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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 09/02/15

Guests: David Miliband

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet. MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. I`ve got to tell you, we are in the middle of an avalanche of late- breaking political news, much of it either really funny or really intriguing or both, all of it unexpected and all of it happening all at once, just over the last hour or so. Usually when I`m getting my make-up on at the last minute before I come do the show, I know, hard to believe it`s make-up, right? When I`m doing that, the executive producer Cory Gnazzo like comes by and gives me like a couple of last words about what`s going. On sitting there in the make-up chair tonight and Cory ran in to the make-up room dripping sweat and heaving with breath so hard. I couldn`t understand a word he said. That`s how fast news is breaking right now. That means I have no idea what`s coming up on the show. So, poor Cory, we`ve been shifting things around, trying to make room for all these amazing stuff that`s been crossing the wires, just in the last hour or so, including getting in the tape that has been pouring in in tonight`s news. It begins with Republican Jeb Bush, and whoa, is Jeb Bush in trouble. Jeb Bush has just picked the kind of fight that you`re going to lose. Jeb Bush has apparently, without trying to, he has accidentally picked a fight with probably the biggest figure in pop culture in America right now. And this tape will explain it. Watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: I`m so excited for the late show premier on September 8 when my guests will be George Clooney and Jeb Bush. Or as the tabloids have coined them, Jeborge Clush. I`m not the only one who is excited. So is Jeb. Which given his logo is really his only option. Jeb! In fact, Governor Bush is so pumped for the first show that he sent this e-mail to supporters: Today, we`re formally launching our Stephen Colbert late show contest where we`ll fly one lucky winner to New York where they`ll receive a VIP ticket to the late show with the new host. That`s something you`ll still be talking about 20 years from now. Yes. You`ll be talking about it 20 years from now when the next Bush is running for office. To enter, all you have to do is donate $3 to Jeb Bush`s campaign. If you can`t afford $3, you`re probably not voting for Jeb Bush. I think the contest was a great idea. But here`s the thing, no one from Jeb`s campaign asked me if this was OK with me to raise money off my first show. Where`s my cut of that sweet 3 bucks, governor? Huh? Where`s this stuff? The house always gets its beak wet. Where`s the big, Gov? I`m sorry I`m yelling but again you`re the one who put an exclamation mark at the end of your name. Well, two can play at this contest, sir. So, tonight, today, or whenever you`re watching this, I`m launching my own Jeb Bush on the Stephen Colbert Late Show raffle. The lucky winner will be also be invited to the premiere of the late show. Plus, they will get to submit one non-obscene question that I will ask Governor Bush on their behalf. For example, one question might be, don`t you wish you had consulted Stephen before launching your contest? To enter, go to and submit your name, e-mail and a $3 donation which will go to the Yellow Ribbon Fund which helps injured service members and their families. See you on September 8th. Until them, I`m going to be on Jeb`s site trying to score a ticket to the late show night premiere. That sounds like one. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Fundraising off somebody else`s work without -- before now, it has been Jeb Bush versus 16 other major Republican candidates for president. Now, it looks like it is Jeb Bush versus 16 other major Republicans for president and also against the cultural political juggernaut that is Stephen Colbert just as he starts his new show. I mean, it says right this in the secret political hand book, right? Rule number three. Do not tug on super man`s cave. Do not spit in the wind. And then it says, do not pick a fight you cannot win with a force like Stephen Colbert, at this particular moment in Stephen Colbert`s career. Remember when John McCain annoyed David Letterman? In the middle of the 2008 campaign, right, his campaign was struggling. It looks like he`s going on lose against Barack Obama and he stood up David Letterman. He was rude to him. He was inconsiderate to David Letterman and David Letterman went after him and would not let it go, and went after over and over and over again. Then John McCain never recovered? That was David Letterman. New guy with that show is Stephen Colbert. For the record, the Bush campaign tonight says, they thought they had permission from the Colbert folks before starting their fundraising off of Mr. Colbert`s show. They also said they think the whole thing is just great. This is going exactly how we meant it to go. That`s one. There is yet more big news that is breaking tonight that involves the Democratic side of the presidential race. Tonight as we speak, the president of the United States, Barack Obama is up in Alaska. We`re going to have more on that a little later on in the show. This trip to Alaska tonight marks the first time that a sitting president has visited the Arctic in Alaska. While the president is in Alaska though, while the president is in Alaska, Vice President Biden is in the opposite quadrant of the country. Or I guess on TV, it looks like this, right? Joe Biden tonight is at a Democratic fundraiser in Florida. Vice President Biden gave a speech earlier today at Miami-Dade College, on the issue of college affordability. After that visit to Florida today -- Florida, Florida, Florida -- that has renewed speculation about whether he might mount a run for the presidency in 2016. Mr. Biden spoke in Florida this afternoon. He`s meeting Democratic Party fundraisers there tonight. People keep saying, oh, the reason you can tell he`s not running because he`s not fundraising. Now, he`s meeting with fund-raisers. Now we know also that this weekend, he`s going to be in Pennsylvania, taking part in a Labor Day march with the leader of the country`s largest labor union, the AFL-CIO, who hasn`t endorsed in the Democratic presidential primary. And then, next week, Joe Biden is going to be a guest of Stephen Colbert, on the premiere week of Stephen Colbert`s aforementioned new late show on CBS. So all of this Joe Biden activity has led as you know to renewed speculation, tea leaf reading about Joe Biden and 2016. And tonight, into all of this interesting and late-breaking news, dropped one more interesting tea leaf, because probably the biggest thing, the biggest granular thing that really sparked this new round of interest about whether or not Joe Biden is going to run is when someone in the Biden camp last month leaked that the vice president had requested and in fact taken a private meeting in Washington, D.C. with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, right? Joe Biden had been home in Delaware at the time but he traveled back to Washington, D.C. just to meet with Elizabeth Warren. And it was just the two of them. And that was what really kicked off all the Joe Biden wondering. And it`s been sort of a mystery since then about what exactly was discussed in that private meeting. But tonight, "The Boston Globe" spoke with Elizabeth Warren about that meeting. A "Globe" political reporter named Joshua Miller interviewed her at an event at Suffolk University in Boston. He asked Elizabeth Warren what she and Vice President Biden talked about during that meeting. He asked specifically whether they talked about a potential Joe Biden run for the White House and whether they talked about potentially running together on a joint ticket. Watch how she responds. This took place just a short time ago in Boston. We just got in the tape. This is how Elizabeth Warren described what took place during her meeting last month with Vice President Joe Biden and then listen to what she says about what`s happening in her political future. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: We talk about the direction the country is going in. We talked about the capture of this country by those who have got money and power. It was, yes, a long, rambling policy, conversation. Just like they ought to be. JOSHUA MILLER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: What did you have for lunch? WARREN: It was a chopped salad thing. I was never entirely sure what it was. (LAUGHTER) MILLER: At least with fast food, you know what it was. WARREN: That`s the thing. You never have to ask what the fillet of fish is. It`s pretty clear. Yes. Of course, it resembles no fish anyone has met. Yes. MILLER: Was there any talk of a joint ticket even jokingly? WARREN: It was a long conversation. (LAUGHTER) MILLER: OK. OK. Do you plan to meet with him again? WARREN: Look, I meet with anybody who wants to talk about policy and might be able to help out here. MILLER: There is a lot of chat about Vice President Elizabeth Warren. I wanted to ask you a question this way. Will you pledge to serve out your whole U.S. Senate -- (LAUGHTER) WARREN: So, I love my job. I truly want this job. And it is all I`m thinking of. And you just can`t put a different thought in my head. I am thinking about my job as United States senator. MILLER: Sounds like a truly great gig. I wonder whether you`ll stay in it for the duration of your six-year term. (LAUGHTER) WARREN: It`s all what I`m thinking about. I am where I am. MILLER: OK, it seems like -- (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I am where I am. You can`t give me another thought. That was Elizabeth Warren. "And did you and Vice President Biden, was there any talk with the vice president with a joint ticket even jokingly?" "It was a long conversation." Elizabeth Warren tonight in Boston letting out that long pause when she was asked whether or not Vice President Biden talked about forming a joint ticket when they met last month. It was a long conversation. And because all political news decided to break basically within the same hour tonight, we got that news on the Colbert, Stephen Colbert/Jeb Bush thing. Then, the Republican Party, right? Then, we got the news on the Democratic Party, this Elizabeth Warren thing tonight in Boston. Because everything is at the same time tonight, at the same time, we also just got something from the other thing in American politics, which doesn`t always feel like either party, and that is the Donald Trump wing of the 2016 presidential race. And I say it sometimes doesn`t feel like either Party because one of the issues around the candidacy is that he has not been willing to swear off the possibility that he might leave the Republican Party and instead make a run for president as an independent, or as a third party candidate. Now, if Donald Trump were running as a centrist kind of guy, a third party campaign from him, that might take votes from both the Democratic nominee and the Republican nominee. Conceivably, if he ran as a centrist candidate, that could be a hard to predict impact kind of decision. Much like it was when Ross Perot ran in 1992, contrary to the common political wisdom. When you look at the number, Ross Perot actually took votes from Bill Clinton and Poppy Bush pretty equally in 1992. But with Donald Trump running the way he`s running this year, he`s not going to be a Ross Perot. Donald Trump running this very hard right campaign he`s running for president this year, there is no question if he bolts the Republican party and runs as an independent or third party candidate, basically all the votes he would get would be taken away from the Republican nominee. A Donald Trump independent or third party candidacy would virtually guarantee, I think, that Hillary Clinton or some other Democrat would become the next president. So, that gives Donald Trump a ton of leverage. He keeps saying, well, if the Republican Party treats me nicely, we can talk about that. If they don`t, I`m not going to swear that off. Mr. Trump has not sworn off the possibility of running not on the Republican Party ticket. And that has been freaking out the Republican Party for the obvious reasons. Republican Party in the states have been talking about the possibility of state based Republican loyalty oaths for candidates to even get on to the primary ballots for the Republican Party in those states. Mr. Trump got asked right up front about this at the FOX News debate last month. Asked about the possibility of running as a third party candidate, would he swear off that possibility? He would not swear off that possibility and he still has not. They keep asking him, say you`ll only run as a Republican, say you`re only going to run as a Republican. He has not been willing to say that. But now, we have just learned, we`re being told tomorrow, heads up. Tomorrow, Donald Trump is meeting with the Republican Party national chairman, Reince Priebus, in New York City. After that meeting, Donald Trump is now scheduled to hold a press conference at his headquarters in New York City at 2:00 p.m. Eastern. Now, this meeting between Reince Priebus and Donald Trump is happening the day after the Republican Party nationally quietly started circulating a loyalty pledge to all of the Republican candidates for president, asking them to affirm their allegiance to the party. I, state your name, affirm if that I do not win the 2016 Republican nomination for president of the United States, I will endorse the 2016 Republican presidential nominee regardless of who it is. I further pledge that I will not seek to run as an independent or write-in candidate, nor will I seek or accept the nomination for president of any other party. They want candidates` signatures, all of the candidates to sign this. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus started circulating this yesterday. Tomorrow, he meets with Donald Trump, and then right after Donald Trump does one of his patented Donald Trump press conferences. Again, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump is scheduled to be there tomorrow in New York City. Who knows? If he swears off a third party run, he is giving up 50 percent of the leverage he`s got for not only this campaign but for what he gets to reap the rewards of this campaign for the rest of his natural life. It`s hard to believe he would give up that leverage because as he`s a smart businessman, but we will find out tomorrow. That will be a huge victory for the Republican Party if he swears off leaving and running as an independent. They are basically signaling that they think that`s what he`s going to do tomorrow. I`ll believe it when I see it. Big busy news night tonight. And we are just getting started. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So the there is lots of news coming tonight -- including footage, we have the footage of the president of the United States making history with an overexcited fish. We were there. We have the tape. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The president of the United States likes fish jerky. In case there was ever any question about that before, that matter has now been conclusively resolved. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: OK, so what do we got here? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Fish jerky. OBAMA: Fish jerky. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re welcome to try it. OBAMA: Fish jerky, really good. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama enjoying salmon jerky, assuring America that it`s really good. President Obama is a thin person. I have seen him eat before, but I have never seen him eat like a whole thing. He eats a little of something and then doesn`t finish the thing. I have seen it myself. Do you know what? He ate all of that salmon jerky. He wolfed it. Here`s the thing about being president, though -- if you like salmon jerky and you get to go to Alaska to the exact spot where they`re hauling salmon nets, exact spot where they fillet that salmon to make that jerky and you get the opportunity as president to meet the expert, awesome local native Alaskan fisherwomen who do that for a living, and to feed their families and those fisherwomen offer you on the spot to show you how they make this thing that you like, how they cut the salmon and dress that salmon that they just caught right there a few feet away, if that is what you want to do as president of the United States, you want to say yes. I would like to see you fillet that salmon. Please show me how you do that. If that`s what you want and you are president of the United States, you cannot have that, because knives, knives. No matter who you are, if you are meeting the president of the United States in person, the one thing you do not get to keep out is your big sharp fillet knife. No way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: How about this, can you sow us? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They didn`t let me have my knife. OBAMA: Secret Service, do you have a knife? Or did we leave them all at home? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don`t have any. OBAMA: Come on, guys! You can`t fillet a fish without -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, excuse us. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama today in Dillingham, Alaska, which is one of the stops he made today. If you want to know where Dillingham is, I see Anchorage marked on the map there, sort of center, middle, right, center, at the top of the screen, Dillingham to the left. His trip there to Dillingham was not his ultimate destination in Alaska. It was just one part, one stop. A big full day of events he`s doing on this last of day of his three-day trip. Some of what the president is doing right now on the strip is historic. He is doing stuff presidents have never done. Going places presidents have never been before. Some of what he`s doing, he`s going to have political implications. Honestly, though, I am guessing that what he is going to remember most acutely, the thing that`s gong to be foremost in his mind at the end of his big long historic day, or at least the thing I think the president will tell his friends about when he gets back to the lower 48, I am guessing, will be this moment. The moment when one of those two salty local fisherwomen had to tell the president of the United States what that fish just did on his shoe means that fish was happy to see him. This is amazing. Watch this. Watch, watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: Uh, oh, what happened there? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s spawning. OBAMA: Did you see that? That got on my shoes. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s spawning. OBAMA: He was spawning a little bit which -- generally you don`t want fish spawning on your feet. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He was happy to see you. OBAMA: She said he was happy to see me. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama today in Dillingham, Alaska. That was not fish pee squirting on to the shoes. That was really a whole different idea. The president also went to a school when he was in Dillingham. He wore a sweater. And he was absolutely unafraid as all presidents should be, to dance with the little kids at that school who did a traditional dance. Not just for him but ultimately with him, including the big finale which involves putting your hands behind your back in a tail feather gesture. And the president pretended at that point that he threw his back out doing it but he didn`t really. After leaving that fishing community, after leaving Dillingham, Alaska, today, the president`s next stop was Kotzebue, which is up there on the Alaska map. And the historic nature of that president`s visit to Kotzebue is that that little town is in the Arctic. It`s above the Arctic Circle. And no American president has ever gone to the Arctic before for any reason. President Obama went to see that part of country that he governs. To meet the people there, but also to see how climate change is evident in the very far north, and how that should help us explain the overall scope of climate change as a challenge, as a problem we are already living with. Not just something that affects us in the future. But for the 3,000 or so people who live in Kotzebue, regardless of exactly why the president of the United States came to visit their town, the fact remains that their little town of 3,000 people way, way out in the middle of nowhere got a full blown visit from the sitting president of the United States of America and they were psyched about it. Watch this from the NBC affiliate in Anchorage. This is about Kotzebue getting ready. But check out the news they break here. I think they`re breaking news here from the Kotzebue mayor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SAIMA CHASE, KOTZEBUE RESIDENT: It`s crazy. It`s a once in a lifetime thing that he is coming to a tiny little village basically. REPORTER: Things have been crazy. CHASE: I`m excited though. This is crazy. REPORTER: You see, the president gets to town on Wednesday, get a ticket. CHASE: They spelled my name wrong. REPORTER: And you get to see him. CHASE: I am over the moon. I was pretty upset yesterday when I didn`t get one and then my sister called this morning and said, we have your ticket. I was like, aww. It`s crazy. It`s the president of the United States of America. REPORTER: That`s her sister, the mayor of Kotzebue. Thing like this press conference, that`s rare stuff for Kotzebue. And Maija Lukin has a crazy story for the president when she meets him at the airport. MAYOR MAIJA LUKIN, KOTZEBUE: I was so excited to meet you that my appendix burst. No. I am trying to think of something that he`s going to remember me by. REPORTER: Are you really saying that? LUKIN: I`m going to say it. I`m going to say it. I mean, come on, when you do ever get a chance to say something like that? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So, the president has just landed in Kotzebue. We do not have a live feed of his arrival so we don`t know yet until we get the tape whether or not Kotzebue`s mayor actually did greet the president by saying "I`m so excited to meet that you my appendix just burst." In fact, we`ve been trying to say why she would say that specifically, whether or not her appendix recently burst. She does seem fine. We don`t know. But, obviously, they`re very excited out there. A reporter for the local CBS station in Anchorage KTVA also tweeted out this shot that she got today of school kids in Kotzebue preparing to meet President Obama there tonight, by practicing the native Alaska song that they`re planning to sing to him when he arrives. The kids are 4 years old. Just 20 seconds here. Watch the little boy in the green shirt. If any one of these kids is going to end up being a politician, it is the little boy in the green shirt. Watch. (VIDEO CLIP PLAYS) MADDOW: Four-year-olds at the local preschool preparing to greet President tonight with a big cat cough and a song that they were practicing this morning at breakfast before the president`s arrival. The schools those kids go to is an immersion school where they do all their lessons and everything in one of the native Alaskan languages. In case you are suffering from a shortage of cuteness in your life, we have posted that video at our Web site tonight at, so you can top out on that whenever you`re having a bad day. It turns out that little kid going is the cure for everything. So President Obama has had this kind of remarkable three-day trip in Alaska. He is making history right now as Air Force One lands in the Arctic and he`s going to be giving a speech in Kotzebue a little later on tonight. Stay tuned to MSNBC for that. But while the president has been wrapping up this trip, this trip on which it seems like he`s having a lot of fun if nothing else. Simultaneously, back home in Washington, D.C., the administration today had one of its biggest political victories ever. One of its biggest victories of the entire Obama administration. And that`s` next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So there`s no connection at all between the two events but while President Obama was on this historic Alaska trip today, this is the president earlier today in Alaska. While the president was on this Alaska trip today with the ice cream shop and the spawning salmon and the adorable kids and the crew neck sweater and all the rest of it, while he was doing that today, President Obama also just today sealed what is maybe the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency. Last night on this show we said one of the things to watch for on today`s news was President Obama, as of last night, he was one vote away from getting the go-ahead for the Senate with the nuclear deal with Iran. He had 33 votes as of this time last night. He only needed 34 votes to be able to guarantee that any effort by the Republican led Congress to block the Iran deal could be held off. He had 33 votes last night. He needed 34. Well, this morning, he got 34. It came from Barbara Mikulski, the deciding vote. Barbara Mikulski, the feisty Democrat from Maryland who is retiring at the end of this term. Because this Iran deal is so fraught and so politically controversial and so much money and so much lobbying being spent trying to stop it, it is a hard political decision for even a lot of Democratic senators to side with President Obama on this deal. And so, on the one hand, it just makes sense that the deciding vote for the deal would come from a senator who will never face re-election again, who`s never going to have any political blowback from this that she is ever going to have to worry about. On the other hand, that didn`t make it a sure bet that Barbara Mikulski was going to be a yes. One important factor we`re told is that the other senator from her state, the other senator from Maryland, Ben Cardin, is still legitimately undecided on how he`s going to vote on the deal, and Barbara Mikulski didn`t want to split her state`s votes with -- she didn`t want to split votes with the other senator from her state on this important issue. So it was not at all sure that Barbara Mikulski was going to be a yes. But as of today, she is a yes. That means it is done. It is a done deal. I mean, there are ten Democrats including Ben Cardin who say they are still undecided. Who still haven`t said how they`ll vote. But brass tacks, doesn`t really matter. The White House and supporters of the Iran deal have got what they need. Congress will not be able to stop the Iran deal. It`s not going to happen. And this is a huge political victory for the Obama administration. This was something that was really hard to negotiate as a deal. It was really hard to imagine that they`d be able to fend off these domestic political challenges to it in Congress. A lot of people thought they would never be able to get this done, but they got it done. And this will be seen as one of the top tier political achievements of any kind from the whole Obama presidency. And one of them that was hardest to achieve against the worst odds. It happened today. And yet, even though president did seem happy today, in Alaska, he did not say he was specifically happy about this huge achievement. And he was happy about the salmon jerky and about the kids and the awesome dancing and that salmon that was so happy to meet him. I mean, the president seems like he`s in a good mood. But there`s been no declaration of victory from him or from the White House. There`s no victory lap, no crowing about how they got it done this thing done, and what a huge deal it is. Instead, since the Barbara Mikulski announcement this morning that put him over the top and got them that magic number of votes, the White House, the president, the whole Obama administration has kept its head down all day and said they`re going to stay focused on winning more votes to support the deal. They want more votes to support of the deal from those ten remaining Democratic senators who haven`t yet said how they will vote. They still want to focus on getting more of them on board even though they have already hit the magic number that they need. Why is that? Why are those extra votes so important to them? And if they`re so important to them, are they likely to get them? Today, we called all ten of the Democratic senators who have still not said how they are going on vote on this deal. None of them wanted to come on the show to talk about it. But I want to know not only how they`re all going to vote. I want to know why the White House cares so much. Since they have the magic number they need to get the deal done. So, to get those answers to those questions, the next call I made after I called ten different senators was to call my friend Steve Clemons, because even though Steve Clemons is not a senator, he tends to know these things. Joining us now, Steve Clemons, editor at large for the Atlantic, MSNBC contributor. Steve, it`s great to see you. Thanks for being here. STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Great to be with you, Rachel. Sure. MADDOW: Why does the White House care so much about getting more votes, now that they have the number they need? CLEMONS: Because there`s another magical number, and that number is 41. So, they got 34 votes and if they get 7 of the 10 people, 7 of the senators and hit 41, then theoretically, they have the possibility of him preventing that legislation from even going to a vote. That`s called a filibuster. They can prevent cloture from succeeding and they can stop all of this if they can make sure all of that. Now, I talked to one of the senators today. And that`s just one out of the ten. He made a very interesting statement. That was Senator Joe Manchin. And Joe Manchin said no matter which way he votes, this is a direct quote, on this, on the Iran deal, he will not stand for the hypocrisy of the Democrats trying to filibuster this. So, Joe Manchin will not support a filibuster of the Iran deal. And he hasn`t said that publicly. He said in it an interview with me and I had permission to quote him on it. So, at least he is one. And Chris Coons has sent smoke signals along the same lines. I don`t know if he`s made such a declarative statement as that, but the White House is trying to get seven of those 10 to support a filibuster. MADDOW: But, Steve, am I right materially there would be no difference in the Iran deal going through because it got filibusters in the Senate, and the Iran deal not going through because President Obama vetoed it? I mean, materially, either way, the Iran deal goes through. CLEMONS: Materially, you`re right. But the world then never sees an actual vote by the United States Senate supporting a resolution of disapproval on the Iran deal. That`s a big deal. MADDOW: So the idea, the rest of the world seeing American resolve or seeing two American faces on this issue. That`s, it is a sort of impressionistic power of that rather than the -- CLEMONS: Yes, in the end, the president will prevail. He will not have his veto overridden. You`re absolutely right on the substance. And so, this is a big deal. But it`s very different when you have two houses of the Congress passing very large proportion a negative statement on the Iran deal. And this 41, this magic number of 41 robs those opponents of the Iran of that - - of that prospect. MADDOW: Steve Clemons, editor at large for "The Atlantic", and an MSNBC contributor, eventually someone is going to do a big victory lap on this. We`ll see which magic number they do it on about. Steve, thanks so much. CLEMONS: Thank you, Rachel. MADDOW: All right. We`ve got much more to come on this very busy news night. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: I mentioned at the top of the show there`s been a lot of late breaking political news. Tonight, one of the weirder and more personal, and honestly, just sort of more creepily agro fights of the day ended up looking like this. Yes. This was how it looked by the end of the day. This was one of those "Clash of the Titans" political fights. We`ve got an important announcement about that fight coming up on this show tonight. Please stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This is something you do not see every day if you live in Beijing. Blue skies. Not altered, this photo. Blue skies, crystal clear blue skies seen over Beijing`s Tiananmen Square today. Normally, that particular view looks a little more like this. Smog. You can`t see your hand in front of your face smog. But today at least in Beijing, the skies are very bright blue and that`s in part because for weeks, nearly two weeks, smog producing factories have been shut down, millions of cars have been taken off the road and it is all on purpose, to pretty up the Beijing skies, to artificially clean them up for China to hold big a military parade today. Parade marking 70 years since the end of World War II. This is going to be the largest military parade in Chinese history, 12,000 troops taking part. It`s a military parade so it is a show of force in some ways. And that`s controversial for all the obvious reasons. But for all the military chest beating and the not inconsiderable triumphalism that this represents for China, this is also China`s way of commemorating in a way that it hasn`t done in such a big way before. It`s their way of commemorating, not just the end of World War II, in victory in World War II, but also, how much China sacrificed in that war. China had 14 million people killed in World War II. That war created 80 million Chinese refugees, the forced movement of 80 million people. A phenomenal number of human beings forcibly displaced. And while every allied country, I think, imagines itself to be the hero of World War II in some way or another, countries around the world, including ours, are still grappling with the conscience implications of what we did not do for some of the worst-off refugees in that global war. And now, in a smaller way, a different way, it`s happening again. A humanitarian crisis of refugees, women and children, whole families, a crisis that is getting increasingly acute every day. For months, people all over the world have been taken aback by the heart-rending images of what are sometime called migrants, sometimes called refugees and asylum seekers. Hundred of thousands of people fleeing conflicts in the Middle East, Africa, coming by foot, by foot, by any way possible to try to get to safety in Europe. It seems like every day, the pictures get more desperate. Today, one very hard to look at image is showing just how god awful things have gotten. You have probably seen this today already. It led the news around the country today. But even whether or not you`ve seen it, you may not want to look. It is graphic. I`m going to show it in 3, 2, 1. This is the image. It shows the body of a small Syrian boy, a refugee who washed ashore in Turkey. His family`s boat sank on its way to Greece. Absolutely terrible image. It is resonating around the world tonight though. And alongside how terrible this crisis is, we are seeing people being moved to try to help with or without their governments. In Vienna this week, 20,000 people took to the streets to show their support for the refugees arriving on their doorstep. In Iceland, thousands of citizens have signed a petition calling on the Icelandic government to allow more refugees into their home. People have been offering up their own homes. Tonight in Hungary, some imaginative volunteers set up an outdoor screening of Tom and Jerry cartoons for some of the displaced kids there. This past weekend, German soccer fans unfurled big banners that said "refugees welcome". Train stations in Munich had been so overrun with donations that police officers had to tell people to stop bringing them. Every country is responding to this crisis differently. In some places, the reaction of the people is not at all the same as the reaction of their country`s government. But one of the things that has been interesting to watch right now is that the government of Germany is taking a welcoming and relatively organized stance amid this tide of people who are trying to get there. Germany has announced that it`s on track to take in 800,000 refugees and asylum seekers, 800,000 this year. Contrast that with Britain, which is the second largest in Europe. Today, the British prime minister said taking in more refugees is not the answer. This difference, this very stark difference playing out on the front cover of two of this country`s major newspapers. One the left is the front cover of Germany`s "Daily Bild". It shows two young refugees with the headline, "We Help". On the right in Britain, "The Daily Express" says, "Migrants swarm to Britain". Swarm. Amid this huge human tide of sadness and need, why are these two important countries reacting so differently in Europe? And not incidentally, how about us? What`s our role in this? Are we helping? Do we have plans to? How should we? Joining us now for the interview is David Miliband. He`s the former British foreign secretary. He`s now president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. Mr. Secretary, it`s a real honor to have you here. Thanks for your time. DAVID MILIBAND, FORMER BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: Thank you very much. Good to be here. MADDOW: How should we understand the difference in the German and British reactions? Obviously, both very close allies of the United States, both big economies in Europe. Why such a stark difference? MILIBAND: I think the conscience of Germany has been picked in a very fundamental way. There`s been leadership from the top. It`s a coalition government of central right and center left. Both the chancellor and vice chancellor are very committed. And I think for historical reasons, Germany has a special thought about its role in humanitarian crisis. It is also the point Germany is now the largest economy in Europe. And the question of what German leadership and German responsibility means in the modern world is a very big question in Germany. And here`s chance after all the trauma of the euro crisis where Germany has been accused of teetering and being slow, here`s a chance for Germany to show real humanitarian, political leadership on a scale that not just Britain but the U.S. simply can`t keep up with. MADDOW: When he we look at these images, and we look at almost the sort of, hard to get your head around the scale of this and the fact that it is unrelenting now, this tide of people. And the fact that people are not just coming from one place, they`re coming from so many different war torn places. It feels like it is breaking Europe, and not in the sense that there are too many people coming, but that Europe`s rules don`t fit this problem. And that the rules that were in place supposedly to deal with this sort of thing don`t seem to be fitting and now seems to be flouted. MILIBAND: Now, there are two aspects I would question. First of all, they are not coming from that many places. The International Rescue Committee, my organization, we have staff in Greece, on the islands of Greece where people are arriving. Two-thirds of the refugees arriving in to Europe are coming into these islands, more than 60 percent are from Syria. So, the five-year Syria crisis, 4.5 million refugees, most of them in the neighboring countries, Lebanon, Jordan, et cetera, that`s the main source of refugee numbers, also Afghanistan to some extent. Secondly, you said in your introduction, sometimes we call them migrants, sometimes we call them refugees, there`s a huge difference. MADDOW: Right. MILIBAND: And one of the most dangerous things, including in Britain, is the fact that the idea of a refugee, the status of someone who has a well-founded fear of persecution, which is the definition of a refugee and international law, that`s being muddied, that`s being diluted, it`s being undermined in this talk of -- well, migrants who chose to come for economic reasons. MADDOW: Right. All the headlines are about migrants, as if this is just immigration, as if this is people moving in a normal context without - - MILIBAND: And it`s really important to say to people, this isn`t about being politically correct. It`s about being correct. That a refugee is fleeing persecution, an economic immigrant I would prefer to say, rather than migrant, is seeking a better life. It`s not that one is good and one is bad, but they`re different. And the refugee has rights in international law, rights to protection and responsibilities from governments that need to be upheld. And one of the fundamental challenges now is to ensure the very notion of a refugee is not lost in the talk and the headlines about a migrant crisis. MADDOW: What about the United States? Obviously, the United States is in a different position, particularly with regard to people coming from Afghanistan, people are coming from Syria, making their way by land across Europe. But what about American leadership? MILIBAND: Historically, America has been the leader of refugee resettlement. I don`t want to throw too many figures at you, but if you -- the record last year, 20 million refugees around the world. Those who resettled in richer countries, about 150,000 or so. The U.S. takes 70,000. But the record from Syria, I`m afraid does not amount to leadership. The United States since the Syria conflict began has taken 1,234 Syrian refugees. So, more or less 250 a year. The State Department announced a target of 5,000 to 8,000 in 2016. But that is way below the kind of leadership that`s needed for America to play its historic role, never mind to compare with the German reaction of 800,000 asylum seekers and refugees. OK, it`s our responsibility. We`ll take them. MADDOW: David Miliband, former British foreign secretary, president and CEO of the International Rescue Committee now, thank you for being here. The world`s most serious issue and it`s really nice to have you here to talk about it. Thank you. MILIBAND: Thank you very much. MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: This morning, "The Washington Post" published a op-ed about Donald Trump. It was an op-ed that Donald Trump did not like. Happy Wednesday. But this op-ed was written by NBA hall of famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the all-time leading scorer in the NBA. Very smart man, good op-ed, debunking the whole Bernie Sanders and Trump are two sides of the same coin mainstream media troupe. Good op-ed, Donald Trump hated it. But the way Donald Trump chose to display his contempt for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar`s op-ed was writing a mean note on it and sending it to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Quote, "Kareem, now I know why the press treated you so badly. They couldn`t stand you. The fact is that you don`t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make great again." And then he closes it with, "Best wishes, Donald Trump." That is a what he wrote to Kareem Abdul- Jabbar. Nobody likes you and now I know why. Based on the way he reacts to criticism, you would think that Mr. Trump is the one that made 11 all defensive teams, right? Tomorrow night, right here exclusively on THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW we will be joined by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who`s right in the middle of what`s turning to be a very fun and very weird fight. It`s going to be very, very beautiful. It`s going to be very, very beautiful. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, we have an update to our little avalanche of breaking political breaking news on the top of the show tonight. We started tonight with Jeb Bush picking the kind of fight you can`t win by fundraising off his forthcoming appearance on Stephen Colbert show. He told people that in exchange for a $3 donation to his campaign, they could be entered in a raffle for a chance to get tickets to Stephen Colbert`s first show as the host of the "Late Night Show" on CBS. Mr. Bush is going to appear as one of the guests on the first show. But, apparently, he didn`t ask Stephen Colbert if it was OK for him, for his first show to be a Jeb Bush for president fund-raiser. Bad move, Governor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COLBERT: No one from Jeb`s campaign asked me if this was OK with me to raise money off of my first show. Where`s my cut of that sweet 3 bucks, Governor? Huh? Where`s this stuff? House always gets its beak wet. Where`s the big, Gov? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: That was earlier tonight. Now, Jeb Bush just responded with a hilarious comedy routine of his own. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Hey, Stephen, I`m at the Philadelphia airport. I thought the host was Amy Schumer. I totally blew it. Since it is you, we are lowering our contest fee to $1 and I will enter yours with a donation to the Yellow Ribbon Fund. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Jeb Bush from the Philadelphia Airport trying to get ahead of the feud he just started with Stephen Colbert before he starts his late- night show. How this plays out and what it means, we do not yet know. It`s all happening right now. 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. Welcome back. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END