Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: June 21, 2016 Guest: Kendal Unruh, Karoun Demirjian
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Great reporting, Chris.
HAYES: Thank you. Thank you.
MADDOW: Just stunning stuff. Thank you, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for joining with us this hour. It`s nice to have you here.
The last time we had a presidential race before this one, in 2012, the Republican primary started off a little bit crazy that year.
You might remember in Iowa, it was a very, very, very close finish in that first contest that year. Initially, the Republican Party in Iowa announced that Mitt Romney had won the Iowa caucuses. Then, the following day the chair of the Iowa Republican party went on the radio and said, actually, no, Mitt Romney didn`t win the Iowa caucuses, it was a tie. Then after that, the Iowa Republican Party chairman came out and said, actually, it wasn`t a tie, and it wasn`t that Mitt Romney won, it was Rick Santorum won.
And then when it came time to actually pick the delegates and send delegates to the Republican National Convention, reflecting results of the Iowa caucuses, the guy who got the most delegates to the RNC was actually Ron Paul. So, the Iowa start in 2012 was just nuts.
Then, the second contest, of course, was New Hampshire. Mitt Romney easily won New Hampshire.
Then, the third contest in 2012 was South Carolina. And South Carolina was not won by Mitt Romney, nor was it won by Rick Santorum, nor was it won by Ron Paul. South Carolina was won by a whole new guy -- it was won by Newt Gingrich. And he won by a lot.
Newt Gingrich beat Mitt Romney in South Carolina that year by more than 10 points. And after that super-strong surprise showing in South Carolina, there was this brief period of time in the 2012 race where Newt Gingrich really was the Republican presidential front-runner. And, you know, of course, it didn`t last.
But he did really beat Romney by a lot in South Carolina. And at the time he had this billionaire backing him who seemed ready to spend infinitely to promote Newt Gingrich as a candidate. I mean, the way that Newt Gingrich won South Carolina so big was that he just brutalized Mitt Romney in the press and that just seemed like a very effective thing. That wasn`t going to turn around any time soon.
I mean, I remember covering it at the time. I remember, it was a short period of time but I remember the Beltway being absolutely captivated for a short period of time by this idea that Newt Gingrich had come back from disgrace, right?
Newt Gingrich had come back from the `90s. He had dug himself out of his political grave. He was going to topple Mitt Romney for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012. And for a short period of time after that huge win in South Carolina, it really felt like he might.
But even in the midst of that Newt-mania in 2012 you could kind of tell even Newt Gingrich himself wasn`t really swept up in it. You could kind of tell that even though he was winning right then, he sort of knew it wasn`t going to last. The way you could tell that is that even when he was the front-runner, Newt Gingrich never stopped his book tour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: I recently wrote a book called "A Nation Like No Other", designed to deal with American issues.
I recently made a movie called "A City Upon A Hill" that explains the origins of American exceptionalism.
I wrote a book in 2002 called "Saving Lives and Saving Money" and I outlined what we could do.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is running as we know for the Republican nomination for president. He`s also the author of the new book "The Battle of the Crater."
GINGRICH: I should say, brief commercial. Callista couldn`t be here because she`s at a bookstore signing. Her new book was called "Sweet Land of Liberty", which is for 4 to 8-year-olds.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: See, running for president among other things, it`s a great way to sell your products, especially if you have a whole line of products. You can sell your books, you can sell your DVDs, you can sell your wife`s products, her books and DVDs.
During Newt Gingrich`s presidential run, one of the things he spent time marketing was his wife`s series of children`s books which are based on a character called Ellis the Elephant. And part of the way they sold Callista Gingrich`s books during the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign is they had somebody from the Gingrich campaign, a Gingrich campaign staffer, dress up in a big plushy Ellis the Elephant costume.
That was somebody`s job on the Newt Gingrich for president effort, to dress as Ellis the Elephant to help market Newt`s wife`s books at campaign events. And it wasn`t like a one-off. They did it over and over again -- over a period of months throughout the whole Republican primary. So, yes, Newt Gingrich did technically run for president. And for a while there, it actually went sort of well.
But the whole thing was also kind of a scam. It was also just a way for Newt Gingrich to make money. That`s what he`d been doing for years. The years before he ran for president, after he resigned as House speaker in disgrace in an ethics scandal in the `90s, Newt Gingrich made a lot of money over the years. He figured out a whole different way to make money off his political profile other than being paid as a public servant.
He would, for example, write to doctors` offices and offer to give the doctor in that office an award for being a medical innovator. Then when you got down to the fine print of wanting to accept your medical innovator award from Newt Gingrich, you`d find out that you had to pay Newt Gingrich thousands of dollars in order to accept his award.
He did the same thing with small businesses. He would write to them on his Newt Gingrich letterhead. Everybody recognizes the name. He`d always put the gavel on there.
He`d cash in on being former speaker of the House and he`d offer to give some small business a Newt Gingrich-approved business award. As if he knew about your business and he was really impressed by you and he wanted to recognize you publicly. But then it would turn out you have to pay Newt Gingrich thousands of dollars in order to collect this award.
It was actually a minor scandal we reported on during the 2012 campaign. One of the funnier scandals of that campaign where Newt Gingrich tried to give one of these scam awards to a small business in Texas which turned out to be a really nice friendly strip club. And when Newt Gingrich found out that it was a strip club he was giving this award to, because he was so impressed with this local business, he didn`t even know what kind of business it was, they picked it out of the phone book. Then the strip club owner said, thanks, we`re a strip club, we`d love your award, here`s your money. Then Newt Gingrich had to rescind the award and the strip club owner had her feelings hurt. It was one of the minor Newt Gingrich scandals when he ran for president in 2012.
It was also part of a larger pattern for him. Newt Gingrich had built up a career as kind of a celebrity politician con artist. And he used his presidential campaign as part of that scam. As just a way to make more money for himself, get his name out there, make sure that he could cash in further on what used to be a public service career.
Last night on this show, right at the end of the show, we reported on the new financial documents that the Donald Trump for president campaign had just reported to the FEC. We got -- a little embarrassing, we got those numbers when I was live on the air.
And I really didn`t -- we didn`t have time like as a staff to process them. I just read them from the raw report. Right after that raw report was posted on the FEC website while we were live on the air. I will tell you honestly, the reason I`m furrowing my brow in that footage is because while I was doing that breaking news story, I felt like maybe I had gotten it wrong, I felt like there was maybe a typo or a misunderstanding or maybe my vision`s going because I`m an old person now and I couldn`t see a decimal point I should have been expecting.
It just seemed impossible the Republican presidential nominee would have started the month of June with only $1 million cash on hand. That is a remarkably low number for any stage of any serious presidential race. I mean, for the month of May, that number is still, even in the light of day, almost impossible to believe.
Think about it. Donald Trump wrapped up the Republican nomination in the first week of May. He won Indiana on May 3rd. All of his opponents dropped out. He wrapped up the nomination on the third day the month. That means he had the whole rest of the month with no Republican primary to worry about, the only thing he had to do the whole month was start socking away money and preparing for the general election campaign against Hillary Clinton.
And he ended that whole month with $1 million?
The cash on hand numbers from the Donald Trump campaign that came in at the end of the show last night, those numbers were very hard to believe. But now over the course of today, we`ve been able to go through not just cash on hand numbers and his fund-raising numbers, but also his spending numbers. And those are also amazing. But they tell a very different story. And we should probably not see them as so surprising because we`ve seen something like this before.
Over the course of the month of May, the Trump campaign spent a total of $6.7 million. More than $1 million of that was spent paying money to Donald Trump`s own companies and to members of his family. And that is apparently nothing new for the Donald Trump for president effort.
We now know that pattern has basically held for the entire campaign so far. If you want to look at the entire course of his campaign, "Washington Post" and "Associated Press" today totaled up over $60 million that has been spent by the Trump campaign, more than $6 million of that -- so roughly 1 in 10 dollars spent in total on the campaign, more than $6 million has been spent buying stuff from Donald Trump. He has spent an incredible proportion of his campaign funds writing, for example, rent checks to himself for use of his own properties. He paid the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, $29,715. He paid the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, $35,845.
You know, when Donald Trump lives in Florida, the place he lives is a golf club called Mar-a-Lago. That is Donald Trump`s house in Florida. His campaign paid over $400,000 to Donald Trump for use of his own house. He paid himself $400,000 for the privilege of using his own home.
He paid $520,000 to Trump Tower which is his home in New York. He paid $135,000 to Trump Restaurants. That`s a lot of taco bowls. He paid $26,000 to the Trump National Doral, which is his golf course in Miami. He paid $11,000 to his Trump Hotel in Chicago. He`s paid himself over $4 million for the privilege of renting his own private jet.
The Trump Plaza, $99,000. The Trump Post Office which is his hotel in Washington that`s not yet built, $5,000. Trump Soho, just under $5,000. He paid his son`s Trump wine company just under $5,000.
He spent campaign money on the Trump Grill, on Trump Ice, Trump Ice is a thing? He spent Trump money at the Trump Cafe.
And part of the mainstream Republican beef with this data, right, with what we now know about how the Trump campaign is operating, is that these are not the kinds of expenditures you would expect to see from someone who`s actually running a campaign for president that intends to win the presidency. I mean, the expenses when you look at what the Trump campaign is actually spending their money on it`s more like a concert tour. It`s more like a promotional tour for a celebrity who`s hawking something than it is like a campaign where you need people to go out and vote for you in November.
I mean, the biggest expenses are private jets, renting out venues, preferably ones where Mr. Trump gets to pay rent to himself for using that venue, and also swag. You know, you go to a concert, there`s the swag table? Merchandise is what the Trump campaign is spending its money on. Millions of dollars spent on Trump t-shirts and especially Trump hats. Oh the hats.
Reading through the list of Trump expenditures, I half expected to find that there was now a Trump hat company that they had formed in order to cash in on all the hat spending the Trump campaign has indulged in over the past year. In fact, there is no Trump hat company. But there is this nice lady who sits on the board of Eric Trump`s charitable foundation. She also happens to run the hat company, getting all those millions of dollars in Trump campaign expenditures.
So, the polite way to say this is, it`s a racket. It`s not designed to necessarily win the election. I don`t know if it would be necessarily a problem to win the election. Think about the merchandising opportunities in the Oval Office.
But if he does end up winning, you can tell from the way the campaign is being run, you can tell because we`ve seen lots of campaigns like this before, you can tell that winning might happen. But it`s not the aim. It would be a byproduct of what is the principal effort, which is to make money.
Donald Trump is not the first person to do this. This is what Newt Gingrich did in 2012. Frankly, it`s easier to do on the Republican side because of the monetizing of Republican and conservative political celebrity thanks to FOX News and lots of scammy right-wing media outlets in this country. That`s part of the reason why Republican presidential fields are so big these days.
I defy you to tell me what the job is of Rick Santorum. What is his job other than running for president? What`s Herman Cain`s job? What`s Michele Bachmann`s job? What`s Mike Huckabee`s job?
They`re all either making a living running for president, or they`re making a living thereafter off the fact that they did run for president once and therefore you`ve heard of them. It`s a racket.
The real question for the country -- I mean, that`s a question for the conservative movement and the Republican Party and conservative media, right? Like what have we created? A weird system of incentives where people appear to run for office, but mostly they run for office as a job because it helps them make merchandising money and get deals on FOX News, right? I mean, that`s an issue for the Republican Party, the conservative movement, conservative media in general.
Put that aside. The real question for the rest of us, for the country, is whether what we`re now looking at on the presidential level, now that one of these guys is their nominee, the real question for the country is whether this book tour, this promotional tour for this political celebrity, might accidentally produce a presidential candidacy that can actually win. And that remains to be seen.
But honestly, these new spending numbers put to rest any question that what we are witnessing is anything other than a promotional book tour which we should have realized from the very beginning because this is what it sounded like from the very beginning.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: President Obama, Secretary Kerry, I highly think you should read this book quickly. Quickly!
Did you ever see a negotiation last so long? Right? Oh, he`s got "The Art" -- hold that book up, one of the great books.
I wrote "The Art of the Deal," I wrote many best sellers. Everybody read "The Art of the Deal." Who has read "The Art of the Deal" in this room? Everybody.
I always say, I always say, a deep, deep second to the Bible. The Bible is the best. The Bible.
I`ve done great things. Hey, look. I went into television, had "The Apprentice." Great hit, one of the most successful reality shows.
I did books. Many best sellers, many. "The Art of the Deal" is one of the biggest selling, certainly the biggest-selling business deal book by far.
Oh, look, "The Art of the Deal." Come here. Give me that book. I love that book.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: We should have known from the beginning when Donald Trump was hawking one of his business books at all of his campaign appearances, from the very, very start of his presidential campaign. Since then, he`s come out with another book that he`s been selling openly on the campaign trail, the one with the scowling picture on the front, "Crippled America."
There are also now, and I may be breaking this news right now, but there are unconfirmed reports, but there are reports that there is either an "Art of the Deal 2.0" that`s in the works right now, that`s in production right now, or that Mr. Trump is somehow repackaging the original "Art of the Deal" again as a special campaign edition so he can literally cash in even further during this campaign.
So, these new spending and fund-raising numbers out for Donald Trump, they bear no resemblance to someone actually running a serious campaign for president. "The Washington Post" described top Republicans as viewing these new numbers with both, quote, "astonishment and alarm" over what they`ve gotten themselves into with Trump.
But apparently, the only thing that top Republicans are concerned about is the size of his fund-raising numbers and his cash on hand numbers. They`re worried about his lack of fund-raising. They`re worried about his lack of spending on a real campaign. They`re worried about that not only for Trump`s own presidential effort but also for its knock-on effects for the ballot and across the country.
Republicans, though, broadly, are apparently less worried about the scammy aspects of Donald Trump`s campaign financials, which are on full display today. And still on full display today, not just from this FEC filing but from the desperate fund-raising appeal that the Trump campaign sent out as soon as this terrible financial filing went live last night.
This fund-raising e-mail that they sent out, it`s signed by Donald Trump, and it says in all caps, underlined for effect, that this is the first fund-raising e-mail that Trump has sent out. Quote, "That`s right," it actually says in the letter, "That`s right, the first one."
Sure sign, right? Whether it`s a Nigerian prince or Newt Gingrich wanting to give you an award, anything all caps and underlined that says "That`s right" next to it, sure sign of a scam. Should always be greeted with great suspicion. If you get that online and it`s a hyperlink, do not click.
And so, you know, that`s right, this is the first one. Of course, this is not the first one. This is not the first fund raising e-mail from the Trump campaign. That part of it as very clear, all caps, underlined lie.
This is the Trump fund-raising e-mail that went out this weekend claiming the Trump campaign had an emergency goal of $100,000 to get ads on the air. Before that, it was another Trump campaign fund-raising e-mail signed by Donald Trump, a picture of him next to his name in case you forgot what he looks like, make an investment right now to stop crooked Hillary.
Before that, another one he sent out June 3rd, subject line, Hillary is a liar. Together, we will make America great again, exclamation point, thank you very much! Let`s make America great again! Picture Donald J. Trump.
And that`s not even all of them. But after all those and others the Trump campaign today sent out a fund-raising e-mail saying, we have never sent out a fund-raising e-mail before. And they said, if you act now, every contribution will be matched up to a $2 million limit by Donald J. Trump himself! Seriously, that is actually part of the new fund-raising e-mail, trying to make it sound like an NPR fund drive but without the book bag. Pretty soon, they`re going to be tacking on reverse mortgages, and referrals to personal injury lawyers and kids books about campaign workers in furry costumes.
Donald Trump told Lester Holt he was going to raise over $1 billion to run for the presidency. We now know that as late as May of the election year, he was only raising $3 million-something a month. And he was spending more than he was raising. He spent more than he raised in May. And a significant portion what was he spent he spent on himself and his children.
And so, again quoting "The Washington Post," top Republicans are apparently viewing this with astonishment and alarm. The question is what they`re going to do about it. And the answer to that question is surprisingly more than you might think.
And that story is next tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, I have been a real skeptic when it comes to the idea the Republican Party will resist Donald Trump`s presidential nomination in any meaningful or significant way. He needed 1,237 delegates to clinch the nomination. He ended up getting well over 1,500 delegates. He won 35 states out of 50 states. He won more Republican primary votes than any other Republican presidential candidate in the history of Republican presidential candidates.
Why should we think there`s any chance the party could even try to oust him when he won the Republican nomination this year so definitively. Everybody who ran against him got cut down, despite all the complaining from different quarters in the Republican Party, nobody has stepped up to try to take him on in some other way since. So, count me among those who have always thought it was a bunch of beltway noise that Republicans might somehow undo the Trump nomination after he secured it fair and square by shellacking everybody else in the primary.
I`ve been a skeptic. But now, two things have happened that have shrunk the giant boulder of salt with which I have been taking these beltway stories.
First one is last night`s FEC filing which showed that Donald Trump spent the month he wrapped up the Republican nomination not really running a presidential campaign at all but paying his own companies really handsomely from the entity that is supposed to be running him for president, but it`s not. That`s one thing that has changed. I think these financials are legitimately shocking to the Republican Party and to everybody in politics.
Everybody expected Hillary Clinton to be outspending him and out-raising him. Nobody thought it would be 40-1. Nobody thought he wouldn`t actually be trying to compete. So, that`s one thing. I do think this news that broke late last night is a very big deal.
The other thing that`s happened is a numbers thing but a very different numbers thing. Last week, "The Washington Post" reported that a group of 30 Republican delegates signed on to a plan to change the rules of the Republican convention and let delegates vote for somebody other than Donald Trump, 30 delegates, yawn. That was Thursday.
But then, Sunday night, the same group held a conference call to work on this strategy and apparently 1,000 people got on the conference call. I hope everybody muted, 1,000 people on the conference call, including 250 delegates. OK. Now we`re not talking 30 delegates, now we`re talking 250.
And now, today, "The Washington Post" reports that the same group says they`ve got nearly 400 delegates on board with this strategy. That`s 400 delegates. That`s also a lot of apparent momentum just since late last week.
Overall, I am a skeptic about these efforts. I am a skeptic about these stories. But I am intrigued about this one. I am wondering whether maybe this one is something. The person heading up that effort joins us live next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I read about there`s an insurgent group, the same group that I beat. You have a couple of guys that were badly defeated and they`re trying to organize maybe like a little bit of a delegate revolt. You can`t do it. It`s not legal, you can`t do it. You`re not allowed to do it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Maybe a little bit of a delegate revolt.
That was Donald Trump speaking in Las Vegas over the weekend.
Joining us now is I think who he was talking about. Kendal Unruh, she`s a Republican delegate from Colorado. She`s a cofounder of a group calling itself Free the Delegates.
Ms. Unruh, thanks very much for being here.
KENDAL UNRUH, REPUBLICAN DELEGATE: Thank you for having us.
MADDOW: What`s the basic idea of free the delegates?
UNRUH: Basically, it started with a small handful of people that truly were concerned, we were delegates that in good conscience could not support this nominee. And I`m actually serving on the rules committee. And I`m going to sponsor a conscience clause.
What the conscience clause states is that if a delegate, in good conscience, either personal or religious, cannot cast a ballot for this nominee, that they may claim either a personal or religious exemption, and that includes anything criminal activity, moral turpitude, extreme racism or prejudice, and even if they have not adhered to our party platform. And, honestly, we believe with this particular example of a nominee, he has actually -- aside from the criminal activity, he has actually partaken of all of those.
But beyond that, my conscience clause is not just giving them the ability to unbind the delegates by law are actually truly unbound. When he says it`s illegal, there have been three Supreme Court cases, 200 historical precedents that have said the delegates are unbound.
So, we are going into the convention cycle unbound. It`s just a matter of if they recognize they`re unbound. What my conscience clause is doing is I like to say that the delegates already have the kryptonite but what a conscience clause will do coming out of the rules committee is it`s the memo that can activate that kryptonite, because we have a demographic of activists and we have a -- Republicans are rule-followers.
And we`re going after the grandmother that`s worked in the party for 50 years, that`s worked hard to get the candidates elected. She needs that rule. She has pressure put on her by a delegation chair or a congressman saying, you can`t unbind, she can stand behind that rule, it`s giving her cover, saying this RNC ruling says I can.
MADDOW: So, you`re on the rules committee. How big is the rules committee?
UNRUH: One fifty-six members.
MADDOW: OK. And we`ve heard --
UNRUH: A hundred and twelve.
MADDOW: A hundred and twelve members.
UNRUH: Yes, we need 56 signers because I`m one. I`m saying, let`s get 56 signers of the declaration of conscience.
MADDOW: How close do you think you are now and how will you know how close you get?
UNRUH: Well, I`m calling constantly. But I`ve got 16, 12 plus four, four soft.
MADDOW: So, 12 firm commitments and four soft commitments, you need to get to?
UNRUH: Fifty-six. And my Colorado rules member is also on board are I can throw him into that mix.
But the key is I don`t have a list yet. Securing data in order to get the phone numbers and the contact and who was on the rules, that was actually not even going to be released until Thursday. Once that`s released, it is all hands on deck.
MADDOW: Are you -- that`s one of the things I`ve been following this, are you confident that the RNC is going to release those names when they`re supposed to? They can sort of make their own -- call their own (INAUDIBLE).
UNRUH: We have enough volunteers with 400 alternates, delegates, committee members that have committed to this cause, we get literally thousands of e- mails and texts and private messages and the data is just flowing in. This is tapped into a movement of the majority of people out there that do not want to vote for Donald Trump, that could not vote for Donald Trump.
So, seven out of ten can`t, only 60 percent of the people in the primary did not want Donald Trump.
MADDOW: But he got a lot more than everybody else did. I mean, he did -- you`re not contesting the fact that he won? I mean, he definitely won.
UNRUH: Well, he won because --
MADDOW: It`s just a question of whether the party`s still going to be with him --
UNRUH: Well, he won because of the open primaries and the blanket primaries. He took advantage of the same-day voter registration.
MADDOW: You think the system was rigged for him?
UNRUH: I wouldn`t call it rigged. I mean, I don`t like open primaries and blanket primaries. It allows people to come in and take advantage of same- day voter registration --
MADDOW: It`s a separate issue. I mean, whether he won fair and square seems to me is totally separate issue as to whether or not the party decides at the convention that they don`t want the winner of the primary to actually get the nomination.
UNRUH: Let me explain that because this is actually a party institution. We actually need to select our own nominee. And we don`t live in a democracy. It`s actually our Founding Fathers called it mob-ocracy, mob rule, because we believe that just because the majority agrees with something doesn`t make it right, and thankfully so, because the rights of minorities would never be protected.
But they set that check and balance into place, as has our party followed through, we vote for a delegate to use their wisdom, their discernment, based upon the circumstances at the time, whether or not to cast that ballot. The only one that I`m accountable to, because in spite of what Donald Trump said, we live in a false narrative that the delegates in Colorado were not elected, I had to convince thousands of people to vote for me. I had did spend my own time, effort, energy, money. I`m accountable for them.
If I choose to not cast a ballot on the floor for candidate A or candidate B, I go back and answer to them. I`m not answerable to the party. I don`t have to answer to the RNC.
MADDOW: I think the internal dynamics of how the parties choose their nominee is going to be a much harder sell publicly than, we changed our mind, we don`t want Donald Trump. Whether or not you can get enough people to go along with you, it`s something I`m watching the momentum of very closely.
UNRUH: It`s not just a rules committee because --
MADDOW: Well, if you don`t get the rules committee, you don`t get anything, right? If you can`t get your conscience clause passed in the rules committee, that`s it?
UNRUH: No, that`s actually not true because remember, they already are unbound. They can take the authority on the floor. And when the votes are submitted via the delegation chair, the delegates who are choosing to unbind then challenge that submission of the vote tally and they require a poll. And it has to accurately reflect the will of the people on the floor.
So, the rules is just the very first step. And then -- no, this stands a very good chance of winning. And the momentum is phenomenal.
MADDOW: I will -- I will concede that the momentum is phenomenal and that`s part of what I want to talk about. I`d say the case you`re making about the system doesn`t really work the way everybody thinks it works is going to be a much harder sell. But will you stay in touch with us as this goes on?
UNRUH: I will. This is a historical first. We`re trying to run a campaign without a candidate.
MADDOW: Kendal Unruh, Republican delegate from Colorado, cofounder of the group Free the Delegates. You`re doing something weird and interesting. Let us know how it goes. Thanks, Kendal. Appreciate it.
We`ve got much more ahead. Busy news night. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not indicated who might be her running mate this year. Hillary Clinton has not even indicated when she will pick her running mate this year. But today, she started acting in concert with one of the high-profile contenders for that gig in a way that made a lot of people say, hmm. Hmm is next.
MADDOW: The last time Hillary Clinton devoted an entire speech to tearing into Donald Trump was in San Diego earlier this month. The thing that made that speech so lethal as a political tool is that she used Trump`s own foreign policy words to go after him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESUMPTIVE PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: He praises dictators like Vladimir Putin and picks fights with our friends, including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico, and the pope.
He says he has foreign policy experience because he ran the Miss Universe pageant in Russia.
He says he doesn`t have to listen to our generals or admirals, our ambassadors and other high officials, because he has, quote, "a very good brain".
He also said, I know more about is than the generals do, believe me. You know what? I don`t believe him.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: Knowing what we know about Donald Trump as a political animal, bite seem like after that kind of speech he would go after Hillary Clinton. Because Donald Trump prides himself on being a counter puncher, right?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
TRUMP: You know me, I`m a counterpuncher.
One thing that everybody has said, I`m a counter puncher.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Trump is a counter puncher.
TRUMP: Hit me, I hit him back. A week ago, he started hitting me. I`m a counterpuncher.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: He says he`s a counterpuncher.
But after Hillary Clinton`s fairly devastating foreign policy speech in San Diego where she just leveled him, Donald Trump did not counterpunch. He sent out a grand total of two tweets during that speech saying, "That`s not true". A couple of rallies, he said that at that speech, Hillary Clinton did not look presidential to him. He did not like the way that she read the teleprompter at that speech. But that was it. That was as far as it got.
So, now, today, Hillary Clinton that is done it again. She devoted a whole second speech to tearing into Donald Trump this time on the economy. And it was the same M.O, she used Trump`s own words to go after him.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
CLINTON: Donald Trump has said he`s qualified to be president because of his business record. Trump`s own products are made in a lot of countries that aren`t named America. Trump ties are made in China. Trump suits in Mexico. Trump furniture in Turkey. Trump picture frames in India. Trump bar wear in Slovenia. And I could go on and on.
He`s written a lot of books about business. They all seem to end at Chapter 11.
He has no credible plan for rebuilding our infrastructure, apart from the wall that he wants to build. Personally I`d rather spend our money on rebuilding our schools, or modernizing our energy grid.
Every day, we see how reckless and careless Trump is. He`s proud of it. Well, that`s his choice, except when he`s asking to be our president, then it`s our choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton today in Columbus, Ohio.
And just like the last time she did this, the Clinton campaign followed that speech with an e-mail blast of Donald Trump`s words. Links to the things that Donald Trump said that Hillary Clinton talked about today to show that she quoted him correctly that he really had said all the stuff she nailed him for.
The Clinton campaign also had a second punch ready to land as their newest and most enthusiastic surrogate, Senator Elizabeth Warren, simultaneously with that speech put out this video taking another swing at Donald Trump on the same topic. Then, they had Senator Elizabeth Warren put out her first fund-raising e-mail for Secretary Clinton today.
I don`t know if Hillary Clinton is going to pick Elizabeth Warren as her running mate but the two of them unveiled a one-two coordinated tag team attack on Donald Trump today in a way that Clinton hasn`t really ever done with anybody else. So, hm.
But the Trump campaign also started doing something new today. A day after firing their campaign manager, the Trump campaign did get it together today to respond in real time to Secretary Clinton`s criticisms. Unlike the last speech she did like this, today they did stuff. Somebody who could mostly spell and use grammar took over the Trump Twitter account today during the speech -- sent out semi coherent boiler plate Republican criticisms of Hillary Clinton that they posted throughout her whole speech.
They were all from Donald Trump`s account. I think maybe he was doing something else at the time. Who knows? Maybe it was him.
But that sort of instant response, that didn`t happen last time from Mr. Trump or from anybody associated with his campaign. The Trump campaign sent out Hillary Clinton criticism prebuttal e-mails before she started her speech going after her on the subject of her speech, the economy. Just normal campaign stuff. The kind of stuff you see in a House race or a Senate race or even at the most basic level in a normal presidential campaign.
But all of that basic stuff is stuff the Trump campaign was apparently incapable of until today. They definitely didn`t do any of that the last time she spent a whole speech ripping him to shreds.
Democrats are gleeful that the Trump campaign is such a disaster so far. Today made it seem like maybe that won`t last.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: So, last night, the U.S. Senate voted on four measures that are meant to stop suspected terrorists and other people who shouldn`t have guns from being able to get guns. The amendments ranged from Republican ideas for doing very little to Democratic measures that would do more than you can sell in Washington these days.
And, yes, it was four different bills but the results as predictable as dropping four eggs from a two-story building. Today, though, something was born unexpectedly that might actually have a chance. And that up likely story is next.
MADDOW: There are still 19 people in the hospital that was wounded in the Orlando massacre in a gay nightclub last weekend. Nineteen people still hospitalized. Four people still in critical condition. So, those people are still fighting for their lives.
Forty-nine people, of course, were killed in the attack. The killer in Orlando had twice popped on the FBI`s radar, once when he made pro terrorism threats at work. And his co-workers called the cops, and once when the FBI was investigating ties, who went to Syria and died as a suicide bomber in Syria.
When Omar Mateen, the Orlando killer, was under investigation on those two matters, the FBI, for a time, put him on a terrorist watch list. By the time he went to by the handgun and the semi-automatic assault rifle with which he committed the massacre, he was no longer on any terrorist watch list. But actually, it wouldn`t have mattered in terms of his ability to buy a gun. Republicans in Congress have repeatedly blocked every effort so far to stop people on a terrorist watch list from buying guns.
After Orlando, though, the Department of Justice said it was looking into the possibility that FBI, could, at least, possibly be notified if someone on the terrorist watch list tried to buy a gun. Now, the Justice Department wasn`t saying they would try to stop the sale. Again, Congress keeps blocking that, but they just said they wanted the FBI to get pinged, notified.
If someone they were watching for potential links to terrorism tried to buy a gun. It does seem like relevant information that FBI should have, right?
Well, today, Maine Senator Susan Collins proposed making that law, that the FBI could be notified there was an attempt to buy a guy by someone on a terrorist watch list, or by somebody who had been on a terrorist watch list anytime in the past five years. Therefore, the FBI would have been notified when Omar Mateen went to buy his gun, because he had previously been on a terrorist watch list. Collins` bill would also ban gun sales to people who are currently on two specific and fairly small terrorist watch list, including the actual no fly list.
Now, the Senate, of course, has already taken a pass on four gun measures this week. But this one is tailored so specifically and narrowly, could it fare any better. This one, introduced by Republican Senator Susan Collins, but it`s got other Republicans, too. It is co-sponsored by Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, Senator Kelly Ayotte, who`s a Republican from New Hampshire. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican from South Carolina.
There`s also a conservative pro-gun senator on the Democratic side from North Dakota who is a sponsor, Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia. The independent senator from Maine, Senator Angus King. Also on the Republican Senator Pat Toomey is not a co-sponsor of this measure, but he has notably said he will endorse the bill, without co-sponsoring it.
But that`s not a typical list of people sponsoring gun-related legislation in the U.S. Senate. Does that matter? Is this narrowly targeted enough that this could one go?
Joining us now is Karoun Demirjian. She`s a congressional reporter for "The Washington Post."
Ms. Demirjian, thanks very much for being with us tonight. I appreciate your time.
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks for having me on.
MADDOW: So, that is an impossibly bipartisan gun bill. You don`t see lists of co-sponsors like that. Does that mean it has a prayer of passing?
DEMIRJIAN: Well, that`s the big question, right? You`ve got four Republicans that have joined the effort so far. And like you said, you quoted Toomey. We assume that others will come on board. The question is, will enough of them come on board to get it across the finish line?
It`s the Senate. Everything takes 60 votes, Democrats are saying, they can get 40, they need to see Collins pull 20 Republicans along with her in order to actually stand a chance of getting it passed. What you are seeing is a lot of these rank-and-file members saying, we want to see a compromise, a few more tweaks, something moves in the right direction, I hope it works.
And what you haven`t seen the leaders of the parties say, yes, definitely go back this bill. So, that is really what is the question mark. Will they be able to get a good number? Probably. Will it be enough? We don`t know.
MADDOW: Yes, from outside Congress, just as a lay observer of the thing, it feels to all of us watching, it will pass if the NRA says it can pass and won`t if the NRA says it can`t. First of all, is that too simplistic? Is the NRA determinative in terms of whether something like this can get enough Republican votes to pass? And if so, what do you think how they reacted to it?
DEMIRJIAN: I mean, the NRA is very, very strong. It has a lot of influence when it comes to these gun control measures. And the NRA does not support Collins` proposal. They have said that.
So, the question is, do Republicans say, you know what, we are going to break from the NRA on this one? Clearly, some of them are saying yes.
I think earlier today, Lindsey Graham, who talks about how he owns an AR- 15 and a ton of other guns, too, directly addressed the NRA to, my friends there, you know, I am comfortable with the idea. This may inconvenience somebody who wants to be able to purchase a firearm if they pop up on one of these subsets of the terror watch lists that Collins bill is focusing on, what I am not OK with, is an actual terrorist getting a firearm. We can correct the mistake if someone is mistakenly prevented from having a gun. But we can`t correct if the mistake if a terrorist bent on causing mass casualties buys the gun and goes and does something like this.
So, the fact that you have a few Republicans with a pretty pro-gun record, pro gun record saying, you know what, this is where I am drawing a line, and challenging other senators, basically daring them not to vote for the bill, Graham also said, you know, if anybody votes for the bill, they are betting that nobody on those lists, and they`re talking about the no-fly list, and the selectee list when we talk about the Collins measure, that nobody buys a gun and kills anybody. And if that happens, he`s saying, people are going to have to answer for it.
So, is that enough to counteract the NRA? It depends on where the lawmakers are. I mean, there are some true believers, for whom, it`s not that the NRA has any sort of leverage over them, right? But others who it might, they might swing.
MADDOW: Karoun Demirjian, congressional reporter for "The Washington Post", fascinating dynamics and sort of unexpected, or at least territory we haven`t been at before -- thanks for helping us to understand it. I appreciate it.
DEMIRJIAN: Of course. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: On your calendar for early tomorrow, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump planning a speech in which he says he`s going to lay out his case against Hillary Clinton. So, he`s not like talking on the economy or foreign policy or something and tomorrow is big plan -- "Hillary Clinton is bad" speech. That`s at 10:30 a.m. Eastern. Don`t miss it. Or do. Your choice.
But 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