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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 2/15/2017

Guests: Chris Murphy, Cristina Jiminez

Show: The Rachel Maddow Show Date: February 15, 2017 Guest: Chris Murphy, Cristina Jiminez

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You can find my full unedited conversation with Susan Sarandon and Josh Foxx on our web site.

And that`s "ALL IN" for this evening.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I feel like I`m sweating. I`m not really sweating but I got a little schvitzee.

HAYES: I was sweating.

MADDOW: Intense stuff. Well done, my friend.

HAYES: Yes, thank you.

MADDOW: Thank you.

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

OK, Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon, his title at the White House is chief strategist and senior counselor to the president of the United States. Aside from the president himself, Steve Bannon is the other identifiable person who appears to be running things, directing things for the White House and the new administration.

And it is interesting for somebody like him to have that impressive, that powerful a political job not just because of his own ideology, his own politics or anything else you might be interested in about him, it`s flat out interesting for him to have such a high level in the federal government specifically because of the fact he`s never had a job in politics before -- at all. This is his first time ever working in government or in politics and he`s the chief strategist and senior adviser to the president of the United State states.

I mean, in terms of his background, he was in the Navy for a while. He worked at Goldman Sachs for a while. He made some profoundly ridiculous movies for a while. Famously, he ran a right wing pro-Trump website until Trump tapped him to run his presidential campaign this past summer.

But if you go back to the mid-1990s, go back like 1995/1996, what Steve Bannon was doing then was living in southern California. He was running a small investment firm that focused on investing in movies and TV shows and stuff.

And we can get really, really specific as to some of what Steve Bannon was allegedly doing at that specific time of his life, because some of what he was doing at that time in his life is accounted for moment by moment in this police report. According to the police report we`ve got from the Santa Monica Police Department on New Year`s Eve, New Year`s Day 1995 into 1996, Steve Bannon that night slept on the couch in his family home. He was newly married at the time. He and his wife had seven-month-old twins.

Actually, the narrative is pretty comprehensive here, so I`m just going to let the police report take it from here verbatim. "On New Year`s Eve, on December 31st, 1995, Mr. Bannon slept on the couch in the living room. On New Year`s Day, January 1st, 1996, she", I believe that`s Mr. Bannon`s wife, "she got up to feed their twins and Mr. Bannon got upset with her for making some noise."

This part is hard to read here in the police report. I think it says, "At approximately 0845 hours", although depending on how you read that handwriting, see it could be 0815 hours. In any case, it`s some time after 8:00 in the morning, he, Mr. Bannon, started to leave the house and his wife, that`s the reduction there, his asked him for the American Express card so she could go grocery shopping. He said she did not need the American Express card and that she should just write a check.

She then -- excuse me -- "He then went out to the car, she followed. She asked him why he was playing these games with the money, he said it was his money and then outside in the driveway, the two of them argued." Apparently, the way it went down is she was sit standing in the driveway, he was sitting in his car and they were arguing.

Continuing from the police report here, quote, "He reached up to her from the driver`s seat of his car and grabbed her left wrist. He pulled her down as if he was trying to pull her down into the car over the door."

According to his wife, according to what she told the police, quote, "Mr. Bannon then grabbed her neck, also pulling her into the car. She said she started to fight back, striking at his face so he would let go of her. After a short period of time, she said she was able to get away from him. She ran into the house with him following her. She told him she was calling 911 and she grabbed the portable phone as she headed for the living room where the twins were."

Remember, they had seven-month-old twins at this point. "As she headed for the living room where the twins were, she was dialing 911 on that portable phone. When she got to the twins, she says, Mr. Bannon jumped over her and the twins, jumped over her and the twins to grab the phone from her. Once he got the phone, he threw it across the room. After that, Mr. Bannon left the house. His wife then found the phone in several pieces and could not use it."

So, that`s all basically verbatim from the police report as you see here and at this point in the timeline, this point in the chronology that`s when the police enter the scene.

So, here`s the police officer who wrote the report writing in his own voice in this same police report, quote, "On January 1st, 1996", so New Year`s Day, "at 0850 hours, so, 8:50 in the morning, I received a radio call to", and then there`s a redacted area there, presumably the address. "I received a radio call to x address, the radio call was about a 911 hang-up where the telephone operator verified the phone was off the hook. On my arrival, I was met at the front door by", again redacted, presumably Steve Bannon`s wife.

"She appeared as if she was very upset and had been crying. I saw that her eyes were red and watery. She first said, `Oh, thank you, you are here. How did you know to come?` As I started to tell her about the 911 hang-up call, she started to cry, it took her three or four minutes to calm down until she could tell me what happened."

She then describes the beating, describes the argument and the beating and him -- Steve Bannon chasing her and him grabbing the phone out of her hand and smashing it. The police officer writes it down in the report.

She then shows the police officer her injuries. Quote, "She complained of soreness to her neck. I saw red marks to her left wrist and the right side of her neck." These injuries were photographed by -- and then you get an ID tech name from the Santa Monica Police Department.

So, again, this is all verbatim. This is a police report concerning Steve Bannon who is now chief strategist and senior adviser to the president at the White House. And this police report is about an incident that happened on New Year`s Day in 1996.

The month after this police report, February, 1996, local prosecutors office decided to bring charges against Steve Bannon. Steve Bannon was arraigned on charges of domestic violence and battery and dissuading a witness. Now, the dissuading a witness charge ends up being very important here because under the California penal code you get charged with that if you, quote, "prevent or dissuade another person who`s been the victim of a crime or a witness to the crime from reporting that to a law enforcement officer or to a prosecuting agency or to a judge."

Dissuading a witness -- they arraigned him for that, they charged whim that. And part of that could be him grabbing the phone out of his wife`s hand and throwing it across the room and smashing it to the point where it wouldn`t work while she was in the process of calling 911 on him. That`s what led to the 911 hang-up call and the police officer verifying the smashed phone when they responded to the silent 911 call. It could have been that.

But it could also have been the way Steve Bannon got off in this case. In court documents filed as part of their divorce proceedings, Steve Bannon`s wife explained what happened after she called 911 on New Year`s Day. After the police showed up and documented what he had done to her, after they took pictures of her injuries, after local prosecutors decided to bring charges, after he was arraigned.

She says that he basically intimidated her, so that she wouldn`t testify against him at trial. She said that`s how he made the charges go away. Quote, "Respondent told me I had to leave town. That if I was not in town they could not serve me and I would not have to go to court. He told me if I went to court he and his attorney would make sure I would be the one who was guilty."

After receiving that threat, she in fact took her twins and got out of town. She was not there for the trial date. She said she didn`t return to the area, quote, "until the attorney phoned me and told me I could come back."

So, when Steve Bannon finally went on trial for those domestic violence charges and battery, dissuading a witness, when he finally went on trial in August, 1996, what the report records say for the trial that day is, quote, "victim/witness unable to be located." All right. Because he told his wife to get out of town and not testify against him or else.

And so, she got out of town and couldn`t testify against him. They could not locate the victim/witness. And so, the case was dismissed.

So this incident was reported this past summer in august when Steve Bannon was named CEO of the Trump campaign. You might remember he got named CEO of Trump campaign after the former campaign chairman got ousted over concerns about his ties to the Russian government, after Paul Manafort got ousted because of that, they needed a new guy, they found Steve Bannon. And after they picked Steve Bannon for that high profile job, posted this police report from the Santa Monica Police Department and NBC found further documents from the divorce filings and the abuse claims around the divorce filing.

The Trump campaign actually never commented as to whether or not they were aware of this stuff in Steve Bannon`s past when he was brought on to run the campaign. And, you know, eventually that story just faded out of the news. To be fair, there was a lot going on at the time.

And honestly, I think part of the reason that story went away after it was first reported in August is because in, you know, late August or early September, nobody really believed Donald Trump could conceivably win the presidency, right? So, whatever kind of characters he was bringing on board to rescue his sinking ship of a campaign, I think everybody assumed they would be out of the news sooner or later, why bother going into too much depth?

But then, they won. And Steve Bannon leapt from the campaign to the White House where he is now apparently the most powerful figure in the administration who does not hold the job title "President of the United States." And now today, today has been another one of those days in this new administration, this young administration where things really did not go well for them.

They lost a cabinet nominee today, first time that has happened to them -- something that really shouldn`t happen to you if you`ve got a majority for your own party in the Senate, right? But today, they lost a cabinet nominee.

And, you know, I think it`s worth being specific here as to how they lost him because when the Trump administration picked this guy, when they picked the CEO of Carl`s Jr. to be their nominee for labor secretary, they knew what they were getting, right? I mean, they were not exactly picking Tom Perez here. Part of the appeal for picking the Carl Jr. guy, was I`m sure these unpolitically correct ads that he made his burger places famous for in his time as CEO and that he gleefully defended in his time as CEO.

When he became the CEO of Carl`s Jr. and Hardee`s, those fast food joints rocketed to the charts in terms of federal employment discrimination cases filed by employees at those two companies. There`s a reason why there have been protests at his restaurants and corporate headquarters by people who thought Andy Puzder labor secretary given how he had behaved as an employer. I mean, people even dressed up like robots to highlight the fact he openly lamented that he couldn`t replace his pesky workers with robots who would be so much better at doing the work because he basically hated his workers.

But you know what? The administration knew that -- knew all of that about him when they picked Andy Puzder to be labor secretary, right? That stuff was a feature, not a bug. They didn`t see any of that as a down side. It`s not like they were trying to pick somebody who would be good on labor rights for god`s sake.

And so, you know, I think that Democrats and the groups who protested against Andy Puzder and all his employees who got brave and came out of the woodwork to say what a terrible CEO he was, I think those folks are right today to crow a little bit about Andy Puzder having his nomination pulled. He`s the first cabinet nominee of the Trump era to fail in the confirmation process, and that is a big deal.

But I also think it`s worth being clear why he was pulled, why this happened today. I mean, honestly, all the stuff about his terrible labor record has been known about him all along. That`s why they picked him, right? It`s not a surprise that with a record like that, he was going to get zero votes from Democrats for his confirmation.

But they didn`t need Democrats to vote for him for his confirmation. They could have confirmed him just with Republican votes.

And on the Republican side of this story today, there`s all this noise, particularly into this evening, about how Andy Puzder didn`t get confirmed, of course, he had to get his nomination yanked because he wasn`t right wing enough on immigration. You see noise about this today, right?

And, you know, Andy Puzder did hire an undocumented worker in his home and he did not pay taxes on here. OK, but if that was reason enough to stop the Andy Puzder nomination, why hasn`t it stopped all the other Trump cabinet nominees who have that same problem, who are all steaming ahead through the confirmation process? OK, then, they say it`s not just the undocumented worker in his own home, it`s his politics on immigration. He wasn`t right wing enough, he wasn`t anti-immigrant enough in terms of his policy views on immigration, that`s why he lad to go.

Well, you know what? Those politics have been true about Andy Puzder. Those have been on display and known about him since before he was picked for this job. The Trump administration knew all about them, all that about him when they picked him.

Republicans have known those were his politics on immigration. If any of that was a problem about Andy Puzder why was Mitch McConnell as of yesterday still saying oh, yeah, Andy Puzder is going to be confirmed? Why did John Cornyn, the number two Republican of the Senate, why did he say as recently as yesterday, quote, "He`s good, full speed ahead, I`m confident he will be confirmed, he`s a good nominee", right?

If any of this stuff, left or right, if any of this stuff was truly a problem for the Andy Puzder nomination, why was his nomination fine until now? Why was it fine until today? What changed today?

This changed today.


LISA FIERSTEIN, EX-WIFE OF ANDY PUZDER: The most frightening thing was leaving because once I made that break and once I made it public and remember my ex-husband was a public figure, everyone knew him and knew what he was doing and once I made that public he -- he vowed revenge. He said, I will see you in the gutter, this will never be over, you will pay for this.


MADDOW: Turns out what changed today is the nature of Andy Puzder`s Steve Bannon problem. Steve Bannon`s domestic violence charges were from 1996. This Oprah Winfrey episode, which we all got access to today, this was 1990.

And what changed today, what led to the yanking of the first Trump cabinet nominee was at that at 1:00 in the morning this morning, posted online these clips of Andy Puzder`s ex-wife wearing a disguise appearing on the Oprah Winfrey show on a program titled "high class battered women." She used a pseudonym, she wore a disguise, including those big glasses and she discussed the same alleged physical abuse by Andy Puzder in their marriage that she testified to in their divorce proceedings two years earlier.

She filed court documents where she said that Andy Puzder, quote, "assaulted and battered me by striking me violently about the face, chest, back, shoulders and neck without provocation or cause, leaving, quote, "bruises and contusions to the chest, back, shoulders and neck as well as two ruptured disks and two bulging disks among other injuries."

And you heard her say in the Oprah clip, right, "My ex-husband was a public figure." Andy Puzder was a well-known public figure at the time. He was a prominent crusading anti-abortion activist lawyer in Missouri at the time that all this went down with his ex-wife.

And those claims from the divorce proceedings, they tracked broadly with what a newspaper called "The Riverfront Times" had reported about him and his divorce in 1989 and they had reported, it become newsworthy thing because he was such a well known public figure. What they reported at the time was this, "Puzder`s ex-wife alleged he had hit her and threw her to the kitchen floor and unplug the phone after she tried to call police for help during the altercation. Puzder acknowledges police responded to that altercation between him and his wife, his wife sought a protective order against him. In seeking the order, she alleged that he, quote, `attacked me, choked me, threw me to the floor, hit in the head, pushed his knee into my chest, twisted my arm, dragged me on to the floor, threw me into a wall, tried to stop my call to 911 and kicked me in the back.`"

Andy Puzder denied those allegations when they became public in the press in Missouri in 1989. After her Oprah appearance in 1990, his wife also later rescinded her allegations of his physical abuse as part of their further divorce proceedings and the child custody wrangling.

Since Andy Puzder has been a Trump administration cabinet nominee, his ex- wife has further recanted those allegations saying none of it ever happened. She made the whole thing up.

But there are these contemporaneous claims, right? I mean, some of what was in their divorce filings has been reported on, it`s been made public, some other parts of those divorce filings interestingly were sealed by the court the day after his nomination was announced to be labor secretary in December. That was a little strange.

An activist group has been suing to have those divorce records fully unsealed given the public interest and Puzder`s potential ascension to high public office. But it is one thing to see these allegations in court filings. It`s one thing to read the handwritten police reports from the responding officers describing the smashed phone and the evidence of the injuries.

It`s another thing to see a woman on tape talking about in the first person. Here`s what he threatened me. Here`s what he said he would do to me. Here`s why I was afraid.

We knew that this Oprah tape existed. We knew that for several weeks. We and lots of other news organizations had tried to get it. You bead surprised how difficult it was to get but the Oprah Winfrey folks this past week, they quietly made a screening room available for U.S. senators to come in to personally and privately watch that episode of that show so they could see this part of Andy Puzder`s past for themselves.

But even as they were showing it to senators, nobody had access to it. You could not find it anywhere online, nobody could see it. Nobody could circulate it, nobody could judge for themselves in the public. No press could comment on it.

Until 1:00 a.m. this morning when "Politico" finally got it from one of the other battered women who appeared on that show who had a personal copy of it all these years and who handed it over to "Politico". They uploaded the tape at 1:00 a.m. and by 3:00 p.m. today, Andy Puzder was out.

In the space of a week, they`ve had their first major policy initiative destroyed by the courts, they have lost their national security advisor in a huge and spreading national security scandal. They have also now as of today they had to pull their first cabinet nominee, and it`s worth being clear about it.

You may -- if you`ve watched the show for a while you may notice that I`m really not one of those people who makes those, you know, people on the right and people on the left are both wrong about this. I`m not one of those, you know, people on the right, people on the left, or both wrong about this. I`m not one of those people who does this left/right facile equivalency thing. I don`t do that. You know me, I never argue things that way.

But in this case, there really are people on the right and people on the left who are understandably crowing about Andy Puzder`s nomination being pulled as if it is their scalp to claim, but all the issues people had about him both on the right and on the left, they had them all along. The issues on the right, the issues on the left, they have been known about from the beginning. Neither of those sets of issues, right or left, was on track to take Andy Puzder out.

And then the day the public gets tape about his now recanted domestic violence history, the White House, this White House, whoever`s in charge at this White House, decides that this is not the conversation they want to be having right now. This is not the type of heat they want to be bearing right now. This is not the kind of stuff they want stirred up.

President Trump said as he took office that he was going to sue the living daylights out of all the women who accused him of sexual assault. He was going to sue them all, force them all to recant. That threat so far has faded away as has the news coverage of that particular scandal about the new president.

The other most powerful American the White House is Steve Bannon. He personally has lurid, detailed, well-documented allegations of domestic violence in his past. You can read the police report yourself. But that too has faded as a news story, as people have found whole new worlds of stuff about Steve Bannon to freak out about instead.

And so, you can criticize this landmark moment today in the news, this first failed cabinet nominee. You can criticize Andy Puzder for any number of things, depending on your ideological views, depending on where you`re coming from. But the one thing different about today, the day they decided to pull his nomination, the one thing that is different about today is that today we got that tape.

That is a 100 percent guaranteed dredge for all of the same kind of dirt on the president of the United States and on the guy with whom he is running the White House. And that they could not allow to happen, and that is how this went down.


MADDOW: Ronald Reagan`s first national security advisor was a man named Richard Allen. Ronald Reagan actually went through six different national security advisors in his time in office, but Richard Allen was the first. And less than a year into that gig, Allen was accused of taking money, taking a thousand dollars, basically as a bribe in exchange for him arranging an interview with First Lady Nancy Reagan for a Japanese magazine.

He sold access to Nancy Reagan for a thousand dollars. Also, two nice Seiko watches. They were digital watches.


REPORTER: Newspapers in Tokyo today said Richard Allen accepted two wristwatches from the Japanese magazine that interviewed Nancy Reagan last January. The magazine showed Allen with writer Fuyoko Kamisaka (ph) and Tsikiko Takasei (ph), two friends who asked him to arrange the Reagan interview.

Now reports here say that before leaving for Washington last January, the two women stopped at a duty-free discount store like this one. They purchased two ladies wristwatches, one silver colored. Writer Kamisaka is quoted as saying that on January 16th, before Allen became a government official, Mrs. Takasei gave Allen the gold one for his wife.

Other reports say that later, Mrs. Takasei told him he could swap that watch for the silver colored model. "The Manichi (ph)" newspaper says he answered, "In that case, I might as well keep them both." That was said after Allen was a national security advisor and thus came under a $100 limit on gifts. Ms. Kamisaka said each watch called 30,000 yen, almost $150.


MADDOW: When they ask you "gold or silver" the answer is, "no, neither, can`t do it, thank you." Wrong answer, "I`ll take them both."

In the end, the Justice Department cleared Richard Allen of wrongdoing in that bribery scandal, but he was forced to resign as national security advisor after less than a year on the job.

Before long, another Reagan national security advisor was forced out in a different scandal. Bud MacFarlane resigned in the middle of the Iran- Contra scandal. He pled guilty to four criminal counts of withholding information from Congress to cover up that scandal. He eventually got pardoned by George H.W. Bush.

The guy who succeeded But MacFarlane was also forced to resign because of his role in Iran-Contra. He was convicted of multiple felonies for lying to Congress and obstructing the investigation into the Iran-Contra scandal. Eventually, he got his felony convictions reversed on appeal.

But, you know, bottom line here, not all our national security advisors have hit it out of the park. You know, we`ve had national security advisor scandals before. Heck, we had three big ones in one presidency under Ronald Reagan.

But this thing we`re going through right now with Michael Flynn and him being forced out as national security advisor after just 24 days, we never had had a scandal like this. A lot of the beltway reporting on the Flynn scandal is focused on who he told about his conversations with the Russian government during the transition. What did he tell them about those conversations? When did he tell them that they happened? Was the vice president lied to and for how long? Why did the president wait so long to fire Mike Flynn after the Justice Department told them he was lying about his contact with the Russians and the Russians could therefore be blackmailing him?

And, you know, all of these are reasonable questions and none of them have been explained well enough yet. But here`s the forest these trees keep falling in. We have multiple reports now, each citing multiple sources saying Michael Flynn had repeated contacts with the Russian government during the campaign before the election.

And it`s not just him. We now have reporting from the "New York Times" last night and CNN later last night again citing multiple sources saying that it was not just Flynn, it was several people from the Trump campaign who had repeated contact. In CNN`s words, constant communication with Russia, including Russian intelligence officials during the campaign -- while Russian intelligence was interfering with our election to help get Donald Trump elected. Right?

These contacts are concrete and verifiable things. Intelligence sources say there are call logs, there are intercepts, there are transcripts of them. And officials at the top levels of this White House, up to and including the president himself, have nevertheless been denying up and down that these things ever happened.


REPORTER: Did you or anyone in your campaign have any contact with Russia leading up to or during the campaign? Nothing at all?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did anyone involved in the Trump campaign have any contact with Russians trying to meddle with the election?

KELLYANNE CONWAY, TRUMP ADVISER: Absolutely not. And I discussed that with the president-elect just last night. Those conversations never happened. I hear people saying that like it`s a fact on television. That is just not only inaccurate and false, but it`s dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does the president-elect --

CONWAY: And it does undermine our democracy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just to button up one question, did any adviser have any contact with the Russians trying to meddle in the election?

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Of course not. I think to suggest that is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.

REPORTER: Back in January, the president said nobody had been in touch with the Russians. Today can you say definitively nobody on the Trump campaign, not even General Flynn, had any contact with the Russians before the election?

SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I don`t have any -- there`s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period.


MADDOW: Let`s diagram that sentence, "There`s nothing that would conclude me that anything different has changed with respect to that time period." So, that`s a no?

The president, vice president, top White House officials have all just flat-out denied that there were any contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. It now seems that those denials were all lies. There was contact between Russian officials and the Trump campaign.

Why did they all lie about that?

In addition to the ongoing FBI, CIA and U.S. Army investigations into Mike Flynn, we also just tonight got this letter from the Senate Judiciary Committee requesting a full briefing from the FBI and the justice department on, quote, "the circumstances that led to the recent resignation of Michael Flynn" -- keynote here, this letter is not just from the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. Oh, this letter is also from Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the committee.

Then again, it`s worth remembering the head of the Justice Department that from whom they are asking for this briefing, the head of the department is now Jeff Sessions who, of course, was part of the Donald Trump campaign while the Trump campaign was talking to Russia during the campaign, Jeff Sessions has said he has no intention of recusing himself from any Justice Department investigations of the Trump campaign even though he was part of it at the time that`s now being investigated or that ought to be.

So, what happens next here? I might know. And that`s next.



SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MINORITY LEADER: Jeff Sessions was chairman of the national security advisory committee alongside General Michael Flynn. He was a senior adviser in the Trump campaign. The first senator to endorse the president`s campaign and nominated him at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Attorney General Jeff Sessions must recuse himself immediately. Any investigation headed, directed by or influenced by the attorney general will be jaundiced from the very start.


MADDOW: Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer arguing that a senior official of the Trump campaign can`t be in charge of an investigation into the Trump campaign for obvious reasons.

Whether or not that investigation is about something as sensitive as the Trump campaign`s alleged contacts with the Russian government, while the Russian government was trying to influence our election.

This has to do with the Trump`s contacts with the Russian government. Tonight the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Justice department for a full briefing on the mike Flynn and Russia situation. Your guess is as good as anyone`s in terms of how much worth there might be in a Justice Department briefing on this subject now that the head of the Justice Department is Jeff Sessions who, again, was part of the Trump campaign.

But in addition to that question, there`s also some brand new breaking news right now from the "Wall Street Journal." Can we put this article up on the screen please? Can we make a full screen out of this? Yes, thank you.

You see the headline there, "Spies keep intelligence from President Trump." Again, this is just posted by "The Wall Street Journal." I just read you the lead here.

"U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Trump because they`re concerned it could be leaked or compromised." Citation here is current and former officials familiar with the matter. Again, quoting from "The Journal", "In some of these cases of withheld information, officials have decided not to show the president sources and methods that the intelligence agencies used to collect information. Those sources and methods could include, for instance, the means that an agency uses to spy on a foreign government."

They`re not showing him that stuff because they`re not sure, in short, if he can be trusted with it. He`s the president.

Joining us now is Senator Chris Murphy, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, one of the fiercest critics of National Security Advisor Mike Flynn up until the time when he left his job this week.

Senator, it`s nice to have you with us. Thanks for being here.


MADDOW: So we just got this report from "The Wall Street Journal". I don`t know if you had a chance to see this yet.

MURPHY: Yes. No, I`ve seen early reports and it`s consistent with what`s been happening since December. Listen, there is a war being waged between President Trump who after the election accused our intelligence services of politicizing the report about Russian interference in our election to hurt him. And now, clearly members of the intelligence service are pushing back by releasing information to news services about these contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russians and if these reports are true perhaps withholding information from him.

Listen, this is not good for the United States but clearly the intelligence services are watching Trump and his advisers withhold information from the American public. They watched for 14 days as the Trump administration did not reveal to the American public what they knew, which was that Michael Flynn had conversations with the Russians and they are taking matters into their own hands.

Ultimately, Rachel, this is why we need a credible investigatory process, whether it be through the intelligence committee or independent commission because the -- in an ideal world, these leaks or these whistle-blowers would be coming to the investigatory body rather than leaking only to the press.

MADDOW: And that -- to me I feel like that`s the crux of the matter right now. I mean, we`ve all been worried about the new administration and their attacks on the press and calling the journalists of the United States of America fake news and elevating pro-Trump blogs as if they`re equivalent to the "Washington Post" or NBC News or something in the press briefing.

We`ve all been sort of watching that as kind of a media business story. Clearly, in terms of this story about the context with the Russian government, we`re seeing the "New York Times" and the "Washington Post" and the "Wall Street Journal" and NBC and CNN and all these other outlets do good work in terms of getting this information to the public.

My question remains, whether or not, we should expect this to continue to be just a journalistic enterprise or whether there will be any part of the U.S. government that gets to the bottom of this that does the investigatory work and that ultimately brings prosecutions if this turns out to be a criminal matter.

MURPHY: Well, therein lies the problem. Right now, there is not a credible investigation in the United States. You have investigations open in both intelligence committees, but both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have hamstrung them so they can`t get to the bottom of this affair. Because Jeff Sessions at any moment could interfere with the FBI investigation, you can`t trust that that investigation won`t be compromised.

Remember, we, you know, got used to Attorney General Lynch deciding to give Director Comey free range with respect to the Clinton e-mail issue, but there`s nothing stopping Sessions from coming in and telling Comey what he can and cannot do. And then to the extent that the CIA has been looking into this or the Army is looking into this, those are agencies that Trump has a lot to do with and say about as well.

So, right now, you don`t have a credible non-partisan investigation that these individuals in the intelligence services who may have information can give it to and trust it is going to end up getting all of the doors that need to be unlocked unlocked.

MADDOW: Do you expect because of that -- and that`s really alarming, what you just laid out -- do you expect because of that that the pressure to have a special counsel, to have a truly independent legislative investigation -- legislatively sponsored investigation into this, do you think there is traction there? Do you think there`s any chance that will happen?

MURPHY: Well, listen, I think you`re seeing this issue move by the hour. Richard Burr, who is the head of the intelligence committee, today made it a little bit clearer that he was hope to letting his investigation go wherever it led. Lindsey Graham who has been on the front lines of this since the beginning opened the door to supporting an independent investigation or special prosecutor today.

So, by the hour, you`re seeing more and more Republicans understand the gravity of this. And I think that they`re looking at the scope of history, they`re wondering what a year from now or two years from now will look like if they stood in the way of this investigation happening.

So, I don`t ultimately know whether Mitch McConnell will let this non- partisan or independent process play out. But you`re seeing movement happen in that direction in real-time.

MADDOW: Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut -- thank you, sir. Clearer and actually a little scary which is happening more and more each time we talk. Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

MURPHY: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Again, that breaking news tonight just posted from the "Wall Street Journal," the headline, "Spies keep intelligence from President Trump." U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from the president because they`re concerned it could be leaked or compromised. Officials in some cases have decided not to show the president sources and methods that the intelligence agencies use to collect information because they don`t trust that it`s a safe thing to communicate to him.

Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: One of the new things about the Trump era that is not easy to report on -- in which the government, I think, is purposely making it difficult to report on -- is what`s happening to immigrants now that the Trump administration has taken over. We can confidently report that in less than a week, since last Wednesday, more than 680 people have been rounded up in immigration raids in at least 11 states.

ICE, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, they say they have arrested and deported people in California, New York, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin. And the new president campaigned on building a wall and he campaigned on vilifying Mexicans and Mexican immigrants in particular as a uniquely criminal class of people.

Well, now, he`s in charge and these new raids are, we`re told, a direct result of the executive action he signed making it easier for ICE to deport anyone, making it easier to deport anyone with even a minor criminal record. That`s how we got here with hundreds of deportations in less than a week, ICE mostly calling it routine. People in immigrant community saying they know what routine looks like and this is not routine.

One of the other things that we are seeing is resistance to this change in policy and to these raids. Late last week, the immigration reform group called United We Dream, they launched what they`re calling a new network called "Here to Stay". And this is a radical tactic. What they`re saying is, listen, if you went to an airport when you heard about the travel ban and said "refugees are welcome here" or if you said "immigrants are here to stay", now is the time to follow up on that.

The idea behind the "Here to Stay" network is to get people to pledge, get volunteers to promise to show up bodily to be there on the spot, to try to protect immigrants who are at risk of deportation because of the Trump administration`s policies, to physically show up, engage and try to stop people from being taken out of their homes, taken out of their workplaces and having their families taken apart.

They launched this new network before midnight last Thursday. Again, it`s called here to stay. Tonight, United We Dream says that more than 24,000 people have signed up as part of this network, pledging to bodily stand up for immigrants in their communities.

Joining us now is Cristina Jiminez. She`s a community organizer and co- founder of United We Dream.

Ms. Jiminez, thanks very much for being here. Really appreciate your time tonight.


MADDOW: So, let me ask if I explained that right. It wasn`t a lengthy explanation but that`s what I understand in terms of how you`re approaching this tactically and what this network is for. Did I basically get it right?

JIMINEZ: Yes, you got it. This is a network of allies, of folks all across the country who are committing to join us in this moment to protect immigrants from deportation. What we are seeing right now is a direct result from Trump`s executive orders.

This is Trump`s America where no one is safe. If you are an immigrant, or if you look like an immigrant like myself, you`re at risk, and no one is safe.

MADDOW: What are you asking people to do? You asking for demonstrations or for civil disobedience or direct action? We`ve seen some very dramatic action earlier this week in Arizona, or late last week in Arizona with people actually chaining themselves to the wheels of a van that was taking away one woman whose case had become a real cause celebre in the Phoenix area.

What are you asking people to do?

JIMINEZ: Well, we`re asking people to do, and we`ve already seen it, Rachel. When we know a family or someone in our community is in danger of being deported or ICE agents are around in your neighborhood, show up. Show up to people`s homes. Provide your church. Show up when people have to show up to court or when they have to do an ICE check-in.

So, for example, just today, Jeanette, who is an immigrant woman who was supposed to show up to an ICE check-in actually took sanctuary in Colorado. And thousands of people showed up with her and have opened the church and are supporting her so that she doesn`t get deported.

Similarly, Daniel who is a doctor recipient actually was detained by ICE on Friday. He is still in detention in Seattle, Washington. And we`ve had hundreds of people that already showed up and that have committed now to have an action, a rally outside of the detention center over the weekend as well.

So, we are already seeing this. And what we are seeing is that people are really eager and interested. Because they are against what Trump is trying to do in our country.

This is not what America is about. And people want to join us in stopping these deportations and saying, "We are here to show up to ensure that immigrants are here to stay."

And everybody watching right now, if you are against Trump and his agenda of hate and deporting people like me and my parents, this is a moment for you to show up. There`s no more time to be in the sidelines and people can join the network by texting "here to stay" to 877877. And you can stop us in stopping deportations.

MADDOW: Cristina Jiminez, co-founder of United We Dream, which is starting up this "Here to Stay" campaign -- thanks for helping us understand what you`re doing. Keep us apprised as to how this organizing effort goes. Please do.

JIMINEZ: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks a lot.

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


MADDOW: Every so often, the news gods give us a story that is so outlandish, that is so baldly frankly up-front ridiculously, that you kind of get pass on being outraged about it. You can be outraged about it if you want, but you can also just --

The news gods I think are in good humor tonight, because they`ve given us one of those. Maybe it`s been a hard week for them too. I don`t know. But we`ve got this one final story. We just got it in tonight.

It`s nuts. It`s laugh out loud nuts. And it is about bare-naked corruption, naturally. That story is next.


MADDOW: This is outrageous. It is also the funniest thing I`ve heard all day. You might have read recently if "The New York Times" they reported that a wealthy real estate family was in talks to buy the Miami Marlins baseball team. And if you`re thinking when you see the headline about that, Kushner family, is that any relation to Jared Kushner?

Then yes, grand slam for you. Jared Kushner is the son-in-law of the president, also senior adviser to the president. And it is that Kushner family, led in this case by Jared`s brother that is reportedly in talks to buy the Miami Marlins baseball team. We knew that.

Tonight, here is the update. In addition to the news what the Miami Marlins are possibly being sold to the White House-connected Kushner family, we`re now hearing that the owner of the Miami Marlins is up for a nice new ambassadorship. Want to be ambassador to France?

Think the Kushner family might possibly get a better deal on the baseball team deal if they throw in the ambassador to France to go along with the negotiations? Just asking. Just wondering.

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

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD". Ari Melber sitting in for Lawrence tonight.

Good evening, Ari.