CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: That does it for us, for ALL IN this evening.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MATTHEWS: Have a good weekend.
Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. We are following a number of stories from around the country tonight, including this terrible developing news out of Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach is a fairly big coastal city at the southeastern tip of Virginia obviously right on the beach. It is on the border with North Carolina. It`s got a population of over 400,000 people. It`s a good size city.
This afternoon, just past 4:00 p.m., a suspect described as a long-time city employee, a current employee, walked into one of the town`s municipal buildings and opened fire. Officials tonight say the shooter killed 11 people across multiple floors of that building. I have to tell you we are hearing reports that the death toll may rise from 11 to an even higher number. Another six people were injured and taken to the hospital.
With 11 people killed, this is the largest number of people killed in a mass shooting since November. Which itself is a remarkable thing to have to say. November 12th, people were shot dead in a bar in Thousand Oaks, California.
As of right now, we know the death toll is 11 in Virginia Beach. This is the mayor of Virginia Beach, Bobby Dyer.
MAYOR BOBBY DYER, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach. The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbors, colleagues.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is the mayor of Virginia Beach.
The chief of police of Virginia Beach says the suspect worked for the Virginia Beach Department of Public Utilities. The chief says the suspect stepped into the building that houses that public utilities department for the city among other city offices. He says the shooter then fired indiscriminately. Again, 11 people shot and killed on multiple floors of that building, six additional people shot and injured.
When police officers responded to the scene, and they apparently got there fairly quickly, the gunman reportedly starting shooting at police officers. The gunman is now dead. He was shot by police.
One of the six people wounded in the attack was himself a police officer. We believe it was a male police officer, although, we`re awaiting confirmation on that. But that officer was apparently saved from more serious or fatale injury by virtue of the fact he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
So, we do not yet have official identification of any of the victims or the shooter himself. The FBI and Virginia state police have joined the investigation tonight. Over the course of this hour, we expect to hear more from officials in Virginia Beach. We`ll bring you additional information as we get it.
Specifically, I should tell you, that we are expecting a police press conference less than a half hour from now, towards the bottom of the hour. We will take that live when it happens. You will want to stay with us for the latest information on that ongoing and terrible situation in Virginia.
While we await that news conference, which, again, will happen some time this hour, let`s talk about some of the other news breaking tonight, including surprising news from the courts that has to do with one of the senior figures from the Trump campaign who`s currently awaiting sentencing on felony charges. You might remember this time last week we got word of a new indictment related to the Trump campaign. This man was the head of a small bank in Chicago that was supposed to be a bank that catered to veterans.
Now, during the Trump campaign, he turned his bank, instead, into the bank that allegedly bribed the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. And you might remember some of the story telling from Manafort`s trial. Manafort was in a sticky wicket financial speaking during the campaign.
He went to this little bank in Chicago that specializes in loans to veterans. Manafort isn`t a veteran, but he asked for loans that he financially probably should not have been approved for. Bank employees objected to his loan applications, but the head of the bank, Stephen Calk, interceded and said that Manafort should get the loans. Even when Manafort was caught falsifying documents to support the loan applications, even when he admitted to misstating his assets and liabilities, he said it was all fine with him. He green lit those loans all the way.
Now, why was Stephen Calk so excited to give away so much of his little bank`s money to Paul Manafort who, again, was not a veteran and who was asking the bank for so much money, Manafort would ultimately become their single largest borrower and he would lose the bank millions and millions of dollars. Why was Stephen Calk, the head of that bank, so psyched to do that?
Well, according to the indictment against Calk, he was so psyched to do that because Manafort was accepting these millions of dollars in loans from Steven Calk`s bank basically as bribes because Manafort was hooking Steven Calk up with the Trump campaign. This is the part that was pitiful, right? I mean, you remember our earlier reporting in this show about the document that Stephen Calk sent over to Paul Manafort listing all the perspective roles he might want in the new administration. That`s literally how he spelled it, perspective and then rolls like dinner rolls or summer salts.
The list of his perspective roles in the Trump campaign or the Trump administration included ten different cabinet positions, wow, or ambassador to any number of these 18 awesome countries, starting with the U.K., second place France. I mean, sky is the limit, right? This guy was giving the Trump campaign chairman millions of dollars. Why shouldn`t he be able to be deputy secretary of defense or secretary of commerce for them?
But the specific job that Manafort led this guy to think he was getting in exchange for these millions of dollars, he really thought he was going to get was secretary of the army. We know that because at one point Mr. Calk reportedly called the Pentagon asking them why he wasn`t getting his briefings already given that he was the incoming secretary of the army. He assured them, in fact, that he had his whole senior staff all ready to go. Who should they call to get their names on their doors?
I mean, it is pitiful this whole sorted allegation. But it happened. They really did try to do it. I mean, bribing the Trump campaign chairman wasn`t like a con. It was kind of a good investment for a while. I mean, Manafort really did get Stephen Calk a gig on the Trump campaign as an economic adviser to the campaign. That happened.
And Stephen Calk really did get a high level job interview at the Pentagon. The Trump campaign was well wired to pay off arrangements like this. Calk`s indictment shows how Manafort sent Jared Kushner, also transition official number one, he sent Jared Kushner a recommendation that Mr. Calk be appointed secretary of the army. The second day, Jared Kushner in fact forwarded this recommendation to three other representatives of the transition team recommending, in fact, that Calk be considered.
Remember, this is a time when Manafort was kicked off the campaign because what was revealed about his secret ties to Ukrainian oligarchs and Russian interests. Apparently, he`s still deciding who`s going to be secretary of the army. Manafort, after he contacted Jared Kushner, apparently felt that things weren`t going fast enough so he contacted transition official number two to arrange, in fact, an interview of Stephen Calk to be secretary of the army.
According to the Calk indictment, this was while Manafort had another $6.5 million in loans pending from Calk`s bank, and apparently, he really wanted to hurry that money along. Quote: Transition official 2 advised Manafort that another candidate was likely to be nominated for secretary of the army, but agreed to arrange for Mr. Calk to be interviewed for undersecretary instead, undersecretary.
So he didn`t get to be secretary of the army in exchange for bribing Paul Manafort. But he did get an interview to be undersecretary, the number two civilian job in the United States army. Because, according to prosecutors, that`s what he believe bribing the Trump campaign chair would pay for.
Quote, after the $6.5 million loans closed, as arranged by transition official 2, Calk in fact interviewed for undersecretary of the army. The interview took place on or about January 10th, 2017 and was conducted by three representatives of the Trump transition team`s Manhattan offices.
So we got that indictment last week. That indictment last week is about what you could apparently get from the Trump campaign and the Trump transition if you paid bribes to the Trump campaign chairman during the campaign. That was last week. Today, we got newly unsealed documents related to Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn who is now awaiting sentencing. They also pertain to Flynn`s business partner who served as a senior official in the Trump transition and who is himself currently awaiting trial.
These new documents show that during the campaign, not only was the Trump campaign`s top national security secretly on the payroll of another country, but the deliverables he was expected to produce for that foreign paycheck included statements by the Republican presidential candidate defending that foreign country and publicly raising questions about a citizen of that country who lives in the United States that that foreign country wanted to smear. They were complaining -- that foreign country was complaining that Flynn hadn`t delivered on that yet because apparently Flynn was secretly being paid by that foreign country to make that happen.
I mean, we knew before that Flynn was paid by that foreign country. He was paid by Turkey to do things like write op-eds defending the Turkish government and attacking this guy they wanted extradited who live in the United States. Flynn definitely did that for money. He compared the guy to Osama bin laden and then cashed the check for it.
But now we know he was also paid to get presidential candidate Donald Trump to make pro-Turkish statements and to raise questions about the same guy they wanted smeared during the campaign. And because of these newly unsealed documents today, we also know he was paid by that foreign country during the campaign to try to find, quote, lakes/trails to the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton campaign as well to try to link this Turkish guy in the United States to terrorism, right? They`re calling him a new bin Laden. They want to link this Turkish guy living in the United States to terrorism and then they want to link him to the Clinton campaign to hurt Clinton.
So that particular tactic against Clinton during the campaign, that was bought and paid for by the government of a foreign country, a government of Turkey, through its paid secret agent who was Trump`s national security adviser and through the number two guy running the Trump transition on intelligence issues, who was also secretly employed by that foreign country the whole time.
I mean, Attorney General Bill Barr doing this new interview with CBS where he said it was inexplicable, maybe short of treasonous that the FBI might have wanted to take a look at anything involving the Trump campaign, yeah, I can`t imagine why they wanted to do that. I mean, the campaign chairman quit after it was revealed he was on the payroll of Ukrainian oligarchs and Russian interests. The Justice Department now says he was accepting millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for selling off one of the top civilian jobs in the U.S. Army.
One Trump foreign policy adviser Carter Page was believed by the FBI to be an active agent of the Russian government and they took their suspicions to a federal judge to prove it. Another Trump foreign policy advisers had weeks of advanced notice that the Russians stole e-mails before anybody else publicly knew that. And his national security adviser, his top national security adviser during the campaign, the guy who he eventually named national security adviser in the White House literally was a secret paid foreign agent during the campaign and beyond.
And then the Russians started helping that campaign and members of the campaign and the candidate`s family started taking secret meetings with emissaries from Russian government. Yes.
How dare the FBI take a look at that! They must have been anti-Trump fanatics. Why would anybody see anything suspicion in those events? That`s deep state wahooism.
Anyway, so the number two guy on intelligence in the Trump transition, the guy who brags on his LinkedIn page to this day about his role in selecting the CIA director during the Trump transition, he is now awaiting trial. It`s due to start this summer. That`s where we got these new details today from the court about what Turkey thought they were getting from him and from Mike Flynn, from the people they were paying on the Trump campaign and the Trump transition.
Flynn himself is awaiting sentencing. He`ll be back in court before the judge in his case in a couple of weeks. But on that point, as of tonight, I think it is also fair to say that Flynn is awaiting what we expect could be a brand-new explosion of temper from the judge in his case, and it won`t be the first time.
A couple of weeks ago, the judge in the Michael Flynn case ordered the government, ordered prosecutors to release three sets of documents related to Flynn`s case. The first was the transcript of a voice mail that one of the president`s lawyers had left for Flynn`s lawyer around the time everybody started to realize that Flynn was going to plead guilty and become a cooperator. We had seen bits and pieces of the transcript of that voice mail in the Mueller report, in the section on potential criminal obstruction of justice by the president.
The pieces of that transcript in the Mueller report read, and I remember reporting this at the time right after the report came out, that voice mail read like a kind of mafia-esque threat to Michael Flynn through his attorney saying, hey, we know what you`re cooperate. We want to know what you`re going to give them on the president. I mean, the or-else was silent, but it was implied. I say that this is sort of a mafia-esque thing as it appears in the Mueller report because it literally starts with the president`s lawyer saying, let me see if I can`t state it in starker terms.
Have you ever had like a pleasant conversation, a nonthreatening conversation with somebody that started that way? Maybe if you had a painter. I could paint this for you in starker terms.
Anyway, so we had seen portions of that voice mail. We had not seen the entire thing. But two weeks ago the judge in the Flynn case ordered prosecutors to make that full transcript public. That was the first thing he ordered to be made public.
The second thing he asked for, the second thing he told prosecutors to release to the public were the transcripts of Flynn`s calls with the Russians, the transcripts of Flynn`s calls about sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the presidential transition. These are the calls that Flynn pled guilty to lying to the FBI about.
The third thing the judge ordered to be released to the public was all the portions of of the Mueller report that have to do with Michael Flynn. The judge said anything about Flynn that`s redacted in the report needs to be unredacted for the public. Now, anything blacked out of the report about Flynn, remove those blackouts, show the public.
So, those were the three things. Those were not three requests from Flynn`s judge. Those were three court orders for the voice mail, for the calls with the Russians and for unredacting the Mueller report.
Well, today was the deadline for prosecutors to hand that stuff over. And it kind of didn`t happen. The first one happened. Prosecutors did turn over the full transcript of that voice mail from the president`s lawyer who we now know is John Dowd.
Now that we have the full transcript, it does paint a clearer picture of how the president`s attorney was in fact calling over to Mike Flynn, calling Flynn`s lawyers to ask what Flynn knew about the president. And what he was going to tell prosecutors about the president and how Flynn should know how the president felt about him.
I mean, it does not change the tone, but we get more of it. Quote: I understand your situation, but let me see if I can`t state it in starker terms. Who talks like that?
It wouldn`t surprise me if you have gone on to make a deal with and work with the government. If there is information that implicates the president, you know, we need some kind of head`s up just for the sake of protecting all our interests. Remember what we have always said about the president and his feelings for Flynn, but, well.
We know from the Mueller report what happened after that voice mail. I mean, we can now see the full transcript of it. We know from Mueller`s account, around -- describing the incidents around that voice mail, we know what happened. Here is how Mueller describes it. Flynn`s attorneys returned the call from the president`s counsel. Flynn`s attorneys reiterated they were no longer in a position to share information under any sort of privilege.
According to Flynn`s attorney`s the president`s counsel was indignant and vocal in his disagreement. The president`s counsel interpreted what he said to them as a reflection of Flynn`s hostility towards the president and that he planned to inform his client, meaning he planned to inform the president of that interpretation.
Flynn`s attorneys understood that statement to be an attempt to make them reconsider their position -- meaning, reconsider their decision for Flynn to start cooperating with the government. So, needless to say, trying to intimidate witnesses, trying to prevent witnesses from cooperating with the government, that is how you explain obstruction of justice to three-year- olds. That`s why that was part of Robert Mueller`s investigation into the president.
Well, now, we have the full transcript of this voice mail. This is CNN and their excellent justice reporter Katelyn Polantz headlined that news tonight. Quote: Transcript released of Flynn voicemail from Trump lawyer showing possible attempt to obstruct. And that`s exactly what it is.
This is really interesting. That voicemail transcript, that was only the first of three things that the judge ordered the government to hand over today. The other two, the transcripts of Flynn`s calls with the Russians and the Flynn portions of the redacted Mueller report, prosecutors basically took that order from the judge and said no. No, your honor, you`re not getting that. I didn`t even know you could do that.
I mean, today prosecutors told the judge they wouldn`t give the judge the transcript of Michael Flynn`s calls with the Russian ambassador. They wouldn`t give those transcripts to the judge or to the public, nor would they turn over anything else from the redacted Mueller report that talks about Flynn. They told the judge in a written motion that all of the information in the Mueller report relating to Michael Flynn has already been redacted, every word of it.
And that those other calls that he asked for, the ones between Flynn and the Russian ambassador, talking about sanctions, this is a strange argument, prosecutors basically told the judge that he shouldn`t want to see those because they`re not relevant. They`re not relevant to Flynn`s sentencing, which is the portion of this case that they`re in now.
I mean, this is weird, but this is what prosecutors said to tonight in explaining to the judge why they weren`t handing over the transcript of Flynn`s calls with the Russian. This is the exact quote from them. The government is not relying on any other recordings of any person for purposes of establishing the defendant`s guilt or determining his sentence. Nor are there any other recordings that are part of the sentencing record, which kind of seems like refrigerator poetry. That`s beside the point.
But, I mean, what they`re telling the judge here is no, your honor, court order, smourt order. You can`t see that.
And this is kind of wild for a few reasons, right? I mean, first of all, it makes you wonder who is overseeing the Flynn prosecution at the Justice Department now? Has that changed?
Also, judge`s orders are not optional. When a judge orders you to do something, no matter which side of the case you are on, you have to do what the judge says. That`s the point of the judge. They decide all the things about the case, full stop.
Prosecutors in particular usually try to avoid running afoul of a judge, particularly a judge they may have to appear before lots of times in the future. Just on its base, it is a bold move by prosecutors here to refuse to turn over documents that the judge explicitly asked for. But it`s also kind of hard to wrap your head around why those calls between Flynn and the Russian ambassador are irrelevant to the proof of Flynn`s guilt or to Flynn`s sentencing.
I mean, when Mike Flynn made those calls to the Russian ambassador during the transition, they talked about U.S. sanctions on Russia. Mike Flynn went on to lie about those conversations. He told FBI agents that he didn`t discuss sanctions on those phone calls with Russia. That`s the crime he pled guilty to, right? Lying to the FBI about those phone calls and what he talked to the Russian government about.
And so, presumably, if you are the government lawyers prosecuting this case, if you are trying to prove, right, that Michael Flynn lied on those phone calls, right, he`s guilty of that, he lied when he said he was not talking about sanctions, wouldn`t the transcript or a recording of what actually happened on those phone calls kind of be the spine of your case in terms of demonstrating Flynn`s guilt? This was a shock tonight in the Flynn case. It is still totally an open question as to what the judge will do about this now that the prosecutors and his court appear to be denying his order without much of an explanation.
I mean, judges are not told no all that often. I`m not sure what exactly is going to happen next here, but I bet, based on which judge this is, it`s going to happen fast.
More ahead tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It was just eight days before President Trump was inaugurated when David Ignatius at "The Washington Post" broke the news that there had been secret communications during the presidential transition period between incoming Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn and the Russian ambassador. As Ignatius wrote at the time, quote: What did Flynn say and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?
Well, despite multiple denials from multiple people in the Trump administration that Flynn discussed sanctions on his calls with the Russian government, a month later, "The Washington Post" would report that Flynn did discussion sanctions with the Russian government on that call. Flynn was subsequently, ultimately, fired as national security adviser and he ultimately pled guilty for lying to the FBI about that call.
But for over two years, we have been curious to get more information about what exactly Flynn said when he had that conversation with the Russian ambassador that he and so many other people in the Trump transition publicly lied about. The call has been described in the Mueller report and court documents. That`s all we`ve had, is vague descriptions.
A couple of weeks ago, a federal judge demanded that prosecutors post a transcript of Flynn`s call with the Russians on the public docket. The deadline for doing that was today. In a development I don`t think any of us saw coming, prosecutors today basically refused the judge`s order to hand over that transcript. They told the judge they don`t think that transcript was relevant to Flynn`s guilty plea or to his upcoming sentencing.
And I`m not a lawyer, but that seems weird, right? We know clearly from court documents that Flynn`s discussion about sanctions with the Russians was absolutely 100 percent definitely at the root of Flynn`s guilty plea. That would seem to be utterly relevant to the determination of his guilt.
Why would prosecutors refuse the judge`s order to hand over the transcript of that call? And what is likely to happen now?
Joining us now is Devlin Barrett, national security reporter at "The Washington Post".
Mr. Barrett, it is really nice to have you here. Thanks for making the time.
DEVLIN BARRETT, NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Sure. Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Let me ask you a real basic, almost logistical question first. Do we know that there are transcripts of Flynn`s call or calls with the Russian government? Do we know that those calls were caught in U.S. government intercepts?
BARRETT: We do know that, but we only know that from sources because those transcripts are still classified. That`s the heart at what prosecutors have decided to do here.
MADDOW: When you say that prosecutors -- I mean, it is hard for us to discern what prosecutes have decided to do here because to me, a non- lawyer, reading their explanations to the judge as to why they`re not handing over that transcript, it feels like legal refrigerator poetry. They never say we`re not giving you this, judge, because it has classified. Or we`d like to talk about this ex parte or we`d like to, you know, litigate this some other way. They say this isn`t relevant, you understand that, right, nudge, nudge, wink, winch.
What do you understand what they`re doing here?
BARRETT: I think the point is this, even the existence of these transcripts, even the existence of these phone calls, the recording of those phone calls -- look, the entire world knows these calls happened. The entire world knows that they were recorded by, you know, on intercepts, but the problem for the prosecutors is that they have never publicly acknowledged that.
Even if you look at the number of the court filings in this case, even in those filings at moments where Flynn says to the investigators, I know you guys probably recorded this anyway, that part is redacted in those documents. So the government is in this position of not acknowledging these recordings exist. And then the judge says you have to make them public.
The trick is that the judge does not have the authority on his own to declassify stuff, so the prosecutors are doing a kind of dance. It may be too coy, it may be too cute. And here`s a real problem for them, Judge Sullivan does not dance.
BARRETT: Judge Sullivan is a hard headed guy who wants what he wants, and he wants it right away. So the notion that Judge Sullivan is going to quietly go away just because the prosecutors come up with a little linguistic dance around this issue I think is very unlikely.
MADDOW: Also, it occurs to me that federal judges at all sorts of levels but they must deal with classified information all the time. I mean, it`s not that classified information only comes up in the FISA court. It comes in all sorts of different court cases I would imagine.
BARRETT: It absolutely does.
MADDOW: So, if this is a classified material, wouldn`t you expect the prosecutors to essentially go into classified material mode and deal with the judge about it on those terms? I think that`s part of what also seems puzzling here.
BARRETT: Yes. But I think you have to think this is the first salvo of this back and forth. I think it is likely that the judge will come back and say something to the exact point you are making, look, guys, you know what I ordered. What is the issue? What is the deal? You know what I want.
And then you may see, I think one realistic scenario here is you may see a sealed letter at that point where you have more of a, let`s call it, an honest but closed door conversation about this material. But a lot of times when classified issues come up in the courts, what ends up happening is there is long back-and-forths between the agency that possesses the classified information and wants to keep it secret and a judge who, you know, debates or considers, you know, pressing the government further to declassify.
Again, a judge can press them to declassify, but it is ultimately the agency`s call. And so, in a lot of these cases where classified information comes up, there is a long back and forth. And this may be the beginning, the first round of a long back and forth over this.
MADDOW: The person who probably has most at stake for the length of that back and forth is Mike Flynn, who doesn`t technically have a sentencing date yet. He`s got a joint status report in a couple of weeks on June 14th. If there is going to be wrangling between the prosecutors and the judge on something like this or even potentially on the other thing they didn`t hand anything over on, which was this issue of whether or not there is other Flynn-related material that`s redacted from Mueller`s report, if any of this stuff goes into that long back-and-forth you are describing there, do you expect that would push Flynn`s ultimate sentencing off further?
BARRETT: Again, that`s up to the judge. This is a very particular judge who has a very particular reputation for demanding more than some other judges would demand from the government. So, it is up to the judge to decide if he doesn`t like these answers and if that means he`s going to hold up the sentencing for it.
Remember, one of the big unknowns here, though, and I know we`re focused on the particular Flynn-Kislyak conversations we know about, one of the other things we don`t know about is how many other conversations like this were recorded because that`s also in what the judge ordered to be made public. And that may be an even bigger problem in the eyes of the prosecutors. But to be clear, we just don`t know how large a group of calls that is.
MADDOW: And even if the judge does come to an accommodation with prosecutors about him getting to see that classified information for the purposes of informing his own sentencing decision, that doesn`t necessarily mean that even the judge would be empowered to release that information to the public even at that point.
BARRETT: Right, right, exactly.
Devlin Barrett, national security reporter for "The Washington Post", thank you for helping us sort this out. You have made more sense about this to me than anybody else who has talked about it all day. Thanks a lot.
BARRETT: Thanks for having me.
MADDOW: Much appreciated. All right. We`ve got much more to get to. It`s a busy news night.
I will tell you, it is right now about half past the hour and we are awaiting a press conference from local authorities who are expecting to be providing an update on the shooting today that took place in Virginia Beach. As far as we know at this point, the death toll from that shooting is 11, six people in addition to the 11 killed were shot and wounded, an incredibly tragic day in Virginia Beach. It happened late this afternoon. We haven`t heard much from local authorities, but we`re expecting a briefing imminently.
We`re going to take a quick break and we will come out of that break and get back live to this press conference if it starts while we are away.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: As I mentioned, we are awaiting the start of a press conference in Virginia Beach where local authorities are expected to brief what happened today in the mass shooting there. That was due to start at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time. It hasn`t started yet. We`ve got eyes on that. They`re starting a little bit late. We`ll let you know when that gets going.
But there is another story that we`re watching tonight because, frankly, this one was very, very much down to the wire. It was down to the wire, but as of tonight, all 50 states in the United States of America still do have at least one legal abortion provider, at least for a few more days. The great state of Missouri has one remaining abortion clinic. And today, they were hours away from the state government rescinding their license as of midnight tonight.
Had that happened, Missouri would have the dubious distinction of being the first American state with zero legal access to abortion since Roe v. Wade prohibited states from banning the procedure back in 1973. But Missouri`s Republican controlled government has been chipping away at Missouri women`s access to abortion wherever they can.
Their latest effort has been to try to put the last clinic in the state out of business tonight at midnight. But this afternoon, a judge gave Missouri`s last clinic a retrieve in the form of a temporary restraining order blocking the state from rescinding that license. So, Missouri`s one and only abortion clinic can stay open and can keep providing services, at least until Tuesday when they will be back in court.
The judge was careful to say the court wasn`t passing judgment on the merits of a controversy. That will happen on Tuesday when the judge holds a hearing to consider Missouri Governor Mike Parson`s request for an injunction to shut down Missouri`s one and only abortion clinic, the state hopes for good.
Joining us now is M`Evie Mead. She`s director of Planned Parenthood Advocates in Missouri.
Ms. Mead, thank you very much for being here. Appreciate your time.
M`EVIE MEAD, DIRECTOR, PLANNED PARENTHOOD ADVOCATES IN MISSOURI: Thank you for having me. I want to say my heart goes out to the community of Virginia Beach. That`s just awful.
MADDOW: Thank you for saying that. And I should just say to our viewers that that press conference gets started, I may have to hit pause on our discussion, in which case we`ll come back to it, just we don`t know exactly when that`s going to get going.
I saw your press conference today with your colleagues at the clinic talking about the government`s action and the court`s action today. What is your basic understanding about how this is going to unfold over the next several days and what`s going to happen on Tuesday?
MEAD: Right. So we have a temporary victory here with a temporary restraining order that will stay in place until the judge issued another ruling. So, he set Tuesday as a hearing on the preliminary injunction. That would be our injunction, seeking injunction against the state so that we can keep the license in place that would have expired tonight at midnight. And, so, we`ll just have to wait and see how those arguments go and then just be waiting on pins and needles for that judge`s ruling.
MADDOW: I wonder, because of this prospect that if your clinic is shut that Missouri would have zero legal abortion providers within the entire state, I wonder if that eventuality itself might ultimately be seen by the courts as an undue burden on Missouri`s women`s access on abortion, which, of course, is protected by Roe versus Wade. Whether regardless of the individual fights that are going on with this governor trying to shut you down, whether or not the disappearance of the services provided by your clinic itself might put the state in violation of that federal court order.
MEAD: That is a great point, and what Governor Parson has done is weaponize the health department to try and do what many states are trying to do through the legislature. He`s using the regulatory process, however, to ban abortion and put the government between women and their doctors in this important, key health care decision-making process.
So, I think the courts could find that and that it clearly, in our view, is unconstitutional. But you can see many states are in this political race to get to the Supreme Court to change that standard. And what your viewers need to know, I think, do know, is that that political race has costs. It has huge legal costs that we`re seeing play out in Missouri right now. But more importantly it has tremendous human costs on the lives of the people who are seeking health care who will no longer be able to access it.
MADDOW: What do you think will happen to your patients and to your broader patient population throughout Missouri if your clinic is forced to stop providing abortions, if your clinic is forced to shut down and there is no legal place to get abortion anywhere in the state. What do you think women will do? Is there a post-Roe, post abortion rights plan for the state?
MEAD: So, there is a plan. And what people need to know is that Planned Parenthood will do its best to make sure that all people get access to the health care they need. Missouri already needs to go through tremendous medically unnecessary and horrible hurdles to access abortion. And, of course, it is only available at one abortion center that`s still licensed to provide care in this state. So, should that center lose its license, there will be an emergency plan to help patients access health care outside of the state.
And -- but people do need to know that already, Missouri is facing tremendous challenges. We know those challenges impact people further away from the urban areas, rural Missourians, people with less incomes with less ability and flexibility to move across state lines and take the time, the child care, the days off work to access abortion.
So, what Governor Parson is doing is absolutely negatively impacting all people of Missourians, certainly the most vulnerable are the hardest hit.
MADDOW: What you`re describing, you mentioned the legal fight and the expense around the legal fight. What you are describing there in terms of the emergency plan, if there needs to be a railroad effort in Missouri to try to help women get out of state to get to places where they can access abortion care because they can`t get it anywhere in the state, in addition to seeming dystopian and radical, it also sounds really expensive.
It sounds like you are already in a very expensive fight right now and it sounds like the future might be expensive, particularly if the court succeeds in shutting you down. Is that right for me to discern that?
MEAD: Yes. There is significant costs all around. As I said, yes, there are financial burdens that people will bear and that I want to say that I`m super appreciative of all the folks who have stepped up and tried to increase their ability to donate or give. But I think the most important cost and the ones that we want to center are the negative impacts on people`s lives. This is a safe, legal common medical procedure, and we should not be erecting these tremendous barriers because they have negative consequences on people`s lives.
That`s the thing people really need to remember. Think about what you would do when you were sitting down trying to get regular medical care and, all of a sudden, a politician, Governor Parson, comes barging in and says, no, you can`t get that care. What does that mean to a woman who has been raped? What does that mean to a woman who is trying to finish her education? What does that mean to a woman who is facing terrible diagnosis about her pregnancy?
That`s what -- those are the costs I`m really concerned and that Missourians are flooding our phone lines with.
MADDOW: M`Evie Mead, the director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Missouri, I really appreciate your time tonight. Please keep us apprised over the next couple days.
MEAD: Sure. Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. Thank you.
We`ve got much more ahead tonight. I believe we have now started the press conference in Virginia Beach`s about tonight`s earlier shooting in Virginia Beach. Governor Northam is at the podium. You can see the governor surrounded by local officials. Let`s go right there now.
At the podium here, as I mentioned, that`s Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. So his left shoulder, that`s the governor.
GOV. RALPH NORTHAM (D), VIRGINIA: This is a horrific day for the commonwealth of Virginia. Our hearts ache over the senseless violence that has been inflicted upon the Virginia Beach community today.
My deepest condolences and prayers go to the families of those who left home this morning and will not return tonight. They were all someone`s child. And many were someone`s parent.
They were heading into the summer weekend. That they should be taken in this manner is the worst kind of tragedy. Their families are facing painful loss and grief. They each leave a hole in a family, in their neighborhood, in this community and in our commonwealth.
We mourn with their loved ones. But sympathy doesn`t fill that hole. We must take care of these families.
These horrific tragedies test our souls. Grief doesn`t pass quickly. It lasts far beyond these coming days. And these families will need support in the months and years to come.
I`m also praying for those who were injured in this tragedy and hoping for their full recovery. Along with the pain of their own injuries, they face a loss of their coworkers and their friends. I want to commend the local and state law enforcement officers, the first responders, the medical teams and all others who acted swiftly to respond to this situation.
Their actions likely saved lives. And they have experienced scenes and injuries no one should ever have to face.
My thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families. To them and to the city of Virginia Beach, I offer the full support of the commonwealth of Virginia. Tonight we are all about Virginia Beach.
I`d like to turn the podium over to our mayor of Virginia Beach, Mayor Dyer.
MAYOR BOBBY DYER, VIRGINIA BEACH, VA: Today is Virginia Beach`s darkest hour. A senseless crime happened and imposed tremendous grief upon the people of Virginia Beach, the commonwealth and this country.
When we get through the shock of it all and we get through the details that we must go through over the next day or two, I believe that our community, Virginia Beach, along with our neighbors and our other cities and Hampton Roads and our commonwealth and our country will be there for not only the families, because that`s when they`re going to need us going forward, but we`re going to show that Virginia Beach is a city of resolve and dedication and, you know, we are going to be there for all the families, the friends and our community in a big way.
And for that I thank you, and I would like to turn this over to the chief for an update.
CHIEF JAMES CERVERA, VIRGINIA BEACH POLICE DEPARTMENT: As I said earlier this evening as we are able to gather more information, we will give that information out. So this is the additional information that I have at this time. Again, it would probably change a little bit and it may increase as we move forward as we`re investigating this case.
Right now, we have a team of investigators detectives from the city of Virginia Beach being assisted by forensic technicians from the FBI and the state police and processing this most horrific scene. We are in the process of identifying the victims and making notification to their families.
I can tell you we do have an additional victim to report. We now have 12. One victim succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital.
We also have four additional victims being treated at area hospitals, and we have reports that others may have self-transported. So as we get more information on that, we will begin to release it.
Our process is always to notify family members prior to releasing names. We do know who the suspect is. We have not been successful in notifying certain family members. Once we are able to do that, we will release his name once. We`re going to mention his name once. And then he will be forever referred to as the suspect, because our focus now is the dignity and respect for the victims in this case and to their families.
I can tell you that when the initial call came out of an active shooter in building two, building number two in our city houses information technology, planning, public works and public utilities, plus a printing operation. This building has a potential of having over 400 city workers at one time or other in the building. When the original call came out, immediately four officers responded, two were seasoned veteran supervisors from the detective bureau. We have two K9 handlers assigned to our special operations unit.
They immediately made entry into the building. Due to the sound of gunfire, they were able to locate the floor on which the suspect was committing his carnage. They immediately engaged with the suspect and I can tell you that it was a long gun battle between those four officers and that suspect.
We recovered a .45 caliber handgun with multiple extended magazines that were empty at the time. The suspect was reloading extended magazines in that handgun firing at victims throughout the building and at our officers.
I want you to know that during this gun ballot, basically the officers stopped this individual from committing more carnage in that building. When suspect went down due to his injuries, our officers then immediately rendered first aid, as they were removing him from the building to the waiting EMS personnel. And I need to say that a second time. Even though he was involved in a long-term moving gun battle with these officers, when he went down, they did what cops do and they rendered first aid to this individual. He succumbed to his wound.
We have found victims on all three floors of the building, as well as one victim who was outside in a vehicle. Right now, as many as 90 people have sought support from the family assistance center and again, we are in the process, our goal now is to identify everyone in that building as quick as we can so we can make the proper notifications to the families of those victims.
Do you have any questions?
REPORTER: Chief, you were saying outside the relation to the victim outside? I mean not the relation but what you say was the vehicle --
CERVERA: An individual was in his vehicle when the suspect shot him.
REPORTER: Chief, there are reports that this was a disgruntled employee. Had he been recently fired? Were there any indications of workplace trouble?
CERVERA: I have no information at this time as to the background of the individual other than he`s a city employee. Again, as we work through all of this, we`ll be able to give more information at a later time.
REPORTER: He was current up until the shooting.
CERVERA: That`s correct.
REPORTER: Chief, I`m trying to understand what you`re saying. So, he started shooting victims outside before entering the building?
CERVERA: There was one victim outside. He entered the building. He was armed with a .45 caliber handgun that had a suppressor on it.
REPORTER: Can you talk about the magazine?
CERVERA: I`m sorry?
REPORTER: Tell us about the magazine.
CERVERA: They were extended magazines. In other words, they have more ammunition than a regular magazine.
REPORTER: Chief, in terms of the numbers, 12 people were killed and then- the go up man was the 13th person who was killed?
CERVERA: We have 12 victims. And a deceased suspect.
REPORTER: Thank you, sir.
REPORTER: Chief, were any of the victims targeted or was all of this random?
CERVERA: At this time, I can`t comment on that as we work through the investigation.
REPORTER: (INAUDIBLE) victims name please?
CERVERA: I cannot give you that because we are in the process of identifying the victims.
REPORTER: I just want to make sure we`re straight on the number of victims who were taken to hospitals. Could we just get the sum total of that number, as well?
CERVERA: Well, I originally reported we had 11 victims. We have an additional one victim did not -- succumb to the wounds on the way to the hospital or at the hospital. I am told we have four others at the hospital right now going through surgeries.
REPORTER: My math (INAUDIBLE)
CERVERA: Your math would say that we have 12 deceased.
REPORTER: Six injured?
CERVERA: I did. And again, that was the information that I had at that time. It`s been updated.
REPORTER: Now, it`s ten injured?
CERVERA: No. We have 12 deceased.
REPORTER: Two of the six injured succumbed.
CERVERA: Right, we have 12 deceased. And we have four who were injured.
REPORTER: Four currently going through.
CERVERA: Four, yes, going through surgery.
REPORTER: Chief, police have the opportunity to certainly the shooters home and have they found anything of interest, any additional weapon.
CERVERA: We`re in the process of continuing our investigation at this time.
REPORTER: Were any of the weapons found at the scene? There were reports there was a rifle there, as well.
CERVERA: We`re in the process of continuing. That`s the best I`m going to be able to tell you at this moment.
REPORTER: Chief, can you elaborate more on the gun battle between the officers and the shooter?
CERVERA: I can tell you that there was numerous shots fired by the individual. Shots were fired from various places down the hallway at the officers at one time. Basically, the ammunition that they had so when we talk about this kind of a situation and many times when we talk about an officer involved shooting situation, it may be minimal rounds by the suspect and by the police officers.
This was well beyond that. This was a long-term, the best I describe it, it was a long-term gun battle for police officers.
REPORTER: How long?
CERVERA: I can`t give you seconds and minutes because we don`t have a stopwatch when we`re engaged in this.
REPORTER: Do you have the time of the suspect`s death.
CERVERA: I`m sorry?
REPORTER: Do you know what time the suspect died?
CERVERA: Shortly after we entered the building and confronted him. The call came right after 4:00 p.m. So, it would be somewhere after that. We don`t have the exact timeline.
REPORTER: Can you tell us about security around these government buildings be? How many police that are normally there? Are people allowed to enter these buildings with weapons?
CERVERA: The individual in question is an employee. He has access to the building. He came in with a weapon today.
REPORTER: So he would not have been checked?
CERVERA: No, he would not have been.
REPORTER: Was any (INAUDIBLE)
CERVERA: One officer did sustain a wound during the gun battle. Fortunately, his bulletproof vest basically saved his life. And we did -- he was seen, he was tended to at the scene. But then we then brought him to the hospital afterwards to make sure that everything was OK with the officer.
REPORTER: Chief, you say suppresser. Is that a silencer or the same thing?
CERVERA: It`s a suppressor. It`s a sound suppressor.
REPORTER: Was the gun recovered legally obtained?
CERVERA: We`re working through ATF at this time. It`s part of our investigation.
REPORTER: And has your department recently I know in the past you have prepared for a scenario like this. I mean, how recently was the last time you prepared for this?
CERVERA: We train continuously. We train not only as first responder for police, but we train with fire. And we train with our EMS personnel because we know that when you have a major scene like this you`re going to need all first responders in that particular area. We do train extensively both on what we call tabletop exercises as well as an all hands on exercise in a building.
So I can tell you that we do train extensively and how many weeks or months prior I can`t give you the exact number. But our officers and our EMS personal and our fire personal are highly qualified, unfortunately, in a situation of that active shooter case.
REPORTER: So, Chief, there were four officers who entered. Who were the detectives and who were members of --
CERVERA: Of K9, that`s correct.
OK, thank you. Just one final thing, I`ve said it before and you heard the governor and the mayor speak of it. We have numerous victims and we have numerous families. Let`s make sure that we keep their dignity and their respect as the number one piece of news that you`re going to give out. I know that our local media always abides by it because their lives are changed forever.
The folks who work in that building, their lives are changed. I have a number of officers right now who are processing through what best could be described as a war zone, their lives are going to be changed. Thank you.
MADDOW: That`s the Virginia Beach Police Chief James Cervera giving an update on horrific mass shooting that took place today in Virginia Beach. There was an update on the death toll at the top of this press conference. The death toll had previously been 11. Chief now saying that the death toll has risen to 12 because one of the victims who was injured succumbed to his or her injuries on the way to the hospital.
They have not released identifying information on any of the victims yet. They say they`re still identifying victims and notifying the families. In terms of the shooter, the shooter is dead. The police chief said pointedly that they know the identity of the suspect.
NBC News has also learned the identity of the suspect from a federal law enforcement source but the police chief says that once they are ready to release formally name for Virginia Beach, he said they will mention it once and once only.
He also described what he said was a long moving running gun battle between four police officers and the gunman than ultimately resulted in the gunman being shot and killed. He said police officers rendered first aid to the gunman after they had shot him. But he nevertheless died from his wounds.
At this point, there are four people injured and in hospital and again, 12 people victims of the shooting in Virginia Beach. In terms of the gun, he wouldn`t answer detailed questions in terms of whether there were multiple guns but he did describe a .45 caliber handgun which he said was fitted with a sound suppresser, it`s a silencer, and he described multiple extended magazines that were found at the scene.
So, we expect we`ll get more information from local authorities. That`s the latest from Virginia Beach.
That`s it for us tonight. We`ll see you again on Monday.
Now it`s time for "THE LAST WORD" with Ali Velshi, sitting in for Lawrence tonight.
Good evening, Ali.
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