JULIET EILPERIN, SENIOR NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: -- a flight show they haven`t had in the past. So, there`s no question that this is going to be a really major celebration and some people are going to love it and some people will not. So, we`ll just have to see how that transpires.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: We will see how it goes.
Juliet Eilperin and Chris Lu, thank you both for being with me.
That is ALL IN this evening.
"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now. Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Happy to have you with us.
This is Alexander Fleming, who was born in Scotland in 1881 who`s trained as a doctor and research scientist. In 1914, his career was interrupted when he went off to serve in World War I. He served for the duration of the war. He returned back in 1918 whereupon he became a professor at St. Mary`s Medical School in London, which is where he had done his own medical training before the war.
Alexander Fleming`s research was about bacteria and viruses and vaccines. And in 1928, in his lab at St. Mary`s, Alexander Fleming had a very fortuitous and ultimately world changing encounter with dirty dishes. He had been working with a fairly nasty strain of staph bacteria in his lab when he found by accident that one of the culture plates he had been working with, I guess had been neglected or, I don`t know, maybe somehow cross contaminated, in any case, it had started to grow a little bit of mold.
And under normal circumstance, that might be cause for regret. Oh, no, this is spoiled. Or, you know, you would be at least mildly grossed out and that would be cause for throwing it out or cleaning up the culture plate. But what Fleming noticed that day in 1928 and what ultimately changed the world and saved millions of lives was that on that culture plate in which he had been growing that staph bacteria, there was a splotch around that spot of mold. And in that splotch spreading out from the edges of the mold, there was no bacteria, which meant it occurred to him that that mold was killing the bacteria.
And in that moment, Alexander Fleming asked the key question, which is -- hey, what`s in that mold? Fleming ended up writing a paper about his discovery. It was published in the following year in 1929 to not much acclaim and not much notice. But years later, almost a decade later, scientists working at a lab at the University of Oxford, they came across Alexander Fleming`s 1929 paper. And they decided that this fairly obscured discovery, this thing about the mold killing off the bacteria, it looked like it might be promising.
And so, the scientists at Oxford decided to start working on it. And over the course of 1939 and 1940 and into 1941, they turned that initial discovery into something promising indeed, because the anti-bacterial substance that Alexander Fleming had stumbled upon and discovered in that moldy dish a decade earlier was something that he called penicillin. And by 1941, those researchers at Oxford had figured out how to turn that penicillin mold discovery into a medical treatment and it was something quite close to a miracle cure that could stop all kinds of infections.
And think about what that meant at that particular time and that particular place, right? English researchers developing this miracle medical cure in 1941. I mean, England had just gone to war against Germany in 1939 and become the Second World War. By 1941, things were not going awesome to say the least, right?
But this team of scientists at Oxford, they had taken Alexander Fleming`s discovery and they produced something that could change everything. I mean, for the world at large in the long run, it could change everything. But for the war in the short run, it could change everything, too.
I mean, penicillin as a miracle cure for all kinds of infections, it wasn`t exactly on par with the discovery of the atomic bomb, right? But it was kind of the closest medical equivalent at the time. I mean, if they could only figure out in the allied side how to mass produce this miracle cure which the Germans did not have, allied soldiers would have a huge new advantage in the war not in terms of their ability to kill the enemy, but in terms of their own ability to survive their own wounds and their own battlefield illnesses. If they could only get this stuff made and distributed in quantity, this could absolutely be a game changer. But how could they do that?
Well, 78 years ago tomorrow on July 2nd, 1941, two scientists from that oxford lab flew across the Atlantic from England, to the United States, carrying a very, very, very precious suitcase which contained a bunch of carefully wrapped glass vials of freeze dried penicillin and they landed in the United States to see if here in the United States, it could be mass produced into a medical treatment that could be used in the war effort.
And the reason they came here was because America had the know-how and the capability to do it. I mean, in July of 1941, America was not yet in the war. America`s resources were there for not strained in the way the allied resources were fighting the war already. More importantly than that, though, America had the kind of scientific, can do capacity and acumen that the allies needed to get this crucially important job done.
And so, those Oxford scientists flew over here and they went to the U.S. government. They went to the best place in the world to try to pull off this big scientific leap. They went to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to the northern regional research lab of the agricultural research service at the USDA. And there, they unpacked their freeze-dried vials of this mold and they got to work figuring out how to devise some sort of method for industrial scale production of this medical treatment that they had just invented based on penicillin.
And the scientists at USDA got to work on it immediately. They tried a gazillion different things and ultimately in short order, they did it. They were soon using 10,000 gallon vats and obscure corn sugars and different types of temperature and humidity controls. By the time U.S. soldiers were joining the allied land invasion of Europe on D-Day, of June of 1944, part of what the U.S. and the allies had on their side in the war effort were tens of thousands of doses of penicillin.
By 1945, British news reels were reporting on U.S. mass production of the most important medical advance of the war.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Industrial monument to the miracle drug. Mass production penicillin plant of Terre Haute, Indiana, one of many, where the life- saving medicine is now being manufactured wholesale. It comes from mold like you`ve seen on spoiled food processed by rapid fermentation. The penicillin then dehydrated. Each fermentation batch of 12,000 gallons use about 15,000 gallons of concentrated penicillin.
(END VIDOE CLIP)
MADDOW: Scientists employed by the U.S. federal government who made it possible for America and thereby the allies to mass produce penicillin during World War II. Specifically, it was scientists working for the USDA. And even that division of the USDA, the Agricultural Research Service, ARS, it still exists. It is still a world leading elite headquarters for all types of practical and consequential scientific research.
And if you are feeling a little tremor in the plot here, it`s because as you might imagine, today cutting edge practical scientific research and analysis having to do with, you know, the natural world and how to grow things and agriculture at every scale in this day and age, that inevitably means talking about climate and climate change. And even if you are not talking about the causes of climate change, you are necessarily going to be talking about its impact, and coping with it, and predicting it and hopefully potentially mitigating it however you can, even when that takes place within the U.S. federal government, which is led by a president named Donald J. Trump.
At the Democratic presidential debate last week, one of the big takeaways I think both substantively and stylistically was the degree to which the candidates wanted to be seen to be competing with each other in part on the basis of whose most serious about it and who is most aggressive on the need to address the issue of climate. They are all fighting over who should be seen as having the best climate plan, who has the best understanding of the threats from climate change, who has the best practical ability to get big things done to address climate change, right?
And so, at this high level of American electoral politics for the first time, we really are going to have a big contest for national leadership that at least for a certain extent centers on the issue of climate change and what we are supposed to do about it as a country. And that itself is a landmark thing, that contest among the Democrats, that is going to be fascinating to watch, right? They all want to not only do something about it, but we get to see them all compete as to who can set themselves apart on this issue, who can connect the most with voters on that issue, who can prove the ability to get practical things done on that issue.
So, that`s happening in Democratic electoral politics in the way we`ve never really seen before. But meanwhile, simultaneously, within the federal government right now led by Donald Trump, there is already super high level practical research and analysis happening at a world class level on how to predict and cope with and e meliorate climate change.
That is happening, scientists at places like USDA are leading the world in that kind of research. And that is happening despite the best efforts of the Trump administration to shut all of that down. Politico.com recently rounded up a whole bunch of recent findings from scientists at USDA, including from ARS, from Agricultural Research Service, the same part of USDA that developed the ability to mass produce penicillin in World War II.
Scientists at that agency today have produced a whole litany of super consequential, super practical stuff about climate change that the Trump administration has been trying to kybosh. They had to at least ensure that these findings from USDA scientists never get distributed, definitely never get publicized. And this is -- this is practical stuff. This is consequential stuff that scientists working for the federal government have figure the out and produced to a peer-reviewed level and this is stuff that is ready to go. The Trump administration has been trying to keep it all quiet.
I mean, even if you are -- you`re not a scientist or you`re not particularly well-versed in this field, you look at the subjects of this research and you can understand why it might be important to get this stuff out there. In April of last year, for example, a USDA scientist looked at prairie grasses that are important for grazing cattle. They found that as the level of carbon dioxide goes up in the atmosphere, that super sort of charges the photosynthesis process for those grasses, the practical consequences for that for the cows that eat those grasses is that the protein content of those grasses drops.
So, if you are involved in, you know, ranching or anything else that has to do with cattle production, learning that increased CO2, the hallmark of climate change, is going to reduce the protein content of what your cows are eating, that`s good to know. That`s important for just practical planning, right? USDA scientists figured it out. The Trump administration is covering it up.
2017, super practical findings for farmers dealing with nutrient run off and agricultural pollution particularly in the Mississippi Delta, as a consequence of climate change. USDA scientists study how farmers can make relatively simple very practical choices that can have a big impact on that, things like not tilling their soil and planting cover crops. USDA scientists quantifying the kind of effect steps like that can have as farmers are dealing with increased pollution and run off problems.
Last summer, a promising finding from USDA scientists that coffee can be a sort of canary in the coal mine test subject for scientist who are trying to monitor and anticipate how pest biology is going to change as carbon dioxide levels go up. Coffee is already being affected by increased CO2. So, USDA scientists have been studying how coffee specifically might help when it comes to studying insects and weeds and growth patterns and other stuff that might change as levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere go up.
And then -- and then there is this one, which is like, again, even if this is not your field, right? Just like step back and appreciate the biblical consequence of this type of research. Arguably the most important food crop on planet earth is rice. More than 600 million people on Earth get more than half of their calories or protein from rice on a daily basis.
Earlier this year, USDA scientists came to a potentially earth-shaking conclusion about rice. They found that as carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, rice loses its vitamins, which means the crop that more than 600 million humans count on for most of their diet is going to get significantly less nutritious as carbon dioxide levels rise. Think about the consequences of that, right?
The Trump administration buried that. They even tried to block outside scientists who worked at other institutions. People -- scientists who worked from other institutions with the USDA scientists on that study, the Trump administration tried to block their outside institutions from putting out any press releases or statements announcing these findings. They wanted to make sure to keep them quiet.
You are only dealing with potential starvation of 600 million people or massive changes in nutritional needs for 600 million people. Why would anyone need to know about that?
Politico.com interviewed one USDA scientist who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid the possibility of retaliation. That scientist told "Politico", quote, why the hell is the U.S., which is ostensibly the leader in scientific research, ignoring this? It`s not like this is something esoteric. We`re working on something that has dire consequences for the entire planet. Quote: You can only postpone reality for so long.
So, I know everybody decries partisanship and the two parties increasingly being on two different planets. I know. But there is only one earth and here on earth one, the partisan divide on this subject in particular and the different partisan experience right now of this subject in Washington is just nuts.
I mean, here`s the Democrats right now, in a 20-way, no holds barred, full- scale wrestling match trying to appear to be the most aggressive and the most invested and the most knowledgeable and the most committed to taking climate change seriously and to doing something about it. While the Republican administration in Washington oversees a world renowned, incredibly capable, incredibly advanced coterie of scientists who really are already working on the most practical stuff possible when it comes to dealing with climate change, right? Peer-reviewed world class science, which is already happening with U.S. taxpayers have already paid for and ready to be published and the Trump administration is taking that stuff and actively shutting it down, refusing to release that research.
And as we have talked about a couple of times here on the show, in the last couple of weeks, the Trump administration is also right now trying to dismantle a big chunk of the whole scientific capacity at that pioneering agency, at USDA.
"The Washington Post" reports today that it really does seem like this is now going to happen within the next two weeks. Quote: These USDA employees face a stark choice, move or be fired. Scientists at USDA were recently given a document with two blank boxes on it. They were told they needed to check one of the two boxes.
Option A, accept a forced transfer a thousand miles away out of Washington, away from USDA and the rest of the federal government to a city where there are not even offices for them. There`s no building to move them into. Or option B, agree to be fired, for the crime of refusing to be moved halfway across the country for no reason.
I mean, these are scientists who, you know, do analyses of global commodity production and the economic impact of various trade and agriculture policies. I mean, these are the specifically scientists who look at the effects of climate change on agriculture. As the Trump administration has clamped down on their work and now announced that hundreds of them will be relocated on zero notice on a mandatory basis to Kansas City and if you don`t move, you will be fired.
The scientists themselves are warning that this is going to decimate the ranks of scientists at one of America`s premier scientific institutions. These agencies are going to lose 80 percent, 90 percent, or 100 percent of their scientists all at once, two weeks from today.
Quote: In the resource and rural economics division, more than 90 percent of employees who study conservation and the environment and the economy may leave. And the food economics division which studies nutrition programs, food safety and pricing, the attrition rate could reach as high as 89 percent. We`re to lose 80, 90, 100 percent of scientists of this part of the U.S. government?
These scientists were told for the first time on June 13th that they were going to need to move their families immediately or quit. They were given one month to make the decision. They needed to tell the agency which it`s going to be, move 1,000 miles on no notice with your family immediately or be fired. And they were given one month to make the decision.
The decision is due at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, July 15th, two weeks from today. And again, there is no building, there is no office to move these people into in Kansas City. The Agricultural and Applied Economics Association did the math and thinks that this move will come at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of $80 million to $180 million. Oh, for that low, low price, we fire all of these scientists in this part of the government. Congratulations. What else can we get you for that money?
I mean, as I mentioned, we have been covering this since the scientists have been sounding the alarm, since the scientists were told all of a sudden out of nowhere, no public comment, no negotiations, no chance to even go see the site. They need to uproot their families and move or get fired.
And we have been covering this over the past few weeks. I think there was some expectation from everybody who we talked about it that the Trump administration was going for it. They were trying this gambit, basically using this forced relocation thing as a way to try to empty out this part of the scientific capacity of the U.S. government.
There was some expectations we talked to about this story for our coverage that the Trump administration would be blocked from going ahead with this. But I am here to tell you that it now looks like time is running out and it looks like they are going to do it unless something changes in sort order. The scientists themselves are doing everything they can and then some. They themselves voted recently to form a union only by forming a union and making a formal demand as a newly unionized workforce that they get an agreement from to talk for the first time about this move to start negotiating about it for the first time.
The agency has now told the scientists that they are happy to start negotiations and the discussions with them on July 16th, which is the day after all the scientists will be fired if they don`t move. The day after is when they are willing to start talking about it.
The other path here is that Democrats in Congress have also been trying to block what the Trump administration is doing here, but as "The Washington Post" reports today, you see in the had the line, Democrats are running out of options to stop Trump from doing this. The member of Congress from the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton, is suggesting as a last act of desperation, the scientists should go to court and sue to try to stop them from doing it. She is suggesting that maybe litigation is the only best last hope here.
But the other dynamic at work here is now a robustly joined Democratic presidential campaign in which the biggest names in Democratic politics in which these candidates are all competing to see who can be the most effective on the issue of climate, right? That is happening right now. While the tip of the spear scientists working on the most practical imaginable challenges that come from climate change right now, they are all getting fired two weeks from today. And that part of the U.S. government is essentially being shut down unless somebody can figure out a way to stop it.
And so, it is this remarkable confluence of dynamics and events, right? I mean, climate change is important to Democratic voters. Climate change is important to young voters of all stripes.
Climate change often seems big and overwhelming for something like humans can worry about it, but not do much about it. What can you do? Climate change, we are talking about the scale of the earth. What can you do, right?
But, well, here`s a thing our government is doing right now over the next 14 days, to decimate the most advanced and practical climate science in the world and to disassemble the U.S. government`s ability to ever do it again. Those scientists are going to be fired two weeks from today. And the Trump administration will either be stopped or they will not. And if they are not stopped, this kind of world leading elite scientific capacity that we have built and paid for as American taxpayers for generations, that literally helped the allies win World War II.
I mean, that is capacity that will be really hard to ever get back, ever, after you fire hundreds of scientists all working at the top of their game, fire hundreds of them all at once, two weeks from today. Tick tock.
MADDOW: We`ve got some harrowing stories and images today from congressional visit to border patrol facilities in Texas. A number of members of Congress say at those facilities, they witnessed immigrants being held in what they describe as appalling conditions.
This visit from members of Congress came on the heels of reports in recent weeks about border patrol stations in Clint, Texas and McAllen, Texas, and other locations. Lawyers visited the Clint facility last month and reported that hundreds ever kids were in dismal conditions including kids basically being put in charge of caring for one another without the human capacity or the physical facilities to do so.
This video was taken at one facility today by Democratic Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro, who`s the brother of presidential candidate Julian Castro. Congressman Castro and some of his congressional colleagues spoke with several women who were being held in a small cell there. I see them sitting on the floor of the cell.
The women told lawmakers many had been separated from their kids and had been denied showers and ability to bathe and denied medication after this visit today to the facilities. Members of Congress described what they had seen to the press.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO (D-TX): When we went into the cell, it was clear that the water was not running. There was a toilet, but there was no running water for people to drink. In fact, one of the women said that she was told by an agent to drink water out of the toilet.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): What we saw today was unconscionable. No child should ever be separated from their parents. No child should ever be taken from their family. No woman should ever be locked up in a pen when they have done no harm to another human being.
REP. AYANNA PRESSLEY (D-MA): But I want to talk about their parents, the mothers, the abuelas, the tias, the madres that I sat with who wept openly in our arms, not even knowing our names, because of the trauma they are experiencing and because they don`t know where their children are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Members of Congress outside of Border Patrol facilities in Texas after visiting with immigrants detained inside. And then this evening, the "Associated Press" obtained this video of an interview with the 12-year-old girl held for almost two weeks in a Texas border patrol facility.
Nobody is supposed to be in a border patrol facility for longer than 72 hours and she was held for more than two weeks. A lawyer is working on the girl`s case. The girl said she and her 6-year-old sister were taken away from their aunt when they crossed the border with their aunt last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALISON GRIFFITH, ATTORNEY: Can you tell me what it was like inside the detention center?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: They gave us little food. Some children did not bathe, they didn`t bathe them. They treated us badly where we were. They were mean to us.
GRIFFITH: Were there many children there?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: Yes, there were many children and they were treated badly. They didn`t bathe. They gave little food, children were crying.
GRIFFITH: And where did you sleep? Did you sleep on beds?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: They slept on just the floor.
GRIFFITH: Did they give you blankets or not?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: They would only give us one blanket.
GRIFFITH: And was it enough to withstand the cold?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: No, some children were sick. They said that they`d take them to hospitals, but they wouldn`t take them.
GRIFFITH: And would they sometimes scream? (Referring to other children)
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: Yes, some children, like the age of my sister, they would cry for their mother or their father. They cried for their aunt, they missed them.
GRIFFITH: Anything else you might remember from inside the detention center, that made you scared or feel uncomfortable?
TWELVE-YEAR-OLD GIRL HELD IN DETECTION FOR 12 DAYS: The way they treated us. Some children did not sleep, almost. It was ugly in there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That video of a 12-year-old girl held at the border patrol facility in Clint, Texas, for two weeks. That was obtained by the "Associated Press" this evening.
Joining us now is Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York. He is the high profile chairman of the very powerful House Judiciary Committee, which does have jurisdictions over a bunch of details involved here.
Mr. Chairman, thanks for being here.
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY): Thank you.
MADDOW: There`s a number of things I want to talk to you about tonight. Thank you for coming in.
But I have to ask your reaction to what you heard from your House colleagues there and from these other reports that we`ve had about the facilities on the border. Obviously, your committee has some jurisdiction on this matter.
NADLER: We do, but we don`t control the agencies. Obviously, what we saw today was disgusting. When we were at the border a couple of months ago, we saw also -- although they didn`t let us talk to the kids, we saw very disgusting conditions then.
This is inhumane. This is -- frankly, I think it`s criminal. There ought to be criminal prosecutions of some of the agency heads and some of the people for child abuse. This is clearly child abuse. It violates a half dozen laws.
MADDOW: Do you think it should be pursued as federal prosecution or do you think this is a matter of state law?
NADLER: Well, probably both. Probably both.
MADDOW: In terms of what can be done, I know there was a lot of conflict and controversy within the Democratic Caucus last week as to whether or not the house bill, which included restrictions on the way that the Trump administration and the agencies can treat immigrants, whether that bill would supersede the Senate bill that didn`t include any of those restriction and ultimately the Senate bill went forward and that was a source of controversy within the caucus.
Can you talk to us at all about that decision?
NADLER: Well, I voted against the final bill because I didn`t have enough guarantees in my opinion that the money would be used to give them proper medical and other attention. And it didn`t have enough guarantees that the Trump administration wouldn`t divert funds to more detention instead of better conditions.
But the money has been appropriated and ought to be used now quickly to make conditions better, to -- and, of course, it`s one thing to make the conditions better, which is what the money is for. Secondly, these kids should not be separated from their parents or relatives in the first place. That is unconscionable and not necessary legally. It`s just more of the administration determining to torture people in order to be a deterrent for people coming over the border, which they no longer admit is the case but that he admitted it was the purpose a few months ago.
MADDOW: As we -- as we continue to get these ongoing reports of kids and families being held in appalling conditions and we continue to get reports about kids being separated from their parents, it sort of feels like no level of criticism makes an impact. Nothing makes a difference in terms of what the Trump administration does. The inspector general at the Department of Homeland Security last month had an appalling report on the conditions in which immigrants were being held. "BuzzFeed" is reporting that there`s another I.G. report that`s going to come out that`s describing even worse conditions and we`ve got these firsthand reports from the little girl and from lawyers who have been there and now, from member who have been there.
It just feels like none of that ever goes anywhere. The Trump administration is not shamed by these reports at all, nor are they acting to change anything.
NADLER: That`s correct. And just as the story with the scientists, they are just going to go ahead and destroy the government`s ability to do science. Let`s put our heads in the sand so we don`t know what`s happening.
NADLER: The executive branch is in charge of -- you can have lawsuits and the lawsuits might result in court orders to have better -- that`s the only thing I can think of right away. I mean, for Congress to pass laws, they have to be enforced. And it takes months to pass laws at best.
MADDOW: Is it possible to impeach individual officials who are in charge of these agencies and hold their feet to the fire in the House?
NADLER: It is technically possible to impeach mid-level officials, but that takes a long time and that`s not the answer here.
MADDOW: Congressman Jerry Nadler is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I have a number of things I want to ask you about, including your expected visit from Robert Mueller, which is coming up shortly. We will be right back with Chairman Nadler after this. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Joining us once again is Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York. He`s the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Chairman, thank you again for being here.
You`ve got Robert Mueller coming in to testify before your committee, thanks to a subpoena in 16 days. I want to ask about the negotiations that led to that and what are the sort of terms that you set around the -- leading up to the subpoena that might give us an expectation of what the day is going to be like.
NADLER: Well, the problem was that Mueller didn`t want to testify in private at all. He was happy to testify in front of our Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee and have a transcript released a day or two later, but he was not willing to testify in public. We thought it absolutely essential that he testify in public so people could see it and hear it. That was what the negotiation was all about.
And the agreement reached is he will come in on the 17th and he will testify for about two to two and a half hours in front of the Judiciary Committee. Then he will testify for another two hours or so in front of the Intelligence Committee in public. And then he will testify in private in front of the Judiciary Committee and then in private in front of the --
MADDOW: He`s going to do a closed session with each committee?
NADLER: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: And that will be him, not his staff?
NADLER: Those -- what is what unclear.
NADLER: The public testimony in front of each committee will be him.
MADDOW: And the closed testimony , it`s still -- when I talked to Congressman Schiff about this last week, he suggested that Mueller himself won`t be there in the closed testimony and it will be staff instead. But with you, that`s still not sure?
NADLER: It`s unclear.
MADDOW: So, if you got --
NADLER: It may very well be his deputies.
MADDOW: And do you know how many of them it would be, if it`s going to be not Mueller but rather his deputies?
NADLER: Probably one or two.
MADDOW: Which ones?
NADLER: I`m not going to say the names.
MADDOW: I knew you weren`t, I could tell. I have to ask.
So, imagining that two or two and a half hours for the open session. How - -
NADLER: For each committee.
MADDOW: For each committee. But you`re going first, right judiciary before intelligence.
NADLER: Yes, yes.
MADDOW: So, you`ve got him for the first two, two and a half hours. How do you plan to approach that in terms of getting the most and the most critical information out of him? Is this going to be questioning by you and the ranking member or by all the members? Are you going to have staff question him?
NADLER: No, it`s going to be by the members. It will be by the members, in the normal order. We will question him about this -- the question about the report, first of all, his report led not just report, his investigation led to 37 indictments.
It led to the outlining in the report of 10 instances of obstruction of justice by the president. It led to the revelation of repeated instances of the president instructing people to lie to investigators and the public in order to cover up what he had done. This is rather important stuff, and it has to be -- it has to be explored.
So we will be going through all of that, and we`ll also ask him questions, I`m not going to list exactly what the questions are, obviously, but I imagine we`ll be asking questions about the misleading, the misrepresentation of his report by the attorney general. You know, the president and the attorney general have conducted a campaign of lies and misrepresentations and the president said they found no collusion and no obstruction.
The report did not find no collusion. The report did not find no obstruction. It`s a simple lie and he`ll have to -- we will ask him to clarify both of those.
The attorney general misrepresented the report in public. Mueller wrote a letter saying you misrepresented the report. We`ll ask him I`m sure in what way was it misrepresented.
There`s been a campaign to lull the American people into thinking that everything is fine, whereas in fact that report shows repeated instances of obstruction of justice by the president. It shows that the Russians attacked our election and that there were hundreds of contacts, between 100 and 170 as I recall, contacts between campaign officials and people representing the Russian government that the campaign welcomed the help of the Russian government in its attempt to swing the campaign to Trump.
All of that is in the report and all of that has been lied about by the president and the attorney general. We have to correct the record and let the people hear so people can see and the American people can see what, in fact, was going on.
MADDOW: Has there been or do you anticipate an effort by the Justice Department or White House to curtail his testimony or keep him from talking about anything in particular?
NADLER: Well, they are doing that to every other witness and we will be going to court on that shortly, but I would be surprised if they tried to do it many Mueller because he does not work for the Justice Department and I don`t think he would stand for it. They have no legal right. With Hope Hicks and McGahn and others, they have used this so-called claim of absolutely immunity. You may not talk about anything.
And, of course, Hope Hicks obeyed that with White House lawyers sitting there and telling her don`t answer the question of where your desk was located, don`t answer a question about anything. They have done it with McGahn.
I don`t think that -- I mean, there`s clearly no legal right to do that. I don`t think Mueller would allow himself to be coerced into such an illegal and unpatriotic attitude.
MADDOW: Congressman Jerry Nadler of New York, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee -- sir, thank you. Appreciate you being here. Thanks for coming in.
NADLER: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: The Singaporean declaration for such a grandiose title, it was very small. It`s just over 400 words. But it promised a lot on that little page.
Quote: Chairman Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
The Singaporean declaration, that w3as a year ago, June 2018. President Trump and the North Korean dictator sat down to sign the historic agreement about North Korea abandoning its nuclear program. Our president promised in Sharpie that he would build a new relationship with North Korea only if and when they got rid of all their nuclear weapons.
It has been more than a year since that agreement was signed. In that time, North Korea has made basically zero effort toward any form of denuclearization despite what they promised. And so, naturally, there have been to be consequences for that sort of thing, right? You can`t break a promise like that with power like the United States of America and expect it to go unnoticed.
Well, they were consequences finally this weekend. The consequences were that the U.S. president went to North Korea this weekend for the first time ever and called it a great honor. It`s like a backwards reward system for North Korea reneging on their part of that last deal.
A sitting U.S. president has never stepped foot in North Korea before. It was such an unprecedented, shocking thing, reporters literally counted the number of steps President Trump took inside North Korea. For the record, it was 20.
The visit of Trump to North Korea has been covered in North Korea as the biggest propaganda coup of Kim Jong-un`s life, handshakes, shoulder patting, much glad-handing. The North Korean dictator greeted as a friend and peer of the leader of the free world, met with no conditions, hosting the U.S. president on North Korean soil.
Our president said he was proud to have visited North Korea and said it was a, quote, great honor. He later invited the North Korean dictator come visit the White House too, which goes without saying has also never happened before.
We know that the North Korean dictator is getting out of President Trump. Why is he getting nothing out of them and how does this exchange, therefore, end?
Hold that thought.
MADDOW: Joining us here in studio is Dr. Sue Mi Terry. She`s the former director for Korea, Japan and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council. Before that, she was also a senior analyst on Korean issues at the CIA.
And, Dr. Terry, it`s really nice to have you here. Thanks for being here.
SUE MI TERRY, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: Thanks for having me on.
MADDOW: My basic layman`s not subject matter expert perception of what happened here is that the North Korean government and dictator just got a really big propaganda victory. Chairman Kim being seen as a peer and friend of the leader of the free world and the U.S. does not seem to have gotten anything from North Korea.
Is that a fair assessment?
TERRY: We`ve got zero. As you said, it`s been a year, it`s been over a year since the Singapore declaration, since that historic meetings. We don`t have even an understanding of what denuclearization means. We have a differing understanding.
There is no agreed upon definition on denuclearization. We don`t have a road map. We don`t have a timeline. We don`t have declaration of their nuclear missile program.
We have nothing. And we just gave them this big propaganda coup for Kim Jong-un.
And I know President Trump said before, oh, President Obama has been begging to meet with North Koreans. No, he has not. No U.S. president dared -- went to North Korea, even the North Koreans consistently wanted to meet with the U.S. president.
So, I`m afraid to say we have not made any progress.
MADDOW: Break this down in a simple way for somebody who is, again, totally outside this subject matter expertise. Why has every previous president resisted those requests from the North Korean government? Why has no other U.S. president ever stepped foot on North Korean soil?
TERRY: Because you are legitimatizing Kim Jong-un, and previous to him, Kim Jong-Il, the North Korean leader. North Korea, we don`t talk about human rights, but we have to remember North Korea is the greatest violator of human rights in the world right now. They are building a nuclear program and just had six nuclear tests, and they tested intercontinental ballistic missiles. They posed threats to the region.
So, you have to get something for the summit because it is legitimizing his rule and it is big propaganda coup for the Kim family. So, shouldn`t we get something out of that? We have not and it`s been a year.
MADDOW: And what is the practical impact of that propaganda coup? Absolutely, there`s no question as to the Kim family`s grip on power in North Korea. How does it help them? How does it enable them, for them to have the kind of propaganda victory they just got from Trump?
TERRY: Well, for domestically, it does strengthen his power even further, and internationally, it does normalize him, right? North Korea`s goal is to get international acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear weapons power, like Pakistan, like India. So, we are normalizing him, right?
It looks like the North Korean leader is our peer. They`re sitting there meeting, walking, talking. So, you are normalizing him even internationally. I think that perception is very, very important for the North Korean leader.
MADDOW: In terms of what happens next, obviously, the president, part of what is unusual about the relationship between the United States and North Korea in the Trump era is that the president is so personally effusive for that dictator, welcoming, complimentary, praising him, seemingly giving him everything he wants.
Do you have in mind sort of a worse case scenario in terms of what Trump might give to North Korea or will he be able to?
TERRY: I do. I mean, right now, they also spent 53 minutes together and we don`t have a readout of that 53 minutes. What did Trump promise Kim? And I think Kim Jong-un does want a deal with President Trump because he thinks President Trump is the best possible person to have a deal with.
No U.S. president, future, Democrat or Republican, would ever put alliance equities like peace treaty, like putting how U.S. to respond South Korea on the table for discussion. So, I do think Kim wants some sort of a deal with President Trump, because he thinks he will get the best kind of deal with this particular president.
MADDOW: He`s got a better shot with him than with anybody else.
Dr. Sue Mi Terry, former director for Korea and Japan and Oceanic Affairs of the National Security Council, former senior analyst on Korean issues at the CIA, thank you for coming in. It`s good to see.
TERRY: Thanks for having me on.
We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Programming note: this time tomorrow or 9:00 tomorrow, we`re going to be joined here in studio by Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Obama`s former housing secretary. Julian Castro is going to be joining us here live, first time we`ve got a chance to talk to him since his very impressive debate performance on night one of the Democratic debates last week.
Now, 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