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

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 02/09/15

Guests: Tim Kaine, Kenji Yoshino, CJ Phillips, Charlie Rainwater

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Chris, can I retroactively participate in your panel discussion? CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You can. Tell me about your thoughts on RadioShack`s demise. MADDOW: Here`s the thing about RadioShack, which makes it truly tragic. I have never gone into a RadioShack and left without the thing I needed. And that is because the people who work at RadioShack were expected to help you. HAYES: That`s right. MADDOW: What other store do you go into and they got like tools? HAYES: That`s right. And the model of retail in which, I was comparing it to, when I was a kid, we would buy shoes. The shoe sales people knew things about shoes. The model of a retail store in which there`s embedded knowledge in the sales person, that is also going away, also Ron, but Apple kind of does that. MADDOW: Yes, but you got to make an appointment, you know? They`re setting it up like a school. RadioShack, you walk in with your busted garage door opener and 3 bucks. And the guy is like sit down. I`ll take care of it. HAYES: (INAUDIBLE) for you. MADDOW: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. HAYES: Enjoy. MADDOW: That was fun going back in time to be on Chris`s show. All right. Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour. OK. It has now been just over three days, a little more than 81 hours and there is still no clarity tonight on this story. But we do have some new information, some pretty specific new information that I want to convey to you right now. All right. This all started on Friday afternoon, roughly noon Eastern Time. We started to hear the first reports on Twitter and other social media platforms that an American woman, a young American woman had been killed while she was being held as a hostage by the terrorist group ISIS. Now, it had been known for some time that 26-year-old American aide worker Kayla Mueller of Prescott, Arizona, was being held as an ISIS hostage. she was believed, in fact, to be the last American being held by ISIS. They had her for almost a year and a half since they kidnapped her in Syria. But before Friday, not much was known about her fate. That was in part because her parents, her family, wanted her name kept out of the news. They thought it would be a way of keeping her safe. But it was in part by decisions by ISIS. We hadn`t heard much about her from them either. Then on Friday, ISIS made this announcement online that Kayla Mueller had been killed. That ISIS announcement that their last remaining American hostage was dead. That announcement came as a surprise for a few different reasons -- excuse me, for a few different reasons. For one thing, as weird and morbid as it is to say, ISIS has now killed so many of it`s hostages that we have learned their basic routine for how they do things. Last summer, when ISIS wanted it to be known they had American hostages and they intended to kill their American hostages, they paraded those hostages, right? James Foley, Steven Sotloff, later, Peter Kassig, they were made to appear in ISIS propaganda videos that were released online. And ISIS each time said, we are going to kill them unless you, the American government does X, Y, and Z. In each of those cases, the American government refused to pay ransom or change policies when ISIS demanded it. And those American hostages were later executed by ISIS. Last month, ISIS did the same thing with a pair of Japanese hostages who they were holding. They paraded these two men in various propaganda videos. They gave the Japanese government a deadline. They said if you don`t do x, y, and z, we will kill these Japanese hostages. And ultimately they did. I mean, this is a gruesome and barbaric stuff. But honestly, it`s a pretty well worn tactic on their part this time. They have done it a lot now. But in the case of Kayla Mueller, with this hostage, there was no such routine. There`s no propaganda video. There were no public deadlines or demands given. They just announced on Friday afternoon that she was gone, that Kayla Mueller had been killed. And they provided no evidence to prove it beyond their own assertion. They released Kayla Mueller`s name. They said she had been killed. They released a few still images of a building in Syria where they said that Kayla Mueller had died. They said she died not at their own hands, not at ISIS`s hands. They said she died as a result of a U.S. coalition-led bombing raid, specifically they said it was bombing raid conducted by Jordanian pilots. So, that`s what they said, and that is what we were able to report as of Friday. To be clear, then and still today, ISIS has not offered any further evidence that this American young woman has actually been killed. And the claims that she was killed by a Jordanian air strike don`t square with what we know now about coalition air strikes in Syria on Friday which is when they say she died. ISIS says Kayla Mueller was killed in an airstrike on Friday in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is their sort of capital city. It`s their base of operations in that country. Jordan, today, says, yes, they have launched more than 50 combat operations in Syria since last week, against ISIS targets, but they say they have launched none near the Syrian city of Raqqa. And so, it remains a mystery tonight as to whether or not this 26-year-old American aid worker was actually killed on Friday as ISIS says she was. Her family in Arizona is holding out hope that Kayla Mueller is still alive. They now say they have reached out to ISIS to try to confirm that. They`re seeking a private communication from ISIS to Kayla Mueller`s family. Look at this. This is remarkable reporting tonight from NBC`s Andrea Mitchell. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS (voice-over): Her parents` vigil continues, waiting for her captors to answer their last appeal three days ago. So far, silence. Nothing since ISIS claimed that Kayla had been killed in a coalition airstrike. A fate that the family refuses to believe. TODD GEILER: The family right now is in a very fragile state as you can imagine. They`re worried. MITCHELL: Her parents` desperate plea to the terrorists, "You told us you treated her as your guest. As your guest, her safety and well-being remains your responsibility. At this time, we ask you who are holding Kayla to contact us privately." But they haven`t. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: "This time we ask you who are holding Kayla to contact us privately." Imagine what it takes for the family to do something like that. While Kayla Mueller`s family and all of us, honestly await any further word about her fate, we are now getting some specific new details about the U.S. mission that was attempted to rescue her and to rescue the other American hostages last summer. What we have known previously is that U.S. Special Operations troops launched a rescue attempt inside Syria last July. This was a risky helicopter-led rescue mission inside Raqqa to try to find the four American hostages that ISIS was holding at that time -- James Foley, Steven Sotloff, Peter Kassig, Kayla Mueller. That mission, that raid, was unsuccessful, but we`re learning there were certain clues the Special Ops found on the ground there that indicated that the hostages had recently been at that location, specifically they reportedly found strands of hair they believe to be from Kayla Mueller. They found those strands of hair where they believed it to be held and launched the raid looking for them. But the hostages had been moved before the Special Ops guys got there. But details like that from that failed mission, those are now starting to leak, even as Kayla Mueller`s fate remains uncertain. ISIS meanwhile is moving ahead with their propaganda campaign today. They released a strange new 12-minute propaganda video featuring another one of their hostages, featuring British photojournalist John Cantlie. ISIS has been using John Cantlie in the surreal way for several months now. They`re essentially using him as if he is an ISIS reporter, using him as a Western journalism-style mouthpiece, in this case to show that life under ISIS rule is great. The latest video shows the hostage touring Aleppo talking about how great the ISIS fighters are doing there now, how they don`t fear the Americans at all, just bizarre to hear this stuff being voiced under duress by hostage John Cantlie. Earlier today, NBC`s Keir Simmons filed this bit of reporting from Jordan. As I mentioned, Jordan has been very public about its stepping up its air campaign against ISIS, in the last week after a Jordanian pilot was burned alive by his ISIS captors. Well, today, the commander of Jordan`s air force told NBC that Jordan has its sites set on the top leader of ISIS specifically, on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed supreme leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Al Baghdadi does not appear often in public for obvious reasons. His movements are well-guarded by ISIS. But watch this. Watch what the top commander of Jordan`s air force said this morning. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: We joined Jordan`s pilots preparing for a mission that was canceled this time. Still, they say the ISIS leader himself, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in their sights. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have assets always in the air for an opportunity for target like Baghdadi and his gang. REPORTER: In your view, he`s frightened. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is no doubt about it. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We have assets always in the air for a target of opportunity like al-Baghdadi. So, that was this morning, and then -- this is kind of interesting. I mean, who knows if these things are related. Just a few hours after that NBC News interview, new reports surfaced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been wounded, seriously wounded in coalition air strikes in Syria today. It was reports from "Reuters" today that Baghdadi was wounded in airstrikes in Raqqa. NBC`s Jim Miklaszewski reports tonight that U.S. military and intelligence officials said they have no information to confirm that claim about whether or not he was hit today. Of course, there has also been previous reports that he was wounded or killed -- reports that turned out to be false. Still though, a girl can dream. And here is a new and potentially significant new wrinkle in this story. This U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS up until has been focused exclusively on Syria and Iraq. More than 2,000 airstrikes against ISIS on those two countries over the last six months. But today, we learned that surprise, this war is apparently not contained to just Syria and Iraq. American military personnel launched an attack against ISIS today in Afghanistan. Last month, "The Washington Post" ran this story, "Meet the shadowy figure recruiting for the ISIS in Afghanistan." That story described a former Taliban commander who was once in U.S. custody, he was freed during the Bush administration, where he landed after he was freed from custody was back in Southern Afghanistan, ultimately. And what he has been doing there is recruiting for ISIS. And that is weird, right? Because ISIS is in Iraq and Syria. Afghanistan isn`t even contiguous with those countries. It`s quite a long distance away. But still, "The Washington Post" reported that this guy was trying to make a go of it for ISIS in Afghanistan. That report about that ISIS commander came out last month, January 13th. Today, it is reported that specific guy, that commander, was just killed in Afghanistan and he was killed by an American drone. So, a one name guy who everyone said was key to ISIS`s effort to gain a foothold in a third country. He was key to their effort to gain a foothold in Afghanistan. He was the one guy who everybody was willing to say he is the outpost of ISIS in Afghanistan and he`s recruiting heavily. Apparently, they got him. It was the Afghan government that announced that, quote, "precision strike" today, but local Afghan officials in the area said the actual hit that killed the ISIS operative came from an American drone. One tribal elder telling the "New York Times" that the ISIS commander and a few others had just returned from a livestock market where they had gone to preach and encourage people to join ISIS, and then he was shot down by a drone. "New York Times" describes this strike as the first known military operation undertaken against ISIS in Afghanistan. More than 1,000 miles from the group`s home territory in Syria and Iraq. So, if you`re keeping track at home, the U.S. is at war with ISIS in Iraq, and in Syria, and now in Afghanistan as well. It is getting to be a big war, right? I mean, three countries, thousands of airstrikes, hundreds of aircraft, thousands of ground troops, not to mention the special forces raids behind enemy lines. It is getting to be a pretty big war, this thing we`re not calling a war. And all of it without any input from the U.S. government that gets to declare when, where, and why we go to war. And there`s also some real news tonight on that front. Late last week, we learned that congressional leaders were told by the White House to expect the White House to send over draft language for this war, draft language for Congress to debate on and vote on authorizing this new war that we`re uncomfortable calling a war. Tonight, there are reports that that draft language could -- could -- be heading to Congress the day after tomorrow. Obama to seek new authority for Islamic State fight by Wednesday. Now, I should note that NBC News has not independently confirmed that it will be Wednesday. These are unconfirmed reports at this point, but when it does happen, apparently that will mean that six months behind the news, Congress will have actually started to debate in a real way, not just on TV shows, debate in a binding way, what we are doing against ISIS. How that mission should be defined, how that mission should be constrained, and whether or not what we`ve been doing for the last six months already is working. Joining us now is Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He has led the effort in the Senate to get a new authorization vote for this mission against ISIS. Senator Kaine, it`s great to have you here. Thanks for your time. SEN. TIM KAINE (D), VIRGINIA: Thanks, Rachel. Great to be with you. MADDOW: What is your understanding about what is about to happen on this subject? And is it what you have been advocating for? KAINE: Well, Rachel, I started this talk in June of 2014 about the need for Congress to approve a mission against ISIL, which was then seemingly a threat. I don`t think any of the previous authorizations cover what we`ve been doing since August 8th. We are in our seventh month of war, but I was heartened when the president in the State of the Union said he would be seeking congressional authority. And again, I`m not sure of exactly the day, but I think very soon, the White House will send a proposed mission statement for this war and in the Foreign Relations Committee, I serve on committee in the Senate, we will be undertaking to question administration witnesses about the proposal, the limitations in the proposal, and we will probably add our own revisions and amendments to it. It`s way past time that we do this. We`ve already lost American service members lives in operation and inherent resolve without Congress doing what we`re supposed to do. So, I`m glad that day is finally arriving because there are many questions we need to ask. MADDOW: In terms of the scope of those questions, and what you think your committee and the rest of Congress will be doing with the proposed language, obviously, it seems clear to me as it does to you they were putting the cart before the horse to debate a war that`s already been under way for six months. KAINE: Indeed, absolutely. MADDOW: Is there, weirdly though, some sort of strategic upside to that? Because now, one of the things you can debate is not, you know, wondering what might work against ISIS, but what we have been trying already, debating whether or not we`ve been fighting them effectively for these past six months. KAINE: Absolutely. And you`ll see us doing that, and that question of effectiveness and the mission has many components. Are there geographic limitations to the battle? You talk about the death of the ISIL commander in Afghanistan? Should there be a sunset clause? I think there should be, where the president would have to come back and seek a new authorization after a certain period of time. Are we -- is this just a mission against ISIL, or, as you know, during the early authorizations, the administrations both wishing Obama developed a broad notion of associated forces that will enable us to take the fight probably far beyond what Congress originally intended. And then there`s some probably the most critical question is, what does the White House say about the use of any American ground troops in this mission? Our work thus far has been largely in waging I think a pretty significant air campaign that`s been effective in Iraq to support ground troops from the region, and the president has said on the number of occasions, we`re not going to be using American ground troops in this particular war, but we need to kind of dig into that. I suspect you`ll see that as a significant point of difference between members of Congress who are overwhelmingly in support of military action against ISIL. But there are some differences on important details. MADDOW: When I -- when I imagine what these hearings are going to be like, and what this debate is going to be like, we know enough already from the news to know that ISIS is not degraded or undermined to a degree that the U.S. is going to feel comfortable with in terms of our national security and the risk to destabilizing the region. So, we know there`s going to be bad news to hear about ISIS` persistence in the face of these 2000 air strikes. I worry and wonder and anticipate that because of that, the debate is inexorably going to steer toward a bigger response than we`ve already got. It is inexorably going to steer toward ground troops or toward activating other kinds of military resources that we haven`t thrown at this problem thus far. Do you think that`s an inevitable course of that debate? KAINE: The debate is certainly going to have people making that argument, Rachel. I`m skeptical about it and I`ll tell you why. You know, again, I introduced a resolution. We ought to take military action against ISIL that I introduced in September. But do I think a weariness about ground troops makes a lot of sense. Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan was here and sadly, he was here on the very day when the Jordanian pilot was burned and that video was released. It was kind of a very emotional meeting with him. But he said something very powerful, he said, look, this is not America`s fight. This is the region`s fight against its own terrorism. Now, we need your help but you have a right to expect that we in this region will stand up against this regional terrorism. We`ll stand up against it. And if we do, you should help us. You can`t carry the burden of the fight alone. We`ve already been the party that has directed more than 80 percent of the air strikes. These nations in the region, they have a lot of weapons and I know because the U.S. has sold them a lot of weapons. But other than Jordan, they`re not really all in, trying to beat this extremism, which is created in the region and which poses a much more direct threat to them immediately than it does to the United States. So, sure, we`ll have a debate back and forth about ground troops, but the point that I`m going to be making is this: the U.S. cannot police a region that does not want to police itself. Now, we and other nations can help a region that will police itself, but one of the important questions is, how seriously are the countries in the region taking this fight to ISIL? And if they`re not, that`s going to be a significant question that we`re going to have to ask why and get good answers about. MADDOW: Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, thank you so much for your time tonight, sir. KAINE: Absolutely. MADDOW: And I have to say, just personally, thank you for being so loud about this issue, about Congress` responsibility here. You were loud about it when a lot of other people weren`t, and I think you gave other people courage to speak up on this subject. Thanks for being ahead on this one, sir. KAINE: And I`m going to keep being loud, Rachel. MADDOW: Good. Well done, sir. Thank you very much. All right. We got lots ahead tonight, including total chaos in Alabama today. Much of it of a very happy variety. Also, coming up on the show this hour, we`ve got have bears and owls and ducks. Seriously. Moo. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: I don`t think I`m allowed to touch him, I don`t know how he keeps getting back in here. But he is back. Unnerving. But now that you`re here you may want to stay where you are. We do have some news concerning this -- concerning this guy. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Quote, "Confusion and disarray in administration of the law," yes, and then some. After a federal judge overturned Alabama`s ban on same-sex marriage, ordering the state of Alabama to start performing marriages for everyone as of today, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore said, "If Alabama did that, if Alabama followed federal law and followed federal court orders on this matter, that would create, quote, `confusion and disarray in the administration of the law.`" And so, last night, Judge Roy Moore acted to prevent that kind of confusion and disarray. He ordered the state`s local family law judges to not perform same-sex marriages despite the federal ruling that said they had to. Huh? So, thank you, Judge Moore in Alabama. Thanks to him, "chaos reigns". Probate judges across the state grappled with conflicting rulings. Alabama Live had to put together this handy county by county map today showing just what kind of marrying was happening in each county in Alabama today. And no confusion and disarray there, Judge Moore. Many probate judges today decided just not to issue any marriage licenses at all, to gay couples or straight couples. So, that`s one way to solve the problem. Marriage unavailable for anyone, that`s not confusing at all. And for those judges who did want to make their way through the thicket of conflicting rulings and instructions, Alabama`s attorney general issued this helpful statement. Look at this, "I advise probate judges to talk to their attorneys about how to respond." That`s right. So, the judges should get lawyers. And the judges should speak to their lawyers about with a they should do -- not confusing at all. It should be noted, though, in the handful of green counties, there were a lot of very happy gay couples getting hitched in Alabama. And the reason they were able to get hitched under that federal court ruling is that the U.S. Supreme Court denied the state`s request to stay that ruling. And, of course, everybody has been trying to read the tea leaves on the United States Supreme Court on the issue, because they are set to rule this year on whether gay marriage is protected by the constitution. People are anticipating this could be a big national sweeping ruling within just the next few months. So, today with this decision in Alabama, a lot of people saw the Supreme Court`s decision to not block same-sex marriages from going forward, even though the state wanted that. Some people saw that as a sign that maybe the Supreme Court is going to rule favorably toward marriage equality when they hear that case later this spring. One of the people who seemed to think that today was Justice Clarence Thomas. He doesn`t like the idea but he seems like what he thinks is going to happen. Joining us now to explain is Kenji Yoshino, legal scholar and the Chief Justice Earl Warren professor of constitutional law at NYU. He`s also the author of the forthcoming book "Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial." Kenji, it`s great to see you. KENJI YOSHINO, LEGAL SCHOLAR: Great to be here. MADDOW: Clarence Thomas did a little punditry today. I mean, this was his dissent. He said Alabama should have been granted its request to not implement marriage equality today, because they didn`t to, even though a federal court told them to. But in so doing, he basically said, yes, everybody is about to get gay married everywhere. YOSHINO: Well, I think actually what he said was that this could be taken as a sign, right? MADDOW: OK. YOSHINO: I think that he was trying to give himself a little running room there, that this might not be the case. MADDOW: OK. So, is there reason to look at what happened between the state of Alabama and the Supreme Court today as anything other than something about Alabama, as something that might tell us what`s going to happen nationally? YOSHINO: Oh, I think there definitely is, you know? The big difference about this case that the Supreme Court had granted review in between. So, this is different from all of the other earlier cases because the Supreme Court has now granted review and arguments will be held in April. The decision is going to be made by June. So, Justice Thomas has a point when he says this will be decided by June, so therefore, just wait awhile. MADDOW: Leave the status quo in place since you know this is going to be settled. YOSHINO: Exactly, and that`s different from status quo before the Supreme Court took place where people could be waiting independently if a stay didn`t put in place. MADDOW: Obviously, there is a lot of historical resonance because it`s Alabama, saying, you know, we`re not going to do what the federal court tells us to do. We don`t recognize your authority here. The resonance there is too obvious to restate. But what do you make of the legal chaos today with the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who`s been very outspoken on this subject, essentially directing lower court judges in the state to not follow federal law. And all of those probate judges making decisions, county by county, whatever -- based on whatever they felt was the right thing to do. How do you explain that? YOSHINO: I think it`s extremely troubling from a rule of law perspective. And we`ve seen this before. We saw it in California during the Prop 8 litigation. MADDOW: Oh, the other direction, right. YOSHINO: Yes, they kicked it and said the California district rules is the law of the case, meaning the final and ultimate disposition of the case. There was some squawking on the side about how only the parties before the court were bound, and this wouldn`t bind California. But that ended up not being the case. You know, Kamala Harris put a stop to that as attorney general of California, and that squawk kind of died out. Now, that that squawking as an imprimatur of someone like the chief justice of the state supreme court, it has a very difference resonance, and a very troubling resonance with regard to the rule of law, because I think what he`s saying is it`s perfectly fine to disobey a federal, as you said, ruling by a district court judge so long as it doesn`t comfort with his interpretation -- remember he`s not a judge in the case -- with his interpretation of what the United States Constitution requires. MADDOW: How do you think it will resolve in Alabama? Usually these things resolve when a federal court tells a state this is what you`re allowed to do and this is what you`re not allowed to do. In this case, that has not brought us to the end, the chaos in Alabama today, I mean, punctuated by some very happy people being married some places. But that chaos today, how does that get resolved? YOSHINO: Yes, I think it`s going to get resolved by suits against probate judges who refused to issue warnings, right? So, I think that one of the reasons why the judges are choosing the quality of graveyards to the quality of the vineyards. Marriage for no one as opposed to marriage for everybody, because they`re trying to hedge themselves against claims that they are flouting the equal protection clause of the federal constitution. So, I think this will be -- those lawsuits will percolate. One thing where Justice Thomas and I agree on is, you know, at a minimum, this will be over in June 2015. MADDOW: Well, Judge Roy Moore, if you accomplish nothing else in your life, (a), you did create a lot of chaos in Alabama today in the administration of law. But also, Judge Roy Moore, in some weird way he may have stopped straight marriage in Alabama at least in a number of counties. I`m sure he is sleeping well. Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren, professor of constitutional law at NYU and the man who explains these things to us -- Kenji, thank you. YOSHINO: Thank you so much. MADDOW: All right. Just ahead, an adult-sized portion of info bunk will be debunked. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Stay where you are my fine feathered friend, creep. Last week on this show, we told you about a series of owl attacks -- owl attacks on joggers in Oregon, specifically in a park in the state capital of Salem, Oregon. The first victim was Ron Jakes, an Oregon surgeon who has been jogging extra hard in the park in order to make sure he could still fit into his adorable Green Bay Packers suit. He`s a Green Bay Packers fan and he likes this suit. Full disclosure, this is not what he was wearing when he got attacked by the owl. But when he did get attacked by the owl, the owl came down on him so hard that it punctured his scalp, presumably with its talons. The doctor thought he was having an aneurysm when this owl attacked him. And now, since in that same park, there had been at least three more people have been attacked since the doctor. Well, now, the city of Salem has these attack owl warning signs. Given the ferociousness of the owl encounters and the mounting number of owl attacks, we thought the sign should be a little scarier. We suggested this sign for an owl warning sign for Salem, Oregon. We also after posting that sign online, we heard back from the doctor with the Green Bay Packers suit who was owl victim number one. He saw our report about what he went through. Look what he sent us. Look. Look, that`s him on the right wearing a shirt with our attack owl warning sign printed on the front of it. Dr. Jakes will warn the people. Thank you, sir. Thank you. Also today, "The Statesman Journal" newspaper in Salem, they announced the ten finalists in their effort to name the aggressive owl in their town. They want a name for the owl. You can vote for Thurston Owl III, also, Hoodini -- because owl. Claws, that`s a simple one but it might sound Christmas-y. I like owlgetcha. That`s pretty good. Polls are opened until noon tomorrow, West Coast time. That`s the latest on Oregon and owls. But tonight we also have live, and in the flesh our new favorite Oregon Bears, CJ and Chris, proud Oregon Bears who are playing a surprising role in national top tier American politics right now from their perch in Oregon. And that story is coming up and so are they. This is going to be good. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Every now and again I get to do a segment called "And Now Here is a Thing." It is just a thing that happened that you should know about. Without further adieu. And now, here is a thing. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUBTITLE: And now, here`s a thing -- MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: You know we call you "The Duck" in Nerdland. ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The Duck? HARRIS-PERRY: We call you "The Duck", so -- in Nerdland, we say you have a very placid and even way of presenting, but you`re just working for justice underneath, Would you quack for us? HOLDER: I`m not sure I`m going to do that, but I like the analogy. HARRIS-PERRY: You do like the analogy, good. HOLDER: I like to think -- well I was born in New York City in the `50s and `60s, and for an African-American guy, the thing was to be cool, you know? You had to be cool, things don`t bother you. So, on the surface that`s how I like to appear to be, but you`re absolutely right, those little duck feet are moving as fast as they can underneath, and things are going as fast as they can behind the scenes. And I may have been cool in congressional hearings on the outside, but I was pissed off a lot of the time too, you know? It`s a question of trying to rein in that -- those feelings and make sure on the outside, I was cool. SUBTITLE: And that is the thing that happened. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: And that is a thing that happened. No, I will not quack like a duck for you Melissa Harris-Perry, says outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder, while admitting to getting P.O.`d a lot of times in congressional hearings. Placid on the surface, paddling furiously below the waterline, I can`t believe that happened. That was so excellent. Well-done. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Hoot, hoot! Debunktion Junction. What`s my function? First, true or false. OK. Today was the day that Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was due to show up for day one of his federal prison sentence. After being convicted on more than a dozen felony corruption charges and sentenced in the pokey. A judge later announced that Governor McDonnell would be allowed to stay free on bond while he pursues his appeals, so today didn`t have to be day one in prison for him. Today was also, though, the day that we were due to learn the federal sentences recommendations for Bob McDonnell`s wife. Today we got that news about the recommended sentence for Maureen McDonnell about her felony corruption charges. And the news about her recommended sentence was fairly shocking. Look -- 18 years, whoo, 18 years. Her husband, Governor Bob McDonnell got two years. But prosecutors are trying to lock Maureen McDonnell up for 18 years? That was the news today. Is that true? Or is that false? (BUZZER) MADDOW: It`s false, actually. Prosecutors are not seeking a sentence of 18 years for Maureen McDonnell. That literally was just a typo, I`m sure it was a terrifying typo for Mrs. McDonnell. But it originated in an "A.P." wire report today about her case. And because it was in a wire story, that misinformation got replicated in "Politico", and in "Salon", and, of course, "A.P.`s" story which shows up in their own native ways all around the Internet, went rocketing around the news faster than a Ferrari borrowed from a political patron who would like to boost -- would like a boost from the state. Hello, Governor. In reality, prosecutors are asking the court to sentence Maureen McDonnell to prison but not for 18 years, but what they`re asking for is 18 months. Oops. Literally, it was a typo. I mean, by law, she could be up for more time at her sentencing later this month, but the governor`s punishment turned out to be a fraction of what he could have gotten, and now, the first lady looks to be on the same path to not much time in prison. That terrifying typo, one final gift from Governor Gifty just in time for Valentine`s Day. Also, true or false? Over the weekend, the Web site "Politico", again, spent time poking fun at the current list of potential Republican candidates for 2016. Quote, "A line up of long shots crowds the Republican field." Quote, "The Republican 2016 presidential field includes three politicians, George Pataki, Jim Gilmore and Bob Ehrlich, who last won election when the flip phone was hot technology." OK, is that true or is that false? Is it true or false there are three Republicans in the 2016 field who last won elections like more than a decade ago, back in flip phone-ville? Is it true or false that there are three of those guys in the field? (BUZZER) MADDOW: False. While it is true those three guys, George Pataki, Jim Gilmore, Bob Ehrlich, have not won any election in over a decade, "Politico" also inexplicably left out their comrade in arms here, Jeb Bush. The last time Jeb Bush won an election was also more than a decade ago when he was reelected governor of Florida in 2002, and yet it`s almost like they`re not willing to hold that against Jeb Bush the way they hold it against those other guys on the long-shot list. I mean, the point remains though, a lot has changed since 2002. Right now, Jeb Bush is dealing with a very contemporary, very contemporary political problem, thanks to a couple of adorable bears from Northwest Oregon. And those bears are coming up next. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Something about traveling to London that makes America`s would-be presidents kind of bonkers, or makes them look bonkers at least. Mitt Romney went over there and insulted the London Olympics, then had the British prime minister insult him back. He forgot names, and he talked publicly, he bragged publicly about stuff that were supposed to be secret. Bobby Jindal was just in Britain and he also got insulted by the British prime minister after he spouted a bunch of made up, debunked right wing blog comment, "World Net Daily" nonsense about Britain while he was in Britain and they knew the difference. He just embarrassed himself. And then, Chris Christie tripped on his own tongue about whether kids should get their shots. Following those remarks, he then canceled his media availability even though he was in London and reporters kept following him around anyway while he snarled at them. I don`t know what it is about London, but it`s like quick sand for these guys. Step right up, sink right down. The next contender to try his lack with the British people and the British press is Wisconsin`s Governor Scott Walker. Scott Walker is going to be in Britain all week. Maybe, it will go great. Maybe he will break the curse, but be on the lookout for how these things usually go. So, Scott Walker in the U.K. today. Chris Christie back from the U.K. and off to Iowa today. Rand Paul was in Iowa over this weekend, still talking about vaccines, seriously, he gave another vaccines interview this weekend. But the big news that`s happening right now among Americans who want to be president is that Jeb Bush is rolling out his online Jeb Bush for president operation. A bit of bumpy start to that today, as they made a big deal about hiring this guy as their new chief technology officer for the Jeb Bush for President PAC. Shortly after making the announcement of that hire though, Andrew Kaczynski at "BuzzFeed" starting that guy`s online history starting to disappear. Tweets like these, quote, "New study confirms old belief, college female art majors are sluts. Science majors are also sluts, but uglier." Or this one, quote, "Most people don`t know that Halloween is German for night that girls with low self-esteem dress like sluts." Or this one, quote, "When I burp in the gym, I feel like it`s my way of saying, sorry, guys, but I`m not gay." Or, this is a nice one, quote, "There are 12 girls that will never amount to anything greater than being some girl that`s slept with Tiger Woods." So, he seems nice. Where did you find him? That`s who Jeb Bush just hired to be his chief technology officer for the big online rollout of his campaign. He`s also launching he`s running for president Web site. We don`t know exactly what kind of Web site it is, but we do know that it goes live tomorrow and that it will include the first chapter of his new e-book, along with a whole bunch of emails from his time as governor, for your perusal. We also know that the new Jeb Bush for President Web site being launched with all this fanfare tomorrow will not be at the web address Not because he`s shy about that at all, but because these gentlemen, this couple from Oregon, they are the proud owners of And they have been since 2008. C.J. Phillips and Charlie Rainwater are a couple of self-described high-tech bears. They`ve been together for almost 20 years. They both work in tech. They both disagree with Mr. Bush`s record and past remarks on gay rights. And now, thanks to them, there is a handy place to learn about and discuss gay rights online, at their Web site, which is Joining us now are CJ Phillips and Charlie Rainwater, the proud owners of that Web site. Gentlemen, thank you so much for being here. I`m so happy to meet you. CJ PHILLIPS, OWNS JEBBUSHFORPRESIDENT.COM: Hi there. CHARLIE RAINWATER, OWNS JEBBUSHFORPRESIDENT.COM: We`re happy to be here. MADDOW: First of all, I feel like I`ve made a big deal out of the fact that you guys are bears and that you call yourselves high-tech bears. I want you to know that I mean it with as much affection as I can possibly muster. I hope that hasn`t bothered you at all. PHILLIPS: Yes, right back at you. RAINWATER: Yes, not at all. MADDOW: Very good. Sometime, I`ll tell you about the gardening bears I met in Texas, who said they lived at a place so nice, where the gardens were so nice it was bear-sigh. (LAUGHTER) RAINWATER: We love to hear that story. PHILLIPS: Bring it. MADDOW: So, you guys were living in Texas actually when you decided to buy this Web site in the first place. Tell me about that decision. PHILLIPS: Well, we were living in Austin, which is an amazing city. And there was this weird convergence of the timing of the other Bush getting out of office and President Obama coming back in, or coming in, and Texas passing some really, pretty strict legislature that put us in a bind, right? And Charlie and I were talking. And it`s like, wouldn`t it be funny if we could use Jeb Bush`s name to like try to educate people about LGBT issues, get on the Internet two minutes later, we bought the domain for 8 bucks. MADDOW: And have you been renewing it ever since? Have you had the Jeb Bush folks try to buy it from you? Or any -- have they approached you at all? RAINWATER: No, they haven`t approached us. We haven`t heard a word from them. Every year, it would come available. We were like, do we want to keep it? Yes, we need to do something about it. And we would renew it and then procrastinate and not really do anything. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: So, what are you guys going to do with it? I see that you`ve definitely started something already. It redirects to a page that`s got discussions under way and some explanation about why you bought it. Do you have a bigger plan in mind? PHILLIPS: We`d really like to use it as a platform for letting people learn about this is what a real LGBT couple faces, right? What we`re really like. So many times in our past, we`ve heard people ask us questions, because they don`t know. They don`t know another gay couple. They don`t realize that two guys who look like us, big old bears, are a couple, right? This is a chance. This is what we want to use it for. MADDOW: Since you guys have become known for owning this domain and this suddenly very, very relevant domain, have you had any negative comments, or any notable positive reactions? What`s happened since you guys have come out about this? RAINWATER: We`ve had a lot of very nice, very supportive comments, some really good stuff. Unfortunately, some of the worst negative comments were on an Oregonian here in Oregon. MADDOW: On the newspaper Web site. RAINWATER: On the newspaper Web site. One comment was we look like two frail refugees from a nursing home. (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Wow. That`s some imagination. I can`t even squint and come up with that. Anything but frail in every way. CJ and Charlie, you guys have been such good sports about this. You`re sort of genuine openness about what you`re doing here and your feelings about it and everything have turned this into a story that I think you can keep it going as long as they can`t pry this Web site away from you. I wish you guys the best of luck. RAINWATER: Well, even if they do eventually get it, we have a backup site. MADDOW: What`s that? PHILLIPS: (LAUGHTER) MADDOW: Naturally. I recommend an owl for a mascot, fellows. PHILLIPS: Absolutely. RAINWATER: Swooping down on a jogger. MADDOW: It`s great to have you, guys, here. Thank you. Good luck to you both. PHILLIPS: Thank you, ma`am. Bye-bye. RAINWATER: Bye-bye. MADDOW: I love my job. Gave me an excuse to call these guys. I love this. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Two big things are about to happen this week, both of which are very, very, very rare in Washington. One of them is that there`s going to be a presidential veto, woo-hoo. We`ve only had two vetoes the whole Obama presidency. Both on little technical matters nobody remembers. But now, on Wednesday, the House is expected to pass the Keystone bill, Senate already passed it last month. So, once the House does this thing on Wednesday, that heads to President Obama`s desk for his signature, which it will not get. Veto coming. The White House has said for a long, long time, that the president may or may not approve Keystone once all the reviews are done. But they say that it is his call to make, not Congress`. So, he will do a thing he never does. He will do a thing we have not been able to cover the whole time he has been president, veto on the way maybe this week. And almost as rare as a modern presidential veto is the blue moon of this Congress actually making a new law. But that`s about to happen too. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Marine Corporal Clay Hunt`s family, they did the impossible. They moved mountains. They got Congress to do something substantive. The Clay Hunt Veterans Suicide Prevention Bill passed both Houses. It will become law. We`ve just now learned that President Obama will hold a big celebratory signing ceremony on Thursday afternoon. President Obama always talks about how much he loves a signing ceremony. But honestly, he gets very little opportunity to do them because this Congress passes nothing. But on Thursday, we will see the results of a nice, rare exception to that rule. And rightfully, I think they`re going to make as big a deal out of it as possible. That does it for us tonight. 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