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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/7/2015

Guests: Richard Engel, Adam Schiff

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: December 7, 2015 Guest: 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: Thank you for coordinating your tie with my undershirt this evening, Chris. HAYES: Nailed it. MADDOW: Nailed it. I got that memo to you just in time. HAYES: Perfect. MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. So, the attacks in Paris took place on a Friday, Friday, November 13th. The following Monday, which is three weeks ago today, the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for president was asked what kind of public policy strategies he would pursue if he is elected president in order to try to protect this country from the kind of terrorist attack that had just unfolded in Paris. That candidate, Donald Trump, said in response to those questions that he would, quote, "strongly consider shutting down mosques in the United States." He said, quote, "You`re going to have to certainly look at it." So, this was the Monday after the Friday Paris terrorist -- Friday Paris terrorist attacks. The leading Republican candidate for president basically musing aloud, thinking about it, saying shutting down mosques is one thing that ought to be considered in this country. By the following day he had stopped ruminating on it and had decided, yes -- actually, yes, we would have to do that. The United States should start shutting down mosques. We have no choice. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Nobody wants to say this, and nobody wants to shut down religious institutions or anything, but, you know, you understand it. A lot of people understand it. We`re going to have no choice. There`s absolutely no choice. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is three weeks ago. Donald Trump, the leading Republican candidate for president, moving quickly over the space of 24 hours from seriously considering closing down mosques in the United States to, according to him, there being no choice. We would absolutely have to shut down mosques in the United States. Now, since that is not just a radical departure from current American policy, that is a radical departure from anything ever done or seriously proposed at a high level in this country, because that is such a radical proposal, Mr. Trump, after he made those public comments, he was then repeatedly asked by reporters if he could please clarify exactly what it was that he was proposing. And to be frank, you could tell from the tone of a lot of the questions that he got that reporters were basically trying to sound him out, trying to figure out if he really understood, if he really knew just how radical these suggestions were that he was making. (BEGIN AUDIO CLIP) HUNTER WALKER, YAHOO POLITICS: Do you think there`s some kind of state of emergency here, and do we need warrantless searches of Muslims? TRUMP: Well, we`re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now, everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country. HUNTER: And in terms of doing this, to pull off the kind of tracking we need, do you think we might need to register Muslims in some type of database or note their religion on their ID? TRUMP: Well, we`re going to have to look at a lot of things very closely. We`re going to have to look at the mosques. We`re going to have to look very, very carefully. (END AUDIO CLIP) MADDOW: We`re going to have to look at a lot of things. That was November 19th. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump saying we need to look very carefully at the prospect of creating a national registry for Muslims in the United States, or maybe forcing Muslims to note their religion on their government IDs. We`re going to have to look closely at the mosques and consider shutting down mosques. The night that that interview that you just heard there, the night that a write-up of that interview was published, another reporter, an NBC reporter named Vaughn Hillyard followed up with Mr. Trump to try to make sure that that really was what Mr. Trump was proposing, that that really was what he meant. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) VAUGH HILLYARD, NBC NEWS: Should there be a database system that tracks the Muslims here in this country? TRUMP: There should be a lot of systems, beyond database. I mean, we should have a lot of systems. HILLYARD: But Muslims specifically, how do you actually get them registered into a database? TRUMP: It would be just good management. What you have to do is good management procedures. And we can do that. It`s nice. HILLYARD: Do you go to mosques and sign these people up? TRUMP: Different places. You sign them up at different -- but it`s all about management. Our country has no management. HILLYARD: Would they have to be legally in this database? Would they be obligated to sign up? TRUMP: They have to be -- they have to be. (END VIDO CLIP) MADDOW: It seems like a radical proposal, right? Even to be musing about it let alone saying you definitely want it. Talking about requiring members of a specific religion to register in some sort of federal government database to track them in this country, noting your religion on your ID, are you sure, Mr. Trump? Is that definitely what you mean? Do you understand the significance of what you are proposing for our country? Follow-up round 52. (BEGIN VIDEO CLP) REPORTER: Mr. Trump, why would Muslim databases not be the same thing as requiring Jews to register in Nazi, Germany? What would be the difference? Is there a difference between the two? Is there a difference -- TRUMP: Who are you with? REPORTER: I`m with NBC News. Is there a difference between requiring Muslims to register and Jews in Nazi, Germany? TRUMP: You tell me. You tell me. REPORTER: Do you believe -- TRUMP: Why don`t you tell me? REPORTER: Do you believe there is? TRUMP: You tell me. REPORTER: Should Muslims be fearful? Will there be consequences if they don`t register? (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: So this all happened three weeks ago, in very quick progression. Friday night with the Paris terrorist attacks. Monday morning, he starts musing aloud about shutting down mosques. Tuesday, he says, yes, we got no choice, we got to shut down mosques. And Wednesday into Thursday night, all of the discussion about these other proposals, what he wants to look at, what he would consider, the databases, registry, the IDs, we need surveillance of Muslims, we need surveillance of mosques, we need to consider closing mosques. We definitely need to close mosques. We should look at a national database for Muslims where they legally have to get registered with the government. We should look it, making them carry ID cards that list their religion on their IDs. So, this all happens in quick succession three weeks ago and culminates in that very testy, very -- at least slightly angry interaction with that young NBC reporter Vaughn Hillyard. It`s clear that Trump doesn`t like the way his proposals sound when they`re being voiced back to him. He doesn`t like the way they`re being received. But he didn`t give up on any of them after that little whirlwind of attention. And actually, within a couple days, Mr. Trump had switched gears into spinning a sort of dystopian fantasy story about modern U.S. history -- a vivid, damning lie about Muslims in this country which seemed cooked up to justify the kinds of almost unbelievably radical policies that Mr. Trump was at that point proposing to use against American Muslims. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I want surveillance of these people. I want surveillance if we have to, and I don`t care. I want -- are you ready for this, folks? Are you ready? Oh, they`re going to make it such a big deal. They`re going to make it so big. He said something so politically incorrect. That`s why we`re going to hell because we`re so politically incorrect. Such a big deal. Such a big deal. I want surveillance of certain mosques. OK? If that`s OK. I want surveillance. And you know what? We`ve had it before, and we`ll have it again. Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down. And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. Thousands of people were cheering. So something is going on. We`ve got to find out what it is. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: We do have to find out what it is. Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, rolling out that lie about thousands of American-Muslims supposedly celebrating the Twin Towers coming down in Jersey City, New Jersey, on 9/11. He rolled out that blatant lie in front of this animated crowd in Alabama, two weekends ago. That was the same rally at which Mr. Trump`s supporters beat up a somewhat disruptive protester who had been shouting "black lives matter". Mr. Trump later told the press about the beating that maybe the guy should have been roughed up. Donald Trump`s campaign for president has never been sweetness and light. Remember the big refrain of his announcement speech was the American dream is dead. The name of his book that just came out is "Crippled America." The picture on the cover is on purpose. I mean, he has been running basically a horror movie campaign from the very beginning. In the last couple weeks his campaign has taken darker and darker turns. And now we know where all of those turns were leading, because today Mr. Trump has done something that appears to be causing even most of the rest of the Republican Party to choke. Mr. Trump this evening putting out this statement, which he said the subject of the statement is preventing Muslim immigration, as you can see there, the statement in which he calls for a, quote, "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States." Mr. Trump`s written statement tonight explicitly calling for not allowing anybody to immigrate to the United States if they are Muslim. But his campaign later clarified it`s not just that. His campaign later clarified that he also is proposing banning anybody who is a Muslim from visiting the United States for any purpose. So, he wants to ban all Muslims from getting any visa of any kind to come to the United States for any reason, and that includes wanting to ban anybody who is a Muslim from visiting the United States even just as a tourist. Asked by "The Hill" newspaper, if U.S. citizens who are Muslim would also be included in this ban, if you`re a Muslim-American citizen and you are traveling abroad, will you not be allowed to come home if Donald Trump is president and gets his way? Donald Trump`s campaign clarified to "The Hill" newspaper that, yes, that is the case. Even Muslim-American citizens living or traveling abroad will not be allowed back into this country, into their own country. So, this statement was released by the Donald Trump campaign this afternoon. Just as people were queuing up to see him speak tonight at a rally in South Carolina. When we got word of this statement, this preventing Muslim immigration statement and the clarification from the campaign that it means Muslims visiting the United States or even getting back into the United States even if they`re from here and they live here and they`re citizens here, when we got all of that clarification from the campaign, NBC`s Ali Vitali was on the scene of the rally tonight in South Carolina and went out and asked Donald Trump supporters, they asked reporters, what -- excuse me, asked those supporters what they thought about this statement tonight from their candidate. Watch this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that that is a very wise decision made very prudently after due diligence and I`m impressed with the fact that he`s bold enough to come out and do that. ALI VITALI, NBC NEWS: If I could ask you about Donald Trump`s proposal. He wants to ban Muslims from being t country as of a few minutes ago. Do you think it`s a good idea, bad idea? What are your thoughts? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s a good idea. With everything going on in the world right now -- I mean, it sounds harsh, but reality is reality. VITALI: So, this would make you more likely to support him or less likely to support him? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: More. Absolutely. VITALI: I see you nodding a lot. What are your thoughts when you hear their proposal? UNDENTIFIED FEMALE: We kind of have the same agreement on it. We talk about it. We`re definitely the same. VITALI: Donald Trump`s really evolved on this. He started by saying we have to look at it and now he`s become more concrete about his position. What do you think? Is this a good idea? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it`s a good idea. There is too much going on in the world. We need to protect America first. VITALI: Do we think it`s a slippery slope to just ban just blanketing ethic group or one religious group? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t think so because it`s hard to vent them, obviously. We`ve seen that in the current terrorist attacks and San Bernardino and in Paris. It -- it`s easy to get away with the intel and all of that. So, you know. VITALI: Good idea or bad idea? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d say ship them all back. Seriously. VITALI: And he`s saying don`t let any more come in. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don`t let any more come in. Ship them all back. VITALI: OK. Are you here as a Trump supporter? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am. Yes. VITALI: If the election were tomorrow you would vote for him. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would. VITALI: Is there anything that would change that? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: None, not at all. Not at all. VITALI: Does it make you more or less likely to support him, do you think? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m still going to support him. VITALI: It doesn`t seem to sit right with you? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would have to think about an while. I have to absolutely think about that for a while. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Donald Trump supporters waiting in line to see him at his rally tonight in South Carolina after he released this statement saying that Muslims should not be allowed to enter the United States for any purpose, including immigration. Mr. Trump appears to recognize that he has caused a little bit of a furor with this statement tonight. So, for all of the other Republican presidential candidates who have been asked about this have denounced Mr. Trump`s statement. Some of them didn`t wait to be asked, they volunteered their denunciations of the statement. You can tell he thinks he`s got lightning in a bottle here, as evidenced by his comments tonight onboard the USS Yorktown, which is what those people were queuing up to see. The Yorktown is a decommissioned aircraft carrier parked in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, and tonight, it was the site of a Donald Trump rally. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: So, we put out a statement today. We watched this, and it`s impossible to watch this gross incompetence that I watched last night. And we put out a statement a little while ago. These people are going crazy. (LAUGHTER) They won`t report it properly. Should I read you the statement? (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) Donald J. Trump is calling for -- listen to this. This is pretty -- pretty heavy stuff. It`s common sense and we have to do it. Remember the poll numbers, 25 percent, 51 percent. Remember the poll numbers. OK? So, remember this. So, listen. Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shut-down of Muslims entering the United States until our country`s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) We have no choice. We have no choice. We can`t live like this. It`s going to get worse and worse. You`re going to have more world Trade Centers. It`s going to get worse and worse, folks. We can be politically correct, and we can be stupid, but it`s going to get worse and worse. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victim of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in jihad. These are people who believe only in jihad. They don`t want our system. They don`t want our system and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. They have no respect for human life. (INAUDIBLE) That`s all right. He sounds like he`s very exhausted. It`s all right. Yeah. He`s tired. So, they have no respect for human life. So we have to do something. Now, we can be weak. We can be ineffective. We can be foolish. It`s all right. That`s all right. I`m sure he`s a nice person. I`m sure he can be reasoned with. Be very gentle. You know, whenever I`m tough, the press says, oh, he was nasty! Whenever I say, be very gentle, they say, he`s not as strong as we thought he was. You can`t win. So I try and cut it down the middle. I try and cut it down. Be very nice. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Donald Trump tonight speaking before a crowd in South Carolina, being interrupted by one of several protesters who interrupted his speech there tonight. In this case, he was interrupted while explaining his proposal that all Muslims should be banned from entering the United States on any form of visa, as immigrants or even as U.S. citizens returning home after a trip abroad. And basically, I think this operates on three different levels. At face value, on the surface, this is a phenomenally radical proposal from the leading Republican candidate for president of the United States. And as such, it tests basically how much enthusiasm and raucous support he can whip up among his balance for proposing something so radical. It casts the balance between how much his supporters like this and how much offense he will cause by proposing an idea that is, if you forgive me, radical to the point of obscenity. So, that`s one level at which this operates, banning Muslims from the United States. Donald Trump is trying that out as a presidential candidate. That`s what`s happening on the surface. Just below that level is the political strategy question that I actually think we have to take seriously here. This has been something people have batted around all year long. I think it`s time to look seriously at this question, which is the question of whether or not Mr. Trump is trying to blow up his presidential campaign. Has he been spooked by his own apparently impenetrable lead in the polls? Is he trying to get himself effectively kicked out of the Republican Party so there is no longer a threat he might actually get nominated as that party`s nominee for president or God forbid that he might win the office? And I don`t mean that in a joking or flippant way. I mean, I think, with comments like these, obviously the Republican Party has to consider disowning him in some way. And I think Mr. Trump is smart enough to know that and expect that. And I think we really ought to consider the prospect that that is an outcome that he might be after here. That`s two levels at which this is operating. It`s the proposal and it`s weather might mean by the proposal, sort off the text and the sub text. But then there is the third level, which is the context. And whether or not this is some theatrical game of stirring the base or trying to stir the base until you self-destruct, in the big picture we do now have, as a country, as a mark on the history of our nation, a public proposal by the leading candidate for president of one of our two major political parties that people who are Muslims should not be allowed into this country, that those 19th century signs that said "no Irish, no blacks, no dogs," those signs have been replaced with 21st century signs in this country that say "No Muslims." That`s now happened. That`s now us. How does that affect America in the world? Regardless of what this does to Donald Trump and his cotton socks, regardless of what this does to Republican politics, what does this do to us? How does this affect us as a country, as of now? I have exactly the person who can answer that question here with me next. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: So, the leading Republican candidate for president, Donald Trump, has tonight proposed banning the entry of Muslims into the United States. And NBC`s Richard Engel is here live in person -- not in the middle of the night in the Middle East standing in a cold place at 4:00 in the morning, but right here on set next, just in case you want a truly expert perspective on what Donald Trump`s new proposal might really do to us, to America, in the world right now. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS: Donald, you`ve issued a statement that there should be a complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. Is that your view? TRUMP: Absolutely. We have problems going on nobody wants to talk about the problems. I watched the president last night in one of the most ridiculous speeches I have ever seen. He doesn`t want to address the real problem. He won`t even mention the term, the term, the name of what`s going on. So, when you have a president like that, you are never going to solve problems. So the answer is yes. There is something wrong, very seriously wrong. We have an obligation to protect our citizens. We`re not doing it with a president like President Obama. He doesn`t -- he doesn`t have a clue. He doesn`t know what he`s doing. The man doesn`t have a clue. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaking tonight with my friend Greta Van Susteren on the FOX News Channel. Joining us is NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel. Richard, it`s great to have you here. RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: What has happened since I last spoke to you? I was in Paris -- MADDOW: You left the country, we broke it I think. ENGEL: I came back and things have gone totally mad. MADDOW: Yes. Well -- ENGEL: The country is in a panic. There is demagoguery. This is really not the country that I know. MADDOW: You are somebody who I know because we`re friends. I know you do not care very much about partisan politics. You`re not a horse race kind of guy. And I know you kind of box a lot of that stuff out when you think it`s small ball. But this -- ENGEL: This is not small ball, actually. MADDOW: This matters. ENGEL: It would be interesting to say, oh, this is fun. This is more he`s trying to score a few points. But the world watches this. The world sees the leading political candidate from one party making these kind of statements and still doing well and having these rallies. And those box pops you showed where people are saying, yes, we need to do them, send them back home -- those are going around the world right now, and people realize this person is leading in the polls. That must be what Americans think. I was today with an ambassador from the Middle East, today. And we were talking exactly about this subject. And he said -- well, people in our country watch what is going on, and it makes us very concerned. So, from the world perspective, it is absolutely an image, an impression, a black spot on our collective foreign policy and our conscience. And it also just feeds into the ISIS narrative. MADDOW: That`s what I wanted to ask you. The reaction is, this is what ISIS wants to hear. ENGEL: Of course it is. MADDOW: How does that work? Spell it out, why this is good for ISIS. ENGEL: ISIS says, join the ISIS cause because the world is against Muslims and we, ISIS, are defending Muslims. So, here comes Mr. Trump and says, ISIS is right. Join the ISIS team or join other radicals, or you`re going to be deported, or you`re going to be kicked out of the country. I kept saying -- thinking to myself while he was making these statements, what exactly would this look like? I spend a lot of time on planes. So you come to the airport. Are there people standing there asking you questions? Are you a Muslim? How exactly do you prove it? Do you prove a negative? What do you know about Islam? Tell me what you think about Mohammed. Does that mean people from Indonesia, people from every corner of the Muslim world, over a billion people, including U.S. citizens -- MADDOW: The idea that U.S. citizens would have nowhere to come home to -- ENGEL: I don`t understand where it`s -- where it`s even coming from. I understand there is a fear. I understand there is a concern about ISIS, but to say that`s it, no member of a particular faith in the country, it`s irresponsible from a national security point of view. MADDOW: Let me -- OK. To that point, I have a piece of sound that I want you to hear. This is basically the counter-narrative from the administration. It`s not the president. It`s the homeland security secretary speaking tonight. Yes, I just want to get your reaction to this. ENGEL: I wonder if it was designed specifically to embarrass him while standing next to a Muslim imam, to make this kind of outlandish statement. MADDOW: Oh God. Well, let`s listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEH JOHNSON, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We`re in a new phase in the global terrorist threat. It includes terrorist-directed and terrorist- inspired attacks. It includes plots from overseas and the potential for the lone wolf actors in the homeland. This new phase requires a new approach to counter-terrorism and homeland security. This must include outreach to Muslim communities across our country. In responding to this new environment, we must not vilify American Muslims. We must not throw a net of suspicion over American Muslims and an entire religion. We must not force American Muslims to run and hide and retreat to the shadows. This would be counter to our homeland security efforts, and it is un- American. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson speaking tonight. In terms of how these things really work on the ground, is he -- is he right about this having a direct effect on our homeland security? ENGEL: Of course he is. Of course he is. The reason there are 5,000 people from Western Europe who have joined ISIS and left Europe is because they feel ghettoized. Because they feel that they`re not part of the community. And the reason we only have 250 or so people from the United States who have gone to join ISIS is because by and large they feel like they are getting a fair shake and they have a shot at the American Dream. If you change that equation, you will change the numbers. MADDOW: Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent, NBC News, it`s really, really good to have you here. I want to put an ankle monitor on you and keep you -- ENGEL: I`m sorry I am talking about this. This is -- this is insane. MADDOW: It`s insane but it has -- I think getting a global perspective -- getting a globalist perspective on what`s happening -- ENGEL: It`s a moment. When you look at the sort of war on terrorism and the hysteria and what we have been experiencing for the last 15 years or so, it seems like a seminal moment, and it`s not a good one. MADDOW: Richard Engel, thank you, my friend. It`s good to see you. ENGEL: Good to see you. MADDOW: Always in terrible circumstances. ENGEL: Maybe next time. It`s early. It`s not so late. MADDOW: It`s true. We`ll be right back. Stay with us. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JEB BUSH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think you`re looking at the next Republican nominee. And here is -- and here`s what I promise you. Should I win this nomination, I will take it to Hillary Clinton and I will whoop her. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush there, Hillary Clinton here right now. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: It was funny. I will say, Hillary Clinton laughing in the face of Jeb Bush`s attempted swaggering. "I will take it to Hillary Clinton, and I will whoop her." It was funny. Heaven help whichever Jeb Bush clip writer shoe-horned that phrase into his lexicon. Late last week, we reported that the beleaguered Jeb Bush for president campaign was going to try to shake things up, even though Mr. Bush had already apparently set about $30 million in ad spending on fire, $30 million spent already to get him to a grand total of 3 percent in the last national poll. Even though they`ve already dumped all of that money and gotten nothing for it, the Jeb Bush super PAC was poised to spend much more money on ads. This time they were going to do it differently because they were going to release not a normal Jeb Bush ad, but a 15-minute long Bush ad. We heard about this on Friday night, reported it here on the show. Now the 15-minute-long Jeb Bush ad is out. It`s very, very, very long. It`s mostly stock footage. It also has some old footage of Jeb Bush a long time ago, the last time he was in government. There`s also some inspirational B-roll from his current town halls on the presidential campaign trail. It goes on and on and on and on. It`s really long. I mean, it`s half a sit-com. 15 minutes of pure Jeb Bush attempted reboot. In addition, on top of that, one billionaire Jeb Bush donor took out his own full-page Jeb Bush ad in "The Miami Herald" this weekend with plans to run the same ad in Iowa and Nevada newspapers as well. This big full page ad does not so much praise Jeb Bush as it compares Donald Trump to Hitler and Mussolini, literally just spells it out. So, that should do it. I`m sure that will do it. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It is the responsibility of all Americans, of every faith, to reject discrimination. It is our responsibility to reject religious tests on who we admit into this country. It`s our responsibility to reject proposals that Muslim- Americans should somehow be treated differently. Because when we travel down that road, we lose. That kind of divisiveness, that betrayal of our values plays into the hands of groups like ISIL. Muslim-Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co- workers, our sports heroes. And yes, they are our men and women in uniform who are willing to die in defense of our country. We have to remember that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: President Obama speaking in his prime-time address to the nation last night saying it`s every American`s responsibility to reject discrimination, reject proposals that Muslim-Americans should be treated differently than anyone else. What the president was saying there is not materially different from what he has said on this subject before. It`s not actually materially different from what the previous president, George W. Bush said on the subject just days after 9/11 and pretty consistently throughout his presidency. But our current politics being where they are with the Republican frontrunner for president today, Donald Trump, calling for all Muslims to be banned from the United States, President Obama`s words from the Oval Office last night landing with a renewed resonance because of the new political climate created by the Republican Party now and their presidential frontrunner. One other specific policy proposal that the president called for last night that also seems to be landing with more resonance than it has in the past was his call that Congress should finally freaking cast a vote on the fight against ISIS. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: If Congress believes as I do that we are at war with ISIL, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists. For over a year, I have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against ISIL targets. I think it`s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united and committed to this fight. (END VIDEO CLIP) MADDOW: This is not the first time President Obama has called for Congress to vote to authorize the use of force against ISIS. He called for it in 2014, the day after the midterms. He`s repeatedly called for it since then. Earlier this year, he even drafted his own authorization for the use of military force and sent it over to Congress for them to use it as a draft. Congress never acted on it, and so we still don`t have the authorization to war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria even though we`re at war against is in Iraq and Syria and have been for more than a year. Maybe now though the politics are starting to feel a little different. After the attacks in Paris, with our closest allies, countries like France and the U.K. and Germany debating and voting to engage in the effort against ISIS and upscale the effort against ISIS with leading presidential candidates from both parties talking about escalating what we`re doing militarily against ISIS, some of them talking cogently, others talking more like drunk cartoons. With all of that happening, might the politics of this issue change enough that the AUMF might actually get done, that the vote might actually happen. The president has been asking for this for a long time. Members of Congress, like for example, Congressman Adam Schiff, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine and many others have been working for a long time to try to make this happen. And the same way that President Obama`s words on Muslims yesterday and the importance of not discriminating against Muslims, in the same way those words yesterday were not new but they`re now newly resonant given our current political climate, is it possible that his calls for Congress to debate and vote on war while also not new, might also be newly resonant? Might something actually happen? Are the cross- currents from both parties, the types of concerns being expressed from people on both sides of the aisle, are they lining up to a point right now where this could get done? Joining us now is Congressman Adam Schiff. He`s the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Congressman Schiff, thank you for your time tonight. I know you have lots of places to be tonight. I really appreciate you being here. REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: You bet. Good to be with you. MADDOW: You have been working on this for a long time. Are the politics right now different enough that you have any renewed optimism that this might really happen? SCHIFF: They are different. I do have optimism for the first time. If I can, Rachel, I just want to add my voice in condemnation of what Mr. Trump said right at the outset. I think it was absurd and un-American. The un-American part is self-evident, but the absurdity is, if you take him at what he`s saying that Muslims who are wearing the uniform of the U.S. armed forces who fight overseas would not be able to come home. That`s just how patently absurd what he`s proposing is. But to get your question, yes, I`m for the first time, optimistic. I am hearing members on both sides of the aisle talking about taking up an option of use of force. As we get further involved in this conflict with more special forces now moving to the region, I think there`s a growing sense of urgency. And, frankly, we were embarrassed to see the British debating this and have no debate in our own Congress. MADDOW: Does the escalation that has happened, the literal escalation in terms of increased numbers of troops committed in more permanent and more dangerous ways, does that create more political, I guess, sense of ownership in the Congress, as more American troops are in harm`s way and are there for longer terms and in larger numbers? Essentially, are members of Congress feeling guilty that they haven`t weighed in? SCHIFF: Absolutely. And I think people are feeling it increasingly untenable that we`re sending troops into harm`s way in increasing numbers and yet we don`t have the courage to take up a resolution ourselves. I think there is a way to get this done, Rachel, a way to draft it that can get bipartisan support. I am kicking around an idea that I have been vetting with people, just starting to, that would authorize use of force against both al Qaeda and ISIS and the Taliban, would repeal all the prior existing authorities, and I think the key feature of it would be that, if the president were to introduce ground forces, and this president says he`s not going to do that in a combat role, but if the president were to do that, it would trigger a privileged motion such that Congress could take up a repeal or a revision of the existing authority. That might be the way to thread this difficult needle between two parties. MADDOW: I want to go back to something that you mentioned -- that you brought up a moment ago in terms of the comments by presidential candidate Donald Trump tonight. You were denouncing the comments saying that they`re both absurd and dangerous. We heard remarks tonight unrelated to Mr. Trump from Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson saying that if Muslims were vilified in this country, that hurts America`s national security because working with Muslim communities is absolutely key to the way to fight this new evolution of the threat of terrorism. As the ranking member on the intelligence committee, does that ring for you? Does that resonate for you? Do you think that`s right? SCHIFF: It`s absolutely right. And I think Richard Engel really hit the nail on the head. It`s damaging to us overseas, and it`s very damaging to our efforts here at home. Overseas, this plays very directly into the ISIS narrative that Muslims are not welcome in the West. They`re rejected by the West. They have no place in the West. And here at home, if we succeed in alienating the Muslim community, which we rely upon to work closely with law enforcement when they see somebody at risk of radicalization, that is deeply terribly counterproductive. So, in addition to being an anathema to the principles of this country, the country founded on the free exercise of religion. It`s also tremendously hurtful to our efforts to protect ourselves from ISIS and to attack this problem of radicalization. MADDOW: Congressman Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee -- thank you, sir. I really appreciate your time tonight. SCHIFF: Thanks, Rachel. MADDOW: Thank you. All right. Much more ahead including significant new detail on a thread about the San Bernardino attacks. It`s not getting much attention in the press, but we have got new information on that tonight. Stay with us. We`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: The FBI and other law enforcement officials held a press conference in San Bernardino, California, today. The main headline was they believe Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the shooters in the San Bernardino massacre last Wednesday morning, the FBI believes they had been radicalized for, quote, "quite some time." They also said that the two had practiced recently at local gun ranges right up until the last few days before the shooting. NBC News has learned Syed Farook was at a Riverside, California, gun range as recently as Sunday and Monday of last week before the Wednesday attack. He was seen using a bunch of different weapons including, quote, "an assault rifle that appeared to be similar to the one used in Wednesday`s attack." Today, we also got our first picture of the couple together. It shows them moving through customs at Chicago`s O`Hare Airport in July 2014. That is the day that Tashfeen Malik first entered this country. Obviously, this is an on going investigation into what happened in San Bernardino. We are still learning new information by the day. But there was another incident that occurred in San Bernardino last week right before the shootings. And so far, we`ve been given just a few details about it. It`s something we first told you about on Friday. It involves police concerns at a downtown San Bernardino movie theater, a theater three miles from the scene of the mass shooting. Last week, local police chief told reporters about something that happened in this downtown movie theater in San Bernardino. It`s the Regal Cinemas. He said, shortly after midnight on the Monday before the attack, a man approached a security guard at that theater and asked questions about movie times. The security guard told police that the man appeared to be Middle Eastern. The man left the scene in a silver Volvo. Shortly thereafter, the same security guard reported seeing another person taking photographs of the theater from the inside of a Red Dodge Durango. That second man was also described as Middle Eastern in appearance. We don`t know anything more than that in detail about those interactions but the security guard felt unnerved. The security guard thought the whole situation was odd enough that he called police. He notified authorities. San Bernardino police chief has said there`s no evidence to directly connect this suspicious activity with mass shooting that happened Wednesday morning after this happened on Monday night. So far, we have zero reason to think that there is a connection. But it`s still not explained and today, we have a few new details on this case that police at least thought was important enough to make public. The police department now tells us in addition to asking questions about movie schedule, movie times that first male subject also asked movie theater employees about, quote, "The staffing of security guards." As for the other man who was seen taking photos of the theater from inside a Dodge Durango, we`re now told the movie theater employee, quote, "approached the second subject who then drove away before contact was made." So, a police report was completed on this incident, this incident that happened a week ago tonight. We are working to try to get that police report. Meanwhile, the department is investigating whether any video exists that might help shed light on what happened. All of this information has been forwarded along to the Joint Regional Intelligent Center, that`s a group that deals with criminal and terrorism related threats. Again, so far there is zero evidence or information that connects this weird incident at that movie theater that happened at the Inland Regional Center two mornings after this. A local news affiliate did note there was a heavy police presence at that San Bernardino Regal Cinemas this weekend. At this point, as investigators continue to look into whether these two attackers in the San Bernardino massacre might have been connected to anybody else, at this point, this other incident is just a very curious incident but it is one that is still unexplained and it happened in San Bernardino less than 48 hours before the Wednesday morning shootings. So, we`re keeping an eye on it. We will let you know more as we learn more, which we are trying actively to do. Watch this space. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: In this past week or so of news, we have not had all that much good news, so here`s some. Tonight in Paris, the band that was playing when terrorists stormed that Paris theater last month and killed dozens of people, that band, the Eagles of Death Metal, they played tonight with a huge concert with U2. U2`s own Paris show had been canceled because of the attacks. They then rescheduled this in Paris for tonight. The two bands returned to Paris and shared the stage for by all accounts was an epic events. If that gets you through the night, well, all right, it is all right. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MADDOW: One thing to mark on your calendar as having happened today, one thing to mark in your calendar as going to happen tomorrow. This is really interesting today. I did in the expect this. After President Obama`s prime time speech from the Oval Office last night about ISIS, only the third Oval Office speech he has given in his presidency, after Hillary Clinton said yesterday that U.S. is not winning that fight against ISIS -- today, President Obama and Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state, got together. Today, they met in person for lunch. The White House says it was, quote, "mostly a social occasion", but I think this is the first time that President Obama and Secretary Clinton have met since President Obama`s own Vice President Joe Biden announced that he would not challenge her for the Democratic nomination for president. Oh, to be a fly on the wall. So, President Obama and Secretary Clinton apparently had lunch today. Now, tomorrow in terms of your calendar, you should know that Bernie Sanders is going to be here live in studio with me onset for a live interview on this show. So I will require your presence, tomorrow same bat time, same bat channel. That does it for us tonight. We will 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