Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: June 6, 2016 Guest: Michael Briggs, Hillary Clinton, Robby Mook
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC`S "ALL IN" ANCHOR: Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She`ll be dependant on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25th and the who can change their minds between now and then. They include 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton ten months before the first caucuses and primaries, along before any other candidate was in the race. Our job for now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump.
All right, Rebecca Traister, Francesca Chambers, thank you for your time.
Thank you at home for staying with us as we navigated that. That is "ALL IN" for this evening live from the Santa Monica pier.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Chris.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Ably handled, my friend. Well done.
HAYES: Thank you.
MADDOW: I was there on the remote. I know how hard that is.
Thanks to you at home as well for joining us for the next hour. As Chris has been reporting, about a half hour ago, "The A.P." made the announcement that by their count, Hillary Clinton has achieved the number of delegates she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination. Here she is in Long Beach, California, first time she has been seen since this announcement was made tonight.
Let`s go to it live.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Mayor Garcia, thank you so much.
I also want to thank Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom for being here. State Senator Ricardo Lara, State Senator Kevin de Leon. And I want to thank the entire Long Beach City College team led by President Oakley. I want to thank Busy Phillips, Alice Goff, Eric Bowman, and Samantha Ronson. Thank you all for being with me.
I got to tell you, according to the news, we are on the brink of a historic, historic, unprecedented moment. But we still have work to do, don`t we?
We have six elections tomorrow. And we`re going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California.
So, I`m asking each and every one of you, how many of you have already voted by mail?
How many of you have a ballot at home on your kitchen counter?
So, you can send it in tonight or even better, go to the polls tomorrow and take your family and your friends.
You know, I have a special place in my heart for Long Beach.
Some of you remember that when my husband was president, he worked closely with your then-mayor, Mayor O`Neal, and your leadership in Long Beach. He was a good partner for Long Beach as you began readily moving into the future, revitalizing Long Beach. We are proud of what long beach has become and I want to be a good partner for this city.
I am so excited by all the progress that you`ve made here. And I know that we can do even better. I`m a progressive who likes to get things done.
So here`s what I want to get done. More good jobs with rising incomes. More jobs in infrastructure -- our roads, our bridges, our tunnels, our ports, our airports, our water systems. I want us to bring manufacturing back and if we make it here in America, we will put people back to work and we should because we often invent it. So why have it made somewhere else?
We can use that great port here to be exporting as well as importing. And we`re going to fight climate change. I have a plan to install half a billion more solar panels by the end of my first term. And enough clean renewable energy to power every home by the end of my second term.
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton speaking to supporters in Long Beach, California. She`s moving into the story, the standard stump speech, part of her remarks. So, we`re going to move away from that.
We will go back to Secretary Clinton if she goes back to the news she alluded to at the top of her remarks after the "thank yous" which is that about 45 minutes ago now, "The Associated Press" made the announcement by their count, their count of the pledged delegates earned in the primaries and caucuses and by their count of who the superdelegates say they will support, "The A.P." was first to declare tonight that Hillary Clinton has achieved the number of delegates she needs to become the Democratic party`s presidential nominee.
Not long after "A.P." made that determination, NBC News also declared that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party. She has achieved the delegates she needs to clinch the nomination.
Now, I need to tell you Hillary Clinton is going to be joining us tonight here on this show in just a few minutes as this news lands like a bombshell on the eve of what will be the final act of the Democratic presidential primary in six states tomorrow, including in California, where Secretary Clinton is speaking right now.
Again, "The A.P." made this call tonight within the last hour. NBC made its own call with the same conclusion shortly thereafter. John Lapinski is director of NBC`s elections unit. He`s here in just a moment to explain the thinking that went into this determination.
So, there`s a couple things going on here. We`re keeping an eye on Hillary Clinton, speaking to her supporters in Long Beach, California.
We`re also getting the first written statements from each of the campaigns in response to this news. Hillary Clinton`s Twitter account sent this written statement. "We`re flattered, A.P., but we`ve got primaries to win. California, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, New Hampshire -- which is wrong -- North Dakota and South Dakota vote tomorrow."
The Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook, put out this statement. And this is interesting. Quote, "This is an important milestone, but there are six states that are voting Tuesday with millions of people heading to the polls and Hillary Clinton is working to earn every vote. We look forward to Tuesday night when Hillary Clinton will clinch not only a win in the popular vote but also the majority of pledged delegates."
And now, here`s the statement from the Bernie Sanders campaign and spot which one of these is different. This is from the Sanders campaign. It`s byline San Francisco, which is where Senator Sanders is campaigning tonight.
Quote, "It is unfortunate that the media in a rush to judgment are ignoring the DNC`s clear statement that it`s wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer. Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She`ll be dependant on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25th and who can change their minds between now and then. They include more than 400 superdelegates who endorsed Secretary Clinton ten months before the first caucuses and primaries and long before any other candidate was in the race. Our job from now until the convention is to convince those superdelegates that Bernie is by far the strongest candidate against Donald Trump."
Joining us is NBC`s director of elections, John Lapinski.
John, I know that you never sort of willingly wade into controversy. Sanders campaign is obviously very upset with this call tonight. Can you explain how NBC arrived at this decision?
JOHN LAPINSKI, NBC NEWS DIRECTOR OF ELECTIONS: Sure. I want to say it definitely was not a rush to judgment. What we -- it`s the delegate math. As everybody is talking about, there`s pledged delegates and superdelegates. And the superdelegates as you noted is essentially based on interviews. NBC News has essentially had an exhaustive process where we`ve called up these superdelegates and basically asked them, who are you going to support? Try to get them to tell us.
And so, what we basically saw over the last couple of days is we saw two things. We saw Puerto Rico happen, where Clinton won handily. And so, she picked up -- again, she gained delegates there. What we saw essentially over the last couple of days, especially today and tonight, we saw another batch of superdelegates come in.
So, as you had said, "A.P." called it first. But then we did our own sort of independent analysis. And essentially, Clinton picked up, through this process of the way superdelegates are allocated, picked up superdelegates in over ten states.
MADDOW: So, John, has NBC and have other networks, the way this is done -- you can only speak for NBC, I should just ask about that. Does NBC regularly canvass all the superdelegates? Do you sample some of the superdelegates? Do you only call back the ones who hadn`t previously given you a commitment? What`s the nature of the --
LAPINSKI: Yes. So, it`s an interrogatory process, right, because essentially, there were 700, I mean, actually, the Democratic Party changed a number of superdelegates. Now there are 713. And what it is, it`s an exhaustive process where we continually call people. We got some people who right out front firmly committed. And a lot of those people made public statements in our media outlets and other outlets, where they basically said, I`m supporting Clinton.
So, those were easy cases. What the harder cases were essentially, the ones that we had to recontact. Several people and the reason why this took so long is a lot of people wanted to hold out. Because they wanted to essentially give the process sort of a fair shake. They didn`t want to do it too early in the process.
But what then happened is essentially I think everybody realized that by tomorrow night, it was inevitable -- when you actually took the pledged delegates and superdelegates that Clinton was going to go over. Some people softened up and decided to come out and make their statements.
MADDOW: Over the course of this campaign, particularly sort of the latter half of the primaries, the Sanders campaign has been making the case that the way they were going to win the nomination was to persuade superdelegates who had previously been in support of Secretary Clinton, that they should instead flip to support Bernie Sanders because he`s the stronger candidate. Did you ever see any evidence of any superdelegates who had been declared for Clinton changing their mind and flipping to Sanders?
LAPINSKI: No. I mean, it was like -- really, I mean, if you look at the overall total, she`s up 572 to 46 right now. So, really, Sanders only had a handful anyways. He could pick up a few here and there.
But it was just an overwhelming number of people in the superdelegates supporting Clinton. I think what`s going to be interesting, and I think why tomorrow night is still very important -- I mean, I don`t think we should take our eye off tomorrow night -- it`s going to give Clinton the opportunity to sort of win the trifecta. She`s going to be up in the superdelegates, clearly. Tomorrow night, she`ll be able to actually essentially claim victory, I think, on the pledged delegates, depending how tomorrow night goes, and we`ll see. I mean, wait for the results to determine this, and then we`re going to see the popular vote.
And so, we`re going to look at all three of those things and just see where she lands on all of those. I mean, there`s been only polling in a couple of these states. Some of these states are completely silent. We`ll let the voting process work its way through. And then, of course, tomorrow night, it`s not over, right, because we still have the District of Columbia.
MADDOW: Washington, D.C. That`s right.
LAPINSKI: So it`s not like -- I think everybody`s saying, tomorrow night. Well, in any case, there is one more.
And so, what we`re going to do is be able to say, tomorrow night, or maybe it won`t be tomorrow night, depending upon if we`re able to call all these races. We`ll see where essentially Clinton and Sanders land on all three of these buckets.
MADDOW: In terms of those -- in terms of understanding the scale of this victory, NBC News declaring her the presumptive nominee, we can say she`s presumptively won it. On superdelegates, obviously, there`s no chance that Sanders is going to keep up there -- catch up there.
LAPINSKI: He said like, I guess maybe. He continues on and tries to convince people to flip. But that`s a pretty tall task. I mean, in the sense of looking at those margins. And we really haven`t seen people flipping in the process, maybe someone here and there. But it`s really not -- it`s been consistent.
MADDOW: Let`s come back to the superdelegates. On the other two, on the popular vote, Clinton has been saying she`s ahead by 3 million votes. She`s ahead by so many votes in the popular vote that the overall outcome in terms of who wins the popular vote is not in doubt. With the six states ahead, D.C. --
LAPINSKI: Yes. It`s hard to imagine that would be in doubt.
MADDOW: And in terms of the pledged delegates majority, my understanding is as long as Hillary Clinton wins something like one-third of the pledged delegates at stake tomorrow, she would win --
LAPINSKI: It`s really hard to imagine, when you look at all the contests, where you`ve seen lopsided victories where Sanders has won big in the sense of huge, other than his home state, is in a few caucus states. Tomorrow night, there`s only one caucus state. When you look at no one, California, those are larger primary states. California is a huge primary state.
The way that the process works, the way the Democrats allocate delegates, is really hard to win -- it`s really hard to pick up huge hauls of delegates on any particular night. The way that Senator Clinton has essentially done this is that it`s been through a process. It`s been through a lot of states. That`s incrementally built her lead.
So, it`s really hard to sort of -- given how long it took to build that lead, it`s hard to take it away.
MADDOW: Just trying to keep focused on the Sanders campaign really rejecting this determination tonight by NBC News and by the "A.P.", and their explicit argument and statement is that the media is rushing to judgment and ignoring the Democratic National Committee`s statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer.
Can you speak to that at all? Do you know what they`re talking about there?
LAPINSKI: Well, I mean, technically, they actually -- they make their final formal decisions at the convention, right? But this is the way this is done. I mean, this is the process. In a sense of it`s really hard, especially to imagine how like so many of these delegates came out for her so early, supportive of her, to see them flip.
She`s going to have a huge -- I mean, when you sort of think about it, the two factors I think that if Sanders were to go in, essentially to the convention, where he had won the popular vote and won the pledged delegates, maybe. You know, maybe there was a case he could swing some delegates.
I`m not saying he can`t swing a few, I don`t know. It`s impossible to know. He`s going to sort of hold out. But the idea -- he doesn`t have a lot of -- there`s not a lot there to make that argument and that case. I don`t know what his argument and case will be. And I think that, you know, he himself has said he`s going to reassess things. So, we`ll actually have to -- I mean, I can`t get into his mind and know what his decision is going to be.
You know, just speaking to when we do this, we don`t listen to the campaigns when we do this. Again, it`s the delegate math. Hillary Clinton was planning I think a big event tomorrow night. I`m sure she would have liked to have had that event -- assuming things went the way we thought they would, be claimed presumptive nominee tomorrow night. So she gets to do it on the fly tonight. So, again, not just the NBC News decision desk but all the other media decision desks. I mean, I don`t think they`re being influenced -- I speak directly but I don`t think they`re being influenced by the campaigns.
We do this when we can. If we weren`t confident in the decision we wouldn`t have done it, we would have waited. That`s how we have done every contest through this entire very long primary season.
MADDOW: Yes, and tonight is definitely proof that the decision desk does not do anything the campaigns -- because the campaigns want it, because neither campaign wants this tonight.
MADDOW: Both of them have been spending and spending and spending in California, working their guts out in California. They`re focused on these six states. They had game plans that depend very much on the momentum that they perceived they would get out of these contests. This does step on it. But as you say, the math doesn`t care.
LAPINSKI: It steps on it maybe, but really, they want to win. Both. I mean, if you were to have Clinton and Sanders here, they want to win California, they want to win --
MADDOW: And that doesn`t change.
LAPINSKI: I don`t think that changes one bit. I don`t think that given this came so late in the game, I don`t think that they`re going to stop whatever they were going to do. They`re not going to change anything they were going to do through tomorrow.
So, you know -- I don`t know, I mean, I don`t think it steps on it as much as some people may say.
MADDOW: And again, that`s not your responsibility.
LAPINSKI: It`s not my responsibility. People can say what they want.
MADDOW: And they will.
LAPINSKI: They will, absolutely. I completely understand that.
MADDOW: John Lapinski, director of the elections unit here at NBC News.
John, I realize that you are a guy who`s much happier in your office, not being on camera, so I`m always grateful whenever you do this.
LAPINSKI: Thank you so much.
Joining us by phone is NBC`s Andrea Mitchell, who has been covering the Clinton campaign since the beginning.
Andrea, thank you for joining us on short notice tonight. This is some surprise news.
ANDREA MITCHELL, COVERING CLINTON CAMPAIGN (via telephone): You bet. And it`s the news exactly as John was saying, the Clinton campaign did not want, perhaps a little less so than the Sanders campaign. Hillary Clinton on stage in Long Beach, California. You interviewed her earlier. I was covering a rally. I`m at LAX right now just to be completely transparent, I`m heading back for all of our coverage tomorrow morning.
And the fact is, what she`s said so far is, "I`ve got to tell you, according to the news, we are on the brink of an historic, historic, unprecedented moment, but we still have work to do, don`t we, we have six elections tomorrow, we are going to fight hard for every single vote, especially right here in California. So, I`m asking each and every one of you, how many of you have already voted by mail? How many of you have a ballot at home on your kitchen counter? You can send it in tonight, even better go to the polls tomorrow, take your family and friends."
Exactly what they didn`t want was to have this news, have her people stay home, and perhaps have Senator Sanders` people be angrier and more passionate and maybe they come out, single-digit race, very hard fought, goes to him because her people get too complacent. That`s not what campaigns want.
She also as you know has another big event at the Greek Theater in L.A. then she`s got her big -- what she hopes would be her victory, historic celebration tomorrow night, Brooklyn Navy Yard. That`s where she wanted after the polls closed in New Jersey to be announcing this.
She wants New Jersey voters to go out. She doesn`t want them to stay home. So, it also, of course, is enraging the Sanders people. They`re saying it`s a rush to judgment. And it could make it harder to persuade Senator Sanders that the math is the math and that this is the time for him to concede, after California, and decide to reunite the party.
MADDOW: Functionally, it`s interesting, Andrea. We had heard some of the same frustration and the worry and sort of anticipatory warnings from the Sanders campaign about the prospect of the race being called after the polls close in New Jersey tomorrow at 8:00. People were worried even just that matter of a few hours might dampen turnout in California, might give a sense of momentum or a sense of ending in the campaign, that they didn`t necessarily want to damp down in terms of what was going to happen in California. Now, that effect has been moved forward by almost exactly 24 hours.
I mean, there is -- I think there is an unsettled nature to the fact that wore getting this unexpected time. We`re going to hear from the Sanders campaign live in just a moment to try to get a better sense of exactly how they are reacting to this. But isn`t it your sense that if we weren`t having this conversation tonight at 9:00, we`d be having this conversation tomorrow night at 9:00 on basically the same grounds?
MITCHELL: Exactly. But this does reinforce Bernie Sanders` complaint that the system is rigged. He has, truth be told, tried to argue the superdelegate issue both ways, saying that he doesn`t believe in superdelegates, wants to change it at this convention, change those rules. At the same time saying that he should have the opportunity to change the minds of superdelegates even if she`s 3 million plus votes ahead in the popular vote. So, it is -- it`s internally inconsistent to try to use that system that he has derided so strongly.
That said, they`re angry. You see the statement they pit out, it`s a rush to judgment, blaming the media. And it`s a feeling of discomfort that because of these superdelegates, because of this head count, the voters in six states tomorrow, to say nothing of the District of Columbia, people don`t often think of the voters in District of Columbia, but living there for so many years, we like to vote even if we don`t have congressional representation or our own budget. Small argument there by a resident of the District of Columbia.
Look, it is a very strange system indeed. Yet the party believes that these superdelegates, who are members of Congress, governors, former Democratic chair people, have the right to have some say over how the party is run, that they have a vested interest in this. Bernie Sanders, having been a lifelong independent and socialist and the people around him, with the exception of Tad Devine, who is a Democrat, active Democratic strategist for so many decades, working on Bernie Sanders` behalf, they have a different perspective on it.
And the Sanders, Jane and Bernie, and the people around them feel very strongly this is unfair. And to have this called tonight before the voting in California is only going to make that much worse. And I think it`s going to hurt the president`s efforts to try to bring the party together this week.
MADDOW: Andrea Mitchell, joining us from Los Angeles, she`s been covering the Clinton campaign. Andrea, thank you. It`s good to have you with us.
MITCHELL: Of course.
MADDOW: And, you know, tonight, this is -- we`re going to hear from the Sanders` campaign in just a moment in terms of getting their response. The -- we`ve had John Lapinski on here to explain how NBC News came to this determination. "A.P." was first, NBC followed soon thereafter with the determination that Hillary Clinton has achieved the number of delegates she needs to clinch the Democratic nomination for president, thereby becoming the first woman nominated for president by any major party in the history of our country.
In the short-term, the politics here is very unsettled, in some cases unsettling. The big picture, the big arc of history tonight it itself a big deal, this is something that`s never happened before in the history of the United States.
Again, we`ll hear from the Bernie Sanders campaign. Also my interview from earlier tonight with Hillary Clinton. They`re all coming up.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Within the last hour, "The Associated Press" declared that Hillary Clinton had achieved the requisite number of delegates to effectively clinch the Democratic Party`s nomination for president. Shortly thereafter, NBC News made the same declaration, that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive nominee for the Democratic presidential nomination.
The Sanders campaign is not taking this lying down, putting out a statement calling this a rush to judgment by the media, saying that Secretary Clinton does not have and will not have the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination. She will be dependant on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25th and who can change their minds between now and then.
Joining us now by phone is Bernie Sanders` campaign spokesperson, Michael Briggs.
Michael, it`s really nice to have you with us tonight. Thanks for joining us.
MICHAEL BRIGGS, SANDERS CAMPAIGN SPOKESPERSON (via telephone): Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, I`ve seen the written statement. What else can you tell me about your response and the senator`s response to this declaration tonight? I know you`re seeing it as not good news.
BRIGGS: We`re seeing it as a rush to judgment. It counts superdelegates that the Democratic National Committee itself says should not be counted because they haven`t voted, won`t vote until the summer. They have in the past and they can change their minds.
And our job between now and the convention in Philadelphia is to make the case to these superdelegates that it`s in their self interests, in the Democratic Party`s self-interests, if they want to have the candidate who has the best chance of defeating Donald Trump this November, to take another hard look at Bernie Sanders.
And the reason yes say that is because in poll after poll here in California and across the country, Bernie does far, far better than Secretary Clinton in matchups with Donald Trump. In fact, in several recent ones she`s losing to Donald Trump. That ought to cause the DNC and superdelegates some concern.
MADDOW: Michael, there`s a report in "Roll Call" which said Democratic superdelegates are reporting that they`re not really actively being lobbied by your campaign, they don`t feel pressure or persuasion from your campaign this they ought to be switching their votes. I know that this is a strategy that you guys have described in terms of this being your path to the nomination, persuading these superdelegates to move.
Have you actively been working on persuading these superdelegates to move?
BRIGGS: Yes, we have actually making phone calls, contacting them, we`ll be doing more of that as the process moves beyond the elections that we`re having in California and five other states tomorrow and the District of Columbia a week from tomorrow. Yes, we`re being contacted.
MADDOW: Do you have anything to report in terms of superdelegates flipping from previously supporting Secretary Clinton to now supporting Senator Sanders or previously undeclared superdelegates who have been coming your way? I mean, in order to rebut this determination by the "A.P." and NBC and other networks now, you`d have to make the case that the superdelegates actually are on your side more than they appear to be.
BRIGGS: It`s true. And the senator acknowledges that he`s pretty good at arithmetic and he knows it`s an uphill climb. But the mistake a lot of the people have made down through the years with regard to Bernie Sanders is that they`ve underestimated him. The case is being made to the superdelegates. We`re at the tail end of the primary and caucuses.
There`s a big election in California tomorrow where the polls have over the last several days shown consistently that it`s a toss-up. One of the polls from "Los Angeles Times" had Bernie ahead by a point.
So, we think it`s important to give the voters their say and not to cut off this process at this point. And this is inspiration for people all across California, in New Jersey, in North Dakota, in South Dakota, in Montana, in New Mexico, to go to the polls tomorrow and have your voice be heard, have your vote be counted.
MADDOW: Michael, let me ask you about Senator Sanders` view on this process overall. There is -- it`s one thing to contest the primary, it`s another thing to say that you are not being allowed to fairly contest the primary because the system is rigged. And that`s the argument shifting more toward that direction from Senator Sanders and your campaign recently.
BRIGGS: He has not said the system is rigged.
BRIGGS: He knew what the system was coming in. Does he have some concerns about the system? Yes. Does he think New York was wrong, for example, to leave millions of independents out of the process? Yes.
But we think that it`s something that the convention this summer ought to take a look at. As a part of a process of opening itself up and welcoming the millions of people that Senator Sanders has helped bring back into the process. The young people who have come out in record numbers and we`ll see many of them tonight at a rally here in San Francisco, who are coming out more than 10,000, 15,000 people going to show up as part of this process.
And in California, we`ve also seen a surge in voter registration. There`s now a record 18 million voters registered in this state. Over the past year, there`s been more than 1.5 million independent and Democratic voters. Something`s going on that the Democratic Party in its long-term interests should figure out a way to not only recognize but embrace.
MADDOW: Well, certainly, it`s been interesting to see both your campaign and the Clinton campaign sort of not necessarily welcome the timing of this news. Both Secretary Clinton in Long Beach telling her crowd that tomorrow`s an important election, people need to get out and vote. I mean, that`s a parallel message from both of you.
But in terms of what happens next and if this is not a rigged system but a system that you are just contesting as hard as you can and therefore, there will be an answer, there will be an end to this at some point, that Senator Sanders will be able to describe as fair and square, I have to ask you about when it`s -- when you would consider it to be over.
Because in 2008, Senator Sanders stayed out of the race, stayed out of the primary between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama until the very, very end. He told the free press in Burlington in 2008 he held off supporting either of those candidates because he made it a custom not to support any Democrat for the presidential nomination until the party had chosen its nominee.
But then he endorsed Barack Obama when Barack Obama was at the position that Hillary Clinton is right now. Not when he had a secured the nomination with pledged delegates alone. Not even actually -- Senator Sanders didn`t wait for Hillary Clinton to get out of the race in 2008. He endorsed Barack Obama saying the race was over between Obama and Clinton once Obama had the right number of delegates with both pledged delegates and super delegates combined.
So, if that standard ended the race for him fair and square in 2008, why wouldn`t that end the race for him fair and square tonight?
BRIGGS: Well, it`s because there are differences between then and now. He`s led a dramatic, revolutionary resurgence in the party and we are trying our darnedest to give those people the voice that they have earned and deserve in the Democratic Party process.
MADDOW: Michael Briggs, spokesman for the Senator Sanders campaign, I know it`s a tough night and you have a lot of demands on your time, sir. Thank you for being with us tonight, Michael. I really appreciate it.
BRIGGS: Thanks, Rachel.
BRIGGS: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: All right. That was interesting. We`ll have more ahead on the parallels between what happened in 2008 and how that race ended and what just happened tonight in the Democratic race as "The A.P." and NBC News declare that Hillary Clinton is now the presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee.
Still to come tonight, my interview with Hillary Clinton from earlier this evening. Stay with us.
MADDOW: On this historic night we heard from Senator Sanders` campaign spokesman, Michael Briggs, responding to this news from the "A.P." that Hillary Clinton is the presumptive Democratic nominee. Senator Sanders has been saying for a week now that the "A.P." and all the networks should not project Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party because the Sanders campaign has said she can`t technically clinch the nomination any time ahead of the convention, because the superdelegates won`t cast their votes until the convention.
But now that the "A.P." has made its determination that Hillary Clinton has achieved the number of delegates she needs to clinch the nomination, and NBC News has made the same determination, now honestly, Hillary Clinton will start to be described as the Democratic Party`s presumptive presidential nominee. That`s what we can say as of tonight.
For the first time in the history of our country, a woman will be a major party nominee for president of the United States. And in any circumstances, that is a very big deal.
I spoke with Hillary Clinton tonight just before the "Associated Press" made their call that by their count she now has the delegates to be the Democratic Party`s nominee. Watch.
MADDOW: Joining us now from Los Angeles is Democratic presidential candidate, former secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.
Secretary Clinton, thank you so much for taking time tonight.
CLINTON: Glad to talk to you, Rachel.
MADDOW: How are you feeling about tomorrow`s contest? California, New Jersey, the Dakotas, New Mexico, Montana, it`s a lot of states tomorrow.
CLINTON: It`s a lot of states. And we`re working hard in every one of the states to get as big a turnout as possible. I`ve got a great campaign going. Lots of volunteers. Our supporters are working overtime. So, we`re going to work hard until the last votes are cast tomorrow.
MADDOW: It would be surprising mathematically if you did not hit the magic number tomorrow night and effectively clinch the Democratic nomination. Because of that, should we expect that you are going to declare victory, do you have a victory speech tomorrow night when you give your remarks in Brooklyn?
CLINTON: Well, I will be speaking tomorrow night, and right as you and I speak today I`m 3 million votes ahead of Senator Sanders, nearly 300 pledged delegates ahead. And I think that`s a very firm foundation going forward.
MADDOW: Let me ask again about the victory declaration. Obviously, semantics at this point matter. Not just because of marking milestones in the race put also because of hurt feelings, because of the prospect of trying to achieve unity among the various supporters and the various candidates.
Would it be inappropriate to declare victory? Do you plan to give the kind of speech that reflects the fact that you`ve clinched the nomination?
CLINTON: Well, you`ll have to wait and see tomorrow night. But I think it`s pretty clear that that`s what`s going to happen. And I`m very excited and very proud of that.
MADDOW: NBC`s Andrea Mitchell just confirmed tonight that President Obama spoke with Senator Sanders over the last couple of days, over this weekend. As this primary does come to an end, is President Obama getting involved personally in trying to bring the party together?
CLINTON: Well, you`d have to ask the White House. We all want to bring the party together. That is something I`ve been talking about. I`ve said that I will do my part. That`s what I did.
Actually, eight years ago tomorrow, on June 7th, in 2008. I had a much closer race with then-Senator Obama than Senator Sanders has with me. The popular vote was literally neck and neck. The delegate gap was much smaller.
But I took the position that he had a lead in the pledged delegates. That`s what we look at. That`s what superdelegates look at. And I withdrew. And I also endorsed him.
And I knew how important it was that we unify the Democratic Party. I think it`s equally important this time around.
MADDOW: When Senator Sanders has been essentially warning the networks, warning journalists, they shouldn`t declare the nomination clinched tomorrow, even if you do cross the delegate threshold, because he says the superdelegates can`t really be counted until they vote at the convention. As you just explained that was not your can includes calculus in 2008 when the race was closer than it is now.
What`s Does that frustrate you?
CLINTON: I find it perplexing. What he basically seems to be saying is that the will of the people should be overturned. I have this very substantial lead in the popular vote, more than 3 million votes. That means more than 3 million Democrats and others voting in Democratic contests have chosen me. I have a very significant lead in pledged delegates.
He`s basically -- seems to be suggesting that superdelegates should overturn the will of the people. That is just hard for me to understand. It`s never happened before. It`s not going to happen this time.
MADDOW: Are you lobbying superdelegates now to try to shore them up in case he does --
MADDOW: -- continue to press that case?
CLINTON: No. The people have already spoken. This would be unprecedented for someone who makes this case, and I know he and numbers of his supporters do, they have to answer some basic questions.
Why are you advocating that you want to overturn the will of the people who have been expressing their views for these last many months? More than 3 million votes ahead in the popular vote? Senator Obama and I were neck and neck. Three hundred pledged delegates ahead with more to come?
I really don`t understand the argument. Basically going to superdelegates and trying to persuade them to overturn the primaries and caucuses and their results? Never has happened. It is not going to happen this time.
And the sooner we unify and make our case against Donald Trump, the better off the Democratic Party will be. That is what I`ve been advocating. I made the case against him in San Diego last week. I`m going to be continuing to make the case against him.
And whatever differences we may have between Senator Sanders and myself or that my supporters and his may feel, they pale in comparison to the differences with Donald Trump. We both want to raise the minimum rage.
We both want to make sure we get to universal health care coverage. We both want to make sure we have good, strong regulations on Wall Street. We have a lot in common in the goals that we have set, all of which Donald Trump rejects, repudiates, walks away from.
So, I don`t really understand the argument that`s being made. What I believe is, we need to unify our party. I will do my part. Others are also going to be reaching out and I hope that Senator Sanders will reciprocate.
MADDOW: I think part of the reason that Andrea Mitchell`s reporting about this conversation between President Obama and Senator Sanders, I think part of the reason that was such an intriguing report tonight is because I have heard that argument from you, I`ve heard a version of that argument from Senator Sanders. Everybody observing this primary fight between you and Senator Sanders has been thinking about what party unity is going to look like. The importance of it, how it`s going to happen.
And I think -- I have a lot of curiosity and other people have curiosity as to how it happens. What the nuts and bolts, ways are that that comes together.
I mean, are you speaking directly with senator Sanders? Are your campaigns talking? Do you plan to?
CLINTON: Oh, our campaigns are certainly talking. And I will be reaching out after tomorrow night, because I obviously want to unify the party. And as I just said, we have so much more in common. And we face a very serious threat from Donald Trump.
I think that he is unqualified to be president. I think he is temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief. I think whatever party you are, whatever your political philosophy might be listening to what Donald Trump says, even trying to imagine what it would mean for our country, for our place in the world, how others would view us, what we could do to make a positive agenda a reality to help Americans -- there is no doubt that Donald Trump is the threat that I think he poses to America that is going to unite the Democratic Party.
MADDOW: Bloomberg reported this evening that Mr. Trump got on to a conference call with his surrogates and his supporters and he told them that they should continue to attack the judge in the Trump University case, this judge who Mr. Trump has gone after on the basis of his race. Mr. Trump personally told his surrogates on this call they should call reporters racist if reporters even continued to ask about this story.
I know you`ve been very critical of Mr. Trump on this. But with that sort of doubling down, even in the face of all of this criticism, even from his own side, are you worried that this campaign, that his side of this campaign is going to stoke some kind of racial conflagration in this country that`s going to be bigger than just a political fight?
CLINTON: Well, I`m certainly going to do my best to prevent that. I`m going to run a positive campaign about what I want to see for our country, the kind of opportunity and progress that I know we can make together. I`m going to continue to call him out when he does make statements like that.
I think if you go back, Rachel, I was the very first person to call him out about the outrageous comments he made about immigrants, calling them rapists and criminals. I was criticizing Donald Trump for his divisive, insulting, dangerous language a year ago, last summer. I`ve continued to point out that his kind of hateful rhetoric has to be repudiated no matter what party you are or where you live or what your background is.
This attack, this racist attack on the judge, is just another example of how he is absolutely impervious to the values of America, to the progress that we have made over many, many decades. To accuse an American judge, someone born in Indiana, who is as American as I am and certainly as American as Donald Trump, that based on his heritage, he cannot oversee a trial that is brought by plaintiffs who feel they`ve been defrauded by Mr. Trump and his so-called Trump University, is a terrible precedent.
He`s trying to demean and defame a federal judge who was a very accomplished federal prosecutor, who was first appointed by a Republican governor in California and then appointed to the federal bench by President Obama. He recently said he didn`t know if a Muslim judge could be fair to him. I imagine he`ll move on to women judges because he`s been insulting women so regularly, or maybe a judge with a disability or perhaps one who was a former POW or African-American.
This is dangerous nonsense that undermines the rule of law, that makes him appear to be someone who has no respect for fellow Americans. And I think it is yet more evidence why this man is dangerous and divisive and disqualified from being president.
MADDOW: Do you think that Mr. Trump is a racist? Do you think he`s running an overtly racist campaign for president?
CLINTON: Well, I don`t know what`s in his heart, but I know what he`s saying with respect to the judge. That`s a racist attack. With the attacks on so many other people -- he is calling them out for their ethnic background, their race, their religion, their gender.
I don`t know what else you could call these attacks other than racist, other than prejudiced, other than bigoted. just plain wrong, and certainly wrong coming from someone who is vying to become president of the United States.
MADDOW: Secretary Clinton, I know your time is tight. I have one last question for you. And it`s just about the fact that this is a historic moment we`re about to have as a country. If and when you clinch that number tomorrow night, you will become the first woman ever nominated for president in this country.
Why do you think it took us 240 years to get there?
CLINTON: Oh, Rachel, I think that it will be a great moment. I don`t want to get ahead of myself. I want everybody who can to vote tomorrow in all the states that are holding primaries. But it is historic and I`m aware of that. I take that responsibility seriously. I`ll have more to say about it.
But I think it`s going to be a very positive development, not just for little girls and women but for little boys and men because I`m running to be president for every single American.
MADDOW: Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, thank you for taking time tonight on this very busy evening. I really appreciate it, ma`am.
CLINTON: Thanks a lot. Good to talk to you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Thank you.
MADDOW: So, I spoke with Hillary Clinton earlier this evening. That was just a little while before the "A.P." and NBC News declared she has reached the number she needs in order to clinch the Democratic nomination for president. Thirteen super delegates confirmed this evening that they are supporting Secretary Clinton and that was enough to put her over the 2,383 that she needs to clinch that nomination. Now, Senator Bernie Sanders and his campaign, they are rejecting this determination tonight. They`re saying no super delegates should be included in any delegate count because those super delegates don`t technically cast their votes until the convention.
Senator Sanders says that he will try to persuade super delegates to flip the race to him and so, they should not be seen as on either side between him and Secretary Clinton until they actually have to cast their votes.
Before knowing this determination had been made tonight, I put that case to Hillary Clinton. She described Senator Sanders making that case as, quote, "perplexing". She said such a strategy would be unprecedented and, quote, "it`s not going to happen this year".
We don`t know what the Sanders campaign is going to do next now that Hillary Clinton has been declared the presumptive nominee. We don`t know what the Sanders campaign will do. We don`t know what process as the Democratic Party as a whole will go through now as the primary ends in this contentious way.
But as we absorb this news tonight, we`re going to hear live from the Clinton campaign manager. That`s next as our live coverage continues. Stay with us.
MADDOW: For the first time in American history, one of our two major parties has selected a woman as their nominee for president, so says NBC News and so says "The Associated Press". Both tonight declared that Hillary Clinton has achieved the number of delegates she needs to clinch the Democratic presidential nomination.
Joining us now by phone is the Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook.
Mr. Mook, thanks very much for joining us this evening. I appreciate it, especially on short notice.
ROBBY MOOK, CLINTON CAMPAIGN MANAGER (via telephone): Thanks very much, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, the Sanders campaign say a canvas of super delegates shouldn`t be enough because they haven`t voted yet. They might change their mind.
What is your view of that?
MOOK: Well, Rachel, right now, as Hillary said tonight, we are very focused on the millions of people that will be going to the polls tomorrow. We have a lot of work to get done. Until all the votes are counted, all the delegates are allocated, and that`s what we`re really focused on right now.
MADDOW: Does that mean you also reject this declaration by the "A.P." and NBC News?
MOOK: Look, it`s very exciting news, but Hillary made a pledge at the beginning that she`s going to fight for every single vote, fight for every single delegate. I think the proof is in the results. Hillary leads by more than 3 million popular votes. She has a lead of almost 300 pledge delegates. She`s won more states and we want to continue to build on that lead going into these final contests.
So, that`s where we`re focused on right now. Obviously, this news is really exciting but we`re focused, noses to the grind stone and we`re going to keep working until the polls are closed tomorrow.
MADDOW: Robby, are in contact with the Sanders campaign? Are the two campaigns talking at any high level in terms of had you this is going to resolve or things that need to be negotiated between your two sides?
MOOK: First of all, I have tremendous respect for Jeff Weaver, my colleague on Senator Sanders` campaign. We`ve spoken regularly throughout this entire contest. I`m incredibly proud of the work that`s been done in his campaign to bring more people into this process. They have organized so many volunteers, brought in so many voters, raised historic numbers of contributions online and I`m very confident that once these contests are over, that this party will come together and we will move forward into the general election with Hillary Clinton as our nominee.
And, you know, as I said, I`m very confident that Senator Sanders and his campaign will be part of that.
MADDOW: Can you shed any light on what you intend to do? You and your candidate intend to do to sort of hold up your end of that bargain, in terms of trying to reach out to Sanders` supporters, Sanders` volunteers, Sanders donors, the way you`ll try to make that case?
MOOK: Well, I think first and foremost, we intend and have begun to ask for their support. As I`ve said, we have tremendous admiration for what Senator Sanders has accomplished on this campaign. So, we`re going to ask directly for their support. Secretary Clinton has already begun that process.
And the fact of the matter is for the Democratic nominee to win in the general election, this is all hands on deck exercise. Everyone who`s turned out in this primary, everyone who stood up for the issues we all believe in, health care for every American, affordable college for every American, protecting the values that we cherish as a country. We all have to come together. And I`m very confident that we will.
Hillary will be out there talking about her vision, about an economy that works for everyone and we will -- we as a campaign, will be reaching aught to Senator Sanders` activists and asking them for their help on this campaign. As I said, I`m very confident that we`re going to come together. The stakes are so high, the threat that Donald Trump presents to our country is so dire that I know people will come on board and we`re going to get this done.
MADDOW: Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook, I can tell you directly, sir, for your own part, that you have just became a campaign manager that has won a presidential nomination for a major party. So, congratulations to you and I know you have a lot of work ahead, sir. Thanks for being with us.
MOOK: Thanks so much and credit to our thousands of volunteers who made this possible. We`re really proud of them.
MADDOW: Spoken like a good campaign manager. Thanks, Robby. I appreciate it.
And that does it for us. Our live coverage continues on what has been a bombshell evening with the "Associated Press" and the NBC declaring that Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic presidential nomination. Our special primary night coverage will start tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern.
But right now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
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