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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 9/28/2016

The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 9/28/2016

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: September 28, 2016 Guest:

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening. That`s my brand, too.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.



MADDOW: Thank you, my friend.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

We`ve got two scoops for you tonight. Right here at the top of the show, we`ve got two scoops and hot fudge and sprinkles.

Here we go. The first scoop is an advanced look at what appears to be another bombshell story that`s due to hit the presidential campaign tomorrow morning. We have got exclusively an advanced look at a little piece of it. We do not yet have the whole article.

If this sounds familiar at all, that`s because this is the second time we`ve been able to do this in just a couple of weeks. Just over two weeks ago, you might remember, when investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald published this cover story in "Newsweek" magazine.

It was a big deal everywhere, it was a big deal before -- it was a big deal on this show before it was a big deal anywhere else because we here on the show got a first look at the lead of that story the night before the whole thing was published. Kurt Eichenwald scoop in that case was about the foreign business dealings of Donald Trump`s company. And that story not brought to the fore not only the nitty-gritty of all these foreign entanglements that Trump has had in the past and that he continues to have through his business, entanglements and business and loans and connections that would create a conflict of interest if you were elected president.

I mean, it would actually be an unprecedented thing if we had an American president who could direct U.S. policy in ways that could make him and his family and their family business money, both while he was president and thereafter.

So, Kurt Eichenwald`s scoop a couple of weeks ago not only exposed those foreign business interests and the conflicts of interest they would pose for Donald Trump as president, it also laid bare that Mr. Trump and his campaign have no serious plan for addressing those concerns, those conflicts of interest if he was elected. In response to Kurt Eichenwald`s "Newsweek" scoop a couple of weeks, Mr. Trump and his campaign said that if Donald Trump is elected president this year, he would not plan to sever his ties to the Trump organization.

Instead, we learned, thanks to Kurt Eichenwald in this reporting, that that Trump plan is just that he would hand over control of the Trump organization to his kids. And that`s nice particularly for the kids, but that, of course, does not solve the problem here. The U.S. president dictating U.S. policy to help his own company, that`s still the concern, right? Whether the company is temporarily being run by his children or not.

So, Kurt Eichenwald reporting on this foreign business ties for "Newsweek" magazine a couple of weeks ago, forcing the Trump campaign to admit they have no intention of eliminating Donald Trump`s conflicts of interest if he is elected. That was Kurt Eichenwald`s first scoop of this presidential campaign. Basically, it opened up a whole new front, a whole new major problem for the Trump campaign. A whole new field of concern in this presidential election, which has been grasped particularly by people on the national security side of thins who are now raising this as a major objection to the prospect of Trump getting elected.

So, that was Eichenwald scoop number one, two weeks ago. Now tonight we can report that Eichenwald appears to be doing it again. His new story is expected to drop again as a cover story in "Newsweek" magazine tomorrow morning, and once again, my crack producers here have obtained a small piece of this scoop before anybody else has.

Now, I have to give you two words of caution here. Number one, we have not obtained the full article. And number two, neither MSNBC for NBC News have accessed the full article either.

So, I have to tell you, obviously, because we can`t review what we`ve got in context, we can`t review the full article yet, we have not independently verified this information. What we`ve got and what I`m going to share with you tonight is the lead paragraphs of this story which sum up what Kurt Eichenwald says are his findings.

And this time, in addition to that, we`ve got the cover. Again, this is not out yet. It`s expected to run tomorrow morning. I expect that means that "Newsweek" will probably post this full article and the cover sometime in the overnight hours tonight. But we`ve got this exclusively right now. And even from just the cover there, you`re getting the basic story of what this is.

They`re titling it "The Castro Connection" and the subhead there says, "How Trump`s company violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba."

OK. Here`s what we`ve got. Are you ready? This is not anywhere else. Nobody else has published this. The article that this is excerpted from is not anywhere, but this is the piece of it we`ve got.

Are you ready? Here we go. Quote, "A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in communist Cuba during Fidel Castro`s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal. That`s according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings."

Again, this is exclusive to us right now. This is from a cover story due to be published tomorrow in "Newsweek" magazine. This is investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald. He`s previously reported for that magazine on Trump`s foreign business ties, the problems they might pose for him as president in terms of conflicts of interest.

I want to reiterate again, we have obtained this advanced excerpt tonight. And it shows that Eichenwald`s next story, this cover story due to drop tomorrow in "Newsweek" is allegedly that Trump had illegal business dealings in Cuba under Fidel Castro.

Here`s a little bit more of what we`ve got. Quote, "Documents show that the Trump company spent a minimum of $68,000 for its 1998 foray into Cuba at a time when the corporate expenditure of even a penny in Cuba was prohibited without government approval. But the company did not spend the money directly. Instead, with Donald Trump`s knowledge, executives funneled the cash for the Cuba trip through an American consulting firm called Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corporation. Once the business consultants traveled to Cuba and incurred the expenses for the venture, Seven Arrows instructed senior officers in Trump`s company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, on how to make the venture appear legal by linking it after the fact to a charitable effort."

OK. Again, this is -- this is excerpts that we`ve got exclusively tonight from "Newsweek" magazine. And this part -- this last part here that we`ve got, this last few sentences is all we`ve got from them. This is about the timing of this alleged act by Donald Trump to illegally do business in Cuba and skirt the U.S. embargo there.

This last bit that we`ve got from them is about the timing of that effort related to one of Donald Trump`s previous rounds of expressed interest in running for president, all right? This is the last bit.

Quote, "The payment by Trump hotels came just before Trump launched his first bid for the White House by seeking the nomination of the reform party. On his first day of that campaign, he traveled to Miami where he spoke to a group of Cuban Americans, a critical voting bloc in the swing state of Florida. Trump vowed to maintain the embargo, the Cuban embargo, and never spend his or his companies` money in Cuba until Fidel Castro was removed from power. He did not disclose that seven months earlier Trump Hotels already had spent money sending consultants on the secret trip to conduct business in Havana."

So, OK, again this is exclusive to us. We`ve obtained just these lead paragraphs from what is expected to be the "Newsweek" cover story tomorrow, Trump`s Cuba, Castro connection. This explosive allegation that Donald Trump illegally skirted the U.S. embargo against doing business with Cuba and that he lied about it at the time when he was first considering running for president in the year 2000.

So, this reference in terms of the start of the campaign when he was considering the reform party`s nomination for president, this would have been during Trump`s political travels in the fall of 1999. And getting this excerpt tonight, we rush to our own archives and ultimately to C-Span archives and found coverage from the time of how Trump was talking about Cuba at this time at the start of his intention to get the reform party`s nomination for president in the year 2000.

How he was talking about Cuba and the importance of the embargo when he was flirting with running for president that year.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: As you know and the people in this room know better than anyone, putting money and investing money in Cuba right now doesn`t go to the people of Cuba, it goes into the pockets of Fidel Castro.


He`s a murderer, he`s a killer, he`s a bad guy in every respect, and frankly, the embargo against Cuba must stand if for no other reason than if it does stand he will come down.


MADDOW: Donald Trump speaking to a Cuban-American audience in South Florida in November of 1999 when he was thinking about running for president in the year 2000. Again, what investigative reporter Kurt Eichenwald is apparently reporting for "Newsweek" right now is even when Donald Trump was thinking about running for president that year and was bragging to audiences that he was all in favor of the embargo, he would never spend money in Cuba, he would never break the embargo, because that would only prop up Fidel Castro, Kurt Eichenwald is apparently prepared to report in "Newsweek" magazine that just a few months earlier, Trump`s business with Trump`s knowledge had spent considerably money in fact doing business with Cuba in a way that "Newsweek" says was in violation of the U.S. embargo at the time.

So there`s that. We have to wait until tomorrow until the full piece comes out. We again have these three lead paragraphs. We will post these excerpts that we have got tonight online so you can see them for yourself. But the full article will come out and you will get the full context of it whenever "Newsweek" posts this new cover story. We expect it to be tomorrow morning, which probably means overnight tonight.

Now, obviously, this has resonance not just for whether or not Donald Trump and his company broke the law in the late `90s. It has political resonance not just for whether or not he lied to Cuban American audiences about his respect for that embargo the first time he want to run for president in the year 2000.

It also of course has political resonance today. Just yesterday, Donald Trump was in Little Havana, in Miami, looking for Cuban-American votes. Just last night in South Florida, he was bragging to a rally audience about how he will be so much tougher on Cuba than President Obama has been, how he will undo all of President Obama`s efforts to open up business relationships with Cuba.

If this "Newsweek" story is borne out, if this posts tomorrow and it is what we think it is, if it is borne out that Trump and his businesses knowingly broke the embargo to do business with Fidel Castro`s Cuba in the `90s, that will have implications for the prospects of his run for the presidency this year.

So, OK, that`s that. That`s scoop number one.

Scoop number two is a new poll that we`ve got exclusively tonight. This is new and different than other post debate polls you may have seen come out today. The first one was the "Reuters" daily tracking poll. They found by a 30-point margin that Americans think that Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump in the debate by a 56-26 margin. That Reuters poll found that Americans thought that Clinton won the debate.

You may have seen from earlier this evening, the new NBC Survey Monkey poll came out, a debate response poll from NBC Survey Monkey, they found similar result. The Reuters poll again was Clinton winning the debate by a 30- point margin. The NBC Survey Monkey poll has Clinton winning the debate by a 31 point margin, 52 percent of Americans thought that she won, 21 percent of Americans thought that Trump won.

The internals on that poll were particularly bad for Donald Trump on the issue of temperament. A majority of respondents said that Hillary Clinton does have the temperament to serve effectively as president. 53 percent said that Clinton does have that presidential temperament. A much larger majority, 63 percent, say that Donald Trump does not have the right temperament to be president. That`s among all voters nationwide.

Among women voters, the overall number for people not thinking Trump has the temperament to be president a 63 percent. Among women it`s worse, 69 percent.

Even among women who call themselves Republican or Republican-leaning, one in four Republican women say Donald Trump doesn`t have the temperament to be president of the United States.

Donald Trump`s problem with women voters apparently was also just made worse by the debate. Look at this. Just among women voters. Was your opinion of each of the candidates changed for the better or the worse by watching them in the debate? Among women voters, their opinion of Hillary Clinton changed significantly for the better by watching the debate. Among women voters, their opinion of Donald Trump changed significantly for the worse by watching him at the debate.

And again, even before the debate, Trump was already losing by double digit margins with women in most polls. So if the debate actually decreased his standing among women, that`s running backwards and he was already starting behind.

So, both of those polls you probably saw came out today, the Reuters one and the NBC Survey Monkey. What we`ve got tonight is exclusive polling hot off the presses, it`s from PPP. It`s a new national poll from PPP.

Like Reuters and the NBC Survey Monkey one that are out today, this brand- new PPP poll that we`ve exclusively got tonight, it finds by a significant margin believe that Hillary won the debate. In this poll, it`s a 23-point gap, 54 percent of people say Clinton won, 31 percent say that Donald Trump won.

Overall in the presidential race, PPP has Hillary Clinton leading by four points. That`s whether or not you include the minor party candidates, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein, even Evan McMullen included, Hillary Clinton leading 44 to 40. If it`s just a head-to-head matchup between Clinton and Trump, she leads him by four, she leads him by 49-45.

Within those numbers, you start looking demographically, you can see part of where she builds up that lead. She`s beating him 10 points among women, among Hispanic voters, 56 points, among African-American voters, she`s beating him by 80 points.

And these are some of the same trends we`ve seen all year long. They appear to be quite durable. Again, it turns out that even when you`re doing poorly, there may still be room to slide, room to run backwards even when you`re starting behind particularly for Donald Trump when it comes to women. One of the points that came up at the end of the presidential debate Monday night was when Hillary Clinton raised the issue of Donald Trump having insulted, having treated insultingly, having humiliated a previous winner of one of his beauty pageants, a Miss Universe winner.

Trump had publicly criticized her, publicly humiliated her, made a spectacle of her for gaining weight after the pageant. This is that moment from the debate.


HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDAT: This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers --

TRUMP: I never said that.

CLINTON: -- who said that women don`t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men. And one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest. He loves beauty contests, supporting them and hanging around them.

And he called this woman "Miss Piggy." Then he called her "Miss Housekeeping," because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.

TRUMP: Where did you find this? Where did you find this?

CLINTON: Her name is Alicia Machado.

TRUMP: Where did you find this?

CLINTON: And she has become a U.S. citizen, and you can bet --

TRUMP: Oh, really?

CLINTON: -- she`s going to vote this November.

TRUMP: OK, good. Let me just tell you --


MADDOW: That was the last point that Hillary Clinton raised in the presidential debate on Monday night. The following morning in his first interview following the debate, Mr. Trump made an interesting decision to proactively raise that issue again, to raise the issue of this Miss Universe pageant winner. He was not asked about that point in the debate. He proactively brought it up again and proactively volunteered his opinion again about her weight and what he thinks of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going in, she was trying to get under your skin a couple of times. Did she?

TRUMP: No, not at all. I didn`t see it that way. At the end maybe, the very last question when she brought up the person that became a -- I know that person. That person was a Miss Universe person. And she was the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible.

And she was a Miss Universe contestant and ultimately a winner who they had a tremendously difficult time with as Miss Universe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did not know that story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn`t know either.

TRUMP: She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem.


MADDOW: PPP in this new national poll that we`ve got exclusively tonight, they turned around quickly on this point, and they asked in this national poll, they asked people their view of this controversy.

Here it was, question 24 from them, do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate for Donald Trump to criticize a former Miss Universe for gaining a massive amount of weight. That`s one of the questions they asked. As you can see there, by a huge margin, 65-17 percent of Americans believe it was inappropriate for him to do that.

If you just ask women that question, the margin gets even bigger. By 70 percent to 14 percent, women say that was inappropriate for Donald Trump to do that.

Even if you just singled out Donald Trump supporters by a double digit margin, they think it was an inappropriate thing for him to say, an inappropriate thing for him to do. That`s remarkable. But it shows that Trump still has further room to slide.

I mean, this late date in the presidential campaign, self-described supporters of either candidate, they`re likely to, you know, stand by almost anything their candidate does. They`re likely to say they like everything their candidate does and they only dislike things that their candidate likes, too.

Look at these results from the same poll that we`ve got tonight. A plurality of Donald Trump supporters say they believe he was intentionally given a defective microphone at the debate. Seriously. Trump supporters believe that 40 percent to 37 percent. Right?

Anybody watching the debate could hear him loud and clear, but he said he got a bad microphone. So, he must have a bad microphone.

If you ask Trump supporters if they`ll accept the results of the election this year, if their candidate loses and Hillary Clinton wins, only 21 percent of Donald Trump supporters say they will accept that election outcome as a valid outcome. Twenty-one percent will accept the election results if Clinton wins. The rest will deny its validity and say the whole system was obviously rigged.

But even so, even with those nutty results, Donald Trump supporters still reject the way he treated that beauty pageant contestant. Which Hillary Clinton brought up in the debate, then Trump himself brought up again and redoubled on his own terms unprompted the next day.

So, a good lesson. At this late date, there is always room to grow, but it turns out there is definitely room to slide swell if you play your cards exactly wrong.

This new PPP data again exclusive to us tonight. You will not see this anywhere else tonight. It will be published in full tomorrow. But we`ll post these slides with our top line results from it online tonight on our website, at

We`ll be right back.


M ADDOW: There`s one thing I wanted to put up on the screen here again just for a second from that PPP poll that we got exclusively tonight. This is the top line result from that poll in the presidential race. They did a head-to-head as well which showed Clinton leading Trump by four.

But this is the five-way, which is interesting. Again, Clinton by four over Donald Trump but then they also included three other minor party candidates. Jill Stein from the Green Party polling at just 1 percent. Conservative Evan McMullen polling at 2 percent. OK. And then Gary Johnson, the libertarian candidate, polling at 6 percent.

Gary Johnson has been an interesting wild card as this race gets closer and closer. Gary Johnson`s continuing interesting position as a wild card I think is about to go away. I think that`s about to be over. And I will show you why on tape next. This is brutal.


MADDOW: Do you remember this moment from earlier this month? We call it the "what is Aleppo moment".


MIKE BARNICLE, MSNBC: What would you do, if you were elected, about Aleppo?



JOHNSON: And what is Aleppo?

BARNICLE: You`re kidding.



MADDOW: There`s something made more perfect about it by the fact that his earpiece is hanging out when he does it. What is Aleppo? Jingle, jingle.

Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson`s "what is Aleppo" moment. It was bad in the moment. It did not get better when he tried to explain what happened.


REPORTER: People are making a big deal about this Aleppo thing. I`m just curious, is it a gotcha thing, should have you known it in retrospect, do you know it?

JOHNSON: Well, when you recognize what`s going on in Syria, when you recognize that Aleppo is in kind of the epicenter, Aleppo -- knowing that there`s a city in between the two forces really at the epicenter of the -- but not remembering or identifying that that`s Aleppo, guilty.

REPORTER: But it is a town -- is it a name you know, a town you know? I mean, this is going to be a big deal, like this is the first big flap of a campaign that`s been doing pretty well, right? It`s going to be a big flap. I promise you. It already is.

JOHNSON: No, I`m incredibly frustrated with myself, right.

REPORTER: So, but how do you feel about it? Like should it be a big flap?

JOHNSON: Well, sure, it should. Absolutely. I understand the significance. Believe me. No one is taking this more seriously than me. I feel horrible.

REPORTER: What do you think will happen now?

JOHNSON: Well, that I have to get smarter.



MADDOW: I should have warned you that was the ending, Jackie, I`m sorry. Jackie tries very hard not the laugh in an audible way during this program.

I have to get smarter was the out-cue there. Sorry, I should have warned you, dear. Not your fault.

But that was Gary Johnson. Just a couple of weeks, oh, God, I have to get smarter. Since then, Gary Johnson has had another couple of Gary Johnson moments.


JOHNSON: If I`m the spoiler in this race, yippee, yippee. This is something that needs spoiling in a really big way. Fifty percent of Americans right now when they go to register to vote are registering as independent. Where is that representation?

It`s not from Clinton, it`s not from Trump. It`s from me.

Thank you. I`m sorry. I`m sorry.


And who is to say I`m not going to win this election?


MADDOW: Who is to say you`re not going to win this election? Does anybody want to take that bet? Anybody?

Do you want to take that bet. Anybody want to take that bet after seeing him tonight on "HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS"?


CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC HOST: Who is your favorite foreign leader?

JOHNSON: Who is my favorite --

MATTHEWS: Just name any one of the continents, any country, name one foreign leader that you respect and look up to.


MATTHEWS: I`m talking about living. You got to do this, anywhere, any continent, Canada, Mexico, Europe over there, Asia, South Africa, name a foreign leader that you respect.

JOHNSON: I guess I`m having an Aleppo moment in the former president of Mexico.

MATTHEWS: Anybody in the world you like. Anybody. Pick any leader.

JOHNSON: The former president of Mexico.

MATTHEWS: Which one?

JOHNSON: I`m having a brain --

MATTHEWS: Well, name anybody.

WELD: Fox.



MATTHEWS: Name your favorite foreign leader.

JOHNSON: Fox He was terrific.

MATTHEWS: Any foreign leader.

WELD: Merkel.

MATTHEWS: Merkel, OK, fine, save yourself. Can`t argue with that.


MADDOW: Where would he have gone without Bill Weld sitting next to him so suggest Fox?

I do not bet. If I did bet, I would feel safe in betting that Gary Johnson would not be president, will never be president. I would feel safe betting that maybe he`s not even ready to be trying for the job of president.

One world leader, just one, any continent, anything, without a lifeline, could he have gotten there? Wow.

More ahead. Stay with us.


JOHNSON: And who is to say I`m not going to win this election?



MADDOW: Morning in America it is not. Not unless you mean the kind of mourning that has a "u" in it. Not a happy sunshiny thing. It`s just not.


TRUMP: Our country`s a mess. Our country is losing so much. We have a country that`s doing so badly, we don`t have the money.

New companies cannot form and old companies are going out of business. The companies are leaving. I could name -- I mean, there are thousands of them, they`re leaving and they`re leaving in bigger numbers than ever.

We`re in a bubble right now. The only thing that looks good is the stock market but that`s going to come crashing down.

African-Americans, Hispanics are living in hell because it`s so dangerous. You walk down the street, you get shot.

Our airports are like from a third world country. We have become a third world country. Where is this? Is this a war-torn country? What are we doing?

We have gangs roaming the street and we have the greatest mess anyone`s ever seen. Our country has tremendous problems.


MADDOW: As I said, morning in America it is not. It remains an open question as to whether or not somebody can win the presidency of the United States by telling the people of the United States that our country is hell on earth. That remains to be seen whether you can win with that.

But that message, that our country is terrible message may be proving to be an unusually hard sell to a specific part of the political works of this country that`s reacting to the Trump campaign in a way it`s never reacted before to a Republican presidential candidate, never. And that unusual story, I think unprecedented political story, is coming up at the end of the show tonight.

That`s still ahead. Stay with us.


TRUMP: Our country has tremendous problems.



MADDOW: Take a look at this. Watch for the guy holding up his badge. This was a Trump campaign rally in Estero, Florida, last week. Around 8,000 people were there. It was a day after a weekend of back-to-back bombings in New York and New Jersey and an attack on a mall in Minnesota.

Republican candidate Donald Trump took a moment at the start of that rally that night to thank members of law enforcement for all their hard work and their service to this country.


TRUMP: Let me begin by thanking our incredible law enforcement officers who don`t get the credit they deserve. But when I`m president, they will get the credit they deserve. What a fantastic job they do. What a fantastic job they do.


MADDOW: Did we get the shot in there of the guy holding up his badge when Trump was saying that? There we go. The guy standing behind Trump on the stage there, holding up his badge when Donald Trump praised law enforcement.

That man is a former police officer, now retired, now works as an airplane pilot. He`s the pilot who has been entrusted by the Trump campaign with the responsibility of shuttling vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and his family around the country, from rally to rally.


VINCENT CALDARA, PILOT FOR VP CANDIDATE MIKE PENCE: I`m very strong Trump supporter. I`m a retired law enforcement officer and I`m currently on Governor Mike Pence`s flight operations team as one of his pilots during the campaign. Donald Trump and Governor Mike Pence are the law and order candidates.


MADDOW: That pilot for the Trump campaign was just relieved of his job on the Trump campaign after "The Guardian" newspaper was first to report that he currently faces criminal charges of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. Last year, he allegedly drove over a co-worker with his car on purpose three times putting the guy in the hospital.

The Trump campaign pilot has pled not guilty, but there is yet another pending case against him, this one dating back to 2014 in which he`s accused of sort of similar-sounding thing. He`s accused of recklessly driving into a woman with his motorcycle.

Apparently, the court has been unable to find him in order to serve him with a summons. And that case may be because he`s been piloting Mike Pence around the country all this time, but not anymore.

Also in Georgia, the Trump campaign has just lost their longtime state executive director. A hard-fought race in Georgia, but they just lost their long time state director there after his criminal record was revealed as well. He was arrested on multiple felony counts. And the Trump campaign manager for the state of Georgia ultimately ended up pleading guilty to criminal trespassing charges. He admitted he destroyed one person`s laptop and slashed the tires of someone else`s car.

Trump`s Georgia state director`s criminal record was revealed by the local ABC affiliate last night. Shortly thereafter, he resigned from running the Trump campaign in that state.

This follows the Trump campaign also, losing its North Carolina state director in similar circumstances. They lost their North Carolina director after he was named as a defendant in a lawsuit for allegedly pulling a gun on one of his campaign staffers.

The staffer and the Trump North Carolina director were apparently in a car together and according to the lawsuit, Donald Trump`s North Carolina state director was driving the car when, quote, "he produced a pistol, put his right index finger on the trigger and drove the barrel into the staffer`s kneecap."

The Trump campaign`s North Carolina director resigned shortly after news of that lawsuit came out.

The elephant in the room, of course, here for the Trump campaign with all these things going on is, of course, that the campaign`s CEO also turns out to have a troubling arrest record in his case for a domestic violence charges. Court records from 1996 show that Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon was misdemeanors for allegedly his then (AUDIO GAP), violence, battery . (AUDIO GAP) witness.

(AUDIO GAP) pled not guilty, but the case was dismissed six months later when prosecutors said they couldn`t track down the most important witness in the case -- the alleged victim -- his wife.

According to court documents, his wife claimed that Mr. Bannon told her to leave town to avoid testifying. So, in Trump world, you can`t pilot a plane for a vice presidential candidate with a criminal felony assault charge ahead of you, but you can run a presidential campaign even after allegedly intimidating your ex-wife into not testifying against you in your domestic assault trial.

As for pulling a gun on a campaign staffer or running over a pal with your car, that`s on the bubble. See if it gets reported.

That`s the state of things. That`s what we know about the Republican presidential campaign`s attitude toward these things among their staffers. And now, we`re going to find out how they deal with the next bit of legal drama ahead of them.

Because this was the front page of the "New Jersey Star Ledger" today. "Wildstein says governor knew, Christie was told of bridge closing, ex-aide testifies."

And then there`s "The Bergen Record", quote, "Loyal soldier`s 9/11 boast. Wildstein says he told Christie of plot at World Trade Center memorial.

Here`s "The New York Post," "Eating his words, Christie lied and laughed about bridgegate." Those are the front pages of New York and New Jersey newspapers today as day eighth started in the bridgegate trial against two former Chris Christie allies for their alleged roles in shutting down lanes onto the world`s busiest bridge, part of a planned political vendetta against a local mayor who committed the cardinal sin of not supporting Chris Christie`s re-election bid.

The so-called mastermind of the plot, David Wildstein, the government`s star witness, he`s been on the stand for four days. Governor Christie has denied having any knowledge of the plot, before it was happening or while it was happening. But David Wildstein has insisted this week under oath that Governor Chris Christie was aware of the political reasons behind the lane closures while they were taking place.

Governor Christie is no longer just the governor of New Jersey, he`s now also the head of Donald Trump`s White House transition team, which means he`s in charge of staffing up the White House. The federal government, should Donald Trump win the presidency in November, which is awkward given that two of his former staffers/appointees are now facing federal corruption charges and a third has pled guilty to helping him and a fourth has been named in open court by the prosecution`s star witness as also being aware of the Bridgegate scheme ahead of time. His name is Bill Stepien and he happens to be Donald Trump`s national field director now.

So, the Trump campaign has its own decisions to make about the behavior of its staffers and top level operatives. But how bad is this going to turn out to be for Governor Chris Christie in New Jersey? How bad for the Trump campaign? How bad for New Jersey?

Joining us now is Andrea Bernstein. She`s senior political editor for WNYC News and she has become a stalwart reporter on this case from the beginning.

Andrea, thanks for being here.


MADDOW: Governor Christie is not on trial. He might be called as a witness, but he hasn`t yet. How -- overall, how damaging is what`s been reported by him in this case thus far?

BERNSTEIN: Well, it`s pretty severe. The testimony yesterday was that he was at the 12th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks --


BERNSTEIN: -- when he was discussing this scheme allegedly with two of his former aides kind of joking about it and laughing about it.

So, I can`t think of a more inappropriate place to be talking about a lane closure scheme for political retaliation purposes than at the World Trade Center. I mean, dozens of Port Authority employees died in the original 9/11 attack.

So, today, there was even more testimony about their secret language about Mr. Wildstein saying that Mr. Christie referred to him as Mr. Wolf who was the Harvey Keitel character in --

MADDOW: "Pulp Fiction", yes.

BERNSTEIN: -- "Pulp Fiction" who cleaned up the bodies.

So, this is the kind of thing we`re hearing every day. What`s interesting is both the prosecution and the defense are introducing evidence about Chris Christie. There`s no disagreement in the courtroom.

MADDOW: So, it`s not just David Wildstein who is open to questions about his doing the deal with the government, but there`s evidence being presented by both sides that --


BERNSTEIN: Correct, correct. And the defense attorneys are saying Mr. Wildstein was very, very close to Mr. Christie. They said in their opening arguments that Christie knew exactly what he was doing when he sent David Wildstein to the Port Authority to do things like close the lanes on the George Washington Bridge.

MADDOW: Do you have any sense, any sort of spidey sense from covering this as to whether or not Christie is going to end up on the stand?

BERNSTEIN: Well, it`s hard to imagine why he would because he`s denied it. He denied it as recently as last night. I don`t imagine if he were to go on the witness stand, he would say anything else. It wouldn`t be in anybody`s interest to confuse the jury that way. He`s a very magnetic and, you know, powerful and influential personality.

But his name is coming up every second in this courtroom, as well as the growing list of aides around him who were in on it either knew about it beforehand, learned about it while it was going on or learned about it afterwards and became part of an alleged cover-up.

MADDOW: And his job running a staff and overseeing all these people who knew about this criminal scheme of course takes on new resonance given that he`s now in charge of staffing up the would-be Donald Trump organization.

BERNSTEIN: Right. And that`s accusation of the defense that he picked this thug to run this operation inside the Port Authority and the question mark hanging in the court room is well, what would happen if he`s staffing up the White House?

MADDOW: Do you think there`s any chance, any real chance that he`ll be impeached or that impeachment proceedings will begin against him --

BERNSTEIN: It has been discussed. He only has a year left on his term. There`s another governor`s election a year from now, but the two legislators who led the investigation say once the trial is over, they will resume it and will certainly continue to make this an issue in the coming year.

MADDOW: Andrea Bernstein, senior editor for politics and policy for WNYC News -- thank you.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

MADDOW: You`re always very, very clear on this. I really appreciate you being here. Thank you.

BERNSTEIN: Great to be here.

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


MADDOW: Quick update for you on a very big story, both domestically and internationally. The White House has now confirmed that President Obama himself will lead a U.S. delegation to Israel on Friday, day after tomorrow, to pay respects at the funeral of former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres. He, of course, died today at the age of 93.

The Israeli foreign ministry -- this has been an interesting source of some confusion today. They had initially announced today that Hillary Clinton would make the trip for the funeral as well, but the Clinton campaign says that was unfounded, that she had never planned to go. Hillary Clinton will apparently spend Friday campaigning in South Florida, but her husband, former President Bill Clinton will be going as will current Secretary of State John Kerry, again, in a delegation that will be headed by President Obama himself.

Much more ahead. Stay with us.


MADDOW: People leak stuff to the media all the time. It happens all the time. Sometimes we cover it. Sometimes we don`t.

Last week, we covered a story about a leak. Unnamed U.S. officials leaking to "The Wall Street Journal" that the Pentagon was requesting another 500 U.S. soldiers, U.S. troops be sent to Iraq. It was not an official announcement, it is just a leak to "The Journal."

Well, today, that leak became a reality. We got an official non-leak confirmation today that there are new U.S. troops going to Iraq. But we can report it`s not 500, it`s more than that.

We can report that it is 615 new U.S. servicemen and women who are being sent to Iraq. This is in anticipation of the assault on Mosul. That operation to take back Mosul is expected to be a very large military operation very soon. Mosul is the largest city held anywhere in the world by ISIS. We anticipate that that operation will include in some level, in some form the involvement of U.S. troops.

The most recent group of troops, they`ll be dispatched to two different air bases. One is 25 miles south of Mosul. The other base is about 70 miles southwest of Ramadi, which is the other big city that ISIS controlled until earlier this year when it was taken back.

Now, the Pentagon says they are sending some troops to the base by Ramadi to build up parts of the base, to make it more usable and build its infrastructure. The Pentagon is also sending some military intelligence personnel in this latest group of troops to focus on areas like Baghdad and Fallujah and other areas that are not controlled by ISIS now, to make sure that while everybody is focused on taking back Mosul, ISIS will not use that diversion of focus to make inroads in those other cities.

Another part of that group of military intelligence officers will be in Mosul itself ready to scoop up any intelligence that`s gathered after they anticipate ISIS will be pushed out of that city.

Now, we also understand, and I think this is important in terms of us understanding the amount of U.S. involvement in this fight against ISIS in Iraq, we`re told that this is expected to be the 615 troops. This is expected to be the last U.S. troop increase in Iraq before the Mosul offensive begins.

The prime minister of Iraq said that today in a statement. American Secretary of Defense Ash Carter was sort of reluctant to confirm that, but he said that it continues to be the Iraqi prime minister`s decision since he runs the show in Iraq.

Again, we do not know exactly when the Mosul offensive will begin to take back the biggest city held by ISIS. But we are told from all quarters to expect that it will happen soon, definitely before the election. Probably as soon as early next month, which is very soon indeed.

It could make months to complete once it starts. But again, the news today, another 615 U.S. troops shipping off to Iraq to take part.

Watch this space.


MADDOW: Earlier this month, it was "The Dallas Morning News" which hadn`t recommended a Democrat for president since before World War II. Then last week, it was the "Cincinnati Enquirer". They hadn`t endorsed a Democrat since World War I, a century ago.

Then, today, the top of the front page right above your local Dolphin theme park news, it was this in the "Arizona Republic." A historic endorsement. Quote, "Hillary Clinton is the first Democratic presidential candidate the Arizona Republic editorial board has backed in its 126-year history. She has the temperament, experience, and judgment to lead."

A hundred and twenty-six years, "Arizona Republic" has existed since 1890. They have never before in their existence endorsed a Democrat.

And for the record, newspaper endorsements do not tell us who is going to win the election. Honestly, we don`t even know if they sway people`s views. They are, however, giving us a fascinating survey of the newspaper editorial boards across the country this year.

And it has been stunning to see Republican papers and conservative papers go blue for the first time in a half century or a century or their entire existence. But what is more stunning than that is what has been happening on the flip side, because these are the newspaper endorsements Donald Trump has received so far this year. Also unprecedented.

This is not a production error on our show right now. There is a reason this graphic has no names on it right now. And that is because Donald Trump has zero daily newspaper endorsements in the presidential election. None. Not one.

And as far as we can tell, there has not been a major party candidate in modern history going back 60 years at least that has gone wire to wire all the way to the election without a single endorsement from a major newspaper. Forty days to go, but we might break the record.

That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.