke so big the National Weather Service picked it up on weather radar, as if it was weather. It was -- you know, maybe this is just how pipelines celebrate January, but all over the country, pipelines new and old are popping up like Roman candles. We have had five this month so far and the month is not over. So far the only evident national response to this phenomenon is Senate Republicans moving to jam through approval of the Keystone pipeline. But while the senate grinds on with that procedure, with at least five major pipeline spills and explosions already this month, the rest of the country right now is basically wondering just how much more pipeline we can take. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Look at this video from "The Boston Globe". Look at this. Look at the front-end loader. What`s wrong with this picture? If you`ve ever seen snow being plowed, this is not what it looks like when snow gets plowed. And that`s because this was shot today in Scituate, Massachusetts. And that is not just snow that`s getting plowed, that`s snow and the sea. Scituate not only got hit with 2 1/2 feet of snow in last night and today`s blizzard, they also got flooded by a huge storm surge from the Atlantic Ocean. The National Guard was called in to rescue people in Scituate today. There ever evacuations and some very real damage in Hull and in Marshfield, Massachusetts. The storm didn`t end up hitting New York and New Jersey as hard as had been feared. The National Weather Service actually apologized today for bungling that part of the forecast last night. But eastern Massachusetts, and Cape Cod, and the islands off of Massachusetts, and coastal Massachusetts towns like Scituate, they really did get just creamed by this storm. In Boston, the storm in the sixth largest snowstorm they have ever recorded in that city. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NARRATOR: It is that time of year. Kids will receive presidents for the holidays. Many will be excited when they unwrap the box an find an unmanned aircraft. Don`t fly near airports or any manned airport. Do take a lesson before you fly. Don`t fly near people or stadiums. Do fly for fun. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The FAA only wants you flying drones for fun. Also, they have to be small, you have to fly them away from people, or airplanes, or stadiums. But it should definitely be fun. Why do you take the lessons? I should mention this is not just the FAA being folksy. Unless you get special authorization, it is the law that you can only fly drones for fun, for recreational purposes, and if you`re into that sort of thing, recreational drones are easy to get. For example, here is the Phantom Aerial quad copter drone. About foot and a half wide, two pounds like, it`s got four propellers, a maximum horizontal speed of 22 miles an hour. If you want, you can attach a GoPro camera to this sort of thing, capture some sweet bird`s eye video if you want to tie something else to it. It can handle a minor payload. This drone, you can find everywhere, including That is apparently the same drone that a guy in Washington dc was flying around at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning before he flew that drone over the fence and on to the grounds of the White House. Tada! Shortly after 3:00 a.m., yesterday morning, a Secret Service agent on the south grounds of the White House says he heard and spotted the drone overhead, and reportedly passed over the White House fence, and then whacked into a tree before crashing on to the ground and landed on the southeast lawn of the White House. The White House was put on temporary lockdown until Secret Service agents examined the drone and determined it didn`t pose a threat. About six hours later, the Secret Service got a call from a man who apparently, coincidentally, randomly happens to works for the Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which was a classified government intelligence agency. That man reportedly told the Secret Service that it was him who flew the drone into the White House. It was just a mistake. He was messing around with his friend`s Phantom Aerial quad copter at 3:00 in the morning, when he lost control of it near the White House grounds. He also apparently mentioned to the secret service that he was hammered when it happened. Oops. So far, the man has not been charged with anything. The Secret Service appears to believe him that it was an innocent 3:00 a.m. drunken screw up. But, of course, the question is, what if it hadn`t been? This is the latest in a series of more or less security breaches at the grounds of the White House. We only just recently learned, mainly thanks to Carol Leonnig`s reporting at "The Washington Post", of a very serious incident in 2011 in which a gunman fired a semiautomatic gun out the side window of his car and the bullets from his gun struck the upstairs residents of the White House. It took days for the Secret Service to figure out that the shooting happened. That was only after a White House housekeeper found broken glass on the floor of the first family`s residence upstairs of the White House. In September, an armed security contractor with an arrest record was allowed to step on to an elevator with President Obama. During the president`s trip to the CDC in Atlanta. That man on the elevator was not cleared to be there. He did have a loaded gun on him at the time, while he was riding the elevator with the president. That same month, a man wielding a knife jumped the White House fence, ran across the White House lawn, ran inside the White House, and made it all the way into the East Room before he was finally tackled by a Secret Service agent. Since all of those have been brought to light, the Secret Service chief has resigned. The agency`s top executives have been fired. The Secret Service and White House security specifically have been reviewed by a top level government panel. But now, we`ve got the drunken drone thing, which by all accounts was a relatively harmless accident. What if it had been carrying a payload of some kind? What if it had been carrying explosives, God forbid? The White House has antiaircraft missiles, in case a full size plane poses a threat to the White House. The White House is protected by radar that monitors the air space over the White House. But the drone is very little. Is there any means by which the White House is protected from small, commercially available, soon to be ubiquitous drones like this one, but it`s not always going to be some drunken, regretful guy from the Geospatial Intelligence Agency. At some point, it will be someone trying to do some harm. Joining us now is "Washington Post" national reporter Carol Leonnig. Carol, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate having you here. CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST: Glad to be here, Rachel. MADDOW: So, you wrote today that this is a problem, the prospect of a drone posing some threat to the White House. This is something that has gotten quite a lot of attention in the government recently. They have been studying how to deal with this as a potential threat? LEONNIG: Yes. And in an irony of ironies, you know, this drunk-droning event happened Monday morning in the wee hours, roughly 3:00 in the morning. But on Thursday, that panel of experts that you mentioned, they were having a private briefing with lawmakers, just a few days before this event. And they were asked, are there any other things that are serious risks to the White House security? And drones was one of their top three sort of worries and -- in terms of risking security at the White House, that are unaddressed. You know, we`re not describing the others, but the drone one is sort of out of the bag now. You know, it got across the White House lawn, it crashed. It led to a series of Secret Service officers running around with flashlights. And the way they found the operator was when his friends woke him up and he learned about the news, and he called the Secret Service to say, that was my drone, that was my friend`s drone. MADDOW: Well, in this accident incident because of the circumstances, doesn`t seem so scary. You know, drunk guy plays with drone, crashes it, loses, passes out, wakes up, checks Twitter, oh, that`s where my drone landed. I mean, on the one hand, It doesn`t sound like this guy in particular was a security threat. Do we know if he`s going to get in trouble for this? LEONNIG: Well, it sounds like his intelligence boss, the Geospatial Intelligence Agency is a little bit concerned about somebody -- you may remember that this federal agency does the mapping for various serious covert operations for intelligence agencies. They`re the people who figured out the mapping for Osama bin Laden`s secret hideout in Abbottabad, and if this person was -- even on his off hours was flying a drone and lost it somewhere over the White House property, they`ll have a lot of hard questions for him. But right now, there is no action that has been taken. We`ll see what happens there. But you raised the really important question, Rachel, which is what if? The morning that I woke up on Monday, what my editor mostly wanted to know what, is there a camera on this drone? Because a lot of people, especially in the counterterrorism field and intelligence communities, are really concerned about people learning the vulnerabilities of the president, the White House, the first family through surveillance. And that`s another risk. This could have been a weaponized item, it could have had something really harmful on it, it could have had a small payload of explosives, but it could just have a camera that nobody really noticed in the middle of the night. If it hadn`t crashed, we would have to wonder would it have been found and it`s owner been found. MADDOW: Carol Leonnig, national reporter for "The Washington Post" -- thank you so much for your time tonight. This is a weird story, but more worrying the longer you think about it. Thanks for helping us understand it. I appreciate it. LEONNIG: You bet. Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. Coming up, science. Science, an unfortunate men`s room on the third floor of this building, and what promises to be a high level of experimental live chaos, just ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUBTITLE: Today, the TRMS production staff tested a hypothesis. All in the name of science. That story is next. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I`m willing to bet that you know this man -- long time congressman from Georgia, civil rights hero. Even those who don`t agree with his politics, Congressman John Lewis is admired and acknowledged nationwide across the board for his courage and specifically what he sacrificed on behalf of this country. John Lewis, as you probably know, was one of the original Freedom Riders. The early civil rights activists were brave enough to travel around the country and test and break the segregation laws of the Jim Crow South. One of their first stops, first year, 1961, was a place called Rock Hill, South Carolina, when John Lewis and the other Freedom Riders stepped off their bus in Rock Hill, South Carolina, they were physically attacked. White people in Rock Hill set upon John Lewis and the other Freedom Riders and they beat them. That happened in May 1961. Rock Hill has recently let it be known that they`re very sorry that that happened. Over the last few years, the town of Rock Hill, South Carolina, invited John Lewis back to the city where he was beaten in 1961. One of the white men who had come downtown to beat up the Freedom Riders that day, came forward personally and apologized to John Lewis. The congressman accepted that personal apology. In recent years, the mayor of Rock Hill, South Carolina, has also apologized to John Lewis for what happened to him there. They gave him the key to the city. And John Lewis, statesman, long time congressman, John Lewis, accepted that apology, accepted the key to the city. Rock Hill is trying to make good on what happened there a half century ago. Rock Hill is trying to make it right. A few months before John Lewis and the Freedom Riders pulled into town in 1961, a group of friends from the local black college in Rock Hill, from Friendship Junior College, they decided they would break the segregation laws in Rock Hill in their own brave way. They decided to try to order lunch at McCrory`s lunch counter in downtown Rock Hill. It was nine black students. They sat down, as soon as they sat down, they were pounced on and dragged away by police and arrested, for the crime of sitting at a lunch counter while black. That group became known as the Friendship Nine, after the school they went to, Friendship Junior College. Today, the surviving members of that group told NBC`s Mark Potter what happened that day at that lunch counter. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CLARENCE GRAHAM: I remember being grabbed up by my belt and thrown to the floor and dragged out of the store. MARK POTTER, NBC: By who? GRAHAM: Police officers. DAVID WILLIAMSON: The part that got me was when they put me in a cell and closed that door, and they clang, you can still hear -- you can still hear that clang, when they clang (INAUDIBLE), you know you was in there then. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: By the time of their arrest in 1961, the civil rights movement, enough people were getting arrested in enough places all over the South that it was actually becoming sort of a financial issue, as to whether or not the movement could afford to spring everyone out on bail after getting them arrested. Well, the Friendship Nine, they decided that they would do it differently. Those men decided that they would refuse to give their money to a justice system that was treating them that way. If they got thrown into jail for civil rights arrests, they would stay in jail, they would wait out the sentence, jail no bail. Instead of paying bail to get out, they took 30 days on the county chain gang. They`ve been arrested for a nonviolent peaceful sit-in. What they end up doing was 30 days hard labor. And that self-sacrificing strategy in Rock Hill, South Carolina, became the strategy of arrested civil rights protesters all over the country. Jail no bail meant not paying money to the police forces that abused protesters, and it also frankly meant embarrassment and inconvenience for the local authorities holding and holding and holding and holding all these peaceful protesters who refused to be bailed out. These guys changed the movement, they changed the country. Tomorrow, the town of Rock Hill, South Carolina, will gather the surviving eight members of the Friendship Nine. They`ll gather them at a local courtroom, and in that courtroom, a judge will throw out their convictions from that lunch counter sit-in 54 years after the fact. You obviously can`t take away the time they spent on the chain gang at hard labor, but they can expunge their convictions. And that`s going to happen tomorrow. The local prosecutor telling NBC, quote, "What these men did wasn`t wrong, in fact, it was right. What they did wasn`t illegal. It was an act of principled courage." Fifty-four years late, but Rock Hill is finally getting it right. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)P MADDOW: Mystery -- science and mystery. Unless you`ve been living under a rock the last week, you`re probably aware of a controversy surrounding the New England Patriots football team, and some allegedly underinflated footballs. The Patriots are set to face the Seahawks in the Super Bowl this Sunday. It`s expected to be the single most watched event in the history of television. But overshadowing the lead-up to the game has been this question of whether or not the Patriots cheated in their last game, whether they purposely underinflated footballs in the game they won that got them into the Super Bowl. There`s case to be made that an underinflated football can be easier to throw, easier to catch, easier to run with. So, the question has been, did the Patriots intentionally deflate footballs in order to gain an unfair advantage in the game, they won to get into the big enchilada. The answer so far is -- don`t know. The NFL has been investigating the allegation since that last game, they confirmed publicly the number of footballs used by the Patriots during the first half of the game were, in fact, under inflated. But the Patriots have denied any wrongdoing. The coach says he believes his team followed all the rules. The quarterback says he has no knowledge of any such thing taking place. The owner of the team came out last night and said his team did nothing wrong, he looks forward to an apology when this is all disproved. But in the meantime, mystery, what happened? What we know so far, or what we think we know so far, has all basically come from anonymous leaks, from people purportedly close to the investigation. First, anonymous league sources told ESPN last week, that 11 of the 12 Patriot footballs were underinflated, 11 of the 12 footballs. The next big leak came yesterday when again anonymous sources told FOX Sports that the NFL had zeroed in on a Patriots locker room attendant who took the footballs from the referee`s locker room to, quote, "another room at the stadium" before the start of the game. So, that goes to opportunity, right? Eleven of 12 footballs were underinflated sometime after the referees saw them. The implication is that a Patriots locker room staffer took the approved footballs that had been checked by the referees, took them from the referees` locker room to another room and did something. Again, these are all anonymous sources, it`s important to note that NBC News has not confirmed this. But the next leak came last flight when NBC Sports reported that it was not just any old other room in the stadium that this locker room personnel took the footballs to, it was a bathroom, an anonymous source telling NBC sports that the Patriots turned over surveillance footage that shows a Patriots employee taking two big bags of footballs into a bathroom. One bag holds the Colts footballs and one holding the Patriots footballs. That employee spent 90 seconds in the bathroom with the footballs. And that`s now the heart of the mystery. Is that the point? Is that the place where the alleged deflating of the footballs took place? In the bathroom? Over the course of 90 seconds? Could a person even deflate 11 footballs in the span of 90 seconds inside the cramped space of a single- seater bathroom? Is that humanly possible? I think we`re about to find out? Hello. This is the bathroom right outside the studio. Hi, Will. That`s the great Will Femia, Maddow show digital producer. Will, all right. You have the footballs. I can`t hear you, but I can see you. WILL FEMIA, TRMS PRODUCER: Yes, we have a pump with a gauge. MADDOW: OK, go it. FEMIA: OK. MADDOW: You`re in this bathroom, you have 12 footballs and the pump. You`re going to test this theory of whether a person could deflate two pounds per square inch per pressure out of 11 footballs in the span of 90 seconds. So, we`re going to time you, are you ready to do this? FEMIA: Ready. MADDOW: OK. I`m supposed to put on this referee`s jersey, but I can`t figure out where the opening is to put it on. Just imagine. But, Will, I`ve got a stopwatch. Are you ready? On your mark, get set -- (WHISTLE BLOWING) MADDOW: OK. Now, we have tried to simulate the environment as best we can. According to the anonymously sourced sports reporting, the Patriots employee was inside a bathroom that contained one toilet and one sink, which is roughly what we have here in this bathroom. The door was able to be locked from the inside. But what actually happened inside that bathroom is part of the mystery. If the alleged deflating did take place in there -- I mean, did he take each football and deflate each one and place it back in the bag? Will we have time to do that? Did he stick the pump inside the bag and inflate -- deflate them while they were still inside the bag? Would one method be faster than the other? Will`s making pretty good time. The other thing to tell you, while Will is doing this is that there are alternate theories. I mean, if it didn`t go down like you`re seeing right now, one guy over 90 seconds deflating 11 footballs, was there another way? Maybe there was a mystery bag of already deflated footballs that was stashed inside the bathroom, so the ball boy just went in and swapped the approved footballs with the underinflated ones that had been hidden in there, or maybe there were more people stashed inside the bathroom when the ball boy went in. We`ve actually mocked up what that might look like. Maybe it isn`t one guy deflating 11 footballs. Maybe there were 10 people inside the bathroom already and when the ball boy went in, each person just had to deflate one football, plenty of time for that, who knows? But seven seconds left, this scenario right here, this is one ball boy inside the bathroom deflating each football one by one. This is the operating theory of how it all went down. Time`s up, time`s up. How many did you get through, Will? Eight. Eight? FEMIA: Eight of them. MADDOW: Eight. And you were going pretty fast. That said you`re not a professional. FEMIA: I know. MADDOW: Thank you, Will. Fake science. Patriots are innocent -- of which I`m saying not because of any scientific conclusion, but because I live in Massachusetts. All right. 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