Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: July 16, 2018 Guest: Glen Caplin
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: And thanks to you at home for joining us today.
All right. First, deep breath. Not that deep.
This was a big day. Let`s talk about what happened and with the full and complete expectation that more of it may yet happen while we are talking tonight. Things are at a boil. Things are going fast now. This is a time when everybody needs to pay attention.
Here on this show, really since the summer of 2016, we have covered the Russia angle on the candidacy and then the administration of the current president probably more than anybody else in the national press, and I will admit that. I have been teased for that a lot. I`ve been criticized for it.
Also, I know that the intensity of our coverage, of what we now know of, as the Russia scandal, the intensity of that coverage, our sort of dedication to the story, by necessity has squeezed out time that we may have devoted to other worth stories. I know that. I`m totally cognizant of that.
But let me just say on this of all days, here`s why we have covered this story so intensely. Since it first became clear that there was something wrong and illicit and unexplained about the relationship between this particular foreign adversary and the unlikely rise of this unlikely politician who shocked everyone by winning the last U.S. presidential election -- I mean, there was no explicable reason why as a presidential candidate, he would step with such excruciating care to avoid ever saying anything remotely negative or critical about Russia and its president.
There was no explicable reason why he would dig out of the vault a campaign chairman who had not worked in American politics for more than a generation but he had spent more than the past decade doing Vladimir Putin`s political bidding overseas in the former Soviet Union. There was no explicable reason to name a guy quite recently and quite literally caught up in a Russian spy ring in New York as one of his five foreign policy advisers, when this is a guy nobody had ever, ever heard of. There was no explicable reason to keep secret the fact that he did in fact have pending business deals in Russia during the campaign.
I mean, from a man who loves to brag about even the smallest and most unimpressive business endeavors, right, his stakes, his vodka, his terrible wine, right, there was no explicable reason why he wouldn`t brag that on the day of one of the early Republican presidential primary debates, that very day, he had signed a letter of intent to build the tallest building in Russia. There was no explicable reason why he wouldn`t admit to that.
There was no explicable reason why the Trump campaign would intervene in the Republican Party`s national platform to make it more pro-Russia and then cover up their tracks and deny that they`d had anything to do with it. There was no explicable reason why so many Russians attended the Trump inauguration. There was no explicable reason why he surprised everyone by inviting the Russian foreign minister and the Russian ambassador into the Oval Office with no notice, no U.S. media and apparently no limit on his willingness to disclose to those Russian officials codeword level intelligence from our closest foreign allies.
There was no explicable reason for any of those things, unless you were willing to believe the worst. And honestly, who wants to believe the worst, right? You don`t want to reckon with it. You don`t want to think too hard about the worst case scenario because for one thing it raises very uncomfortable questions about what we should do as a country, what we should do as citizens if the worst case is true.
I mean for everything that we have been through as a country, for every kind of trial and challenge and intrigue and embarrassment and scandal that we have been through as a nation, we haven`t ever had to reckon with the possibility that somebody has ascended to the presidency of the United States to serve the interests of another country rather than our own. What`s the corrective to that, how do you remedy that these are no longer hypothetical questions. This is where we are and I recognize it sounds nuts to say it even now, even tonight, but there`s a reason there is a big national freak-out happening right now over what the president just did in public.
I mean, whatever happened in the long private meeting he insisted on taking with Vladimir Putin today with no other American officials present, whatever happened there, what happened in public thereafter has really shaken the country today for the worst possible reasons.
Before today, no serving U.S. president has ever before taken sides with a foreign government against our own, let alone a foreign government that has just attacked our country. And if the president did that today because he has some reason to serve that other country rather than our own, then -- well, then a lot that has previously been inexplicable is now explicable, and that`s the worst case scenario and deep breath. It means we`re going to have to come to terms with this as a country and we`re going to have to come to terms with what we need to do next as a country to fix this.
And in order to do that, the blinders have to come off. We have to be real. Happily, just at the time that we need that, we are getting some serious help from the rapidly unspooling legal case that surrounds this scandal.
From the special counsel`s office, from the FBI, from the national security division at the Justice Department, from the courtrooms where these multiple cases are now moving forward, the story of what Russia did to our country and who might have helped them and how and how much trouble they might be in for that, it`s just now starting to come into focus the different pieces of it.
And on that front, there`s been a whole bunch of developments. When I said that things might continue to develop while we`re talking tonight over the course of this hour, I mean it. There have been developments not just over the past few days and today even while the summit was happening but into this evening, we`ve got a bunch of new developments that have actually given us as citizens a lot more clarity, a lot of new clarity in terms of what happened to us and what evidence law enforcement and counterintelligence investigators have been able to assemble.
And when we can look at the evidence that they`ve been able to nail down, where they have shown their work which they have done so much of in the past few days, that gives us a view of where it looks like they are heading which again is a further help to us in terms of figuring out who we are, who we want to be and how we are going to deal with what is now a serious national security crisis for our country.
So, to that end, I think the legal case here is not necessarily the way we fix this as a country -- I don`t know what is the way we fix this as a country. It`s certainly the way that we find out what`s going on and get the truth.
And to that end, in terms of the evolution of this legal case, let me start with one small development that didn`t get very much attention today and I`m leading with this not because it`s the most important thing but simply because I think you might not have heard about it. It`s a new development in the case of Paul Manafort, the president`s campaign chair.
Manafort, of course, is in jail now awaiting two different federal trials on multiple felony charges in each jurisdiction. Now, the first jurisdiction in which Manafort was charged was actually Washington, D.C. The judge set a trial date for Manafort in D.C. in September.
The second jurisdiction in which he was charged was in Virginia, the Eastern District of Virginia, and even though those charges came second, the Eastern District of Virginia is known as the rocket docket. They like to go fast.
Don`t ask a judge in Eastern District of Virginia for a delay in your trial. Don`t take a long recess at your trial. Don`t ask the judge to make your trial itself take too long. In the Eastern District of Virginia, they like to go fast, sometimes faster than either the prosecutors or the defense is comfortable with.
In Manafort`s Virginia trial, not only did they set his trial date for July two months ahead of his dc trial date even though he was charged in D.C. first, but the judge in Manafort`s case in Virginia has really sped things along, turned down Manafort`s request for a delay in the trial. He also turned down prosecutor`s request for a longer period of time to be blocked out on the judge`s calendar for the trial.
They wanted a three-week trial and he was like, no, you should be able to get this done in one week. I`m obsessed with the fact that I`m giving you two weeks. That`s terrible. Go faster. Fast, fast, fast.
He wants to get this thing done. That`s what this docket is known for and that`s what this judge is known for.
And that`s why it is surprising and potentially very interesting today that in Paul Manafort`s case today in the rocket docket Eastern District of Virginia, the judge just handed out a big delay, just postponed a hearing that was due to happen in Manafort`s case tomorrow morning.
This was going to be an interesting part of the case anyway. It`s a hearing to discuss a lot of different procedural elements of the case, some of the last-ditch things Manafort`s defense appears to be trying in order to try to get him off the hook. Tomorrow was going to be that hearing, but the judge now says that`ll be delayed until next week. And no, we don`t know why.
I mean, it`s totally possible that the judge has a toothache, right, or needs to get his car inspected and so just realize like, oh, can`t meet tomorrow for some totally anodyne reason -- totally possible.
But it is also worth noting that things have been going very badly for Manafort and his defense team in his case. His lawyers have lost on literally every single motion and request they have made to the judge up to and including Paul Manafort being moved several days ago to a new jail he did not want to be moved to, a move that occasions the public release of this mug shot.
If this hearing in Manafort`s case is being delayed until next week because of some significant new development in the case, what everybody is obviously on the edge of their seat about is the prospect that the new significant development occasioning the delay could be that he`s potentially considering a guilty plea or some other kind of negotiation with prosecutors. He`s the only American charged thus far in the entire Russia legal case who has not pled guilty and/or agreed to cooperate with prosecutors. If he does so, that would be a big deal.
So, you should know that`s going on in the matter of our case. And as we were getting that surprising bit -- small bit of information out of the Eastern District of Virginia today, as we were getting that information, the Justice Department today announced a surprise new indictment. Now, this has made a lot more headlines.
A lot of the reporting on this indictment today sort of credulously describes the woman who was charged today. Maria Butina, as a Russian gun rights activist. Take that with a grain of salt. There isn`t a gun rights movement in Russia, let alone one that she is part of.
There aren`t gun rights in Russia. There`s no gun rights movement in Russia. The idea that Vladimir Putin and his political party with which she has allied, the idea that they would support that kind of activism on Russian soil is ridiculous. That`d be like hearing that Mike Pence was going to be grand marshal of a gay pride parade near you, right? Does not compute.
What Maria Butina is and has been visibly so for a few years now is the sort of odd Russian appendage to the American gun rights movement to the NRA specifically and associated conservative organizations that are influential in the Republican Party.
A couple of months ago, you might remember as reporting that among the American officials she and another Russian who she`s associated with and Russian official named Alexander Torshin, among the Americans they were able to get to go for this laughable gun rights in Russia scam that they were pulling was John Bolton. John Bolton who`s the new Trump national security advisor.
I mean, Maria Butina was arrested yesterday and is being charged as a secret agent of the Russian Federation. John Bolton, national security adviser, not that long ago was persuaded to make a video address for her supposed gun rights group in Russia.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BOLTON, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR: Today, you`re engaged in a historic debate about the possible expansion of your freedoms. Should the Russian people have the right to bear arms?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Today, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., the person who arranged for John Bolton to make that address on Russian gun rights, she was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of the Russian Federation within the United States. Quote, the FBI`s investigation has revealed that Maria Butina, the defendant, was working in the U.S. at the direction of an unnamed Russian official who was described elsewhere in the criminal complaint as a high-level official in the Russian government who was previously a member of the legislature of the Russian Federation and later became a top official at the Russian Central Bank.
Now, again, that Russian official isn`t named in the criminal complaint but it`s clear as a bell that he`s Alexander Torshin, who has sort of been her longtime associate in this effort with the NRA.
As described in the complaint today, Torshin, quote, directed Maria Butina`s activities in furtherance of this conspiracy. Quote, the FBI`s investigation has further revealed that Butina and Torshin took steps to develop relationships with American politicians in order to establish private or as she called them back channel lines of communication. These lines could be used by the Russian Federation to penetrate the U.S. national decision-making apparatus to advance the agenda of the Russian Federation.
The criminal complaint goes on to describe what seems to be a Russian government supported effort to use Alexander Torshin and Maria Butina to influence the Republican Party in the United States using the NRA as Russia`s point of leverage. And it`s clear from the context in this criminal complaint that the political party in question here is definitely the Republican Party and the gun rights organization in question here is definitely the NRA. So, that`s sort of how you have to read it.
But knowing that, the FBI obtains with what they call her project proposal for this spying operation. And if you insert the relevant proper nouns about the Republican Party and the NRA, it`s pretty striking what she says as of March 2015 she was trying to do.
This is her project proposal. The first line of the project proposal reads: Project description diplomacy. It goes on to state that a major U.S. political party, the Republican Party, would likely obtain control over the U.S. government after the 2016 elections. Hmm.
Project proposal says, quote: The Republican Party is traditionally associated with negative and aggressive foreign policy particularly with regard to Russia. However, now with the right to negotiate seems best to build constructive relations. The project proposal also notes the central place and influence in the Republican Party played by the NRA. The NRA, according to Butina, is the, quote, largest sponsor of elections to the U.S. Congress, as well as a sponsor of the CPAC Conference and other events.
Now, that`s her project proposal for this influence operation which the FBI says she was running here illegally in the United States, to influence the Republican Party on behalf of the Russian government, to infiltrate and influence them. Now, that`s her project proposal she`s writing in March 2015.
Why would somebody working for the Russian government believe in March of 2015 that the Republican Party was likely to obtain control over the U.S. government in the elections the following year in 2016? Why`d she think that? Why does she think that enough to be so sure that she was going to predicate this whole influence operation over a period of years on that expected outcome?
Also, why in the spring of 2015 did she think she had the, quote, it`s a -- the right to negotiate? Why would the Russian government believe in 2015 they had the right to negotiate what the positions of the Republican Party would be ahead of the 2016 elections?
Again, don`t know, but we are likely to find out. The FBI lays out in detail in this criminal complaint how she worked on behalf of the Russian government to set up contacts and secret communications between unnamed U.S. persons and the Russian government. We don`t know who U.S. person two is in the criminal complaint, but a year after her project proposal, in March 2016, Maria Butina reportedly emailed U.S. person two and said that this Russian official Alexander Torshin had confirmed to her his desire in our Russian-American project and said that a representative of the Russian presidential administration had expressed approval for building this communication channel.
So, Putin approved of her building this back channel to the American Republican Party through the NRA, a back-channel that went from the Kremlin to the Republican Party using the NRA as the conduit, approved by Russian presidents -- the Russian presidential administration.
According to the complaint also, as the election results for the election came in overnight as November 8th turned into November 9th, 2016, Maria Butina engaged in Twitter direct messages with Alexander Torshin, with her apparent handler in the Russian government. That night as the election returns came in, according to the criminal complaint, she said to him, quote: I`m going to sleep, it`s 3:00 a.m. here, I am ready for further orders.
Later that month, having arranged for a large Russian delegation to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, which took place in early 2017, right after the Trump inauguration, Maria Butina, according to the complaint, sent to another U.S. person a list of the Russians who would be attending the prayer breakfast. Quote: Butina stated that the people on the list are handpicked by Alexander Torshin and me and are very influential in Russia. They are coming to establish a back channel of communication. That was an email to U.S. person one.
The importance of this new indictment -- I was going to say twofold, I think it`s threefold.
First, this is a collusion indictment. This is a criminal allegation from the national security division of the Justice Department and the FBI that an agent of the Russian government was working in Republican and conservative politics in this country to among other things set up secret contacts and secret lines of communication with the Kremlin, with support from and approval from Vladimir Putin. That`s one. This is a collusion indictment, and there`s U.S. persons who are described but not named in this indictment, presumably we will come to know who those U.S. persons are. That`s one.
Number two, in our own politics, of course, this has very large implications for the freaking NRA and its continuing role in American politics and in the Republican Party and in the conservative movement. I mean, this will, if nothing else, put a very hot fire under the question of whether the NRA may also have been used not just for a Russian influence operation in the United States but potentially as a means of funneling Russian money into the United States to influence the election.
But there`s one last way in which I think that this indictment of Maria Butina is going to be really important going forward and that`s the logistics. This indictment is not only going to be interesting on its first day. This is going to be a gift that keeps on giving because unlike the indictments of all the other Russians, all the other 26 Russians who have been criminally charged thus far in the Mueller investigation, unlike those 26, Maria Butina was here and they have arrested her. The other 26 Russians charged will likely never ever set foot in a U.S. courtroom or ever again on U.S. soil, not as long as the us Justice Department exists.
But Maria Butina was here. They apparently executed search warrants on her residence in April. That`s according to a statement from her lawyer today. Then over the weekend, an arrest warrant was very quietly issued for her. We don`t know why. She was arrested yesterday.
On Sunday, her lawyer says without notice to counsel, she is currently being held without bond. Court filings today indicate that a notification has been made to the Russian consulate that the U.S. is holding one of Russia`s citizens. She is expected to appear in court for a hearing on Wednesday, in federal court in Washington, D.C.
And what that means is that in all likelihood in this case. There`s going to be a case there`s going to be a trial that is unlike the Internet Research Agency indictments from February and it`s unlike the 12 Russians from Russian military intelligence who were indicted on Friday. In those cases, we`ve got names and descriptions and very serious crimes alleged, but those Russians aren`t going to end up in an American courtroom. In this case, they`ve got her.
So, we`re going to see her in court on Wednesday and we`re going to be able to see the fight over these charges unfold in public in a way we can observe. And, of course, this all follows the incredible bundle of new information that we got on Friday when those 12 GRU officers were indicted for their attack on the Democratic Party in the Clinton campaign during the election.
When the president today stood there in Helsinki next to Vladimir Putin and said he doesn`t believe the U.S. government on the question of whether or not Russia messed with our election, when he instead cited Putin`s denial as very strong and very powerful, part of the reason that caused such an explosion of outrage today is because he said that standing next to Vladimir Putin. But it`s also because he said it immediately after the U.S. government published reams of information that has the Russians dead to rights on what they did and they`ve shown their work and it`s very specific.
I mean, in the Friday indictment, they trace the bitcoin payments used by these GRU officers to set up the first website where they dumped the stolen documents from the Democratic Party. They follow the bitcoin. They follow the money. They connect the money used to set up DCLeaks.com to the same funds being used to set up malicious domains that were used to spend -- send those spear phishing emails to the Democratic Party, which is how they hacked and stole the documents in the first place.
That means the publication and dissemination of the stolen materials are linked by evidence, linked by a money trail to the way they stole the materials in the first place. That means the hacking and stealing of the data was part of the same criminal operation as the dissemination of the data. That means anybody who aided and abetted in any part of that aided and abetted in that major crime. We know that`s all the same people doing all the same work with all the same money for all the same purpose. Any Americans involved in that.
Twitter account they set up for DCLeaks was operated from the same computer that posted online fake American identities that pushed hashtags like #blacksagainstHillary. The Guccifer 2.0 Twitter feed was run through the same virtual private network that was registered on the same server where they hosted more of these spear-phishing domains. And that whole virtual private network was paid for out of the same pool of bitcoin that they used to buy space on a server in Malaysia from which they ran the DCLeaks.com Website.
We don`t have to memorize all of those strands in the spider web, but it`s all laid out in detail in the indictment. All of the different parts of it, the propaganda to make people believe there was controversy about and hatred for Hillary Clinton that did not exist in nature, that was faked by the Russian government. Those were the same people and it was the same operation that was stealing material from the Democratic Party in the Clinton campaign.
And those were the same people and it was the same operation that staged the release of those stolen documents to cause maximum political pain, first through DCLeaks and then through Guccifer and then through WikiLeaks, all the same people, all the same military intelligence operatives, all the same money, all the same computers. And that gives us incredible insight into what the crime was and who done it.
But it also ought to give us an appreciation for how much detail U.S. law enforcement and U.S. counterintelligence has been able to get about what happened to us. They got the names of the individual Russian military intelligence officers associated with specific fake online personas that spewed anti-Hillary Clinton propaganda during the campaign. They knew who was masquerading as who. They know which GRU officer was at which computer at which date and which time deleting files and accounts and running programs to clear his tracks when he worried that the FBI was on to him.
And one of the things we have yet to talk about tonight but we`re going to talk about with somebody who was right there in the middle of it while it happened is the very, very serious allegation raised in the Friday indictment that the Russian operation with or without the help of American confederates that is still unclear, they appear to have done stuff or at least tried to do stuff that wasn`t just about swaying public opinion and stealing stuff that was then turned back around into the U.S. media, thereby manipulating the U.S. news media and the way it covered the election.
The indictment says beyond all that, that the Russians targeted field operation plans when they stole stuff from the Democratic Party and they stole hundreds of thousands of individual voter files, and they stole something that they described as the test applications related to the DNC`s analytics -- the DNC`s analytics.
If this president was elected not just with an illegal boost from Russia in the form of propaganda and social media manipulation and documents that were stolen and then turned loose on the public, if this president was elected because Russian military intelligence obtained for him his opponents field operation plans and voter files and the Democratic Party`s analytics, that is not like cheating on the test anymore. That is like having the insert key with you when you sat down to purportedly take the test. And that`s not an influence information -- influence operation anymore.
That is -- I mean, that that is that is something as I said at the top we need to really seriously reckon with as a country maybe for the first time and without blinders on. We now need to get this right.
The president publicly took sides with Russia against the U.S. government today and that really has occasioned a national freak-out. But at this moment, it is worth being clear-eyed and specific about what has gone wrong here, what the danger is and what the best way is for America to fix a problem like this one, which is like nothing we have ever confronted before as a nation. We have to get this right.
Big night tonight. Stay buckled in. Lots to come.
MADDOW: Was it a surprising day really? Was it a surprise? Clearly, people are shocked, but I have a nominee for least surprising moment at the Trump-Putin press conference today.
It was when President Trump found a way to brag about his election win over Hillary Clinton. It was actually a question posed to Vladimir Putin and Trump jumped in to answer himself, just to make sure everybody heard again that he won that election fair and square with no Russian help and the whole Russia investigations just sour grapes from the Democrats who did he mention he beat them? And the president brings that up at every opportunity, says that all the time.
Here is something to note though in the indictment that came down a couple days ago from the special counsel, federal prosecutors in that indictment are essentially raising the prospect that among the things Russia stole from the Democrats were things that Russia could have used to help the Trump campaign in a material way in its campaign operations, not just a disinformation campaign, not just -- you know, Facebook posts and social media manipulation to try to make Americans hate each other in a divisive way, right?
According to the indictment that was handed down on Friday, the Russian government`s hackers, quote, targeted computers containing information such as opposition research and field operation plans for the 2016 elections. Also, quote, in or around September 2016, the conspirators successfully gained access to Democratic Party computers hosted on a third party cloud computing service. These computers contained test applications related to the DNC`s analytics.
Quote, after conducting reconnaissance, the conspirators gathered data by creating backups or snapshots of the DNC`s cloud-based systems. And that sounds like, you know, one in a -- one in a list of a million things that the Democrats stole. Just focus in on that for a second.
Two months before the election, Russian government hackers set out to and in fact succeeded in stealing the Democratic Party`s analytics, which I think means it`s detailed information on its own voters, which is the Democratic Party`s map for how they planned to try to contest and win the election. If that ended up with the opposing campaign or with the Russian government, what could they have done with that information?
Joining us now is Glen Caplin. He`s a former senior national spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign. A big part of Mr. Caplin`s job on the campaign was studying the Russian hacking operation in real time and trying to explain what was happening.
Glen, thank you for being here.
GLEN CAPLIN, CLINTON CAMPAIGN FORMER SENIOR NATIONAL SPOKESMAN: Thanks. Nice to be back.
MADDOW: Let me just ask, whether that very detailed indictment, more than 300 people in the Democratic Party in the Hillary campaign being targeted than being able to get follow people`s keystrokes and screenshots, getting field operations data, going after the analytics that were on the Democratic Party servers. Does that comport with your understanding of what happened to you?
CAPLIN: Yes, it`s both not surprising and mind-blowing at the same time. But it completely comports with what we`ve known back to July of 2016. And last time I was here, we talked about the switch and tactics for example from Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks to WikiLeaks being a change in strategy.
What you saw on this indictment is where it says WikiLeaks said to Russian intelligence, we will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.
CAPLIN: And they talked about actual timing.
So, it lays out exactly what we`ve been saying for last year and a half.
MADDOW: And that evolution was fascinating actually. Reading that in the indictment, it suddenly sort of became clear to me, that kind of disambiguated it for me. They started with DCLeaks. First, they tried to create a Website called Election Leaks.
MADDOW: They couldn`t do that for some reason. They got DC Leaks. They purported to be American hacktivists, then when the Democratic Party called in CrowdStrike to do an assessment about what happened with that hack and they fingered Russia and said this looks like a Russian government, then they formed the Guccifer 2.0 persona in response to say, no, no, no, it`s not Russia, I`m a lone hacker.
And then WikiLeaks comes to Guccifer, the Russian GRU, and says we can do it better.
MADDOW: And start specifically looking for information they can -- they can use, that WikiLeaks can use, and that Russia can use to attract Bernie Sanders supporters.
CAPLIN: Correct and WikiLeaks says to GRU that this would be a good time to sow discord between Hillary and Bernie voters.
MADDOW: And Russia obliges.
CAPLIN: Obliges. And one fact to remember is it`s not a -- it`s not new news that Guccifer 2.0 is a front for Russian intelligence.
CAPLIN: There was reams of reports that came out in summer of 2016 said exactly that.
So, when Trump official campaign officials say, oh, I wasn`t talking to Russian intelligence -- please, come on. It`s nonsense.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about the analytics.
So, September, so we`re talking like maximum eight weeks before the election, they somehow -- the Russian military intelligence hackers somehow get the DNC`s analytics or data related to the DNC`s analytics off this -- off this cloud server.
What does that mean? What our analytics and what kind of information is that? What utility would information like that be?
CAPLIN: A lot of utility. So, analytics provides a window into individual and who -- what voters the campaign needs to talk to. So, it will tell you things like which voters you think are persuadable, which voters you think are likely to turn out.
MADDOW: Which voters literally, which voters, which individual people?
CAPLIN: Correct. That`s the individual level.
And you have to remember, Democratic campaigns organizations know their voters better the Republicans do and vice-versa, right? So, it`s extraordinarily valuable for your opponent to have that kind of data about individual voters about who you think is going to turn out, who you think is persuadable, who you think is going to vote for your candidate, who you think is enthusiastic?
MADDOW: So, if you and the Clinton campaign had had that kind of -- had had the analytics from the Trump campaign, from the other side, that had fallen out of the sky and you had had that, you`d be able to you`ll be able to turn your campaign around in order to use that information to defeat Trump?
CAPLIN: It would be enormously helpful. And remember, you use -- a campaign use analytics to decide we`re going to buy TV advertising.
CAPLIN: Who you going to target, literally target on social media. So, your opponent having that would be deeply, deeply problematic.
And this is an important point -- before election day, a story came out where a senior Trump official was on background said we have three major voter suppression operations underway.
MADDOW: And remember this, it was a weird thing to go to be in the press, like you don`t announce we`re doing voter suppression campaign.
CAPLIN: And especially when your whole thing is the election is rigged, it`s even more bizarre. It`s not something a campaign would come out and say it. But they were very, very specific.
He said, quote: They`re aimed at three groups Clinton needs to win overwhelmingly, idealistic white liberals, young women and African- Americans.
MADDOW: So, that`s in the press ahead --
CAPLIN: That`s in the press before Election Day. And so, when I saw the July 27th date in the Mueller indictment, which is interesting for many reasons --
MADDOW: Which is when Trump says Russia if you`re listening, would want those 33,000 emails --
CAPLIN: Which caught our attention on the campaign loudly that day. And clearly, the Russians were listening as well.
So, when you think of July 27, and you think to this story before election day, where their stated goal is voter suppression -- well, one of the most valuable things you can use analytics for is who you target --
MADDOW: You`re implying that they may have said that to the press in order to signal Russia what they wanted done with that information?
CAPLIN: Absolute possibility.
MADDOW: Glen Caplin is former senior national spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign -- Glen, thank you for coming in. Much appreciated.
CAPLIN: Nice to be here. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Lots more to get to tonight, miles and miles and miles of news to get to before we sleep. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s not just you. This is how it looked overseas from "The Guardian" newspaper in the U.K.: Trump treasonous after siding with Putin on election meddling. This is from "Le Monde" in France, this translates to: Trump`s weakness in front of Putin even scandalizes the Republican ranks. In Spain, this says: Trump surrenders to Putin after humiliating Europe.
This is Germany, (SPEAKING GERMAN) how`s my German? That means some of the autocrats, unless somebody`s playing a joke on me. It could mean anything, I have no idea.
This was the front page in Finland right after the summit which took place in Finland. That one you can read in any language, Trump zero, Putin one.
So, yes, now today, we need to figure out as a country of what we`re going to do now that the U.S. president is openly siding with another government against our own. It`s kind of comforting I guess to know that the rest of the world doesn`t really know how to process it either, but we do have a few guests coming up to help us understand it. Hold strong, eat some Wheaties in the break. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is a Nice Kodak moment between Russia`s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and our Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, it`s helpfully documented by the Russian foreign ministry today. This was Lavrov at today`s summit, snagging the best seat in the house, right next to Putin. There`s the right-hand man literally.
When Lavrov was asked today how this summit went, he basically burst with happiness like a grape. He told Russian state media that today was, quote, fabulous, better than super. And I didn`t have to add the ellipses there, that`s literally how he said it, fabulous, better than super that`s how they`re viewing it in the Kremlin.
Joining us now is Michael McFaul former U.S. ambassador to Russia and now an NBC news analyst.
Ambassador McFaul, I know you have been up all night. I know this has been a remarkable 24-hour period. Thank you for being with us tonight.
MICHAEL MCFAUL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA: Glad to be here.
MADDOW: With a little bit of time to reflect on what you saw and the importance of these events, I wanted to ask what you think of the fact that there is kind of a national freak-out happening in this country today about what the president did. The behavior of presidents at foreign summits is always of interest, it`s always newsworthy. This seems to have shaken this country today and I wonder if you feel with a little reflection that that`s warranted.
MCFAUL: Yes, it is striking to be, Rachel, that it has gotten an overwhelming reaction all over the country, all over the world, too. Just remember what you said earlier. You and I have been talking about this for many years already. Many years, I want to emphasize that.
But because there was such a focus on the president today standing next to Putin, that created the image and it would have been so easy for him to push back just a little bit, right? I`m sure that`s what his advisors told him to do before that press conference and yet he didn`t do it and I just think it was jarring to see him doing that standing right next to Vladimir Putin. Hopefully, it`s a wake-up call for our country to take this a much more seriously.
MADDOW: What would "taking it more seriously" mean in nuts-and-bolts terms? since I`ve been on the air tonight, I`ve just been starting to see the first images from protests that are taking place right now across the street from the White House seemingly spontaneous protests breaking out. We have seen calls today for members of Trumps national security team to resign, for senior intelligence officials to resign.
Obviously, the country is taking this seriously. You can see that from the reaction. But do you agree with these calls for resignation, with these calls that people should be out in the street, sort of if not now, when?
MCFAUL: Well, resignations are always a tough call because when they leave, then things could get worse. So I know some of those people. I`ve known some of the people who`ve been fired by President Trump, and I know that dilemma.
But I do think we need a greater national debate about what`s going on. Again, you and I`ve been doing this for a long time, but a lot of people haven`t joined that debate and in particular, Republicans need to step up. They need to speak out and not just the familiar voices, because this is a national security crisis, and the president of the United States flew all the way to Finland, met with Vladimir Putin, and basically capitulated.
It felt like appeasement watching it and there`s no explanation to it, right? That`s the -- you have an explanation.
MCFAUL: We`ve been just discussing possible scenarios, but there`s really no way to describe it. I mean, do you really think President Trump cares about arms control? That was his big takeaway. You know, we`re going to do arms control now. I`ll bet you he doesn`t even know what`s in the new START treaty.
And so, when you think about that way, you put it all together, you think why is it that he is so, so willing to step over himself, to lavish praise on Vladimir Putin? I think the American people and our government demand that we get an answer to that question.
MADDOW: Michael McFaul, former ambassador to Russia, thank you, sir. Again, I know it`s been a very long 24 hours. Thanks for being with us.
That timestamp is for real. He`s up before 5:00 a.m. in Finland. This time of year, Finland is bright for a lot of a night, but still, that`s a lot to ask of Ambassador McFaul.
I will just underscore that his bottom line assessment there that would this is a national security crisis. This is a national security crisis at least, as far as I can tell. The question is how we handle it. Usually when we have a national security crisis in this country, we look to the president to lead us. In this case, the national security crisis is the president and I`m not sure we know who will lead us out of this, but we`re going to find out soon.
More to come here tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: What you`re hearing there is you`re the puppet, you`re the puppet.
So, the president`s home. He just landed at Andrews Air Base and then took a helicopter from there to the White House, whereupon welcome home, Mr. President, a humble and hastily called protest was waiting for him across the street from the White House.
I think we`ve got a shot of Texas -- yes, Texas Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro the bullhorn there. Also, these giant illuminated letters that spell L-I-A-R, which is rail backwards but I think they`ve got it facing the right way for him to read it. Welcome home, Mr. President.
Joining us now is Michael Beschloss, NBC News presidential historian.
Mr. Beschloss, thank you for being here.
MICHAEL BESCHLOSS, NBC NEWS PRESIDENTIAL HISTORIAN: Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: I want to give you the chance to respond to what you saw today. Just with the historians, I -- how big a deal was this?
BESCHLOSS: We are living in a national emergency. We may not have known it 24 hours ago, we do now.
You know, I have been studying and writing about presidents since I was 20 years old. I never thought I would live to say this -- this is a president who now has demonstrated that he deserves suspicion is acting on behalf of another country over his own. We`ve had presidents we`ve never had this situation before. This is something that`s a real crisis.
MADDOW: You describe this as a national emergency. Ambassador Michael McFaul just described this as a national security crisis. A lot of the most dramatic history of the U.S. presidencies -- of the U.S. presidency is about presidents rising to the occasion or not at the time --
MADDOW: -- of national emergencies and national security crises.
Watergate is the only other time I can think of in modern history where there was a national crisis where the president was the crisis or was part of the crisis.
MADDOW: That`s why we keep going back to Watergate in terms of I think trying to understand the magnitude here.
But when it`s a national security matter, when it`s a foreign policy matter, when it`s an intelligence matter like this and the president is not the one to lead the country out of this problem, do we have anything from history that helps us understand who we look to for leadership instead?
BESCHLOSS: Sadly, we don`t. I mean or a good thing we don`t because we`ve never had a said -- you know, Nixon did terrible things, but no one ever suspected seriously that he was acting on behalf of Russia or some other foreign powers. So, we can`t look back in history and say this is the way we did it.
On the other hand, you know, this is the time for members of Congress to step out, particularly members of Donald Trump`s own party. Republicans during Richard Nixon went to the White House and said, you can`t stay there anymore. You know, this is not what our party stands for, we can no longer accept this.
If we see tomorrow morning that members Republican leaders in the House and Senate are still saying, you know, yes, this was a terrible press conference but we`re still for Donald Trump, then we`ve got an even bigger problem. We also have elections this fall.
MADDOW: Also, that question about Republicans and their role here, in sharp relief with the latest indictment tonight about a Russian influence operation targeting the Republican Party.
BESCHLOSS: You have to make sure these elections work.
MADDOW: Michael Beschloss, NBC news presidential historian -- thank you, my friend.
BESCHLOSS: Thank you.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: I have once again eaten the real estate of my neighbor. I`m sorry. We`ll see you tomorrow night.
Now it`s past time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Sorry, Lawrence. Good evening, sir.
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