Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: May 18, 2018 Guest: Adam Goldman, Nancy Northup
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: But, Chris.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: The suspense.
MADDOW: And it`s ahead of the weekend.
HAYES: I know.
MADDOW: Well, that`s flabbergasting. Well done, my friend. Thank you. Much appreciated.
HAYES: Have a great weekend.
MADDOW: All right. And thanks to you for joining us this hour. Happy to have you here with us on this Friday night. Lots to get to tonight.
The mass shooting today at a Texas high school about 35 miles from Houston has thus far claimed ten lives. Another ten people are injured.
The 17-year-old suspect in the mass murder is in custody. He`s said to have used two guns in the killing, a .38-caliber revolver, so a handgun, and also reportedly a shotgun.
Over the course of the day, we`ve had mixed reports about other people besides the shooter being sought or questioned by police in conjunction with these murders. We do not yet have clarity on whether other people had knowledge of this attack or why people were seeking other people to speak to about this attack once they had the suspect in custody.
Law enforcement also saying that in addition to the guns this guy brought to bear for this attack, there were also explosive devices in and around the school that he attacked, variously described as pipe bombs or Molotov cocktails or both. But again, we`ve got ten killed. We`ve got at least ten injured, including at least one police officer. We`ve got a 17-year- old suspect who was reportedly a student at the school who is now in custody.
And this is the 16th mass shooting at a school during school hours thus far this year. The 16th school shooting this year. According to a "Washington Post" analysis, that is the highest number at this point in any year since 1999, which is when the Columbine High School mass murder happened, 1999.
There are already vigils under way around the country tonight. There have been protests already today including outside House Speaker Paul Ryan`s office. You see these kids here laying down outside Paul Ryan`s office, protests against the lack of any significant federal response to this particular red tide of mass child murder that we have in this country. This epidemic of a specific kind of mass murder that targets civilians and that is always committed with civilian firearms. This epidemic that no other country on Earth endures to anywhere near the extent that we endure it.
So, we will have more on the situation in Santa Fe, Texas coming up live, in just a couple of minutes on the show tonight. This mass murder happened early this morning. It happened before 8:00 a.m. local time this morning.
But by the nature of this one, there is still new reporting evolving into tonight about exactly what happened and how and what is happening at the crime scene and what is happening with the victims. So, as I said, we`re going to have a live report from the scene coming up in just a couple of minutes.
When he was sworn in as president in 1969, Richard Nixon found a Republican lawyer from South Carolina to run the Internal Revenue Service. His name was Randolph Thrower. Great name. He`d been -- excuse me, I said South Carolina. I believe he was from Georgia, actually. That was a screw-up on my part.
He had not been a part of the Nixon campaign. He had not been a particularly politically active Republican back home, but he was well- liked. He was supported and recommended by his home state senators maybe.
For whatever reason, he ended up getting the job. He met Nixon for the first time, when Nixon named him to the job to run the IRS. And that was probably Mr. Thrower`s first mistake. It`s not clear now that he knew what he was getting himself into when he took that job. It`s pretty clear that he didn`t know exactly what kind of president he would be working for when he took that job and what that president expected of the person he would have running the IRS.
That much became clear when we got to Mr. Thrower`s second mistake. After a couple years on the job running the IRS for Richard Nixon, Randolph Thrower decided that he needed to talk to the president. He made contact with the White House.
Again, he did not have a previous relationship with Nixon, didn`t come up through the Nixon campaign and all that stuff. He only met Nixon when Nixon appointed him to run the IRS. But Thrower asked for a personal meeting with the president, contacted the White House and said he needed to talk to him.
Quote: in January 1971, Mr. Thrower requested a meeting with the president, hoping to warn President Nixon personally about pressure that White House staff members had been placing on the IRS, pressure on the IRS to audit the tax returns of certain individuals, beginning with anti-war leaders and civil rights figures. The list had grown to include journalists and even members of congress.
As IRS Commissioner Randolph Thrower says he had been directed by White House staff to audit every single Democratic senator who was up for re- election in 1970.
Now, Commissioner Thrower was quite certain that President Nixon was unaware of this pressure. He was certain if he could just let the president know face to face that this bad thing was happening, he was certain President Nixon would be as horrified as he was. President Nixon would agree about the dangers of any suggestion of the introduction of political influence into the workings of the IRS.
Commissioner Thrower was very wrong about that. Richard Nixon was not just as horrified as he was about this pressure that was being brought to bear on the IRS. So, Randolph Thrower calls up to the White House, explains that he needs a personal meeting with the president, explains why he needed that meeting.
Quote: Mr. Thrower received two responses to that request. The first was a memo from the president`s appointment secretary saying a meeting with the president would not be possible.
The second response was a phone call from John Ehrlichman, the president`s top domestic affairs adviser. Mr. Ehrlichman told Commissioner Thrower that he was fired.
So, yes, that pressure that the honorable IRS commissioner was under to go audit and investigate people who the White House didn`t like, turns out that was not exactly a shock and a surprise to President Nixon. But once Nixon realized that Randolph Thrower was going to be a problem on this front over at the IRS, Nixon realized he need to find somebody to replace this guy. Somebody more suited to the way Nixon expected to be able to use the government for his own purposes.
There was a guy named John Nolan who was then up for the job, was considered the front-runner to be the next IRS commissioner. He was kind of the obvious choice. He was the guy in charge of tax policy at the Treasury Department anyway. So, the treasury secretary at the time, John Connelly, supported this guy Nolan getting the IRS job.
But President Nixon really, really knew what he wanted to use the IRS for. And he was willing to be very explicit about what he was looking for from the person he wanted to put in that job. And his staff, therefore, told him yes, we know that Nolan`s the front-runner for the job, we know he`s been recommended by the treasury secretary and everything, he`s probably not the right guy for this job. He`s probably not going to want it. He`s probably not going to do what you want over there if you put him in this job.
And we know that conversation happened in the White House between President Nixon and his top aides because of course it happened on tape. So, here`s the tape. Fair warning: there`s a little bit of Nixon swearing here.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want to be sure he`s a ruthless son of a bitch. That he will do what he`s told, that every income tax return I want to see I see. That he`ll go after our enemies and not go after our friends. It`s as simple as that. If he isn`t, he doesn`t get the job. We`ve got to have somebody like that for a change in this place.
NIXON AIDE: Well, that is the basis of which I inquired about Nolan. And I am assured that Nolan will not play that game.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: I am assured this guy Nolan will not play that game. Don`t hire Nolan if that`s what you want, sir. Right?
Amazing tape. Nixon says he wants someone who will do what he`s told. Every income tax return I want to see I see. He will go after our enemies and not go after our friends. That`s what he wants. And his staffers tell him, OK, sir, then don`t pick this guy Nolan, he`s probably not going to do that for you.
So they don`t pick Nolan. Turns down the recommendation from his treasury secretary. No, we`re not picking your guy. We need to find a different guy.
They find a different guy. They find a Justice Department guy who was recommended to Nixon by his attorney general at the time, John Mitchell, who had also been Nixon`s campaign manager.
Mitchell picks this guy. Nixon thinks, OK, for sure this guy will get it, this guy will know what I want to do with the IRS.
So, this guy Johnny Walters gets plucked from the Justice Department and he gets installed as the head of the IRS. And then, of course, President Nixon expects to be able to start firing the IRS at his political enemies like a weapon that he alone controls.
So, September 11th, 1972, White House counsel John Dean calls up Walters, calls up the IRS commissioner, this guy hand-picked to be Nixon`s son of a -- at the IRS. He calls up Commissioner Johnny Walters, summons him to the White House for a meeting in the White House counsel`s office.
IRS Commissioner Walters comes up to the White House, comes to meet with John dean at that meeting. John Dean hands the IRS commissioner an envelope. In that envelope is a list of people, hundreds of people who the president wants investigated and pursued and audited by the IRS for political reasons. This is two months before Nixon`s re-election race against George McGovern.
And John Dean, his White House counsel, hands the IRS commissioner a list of George McGovern`s staffers on his presidential campaign and George McGovern`s top donors, and he says to the IRS commissioner, OK, go get them. And the IRS commissioner, this guy Johnny Walters, despite the fact he was picked for this job supposedly on a recommendation of a guy who knew he`d do it, Walters is not done with this. He says he was shocked by this request from John Dean.
He walked out of that meeting with John Dean holding this envelope containing this enemies list, this list that Nixon was ordering him to investigate. You, you`re the healed of the IRS, investigate this list of people, audit this list of people, my political enemies. He walks out of the White House with that list in an envelope.
And what did Johnny Walters do with that list? Took it back to the IRS in that sealed envelope, and he locked it up in a safe in his office. He did not act on it at all. He did not follow Nixon`s orders. And that list just sat there in that safe in the commissioner`s office at the IRS.
And then eight months later, so the following year, Watergate starts to break open and John dean, the White House counsel, the guy giving him the enemies list, John Dean turned against Nixon and started to testify. And it was John Dean and his congressional testimony who ended up telling the world that, yes, there was an enemies list. And he told him what that list was for. And when he said it in that hearing room, you could hear the gasps in the room.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Whether it be an FBI investigation of an individual or an IRS audit, do you consider that to be a legal and proper activity by those security arms?
JOHN DEAN, FORMER NIXON WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: As I say, I don`t know of the IEC itself preparing political --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand.
DEAN: -- material. I do, of course, know and as I have submitted in documents, other agents were involved in seeking politically embarrassing information on individuals who were thought to be enemies of the White House. I might also add that in my possession is a rather -- very much down the lines of what you`re talking about, is a memorandum that was requested by me to prepare a means to attack the enemies of the White House.
There was also maintained what was called an enemies list, which is rather extensive and continually being updated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not going to ask who was on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m afraid you might answer. I wonder, are these documents in the possession of the committee?
DEAN: No. But I`d be happy to submit them to the committee. They didn`t fit within the request that I had with counsel as to the documents he wished to have produced. But if the committee does wish them, I`ll be happy to submit them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Chairman, I think the committee would like very much to have that memorandum.
DEAN: All right, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: And so, John Dean announced the existence of and then handed over the enemies list. And it`s interesting. Once John Dean said that publicly, you heard gasps in the room and it`s on television and the whole country now knows this. The IRS commissioner, Johnny Walters, walked over to his safe at the office at the IRS and he unlocked the safe and he took out his own copy of that list. That Nixon had had Dean give to him months before.
That list had been sitting in his safe ever since. But once Dean disclosed the existence of that list publicly, the IRS commissioner unlocked the safe, took out the list, and he brought it to Congress, handed it to over - - handed it over, still sealed.
And we remember that Nixon enemies list now almost wryly, right? It`s become sort of a point of pride for people to have been on that list. It`s a badge of honor to have been someone who Richard Nixon perceived to be an enemy, perceived to be a powerful enough enemy that he was going to come after you, right?
But Nixon wasn`t just making an enemies list for his own psychological enjoyment. It wasn`t just like a hate list to make himself feel better. He made and continually updated an enemies list, because that was a list of targets, because that was a list of people against whom action was expected. He expected and ordered government agencies to take action against those enemies on behalf of the president.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: While the bulk of the Senate session today dealt with challenges to Dean`s story, there was one other area which Dean opened up. He turned over to the committee documents he had saved which show if they`re not elaborate forgeries that the White House was planning to use the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies as weapons against political opponents who are called "enemies" on some documents.
This is an example of that file, a memo drafted for Haldeman and Ehrlichman by Dean himself. It describes a plan in dean`s own pungent language to use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies. Don`t just list our political enemies. But use the available federal machinery to hurt them.
John Dean admitted to it in June 1973. July 1973 the Nixon White House admitted there was a taping system in the White House. July 30th the Supreme Court forced the tapes to be released. And then all this enemies list stuff, all of this stuff that we`d had described to us about them using the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies, it wasn`t just an allegation anymore. Once the tapes were released we all got to hear it play out on tape, you know, curses and all.
One example, Nixon particularly hated the "Los Angeles Times." The day after "The Times" ran an unflattering article in October 1971 about somebody Nixon had nominated for a cabinet position, the day after that article ran Nixon, we have a tape of it. Nixon called up his attorney general, John Mitchell, who had been his campaign manager, right?
He called up John Mitchell, and he called him up to not just vent about that "L.A. Times" story he didn`t like. He called up the attorney general in order to sic the federal government on "The L.A. Times, on the "L.A. Times" as an institution, on the publisher of the "L.A. Times" as a person and on the publisher of the "L.A. Times`" family.
Go after "The L.A. Times", go after Otis Chandler, go after the Chandler family. And we`ve got it on tape. And fair warning, it`s Nixon. So, the president uses both a racial slur in this tape and he swears again.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
NIXON: I want you to direct the most trusted person you have in the immigration service, that they are to look over all of the activities of "The Los Angeles Times" -- all, underlined -- to see whether they are violating the wetback thing. Otis Chandler, I want him checked with regard to his gardener. I understand he`s a wetback.
We`re going after the Chandlers, everyone individually and collectively, their income tax. They`re starting this week. Every one of those sons of bitches. Is that clear?
A.G. JOHN MITCHELL: Yes, sir.
NIXON: Understand? Do it. Give me a report.
MITCHEL: Very well, sir.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Very well, sir. Yes, sir. We will sic immigration authorities on the publisher of the "L.A. Times" and on the "L.A. Times" as a company for the wetback thing. Yes, very well, sir, we will sic the IRS on the "L.A. Times" publisher Mr. Chandler and on what did you say? Every one of those sons -- the whole family. Go after them on the income -- we`ll go after them by means of the income tax.
Every one of those sons of -- is that clear? Yes, sir. Understand. Do it. Give me a report. Very well, sir. Yes, sir, we`ll report back, sir.
Richard Nixon was not impeached. Richard Nixon resigned when the Supreme Court ordered the release of the White House tapes and on the tapes, it became obvious that his impeachment was a sure bet because the tapes proved and showed and my god, they elaborated on his profound guilt. When Nixon resigned the presidency, there were three articles of impeachment that were pending against him.
The first one was the Watergate break-in at the Democratic Party headquarters and obstructing justice when it came to that break-in, delaying and impeding and obstructing the investigation, covering up the crime, protecting those responsible, lying to investigators, withholding evidence, paying people for their silence, paying people to life, tipping off people who were the subject of the investigation, lying to the public in order to deceive the public about the investigation.
But the second article for which Nixon was going to be impeached, Article II, that was about abuse of power, misusing the IRS, trying to get them to unlawfully target people for audit and investigation. Misusing not just the IRS but the FBI and the Secret Service and other agencies and personnel, quote, for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws or any other lawful function of his office.
Quote: In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as president and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States, wherefore Richard M. Nixon by such conduct warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office. That was Article II. That is how Richard Nixon was in the process of being impeached when he resigned. That`s why Nixon would have been impeached if he didn`t quit first just ahead of it.
Richard Nixon hated the press. As a Californian he had a complex relationship with the California newspapers. But he really, really hated the "L.A. Times" and the Chandler family who ran it. And his hatred of the Chandler family and the "L.A. Times," that showed up in some of the type of behavior for which he was ultimately impeached, using the available federal machinery, using the power of the federal government to the extent that he could control it to punish his enemies.
Our current president also hates the press. He likes to talk about how much he hates CNN and "the New York Times" and NBC. And he seems particularly to hate the "Washington Post." The president has latched on personally to "Washington Post" owner Jeff Bezos, who also founded and runs Amazon.com. Jeff Bezos is literally the richest man on earth right now.
The president for months has been publicly attacking the "Washington Post" and the connection between the "Washington Post" and Amazon through the paper`s owner, Jeff Bezos. The president has been blunt about this in his own online statements. And within the last few weeks, it has felt like maybe this was starting to tip over into enemies list territory.
This was "The Wall Street Journal" last month. Quote: In the past week, the president has turned what were sporadic and often private criticisms of Amazon.com into a sustained volley against the company, often causing stock market fluctuations with his tweets against Amazon, fueling Mr. Trump`s ire is not so much Amazon but the company`s CEO, Jeff Bezos, who also owns the "Washington Post," according to people close to the White House.
Mr. Trump sees Mr. Bezos`s hand in newspaper coverage he dislikes and he`s lashing out at Amazon as a proxy, these people said. The president`s most recent flurry of tweets targeting Amazon has coincided with publication of "Washington Post" stories that he dislikes. What`s not clear is whether Mr. Trump will take actions that will harm Amazon`s business interests, "Wall Street Journal" last month.
There was also this around the same time from "Vanity Fair." Quote: The president is focusing ever more closely on his perceived enemies and obsessions. Amazon, whose owner Jeff Bezos also owns the "Washington Post," is currently his main target. According to four sources close to the White House, Trump is discussing ways to escalate his attacks on Amazon to further damage the company.
Quote: he`s off the hook on this. It`s war, one source told me. He gets obsessed with something, and now, he`s obsessed with Bezos, said another source. Trump is like, how can I F with him? And he didn`t say F.
Quote: According to sources, Trump wants the post office to increase Amazon`s shipping costs. Well, that would hurt Amazon. So that was reported last month. And now, today, we have learned that apparently the president doesn`t just want that, he has ordered it.
Headline: Trump personally pushed postmaster general to double rates on Amazon." President Trump has personally pushed U.S. Postmaster General Megan Brennan to double-team rate the postal service charges Amazon.com. Postmaster General Megan Brennan has so far resisted Trump`s demand, explaining in multiple conversations occurring this year and last that these arrangements are bound by contracts and must be reviewed by a regulatory commission. Postmaster General Megan Brennan and President Trump have met at the White House about this matter several times, starting last year. Quote: the meetings have never appeared on Trump`s public schedule.
But somewhere along the line, somebody locks the list up in a safe, right? Somewhere along the line, somebody truthfully decides they`re going to answer investigators` questions about it. Somewhere along the line, the president will have miscalculated when he figured that these other public officials who supposedly work for him, he will have miscalculated when he figured that they`d all go along with his idea that they should use their agencies to settle his personal scores when he tells them to.
Somewhere along the line, three people with knowledge of these previously secret conversations between the president personally and the postmaster general, somewhere along the line, three different people will go tell the "Washington Post" about those secret meetings and then those secret meetings won`t be secret any longer. Using the government to publish political enemies was one of the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon. It is also something that`s pretty easy to get caught for as long as people stand up to a president trying to do this, as long as they don`t go along with it, as long as someone somewhere along the line blows the whistle.
That`s what this is. That`s what`s happening right now with reporting like this in the "Washington Post" today. We are living history, you guys.
We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: I want to be sure he`s a ruthless son of a bitch. That he will do what he`s told, that every income tax return I want to see I see. That he`ll go after our enemies and not go after our friends. It`s as simple as that.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Because it`s Friday and this is how it goes now when you do a live news show on Friday nights, "The New York Times" just broke a major news story. The byline on this: Adam Goldman, Mark Mazzetti and Matthew Rosenberg. I think we`re going to hopefully going to get Adam Goldman on the phone here in just a moment. This is just posted.
Headline as you can see there in "The Times" is, FBI used informant to investigate Russia ties to campaign, not to spy, as Trump claims.
The president and conservative media and Trump-supporting members of Congress on the Republican side in Congress have recently been upset and have been making a lot of noise about recent reporting the FBI was not just investigating Russia`s attack on the election and whether or not the Trump campaign had any connection to Russia`s efforts to interfere with the election, even before the election happened in 2016. There has been recent reporting that at least one informant met with people on the Trump campaign during the course of the campaign who were suspected of having ties to Russia.
Well, "The New York Times" has just fleshed this out tonight. Quote: President Trump accused the FBI today, on Friday, without evidence of sending a spy to secretly infiltrate his 2016 campaign, quote, for political purposes, even before the bureau had any inkling of the phony Russia hoax. In fact, according to "The New York Times" tonight, FBI agents sent an informant to talk to two campaign advisers only after they received evidence that the pair had suspicious contacts linked to Russia during the campaign.
The informant is an American academic who teaches in Britain. He made contact late that summer with one campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos. He also met repeatedly in the ensuing months with the other aide, Carter Page, who was also under FBI scrutiny for his ties to Russia.
"The Times" says they have learned the identity of this person but as a matter of policy, "The New York Times" typically does not name informants in order to preserve their safety. That same inclination has not stopped pro-Trump members of Congress and indeed now to a certain extent, the president himself from demanding this FBI informant be exposed as a way apparently of trying to undermine the Mueller investigation.
Joining us is Adam Goldman. He is one of "The New York Times" reporters whose byline on this story has just broken.
Mr. Goldman, thank you for joining us on short notice. I really appreciate it.
ADAM GOLDMAN, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE NEW YORK TIMES (via telephone): Yes, thank you for having me.
MADDOW: So, "The Times" had reported earlier this week that there was at least one informant who had met at least once with members of the Trump campaign during the campaign. The president and conservative media have responded to reports like that by suggesting that it is a scandal, that there was FBI misconduct in doing so.
From your reporting, is there any indication that the FBI or the justice department believe that there was anything improper about this informant`s actions?
GOLDMAN: No. Not at all. I mean, the FBI concluded that it opened up, properly predicated a lawful investigation into possible collusion. And they dispatched an informant to try to suss out this information using, in fact, the least intrusive means as possible.
MADDOW: Did the FBI, in working with this informant, did they effectively plant somebody inside the Trump campaign as a mole? That`s the way it`s been described in conservative media.
GOLDMAN: No. That`s not our understanding. They used this informant, this American to essentially brush off against George Papadopoulos and Carter Page to try to figure out what they might have known about Russian attempts to influence the election. This individual certainly was not part of the campaign. And that seems like a stretch to suggest.
MADDOW: In terms of the timing here and, again, the accusations that have been levied at the FBI around this issue, is it clear that Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, the people who were approached by this informant, they were already under investigation because of their own ties? They were already at least under scrutiny because of their ties to Russian intelligence at the time that this informant operation was launched.
GOLDMAN: That seems to be the case. The FBI opened this investigation on July 31st. And it`s our understanding that this informant made contact with George Papadopoulos on September 2nd. He also bumped in Carter Page at a conference in Cambridge, England. But we`re not sure if that was just a coincidence or was actually part of a FBI outreach.
MADDOW: What did the informant -- what kind of contact did he have with Papadopoulos and Page? What did he ask them to do?
GOLDMAN: Well, for Papadopoulos he asked him to do a research report essentially. Carter Page, he met with Carter repeatedly but by Carter`s own admission he didn`t find the meetings out of the ordinary or necessarily unusual. It didn`t race suspicions among Carter Page. In fact, the contacts with Carter in September 2017.
MADDOW: Adam, you also at the end of your piece tonight have a very provocative description about contacts between this same informant and General Mike Flynn, who went on to be Trump`s national security adviser and is now awaiting sentencing after having pled guilty in the special counsel`s investigation. In 2014, you say this informant had met with Mike Flynn when Flynn was rung the defense intelligence agency at the time. Flynn attended the academy agency. According to people familiar with Flynn`s visit to the seminar the source was alarmed by General Flynn`s apparent closeness with a Russian woman who was also in attendance.
The concern was strong enough that it prompted another person to pass on a warning to American authorities that Flynn could be compromised by Russian intelligence. What can you tell us about that incident and what that meant for Flynn going forward in terms of the attention on him from the FBI?
GOLDMAN: Well, that certainly -- from the informant`s standpoint that was certainly a moment he took note of. It`s not clear if that information that went to the American authorities actually triggered a counterintelligence investigation, but it certainly would have been logged by authorities.
MADDOW: "New York Times" reporter Adam Goldman, thank you for joining us on such short notice, and congratulations on this late-breaking news. Congratulations.
GOLDMAN: All right. Thank you. Bye.
I will say Flynn is -- if this anecdote about Michael Flynn from 2014, sources alarmed by his closeness with a Russian woman at an intelligence seminar, reporting it back to U.S. intelligence authorities about whether or not he`s compromised, over the course of the Mueller investigation, we`ve also got Rick Gates and Paul Manafort, the chairman and deputy chairman of the Trump campaign, both also in contact with someone who the FBI believed to be a Russian intelligence asset.
We`ve got Carter Page who is believed to be involved with Russian intelligence and potentially reporting home to Moscow about his contacts with the FBI and this country. And we`ve got George Papadopoulos also involved in the Trump campaign, also appearing to be in contact with Russian intelligence. That`s a lot for one campaign.
Have you ever heard in any presidential campaign ever of even a single person being known by the FBI to have ties to Russian intelligence? Ever even one? We`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: In my possession is a rather -- very much down the lines of what you`re talking about, is a memorandum that was requested by me to prepare a means to attack the enemies of the White House.
There was also maintained what was called an enemies list, which is rather extensive and continually being updated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not going to ask who was on it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m afraid you might answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: White House counsel John Dean in 1973 admitting the Nixon White House maintained a list of people it intended to target using the power of the federal government on the president`s behalf. "Washington Post" today reporting that our current president has personally directed the postmaster, the postmaster general of the United States, to punish his own perceived enemy, Amazon.com, whose CEO is also the owner of "The Washington Post."
Joining us now is NBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss.
Mr. Beschloss, thank you for being with us tonight.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: My pleasure always, Rachel.
MADDOW: I want to ask you about what I perceive to be a parallel here. I also actually want to ask you a little bit about this breaking news we`ve just had from the "New York Times." Let me just ask you about that first, actually. We just had Adam Goldman here.
"The Times" is reporting that the FBI did send an informant to talk to two Trump campaign advisers during the 2016 campaign. This has become an object of focus both for the conservative media and for President Trump himself. The president has described, that the fact that the FBI had an informant in the campaign, as itself worse than Watergate. What`s your reaction to that?
BESCHLOSS: Well, what "The Times" is reporting tonight is that the FBI was doing its job, which was investigating the possibility of collusion with a capital K between Russia and the Trump campaign. You were talking about Nixon earlier.
Donald Trump has called the supposed embed by the FBI for political purposes on his campaign, as you said, worse than Watergate. What Nixon did not have was Fox News or Sinclair or big-time conservative media. What he would not have given to be able to take things that came up that were embarrassing or damaging to him like collusion and turn it into something else that might have allowed him to at least delay his move to impeachment.
MADDOW: I am struck going back and looking at the Nixon articles of impeachment today, I mean, all this stuff about obstruction of justice feels very resonant --
BESCHLOSS: Right, right.
MADDOW: -- in terms of what is reportedly being investigated by this president. But the use of the agencies of the federal government and the investigative power of the FBI and the Secret Service and the IRS and all these other elements of government to go after his enemies, essentially the president right now seems to be on the hook for that sort of thing a little bit in terms of going after Amazon, trying to hurt Amazon, the connection with his perceived enemy at the "Washington Post", while simultaneously making that allegation against President Obama, implying this investigative agency should never have been used to investigate Russia collusion in his campaign.
BESCHLOSS: If this is true about Amazon, this is classic abuse of power. And the irony is that Richard Nixon particularly went after of all things, "The Washington Post" in 1972. On one of those tapes, he`s telling John Dean after the election, "The Post" is going to have damnable problems, he said. We`ve got to play the game, he said, very rough.
He talked about going after "The Post`s" television stations and giving hem regulatory problems. You`d think if Donald Trump had a scintilla of understanding of history, he would know that is probably as you were saying earlier, Rachel, one of the most important things that would have led to Nixon`s impeachment. But he has no knowledge of history, and history is repeating itself again.
MADDOW: And this particular problem that he`s got on this subject, I think one of the things that maybe the White House doesn`t appreciate yet is that this is one of the ones that`s easy to catch people for --
MADDOW: -- because if your activity is documented and can be attested to by multiple public officials it`s hard to come up with an alternate explanation for something.
BESCHLOSS: A lot of people will know it. And we had the right to expect this would never happen again.
MADDOW: NBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss, appreciate your time tonight, sir. Thank you.
BESCHLOSS: Thank you so much. Be well, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. More ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Did you watch Chris Hayes`s show last night? If you didn`t, you should go back and watch it.
Chris got a hold exclusively of some fascinating tape of one of the wealthiest men in the world talking about his meetings with the president of the United States. This is not the whole thing. This is just a short clip. But watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLI)
BILL GATES, MICROSOFT FOUNDER: I saw him at Trump tower, and I said, hey, science and innovation is a great thing, you should be a leader who drives innovation. And that conversation was about a broad set of things. In energy, in health, in education, you know, big things you want to do that are big, HIV vaccine, you could accelerate that. Be associated with innovation.
And then the second time I saw him was the March after that. So, March 2017 in the White House. Both times he wanted to know if there was a difference between HIV and HPV. So I was able to explain that those are rarely confused with each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Both times. So the president wanted to know once, is there a difference between HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, HPV, human papillomavirus? Two totally different things.
The president wants to know the first time they meet, is there a difference between HIV and HPV? Then they meet again a different time and he asked the same question again. Because even though he was told the answer the first time it`s gone, he has to ask again.
That was revealed last night, that tape of Bill Gates, on the Chris Hayes show. The president, who just can`t remember the difference between HPV and HIV even when it is explained to him personally. Today, we learned that that same president is doing something quite radical to try to upend women`s health care in this country, something he`s obviously quite on top of.
"The New York Times" first to report today that the administration is trying to cut off federal funding for family planning. Money for stuff like STD screenings and birth control, the administration planning to cut off that funding for any facility that also provides abortion services or even tells patients that they can go somewhere else to get an abortion.
In other words, Planned Parenthood can say good-bye to federal funding. And if you are tempted to imagine legitimate policy-making motivation for this new rule, consider that it was unveiled not in a public news conference or a press release, but in a telephone briefing with social, conservative, and religious activists.
Joining us now is Nancy Northup. She`s president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Her job is to fight these of things.
Nancy, it`s nice to see you. Thank you for being here.
NANCY NORTHUP, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: Well, it`s good to be here, I`m sorry I`m here to talk about what is not going to be good for women. And that is this regulation that the Trump administration is throwing out there. And people need to see this as the continued politicization of women`s health care. Title ten has been a program around since 1970, during the Nixon administration. So if it was good enough back then, 50 years, good enough now, and they want to put restrictions that have never ever been in place in almost 50 years in this program.
MADDOW: As far as I understand, some of the history here, if we`re going to talk about previous presidents on this issue, in 1988, didn`t Ronald Reagan try to do something like this? He tried to do something where people would be banned from mentioning abortion existed. My memory is he tried and it got caught up in the courts.
Ultimately, Bill Clinton was president by the time any of these regulations might have gone into effect. Clinton had a different idea about these things, rescinded them. They never went to effect. But Reagan sort of tried this, hadn`t he?
NORTHUP: Reagan did try it. But as you pointed out, in the history of it, it never went into effect, and it`s a very bad idea, because basically what women need is to get health care from professionals who are expert in reproductive health care. In the Title 10 program, that`s who get selected, who gets selected is providers who know about women`s health care, they`re expert in human`s health care, they`re expert in providing that care. And that includes places that do the whole range of women`s reproductive health care.
In the Title 10 program, they`re just doing STI testing, family planning, cancer screenings, important life-saving procedures but what women might want to do is go to a clinic where they can get the whole raining of services, including counseling about abortion services, as they find out through a pregnancy test in their Title 10 program that they`re pregnant.
MADDOW: It`s one of the options that women constitutionally have this country.
NORTHUP: Of course. And they want to talk to their doctors about it.
MADDOW: As a legal matter, do you feel like the president and the administration have rolled this out in a legally resilient way or is this something that you think the courts will stop?
NORTHUP: Well, we have no idea yet. What we saw tonight from the White House at 6:30, on the night before, you know, the wedding, they rolled out just a really short statement basically just saying, you know, we`re going to do this. And we`re -- you know, but we don`t have our lawyers at the Center of the Reproductive Rights, just checked the federal register, see if we`ve got those regs out there, we don`t know what the content is yet.
MADDOW: OK. They`re saying they`re going to do it, but they haven`t rolled out this rule.
NORTH: They announced that they`ve announced.
MADDOW: They`ve announced that they`ve announced, which actually for them is -- I mean, depending on how everything is spelled, this might actually be an advance in terms of their policymaking capacity.
Nancy Northup -- much appreciated -- president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. Keep us apprised on this. I have a feeling this one might have some twists and turns.
MADDOW: Much appreciated. All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: All day, we have been following the terrible events out of the Southeast Texas, mass shooting, mass killing, mass murder at a Santa Fe high school, Santa Fe, Texas.
This morning, as classes were starting, about 40 minutes into the school day, police say a 17-year-old student armed with a handgun and a shotgun opened fire, killed ten people, injured ten more. The suspect is in custody. The investigation is under way.
Joining us now live is Gabe Gutierrez. He`s out NBC News correspondent who`s been on the ground at the high school all day following developments.
Gabe, thank you for joining us. I know it`s an unusual thing in instances like this to have a suspect in custody. Are law enforcement authorities clear that this young man, A, is the right man, and what`s the status of his links to other people and their interest in talking to other persons of interest?
GABE GUTIERREZ, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Rachel.
Well, do have some new information just in the past several hours. According to a Galveston County judge here and that suspect made his first court appearance, Galveston County judge says he does not believe there will be any accomplices here, you mentioned in the show that there have been two persons of interest that have been questioned. The governor had said earlier they may have been questioned because of their reactions initially to the shooting, that can be common in situations like these.
But at this point, the Galveston County judge does not believe there will be any accomplices here. In the court appearance, we did learn several things from a probable cause affidavit where investigators revealed that the suspect told them he didn`t shoot students he liked because he wanted his story told. A very chilling detail for that.
But earlier, investigators had said that he had, in his journals that investigators found in his computer, he had said he had intended to kill himself but ended up not having the courage to take his own life. But here in this community, the community is stunned. We`re learning more about the victims one is a mother of three, grandmother of eight.
She was a substitute teacher that came back to work more than a year ago because her husband has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. She is among the ten people that were killed. So, certainly, another student that we`re learning about, a Pakistani exchange student. These are the stories we`ll continue to hear over the next day or so, as well as a school resource officer who`s in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. He actually confronted the shooter. Many people are calling him a hero tonight, Rachel.
MADDOW: Gabe Gutierrez, on the scene for us live at Santa Fe High School in Texas, Gabe, thank you. Much appreciated. It`s been a very difficult day of reporting down there, I know.
The school resource officer who Gabe just mentioned there, who`s fighting for his life, we`re told is a retired police officer. This does seem to be -- there`s been some -- there`s been evolving news over the course of the day about the victims. It appears that most of the victims today were students.
But as Gabe was explaining there, at least one of the victims is a substitute teacher, mother of three, and this school resource officer severely hurt in responding to this incident.
All right. That does it for us tonight. We will see you on Monday.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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