Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: November 16, 2016 Guest: Bill de Blasio
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend. Appreciate it.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Of all the scandals that have ever had the word "gate" attached to them, which is what we do with all scandals after Watergate, right? Out of all of them, filegate, travelgate, bridgegate, deflategate, I`ve always felt that the one that got the best name of all was definitely peanutgate.
And part of the reason I`ve always liked it is because of the sort of admirable restraint that is reflected in that name. I mean, if it is about peanuts, if you think about it, it could just as reasonably been called goobergate, right? Goober is an even funnier word for peanut. That could have been an even greater thing to call something goobergate.
But what it actually went by at the time in all seriousness because it was supposed to be a very, very serious thing, they restrained themselves, they didn`t call it goobergate. They called it peanutgate. They meant it very seriously. And, oh, my God, did they want it to be a big deal.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Republicans in Congress have been calling loudly for a special prosecutor to investigate the Carter family`s peanut business.
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MADDOW: Peanutgate, investigate the Carter family`s peanut business. Scandal. This was 1979.
Peanutgate had a perfect name. In the end, though, substantively, it did not exactly distinguish itself as a scandal.
This was six months later.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good evening. Jimmy Carter was cleared today of any wrongdoing in the handling of funds at his peanut warehouse during his campaign for the presidency.
PAUL CURRAN, SPECIAL COUNSEL: I believe it`s appropriate to state right here that there is no evidence to establish that President Jimmy Carter committed any crimes. No indictment can or should be brought against anyone. None will be filed.
The answer is that no evidence whatsoever was discovered that any moneys were diverted from the warehouse into the campaign. Every nickel and every peanut have been traced into and out of the warehouse and no funds were unlawfully diverted --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Every nickel and every peanut. They traced every single goober.
Republicans in 1979 spent six months and they hired a special prosecutor. They went out of their way to make sure it was a Republican special prosecutor who they hired at the Department of Justice to just tear everything apart, go up and down through every peanut shell to try to find something, anything scandalous in Jimmy Carter`s family peanut farm.
It turned out, as you saw there, that it was nothing. Nothing there.
When John F. Kennedy had been elected to the presidency in 1960, he was from one of the richest families in the country. His father was one of the single wealthiest individuals in the entire United States. Now, JFK himself never personally inherited his father`s fortune, but he was really rich. And when he was elected he did put all his own assets into a blind trust. So somebody else controlled all of his money, he had no idea what his assets were. JFK`s considerable wealth was walled off for the presidency in that way.
Richard Nixon, kind of a study in contrast. He had a modest middle class background. By the time he became president, though, he had a number of successful years in public life, including a long time as vice president, and when he became president, his approach was basically just to cash out all of his assets. He didn`t have a ton of assets, but he liquidated everything, he cash out and he put most of the resulting cash into buying himself a house. He bought a house in Key Biscayne, Florida, and ultimately, he bought another house in California as well. And that`s what Nixon did. That`s what he did with his money so his assets, his personal wealth were tied up in two pieces of real estate and thereby walled off from any decision making that might affect those assets in the presidency.
The next person who got elected to the presidency after Richard Nixon, of course, was Jimmy Carter. And all he had was his peanut farm home in Georgia. And honestly, he hated to give that up because he built that peanut farm with his own hands. But, of course, this was a time of acute ethical focus in the country after Nixon and Watergate, right, the original Watergate and all the rest of it. So, even though Jimmy Carter hated to give up his peanut farm and this little business he`d built up for himself, he had to do it. You just have to do that stuff when you become president.
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REPORTER: Governor, it`s been a part of your life for so long, how do you feel about divesting yourself of it?
JIMMY CARTER, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, it was a hard decision for me to make and this is something that I`ve had to face. I`ve literally given up my own method of making a living here in Plains. And almost everything you see down here behind us, a lot of this stuff I built with my own hands, even before Billy came home from the Marine Corps. But I don`t have any regrets about it.
But I don`t want any decision that I make as president to have any effect on my own income. The trustee will try to do the best they can and take care of my remaining family here, my mother and Billy not to disrupt their lives too much.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The trustee will take care not to disrupt my family here, my mother and Billy. Ah, Billy.
Looking back on it now, I think part of the reason Republicans in Congress got so excited for the prospects for peanutgate is that even though President Jimmy Carter had to get out of the business of peanut farming, had to hand everything over to a trustee, his mom and his little brother Billy still lived there. And with Billy, they were really hoping that where there was smoke, there was fire -- because this was Billy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Billy Carter`s brother is likely to get some dams, roads and postage stamps named after him. As for Billy, he`s getting a beer named after him. A Louisville brewing company is bringing out a beer named Billy and he`s agreed to travel around the country promoting it for pay.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Washington Star" reports that Billy Carter pressing on with his new public career now plans to appear in a movie about a boxing match with a kangaroo. Some striking new crime figures on the Chicago police department.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: I love that next piece of tape on there so you can see that they`re just moving on to a whole other story. Plans to appear in a movie about a boxing match with a kangaroo.
Some striking new -- full stop, kangaroo is the last word in that news story. Full stop, moving on.
Billy Carter was President Jimmy Carter`s younger brother. And he was a remarkable public presence while his brother was running for president and while he was ultimately president. Billy Carter became famous for once, forgive me, peeing on an airport runway in broad daylight, in full view of the assembled White House press corps.
He really did take a job promoting Billy Beer while his brother was in the White House.
When he passed away in 1988, "The New York Times" obituary for Billy Carter, noted that he, quote, "often drank beer for breakfast." That he once wore a t-shirt which said, quote, "redneck power" when he played soft ball with his brother and the Secret Service.
They also recounted that this is how Billy Carter met famous astronaut and then Ohio senator, John Glenn. Quote, "One morning in 1976, he was driving his pickup truck through Plains, Georgia, when he spotted his brother Jimmy Carter walking with Senator John Glenn of Ohio. Senator Glenn was a possible vice presidential choice. He was in town for an interview with the Democratic nominee. As the nominee, Jimmy Carter, introduced Senator Glenn to his younger brother, his younger brother reached into the seat of his car, chose a can of beer and popped the cap. Jimmy Carter seemed to shudder," end quote.
Jimmy Carter and his younger brother Billy could not have been more different. But President Carter absolutely loved him. And he did put his peanut farm and his peanut warehouse, this business that he had built, he put it into a blind trust when he became president because that`s the sort of thing a president has to do even if they do not have considerable assets. And he handed over his own asset, his own stake and everything to a trustee who assumed complete responsibility for those assets so that a president had no further role whatsoever.
But part of their arrangement from the beginning was that the trustee would keep on the existing employees at the peanut farm and the warehouse including Billy who worked at the warehouse. And the arrangement was a little rocky. Billy at one point tried to buy the peanut farm and the warehouse in 1977. The trustee said, no, no, you can`t buy it.
Billy only got paid about $20,000 a year. But apparently, he decided to help himself year after year to basically the farm`s bottom line. He repeatedly took the retained earnings from the farm, basically took money out of the business year after year until it ultimately attracted the attention of Republicans in Congress who persuaded the Department of Justice to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the peanut farm, to investigate if President Carter was using it to hide some political slush fund because where was all that money going out of the business?
Yes, it turns out there wasn`t a slush fund. There was Billy! Billy was not a model employee of the peanut warehouse. But that was -- I mean, that was not exactly a scandal at that point, right, given what everybody had come to learn about the president`s beloved younger brother.
And the Republicans in Congress convinced the Justice Department to spend six months and a ton of money trying to turn that into something, but that was how it ended. That was peanutgate, that was the big scandal. And that, in the modern era, is the closest we have ever come as a country to a presidential scandal involving the dispensation of the president`s personal assets and personal finances during his time running for the presidency and being the president.
That`s as close to a scandal as we have ever come. And that was a pipsqueak`s worth of presidential assets. It wasn`t really a blind trust. And that`s the scale with which this has been chased and litigated before.
But if you take six months, you could make six months of scandal and a special prosecutor and a whole new gate-word scandal out of that bit of nothing from squeaky clean Jimmy Carter, then what are we getting ourselves into right now?
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INTERVIEWER: Let me ask whether any of you think that the campaign has hurt the Trump brand?
IVANKA TRUMP, DAUGHTER OF DONALD TRUMP: I don`t think it matter. This is so much more important and more serious and so that I -- you know, that`s the focus.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: I think what Ivanka is trying to say, who cares? Who cares? This is big league stuff.
This is -- this is our country. Our country is going bad. We`re going to save our country. I don`t care about hotel occupancy. It`s peanuts compared to what we`re doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Did you say peanuts?
Today is day eight of the Trump transition effort. Apparently they`re still trying to pull off a presidential transition in which the president- elect does not divest himself of his business interests. In that "60 Minutes" interview, Trump was not asked about hotel occupancy rates. He proactively brought that up himself as a thing he says he doesn`t care about anymore.
And it is possible that he will be so able to compartmentalize his interests that he will not care about hotel occupancy rates or the fate of his businesses anymore. But, you know, he does plan to retain his interest in all of his hotels.
He is not doing a blind trust. He`s keeping all the interests. He`s keeping all of his hotels, all of his golf courses, everything else in his business, including the new hotel he just opened up in Washington, D.C. And the president-elect can say he doesn`t care about hotel occupancy, but one might imagine that lobbyists, foreign governments, anybody trying to curry favor with the president of the United States, he might find it to be a good strategic decision to let it be known that they`re spending a few nights or, heck, a few weeks in some of the really expensive suites at Donald Trump`s new Washington, D.C., hotel, right? I mean, what are you going to do? Go meet with the president and say you stayed at the St. Regis?
And any benefit that accrues to the Trump company from people deciding to spend all their money staying at Trump hotels or joining Trump golf properties or whatever they try to do to curry favor with the president, any of that money spent with the Trump businesses because Trump is now president, that money, that increase in business from people trying to gain favor with the new president, that money really will go right to his family. And he`ll know it because he`s not doing a blind trust and he`s keeping all his assets.
There is an LLC that is registered to Mr. Trump and his kids. It`s called the Trump Old Post Office LLC. And today, they filed this lawsuit against the government, to try to get the tax bill lowered for Mr. Trump`s D.C. hotel.
This is remarkable. This was filed today, eight days after he was elected president. We posted the filing on our website, at Maddowblog.com if you want to see it.
But this really is the president-elect and his kids using D.C. to lower their taxes for their D.C. hotel. The lawsuit was filed today, eight days after he became president-elect, D.C. apparently assessed the Trump Hotel in Washington as being worth $98 million. The lawsuit filed by Trump and his kids today says they want the valuation of the hotel reduced. They want it reduced from $98 million to $28 million for tax purposes. That`s all they want to pay tax on.
In fact, they want a refund of the taxes they have already paid. Do you think -- just send the check to the White House when they get the refund? Mr. President.
At that property, Trump and his kids actually leased the hotel from the federal government. Their landlord is a federal agency called the General Services Administration. The LLC is called Old Post Office. This is an old Post Office. General Services Administration owns the property. They`re leasing it to Trump. He pays rent basically so he can operate this hotel there.
Any day now, Mr. Trump is expected to name the new person who he`s putting in charge of the General Services Administration, which charges him rent for that hotel. Think he`s going to get a good deal? You think that person he appoints to have that agency might be inclined to maybe negotiate really good lease terms for Mr. Trump`s property? Cheaper rent for Trump and his kids, so they can make even more money off that hotel which they will make more money off because he is president.
I mean, even that alone, just that one asset, is such a rollicking in-your- face conflict of interest that there`s no way ethically speaking that, that Mr. Trump should be allowed to appoint a head of the General Services Administration. You can`t appoint your own landlord. But I guess he`s going to try, at least he`s going to try. At this point, it is hard to know what guidelines Trump may follow, if any, as he sets up his new federal government, as he sets up his new administration.
So far, they`ve made no announcement about a code of ethics that they`re using for any of their hiring, for any of their transition process. The transition process itself continues to be, by all appearances mostly a bust thus far. As yet, the Trump transition team does not appear to have actually made contact or started any transition process whatsoever with any agency of the federal government.
As of tonight, they have made no contact with any agencies. That includes the State Department and maybe they don`t care that much about the operation of the State Department, maybe they don`t care that much about diplomacy and relationship with other countries, but one thing the State Department is supposed to do at a time like this is give the president- elect a little tiny bit of basic briefing material, basic background before he starts speaking with other world leaders when they call to talk to him after hearing the results of the election.
The State Department now says it has provided no such guidance to Mr. Trump or to his transition. They`ve had no contact whatsoever with the Trump transition and apparently the contact with foreign leaders thing has gone a little haywire. By tradition, a reelected president or a newly elected president makes sure that the first contacts that he has with foreign leaders are with our closest allies. It`s almost always Britain. Sometimes, it`s Canada, Australia, that`s part of how we keep those very, very special relationships very special.
In Donald Trump`s case, though, that`s not happening. Quote, "American allies have been blindly dialing in to Trump Tower to try to reach the soon-to-be leader of the free world." Rather than speaking first before anybody with the prime minister of the U.K., we know that Trump met in American first with the leader of a tiny opposition party in the U.K., ahead of speaking with that country`s prime minister. They`re supposedly our best friend.
In terms who was the very first leader who got through to speak to Trump, this time it wasn`t one of our closest allies. It was the British prime minister. It wasn`t the Canadians or the Australians, or any other of our closest allies. This time apparently, it was the leader of Egypt`s military junta.
The reason he was first to talk to America`s new president-elect is apparently just because he was the first one to get through. It`s possible he was just randomly dialing 212 area code numbers until someone picked up. Yes, Donald? I think he`s here. Hold on. Who is this? His name is Si, did you Sisi? Is that your first name?
Tonight, "The Telegraph" reported that the Australian prime minister was able to get through to Donald Trump himself but he was only able to get through to Trump at all because he knew a guy who had a phone number for this golfer guy named Greg Norman. He`s a very good professional golfer. He apparently happened to have Donald Trump`s cell phone number from golf stuff.
And so, the golfer was able to give Trump`s cell number to his friend who gave it to the Australian prime minister. He texted Donald`s cell phone number to the prime minister of Australia so the prime minister of Australia would be able to cold call Donald Trump on his cell phone and apparently that is now how the United States of America communicating with Australia.
And at one level, this is hilarious and tacky and like coffee out your nose ridiculous. On the other hand, these are our closest allies in the world and this is the presidency. President-elect Trump pushed back on "The New York Times" reporting on some of these details today, tweeting early this morning that the failing "New York Times" is so totally wrong and the transition he said is going, quote, "so smoothly".
But "The New York Times" hasn`t taken down any of its reporting despite the challenges from Trump because none of it has been disproved. Take a look at this "Reuters" tonight. This just takes your breath away. Quote, "One day before U.S. President-elect Donald Trump`s first meeting with a foreign leader, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japanese officials say they have not finalized when or where in New York the meeting would take place or who would be invited or who they should call for answers."
Quote, "Japanese and U.S. officials said today the State Department had not been involved in planning tomorrow`s meeting, leaving the logistical and protocol details that would normally be settled far in advance still to be determined." Quote, "There has been a lot of confusion said one Japanese official."
But to be clear, the Japanese prime minister is coming to New York City tomorrow to meet the president-elect of the United States, and as of tonight, Japan does not know where they`re meeting him or when or who is coming to the meeting and they don`t know who to call to find out.
You know, you guys should check with Egypt. Apparently, they found a working number. Or if you know anybody who place golf maybe?
The head of the ACLU is here tonight, Anthony Romero. The mayor of New York City is here tonight, having just met with the president-elect today. Apparently, he`s got a number for him.
We`ve got a lot to come tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Hey, for the first time since the election, we heard tonight from Hillary Clinton. She made her first public remarks since the election tonight just moments ago at an event for the Children`s Defense Fund, which, of course, is the nonprofit where she started her career.
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HILLARY CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will admit, coming here tonight wasn`t the easiest thing for me. There have been a few times this past week when all I wanted to do was just to curl up with a good book or our dogs and never leave the house again.
I know many of you are deeply disappointed about the results of the election. I am, too. More than I can ever express. But as I said last week, our campaign was never about one person or even one election. It was about the country we love and about building an America that is hopeful, inclusive and big-hearted.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tonight speaking for the first time since the election. She said in her remarks that she wished she could go back in time and tell her mom about the fact that her daughter grew up to win more than 62 million votes for president of the United States. More votes, I should mention, than Donald Trump did, by a lot.
Lots more ahead tonight. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAUGH HILLYARD, NBC NEWS: Should there be a database system that tracks the Muslims here in this country?
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT-ELECT: There should be a lot of systems, beyond database. I mean, we should have a lot of systems.
HILLYARD: But that`s something your White House would like to implement?
TRUMP: Oh, I would certainly implement that. Absolutely.
HILLYARD: Mr. Trump, why would Muslim databases not be the same as requiring Jews to register in Nazi Germany. Why would be the difference? Is there a difference between the two?
TRUMP: Who are you with?
HILLYARD: I`m with NBC News. Is there a difference between requiring Muslims to register and Jews in Nazi Germany?
TRUMP: You tell me.
HILLYARD: Do you believe?
TRUMP: Why don`t you tell me?
HILLYARD: Do you believe there is?
TRUMP: You tell me.
HILLYARD: Should Muslims be, I mean, fearful? Will there be consequences if they don`t register?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was almost exactly a year ago. NBC`s intrepid Vaughn Hillyard on the campaign trail in Iowa, with then candidate Donald Trump. Will there be consequences for Muslims if they don`t register. If you do in fact want to create a database system to track Muslims in this country, which you just told us you want to create? That was candidate Trump.
Today, we`re learning that President-elect Trump`s transition team is in fact moving forward this idea. A member of Donald Trump`s transition team on immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach told "Reuters" today that Trump`s policy advisers are drafting a policy for him to create a registry of Muslims, a registry for immigrants from Muslim countries.
So, just we`re clear on what`s going on here, the transition to governing doesn`t look any different than campaigning did. Republicans in Congress say they will start in the first week of January to move legislation to build a wall on the southern border. The Trump transition team says they do plan to start a nationwide roundup of immigrants for mass deportations, millions of deportations starting on the first day Trump is in office and they really are talking about a registry of Muslims. That is a thing that they say is in the works.
As for whether or not Trump will also implement his often restated campaign pledge that he will ban Muslims from entering this country, that pledge is still up on the Trump campaign`s official website. And the legal discussion around that policy proposal suggests that it might be possible for him to do that if he really wants to do it. It seems almost inconceivable to say that it could be legal but we`re told that there`s a version of it he could absolutely do even without Congress having to say yes.
And so, since we`re trying, really trying to not have blinders on here, we`re trying to listen to what they`re saying, we`re trying to watch what they are planning and in so doing, it`s clear the wall and a Muslim ban and a registry of Muslims, all of that stuff appears to be not just what they`ve promised in the campaign, but what they`re working on now they`re getting power. This is real. It is upon us.
And so, my next question is what`s the plan against it? The people who have been guardians of civil liberties in this country, the people who know how to fight this better than anybody else. How are they planning on fighting these particular fights now that they are upon us?
Well, the head of the ACLU is here next and you will want to hear this tonight. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: "Dear President-elect Trump," this is from a 12-page ad in Donald Trump`s home town newspaper.
"Dear President-elect Trump, as you assume the nation`s highest office, we must ask you now as president-elect to reconsider and change course on certain campaign promises you have made. Specifically you promised to a massive deportation force to remove 11 million undocumented immigrants, to ban the entry of Muslims and institute aggressive surveillance programs targeting, to restrict a woman`s right to abortion services, to reauthorize waterboarding, and other forms of torture, to change our nation`s libel laws and restrict freedom of expression.
These proposals are not simply un-American and wrongheaded, they are unlawful and unconstitutional. If you do not reverse course and endeavor to make this campaign promises a reality, you will have to contend with the full firepower of the ACLU at your every step.
Our staff of litigators and activists in every state, thousands of volunteers and millions of supporters stand ready to fight against any encroachment on our cherished freedoms and rights. We will be vigilant every day of your tenure as president. And when you ultimately vacate the oval office, we will do likewise with your successor.
Signed, Anthony D. Romero, executive director, American Civil Liberties Union."
Joining us now is Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union."
It is nice to see you.
ANTHONY ROMERO, AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION EXEC. DIRECTOR : It is great to see you, Rachel.
MADDOW: You look healthy and well and rested.
ROMERO: I`d rather be. I`m ready. We`re ready. We have to be.
MADDOW: I understand that there has been sort of an outpouring toward not just the ACLU, but to a lot of groups that are seen being bulwarks against what`s expected from the Trump presidency since he was elected? Is it true you`ve had a surge in memberships?
ROMERO: Sure, definitely, 150,000 new members.
ROMERO: Yes. Over $9 million in the last six days.
MADDOW: How much does it cost to become a member?
ROMERO: Twenty bucks. We`ll take any amount.
ROMERO: Because now, it`s about the bodies, it`s about the people. And what`s remarkable is the fact that people understand is what`s at stake and they feel a need to take action.
And it`s this unprecedented surging of support. We`ve never seen anything like this in our 96-year history. It`s really essential that people understand that we`re not there yet. We`re just beginning the fight.
And the support is fantastic, and it`s essential. It comes from every state across the country. Thirty percent comes from states that were carried by Donald Trump. Not just San Francisco, L.A. and New York. We`ve got new donors and new contributors from Alabama, from Montana, from Mississippi, from Georgia. And that for me gives me hope that, in fact, there`s a growing movement of people who are concerned about where we`re going and want to take some action.
The outpouring of requests to volunteer, I don`t even know what to do with some of the folks. So, we`re going to put them to work because we have a great deal of work to do.
MADDOW: One of the things that I have sort of unexpectedly encountered -- maybe I should have expected it, but in the last eight days is a lot of happy talk from people who are opposed to Donald Trump and opposed to some of the worst things he proposed during the campaign. Happy talk in the sense that people are saying, well, I don`t think he`s actually going to try to --
ROMERO: And they are wrong.
MADDOW: Yes, I thought --
ROMERO: You have to take him at his word.
MADDOW: Yes. There`s no reason to be optimistic about him not pursuing a Muslim ban, if he`s saying he`s going to do it, right?
ROMERO: How often have he said it? Over and over again. To deport 11 million people. To target the Muslims for surveillance and for banning them to the country, for restricting a woman`s right to choice, for questions about surveillance, for opening up the conversation about waterboarding. Now, we can -- the man is only as good as his word, so I take him at his words. Those words mean that we confront a major constitutional crisis if he`s allowed to implement the very policies.
MADDOW: Some of those things that you just described are things that we`ve had fights about as a country. Torture, a woman`s right to choose. I`m familiar with legal battles over those things. I`m not familiar with their being a legal battle over a quest to deport 11 million people.
MADDOW: What the legal fight will be about a proposal to ban Muslims from emigrating to this country or from coming to this country? Is it clear to you that you`ve got bright constitutional lines there, or some of the stuff that he`s going to actually be able to do and then you will have to claw back after he`s implemented it.
ROMERO: Well, he`s going to try and he might get part a way through and we`ll definitely claw him back.
Let`s take the ban on immigrants, or the deportation of immigrants. Eleven million he wants to deport. On Sunday, "60 Minutes", he said he wants to focus on 2 million to 3 million of immigrants who broke the law.
ROMERO: How is he going to find them? The criminals are not just lined up in some database. He`s going to have to comb through immigrant communities. How is he going to do that? Through dragnet searches, through unlawful searches and seizures.
Do you think the Homeland Department of Security says oh, you`re an undocumented immigrant, let me see if you`re a criminal, oh, no criminal, walk free? You think they`re going to let the undocumented immigrants who don`t have a criminal record just slip away?
We`re in for the fight of our lives. When the president-elect said on Sunday that he`s going to try to deport 2 million to 3 million people, he`s talking about dragnet, unconstitutional searches and seizures that will violate the Fourth Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the 14th Amendment. And what`s going to be so intense for us is that we have to document those cases.
This is not something you can bring a class action lawsuit on behalf of all the undocumented immigrants. You have to go and show the cases, the fact patterns, talk to the clients, depose people. Make sure you have all the important work that will go into the necessary litigation. But we`ll be ready to do it. We have to.
MADDOW: Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU, eat your Wheaties, sir.
ROMERO: I`m trying to. Thank you.
MADDOW: Good to see you. Stay in touch.
MADDOW: A lot more to come tonight. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: The president-elect today got on Twitter to deny multiple press reports that he`s asked about getting top secret security clearances for his children. Presumably that means his older two sons and his eldest daughter, but nobody knows whether or not he also is denying reports that he`s been seeking security clearance for his son-in-law. Tonight after lots of reports of Mr. Trump`s son-in-law taking a leading if not the leading role in post-election Trump world, "The Wall Street Journal" reports tonight in a well-sourced piece that Trump`s son-in-law is, quote, "likely to take a top White House job" and is, quote, "being pushed to join the president`s inner circle by new White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and presidential counselor Stephen Bannon."
The role Trump`s son-in-law would play, according to "The Journal", would be along the lines of senior adviser or special counsel. If the president- elect is actually trying to give his son-in-law an official job in the government, that could be illegal. Son-in-laws are explicitly listed among the relatives to whom you are not allowed to give government jobs if you`re president of the United States. Those anti-nepotism rules were passed in 1967 after President John F. Kennedy named his brother Bobby to be his attorney general. There aren`t supposed to be any more Bobbys or if not supposed any other Jareds either arguably.
But presumably, the Trump administration will come up with some workaround for that. Or maybe they just don`t care.
Watch this space.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STEVE BANNON: Your plan in prosecuting this war as commander in chief of the United States if you`re elected president in prosecuting the war, what do you do with Turkey? Is Turkey a reliable partner? I know they`re a NATO ally. Are they a reliable partner?
TRUMP: Well, I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul. And it`s a tremendously successful job. It`s called Trump Towers. Two towers instead of one. Not the usual one. It`s two.
And I`ve gotten to know Turkey very well. And they`re amazing people. They`re incredible people.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: He`s being asked about what U.S. policy should be toward our NATO ally Turkey. His answer is, I have a little conflict of interest.
That was president-elect last year in an interview with then radio host Steve Bannon who is now his new senior White House adviser admitting that his dealings with Turkey if he were president would be really awkward because he has a self-proclaimed huge conflict of interest there because he`s not got the usual one but two Trump Towers in Istanbul.
Of course, in New York City, he just has the single Trump Tower, but today in the midst of all the transition chaos around Trump Tower, the president- elect spent an hour meeting with the mayor of New York City, with Mayor Bill de Blasio.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: It`s well known we have very, very substantial differences in beliefs and ideology. He is a New Yorker. I do think he loves this city. But I thought it was very important for him to hear what people are feeling. I tried to express to him how much fear there is, how much fear there is in communities all over this city -- a whole range of people in the biggest city in the country who are fearful about this current dynamic.
No, nothing about people`s fundamental beliefs changed in the meeting obviously. It remains to be seen. Look, the ball`s in his court. People in this city and all over the country are looking to see what he`s going to do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Joining us now is New York City`s mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Mr. Mayor, thank you for being here. It`s nice to see you.
DE BLASIO: Great pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: How did it go in that meeting today?
DE BLASIO: Look, it was a candid meeting and it was substantive meeting. We talked about a whole range of issues. I talked to him about stop and frisk and why it hadn`t worked in this city.
I talked to him about the fact that it would actually undermine public safety, in addition to any moral question about immigration and deportation, it would undermine public safety if 500,000 New Yorkers who don`t have documentation feared talking to a police officer because they feared deportation for themselves or their family.
I tried to shed some light. I told him there are 900 Muslim-American members of the NYPD, which many people don`t know, protecting all of us.
And so, my job was to tell him there`s a lot of fear out there. There`s a tremendous sense of disenfranchisement that people feel. They don`t know what`s going to happen to them, their family, what their place will be in his America and that he needed to address that in word and in deed if that kind of rift was ever going to be averted.
MADDOW: Do you feel like he can hear you? Presumably, this is not the first conversation you`ve ever had with him. I`ve spoken with him once on the telephone and I know that he`s an empathetic listener. He reflects stuff back to you. He seems to absorb stuff when talking to you.
Did you feel like he either was persuaded or that he was absorbing what you were telling him?
DE BLASIO: I think it`s fair to say was a give and take, which I always appreciate in any human being. But with him, the proof will be in the pudding. We`ve heard so many things, such harsh rhetoric, such extremist proposals, what`s going to happen?
Now, we could see a very different outcome. But people have to see it and experience it before they`re going to have faith, to say the least.
So, was there real dialogue? Yes. Will that amount to something? We have to see some action to believe that.
MADDOW: There`s been a lot of controversy about his immigration proposals, not just in terms of the what he and his transition team say they`re going to start doing on day one, but what`s going to happen as they try to force cities the like yours around the country to do their will? They say they`re going to cut off all federal funds to any city in the country that says their local police force won`t hand people over to the border patrol, that they won`t act as part of a deportation force. How do you react to that threat?
BLASIO: The Constitution doesn`t create a national police force. It`s local police forces and local schools and so on and so on. We`re going to run our police as we see fit. We`re not going to deport our own neighbors.
Now, look, there are some individuals who have done heinous crimes and New York City`s law right now says there are certain categories of crime where we do participate and work with ICE. But I think the bigger concept here is we`re not going to do work against our own people, and one of the things that isn`t accounted for in all this rhetoric is that local governments have immense sway over the day to day lives of their own people and don`t take orders from the federal government.
Yes, you`re right. They can threaten funding, although my sense of what the Supreme Court has decided previously is that`s pretty narrow. You can`t threaten funding in very specific categories. You can`t threaten education funding if the issue is about public safety, for example.
But I think it`s going to be a reality on the ground that changes the whole political context. We have to remember this is so dynamic. If cities around the country are saying, we`re not going to participate in that, we`re not going to, for example, on the policing, we`re not going to reinstate stop and frisk, which failed in this city and divided the police and community. We`re going to see the political spectrum start to shift.
One of the things I`m hyperaware of, this election was about economics, if he does a tax cut for the wealthy and tax cut for big corporations, a lot of his own voters will be disillusioned. If he deregulates Wall Street and repeals Dodd/Frank, a lot of the same people were so frustrated and feel the elites in Washington let them down, well, wait a minute, here is a new elite letting us down.
So, I think he has to recognize that he`s in a very dynamic political situation. The campaign`s over, and these positions will determine whether people support him or not, including the very same people who voted for him.
MADDOW: What he is doing in terms of transition, who he is lining up makes me think he is going to govern exactly the way he campaigned. But you`re right that we will have to see.
I have to ask you a parochial question.
DE BLASIO: Please.
MADDOW: It`s not at all clear that he is planning on moving to the White House. One of the unusual things about this is we don`t know if he plans on leaving home.
If he does plan to spend substantial time or even just keep his primary non-in-D.C. residence here, how is that going to change New York City? Obviously, the security concerns and issues with protest but securing the president`s residence, that`s going to be a big hassle, right?
DE BLASIO: NYPD can handle it.
DE BLASIO: I have no question in the world. You know, we`re used to having the president come here constantly as it is. World leaders for the U.N. General Assembly, we had the pope a year ago. The NYPD can handle it. We`ll work closely with the Secret Service.
Yes, there will be some dislocation midtown. We`ll have to do real work to accommodate and not have that part of midtown ground to a halt. But there is no question in my mind we can keep him safe. And I actually have to say, if this is his place he feels is his home, I`d like to stay in touch to his home, because part of my message to him today is you have to hear the voice of the people. You can`t end up in the bubble.
And if people are fearful and if people feel they`re being left out in the city that he grew up in, maybe it`s important that he stay here some of the time and hear those voices and recognize what`s actually happening rather than end up isolated in a White House with a big fence around it.
MADDOW: Which is almost impossible not to do. But we will -- we are in unchartered territory in so many ways.
Mr. Mayor, thank you very much.
DE BLASIO: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
It should be noted, in terms of Democratic prospects around the country and how Democrats fared in the last federal elections, Bill de Blasio as Democratic official stands for a lot more constituents than almost any other Democrat anywhere in the country right now. He is a big city mayor and one of the most influential Democrats in this country. And will be for at least a couple of years. So pay attention.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, turning lemonade back into lemons. The sun will never come out tomorrow because there will be no tomorrow.
We have found tonight the single most pessimistic view of the universe. And it`s coming from a source which politically has every reason in the world to celebrate. But they can cram a black cloud into any silver lining, and they have done so in a very performative fashion, and you will enjoy hearing it. And that story is next.
MADDOW: This was the head of the NRA the day that group endorsed Donald Trump as their candidate for president this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If she could, Hillary would be in every gun, destroy every magazine, run an entire national security industry right into the ground, and put your name on a government registration list.
Folks, I`m not kidding. If she gets just one Supreme Court nomination, Hillary`s court will hold that the Second Amendment is the government right, not an individual right, and you can kiss your guns goodbye.
In all of history, there has always been a time and a place when patriots stand up and rise up against the decree of the elite and shout saying no more, get your hands off my freedom. That time and place is now. We stand together. We stand and we fight like hell for freedom.
The revolution to take America back starts here. It starts on this day. And by God, we will elect our next president. We will save our freedom. And America truly will be great again.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the day the NRA endorsed Donald Trump because Hillary Clinton is coming for your guns, and she will leave you all defenseless. Oh my God.
Those are the odds that they ran against all through the campaign. She is going to leave you defenseless. People are going to break into your house and kill you because Hillary Clinton wants you dead.
That was them before the election. That was them through the election. And then they won the election. Their endorsed candidate won the presidency.
So, if you`re the NRA, you kind of have to be psyched with how things went, right? You got your endorsed candidate for president. You got the Republican House. You got the Republican Senate.
Oh, by the way, there is an opening on the Supreme Court. Life is good, right? Finally, these guys could relax a little. You`d think.
Here is the NRA now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For eight straight years, Barack Obama flooded the appellate courts and the federal judiciary with judges who truly despise Second Amendment freedom.
More than 300 Obama pointed anti-gun judges represented an infection for which there is no cure other than time and vigilance. We must face these very real challenges with the strength, courage, and purpose you have proven to possess.
Our time is now. We must approach the coming fights with the same urgency and determined action that ended the political future of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: NRA just released that. This is their post-election Donald Trump is president, gun owners have achieved a historic accomplishment video, right?
But according to them, no, no, no, we didn`t win anything! There has never been a more dangerous time.
You guys only have one speed. I see how you work there. Got it. Roger.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END