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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 4/4/2016

Guests: Yamiche Alcindor, Mordecai Lee

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: April 4, 2016 Guest: Yamiche Alcindor, Mordecai Lee

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: It will be interesting to see how it checks out tomorrow.

Charlie Pierce, Ms. Conniff, thanks for being with me tonight. Appreciate it.

That is "ALL IN" for this evening, live from the lakefront brewery in Milwaukee, on a beautiful and cold and snowy opening day here in Wisconsin.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Well done. Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.

Thanks to you at home for joining us.

Speaking of snow, this was the view from my driveway this morning. And yes, I know, lovely scene. But that`s also ridiculous for what is supposed to be opening day of baseball season, right? It`s supposed to be spring.

And the dogs love it. I`m sure the snowplow drivers are delighted to have a little extra work when they didn`t expect it. But come on! Anyway. So, there`s that.

There`s also a lot going on in the world today even if it did not snow buckets where you live. The biggest story in international news today is possibly one of the biggest global corruption stories ever told.

Now, in this Panama paper story that have been big American names that have been dropped yet. But in this massive dump from a law firm that apparently helped the rich and powerful hide their money offshore, this story is apparently just gotten started. Over the past 48 hours, we`re told there is more to come in terms of information from this data dump. If you`re waiting for big powerful American names to drop in this story, there will likely be some of those American names. Those will be forthcoming in days ahead.

So, we have what we`ve got so far on that story ahead for you tonight, including an absurdly cinematic armed robbery that explains about who these guys are and what got leaked.

We`ve also got news tonight about star crossed and newly single American governor who today, surprise, went to prison.

Also coming up right at the end of the show this hour, we`ve got a big headline from an unexpected place. It`s actually news from a red state which nevertheless looks like very good news for the Democratic Party. And I`m not sure this news has gotten any other national attention. I think it`s potentially a big deal. We`ve got that coming up right at the end of the hour tonight.

But we`re going to start tonight`s news with America`s 31st largest city, I think, in terms of population. Milwaukee is right between Louisville and Albuquerque. Milwaukee is home to about 600,000 people. It`s the biggest city in Wisconsin by a lot.

Downtown Milwaukee, if you look at it on a map, it couldn`t be more classical and elegant in the way that city center is laid out against that dominant feature of the city, which is a huge lakefront on Lake Michigan. Milwaukee has got two big rivers that come together in the spot they called the Confluence, just in shore from the lake there.

There are two major highways that also come together downtown. The east west interstate, and the north-south interstate, which crossed in the downtown, right by the big university, right by the train station. It`s just a quintessential American city in terms of its layout. It`s quintessentially Midwestern, but also quintessentially American.

And tonight, right at the heart of that classically laid out Midwestern downtown, we really thought it was going to be mad house tonight, because zoom way this here. Do we have a zoom? Yes, there we go.

All right. You know what the Shrine Circus is? Think old school circus. Think unreconstructed circus, not some re-imagined Las Vegas shiny show version of it. But like down and dirty, elephant poop circus.

The Shrine Circus is going to be tonight at the Panther Arena right there in downtown Milwaukee. Panther Arena has got 12,000 seats. The Panther Arena is right next door to the Milwaukee Theater, right next door. The Milwaukee Theater has 7,000 seats.

Then if you go right across the street, literally right across the street, that`s -- there`s a parking lot there, the dark rectangle and right adjacent to the parking lot is what`s called the Wisconsin Convention Center. That`s set up tonight with 5,000 seats.

So, those three venues, literally adjacent to one another on the same city block, those are all going off at the same time tonight in Milwaukee, because simultaneously, tonight, there`s the shrine circus at the Panther Arena. The next door, there`s a Donald Trump rally at the 7,000-seat Milwaukee Theater. And then across the street, there`s a Bernie Sanders rally at the convention center with its 5,000 seats.

So, 12,000 seats next door to 7,000 seats streets across from 5,000 seats. All one square block, all tonight.

We know that the Milwaukee police set up a special incident command post right there tonight, expecting basically a mob scene in this part of downtown Milwaukee.

But then look what happened. Nobody showed up for the Donald Trump rally, at least. The circus went off as expected. The Bernie rally was a little smaller than usual. The Donald Trump rally appears to be a total bust. Not only no line to get in, no crowds outside, but a room that`s more than half empty, and we`re told by reporters there that a lot of seats that are filled are filled just with reporters.

We await the inevitable statement from the Donald Trump about how 400,000 people turned out for that Donald Trump event tonight in Milwaukee, right?

On the Republican side of the presidential race, that`s an interesting thing to happen on the eve of the voting in Wisconsin. It`s basically, two things going on right now. Big picture of the overall race.

The first is what`s, I think, increasingly getting attention as basically the real contest to pick a Republican presidential nominee. That`s the effort to lock up delegates to the national convention by hook or by crook. This weekend, there were various levels of delegate selection happening in the Republican side in North Dakota, in Tennessee and in Colorado.

And in all three of those states this weekend, it`s the Ted Cruz campaign that appears to have outmaneuvered and out-organized Donald Trump by a mile, let alone John Kasich. North Dakota appears to be sending an almost entirely pro-Ted Cruz delegation to the Republican convention this summer.

In Tennessee, Donald Trump won the primary by 14 points. But this weekend, his campaign got furious with the decisions made by the state Republican Party to pick a bunch of special individuals for delegate slots for Tennessee, people who do not appear to support Donald Trump.

In Colorado, they pick their delegates in multiple ways over multiple days. There were six delegates at stake in Colorado Republican`s decision making process on Saturday. All six of the delegates at stake on Saturday appear to be Ted Cruz folks.

So, that is one level. That`s maybe the most direct level in which the Republican contest is happening. The delegate fight, it`s little harder to follow. It`s definitely lower profile in terms of the news stories in these various states where these things happen.

Part of the reason people find it frustrating to pay attention to or even to cover is because it`s so wildly undemocratic with a small d, let alone nontransparent. But that is how the Republican Party is going to pick who their nominee is, with those delegate fights and all of these states. And that fight is well under way. Ted Cruz appears to be cleaning up in that fight. That`s one thing that`s happening.

The other thing that`s happening in the Republican race, in contrast it`s sort of starting to feel like it`s more for show, but it`s great show. It does still matter. And that is this overt campaigning and vying for victory in the remaining statewide caucuses and primaries.

Now, there has not been a statewide caucus or primary on the Republican side since March 22nd. If you feel relaxed, here is why. We have just gone through this big kind of unexplained hole in the Republican primary calendar over these last couple of weeks. And that alone, this 14-day waiting period between races, that alone was probably going to put a spotlight on Wisconsin`s primary tomorrow because we haven`t had one in a while.

Even without that calendar driven focus, Wisconsin I think is going to be fascinating on the Republican side this year because the Republican electorate in Wisconsin, this year, appears to be fickle. Is that the right word? Easily distracted? Maybe volatile is the right word? Maybe they`re cocoa for cocoa puffs, I don`t know. They don`t seem to be able to focus on any one thing for that long.

In the early polling in Wisconsin, Wisconsin Republicans were definitely sure that Marco Rubio was their guy. The start of polling in Wisconsin, it was all Marco Rubio. Then, Marco Rubio stopped leading in the polls, and they were all in for Scott Walker for their own Republican governor in Wisconsin. Then that didn`t last. They decided they didn`t like Scott Walker anymore and then they decided they like either Donald Trump or Ben Carson. Trump and Carson went through a period in Wisconsin where the two of them were trading the lead in the polls.

Then, Wisconsin voters decided they didn`t like Ben Carson and Donald Trump started trading the lead with Ted Cruz. Now, Wisconsin Republicans appear to have decided they don`t like Donald Trump anymore and they just like Ted Cruz. He`s their guy. Who knows by this time tomorrow, they might be all in for somebody else entirely?

But as Ted Cruz tries to that I can this momentary lead in this fickle Wisconsin polls, and he tries to turn it into a victory tomorrow, he has been buoyed by support by Scott Walker. Governor Walker of Wisconsin who ended up endorsing Ted Cruz after he ran his own terrible, terrible campaign, Scott Walker for president campaign.

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin I think was only second to Jeb Bush this year in the lopsidedness of the ratio between his expectations and his performance. I mean, Scott Walker, a lot of people thought he was going to walk to the nomination. Instead, he just completely bombed. Remember when people asked him that like standard candidate question, you know, are you ready to be commander in chief? What about you, has qualified you to be commander in chief of the American military?

Scott Walker`s go-to answer for that was that he was a really, really good boy scout. He didn`t just say it once. That was like his prepared stock answer. I would be an excellent commander in chief because, have you seen what I did as a boy scout?

It was just -- I`m sure he was an amazing boy scout. I love boy scouts, but that`s a bad answer when running for president. He was just astonishingly bad as a presidential candidate.

But Governor Scott Walker is still governor in Wisconsin. He`s now a home state asset to Ted Cruz. And, you know, he seems like he means it as a Ted Cruz endorser. He`s one of the few recent endorsers of Ted Cruz who doesn`t talk about Senator Ted Cruz like he`s a slightly less virulent strain of food poisoning than the fatal botulism that party is likely if they nominate Donald Trump.

If as expected, Donald Trump loses Wisconsin to Ted Cruz tomorrow, that won`t much change the state of the Republican race. Everybody will still need to do what they got to do in order to move forward.

If Mr. Trump wins, though, I think because Ted Cruz is now so widely expected to win tomorrow and to win by a considerable margin, I think if Mr. Trump ends up winning instead, that would now be considered such a major upset that it would reasonably boost momentum for Mr. Trump`s campaign. It could end up greasing things for him for the remainder of the Republican primary calendar. We shall see.

I should also tell you, heading into tomorrow`s vote in Wisconsin, you should know that a new round of racist white nationalist robocalls has gone out in that state in support of Mr. Trump`s campaign. This is at least the third round of these white nationalist pro-Donald Trump robocalls that we heard about this year over the course of the Republican primary. They do not appear to have anything to do with the Trump campaign.

They say explicitly that Mr. Trump has not authorized this message, but this is what people are hearing when they pick up their phone in Wisconsin tonight.


WHITE NATIONALIST ROBOCALL FOR TRUMP: The American National Super PAC makes this call to support Donald Trump. My name is Mary Mitchell and I`m a member of the American Freedom Party. I am voting for Donald Trump because he will not only be presidential, he will put America first. Furthermore, he will respect all women and will help preserve western civilization.

If you vote for Donald Trump, he will be a fine president. He will select the very best persons to be in his cabinet and the entire world will benefit from his leadership.

This message is paid for by William Johnson, a farmer and a white nationalist.


MADDOW: A white nationalist.

Previous iterations of these pro-Donald Trump white nationalist robocalls have been more overtly racist. Previous iterations of these calls have talked about like protecting beautiful white children and saying the United States should only accept white people as immigrants. This one doesn`t use the word "white" until the end. It does talk about Donald Trump preserving western civilization, but then, at the end, you get paid for by this white nationalist.

The racist group that`s behind these things that pays for them says that the Wisconsin version of this call has produced less of a backlash than the calls they did in other states. They did keep the white nationalist thing at the end though on purpose.

The guy paying for the ad told "The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel" today, quote, "I want people to feel to hear, to feel comfortable with the term `white nationalist`." So, it`s important it`s still on the calls.

Now, again, to reiterate, there`s no evidence that the Trump campaign has anything to do with this. A Trump campaign spokesperson e-mailed a statement today saying the Trump campaign condemns these views. But this is I think at least the sixth state this year where we have been able to document these calls going out on behalf of Donald Trump before that state voted in the Republican primary.

And like it or not, approve of it or not, this really is part of the character of the Republican presidential race this year. White nationalists think the Donald Trump campaign is their ticket to legitimacy and getting you just used to the idea of the sound of those words "white nationalism".

On the Democratic side of the race, polls in Wisconsin show a slightly closer race than on the Republican side. Bernie Sanders appears to be pretty clearly in the lead, but the numbers broadly speaking are closer in the Democratic race than they are the Republican race. Both campaigns have said publicly they expect the Wisconsin race to be tight tomorrow on the Democratic side.

Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton appear also to be in striking agreement about one other thing that will be on the ballot tomorrow that hasn`t gotten national attention but will be front of mind for a lot of Wisconsin voters.


SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Now, I understand, not that I`m all that knowledgeable about local politics, but I understand that Governor Scott is trying to maintain control of the Supreme Court with a justice who should not stay on the Supreme Court. This is why I hope that large voter turn out on Tuesday will help elect JoAnne Kloppenburg to the Supreme Court.

HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Right now, right now, there`s walker appointed judge running for the highest court in this state. She has actually said -- I had to read this three times. She has actually said, birth control is morally abhorrent and doctors who provide it, namely birth control, and women who use it, namely birth control, are party to murder.

Let me say that again. She compared birth control, which millions of women use every year to murder. There is no place on any Supreme Court or any court in this country. No place at all for Rebecca Bradley`s decades-long track record of dangerous rhetoric against women, survivors of sexual assault and the LGBT community.

So, tonight, I`m adding my voice to the chorus across Wisconsin saying no to discrimination, no to hate speech and no to Bradley.


MADDOW: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both campaigning to win in Wisconsin, but they`re also campaigning against this person, Rebecca Bradley, who is a recent appointee of Scott Walker to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Governor Walker and Rebecca Bradley were also briefly classmates at Marquette University.

I mentioned that big campus right in downtown Milwaukee, where the interstates come together, they were both there at the same time in the `90s, while Rebecca Bradley was a columnist for the student paper.

And it`s interesting, those anti-birth control comments that Hillary Clinton quoted this weekend in Wisconsin, those are actually from much more recently. Those are from an op-ed she wrote in 2006. It`s actually the college paper stuff from even earlier, from the `90s, which I think is going to be front of mind for a lot of Wisconsin voters who are going to be headed to the polls tomorrow, if only it`s had tons of local coverage.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV ANCHOR: War over words. A Wisconsin Supreme Court justice under fire for what she wrote in college and now, some are calling for her resignation. Justice Rebecca Bradley is apologizing for anti-gay opinion pieces she wrote 24 years ago while attending Marquette College.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TV ANCHOR: Katie Crowther is live from downtown, outside the Milwaukee Club. That`s where Bradley attended a fund-raising event in her honor.

Katie, did she confront the controversy?

KATIE CROWTHER, REPORTER: Charles and Carol, they didn`t even let us in the event. We were here waiting outside to speak with her. And she went around the back through back entrance and never came out to talk with us. Instead, her campaign team sent a written statement.

"I am frankly embarrassed at the content and tone of what I wrote those many years ago, I apologize."

Justice Rebecca Bradley said she`s sorry for the word she wrote in Marquette University`s student newspaper back in 1992. Liberal group One Wisconsin Now revealed a column and two letters to the editor where Bradley described homosexuality as an abnormal sexual preference, saying, "The homosexuals and drug addicts who do kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy."

She also said people would be better off contracting AIDS than cancer because the politically correct disease will get all the funding.


MADDOW: So, this person who Governor Scott Walker appointed to the Wisconsin state Supreme Court, she also, I thought this was interesting, wrote this in response to Bill Clinton being elected president back in 1992. She wrote, quote, "Congratulations, everyone. We`ve now elected a tree-hugging, baby-killing, pot-smoking, flag-burning, queer-loving, draft- dodging, bull spouting `60s radical socialist adulterer to the highest office in our nation. Doesn`t it make you proud to be an American? We just had an election which proves the majority of voters are totally stupid or entirely evil."

She said at the same column that anybody who voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, quote, "condones drug use, homosexuality, AIDS-producing sex, adultery and murder."

And then Scott Walker put her on the state Supreme Court. And this is the first time since she`s been on the state Supreme Court that Wisconsin voters are going to have a chance to vote on whether Rebecca Bradley should keep that job.

So, the three remaining Republican candidates are going to be competing tomorrow for the Republican presidential nomination in Wisconsin. The two remaining Democratic candidates will be competing tomorrow for the Democratic nomination in Wisconsin.

But Wisconsin tomorrow will also be particularly on the Democratic side, a little bit of an audition for each of these Democratic candidates to demonstrate whether and how well they can help Democrats and progressives, other than themselves, win critical down ticket races. A lot of people are going to vote tomorrow in Wisconsin are going to be thinking about the presidential race. A lot of people are going to be thinking about this down ticket race as well.

Can the candidates affect that race with the way they campaign? It`s emerging as one of the big points of contention between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side. We`ve got more on that ahead tonight.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: Get your calendar or open up the calendar thingy on your phone, or whatever you use, because here is what you`re going to do tomorrow night. It`s election night.

And our special election coverage will kick off with "MEET THE PRESS DAILY" hosted by Chuck Todd at 5:00 Eastern and Steve Kornacki takes over at 6:00, followed by Chris Matthews with a special edition of "HARDBALL" live from Milwaukee at 7:00. Then, at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, I`m going to be joined here by Brian Williams and Chris Matthews and the whole team with our live wall- to-wall coverage of the Wisconsin primary.

So, basically starts as soon as you get your butt down in front of the TV and it will go until there`s nothing left to say, which hopefully will be some time before dawn.

So, take your B-12. (INAUDIBLE) Waukesha. Tonight is Wisconsin Eve. You will spend primary night tomorrow night with us.

We`ll be right back.



GOV. JERRY BROWN (D), CALIFORNIA: There`s a lot of anger going on in the presidential campaign. And it may have many sources, but one of the sources certainly is the way the average American is being treated by this particular economy. Today, we do something about that in a very significant way, to sign into law the minimum wage of $15 an hour to give voice to the power and the fervor and the belief of all the people standing here, and all the people I represent.

This is an important day. It`s not the end of the struggle but an important step forward. Let`s keep it going. We`re not stopping here.



MADDOW: California`s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown today signing legislation that will raise California`s minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour over the next few years. Simultaneously while that was happening, three time zones east, it was the Democratic governor of New York signing New York`s version of that same bill. Governor Andrew Cuomo signing off today on plan to raise the New York state minimum wage to 15 bucks an hour. Plus, I should mention, another bill giving new parents up to 12 weeks of paid time off. Hey, look, family values.

California and New York are such big states that with these two states making the simultaneously big leap forward, this means the bottom line for making a living, the minimum wage is about to jump substantially for nearly one in five Americans. Fifty-nine million people live in California and New York. The lowest legal wage is going to go up to $15 an hour. Just a huge deal.

That was bicoastal blue state governance today. That`s what you get in states with Democratic governors and legislatures.

Meanwhile, in red state America, expectations and horizons are wildly different. In red state America today, we are waiting for example to see whether the governor of Mississippi will sign the new discrimination bill the legislature passed there this past week in North Carolina. They`re trying to figure out whether the state is going to lose billions of dollars in federal funding because of the discrimination bill that the governor just signed the other day.

Those are just two examples, right? National elections, for obvious reasons, get the lion`s share of national media attention. And there`s nothing wrong with that. Who`s president and who controls Congress? Those are hugely important things.

But when it comes to a lot of the day-to-day political decisions that can dramatically and quickly change how we live, what often matters more than federal elections are down ticket elections, right? Your mayor, your state rep, your governor.

Do you live in a red state or do you live in a blue state? Your life may be pretty radically different depending on your answer to that question.

In the national contest for the Democratic presidential election this year, the fate of Democrats down ticket from the presidential race, governors and senators and representatives and legislatures and mayors, the fate of those races has become a fairly new point of contention between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Both candidates have entered into fundraising agreements with the Democratic National Committee, but so far, only Secretary Clinton is raising money for the Democratic Party alongside the money she`s raising for herself. Senator Sanders has not ruled out doing that sometime in future, but he`s not doing it yet.

And now, newly, that is one of the ways that Secretary Clinton is running against Senator Sanders.


CLINTON: I`m also a Democrat and have been a proud Democrat all my adult life. I think that`s kind of important if we`re selecting somebody to be the Democratic nominee of the Democratic Party.


But what it also means is that I know how important to elect state legislatures, to elect Democratic governors, to elect a Democratic Senate and House of Representatives.


As Tammy said, I came and campaigned for her, boy, a long time ago, `98, was it `98, I just met a young woman outside who said I first heard you speak when I was ten years old and you came to campaign for Tammy Baldwin running for the House of Representatives.

I`m proud of that, friends.


MADDOW: Secretary Clinton this weekend in Wisconsin, just sort of a new part of her pitch, a new part of her stump speech. She`s bragging about her past support for other Democrats, in this case, including Wisconsin Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin, but also promising that that`s what you get if you get her as a nominee.

And this appears to be a new fault line, a new point of contention between the two Democratic candidates. It`s now part of Secretary Clinton`s stump speech, it`s something she brings up in interviews unprompted.

I mean, Senator Sanders is poised to win tomorrow in Wisconsin, as the Democratic race continues to evolve. How is his campaign handling this new challenge? Is this new fight between the candidates ultimately going to redound to more help for down state Democrats in what is increasingly becoming a red state country?

Joining us now is Yamiche Alcindor. She`s a national reporter for "The New York Times".

Yamiche, it`s great to see you. Thank you for being here.


MADDOW: So, you`ve been closely covering the Sanders campaign. You`ve written a couple of really interesting pieces about sort of what it`s like to be with the Sanders campaign. Where would you describe them as in their trajectory? How do you think things with that campaign over the course of these last few months?

ALCINDOR: Senator Sanders is coming into the realization I think maybe after the fall he could really win this thing. He started off, even though his campaign kind of didn`t want to say it, I think they started off thinking, OK, this is really a long shot. Let`s try to get our message out here. And now, they`re starting to see kind of in January, that hey, we could really get this.

Because of that, they have become way more pointed in their attacks on Hillary Clinton and he kind of crossed into things he thought was personal attacks but they`re not personal. It`s attacking on her Goldman Sach`s speeches, kind of bringing up fossil fuel money. So, I think what he`s really done is kind of come in to this idea and started to listen to his advisors who said, look, this is where she`s vulnerable, let`s talk about her credibility

MADDOW: There is this sort of an unusual issue in both parties this year where you`ve got somebody who`s running very strong who has never strongly been identified with that party before. The Republican Party, obviously, it`s Donald Trump. Very type of candidate but also somebody who`s never really been identified with this party before, Bernie Sanders. And now, Hillary Clinton seems to be going right at that with this difference between them on whether or not their fundraising prowess respectively should be directed toward other Democratic candidates.

Do you think -- where do you think the Sanders campaign is going to come out on that issue?

ALCINDOR: I think the Sanders campaign is going to say, look, we explained why he ran as a Democrat. We explained that when he started he wanted -- he was an independent but he thought within this two-party system, that he has to run as a Democrat and now, he`s ready to do the things that Democrats do which is possibly help the Democratic Party out later on.

Yesterday in Wisconsin, he said, you know, I`ve been able to raise with individual donations, six million people have given the my campaign. That means that this could be the future of the party.

And he said the future of the party, which I imagine means that he`s saying, look, Democrats, I`m able to help you. He`s been caucuses with them since 1991. So, even though he`s not a Democrat in name he`s been doing this. I think the other thing that`s important is his brand was never, "I`m an establishment Democrat. Look at the things I`ve done for the Democratic Party". His brand has always been, "I`m an outsider. This is something different than what you`re used to."

So, I think that while Secretary Clinton is making these claims in saying, hey, look, you know me, I`m a Democrat, his brand has never been that. So, I think that that`s kind of the interesting thing that`s going on there and I think that`s what he --

MADDOW: Which is why I think she`s hitting him on it, because I think she knows for him to answer that, he`s got to say, like, yes, I`m happy to be captain of team Democrat while also holding on to the thing that makes him so appealing to some many Democrats and independents, which is that he sort of stands alone.

Yamiche Alcindor, I`ve enjoyed your reporting on everything I`ve ever read that you`ve done. I`m really happy you`re at "The Times". Thanks for being here tonight.

ALCINDOR: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: Thanks.

All right. Much more to come tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: So, this right here is the view from inside a government building as thousands of people protest a scandal that is, on the one hand, sprawling and massive, and for this person, it`s as local as he has own office window, which has been pelted with a lot of eggs, also apparently yogurt. They`re throwing eggs and yogurt over this remarkable scandal and it sounds delicious. But that story is next.


MADDOW: Heist!

On November 26th, 1983, six men broke into a warehouse in London. That was partially owned by the security company Brink`s. They were acting on a tip that one of the vaults in that warehouse reportedly held 3 million British pounds in cash, in bills.

The whole heist was quite ostentatiously British actually. One of the robbers wore a narrow brimmed top hat over his ski mask. Nutty (ph).

What was most surprising about this very British robbery though was not what they looked like, it`s what they found when they stormed into the warehouse. They found something way more valuable than the stacks of British pound notes they were expecting.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TV ANCHOR: A gold theft in London this morning is being called the richest robbery in British history, and one of the biggest of all time anywhere. Gold bars worth more than $37 million were taken from a warehouse near Heathrow Airport. Six men wearing hoods overpowered six warehouse guards, handcuffed them, doused them with gasoline and threatened to set them on fire.

REPORTER: London police believe it was an inside job and now, they are not permitting anyone inside this warehouse, where a gang made a $37 million haul in gold bullion over eh weekend. Robbers walked past an elaborate foolproof alarm system that didn`t fool them. They knew all about it.

Once inside, they overpowered security guards and made off with six tons of gold.

Commander Frank Cater, top detective of Scotland Yard`s robbery squad.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were together in the boxes. Something six feet in length. Perhaps three to three and a half feet in height and about two and a half to three feet across.

REPORTER: The gold bars looked like these but may look a lot different now. They could have been melted down to prevent identification. That was the plot of a British movie 30 years ago and if this is what the real crooks did this weekend, then Scotland Yard`s job will be much tougher.


MADDOW: Amazing news report from the time from 1983. British papers at the time called it the crime of the century. Media suspicions about what the crooks might do with the stolen gold wars ended up being spot on. Some of the bars were melted down to prevent the gold from getting traced back to the people who stole it.

Still though, even without the bars on their hands, they still needed a way to hide the huge sum of money they just acquired in this robbery. A little over a year after the Brink`s-Mat robbery, the crooks apparently approached a law firm in Panama to help them form a shell company which would then basically shelter all the money. That law firm`s name was Mossack Fonseca.

The firm`s founder, Mr. Mossack, apparently had more than an inkling of what was going on here. An internal memo written by him at the time describes the company as, quote, "apparently involved in the management of the money from the famous theft from Brink`s-Mat in London."

The reason we know about this is because of some amazing story that`s just broken. I mean, you get back to the criminality here and the allegations here and it also sort of winds around on itself. In the case of the Brink`s-Mat, robbery, I mean, instead doing anything about fact that they knew they were laundering money, instead of helping authorities solve one of the biggest crimes in British history, Mr. Mossack and his firm allegedly, quote, "took steps that prevented British police from gaining control of the shell company that was hiding all the money."

The reason all of this is becoming known is because of new reporting that just came out that`s the result of one of the biggest data leaks in history. They`re calling it the "Panama Papers".

More than 11 million internal documents from this law firm, from Mossack Fonseca, were leaked to a German newspaper, which shared them with more than 100 other news organizations. Those documents purport to show how everybody from politicians to celebrities to drug traffickers to star athletes, they`ve all been hiding billions of dollars in fairly sketchy offshore accounts.

One of the biggest figures tied to the scandal is Russian President Vladimir Putin, who`s now describing the scandal as an effort to take down Russia. Vladimir Putin is not named specifically in the leak, but some of his closest friends are, and in the leaked documents, his friends appeared to have shuffled more than $2 billion through banks and shadow offshore companies.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron, he doesn`t appear in the leak, but his late father is mentioned. "The Guardian" describes it as such, quote, "He ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents, including a part-time bishop to sign its paper work."

Today, more than 10,000 protesters gathered in the capital city of Iceland, calling for the ouster of that country`s prime minister, after he appeared in the documents. They egged the Icelandic parliament building as well. The prime minister and his wife are both named in the documents. They appear in the documents to be hiding millions of dollars offshore in the British Virgin Islands.

Tonight at least, the Icelandic prime minister is vowing not to resign. There are 12 current and former world leaders, heads of state who are mentioned in the leaks. The German paper that got this leak in the first place, they say the reason there are no American names so far in the scandal, it`s not because there aren`t any Americans doing this sort of thing, it`s not because there aren`t any Americans listed in the leaked documents, it`s just because they haven`t gotten around to publishing the American names yet, but they`re coming. Buckle up.


MADDOW: I`m not in the habit of giving advice around here, but if I ever start, my first handy hint for governors will be this: when it`s been widely reported that you`re under criminal investigation, do not stage a photo op of yourself in a prison.

But that is what Alabama Governor Robert Bentley did this past week, as Alabama legislators filed impeachment proceedings against him and as the state ethics commission and state attorney general were reported to be investigating him, as well as the U.S. attorney in Alabama, all in conjunction with scandal in which this family values conservative governor continues to deny having an affair with his top political staffer let alone using state resources or campaign funds to further or conceal that alleged affair. Even as the good people of Alabama have been treated to long audio tapes of the governor having phone sex with this person who he still says he never touched.

She has since resigned from state government, the woman with whom he allegedly had the affair, but he has not stepped down. He`s facing possible impeachment and he is reportedly facing multiple criminal investigations including a federal one.

And so, last week it was a remarkable thing when he chose to do a photo-op in state prison. But then today he did it again. I know he no longer has his trusted top political advisor around to tell him not to do things like this. She had to quit after the alleged affair.

But you think a person couldn`t get to be governor if the political instincts didn`t suggest this is not the best time to show everybody what it would look like if they opened the prison gate and let you in for keeps.

As part of the prison visit today, Governor Bentley did take questions from reporters, and he wound up giving one of his longest apologies yet for whatever he did, which he still won`t say.


GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY (R), ALABAMA: I`ve asked God to forgive, but I`ve asked other people to forgive me. I`ve already done that. I have truly asked the people of this state, that are the most loving and the best people in the world, I have asked them to forgive me.

And, you know, it`s mine. I own it. I own it. I did it. I point no fingers at anybody else. I made no excuses for that. I own my problem.

It`s not your problem. It`s not your problem. You have other my problem. It`s not your problem. It`s my problem and I have to deal with that.


MADDOW: It may not be his problem, but the woman he says didn`t have the affair with, she`s the one who had to resign.

Robert Bentley said today that his troubles are not affecting his ability to govern the state of Alabama. He says for him, this is all in the rearview mirror now. And that may be true for him. It is probably not true for the people of his state.

Here he is at the prison commissary, for example.



SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: God bless Governor Scott Walker.


Your governor is a rock star.


MADDOW: Senator Ted Cruz in Waukesha, Wisconsin, tonight campaigning on the eve of tomorrow`s Republican primary, alongside "God bless Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker".

Joining us now is Mordecai Lee. He`s one of the great scholars and deans of Wisconsin`s amazing politics.

Professor Lee, don`t be too nice about it. You know it`s true. It`s great to see you, sir.

MORDECAI LEE, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR: I`m just trying to give the taxpayers their money`s worth.

MADDOW: Oh, very good.

Well, listen, we`ve spoken a few times over the past few years, mostly because Wisconsin has been through some really bitter partisan fighting. Enormous protests over the governor killing union rights. They tried to recall Governor Walker.

So, Wisconsin`s about to step into a very hot political spotlight tomorrow night. How`s things there now?

LEE: Things are very excited and very politicized. I think that tomorrow we`re going to see kind of a Noah`s flood of a turnout of voters.

You remember when you covered the Supreme Court race that you mentioned in the earlier segment, that was a million and a half voters for a lousy Supreme Court race. Tomorrow, we`ve got another Supreme Court race and two presidential races. I think we`re going to break all records. I think the Government Accountability Board is underestimating when they say 1.3 -- 1.75 million. I`ll bet on 2 million votes.

MADDOW: Is there any worry that the new voter restriction that`s have gone into effect in Wisconsin, themselves a product of -- or the subject of lots of bitter partisan fighting, things like voter ID and other sorts of restrictions shortening early voting, any of that maybe going to dampen turnout at all?

LEE: I think you`re really onto something because we`ve had only two low turnout voter elections with the voter ID. Tomorrow, as turnout expands, you`re going to get people with below average education, below average income, and possibly below average documentation. So, I think there`s a possibility of both lines and problems for people who have never faced it before. The higher the turnout, the more problems there will be.

MADDOW: Has there been a good voter education effort in terms of new voter ID law and the other things that are going to be different about voting this year?

LEE: There`s been a little bit but not much. Last week, Governor Walker also signed a law that allowed veterans to use their V.A. ID card instead of any other ID. But otherwise, ID problems could happen he easily for people who have moved, for students who don`t have their address on their ID cards. I think we`ve got a problem around the corner.

MADDOW: It`s been interesting at the very end of this race in Wisconsin to see Governor Walker play such a big role with his endorsement of Ted Cruz. He had a sharp, sharp turn in the presidential race. His presidential effort didn`t go well and it was over quickly.

Did that hurt him in the state?

LEE: It hurt him a lot with the independents. His support number is now at about 38 percent, 39 percent. And you know what`s so interesting is that Ted Cruz is doing a kind of political jujitsu. He`s saying that President Obama has mismanaged the economy but Governor Walker`s reforms have helped the economy. I`m not quite sure how that balances out.

MADDOW: All good things go to my guy. All bad things go to the other guy. I know how to play that game.

Mordecai Lee, political science professor at the University of Wisconsin -- I know this is like Christmas for you on steroids. Thanks for being with us tonight, sir. Good to see you.

LEE: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. Up next, some unexpected good news for the Democratic Party coming out of a very red state. Stay with us.


MADDOW: So big vote tomorrow in Wisconsin. Everybody`s very excited for that.

But here`s something else to keep an eye on. Through the first half of this presidential primary season, the big worry for Democrats has been turnout. Republican turnout`s been up in state after state and Democratic numbers have been down all over the place. At least that was true for a while.

In this recent string of states that voted not in a primary but in a caucus, though, Democrats actually got some unexpectedly large numbers in terms of turnout in Idaho and Utah and Alaska. Crowds were so big in Utah that counties ran out of ballots and had to print more. Crowds in Idaho were so big it took all night to get results.

Well, now we have some news about the next Democratic caucuses, which are going to be held this week on Saturday in Wyoming. Check this out.

"The Casper Star Tribune" now reporting that in six Wyoming counties, they have already decided they need to move their Democratic caucus sites into larger venues because they are expecting huge turnout, possibly record turnout, which of course would be a nice thing for Democrats if those warnings and worries prove true.

Democrats would love to start earning bragging rights on turnout. In Wyoming of all places? Sure. Why not? Nothing else this year makes sense. Watch this space.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow at 8:00.


Good evening, Lawrence.