Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: October 30, 2018 Guest:
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: As it happens, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That was very nice.
HAYES: It`s great. It`s great stuff. You got a TV show. You got a podcast. It`s all happening for Rachel Maddow.
MADDOW: You know, as a podcaster yourself, you know it`s freakin` hard.
HAYES: It is hard.
MADDOW: It`s one of the media that it seems simple.
HAYES: It`s a new medium. Not really, but --
MADDOW: I mean, you`ve done radio too, right? It seems like it`s a little bit like radio. It`s like making a movie. It`s just that you have to make it with no pictures.
HAYES: When you do with the ambition that you and your team have done this, yes. They don`t all have to be like movies, but yours. It`s very cinematic.
MADDOW: Yours is like a movie too. Anyway, thanks, Chris. Much appreciate it.
And thanks to you at home for joining us today. It`s been a big day in the news. There`s been a lot of sort of curveballs in the news today.
We`re going to start, though, where we need to start, which is in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where today, there were funerals for three of the 11 people who were killed in the synagogue massacre on Saturday. City leaders in Pittsburgh and Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh had asked President Trump to please not come himself to Pittsburgh today on the first day of the first funerals. City leaders had asked him to please wait until the city has buried its dead, at least, if for no other reason than the resources necessary to protect these funerals, having to be diverted to instead protect the president.
They were not telling him he is never welcome in Pittsburgh. They were just asking him to please at least put it off maybe until next week, right? Preserve public safety resources in Pittsburgh so that the funerals can be protected in case any sort of, you know, copycat attacker decides to come out and attack the funerals, after the suspect in this case has killed these people in the synagogue in the first place.
The president rejected all of those requests and showed up in Pittsburgh today anyway, and that of course is a huge public safety ordeal for any place a president of the United States shows up in any circumstances. Today in Pittsburgh because of the president`s trip, they cleared out whole areas of the city where he visited today. A staff writer for the "Pittsburgh Tribune Review" named Dan Speicher (ph) today, he shot this video of people who were held about a block away from the Tree of Life synagogue, which of course is where the massacre happened on Saturday in the city`s Squirrel Hill neighborhood. Check this out.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: What they`re singing there in the street outside about a block away from the Tree of Life synagogue while the president was visiting today, obviously it`s a Hebrew song. I do not speak Hebrew, but a rough translation of what they`re saying is my strength balanced with the song of god will be my salvation. Oziv azemaza (ph).
The alleged killer from the synagogue shootings left online a trail basically documenting what appears to have been his thinking before he committed these killings. He apparently was convinced for some reason that the United States was being invaded, invaded by immigrants and refugees and asylum seekers. What he said online before he apparently committed all of these murders is that he needed to kill Jews because Jewish charities that help refugees, Jews in general were bringing these invaders into this country, bringing on this invasion of the United States.
Those were apparently his last words online before these killings. HIAS, which is the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, HIAS likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can`t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I`m going in.
That`s apparently the last thing he said online before he went in and killed 11 people. The massacre was on Saturday. Last night, Monday night, the president went on Fox News to proclaim that there is an invasion going on that our country is being invaded.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That`s called an invasion of our country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The president said that on FOX News last night. He tweeted it as well. This is an invasion of our country. This is after the massacre.
This, of course, is part of the president`s big push, his weeks-long push to try to make the central issue of the election this year. Republican voters` fear about a group of Central American migrants who are about a thousand miles from the U.S. border. The guy who carried out the synagogue murders in Pittsburgh had ranted online about the same migrant caravan that the president and conservative media have been stoking all this excitement about.
Now, I don`t know if the suspect in the Pittsburgh massacre has TV access in jail, but since he allegedly committed the worst attack against the American Jewish community in the history of this country, saying he had to do it to stop this invasion of our country, that the Jews were facilitating, well, since he has been in jail, he probably likes what he has been seeing on TV, if he has access to TV. The president held a political rally just a few hours after the massacre that same night.
The music star Pharrell Williams now says he may sue the president for playing the song "Happy" at that rally, which the president did, which was just a few hours after the massacre. Since the killings, the president has continued to echo the online claims by the suspected murderer about our country being invaded. He`s insisting on saying that at every public appearance now after the suspect in this case said online before he went and killed all of those people, that it was to stop the invasion. The president has been insisting on calling it that since.
The National Republican Party has also decided since the massacre to keep running an ad that depicts a Democratic congressional candidate as being secretly controlled by George Soros, Jewish billionaire who Fox News and President Trump have turned into a bogeyman for almost everything. But in particular, they`re now regularly all day long blaming him, blaming Soros for somehow secretly orchestrating that supposed caravan invasion.
Now, about George Soros getting a pipe bomb in the mail last week allegedly sent by a suspect who`s now also in custody, who appears to have been a Trump super fan. Nothing about that has apparently caused any sort of pause, any slowdown in the attacks on George Soros, not only from the conservative media, but from the Republican Party nationally, which is still running that anti-Soros ad, even after the pipe bombs. Also, since the massacre in the synagogue, the president has announced the deployment of thousands of active duty U.S. troops to the U.S. border to stop what he is continually calling that invasion there.
There is no invasion on the U.S. border, and sending as many troops through the border as are currently in Iraq won`t change that. But it turns out when you call it an invasion, when you try to rally everybody about a fear of an invasion, it turns out lots of people across the country have different ideas about what might be a good way to stop that invasion. I mean, what could be too extreme if the country is in fact being invaded by shoeless moms and kids who are a thousand miles away.
The Fox News Channel has now recently started claiming that these invaders are bringing disease, that they specifically have smallpox. They`re coming here to kill us all with smallpox and stuff.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID WARD: These individuals come from all over the world that have some of the most extreme medical care in the world. And they`re coming in with diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB that are going to affect our people in the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Smallpox was eradicated from the face of the earth in what, 1980? But, you know, hey, you got to do what you got to do.
You know, Fox, it`s interesting, did realize after they broadcast those claims on the air that the caravan was bringing smallpox and leprosy and TB. They didn`t realize after they broadcast those claims on the air that they might have a little bit of a problem with what was asserted there, so they did go back to clean it up, sort of assure their audience, I know what you just heard here, but actually, who knows?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier in this hour, one of our guests said some of the people in the caravan may have diseases like leprosy and TB. Well, we want to say we have no way of independently confirming this, and we wanted to clarify that point for you.
Now, Saturday`s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Now, segue, Saturday`s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue. Did we mention the guy who thought he had to do that thought he had to kill as many Jews as possible to stop them from orchestrating this invasion? And when we say the invasion will also bring leprosy, smallpox, forget that we said smallpox. We won`t even correct for that, that was embarrassing. It`s not really on the earth anymore.
But leprosy and TB, you know, we don`t know for sure. Haven`t confirmed that, but we`re just putting it out there. Just want to clarify.
That was yesterday on Fox News Channel.
So, the president was not deterred by requests from Jewish leaders and city leaders in Pittsburgh asking him to please stay away from basically the smoldering wreckage in that city today. He went in there anyway. But to the extent that the invasion at the border idea was the big idea from President Trump for the midterm election, a disease-ridden foreign invasion secretly organized by a Jew, to the extent that is the get out the vote program for the elections this year, for Republican candidates this year, courtesy of the White House and conservative media.
And it is. The president is happy to admit that is what he wants the election to be about. To the extent that`s the game plan, it does maybe make the focus wobble just a little bit when those things they are trying to build their election campaign around, those things that they are making up and stoking and trying to scare voters with, those things are actually also linked to a serial pipe bombing campaign and a true blue massacre of mostly elderly Jews on U.S. soil.
That does wobble the lens a little bit, right? It might make it a little bit of a harder sell for the election, maybe. Depending on how much more they think the country can bear.
And so, in this last week before the election, we are starting to see I think some new gambits now, some new attempted closing arguments, since the ones they`ve been really counting on are starting to feel a little nauseating.
In terms of new stuff, you are going to love the thing they just tried to cook up about Robert Mueller. We`ve got this story coming up in just a moment. It will literally make you laugh out loud. Absolutely amazing.
But there remains this can`t boil it down fact that people are going to vote for a new Congress one week from today. And no matter what story line is being invented or hyped or perverted by the White House, ahead of those elections next week, there remains this can`t boil it down truth that if the Republican Party, if President Trump`s Republican Party loses enough seats in either the House or in the Senate to actually lose control of either of those chambers, if that happens, if enough Democratic members of Congress win to flip control of either the House or the Senate to the Democratic Party, that will change the country in a specific way.
What that will mean is that the actions of the Trump White House and the Trump administration will finally be, you know, overseen, right? Remember congressional oversight? It will be overseen. It will be scrutinized. If need be, they will be investigated by congressional committees that are no longer just there to help the president do stuff and to attack his detractors and his enemies.
In every dark moment in American democracy, and we are in a dark moment right now, the vote is the way out, right? That`s the -- it sounds simple. It sounds reductive. But that is the bargain you make as a democratic society, right?
Democracy can be a frustrating system. It can be very inefficient. Lots of problems can arise in democratic societies. But in a democracy, the solution to all of our problems, no matter how dark things get is always to vote in a way that will change things, always. Electing to be a Democratic society means we agree that we will use this one tool as a country to make things better when they need to be made better.
And it is frustrating, but that`s what democracy is. It`s a self-governing philosophy. It tells us that`s the one tool you get to fix things, so it`s the one tool you use. And if you decide to give up on that tool and pursue things through other means, other more direct means, you`re doing a lot of things, but you`re not participating in the democratic way of life that we have chosen as a country.
And so with next week`s election, if the vote shows that the country has elected to go in a very different direction than the way we are going right now, it`s not like that will make awes fundamentally different country, right? It won`t be a spiritual change. We will still be the people who we are today. But if we make that change as a country a week from tonight, it will have a practical effect. If there is behavior by this White House and by this administration that you think might reasonably be checked or corrected, or if need be reined in by another branch of government, that is what could happen, depending on next week`s vote and how it goes that is the chance that`s afforded by this election.
That`s the chance afforded to you when you go to vote for who you think should represent your congressional district and who you think should be your center. That`s the choice you get to make. A lot of -- there is a lot of lofty rhetoric, right, when you get to be one week around the elect, especially at time when things are going in ways that are so scary in this country.
But get practical about this. What`s the one thing you can change? You can change whether or not the administration has a check over it or doesn`t, by how you vote for your member of Congress.
Here is just one very specific example, just from today`s headlines. Just today a Trump cabinet secretary was referred to the U.S. Justice Department for criminal investigation. It`s Ryan Zinke, the Trump-appointed head of the interior department. He made headlines recently for trying awkwardly to fire the independent inspector general who had opened multiple simultaneous investigations into him based on various claims of corruption.
Zinke sort of hilariously failed in his effort to fire that independent inspector general who was investigating him, and now tonight, "The Washington Post" is first to report that one of her investigations into Ryan Zinke has resulted in a referral of him to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Now we don`t know which of her investigations has led to this. We don`t know what the specific claims are that have led to this Justice Department referral.
A senior White House official tells the "Washington Post" tonight, quote, the White House understands that the investigation is looking into whether the secretary used his office to help himself. It`s vague, but it doesn`t seem good. But if a cabinet secretary has now been referred to the Justice Department for criminal investigation for using his public office to enrich himself, that`s like what Congress was made for, right?
Getting all het up about that and figuring that out and getting to the bottom of it and exposing it and getting justice for that, being able to assure the American people that that kind of corruption is not happening, that anybody who is corrupt in that way will be found out, caught, held accountable, and expelled from public office. I mean, that`s kind of why we have a Congress.
I mean, they make laws, but they also do this. This is the oversight role of Congress. This is what they`re built for.
Well, this congress, though, controlled by the Republicans, if you have been waiting to hear a peep out of them, a peep of concern, even about just this one thing involving Ryan Zinke, which has apparently resulted in a criminal referral as of today, you have not heard any of those peeps because there has been none, because the Republicans are in control of Congress. And while they are in control of Congress, they`re not going to do anything about any of this stuff.
Today, three Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Ron Wyden of Oregon, they wrote to Secretary Zinke telling him, quote, to immediately cease any efforts to use the office of the secretary of the interior for personal gain. The senators also directed him to, quote, fully reimburse the public for your private use of public resources.
And when Democratic senators are in a minority, a letter like that will absolutely be ignored. But if they were in the majority, Ryan Zinke might actually have to do those things, double-time. That`s in the Senate.
Here`s Raul Grijalva, Democrat of Arizona. He is the leading Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee. He tells "The Post" today, quote, if Democrats are given the opportunity to hold a congressional majority next year, Secretary Zinke will be called to testify in February, meaning right after they`re sworn in, on why his conduct in office merited referral to the Justice Department, whether that referral was related to the recent attempted firing of his inspector general, and his many other failings and scandals, which needless to say is not happening if the Democrats don`t take control of the House next week.
We are one week out. Are the Democrats going to take control of the House? We can sort of maybe almost tell from here.
That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It`s a week from election night. More than a half dozen states from around the country have already surpassed the total number of early votes that were cast in the last election, the last congressional election in 2014. They`ve already beat the 2014 numbers, even though we`ve still got a week to go.
But we`re close enough now to actual election night that honestly, I`m ready for just a bottom line assessment. Are the Republicans going to keep control of Congress, or are the Democrats going to flip it? What are the odds?
Joining us now is the great Steve Kornacki, MSNBC national political correspondent and our elections guru.
Steve, I`ve been looking forward to this. Please, school me. School all of us. What do you think is going to happen in the House?
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, so, let`s take you through a sort of snapshot of the battleground right now. So, again, right now, this is what the map looks like as Congress has constituted. And for Democrats, it means they need to get a net gain of 23 next week, a net gain of 23 of these red districts need to flip blue.
Let`s take you through this in a couple tiers to show you why Democrats are favored going into this next week. So, first of all, we say it`s a net gain of 23. Technically, we should make this clear there are two seats on the map. One of them is in Minnesota and one of them in is in Pennsylvania, where they did that redistricting this year there are two seats on the map that look right now that they are likely to be Democratic seats that flip into Republican hands.
So, that 23 could very quickly go to 25. So, 25, if you say that`s the target for Democrats. But now look at the flip side. If there are two Democratic seats that are likely to go to Republican hands, how about the most vulnerable Republicans?
Well, look, that is already a much wider group of districts right there. And I can just take you through some of these. This one here in New Jersey, there is polling that`s got the Democrat ahead by double-digits right here. These are all Republican seats.
There is polling here. This one looks gone. Republicans aren`t even contesting this one in New Jersey. These two here in the corner of Pennsylvania, again, because of redistricting, they are as good as gone for Republicans.
Basically, in this region right here, these are seven Republican-held seats where the polling has Democrats ahead by high single digits into the low double-digits, maybe even better. And, again, you just see this across the map. Democrats could trip up in one of these, you know, maybe one or two of these, but the expectation is there are 17 seats right here there are 17 seats here where the expectation is Democrats are going to take the vast majority of these, very possibly all of these.
So, those are just the ripest targets for Democrats. And again, it would take that magic number for them into the single digits. And this is where when we say Democrats are favored, this is why, because then you move into the next year. These are the additional Democratic targets.
So if they come through that first tier we just talked about, needing only a gain of single digits, what do we have right here? We have 50 additional Republican-held districts where you`ve got polling in a number of these districts, in Maine too. There is polling that has the Democrat ahead there have been polls that have the Democrat ahead.
New York, 19. There was a poll today that had the Democrat ahead. Pennsylvania, one. There has been polled and has the Democrat ahead. There has polling that has the Republican ahead as well.
But basically, you`ve got all of these competitive districts in here, and it`s looks like if Democrats essentially get I would say a quarter of these, of this tier, if they can pick off a quarter of these Republican- held seats on top of what I show you`d before, that would probably do it for them. So there is just -- the Republicans need everything to break their way when you get into this tier of Republican-held seats. There are so many that are likely to go so quickly in the suburbs, in those districts that Hillary Clinton won. It puts Democrats in a position where they`re on offense when you get into this tier of districts.
And there are so many different paths that open up when you look at 50 different Republican-held seats here with you can make a case Democrats have a shot at everything right there.
MADDOW: And, Steve, when you`re talking about them collectively like that, when boluses of what`s at risk, and what potentially be in rich for each party, that makes me feel like what`s the most important thing to watch for next week might be national dynamics, might be the sorts of things that will create widespread enthusiasm or depress enthusiasm in a big way. Is that the right way to look at it?
When you`ve been on the precipice of elections like, this do you find that national events start driving the ultimate bottom line?
KORNACKI: I think so, because one of the common threads in this tier of districts, I`ll just show you, if you go inside of these. Like in Maine right here, Republican held seat, the polling shows maybe Democrats ahead by a couple of points right there. If you take a look at Pennsylvania 1, this is right outside Pennsylvania, there was a poll yesterday. The Republican up by one point.
I think the question you start to ask if you look nationally there, is there something that is going to happen that is going to move it national lay couple of points, one way or the other. If all of these districts kind of collectively move two points in the Democrats` advantage, then a flood of them I think could move into the Democratic column. Now, if all of them collectively kind of move two points into the Republican favor, the Republican column, then the Republicans could hold on to the bulk of these seats.
I think overall, it paints a picture where I think nationally you could say on this end, maybe around five seats. Maybe Republicans could hold on to the chamber by about five seats, if things really broke their way. And at the other end of it, Democrats could post a gain of like 50 seats if everything broke there.
So, I think that`s kind of the range we`re operating in where everything, if you think of Trump in 2016, everything broke his way on election night and he found just the path that got him to the presidency, the equivalent of that in the House would leave the Republicans with a majority I would say about five seats. And if you switch it a couple of points and it broke in the Democrats` favor, I think you`re talking about a very sizeable wave and a very sizable majority for them coming out next week.
MADDOW: It seems like one of the things that is possible within the range you`re defining is a week from tonight, we`re not only going to be here late, we`re going to be here indefinitely because it`s -- right? It`s within the realm of possibility that there will be enough close races and the numbers overall for House chamber control might be tight enough that this is the sort of thing that we won`t know a week from tonight.
KORNACKI: And I think that`s one of those if you get the scenario where it doesn`t break decisively to one party or the other, and you`re kind of going district by district through the night, and it`s two points here and one point there, you could have a lot of close races in the East Coast, Central Time Zone. A when you get out west, look at the districts in California that are competitive.
Remember that California, a lot of the vote is not going to be counted on election night. It`s not going to be counted the next day. It`s not going to be counted the next week. It might take into December to get the vote out of California.
MADDOW: Because of absentee ballots?
KORNACKI: Mail-in ballots.
KORNACKI: Anything that`s in the mail on Election Day will eventually get counted. We saw this in the primary back in June. I think they finally certified the primary results. It was either at the very end of June or even into July when they certified it.
This is one of the reasons in 2016 Hillary Clinton`s popular vote advantage nationally didn`t really come into focus until a month after the election because so much of it was from California, and the California vote was so slow in coming in that that 2.7 million vote lead for Hillary Clinton really didn`t come into focus until December of 2016.
MADDOW: Steve Kornacki, thank you. That was super clarifying. I`m really actually quite looking forward to staying up with you a week from tonight. Thank you, my friend.
KORNACKI: Looking forward to it too.
MADDOW: I will also tell you, having grown up in California, it has been a generation that Californians believed that their vote had a federal impact, that their vote had -- could change the direction of the country rather than just their state. If you or anyone you know lives in California, you need to know about this election that maybe more than any other state in the country, it is the votes of Californians that may decide in a very big way the political direction of this country for the next two years.
Not to stress you out or anything.
All right. Lots more to get to tonight, including a truly bizarre story about the Robert Mueller investigation that had the special counsel calling in the FBI to newly investigate something today. It doesn`t sound like a story that will make you laugh out loud, but it will make you laugh out loud. That story is next.
MADDOW: It started almost two weeks ago when this little thistle popped up in the lawn. Quote, spoke to a prominent D.C. insider today who told me there are several women prepared to make credible allegations against dirty cop Robert Mueller, a couple of weeks ago. And then we got another one really early this morning. Quote, several media stories tell me a scandalous story about Robert Mueller is breaking tomorrow. Should it be interesting. Stay tuned.
Stay tuned. Those tweets, both of them are from a guy you have never heard of, who is a right wing pro-Trump Twitter personality, to the extent he is known at all in pro-Trump Twitter circles, is there a thing? This is a guy known for spreading pro-Trump conspiracy theories. And there he was in the early hours of the morning today hyping what he says is a scandal about Robert Mueller, a whole different kind of scandal that`s due to hit tomorrow.
He went on to brag to "The Daily Beast" about his friend Jack Burkman (ph) who is a controversial radio host who is also known for spreading pro-Trump conspiracy theories. You might remember when he tried to hold a fundraiser for Rick Gates, the Trump deputy campaign manager earlier this past year while Gates was on house arrest. It resulted in Gates getting in a lot of trouble with his case.
But in any case, this Twitter guy, the pro-Trump Twitter guy said this whole scandal about Mueller was about to be revealed because his friend Jack Burkman had hired an intelligence firm, a firm called Surefire Intelligence to assist with his investigation into special counsel Robert Mueller`s scary, scary past.
And then Jack Burkman said himself he was ready, almost ready to reveal the terrible news that he had discovered, quote, on Thursday, November 1 at the Rosslyn Holiday Inn at noon, we will reveal the first of special counsel Robert Mueller`s sex assault victims.
Because you can always fit more conspiracy nonsense on the head of a pin, the right wing website Gateway Pundit, where the pro-Trump Twitter guy is a writer, that website then posted online that they had obtained a physical document of some kind that detailed these supposed accusations against Robert Mueller, and they did post what looks like a document. And it`s complete with redactions, mysterious redactions, and then this is the header on the document, "international private intelligence."
Quote: Investigation of sexual misconduct accusation against Robert S. Mueller III. At the bottom, it says confidential raw intelligence document. It`s all very weird, all very weird.
It turns out when I said this was about a pro-Trump Twitter personality you`d never heard of? It turns out the whole secret intelligence firm behind this dossier of terrible dirt about Robert Mueller that`s going to be revealed at a holiday inn later this week, it turns out that secret intelligence firm is his mom.
The story gets better from there. That`s next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Sort of a strange thing happened today. Reporters started talking openly about the fact they`d all been contacted over the past several weeks by a woman who said she had been contacted by someone with a firm called Surefire Intelligence. Surefire Intelligence was offering money to this woman in exchange for her making a false claim against special counsel Robert Mueller. She said the person who contacted her offered to pay off all of her credit card debt, plus give her an additional $20,000 in exchange for her signing a false affidavit claiming that Robert Mueller at one point sexually harassed her.
Now the man from this supposed intelligence firm, this Surefire Intelligence, claimed that he had been hired by a prominent right-wing D.C. lobbyist and conspiracy theorist named Jack Burkman. That claim was made in the offer to this woman that she should fill out this false affidavit.
Now, the woman who ended up telling reporters about this offer to smear Mueller for money, she is apparently not the only one. There`s another woman named Jennifer Taub, who`s an associate professor in Vermont Law School. She was also contacted by that same supposed intelligence firm, by Surefire Intelligence.
They contacted her over e-mail, and this person supposedly from this intelligence firm asked her about her past encounters with Robert Mueller. The person also offered to compensate her, quote, at whatever rate you see fit. Here`s the thing. This Vermont law professor who got this offer, hey,
I`ll pay you if you want to talk to me about your encounters with Robert Mueller, that woman has never met Robert Mueller. She doesn`t know him. She`s never met him. She doesn`t know what any of this about.
Upon receiving that e-mail offering her money to talk about her Robert Mueller encounters, she did what is probably the smart thing. She sent it on to Robert Mueller. She sent to it the special counsel`s office so they at least know this was happening.
Ultimately, what we`ve seen over the course of today is that reporters have started to dig into Surefire Intelligence and this guy who supposedly had been hired to look into Robert Mueller`s supposed past. Now I mentioned a moment ago that the person hyping that a big scandal was to be break concerning Robert Mueller is sort of a little known pro-Trump Twitter personality. He is a guy named Jacob Wohl.
That`s who has been saying hey, this lobbyist is about to break this big scandal about Robert Mueller here. He`s hired an intelligence firm, and that intelligence firm has done an investigation and found out this terrible thing about Robert Mueller. Well, when you look into the intelligence firm here, it appears that the managing partner from this intelligence firm is in fact that pro-Trump Twitter kid who has been saying this big scandal is about to break.
The top image that is backlit on the Surefire Intelligence website is Matthew Cohen. That`s his LinkedIn picture. The other pictures which match it exactly are this pro-Trump Twitter kid Jacob Wohl.
It also occurs that a number of people who supposedly work at this Surefire Intelligence agency are just head shots or stock photos or supermodels. For example, the man who supposedly contacted Professor Jennifer Taub, Simon Frick from Surefire, looks exact likely Christopher Waltz. The guy from "Inglorious Bastards." Wow, what are the odds?
So, Jacob Wohl, the guy who has been hyping that this Robert Mueller scandal is about to break, he declined to talk to NBC about his own involvement with this appears what to be fake intelligence firm, Surefire Intelligence. When NBC looked into it, though, NBC discovered that Jacob Wohl`s own e-mail is listed in the domain records for Surefire website.
And my favorite part of the story, it turns out when you call Surefire Intelligence, those calls go to a voice mail message that links to another phone number, and that phone number belongs to Jacob Wohl`s mom. And maybe his mom is an awesome super spy, but I should also tell you that the dossier, right, about Mueller stamped "international private intelligence", it`s no longer online. Now when you go to that website, it says, quote, we took the documents down and we are currently investigating these accusations.
There are also very serious allegations against Jacob Wohl. We are looking into this. And update we spoke with Jacob and we are interviewing him tomorrow. We will post the interview.
So, the place where Jacob Wohl works is now going to try to milk this for another couple of days.
The one serious place this thing lands is that Robert Mueller and the special counsel`s office has now referred this matter to the FBI for investigation. From the spokesman to the special counsel, who never says anything, quote, when we learned last week of allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediately referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.
Joining us now is NBC News tech and media reporter Ben Collins, who reported this out today.
Ben, great to have you here.
BEN COLLINS, NBC NEWS TECH AND MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: This is super weird.
COLLINS: It is.
MADDOW: The thing that we all first learned about this was that the special counsel`s office had referred this for investigation to the FBI, and it was like whoa, first of all the special counsel`s office speaks. Second of all, they referred it to the FBI for investigation. It must be a serious matter.
COLLINS: Yes, hypothetically.
MADDOW: Then --
COLLINS: Oh, and then the world happened, right?
COLLINS: We saw what was going on. So, this -- the very first thing you do is you make a phone call as a reporter. We called Surefire on the phone number listed on the Website. And the phone number redirected us to this other phone number. We looked up that phone number, and again, it went to his mom`s phone number.
Again, it could be a family plan, whatever.
COLLINS: We don`t want to blame her necessarily.
MADDOW: What intelligence firm doesn`t have that?
COLLINS: We don`t want to implicate people and their son`s weird misdeeds that they do all the time.
MADDOW: I`m sure she`s delighted that he used her number for this.
COLLINS: And he has gotten her into some schemes in the past too, because he used to be a hedge fund manager, even though he is only 22 years old. Trusting Jacob Wohl to begin with if you`re a person who follows Donald Trump is probably not a great idea.
MADDOW: It does appear this is an effort the way that Mr. Wohl`s employer, this conservative website, which is it`s definitely a conspiracy theory promoting pro-Trump website 100 percent. They`re also in this media environment and in this Republican politics environment, they tend to be sort of influential. They start conspiracy theories that other people on the right tend to run with.
MADDOW: To the extent that this is happening one week before the election, it does appear to be an effort on the far right to launch some sort of October surprise scandal about Robert Mueller.
MADDOW: And the question is whether or not it`s going to be seen as a scandal about these guys who are trying to do it or whether it will get any traction.
COLLINS: So it`s so transparently bad from the get-go, again, the fake celebrities and things like that. Jacob is known for this sort of thing. Last year, he was pushing the migrant caravan conspiracy. You saw what that leads to this weekend, right?
And Gateway Pundit has been down this path millions of times before. There have been trial balloons in the past about, you know, fake allegations that these people have picked up in the past too. So, look, thankfully, I think the media did its job here. We did what we needed to do from the outset to really get the actual reality of the information out there before he launched this whole thing.
It was a ploy from him to see how far the "believe any woman" thing would happen, and it`s transparent. And, again, I cover crooked weird stuff all the time. This is like the most transparently bad thing I`ve seen in a very long time.
MADDOW: And do you think that because the special counsel`s office has referred it to the FBI for investigation, is this the sort of thing where there is potentially criminal liability here in terms of what they`ve been trying to do?
COLLINS: You figure he smeared somebody in public on purpose using fabricated documents. The other thing this guy -- so Robert Mueller is supposed to have committed this assault on a specific day in 2010. He was in jury duty. We know where he was. So --
MADDOW: Literally that day?
COLLINS: That day with the specific accusation.
MADDOW: -- specific acquisitions, he reported for jury duty.
COLLINS: Yes, exactly. So, there`s -- I don`t -- look, I`m not a guy who can tell you of lying this badly is a crime, but if it, is this is -- it`s the death.
MADDOW: Ben Collins, NBC News reporter, really appreciate your help.
COLLINS: Sure. Absolutely. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Much more ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: On his way to a campaign rally in 2004 when he was running for re- election as president, then-President George W. Bush signed a new law. He reportedly signed it on Air Force One on his way to a rally. When he got to the campaign rally in Florida, he announced to the crowd what he had just signed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT: Today, I sign the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004. This will all commit the government to keep a record of anti-Semitic acts throughout the world, and also a record of responses to those acts. This nation will keep watch. We will make sure that the ancient impulse of anti-Semitism never finds a home in the modern world.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The Global Anti-Semitism Review Act signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004. That law created a new special envoy at the State Department whose job would be to document anti-Semitic incidents in the United States and around the world and importantly to come up with strategies to combat such incidents.
Since President Bush create that post 14 years ago, there have been three special envoys for combating anti-Semitism. But the last one departed in January 2017, at the end of the Obama administration. Under the Trump administration, that position has been held vacant since then, all this time.
After the position sat empty for six months, then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson suggested that maybe it wasn`t a good idea top of someone fighting anti-Semitism in the state department, maybe that could make the problem worse. Secretary Tillerson suggested that if we had an envoy focused on fighting anti-Semitism, maybe that would make everybody else stop working so hard against it.
Rex Tillerson has been gone as secretary of state since March. In May of this year, a full 16 months into the administration, the new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo got asked about the still-vacant special envoy position.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: In 2004, I authored the anti-Semitism special envoy. That too has not been filled and I know you care about combating the scourge of anti-Semitism which is rising all over the globe. Please move on that as well.
MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE: You have my word. We`ll move on them.
SMITH: I appreciate that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: You have my word, we will move on that. That was five months ago. How`s that going?
Now, today, three days after the worst attack on American Jews in the history of this country, that same Republican lawmaker who got that promise, you have my word, we will move on that five months ago, today he says that he`s heard that maybe the Trump administration now will actually name somebody to that job.
Maybe. Might be. Might be soon. Who knows? Or maybe not. Not yet, at least.
Today, as you know, the first funeral was held for the first victims of Saturday`s shooting at the tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, despite requests, over requests from Pittsburgh`s mayor and other community leaders for the president not to visit until the funerals concluded.
This afternoon, the president showed up anyway. He went to the synagogue and to the local hospital where victims are being treated. And the top four Republican and Democratic congressional leaders were invited to join the president in Pittsburgh, they all declined as did all members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation, all of them said I have other commitments.
Howard Fineman reports today that his sources in Pittsburgh tell him that the White House ran kind of a scam to try to get some public officials, anyone to agree to meet with Trump on this trip. According to Howard Fineman`s reporting, the White House was so desperate that they, quote, called top Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh officials one at a time and lied to each of them saying that the others had agreed to meet with Trump and, therefore, wouldn`t this new official meet as well? Everybody else was doing it.
According to "The Washington Post," Trump offered to visit with the family of Daniel Stein. His funeral was held today. His nephew said the family declined in part because of Trump`s comments in the aftermath of the shooting when he said the whole reason this happened is the synagogue didn`t have an armed guard for services.
He told the paper, quote: Everybody feels that the words were inappropriate. Quote, he was blaming the community.
And then he showed up against their wishes endangering the ability of the city to protect mourners at the funeral, so the city would have to protect him instead. And then he left. He made no public comments, so at least there`s that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEJANDRO RANGEL-LOPEZ, DODGE CITY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT: So that`s an absurd thing for a town this size and for a community that`s 60 percent Hispanic. It`s ridiculous to think that only one location is here to suit the needs of 13,000 plus voters.
(END VIEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Yes, I want to let you know we were just back from a reporting trip to Dodge City, Kansas, a town where voter suppression efforts this year have captured the nation`s imagination. Dodge City is the majority Hispanic town in Kansas where there`s only once place to vote.
This year, they moved that one polling place way out of town. We are just back from going there to check the reason officials gave for having done this to their voting location. You`re going to want to see what we found. We`re going to have that special report tomorrow night from Dodge City, Kansas.
That does it for us tonight. We will see you again then.
It`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END
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