Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: September 18, 2018 Guest: Hillary Clinton
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very much. Much appreciated, my friend.
And thank you at home for joining us this hour. Happy Tuesday night.
One year ago, Hillary Clinton published this book, which is simply titled "What Happened". It`s her perspective on what happened in the 2016 election. It contains what is still one of the most comprehensive timelines of what happened to the Democratic Party, what happened to her campaign when it came to the Russian attack on the 2016 election. I mean, there`s lots of other things in this book.
But that, like 50-page summary starts on page 325. It`s very, very readable. As I said, I think it`s one of the best summaries anybody`s done anywhere in terms of what happened with the Russian attack. It is highly readable, highly recommended. This came out last year.
Now as of tonight, there is this version of the book as well. And this version of the book has a big new caboose. She has written a new chunk of the book, and it is about what has happened in the past year. And it`s not good.
I mean, the book is good, but in Hillary Clinton`s counting, what has happened in the past year is really, really not good.
Here is part of how she sums it up in the new portion of the book. She says, quote: The corruption of the Trump administration is breathtaking. Our democratic institutions and traditions are under assault every day. There may not be tanks in the streets and the administration`s malevolence may be constrained by now by its incompetence, but make no mistake, our democracy is in crisis.
She says: I`m writing this not as a Democrat who lost an election, but as a Democrat afraid of losing a country. She says: Since this book came out, my fears about what a Trump presidency would mean for our country have been repeatedly surpassed by reality.
It`s not a feel-good kind of book. It`s kind of a -- well, I wouldn`t say it`s a fire alarm. Maybe it`s a signal flare.
Joining us now for the interview tonight, I`m very happy to say, is Hillary Rodham Clinton -- the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, former senator, former first lady, former secretary of state.
Madam Secretary, thank you for being here.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: I`m delighted to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: Nice to have you here. There`s a whole bunch of things I want to ask you about.
MADDOW: I do want to talk to you about the new parts of the book. I want to talk to you about some new evidence that has recently emerged actually just in the past few days about what happened during the election. I also want to talk with you about some stuff that`s going on in the news right now.
MADDOW: But, given that portion that I just read from the book. I want to jump right in with, essentially that fear that you are expressing. You are not a hyperbolic person. You`re very careful and precise in your public statements. Why are you telling people now that you are afraid of losing a country?
CLINTON: Well I think for several reasons. I -- I do say in the afterward that I, like every other American, hope for the best, wanted to give our new President the benefit of the doubt. But the actions that we have seen coming from the White House and this Administration, in the nearly two years since the election, have raised all kinds of signal flares, alarm bells about what is happening to our democracy. And put aside partisanship and all of the ideological concerns, we have to defend the fundamental values and ideals of the American democracy.
And very briefly, I look at several different challenges that are all coming at us at the same time. Degrading the rule of law. Delegitimizing elections. Attacking truth and reason. Undermining our national unity.
Looking at the broad cross section of what has been going on ever since this presidency began, I think it is a crisis and it`s a crisis that should concern every American.
MADDOW: You put an even finer point on that in the new portion of the book. You say, quote, "A growing number of political scientists and historians who studied the rise of authoritarians and the fall of democracies are sounding alarm. The warning to us is, authoritarianism is gaining strength around the world and here at home. I share that sense of urgency and alarm." You`re worried not just about the erosion of democratic norms. Those things you were just describing. Are you literally worried about America becoming subject to authoritarian rule under Trump?
CLINTON: Well what I`m worried about is that these authoritarian tendencies that we have seen at work in this Administration with this President. Left unchecked could very well result in the erosion of our institutions to an extent that we`ve never imagined possible here. Look we`re a robust dynamic democracy. We have lots of disagreements. But I look at what`s happening in Hungary. What`s happening in Poland, obviously Russia is exhibit A.
And I know that if we don`t have a very big rejection of those tendencies come in this mid-term election, left unchecked and unaccountable I think you will only see more of these attacks on our institutions, on our norms, on the rule of law, that could do lasting damage. We`re not there yet but that`s because we have an election and it`s an election that could not be more critical to ending any continuing threat from authoritarian tendencies.
MADDOW: I -- I feel like one of the sort of signal developments of my adulthood as an American citizen has been, the erosion of people`s faith in Congress, specifically as an institution. You`ve seen the -- the approval ratings for Congress sort of drive down and down and down every year to the point where it`s like lower than most STDs at this point. Public approval.
But people just have the lowest possible expectations and the sense that Congress is essentially worthless. But you`re talking about the most serious possible threats to our country, to our way of life, short of foreign invasion. And you`re saying that the -- the key, the solution is electing a new Congress. It`s -- it`s hard to put that much faith in the idea of a -- a transformation of Congress given the way that we, as a country, think of that body with such little respect now.
CLINTON: Well unfortunately, we have lost respect in most of our institutions and that does have to be rebuilt. I mean, I -- I remain optimistic that we can take on these new challenges. Show the resilience that is needed. But we don`t have many options. When you have a Republican party which I deeply regret, I served with a number of the people who are currently still in the Congress. I was there for eight years. And I see them turning a blind eye to what is going on.
I -- I see them standing by when the President orders the declassification of very important intelligence information in order to help himself and hurt others. The continuing assault on the FBI, the Department of Justice. These serious problems that the Republicans in Congress seem unwilling or unable to address.
And so yes, we need a new Congress and we at least need a new Congress and a new Republican party to begin to speak out and to exercise their Constitutional responsibility as a check and balance on what the Administration is doing.
MADDOW: Our focus has been, as -- as the -- as the Trump Administration has Trump as a President individually has broken so many political norms and worried so many people including yourself about very serious changes in American democracy. We have really focused as a country on what Republicans will or won`t do about it. On whether or not there are Republicans particularly in position of power, particularly in the Senate.
You`ve been in the House who will prove to be a check on their own -- the President of their own party. And we say that because people are subject to different kinds of -- when I think is generated by members of their own party but also because the Republicans are a majority in both places -- in both -- both houses of Congress.
If the Democrats win one or both houses, the Republican party will cease to be such a focus of our, sort of, national interests. We will stop looking for individual Republican Senators to stand up and stop things that Trump wants to do and it will become the Democratic Party`s responsibility to try to check him and change the country. That immediately gets people to a discussion about impeachment.
Do you have thoughts on that about whether or not that`s something that Democrats should put on the table right away if they get control of Congress?
CLINTON: I think there should be a much broader agenda and I know it`s difficult to imagine having the Congress work on so many issues at the same time. Because it does require a level of organization and -- and follow through that is hard and I know that having been there. If there is evidence that comes up about high crimes and misdemeanors, yes, it should be followed through on but there is so many other things that need to be addressed.
If you look at what this Administration has done with respect to regulations on everything from asbestos to pesticides to labor concerns. This is going to begin to really have adverse consequences on many Americans.
So, there`s -- there`s a role for the Congress to play in saying no, stop. We`re not going to ignore the evidence. We are not going to live in a fact free universe. You, Administrator X need to come up here and justify what you`ve done for two years.
So there`s going to be a lot to do and the Democrats need to ready to get immediately into action, right off the starting blocks, because a year is about what they have to begin to try to right the -- the constitutional ship again.
MADDOW: Do you think that the Democrats are going to do well in the mid- terms? Do you think there`s enough to flip one or both houses?
CLINTON: I do. But it depends upon who turns out and votes. And, you know, I know that a lot of people think there should be some other way of addressing this than just urging everybody to go out and vote, but there isn`t right now.
MADDOW: That`s our system.
CLINTON: That is our system. And if we ignore the importance of this mid- term election and there is no check and balance. We don`t take back one or both of the houses of Congress, then I think you`ll see even more of the dismantling of our institutions with very dire effects.
MADDOW: Thinking about that balance between Executive branch and the Legislative branch, of course the other branch of government is the Judiciary. I have to ask you about some breaking news tonight. I imagine you`ve been following the twists and turns of the Brett Kavanaugh nomination.
So, heading into this evening, as we understand it, the plan had been for the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, essentially to reopen on Monday. With testimony both from Judge Kavanaugh and from Professor Christine Blasey Ford who alleges that he attempted to rape her when -- when he was 17 years old.
Well tonight, actually just a few minutes ago, Professor Blasey`s attorney has said that Professor Blasey will not testify on this matter until the FBI has investigated it. We just obtained a letter that she has sent to Senator Grassley. In which she says, I`ll just read you some of the letter.
In the 36 hours since her name became public, Dr. Ford has received a stunning amount of support from her community and fellow citizens across our country. At the same time however, her worst fears have materialized. She`s been the target of vicious harassment and even death threats. As a result of these kind of threats, her family was forced to relocate out of their home.
Her email has been hacked. She`s been impersonated online. While Dr. Ford`s life was being turned upside down, you and your staff scheduled a public hearing for her to testify at the same table as Judge Kavanaugh in front of two dozen U.S. Senators on national television to relive this traumatic and harrowing incident.
The hearing was scheduled for six short days from today and would include interrogation by Senators who appear to have made up their minds that she`s mistaken and mixed up. While no sexual assault survivor should be subjected to such an ordeal, Dr. Ford wants to cooperate with the committee and with law enforcement officials.
As the committee has recognized and done before, an FBI investigation of the incident should be the first step in addressing her allegations. A full investigation by law enforcement officials will ensure that crucial facts and witnesses in this matter are accessed in a non-partisan matter and that the committee`s fully informed before conducting any hearing or making any decisions. We`d welcome any opportunities to talk with you.
Essentially, the lawyer saying, the FBI needs to look into this. The investigation needs to be conducted. The interviews need to be done by the FBI before she should testify. Do you have any reaction to that?
CLINTON: I think that`s a reasonable request. The White House could answer it very quickly by asking the FBI to reopen it`s background check and to take into account the accusation that`s been made and to gather the evidence about what can be known.
So far, they haven`t done that, and as someone who has watched this process unfold over many years, there does have to be some direction given to the FBI to pursue an investigation.
I don`t think it would be a lengthy investigation. I think it could be done in an expeditious manner. If they`re still trying to have a vote on this nominee, they could postpone for two weeks and probably get a lot more information than they have now, because what they have done, as her lawyers point out, is put Dr. Ford in the position of having to make her case without any kind of investigation that could be either helpful or detrimental to her.
And I think she`s asking that she be given the courtesy of having some facts laid out. And, you know, I heard Kellyanne Conway say we shouldn`t be subjecting her to insult. And I think you can`t avoid the appearance of insult if you don`t have an investigation so that she is, you know, able to be evaluated fairly.
And what I think the White House and the Republicans on the committee are trying to do is, you know, basically put her in the dock and try to rush this through.
MADDOW: In the Anita Hill case in 1991, the FBI did investigate Anita Hill`s allegations when they came to light. There was criticism that it was rushed and that it wasn`t enough. But the reason the FBI did that is because the White House counsel at the time for first President Bush, Boyden Gray, I think it was, asked the FBI to do that investigation.
MADDOW: That`s the relevant precedent here?
CLINTON: That is the relevant precedent. The FBI is not conducting an independent investigation. It`s conducting a background investigation. And the client, if you will, the requester is the White House.
So, the precedent that you just referred to is the precedent for getting the FBI to conduct an investigation. And that`s what the White House should do.
MADDOW: If the Brett Kavanaugh nomination is now hurdling into the suns, which is what I think, and that`s just my take on it. I don`t know if that will be proven right or wrong, there is the question about how the Senate should handle this matter going forward. I mean, there is this screwy precedent now where Republicans would not let President Obama fill an opening on the Supreme Court created by the death of Justice Scalia for nearly a year until they got another shot at the White House in the 2016 election.
Some Republican senators during the election campaign said that if you were elected in 2016, they fully intended to hold that seat open for all four years if necessary to give a Republican another shot at holding it.
Given that extreme recent history, do you think that Democrats should play that kind of hardball too, be prepared to use those kinds of tactics so not to be sort of the patsy being pushed around on this, or do you think Democrats should just go through regular order with whoever Trump has to put up next if the Kavanaugh nomination fails?
CLINTON: Well, what I would like to see is a Democratic majority that actually has the chance to make that choice. Right now, the Democrats have very few tools at their disposal to stop the Republicans from going full speed ahead and engaging in the kind of unprecedented behavior as they did with the Garland nomination.
So I`m not in favor of either unilateral disarmament or Defcon-10. I think there has to be some effort to try to get back to regular order, try to get back to having a system, a process in place so that we are not subjected to the hardball behavior of the Republicans that we saw in the Garland nomination, and we`re not subjected to the outrageous denial of the information that was requested on Kavanaugh. I mean, there can`t be one set of rules for Democrats and one set of rules for Republicans. That`s one of the reasons why people don`t have any confidence in the Congress. How can you? You don`t know what`s going to happen from day to day.
I remember back in the Thomas hearings when Senator Byrd was asked to what he was going to do, and he said, in a situation like this, we should give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country. And that`s what the Republicans should be doing right now, from the White House down Pennsylvania Avenue to the Senate, give the benefit of the doubt to the court and the country. And that means have an investigation that will then lead to a hearing that will then lead to a vote if appropriate.
And instead, they are playing the hardest of hardballs to, you know, try to pack the court with, you know, another nominee, regardless of the questions.
Remember, Rachel, there were lots of questions raised in the hearing itself about some of his testimony, some of the statements he had made when he was first confirmed for the circuit court, and then additional statements. So, there were already reasons to doubt the testimony and the positions that he was taking as well as substantive issues that are fair game for senators to explore.
MADDOW: If he is absolutely innocent of this charge, if this didn`t happen the way Professor Blasey Ford says it did, and that is what Judge Kavanaugh asserts, do you think that the Senate is capable of giving him due process? Obviously, allegations like this have -- there are lots of allegories for this and lots of times in politics.
Your husband when he was president faced allegations that were not the same as this, certainly, but had connections to these kinds of old allegations from years ago. And I know that you had concerns at the time. Your husband certainly had concerns at the time that he never really had due process to defend himself from allegations like this.
Have we learned anything over the years about due process not just for the accusers but also for the accused?
CLINTON: Well, I think that you have to take each of these situations sort of on their own merits, and what we have today is a process that has been rushed, that has been deliberately opaque where information that the Congress, not just Democratic senators, but all senators and the public deserve to see that they were denied. So, there has to be a set of standards. And, yes, there should be due process for everyone involved.
And I think that`s what Dr. Ford is asking for. She is asking for due process. She`s asking that there be an investigation.
You know, at the end of the investigation, she might very well decide not to pursue her willingness to testify. She might say, well, you know, there`s no way to ever prove it. Who knows what she might decide?
On the other hand, the person she`s accusing might decide well, wait a minute, my memory is faulty, or I don`t remember that, and now there has been evidence put forth. We don`t know because there has been no decision to give due process on either side. And that`s why I think the White House should ask that the FBI reopen the background check.
MADDOW: My guest is Hillary Clinton. The book is called "What Happened", which came out last year, but there`s new parts now.
We`ll be right back with Hillary Clinton right after that.
MADDOW: We`re back now with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has new parts of her book "What Happened" just out.
I want to show you something I`ve been puzzling over a little bit. On Friday, the president`s campaign chairman Paul Manafort struck a deal with prosecutors that calls for him to cooperate fully in the special counsel`s Russia investigation. He pled guilty to witness tampering, failing to register as a foreign agent.
But in court filings and before the judge, the prosecutors from the special counsel`s office explained a lot about what Manafort had done as a foreign agent representing pro-Russian elements in Ukraine, including they specifically laid out an effort that Manafort organized to basically smear you when you were secretary of state in 2012. Also, they attached to the criminal information in the Manafort filing an exhibit in which Manafort celebrated your exit from office as secretary of state.
It`s interesting. I feel like we don`t necessarily know where Robert Mueller is going. And you actually in the new part of the book, you go out of your way the say that but it does feel like the part of his investigation that`s about Russian interference, it appears to be substantially about you.
We don`t know as much about what Putin may have seen in Donald Trump that made him want to support Trump, but we do know that he really had it out for you. What`s your reaction to seeing your name or this description of you pop up as far back as 2012 and 2013 in these descriptions of Manafort`s work overseas?
CLINTON: Yes, well, I was surprised. I was not aware of it until it did come into the news, but in thinking back about it, I was working hard to try to persuade Yanukovych, then leader of Ukraine, to do more against corruption, to do more to try to modernize the economy. And we knew that he was enthralled to Putin and the Russians, but we also hoped that we could nudge him along.
And then he basically presided over his government did a kind of trumped up trial against his principle opposition leader Tymoshenko. And again, she wasn`t somebody that we thought was the great savior of Ukraine, but the way that she was treated really did run afoul of due process. So in private meetings with Ukrainian officials, in public statements, we called for her to be released from her prison sentence in isolation.
She had some serious health problems. We tried to negotiate a deal for her to be able to leave the country to get treated for her health issues, and at every turn we were blocked. And it was clear that Yanukovych was very worried about her and about the threat that she posed him.
So since Manafort and these other people working with Manafort were trying to protect his position, I guess they connected dots and said, well, you know, we need to weaken the United States in their concern about her well- being and their criticism of the trial that landed her in jail.
So, we need to go after the United States. And whose the target? Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state because she has been outspoken.
You know, I was not speaking for myself. I was speaking for government of the United States. I was speaking for our values. We used to stand up for human rights across the globe, and we didn`t always succeed. I wouldn`t pretend that we did.
But we were on record that even if you got a political opponent, you don`t trump up charges, throw her in jail, let her languish there, and then turn around and try to undermine the secretary of state of our country for having spoken up about those actions that were so troubling.
MADDOW: When you were secretary of state at the time, did you know -- did you come across Manafort and his company? Did you know about this American firm that was working to advance the interests --
CLINTON: No, no.
MADDOW: -- foreign government? No?
CLINTON: No, I did not -- I did not know.
MADDOW: I mean, you start to put together the different allegations and the different court cases here, and you`re in there a lot. And it`s well before the 2012 -- the 2016 election. We`ve got Manafort smearing you as an anti-Semite --
CLINTON: Yes, where did that come from? Right.
MADDOW: -- for supporting Tymoshenko in 2012, right? But it`s a typical Russian ploy.
CLINTON: It is.
MADDOW: In 2013, we`ve got Manafort again working for pro-Russian interests, celebrating that you were gone as secretary of state.
In the Maria Butina documents that we got last week in her prosecution, again, she has been charged as acting for the Russian government to try to influence the 2016 election -- in 2015, early 2015, we have her as an alleged agent of the Russian government casting around for what Republican might have the best shot at beating you, to try to figure out how to get Russia -- allegedly, to figure out how to get Russian government help to whatever it was going to be, whether it was going to be Scott Walker or Trump or anybody else, somebody who could beat you, some way the Russian government could help get money to that effort.
MADDOW: It seems like you`re the center of the story when it comes to Russian interests in 2016, as much as Trump may have been a point of focus as well. I wonder if this is old news to you, if this is the way you`ve seen it?
CLINTON: I knew that Putin was very unhappy with me for, again, behaving like a secretary of state and raising concerns about the unfairness of the elections that were held for their parliament in the fall of 2011. He made that very clear. I know that he is paranoid about any kind of mass movement in any country on his border that might result in more democracy, a closer relationship with the European Union, potential membership in NATO.
I certainly knew and understood all of that. But, again, I thought it wasn`t personal. I didn`t realize how personal it was until all these documents and this information has come out. I thought it was their view, the Russian view and then the Russian attempt to control Ukrainian leadership`s view that they could not permit the United States, the West, Europe, getting closer to those countries in their neighborhood, as they thought of it.
What I`m really interested in now is how we untangle this story because the Russians are still interfering with our democracy. It`s not as though they said whew, Hillary Clinton is gone, oh, she is not going to be president, we`re all going home. No! They are trying to influence how we look at one another, how we treat each other. They`re certainly as, you know, Trump`s own intelligence officials have stated in our election systems.
So what is the next chapter? You see, I think I was an obstacle to their plans to undermine and disrupt our democracy. I think I was an obstacle to their efforts to try to impose greater authoritarian control in Russia, go after people who were opponents of Putin`s, whether they were in the LGBTQ community nor the press, and I think that they wanted to get me out of the way.
And the question I think is worth asking, why did they want to get me out of the way? What is it they are trying to accomplish now?
And from what we`ve seen, they`re still trying to stir up trouble. They`re still trying to influence people`s minds on social media. Recent information came out about how they had tens of thousands of, you know, bots and proxies talking about the Affordable Care Act.
They were trying to undermine our effort to get health care to people. Why? Because they know that that will continue to cause a lot of political disruption in our country.
So, I think I am a small part of the puzzle. I do believe that we`re finding it more about how they viewed me and what they wanted to do to get me out of the way, but to get me out of the way to do what, Rachel?
Yes, try to elect the president which apparently they succeed at, but it was more than that. I think they play a long game, you know?
I don`t know whether Trump is a witting or unwitting tool of Putin. I don`t know that. But it`s clear he is playing checkers and Putin is playing three dimensional chess.
Putin has a very clear vision of what we wants to accomplish, and high on his bucket list is undermining democracies. And he uses money. He uses blackmail. He uses all kinds of inducements to political leaders and business leaders to try to bend them to his will, to make them part of the future that he`s trying to create.
MADDOW: That money part of it you just mentioned, I`m going ask you when we come back.
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton is our guest. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: We`re back now with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Her book about the 2016 election, "What Happened", is out today in paperback, and it`s gotten new stuff, including a line I found alarming.
I`m going to ask you about it.
MADDOW: This is late in the book. This is in the new portion, page 473 to be exact. You`re talking about the evidence that has turned up since the election that the Russian government may have used the NRA, the National Rifle Association to funnel money into the election to help the Trump campaign. And you describe that evidence in the new part of the book, and then you say, I quote, I`m just going to leave that there.
MADDOW: So, you -- you raise that prospect. You outline that evidence, and you say I`m not going to go any further with that.
CLINTON: I have no more information, and I think it should be investigated. Look, foreign money, foreign interference in our elections, I don`t care it`s from the right, the left, the center, up, down, I don`t care where it`s from. It`s wrong. It`s illegal, and the American people deserve to know if it happens so that we can try to prevent it.
MADDOW: On this issue of the NRA, though, did your campaign see any signs of that or reasons to worry than prospect in 2016? I felt like I heard from people who are knowledgeable and connected in gun politics that they were worried about that in 2016 if only because the NRA contribution to the Republican presidential candidate went from this big under Romney to this big under Trump, which didn`t necessarily make sense given Trump`s particular politics --
MADDOW: -- in this place in the ideological firmament.
CLINTON: Well, we knew they were spending more money against me than they`d ever spent against a candidate, and it ended up to be at least $30 million. So that was known, but what we have learned since are these very close relationships that were being forged between the NRA and officials connected to the NRA and figures in Russia, which is such a joke. I mean, you know, there is no opportunity for citizens in Russia to have the kind of access to weapons that the NRA advocates for.
But they found common cause with these characters, oligarchs and agents of oligarchs, and there was concern about it. But we didn`t have the capacity to do much more than, you know, try to say, well, of course, they`re against me because I`ve taken positions against them.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about something that you said to me when we talked a year ago. You`re talking about basically the prospect of managing this president. You guys, do we actually have this clip that we can play?
All right. Roll it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLINTON: The people around him have to be our first line of defense against him doing something that could have serious repercussions.
MADDOW: Placing a lot of hope for country the wisdom of the people who surround him.
CLINTON: Well, it`s not -- we don`t have much else to place it on right now. He is somebody who doesn`t listen and pursues his own interests as he perceives them and is very emotionally reactive.
So, on the small stuff, you know, they may not be able to stop him. They may need to hold their fire until something is serious enough to intervene.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: So you said that here a year ago, talking about people around the president have to be our first line of defense against him. Now, sure enough, "The New York Times" publishes that anonymous op-ed a couple of weeks ago where a senior administration official says that -- that op-ed writer, whoever it is, and others, have surreptitiously been stopping Trump from doing things. Bob Woodward`s book says that -- he names officials who have been stealing things off the resolute desk in the Oval Office in order to stop Trump doing what he wants.
You predicted it, talked about it a year ago, but is that dynamic comforting? Is that -- is that terrifying? Is it something else?
CLINTON: Well, it`s horrifying on so many different levels, and I think that anyone whose worked in a White House, worked in an administration, seen the complexity of the decisions that end up on the president`s desk has to be incredibly worried, number one, that if people around him whom he has appointed are trying to save the country from potentially disastrous decisions he might make, that`s, you know, deeply troubling. But it`s also bothersome to see these anonymous sources saying this because I understand the dilemma they think they face. They think that if they`re not there, you know, after them, the deluge, there will be a total catastrophe.
But I think at some point, they owe it to the country and they owe it to people who supported Donald Trump because I don`t think that those people really fully appreciate what is potentially possible under this presidency. What I worry about, Rachel, is that after this election, this president`s going to wholesale fire people. That`s my prediction for tonight.
CLINTON: Like my prediction from last year, and if we don`t have one or both houses of Congress in place, he will be even more uncontrollable and unaccountable. He will fire people in the White House. He will fire people in his administration who he thinks are crossing him, questioning him, undermining him.
And I think about all of the hours I spent in the Situation Room with President Obama. And we had vigorous disagreements about all kinds of issues, but I never, ever, ever doubted that the president was making the best decision he could based on the facts and the evidence as we were required to present it to him.
He didn`t say to us, well, here`s what I believe, here`s what my gut tells me. He said what`s the evidence? What are the facts? What are the consequences from, you know, path A to path Z?
That`s not happening in this White House, and so the president is close to being uncontrollable. There are people still in there who by their own admission are trying to hold on to prevent even worse things from happening, and at some point, the American public has to say, number one, I may disagree with Democrats, I may disagree with the direction of this administration, but one thing I believe in is we have to have checks and balances. That`s why we have to vote for Democrats in November.
MADDOW: The other unsettling admission or assertion in that op-ed was that the cabinet has already discussed potentially trying to remove President Trump by the 25th Amendment as essentially being unfit, incapable of holding the job. Do you believe that assertion that those discussions happened, first of all? And do you think those discussions are appropriate?
CLITON: Well, I have seen no evidence of that. It`s hard to believe there wouldn`t have been a leak if such a formal discussion had been taking place, but I do think there are probably private discussions among people in the White House, in the administration who are expressing their worries. They see behavior that they find troubling. Maybe unbalanced and they are sharing that with their colleagues and asking what they think what can be done.
So I doubt that it`s gone as far as any kind of a formal process, but I have no doubt that people are sharing their worries. I mean, basically, the op-ed by anonymous was a cry from the heart, like we are holding the line. Our fingers are in the dike. You don`t have any idea how hard this is. That`s what I took away from it.
MADDOW: Secretary Clinton, the book is called "What Happened". You`ve given us our -- your prediction tonight for what`s going to happen after the election, the president wholesale firing people. I should say, one of the other things that is in the book is a very troubling discussion and prospect that you raise that in 2020, President Trump will reject the results of the election or even try to postpone the election.
Your treatment of that gives me the willies now even referring to it, but I will leave to it people to read the book to see what you had to say about that.
Thank you for coming in. I know you have every option of where to go, and I really appreciate you being here.
CLINTON: Thanks. Enjoyed it. Appreciate it.
MADDOW: Good luck. Thanks.
All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Today, Florence was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, is what they call it now. That doesn`t mean that Florence is any less deadly. The death toll continues to rise. At least 33 people have been killed in the storm so far, the majority in North Carolina.
Well, now tonight, the head of FEMA is warning that the next 48 hours are critical, particularly in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where the Cape Fear River is rising fast. Cape Fear River is expected to crest overnight tonight or early tomorrow. Officials are estimating there, there may be as many as 12,000 people in harm`s way as that river in familiar heads towards its peak flood stage.
The Cape Fear River has quadrupled in size in the last two days. It`s now over 60 feet deep and counting. And, of course, all that water needs to go somewhere. It can`t be held by its banks when it`s up to 60 feet deep. In this case, what`s happening with the Cape Fear River is that some of the water that`s beyond its banks is now causing spontaneous new rivers to spring up.
This is what happened in Pender County, North Carolina. And I know this looks like a river. Looks can be deceiving, though. That nice straight deep river you see there is actually Interstate 40, just completely submerged. Same thing is happening along a 60-mile stretch of Interstate 95. I-95 is the all the way up and down the east coast artery that runs through the heart of the Carolinas. Officials say there are as many as 16 rivers at major flood levels tonight.
President Trump is expected to visit the storm zone, expected to visit North Carolina tomorrow. We shall see.
As FEMA is saying, the next 48 hours are critical. We are thinking and praying for everybody in the Carolinas tonight. Watch this space.
MADDOW: I want to say thanks again to our guest tonight. Democratic presidential nominee, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
I want to reiterate a little of the news she just made here. She told us that she agrees with Professor Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who has accused Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when she was 17. Secretary Clinton says she agrees that an FBI investigation should be conducted before the Senate holds any public hearing on that allegation.
That, of course, is the request as of tonight from Dr. Blasey`s lawyers. Secretary Clinton told us that -- told me right here that she is sure such an FBI investigation can be done expeditiously, and that`s the way to ensure due process both for Judge Kavanaugh and for Professor Ford.
And not for nothing, Secretary Clinton also gave us a warning/prediction that she believes that right after the upcoming midterm elections, she thinks President Trump will start wholesale firing people in the White House and in his administration. She is predicting that right after the election there is about to be a purge.
Sleep tight, everyone.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".
Good evening, Lawrence.
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