The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 10/6/17 Manafort emails suggest backchannel w/ Putin ally

Guests: Jennifer Palmieri, Glenn Caplin, Franklin Foer

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: October 6, 2017

Guest: Jennifer Palmieri, Glenn Caplin, Franklin Foer

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, ALL IN: RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now with the winner of not one but two TV news Emmys last night.

Congratulations. Well-deserved, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Thank you. You are -- now you`re screwing me up, Chris.


HAYES: Honestly, really well-deserved. It made me happy.

MADDOW: Thank you. I was in very, very, very, very good company in terms of the nominees this year. So, thank you, Chris. I appreciate it.

HAYES: You bet.

MADDOW: Now, I`m flummoxed.


HAYES: Go get them.

MADDOW: But thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. That was very nice of Chris to say that.

All right. Happy Friday.

Today, the Labor Department released news that the number of jobs in the United States actually dropped last month. At the end of last month, there were 33,000 fewer jobs in the country than there had been when the month started. That is a very unusual thing. This is the first time in seven years that the country has experienced a net job loss over the course of a month.

And, you know, in terms of why this happened, clearly, the phenomenal, terrible hurricane season we`re having this year is the culprit. Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston and then right away, Hurricane Irma hitting the U.S. Virgin Islands and Florida and then right away, Hurricane Maria hitting the U.S. Virgin Islands again and then just devastating Puerto Rico. I mean, this -- this month has been like somebody opening a hell mouth in terms of these huge, deadly, record-setting storms, one after the other.

And I have to tell you, we`ve got an exclusive update tonight some exclusive footage we want to show you about what is going wrong right now with the federal response in Puerto Rico, even today. When you see this footage that we`ve got, it`s just frankly just mind-bending what still isn`t being done in Puerto Rico.

But even as the American crisis in Puerto Rico wears on, I have to tell you, another hurricane is coming. It`s called Tropical Storm Nate right now. National Hurricane Center says that tonight, it`s expected to be at or near hurricane-force winds when it passes by the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico tonight.

And then, there`s that dreaded phrase from the National Hurricane Center: continued strengthening is expected. Quote: Conditions appear favorable for continued strengthening of this storm up to landfall on the northern Gulf Coast where Nate is expected to make landfall there as a hurricane. So, again, it`s tropical storm now it`s expected to hit the gulf coast as a hurricane Mississippi and Louisiana have already declared states of emergency.

Louisiana has ordered or ordered the evacuation already of some islands in some coastal areas. The National Hurricane Center is warning that from Morgan City, Louisiana, all the way east to the Alabama-Florida border, this hurricane could raise sea levels by up to eight feet. So, they are urging people who live in those areas to pay attention to any evacuation orders and to, quote, rush to completion preparations to protect life and property.

So, again, the basics here are with this storm. It`s Tropical Storm Nate now it`s due to be Hurricane Nate soon. Landfall in the Gulf Coast is likely to be late tomorrow night, late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. It looks like it may hit as a category hurricane one hurricane. It`s a large storm.

In terms of population centers that may be at risk here, keep an eye on Biloxi, Mississippi, on Mobile, Alabama, on New Orleans and on Pensacola, Florida. And I know it seems insane that we are talking about yet another hurricane about to make landfall in the United States, but it`s that year. So, here we go. We`re going to have more on that story ahead tonight, including that exclusive footage we`ve got from outside San Juan.

But, you know, there is a lot going on tonight in terms of national security news. There`s a disturbing story about the Green Berets. There is still very little clarity tonight as to how four U.S. Army special operators ended up getting killed in the western African nation of Niger. The deaths occurred on Wednesday. It appears to have been a desert ambush in Niger, quite near that country`s border with Mali.

Now, there were initial reports you might have heard that three U.S. Army Green Berets had been killed. Well, now, today, the Pentagon announced the recovery of the body of a fourth American soldier whose life was lost in the same incident. We have names and ranks for the first three Green Berets we knew to have been lost in this incident. Now we know there is a fourth.

Losing four American Green Berets in a single incident is a very big deal anywhere in the world at any time. It`s a very big loss. But in this case, the seriousness of that loss is compounded by the public disconnect from the mission that cost these soldiers their lives. Almost no one was aware that the United States had a military force of any significant size operating and at risk in the country of Niger. But now we know in the worst possible circumstances.

It remains to be seen if that mission or the deployment levels there will change now because of this news. But again, very little clarity on that situation that remains an evolving story.

Meanwhile, in the Trump administration, military resources continue to make news for other reasons as "The New York Times" reports today that treasury secretary and top Trump fundraiser, Steve Mnuchin, has charged taxpayers more than $800,000 for him to fly on military aircraft since he was sworn in as secretary of the treasury. He`s not in the military, he`s the treasury secretary, but still, taxpayers have played $800,000 for him to travel multiple times, many multiples of times on military jets which have apparently become his preference.

Shortly after Secretary Mnuchin withdrew his request to have the taxpayers pay for a military jet to take him on his European honeymoon with his new bride, shortly after that, you will recall that Mr. Mnuchin did famously take his new bride on a military jet on the day of the eclipse to Fort Knox, Kentucky. Secretary Mnuchin said he needed to inspect the gold at Fort Knox. OK.

Well, now, thanks to a new report from the treasury`s inspector general, we know what it cost the taxpayers for Steve Mnuchin to take that trip specifically on a military jet, taxpayers paid $27,000 just for his flight that day. And now, we know why Steve Mnuchin couldn`t fly commercial that day to go inspect the gold, why he needed taxpayers to fork out 27 grand for him and his bride to make the trip on a military jet.

According to his travel request, which we can now see in this inspector general report, Steve Mnuchin demanded that he have a military jet for that trip, quote, in the event that the secretary`s participation on the call during travel arises. So, he asked for a military jet because at some point during that trip, there was the possibility he might want to make a phone call or maybe somebody would want to call him. He`s very important. It could happen, people call him. So, that was in August.

In June, we now know that secretary Mnuchin also used a military jet to fly himself from Washington, D.C., to Miami. Taxpayers paid $43,000 for his plane ride that day because, again, he demanded that taxpayers pay to fly him on a military jet. Now we now know from this inspector general report that once Secretary Mnuchin made that demand for the $43,000 military flight to Miami. The treasury`s travel office wrote back to him, specifically wrote to his assistant to tell him, you know, a commercial ticket for this flight is $688. Right? Right.

But why have taxpayer spend only $688 on you when you can have taxpayers spend $43,000 on you instead? For $688, it was round-trip by the way.

Steve Mnuchin`s chief qualification for becoming treasury secretary appears to have been that he was the Trump campaign`s fundraising director during the campaign. With this inspector general report today, we now know that he has basically continued to raise large sums of money, now for the Trump administration. It`s just that now he`s raising that money for himself and he`s raising it from the taxpayers and taxpayers just have to eat it, because that`s what this administration is like now.

There`s also news today that the Campaign Legal Center has filed a complaint with the Justice Department over Trump`s Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and the taxpayer-funded private jet travel he took to the Virgin Islands this spring. No, not related to the hurricanes, way before the hurricanes hit.

The private jet trip that taxpayers paid for for Ryan Zinke was for a trip to the Virgin Islands that included a snorkeling tour for him and his attendance at a Republican Party fundraiser where people appear to have been invited to make Republican Party campaign donations in exchange for the honor of taking a picture with the secretary of the interior. And if that is true about that fundraiser, that would be illegal.

So, the Campaign Legal Center has asked the Justice Department to look at that, separate and apart from the bit about him flying to and from that fundraiser and the snorkeling tour on multiple private jets paid for by the taxpayers. And that does happen to be exactly the same scandal that caused the resignation of the Health Secretary Tom Price just last week, but maybe this week people don`t resign over that anymore.

So, there`s a lot going on tonight. But I want to show you something from exactly one year ago. Hurricane season obviously is an annual thing, and just as we`re waiting on Hurricane Nate to bear down on the Gulf Coast this weekend, one year ago exactly, we were waiting on Hurricane Matthew to bear down on the east coast of Florida.


MATT LAUER, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Good morning. Breaking news: Hurricane Matthew slamming Florida`s east coast right now as a major category three, the strongest storm to hit that state in a decade. Wind gusts up to 150 miles per hour.

Power knocked out to hundreds of thousands, a Sandy-like storm surge expected. Airports, schools, theme parks all shut down and the worst is still to come today, Friday, October 7th, 2016.

ANNOUNCER: From NBC News, this is a special edition of "Today", Hurricane Matthew with Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie, live from studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza.


MADDOW: All right. So, that was a year ago tomorrow morning, a year ago tomorrow, October 7th, Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer anchoring "The Today" show focused full force on Hurricane Matthew, right? Matt Lauer starting that broadcast off with the worst is still to come.

You know, Hurricane Matthew did cause some incredible damage. Nearly 50 deaths across the United States after it caused hundreds of deaths in Haiti. But as Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast of Florida and it rolled up the southeastern United States October 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, that caused incredible flooding and again about four dozen deaths.

But that day, it first came ashore in Florida on October 7th, which is a year ago tomorrow. That day was one of the most insane and consequential news days of the last decade in the United States. At the time, we didn`t recognize that happen -- we didn`t even recognize a tenth of it, but now, one year on, the insanity of that specific day, the importance of what broke that day all in a matter of hours is so shocking in retrospect that the great investigative reporter Michael Isikoff and his team at Yahoo News, they have just today produced a new documentary. It`s a doc, it`s a news documentary about that one day in the news one year ago.

It`s great. You should totally watch it. It`s about a half an hour. It`s totally worth seeing in its total. We`ve put a link to the whole thing which you can watch for free in total. The link is at

And I`m not going to play the whole thing tonight. But, look, this is -- this is how it starts.


JEH JOHNSON, FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: Friday, October 7th, 2016, I`ll never forget it.

REPORTER: We`re tracking a major category Hurricane Matthew turning towards Florida as we speak.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Look, I can`t send in first responders to save you in the middle of a storm. You got to act responsibly and take care of yourself and your family.

Time is running out. Evacuate, evacuate, evacuate.

JOHNSON: Hurricane Matthew which was one of my front burner items that day. Within the space of about two hours, briefed Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on Hurricane Matthew.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, FORMER TRUMP CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: I do remember Secretary Johnson reaching out and providing a briefing.

JENNIFER PALMIERI, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR: Hurricane Matthew was happening, so monitoring that. As I recall, hardest to cancel change some travel to Florida. Obviously, an important state.

JOHNSON: And I`ll never forget, I got off the phone with both candidates for president, and I thought to myself, they have no idea of the bombshell we`re about to drop on both of them with this statement that`s going to be issued about Russia, probably two hours later.


MADDOW: At 3:00 p.m., in an unprecedented statement, the White House warns that Russia is interfering with the 2016 U.S. election. So, it`s all the same day, right. In the same day, in the morning, we wake up to the news of the largest hurricane in a decade coming ashore in Florida.

Then at 3:00 p.m. precisely that same day, Homeland Security Department and the director of national intelligence make the first statement by the U.S. government, you know, first in this election, first in any election ever, first time the U.S. government has ever had to say something like this. They put out this formal statement that a foreign government is interfering in our presidential election. That happens at 3:00 p.m. that day, a huge deal.


PALMIERI: In the afternoon, we got the statement from Clapper and Jeh Johnson and was very surprised to see a statement that was both definitive and yet had a very broad conclusion, which was not just that Russia had hacked the emails, but that they were directing the leaks as well. That`s something that we have just never just never seen before.

JAMES CLAPPER, FORMER DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE: We felt very strongly that, knowing what we knew, that it was imperative to share that publicly and with -- and with the electorate. If the election did go south for one reason or another and then afterwards, it was learned that we knew about what the Russians were doing and sat silent, they`ll be hell to pay.


MADDOW: So, they didn`t sit silent. They made this remarkable announcement, right?

This was going to be a game-changer in terms of what the American people understood was going on in this election. There`s a month out from the election, right? The government announces that Russia is messing with our election. That news came out at p.m. that day, absolute game-changer. That news survived for one hour and two minutes that day, because then it was gone.


DAVID FAHRENTHOLD, WASHINGTON POST REPORTER: We didn`t know it was coming we didn`t know that it existed but we got it about 11:00 a.m.

DONALD TRUMP, THEN-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I moved on her and I failed. I`ll admit. I did try and (EXPLETIVE DELETED) her. She was married.




TRUMP: I moved in her like (EXPLETIVE DELETED). All of a sudden, I see her, she`s now got the big phony (EXPLETIVE DELETED). She`s totally changed her look.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s kind of stunning to hear the Republican nominee talk this crudely about women.

TRUMP: Whoa!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, the Donald has scored.

TRUMP: Sheesh, your girl is hot as (EXPLETIVE DELETED).


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Crude and vulgar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very disturbing.

TRUMP: I better use some Tic-Tacs just in case I start kissing her. I`m automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It`s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don`t even wait. And when you`re star, they let you do it. You can do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Growing calls for Trump to step down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m sure we haven`t heard the last of it.

TRUMP: Hello, how are you? Hi. Nice seeing you. Terrific. You know Billy Bush?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nice to see you. How you are doing, Arianne?

FAHRENTHOLD: So it`s only about a five minute video and there`s this part on the bus you just you see a bus driving through a back lot in Hollywood. It`s pretty boring. But then after a few seconds, you start hearing this dialogue between Trump and Billy Bush. And, you know, the first two minutes, you knew the -- you were seeing something really different. Called my desk made over to look at it too and so she puts the headphones in and I could see her watching it.

This reporter next to me is a hardened reporter, she`s covered Russia, she`s covered all kinds of things that are you know very serious. She`s seen a lot of things in her life and she made this noise of like outrage and shock and just like a guttural.

TRUMP: You know, I automatically attracted to beautiful. I just start kissing them. It`s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don`t even wait. And when you`re star, they let you do it, you can do anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whatever you want.

FAHRENTHOLD: In those words, when you`re a star, they let you do it, there was I kind of a weird sense of wonder, like he`s not BS-ing for his friend. He is actually reflecting that he can`t believe the world lets him get away with it.

And once it came out, the traffic numbers were huge. It`s -- "The Post" has an internal system we used to track him web views. But so much traffic that the system to track web traffic broke. I was not expecting that. But by the -- you know, like an hour, you could tell this was going to be something really different.

PALMIERI: Someone said, hey, Palmieri, there`s -- "The Post" just broke the story about a tape of Trump saying some really offensive things about women on "Access Hollywood" tape. And my first response was irritation at the person who brought this to my attention because it`s like, no, I just wanted to will focus -- everyone`s focus -- if I couldn`t even get the focus of our own staff to stay on Russia, you know, I wasn`t going to do a very effective job with the press or the public.

And so, I was irritated, and I was like, they don`t worry about that, we got it, whatever that is, it sounds like it`s going to get attention. We got to keep our focus here. And then the more they told me about the tape, the more I realized that was not going to be possible.

JOEL BENENSON, FORMER CLINTON CAMPAIGN ADVISER: All of a sudden, something came on the TVs and then all eyes turned to the monitors were listening to the sound and if you remember correctly, it was being played over and over again, so you didn`t hear it just once. And people are all spread out in this room, and there is silence for a long time, people trying to absorb that this is actually real.

I remember Hillary Clinton was seated behind me and I saw her face at one point, just an absolute disbelief that we were listening to this coming from a man who was a presidential candidate, a nominee of a major party. This would have to reshape the conversation of the remainder of the campaign.


MADDOW: It`s going to change everything, right?

That morning, we woke up to the biggest hurricane in a decade hitting the east coast of Florida. Three p.m. sharp that day, the U.S. government announces that Russia is working to mess with our presidential election.

One hour and two minutes later, 4:02 p.m., "Washington Post" breaks the news of the "Access Hollywood" tape, and everybody`s thinking, oh god, this is it. This is it. Now, we know what the rest of the campaign will be about at least, this is the conclusion basically. This is the last news of import that will ever break about this campaign.

That lasted 30 minutes.


PALMIERI: Another colleague of mine, Tony Carter (ph) who`s the research director said it looks like some of John Podesta emails are have been leaked too.

BENENSON: Any day that Hillary Clinton and the word emails are in a story, it was going to be a bad day for us. We knew his voters were making no distinction between the WikiLeaks emails and the political emails in John Podesta`s emails and Hillary Clinton`s emails from secretary of state.

PALMIERI: I mean, at first, I just had to laugh because it`s so -- it was so absurd and it -- and not and obviously not an accident. And to this day, I wonder what John what the leak of John`s emails was meant to cover up or distract from, the "Access Hollywood" tape or Russia.


MADDOW: This was all one day. Waking up to the largest hurricane in a decade hitting Florida, 3:00 p.m., the U.S. government says Russia is attacking our election, 4:02 p.m., the tape of the Republican presidential nominee grabbing about sexually assaulting women, 4:30 p.m., the emails that were hacked by Russia from the chairman of the Clinton campaign start to be distributed by WikiLeaks -- one day, all in one day. That was a year ago tomorrow.

And, oh wait, there`s more. Stay with us.



JOHNSON: I think it hit me the next morning when I pick up "The Post" and I pick up "The Times". This was the United States government accusing the Russian government of interfering in our election through cyber hacking activity. That`s a big deal, and I expected it to be above the fold and it is literally below the fold news in both newspapers, and I expected it to be something that would have a lot of currency over the following days and that would be a continuing conversation with more questions from the press. How do we know this? What is the extent of it? And the press had gone off the other end of the pasture, as of greed and sex and groping.

CLAPPER: Maybe people forgot about it. You know, why didn`t you say something? What we did on the 7th of October, but it got emasculated.


MADDOW: Today, we are one year out from one of the most astounding tectonic collisions in the history of American politics, all in one day, the release of the "Access Hollywood" tapes on which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump described using his reality TV star privilege to grope women against their will, the posting online half an hour later of the Clinton campaign chairman`s emails, which had been hacked and stolen by Russia.

And on the same day, what the national security world thought would be the biggest story of the day, maybe the biggest story of the election. It was just crushed by the other news but that day was the formal U.S. government warning to the American public that Russia wasn`t just behind the hacking of the Democrats emails, Russia was also actively trying to interfere in the U.S. election. Russia was trying to pick the next American president.

And maybe we humans can only hold so much on our half primitive brains, right? But the people who attempted to sound the alarm on the Russia thing, they say now they were shocked that nobody was able to hear them that day. That`s what they told Michael Isikoff and his team at Yahoo News for this new documentary. They`ve just posted at It`s called "64 Hours in October: How one weekend blew up the rules of American politics", and I encourage you to watch it. It`s great. We`ve posted a link to it at our own Website tonight.

But imagine having been in the middle of that day and imagine having been in the middle of it, what would you have done, not just to understand what was rolling out one thing after another on that day, but what would you have done to try to handle it properly, as those things came out in that tight sequential order?

Joining us now is Jennifer Palmieri. She`s communications director for the Clinton campaign. And Glenn Caplin, who served as senior national spokesman for that campaign.

Ms. Palmieri and Mr. Caplin, thank you for both being here.


MADDOW: I never put two people out at once, so I hope you don`t mind that you`re both here. I want to hear both your perspective.

PALMIERI: He`s one of my favorite people on the planet.

MADDOW: Oh, good. It will be more difficult to make you two fight for the camera --


MADDOW: Well, let me start with you. In the moment when the -- we got the "Access Hollywood" tape.


MADDOW: In this Isikoff documentary, you articulate how frustrated you were that this was going to overshadow the Russia interference report which had just come out from homeland security.


MADDOW: But then immediately within a half an hour, your campaign chairman John Podesta`s emails start circulating from WikiLeaks. Did you experience all this as remarkable coincidence? Did you think at the time that these might be coordinated events?

PALMIERI: I thought they were coordinated. It just -- because the timing was too close and the there had been sprinkling of emails prior to that that were related to John. So, you thought they may have had some of John`s emails. They may be holding on to something. So, it was clear, it looks like, OK, this is it, this is the day they`re going.

So, and I still wonder if it was -- if they were there to distract from "Access Hollywood" or if they were there to distract from Russia. I mean, it could have been Russian -- you know, Russia could have timed it too because they were concerned about the -- you know, the Jeh Johnson and Clapper statement and wanted to distract from that.

But in the moment, I did have to -- because that`s the way it was our research director Tony told me about it, he said John`s emails have been hacked, they`re online and it seems to the transcript of the wall streets he choose are in it, and I was like, OK, I just got up, took a walk around the perimeter of the hotel, came back down, it`s like, all right --

MADDOW: And then, what did you decide that you could do given all that --

PALMIERI: We decided that, OK, then take -- the user that`s another moment to draw attention back to Russia. So, that`s why we had John say, I`m not having about being hacked by the Russians and that when people would talk to us about it, that would be our response. This is -- the United States government has determined, this is the Russian government interfering in our elections for the purposes of helping Donald Trump. And when you report on it, that`s what you were helping them do.

MADDOW: Glenn, we`ve talked before about your role on the campaign and what you were able to see in terms of the hacking, in terms of the intrusions. What was your view that day, how -- did you experience this in the same way that, Jen, did? Did you have your own suspicions that some of the stuff might be coordinated?

CAPLIN: Oh, sure. But you also remember that there were lots of emails coming out over time.

MADDOW: Hacked emails.

CAPLIN: Hacked emails. So, you know, the day before John Podesta`s emails came out, someone else`s emails had to come out, to pressure marshal. So, we were still that morning dealing with the emails from the day before and understanding what was in those and getting her head around those, when the U.S. government announcement came out at 3:00.

And so, we gathered to -- when they got -- when the U.S. government announcement came out, we thought this was the big deal we needed to get the media to finally focus on this Russia story. We were hoping they would.

MADDOW: It wasn`t news to you in terms of that statement from the government that the Russians were -- it was two parts of that statement, right? That they were directing the hacking and the hacking of the documents from your campaign, from the Democratic Party. They were directing the leaks of those documents and overall, they`re trying to influence the election. We`re either or both of those things news to you?



CAPLAIN: And they also include WikiLeaks, it was direct -- WikiLeaks was part of a Russian directed effort.

MADDOW: Right.

CAPLIN: Also not a surprise.

We were surprised they went that far.

PALMIERI: We were surprised they had the confidence to put it on paper.


CAPLIN: It went further than we had hoped, that we thought that announcement would go. And we thought it was a big deal. We were as surprised as Jeh Johnson says in the documentary that it`s below the fold and didn`t get a lot of attention.

But when the Podesta emails came out 30 minutes after "Access Hollywood", that was not processed as separate incidents, if you will.

MADDOW: You saw this as all as a piece.

CAPLIN: Absolutely.

MADDOW: Glenn Caplin, Jennifer Palmieri, will you sit right there?


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


MADDOW: One year ago tomorrow, a giant hurricane was hitting Florida and the U.S. government was telling the American public for the first time that Russia was interfering in our election, and the "Access Hollywood" tape came out, and WikiLeaks started dumping John Podesta emails -- all happened on the same day.

Joining us now once again is Jennifer Palmieri. She was communications director for the Clinton campaign, and Glenn Caplin, who was senior national spokesman for that campaign.

Thanks for you both for sticking around.

Jen, I asked you about the "Access Hollywood" tape specifically. I remember hearing it for the first time sitting at my desk, my executive producer coming in and saying you saw this "Washington Post" story, have you listened to the tape? I said, I haven`t had time, I saw the story, we`ve got other stuff going on. This is such a big news day, I don`t time to listen to --

PALMIERI: Focus on Russia.

MADDOW: And then I listened to the tape, and I didn`t know what to think - -


MADDOW: I didn`t know what to do.

How did you process it?

PALMIERI: I had the exact same experience, and then when you actually hear the tape, it`s just -- what so -- when you watch it, what is so -- what just turned your stomach and you hear what he says and it`s awful and then you see him walk out and greet that woman and you think, she has no idea what just happened, and you think -- you know, that they call it Billy Bush weekend. That`s what Steve Bannon calls it. It was Nancy O`Dell weekend, right?


PALMIERI: She is the one that he`s humiliated on that bus and has no idea. And like I think that is what really -- that`s what just --

MADDOW: So, you were the same, on the campaign and in your roles communication director, you had the same visceral response to it, just as a human being.

PALMIERI: As a human being, I had the same visceral response. As the communication start for the campaign, my heart sank because I was concerned -- I mean this meant Trump was going to be really unhinged and be really unhinged for the debate --

MADDOW: For the debate he really on hear the debate that was going to happen that weekend, Sunday.

PALMIERI: For the debate that happened on Sunday, this is Friday afternoon, and he`d been threatening to come after Hillary, calling her an enabler, calling -- you know, come at her personally, and I thought, wow, he is really going to go after her, and I dreaded that for her. And also, I knew America, that is not what they`re going to want to watch and want what a presidential campaign to be about.

MADDOW: Glenn, a year on from this -- obviously, you were part of this unsuccessful effort to re-center attention after that incredible day on that report on the Russia, on the fact of the Russia interference in the election, do you feel looking back on it now a year out that you have any more clarity about how that could have -- how that attention could have been shifted, how more insistence could have been put on that point? What else could have been done?

CAPLIN: Sure, but I think looking back one year ago, my biggest concerns that the Trump administration is not taking this seriously, and --

MADDOW: Why would they?

CAPLIN: Sure, instead of getting to the bottom of it, you know, there`s a fake, you know, voter fraud commission that`s really about their suppression commission, and if we don`t get to the bottom of this, and don`t hold the Russians accountable, then there is the incentive for them to be back in `18.

MADDOW: Incentive for the Russians.

CAPLIN: Yes, and they will be. And it`s not just us saying it, you know, James Clapper said it, and Jim Comey and others. They`re going to be back in `18. It`s going to be part of our elections going forward.

We were patient zero of this, but we`re not going to be the last. It`s going to be part of our campaigns, and it shouldn`t matter if you`re Democrat, Republican, you voted for Hillary or for Donald Trump. As an American, when a foreign power interferes in our election and our democratic process, that`s something we all need to really get to the bottom of and fight. And we haven`t seen that from this administration and that worries me about the future.

MADDOW: And if there were American confederates involved in that attack --

CAPLIN: Sure. There are lots of questions about, you know, the CIA --

PALMIERI: They made some pretty savvy political choices about when to leak what.

CAPLIN: Absolutely.

PALMIERI: You know, it`s suggesting that they had help from American political --

MADDOW: Suggesting that the Trump campaign and the Russian interferers were --

PALMIERI: Yes, this really is some savvy choices. You needed a lot of, you need a lot of education about, you know, things like Florida House races in order to make some of the decisions that they did.

MADDOW: Jen Palmieri and Glenn Kaplan, both who served on the Clinton campaign and lived through that remarkable day year ago tomorrow -- thanks for being here.

CAPLIN: Thank you very much.

MADDOW: Appreciate it. Appreciate talking to us about it. Thanks.

All right. Lots come tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: A couple of weeks ago, "Washington Post" had a big news scoop based on a trove of emails that had reportedly been turned over to investigators by the Trump campaign. "The Post" got word that in those emails, during the campaign, the Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort appeared to have offered a Putin-allied Russian oligarch that he could get private briefings on the campaign from Trump`s campaign manager, from Manafort.

Now, when "The Post" reported that a couple of weeks ago, Manafort spokesman dismissed these emails offering these private briefings to the Russian guy, dismiss them as just Paul Manafort trying to collect on some old debts. Paul Manafort just trying to get some money that he was owed by this Russian guy.

And that`s -- I mean, that was the excuse, right? That would be pretty amazing in itself that you`d have the president`s campaign chairman trying to use his position on the campaign to collect money from his old lobbying clients in the former Soviet Union. I mean, that was what they wanted us to believe, right?

Even that which was their spin doesn`t quite make sense, right? If Paul Manafort was owed money by foreign creditors, they should be offering him stuff. Why would he be offering to give them special favors? That`s not how collecting debt works. It`s the opposite of collecting debt.

Well, this week, reporter Julia Ioffe and Franklin Foer at "The Atlantic" magazine landed the big follow up scoop we have been waiting for since that puzzling story first came out. They got their hands on not just the excerpts at "The Washington Post" had, they got their hands on those emails from Paul Manafort during the campaign, which do show him offering those private briefings. But more broadly, they appear to show him as the headline says using Trump to curry favor with a Putin ally, emails turned over to investigators detail the former campaign chairman`s efforts to please an oligarch tied to the Kremlin.

Quote -- this is from Manafort. Quote: I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage, right? That`s what Manafort writes to, a colleague in Kiev, a guy widely known to have ties to Russian military intelligence. Manafort`s colleague replied: absolutely, every article. Then, Manafort says, how do we use to get whole? Has OVD operation seen?

According to a source close to Manafort, OVD refers to Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska who is a Russian oligarch very close to Vladimir Putin. The emails do not specify how Manafort hoped to get whole with respect to Oleg Deripaska, but they repeatedly refer to the matter at the heart of a dispute between Oleg Deripaska and Paul Manafort in which Deripaska brought a legal action against Paul Manafort, claiming that Manafort owed him millions of dollars.

And there`s one of these emails that the Atlantic got that really jumps off the page. A week after Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, Paul Manafort got this email from his old business colleague in Ukraine and Kiev, this guy who has ties to Russian military intelligence. And what this guy emails to Paul metaphor is this, quote, I met today with the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar.

We spent about five hours talking about his story and I have several important messages from him to you. He asked me to go and brief you on our conversation. I said I have to run it by you first but in principle I`m prepared to do it, provided that he buys me a ticket.

Quote: it has to do about the future of his country and is quite interesting. The future of his country, this is about Oleg Deripaska. Oleg Deripaska`s country is Russia, has to do with the future of his country. Just a few days later, at the beginning of August 2016, last year, Paul Manafort in fact met with his former colleague from Ukraine, the guy with the Russian intelligence connections. Somehow, he did get a plane ticket and that dude flew over to New York to meet with Manafort presumably to discuss whatever Oleg Deripaska wanted Paul Manafort, the chairman of the Trump campaign who as far as we know owe Deripaska a bunch of money, they were talking about whatever Oleg Deripaska wanted to brief Manafort on, about the future of Russia.

So, all right, questions remain here. Why is the Trump campaign chairman in communication with a Putin allied Russian oligarch during the campaign about what he could do for that guy, how we can get whole given his new position on the campaign? What did Oleg Deripaska want? What was Manafort prepared to offer him to make good on his alleged debt?

And, by the way, did a freaking Russian oligarch link to Vladimir Putin buy a guy from Russian intelligence a plane ticket to come meet with Paul Manafort in New York right after Donald Trump got the presidential nomination? Yes. Once you`re asking questions like that, that, of course, puts metaphor right at the center of fundamental questions in the Russia investigation, right?

When Russia tried to attack our election, who did they use, how did they do it and did they have American confederates?

Franklin Foer is one of the reporters on this story. He joins us next. Stay with us.


MADDOW: Joining us now is Franklin Foer. He`s a staff writer at "The Atlantic". He`s one of two reporters bylined on this story published in "The Atlantic" this week about the Trump campaign chairman and what appears to have been his efforts to sort of please and interest and curry favor with a Russian billionaire close to Vladimir Putin during the presidential campaign.

Mr. Foer, it`s really nice to have you with us tonight. Thanks for being here.


MADDOW: You describe -- you sort of boiled this down in your piece to the -- to this remarkable thing that we`re starting to get a sense of from these emails, where Manafort seemed primarily concerned with Oleg Deripaska`s approval for his work with Trump, and was asking for confirmation that Oleg Deripaska was paying attention to his work for Trump.

FOER: Right.

MADDOW: Do we have any sense of why Paul Manafort thought his work for Trump would be a source of pleasure to this guy to whom he owed all this money?

FOER: Well, first of all, there`s just this incredible sense of desperation that you get in these emails, that it`s not just that he`s making one offer. It`s this is something that he`s following assiduously. He keeps asking Konstantin Kilimnik, who was his primary deputy in Kiev for the 10 years that Manafort worked in Kiev, he keeps asking him, have you forward this information to Deripaska? How can we use it in order to get whole with Deripaska?

And if we step back, we see that Manafort had worked for Deripaska over an extended period of time, and it was a relationship that involved both political strategy that Manafort was offering to Oleg Deripaska. But they also had this business relationship where Manafort was running an investment fund where Deripaska had invested about a little bit less than $20 million and paid Manafort for millions in dollars in management fees. And that investment went terribly awry.

And we know this based on court papers that Deripaska filed in the Cayman Islands where he`s asking, you know, I want to know what happened to my money, and I keep asking Paul Manafort what happened to my money. And Manafort at a certain point goes AWOL. And Deripaska alleges in this Cayman Island finding that he just can`t find Paul Manafort.

So, suddenly, Manafort shows up as chairman of the campaign at the Trump campaign, and he is telling his assistant go talk to Deripaska, go find ways that we can use this campaign to get whole with Deripaska.

MADDOW: And when that phrase exactly has been sort of has contested meaning.

FOER: Yes.

MADDOW: Either, it`s been -- it`s been interpreted as meaning that Manafort was going to find a way to get paid money by somebody that owed him, or that he was going to be relieved of the debt that he owed to this scary oligarch.

FOER: Right.

MADDOW: You seem pretty much in the latter category, that you feel like this reporting shows that -- I`m -- I -- it seems to me like this reporting would seem to indicate more the latter, that Manafort owed money.

FOER: Right. No, sorry, Manafort owes money to Deripaska.


FOER: Right, exactly. But we -- I mean, these emails are cryptic. They`re incredibly elliptical. It`s one side of a conversation. We`re just seeing this conversation between the Manafort and his deputy. We`re not -- we have no idea what`s happening with between the deputy and Deripaska. Deripaska has denied having any contact with Manafort or people associated with them, and denied having anything to do with this campaign in quite vehement terms.

But if you look at this email, despite their elliptical quality, despite that there`s this kind of cheap spy novel quality to the code names that they end up using, where Deripaska is referred to at one point as "black caviar", it`s just -- you know, I think if you look at the context, it seems like it`s -- it`s a pretty fair conclusion to draw.

MADDOW; Franklin Foer, staff writer at "The Atlantic" -- thank you for advancing this puzzling story and helping us understand it.

FOER: All right. Thank you.

MADDOW: Appreciate it.

FOER: OK. Thanks.

MADDOW: All right. Stay with us.


MADDOW: So, here`s some footage that we have exclusively tonight`s out of Puerto Rico, and what is remarkable you`ll see about this footage is that it actually looks pretty great. This is the road into a town called Aibonito, which is about an hour and a half outside San Juan, the capital city.

And you may have heard reports about towns where the aid, the recovery effort isn`t getting through because the roads are blocked by debris from the storm. As you can tell, that`s not the case in Aibonito, right? It looks pretty great, right? Like this is going by fast because the roads are clear. Our producers were able to drive right in. No problems. The roads really are clear. Good news, right?

That shouldn`t only be good news, that should be determinative news in terms of whether or not the people of Aibonito are able to get help after the hurricane more than two weeks on from when the storm hit, right?

The excuse for the slow and even absent response in big parts of Puerto Rico so far is that towns are inaccessible, right? FEMA would love to get there, but they can`t get there. They would if they could, if only the roads were clear.

Well, for Aibonito, that excuse should be good news. If our crew could get there, the same should be true for FEMA, or anybody delivering food or water or fuel.

But apparently not, when our team arrived, after driving down that totally passable roads, townspeople asked producers, are you FEMA? They say they`ve been waiting for FEMA for two weeks. That was on Wednesday of this week.

We spoke to FEMA today. They say they have been to Aibonito three times. They didn`t just distribute any water or food but they did help residents fill out paper work for federal aid.

FEMA official we spoke to also volunteered to us that the roads are pretty bad in the region and if the roads are dangerous, they won`t send a FEMA team. We do know from our producers that the roads to Aibonito are just fine.

The recovery effort in Puerto Rico is a disaster. There are excuses for why it is still a disaster. At least in this instance, do not hold up under scrutiny.

That does it for us tonight. Thanks for being with us. We`ll see you again Monday.

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

Good evening, Ari. I`m sorry. I ate a little bit of your first minute.



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