Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: June 13, 2016 Guest: Terry DeCarlo, Sami Haiman-Marrero, Jim Himes
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: And thanks to you at home for being with us tonight.
Look at these visuals from tonight. Look at this. Look at the number of people who turned out tonight. This is in New York City just outside the Stonewall Inn. We heard last month that Stonewall might become part of the National Park Service. Stonewall Inn might become a national monument for its symbolic importance to the gay community in this country and the civil rights fight for the LGBT community in this country.
Well, it`s unplanned and unexpected moments like this one tonight that prove that the whole idea of a symbol, symbolic value, is a really important thing when thousands of people needed a place to go, look at this. When thousands of people needed a place to go, needed a place to convene together tonight to mourn and to be angry, and most importantly, to be with other people who are also mourning and being angry. There was no question in the country`s largest city that people would convene at Stonewall.
Symbolic places are important. Thousands of people there tonight to commemorate the 49 Americans who were just killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
In Orlando tonight, more thousands of people gathered. This was outside the Performing Arts Center in downtown Orlando. It`s a very large vigil there tonight. But there were other vigils across that city tonight as well.
At the cathedral in Orlando, there was a large vigil. At the American Muslim community center in Orlando, there was a good-sized vigil.
And honestly, vigils and commemorative events have been happening all over the place over the course of this afternoon and evening. In Boston, thousands of people gathered at city hall plaza for a vigil. In Buffalo, New York, hundreds of people gathered at Niagara Square. Over 1,000 people assembled in Charleston, South Carolina, today.
Also earlier today, Burlington, Vermont, where Senator Bernie Sanders and his wife took part in a procession through the streets of downtown Burlington.
On Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., it was members of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, as well as the Congressional Muslim Staff Association, who held a vigil and observed a moment of silence on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
Overseas in London, thousands of people lined the streets of Soho. There was a moment of silence. Forty-nine balloons released into the air to honor the 49 people who were killed. In Berlin, people laid flowers and signed a condolence book outside the U.S. embassy.
Makeshift memorials sprung up today in cities around the world. Everywhere from Istanbul and Turkey to Warsaw, Poland, to Sydney, Santiago in Chile, to Hong Kong, to Sao Paulo, to Madrid, to Guatemala City, to Bangkok, in Thailand. All over the world. In Paris, France, the Eiffel Tower was lit up in tribute in the colors of the rainbow flag.
And the gay community in the United States knows from violence, right? The Stonewall Inn itself is a touchstone of gay civil rights. It is literally going to be a national monument, but that`s because of a riot there, because police violence against LGBT people who went to that bar in 1969, that finally boiled over into a full-scale knockdown, drag-out, violent riot in the streets as the LGBT community physically fought back against the attacks and the abuse they had been subjected to, with impunity, at gay bars like Stonewall for years.
I mean, Stonewall was not a place they held meetings. Stonewall is a place they had a riot. That was in 1969.
In 1963, there were about 65 people inside a bar called the Upstairs Lounge in New Orleans, when an arsonist sprayed lighter fluid all over the one wooden stairway leading up to that bar inside that wooden building. They sprayed lighter fluid all the way up the one stairway then went back to the street and rung the buzzer from the street for somebody to open the door, pulled that door open, and the oxygen-starved fire burst through like a fireball. A fireball burst through that door and into the bar as if shot from a flamethrower.
An updraft sucked the fire in. Within seconds, the walls were aflame and there people end up dying in that firebombing, that arson at the Upstairs Lounge, gay bar in New Orleans in 1973. Thirty-two were killed but some of them were never identified, still have never been identified, because it wasn`t necessarily safe to have your real I.D. on you if you were going to a gay bar, after all.
In 1996, after a bomb at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta and got away, the Atlanta Olympics bomber, Eric Rudolph, then started bombing both abortion clinics and also gay bars.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: There have been five bombs now in seven months there. Suddenly Atlanta`s mayor thinks his city might be in the sights of what he calls a deranged killer. We get the latest from Atlanta and NBC`s Bob Dotson.
REPORTER: Once again, a bomb in the night. Once again, a second bomb discovered after the first one goes off. It happened outside a lesbian club called The Other Side.
Authorities were investigating another bombing at the same club when they found the backpack. The first bomb injured five people, one seriously.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A bunch of people shooting pool, dancing, having drinks, having a good time. All of a sudden, bam!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you ever thought about a 12-gauge shotgun, that`s how it was.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s nails everywhere, and there was blood on the dance floor.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Nails everywhere, nails packed into the bomb for shrapnel to do maximum damage. That was 1997. Five people hurt at the bombing of that lesbian bar in midtown Atlanta.
Three years later, it was a man named Ronald Edward Gay who opened fire on a gay bar in Roanoke, Virginia. He killed one person and injured six more. He said he was tired of people teasing him for having the last name "Gay", so he attacked the gay bar and killed someone.
In 2006, a man wielding a hatchet and a handgun seriously injured three people at a gay bar in New Bedford, Massachusetts. The man, quote, "Entered the puzzle`s lounge around midnight, he asked the bartender whether it was a gay barn. When the bartender told him it was the gunman pulled out a hatchet and struck the bartender in the head, struck a man who tried to help the victim, pulled a gun out and shot the man who had tried to help the first victim, and then he shot a third man across the bar."
New Year`s Eve in 2013, another firebombing eerily similar to that attack 40 years earlier in New Orleans that killed more than 30 people. This time at a Seattle gay nightclub, 2013. A man got in New Year`s Eve, poured gasoline into the stairwell, lit on it fire. There were 750 people inside that club at that time. Thankfully this time, fire codes have gone some distance since then, this time the fire was extinguished and nobody was hurt.
The gay community in this country is forged in fire to a certain extent, and it`s therefore a tough community. But what just happened in Orlando, it isn`t just an attack on the gay community. This time, it`s the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. And it was carried out by an attacker who appears to have sworn allegiance to ISIS in the middle of the attack.
And today amid calls for solidarity and resolve and new strategies against supposed lone wolf terrorists, today, this attack also led to the current Republican candidate for president suggesting that the president of the United States was maybe in on this attack somehow. Donald Trump today repeatedly insinuating that President Obama was deliberately allowing or hoping for or somehow encouraging terrorist attacks like this one in the United States. Mr. Trump saying repeatedly today about President Obama, quote, "There`s something going on, there`s something going on." He`s also reiterating his call for a ban on Muslims coming to the United States.
And today, he seemed to expand it to a ban on all immigration from countries that have a history of terrorism which presumably means everywhere since the 9/11 attacks were substantially planned in Germany and the latest attack in our country, the worst attack in this country since 9/11, appears to have been planned here, right here.
Mr. Trump also said today in his speech that had planned to be an anti- Hillary Clinton speech, he ended up rescheduling and making it a different kind of anti-Hillary Clinton speech, and also one where he spoke awkwardly off of teleprompt bear this attack in Orlando, and in that speech today he said that the killer was, quote, "born in Afghan." A, that make not sense. B, the killer was actually born in Queens, New York. Just like Donald Trump was.
So this attack, this latest attack, this worst attack in this country since 9/11, there is a lot still to be learned about it. We`re going to be talking tonight about some late develops in this investigation, including some that are both provocative and hard to get your head around.
This is an attack with national implications, obviously. It`s also an attack with national security implications, including frankly putting a terrifying new cast on the stakes in this presidential election. And there is room and there is time for all that. But right now this is still just about the 49 Americans who died, mostly but presumably not all of them LGBT. Mostly but not all of them Latino. All of them mourned tonight by their country and around the world.
Joining us now are Terry DeCarlo. He`s the director of the LGBT center in Orlando. And Sami Haiman-Marrero, who is the coordinator of "Somos Orlando", which is a coalition of 24 local and national Hispanic organizations. They`re both leading outreach efforts in Orlando in the aftermath of what`s happened there.
Thank you both for being here, Terry and Samia. I really appreciate you being with us.
TERRY DECARLO, LGBT COMMUITY CENTER OF ORLANDO DIRECTOR: Thank you for having us. I really appreciate you having us on.
MADDOW: Terry, let me just start with you as director of the LGBT Center in Orlando, how would you describe the state of your community right now? How are people coping?
DECARLO: Well, it has been a really long 24 hours. The community is hurt. But we have seen our community come together, LGBT and non-LGBT, and create a heck of a force to rally for the families of those who passed away and are still in the hospital.
We have had over $2 million pledged to help families. We`ve had so many corporations contact us. It -- the community has come together. We are Orlando strong. And we`re proving that. And we`re standing as a force.
You know, we`re hurting but we`re hurting together. And we`re standing strong.
MADDOW: Sami, so let me ask you for your take on this, obviously any time this number of Americans lose their lives in any circumstance, it is an issue of national importance and will cause a huge outpouring. Obviously, we`ve got a very specific community, an intersection of communities affected here. So many gay men of color killed here. So many Latinos.
How would you describe the community response and how people are coping?
DECARLO: The community here in Orlando, the response has been absolutely overwhelming. We at the center, we threw open our doors and we said, we need food, we need water, we need stuff for our first responders, for our people at the hospitals, our people here from around the world that are reporting on this. And it has been overwhelming.
The community has pulled up to our center with trucks. Where we couldn`t handle them, we were sending it over to a bar for them to hold for us. But as I was coming into the center we would take it in the front door, clock it in, and then send it out the back door to get to the blood banks.
We had lines around the block, blood banks where people were waiting a couple of hours to donate blood. It`s just a community that is hurting but hurting together and coming together. And it is quite a sight to see. I`m so proud to be part of this Orlando community.
MADDOW: Sami, let me put the same question to you in terms of the various communities that are affected by this. Obviously this is a national incident, this is something that affects all of Orlando. I`m thinking specifically about the Latino community and about the Latino gay community, communities of color.
What`s your perspective on how people are coping and what`s need next?
SAMI HAIMAN-MARRERO, "SOMOS ORLANDO" COORDINATOR: Yes. First and foremost, when we heard the news, it was clear to everyone that this was a direct attack to the LGBT community. But then as we went to offer as community leaders our help, we suddenly -- it was just overwhelming to realize that in large part, there was a loss of a lot of Latinos, Latino sisters and brothers and extended family.
And so, we were able to then organize and work in conjunction with the center and other organizations to really rally up our resources within the Latino nonprofit sector that addresses the needs of different community groups to be able to provide resources and access to information in language predominantly to the families.
MADDOW: Sami Haiman-Marrero, and Terry DeCarlo of "Somos Orlando", and the LGBT Center in Orlando respectively, I know you two have incredible demands on you right now. Thank you for the organizing you`ve done already. Thanks for being with us tonight. Good luck to you.
DECARLO: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you very much.
HAIMAN-MARRERO: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thank you.
All right. We`ve got much more ahead tonight, including a live report from NBC`s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.
Much more on what happened in Congress tonight, a very dramatic confrontation in Congress on this issue tonight.
Lots ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, an investigation into a crime of this magnitude involves multiple agencies, dozens if not hundreds of interrogators, they interview the family members of the shooter. They go through his home, they go through his computers, and his phone. They talk to anybody who might have known him.
They also follow up on the weapons. Today, the owner of the gun shop where the shooter bought his weapons legally, he said he had seen the shooter in the store, he said he vaguely remembered seeing him around.
But on top of all that, here`s a development from today that I think nobody quite knows what to do with. We also today heard from regulars at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, people who frequented that club, that they had seen the shooter in the club before at least a dozen times. Quote, "Sometimes he would go over in the corner and sit and drink by himself, at other times, he would get so drunk he was loud and belligerent."
My colleague Chris Hayes talked to somebody in Orlando who says that he recognized the shooter from several different gay dating apps.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CORD CEDENO, ORLANDO, FLORIDA: He was like very creepy in his messages. I blocked him immediately. But my other friend --
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC`S "ALL IN" HOST: From a gay dating app.
CEDENO: Yes, from a gay dating app.
HAYES: You recognized him from a gay dating app.
CEDENO: Yes, I recognized him from Grindr. I recognized him off Grindr. The one of him in the tie.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The gentleman says a couple of his friends have already given the FBI their phones to help in the investigation. So there`s that. There`s that reporting. The shooter was hanging around the edges of gay life in Orlando, including the Pulse nightclub, for whatever reason, as a quiet or belligerent or creepy figure.
An FBI source tonight tells NBC News that they are looking into these reports but at this point, the FBI does not know what to make of them. But we will have more on that aspect to this in just a moment.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Two summers ago, in August 2014, the United States started bombing ISIS targets in Iraq. Then, the following month, in September 2014, the U.S. started bombing ISIS targets in Syria.
We are at war with ISIS, not in a metaphorical sense or some rhetorical sense, you know, meant to convey seriousness of purpose. I mean literally war. The U.S. military is dropping bombs on ISIS targets and fighting a war against them. It`s been going on a couple of years now and that effort involves thousands of American servicemen and women, it involves a huge projection of force into that part of the world, including lots of navy ships, aircraft carriers, forward deployed troops, U.S. bases both in Iraq and now even in parts of Syria.
The secretary of defense today announced that for the first time U.S. Apache helicopters are being involved in direct combat operations against ISIS fighters in Iraq.
We`ve had service members killed on the ground in combat against ISIS, both in Iraq and Syria. It`s a war on. It`s kind of a big war.
And here at home, Congress never voted on it, never even really debated it. And as much as we like to fight about everything in this country, our existing nearly two-year-old hot war against ISIS has basically no political profile whatsoever.
We fight about everything. We don`t fight about that. We don`t even talk about that. Nobody even really knows that`s happening. Here.
But ISS does. And when the U.S. expanded air strikes against ISIS into Syria in September 2014, ISIS went a little nuts about that. Not to say they weren`t nuts before. But they were super angry about those air strikes in Syria targeting them, to the point where their spokesman basically embarrassed himself in a public statement that he put out at the time.
It was an ISIS message specifically to Muslims living in the West, telling ISIS supporters around the world that in the name of ISIS, people should commit terrorist attacks in their home countries. Quote, "If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially these spiteful and filthy French or an Australian or a Canadian or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, then kill him in any manner or way, however it may be."
Then we get to the specifics. "Smash his head with a rock or slaughter him with a knife or run him over with your car or throw him down from a high place or choke him or poison him."
ISIS was so unnerved by the U.S.-led coalition air strikes that started against them in the fall of 2014 that their spokesman literally responded by putting out a statement telling people to find a filthy Frenchman and hit him in the head with a rock. It was a very strange statement, right, especially because of its weird specificity.
But however strange it was, it also marked an important tactical change for them as an organization, because in that statement, that angry, weird statement from ISIS saying how mad they were that all these Western countries were many booing them now, in that statement, ISIS stopped calling on their Western supporters to leave their homes and travel to Iraq and Syria to join the Islamic State, and they instead told their Western followers that they should stay where they are in the West and commit attacks there.
They also said, and this ended up being important, "Do not ask for anyone`s advice and do not seek anyone`s verdict." Meaning, don`t ask for our permission. Don`t ask for anybody`s permission. Consider this to be your permission slip. Go ahead. Don`t tell us you`re going to do it, just do it.
So, that`s September 2014. Don`t come here, don`t ask us, you don`t need to hear anything from us other than this, just go do it, go kill civilians in your home country with any means that you have, even if all you have is a car or a rock. Do that, we`ll consider that you being an ISIS fighter and being part of our movement and helping what ISIS is trying to do. That was issued September 21st, 2014.
Two days later, in Australia, which is one of the countries specifically mentioned as a good target for attacks in that statement, two days after that statement an 18-year-old kid, alleged ISIS sympathizer in Australia, walked up to a police station in Melbourne, pulled a knife, stabbed two police officers before he was shot dead.
Australia famously has strict gun laws so presumably that kid had a hard time accessing firearms. But he did get himself a knife. He used what he had at hand.
Less than a month later, Canada. I guess the guy didn`t have a knife, but he did have a car. The ISIS statement suggested that as an option, right? Run him over with your car was one of the things they suggested. Well, in October 2014, an alleged ISIS sympathizer in Canada used his car to run down two Canadian soldiers in the street. Just outside Montreal. He killed one of the soldiers and cur injured another.
Two days later, another alleged ISIS sympathizer shot and killed another Canadian soldier who was guarding a war memorial in Canada`s capital city, then stormed into the nearby Canadian parliament and shot the place up before he himself was shot and killed. The day after that, October 23rd, 2014, this guy took a run at four New York City police officers near a subway platform in Queens. He was armed with a hatchet. He tried to attack these cops with an ax.
That was the end of October 2014. The statement had come out in September 2014. Before the end of that year, another alleged ISIS sympathizer had taken 18 hostages inside a Sydney, Australia cafe, killed two before he was killed by police.
A week later, another ISIS sympathizer used his car to drive into a crowd of pedestrians in Dijon, France. He injured 13.
The day after that, in another part of France, another alleged ISIS sympathizer drove into another crowd of pedestrians. This time it was a Christmas fair that he drove into. He injured 11 people there.
So, there was this ridiculous ISIS instruction that fall, kill people at home where you live using anything you can and that will somehow help our movement. Just kill people by any means. That will somehow help ISIS get its way in the world.
It was insane, right? It was very strange. But people, ISIS supporters all over the world, apparently took it to heart.
And then last spring, ISIS for the first time was able to claim credit for an attack that took place in the United States. The first ISIS-affiliated attack in the United States was Garland, Texas. Two attackers armed with assault rifles and semi-automatic hand guns put on body armor, drove to the site of an intentionally provocative art contest in Garland, Texas, for cartoons showing intentionally blasphemous depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. They opened fire at their target. They wounded one security guard, before both attackers were themselves killed by police.
Police later said they found computer printouts of the ISIS flag inside the attackers` car. Police later determined on the way to this attack, one of them had gone online on Twitter and pledged his formal allegiance to ISIS.
Quote, "Minutes before Elton Simpson arrived at the cartoon event in Garland and began shooting, he went on Twitter one last time to link the attack to the Islamic State. He tweeted the brother with me and myself have given bayah to the emir of the believers, the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bark al Baghdadi, quote, "May Allah accept us as mujahideen."
So, ISIS has evolved to make this as easy as possible for would the-be terrorists, right, for the would-be attackers in the world. Remember, in their September statement, they say, don`t ask for anybody`s permission. Don`t ask us, just do this.
Even though they don`t want anybody to ask for their permission, though, they do want credit for anything that anybody does in their name. So what they`ve asked their supporters to do is not ask them permission ahead of time, but once they`ve decided to do it, they want those attackers to make a public pledge of allegiance to ISIS, some public forum somewhere.
I mean, ISIS may never know that these guys existed before the attacks started taking place, but once the attack is under way they want a public pledge of allegiance so that attack instantly becomes an ISIS attack, even though this ISIS organization, this group in Iraq and Syria, never had anything to do with it directly.
And so, you get these claims of ISIS allegiance and they have a big range. You get everything from formally produced martyrdom propaganda videos for trained ISIS fighters who did the attacks in Paris in November, in Brussels this spring. You also get these hurried tweets from the guy on his way to go shoot up the cartoon contest in Garland, Texas. You also get the harried pledge of ISIS allegiance in the midst of the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in December.
In the midst of that attack with all its complexity and adrenaline, they take time out to post on Facebook, that they, this is for ISIS. They pledged allegiance to ISIS.
Since that last international call to action in September 2014, there have been all these attacks all over the world in all those countries named in that statement. Since that went so well for them, last month, ISIS did it again. They put out another call for more of the same. Same ISIS spokesman who put out that call for people to carry out attacks with cars and rocks and knives in 2014, he just put out another statement last month calling again for Western ISIS supporters to commit attacks at home, this time they`re specifically naming the United States as a place they want attacks.
And these guys are wordy birds. They were very full of themselves. They go on and on, blah, blah, blah, how terrible America is, how great they are, blah, blah, blah.
But then they get to the instructions part of it for their supporters in the West. They say they specifically direct this to soldiers and supporters in Europe and America and again what they tell them to do is don`t come to Iraq and Syria, don`t travel to the Islamic State. Instead, commit an attack at home.
Quote, "Truly the smallest act you do in their lands is more beloved to us than the biggest act done here. It`s more effective for us and more harmful to them."
They say they know they hear from their supporters that they wish to reach the lands of the Islamic State. But, quote, "Each of us wishes to be in your place to make examples of the crusaders day and night, scaring them and terrorizing them until every neighbor fears his neighbor."
The ISIS spokesman says that is has heard from its supporters in the West that they`re frustrated, they can`t carry out terrorist attacks because they can`t reach military targets, they also say they`re hearing some objections from their supporters. Quote, "It has reached us some of you do not act due to finding fault with targeting those who are called civilians."
But ISIS in the statement put out last month specifically says, don`t worry about that. Actually what they want is attacks on civilians. They`re basically telling their supporters, not only don`t come here to Iraq and Syria to fight with us, but if you are going to stay home and fight, please don`t pick a military target, don`t pick a symbolic target, don`t pick something hard to attack, please just kill random people, they actually prefer that. ISIS says that`s better.
Quote, "Know that targeting, know that your targeting those who are called civilians is more beloved to us and more effective as it is more harmful, painful, and a greater deterrent to them." So go forth.
And they specifically call for these attacks to happen during Ramadan, which this year is happening right now. So that`s one context for understanding what just happened here. I mean, now our latest American pledge of allegiance to ISIS came apparently in a 911 call that was placed from the bathroom of the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were killed on Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.
What set this off in the near term remains to be seen. A lot of times, it`s this, you know, complicating and clouding factor in is-inspired attacks around the world that the person who`s carried out the attack is not thought to just be an ISIS sympathizer, they`re also thought to be mentally ill or motivated by criminality or some motivated by personal animus. That`s confusing and conflicting and clouding to us, but ISIS doesn`t particularly care. They don`t care if it`s just nut jobs doing their work. They just want credit for the attack.
And in this case, the proximate cause is not known. There are reports including from "ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES" this previous hour that the shooter in Orlando was not making his first visit to that gay club. Some people who are regulars at the club said he had been there many, many times. That reporting from "The Orlando Sentinel."
Chris Hayes also uncovering reporting that he was at least known to have messaged gay men on gay dating apps. I mean, what does that mean? At this point, we don`t know.
It could be that he was gay. It could be that he was not gay but was hanging out there and trying to get to know gay people or patrons of that club specifically basically as a way of casing the joint.
I mean, ISIS has taken great pains to not just claim this attack as their own but to specifically focus on the fact that its victims were LGBT. ISIS has filmed a lot of executions and massacres for the purpose of propaganda over the last couple of years, but among the particularly gruesome executions they have filmed and publicized are at least eight different instances in which men have been stoned to death or thrown off tall buildings or both for the crime of being gay. The earliest report we have of ISIS doing that was Syria, November 2014, the most recent one was earlier this year in Iraq.
It`s also, frankly, possible there was a racial component to the proximate cause here. It was a Latino night at that club. A vast majority of the victims have Hispanic surnames. At least one witness report from a survivor describes the killer asking hostages to tell them their ethnicity.
It`s possible as anything else that in terms of the proximate cause, maybe the target was chosen and the attack planned as some sort of sick racial grudge. Or maybe it`s a combination of all of them. Maybe it`s that club represented a dense concentration of civilians, oh goody gay civilians, that he could kill as long as he got near enough to them with his legal military-grade weapons and sufficient ammunition and sufficient malice aforethought. We don`t know.
But ISIS doesn`t care. ISIS will take it happily. They want all the credit for just what happened in Orlando.
This is now their terrorist business model. Don`t ask permission, kill where you live, don`t pick hard targets, pick soft targets, the more civilians you kill the better, kill using any means you have at your disposal, live out your grudges, target whoever you feel like, go nuts, be nuts, we don`t care, just credit it to us.
We don`t yet know and ISIS doesn`t care what drove this particular kill tore that particular place, that particular night, to do what he did. But ISIS believes whatever the proximate cause here, whatever kind of nutjob this guy was, ISIS believes this is how they win.
They believe you`re making war on us? This is how we win a war against you. They believe something like this redounds to them and makes them stronger. Are they right?
MADDOW: So, we`ve got NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel here live tonight for a live report in just a moment. But as we`re looking into this ISIS angle on this attack in Orlando and why this is something that ISIS wants to claim credit for, how this fits their business model of terrorism, basically, we also have some new breaking news tonight out of France that is disturbing.
Media reports in Europe tonight say that an assailant with a knife stabbed and killed a police officer and also reportedly the police officer`s wife, in a suburban home roughly 30 miles west of Paris. News reports are both that the police officer and his wife were killed. Police managed to save a young boy who was also in the home at the time of the attack. Police also killed the attacker.
Now, this would be very bad news in any circumstance. But tonight, NBC News is confirming that an ISIS-affiliated group has released a short statement online claiming that the assailant in this case was an ISIS fighter.
We`ll have more on this including the latest details out of this apparent attack outside Paris with Richard Engel in just a moment.
MADDOW: It took only a few hours after the attack for the PR wing of the Islamic State to claim that an ISIS fighter was responsible for the massacre in Orlando. They put out a statement claiming the attack in both Arabic and English.
The question is no longer whether or not ISIS is capable of inspiring these kinds of attack in the West and in the United States specifically. The question now is whether an attack like this helps them, whether it somehow makes ISIS stronger. And, of course, whether attacks like this can be stopped.
Joining us from Istanbul is NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel.
Richard, thank you for staying up to be on the air with us tonight. Thanks for being here.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Well, thank you for having me on. I think it`s important to discuss this subject frankly with you tonight. So, I`m glad to be here.
MADDOW: Richard, as far as I can tell, this is exactly what ISIS wants. They want western followers, Western supporters, to mount attacks where they are using the means that they have, and the more civilian the target the better. What I don`t understand is how stoppable that strategy is and why they want that, why that helps them.
ENGEL: So let me just handle a piece of business you mentioned before. I think it`s absolutely in line with the theory that you`ve been talking about. How we`ve been able to plot this trajectory of attacks from the very beginning when they started making this call, stay at home, carry out an attack, don`t come through Istanbul, where I am right now, and join the so-called caliphate.
There was this incident in France and it fits exactly the model. This was in Magnanville, just outside of Paris, about an hour`s drive beyond Versailles. A plain-clothed off-duty police officer was coming home. It seems that an attacker was lingering by his door. He was stabbed multiple times, he was killed.
The attacker then went inside the home, took his wife and child hostage. Police, SWAT teams moved in. It seems the attacker also killed the wife who was a civil servant working for the interior ministry.
In conversations with the SWAT team, guess what? He pledged his allegiance, according to French media, to ISIS. Did that requirement that ISIS is asking for, and then police stormed in, neighbors heard an explosion, gunfire. The attacker was killed and luckily the 3-year-old was taken alive from the house.
Does this work? Does this and the much more lethal attack in Orlando have any impact? We`re talking about it. The world is talking about it. ISIS recruits are energized. ISIS has been losing a lot of ground on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria. Suddenly, it`s back in the headlines. Suddenly it seems strong.
So, it does have a positive impact on the group. And it`s horrible to say that. But yes, from the ISIS perspective, while it`s being physically attacked and bombed in places like Raqqah and its leaders are living in hiding, this kind of thing puts them on the front burner again. Makes them what they always wanted to be bigger, badder, more impressive than al Qaeda.
MADDOW: Richard, do you think there`s any reason to believe if those battlefield losses continue, if they continue to get degraded and be sort of on the run where they are in their home base, where they control territory, will that affect their ability to project force this way? Even if not in the short run, in the long run? Will that eventually hurt them?
ENGEL: In the very long run, yes. But it is possible that ISIS lives on, that it loses its foothold, and that it becomes a -- an al Qaeda-like organization in that it is a fugitive organization that lives in the shadows. It doesn`t have a home address anymore. It could live on longer in places like Europe or the United States where the memory of ISIS and the memory of the great caliphate is carried in the minds and hearts of nostalgic people in communities in France and the United States.
So, already, what we`re seeing a little bit and French officials have been warning about this, is people trying to leave the battlefield. They don`t want to stay in Raqqah and face the bombings. So, they`re trying to get out, come back through Turkey, come back any way they can. The migrant trail is once again moving, not on the scale that it did last year but still is under way.
And that is also concern. That as you smash them in Iraq and Syria, they spread out. Or they just inspire the ones like this, this awful shooter in Orlando who was clearly full of hate. And I think you`re absolutely right to focus on these reports about him going to that club. You don`t go to a club a dozen times, sit down, dance, and drink your head out to case a joint. There`s something much more profound going on there.
MADDOW: Yes, there`s something going on there that is very at this point puzzling and it`s going to end up being an important part of understanding this.
Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, up well before dawn for us tonight -- Richard, in Istanbul, thank you. Appreciate it, my friend.
ENGEL: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We got lot more to get you tonight. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, we have confirmed now that President Obama is heading to Orlando in the wake of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history there this weekend. Just minutes ago, the White House press secretary confirmed that President Obama will go to Orlando on Thursday to pay his respects to victims` families and stand in solidarity with the community.
The White House says they will provide more details as the president`s trip gets closer but it will be Thursday in Orlando. When we learn more about that, we will let you more as well.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
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REP. JIM HIMES (D), CONNECTICUT: Silence. Not me. Not anymore. I will no longer stand here absorbing the faux concern, contrived gravity and tepid smugness of a House complicit in the weekly bloodshed. Sooner or later, the country will hold us accountable for our inaction. But as you bow your head and think about what you say to your god, when you are asked what you did to slow the slaughter of innocents, there will be silence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Connecticut Congressman Jim Himes saying he`s done with Congress`s moments of silence. These moments of silence we always have again and again following our country`s mass shootings. Again and again and again, he said that Congress has a, quote, "fetish to repeatedly meet bloody tragedy with silence instead of action".
After that speech, Congressman Himes did walk off the House floor when that moment of silence was again observed. He joins us now.
Congressman Himes, thank you very much for your time tonight. I appreciate you being with us.
HIMES: Hi, Rachel.
MADDOW: What made you decide to take this particular stance today?
HIMES: Well, I thought yesterday about how this would be the dozenth time in recent memory where I made that dreary trudge unto the floor of the House of Representatives from a moment of silence associated with another mass slaughter. And I got to thinking that this isn`t a town square, it`s not church. It`s 335 people with a day 1/2 of work and passing some bills around policies, which by the way the vast majority of Americans support.
I`m talking about universal background checks. I`m talking about some reasonable limits on what kind of war fighting material you can buy. If we would do that, we wouldn`t end gun violence, but we would dramatically reduce it.
And I thought to myself, what if I could talk to one of these parents or sibling in Florida and say, you know what I did today is one of the people that helps run this country, I stopped talking for 10 seconds. I put my serious face on and I stopped talking for 10 seconds. I could have passed legislation but decided to absorb another moment of silence. I just decided that`s not enough. That`s not leadership. I`m not doing it.
MADDOW: Your district, Newtown, about 30 miles from Sandy Hook where you live. Has that formed your thinking about this as policy and a sense of how it ought to be disrupted and confronted in your willingness to ruffle feathers?
HIMES: Absolutely. I can`t tell you how frustrating, how horrifying it is to constantly deal with the questions by Newtown survivors or by people who knew Newtown survivors. And the question always is, why -- Connecticut acted, New York acted around a whole bunch of policy measures again that are supported by most people.
Why can`t Congress act? You know, I either have to get into some complicated explanation of why the Senate requires 60 votes to pass anything, which I`ve been doing for a long time, or I can try to change the dialogue a little bit.
And, look, I`m done talking about this in policy terms. This is a moral issue. No other country on the planet has this problem.
And, of course, this is an ISIS issue. It`s probably a mental health care issue. It is probably as you`ve been pointing out, to some degree, some sort of weird homophobic issue. But this guy was able to, without much problem, despite the fact he was interviewed twice by the FBI to go out and buy a military grade weapon and it`s time for that to stop.
MADDOW: Congressman Jim Himes of Connecticut who did not -- who emphatically did not take part in this moment of silence today. Congressman, stay in touch as you continue to get response from this. I know it did upset a lot of people. We love to hear from you.
HIMES: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: As you get those raffled feathers. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: All right. We got more news ahead tonight. Please do stay with us.
MADDOW: So, we spend most of today and tonight covering the horrific events from this weekend in Orlando. This network will keep bringing you the latest and most important information as tonight continues and as the investigation continues.
Alongside all of that, though, you should also know that the presidential primary will finally end tomorrow. Tomorrow, D.C. Democrats go to the polls in what will be the last primary in the country and in addition to that, while we`re waiting for those results to come in, we also know there`s a personal meeting between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. We don`t exactly know what will happen at that meeting, but it could be an important thing.
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SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I-VT), DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I simply want to get a sense of what kind of platform she will be supporting, whether she will be vigorous in standing up for working families and the middle class, moving aggressively in climate change, health care for all, making public colleges and universities tuition free. And after we have that kind of discussion, and after we can determine whether or not we are going to have a strong and progressive platform, I will be able to make other decisions.
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MADDOW: Other decisions, capital "O", right?
So, tomorrow, we will continue to bring the latest and most pertinent information about the Orlando terror attack, particular as there are unexplained details reported particularly today and into tonight. But in addition to that tomorrow, we will have some kind of news on how the Democratic presidential race ends in 2016.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END