Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: October 14, 2016 Guest: Karen Tumulty
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Do you know what tomorrow will bring, my friend?
HAYES: Do you know what the next hour of my life is going to bring? Some whiskey, which I earned, because this week was insane.
MADDOW: Yes, if -- you know, I have a full bar in my office and you`re welcome to stop in.
HAYES: I can`t make it home.
MADDOW: Yes. Thanks, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
And thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. If you`re drinking with Chris Hayes over the course of this next hour, have one for me.
My weekend doesn`t start yet. The last time there was a national election was two years ago, of course, in the 2014 mid-terms. Republicans were already in control of the House heading into that election.
But they did great in 2014. Even though they were already in control of the House, they picked up 13 additional seats in that election. And the Democrats were bummed. I mean, everybody knows the general rule if your party holds the White House, you usually lose seats in the mid-term election. But still, when the Democrats lost 13 seats last time in 2014, they were kind of bummed.
And President Obama took some of that himself. Shortly after that election in 2014, you might remember, President Obama had this really interesting interview with George Stephanopoulos from ABC News. And it was, you know, sort of a standard presidential interview, but it was a little chattier than most. He was a little wistful, especially about what the American people might want from him in the future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I think -- I think the American people, you know, they`re going to want that new car smell. They want to drive something off the lot that doesn`t have as much mileage as me. They`re probably not going to be looking to me to campaign too much.
One of the things about our society, which is great, is that we don`t have real long memories, and we get impatient for the next thing.
GEORGE STEPHONOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: It worked for you before.
OBAMA: It worked for me before. I think at the end of two years, if they want me to do some selective things, I`ll be happy to do them, but I suspect that folks will be ready to see me go off to the next thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking two years ago saying he was under no illusions about his own popularity. Thinking ahead to the 2016 campaign saying, you know what, at the end of my second term in office, America is going to want a new car smell, saying he doesn`t think there would be any chance that his would be Democratic successor would want him to be campaigning too much by the time the 2016 campaign rolled around.
Well, in hindsight, we can call that wishful thinking. Because here, Barack Obama is with 99 days left in office and he`s got the highest approval ratings of any point in his second term. He`s something like 55 percent approval rating right now. And if he thought co-get away with people only wanting him to do a few selective things here and there, he very much misjudged that in terms of 2016.
The Hillary Clinton campaign right now, yes, they`ve got Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine doing their full schedule of events, but they`ve also got Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle Obama and President Obama doing campaign events for Hillary Clinton and other Democrats every minute they can get them out there.
Today, President Obama was in Ohio for Hillary Clinton, making the case for her and making it with some relish, with a little spring in his step, particularly when he got to the part about making the case against Donald Trump.
I think the case against Donald Trump is something he was a little reluctant to get into the fray of that when he was first starting to campaign for Hillary Clinton. But now it seems like he really likes that part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: I have to say, because he`s getting some support from some working folks. And I want to say to him, look, if a guy spent 70 years on this earth, showing no regard for working people, there`s no record that he supported minimum wage or supported collective bargaining, or invested in poor communities, or -- and then suddenly he will be the champion of working people? Come on. Come on, man!
Apparently in a speech yesterday, he started talking about global elites, that there was a conspiracy of global elites. This is a guy who spent all his time hanging around, trying to convince everybody he was a global elite, talking about how great his buildings are, how luxurious and how rich he is and flying around everywhere. And all he had time for was celebrities.
And now, suddenly, he is acting like he`s a populist out there. "Man, I`m going to fight for working people." Come on, man!
If you say you`re about the Constitution, and you`re opposed to what Obama is doing with executive actions, because that shows, you know, he is a tyrant. But you`re OK with a guy who says to his opponent during the middle of the debate, I`m going to throw you in jail. How does that work? It doesn`t work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking today in Ohio. He was convinced two years ago nobody would want him out campaigning, by now.
The Republicans` plan for this election, remember, they were going to make this election a referendum on whether or not America wants a third Obama term. That`s what they planned on running in 2016. Instead, the Democrats have ended up basically running on the Republican playbook. The Democrats are now looking around, gosh, where else can we send Obama?
You guys want a third Obama material, right? More than you want a Donald Trump presidency, right?
President Obama does seem to be enjoying going after Trump on the trail. Today, Donald Trump came up with an unusual way to threaten President Obama on his own side of the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Obama is an incompetent -- he is an incompetent president. He doesn`t know what he`s doing. He is out campaigning all day long.
He is talking about me like he knows me. I don`t know him. He doesn`t know me.
And why doesn`t some woman maybe come up and say what they say falsely about me? They could say it about him. They could say about it anybody. They could say it about anybody.
I`ll tell you what? He`d better be careful, because they can say about it anybody. Anybody at all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He`d better be careful, he says of the president of the United States. Donald Trump says he is quite sure President Obama is just as susceptible to allegations of sexual harassment and unwanted groping as Donald Trump has proven to be over these last few days.
You know, it`s weird. We`re at the point in the campaign where something like that doesn`t even really make waves anymore, right? It doesn`t even generate all that much press.
But the Republican nominee for president today did threaten the president of the United States. That if he, the president, isn`t careful, this candidate says he expects that false assault allegations could be generated against the president.
The campaign is getting very dark. We expected it to. The Trump events, day to day, are getting more and more unhinged. We`re sort of back to the point in the campaign where every time Donald Trump talks now, people do just open up microphones and turn on cameras and point them at him. Not because they`re particularly interested in what he has to say but because who knows what might explode?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I am being viciously attacked with lies and smears. It is a phony deal. I had no idea. I have no idea. And I think you all know I have no idea.
These are lies being pushed by the media and the Clinton campaign. They are all false. They`re totally invented, fiction, all 100 percent totally and completely fabricated.
These people are sick. These people are sick.
It never happened. Never happened. It`s a lie. It`s a lie.
These are all horrible lies, all fabrications. They make up lies.
The process is rigged. This whole election is being rigged. These lies spread by the media -- it`s a lie. Total lie. It`s a fabrication. It`s a totally phony deal.
The whole thing, we`ve been going through, and I hate to say it. But the whole thing we`re going through. Bernie Sanders, it was a rigged deal. The whole thing is one big fix. It`s one big fix. It`s one big ugly lie. It`s one big fix.
The press can`t write the kind of things they write, which are lies, lies, lies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And so, vote for me.
It has been one week since the "Washington Post" published previously unbroadcast tape from the NBC archives of the show called "Access Hollywood". One week ago tonight, when we were covering the release of the tape on this show. In that tape, of course, Donald Trump bragged that he can`t stop himself from kissing women, he grabs women by the crotch and he gets away with it because he is a star.
One week ago tonight, when we were covering the release of that tape on this show, I think we all expected that the next shoe that was going to drop would probably be more tape, right? I mean, that "Access Hollywood" appearance that day was one of hundreds if not thousands of TV appearance that`s Donald Trump has made over his years as a celebrity of sorts.
There are multiple reports including from a bombshell "Associated Press" story early last week about his alleged behavior on the set of TV shows like "The Apprentice", behavior that according to people who were interviewed, behavior that was witnessed by the cast and crew, and they say reportedly, that behavior was filmed. So, there`s tape, if those allegations are true. But the tape all ended up on the cutting room floor.
I think we all expected a week ago tonight when that "Access Hollywood" tape came out that that the next thing would be people would pick up scraps off the broadcast floor. That Trump would turn up in more previously unbroadcast tapes from many of the various shows he`s been part of or on which has appeared. That has not happened over the course of this week.
Instead, what happened over the course of this past week is that real live human women came forward. More than a half dozen women came forward to say that what Donald Trump described himself doing on that "Access Hollywood" tape is the exact behavior that he did to them in person.
Now, Trump apologized for what he said on that tape. He has denied all of these women`s claims, individually. All these women who say, yes, he did to me what he bragged about on that tape. He denies them all individually. I should tell you, NBC News has not independently verified these women`s claims. Donald Trump categorically denied that he ever behaved in the way he bragged about behaving on that tape.
But, first, it was two women speaking to the "New York Times". One described being allegedly groped by him on an airplane. Another described being aggressively kissed by Mr. Trump at Trump Tower when he was working there. The same night, "The Palm Beach Post" reported another woman who says that Donald Trump allegedly groped her at Mar-A-Lago. That it was a writer for "People" magazine who said that he groped her and kissed her aggressively without her consent, again in Florida at his estate in Mar-A- Lago.
Then, it was "The Washington Post" today, a woman saying Trump groped her without her consent, stuck his hand up her skirt and touched her crotch at a New York night club without so much as saying a word to her. And then it was this press conference today with a former "Apprentice" contestant, saying that Donald Trump tried to force himself on her in a Los Angeles hotel room.
Now, the Donald Trump campaign has vehemently denied all of these women`s allegations.
And in a week since the "Access Hollywood" tape first came out, a week ago tonight, the Trump campaign has tried on these evolving series of conspiracies that might explain where all these false claims are coming from.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JERRY FALWELL, JR., ON "ACCESS HOLLYWOOD" TAPE: Just, you know, I think this whole tape -- videotape thing was planned. I think it was time. I think it might have even been a conspiracy, you know, among establishment Republicans who have known about it for weeks and who tried to time it to do the maximum damage to Donald Trump.
I just really believe that it was all -- it wasn`t a coincidence that it came out right before Trump was supposed to appear with Paul Ryan at a rally and conveniently gave Paul Ryan a way to disinvite Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was Sunday night. Trump supporter Jerry Falwell Jr. saying the "Access Hollywood" tape was conspiracy against Donald Trump, orchestrated by establishment Republicans and specifically Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan did it. That`s where this all came from.
Trump himself started running with that idea the next day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Wouldn`t you think that Paul Ryan would call and say, good going? In front of just about the largest audience for a second night debate in the history of the country? No. He doesn`t do that.
There is a whole deal going on. I mean, you know, there`s a whole deal going on. We`re going to figure it out. I always figure things out. But there`s a whole sinister deal going on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: There`s a whole sinister deal going on with Paul Ryan that explains what`s going on. Donald Trump says he always figures it out.
By last night, what Mr. Trump figured out was that the conspiracy against him, what gave rise the this horrible place he`s in right now with the campaign, the people who are now in control of the conspiracy, as he sees it, what he has figured out is it`s the global elite.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: This election will determine where we`re a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a handful of global special interests. Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty, in order to enrich these global financial powers. This is a conspiracy against you, the American people, and we can not let this happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So again, just for context here, the Trump campaign is that Donald Trump bragging on tape that he gets away with grabbing women by the p-word. That is a conspiracy generated by Paul Ryan or maybe it is a sinister plot between Paul Ryan and Hillary Clinton, or it`s possibly a secret project of the global financial elite.
You can see the evolution of who they`re blaming over the course of this week. And today, we hit, what I have to hope is peak conspiracy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Now, Carlos Slim, as you know, comes from Mexico. He has given many millions to the Clintons and their initiatives. So, Carlos Slim, largest donor of the paper, from Mexico. Reporters of the "New York Times", they`re not journalists. They`re corporate lobbyists for Carlos Slim and for Hillary Clinton.
We`re going to let foreign corporations and their CEOs decide the outcomes of the -- you just can`t do this. We can`t let this happen. We are not going to let it happen, where they decide the outcome of our elections. They can`t do it and we`re not going to let it happen.
This is our last chance to save our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The man behind the curtain, the man orchestrating all of these things against Donald Trump is Carlos Slim, the puppet master, man pulling the string.
The Trump campaign says what they are settling on now to explain this rap of terrible news and allegation upon allegation, and the "Access Hollywood" tape, and all the rest, is because Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim hold stock in the "New York Times", well, that means that -- well, that just shows you, I mean, well, that just squares it off, right?
Carlos Slim has stock in the "New York Times". And Donald Trump looks like he`s going to lose the election. And so, now, get it? Right?
Even if you are absolutely persuaded by air tight logic, how does Carlos Slim and him having a connection to the "New York Times" explain what is happening in the "Washington Post"? How does that explain what`s happening in the "Palm Beach Post"? How does that explain this woman with feminist attorney Gloria Allred today? How does it explain the woman from "People" magazine?
I mean, there`s a way in which this conspiratorial tone would be funny if the topic weren`t so disgusting. But for anybody to forget how disgusting it all is, the Trump campaign has now moved on to the next new phase in responding to this crisis in their campaign and the next phase is Donald Trump attempting to not just deny these allegations, but to rebut these allegations himself, by claiming all these women who are accusing him, all of these women who are saying that he behaved this way toward them -- clearly, it could not have happened because none of them meet his standards in terms on who he might conceivably go after when considering who to grope.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: She said I made inappropriate advances. And, by the way, the area was a public area, people all over the place. Take a look. You take look. Look at her. Look at her words. You tell me what you think. I don`t think so. I don`t think so.
When you looked at that horrible woman last night, you said, I don`t think so. I don`t think so. Whoever she is, wherever she comes from, the stories are total fiction.
They`re 100 percent made up. They never happened. They never would happen.
I don`t think it happened with very many people but they certainly aren`t going to happen with me. Oh, I was with Donald Trump in 1980. I was sitting with him on an airplane. And he went after me on the plane. Yes. I`m going to go after her.
Believe me, she would not be my first choice, that I can tell you. You don`t know. That would not be my first choice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The argument is she`s not pretty enough for me to sexually assault her, right? Is there a different argument? Is there another plausible argument here? She`s not pretty enough for no molest?
In terms of political stretch, what the Clinton campaign needs to do right now is, absolutely nothing. Take a vacation. Consider napping more. Just don`t interrupt this process. Let this play out.
Voting is already underway in many states across this country, including lots of swing states and this is apocalyptic in electoral terms for the Republican Party. Beyond that, though, beyond the politics, and the political strategy of this, though, what about this avalanche of allegations, right?
In one week, we`ve had woman after woman after woman after woman after woman after woman. We have all of these named, grown women who have come forward and said not anonymously behind some silhouette screen -- women using their real names. These women have come forward and let themselves be known. They`ve made themselves willing to be identified. They have made these claims and damn the consequences.
What kind of calculus is that for them? And what is going to happen with these allegations now?
Stay with us.
MADDOW: OK. So, here`s a thing that`s happened this evening, watch this. Look, look, physically. Just look at it. This is the latest bizarre development from a Donald Trump rally. This is Republican Party`s presidential nominee tonight, Donald Trump, physically ripping apart his teleprompter on stage at this rally. The teleprompter that was set apart for him by his own campaign, taking it apart there.
And I don`t know why he is taking apart the Teleprompters. I don`t know. Something media? Something global elites? Perhaps Carlos Slim was hiding inside?
I wish I could say with this act, with all its weird symbolism, that this was the campaign`s headline today. Of course, it is not. Our next guest has the latest story for the biggest headline in the campaign today at the "Washington Post." And that`s next.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLI)
KRISTIN ANDERSON, ALLEGES DONALD TRUMP GROPED HER: I`m talking to my friend who I`m sitting to and across from on my left side, I`m very clear on this. This is the vivid part for me. So, the person on my right who unbeknownst to me at that time was Donald Trump, put their hand up my skirt. He did touch my vagina through my underwear. Absolutely.
And as I pushed the hand away and I got up and I turned around and I see these eyebrows, very distinct eyebrows of Donald Trump.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This woman named Kristin Anderson talking with the "Washington Post" today in an interview. She claims that she was sexually assaulted, to her surprise, by Donald Trump in the early 1990s. She says it happened in a crowded nightclub in New York City. She says that she and Donald Trump did not speak. That he just physically assaulted her, physically groped her this way without saying a word.
These are claims that the Trump campaign says are made up.
Joining us now is Karen Tumulty. She`s national political correspondent for "The Washington Post", who broke the story.
Karen, thanks very much for being with us tonight. Nice to have you here.
KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here.
MADDOW: So, how did this story come about? What do you know about why Ms. Anderson decided to come forward? How did you vet the story?
TUMULTY: Sure. Actually, she did not decide to come forward. We approached her.
A week ago today, my colleague David Fahrenthold broke a story about this very explosive videotape, in which Donald Trump described a very specific way of groping women that he believed he was entitled to by his celebrity. He said they will let you do this.
And over the weekend, we at the "Washington Post" got an e-mail tip from someone saying, I know someone to whom that exact act occurred by Donald Trump. And so, we at "The Washington Post" approached Kristin and said, did this happen?
And she was not entirely enthusiastic about the idea of going public with this. But I have been talking with her all week every day. And she gave me names of people to whom she had told the story. Two of whom went on the record. One of whom she told just days after it happen.
I spent a lot of the rest of the week kind of verifying everything that she told me, to see that she was credible, right down to getting her voter registration, to make sure she really was registered as an independent. But she still was not totally sold on the idea of coming forward. She herself had seen the videotape and had been shocked. She said, "For the first time I understood why what happened to me happened."
But she read the "New York Times" on Wednesday night. She saw two other women who had been victimized in her view, and right, she`s right, far more seriously than she had been.
She read the first person account of a "People" magazine reporter. And yesterday morning, I was on the phone with Kristin and she said to me two words. She said, "I`m in".
So, we got a videographer over to her as quickly as possible. I interviewed her by phone while she was being video, and that`s how we produced the story we have today.
MADDOW: Karen, one of the things we`ve seen over the course of the week, as these several women have come forward and talked to different publications, is the kind of reporting process that you`re describing, as the Trump campaign and Mr. Trump himself vehemently deny each of these allegations, you as reporters are put in a position of having to verify, as best as you can.
Can you just give some -- shed some light for us in terms of your thinking, and the paper`s thinking, about why it is important to find people who these women spoke to at the time, they spoke to contemporaneously about the alleged assault? Why is that so key to verifying their stories?
TUMULTY: Well, because that way, you don`t think it is the power of suggestion from having seen this videotape a week ago, later thinking it happened to her. When in fact I talked on three people, only two of whom were willing to go on the record, because let`s face it, getting involved in a story like this is going to subject you to a lot of heat. But these two people, one of whom was a friend of hers who said, yes, we had brunch just a few days later and she described this to me. And the other was a photographer who said that in 2007, he was out with a bunch of people at dinner and once again, she described this exact thing.
But, Rachel, you have to go beyond that, because you have to -- Kristin was very aware that all kinds of aspects of her life are going to be up for scrutiny. So, I had to talk to her and we had some really personal conversations. And I must say, she provided everything I asked her, right down to giving me a copy of her child custody agreement.
And I did a lot of other digging. I found out that, in fact, Donald Trump was a regular attendee of the nightclub that she described at that time. I found out that it was often crowded. I found news reports at the time saying that as many as 1,100 people would be there at one time.
So, you know, I -- ultimately, this is a he said/she said. But I really had to convince myself, the "she said" on that side of the equation, that there was nothing she was telling me didn`t comport with facts that were checkable.
MADDOW: Karen Tumulty, national political correspondent for "The Washington Post" -- thank you for talking about this story and thank you for, in particular, talking about this aspect of it. I think what did you in the piece but also tonight just goes to showing your work and showing how you satisfy your own journalistic needs here in order to tell a story like this, I think it really -- it`s a public service. Thanks for being so good at what you do and thanks for talking to us about it. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: I should tell you that a couple days ago, we talked here on this show about "The Palm Beach Post" breaking another one of these stories of another woman saying that Donald Trump had groped her without her consent.
Today, "The Palm Beach Post" reports that that woman is planning on leaving the United States. She is planning on leaving the country because of the response that she`s had to coming out publicly this week. She said she feels for her family`s safety. She says she`s been feeling backlash from Trump supporters and she is now leaving the country in order to try keep herself and her family safe.
Much more tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, here`s something to watch for over the course of this evening really and into the weekend. There has been a remarkable leak to NBC News tonight. NBC has this exclusively. You`ll remember that a week ago the U.S. government made this remarkable statement.
They formally accused Russia of using cyber warfare basically to attack the U.S. election system. They accused Russia of hacking the Democratic Party and other political organizations and political figures over the last several months, all in a deliberate effort to reduce confidence in our elections and to interfere in our elections.
And since that remarkable accusation was made by the U.S. government a week ago, there has been a follow-up question which is, well, what are you going to do about it?
Well, that is apparently with a NBC News has just figured out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: NBC News has learned the CIA is in the initial phase of a wide- ranging cyber retaliation, designed to be both clandestine and embarrassing. Sources with direct knowledge of the operation tell us say the target, the Kremlin leadership, particularly Vladimir Putin. If ordered by the White House, the CIA could manipulate things as specific as the banking accounts and personal phones of the Kremlin leadership.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Personal phones and banking accounts.
This is reported to be the CIA planning a cyber offensive, a retaliatory cyber offensive against Russia. That`s what has been described to NBC News tonight.
They`re very careful in that report to say that President Obama has not signed off on this plan, which is interesting in terms of the story breaking now, right?
I mean, earlier this week, the White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, quote, "It is certainly possible that the president could choose response options that we never announce."
We did get something of an announcement tonight. We don`t know why this plan was leaked. We don`t know whether we should expect something imminently in terms of the U.S. waging an offensive against Russia on this.
Honestly, if the U.S. government does start waging some kind of cyber war against Russia, we don`t even know if we would know that it was happening, right? So, spooky stuff. But watch this space and watch this story continually over the weekend.
MADDOW: George W. Bush was in New Haven, Connecticut? Did you guess that one right?
Born in New Haven, but he really like to be known as George W. Bush from Texas, the state he moved to as a young man and where he served as governor. In the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections, George W. Bush carried Texas by a mile. He won his home state for the first time by 22 points. He went back four years later and won it by 23 points.
Particularly because there are a lot of Latinos in Texas, Democrats have had this dream that they might be able to turn it into purple if not blue. Yes, not really.
I mean, after Texas transplant George W. Bush was gone and the Republicans were running a candidate in 2008 who was not from Texas. And in fact, he was a candidate who lost nationwide by a lot, even that Republican candidate John McCain, he still won Texas by double digits, 11 points. And then four years later, Mitt Romney won Texas by 16 points. So, yes, Texas, red at the presidential level.
But do you know what? It is not a monolithic thing and we`ve just gotten some really interesting numbers out of Texas about an unusual spike in voter registration that they`re having this year, a lot of different theories about why this is happening.
But here`s one specific number out of Travis County, Texas. Travis County is right there on the map. It`s around the state capital, Austin.
Travis County has just announced that out of all the people eligible to vote in that county, 90 percent of them are now registered to vote. They have 90 percent voter registration in Travis County. That`s nuts.
And even though Republicans win Texas by a mile, Republicans do not win Travis County. I mean, this big county where they now have 90 percent of people registered. Look at the vote there in 2008. President Obama won in Travis County by 30 points in 2008. In 2012, he won Travis County by 24 points. And now in that county, 90 percent of the people are registered to vote.
We talked on some folks in Texas about that today. They`re definitely throwing cold water on the larger importance of that saying, Texas really is still a pipe dream for Democrats, even if those numbers are eye popping.
But it`s interesting, right? I mean, in terms of the prospects for Texas Democrats, particularly given this poll that just came out of Texas today. A good statewide poll that found that that Donald Trump is leading in Texas but only by four points, margin of error, right?
I mean, in Texas, that`s crazy bad for a Republican. So, there`s that. Texas.
We`re also now getting an early vote data from other parts of the country. And I should say, despite news like that out of Texas, the early vote data that we`re getting in is not all good news for Hillary Clinton`s campaign. For example, we`ve got new early voting data from Ohio and it is good news for Donald Trump.
We saw those ecstatic pictures this week of people flooding into the county clerk office on Wednesday, first thing in the morning, with early voting started, right? A lot of those people, if not all of them in these images are Hillary Clinton supporters.
But the early data so far out of Ohio is not good news for Democrats. Ballot requests in the Democratic stronghold of Cuyahoga County, which is Cleveland, ballot requests there are down almost 20 percent from four years ago. Cuyahoga County is where the Democrats bank their votes in Ohio. If Cuyahoga County is off nearly 20 percent from 2012, that is not good news for Democrats. That`s good news for Donald Trump.
And then there`s the numbers from Florida. In Florida, over 3,000 people have already voted. Democrats are feeling optimistic in Florida for two reasons.
Reason number one, is that it`s usually Florida Republican who`s are feeling good right around now in terms of voting. Republicans tend to beat the pants off Democrats when it comes to absentee ballots. What we`re used to seeing is Florida is Florida Republicans run up the score early with absentee ballots and then Democrats narrow the gap once the in-person early voting starts.
Not at all the way that it is going this year. This year, Democrats appear to be on pace to match Republican ballots, cast in Florida, before the early in person voting even starts.
So, usually, this is the time when Republicans are building up their big lead. Democrats and Republicans are neck in neck right now. That`s reason number one Democrats are excited about Florida.
Second reason Democrats are psyched about the Florida numbers right now is the same reason they`ve got that glimmer of hope in their eyes, however misguided it may be about Texas. The other reason the Democrats are excited about Florida right now is the voter registration numbers and these are kind of stunning.
In Florida overall, Democrats already led Republicans in terms of voter registration in the state. Well, now, we know that the Florida Democratic Party is blowing away the Republican Party in submitting new voter registration forms. The Democrats have submitted more than half a million new voter registration forms. Republicans have submitted less than 60,000. And the Republicans were already behind.
So, the RNC has bragged that they`ve got a far better ground campaign than the Clinton campaign, particularly in Florida. A memo last month, they accused the media of having fallen for the Clinton camp`s false narrative that equates having lots of campaign offices with having a superior field organization.
But now, we`ve got these new voter registration numbers out of Florida, and the fact that Democrats are already catching up in early balloting and that suggests that, you know, maybe Hillary Clinton having 72 freaking campaign offices in the state, may be that help. Maybe those were for something.
I mean, Donald Trump will likely win the state of Texas. Donald Trump may even win the state of Ohio. But in Florida, things are not looking good for Donald Trump. And without Florida, he really can`t win the presidency.
We`re at the point in this race now where you can`t count more than polls. In Florida right now, in the polls alone, it`s looking OK not great for Donald Trump but it looks bad for him in the early voting and it looks disastrous for him in voter registration.
This thing is underway. Much more ahead. Stay with us tonight.
MADDOW: In 2012, the official newspaper of the Chinese communist party, "The People`s Daily", they ran this headline, "North Korea`s top leader named The Onions` sexiest man alive for 2012."
The obvious problem with that headline is that nobody told them "The Onion" is a satirical website. And it is one thing to get fooled and write an article. But China`s "People`s Daily", they went to town on this story. The paper built a 55-image slideshow commemorating this great distinction that had been bestowed upon the North Korean leader.
The lead picture in the slide show was, Mr. Kim astride a horse, included this direct quote from "The Onion". Quote, "He has that rare ability to somehow be completely adorable and completely macho at the same time."
Sometimes, it is a very easy thing to tell that a story is bogus. Other times, you do actually need to do some digging. And sometimes, you need to call people in Serbia and talk to newspaper editors there in order to get to the bottom of something in the American news.
And that`s how we spent our day today. That story is ahead. Super weird. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Hey, this is legitimately big news. We have been tracking endorsement in the presidential race. We are the first national news outlet that started doing this and I think we finally hit pay dirt.
We`re three weeks and a few days out from the election and we have been on track all this time for something that has never happened before, a major party nominee getting zero endorsements from a daily newspaper in this country.
But, today, we can update our chart. Today, big news. Today in California, a little paper called "The Santa Barbara News-Press", they endorsed Trump -- the first and only newspaper in the country that has picked him. Congratulations. "The Santa Barbara News-Press" will now be famous for this -- particularly if they stay the only paper in the country that has endorsed Trump this year.
Before now, the only thing this paper was famous for before was the mass resignation of their entire editorial staff when a new rich owner took over the paper in 2006. The staffers who quit got a big journalism award that year for standing up for their journalistic integrity against the new owner. But today, that new owner posted this year`s endorsements for this year`s election and it`s true. Donald Trump for president, they`re the only paper in the country endorsing him.
So, you obviously want to know, right? What`s your argument? How do you explain this totally unique endorsement?
Well, we paid $10 to get behind the pay wall at that newspaper so we could actually read the paper`s argument for picking Donald Trump and there is nothing behind the pay wall.
"The Santa Barbara News-Press" is endorsing Donald Trump, but that`s all. That`s it. Two words, "Donald Trump." We wrote to the publishers, we called the newsroom, nothing. So, "The Santa Barbara News-Press" is picking Donald Trump but giving no explanation for it and no argument.
Still, though, first in the nation, Republicans you are on the board. Mazel tov.
MADDOW: This is the weirdest story we have worked on in a long time in terms of covering this campaign. I love this story. It`s so weird.
All right. That is Serbian rock band from Belgrade. This is a movie called "Serbian Scars." If you notice any connection between the two clips, the guitarist from the band is the actor here with the gun -- the guy, not the woman.
And the actor and the guitarist, that guy, has been living and working in the United States for some time, but he is reportedly planning on heading home to Serbia next year, because the guitarist from the band and the actor from that movie now looks like this and he is running for president of Serbia. Interesting.
In his time in the United States, he`s been a little politically involved over here. He`s an outspoken Donald Trump supporter. Through some means, he ended up meeting personally with Mike Pence. We have photographic record of that. You see it here.
We also have a photograph of him with the Indiana state director for the Trump/Pence campaign.
And, given this access or at least perceived access, I think that helps him in terms of looking connected back at home.
Back home in Serbia, he told a newspaper that he could get them an interview with Donald Trump, an interview with Donald Trump for a Serbian newspaper. If you`re the Serbian newspaper you`re like, wow, great, right?
Well, that interview ran in this Serbian newspaper yesterday. It drew some criticism from the Clinton campaign when the interview ran, because in this interview, Donald Trump appeared to apologize for the U.S. participating in the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
OK. I mean, here`s what we`ve learned in terms of trying to get our head around what happened in this story.
It appears that Donald Trump did not actually do this interview with this Serbian paper. I mean, it`s possible that he did and they`re just snow jobbing us entirely, but it really feels like somebody pulled a fast one here.
What we`ve heard from the presidential candidate, actor, guitar player, is that he got a set of questions from the newspaper and he handed them over on a piece of paper to somebody at the Trump campaign, he won`t say who, and then he says he got a written response to those questions from the Trump campaign, from Donald Trump. Specifically, he says, he got that response from the Indiana state director of the Trump/Pence campaign with whom you see him here.
And here`s that response. We got it today. It appears to be her e-mail address, the Indiana state director for the Trump campaign. We`ve redacted it here, we crossed it out, but we checked the e-mail address. That is her email address. The Trump campaign confirmed it`s her e-mail address but she denies she sent this e-mail with all of the Trump campaign`s responses to these interview questions.
The Trump campaign denies, in fact, that anybody in their whole campaign sent that e-mail. In fact, the Trump campaign told us today at the national level that they searched all of their e-mail servers in the entire campaign and this e-mail, which has what are purported to be Donald Trump`s answers to questions from the Serbian newspaper, they say, uh-uh, not on any of their servers, didn`t come from them. None of their staffers touched this, it`s completely invented.
And so, this is a weird story, right? I mean, this started off as a weird story in the first place when it appeared Donald Trump was apologizing for the U.S. bombing Serbia in the `90s. That`s a weird thing for Donald Trump to apologize for.
But what is weirder, what is even weirder than the original story, is that somebody may be successfully impersonating Donald Trump in order to portray him as apologizing for the U.S. bombing in Serbia. It`s possible that Donald Trump did give this interview and make this apology and the campaign isn`t trying to take these things back because they`re embarrassed about them, maybe. It`s also possible that the Trump campaign answered their questions on behalf of the candidate and they don`t like the way they landed so they`re denying responsibility for them.
We should also tell you the Serbian presidential candidate guitar player actor, he insists he got this response from the Trump campaign. He says there was no funny business here at all, other than the fact that everybody`s denying that this happened all of a sudden.
What seems most likely to us from our look into this is that it seems most likely to us that nobody from the Trump campaign gave the Serbian newspaper these answers. Somebody else along the way decided to impersonate Donald Trump and have it appear as if he was apologizing for the U.S. bombing Serbia in some foreign paper, but we honestly don`t know. It`s a conundrum at this point. It remains a mystery.
We`ve spoken to the paper. They took down their article, their supposed Donald Trump interview. They`re doing their own investigation. If they find out somebody was impersonating Donald Trump in the foreign press and they find out who it was -- well, that`s going to be a really good story when we get to that part of it.
I should note real quick before we go that this headline that we just showed, this is not me taking a shot at Trump at all, when you translate the Serbian article on Google. Trump shows up as "Tramp." I do not mean anything by that, I do not do it. That`s blame Google. It`s funny but we didn`t make it funny.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow -- no, Monday.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END