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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 8/30/2016

Guests: Bill Nemitz

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: August 30, 2016 Guest: Bill Nemitz

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: It`s going to be casual Chris Hayes late night?

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: Casual Chris Hayes.

MADDOW: Really?

HAYES: It`s a special doubleheader evening game version of your humble host.

MADDOW: Have you been chaffing all this time, wanting to do your show without a tie, and this is just you?

HAYES: I like them both. Different sides of the same person.

MADDOW: Wow. I`m very excited. Thank you, my friend. See you later, without that.

Thanks to you at home for staying with us for the next hour.

We`re keeping an eye on a few ongoing stories tonight, including some interesting news about the presidential campaign that has just broken in the last few minutes. We`re going to have the reporter who broke that story here with us, I think, live in just a moment, although that`s still being worked out.

This is the scene tonight right now in Everett, Washington. This is a live shot of the Xfinity Arena in Everett, Washington, where Donald Trump is slated to take the stage for a rally there within the hour.

This is worth watching tonight for a couple of reasons. One of which is just that it`s very strange for them to be doing this event there tonight. I mean, this event tonight, this Xfinity Arena, it`s a big arena. It holds 10,000 people. The Trump campaign said they had RSVPs for like 13,000 people who wanted to attend this thing, and that must make them feel great. That`s a lot of Trump supporters who will presumably be roaring back at Donald Trump tonight when he gives his remarks at this big event.

But a 10,000-seat arena is also an expensive thing to rent, and heading into this phase of the campaign, heading into Labor Day in a presidential election year, a presidential candidate`s time is unbelievably precious. So why are they spending their candidate`s time and their donors` money to do this?

I mean, no matter what happens, and no matter how many people -- how many thousands of people turn out to cheer for Donald Trump tonight at this event in Washington state, that you see on the left side of your screen here, there honestly is no way that Donald Trump is going to win Washington state.

I mean, Mitt Romney lost Washington state by 15 points. John McCain lost Washington state by 17 points. And, yes, I guess anything is possible, in politics and who knows, maybe this year will be different. But the latest polling in Washington shows Donald Trump losing by even more than those guys did. The latest polling has Donald Trump trailing in that state by 19 points.

So, why is he there tonight? Doing a fund-raiser or something in a state that you can`t compete in, that might make sense. Spending your donors` money to rent yourself a giant arena in a state you won`t compete in, that honestly makes no sense.

And it`s not like the Trump campaign has all the battleground states covered, so they can afford to take random side trips like this, to set their donors` mono fire. PBS "NewsHour" did some great reporting today on the ground level state of the race. They literally counted granular evidence of what the campaigns are doing in 15 states. They compiled office data for 15 states. They spoke with state and national campaign officials. They cross referenced with FEC spending reports, checked local news coverage, they did this granular quantitative reporting, and the overall numbers they came up with are very stark.

In these 15 competitive states, they looked at, the Clinton campaign has tripled the number of campaign offices that the Trump campaign does. But the state by state detail is even worse. In Virginia, the Trump campaign claims to have 18 offices, but all 18 of them turn out to be regular offices run by the Republican Party. The Trump campaign itself appears to have zero campaign offices in Virginia.

In other major states, where they`re supposedly going flat out, the numbers are almost unbelievable. Take Pennsylvania, where the Clinton operating 36 field offices, according to PBS. The Trump campaign, in contrast, has two -- 36 offices versus two offices.

In North Carolina, the Clinton campaign has 26 field offices. The Trump campaign has one.

In Florida, the Clinton campaign reportedly has 34 field offices across the state. The Trump campaign again has one. They have one campaign office in Sarasota.

So, if you have been donating your hard-earned money to the Trump campaign, rest assured there`s almost no chance that your money is being spent to open field offices and staff, get out the vote operation centers in states where Donald Trump actually needs to fight to win. Rest assured they`re not spending your money on that.

What they are spending your money on is paying to rent Donald Trump a big 10,000-seat arena in Washington state, which should be awesome tonight.

Why are they doing this?

That said, tomorrow Donald Trump will go somewhere that might be a battleground state this year, if Republicans have a truly terrible year, and they have to resort to fighting to hold on to a state like Arizona. After Washington state tonight, Trump will head tomorrow to Phoenix, Arizona, for what the campaign has been calling a major speech on illegal immigration.

If you take them at their word that this is going to be a major speech on illegal immigration, then it is also awkward that on the eve of that major speech on illegal immigration, "Mother Jones" today published a long, deeply reported piece on Donald Trump`s modeling agency, and what is alleged to be its standard practice of hiring models from overseas, who were not legally allowed to work here.

Trump`s modeling agency allegedly encouraged models to lie on their customs and immigration forms as a matter of course. Quote, "If they ask you any questions, you`re just here for meetings."

Donald Trump`s campaign has declined to answer questions about these latest allegations -- again, awkwardly coming the night before he gives his big illegal immigration speech. The Trump campaign is saying all questions should be referred to Trump`s modeling agency, but Trump`s modeling agency also has not responded to requests for comment.

And, you know, this kind of reporting is awkward at anytime, whoever you are, but it`s particularly awkward, after you`re supposedly trying to reclaim your signature issue, your hard-line stance on illegal immigrants.

So, tonight, Donald Trump appearing inexplicably in Everett, Washington. Tomorrow, he`ll be in Phoenix, Arizona, for this illegal immigration speech. But as I said at the top of the show, we do have some breaking news, just in the past hour, about the Trump campaign.

Just within the last few minutes, "The Washington Post" has reported this news. The headline is "Trump considers last-minute meeting in Mexico with the country`s president." So, between the speech tonight in Washington state and the immigration speech tomorrow night in Arizona, "The Washington Post" is now reporting that Donald Trump is considering flying to Mexico City to meet with the Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

"The Washington Post" reporting tonight that talks between the Trump campaign and Mexican officials are ongoing. People informed of these plans requested anonymity due to the sensitivity surrounding the planning. They said that as of late tonight, talks between the Trump campaign and Mexican officials are ongoing. Trump is reportedly interested in going but logistics and will security concerns are still being sorted out.

According to "The Washington Post", Robert Costa and Karen DeYoung, tonight, representatives for the Trump campaign reached out early this week to the U.S. embassy in Mexico to talk about these intentions. That`s according to a person in Mexico, familiar with communication between the two camps.

Is Donald Trump going to sneak off into another country tomorrow before his big speech on illegal immigration?

Joining us now is Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post", who broke this story tonight with Karen DeYoung.

Robert, thanks very much for joining us, especially on such short notice. Really appreciate it.

ROBERT COSTA, THE WASHINGTON POST (via telephone): Hello from "The Post" newsroom.

MADDOW: From deep inside "The Post" newsroom.

Robert, first of all, tell me what the overall plan is here. Had there been some plan under way for Trump and the Mexican president to meet in some other circumstances, and they`ve decided to move it to Mexico? Is this something that`s all been brand-new, that`s all recently planned?

COSTA: Well, Rachel, weeks ago, the Mexican president made clear publicly that he`d be willing to meet with Donald Trump. And according to my sources, and Karen DeYoung`s sources in both Mexico and the United States, the Mexican president also extended a letter, an invitation to Trump to come meet to discuss economic and political issues in Mexico City.

Trump over the weekend met with his advisers in New Jersey, his weekend retreat, did some debate prep and also thought through what he wanted to do this week to really make some headlines, to be cast as a populist statesman, how his campaign sees it. So, Steve Bannon of Breitbart News urged him to come and think about going to Mexico, and this is how it all came together as a legitimate consideration.

MADDOW: Robert, the Mexican government obviously has not been pleased with the way Donald Trump has talked about Mexican immigrants, has talked about the Mexican government, has talked about Mexico paying for the wall that Donald Trump pledges he`s going to build.

Do we know anything about the Mexican side of these negotiations, such as they are, and why they want to meet with Donald Trump?

COSTA: Well, we know the Mexican president is interested in meeting with all major American political figures. That`s clear out of the Mexican side of our reporting.

But the fact that this meeting is being discussed and Trump wants to go to Mexico City, to fly there, doesn`t necessarily mean it`s going to happen. There`s still a lot of talk, that the Mexican president could come under pressure once this news happen and broke, to maybe not have the meeting and that Trump`s using it as a political opportunity rather than a policy meeting.

So, a lot of things are fluid right now, but we`re confident these discussions have been very active and Trump`s leaning toward going tomorrow.

MADDOW: One last question for you, Robert. In terms of your previous reporting, what you understand about presidential campaigns at this stage, particularly candidates with Secret Service protection. Presumably there would be a lot of logistical and security things that would have to be worked out in order for a presidential candidate to make a very, very short-notice international trip, even if it is just a trip to Mexico. That side of things, do we know if that is settled or if the Secret Service has been given enough leeway to make this happen in a safe way that they`re comfortable with?

COSTA: We`ve been told that the Secret Service is very concerned about the security here. And this is -- not that Mexico`s a hostile country, but that the welcome for Trump could be hostile from protesters and others. And whenever someone with Secret Service protection goes abroad, it calls for intense and increased protection. So these are things that are all being discussed tonight as Trump still tries to make the trip.

MADDOW: Robert Costa, national political reporter for "The Washington Post," with this intriguing scoop tonight.

Robert, thanks for joining us. I really appreciate it.

COSTA: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Again, this news just posted just moments ago at "The Washington Post," the headline is, "Trump considers last-minute meeting in the Mexico with the Mexican president." Donald Trump is expected, again, tonight, within the hour, to be appearing in Everett, Washington, at a giant rally, or at least a rally at a giant venue.

I think there are legitimate political questions as to what Donald Trump`s campaign is doing, spending money to rent a 10,000-seat venue in a state like Washington where the campaign has real absolutely no chance of getting anywhere near winning in November unless November is going to be something very different than we expect.

He`s going to be speaking at this rally tonight in Everett, Washington. He`s then due to be at a fund-raiser tomorrow morning in the state of California. Tomorrow night, he`s supposed to be in Phoenix, Arizona to, give his speech at the Phoenix Convention Center on illegal immigration.

But between that, California morning fund-raiser and the Phoenix speech tomorrow night, Robert Costa and Karen DeYoung at "The Washington Post" tonight reporting that Donald Trump is attempting to negotiate and arrange a last-minute trip to Mexico. Maybe Mexico will pay for it.

We`ve got much more to come tonight on what has turned out to be a very busy news day and news night.

Stay with us.


MADDOW: Again tonight, we do have this breaking news, intriguing news from "The Washington Post" that Donald Trump is reportedly considering flying to Mexico City at the last minute tomorrow, to meet with the president of Mexico. We don`t know if the campaign is going to be able to pull this off, but apparently, they`re trying to get Donald Trump into Mexico just hours before his speech on illegal immigration that`s scheduled for tomorrow night in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is potentially very big news reported tonight by "The Washington Post." It did just break moments ago. It`s in fact still breaking.

Since Donald Trump has said part of his problem with immigration to this country is that Mexico sends its rapists and criminals as immigrants into the United States. If this meeting between Donald Trump and the Mexican president does happen tomorrow, I imagine it will probably be a sparky one. But we don`t know.

Again, these late details just reported tonight, within the last few minutes from "The Washington Post."

We`ve got lots more ahead tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: For one hour next week, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will take the same stage for the first time in this general election. It will be the candidate`s first time participating in a forum together. Their first and possibly their only meeting before the presidential debates start. It`s going to happen a week from tomorrow.

MSNBC, NBC, and IAVA, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, will be hosting both of the presidential candidates from the two major parties in the Commander-in-Chief Forum. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump appearing back to back, talking about national security and veterans issues and war and peace. And the audience for that event will be filled with veterans and service members.

Because this general election isn`t really otherwise focusing on national security issues, that forum next week may be the first time we get to hear from both of the candidates on honestly what is otherwise the biggest non- political news in the world tonight, because tonight there is very, very big national security news.

Tonight, ISIS says one of their top guys has just been killed. When ISIS announced in 2014 that they were now a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, and all Muslims should move there to be part of the caliphate, the guy who made that announcement was Abu Mohammed al Adnani. When ISIS changed its mind and said, no, no, actually Muslims who support is should not come to Iraq and Syria, they should stay home and commit acts of terrorism in their home country, that was the same guy who made that announcement, that was al Adnani.

When ISIS this year announced its supporters should make a special effort to launch attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year, that announcement was made by the same guy, Abu Mohammed al Adnani.

He`s not the head of the caliphate, the guy who they all pledge allegiance to when they commit terrorist attacks, he`s not al Baghdadi. But honestly, al Baghdadi, that guy hasn`t been seen anywhere in years. This footage you see of him here, this was the last time anybody saw him, in the summer of 2014.

The guy from ISIS, the top ranking guy from ISIS who we do still see, the one who appears frequently, the one who issues all their public statements, the one who calls for attacks in the West, the one who declares that this year, Ramadan should be a Ramadan where there are lots of terrorist attacks, the guy who runs all of ISIS`s propaganda and communications, runs all of their online strategy, organizes all the video of combat and videos of beheadings and videos of torture, that guy is al Adnani, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani. And that is the one who is apparently just been killed.

There were earlier unconfirmed reports he might have been killed in or near Aleppo. But now, ISIS itself is saying that al Adnani has been killed. U.S. officials aren`t confirming it. But if he is dead, this is, by far, the highest ranking person ever taken out within ISIS.

Rukmini Callimachi at "The New York Times" reported earlier this year that al-Adnani is not -- should not just be seen as the spokesman for ISIS, and the chief strategist and chief of propaganda for ISIS. She reported earlier this summer that al Adnani has basically been personally directing all of ISIS`s external operations, which means he`s been in charge of recruiting ISIS supporters internationally, overseeing their training and their direction, organizing and instigating them to carry out terrorist attacks at home.

Al Adnani is considered to be responsible basically for the whole effort by ISIS to kill people not in Iraq and Syria, but in the West. The Bataclan attacks in Paris, the Brussels attack, the Bangladesh cafe attack, all of these things that have American civilians so freaked out about whether they`re going to attack us here, that we started screaming and panicking and running into the tarmac anytime there`s a loud noise at a major U.S. airport, this is the guy who was organizing all of the attacks in the West. This was a $5 million bounty on this guy`s head, and for a reason.

If Abu Mohammed al-Adnani is dead, as ISIS said he is, that`s huge. I mean, that`s not exactly the head off the snake, but it`s like maybe the neck -- snakes have necks?

Joining us now from Rome is Rukmini Callimachi. She`s "The New York Times" correspondent who specialized in ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Rukmini, it`s really nice of you to stay after the middle of the night to be here with us. Thanks for being here.

RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: So, U.S. officials are not yet officially confirming this death. From what you`re able to see online and what you`re able to see from your sources, what do you make of the sources that are claiming that he`s dead? Do those sources seem credible?

CALLIMACHI: Well, it`s being claimed in the most legitimate ISIS channels, starting with the Amaq news agency, and just a few hours ago, they released it in their main newsletter. So, as far as ISIS is concerned, this is official.

They have, however, incorrectly claimed their leader`s deaths before. Abaaoud, the guy who was behind the Bataclan attack, faked his own death before, but not at this level. So, at least as far as ISIS is concerned, this seems to be legit.

MADDOW: And, Rukmini, if he is, in fact, dead, do we know anything? Do we have any good information about how he was killed, how he was tracked down, by whom? If he was killed in Aleppo, obviously, there`s been a lot of fighting by a lot of different fractions, including air strikes from coalition and Russian forces in that area.

CALLIMACHI: What (AUDIO GAP) saying is that he was killed in Aleppo province on the battlefield, as he was going to check on a position. That is their version of events.

We know that the U.S. is claiming a strike in the general area. They have not yet confirmed that he was the one who was killed in that strike. But it could be that that strike is the one that took him out.

MADDOW: Rukmini, you recently interviewed a young German guy, who had gone to Syria to fight with ISIS.


MADDOW: And he came back disillusioned. It was a remarkable interview. We featured it on the show. And I remember from that interview that he told you that this guy, al Adnani, was in his words the big man behind everything. Everything goes back to him.

What did he mean by that? What is your understanding of what al Adnani was doing inside ISIS, how important he was?

CALLIMACHI: Sure. To the world, Adnani is the mouthpiece of the group. He`s the spokesman, as you outlined. He`s the one that the major statements are channeled through.

In our culture, a spokesman is not necessarily a leader. A spokesman is somebody who is carrying water for the leader. That`s very different inside ISIS. He`s much more than just the mouthpiece of this group. According to Harry Sarfo and according to several other recently arrested members of ISIS who spoke to French and European investigators, he was also the head of the Emni, when is the so-called secret service of ISIS.

And it is that body, a very secretive body, that within it has a unit that is dedicated to carrying out attacks in the west. The Bataclan attack originated within that group. And we know that Adnani was very much the yay or nay voice at the top of that hierarchy, deciding what target to hit, which fighters would go, what resources would be attributed to it, and then the propaganda scheme that would go around that particular attack.

He remains a very secretive figure. Harry Sarfo, who was enlisted in ISIS`s special forces, described how at the end of a very arduous training, that went through many levels, the people who managed to graduate from the special forces would be taken to see Adnani. But before taken to see him, they were blindfolded, they`re put in the back of a car, they were driven in zigzags for hours across the countryside, so they would have no idea where they were.

And then they would be let out of the car, brought before Adnani, and with the blindfold still on, told to recite an oath of allegiance to Adnani, never seeing him.

So, that gives you -- if that anecdote is accurate, it gives you a sense of the operational security that he operated under. There are very few photographs of him that exist, which I think is on purpose. It suggests a man who is trying to at some level keep himself secret, because of his high importance within the group.

MADDOW: Rukmini Callimachi, "New York Times" correspondent focusing on ISIS and al Qaeda -- Rukmini, thank you. Again, particularly for staying up into the middle of the night where you are to be with us. I really appreciate it.

CALLIMACHI: Thank you.

MADDOW: Again, this is not Baghdadi, right? This is not the guy who is head of the caliphate, but to the extent that we know anything about the way that ISIS operates, and particularly the way that ISIS is trying to wreak havoc in the West, this appears to be the guy who was running it all. Running online recruiting, running all communications strategy, running all of their visual propaganda, and deliberately okay -- deliberately organizing and strategizing around all of -- almost all of the spectacular attacks in the west that we know that ISIS has ever been able to pull off.

So, if that is the guy who has been killed, and again, U.S. officials are not yet confirming whether or not he`s dead, if he is in fact dead, this is a really big deal for ISIS and particularly for the threat that ISIS poses outside of Iraq and Syria. Huge news tonight.

All right, lots more to come tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: The largest protected area of ocean in the whole world is called - -

VOICE: Papahanaumokuakea.

MADDOW: I will say it one more time. Or this guy will.

VOICE: Papahanaumokuakea.

MADDOW: It`s hard to say. Forgive me for not attempting it.

But I think it`s neat and it`s the nation`s newest national monument. It`s the biggest we`ve had anywhere.

And President Obama is supposed to fly to Hawaii tomorrow, so he can be there to dedicate this new national monument on Thursday. There`s one problem, though, which is this -- which is supposed to get to Hawaii not long after President Obama does.

Hurricane Madeline peaked as a category 4, back down to a 3, sustained winds of 115 miles an hour. Madeline remains big enough for Hawaii to feel the effects of the storm during the president`s visit, even if it doesn`t make direct landfall.

And then after that, another category 3, Hurricane Lester is still trailing right behind Hurricane Madeline. Current forecasting shows Lester will likely get weaker over the next few days, but still, right now, we`re looking at two cat 3 hurricanes, one right after the other.

These storm tracks you`re seeing here are projections, what they show is what`s possible in terms of the direction of the storms. Over the next several days, though, Hawaii will be paying attention to these tracks and maps and possibilities.

At best, the islands can expect some really heavy rainfall and some rough seas. So far, they`re also expecting a visit from the president. That`s apparently still on. But we will keep you posted as we learn more.


MADDOW: Breaking political news tonight from Florida, results from Senate and congressional primaries are coming in. There are some interesting results.

In the contest for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida, Marco Rubio won his Republican primary tonight easily. He beat businessman and vocal Donald Trump supporter Carlos Beruff.

On the Democratic side, Congressman Patrick Murphy comfortably beat Congressman Alan Grayson tonight. So, that means it will be Marco Rubio versus Patrick Murphy for the Florida Senate seat in the fall.

Also big news tonight out of Florida, 12-term Florida Congresswoman Corrine Brown, she`s currently famous right now, because she`s under indictment on 22 corruption charges. Well, tonight, Corrine Brown lost her Democratic primary in her home district in Florida. That makes her only the fifth incumbent member of Congress to lose his or her seat this cycle in a primary. She`s only the second Democratic incumbent to lose this cycle. Before tonight, the only other Democratic incumbent to lose this whole year was Pennsylvania Congressman Chaka Fattah, who lost because he had also been indicted. In his case, on 29 counts.

Apparently, being under federal indictment does matter this year, which is nice.

But the big race everybody was watching, the South Florida district that`s currently represented by former Democratic Party chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She was facing a very tough primary challenge from progressive candidate Tim Canova.

Breaking just within the last few minutes, "The Associated Press" has now declared that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has held on to her seat. She`s won that race. She was declared the winner, beating her challenger 57-42 percent. That`s with 55 percent of precincts reporting.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, of course, was basically pushed out as chair of the DNC last month. Tim Canova, who boasted what his campaign called the largest field operation of any congressional race in the country, he raised just under $4 million, had four campaign offices in the district, he had over 40 paid staffers, hundreds of volunteers being knocking on 10,000 doors a week.

But we now can tell you tonight, it was not enough. Tim Canova also famously was endorsed by Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders early on sent out fundraising pleas on Tim Canova`s behalf only to ultimately vanish down the stretch. In his primary against Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders lost this particular district in South Florida by a 2-1 margin, but with Tim Canova`s loss tonight, a lot of people will be wondering why Bernie Sanders scaled back his support for Tim Canova so dramatically after initially coming out for him in such a big way.

Either way, it`s not an ideal start for the Bernie Sanders revolution,, which says they are going to help down-ticket candidates all over the country. This was the first big test of that since Our Revolution was founded and for Tim Canova, it did not end well.

We`ve got much more ahead. Stay with us.


MADDOW: The FBI keeps all sorts of criminal justice statistics, including arrests state by state, on specific kinds of crimes. We know from FBI data for the most recent year available, 2014, that in the great state of Maine in 2014, there were 1,211 people arrested in that state that year for selling or manufacturing drugs. Of those 1,211 arrests, about 170 of those people were black.

Nevertheless, Maine`s Republican governor appears to be gripped by a terrible racial fantasy that he knows what the drug problem is in Maine, and the drug problem in Maine is black people.


GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Let me tell you something, black people come up the highway and they kill Mainers. You ought to look into that.

REPORTER: Governor, we`re not trying to get into a battle. We just want to see --

LEPAGE: You`re a sick bunch of people. You make me so sick.


MADDOW: Maine`s Republican Governor Paul LePage a few days ago, yelling at reporters in the midst of what has now turned into a seemingly unstoppable e eruption from him. The people of Maine got the first sign that the eruption was starting, the first rumbles of the magma, when the governor announced at a town hall meeting last week, that he was keeping a binder of all the drug dealers in Maine. And forget whatever`s in the statistics, the governor basically said he was sure from what he sees in his binder that he`s keeping, this binder that he carries around with him, or keeps in his office, he said he`s sure from that binder, that, quote, "90-plus percent of the pictures in my book, and it`s a three-ring binder, 90 percent of them are black and Hispanic people."

First, the governor talked about the binder`s existence, then news organizations, including us, requested under freedom of access laws to please see the governor`s binder, so we could figure out what he`s flipping through at night with a flashlight under the covers that`s got him so excited. The more he tried to elaborate on this binder and his proof that the drug problem in Maine is all about black people, the more he tried to talk about it, the worse he got. Including this novel take from him on how you can tell the two sides apart in this war. Basically how you can tell who to shoot at.


LEPAGE: When you go to war, if you know the enemy, the enemy dresses in red and you dress in blue. You shoot at red. Don`t you? You`ve been in uniform. You shoot at the enemy. You try to identify the enemy.

And the enemy right now, the overwhelming majority of people coming in are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.


MADDOW: The enemy right now, the enemy you shoot at are people of color. People of Hispanic origin. That obviously caused some hard questions from the local press, some criticism from local lawmakers.

One Democratic state rep told reporters that the governor`s racially charged remarks were not going to help get to any real solutions on Maine`s very real drug problem. That fairly mild criticism from one state rep led the governor to do this, which, fair warning, is rough around the edges in terms of the language, about you this happened.


GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: Mr. Gattine, this is Governor Paul Richard LePage. I would like to talk to you about your comments about my being a racist, you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker. I want to talk to you -- I want you to prove that I`m racist. I`ve spent my life helping black people and you little son of a bitch socialist (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sucker. You -- I need you to -- just friggin. I want you to record this and make it public because I`m after you. Thank you.


MADDOW: Thank you.

After leaving that voice mail asking the state lawmaker to make it public, the governor couldn`t let it go. He`s the one who told reporters that he had left that voice mail, and said that he wanted to point a gun right between that same lawmaker`s eyes.

We have since learned that after he left that initial voice mail for that lawmaker and after he told reporters that I want to point a gun right between his eyes, the governor then called that same state rep back again, asking him to meet him in person. The governor later specified that he wanted to meet this state rep in his hometown. In the state rep`s hometown of Westbrook, Maine, for an event that was due to happen tomorrow night.

Now, that event has been canceled and Paul LePage is explaining himself a little bit, but doing so in a way that is unlikely to make things any better for him.


GEORGE HALE, HOST: At any point, wasn`t there a little voice in the back of your head that said, this may not be a good idea?

LEPAGE: You know, George, in all fairness, this is the one time in my entire life -- and I`ve been through a lot of things, but this is the first time in my life I couldn`t breathe, I was so angry. I literally couldn`t breathe.


MADDOW: Governor Paul LePage speaking today about being so angry he could not breathe and he could not control what he said. He`s fending off calls for his resignation, mostly from Democrats, but also from some members of his own party. So, on this radio interview today, he was asked if he does plan to resign.


HALE: Can we anticipate that you`re going to finish out your term?

LEPAGE: I don`t know, George. I`m, I`m -- as I said earlier, I`m looking at all options. I think some things that I`ve asked to do are beyond my ability and I`m not going to say that I`m not going to finish it. I`m not saying that I am gonna finish it.

What I`m going to do right now is I`m taking one step at a time. I want to meet with Mr. Gattine. Then, I want to meet with my team at the office and we`re going to look at what`s the proper options to move the state forward. It`s about making sure that we can move the state forward.

And it`s really one thing to have one party behind you. It`s another thing not to have any party behind you. So, that`s very important.

You know, it`s not about me. And it`s not about anything else but the Maine people. We have to move Maine forward, whether it`s me or somebody else.


MADDOW: Whether it`s me or somebody else. Maine Governor Paul LePage on the radio today, suggesting he might not last as governor, particularly now that his own party, at least parts of him, appear to be wavering on him a little bit.

But, you know, it`s Paul LePage, so who knows? Even though he said multiple times that he might quit, he then followed it up with a tweet you saying, of course, he wouldn`t quit. These rumors of his demise are greatly exaggerated.

Well, tonight, this rally happened tonight in the state capital of Augusta, Maine. Pretty good crowd in Maine there. Several hundred people at least, gathering to say that Governor Paul LePage really needs to resign.

A few blocks away, though, Republican members of the statehouse and state senate met in an extraordinary out of session caucus to talk about what to do here and what the Republican Party of Maine is going to do with their governor. If members of the legislature do vote to hold a special session, ultimately it might not matter whether or not Paul LePage resigns. If the legislature decided to hold a session, they could decide just to throw him out.


MADDOW: Maine governor --


LEPAGE: It`s about the Maine people. If I`ve lost my ability to convince the Maine people that`s what we need and that`s the type of people we need in Augusta, then, you know, maybe it is time to move on.


MADDOW: Maybe it is time to move on. Maine Governor Paul LePage in a radio interview this morning, saying he might resign as governor. Then this afternoon, he tweeted that, of course he wouldn`t resign as governor.

This evening, there was a rally in the capital of Augusta, calling for Paul LePage`s resignation, as Republican legislative leaders met just a few blocks away from that rally to figure out what they are going to do about their embattled and increasingly profane governor.

Joining us now from Augusta is "Portland Press Herald" columnist, Bill Nemitz.

Bill, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being with us tonight.

BILL NEMITZ, PORTLAND PRESS HERALD: You too, Rachel. Good to be with you.

MADDOW: What`s going on with the Republican legislatures and how they are oriented toward Paul LePage right now?

NEMITZ: Well, that`s a good question. The Republican house members did meet in caucus this evening, and basically punted. They announced coming out that they did not take a formal vote. They were pressed by a number of media present as to what they`re going to do.

They didn`t say what they`re going to do other than the minority leader said there will not be a special session, meaning the entire legislature cannot gather to deliberate as a body to what to do with Governor LePage, be that censure him, impeach him, be that do anything.

So, right now, from a legislative standpoint, the whole thing is kind of a standstill. nobody knows what happens next.

MADDOW: So, no special session means no action to try to force him out of office. But I guess there`s still the question of whether or not Republicans still stand behind him staying as governor.

I wanted to ask you about one who Republican state senator who wrote a message to her constituents this weekend, and it was remarkable language. She wrote to her constituents, "I share your deep concerns regarding the governor`s behavior, what I do not know is whether it`s due to substance abuse, mental illness or pure ignorance. Things definitely appear to be out of control."

Is that an isolated sentiment among other Republicans in Maine, or more Republicans than just the one coming out and saying stuff like this.

NEMITZ: No, it isn`t. In fact, the Senate president -- the Senate Republican leader went out of his way to say that she is, I think he used the term, `she`s not an island", but there are others who share that sentiment. That would be Amy Volk of the town of Scarborough.

She`s in an area that is more moderate area and she is in a predicament that many of the Republicans in those types of areas find themselves. They`re heading into an election season right now. They need to be elected with the support of many moderates, perhaps even some Democrats, and they need very much to distance themselves from this governor.

And without the opportunity of a special session in order to demonstrate to their voters that they`re not in this guy`s back pocket, they`re going to be in a lot of trouble. So, that particular group of Republicans in the legislature are feeling extremely vulnerable right now and they`re, I think, ringing their hands wondering what they`re going to do between now and November to convince their constituents that they`re worth electing or re-electing.

MADDOW: Bill, if this was behavior that we had seen from a celebrity or an athlete or somebody else who is well-known for that kind of a reason rather than a political reason, what they would do -- what the PR gospel says they should do is go to rehab, announce some sort of thing that you`re doing as an intervention that you can come back healed and moved on.

Is there -- do you have any sense of what Paul LePage might do? Might he seek some sort of help, might he take sometime away, might he -- he doesn`t feel like he`s going to resign, do you have any sense of what else he might do?

NEMITZ: There was a lot of talk of that at a rally this evening. A lot of people were coming right out and saying that in the most immediate sense is the best solution, is for him to step aside, as they put it. For him to get some help. He had said earlier today that there are some things he just cannot do.

It was hard to parse that as to what he -- what he truly meant by that. My reading of that was that therapy or treatment or whatever it might be, might very well fall under that category, just something that he is constitutionally unable to do. I think the closest he came to a therapy coach was that radio interview that he did this morning when George asked him, "Was there a little voice inside your head that said maybe I shouldn`t be doing this?" And LePage quite candidly said, this was the first time in my life that I literally couldn`t breathe.

And it struck me -- that`s exactly the kind of thing you might hear someone say to a therapist. Unfortunately, in this case he was speaking to talk radio host.

That`s the closest we got into it.

MADDOW: That`s usually labeled as "rock bottom" in the marginalia of the therapist`s notes.

NEMITZ: Right.

MADDOW: Bill Nemitz, columnist of "The Portland Press Herald" -- Bill, thanks for keeping us apprised. Appreciate you being here. Thank you.

NEMITZ: Sure thing, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.


MADDOW: I know we`ve been talking a lot about Maine recently on the show and some really, really, really, really ugly politics in Maine, specifically on the part of Maine`s Republican governor.

But I do want to say that Maine is beautiful. And Maine, particularly, has beautiful wild life. They have the largest moose population and black bear population in the entire continental United States. In Maine, they`re blessed with a ton of beautiful white tailed deer. Maine also has this super cute guy, hey toughty. That`s the Canada lynx, which you can find in Maine.

But you know what Maine is not known for, among all of their amazing wild life, they`re not known for snakes, particularly, really, really big snakes. But in June of this year, someone in the town of Westbrook, Maine called police to say that they had seen a snake and not just any snake, but a snake that was as long as a truck right in the middle of Maine.

Giant snakes are in indigenous to Maine. They have a lot of other giant animals. They don`t have giant snakes.

But the police department said, sure, big guy, we`ll look into it. And nothing really came of it. But a few days later there was another sighting and Westbrook police officer was on an overnight patrol at 3:30 in the morning, the police officer saw a large snake eating a large mammal, quote, "possibly a beaver". The police department was very super clear in their statement that they were, quote, "not joking."

But still, there was no proof other than this sighting even if one of the sightings was by a police officer. And then, a couple of months later, this turned up in Westbrook, Maine.

Now, as you can see that`s not a snake, but it is a 12`1" long snake skin, 12 feet long. This is like, how do you feel about snakes. This is kind of stuff of the stuff of nightmares, right? I mean, 12 feet is insane. Twelve feet is a distance -- 12 feet is, can we show this, 12 feet is where I`m sitting over to where Nick is standing. Hi, Nick.

NICK TUTH: Hi, Rachel.

MADDOW: Today, reptile expert who did some tests confirmed what kind of snake leaves behind a 12 foot long snake skin Westbrook, Maine, the scientist said that particular snake skin belongs to an anaconda -- an anaconda in Westbrook, Maine.

So, there might be a 12-foot-long anaconda that looks just like this one on the loose in Westbrook, Maine, right now, and a brand new Chinese game, because it shed it`s old one. If you live in Westbrook, please close your windows and lock your doors.

Westbrook has anacondas apparently. It`s not getting a visit from out of control terrifying Maine Republican governor Paul LePage. The governor is continuing his public meltdown. He had planned to visit Westbrook tomorrow, the home of Democratic legislature he called and swore at and threatened this week.

But the status report as of tonight for Westbrook, Maine, is that Paul LePage`s threatening visit is cancelled for tomorrow. But Westbrook`s anaconda`s problem is still apparently present and accounted for. Sleep tight.

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.