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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 06/17/15

Guests: Angelo Carusone, Jay Famiglietti

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us for the next hour. A few years ago, an activist named Angelo Carusone, he launched a campaign to get the Macy`s Department Store to dissociate itself from the real estate mogul Donald Trump. He had a whole list of reasons. In the petition that he drew up, Angelo Carusone neatly sort of summed up those reasons as follows. He said, quote, "Donald Trump engages in especially unpleasant nasty and despicable behavior." He then gave a big long specific list about Donald Trump perpetuating the racially charged birther conspiracy and being publicly sexist, and being a hypocrite in terms of complaining about jobs being shipped overseas when his own branded merchandise is made overseas, it`s big long list. So, Angelo wanted Macy`s to dissociate themselves with Mr. Trump. Nearly 700,000 people signed that petition to Macy`s at It`s an activist campaign. His name is Angelo Carusone. Now, Mr. Carusone says that at one point, Donald Trump threatened to sue him for millions of dollars because of that campaign to get Macy`s to drop Mr. Trump. The lawsuit apparently never happened, though, and Angelo Carusone has sort of carried on his work as being an anti-Donald Trump activist. Well, when Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign yesterday, you might remember one of the things he did right off the top, was make a very big deal about how many people were there at the Trump Tower in New York to see him make his presidential announcement. Here`s how that announcement started. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Wow! Whoa! That is some group of people, thousands. So nice. Thank you very much. That`s really nice. Thank you. It`s great to be a Trump Tower. It`s great to be in a wonderful city, New York. And it`s an honor to have everybody here. This is beyond anybody`s expectations. There`s been no crowd like this. And I can tell you, some of the candidates they went in, they didn`t know the air conditioner didn`t work. They sweated like dogs. They didn`t know the room was too big because they didn`t have anybody there. How are they going to be beat ISIS? I don`t think it`s going to happen. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Dog`s technically don`t sweat. They pant. Tongue out of the mouth and everything. But still, Donald Trump says he can beat ISIS because his rooms not too big. Unlike Rick Perry who was sweaty at his announcement, Donald Trump knew that the air conditioning was going to be on at Trump Tower. He knew the size of the room. He knew how to fill that room. But him filling the room that, turns out to be the story. After watching the Donald Trump presidential announcement yesterday morning, the anti-Donald Trump activist Angelo Carusone, that -- he posted a story, basically, on "Donald Trump hired paid actors to attend presidential launch event." Talking about the crowd of people who were there at the event which Donald Trump as you heard called thousands. He said there`s been no crowd like this. Mr. Carusone, writing about that crowd, said, quote, "Something just felt off about it to me, but I couldn`t quite place it. Was it the staging? The crowd? My initial thought was I bet Donald Trump is paying some of the people to be there." He says, "I talked myself out of that thought initially because, I mean, come on. This was supposed to be a presidential campaign event. No way he`d actually pay actors to participate. But something was off." I have to say, did it sort of seem like something was off. CNN reported a little bit of what seemed off when they noted in their story about the campaign launch yesterday that there was somebody out on the street, out on the sidewalk outside the Trump Tower before the campaign launch started basically carnival barking, trying to persuade just passersby in random New York City pedestrians that they should come into the hotel and be there for the Trump presidential announcement. Right? So, that was -- that was weird anyway. Right? That doesn`t happen in a regular presidential campaign launch. So, CNN had initially reported that something was off about the effort to fill that room. Our own RACHEL MADDOW SHOW producer who we sent to the event said that he overheard people at the event in the VIP section of the press section openly speculating about whether or not the people who were filling that room might be paid actors. And granted that seemed like just idle speculation. But something was weird enough in the room that people who were there were asking each other about it and talking about it at the event. And then, Mr. Carusone, the activist, started cross-referencing pictures from the event that were posted on social media. He says, quote, "I stumbled across a photo posted on Instagram." He says he recognized the gentleman on right in that Instagram photo as a professional actor, a man who regularly posts photos online from his acting gigs. He said he then realized that the other person in the photo, the person on the left, also appears to be a New York City actor. She does appear to be an actor, an experienced union actor. We contacted her to day. She did not want to talk to us. Honestly, I have to say, there is no intimation that any actors did anything wrong here. Right? Getting paid to do an acting job and showing up and acting, it`s not a crime. It`s not even necessarily wrong. But we were just trying to figure out if somebody really did hire paid actors to give the appearance of Donald Trump supporters when they were not actually Donald Trump supporters, and there were not enough Donald Trump supporters to fill that apparently filled room. Angelo Carusone in his investigation yesterday says he heard ultimately from sources who told him that a company called Extra Mile New York City connected Trump`s campaign/event organizers with the paid actors. Extra Mile is kind of a play on words here. It obviously means, right? It`s a good company name. They`ll go the extra mile for you. They`ll try really hard. But it also means specifically extras. What you hire Extra Mile for is extras, people who you want to be just warm bodies in the background of a scene somewhere, especially when you need a lot of warm bodies, when you want to hire people in bulk to show up at an appointed place, at an appointed time, doing an appointed thing and dress in an appointed way, this is one of those agencies that you call to get people. Extra Mile New York City also would not speak with us today about whether or not they as an agency hired extras, hired actors to pretend to be Donald Trump supporters. But Angelo Carusone, this anti-Trump activist, made this incredibly inflammatory claim today. We spent all afternoon today chasing down everybody we could in connection with this possible story. Everybody who we found pictures of at the scene who seems to have been an extra for hire, everybody who is known to be an actor who appeared to be a Trump supporter at that event. We spent time badgering that agency today trying to get them to tell us whether or not this -- the Trump campaign, the Trump event organizers might be one of their clients. We got nowhere with that. But then, bingo -- 6:00 tonight, the story breaks and naturally it breaks in the "Hollywood Reporter", who else is going to have better connections than the acting community, right? The story breaks in the "Hollywood Reporter" that, in fact, quote, "The Donald Trump campaign offered actors $50 to cheer for him at presidential announcement." It`s an amazing piece. Donald Trump`s presidential announcement Tuesday was made a little bigger with help from paid actors at $50 a pop. New York-based Extra Mile Casting sent an email last Friday to its client list of background actors, seeking extras to beef up attendance at Trump`s event. According to the email, Extra Mile was reaching out to potential extras and partnership with Gotham Government Relations and Communications, a New York-based political consulting group that has worked with Donald Trump in the past. Gotham Government Relations and Communications is not commenting on this matter. But when you are a casting company who hires lots and lots of extras for events, right, and movies and stuff -- I mean, what do you when someone hires you is a firm is you send out a notification to potential extras. You send out a notification to actors that there is work available, if people want that work. So, there is a trail here, right? And somebody who got that e-mail, that basically -- that offer of work from the extras casting company has now provided the e-mail to the "Hollywood Reporter". So now we know how Donald Trump filled the room when he announced he was running for president. This is the e-mail. "Hi there." There is some misspelling there and bad grammar here. But this is the jest of it, "Hi there. We`re working with our associates out at Gotham Government Relations. We`re working with them with a big event happening Tuesday, June 16th. This is an event in support of Donald Trump in an upcoming exciting announcement he`ll be making at this event. This event will be televised. We`re looking to cast people for the event to wear t-shirts and carry signs and help cheer him in support of his announcement." This is the good part, "We understand that this is not a traditional background job," meaning a traditional acting job for extras, "but we believe acting comes in all forms and this is inclusive of that school of thought. This event is happening live and will be from 8:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. That`s less than three hours. The rate for this event is $50 cash, at the end of the event. You have to stay at the end. We would love to book you if you are still interested and available. Please let us know. We will get back to us with confirmation." You know what? It is possible that this is a big conspiracy. That this is a hoax, right? That all of the people at the Donald Trump event are legitimately Donald Trump supporters and he just happens to have a lot of actors among his base, right? Maybe somebody cooked up that e-mail and shocked it to the "Hollywood Reporter" when really that room filled up on its own with a lot of actors and some other people. And, you know, maybe whoever CNN saw on the sidewalk trying to bolster the paid extras with free pedestrians who maybe wanted a little air conditioning for a half hour, maybe that was a coincidence, too, when CNN reported that. But if this is what this looks like, it`s interesting, right? It`s salient. I mean, Donald Trump`s campaign is denying this nine ways to Sunday. His campaign manager told the "Hollywood Reporter" tonight, quote, "Mr. Trump draws record crowd at almost every event which he is a featured speaker. The crowds are large, often record setting and enthusiastic, often withstanding ovations", end quote. The campaign manager apple does not fall from the candidate tree, right? But despite those claims, an inability to fill the room is a problem that Donald Trump has had in the past. A couple years ago, "New York" magazine published these very embarrassing photos of what the room looked like when Donald Trump gave a speech at CPAC. That was CPAC 2013, people just didn`t show up to hear him talk. Now in 2015, apparently, rather than face an empty room again for his presidential announcement, this time if the "Hollywood Reporter" is right, Mr. Trump solved that problem the old fashioned way -- open checkbook, swivel wrist. And this is kind of amazing in its own terms. I mean, if you`re an anti-Donald Trump activists, right, like Angelo Carusone, and you`re the first guy who figured this out and it turns out your hunch was right, and Donald Trump really did have to pay actors to fill his presidential announcement with fake supporter, he`s got to be kind of the apex of your Donald Trump experience, right? But it is also substantively important terms of the Republican Party, right, and what it means that Donald Trump really is running for prison this year, and doesn`t seem to be faking it like he has in years past. I mean, whether or not this is a celebrity PR campaign or an actual political campaign, he is running. He`s declared candidate now for the Republican nomination for president. Pollsters are polling on him. He is likely to take a spot in the Republican Party, official televised debates, which under the current rules will deprive another candidate in terms of that candidate having a spot on the stage. I mean, so even if he is kind of faking it, right, even if he is paying people to pretend they are his political supporters, he`s going to be there in the debates. He`s taking up almost all of the oxygen in the room in terms of attention to the Republican candidates. I mean, there`s Jeb Bush making the presidential announcement on Monday. This incredibly carefully choreographed thing to highlight minorities in particular, right? Jeb Bush, not just using a big section of Spanish language in his speech but the whole event, and then going out of their way to pick diverse introductory speakers, carefully picking really kind words and positive imagery about immigrants, generally, and about Latinos, generally, and about Latino immigrants in particular. And that happens very carefully from the Jeb Bush campaign on money, basically trying to rebrand the Republican Party as friendly to Latino immigrants. That`s Monday. But then on Tuesday, there is Donald Trump, with the actors and all the media attention in the world saying that Mexican immigrants -- well some of them are nice but most of them are rapists. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: When Mexico sends its people, they`re not sending their best. They`re not sending you. They`re not sending you. They`re sending people that have lots of problems and they`re bringing those problems with us. They`re bringing drugs. They`re bringing crime. They`re rapists and some, I assume, are good people. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Some are good people. But basically, anybody immigrating from Mexico is a rapist. After Donald Trump said that in his announcement, theoretically, Jeb Bush could have rebutted that assertion. He could have criticized Donald Trump for having said. He could have said publicly that he was wrong about that and Republicans shouldn`t talk like that about immigrants and Latinos and Mexicans even, right? But Jeb Bush did not do anything of the kind, nor did the Republican National Committee when the spokesperson was asked about the comments. None of the other Republican candidates have criticized Donald Trump for saying that in any way. And that`s for a reason. That`s because even though Donald Trump is kind of a fake political figure, he is kind of just a celebrity running a fake political campaign as a big PR exercise. The Republican Party at the highest levels has really plighted their trough with Donald Trump. They have been playing along with this ruse for a long time. They have kind of created this monster. They`ve been really happy to ignore the fact that Donald Trump`s public political persona is mostly just a celebrity paid for PR exercise. And instead, they tried to go along it with. They tried to capitalize on his celebrity. They try to create a sense that Donald Trump is not just a celebrity figure but a political figure to be taken seriously. In 2012, after Donald Trump decided after hemming and hawing for months that he himself would not run for president, Mitt Romney and his wife made a big public show of going to kiss Donald Trump`s ring and get his public endorsement and they signed Donald Trump up to do robocalls and ads for Mitt Romney for president. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: It`s my honor, real honor, and privilege to endorse Mitt Romney. (APPLAUSE) And, by the way, this is a great couple. You look at this couple. (APPLAUSE) But Mitt is tough. He`s smart. He`s sharp. He`s not going to allow bad things to continue to happen to this country that we all love. So, Governor Romney, go out and get them. You can do it. (APPLAUSE) MITT ROMNEY (R), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are some things that you just can`t imagine happening in your life. This one is of them. Being in Donald Trump`s magnificent hotel and having his endorsement is a delight. I`m so honored and pleased to have his endorsement. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It was a delight. Mitt Romney in 2012, super honored to have Donald Trump`s endorsement. And these days, this is how Donald Trump talks about Mitt Romney. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: You know, frankly, he just choked. He choked like a dog. And, frankly, we cannot -- we cannot allow that to happen again. I agree with him. I agree with him 100 percent. Romney did not -- I supported Mitt Romney. He didn`t bring out the people. He choked in the end. Mitt ran and failed. He failed. You can`t have Romney, he choked. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It`s not like getting that man`s endorsement is a real prize, right, especially if he`s willing to turn on you like that after he endorsed you. But they all line up for him. It`s an interesting phenomenon in mainstream Republican politics. They all line up for Donald Trump during the 2012 primaries when Newt Gingrich was briefly the front- runner to win the Republican nomination. That meant that Newt Gingrich had to come to New York and kiss Donald Trump`s ring. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: The new Republican front-runner Newt Gingrich in New York City today. NEWT GINGRICH (R), THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve come to New York for two different reasons today. One is to make the case that if I do become the nominee, we`re going to compete in all 50 states. REPORTER: The second reason, to pay a visit to businessman Donald Trump. GINGRICH: Donald Trump is a great showman. He is also a great businessman. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: The Republican Party at the highest levels has built Donald Trump up -- built him up and built him up, as if Donald Trump is a real political figure who ought to be taken seriously. I mean, all the candidates paying these pious visits to him in New York City in 2012, the endorsement for Mitt Romney, he did those robocalls for Mitt Romney. At one point, the Republicans were going to have Donald Trump moderate a Republican presidential debate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: But a month away from the Iowa caucuses, the Republican race is far from settled and Trump`s plan to moderate a Republican debate is making some mainstream Republicans uncomfortable. KARL ROVE, GOP STRATEGIST: I think the Republican national chairman ought to step in and say we strongly discourage every candidate from appearing in a debate moderated by somebody who is going to run for president. REPORTER: Karl Rove`s shot got a rise out of Trump. TRUMP: Karl Rove gave us George Bush and George Bush crashed and burned, and because of that, we have Obama. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Even though this is the way he talks about Republicans at the highest level, Republicans keep going back, keep building him up and building him up and building him up. I mean, he did those robocalls for Mitt Romney in 2012, after that. In 2014, Trump said more Republicans asked him to do robocalls for them too. He did robocalls for Scott Brown when Scott Brown was running for Senate in 2014 in New Hampshire. He did robocalls for Mitch McConnell when running for reelection in Kentucky. That was last year in 2014. At one point, Donald Trump said on Twitter that in the Mitch McConnell, he was proud to support Mitch McConnell specifically because he wanted him to be the next speaker, which is funny because Mitch McConnell is in the Senate. There`s no speaker in the Senate. But who cares? It`s Donald Trump, we`ll do anything for Donald Trump. The guy is a real estate developer and reality TV show celebrity. He`s not really a politician or somebody who is really running for political office. One of the ways you can tell he`s not a politician is the way he talks about the country he supposedly wants to lead. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: The country is in serious, serious trouble. It`s a mess. Our country is a total mess, a total and complete mess. This country is a hell hole. We`re going down fast. We`re not a brilliant country anymore. We`re a foolish country. We`re a dumb country. Sadly, the American dream is dead. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: People who talk like that aren`t necessarily really running to try to lead the United States of America, right? This is something else. This is PR. It`s paid celebrity PR. I`ve been asking on the air for days, is this politics? Is this something political that I`m looking at? Or this is basically an effort to turn the political press into celebrity paparazzi? Now, we know. Now we know. But he is technically in the race and the Republican Party is going to have to pay a real price for that in terms who have gets in the debates and what gets talked about and who else gets heard and what the image of the Republican Party is. But the Republican Party is not the victim here. They created this mess. They created this monster. I mean, if you have to hire paid actors to impersonate people who politically support you, people don`t actually natively politically support you. You are not a political animal that exists in nature. But the Republican Party created Donald Trump. They made him into a purported political figure. And now, they have to live with those consequences. And that must be a strange realization. Not just for the Republican Party that built up Donald Trump all these years and who is now taking over the Republican presidential primary process. It`s got to be a really strange realization for somebody who has been standing on the sidelines of this process for years, basically telling people to stop legitimizing Donald Trump. I mean for an activist like Angelo Carusone, today has to be a very, very strange day -- a vindicated day. He joins us in a moment. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Coming up next, we`ve got the guy that blew the whistle. Is it whistle blowing? Yes. Blew the whistle, on Donald Trump paying actors $50 cash to pretend to be his supporters at his presidential campaign launch. That`s next. We got lots more ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: Wow. Whoa! That is some group of people. Thousands. So nice. Thank you very much. That`s really nice. Thank you. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Thousands. Donald Trump made a big deal yesterday about how big the crowd was yesterday for his campaign announcement. Nobody else had that kind of crowd. But what if some of the people in that room were actors? Paid by his campaign to show up and pretend they supported Mr. Trump? Mr. Trump and his campaign have denied this allegation, but it turned out tonight in the "Hollywood Reporter", including a copy of the e-mail reportedly sent to New York area actors, offering them $50 cash for less than three hours work if they would show up and pretend to be supporters of Donald Trump for president. Joining us now is Angelo Carusone. He is the activist who first alleged that Donald Trump hired actors to pose as his supporters at the launch of his campaign. He is an executive vice president at the activist group, Media Matters. Mr. Carusone, thanks very much for being with us. I appreciate your time tonight. ANGELO CARUSONE, RECOGNIZED ACTOR AT TRUMP EVENT: Thank you for having me. MADDOW: So, you wrote this up at And I`m sort of following your logic on this. But, basically, why did you feel like something was off, that something didn`t seem right and deserved more investigation? CARUSONE: Well, one, I mean I know that Donald Trump is pretty disputable, and two, that he thinks money can basically solve any problems, including not actually having a political base for being a presidential candidate. And then, of course, the third was my own personal experience. I have campaigned in the past. I`ve done events. I did an event one time at Macy`s where from my perspective, it seems like there was an awfully large number of suspicious, you know, New Yorkers that were casually going by the event saying how they had to go inside to purchase some Donald Trump ties. And from my perspective, I said, wow, they must be actors or paid staff or whatever. And I sort of shrug off, but I`m aware of Donald Trump`s chicanery and I didn`t that it would be absent here. And when I saw that, one, he wasn`t highlighting the supporters in the stagecraft. There was no photographs online, the video didn`t pan out at any point, that was telling. It was a little bit of something I found curious. And then, when I started to search around online, you know, when you go to events, you post pictures of yourself at the events, because you care. You`re happy to be there. I didn`t see any tweets from people posting -- like selfies or pictures of themselves or pictures of Donald Trump walking by them. I couldn`t find any of that stuff. And so, it said it`s time to dig. MADDOW: You say that you stumbled across one photo posted on Instagram. So, did you find one image you felt like was key to unraveling this plot. What`s the story there? CARUSONE: And, basically, yes. So this guy, he uses social media to post pictures of himself at gigs which makes perfect sense and recognized him as an actor. I started doing digging. I discovered that other person featured was an actress as well. That seemed coincidental. But again, maybe actors like Donald Trump. I still wasn`t going out on Twitter and saying, yes, I have this smoking gun. I have some sources. I started to ask around if I could get help to corroborate my suspicion and I did. My sensitivity didn`t want anybody to get in trouble. I`m glad you said that at the opening of the show. The actors didn`t do anything wrong. I very firmly believe. That I knew this wouldn`t get throughout unless I did something. And so, basically, I wrote it up knowing that there are other outlets out there like "The Hollywood Reporter" and MSNBC and others that would have some clout to get a response from some of these -- you know, to get some material to prove it. So, but I did have some sources able to confirm that there were paid actors there. So, I felt comfortable going forward with the post. MADDOW: We weren`t -- we tried to follow your trail and some of our own in terms of trying to talk directly with some these actors. Obviously, the gold standard for us in understanding this story would be for somebody to say, yes, I was paid $50 to be there. No, I`m not an actual supporter of Donald Trump but I took this as an acting gig. We`ve got nobody telling us. That the closest concrete information we`ve got here is this e-mail blast reportedly posted -- a reported e-mail blast posted tonight by "The Hollywood Reporter". Is what the "Hollywood Reporter" posted tonight consistent with what your sources told you in terms of how this was put together? CARUSONE: Absolutely. And "The Daily Mail" also was able to identify some additional source that they say confirmed that at least one actor was, in fact, paid to attend and participate in the event. So, just the fact that there are multiple reports with multiple sources, and I checked with mine to make sure they weren`t the same as "The Daily Mail`s" and they weren`t. So, you know, I felt like, yes, here is enough information out there. And so, again, it just -- I feel comfortable with the claim at this point. MADDOW: Angelo Carusone, executive vice president, Media Matters, thanks for helping us understand this tonight. We really appreciate you being here. Thanks. CARUSONE: Thanks so much. MADDOW: Actors, really? I`ve been saying like, is this PR? Is this a celebrity thing? Is this politics? Paid actors? If this was a movie instead of my life, this would be the part that would get X`d out for being too melodramatic and obvious. All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is a politics programming note for you. We`ve got a scoop that we`re working on for tomorrow night. You might have seen that we`ve been reporting for the last week on how the Republican presidential primary process in kind of a quiet way is falling apart, largely because New Hampshire Republicans are revolting. New Hampshire Republicans are revolting against FOX News and the Republican Party and how FOX and the RNC are planning to do the debate process for the Republican presidential primary. Now, as of today, it turns out that Republicans in Iowa and Republicans in South Carolina have decided to join forces with the New Hampshire Republicans in pressuring FOX News and the RNC and saying, no, to the way they are planning to run the debates. So, this is a heads up, essentially, that the primary process is blowing up in all three early states in a big way now. We`re reporting that out right now for tomorrow`s show. We`re doing our best to get Republican guests. I know, here. That`s our programming note for tomorrow. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In my left hand, I have a feather. In my right hand, a hammer. One of the reasons we got here today was because of a gentleman named Galileo a long time ago who made a rather significant discovery about falling objects and gravity field. And we thought that where would be a better place to confirm his findings than on the moon? And so, we thought we would try it here for you. And the feather happens to be appropriately a falcon feather, for our falcon. And I`ll drop the two of them here and hopefully they`ll hit the ground at the same time. How about that? Mr. Galileo was correct in his findings. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That video was taken on the moon in 1971. NASA astronaut David Scott testing Galileo`s theory that gravity accelerates all objects at the same rate. It worked, the hammer and the feather. Galileo`s theory of gravity paved the way, of course, for Sir Isaac Newton to develop an equation to determine how two objects interact gravitationally. If you know the weight two of objects, say, the Earth and that apple falling from the tree and you know the distance between those two objects, then you should also know what the force of gravity is between those two things. Apple meet head. One way NASA has been figuring out ways to measure gravity and its effects on Earth is through a program that`s called Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, which becomes GRACE when you shorten it up. GRACE is two satellites, each about the size of a small car orbiting the Earth 150 miles apart from each other. The satellites circle around the Earth and they`re designed basically to notice little dips and bumps in Earth`s gravity. Basically, dense things, heavy things, things with a lot of mass, exert more of a gravitational pull. So, from space, using gravity, you can find dense and heavy things on Earth. You know what is dense and heavy on Earth? Water. It turns out if you want to find where the water is on Earth, gravity can help. Specifically, if you want to find out where water is below the Earth`s surface, satellites can use the force of gravity to figure that out from space, which is so cool. I mean if you don`t know what you want to be yet when you grow up, be a scientist. This stuff is so cool. So, GRACE has been up there looking at the Earth, looking at water on the Earth using the Earth`s gravitational field to figure out where it is. And the GRACE scientists have just published two papers about something amazing that they found and about what needs to be measured next. So, you know that California is in a horrendous drought, right? When California isn`t in drought, when the state needs water or drinking water, water for irrigating crops, water for everything, it usually in normal times, California takes about 60 percent of that water from rivers and reservoirs above ground. But we`re in a drought. And California rivers and reservoirs are dry now because of the drought. And so, the state needs to get its water from somewhere else. Yes, they`re trying to cut back dramatically in terms of consumption, but California is also using water from a different source. They are drilling for it. They`re pulling more and more water out of wells, out of the groundwater. Rather than the rivers and the reservoirs that have nothing left to give, they`re pulling the water out of the ground, out of the aquifers that hold fresh water deep below ground. Usually, only about 40 percent of California water comes out of the ground, comes from drilling it out of the ground of water aquifers. But now that they`re in drought, that`s where California is actually getting most of its water now. They`re just pumping it out of the groundwater. They`re pumping the groundwater out of the ground and using it. The groundwater aquifer in the central valley in California is one of the biggest aquifers on Earth. And GRACE, those two satellites, they`ve been looking at it. GRACE for the last 10 years has been monitoring the 37 largest aquifers in the world, all over the world, including that big one in California. And they have found two things. The first one you are already guessing. The first one is that we`re using up all the groundwater. All over the world, aquifers are really stressed. The worst one is apparently the Arabian aquifer which covers an area where 60 million people live in the Middle East. Can`t imagine what might go wrong there if everyone`s wells start to run dry and there`s no more fresh water. There is also a big one in India and Pakistan that is in very severe trouble. That, of course, is the most densely populated regions on Earth. And, yes, in the United States, our aquifer that is worst off in term of being overtapped and not filling back up with water is that one in the Central Valley where California`s tapping it so hard right now while they`re in drought. So, that`s one thing they have found. Ground water is in trouble. Here`s the other thing that scientists found though, which is slightly less mind boggling, I think, because it is way more solvable. And it`s about measuring. This neat trick they do with the satellites and using gravity to find big deposits of ground water -- I mean, it`s neat, right? It helps you locate and get basic information about fresh water that is underground. The underground fresh water that you know makes human civilization possible. It`s neat. But apparently, it can`t give you super precise information about exactly how much water is still in those aquifers. And that`s really important to figure out, particularly if we are in danger of running those thins dry. And, particularly, if essentially when and where those things run dry, human beings aren`t going to be able to live there anymore. I mean we need to know, right? If you have a ton of money in the bank, you maybe don`t need to check the balance if you want to withdraw 20 bucks. If you have next to no money, you need to know what your balance is before you go to the ATM. So, we need to know what is left in terms of our groundwater. Apparently what we need to do is drill them to figure that out. Drill the groundwater aquifers, not to take the water out of them, but just literally to count how many gallons are still down there, because we need to plan now for how much is left. The GRACE scientists writing in water resources research say this, quote, "The depth and thickness of many large aquifers make it tough and costly to drill or otherwise reach bedrock and understand where the moisture bottoms out. But it has to be done." The principal investigator of the study, the senior water scientists at NASA`s jet propulsion lab, he makes it even clear. He says this, quote, "We need to explore the world`s aquifers as if they had the same value as oil reserves. We need to drill for water the same way that we drill for other resources." What if we did that? What if we drilled, baby, drilled, not to extract the stuff from the Earth but to figure out what was there so we would at least know ahead of time where humans are and are not going to be able to live from here on out, and by when they`re going to have to be gone. Joining us now is Jay Famiglietti. He`s a senior water scientist with NASA, professor of Earth system science at the University of California at Irvine, and he is the principal investigator on these two new studies. Professor Famiglietti, thanks very much for being here tonight. Appreciate your time. JAY FAMIGLIETTI, SENIOR WATER SCIENTIST WITH NASA: Thank you very much for having me, Rachel. And I have to say that you totally nailed that introduction. That was a great synopsis of the papers and really a lot of the work that we have been working really hard on, really over the last couple decade. MADDOW: Thank you for saying so. I just want to give you a full chance though if I got any of that wrong, you can correct me. It`s OK. FAMIGLIETTI: No, no, you pretty much nailed it, and you actually threw in a little recruiting for future environmental scientists which I appreciate very much. MADDOW: Well, here`s the part that I don`t understand, which you can probably tell from the introduction I don`t understand, which is why is it that you can see aquifers from space and you can tell when and where they`re in danger. But you still say we actually need physically drill them down here on Earth in order to figure out how much water they got left? Can`t you see that from space, too? FAMIGLIETTI: No, you really can`t. What we`re really seeing from studying this gravity data is really the monthly changes in the water storage. And so, we`re able to see how rapidly these aquifers are gaining or losing water. And most of them are losing water. That`s what we found in the study. But it`s very difficult to assess how much water is there from space. We just have no real way to do it. And I think that as you said, the only real feasible way to do that is by exploration as if they were oil reservoirs. MADDOW: Is it the same kind of technology that they would use to test an oil reservoir`s size and characteristics? FAMIGLIETTI: Absolutely. Absolutely. And if water had the same value as oil, this exploration would have already been done. MADDOW: If that value were privatized by corporations that could gain governments to clear the way so that they could privatize the resource, right? I mean, that`s the problem. FAMIGLIETTI: Well, it`s -- you know, that`s a path that we probably don`t want to go down with water. But we should in my opinion really be thinking about charging. You know, it`s undervalued. So, we don`t give it the respect that it deserves. We haven`t done the exploration. We waste a lot of it. MADDOW: In terms of the two different things that you have identified, obviously one, that we ought to quantify what we got left because it`s important and it`s finite in terms of human existence in certain places on Earth. But then there`s other finding that there are a lot of places where the aquifers are taxed and human persistence there maybe getting towards its limits, is that a problem that is fixable? Are we beyond any sort of human intervention in terms of stopping making that problem worse? FAMIGLIETTI: We can slow it down. I think that we are well past the point with humanity, where we`re relying on what is renewable with respect to water every year. We use more than we have available to us on a renewable basis. So, the challenge now is to figure out at what rate we want to be using what remains in these aquifers. I think for the big aquifers, we`re not refilling them. And so, now, it becomes an issue of managing how much we use in the future and also understanding how much is there. Like you said, it`s the bank account. It is quite foolish to draw checks and make withdrawals from a bank account without knowing how much is there. MADDOW: Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientists at NASA, professor of earth system science at U.C.-Irvine, thank you for helping us understand it. It`s really scary. But you`ve written it in a way that`s very clear. Thanks for helping us understand it. FAMIGLIETTI: Thank you very much. MADDOW: Appreciate it. All right. There is a slew of giant news stories coming right at us, including as promised a story from my mom. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. A little a peek into the newsroom here. There`s a story that we`ve been watching tonight out of Washington that had an embargo on it. It is a really important, totally history making announcement that is going to be important basically to everybody in the country. And everybody was saying we were not going to find out the details until midnight tonight. Total embargo on the story. Apparently, that embargo just broke just now and now we are getting the story in. Standby, in just a second. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, we have breaking news tonight about your wallet. This is the story that had the freaking midnight embargo on it. But the embargo just broke and so now we know. OK. Here`s the story: more frequently than you might imagine, the U.S. treasury redesigns our money. It`s how they protect against counterfeiters by giving the bills a fresh new look once in a while. Tonight, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew has announced when the $10 bill comes in for its next revision, check this out, it will emerge from that process not looking like this, with Alexander Hamilton`s picture on it but instead with the picture of a woman on it. For the first time in modern history, a woman will appear on paper money in this country. They are planning to release the new $10 bill in 2020, in time for the 100th anniversary of women getting the right to vote. Now, which woman is it going to be? They`re not saying. Apparently, they haven`t decided yet. They have decided on the gender but not the person. Treasury is now saying they want to hear from the public about which woman should appear on the new ten spot. One important consideration, she should be a dead woman. We don`t know who they`re going to put on it, but the next $10 bill will be a woman for sure. They just broke the embargo on the story. We will post a link to their suggestion site on our blog. Whew! (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This has been an amazing week in the news. Hillary Clinton announcing her campaign on Saturday. Jeb Bush announcing his campaign, but without his last name on Monday. The Jeb launch totally squashed in the news by the Donald Trump announcement, which we know is stacked with actors paid $50 cash to act like Donald Trump supporters at that event. Also, the number two guy in al Qaeda central got killed this week. The manhunt for the escaped prisoners in upstate New York is still live, which is incredible. Bernie Sanders is surging in New Hampshire. Oprah Winfrey is being courted as a vice presidential running mate for a Republican nominee. It has been a very exciting news week already and it is only Wednesday. But, tomorrow, potentially, is going to make us all forget that anything else happened this week at all. Tomorrow`s going to be nuts, because all in one day tomorrow -- first of all, we`re going to have Supreme Court rulings. We don`t know which ones yet, but at 10:00 a.m., we`re going to find out. The fate of lethal injection, the fate of Obamacare, the fate of same-sex marriage nationwide. We`re still waiting on rulings on all of those and a whole bunch of other cases. And it`s possible the court will put off the big ones until even later and tomorrow won`t be any of the big cases but it is already June 17th. It`s getting kind of ridiculous. So, that`s one thing. Tomorrow 10:00 a.m., potentially huge Supreme Court news. In the other branch of government that is usually boring but occasionally fantastically interesting huge news tomorrow from Congress. This trade thing that President Obama has been trying to get passed, the thing Republicans support but most Democrats don`t, looks like that trade bill may be back up tomorrow. You saw all those super melodramatic headlines about the Democrats turning on the president on the issue and the president`s sway with his own party. But Republicans have been a mess on this one, too. Yesterday, Boehner fired three of the House Republicans on his team, people in charge of counting votes for him. People who couldn`t count the votes on the issue they themselves voted the opposite of the way they were supposed to be whipping. So, the trade bill is a big deal in terms of policy. It would affect 40 percent of the world`s economy. But the politic s around it are like a hurricane without an eye. Nobody knows what`s going to happen. That might be tomorrow, too, which will be a huge deal in Washington. And, and, and -- if the Supreme Court isn`t big enough for you and Congress and the huge bill aren`t big enough for you, we are also bracing ourselves tomorrow for relatively huge news from God. From the guy whose job description involves a direct line, apparently, though. Tomorrow, Pope Francis is going to reveal his encyclical on the climate. Parts of it have leaked already. It looks like it`s going to be really aggressive, by which I mean really progressive. But whether you like this pope or you don`t, whether you`re Catholic or not, whether you`re worried about climate change or you`re not, what the pope is about to do tomorrow with basically the highest level instruction that the church ever gives to the 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, this thing he`s going to do tomorrow has potential to change politics around climate in profound, global, long-standing and possibly unpredictable ways. We`re not going to know what`s in it until we see it, but we`ll see it tomorrow, along with everything else that is going to happen tomorrow. Honestly, tomorrow is going be too much. My recommendation, in terms of dealing with tomorrow is that you should not even go to bed tonight. You just stay up and wait for tomorrow`s glorious dawn of news to shine on your face because you think this news week has been nuts, tomorrow`s done. 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