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Democrats had a strong showing in CA primaries. TRANSCRIPTS: 06/06/2018. The Rachel Maddow Show

Guests: Lisa Friedman

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: June 6, 2018 Guest: Lisa Friedman

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.

Today is D-Day, the date on which 160,000 allied troops threw themselves into the surf and climbed the cliffs off the beaches to beat the Nazis back in France to give the U.S. and allied forces a toehold in Normandy, from which they would ultimately break the Nazis' grip on France and on Europe and ultimately the world. Seventy-four years ago today on this day alone, more than 9,000 Allied troops died on this single day, fighting against the Germans.

And, of course, you know that. If you know anything about American military history, you know about World War II. If you know anything about World War II, you know about D-Day, about that heroic, epic, impossible, massive effort in Normandy where tens of thousands of Americans put their lives on the line in unimaginable conditions where thousands died, all just in the first day alone, so the U.S. could put the fight to the Nazis in Europe and beat the heck out of the Nazis. You know that, right? You know that.

The U.S. State Department does not know that. The Trump administration has just installed a new U.S. ambassador in Germany who is not doing great. For the second time in a couple of weeks now, the State Department has had to field questions about his behavior in Germany and comments that he's made that are widely seen in Germany as super inappropriate for any ambassador.

Honestly, in his first month that he has been there, some German officials are already talking openly about Germany possibly rejecting him and sending him back to the United States. But while fielding questions on the new ambassador again yesterday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, who the Trump administration hired straight off "Fox & Friends," she explained that despite whatever else might have come out of Ambassador Rick Grenell's mouth this time, nobody should doubt the strength and the solidity of the U.S. relationship with Germany.

She said, quote: We have a very strong relationship with the government of Germany. And then she wanted to show off that she knows her history too when it comes to us and Germany.


HEATHER NAUERT, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESPERSON: Tomorrow is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion. We obviously have a very long history with the government of Germany and we have a strong relationship history with the government.


MADDOW: We have a strong relationship with the government of Germany, a long-standing relationship. Just look at D-Day, us and Germany, an on D- Day.

D-Day was us attacking Germany. D-Day is a great way the note the strength of the commitment and the historical solidarity between us and our World War II allies. Germany is a lot of things, but on that day in particular, our relationship with a little different that day with Germany than it was with our allies.

And that's one thing if you're like failing a book report in fourth grade, maybe you have played some weird dystopian alternate history video games where the U.S. didn't fight the Nazis in World War II. So, you're confused as to who might have been on which side on D-Day.

But if you're the spokesperson for the United States State Department, on the D-Day anniversary, this is -- this is something else. This is -- this -- this is our lives now, during the Trump administration.

Lots of news today. Senior staffers at the EPA are jumping ship. We have learned tonight leading to lots of speculation tonight that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt might finally be reaching the end of his ninth life as the most scandal-written cat in the Trump administration cabinet. We'll have more on that story in just a minute.

Democrats pretty much ran the table last night on the biggest primary day in the country, ahead of this November's crucial midterm elections. Nothing is set in stone. Everything is subject to change. But Democratic Party after last night is pretty much exactly where they want to be in terms of positioning themselves to try to win control of at least one house of Congress this fall. We're going to have Steve Kornacki here in just a few minutes to talk what happened there and what happens next.

This story that broke this afternoon, I got to say I'm not sure exactly what to make of, but you should know this exists. "BuzzFeed" has now broken the news that the president's eldest daughter and now White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, she was not only involved in those secret efforts to pursue a Trump Tower Moscow Project during the Trump campaign as part of that previously unreported involvement, quote, during the campaign, Ivanka connected her father's personal lawyer with a Russian athlete who offered to introduce Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin to facilitate the Trump Tower Moscow Project.

According to "BuzzFeed", details on Ivanka Trump's interactions with this Russian have been scrutinized by the Senate Intelligence Committee and by Robert Mueller's investigators at the special counsel's office. It's not clear where that might be going, but at the very least, quote, the contacts reveal that even as her father was campaigning to become president of the United States, Ivanka Trump was connecting Michael Cohen with a Russian who offered to arrange a meeting with one of the U.S.'s adversaries in order to help close a business deal that could have made the Trump family millions of dollars.

And, you know, all of the armchair psychiatrists among us have long argued that this president is particularly aggravated and can be particularly unnerved by any potential scandal or trouble involving his kids, particularly involving his eldest daughter Ivanka. That expectation alone just puts kind of a silent exclamation point on a headline like this one today at "BuzzFeed". Ivanka Trump was in contact with a Russian who offered a Trump-Putin meeting.

But again, we're not sure exactly what investigators might be doing with this information. We just know that they've got it. There is a lot -- a lot of interesting news that has been breaking over the course of the day today, a lot of gobsmacking stuff.

The most gobsmacking news in American politics today, though, I think actually happened five time zones away in the U.K. In the U.K. today, we finally got settled one of the core questions at the heart of the big existential national security foreign influence scandal that looms over everything else in this presidency.

Everybody on what I like to think of as earth 1, the entire U.S. intelligence community, the bipartisan membership of the Senate Intelligence Committee, even occasionally the Trump administration itself, everybody on earth 1 admits now that Russia, Russian government, Russian military, Russian intelligence interfered in the U.S. presidential election in 2016 to try to help Donald Trump win that election.

To put a finer point on it, we got that indictment in February filed against 13 Russian individuals and three Russian corporate entities. Indictment filed in federal court in Washington that spelled out the findings of Robert Mueller's office, the special counsel's office on how exactly Russia conducted that operation, at least the part where they conducted their own influence operation from outside the United States targeting the American public to try to skew U.S. public opinion in ways that would benefit Trump during the election. We've got that spelled out in that indictment.

What we don't have any definitive public findings on thus far is the question of whether or not the Russian government also found ways to directly assist the Trump campaign as an entity rather than just targeting U.S. public opinion. I mean, we do have evidence about that, but we don't have definitive public findings of the kind you might see in an indictment. We do know, though, that there were lots of contacts between the Trump campaign, the Trump Organization and the Trump family with Russians while Trump was running for president. We know those contacts were kept secret at the time. We know those contacts were frequently the subject of lies and misrepresentations once they were discovered.

Was the Trump campaign in on this Russian influence operation to try to affect the campaign? I mean, well, we know they were notified of Russia's efforts to help Trump win the election. That was part of setting up that Trump Tower meeting in the summer of 2016. This is part of the Russian government's efforts to help the Trump campaign, right?

Did the Trump campaign become a knowing participant in that Russian influence operation to change the outcome of our election? Did it become a joint operation between Russia and the Trump campaign? Well, there are some blunt connections, right? Russia, of course, we now know stole documents from the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign. They then organized and distributed those documents back into the United States in ways that were designed to inflict maximum damage on Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Even after widespread public reporting and discussion about the fact that that hacking operation had been conducted by the Russians, candidate Trump himself openly encouraged people to seek out those documents. He encouraged Russia to steal and leak more of those documents.

Then late last year, we learned about another operational link between that Russian influence effort and the Trump campaign when it was reported that Cambridge Analytica, this data firm founded by Trump's biggest donor Robert Mercer headed up by his campaign chief Steve Bannon, this data firm that the Trump campaign paid millions of dollars to, late last year we learned that that firm had reached out to one of the entities that was distributing the stolen Russian documents.

Cambridge Analytica offered their services, offered their help to help index and publicize these stolen materials. And that kind of just sounds like details, right? Sounds like, oh, one more step down this long path we've been walking since Trump was elected, as we've been trying to figure out what exactly happened there in that election and what exactly Russia did. It just sounds like one more detail.

But step back from it for a second. I mean, what that means when we found out that Cambridge Analytica reached out to WikiLeaks and said hey, can we help? What that means is, we've got a Russian intelligence operation under way to illegally influence the U.S. election in Trump's favor, and we've got the data firm paid by the Trump campaign offering operational help to that effort.

So, that was -- that was a big deal when we got that revelation last year, that Cambridge Analytica offered to help WikiLeaks index and distribute the stolen Russian documents. That's a big deal. That shows somebody working for the Trump campaign trying to help the Russians in their influence operation.

Well, today, "The Guardian" newspaper in Britain reports that those contacts were more extensive, and it went on for longer than previously known. "The Guardian" reporting today that a senior executive at Cambridge Analytica met with Julian Assange from WikiLeaks, which is the entity that distributed the documents that Russia had stolen. She met with him in February of last year at the embassy in London where he's been holed up, trying to fight extradition, and "The Guardian" reports that in addition to that meeting, she's total numerous people that she also surreptitiously arranged payments to WikiLeaks. She arranged cryptocurrency payments to WikiLeaks in addition to this newly reported meeting at which she says they discussed the U.S. election.

So, again, it's easy to just sort of, you know, see the trees instead of the forest here, right? It's easy to sort of follow each little detail, new report that's from each day. But step back for a second. Russian intelligence steals Democratic documents, gives them to WikiLeaks to distribute in ways that will inflict the most damage on Hillary Clinton's campaign. The data firm working for the Trump campaign offers to help with that work, and then holds at least one in-person meeting with WikiLeaks and then secretly funnels them money.

What is the definition of collusion anyway? Anyway, that was this morning in "The Guardian" newspaper. Then this afternoon in a parliamentary hearing room, we just got another now big piece of what the Trump campaign did. Earlier this year in March, you might remember there was a whole flurry of revelations about this data firm Cambridge Analytica. There was an undercover sting set up by Channel 4 in Britain in which top executives from Cambridge Analytica were caught on tape saying all sorts of incriminating things.

We also got the dramatic emergence of a whistle-blower who had previously been the research director for that firm. He appears to have taken a whole bunch of documents from the firm with him when he left. And in March he started talking to the press and sharing documents with the press about what exactly that firm did, how it was built and how it ran its business.

The revelation from him that caused the biggest waves in this country and around the world, including at least temporarily knocking tens of billions of dollars off the valuation of Facebook was when he spilled out how this data firm, Cambridge Analytica, obtained personal information, detailed personal private information on tens of millions of Americans without their permission. The data on which that firm's work was based it turns out had basically been stolen off of Facebook.

According to the former research director for Cambridge Analytica, what the firm was based on was very, very detailed Facebook data from 87 million Americans that was all stolen without their consent. It was stolen by means of a program that was invented and deployed for the purpose of stealing people's data. That program was created for that purpose by an academic, by a professor, who has a joint appointment at a British university and also at a Russian university. He is a professional who has received Russian government grants for his work.

So, this data firm that the Trump campaign paid millions of dollars to for the 2016 election, which their biggest donor Robert Mercer was involved in setting up, which Steve Bannon was involved in running, their sales pitch overall is that they can micro-target very, very specific political messages to you based on incredibly detailed information they've got about you as an individual that's based on basically everything you've every done online. Anything you've said you liked, anything you bought, anything you clicked on, anything you said online, your whole online history. They can get an incredibly nuanced, detailed profile of you as an individual, your personality, and what would affect you if it was specifically targeted to you as a political message at a specific time to get you to do a specific thing. That's been their pitch.

Well, in March, this whistle-blower from that firm claimed that the way Cambridge Analytica got all that data on 90 million Americans was by stealing it, stealing it using a vehicle created for that purpose, created to steal that data. A vehicle created for Cambridge Analytica by this professor who is partly funded by the Russian government. The head of Cambridge Analytica testified before the British parliament earlier this year and he denied over and over again what this whistleblower had said. He denied this firm had ever received that data, denied his firm had ever used that kind of data for their work.

Today, in a parliamentary hearing room in Britain, he admitted actually he had been mistaken in his earlier testimony, and actually, yeah, that was the data that they used.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chairman asked you they've not supplied you with data information. Your answer, again, was no, and the chair then asked again, your data set's not based with information you've received from them? Again you said no. The chair, at all? And your final response was, at all.

So since then, we've had some rather conflicting evidence from Dr. Kogan himself, from Christopher Wiley about what data was supplied and used. Indeed, Mr. Wiley described that data obtained via the Kogan act from Facebook is the foundation set of the company, which may have collected data on up to 87 million users, and also clearly there has been action by Facebook following these revelations or allegations.

Do you want to clarify or amend now the evidence that you gave in February with respect to data supplied by GSR and Dr. Kogan?

ALEXANDER NIX, FORMER CEO, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA: Thank you. I'm grateful for that opportunity. Look, clearly I accept that some of my answers could have been clearer, but e I assure you that I did not intend to mislead you. Of course the answer to this question should have been yes. There was certainly no intention to mislead the committee. That was my understanding, and it was a genuine misunderstanding.


MADDOW: That's the head of the data firm that the Trump campaign used in the 2016 elections now admitting what he had previously denied about where they got their data that they used for their political operations, including their most famous victory.

And there is a lot of drama in this story, right, around this firm and these characters in their own right. Cambridge Analytica as a firm has now technically been shut down. "The Financial Times" reported on its front page this morning that as soon as reporters started asking around earlier this year about this data story, about them building their firm based on all this stolen data, that guy who you just saw testifying there, the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, according to "The Financial Times" immediately withdrew $8 million from the company.

So, Alexander Nix, the CEO is now under considerable pressure on that part apart from investors who were helping the country essentially shut down as Cambridge Analytica so it could reopen as some new rebranded entity. They appear to be a little bit miffed that $8 million they thought was in the company's coffers had instead been taken home in Alexander Nix's pockets.

That led to some exceedingly awkward questions for Mr. Nix today about the money.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you take $8 million out?

NIX: Well, the answer to your question is that --


NIX: I'm not answering your question.


MADDOW: Can you use that in any circumstance?

So, this guy from Cambridge Analytica is under considerable pressure. The FBI special counsel's office is reportedly investigating Cambridge Analytica as part of this fundamental investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and that Russian influence operation.

In the U.K., that firm is subject to significant legal inquiries now and also a big parliamentary investigation which is part of what we saw today in that hearing. That's being driven in considerable part by concerns over whether Cambridge Analytica might have somehow illegally skewed the Brexit vote on whether or not Britain would leave the European Union.

But for all the local drama around this firm and all the sort of lurid and elaborate trouble they've gotten themselves into since their role in the Trump election campaign, I mean, don't lose sight of the importance of this admission today that we just got in this hearing in parliament in Britain. I mean, we in this country are dealing with this existential question as to -- you know, with everything else going on in the Trump administration, everything else going on in the world, we are still every day dealing with this question of whether or not our president was chosen not just because of a foreign intelligence operation. We're grappling with this existential question as to whether his campaign was part of that foreign intelligence operation.

And now, there is this admission today that in fact the Trump campaign's data firm in the election run by his top donor Robert Mercer, led by his campaign chief Steve Bannon, that data firm was a foreign firm using foreign workers micro-targeting U.S. voters in swing states right up through election day, using an incredibly potent personalized detailed data set that was stolen for them by a Russian researcher paid for by the Russian government.

And I -- and I know that sounds like international news. I know that sounds like something about other countries, but that's the problem, right? Because it's not supposed to be international news when you tell the story of how you got the current American president.

Stay with us tonight. Lots to come.


MADDOW: I don't know if you saw this today. If you have a liberal aunt who puts things on her Facebook page, this is one of the contenders I think for a thing she might have put on her Facebook page. This is today's visual ballet of Washington, D.C. survival.

See, when the president takes his water bottle off the table and puts it on the floor, that means now you take your water bottle off the table and you put it on the floor too.

A pod to political survival. This was running on a loop in our office today. OK, big cheese moves the bottle. Second biggest cheese moves the bottle. Keep up.

Never stop letting the boss know that you know he's the boss. Are we putting our water bottles down now, boss? OK. Anything else, boss?

That's one means of political survival. Do what the boss does, right after he does it, and make sure he sees you do it. And then there is whatever mysterious means of survival that gets you this public display of affection today.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Administrator Scott Pruitt, thank you, Scott, very much. EPA is doing really, really well. And, you know, somebody has to say that about you a little bit. You know that, Scott. But --


MADDOW: The EPA administrator getting the presidential pep talk this afternoon accompanied by a little nervous laughter from his fellow cabinet members. Somebody's got to say something nice about Scott.

You might think what -- based on what he's been up to that Scott Pruitt is having a rough day, a rough week, a rough year, but Scott Pruitt somehow has been making it. He has survived a gazillion scandals at EPA already. He breathes in scandal the way fish breathe in water. He moves about in a cloud of scandal like the flies that are always circling around pig pen's head in the Peanuts comic strip.

But the pickle Scott Pruitt finds himself now, this one feels special. This one in fact comes with its own pickle.


SCOTT PRUITT, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: Look, my wife is an entrepreneur herself. I love, she loves, we love, Chick-fil-A is a franchise of faith. And it's one of the best in the country. So that's something we were very excited about. So -- and we need more of them in Tulsa and we need more of them across the country. So, anyway, it's an exciting time.


MADDOW: It's an exciting time for our chicken restaurants.

That man is in a pickle. Your EPA administrator basically had no choice today but to sit there on camera giggling, saying how much he and his wife and his family love this franchise of faith. Chick-fil-A, how there ought to be more of them.

That actually was tape of a man arguably breaking the law right then and there by endorsing a product as a government official. But apparently, he felt like he had to maybe break that law because he got caught this week likely breaking that same federal law in another way when he ordered an EPA staffer to get him a meeting with an executive from Chick-fil-A.

Quote, the administrator would like to talk about a potential business opportunity with Mr. Cathy. That potential business opportunity set up by an EPA staffer turned out to be a Chick-fil-A franchise that Scott Pruitt wanted for his wife.

This is not a normal scandal. This is not even a normal Scott Pruitt scandal. This one seems, A, unequivocally proven in documents and by Chick-fil-A admitting that's what they were trying to get the meeting for.

And B, it seems quite blatantly illegal. I mean, by law, you are not allowed to use your official position for personal gain, like trying to get your wife a business opportunity. By law, you are not allowed to use government staffers to carry out personal duties for yourself or your wife. But here he is in typed letters apparently doing both of those things that are against the law. And again, the company that was approached here confirms that's exactly what happened.

So how does Scott Pruitt still have his job? Second question: who is going to keep working for him?

Today, we got word of two more Scott Pruitt staffers handing in their resignations. These two staffers worked for Scott Pruitt when he was A.G. in Oklahoma. They moved to D.C. to work for him once he got the new cabinet job in Trump administration. Each of these staffers were given big raises despite the White House objecting in yet another Pruitt scandal that seems like it happened ages ago but it really only happened in April.

One of the staffers who quit today is the sister of the aide who got sent to beg Chick-fil-A for a franchise for Scott Pruitt's wife while she herself got the job of trying to buy Scott Pruitt a mattress from the Trump Hotel. "The New York Times" reports tonight that those two Pruitt staffers quit today.

For all the different scandals that Pruitt has survived so far, this thing does seem like it might be pushing possibly to the breaking point. For one thing, it led the EPA's spokesman today to call a reporter who was asking about it today, the EPA spokesman called that reporter, quote, a piece of trash, on the record.

It seems like things are maybe getting to the breaking point a little? Hold on. There's more.


MADDOW: EPA Scott Pruitt still in his job, but he lost a pair of top staffers today. He lost his executive scheduler and a top lawyer. They both turned in their papers. Goodbye Scott Pruitt.

We got the news of these top staffers' resignations today, the day after news broke that Scott Pruitt had directed yet another senior EPA staffer to ask the Chick-fil-A Corporation for help getting his wife a Chick-fil-A franchise. By way of illustrating life at this government agency right now, I want to show you the response when reporters got news of the first top staffer quitting Mr. Pruitt's staff today.

This is from, quote: when reached by phone, Jahan Wilcos, an EPA spokesperson would not comment. He said, quote, you have a great day. You're a piece of trash.

Consider not just what the Trump administration has done to the EPA, consider what they've done to the job of covering the EPA as a reporter. EPA spokesperson, on the taxpayers' dime: You have a great day. You're a piece of trash.

Joining us now is Lisa Friedman. She's a climate reporter for "The New York Times."

Ms. Friedman, thank you very much for join us. I'm sorry that your job has become marginally more hostile than it has in the past.


MADDOW: This latest scandal involving Scott Pruitt feels like one at the end of a very, very long list. But something about the nature of this scandal, both the senior staffers resigning today, but also the possible illegality of this scandal, the fact that this may have been an illegal abuse of his office makes it seem from the outside at least like maybe this scandal might stick to Scott Pruitt. That's my sense from the outside.

What's your sense as somebody who has covered the EPA and Mr. Pruitt very closely?

FRIEDMAN: I think from the inside, it's less clear. You know. I spent most of today on Capitol Hill taking the temperature among Republicans, you know?

And just to give your viewers sort of a 50-cent tour before we got to this point of the seeking the used mattress from Trump Hotel and seeking a franchise for Mr. Pruitt's wife from Chick-fil-A, you know, this saga started with concerns over frequent first class travel. More than $3 million sent on security, his security detail many times larger than never the history of EPA, and prominently renting an apartment from a lobbyist, the wife of a lobbyist who had business in front of the EPA for $50 a night.

And so, there has been a running list of issues. And, you know, interestingly, I found in my reporting that, you know, Mr. Pruitt still has some very strong supporters. Senator Wicker from Mississippi, for example, told me that he thinks that all of these recent stories are just nitpicking.

But it runs the spectrum. I mean, on the other end, there are a growing number of concerned Republicans. I spoke with Senator Kennedy from Louisiana who said, and I'm quoting senator Kennedy here, that Mr. Pruitt is acting as, quote, a moron.

MADDOW: I was just about to quote that back to you from your piece today. I mean, Senator Kennedy is a wordy bird, and he can turn a phrase, and he speaks very bluntly and sometimes with a very wry sense of humor. But I'm struck that we had very critical comments of Mr. Pruitt from Joni Ernst, senator from Iowa, from James Inhofe, yesterday, from his home state of Oklahoma, and now Senator Kennedy saying he is, quote, as you quoted him today, acting like a moron.

I understand that there is a lot of mobilized expressions of support for Mr. Pruitt. We've certainly seen President Trump even today go out of his way to praise Mr. Pruitt. But is there attrition among Republican members of Congress who might make a difference in terms of his fate?

FRIEDMAN: Well, I think perhaps one wild card. You mentioned Senator Joni Ernst. Senator Grassley has also raised concerns about Scott Pruitt. Corn state senators, Republicans from corn state Republicans are really concerned about a different issue, renewable fuels mandate, bio fuels and how they feel that the EPA under Mr. Pruitt is treating their states.

And so that has really fed into a lot of concern about Mr. Pruitt from some Republicans that, you know, that might not ordinarily, you know, raise these kinds of flags. But I think, at the end of the day, one thing that we've reported over and over again is that there is one person that counts here, and it's President Trump.

And, you know, as we saw today, there still appears to be a great deal of support for president Trump.

MADDOW: Lisa Friedman, climate reporter at the "New York Times" -- really appreciate your time tonight. Thanks for helping us through this.

FRIEDMAN: Thank you.

MADDOW: It will be interesting because as I intimated in the introduction here, this new scandal involving Scott Pruitt would appear to cross pretty directly into potential legal jeopardy for Mr. Pruitt. Abusing your office to seek personal aid -- to seek personal gain for your family is very blatantly illegal. If this ultimately somehow results in an inspector general investigation, in this ultimately results in some sort of referral to the Justice Department, if lightning strikes Congress and they decide that they want to investigate this particular new scandal as to whether or not this might have been illegal activity by Mr. Pruitt, that may ultimately force the issue here. But so far, it seems like the president still likes him.

We'll be right back.


MADDOW: In 2010, California voters decided to totally change the way their elections work. They approved a ballot measure to install a top two primary system where the top two candidates with the most votes regardless of their party affiliation would move on from the primary to the general election. So, in California now, there is not a Republican primary and a Democratic primary. There is just one big primary for everybody. Whoever wants to run, and whoever finishes first and second, those two people end up on the general election ballot in November.

That system, which is often called the jungle primary system, that was approved in California in 2010. It turned this year's California congressional primaries into the most suspenseful, most watched, most worried over elections of this season so far. As Election Day approached, Democrats really were freaking out because it looked like their party's own enthusiasm to turf Republican congressmen out of office might be the Democrats' undoing because of this jungle primary system.

There was this much discussed nightmare scenario for Democrats in which there would be too many of them running. So in key races there would be so many Democrats on the ballot, they would split the Democratic vote. And even in districts where Republicans had tons of enthusiasm to throw out the incumbent Republican member of Congress, in those districts you'd end up with two Republicans on the ballot in the general election in November.

Big worry for Democrats, that with all these Democratic candidates they'd split the vote and Republicans would box them out for November. It was big worry for the Democrats. In the end, it worked out fine for them. Better than fine, actually.

The Democratic Party pretty much got exactly what they wanted. A Democrat made the top two, made the general election in almost every single California congressional district, including a bunch of very red looking Republican-held districts. There were 53 congressional races up for grabs, and a few of them are still close to call. But it's looking like Democrats will be on the ballots in November in 52 out of 53 seats.

The only place it likes Democrats might have gotten shut out is district 8, which is very, very Republican leaning. National Democrats weren't seriously contesting it. The incumbent Republican congressman there, Paul Cook, won reelection in 2016 by a 25-point margin. So, in that case in the general election, he might be up against another Republican instead of a Democrat, but that was sort of to be expected for that one district 8.

Other than that, it's going to be a Democrat versus Republican. Democrats are going to be trying to unseat a whole bunch of Republicans all across the state.

The other thing that had been of concern for California Democrats, or at least a concern of incumbent Democratic senators in Washington was what was going to happen to Senator Dianne Feinstein. In the past few months, there had been lots of handwriting and speculation about Feinstein's ability to hold on to her seat. Well, she ran away with it yesterday in the primary.

Look at that distance between her and the second-place finisher. She got 43 percent of yesterday's vote. The distant second-place finisher was Democratic State Senator Kevin de Leon with 11 percent. There will be no Republican in the general election race for Senate in California in the fall.

So, it looks like Democrats had a really good night. They basically got what they were hoping for. They got Democratic candidates getting enough votes to challenge Republicans in all but one congressional district. Republicans completely shut out of the U.S. Senate race.

The only feat the Democrats didn't manage was a particularly long shot dream that they might shut out all Republican candidates from the governor's race as well. Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will be running against a Republican businessman named John Cox in November there had been some thought that governor's race might be two Democrats as well. In that case, the Democrats thought maybe that would really suppress Republican vote all over the state if Republicans knew they wouldn't even have a chance to vote for a Republican candidate for governor or senator. Well, they will have a chance to vote for a Republican for governor.

But all in all, Democrats had a pretty good night. What does it mean for November? How many of those Democrats who just won the chance to unseat a Republican are likely to pull it off? How much will this Democratic good night in California last night help Democrats nationwide dreams of winning back control of Congress in November?

Joining us is the indefatigable Steve Kornacki, national political correspondent for MSNBC.

Steve, have you slept?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. We'll do that before the election in November. That's all right.

MADDOW: All right. So, you heard my take on this. I feel like Democrats pretty much got what they wanted.


MADDOW: Is that how you see it?

KORNACKI: Yes, I take it in two parts. I mean, look, the way I look at California is there are seven districts there that are prime pickup opportunities for them. These are Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton won in 2016. So, that's sort of the main formula for Democrats.

So, yes, look, they are now on the ballot. They're in the game in every one of those seven districts.

MADDOW: And in every one of the seven districts, do they have a candidate who has a conceivable shot?

KORNACKI: So, this is the thing. We got a little -- we didn't just find out if Democrats were going to be on the ballot. I think we got a little clarity in the pecking order of those seven races last night, because the interesting thing about California that's different than basically every other state is this jungle primary.


KORNACKI: There actually is a bit of a relationship when you add up the jungle primary, add up all the Democratic votes, all the Republican votes in a district, it matches up fairly well with the outcome in November. It usually ends up trending the Democrats by a couple of points.

But if you use that as a gauge, a couple of things I saw in those seven districts. Number one, there is one district where demonstrates got fantastic news. That's the 49th district, Darrell Issa, he is retiring, not running again. Democrats got more votes than Republicans there. Democrats got I believe it was over 50 percent right there.

So, for Democrats, already with a few more votes to come in, if you total up all the Democrats you can't see on the screen there, but if you total every Democrat rung up and every Republican running up, Democrats got more vote there's to be in that position coming out of the jungle primary, that is very, very good position for them. And again, a district Clinton won.

On the other end of it, there is one district in that seven where Republicans got very good news. It's the 21st district. This is sort of a San Joaquin Valley district. The Republican incumbent there Dave Valadao got 63 percent of the vote. It's up to 64 percent it looks like. That is tough to come down from 50 percent on. That's been our experience.

Valadao comes out of this a little stronger, maybe a lot stronger. I think Republicans are looking pretty good. Democrats are looking really good.

But then you've got five in between. And you got Republicans got more votes in all five of those than Democrats. Republicans will point to that. Democrats will say yes, but we're close. We're a few points behind in some of these.

Historically, Democrats make up a few points in the general. Democrats can look at all five of those and say, if they pick up the energy, pick up the enthusiasm and get a break, they can win in each one of those five.

So, if Democrats are looking to take four, five, six seats out of California, which is what they're going to need if they want to take back the House, they're in the game.

MADDOW: It's going to be hard.

KORNACKI: One of those they're in very good shape. I think five they're in the game. In one, they got trouble.

MADDOW: And what do you make about this argument about the prospects had Democrats shut out Republicans from both the Senate race and the governor's race, that might have had a suppressive effect in terms of Republicans not being interested in turning out the vote because they didn't have somebody in the marquee races.

What do you make about the logic there?

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, I get it. I mean, you have -- now, what you're going to have John Cox, Republican, spending some money, getting the Republican message out there. What is that Republican message going to be though?

MADDOW: Right.

KORNACKI: Because John Cox in this primary, of course, one of the reasons he emerged as the consensus Republican choice was Donald Trump was weighing on behalf of him. He was not afraid or ashamed to line up with Donald Trump. Is that going to be the case in the general election? Does Trump become an issue? Does having Cox there make Trump an issue? Does he stay away from him?

MADDOW: Right. And Cox on his own without Trump is weird. He's ran before in Illinois.

KORNACKI: A number of times, yes.

MADDOW: He ran for -- a million different offices in Illinois. He ran for president. Remember when we had President John Cox? No. So, he's got kind of quirky history on his own and this gamble he's going take in terms of how much he aligns himself with Trump, for a California race. That's going to be -- that's going to be fun to watch.

KORNACKI: Yes. No, I'm not -- I'm not sure there's a huge correlation there.

MADDOW: Steve Kornacki, I hope you get some sleep. I know you won't.

KORNACKI: No, later, a few months from now.

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


MADDOW: Did you ever look back at old pictures of yourself and you kind of feel shy about it? Is that really me? Is that really my hair?

I'm about to take that plunge on this show. I'm going to swallow my pride and squint and do it. But it's for the happiest of reasons. It is for a best new thing in the world today, which is coming right up. We absolutely need it. Best new thing.

Stay right there.


MADDOW: All right. Best new thing in the world. Don't you need one?

This one starts in June 2010 -- it actually starts with a terrible thing. It starts with a BP oil spill. Two hundred million gallons of oil dumped into the Gulf of Mexico.

As part of covering that national catastrophe, we took this show down to New Orleans to see how the city was coping. And on that trip, working on that show about the oil spill.

That's when we noticed something not right. Something fixable that seemed like it really needed fixing.


MADDOW: And researching stuff for tonight's show, I came upon an unfortunate online idiosyncrasy about this great city. The official URL, the official website address for New Orleans is New Orleans is city of no, when you dial it up on your Internet machine. City of no.

That is not right. New Orleans isn't the city of no, it's anything but. THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW today acquired the domain names,, as well as For the moment, each of these will redirect you to the Maddow blog but we are holding them for the city of New Orleans, which is welcome to either of both free of charge.


MADDOW: That was 2010. How is it possible that the website for New Orleans is Eventually, the city of New Orleans reached out to us and we happily handed over to them that city of yes URL as a gift to that great city.

Well, now, look at what has just happened. Eight years after we did that thing to turn that no into yes, look at this. New Orleans has just gotten a brand new mayor, LaToya Cantrell. She was sworn in last month, turns out brand new mayor, Mayor Cantrell, and her staff think the city of yes idea could work for them. They have adopted #cityofyes as a way to reach out to New Orleanians, and to field requests or complaints.

Tonight, Mayor Cantrell unveiled the new "city of yes" logo, designed by a local artist, incorporating art work to honor the 300th anniversary of the city of New Orleans, which is what they are celebrating this year, which is why Susan and I went on vacation there just a couple of weeks ago.

So this goofy thing from eight years ago, eight years ago, is finding new life which -- so, it's the best thing in the world today. Happy 300th birthday, New Orleans, the city of yes if ever there was one. Congratulations on your new mayor. Also let us know if you want to use city of hell no. We still have that one, keeping it save for you.

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


Good evening, Lawrence.



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