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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/5/15

Guests: Adam Schiff

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel. RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. HAYES: You bet. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. So, a whole bunch of things have just happened in political news today, mostly late today, what`s been breaking today in the news is relevant both in terms of policy and very much so in terms of politics. But tonight`s news in politics is very different than this morning`s news was in politics, because it`s just been one of those days when things kept happening to change the narrative. The first thing I should tell you about is that we just got news. We just got word that President Obama is going to be going to Roseburg, Oregon, this week. He is going on Friday. Roseburg, Oregon, of course, is where the Umpqua Community College mass shooting was last week. President Obama, of course, was visibly angry when he gave remark at the White House a few days ago. In his presidential press conference on Friday, President Obama went so far as to urge individual Americans to become single issue voters on the issue of gun law reform. He said with some emotion that he is not going to stop talking about this issue, even though it upsets people when he does. He says something has to be done to change politics around the issue of guns in the United States. And he intends to do all he can to do that. Well, now, President Obama, himself, will be going personally to the site of our nation`s latest high profile mass shooting. So, that trip on Friday to Roseburg, Oregon, that should put a big public spotlight, not just on the gun`s issue, but on the president`s effort to change the politics, the political dynamics around gun laws. I think that spotlight is something Democrats up to and including the president used to be sort of shy about, right? Democrats used to try to avoid having to talk about guns, unless they were 100 percent inline with the NRA, that some Democrats have. But, increasingly, we seen over the last three years ago it`s more evident than it has been, increasingly, Democrats who do want gun reforms are now not only willing to talk about it. They`re very happy to get the spotlight for it. They`re happy to get attention for it, because I think Democrats have finally started to realize however loud the NRA is, frankly the public is with Democrats on this issue, broadly speaking, to the extent that Democrats do actually want some reforms around the nation`s gun laws. And that changing dynamic in Democratic politics over the last few years really coming to a head this year has created on the campaign trail this year some really, really interesting dynamics among Democrats. That`s, in part, because of Bernie Sanders, right? As a congressman and a senator from the great rural pro-hunting state of Vermont, Bernie Sanders took some non-pro gun control votes over the course of his career. He did not support the Brady Bill, which mandated background checks for people buying guns. Senator Sanders also did not support legislation that would let people sue gun manufacturers, the same way that normal companies get sued for liability when their products hurt people. Now, in context, it`s not that Bernie Sanders should be seen as a conservative on the issue of guns, he`s not conservative on any issue, including guns. But unlike most other big hot topic issues, where Senator Sanders is to the left of the typical Democrat, he is not to the left of a typical Democrat on guns, at least, he hasn`t been in the past. And that makes for some interesting cross currents, now that he is running for president and doing so well for his run as president, because, weirdly, that`s creating interesting room around him, particularly to his left, as Democrats try to compete with each other for the favor of the Democratic voters. And so, we now got former Maryland Governor Martin O`Malley, who has been very aggressive on this guns issue. As a politician, he signed gun reform legislation into law when he was Maryland governor. He has a progressive record on the issue. Well, now on the presidential campaign trail, Martin O`Malley is calling for four specific things to be changed, four specific, easily understandable, knowable big things to change around guns. He wants there to be, number one, licenses for all gun purchases. Number two you, he wants anybody buying a gun to be fingerprinted. Number three, he wants illegal trafficking of guns to be a federal crime, which means it would be taken much more seriously than it is now. And the last thing he is proposing is very super interesting proposal, which concerns the purchasing power of the federal government. One of the biggest pushers of firearms in the United States is, obviously, the federal government, all sorts of different federal agencies arm people for all different sorts of purposes. Martin O`Malley is proposing that as a huge purchaser of firearms in this country, the federal government should use that power and only purchase guns from companies who agree to the best technological safety standards for their products, including microstamping, right? He wants these guns where it`s a special treatment of the firework pin in the gun, they microstamp every bullet essentially as it`s fired because the firing pin is scored in a specific readable way. The consequence of that is at least theoretically every single bullet can be easily traced to the gun from which it`s fired. It`s basically fingerprinting for guns and ammo. And, Martin O`Malley says the federal government only agrees to buy firearms from countries that use that technology and all of a sudden, American gun crimes get a lot easier to solve. Super interesting proposal from Martin O`Malley. Now, that said, in political terms, Martin O`Malley cannot get arrested. I mean, yes, he is technically running for president. You almost can`t tell that by looking at the polls. PPP just unveiled a new national Democratic poll tonight. We`re going to have more detail on this poll later in the show tonight, because it`s fascinating. But one little detail here. PPP decided basically to play a little joke on the Democratic field. They polled on all the various Democrats running for president, Hillary Clinton, Martin O`Malley, Bernie Sanders. They also folded into the mix, among other people, Michael Dukakis, Democratic nominee in 1998 lost to Poppy Bush by something like 12 points. Even so turns out if you put Michael Dukakis`s name into the polls as if he is running for president this year, Michael Dukakis beats Martin O`Malley. Yes. So, that kind of mean, but it happens, and, you know, if, frankly, realistically speaking, it does not appear Governor Martin O`Malley is a threat to win the Democratic nomination this year. That`s not the only reason to run, right? On this guns issue, Martin O`Malley is being aggressive in a specific way. He is just not making the case people should support him for president, because this is his platform on guns. He is say, explicitly to the other campaigns and their supporters. You know what, if you don`t support me, if you support Bernie Sanders for president, you should pressure Bernie to support these same ideas on guns. And he is saying to Hillary Clinton supporters, hey, you may not support me for president. You may support Hillary Clinton for president. But if so, you should pressure her to support policies on guns. So that is an earnest effort from Martin O`Malley, not just try to compete for the Democratic nomination, which she`s trying to compete for, but to make sure that the fact that he`s in the race matters, whether or not he wins. The fact that he is in the race is making the conversation, more substantive, on this policy issue. And that -- honestly, that`s awesome. I mean, that`s part of how a part of politics is supposed to go. That`s a sign of a good race well thought no matter who wins, when people who aren`t winning can nevertheless inject substance and specificity where people might otherwise be able to get away with. So, good on Martin O`Malley. And, in fact, today, Hillary Clinton unveiled her own series of actions she says she could take on guns. A series of actions she says she could take on the guns issue with or without Congress. Hmm. These new proposals from Secretary Clinton today significantly ramp up her aggressiveness on this issue. She seems to be very well-aware that by doing this, particularly by saying I can do this without Congress, she seems very well-aware she is inviting the hysteria that the gun lobby is known for. I mean, she`s not explicitly saying, bring it on, but it`s clear that Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, are starting to see the gun lobby being mad at them as more a badge of pride than something to worry about anymore. Also, what Hillary Clinton has just done -- this is fascinating -- she has just specifically put the Obama White House in a really interesting position, because, yes, Martin O`Malley put forward specific policies he wants. That`s interesting. Bernie Sanders has this record he comes from the left, but not particularly on gun issues and so, he`s got stuff to answer on that subject. But what Hillary Clinton has done, it`s fascinating because how it sets her up vis-a-vis the president. With these new policy proposals that Hillary Clinton has just come out with. If she is right that this whole list of stuff she says she could, if she is right that these are all things that can be done by a president with or without Congress -- well, that raises the question of whether President Obama could do these things now, too, if he wanted to. I mean, President Obama is obviously very fired up on this issue of gun reform. He has already taken a bunch of executive actions on issues like research around guns and reporting requirements and other things that he could do without Congress. But as Hillary Clinton has now identified, that she has now identified a series of newly aggressive things a president could do alone on enforcing the gun laws in this country, by rolling out that list of policies right now, Secretary Clinton may not have just changed the conversation around her own campaign, she could conceivably move American policy on this issue right now, even before she is nominated let alone I elected. If the Obama White House looks at that list from Hillary Clinton and says, oh, yes, some of those things could be done by the president with or without Congress. She says they could be done. If she`s right, President Obama should tell us why he`s not doing them, himself. Fascinating. So, that was the news late tonight. President Obama going to Roseburg, Oregon, this week. We don`t know exactly what he is going to do there. But the politics around this intractable issue have just very quickly gotten way more specific and way more interesting. And on the subject of Democrats becoming less afraid of attacking to the left, Hillary Clinton`s move in that direction, in addition to all the gun stuff, surprisingly, I think, was also manifest in her appearance on "Saturday Night Live" this weekend. I mean, I love me some political comedy -- political comedy only very rarely makes policy news, though, right? But in this "Saturday Night Live" skit this weekend, the conceit was that the real Hillary Clinton was a normal person, was a bartender named Val, and Val is having a conversation with Hillary Clinton. So, it`s Hillary Clinton talking with herself, the real Hillary talking to a Hillary impersonator, which is very meta. It`s kind of hard to wrap your head around until you see it. But it ends up being, A, very funny, and, B, a really interesting way for Secretary Clinton to make some public apologies. Some public apologies for having taken so long to get to where she is now on issues like the Keystone pipeline and on the issue of gay marriage. I think this is her way of saying on "Saturday Night Live," listen, you guys, I`m sorry it took me so long to get it out there. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary, I think you`ve heard enough and let`s get down here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh you go ahead. I will have one more drink. Hey, bartender, keep them coming. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Rough night? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, you could say that. Whew. Hi, I`m Hillary Rodham Clinton. CLINTON: Hey, great name. I`m Val. So, Hillary, what brings you here tonight? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I needed to blow off some steam I`ve had a hard couple of 22 years. CLINTON: Why, what do you do for a living? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, first, I`m a grandmother, second, I am a human entrusted with there one green earth. CLINTON: Oh, I get it, you`re a politician? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Yes. And how about you? CLINTON: Well, me, I`m just an ordinary citizen who believes the Keystone pipeline will destroy our environment. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I agree with you there. It did take me a long time to decide that. But I am against it. CLINTON: You know nothing wrong with taking your time. What`s important is getting it right. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I`ll drink to that. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Mrs. Clinton. I`m so sorry to interrupt, I just wanted to say my sister is gay, so thank you for all you have done for gay marriage. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you are welcome. CLINTON: It really is great how long you have supported gay marriage. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I could have supported it sooner. CLINTON: Well, you did it pretty soon. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. It could have been sooner. CLINTON: Fair point. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, then let us tap our fists in friendship. Oh, I`m just so darn bummed, all anyone wants to talk about is Donald trump. CLINTON: Donald Trump, isn`t he the one that`s like, uh, you`re all losers? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That is him, that is him. CLINTON: Do you think he`ll win the primaries? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He must. I want to be the one to take him down. I will destroy him and I will mount his hair in the Oval Office! (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Hillary Clinton and doppelganger on "Saturday Night Live" there aren`t issues other than same-sex marriage and I don`t know if anyone has a Donald Trump impression as good as hers, but that`s skit on "Saturday Night Live" I think is how Secretary Clinton is kind of apologizing for how long it took her to get to some of her new liberal positions on some new some profile issues like Keystone and marriage. It`s also incidentally the best political skit I seen on "Saturday Night Live" in a very long time. In terms of the other Democratic candidates, though, I am told there is a lot going on right now and there is. Vice President Biden, of course, has not said whether or not he will jump into the Democratic race for president. He and Secretary Clinton gave dueling or if you prefer complimentary appearances before the human rights campaign this weekend. That`s the gay rights group. Both of them were very, very warmly received at HRC. That comes at a whole new round of unsourced by still breathless speculation that Vice President Biden will declare soon, this week, maybe, that he is going to get into the race, maybe. I tend to not believe these stories, or pay too much attention to them when they come out every few days, if only because they come out every few days and the only sources to talk about why Joe Biden is going to run for president are people who definitely want Joe Biden to run for president. So, these people that don`t know anything, nevertheless, give these blind quotes to the media, making it sound like of course he`ll run, because they want to make it sound like he`s going to run because they want to persuade him to run through the press. Does any of that mean that he is going to run? Absolutely not. But in that context, I have a new actual piece of data to give you with a name attached about -- it`s about whether or not Vice President Biden is going to run as president. Then, as I said, this is a new piece of actual information. It has a name. And the name is -- the Reverend Al Sharpton. Our beloved Reverend Al has just started his new weekend show Sunday mornings at 8:00 on MSNBC. And this weekend in addition to getting his new show off the ground, Reverend Al had a birthday. Happy birthday, Reverend Al. I can now hereby report that even though Vice President Biden and the Reverend Al Sharpton have known each other for a while, that I have spoken personally on several occasions, I can hereby report that this weekend for the first time ever in the natural lifetime of the Reverend Al Sharpton, Vice President Biden called him to wish him a happy birthday, which might just be a nice to do. It might also mean that Vice President Biden is definitely running for president and wants to court the Reverend Al`s support. And so, therefore, he called him on his birthday as a political -- I don`t know. I don`t know and neither do you. But now we both know that that information exists. And while maybe candidate Joe Biden was delivering those birthday wishes to Reverend Al and giving a campaign style speech at the Human Rights Campaign, meanwhile on Saturday this weekend, Bernie Sanders was holding spectacularly well-attended campaign rallies in the deep blue state of Massachusetts. Out where I live in western Massachusetts, in Springfield, Mass, the campaign had been telling the press that they were expecting 2,000 to 3,000 people to turn out for an event at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, Mass. That event on Saturday did to the turn out 2,000 or 3,000 people. It turned out 6,000 people. People were so enthusiastic for Bernie Sanders at that rally that a local reporter for the Springfield Republican newspaper called the crowd, quote, "deafening". After that rally in western Massachusetts for 6,000 people, Senator Sanders drove east to Boston for a rally on Saturday that drew one of the largest crowds that any candidate has had in any venue, anywhere in the country since the whole start of the race. There were 20,000 people Saturday night crammed into the Boston convention center to see Bernie Sanders. The campaign says they counted another 4,000 people on top of that outside the convention center, people in the overflow who couldn`t get into the building. "The Boston Globe" noting today that the previous crowd size record set by any presidential primary candidate in Massachusetts before now was Barack Obama in 2008 who turned out 10,000 people in Boston. If Bernie Sanders, in fact, just turned out 24,000 in Boston. That means he not only beat Barack Obama`s record from eight years ago, he more than doubled it. That said, to be fair. Senator Sanders is from New England, he`s from a neighboring state. He`s been a fixture invert politics forever. Vermont and Massachusetts are close, both geographically and culturally on the left. So, maybe you can think of these huge Springfield and Boston crowds as kind of hometown crowds for Bernie Sanders. Sort of. Maybe we should think of it that way. And you know, to be fair, maybe any presidential candidate appearing before a home town crowd at this point in the race could be counted on to turn out thousands or tens of thousands of people at this point hometown, right? Any of them can do too, couldn`t they? Of course not. Cue the trombone sound for one other Republican presidential candidate this time, who is hoping to be president but who had the saddest possible experience at home this weekend and that story is ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So Rand Paul went home to Kentucky this weekend to do a home state event alongside the Republican candidate for governor in Kentucky. That governor`s race in Kentucky is next month. So, Rand Paul and Matt Bevin, Rand Paul, the presidential candidate, and Matt Bevin, the gubernatorial candidate in Kentucky, they did a joint campaign appearance on Saturday in Kentucky, big home state event in the heat of the campaign. I mean, the presidential candidate there in person and everything -- they got a grand total of 50 people to turn out to see them. And at that event which the local paper called "subdued", Rand Paul could not even get himself a presidential endorsement from the other guy he was there is campaigning with. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Presidential candidate, Senator Rand Paul, endorsing Matt Bevin at the rally, just days after Bevin said he supports Ben Carson in the presidential race. SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s immaterial to me. It`s also something I understand. I mean, there are going to be people I know well who may not support me for the presidency but support me for the Senate. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Senator Rand Paul talking to local CBS affiliate WKYT. There is a lot that`s going on right now, particularly today, that I think is fascinating on the Democratic side of the presidential race. But on the Republican side of the race, really the most interesting questions continue to be about the bottom of the field, about who is going to quit next and how the field is going to be winnowed down. Rand Paul really is teetering on the brink of perceived viability. Headlines about his campaign right now look like this. A political wire, "Paul says he`s not quitting." This is at CBS, "Rand Paul campaign insists it`s not folding tent." His hometown paper, "The Lexington Herald Leader", when they covered his sad trombone 50-person rally on Saturday, Senator Paul had to patiently explain to the local reporters from that paper that, no, no, he was not planning on dropping out of the race. But there is a real question now as to whether or not he`s going to make the main debate is taken at the next Republican debate which is coming up in Colorado and it`s going to be aired by CNBC. Politico.com now saying if you look at the polls being used to qualify people for that debate, if you add up the qualifying polls for that debate right now, as best they can tell, you would need two respondents, two actual individual people to change their mind about Rand Paul. Two people changing their minds would be enough for him to go from making the debate to him not making the debate, two people. He is right on the bubble. So this is a fascinating time. The Republican Party just tonight released the schedule of when delegates are going to be awarded in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. It`s basically the map of when the Republican race is going to be decided. It turns out, as expected, the Republican party has decided to stack all the delegates super, super early in the process. I mean, look at this. This is devastating. They`re going to do 133 delegates in February. And then look at March. More than 1,400 delegates and then the rest just drizzle out over the next couple of months. The Republican Party wants this over. They have stacked their presidential nominating process this year so that it will all be decided very early. They very clearly want this thing wrapped up by March. And for some Republican candidates, that may be good news. But for most of them, that means it`s going to wrap up way, way, way earlier than that. Watch this space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So they`re calling this a thousand year flood. The Carolinas have seen unrelenting rainfall over the last few days, record breaking, frankly, deadly rainfall, the deluge has claimed two lives in North Carolina as of this evening, South Carolina officials say 11 people have been killed in that state. The rain has come partly from Hurricane Joaquin, partly from a local storm that would not quit. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley warning as water makes its way from the midlands to the low country out to the sea, lakes in that area will swell. Those lakes are formed by dams that are now straining to hold the water. Below those dams are communities faced with the threat of yet more flooding if those dams give way or they`re breached. Ground zero for the new flooding is the capital city of Columbia, which got six months worth of rain in two days, over the last two days. That deluge has already submerged parts of suburban Columbia, South Carolina, five people, almost half the deaths from this storm in that state have already died here in this area, all of them in their cars, all of them in flooding caused directly by rain. But again, this area is also a part of 70-mile long network of dams and lakes and streams, which eventually empty into the Congaree River. And since Saturday, eight or nine dams have given way across the state. Three of those where is here in the Gill`s Creek watershed. And you see how the domino effect plays out. A dam breaks near the top of this lake system, this overfilled lake then rushes down into the next lake. And then another dam breaks and so on and so on. All eyes right now, we are told, are on the Forest Lake Dam. If the Forest Lake Dam breaks, and the second largest lake in that whole watershed will flow down into Lake Katherine. If Lake Katherine`s 3,000-foot dam breaks that, could be a seriously major disaster. Two hundred thousand people live in that watershed in the Gill`s Creek watershed. Columbia, South Carolina, has been the scene of dramatic rescues all day today. Tonight, mandatory evacuations are under way around those local lakes and, of course, everybody is hoping we have seen the end of these dams getting breached and getting blown. Joining us now is MSNBC correspondent, Sarah Dallof. She`s near one of the dams that officials are monitoring and are concerned may be giving way. Sarah, thanks for being here. What are you seeing where you are now? What`s the latest that you know? SARAH DALLOF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rachel, there were some very tense moments this afternoon. We were actually in a neighborhood where residents had recently been allowed back in to kind of take stock of their homes, see what was salvageable. They were inside their homes when the news came that a dam upstream had broken and people needed to evacuate immediately. And this is what officials were dealing with. This chain reaction of dam breaches. You know, one would breach the water would travel down. The next one wouldn`t be able to handle that sort of pressure and so on and so forth. These are earthen dams. Now, as you can see behind me the water knocking out the dams, but actual asphalt, a foot layer thick of asphalt just tossed away like it was nothing. You know, South Carolina, they were supposed to have dodged the bullet, Hurricane Joaquin. But, instead, got the devastating flooding. The main issue right now here in Columbia is that the drinking water is contaminated. That was a huge issue earlier today. Five hospitals in the area were reporting that they were in trouble because of this. Luckily, firefighters were able to reach them. They think they`re going to be able to keep them sustained with clean water for now. So, that is a small sigh of relief. Some residents, however, still without water, some people still without electricity. There is also search teams that are going door-to- door, checking for people who may have been trapped and clearing those properties. Meanwhile, looking forward, rivers and streams still expected to swell as the water makes its way down here to the midlands, down from these affected areas. And once that water level goes down, they`re still not out of the woods yet. These roads, these bridges, these dams, they need to be instructed for structural integrity. So, the governor had it right, Rachel, when she said this is a long term recovery. Back to you. MADDOW: Sarah Dallof, MSNBC correspondent, Sara, thank you for being with us tonight and helping us understand that. I appreciate it. It is remarkable in these circumstances when there is so much infrastructure involved that once the rain stops falling, it doesn`t necessarily mean that the damage -- that the risk has passed. So, in South Carolina, while we saw that dramatic rescue efforts today, you know, the rescue teams are still working. The inspections are still happening, potentially further dams could go. This is something that it`s going to be hard to tell when it`s resolved. But it`s going to be a lot of digging out over a very long period of time, and a lot of infrastructure rebuilding necessary in South Carolina when this is all over. Scary stuff. All right. Ahead, the Democrats now playing offense, Republicans are apparently running out of reasons to continue their favorite partisan committee in Congress. It`s creating all sort of ripples across all sorts of politics. Details on that ahead. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: Still ahead tonight -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R), CALIFORNIA: In the past few years alone, I have visited Poland, Hungria, Estonia, Russia and Georgia. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Congressional Republicans are now facing a full blown mess in their quest to find a new speaker of the House. But lucky for us, that mess turns out to be even more fun and and even more unpredictable than that fateful last visit of Congressman Kevin McCarthy to Hungria. Stay with us. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCARTHY: In the past few years alone, I have visited Poland, Hungria -- (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: OK. Flashback to the 1980s computers look like this, right? No fancy icons, no pictures, lines and lines of texts. Sometimes if you had a fancy ones, there would be different colors of texts to make it look slightly more pretty. The classic age of computing, right? The problem is, what you are looking at is not from the 1980s, this is today. This is the system used by the United States Secret Service right now in 2015, to store the kind of very sensitive information that the Secret Service has access to. In March of this year, that ridiculously antiquated system, without the plot to smear a member of Congress. On March 24th this year, the director of the Secret Service was testifying before Congress, testifying about a pair of his agents allegedly being drunk and crashing a Secret Service vehicle right into a bomb scare investigation at the White House. While that testimony was going on, while the Secret Service director was being grilled on Capitol Hill, a number of Secret Service agents back at HQ decided to access that 1980s looking system and figured out that one of the members of Congress who is raking the Secret Service director over the coals that day, that congressman had himself once applied to become a Secret Service agent. But wouldn`t you know it, he didn`t make the cut. He was rejected. Ha ha. Dozens of Secret Service agents accessed that information, which is in violation both of agency policy and the law. They shared that information with each other inside the agency, and then they decided to share it a little wider. An assistant director of the Secret Service e-mailed a colleague, quote, "Some information he might find embarrassing needs to get out, just to be fair." And that information did get out, that internal personal file showing that this member of Congress had been rejected by the Secret Service, that information, was, in fact, leaked to the press, which is terrible. And it`s yet another scandal for the Secret Service, a particularly stupid and scandal but a scandal nonetheless. The director of the Secret Service himself is not directly implicated in this scandal, but he is now admitting that he learned about his agents doing this earlier than he initially told investigators he learned about it. The director is apparently not going to lose his job over the scandal, though. He appeared today alongside his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. Secretary Johnson said of the Secret Service director, quote, "that he has a lot of confidence in him". But the person the Secret Service was trying to smear, but leaking that disparaging job application about him, the person they were going after in this stupid and petty scandal, that member of Congress might now be the next speaker of the House, because it was Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah. He was the member of Congress who was grilling the Secret Service director and he was the one who in turn had the Secret Service leaked information about him applying to the Secret Service to try to embarrass him. I mean, if he becomes speaker, that would put Jason Chaffetz two heart beats away from the presidency and, of course, the Secret Service protection that comes with that job. Eek. So, he might be speaker of the House. He might not. Still very much a dark horse candidates. Since John Boehner resigned as speaker, the man everyone expected to replace him is California Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Kevin McCarthy is definitely still the front runner for the speaker job. But Jason Chaffetz is now running against him, in part, because of the awkward fact that very frequently when Congressman McCarthy opens his mouth near a microphone, he makes no sense. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MCCARTHY: It defies belief that the president would allow the ban on Iranian oil exports to be lifted, and also stand by Russia black mails an entire continent, all the while keeping the place of the band on America. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Stand by Russia black males an entire continent, all the while keeping the place on the band of America. Today, Jason Chaffetz went after that weakness in Kevin McCarthy by saying that the Republicans need to elect a speaker, quote, "who speaks". Now there is more bad news for Congressman Kevin McCarthy. Today, the still House Speaker John Boehner the actual vote on who the new speaker will be won`t take place until the end of October. Now, the reason that`s trouble is this: House Republicans are going to vote on Thursday, this week, for who they want to be their nominee for speaker. They presumably will nominate Kevin McCarthy. But then it`s going to be three long weeks after that until the actual vote on the House floor takes place to install him in the job. Three weeks. Three weeks for that candidate to twist in the wind as the choice of the establishment while anyone unhappy with that choice for any reason gets to take shots at him. I mean, any normal candidate in a position like this might try to play offense for that three-week period. Take to the air waves, do as many interviews as possible, be the speaker in waiting, get out there in public, do a lot of public speaking, defend yourselves, stake out our grounds. But if you`re Kevin McCarthy, anywhere near a microphone is enemy territory. And so, it is unclear how he, in particular, is going to make the case for himself against all the slings and arrows that inevitably will be coming his way while they leave him out there as not yet the speaker for three solid weeks. But that is the plan the House Republicans have drawn up. That is the mess the Republicans have made entirely for themselves in Washington right now. But it`s not the only mess, because now the Democrats have just decided to make things 100 times harder for the Republicans in Washington right now -- unusually for the Democrats, but they`re doing it. And that story is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: NBC News asked Hillary Clinton about the issue of Benghazi today and the House Republican Benghazi committee that has been investigating that scandal, supposed scandal. Hillary Clinton`s response to the question was kind of surprising and very passionate. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) NBC NEWS: You mentioned your Republican rivals making hey of them. CLINTON: Right. NBC NEWS: I have to ask you, if the tables were turned and it was Dick Cheney or Karl Rove who had a private e-mail account or server on which they conducted all their government business, would you be as understanding? CLINTON: I would have never done that. Look at the situation they chose to exploit to go after me for political reasons -- the death of four Americans in Benghazi. I knew the ambassador. I identified him. I asked him to go there. I asked the president to nominate him. There have been seven investigations led mostly by Republicans in the Congress and they were non-partisan and they reached conclusions that, first of all, I and nobody did anything wrong but there were changes we could make. This committee was set up as they have admitted for the purpose of making a partisan political issue out of the deaths of four Americans. I would have never done that. And if I were president, and there were Republicans or Democrats who were thinking about that, I would have done anything to shut it down. I have been around this political situation for a long time. But some things are just beyond the pale. And I`m happy to go if it still is in operation to testify. I am happy to turn over my e-mails. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: I`m happy to go if the committee is still in operation. Politics of the House Benghazi Committee have changed since the leading Republican candidate for speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, admitted openly that the committee was created by House Republicans to lower Hillary Clinton`s poll numbers. Republicans had called this a serious, credible, nonpartisan investigation into the attack on Benghazi diplomatic post in 2012. Even as information they said would be kept secret has been leaked on a regular basis to the press for the last few months, always in ways that seem designed specifically to try to hurt Hillary Clinton. Well, now, Democrats on the committee are going on offense about that. Today, the five Democrats who are on that committee sent a letter to the chairman of the committee saying they plan to release previously undisclosed testimony that was given to that committee by one of Hillary Clinton`s top aides, Cheryl Mills. Cheryl Mills testified for eight hours before the committee last month and after that testimony, the chairman, Trey Gowdy, said that testimony would be treated as if it were testified. Well, not really. As soon as she was done testifying, parts of it were leaked from the committee. Parts of it seemed again clearly designed to make Hillary Clinton look as bad as possible. Well, now, the Democrats are threatening to release that testimony in full to the American people, basically turning to go on offense on story on which the Republicans have been on shaky ground for quite some time but now they`re in a position almost unimaginable months ago because of what their speaker in waiting has just admitted about what they are doing here. Joining us now here in Los Angeles is Congressman Adam Schiff. He`s a member of the Select Committer on Benghazi. He`s one of the five Democrats to sign the letter threatening to release that testimony to the American public against Chairman Trey Gowdy`s wishes. Congressman Schiff, thanks for being here. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you. MADDOW: So, why threaten to release that full testimony? Why warn the chairman you`re about to do that? What`s the goal? SCHIFF: The goal is to really set the record straight and we have experienced over the last 16 months that this committee has been in existence selective leaks by the committee, by the chairman, notwithstanding all the promises to work in a bipartisan way and not to leak information. We`ve acted in a very partisan way, interviewing witnesses without us present, not even telling us about the interviews when they don`t corroborate their GOP conspiracy theories. And then in the case of Cheryl Mills leaking, again, inaccurate information, and we finally decided enough is enough. Their speaker in waiting has acknowledged this was always about attacking Secretary Clinton, and I think now that that is abundantly clear, not just from his statements, even a month ago I wrote an op-ed in "The New York Times" saying we should shut this committee down. The reality is, after 16 months, after $4.5 million, we have no new insight. Nothing new to tell the American people about what happened in Benghazi, and one level that`s not surprising. We had seven or eight other investigations before this one began. But we basically have said enough is enough. If they`re going to continue selectively leaking things, we are going to be publishing them in their entirety so the American people can see the context. MADDOW: If Chairman Gowdy, you were telling him, not asking him. If he decides to stop you from doing this, is there anything he can do to stop you? Can he say you`re breaking a rule then pun issue somehow in a way that might make you not do this? SCHIFF: No, there isn`t. If he has some argument that some part of the interview is so sensitive it should be released, we`ll listen to what he has to say. But no, there`s nothing that will prohibit us from doing this. I think, frankly, there are many other interviews that all should be published. Some like Sidney Blumenthal, a deposition, there are different rules and may be prevent from unilaterally making a disclosure. But if they`re going to continue to do this, they released selective e-mails they wanted published but not others. They would release e-mails about the witness but not the witness` testimony about the e-mails, we`re going to put our foot down and say, enough is enough. We`re going to start publishing these materials. MADDOW: When Secretary Clinton raised the prospect the committee might not exist by the time she`s due to testify to them on October 22nd, is that a possibility. Do you think it`s possible the committee will be ended some time soon? SCHIFF: It`s a possibility the Democrats will end the participation. We have a rigorous debate at the outset whether we should participate at all. I frankly took the position we shouldn`t, this should be in effect what it has become, which is solely about trying to attack Secretary Clinton. Now, there were good reasons to be in the room, and frankly, if we hadn`t been in the room, we wouldn`t be in the position to be releasing this transcript to be setting the record straight. So, it was a tough call, but at the same time, our continued participation gives this committee a patina of respectability it doesn`t deserve. And at a certain point, we may just decide there`s nothing productive for us to be part of this charade. MADDOW: Congressman Adam Schiff from here in southern California, thank you for your time tonight. It`s good to -- SCHIFF: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: -- to get your take on this. Appreciate it. All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: If you think of the most difficult places in the world, the most challenging and frustrating and dangerous and at times God-forsaken places in the world, one of those places got a break this weekend. A real change. And that story`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: It has been 12 1/2 years since the George W. Bush administration decided to launch the invasion of Iraq. That precipitated a lot of things. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis lost their lives. Saddam Hussein is dead and gone. Shiites are in charge of the Iraqi government now instead of the Sunnis. The nation of Iran now has unprecedented influence and power both in Iraq and throughout that whole region. The Sunni terrorist group ISIS now controls the major Iraqi cities of Mosul and Ramadi. Iraq is nowhere near recovering from what the U.S.-led war and its aftermath did to Iraqi infrastructure and basic stuff like getting electricity to the average Iraqi household. But one of the day-to-day things in Iraq that started with the launch of that war 12 1/2 years ago that`s been true since that war was launched is that you can`t drive through the middle of Iraq`s capital city. This whole big central swath of Baghdad was christened the Green Zone at the start of the war, surrounded by concrete walls and check points that holds the U.S. embassy, which is the biggest U.S. embassy in the world. It holds government buildings and diplomatic facilities and fancy housing for the protected class. But regular Iraqis haven`t been able to go there for more than 12 years now -- until this weekend. This weekend, the Iraqi prime minister threw open the gates. The prime minister, himself, came down to one main entrance the Green Zone and waved at people as they drove in welcoming them to this part of their own city they`ve been kept out of for all these years. And at one level, it is just simply a blessing and a relief for Baghdad`s spectacularly terrible traffic. At another level, though, as U.S. airstrikes continue in Iraq against ISIS and the U.S. military fighting against the Taliban ticks back up in Afghanistan, and "The Washington Post" front pages, a push/pull of a story suggesting that the Obama administration might not bring home America`s 10,000 troops in Afghanistan next year, as we get another day of news today that feels like the wars never end, today a little practical piece of the American war in their country just ended for Iraqis. And maybe it will only make taxi rides more direct and maybe it will be a security nightmare. But at least this weekend, as of this weekend, it means they have a little bit more of their own country back to themselves under their own control. Godspeed. That does it for us tonight. Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL" who`s also here in L.A. tonight. Hi, Lawrence. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END