Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: November 11, 2016 Guest: Masha Gessen
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: Thank you, my friend. Chris, have a good weekend.
HAYES: You bet. OK, you, too.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Thou shalt not lie while you are applying to get married. I mean, for one thing it`s just bad juju, right? I mean, it`s not a nice way to start your marriage, right? You marriage is until death you part.
You should be more worried and superstitious about that kind of thing when you are starting off the process. Don`t start it off by lying. That`s just common superstitious sense.
In Indiana, it`s also a very stern part of the law. I don`t know what happened in Indiana in the late 1990s to make them worry so much about people lying on their marriage licenses, but they did. And in 1997, Indiana passed a law against that.
And then it`s interesting, because about 15 years down the road in Indiana, that law about lying on your application for a marriage license, that law became kind of a big hairy deal. Because in the era of people fighting for the right to get married even if they are a same-sex couple, one of the pressure tactics that some people and some groups developed was this very simple, often emotional, often a little heart wrenching strategy where a same-sex couple would go down to their local clerks office and apply for a marriage license just like anybody else. And the clerk would turn them down to their face.
The Campaign for Southern Equality did this all over the South. In particular, they would videotape while they did it, while the clerks had to look people in the eyes and tell them no. It was very moving.
And couples started doing this strategy all over the country. It`s a very simple thing. Go to your county clerk`s office to apply to get married and the clerk could not say yes. The clerk would have to look you in the eyes and say no because it wasn`t legal.
But in Indiana, they had this law on the books about it being, weirdly, a felony to give false information on your application for a marriage license. And that became an interesting wrinkle in that whole civil rights tactic, in that role civic rights tactic, in that whole strategy try to pursue civil rights this way.
The application for a marriage license in Indiana only allows you to fill in one name for man and one name for woman. So, if you were same-sex filling out that application, there`s no way for you to do that truthfully, right? If you`re two women or two men, you can`t truthfully apply on this form which only allows space for a man and a woman. That`s the only way to apply. You cannot truthfully do it.
And in 2013, Governor Mike Pence signed an update of the enforcement of the marriage application law in his state so that if you violated that law, you`d be guilty of a level six felony, which is punishable by a maximum of 18 months in prison and a potential fine up to $10,000. So, right, ultimately marriage equality becomes the law of the land everywhere thanks to the Supreme Court. But in Indiana, under Governor Mike Pence, gay couples faced 18 months in prison and $10,000 fine for applying to get married.
So, a year and a half in prison, $10,000 crime for the crime of applying for a marriage license. That, of course, is before that application would then be turned down, right, just applying to get married would put you in jail under Mike Pence.
One of the things that happened during the two terms of the Obama administration is that it became the law of the land in every state in the country that you can get married if you want to and even if you and your partner are two men or you`re two women. Marriage equality is the law of the land. This was the culmination of a massive decades long civil rights fight.
Over the course of his own presidency, even President Obama himself evolved on this issue. At the time he became president, he said that he supported mostly equal rights for same-sex couples, but at the time he became president he did not support marriage equality itself. That said, he evolved. By the time that fight was fully engaged coast to coast and it seemed possible that marriage equality might win, President Obama had changed his mind and become fully supportive on the issue. And when the United States Supreme Court finally ruled three summers ago in that landmark case that settled the issue legally once and for all, by then, the Barack Obama White House was lit up for the night in the colors of the rainbow flag.
This has just been a massive civil rights achievement. It was the resolution of a major battle and an incredibly acrimonious long, ongoing culture war. And in that context, given that that`s what just happened, the next time we had a presidential election after these consequently two terms of Barack Obama, you`d think we`d fight about that, right? I mean, you`d think in the abstract that that gigantic change we went through during the Obama administration, that would be a key part of the debate that we have as a country about who the next president should be.
And when the Republican Party picked as their nominee this year Donald Trump, a man who has honestly kind of a confusing, incoherent position on a lot of culture war issues, including gay rights, you would think it would have been really huge news. You would have thought it would be an acute point of focus in this campaign when the Republican presidential nominee who has this strange sort of hard to follow internally contradictory set of policies on these issues, he picked at his running mate, the most vociferously and consistently anti-gay statewide elected official in the country.
There is no statewide elected official anywhere in America who has more to brag about in terms of his anti-gay credentials. I mean, yes, lots of Republican politicians were against marriage equality. But only in Mike Pence`s Indiana could you go to jail for the crime of being a gay couple that had the temerity to apply for a marriage license.
Before North Carolina ever stepped on a rake and humiliated itself and threw way its business reputation and its new South reputation with its ridiculous anti-trans bathroom bill, before that ever happened in North Carolina, Mike Pence in Indiana signed a law overtly making it okay to discriminate against gay people in his state. I mean, Mike Pence is the one who said we should not only take away money from HIV and AIDS programs, he said AIDS funding should be taken away from serving people with HIV and AIDS because instead it should be diverted into government-funded programs designed to cure people from being gay, to try to fix gay people. That`s what the government should spend its money on. Not this AIDS stuff.
Mike Pence is really, really out there on his anti-gay politics. He`s at the very edge of the branch, on the very edge of the twig, on the last leaf on that twig. More so than any other statewide elected official in the country. And that`s who Donald Trump picked to be his running mate.
And you`d think, regardless of what you think about gay rights, regardless of what you think about marriage equality and all the rest of it, that`s just politically interesting, right? You`d think that would have sparked some debate and discussion. You`d think it would have gotten at least some attention.
But in fact, no one paid much attention to it at all. And honestly, I think that`s because no one paid much attention to Mike Pence at all. And I think part of that is because he`s running with this incredibly flamboyant guy at the top of the ticket, but there`s another reason for that because none of us ever get a second chance to make a first impression.
But as a vice presidential nominee and as a national political figure for the first time in his life, Mike Pence never even got a single chance to make a first impression because the night that Mike Pence was chosen to be Donald Trump`s running mate, there was other stuff going on that was frankly, way more interesting and way more dramatic and it resulted in Mike Pence never even getting a single day of focused press attention. Even on the day he was named to the Republican ticket.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LESTER HOLT, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Tonight, several breaking stories as we come on the air. A military coup attempt in a major American ally, Turkey in chaos, tanks in the streets, fighter jets in the skies.
And second thoughts? Donald Trump makes it official announcing Mike Pence as his VP pick, but NBC News has learned he was working the phones until midnight trying to see if he could change course.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Poor Mike Pence. He was announced from the very beginning as a guy about whom Donald Trump instantly had buyer`s remorse. And he was announced as VP on a day when something else really important and urgent happened, when this big important country, this ally of ours in the Middle East, had what appeared to be a very dramatic, major coup attempt.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: It started off small. Troops seen closing off a main bridge in Istanbul. And it escalated fast as reports came pouring in of army soldiers taking command of government buildings, a presidential office and TV stations the prime minister announced that a coup was under way.
He vowed to resist, saying Turkey`s democratically elected government would fight to the last drop of blood against the, quote, "criminals".
This is the man the coup was directed against, President Tayyip Erdogan, in southern Turkey on vacation at the time. His fight with the military has been a long time coming. He`s had secular army officers arrested for years, ushered in Islamist politics and is trying to change the constitution to give himself more power.
Late tonight, Erdogan speaking from his undisclosed location via Facetime called on his supporters to take to the streets to defend him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: This is a dramatic occurrence for any country, right, anywhere in the world.
For us, though, in the United States, this was a particularly big deal. This was a particularly big deal, even overshadowing the selection of Mike Pence as the president vice presidential nominee. It was a big deal for us in this country enough that it overshadowed that big political deal because Turkey is really important to us. Turkey`s the largest military in NATO after us.
We have a major base there. It`s reported that we stage our nuclear weapons at that base. We have intensive and longstanding relationships and interdependencies between our two militaries. And so, when this coup broke out in Turkey and the president said that`s the military leading this coup, we`re really close with that military. So, this was a very fraught thing for us.
And at the time, the general in charge of CentCom, so the general in charge of the whole Middle East region for the military, he said at the time, quote, "We certainly have relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders, military leaders in particular, so I`m concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue to move forward."
Right. This is a very careful statement, very diplomatic general statement from CentCom commander. This is a tense situation, right? So, you put this kind of anodyne gloss on this very worrying thing.
We have important relationships that we have hopes for, right, this very general, very diplomatic statement. Here`s how the president of turkey respond to that. He said, quote, "It`s not up to you to make that decision. Who are you? Know your place", end quote.
Know your place, CentCom commander. Know your place, U.S. military. Know your place, America.
President Erdogan in Turkey moved on fairly quickly to blaming the United States for somehow orchestrating this coup against him. He gave a speech from the police special forces headquarters in the capital of Turkey. He hinted darkly about the United States. He said, quote, "My people know who`s behind this scheme."
He also blamed a Turkish imam who long ago fled that country fearing persecution. This imam has since become a permanent resident of the United States. He lives in the Poconos.
But, meanwhile, ever since that night, ever since the night that Mike Pence got named to the Republican ticket, nobody had a chance to talk about it even that minute. Ever since that night the Turkish president -- this isn`t a term of art -- but he`s gone a little bit nuts this that country. Two hundred-something people were killed in that supposed coup that first night but since then the president of Turkey has rounded up more than 35,000 people and put them in jail as being supposedly coup supporters.
Thousands of members of the military have not just been fired from the military. They have been arrested. He`s orchestrated mass firings and in some cases, mass arrests of judges and mayors and members of parliament and professors and journalists, in some cases, he`s taken whole political parties and ordered arrests of every one of their elected officials. He has shut down newspapers, he has shut down TV stations.
The one constructive thing he`s done in this time period, he has announced a new building program. What he`s building is 174 new prisons in order to hold all the tens of thousands of people he has already rounded up from the court system and the military and the education system and from the press and from all aspects of civil society, tens of thousands of people. He wants the United States to help him finish the job, because he`s got this loose end in America. He`s got this dissident imam who lives in the Poconos and is a legal resident of the United States and who Erdogan in Turkey has decided is the man behind the curtain, the man who is to blame for this coup that maybe the United States also started.
He`s demanding that the United States hand over this guy, who`s a legal resident of the United States, hand him over so Erdogan can do what he wants to him.
You don`t really just get to demand that of the United States, right? There`s a process when some other country wants us to extradite somebody to them. It`s a judicial process. Our judiciary is an independent thing that follows our law. And there is clear law and legal procedures on these matters.
And so, no, the United States government has not just handed this guy over to the strongman who is demanding that we do. But we know from the way that they talked to our generals how they feel about us right now, right?
What was the quote from the president again? He said, who are you? Know your place.
So yes, they don`t care. Erdogan just keeps demanding over and over again that screw our judicial process. We should just screw it, forget it. Screw our laws around these things. We need to just hand this guy over. Yes, he`s a legal residence of the United States but we should hand him over because they say so.
On Election Day this week, Donald Trump`s top military adviser wrote an op- ed in "The Hill" saying basically we should just hand that guy over. He called this imam who is living in the Poconos, quote, "a shady Islamic mullah". And he also said this, this is nice. Quote, "If he were in reality a moderate, he would not be in exile nor would he excite the animus of the Turkish president."
You know what? Honestly, right now, there`s a hundred thousand journalists, judges, professors, mayors, freaking librarians who have excited the animus of the Turkish president. He`s building 174 new prisons to lock up tens of thousands of people who he has rounded up in a gigantic purge since this supposed coup, right?
It would be a weird thing for the United States to conclude as a matter of policy that all those tense of thousands of people, all those journalists and librarians and professors and stuff, judges, they probably all deserved it, they must be terrible if anybody`s mad at them, that they fire them on mass from all their judge, to locked them up, tens of thousands of them in 174 new prisons. Those people must all really deserve it.
The hand them over guy, the guy who says we should just hand this guy over, he probably deserves it, that`s General Mike Flynn who is Donald Trump`s top military and intelligence adviser. He was also today named to the executive committee of Donald Trump`s new transition team.
And transition teams are a normal thing at this point in the political calendar. That`s what any president-elect does at this time after the election. I have to say it`s not a normal thing to put throw of your children and your son-in-law on your transition team as Donald Trump did today. I looked to see if Uday and Qusay were there -- but I don`t, yes.
It`s also not normal for an incoming American president to just drop our judicial process around something like extradition, that we just ignore our independent judiciary and just start handing people over if they seem shady to us and if the right strongman in some other country demands it from us.
Other countries, not just in history, but other countries now around the world, countries like Turkey right now, a lot of other countries have varying experiences with strongman-type leaders, with heads of state who achieve power through more or less normal means but then once they`ve got power, they throw the old ways out the window. They maximize their own hold on power. They minimize the other mores and institutions that give order to something other than one person`s dictate for how things should be.
A lot of other countries have experience with that. Might that experience be a help to us right now in preparing for the worst case scenario that Donald Trump governs the way he campaigned?
Hold on a second. That`s coming up.
MADDOW: We do not know what kind of president Donald Trump will be. We do know just from the cut of his jib that he`s not a hard line cultural warrior like his running mate. We know he`s not a compassionate conservative type the way George Bush ran for president, at least 16 years ago.
He does not appear to be a straight-up national security hawk like Dick Cheney. He does not appear to be a live and let live small government-type like somebody like Bill Weld. Donald Trump appears to be something different than all of that.
And I don`t think he`s just defining a new category. I think he`s different. He`s the only person we`ve ever had go this far in American politics who really did get here by threatening to jail his political opponent, by threatening that unless he won the election, he would not recognize the validity of that election.
We`ve never had somebody get this far in American politics by threatening to build a nationwide deportation force to throw millions of people out of this country. We`ve never had somebody get this far who has proposed building a wall along one of our borders, who apparently is still proposing to ban Muslims from being allowed into this country. You might have heard that the Muslim ban was gone. We`ll be reporting later on tonight that, no, it is still there.
We just never had somebody like this at this level of American politics. And maybe it`s all been a game and maybe he doesn`t mean any of it and maybe he will be a totally normal politician of a type that we recognize once he gets sworn in, but if we believe him, if what he says he`s going to do is what he`s going to do, should we be taking lessons now from countries that have lived under leaders who have rounded up million of people? Should we be taking lessons right now from people who have lived in countries where they do jail their political opponents, where they do crusade against the press, where they do ban people based on their religions?
I mean, right now, we`ve never had somebody like this at any level of American politics. Should we shore ourselves up now and get ready by talking to people who have lived under that kind of strongman stuff before, from people who have seen it in other places and figured out best strategies for dealing with it? That`s a thing we can actually do right now.
Last night at the New York Review of Books, the Russian-American journalist named Masha Gessen published this. It`s called "Autocracy: Rules for Survival". Quote, "I have lived in autocracies most of my life and have spent much of my career writing about Vladimir Putin`s Russia. I have learned a few rules for surviving in an autocracy while salvaging your sanity and self-respect. It might be worth considering them now."
Joining us is Masha Gessen. She`s a journalist. She`s the author of "The Man Without A Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin". She`s also the author of this remarkable new article on the New York Review of Books.
Ms. Gessen, it`s a real pleasure to have you here. Thanks for being with us tonight.
MASHA GESSEN, RUSSIAN-AMERICAN JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: Donald Trump is not president yet. He has not been a public political figure for all that long. Is there any risk that this is premature that we`re worrying too much about this sort of an outcome before we have enough evidence to know if this is the direction he`s going?
GESSEN: Well, it`s possible. But I find this argument rather strange. All the information that we have for now about Donald Trump is information that he`s given us himself. He`s given plenty of it. You know, he`s talked about jailing his opponent. He`s talked about deporting U.S. citizens. He`s talked about compelling the military to commit war crimes.
These are things he`s said. He has not said, "I will be a normal politician." He has not said, "Disregard everything I`ve said, it`s just campaign hyperbole." So, why are we sort of insisting that we should keep an open mind and treat him like a normal politician when so far he`s given us no reason to suggest that he`s a normal politician and every reason to think that he ran for autocrat and was elected to be autocrat?
MADDOW: What do you make of the inclination by all sorts of different people, including journalists, including liberals, including conservatives who still didn`t like him, I think there`s an inclination to believe that it is hyperbole, to believe -- to decide that he didn`t really mean it, to hope for -- not just hope for but to think the best of what his prospects are? Why do we do that?
GESSEN: I think we always did. I think it`s a problem with imagination because we`ve never seen this happen before. And so, something happens in the brain. As humans we evolved to adopt and I think we evolve to be somewhat optimistic.
We think that because we`ve seen peaceful transfer of power before in this country, we`ve seen how it happens, we kind of insist on thinking that it`s going to happen the way it`s happened before, even though again, everything that`s preceded it is something that`s never happened before.
MADDOW: One of the things that you write about in the New York Review of Books is this idea that institutions, even institutions that seem robust can be undermined quickly by somebody who wants to undermine them. You talk about the speed with which somebody like Vladimir Putin was able to essentially undermine and dissolve the integrity of the press and ultimately the judiciary, as well as other institutions that people thought were pretty robust.
Do you feel that way about the United States as well, that our civil society institutions and our court system and our press and things like that are underminable in the same way?
GESSEN: Not in the same way. American institutions are obviously much, much stronger. There are a lot more institutions. The system of checks and balances is much more profound and coherent.
But the problem with it is that a lot of it is not actually enshrined in law, a lot is not the Constitution, a lot of it is just culture. You know, there`s no law that says that the White House has to be transparent. There`s no law that says there has to be a daily briefing or regular press conferences.
I mean, Vladimir Putin has one press conference and year and one call-in show. All other appearances are sort of irregular.
There`s nothing to stop Donald Trump from doing that. In fact, he`s already started. The two things that he`s on record in doing in the last 48 hours is not allowing the press to accompany him to meet with President Obama in the White House and blaming the press for the protests.
So, the signs for his relationship with the media are terrible. And that`s the beginning of the destruction of democracy. And even institutions that are actually enshrined in law, you know, they depend on good faith participation on all sides.
This is true of the election. I mean, we had Donald Trump run for president in bad faith. He lied in most of his statements this was documentable and it was documented and still he won.
The system was sort of defenseless against somebody who acts in bad faith.
MADDOW: Masha Gessen, journalist, author of this new article on the New York Review of Books which is circulating like it`s fed by lightning. It`s called `Autocracy: Rules for Survival." Masha, I really appreciate your time here tonight. Thank your for being here.
GESSEN: Thank you for having me.
MADDOW: One of the things that Masha talks about in her piece, thinking about undermining the judiciary. She says, one of the ways to undermine the judiciary is to shock its culture. She said, watch for a Supreme Court nominee who doesn`t just move the court to the right but that represents sort of wreaking havoc with the culture of the high court. That`s something that I feel like I have study in other countries and I`ve seen happen in other countries. I`ve never even conceived of the possibility of that happening in our country, but I`m starting to think about that now.
All right. Lots to get to tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Speaking of not going back to normal, this is a map of traffic in Miami, Florida, earlier tonight. The red, of course, we`re all familiar with traffic maps like this, red marks the places where traffic was not moving at all. And in this case, it wasn`t a normal traffic jam. The reason all these cars were stuck there tonight is because a protest about the election took over that road.
We are now looking at day three, night three of apparently spontaneous basically organic demonstrations in cities across America over this election. People have been marching tonight in a very dramatic fashion in Miami, Florida, also in Columbus, Ohio, also in Minneapolis and in Atlanta and in L.A.
What these -- tell me, control room, what`s that on that we`re looking at right there? What city is that? That`s Atlanta.
Because what the demonstrations are trying to demonstrate, I think, is basically a state of emergency in politics. That, of course, was a matter of perspective.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s a difference between peaceful protests and just standing in the middle of a major highway where you`re blocking traffic that`s going way -- it`s backed up way back there, I don`t know, maybe five miles. And what happens if there`s a serious emergency? How are the fire trucks going to get here?
They have a message. I just think it`s just a lot of, you know, B.S., pretty much.
REPORTER: Can I ask you who you supported for the record?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Support as in who I voted for?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the record, I like Trump. I actually did.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I mean, honestly, probably getting stuck in one of those protests is not that much fun even if you don`t like Trump. Irregardless of who you voted for. But I can tell you right now, it`s not B.S. These things are going to go on for a while.
We`re turning the corner in day four and they are not letting up and not getting confined to one part of the country. These are happening all over. We`ll keep you posted.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARIA BARTIROMO, DEBATE MODERATOR: Are you planning on putting your assets in a blind trust should you become president?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: If I become president, I couldn`t care less about my company. It`s peanuts. I want to make -- I want to use that same up here, whatever it may be, to make America rich again and to make America great again.
I have Ivanka and Eric and Don sitting there. Run the company, kids, have a good time. I`m going to do it for America. So I would be willing to do that.
BARTIROMO: So you`ll put your assets in a blind trust?
TRUMP: I would put it in a blind trust. Well, I don`t know if it`s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. But is that a blind trust? I don`t know. I would probably have my children run it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I don`t know if it`s a blind trust if Ivanka, Don and Eric run it. If that`s a blind trust, I don`t know.
That`s not a blind trust. If your children run it, that`s not a blind trust. By definition, a blind trust is supposed to prevent its owner from knowing what his or her company holds.
Donald Trump knows what his company holds, right? Known assets. Trump Hotels, Trump golf course, Trump wine, right?
A true blind trust, if you were really going to have a true blind trust, he would divest himself of all those known assets, he would have somebody totally independent of him manage his assets in a way that he wouldn`t even know what they were.
That`s not what he`s doing. In this case what he`s planning of doing is just let the kids drive it while he`s president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: We can say, you know what? We`re going to do less deals. We`re not going to do that deal even though it`s a fine deal, it`s economically reasonable because it could create a conflict of interest and we`ll act incredibly responsibly. My father already said that he would put the company in a blind trust and it would be run by us. So, he`s been very articulate on that fact and outspoken.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If it`s a blind trust, then it can`t be run by you. If it`s run by you, it`s not a blind -- but don`t worry. We`ll act incredibly responsibly.
That is an insane plan. If that`s our country`s plan for how to keep the president of the United States from using his position to enrich himself and his family. The plan officially is you should totally trust us. We`ll act incredibly responsibly.
Nevertheless, the Trump Organization says tonight that they are really going to try the pull this off. They`re going to try to do it. They announced today that they`re in the process of transferring the management of the Trump Organization to Mr. Trump`s children. That`s what they`re planning on doing, that`s how they`re planning on handling this issue.
Well, at least while they`re doing that, the kids won`t be playing any role in the Trump administration at least. Oh, wait, no, today, we also learned that while they are in the process of taking over the Trump business, Mr. Trump`s children will also have formal roles in managing the transition team for the new administration, which means they`ll have major input in terms of who Trump picks for his key administrative posts, while they`re running his business, which obviously stands to benefit depending on whether or not the administration does things the right way, the right way for Trump Inc.
But don`t worry, they`re draining the swamp. And the reason you know they`re draining the swamp is because everybody promises to act incredibly responsibly.
MADDOW: Richard Engel is NBC News` chief foreign correspondent and as foreign correspondent, you think about it, he`s not necessarily responsible for covering a domestic election in this country.
But Richard has been covering it, and with his experience of having lived around the world and reported around the world, he has been doing some incredible reporting on the "oh my God" reaction around the world to this election and also the reaction of the national security world as well. Richard Engel`s reporting on the reaction and the context here in terms of what`s happened here this week has been some of the most compelling reporting and explanation I`ve heard from anyone for the duration. And, Richard, I`m happy to say, is here next.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We have to go and we have to maybe check, respectfully, the mosques.
They have to cooperate with law enforcement and turn in the people who they know are bad. And they know it.
It`s their culture, they`re around each other, they see each other, they know what`s going on. You got to turn them in.
I`m watching all these people about the racial profiling. I don`t believe that for a second. These people knew what was going on.
I don`t want them coming over here. We have enough problems over here.
If you`re Christian, it`s almost impossible to get into this country. But if you`re Muslim, you can come in.
I think Islam hates us. There`s something -- there`s something there that there`s a tremendous hatred there, there`s a tremendous hatred. We have to get to the bottom of it.
Assimilation has not been exactly a positive factor.
Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States. Somebody had to bring it up. If I didn`t bring it up, it would have never been brought up.
NBC NEWS REPORTER: Should there be a database system that track Muslims in this country?
TRUMP: There should be a lot of systems beyond database. We should have a lot of systems.
NBC NEWS REPORTER: But that`s something your White House would like to implement?
TRUMP: Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: A database to track Muslims in this country?
There`s a lot of real and understandable fear in the Muslim community right now as Muslim Americans try to figure out what their lives are going to look like under a Trump presidency.
Yesterday in Nashville, Tennessee, some local folks went out and chalked, "we love you" messages, "we love you" messages and "we want you here" messages on the sidewalk outside the local Islamic center.
People are worried about how the president-elect has singled out Muslim- Americans. Americans who are not Muslim are worried about it, worried about what Trump has in mind for that community just as that community is worried for itself.
Here`s a thing you might have seen this week -- there was a spate of news reports starting on election day that says that Donald Trump`s written proposal to ban Muslims from coming into the country, there`s news reports that that disappeared from the Trump website. There was a little excitement about that, about maybe now that the campaign was over and he was the president-elect maybe the ban was done, right? Maybe now that he`s president-elect he`d disappear that proposal, pretend like he never made it. It turns out, nope, that`s not what happened.
Mr. Trump`s statement calling for a Muslim ban, it did in fact disappear for a day, starting on election day, but this should have been a clue, so did all his other policy statements and everything from potential Supreme Court picks to defense policies. They all came down on Election Day and that was apparently a glitch because now back on the website, all of those policies including the Muslim ban.
Touring Capitol Hill yesterday, Mr. Trump was asked directly if he wanted Congress to ban Muslims from entering the country. Watch his response to that question here. This is great.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A lot of priorities, a lot of really great priorities. People will be very, very happy.
REPORTER: What are the top three?
TRUMP: Well, we have a lot. We`ll look very strongly on immigration, the border. Very important. We`ll look strongly at healthcare. And we`re going to looking at jobs, big league jobs.
KASIE HUNT, NBC NEWS: Are you going to ask Congress to ban Muslims from entering the country?
TRUMP: Thank you, everybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Are you going to ban Muslim, ask Congress to ban Muslim from entering the country? Thank you, everybody. That was his answer.
Joining us now is Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent.
Richard, it`s great to have you here with us. Thanks for staying late and being here tonight.
RICHARD ENGEL, NBC NEWS CHIEF FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Great to be with you. How are you?
MADDOW: I`m all right. I`m wondering what you think --
ENGEL: Concerned it sound likes you are.
MADDOW: Yes, you know, I`m sort of just trying to get perspective. And one of the reasons I want to talk to you about this is because you have live in Muslim cultures, you`ve lived in Muslim countries, you have lived under all sorts of different kinds of rulers and different kinds of politicians.
What do you think in terms of the fear that Muslim communities have right now in the United States? What`s your take on that?
ENGEL: Well, I think frankly they`re trying to figure out like all Americans, like all of us, is this serious? Is he really going to do all of these things that he`s promised to do? Is he going to follow the patterns of other authoritarian rulers in other countries or is America different? Will he not be allowed to do that in this country? Are our institutions strong enough?
And frankly, at this stage we don`t really know. There are patterns in other countries, authoritarian country, they tend to beat up on the religious minorities, blame everything on immigration. We see this time and time again. Blame the media for any problems. Blame the media for protests.
And there are patterns you can watch. You were talking about them earlier in the show. One of them is to try and not just blame the media, but criticize the media for being un-American. We`ve seen it many times.
What happens is somebody wins. Therefore, he has the majority of the people by definition or the majority of the electorate with him. Therefore, anyone who didn`t support him becomes a traitor.
If you start to hear the word "traitor" being used a lot about the opposition, that`s a red flag. If those criticisms escalate to cancer, that`s an even worse sign. So I think we should be listening out for things like that.
After that, the next stage would be mass rallies by his supporters that look potentially intimidating. And after that, to see if there`s any kind of calls for a referendum to go right to the people to get around the constitutional system. So, many people have studied these, the rise of extra-constitutional powers. We`ll see if any of that happens.
So far, it`s just been a lot of campaign talk and he`s not even in office yet. So, I think people are scratching their heads in the Muslim community as many people are this country. Will we see this pattern happen here? Are we immune to it in this country the way most countries have not been?
MADDOW: Richard, I had a Russian-American journalist on earlier who has written extensively about Putin who says that what she learned about living under Putin who she calls an autocrat, she thinks, is the sort of stuff that Americans should start thinking about now just in advance, in case things go in that direction.
Are you seeing that people in other countries who have lived under these kinds of -- who have lived under autocrats, who have lived under strongman leaders, that they are recognizing in Trump in the election of Trump the sort of warning signs or is that recognition just going to other direction while we`re looking around the world for advice?
ENGEL: No, I think you are seeing that. And perhaps it`s hyperbole in their cases, but in Europe where they`re watching this, they`re seeing right now particularly in central and eastern Europe, the rise of populist parties, sort of a disintegration of the traditional E.U. values. Right now, they`re all saying that Trump is very much leaders like Victor Orban in Turkey, who is an anti-immigrant, who is trying to get around his country`s constitution by calling for referendum.
MADDOW: In Hungary, yes.
ENGEL: In Hungary, did I, sorry.
That in Europe right now, they`re pointing to Trump as part of the same league of angry populist and they are just saying you just got one in America. Be very, very careful. Americans haven`t experienced this, haven`t had this kind of, haven`t had it directly, and they worry overseas that perhaps Americans don`t recognize the signs, don`t see that this is coming in this country.
Maybe they`re wrong. Maybe it won`t come to this country. But the countries that have lived with it or are living with it in close proximity right now, are raising that flag.
MADDOW: Yes. And for us, I feel like it`s a challenge in the media, but also as citizens, it`s time for like -- it`s time for us to get smart. It`s time for us to start reading the stuff.
Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, it`s always great to see my friend. Thank you.
ENGEL: Absolutely. Great to be with you.
MADDOW: Thanks. Appreciate it.
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This was posted today. Planned Parenthood posted a list of seven things that people can do in preparation for a Trump administration. You can make a donation or volunteer at a Planned Parenthood facility, or volunteer to be a political organizer with them.
Quote, `The opportunities to get involved and fight back won`t end here. There will be more ways to take meaningful political action in the days ahead." In other words, buckle up. They direct their supporters to lots of other groups that people can support for things they`re worried about under a President Trump.
Something similar happened over at the ACLU. They`re the messages, if Trump implements his proposed policies, we will see him in court.
Over at United We Dream, which is the immigration advocacy group, they`re calling all young people who are living under Obama`s deferred action program, in the 70 days before he lives office, they`re advising first-time DACA appliers to hold off. Seventy days is not enough to process an application and who knows what will happen under President Trump.
For organizations like that, everything they have worked for is possibly about to get set on fire, right? This is do or die time for them. And so, they`re sounding the alarms, they`re giving concrete advice to people on what to do next, both defensively and offensively.
If you`re looking for a thing to do now, you can ask groups like that if you align with their interests. I do not however suggest that you consult with the Democratic Party right now. Don`t go to the Democratic Party`s website right now. There`s no to-do lists there. There`s a thank you. And then you can give them money, quote, "for the fights ahead."
The Senate Democrats meanwhile still want you to help them elect a Democratic Senate, which is something they failed to do several days ago.
At the House Democratic website, they still want you to tell them that you`re quote, "in for 2016"! Really you guys? Anybody home over there?
The current chair of the Democratic Party is in that job temporarily. She`s an interim chair. She`s supposed to leave in March. The race is on now for who wants to be the new head of the Democratic Party. Whoever gets that job faces the brutal loss for president, plus continued Republican control of the House and the Senate, plus, a nearly historic level of Republican control in the states, big, big job, right?
Senator Bernie Sanders and Senate Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are lobbying for Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota, former Vermont governor and former DNC chair, Howard Dean, has also expressed an interest. There`s one of other candidate that we know about, though, intriguing candidate, not exactly a long shot, but more of like a midrange shot, but I think a lot of people will be interested in this other potential bid for Democratic Party chair.
And on this show on Monday night, that person will be here. And we will get that person`s announcement here live and a first chance to do vetting of any sort in terms of how this person would change the Democratic Party, try to get it back into fighting shape. That announcement, that interview will be happening here Monday night at 9:00.
Ooh, aren`t you curious as to who it is? Watch this space.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again on 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