IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Gates pleads guilty to conspiracy. TRANSCRIPT: 02/23/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Adam Schiff, Kate Brown

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: February 23, 2018 Guest: Adam Schiff, Kate Brown

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: All right. Thanks to you at home for joining us, as well.

So, what did you do this week? Like today is Friday, since last Friday, any significant accomplishments that you would like to brag about? Did you have a big week?

If you are Robert Mueller, over the past week since last Friday, you have unsealed 89 new felony criminal charges against 17 different people from Ricky Pinedo to Alex van der Zwaan, to 13 Russian nationals, including a billionaire, to the last two days of legal cannon blasts concerning Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and Trump deputy campaign chair Rick Gates.

I don`t know what Robert Mueller has been doing for the past week other than filing these 89 new felony criminal charges against 17 people but even just that activity of his that we can see in public, I would say that makes this a pretty good contender for busy week when it comes to the special counsel`s investigation.

Just today alone has been head-snapping in terms of how much happened all at once, just since yesterday. Just Rick Gates has been charged with 23 new felonies on top of the eight he was already facing. He then had his entire legal team replaced. Then he got a new lawyer. Then he had all 31 felony charges pending against him dropped. Then he pled guilty to two new, brand-new felony charges and then he signed on to a sweeping and sort of intimidating cooperation agreement with the government in which among other things, he pledges to go undercover for them if they ask him to.

Can Rick Gates go undercover for anybody anymore? I mean, now that he`s this famous for what he and Paul Manafort have gotten themselves into?

If you have tried to follow each new step of this as it has rolled out, even just over the past day, it has been a little hard to follow. But days like this, I am very, very grateful for the very smart people who work with me on this show and thanks to a very smart staff here and us reading until our eyes bled, we have read every word of what has just happened in terms of these legal proceedings, and based on that, here`s what I think we are.

This is the Trump deputy campaign manager. Everybody talks about him as Paul Manafort`s deputy. But when it comes to the Trump campaign, Rick Gates was actually there for a lot longer than Paul Manafort was. Manafort was pushed out of the campaign in August 2016, but thereafter, Rick Gates stayed. He was there for the duration of the campaign, right through election day. Then in the transition, he was a senior official in the Trump transition, then he was the number two official in the Trump inaugural committee.

After the inauguration, he was frequently seen at the White House. He worked at a pro-Trump outside group. He also has long standings ties and work recently over this period of time, at the Republican National Committee, at the National Republican Party.

So, yes, people talk about him as Manafort`s deputy and a long-standing business relationship and proceeds the Trump campaign. In terms on his role for the investigators you might have seen what and who he might have been exposed to in the time of a Trump as a presidential candidate. Rick Gates is potentially witness to a lot more than Manafort ever saw. He was just there for a lot longer for a lot of extra parts of this, the Trump presidential era that Manafort ended up missing.

Rick Gates becoming a cooperating witness I think is a big leap forward in terms of how much of a window the Mueller investigation is going to have into all different phases of the Trump candidacy and presidency. Now, Rick Gates today plead guilty to two felonies. One of them is lying to the FBI.

Interestingly, though, this guilty plea for lying to the FBI is not for something that happened a long time ago but really, really recently. His lie to the FBI which he pled guilty to today, which admits to now, it was something that happened earlier this month, February 1st 2018. A lie about a meeting a few years ago that relates to him and Paul Manafort lobbying for a foreign power without being registered as lobbying for a foreign power.

Now, Rick Gates reportedly has had a very hard time making this decision about whether he would plead guilty, whether he would start cooperating with Mueller`s investigation. ABC News today obtained a letter that Gates wrote to friends and family telling them about his guilty plea. He talked about agonizing over that decision and not wanting to do this.

But when he made that false statement to the FBI on February 1st, that appears to have started a collapse for him. That same day, February 1st, his three lawyers at the time told the judge in his case that they no longer wanted to represent him. So really unusual move at the time. At the time, we didn`t know why they suddenly wanted to withdraw from representing Rick Gates.

There is since been a lot of confusion and conflicting reporting about Gates` legal representation. The court has been stewing over this request from his lawyers for three weeks since they first said they wanted to quit him. Now it all seems clear that the reason all of his lawyers sought to get rid of him, sought to withdraw from his case that day February 1st is because that day, February 1st, he told a lie to the FBI and it is an ethical imperative in some cases, in the legal profession, to withdraw if you`re representing a client who is lying and you can`t do anything about it.

It`s also just a terrible thing to do. I mean, I`m not talking ethically or because what it says about you as a person that you lie. I mean, it`s a terrible thing to do strategically for your own criminal case. If you`re in the middle of a plea negotiations with prosecutors and FBI agents and you tell them something that is provably false in the middle of those plea negotiations, at that point, they just push back from the table and go, we sunk your battleship like that`s what they are desperately waiting for you to do, because as soon as you provably lie to them in a plea negotiation, they got you. Once you lie to them, you lose immunity from prosecution for everything else you`ve already told them over the course of your negotiations.

Lying during a plea negotiation is a terrible move. If Rick Gates didn`t realize what a bad move that was, Robert Mueller`s prosecutors decided to make that crystal clear to him yesterday when they indicted him for 23 new felony charges on top of the ones he was already facing. Yesterday, they hit him with more new felonies than they even threw at Paul Manafort, and that blast seems to have done the trick. Now, Gates is pleading guilty to that incident of lying to the FBI and also to a broader conspiracy charge, conspiracy to defraud the United States.

For that charge, they appear to have lumped together, to have combined a whole bunch of other allegations he was facing from his earlier indictments. But again, the previous indictments basically disappear. The government is not going to proceed with the 31 felonies it was charging him with as of this morning. Instead, he`s going to plead guilty to this one conspiracy charge and this one lying charge. And in so doing, he also signs a cooperation agreement that looks like a nightmare scenario, not only for him, particularly if he was having a hard time deciding whether or not he would do this, but the cooperation agreement he just signed is probably a nightmare scenario for a number of other people, as well.

I don`t know if you`ve seen the actual documents here. This is from the plea offer which we got access to today. This was filed openly with the court today and the plea agreement is written in the form of a letter to the guy who is now Rick Gates` lawyer.

Quote, subsection eight: Cooperation. Your client shall cooperate fully, truthfully, completely and forthrightly with this office and other law enforcement authorities identified by this office in any and all matters as to which this office deems cooperation relevant. This cooperation will include but is not limited to the following. The defendant Rick Gates agrees to be fully debriefed and to attend all meetings at which his presence is requested concerning participation and knowledge of all criminal activities.

The defendant also agrees to furnish to the office, special counsel`s office all documents and other material that may be relevant in the investigation and that are in the defendant`s position or control.

The government also agrees to participate in undercover activities pursuant to the specific constructions of law enforcement agents or this office. The defendant also agrees to testify at any proceedings in the District of Colombia or elsewhere as requested by this office. Your client acknowledges and understands during the course of the cooperation outlined in this agreement, your client will be interviewed by law enforcement agents and/or government attorneys. Your client waives any right to have counsel present during these interviews and agrees to meet with law enforcement agents and government attorneys outside the presence of counsel.

Your client shall testify fully, completely and truthfully before any and all grand juries in the District of Columbia and elsewhere, and at any and all trials of cases or other court proceedings in the District of Columbia, and elsewhere, at which your client`s testimony may be deemed relevant by the government. Ouch.

This is very -- this is a very thorough agreement to cooperate. Testify at a grand jury, testify at trial, show up whenever we need you, go undercover, give us everything you`ve got and be here every single time we want to talk to you.

If he fails to live up to this very fulsome cooperation agreement, whether or not they ever decide to bring any other charges against him just this plea agreement he signed today gives Mueller`s office tons of leverage over Rick Gates. Just what he`s pleading guilty to today affords a maximum prison sentence of 10 years in prison. Even under the sentencing guidelines that account for him like not having a previous record and all the rest, the filings today make clear that under the sentencing guidelines, these two charges he pled guilty today, yes, there is a maximum prison term of ten years but realistically, they would be looking to put him in prison for somewhere between four and a half to six years and there is no federal parole.

They are saying that`s realistic time. That`s what he could realistically be looking at serving. Now, they don`t have to put him in jail for four and a half to six years for these things he pled guilty to today. The court, of course, could decide to give him nothing or just probation. All depending on how well he cooperates with Robert Mueller.

If he does what they want, the court may very well say, Rick, you`re free to go. But if he blows it or if he holds anything back from them or if he lies to them or if he refuses to testify, he refuses to hand something over, boom, done, with nothing else filed, he would be going to prison right away for let`s start with four and a half years.

For context here, in contrast, the cooperation agreement that Mueller did with Mike Flynn, that puts Mike Flynn`s jail risk at zero to six months. What`s hanging over Rick Gates right now is multiple years starting right away and he`s already signed for it. So, this cooperation deal that he signed today, these two charges he plead guilty to, this has been put together as a very serious package for Trump`s deputy campaign manager. And it therefore puts a huge spotlight on what Gates could possibly give Mueller for his ongoing investigation.

And here is the part of it that I think is really important and I will just say so much of this is happening so fast that I`m not sure this really important part of it has sunk in yet. But after marinating in these legal filings and all this reporting today, in my opinion, I think this is the most important piece. In yesterday`s indictment of Manafort and Gates, special counsel`s office spelled out in intense detail a two-part scheme by Manafort and Gates. Part one, we already knew about from the first time they got indicted back in October. Part one was the older stuff from 2006 to 2015, and before the Trump presidential campaign.

Phase one, Manafort and Gates were raking in tens of millions of dollars working for pro-Putin interests overseas, special counsel`s office says they illegally hid the money offshore and disguised its origins through a complex money laundering scheme. They evaded taxes on that money. Those are the charges associated with what Mueller`s office calls "phase one".

What was new in yesterday`s indictment about Manafort and gates was phase two of their scheme. Which you can think of as the Donald Trump for president time. The second part of their scheme according to Mueller`s indictment started in 2015 and ran until, quote, at least January 2017, which was, of course, the inauguration.

In yesterday`s indictment, that second part of the scheme, 2015 to 2017, that`s a time when Manafort and Gates have stopped raking in millions of dollars from their work for pro-Putin interest overseas and instead according to the indictment they are engaged here in a mad scramble to get their hands on cash, a lot of cash, millions of dollars in cash in a very short period of time. In late 2015 and early 2016, right up to the point where Manafort and Gates joined the Trump campaign, they weren`t trying to earn new business for their company, at least not that we know of from this indictment. What they were trying to do, the way they were trying to get money is they were trying to use the assets that Manafort had. Chiefly, they were trying to use real estate assets that Manafort already had in this country to try to extract cash from those assets.

They were going to bank after bank after bank putting up Manafort`s various houses and apartments that`s collateral to try to get cash, to try to get multimillion dollar loans. Why do they need all that cash? I don`t know. But according to the indictment, they were trying to get lots of loans from lots of different banks simultaneously and according to the indictment, they were breaking the law in their desperation to do it.

They were falsifying documents from Manafort`s business to make it look like he had more money. They were inventing fake invoices to make it look like they had more money coming in that they didn`t have coming in. They were doctoring documents.

The bookkeeper from Manafort`s company was turning them down for some stuff they were trying to get the bookkeeper to do, and they started faking these documents themselves. The details of that mad scramble for cash, that was the basis for all the new bank fraud and bank fraud conspiracy felony charges that Manafort and Gates got hit with yesterday and that apparently pushed Gates to plead guilty and Manafort is now facing all those charges alone, because Gates has decided to save himself and flip in exchange for most of those charges against him being dropped.

Still, though, in terms of the overall plot here, not just thinking about their legal liability but like how does this fit into what happened to our country, we don`t know why Paul Manafort was in such a mad scramble for cash in late 2015 and early 2016.

But here is something to re-up, to re-read in light of current developments. This is from last summer, July 2017. Quote: Financial records from the secret of tax haven of Cyprus where Paul Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch indicate that Manafort had been in debt to pro-Russia interests for as much as $17 million before he joined Donald Trump`s presidential campaign in March 2016.

Remember when all that stuff broke about him being in debt in really heavy debt right up until the time he joined Trump`s campaign? I mean, up close in the moment this looked like a very complicated story. Nobody just has bank accounts in Cyprus and their own name. It`s all shell companies associated with shell companies, associated with blah blah blah.

But disentangling it, what it looks lick from bank records, up until the time Manafort joined the Trump campaign, right up through that time when he`s having the mad scramble to try to get his hands on millions of dollars in cash, he was in debt to Russian interests to the tune of about $17 million, including $7.8 million that he owed to a charming fellow named Oleg Deripaska. Oleg Deripaska, Russian oligarch, known to be very close to Putin. He has been denied a visa to visit the United States because of what the U.S. government believes to be his links to organize crime.

Right before Manafort joined Trump`s campaign, Manafort was in hawk to this guy for nearly $8 million. Now, part of this scheme that was described in yesterday`s indictment is that sometimes Manafort and Gates would call something a loan when it was really just money that was being paid to them and that was part of the tax evasion scheme. In this case with Oleg Deripaska and this 8 million bucks, it really looks like that wasn`t disguised payment. That looks like a loan or at least it looks like Oleg Deripaska expected to get that money back from Paul Manafort and Rick Gates.

And we can tell that because he tried really hard to get it back. In 2014, Oleg Deripaska, this sort of terrifying Russian oligarch, he sued Manafort and Gates in the Cayman Islands to try to get back million of dollars that he says they stole from him. They were supposed to be investing in something together, but he says Manafort and Gates just run off with millions of dollars of his money.

In August 2015, Deripaska moved that lawsuit effectively from the Cayman Islands to the U.S., to Virginia. He was really going after Manafort and Gates for millions of dollars that he says they stole from him and they needed to pay back. Again, August 2015, he moves that case to Virginia. Once that case gates move to the United States, they ended up, you know, deposing Paul Manafort and Rick Gates and that case as Deripaska is coming after them.

Now, Deripaska himself isn`t allowed to come to the United States because of those organized crime ties but he is a billionaire and very close to the Russian government and he does have people working for him all over the place, including people talking to the press about this case he`s pressing against Manafort and Gates. But then Manafort and Gates sign on to be chairman and deputy chairman of the Donald Trump for president campaign and, all of a sudden, again, the pressure seems to go away.

Quote, early in the presidential campaign, Deripaska`s representatives accused Manafort of fraud, and pledged to recover the money from him. After Trump earned the nomination, though, Deripaska`s representatives said they would no longer discuss the case.

And you know what? We also now know that something was going on during the Trump campaign while they were chairman and deputy chairman, something was going on between them and Deripaska during the campaign while they were running the campaign. Quote, on the evening of April 11th, 2016, two weeks after Trump hired Paul Manafort to lead his campaign, Manafort e-mailed his old lieutenant, Konstantin Kilimnik, who had worked for him for a decade in Ukraine.

Manafort wrote, quote, I assume you have shown our friends my media coverage. Kilimnik responded a few hours later from Kiev, quote: Absolutely, every article. Manafort then asked, how do we used to get whole? Has OVD operation seen? OVD, Oleg Vladimirovich Deripaska.

Quote, less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the presidential nomination, his campaign chairman Paul Manafort offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin. Paul Manafort made the offer in an e-mail to an overseas intermediary, again Konstantin Kilimnik, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past.

Manafort wrote in a July 7th, 2016 e-mail, quote, if he needs private briefings, we can accommodate. Quote, on July 29th, a week after Trump accepted the Republican nomination, Manafort received another e-mail from Konstantin Kilimnik, talking about what appeared to be a meeting he held with Oleg Deripaska. Quote: We spent about five hours talking. I have several important messages from him to you.

He asked me to go and brief you on our conversation. It has to do about the future of his country and is quite interesting. Let me know what dates and places will work even next week. I can come and see you.

Manafort`s response was, quote, Tuesday is best. And then August 2nd was indeed the next Tuesday and Konstantin Kilimnik came over from Ukraine to deliver his important messages to the man who was then running the Trump for president and they met over a long meeting at the Grand Havana Club in New York City.

So, according to bank records, Paul Manafort owed this Russian guy nearly 8 million bucks and this Russian guy was really coming after him for it. And simultaneously for some reason, Paul Manafort at the time was really scrambling to do anything he could to get his hands on millions of dollars in cash and this is right up until the point he joins the Trump campaign.

He then joined the Trump campaign, the pressure eases off a little bit in terms of this guy coming after him for the money and he starts communicating with this guy he owed the millions of dollars to. Can we use my position on the campaign to get whole? Can I offer him a private briefing? He accepts meetings to get important messages from this guy about the future of his country, his country is Russia.

A month after Manafort reportedly met with Konstantin Kilimnik in New York to get this important messages from Oleg Deripaska, this Russian oligarch, we now know from the indictment of lawyer Alex van der Zwaan that Rick Gates referred Alex van der Zwaan to the same guy meeting with Manafort to bring him the messages from Oleg Deripaska. In the indictment of Alex van der Zwaan, we learned that one of the things he lied to the FBI about was his communication with Rick Gates. Rick Gates in September 2016 sent van der Zwaan documents with an encrypted app and he put him in touch with Konstantin Kilimnik. Van der Zwaan and Kilimnik then had a conversation in Russia about payments that were just the tip of the iceberg and about potential legal liability for Paul Manafort.

Rick Gates was connected to the mad and illegal scramble for cash right before Manafort and Gates joined the Trump campaign. He was part of the initial deals that insured that debt from Deripaska. He was in communication with Konstantin Kilimnik who was managing communications between Manafort and Deripaska, while Manafort was running Trump`s campaign. That was all happening during the Trump campaign while they were the top two officials running it.

Manafort seems to have been trying to trade on his influence in the Trump campaign to get whole with Oleg Deripaska back in Russia. There have been a lot of -- forgive me, a lot of dumb hot takes on the Rick Gates guilty plea today about how that`s oh, too bad for Rick Gates or too bad for Paul Manafort, about how this is only about the financial crimes and their business life. Back in the day, nothing to do with the Trump campaign, though.

Whatever Rick Gates is going to tell the Mueller investigation about, whatever he has just traded 31 felony counts for, it`s not about hiding money offshore and buying antique rugs in Alexandria. Clearly, the Mueller investigation has proven they have all they need to bring felony prosecutions about that stuff.

What Gates was in a front row seat to see, what he was part of with a better vantage point than anybody else on earth was the central question of what was actually going on between the Trump campaign and Russia? And now, he`s Mueller`s star cooperating witness. Ta-da!

Like I said, what did you get done in the past week? That`s what Mueller did.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Tonight, the White House issued a one-sentence statement saying it would, quote, not to be commenting on matters involving Manafort or Rick Gates as the matters between them and the office of special counsel are dated and have nothing to do with their service to the Trump campaign.

That is despite today`s new indictments and guilty pleadings specifically referencing events during and after the Trump campaign, following the guilty plea from Trump deputy campaign chair Rick Gates today, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee offered a different take. He said, quote: Rick Gates is in a position to observe the inner workings of the campaign at its most senior level, and as the special counsel looks into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian government, Gates could prove a key source of information on these and other issues.

Joining us now is the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, Congressman Adam Schiff of California.

Congressman, thank you for being with us tonight. I really appreciate it.


MADDOW: Why do you think that Gates could be a key source of information on the central matter at hand here?

SCHIFF: Well, you have Paul Manafort who is the campaign chair for a period of time and then you had Corey Lewandowski who was the campaign manager for a period of time. Rick Gates spends almost the entire length of the campaign. And as you mentioned earlier, also played a role during the transition and thereafter.

So, he`s in a position to see, you know, the whole length and breath of what was taking place during the campaign. He traveled on the presidential plane for a period of time and he is obviously facing extraordinary liability and I think one of the messages that Mueller was sending through the charge on the false statement and the other actions that we`ve seen him take vis-a-vis Paul Manafort is he`s not going to tolerate any non-sense. The worst thing for Rick Gates right now would be to agree to cooperate and then be found to be less than fully forthcoming.

So, that means that Gates is going to have to tell Bob Mueller everything and hold nothing back and he could have a lot to offer as you were pointing out at the very time that the Russians are making overtures to the Trump campaign, to Manafort, to Kushner and to Don Jr. in that meeting in Trump Tower. You have Manafort reaching out in the opposite direction, to the Kremlin through Oleg Deripaska, offering information of these emails are correct, that he hopes will help facilitate more money and you already have now a guilty plea in connection with essentially Gates and Manafort obtaining money from pro-Russian interest in Ukraine, millions of dollars worth of it, laundering that money and then lying about it.

So there is enormous liability facing them both and Gates in a position to talk about it a great deal.

MADDOW: Congressman, in the past week, we`ve just seen a remarkable amount of activity from the special counsel`s office. I probably got the math wrong and it was a little hard to add it all up, but by my best count I think we`ve seen 89 new felony charges brought against 17 different people in the course of a week and now, of course, we got the deputy campaign chair pleading guilty, agreeing to cooperate. Through all of these legal proceedings, the voluminous filings and indictments and charges that we`ve seen over the past week or so, aside from the question of the legal jeopardy any of those folks may be facing, big picture, do you feel like the special counsel`s investigation has now told us more than we knew before about the central question, about the Russian attack, about whether they had help?

Do we now understand more from the filings than we did before about that main plot line?

SCHIFF: Oh, absolutely, and I think that was really part of Bob Mueller`s intention. If you look in particular the indictment, vis-a-vis the Russians, he told us a lot more detail than I would have frankly ever expected and that would have had -- that would have had to have been part of an agreement with the intelligence community, to go into that level of detail because just giving that kind of detail gives the Russians some information that they can reverse-engineer and to figuring out what are the sources of this information, how did they get it?

Undoubtedly, in the Kremlin, when that indictment was produced, they were wondering, how in the hell did the Americans know so much?

But he wanted I think to tell the country as well about this Russian attack on our democracy. These very detailed charges now involving Manafort and Gates I think also tell Manafort just how much the special counsel knows, just how much liability that he faces and that statement that Manafort issued today I thought was very telling, like so many figures in the campaign and now facing liability or even in the administration, they have an audience of one in their message and I think the audience of one for that Manafort statement today was the president of the United States.

It was basically a love letter saying, please give me a pardon. I`m not going to do what Rick Gates did. I`m standing by you. But he`s obviously facing enormous liability and now an insider cooperating and I think the detail of those indictments show him, as well as the country, just what these guys were involved with.

MADDOW: Congressman Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, joining us from California tonight -- sir, thank you very much. Much appreciate you being here.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We got much more ahead on this Friday night. I feel like we haven`t even started. Stay with us.


MADDOW: It started yesterday. As we reported last night, the First National Bank of Omaha, one of the biggest banks, independent banks in the country, announced they would no longer issue the NRA credit card. And today, a whole slew of companies, including hotel chains like best Western and Wyndham Hotels, and car rental companies like Hertz and Alamo and Enterprise and National, the big insurance company MetLife, they all announced that they are ending their business relationships with the NRA.

You can imagine the pressure on the remaining list of companies that have deals like those with the NRA that haven`t dropped them yet. The NRA wants you to think that they always win. They like to be seen as an invincible lobby. They cultivate that image in every way they can.

But they`re losing right now. They`re losing business support left and right. And also today, they just lost a huge, substantive fight about gun laws.

The central kind of thing they fight for and that they say they can`t be beaten on, but they lost a big one today. It`s a fight that really ought to be national news and I think it will probably end up being a national model, and that`s next.


MADDOW: This was a vigil tonight in Newtown, Connecticut, for the 17 people who were killed in Parkland, Florida, a few days ago. It means something different when it happens in Newtown, right, compared to everybody else. Just because of what Newtown itself has gone through.

But all over the country, the kinetic energy of the past week, the protests and the walkouts and the vigils have put pressure to bring about gun reform. They specifically pressured the NRA and its grip on electoral politics coast to coast. But here is something you should know about the loosening grip.

This week, both houses of the legislature and state of Oregon passed a bill that changes gun laws in that state. People convicted of domestic abuse or stalking, people subjected to restraining orders, it blocks them from owning or buying guns. The bill closes a loophole in Oregon`s gun laws that allowed convicted domestic abusers to buy and own firearms if they weren`t married to or living with the victim and they don`t have children together.

A week and a day after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, this bill passed that would restrict access to guns. It got bipartisan support. Gun control measures of all kind no matter how modest are always met with impassioned opposition from the gun lobby. This was no exception, but this bill prevailed in part thanks to some very personal pleas from Oregon lawmakers.

Representative Janeen Sollman talked about the abuse she and her mother suffered at the hands of their father. Her belief that if her father had had a gun, she and her mother would not be alive today.

Representative Jeff Barker talked about domestic abuse cases involving gun violence that he investigative during his 30-plus years as a police officer. The memories he said he has tried to suppress.

State Senator Floyd Prozanski talked about his sister whose death he said might have been prevented by this new law that Oregon just passed.


STATE SEN. FLOYD PROZANSKI (D), OREGON: The majority of mass shootings, 54 percent, involved instances of domestic violence. In my own situation involving my sister, her murderer was her boyfriend. Her murderer was her intimate partner. Her murderer was her domestic abuser. Her murderer killed her with a handgun.


MADDOW: So, this bill was actually introduced in the Oregon legislature before the shooting in Parkland, Florida. But then 24 hours after the shooting, the Oregon House of Representatives passed it. Yesterday, the state senate followed suit.

And when the governor of Oregon who championed this bill, when she find it, she`s able to invoke the singular nature of the protest that we have seen in the wake of last week`s shooting. She said, quote: It took the voices and outrage of youth devastated by gun violence to hold decision makers` feet to the fire.

Joining us now from Washington, D.C. is the governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, a Democrat.

Governor Brown, thank you for joining us. I really appreciate you being here to talk to us about this.

GOV. KATE BROWN (D), OREGON: Good evening, Rachel. And I`m delighted to be here tonight.

MADDOW: So, I know you lobbied for this bill. You were a strong supporter of this bill. I was interested to see this bill was proposed before what happened last week in Parkland, Florida.

Do you think that there would have been the momentum, there would have been the political wherewithal to get this bill passed and signed without the change that we`ve seen over the past week, the national revulsion and the national organizing in the wake of that Parkland massacre?

BROWN: This is legislation that I introduced to close the domestic partner, the intimate partner loophole in Oregon. I introduced it obviously before the Florida shooting. It is work that we have been doing gradually and incrementally in the state since I became governor. The first year I became governor, we signed into law a comprehensive background check legislation.

Last year, I was able to sign into law the extreme risk protection order which enables family and friends to petition courts and take guns away from those who might be a danger to themselves or others, and I introduced this legislation to close the intimate partner loophole.

We certainly had good support as you said. The opposition is well-funded and they are well organized. But we have courageous legislators in Oregon, both parties, Representative Janeen Sollman, Senator Floyd Prozanski speaking out in favor of the bill.

I have to say unfortunately what happened in Florida last week moved it along much more quickly.

MADDOW: There is such a wide range of not just opinion and political rancor over gun laws. There are so many different ways to approach the problem of gun violence in this country, and when I think about sort of the low-hanging fruit, the policies that seem like they would be most feasible to enact that would address the largest part of the problem, so much gun violence, so many gun deaths particularly of women are caused in domestic situations. Women -- Violence Policy Center says 93 percent of women killed by men in 2015 were murdered by someone they knew. This is the most direct way, one of the biggest parts of the problem.

BROWN: Rachel, this is an epidemic. It`s an epidemic of gun violence. Since I became governor, the last two years, we`ve had 66 people die as a result of domestic violence. Half of those deaths were caused by guns. Four-point-five million women in America have been impacted by gun violence through a domestic partner or a spouse. It`s absolutely unacceptable.

When there is a restraining order in place, we need to be able to take away guns.

MADDOW: Governor Kate Brown of Oregon, thank you very much for your time tonight. I have a feeling that what you`ve just done, what you and the legislature have just done is going to be a national story and a national model, especially with this new impetus with these politics right now.

Thanks for joining us, Governor.

BROWN: Thank you, Rachel, and I have to give a shout-out to the students in Parkland, Florida. They are giving hope we can change this. We can make a difference.

MADDOW: Right on.

I`ll be right back.


MADDOW: From day one, Alyssa Mastromonaco worked in the Obama White House. By 2011, she had become the deputy chief of staff for operations. Alyssa Mastromonaco`s job was basically to run the entire operation of the White House campus. It`s a big job.

She decided what went in the president`s daily schedule. She coordinated responses to national emergencies like hurricanes. She vetted all White House new hires all the way up to the cabinet. She managed the president`s international trips.

Alyssa Mastromonaco has been described as one of the most influential people of the Obama era. She was very well-respected. She was thought to be incredibly good at that job. She did it for a long time. She was so essential to the minute by minute mechanics of running the White House that she had a secure communication system installed next to her bed because she had to be available every minute of every single day.

Deputy chief of staff for operations is a really big job. Pretty much everything the president had to know to get through his day, Alyssa Mastromonaco had to know as well.

But, you know, she almost didn`t get there. There was a glitch that happened when she went to apply for her security clearance at the start of the Obama administration. She wrote a piece about it for "Vice". This is such a great story.

Quote: It was Friday, October 5, 2008, I was having a panic attack. I was working as the director of scheduling and advance for Barack Obama`s presidential campaign, but the crisis before me in the Chicago headquarters that day had nothing to do with a bad debate performance, derailed travel schedule or staff member saying something stupid to a reporter. I was freaking out because I love to smoke weed. That Friday, someone at our office got his SF-86 form, the written questionnaire for national security positions. Page 93, quote, in the last seven years, have you illegally used any drugs or controlled substances? Provide the kind of drug or controlled substances.

Mastromonaco says, I grew up listening to the Grateful Dead in Upstate New York in the `90s. I went to the University of Vermont. What do you think my answer was?

She said shortly after you fill out the application, an FBI agent interviews you about your answers. The agent brought in my form and soon she asked how many times have I smoked pot? I said, I didn`t know. More than 20? Yes, I replied, more than 20. More than 100? Yes, more than 100.

More than 500? Just write unknown! They were satisfied with more than 500 would be fair.

Because she told the truth, because she didn`t lie about the 500-plus times she had smoked pot, Alyssa Mastromonaco did get her security clearance. She was honest. She had to agree to random drug testing throughout her time in the White House and she stopped smoking pot. But she was able to get her clearance.

And on its face, it`s kind of funny, right? Skilled, hyper competent, dedicated staff who turns out to be good at her job nearly misses crucial White House gig because so much pot. But it ends up being also very serious foreshadowing about what is happening tonight in this White House, and that`s next.


MADDOW: Today, the Trump administration announced a new round of aggressive economic sanctions against North Korea. It`s a big enough deal that the White House sent an envoy to brief the president of South Korea in South Korea on these new sanctions.

The person assigned to perform this sensitive task is Ivanka, the president`s daughter. Awkwardly, the president`s daughter is one of dozens of White House officials who have not been able to get a permanent security clearance. Nevertheless, she`s briefing the South Korean president herself on the new North Korea sanctions today.

Today was the deadline set by the chief of staff by which everybody at the White House who still couldn`t get permanent clearance, everybody who still just have an interim clearance, as of today, they were supposed to lose interim clearance today, presumably that would include the president`s daughter, as well as her husband, Jared Kushner, who gets the top secret presidential daily brief every day, he meets with leaders, he`s in charge of trade deals, he sits on national security council meetings, he`s been tasked with personally negotiating Mideast peace, all without being able to pass his FBI background check to get a permanent security clearance.

And still, he doesn`t appear to be any closer to getting clearance. "The Washington Post" reporting today that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this month alerted the White House that significant information requiring additional investigation will further delay Kushner`s clearance process. Now, the president could just decide to grant his son-in-law any security clearance he wants to. But the president said today at the White House today at the White House that he`s not getting involved. He won`t do that. He`s going to let White House chief of staff, John Kelly, make the call on Jared`s access to classified materials.

Well, according to "The Washington Post" tonight, John Kelly has told associates he`s uncomfortable with Jared`s uncertain security clearance status and his unique role as both a family member and a staffer. Quote: He has said he would not be upset if the president`s son-in-law and his wife, Ivanka Trump, left their position as full-time employees.

So, what does that mean? What kind of job does Jared Kushner have as of tonight? Is Ivanka still OK briefing the president in South Korea on the new sanctions? Does she have a job at the White House when she gets back?

It`s going to be a fun weekend. Nobody has ever fired the president`s son and daughter before, with the president having a say in it? It`s going to be a fun weekend to keep the news on.

That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday.

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" tonight with Joy Reid.

Good evening, Joy.