Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: June 3, 2016 Guest: Pat Dooris
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is it for "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: We have not begun to ruin Friday nights.
HAYES: That`s right.
MADDOW: There`s a lot more rumination ahead.
MADDOW: Thanks you guys.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.
We`re not going to ruin your Friday night. In fact, happy Friday. In today`s news, we learned that yesterday was not an awesome day for the highest-ranking Republican in Washington, D.C. to decide to finally come out and endorse his party`s nominee for president. Whatever happened leading up to yesterday to make House Speaker Paul Ryan suddenly decide that he was comfortable with Donald Trump as the Republican Party`s leader and presidential candidate, whatever Donald Trump did to make Paul Ryan comfortable enough as of yesterday, that as of yesterday he would give him his endorsement, whatever led to that level of being okay with him, this is how Mr. Trump has been comporting himself since then.
(BEG9IN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage. I`m building a wall. OK? I`m building a wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was CNN`s Jake Tapper today asking Donald Trump about a judge overseeing one of the lawsuits against him. And Mr. Trump`s insistence that that judge should be removed from the case because of his ethnic background. In case there was any doubt about whether the judge`s race is what Donald Trump has a problem with, that is now very much cleared up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He`s a Mexican. We`re building a wall between here and Mexico. This judge is giving us unfair rulings. Now I say why. Well, I`m building a wall, OK? And it`s a wall between Mexico. Not another country.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: He`s not from Mexico.
TRUMP: In my opinion --
TAPPER: He`s from Indiana.
TRUMP: His Mexican heritage and he`s very proud of it.
TAPPER: If you are saying he can`t do his job because of his race, is that not the definition of racism?
TRUMP: No. I don`t think so at all.
TRUMP: No, he`s proud of his heritage, I respect him for that.
TAPPER: You`re saying he can`t do his job because of it.
TRUMP: Look, he`s proud of his heritage, OK? I`m building a wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: No one with Mexican heritage can be a judge, at least in a case involving Donald Trump, because of what Donald Trump as the Republican Party`s presidential nominee wants to do to Mexicans.
So, just to further that point, Mr. Trump as you know also says, you shouldn`t even be allowed to visit this country if you`re a Muslim. So, by extension, does that mean that no Muslim should be allowed to be a judge, in Donald Trump`s America?
I mean, this is a remarkable strategy, if you could get your way on something like this, right? If you run for president and you decided to just decree that no one would be allowed to deal with you in a professional capacity if they`re a member of a group that you have racially stereotyped or attacked or insulted or scapegoated or even proposed criminalizing.
I mean, what if you could just decree that nobody you had insulted could ever have any bearing on your life in the future? Because of the fact that you`d insulted them.
A professor at the UCLA law school put it this way to Buzzfeed.com today. Quote, "Trump`s theory is apparently that anybody -- excuse me. That anyone can get any judge disqualified for conflict of interest just by saying things that the judge finds offensive enough.
So you don`t like the Jewish judge on your case? Say things that are critical of Jews and now the judge presumably has to step aside because of a conflict of interest. Don`t like the female judge in your case? Well, say things that women tend to find offensive. Don`t like the judge who was a Republican activist? Say nasty things about Republicans.
For obvious reasons, that is not the law, because it can`t be the law. Judges can`t be disqualified from a case because of their ethnicity or because of their ideology or because you say things that are offensive to them or their ethnic group."
True. Sure. But that`s just the law! You put the law up against the Republican nominee for president this year, and who`s going to win? Whose side are you on? Paul Ryan? Whose side are you on? And congratulations on the timing of your endorsement this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This judge is of Mexican heritage. I`m building a wall. Okay? I`m building a wall.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: After the Republican candidate for president continued today on CNN and in multiple print interviews, continued to claim that no Latino should legally be allowed to judge -- to be a judge in a case involving him.
After he continued with that today, multiple staffers on the Trump campaign complained to NBC News` Katy Tur about what their own candidate was doing. More than one source from the Trump campaign telling Katy tonight, quote, "These are the things that will defeat us." Maybe.
But in the long run, this is actually what`s more likely to defeat you guys. Because just as Donald Trump is stumbling out of the gate with the Trump University lawsuit and these overtly racist repeated diatribes against the Latino judge, which honestly at some point like I think Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts or somebody is going to have to weigh in on and tell Trump to cut that out as a matter of separation of powers and how the U.S. Constitution works, right?
I mean, with that continuing, with that Trump insulting and attacking the nation`s only Latina governor, who is a Republican, with him stumbling from thing to thing to thing as the Democratic primary comes to a close, Hillary Clinton simultaneously appears to be hitting her stride. And yesterday, she just gutted Donald Trump in a foreign policy speech that apparently has left the Trump campaign and the whole Republican Party too shell shocked to respond.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump`s ideas aren`t just different. They are dangerously incoherent. They`re not even really ideas, just a series of bizarre rants, personal feuds, and outright lies.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
He is not just unprepared. He is temperamentally unfit to hold an office that requires knowledge, stability, and immense responsibility. He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends, including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico, and the pope.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia. There`s no risk of people losing their lives if you blow up a golf course deal.
He says he doesn`t have to listen to our generals or admirals, our ambassadors and other high officials, because he has "a very good brain."
He also said, "I know more about is than the generals do, believe me." You know what? I don`t believe him.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton`s fusillade against Donald Trump yesterday.
In terms of being on offense and defining your opponent, right, I think that is widely viewed now as the strongest moment yet of Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign. And so, then what, right? Exciting prospect, right?
Now, she throws all of that at Trump yesterday. The Trump campaign, of course, loves to brag on how good they are at hitting back when they`re hit, right? They call it counterpunching.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: You know I`m a counterpuncher.
Remember, one thing everybody has said, I`m a counterpuncher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Trump is a counterpuncher.
TRUMP: Hit me, I hit him back.
A week ago, he started hitting me. I hit him back.
I`m a counterpuncher.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Counterpuncher, that`s the promise and the threat, right? You hit me? I`ll hit you back big league, I`ll hit you back so hard.
Well, Hillary Clinton hit him over and over and over and over and over and over and over again yesterday. And ever since, more than 24 hours now, we`ve been waiting for the promised counterpunch. And I`m starting to think that maybe there is no counterpunch. I mean, this is all he`s got so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She does not look presidential, that I can tell you. She does not. This is not a president. It was like -- it`s like taking Sominex, to watch her. It`s like Sominex, sleep all night. It`s hard to stay awake. I`m not a big sleeper.
I think she could make more money if she made speeches and sold them for people that can`t sleep.
Lyin` Hillary. Lying. She is a liar. No. Ted Cruz is no longer a liar, we don`t say Lyin` Ted anymore. We love Ted, we love Ted, right? We love him.
Now, we don`t want to say Lyin` Ted. I`d love to pull it out and just use it on lyin`, crooked Hillary, I love to say, because she is a liar.
She made up my foreign policy. Donald Trump is going to do this. I said, I never said that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s what you got? That`s the big -- that`s the big counterpunch?
It`s amazing too, because not only has there been that pathetic response, basically no substantive response from Donald Trump himself to what Hillary Clinton just did to him.
But even more interesting to me that there has been no response at all from the Republican Party. I mean, he is their presidential nominee. But after Hillary Clinton just flattened him yesterday, there has been no defense of Donald Trump from the Republican Party. There have been no Republican Party surrogates on TV vouching for him, defending him on foreign policy. There`s been no point by point rebuttal like they like to do at the Republican Party. They`re just not responding. They`re just letting it lie.
Which means the last thing standing from the news cycle on the Democratic side is this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Do we want his finger anywhere near the button?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s the last thing from the news cycle on the Democratic side. The only thing they`ve replaced it with on the Republican side is this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I`ve been treated very unfairly by this judge. Now, this judge is of Mexican heritage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So that`s where we are politically right now. That`s how they`re squaring off right now, chapter and verse denunciation and gutting of Donald Trump on foreign policy and national security at length on national television yesterday.
Donald Trump saying, anybody who has Mexican heritage can`t be a judge -- on the other side.
Which party would you rather be in, in that equation, heading into a general election in this country? So that`s where we are politically right now. But logistically, we are about to be in a really, really interesting place, where things are about to move fast, including over this weekend.
And there`s a lot of attention to what`s happening I think with this big Clinton speech and with the mess that I think Trump has gotten them into on this judiciary matter. I do think that we should anticipate there will be a response, some sort of formal response from the judiciary with Trump waging this war, this overtly racist war against a federal judge. I think that is going to get worse but not better. So deservedly there`s been a lot of attention to those two lanes right now in the Democratic and Republican races.
But there is something very specific that`s not getting a lot of advance attention and I think it is going to happen fairly quickly over the next couple of days and you should know this is coming.
There are two contests in the Democratic primary this weekend. U.S. Virgin Islands are tomorrow. That`s a convention where they will pick their delegates. Puerto Rico votes on Sunday.
So, these are both Democratic contests. Collectively, these two places will be awarding 79 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Now the NBC News count on delegates overall right now says that Hillary Clinton is 65 delegates away from numerically getting the nomination.
So, there`s 79 delegates from these two places this weekend, she needs 65 to clinch, theoretically she could get there this weekend. There are more delegates at stake this weekend than the total number she needs to clinch the nomination.
Mathematically, theoretically, it`s possible. It`s prohibitively unlikely I think in those terms. She`d have to basically run the table in both places in order to get that many delegates. But it is getting to be very, very, very, very close numerically.
Here`s the thing to keep an eye on. Remember when Donald Trump numerically clinched the nomination for the Republican Party? Not after Ted Cruz and John Kasich dropped out but when he actually hit 1237? Remember that date? It was May 26th, it was a Thursday, it was a weird day for it to happen because there wasn`t a state or a territory that was voting on that day. Nothing happened that day in terms of a vote that put Donald Trump over the top.
What happened on May 26th, that Thursday, that caused the "Associated Press" to numerically call the race for Donald Trump to say he had numerically clinched, what happened to make that happen is that the "A.P." called delegates. They called delegates who were unbound, delegates who could vote however they want at the Republican convention this summer, and on the phone those unbound delegates just told the "A.P." that they now intended to support Donald Trump at the Republican convention in Cleveland. And that was it. Those verbal commitments from those unbound delegates.
That`s why Trump ended up doing his announcement in that dark room in North Dakota that day because the delegates who talked to the "A.P." that day were from North Dakota. That`s how he numerically clinched. Not because of a vote, but because delegates who hadn`t previously made their intentions known just told reporters how they intended to vote when they go to the convention this summer, a statement of intention.
Think of that in parallel right now with what`s going on in the Democratic race. Hillary Clinton this weekend is going to get very, very, very close to the Democratic nomination. With these two contests that happen this weekend in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, she`s going to get close.
The Sanders campaign really doesn`t want delegates to be counted this way. Sanders campaign doesn`t want superdelegates to be counted by the networks when they do their delegate totals. But honestly, superdelegates are delegates. They`re real delegates. Their votes really do count toward the nomination. And we don`t know right now if anybody is surveying the Democratic unbound superdelegates.
But that is what the "A.P." did when Donald Trump got very close to the nomination and that is how the "A.P." ultimately ended up calling it for Trump on that Thursday in May. It was because of phone calls with delegates saying who they were going to vote for at the convention.
So as these pledged delegate counts come in over the weekend from the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as those pledged delegate numbers come in and if superdelegates start saying on the record what they plan to do at the Democratic Convention this summer, it is possible that there could be some kind of call soon. And it could be independent of the vote in any one particular state.
That is how the race was called on that random Thursday last month for Donald Trump. And that is starting to approach the realm of the possible in the Democratic primary right now as well. It`s that close. Nobody knows until it happens. But heads-up, don`t be surprised.
MADDOW: We`ve got new proof today of a cornerstone principle of physics. Gravity is bipartisan. At least it is in California. Watch here. First, Donald Trump, and then Hillary Clinton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: It made it look like the white guy was on my side.
CLINTON: Got it? Whoa! Boom.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Donald Trump today in California losing the sign off his podium, at one event in California. While moments later, Hillary Clinton also in California lost her whole podium off the stage.
Senator Sanders, wherever you are, hold on!
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: There was a time this year when protests at Donald Trump for president events, those protests generally happened inside those events. Demonstrators would show up, sometimes they would protest against Mr. Trump silently, sometimes they would stand and up hold a sign, sometimes they`d stand up and yell. And then those protesters would be escorted out by security and sometimes those protesters would be confronted by angry Trump supporters and sometimes there would be violence and Donald Trump would incorporate these disturbances into his stump speech, get `em out! That became a regular thing he would scream from the podium.
We sort of almost got used to that as a Trump phenomenon. But over the past few weeks something different has started happening. The totally inappropriate, scary violence we used to see inside Trump events, sometimes egged on by the candidate himself, now that is happening with some regularity outside Trump events, and particularly after Trump events have ended. When some anti-Trump protesters are basically sticking around at the site of Trump events, outside those events, and then they are behaving abominably.
Costa Mesa, California, was one of the first anti-Trump protests that turned grossly violent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: The situation turned ugly quickly. This man wearing a Trump t- shirt was targeted by some protesters, we don`t know why. Trump supporters trying to leave the rally targeted by others. Costa Mesa Police and Orange County sheriff`s deputies respond in force. So far, Costa Mesa police confirming 17 were arrested for failure to disperse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Costa Mesa, California.
The very next day, Donald Trump himself had to literally hop a fence to avoid protesters before a speech to the California Republican State Convention in the Bay Area. Then, last month in Albuquerque, New Mexico, several police officers were hurt after peaceful protests turned violent outside a Trump event there. Law enforcement used smoke devices and pepper spray to police that scene to try to break it up.
Things got even worse in San Diego last week. Thirty-five people arrested, several people injured outside a Trump rally, including a bunch of fights between Donald Trump supporters and anti-Trump demonstrators.
And then finally last night in San Jose, California, it was the worst yet. This time multiple violent episodes between protesters and Trump supporters, including multiple incidents of Trump supporters being targeted and chased and physically attacked by anti-Trump demonstrators.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Protesters followed Trump supporters to their cars as they left the convention center. Around the corner and away from police protection on San Carlo Street, a mob mentality took over. A Trump supporter wearing a "build the wall" t-shirt assaulted by several young men. Fearing for his safety I yelled at him to get away.
Run! Get the hell out of here!
Protesters attacked Trump supporters` cars in the parking garage as they tried to leave. Outside again, street fights broke out on Almaden Avenue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: As far as we can tell, those protests and that violence, which is not a form of fight to protest, that stuff in this Trump event last night in San Jose, it doesn`t appear these were coordinated actions. It doesn`t appear they were centrally led or directed in any way.
But this violence outside Trump rallies, this violence by anti-Trump demonstrators, this is now getting to be a regular occurrence. These clashes and these protests are in danger of becoming a new normal thing in this election landscape, which cannot stand.
This is a new political reality that is new and that is scary. And we have a lot of weeks to go and many, many, many more political events until November. I want to know how this tide is going to turn.
Joining us is NBC News correspondent Jacob Rascon, following the Trump campaign, has been at a bunch of these protests where violence has broken out, including yesterday in the thick of it in San Jose.
Thanks for being with us, appreciate your time tonight.
JACOB RASCON, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT COVERING TRUMP CAMPAIGN: Thanks, Rachel.
So if you want to talk about last night and what was different, I`ve never seen the Trump protesters go after supporters like that. They moved in a mob-like mentality takes over as you can tell from the video. They went Trump supporter after Trump supporter. We`ve seen it where the protesters and supporters get face-to-face, they yell at each other, they threaten each other.
But usually it doesn`t happen like this where the protesters actually just walk up and beat somebody up. It happened time after time. We saw it more than a dozen times, I think.
You mentioned before, you talked about whether it was centrally organized or not. And we tracked that, we`ve been tracking that for months now. We have seen that there are organized groups who show up, different chapters for example in Salt Lake City and Chicago and Arizona, and in New Mexico.
But the organized protests, they don`t usually lead to this type of violence. They show up and it`s when they leave, as you said, when the rally ends, and there are pockets of others who hang around who are looking for a fight. That`s when the real trouble starts.
They not only go after the Trump supporters, we see them very often going after the police and turning from just chanting "F Trump" to also "F the police." And they are looking for that fight, they are wanting that violence, it seems.
MADDOW: Jacob, one of the things that I think people are really starting to ask openly and starting to try to think strategically about is how this can be interrupted, how this can be stopped. It seemed like a unique and bad thing when it happened in Costa Mesa. But now that we`ve seen it happen in a big way in at least four incidents since then, I have to ask, seeing it up close, do you feel like there has been anything that seems promising in terms of intervention, in terms of mitigating factors in terms of anybody being able to take a leadership role that calms these things down or that convinces people to disperse?
RASCON: Unfortunately not. I haven`t seen that. In fact, it`s all -- it all seems to be getting worse. We do see that police departments are more and more prepared generally. But they`re only prepared until the rally ends. I mean, they have their barricades set up, they have their designated areas to protesters, for supporters. They`re kept a good distance from each other, usually.
But then when the rally ends and the Trump supporters are leaving, going to their cars, the protesters simply leave their designated area. Sometimes like in Anaheim and also in San Diego they had an overwhelming police force, hundreds of officers ready with a very large perimeter. So they were ready it seemed for the protesters and supporters to sort of leave their areas and they eventually closed in on them.
But like in San Jose, they didn`t seem ready for that. The supporters -- or the protesters took over several streets that were not blocked off, they blocked traffic. Each department just prepares as they see best, and some departments prepare better than others.
But most of the departments give the protesters and supporters a little bit of space to fight it out, almost. They don`t intervene whenever there is conflict. And so, we see it just continue on and on.
And each protest seems to build on the other. I`ll talk to protesters who say, "Yeah, we saw the one in Albuquerque, now we`re here, now we`re a part of this movement that Trump is not allowed in my backyard. That`s the message I want to get out."
MADDOW: NBC News correspondent Jacob Rascon, he`s been following the campaign, seminal coverage and visuals and reporting you`ve been able to feed out from these things, Jacob, thanks. I appreciate you being here.
RASCON: Thank you.
MADDOW: I should tell you that Bernie Sanders had a press conference tonight just as we were going on the air. UC-Berkeley.
Do we have a bite from this in the control room? Bernie Sanders responding to the incident of the violence at the San Jose rally at the Donald Trump event last night, watch.
Oh, we don`t have it?
MADDOW: Just before the break, I had a load of commercials drop on top of me like a pallet full of cinderblocks falling from a great height.
But what I was trying to say when that happened, accidentally, is that Bernie Sanders tonight has been asked to weigh in on this issue of the violence that happened last night by anti-Trump protesters in San Jose, California.
Of course, the California race right now is super tight between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. They`re both keeping up very intense campaigning schedules there right now. But alongside what they are each trying to do for their own campaign and their own message, Senator Sanders at U.C.-Berkeley was asked at a press conference to respond to some of that violence. Here`s what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Violence is absolutely and totally unacceptable. And I do not want anybody, if people are thinking about violence, please do not tell anybody you`re a Bernie Sanders supporter because those are not the supporters that I want.
I understand how reprehensible and disgraceful Donald Trump`s positions are, how ignorant they are, how much he is appealing -- and I can understand the anger, I surely can, because I feel it. The bigotry that is coming from his mouth, the insults to the Mexican community and the Latino community and the Muslim community and women and African-Americans and veterans. I understand the anger.
But we are not going to defeat Trump by throwing eggs or getting involved in violence of any kind.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Strong statement tonight from Bernie Sanders speaking off the cuff, asked by reporters to respond to these ugly incidents that happened last night with anti-Trump protesters chasing down Trump supporters in the streets of San Jose outside that Trump event.
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are competing neck and neck in California right now. There`s been a huge increase in voter registration heading toward Tuesday`s California vote. Senator Sanders is going to be in Cloverdale, California, tonight for a 10:30 p.m. Eastern rally.
That`s in Sonoma County. And the two Democratic candidates are going to be flooring it, basically, through the weekend ahead of that contest on Tuesday.
Stay with us. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is a live view of Mosier, Oregon, right now. That`s live. That giant plume of smoke you see there, it was just visible for miles around Mosier, Oregon. It`s coming from a burning tanker car full of crude oil.
It`s been burning since this afternoon, just around 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 11 cars of an oil train went off the tracks along the Columbia River in Oregon. I can tell you tonight that all of these hours later, that fire does not appear to be getting any smaller.
This is an aerial view of that tanker car fire about an hour and a half ago, just five hours after the initial explosion, boom, you see a new explosion there and the fire seems to spread further.
Union Pacific Railroad owns this the oil train. The latest statement we have from them said that at least one car was on fire. It certainly looks like it may be more than one car at this point.
Here`s where this is happening. Again, this fire is still under right way. The city of Mosier is about 70 miles east of Portland. It`s the Columbia River Gorge. Just a stunning stretch of that beautiful river along the Oregon/Washington border.
And you can see in some of these map imagery the railroad tracks where this train derailed, the tracks run right along the Columbia River, right through Mosier. The train derailed near an overpass connecting to I-84, the highway that connects to Portland. A 23-mile-long section of that interstate was shut down, remains closed this evening, because of this oil train crash and this fire. You can see the Mosier community school, an elementary school there, really steps away from that blazing tanker car that school is evacuated right after the derailment.
We`re told actually that all local schools were eventually evacuated. There`s now a mandatory evacuation order in place for all homes and businesses within a half mile of this derailment. Emergency personnel have been going door to door telling residents to prepare for what may be a wider evacuation order coming.
Now, Union Pacific says no one was injured in this derailment. It was apparently a 96-car train, 11 cars of the 96 derailed. Those oil cars were carrying Bakken crude oil. We know that Bakken crude oil is more volatile and more prone to explosion than regular crude oil.
The oil started in North Dakota. It was headed ultimately to Tacoma, Washington. Union Pacific and BNSF Railway and the Portland airport, they all now say that they`re sending foam to the site of this ongoing fire. They`re sending specialized foam-equipped firefighting trucks to the scene. They need foam because it`s an oil fire.
Crude oil fires are so hot that water is basically useless against them and you need this specialized way to fight those fires. In a lot of cases like the giant oil train explosion at Mt. Carbon, Virginia, last year, authorities have had to just let these train fires burn themselves out. That can take days.
This is obviously not the first time we have seen one of these oil trains derail and explode. There`s a reason people call them bomb trains. But Mosier, Oregon, and other Oregon towns along the Columbia River, they have been particularly on edge in the last few months about the possibility of something like this happening to them. It`s only this past November that Union Pacific started hauling Bakken crude along the Oregon side of the river along those rail tracks.
In January of this year, local county commissioners unanimously adopted a resolution opposing these kinds of oil shipments through their county. In part because hundreds of schools and child care facilities were within a half mile of the railroad tracks these bomb trains were going down. Emergency responders testified at that county commissioners meeting that it was not a matter of if there would be an oil spill or fire from a wrecked train, not a matter of if but when.
And when our Portland affiliate KGW got a few minutes with President Obama the following month, one of the things that their reporter pressed him on was the danger of oil trains that has been such a matter of local concern. Now today on the banks of the Columbia River, in Mosier, Oregon, those fears right now tonight as we speak are being realized.
Pat Dooris is a reporter with NBC`s Portland, Oregon, affiliate KGW-TV. He joins us now near the site of the train derailment.
Pat, really appreciate your time tonight. Can you orient me as to what I`m seeing behind you, what you can see from your position, how far away you are from the explosion?
PAT DOORIS, KGW-TV: Sure. We`re about a mile from where the train is still on fire.
It`s kind of changed its appearance in the last five or ten minutes. I believe they`re starting to hit the rail cars now with water on the sides. As you mentioned you don`t try to put it on the oil because that just spreads it, it doesn`t put the fire out. They`re trying to cool down the sides.
We also were told there was foam that was brought in from Union Pacific and also the BNSF Railroad brought some in from the tri-cities area. They may have put that on as well. Because we`ve been here for five, six hours and it has just been a black column of smoke, unrelenting. Although it does look like now they`re starting to take some action against it.
MADDOW: Pat, do we have any information at this point as to why it might have derailed, and indeed how many cars have exploded, how many cars have caught fire?
DOORIS: No is the short answer. I`m sure there will be a huge investigation into why it derailed. We do know from the Oregon Department of Transportation that this stretch of track was inspected two months ago. They found something like 31, what they called minor problems. And we`re told all of those were fixed.
So, very unclear why this derailment happened right here. It`s right by the little town school. And right by the sewage treatment plant. Fortunately no one hurt, but a very dangerous situation. And I`m sure a lot of questions about what happened and why it happened right here.
MADDOW: Pat, you mentioned the sewage plant there. Obviously, the Columbia River is nationally famous for a reason. You just look at the pictures of the Columbia River Gorge, anybody who`s familiar with that part of the world, your heart sort of aches for the river as well as for the human impact here and the potential environmental impact.
Are there -- do we know anything about the specific consequences of that sewage plant being so close? Do we know anything about the river or spillage or anything else in terms of the environmental impact?
DOORIS: Well, interesting questions. We`ve been asking those all day. They have a person here in town called the water master who`s in charge of the sewage plant and the water. He told me he was concerned that as the fire continued to grow, that it might somehow impact the plant and there might be raw sewage that`s spilled into the Columbia River.
So far, that has not happened. When I talked to him about a half hour ago he said the chances of that happening are greatly diminished. He doesn`t think it`s going to happen.
It is burning by a creek called rock creek that then does feed directly into the Columbia. But the Washington department of ecology sent out a tweet that they had flown over the area about 5:00 local time, so a little while ago, and did not see any oil that had gotten into that creek or gotten into the river.
It`s difficult to tell from this vantage point but there are four or five boats that are now out on the river and we`ve seen a boom stretched not too far offshore just in case there is some sort of a leakage or spill. It seems with this much oil that`s burning down there, from our camera shots, from the helicopter, looked like there were at least three of those tanker cars on fire. It does seem likely at least some is going to get into the river.
MADDOW: Pat Dooris, a reporter with KGW-TV, out there all day covering this oil train fire. Pat, I know you`ve got a lot of local responsibilities. Thank you for making time for us, really good to have you here.
DOORIS: You bet, my pleasure.
MADDOW: I look forward to the day when I get to stop meeting good local reporters like pat this way, because I`m covering more bomb trains that are going off in beautiful places all over this country. The transport of oil by rail is one of these niche stories that couldn`t get more specific in terms of thinking about a risk to our country.
But, boy, does that just keep happening and happening and happening. These train tracks go right through towns all over this country. I so look forward to us fixing this problem as a country.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: If this doesn`t make you happy, you`re not human.
This week in Anchorage, Alaska, locals on their way to the hardware store, they got to see a baby moose being born in the hardware store parking lot. And it was fine. Mama moose is fine, baby moose born in the hardware store parking lot, fine as well. And little skinny baby moose legs that work just fine. Look at skinny little -- heh.
Even the biggest city in Alaska is basically wild. The biggest city in Alaska has moose being born in parking lots. Alaska is awesome. Alaska is so freaking big, the state website has a whole section explaining how many other states could fit into it.
Today I learned, for example, that you can get four Californias into Alaska, or 12 New Yorks. Or 264 Delawares.
But now, the question is, is Alaska big enough for two guys named Dan Sullivan? Because this is Dan Sullivan. He is the junior U.S. senator from Alaska.
And this is also Dan Sullivan, who wants to be the other U.S. senator from Alaska. That Dan Sullivan is now running against the incumbent senator, Lisa Murkowski, in the Republican primary in that state.
Hey, since one Dan Sullivan for Senate campaign already worked, it`s entirely possible the second Dan Sullivan will just reuse the existing Dan Sullivan for Senate signs and t-shirts just kicking around from the previous successful campaign up there.
The Alaskan primary is August 16th. The new Dan Sullivan is an underdog, but you never know, Alaska is awesome and weird in every way, including its politics. Come November, we could be introducing your Alaska senators, Dan Sullivans. Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan and the other Alaska senator Dan Sullivan.
And wait, because this whole mishegoss about names on the ballot, it gets better, because my favorite politics story of the week involves sort of that same thing. That is next. We have saved that for you for Friday night tonight.
That`s straight ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: This is my favorite politics story of the week. All right, you ready?
There`s this dermatologist in Tuscaloosa, and he decides he wants to run for governor. And although he was a politician already, he already had a seat in the state legislature, he figured he would have a better shot at getting elected governor if people didn`t think of him as a politician. He wanted people to think of him as a dermatologist, as a doctor. And he was a doctor.
But to really drive the point home, in that governor`s race in 2010, I kid you not, he legally changed his first name to "Dr." Not "d-o-c-t-o-r," just "Dr." That became this state representative`s new legal first name ahead of the governor`s race.
So they would have to list him as "Dr." on the ballot. Except they turned him down. The state`s Republican committee decided that even though it was his new legal name, they could see it was a gimmick is and they wouldn`t let him use it on the ballot.
That same day, interestingly, Alabama Republicans also rejected a request from Dr. Robert Bentley. They also rejected a request by a Republican named Roy Moore, who wanted to appear on the ballot that year as Judge Roy Moore. They wouldn`t let "doctor" on there or "judge" on there.
They also that same day rejected a request from an agricultural commission candidate named Dale Peterson who wanted to be listed on the ballot that year as Cowboy Dale Peterson.
So, no doctor, no judge, no cowboy. Although bonus points to Dale Cowboy for showing up to plead his case while wearing a cowboy hat.
Now, to be fair. Part of the reason I like this story is this sort of thing runs in my family. When my mom and dad come visit me and Susan and we as a family play Yahtzee, which we do, my mom always fills in the Yahtzee scorecard as "winner," As if her name is winner.
So, changing your name to doctor on the ballot, I get it. I`m hip to this as an electoral strategy. I`m picking up what you are putting down.
Even so, though, I never thought I would see this, which is my favorite politics story of the week. And it comes from the ninth congressional district in Florida. It`s currently represented by a flamboyant, combative, liberal Democratic congressman named Alan Grayson.
But Alan Grayson has decided not to run for that seat again. Instead, he`s running for Marco Rubio`s U.S. Senate seat in Florida. And in order to do that, Alan Grayson has to give up his seat in the House. So, now that seat is up.
Lots of Democrats running to replace him. Among the Democrats running to replace him is a woman named Dena Minning. You see her here in the middle with Bill Clinton and Charlie Crist.
Well, this weekend, Dena Minning, candidate for Alan Grayson`s old seat in Congress, she did something I`m not sure I`ve ever seen before in politics. She married Alan Grayson.
Surprise! They got married over the holiday weekend. That`s great. Congratulations. Marriages are happy things and I wish them all the best, and you should too.
But this has one phenomenal political consequence in the very short-term, because now when it comes to running for the congressional seat currently held by incumbent Alan Grayson, now it`s no longer Dr. Dena Minning running for the Grayson seat in Congress. Now it`s the -- well, it`s Dena Grayson running for the Grayson seat in Congress.
It`s the Grayson for Congress campaign all over again. If you squint, it kind of seems like maybe the incumbent is running for re-election. If you go looking for Dr. Dena Minning on Twitter, you`re asked to see a new account @DrDenaGrayson. Dr. Dena Grayson, candidate for the ninth district of Florida.
The Florida state board of election as still has her listed by her old name right now, but her campaign tells us she will be listed as Dena Grayson on upcoming ballots, which mean if you are a voter somewhere between eastern Orlando and Yeehaw Junction and you want to keep sending a Grayson to Congress, you now will have the chance to do that thanks to a very, very well-timed wedding.
You can vote for a name you recognize, and that is an incredibly well-timed development for the Florida primary that takes place on August 30th.
In related news, please check your local listings for our Monday`s show under our new show, "The Oprah Maddow Show."
MADDOW: There`s going to be a lot of politics news this weekend.
Here`s another thing to keep an eye out for over the course of the weekend. As you know, we`re in our 15th year of the war in Afghanistan, longest war our country`s military has ever fought. President Obama had planned to end the Afghanistan War while he was in office, but there are still nearly 10,000 Americans serving there right now. And we are soon expecting another announcement about what`s going to happen to that force.
Last night, we reported that the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is due to send the White House new recommendations this week for how many U.S. troops should stay in that country when President Obama leaves office. It`s supposed to happen this week.
Well, now it`s 10:00 Friday night. We still don`t know what the commander is recommending. Presumably, that recommendation has been sent to the White House. If the Pentagon kept to its deadline, maybe.
We`ve reached out to the White House to find out if they have received that recommendation. They have not told us one way or the other.
But whatever the recommendation is, we should presumably be hearing about that soon, in terms of how many American soldiers are set to stay in Afghanistan after President Obama leaves office and how long this war will go on. Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday. No prison for you.
Now it`s time for "HARDBALL."
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END