Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: August 3, 2016 Guest: Caroline Fayard
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: This is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
We`ve seen a lot of I guess ups and downs -- can we call it that? -- in this political season. We`ve had at least a lot of bewildering twists and turns in this political season. But with everything we`ve been through over the past year, we have never seen a day of news quite like this.
This was the lead today at CNN.com. "Republicans reacted with dismay today as Donald Trump`s campaign descended into disarray. Trump`s White House bid slipped into unprecedented uncertainty with 97 days to go until the election, with even senior members of his campaign team registering frustration with their boss after a political meltdown." That was CNN.com.
This was the lead at Politico.com today. "Donald Trump is facing a whirlwind of criticism from Republican leaders, including some of his closest allies as he fends up reports of a staff shake-up, another intervention, and even rumblings that he could be urged to step aside as the party`s nominee."
This is being called, quote, "one ever the most bizarre days in recent campaign history." Quote, "sources close to the campaign tell a story of dysfunction and dismay inside the fifth floor offices at Trump Tower."
One Trump adviser saying today that the candidate, quote, "literally cannot help himself, when it comes to responding to perceived slights or taunts. His team and closest allies are demoralized and frustrated."
Here`s another one. Quote, "Some Republicans are close to bailing. At a certain point, people are going to say it`s more important that something`s left of the Republican Party than stopping Hillary Clinton. And it`s getting close to that point."
Here`s another one, "Trump is less than two feel weeks into his time as the Republican nominee, and the top trending question on Google is, is Trump dropping out of the elections?"
This was only today at NBC News from Chuck Todd and the great Hallie Jackson. Quote, "Key Republicans close to Donald Trump`s orbit are plotting an intervention with the candidate after a disastrous 48 hours led some influential voices in the party to question whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket without catastrophic consequences for his campaign and the Republican Party at large."
Whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket. Whether he can stay? Whether?
I mean, I realize things are bad and weird on the Republican side of American politics right now. Within the past day, Donald Trump demanded that a crying baby be thrown out of his rally after having just moments earlier said that he liked the crying baby. That was weird.
He also said that he wanted to earn a Purple Heart, but it was much easier to receive one as a gift.
He voluntarily entered into day five of a fight with the family of a soldier who was killed in Iraq. A family that he says has no right to criticize him.
He then capped it all off last night by giving a lengthy interview to a newspaper that he has banned from covering him at his political events. Candidate Trump will not allow "Washington Post" reporters to attend and cover his political events. They are part of his massive, media black list. But he nevertheless, sat down with a "Washington Post" reporter last night and told "The Post" that he did not endorse the highest ranking Republican in Congress. The highest ranking Republican in Congress who did go out on a limb to endorse Trump, but Trump is not returning the favor.
So, yes, things are a little kooky, undoubtedly. But the Republican convention is over. The Republican primary is over.
The Republican Party picked Donald Trump. He is their nominee. Now they`re talking about getting rid of him, today? In August?
Today is the day they`re really thinking about maybe getting him off the top of the ticket. This is very -- here`s ABC news today. "Republican officials are exploring how to handle a scenario that would be unthinkable in a normal election year. What would happen if the party`s presidential nominee dropped out? ABC News has learned that senior party officials are so frustrated and confused by Trump`s erratic behavior, that they`re exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he drops out."
Again, that`s ABC News. Here`s NBC News, "Stunned Republicans are seriously considering the idea of an exit ramp." Quote, "There`s absolutely no indication Trump is considering leaving the race," but still, quote, "some Republicans are quietly considering the arcane mechanics of what would happen to the party`s ticket if Trump was to leave the presidential race."
CNN today talks to a Republican source who generates this stunning -- this will be an artifact of this time in our American political life someday. This is just a stunning couple of sentences here. Check this out.
"The source insisted that there was no real movement yet to prepare for Trump exiting the race, a step that would be unprecedented in modern politics. But the source also noted that if Trump did quit before September 1st, it would theoretically be possible for the Republican Party to come up with a nominee who could get on the ballot in enough states to reach the 270 electoral votes need to win the presidency."
You guys already have a nominee! The Republican convention was two weeks ago. Now they`re thinking about maybe nominating somebody else for president, today?
We haven`t had a day like this. Who thought we could have a day like this, after their convention? But this is stunning stuff. I mean, of course there is no way to force him out. Donald Trump won the Republican Party`s presidential nomination, fair and square. The Republican Party itself did everything they could at their convention to make sure the last few die- hards who wanted to try to nominate somebody other than Trump, the RNC itself did everything they could to make sure those folks didn`t get anywhere beyond an embarrassing tantrum during the roll call.
But now, now that they`ve got them, the way their candidate is behaving as their nominee, which it should be noted is entirely consistent with the way he`s behaved as a primary candidate and indeed throughout his entire life, now, they`ve noticed he`s not a great nominee, maybe. Now that they are officially stuck with him, apparently the Republican Party wants to not be stuck with him. And they`re preparing themselves for the prospect that he might do them all a favor by quitting the race.
Republican sources are now, to multiple news agencies, floating the prospect that if Donald Trump is going to quit the race, he should please do so before September 1st, because that would be really convenient for the Republican Party, because they could wave a magic wand and try to squeak somebody onto the ballot in a few states. I`m sure he`ll be trying to do it in the most considerate way possible if he does quit.
Yet, this is crazy. This is crazy. This is a nutty day in American politics. That said, there`s very rarely anything truly new under the sun. And there is one modern precedent for a major presidential candidate quitting in the middle of the race.
In 1992, July 16th, 1992, independent candidate, who was polling about a third of the vote at that point, in July 1992, Ross Perot dropped out of the race. A lot of people were talking about what a giant polling bump Bill Clinton got out of the convention in 1992. You know what? Most of the reason Bill Clinton got a polling bump out of 1992 is because on the last day of his convention in 1992, Ross Perot dropped out of the race.
And Ross Perot had a third of the vote at that point, and Clinton capitalized on it, and the moment, by seeming like the next best thing to people who had been Ross Perot voters. That`s where the giant convention bump came from in 1992.
Ross Perot quit for a second. So it has happened before. Ross Perot was also an eccentric billionaire who ran for president and he did very well running for president. And in the middle of running for president, he dropped out. He dropped out in July and he stayed out for a couple of months. He got back in in October. It was one of the weirder and ultimately forgotten things about his run.
Maybe Donald Trump will do something crazy like that. The fact that the Republican Party is now openly hoping for something like that, tells you how desperate they have become and maybe how much denial they were in up until now.
But if that`s not going to work, if Donald Trump isn`t going to quick, there is one other avenue open to the Republican Party, and that other avenue is something that is within their own power to choose, no matter what Donald Trump does. And that other avenue, that other option is that the Republican Party, instead of hoping that Donald Trump is going to quit, instead of hoping Donald Trump might do them that favor and do it in a considerate way, instead of hoping that Donald Trump would quit, the Republican Party could quit Donald Trump.
That prospect was raised today in "The New York Times". Talking specifically about candidate Trump picking a fight with the grieving family of Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in Iraq in 2004, "The Times" says that Trump`s handling of that issue in particular, quote, "may trigger drastic defections within the Republican Party." Quote, "Republican lawmakers and strategists have begun to entertain abandoning him, abandoning Trump en masse."
Really? Really? We do have one modern precedent for a major presidential candidate quitting, dropping out of the race temporarily. That was Ross Perot in 1992. We do also have one example and only one example that I know of, of the Republican Party quitting one of their own candidates, quitting en masse, quitting all together, publicly, unmistakably saying, no, we quit that candidate. That candidate may be running as a Republican, but we reject that, we are not with him.
I know of only one time when it has happened before. And it was inspiring when it happened, and it didn`t work. And that story`s next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TV ANCHOR: And in Louisiana, Republican candidate David Duke will likely know tomorrow night whether he was able to overcome the opposition of the president and the former president of the United States in his race for the Louisiana legislature. NBC`s Kenley Jones reports tonight that the overriding issue is Duke`s past involvement in the Ku Klux Klan.
REPORTER: David Duke sounds like a Republican.
DAVID DUKE: Read my lips, George Bush, no new taxes.
REPORTER: But the Republican Party wants nothing to do with him.
LEE ATWATER, REPUBLICAN PARTY CHAIRMAN: And this man`s got a 20-year history participating in Ku Klux Klan and Nazi activities. There`s no place for this in the Republican Party, not as long as I`m chairman.
REPORTER: Duke`s Republican opponent, businessman John Treen, is getting extraordinary national party support for a state legislative race.
RONALD REAGAN: John has always worked for the traditional values and principles which you and I cherish.
REPORTER: Ronald Reagan recorded a radio commercial for him and President Bush sent a letter to voters in the district calling Treen the clear choice.
Duke cried foul.
DUKE: It`s not only heavy handed, it`s unethical. I`m just as much as legitimate Republican as John Treen or Reagan or Bush or any of these people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was in 1989. Former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke, was running as a Republican for a legislative seat in Louisiana. And the Republican Party chairman Lee Atwater and the immediate past Republican president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, and the sitting president of the United States, George H.W. Bush, they call got involved directly and personally in a state legislative race, because they thought it was so important to try to stop David Duke.
And it did not work. David Duke won that race. And in fact, President Bush that year, ended up blaming himself a little bit, for David Duke winning that race. He said he was still compelled by principle to speak out against him, but he worried that maybe having done so might have ultimately helped Duke.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What does the party do next about David Duke?
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Well, I`ll leave that to Lee, but I strongly support what our National Chairman Lee Atwater has said in this matter. And maybe there was some feeling in Metairie, Louisiana, that the president of the United States involving himself in a state legislative election was improper or overkill.
I`ve read that. And I can`t deny that. But what I can affirm is, I did what I did because of principle, and Lee has done what he`s done because of principle. And this man, his record is one of racism and bigotry and I`m sorry, I just felt I had to speak out. But whether it helped or hurt, I don`t know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Despite the Republican Party absolutely and overtly clearly rejecting Republican state legislature candidate David Duke, despite everybody up to and including the president of the United States saying no to him, David Duke won that seat in 1989. He became a Republican state representative in Louisiana.
And then he kept on running for things. Within two years, he was the Republican candidate for governor of Louisiana. And again, Poppy Bush went right back at him. The sitting president of the United States told reporters that if he was a Louisiana voter, he`d vote for the Democrat in that race. He pulled out all the stops. He did everything he could do.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: What would you do if you were living there and you had to vote?
BUSH: What did you say?
REPORTER: What would you do in you were living in Louisiana and you had to vote?
BUSH: Well, I`d do what Buddy Roamer said, but I -- which was he`d end up voting for Edwards. But again, I do think that`s a matter the Louisiana people have to decide.
REPORTER: Would you vote for Edwards, sir?
BUSH: You know, there was a -- there was a -- well, what`s the choice, man?
I`ve got to be careful, because I do not want to tell the voters of Louisiana how to cast their ballots next week. That`s a right that we all cherish. It`s a personal right. And so they got to make their own decisions.
But when someone asserts that the Holocaust never took place, then I don`t believe that person ever deserves one iota of public trust. And when someone has so recently endorsed Nazism, it is inconceivable that such a person can legitimately aspire to leadership in a leadership role in a free society. And when someone has a long record, an ugly record of racism and of bigotry, that record simply cannot be erased by the glib rhetoric of a political campaign.
So I believe that David Duke is an insincere charlatan, I believe he`s attempting to hoodwink the voters of Louisiana, and I believe that he should be rejected for what he is, and what he stands for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s what it looks like when a party quits one of its own candidates, when they say "no." When they make it clear and they reject that candidate. That was 1991. That time it worked. It didn`t work in `89. But in 1991, when David Duke ran as the Republican candidate for governor in Louisiana, he lost that governor`s race badly.
And David Duke is a joke. David Duke has continued to run for everything over the years. He always loses. His high watermark was 1989.
Incidentally, I should tell you, David Duke still exists, and he is running for the U.S. Senate from Louisiana again this year. In just a moment, we`ll be talking with one of the more than 20 people who are running against him for that Senate seat this year.
But David Duke, and all of his bizarre neo-Nazi-Klanness, he`s really the only example that we`ve got in modern American politics of the Republican politics nationally quitting one of its own candidates, denouncing one of its own candidates, throwing everything they have got against him, in order to define themselves as different than that guy.
The Republican Party has only ever been able to summon that for David Duke. And now they`re talking about trying to summon that same strength about Donald Trump? They`ve only ever done it for David Duke. And A, Donald Trump is not David Duke. And B, when the Republican Party did that to David Duke, it had mixed results.
I mean, he did win that race in 1989, with two Republicans presidents campaigning openly against him, and the chairman of the Republican Party inveighing against him. Duke won that year.
So, are these -- there are these reports today that the Republican Party is so freaked out as of today about how Donald Trump is running for president that they want him to quit the race. They`re preparing for him to quit the race. They are getting their ducks in a row in case he does quit the race.
And if he won`t quit, they`re thinking about abandoning him en masse. Believe it when you see it. As of yesterday, the sum total of Republican members of Congress who are newly declaring that they won`t vote for Donald Trump was one retiring member of Congress, never heard from, from upstate New York, Richard Hanna. Today you can add a second member of Congress to that list. Adam Kinzinger from Illinois.
But that`s it, Hanna and Kinzinger. Other than that, the list of Republicans so horrified by Donald Trump`s behavior, that they`re publicly dumping him, they`re publicly quitting him, they`re saying they`ll support Hillary Clinton instead, that list includes a former staffer to Jeb Bush, a former staffer to Chris Christie, also Meg Whitman, who ran in California and lost by double-digits. That`s it.
We are in a remarkable time if you listen to the way Republicans talk about what`s going on in their party right now. It seems like they`re being torn asunder the way they talk about things. Their presidential candidate not only doesn`t endorse the top Republican in Congress, Politico.com reports that Trump`s campaign staffers are in Wisconsin, they`re working in House Speaker Ryan`s district in Wisconsin for Ryan`s primary opponent.
Trump staffers working on the ground for the guy who`s trying to oust the speaker of the House in the Wisconsin Republican primary, which happens next week, and yet, Paul Ryan continues to endorse Donald Trump.
Even with things that radical going on, even with all the desperation that all the anonymous sources are willing to spew to the press, about how upset they are and how freak out they are about their nominee, the actual defections at this point, you can count them on one hand.
The Republican Party just isn`t wired to show considerable spine at moments like this. They are not wired to stand up on principle in circumstances like this. I mean, yes, the party picks a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, yes, they can stand up to that. But short of that, are they going to find a spine here? Really? Believe it when you see it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DUKE: After the great outpouring of overwhelming support, I`m proud to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate. I believe in equal rights for all and respect for all Americans. However, what makes me different is, I also demand respect for the rights and the heritage of European Americans.
I`m overjoyed to see Donald Trump and most Americans embrace most of the issues that I`ve championed for years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: David Duke, white supremacist, former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard, once the Republican Party`s candidate for governor of Louisiana, much to the horror of the National Republican Party. He`s really America`s most famous cartoonish racist.
And this year, he says he literally is overjoyed to see the rise of Donald Trump in national Republican politics. Donald Trump has now become a daily headache for the mainstream Republican Party, but in the deep dark, David Duke corner of the Republican Party, Donald Trump is Christmas, and happy birthday and Mardi Gras all rolled into one.
If Donald Trump can become the Republican Party`s presidential nominees with his views on race and immigrants and retweeting white supremacists and taking a while to renounce support for a guy like David Duke, while then David Duke apparently sees a bright new future in Republican politics for his old school Klan version of Republican politics. And so, praising Trump, Duke announced to run for Senate in Louisiana this year. He`s running for the open U.S. Senate seat vacated by scandal-hounded conservative Republican David Vitter.
And right on schedule, Republicans started repudiating David Duke and his new run for office. Local Republican Party put out a statement, calling him a convicted felon and a hate-filled fraud who does not embody the values of the Republican Party. The Senate campaign, part of the National Republican Party said immediately that David Duke will not have the support of the NRSC under any circumstance.
But it`s interesting. The Republican Party`s presidential nominee has not been so definitive. You might remember that Trump was slow to disavow Duke`s praise for him a few months ago. Then last week on "Meet the Press," there was this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHUCK TODD, MEET THE PRESS: Would you support a Democrat over David Duke, if it was necessary to defeat him?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I guess depending on who the Democrat. But the answer would be yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Depending on who the -- depending on who the -- really?
There`s some Democrats that maybe -- naturally David Duke immediately pointed to that as evidence that Donald Trump could potentially support him for the Senate, depending on the Democrat. Barf. Sorry. That came out wrong.
But listen, there are 24 candidates in this primary for this Louisiana Senate seat. 24 candidates and they all run at once. It`s one big primary. If no candidate gets over 50 percent, which is likely, when there`s 24 candidates, then the top two vote getters go to a run-off, regardless of which party they`re in.
David Duke has run for office a gazillion times in Louisiana. He`s only ever won one of those races. Running against David Duke has to be disgusting at one level, but is running against him this year, in the context of Donald Trump`s Republican party, is that something different? Is David Duke right that Donald Trump`s Republican success this year gives somebody like David Duke more fertile soil to run in than he`s used to?
Joining us now is Caroline Fayard. She`s one of seven Democrats and 24 candidates total who are running to replace Louisiana Senator David Vitter.
Ms. Fayard, thank you for being here. I appreciate you being here.
CAROLINE FAYARD (D), LOUISIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: Thank you for having me, Rachel.
MADDOW: So there are a million of you running in this Senate race. And I`m not going to ask you to handicap the race overall. But there is national interest in this famous racist running for office again, saying that he feels he`s got a good chance this year because of David Duke. Do you think he`s right in that analysis?
FAYARD: Look, I mean, David Duke represents the worst of Louisiana`s past and frankly he`s crawled out of the swamp, seeing an opportunity, a way to divide us even further, and we have to stand up against that in Louisiana. And whatever his motivations are, however twisted that mind may be, I`m proud to be able to run in this race and provide a clear contrast to, you know, who we really are down in Louisiana, and what we want for our future and our country.
MADDOW: And the Republican primary in Louisiana, Donald Trump did very well. Is it -- do you feel like in Louisiana, in a red state like Louisiana, that the Republican Party is different now than it used to be?
FAYARD: The truth of the matter, I think Louisiana has progressed. We have a Democratic governor, John Bel Edwards, right now. And our presidential primaries, we had more Democrats that turned out to vote for Bernie or for Hillary, than we actually did for the Republican side.
People are looking for somebody to deliver and get results in Washington, D.C. I mean, I travel the state, campaigning for this, it`s my full time job campaigning for this. And when I got in, it was really about, look, we`re running against an old guard, they really don`t do much, they`ve been in office, you know, 98 years combined, what you`re getting for it?
But now that David Duke is in this race, the stakes are more important to call him out for who he truly is, and we stand up to bullies.
MADDOW: There`s a mathematical worry about this race, with so many people running, even with the way -- everybody`s going to run a different kind of campaign, have different endorsements, the stakes are going to shake out whoever they do. But because he`s nationally famous as a cartoonishly evil racist, when you`re running in a field of 24, and all you need to do is get the top two vote totals, a lot of people are worried that on name recognition alone, or by everybody else splitting the vote, he`s likely to make the run-off?
FAYARD: Look, there`s a poll recently that showed Duke had 13 percent support. And, you know, the problem is, how do you real poll someone like David Duke, who is really 100 percent honest? He could be out-performing that and his vote is a hard core vote. No question.
I`m lucky, being the Democratic female in the race, it`s a clear contrast. His voters aren`t necessarily the voters that I`m talking to. I`m focused on the future, equal pay for equal work. We want paid family medical leave. We want people to go to college that`s affordable, and they don`t go up in a lifetime of debt. These are the issues that people need to talk about.
But David Duke has gotten in and clouded the debate. And it`s likely he ends up in a run-off and it`s my job to make sure I`m there fighting against him.
MADDOW: Bobby Jindal, former governor in Louisiana, ran for president and did terribly. Not to insult him, but I sort of feel like he was in 2016 what Rick Perry was in 2012, that on paper, he was great. And on paper, he sort of had everything lined up and then he just was not ready at all for primetime on the national stage. Because he did implode so sort of spectacularly on the national stage, did that remove him as an influence in statewide Republican politics?
FAYARD: Well, Jindal was a tremendous disappointment. And he remains one. Our state is in a serious financial crisis. We`re trying to bail out of what he left us with.
The truth of the matter is that he ran for president on the backs of the people of Louisiana. It was his ego that drove him to do it, and we see that throughout this election cycle, don`t we? And when you listen to what David Duke says when he qualifies for the United States Senate in 2016, after being repudiated by the vast majority of voters, the 13 percent who may like him, that is true number, there`s a lot of people who don`t, he`s still out there fighting again, it has to be about ego and about his twisted rhetoric and it`s not right for Louisiana and it`s not right for our country.
MADDOW: Caroline Fayard, one of, again, seven Democrats, 24 candidates total running in that ginormous Senate primary, thanks for coming.
FAYARD: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: Really appreciate a chance to talk to you about this. Good luck.
MADDOW: If you see David Duke, don`t tell him I said hi.
Whenever we talk about him, he calls. Mr. Duke, if you`re listening, please don`t call.
Thanks. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: We`re getting first reports of some breaking news tonight out of London, and it`s bad news. One woman has reportedly been killed, and up to six other people have been injured in what`s being described as a mass stabbing -- a knife attack, with multiple victims in the heart of central London, in Russell Square.
Right now, London`s metropolitan police say they are investigating terrorism as a potential motive, but it`s not clear at all at this point if that is what`s behind this attack, or if it could have had some other impetus. Police apparently responded to the scene shortly after 10:30 local time in the U.K. after reports of an armed man attacking people. One man was arrested on the scene. One of the arresting officers tasered him and then he was arrested.
But we do not have further information at this point on the person who was arrested or the motivation for this attack. But again the bottom line is, one woman was killed, up to six people were injured after being stabbed in a mass stabbing, in a knife attack tonight in Central London, a busy part of Central London. We`ll keep you posted as we learn more.
MADDOW: Hey, the Olympics started today. Really. The opening ceremony isn`t until the day after tomorrow, on Friday, but the Rio Games are under way. They started the soccer matches today. Yay!
And like all Olympics, there are all sorts of worries about whether or not Rio is capable of pulling off this giant international event. Brazil in general, Rio in particular, are dealing with everything from political instability, to pollution, to crime, to the Zika virus, to the overall economic and geophysical dislocation that entails every time we do one of these giant things, summer and winter, in a new place every two years.
But in addition to the normal range of worries and normal range of security worries about these Olympics, there`s also new fairly spooky news about ISIS. "The New York Times" reports that for weeks now, is has been translating their core propaganda into Portuguese, which is the main language spoken in Brazil. ISIS has started tweeting for the first time in Portuguese. They appear to be directly trying to recruit people, to recruit Brazilians to attack the games, and to attack people in Brazil.
Now, to be clear, the claim isn`t that ISIS has some incredible penetration in Brazil specifically. It`s not that ISIS has some big sell in Brazil that`s plotting something that nobody knows about. The claim is ISIS appears to be looking to recruit Brazilians to attack on their home country on their own soil during the games.
And in the midst of those worries specifically about Rio, "The New York Times" also this new incredibly detailed scoop on how ISIS organizes attacks in foreign countries. How they organize attacks that are sort of technically international, they are technically foreign, but they are committed by people in their home country. They`re basically directed from ISIS home base in Iraq and Syria, but they can happen around the globe.
That scoop today from "The New York Times" includes an interview with a young German man who last year decided he want to commit himself to the Islamic State, he wanted to live there, he wanted to be part of their fight. He traveled by land to Syria last year. He says he was quickly disillusioned once he got there.
He said even though he went through some training there, he didn`t participate in any murders. He tried to leave, he escaped. Before he escaped, before he left, he was basically read into ISIS`s internal operations for how they arrange and ultimately commit attacks in the West, and it was a pretty amazing series of statements that he made in this interview. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) said he wanted to leave, but it wouldn`t be easy. It was clear that he and other European recruits were especially value to ISIS and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One man approached me and said, I heard you used to live in London and I heard you were born in Germany and do you have any contacts or any networks in Germany, who are willing to give their life for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi? And I told him, no, I don`t have no one. Then he said, especially in Germany, looking for people to give their life. My friend asked them, what about France? They were asking about England and Germany, they don`t have people who are ready to give their life. And then, my friend asked them, what about France, and they started laughing, but really serious laughing with tears in their eyes. And they said, don`t worry about France. They said, no problem. Don`t worry about France. France, we have enough people.
CALLIMACHI: Wow. And that was probably in April.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In April.
CALLIMACHI: So five, six months before the November 13th attacks. Interesting. And what did you say?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I said, no, I`m not willing to go back and I don`t know any persons.
CALLIMACHI: Recording how many of the fighters sent by the Secret Service of ISIS have returned back to Europe, do you have any idea?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s quite a lot. You can tell now that many people still in the heart feel as part of the Islamic State, and they still have ties, and they still have friends in the Islamic State. So it`s easy for people in the Islamic State to get hold of them and, yeah.
CALLIMACHI: Would you say dozens, hundreds?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s hundreds of them, definitely.
CALLIMACHI: Do you think any are from Canada or America?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are Americans. But he said that for America and Canada, it`s much more easier to get them over social network, because they say Americans, they`re dumb, because they have open gun policy. They said it`s easy to get radical Muslims to buy guns.
We can radicalize them easily and if they don`t have criminal record, they can buy guns themselves. So, we don`t need no contact to buy guns for them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, there are Americans, but it`s easy. Americans are easy. We just get them over the social networks. They don`t have to be there. Americans are dumb. They have these open gun policies.
We can radicalize them easily and they can buy them guns themselves. We don`t need a contact man who has to provide guns for them.
He said it`s easier for ISIS to recruit Americans to commit attacks here than it is anywhere else in the West because of our gun laws. It`s very unsettling to hear from a man who is in a position to know. It`s also tremendous reporting.
Joining us now is Rukmini Callimachi. She`s "The New York Times" correspondent focused on ISIS and al Qaeda. I`m also happy to say, Rukmini is now an NBC and MSNBC contributor.
Rukmini, very happy to have you here officially and it`s great to have you with us tonight. Thanks for being with us.
RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thank you, Rachel. Great to be here.
MADDOW: So, the circumstances of this interview, from what I understand, this guy has just spent a year in solitary confinement. He`s in maximum security prison in Germany. He`s just out of solitary confinement. How did this interview come about? Why did he decide to speak to you?
CALLIMACHI: I think part of what is happening is that the Ministry of Justice in Germany and German police and intelligence are hopeful that this man is going to become a voice for a counter-narrative against ISIS. I was introduced to him first by his lawyer, but before we could get access to him, it was the ministry of justice and the prison.
And I went to interview him on Monday. Today, several crews of German reporters were there to interview him. And I believe more will be there tomorrow.
MADDOW: One of the things that you raise with him at the end of this interview that you posted at "The Times" website is the question of whether or not he feels like he`s in danger. I mean, obviously, the Germans wanted to put him out to, as you say, basically be a voice about somebody who has seen ISIS, maybe he could dissuade other people, other Germans who might have interest in joining up with them. But ISIS has to also see him as a traitor, as somebody who was there and escaped and is now speaking out against them in a way that`s very compelling.
Isn`t he in -- does he see himself as being in danger? Is the German government going to have to protect him in some way?
CALLIMACHI: I asked him that very question and he said to me that he knows who the people are that are dangerous in Germany and that he plans to avoid them. That`s neither here nor there. It seems that this is a person that they know, that went very far into their hierarchy. He was inducted into ISIS`s special forces and went through their most rigorous training.
So, yes, I think that is a question. And it opens up this larger question of, in the face of what`s happening in Syria, of how many thousands of foreign fighters have gone there, what do we do with these people when they do see the light of day and want to defect? So he is doing his prison time now, but what is their place in society once they`re released? I mean, they`re seen as a traitor by is. They`re most likely going to be seen as a terrorist by his home country.
MADDOW: Rukmini, you`ve added so much detail to what we understand about how ISIS is able to not quite direct and not quite inspire, but somewhere in between, basically how they`re able to give rise to international attacks that have more or less overt connection to ISIS, but probably wouldn`t happen if ISIS didn`t exist. In addition to that, we also got that remarkable moment from him today about America, where he said that ISIS has a particular and unique attitude toward attacks in America, where they think they have to do less in order to get attacks here, because of our gun laws.
Have you heard that argument elsewhere? Is that the first time you`ve heard that? Do you have any evidence if that is the ISIS take on American terrorism?
CALLIMACHI: It is the first time I`m hearing it, and there is some irony to a former ISIS fighter wagging his finger at America about our lax gun laws. What he did also describe to me, and this is borne out in the documents that I reviewed, is that in Europe, they`re looking to send people back who already have a criminal network in place.
So if you think back to November 13th Paris attacks, most of the attackers had a pretty heavy, petty crime roster. They had been thieves. They had been involved in fraud.
And we now realize from speaking to him, that that`s on purpose. They`re looking for people with a criminal network. Because in Europe, it`s very hard to get certain tools such as the arms that you need to carry that out. So he explains to us, that in America, that middle step is taken out. They don`t need to look for people with a criminal record, because people like Omar Mateen, in Orlando, Florida, can just go and buy a gun essentially over the counter.
MADDOW: Wow. Tremendous. It`s unsettling. But it`s better to know than to not know. But very unsettling.
Rukmini Callimachi, "New York Times" correspondent and now NBC and MSNBC contributor -- Rukmini, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate you being here.
CALLIMACHI: Thanks so much for having me.
MADDOW: All right. We`ve got lots more to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: All right. Coming up next on the show, we`ve got news that you have not heard elsewhere. News from a very, very red state that just did a very not red state kind of thing. Things do change sometimes when you least expect it, and that very surprising story from the heartland is next.
MADDOW: The first congressional district in Kansas is known as the Big First, which is a thing that -- we should have that name for other things. The Big First, the first congressional district is called that in Kansas because it is physically very large. It covers well over half the state. That dark green, that`s all the Kansas first congressional district. It`s just massive.
And last night, something big and unexpected happened in the Big First. A Tea Party Republican congressman by the name of Tim Huelskamp, he lost his seat. He lost his Republican primary in the big first last night in Kansas, and he lost it really badly. He lost by 13 points.
And generally speaking, it`s rare for any incumbent member of Congress to lose for any reason. It`s especially rare this year.
For all the talk about this huge cataclysmic rift in the Republican Party over Donald Trump, up until last night only two Republicans had lost their seats in a primary this year. And in both cases, it wasn`t because of some big rift in the party or widespread voter discontent or some throw the bums out feeling. It was because of redistricting. It was because those members of Congress had to run in a district that had shifted since the last time they ran. So until last night that`s it.
So Tim Huelskamp losing his seat, that`s a big deal. It`s also a big and unusual deal because usually when Republicans get primaried it`s because they redeemed insufficiently conservative. They get a primary challenge running at them from the right.
In this case it was the opposite. Tim Huelskamp is one of the most far right members of Congress. And the guy who beat him, the guy who threw him out of his seat, was actually kind of a moderate challenger. And that new from a surprising direction wind turns out it wasn`t just blowing in the big first.
Last night turned out to be a brutal night for conservatives in Kansas, particularly for conservative allies of their Republican Governor Sam Brownback. Moderate Republicans appear to have prevailed in 10 out of 16 state Senate races last night. Seven incumbents also lost their seat in the house.
Think about that. Ten incumbent senators got turfed out. Half a dozen -- more than half a dozen House incumbents got turfed out. They all lost their primaries.
When Governor Sam Brownback was elected in 2010, he said he wanted to conduct a real-life experiment with that state`s economy, with enormous tax cuts that blew a huge hole in the state`s budget. The "Kansas City Star" called last night`s results with all the conservatives getting thrown out a stunning rebuke to the governor. The "Wichita Eagle" said, quote, "It was just the accountability election that the statehouse needed."
And maybe this is a state-specific thing because Kansas took such a hard right turn these past six years, or maybe this is the start of something bigger than Kansas. Even bigger than the Big First. Who knows? Watch this space.
MADDOW: New national poll out from FOX News tonight shows Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by 10 points nationwide. Last time they did that poll she was up by 6. Now, she`s up by 10.
But also look at this. The same poll asked voters if they were familiar with how Donald Trump responded to the Khan family after Captain Humayun Khan`s parents spoke at the Democratic convention. Nearly 80 percent of voters said they had some level of familiarity with that story.
Asked whether Donald Trump`s behavior toward the Khan family was, quote, "out of bounds," Americans say it was out of bounds. And they say that by a 50-point margin. By 50 points, Americans disagree with how Donald Trump has treated the Khan family, 50 points. That`s how you lose elections. And horrify the whole country. All at the same time.
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.
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