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Interview with Megan Rapinoe TRANSCRIPT: 7/9/19, The Rachel Maddow Show.

Guests: Guest: Megan Rapinoe

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST:  All right.  Michael Isikoff, great reporting.  Check out the podcast.  Thank you. 

That is ALL IN for this evening. 

"THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts right now. 

Good evening, Rachel.  I almost said "The Megan Rapinoe Show" starts right now. 


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST:  You know, let`s be honest, any show that Megan Rapinoe is on is the Megan Rapinoe Show.  That`s true. 

HAYES:  That`s -- I`m very excited for that interview. 

MADDOW:  Thank you.  Me, too, to the point of being totally paralyzed, with an inability to do anything all day. 

HAYES:  All right.  I`m going to go to green room.

MADDOW:  Thank you, my dear.

And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. 

Let me start by saying I know why you`re all here right now.  As Chris mentioned, our guest for the interview tonight is, in fact, Megan Rapinoe, the greatest living soccer player in the whole world, the captain of the U.S. national team which just won the world cup.  She literally is going to be right here in just a few minutes, and, no, I can`t believe it either. 

You know, people sometimes give me a hard time of whether I`m perfectly objective on the matters on which we report on this show.  Here is a matter in which I profess absolutely zero objectivity at all. 

To be honest, I`m still excited about the fact that she was here four years ago.  After the last time she and the U.S. national team won the World Cup.  But now after back-to-back world championship wins and the most goals in the World Cup and everything else, on the night before New York throws the U.S. national team a ticker tape parade tomorrow morning in the Canyon of Heroes downtown, honestly, I`m, like, about to burst. 

So, it`s true.  Megan Rapinoe will be here live in studio coming up in just a few minutes.  To all of my myriad friends who suggested that this would be a night they would like to be here in studio for the show and I told you all no, I`m not even going to ask for your forgiveness.  You have to realize how crazy that was that you all asked me. 

But I got to tell you we actually have a scoop to break tonight as well.  And, honestly, this has just been a day when it feels like the news is being shot out of a cannon.  There is a lot going on on a lot of different fronts right now. 

The calls are now at a fever pitch for the U.S. secretary of labor, Alex Acosta, to resign from Trump`s cabinet.  Before Trump appointed Alex Acosta labor secretary, he was the U.S. attorney, the top federal prosecutor in southern Florida and he is the one who made a non-prosecution deal with billionaire Jeffrey Epstein even after the FBI had amassed evidence of Epstein sexually abusing more than three dozen underage girls. 

At the time, Alex Acosta himself was personally thanked by Epstein`s lawyers for agreeing specifically not to tell any of Epstein`s victims about that non-prosecution agreement until after it was already finalized and those victims couldn`t do anything about it.  There is a federal law that says victims do have to be notified before prosecutors make that kind of an agreement.  A federal judge ruled earlier this year that Acosta`s office broke that law when he went ahead with the deal in secret without telling the victims.  That alone, that ruling from a federal judge that Acosta`s office had broken the law when they did that deal without telling the victims, I mean, that alone made it somewhat astonishing that the Trump administration did not fire Alex Acosta from his job in the cabinet or at least that Acosta did not resign. 

But that was a few months ago and now on top of all of that, now that federal prosecutors in New York have themselves brought multiple federal felony charges against Epstein, that just makes Alex Acosta`s previous decision to let Epstein off the hook all the more inexplicable. 

Well, President Trump today for his part said that he feels badly about the situation.  Specifically the president said that he feels badly for Alex Acosta.  That was his actual quote.  I swear.  The president said, quote: I feel very badly, actually, for Secretary Acosta.

The president also reiterated that the White House is carrying out some sort of review of Alex Acosta and his role in the Epstein case.  That is also what they said months ago when that federal judge ruled that Acosta broke the law when he and his office made Epstein this deal.  The White House said then they were reviewing the matter.  Apparently, it`s still being reviewed. 

I mean, in terms of the pressure that Acosta is facing, lots of Democrats today, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer have called on Alex Acosta to resign from the cabinet.  So far, it`s interesting, no Republicans in Congress have done the same. 

Democrats in the House, of course, could choose to start impeachment proceedings against Acosta if they -- if they wanted to.  That would involve, of course, holding hearings on what Acosta did in the Epstein matter.  There has been no formal move in that direction as yet, but it is within the Democrats` power to launch impeachment proceedings against a cabinet official like Alex Acosta if that`s what they wanted to do. 

So, we are watching the Epstein case.  We are watching this question of whether Labor Secretary Alex Acosta is going to resign or get fired for what he did to Epstein`s victims. 

There is also a ton of other legal drama that unfolded over the course of the day.  We`re going to get to some of this news over the course of this hour.  In the case where the Trump administration is trying to change the census and they keep getting stopped by the courts in their efforts to do so, tonight, there was a very dramatic move by a federal judge in New York City who blocked efforts by the Justice Department to swap out the whole legal team that`s been working on that census case.  There had been speculation that the career Justice Department lawyers working on the census case either wanted out because they didn`t feel like they could responsibly keep working on it or alternatively that the Trump administration was trying to force those career lawyers off the case in order to replace them with more pliable Trump appointees. 

But whichever it was, the Justice Department was trying to swap out all the lawyers in the census case and a federal district court judge in New York today blocked that effort to switch out all the lawyers in that case.  So that is a big new dramatic turn. 

There is also dramatic developments today in the case of Mike Flynn, President Trump`s first national security adviser.  Very interesting developments involving Felix Sater, who was a Trump -- excuse me, a Trump Organization employee/associate who testified for a very long time before the house intelligence committee today.  There is intriguing stuff sort of bubbling and developing in terms of Robert Mueller`s planned testimony next week and the members of his prosecution team who may be testifying at the same time on the same day.  So, there`s lots going on. 

Like I said, the news is sort of like a confetti cannon today.  Things are going on all over the place and it sort of feels like if the news just got frozen in amber tonight, we would still be full for the rest of the week in terms of stuff to talk about.  Just in terms of scandals and legal stuff. 

But I mentioned that we have a scoop tonight, and this is something that I`m sure you haven`t seen anything about today.  I know that for sure because this is a brand-new story that has just been broken by NBC News.  Now, the reporters on this story are Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley.  We`re going to be speaking with Jacob in just a moment. 

But the origin of this story, I have to tell you, started with a tip that we received on this show, a tip about the border that led to this reporting that is allowing us to break this story tonight.  The tip that we got was specifically about this border station.  This is the U.S. border patrol station in Yuma, Arizona. 

Now, you have not previously heard anything about this particular border station in all of the recent reporting on the bad conditions and facilities run near the border by the Trump administration.  I mean, the ones that you have heard about, we can put them on a map.  The first homeland security inspector general report that we got in may was about terrible conditions in and around El Paso.  That led to a bunch of follow-up reporting including some especially dire reports about a facility just outside El Paso in Clint, Texas. 

Last week then we got another homeland security inspector general report about Trump administration facilities further southeast from there in the Rio Grande valley down at the southern most tip of Texas around Brownsville and McAllen.  Well, now this new reporting that we`ve got tonight is about a facility on the left side of your screen there, sort of the northwest part of the border -- this section of the border that we`re talking about.  It`s a facility in Yuma, Arizona. 

Yuma, Arizona is right at the sort of tip of Arizona where that state borders both Mexico and California.  And for the past few months, the border patrol has been open about the fact that they were trying to basically incarcerate, they were trying to handle more kids and families there than they had the capacity to deal with.  In May, local press reported Yuma, they were erecting temporary awnings and fencing and they had started locking up some immigrants outside because they felt that they didn`t have enough space to keep people indoors anymore. 

Just two weeks ago, "The Associated Press" reported that the Border Patrol had put up a giant new tent at that facility in Yuma to make their station there sort of more officially a prison camp.  But in terms of the conditions in which they are holding people, and specifically the conditions in which they`re holding kids there, reporters Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley have tonight produced a story that is based on a remarkable new trove of information on the conditions at Yuma.  And this is all previously unreported.  This is all new. 

Specifically what Jacob and Julia obtained are more than two dozen significant incident reports.  These are significant incident reports written up by U.S. federal government personnel.  They`re reports based on things described by kids, kids who were all held by border patrol at the Yuma border station.  These are kids who are not supposed to be held by border patrol for more than 72 hours.  In all of these significant incident reports, all of these kids nevertheless were held longer than 72 hours. 

When they were moved out of the border patrol facility, they were put in custody of a different federal agency that is supposed to take in kids.  They were moved to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services and its case managers from health and human services who wrote these reports.  They wrote down these significant incident reports based on what these kids said happened to them while they were in border patrol custody. 

And picture these incident reports tell at one level is that the same things the inspector general found in El Paso and in Clint and in McAllen and in Brownsville and all of those facilities in between, those descriptions of very bad conditions, particularly in which kids are being held, according to these significant incident reports that NBC has obtained tonight those conditions aren`t just happening in Texas, they`re also extending to Arizona.  This is apparently what they`re doing to kids everywhere. 

And I can show you some of the raw material that we`ve got.  These are direct quotes from the significant incident reports.  So here`s one from a teenage boy.  Quote -- the boy, quote, reported sleeping on the floor in a very crowded room.  He stated it must have been about 80 to 100 individuals in the room.  They didn`t have a shower. 

The boy reported that he was told he had the right to one phone call but it was never provided during his stay.  He also reported sometimes being very cold at night and struggling to find a spot to lay down due to the amount of people in the room.

Here`s a different report from a teenage girl.  Quote: Resident reported that there were many girls in a small room.  Resident reported that there was not enough space to lay down to sleep as the room was overcrowded.

Here`s a significant incident report from a 16-year-old boy who was held for 11 days and 12 nights.  Quote: Minor disclosed that he did not have access to take a shower or change his clothing while he was in custody.

Here`s a different teenage boy. 

Child reported there were approximately 50 to 60 people in the holding area where he was detained.  Child reported that he would sleep on the floor and he was not provided a pillow or blanket.  Child reported that they would not able to shower or clean themselves.  Child reported that some of the Homeland Security officials would respond negatively if anyone asked them questions.  Child reported that the Homeland Security officials would yell at the detainees.

Another teenage boy reports, quote, that he was detained in a room with approximately 70 other minors.  The child reported that he was not able to lay down to sleep due to a lack of space and had to sleep sitting down.

Here`s a different teenaged boy.  Quote: Client reported he slept in a room that accommodated about 60 other minors.  Client states he slept on the floor without an aluminum blanket.  Client disclosed that the individuals who were in the same room as him had to take turns sleeping as there was not enough room on the floor for everyone to lay down.  Client stated there were no showers available.

Here is a significant ins didn`t report from a 14-year-old girl who was locked up with her sister.  Quote: Child reported sleeping on the floor as they were placed in a room with 60 to 70 minors.  Child reported there was no room to lay down and often times they would not sleep.  Child reported they were not allowed to shower.

These incident reports just one after the other they describe similar conditions.  No space to lay down.  No showers.  No teeth brushing.  No changes of clothes.  No phone calls. 

Some kids in these incident reports describe getting sick in these facilities.  Here is a 15-year-old boy.  Quote: Child reported that while he was in Homeland Security custody, he felt sick and he had a fever.  His throat is causing him not to eat well.  He denied receiving any medical attention.

Child reported that he was provided with water during his stay.  Child disclosed that the water had a lot of chlorine.  Child stated he was served something to eat three times per day but since his throat hurt, he was unable to eat. 

Child also reported he slept on the floor without a mattress and he was not provided with a blanket.  Child disclosed that the temperature at night was really cold.  Child disclosed he slept in a large room with a total of 40 minors raging 14 to 16 years old.  He was not given the opportunity to shower.

So, again, this is all previously unreported information.  There are more than two dozen of these significant incident reports that have been obtained by NBC News now that pertain to kids who were held at the Yuma Border Patrol station in Yuma, Arizona. 

Now, the fact that these reports exist, that means the Trump administration knows about these conditions.  I mean, these are -- these are reports that are made to federal workers.  These are reports that are written by and filed by case workers who work for the federal government. 

But these reports date from April of this year through mid-June, and this is the first public reporting of these conditions at all.  The Trump administration has known about this but they have not allowed any of this information to become public.  This is the first time these conditions have been described. 

I have to tell you, though, there are a couple of these reports that I`m just going to single out for some specific attention here before we talk with Jacob Soboroff about this reporting, because there are a couple of these incident reports that describe specific alleged behavior by homeland security staff that I just -- that -- it`s serious stuff and I just think you need to know about it.  The first one is an allegation of punishment made against the kids.  The second one is an allegation of sexual assault by a homeland security officer. 

The punishment allegation is this.  This is from a 16-year-old boy.  Client stated that the water that he was given, the water tasted like chlorine. 

Client disclosed that there were about 30 minors in the detention center as well.  The other minors started to complain about the food and water that was being provided to them.  Client stated that the minors started protesting about it and because of it the officers took out all of the sleeping mats.

So, this is an allegation that border patrol staff took away the mats on which kids were allowed to sleep, specifically because they complained about their water tasting like chlorine and having bad quality food.  The kids collectively in this describing spoke out against that and they were collectively punished and they were forced to sleep on the floor and had their mats taken away as punishment. 

Here`s the other specific allegation I want to highlight.  Again, Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley turned this up in their reporting as they obtained these significant incident reports.  This one I`ll tell you in advance, this one is disturbing.  It concerns a 15-year-old girl.  I`m just going to ready this verbatim from the significant incident report. 

Quote: Minor reported that on April 8th, 2019, at approximately 9:00 p.m., she was inspected by a Homeland Security officer who was heavy-set, tall and with a beard in front of many other immigrants, males, females, children.  Minor reports officer asked her to lift her shirt up to bra line and put his hands inside her bra and touched her breast.  Minor reported that she felt embarrassed as the officer was speaking in English to other officers and laughing. 

Minor then said he asked her to pull her pants down to her waist to verify she didn`t have other pants on underneath.  However, minor said he then pulled them down himself and touched her waist and pulled her underwear.  Minor reported officer then asked her to spread her legs and arms and patted her down in a way that made her feel uncomfortable at she felt he groped her body, her breast and private parts as well.  Minor reported he continued to laugh and speak in English with other officers during the entire process.

So, that verbatim was reported to a case manager working for the federal government, working for the Trump administration, reported by this teenage girl.  Now, what was the response?  Well, we can see the way it`s marked, the way the response is marked by the case manager in the report. 

There`s a category marked "staff response and intervention."  And after that category on the form, the case manager has written in this case manager provided empathetic listening and support as well as verbalized relief and sense of safety. 

There`s another category, "follow-up and/or resolution."  Case manager writes this: this child will be receiving individualized counseling as needed, as well as group counseling.  This case manager will continue providing support as needed and will communicate and coordinate with the assigned clinician to ensure the child`s needs are being met.

Then there is a statement, a place to add recommendations.  Recommendations, case manager fills in assigned clinician to follow up as needed.  Then there is a place on the form where it says, reported to state licensing.  Case manager says "no."  Was the incident investigated?  Case manager says "no." 

So, according to this document, according to this significant incident report filled out by a case manager at the Health and Human Services Department, based on a conversation with a 16-year-old girl about her time in custody, an incident that she said happened just before she turned 16, when she was 15 years old.  According to this document, the incident was not investigated.  The girl was 15 at the time she says this happened.

The Trump administration has known about this allegation for more than a month because the date of this incident is June 5th.  That`s when this girl came forward to describe what happened to her.  We know about it tonight because reporters Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley obtained that significant incident report. 

It supposedly happened at the U.S. border patrol station in Yuma, Arizona.  The Trump administration has not released any information about conditions at that facility, let alone incidents like this.  Now that NBC News has obtained this information, though, what`s going to happen in response? 

Joining us now is one of the two reporters who broke this story, Jacob Soboroff. 

Jacob, thank you for your time tonight.  I appreciate you making time. 

JACOB SOBOROFF, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT:  Rachel, thanks to you and thanks to your team for collaborating with us on this. 

MADDOW:  Yes, I understand this originated with essentially a tip from a viewer, somebody alerting us to the existence of these -- of these incident reports.  Let he just ask you about your reporting process a little bit and how you were able to verify what these were what they appear to be. 

SOBOROFF:  Well, these significant incident reports, Rachel, are basically taken down by every single case manager at health and human services.  Everyone has an intake process and any time something is flagged, these case managers fill out one of these forms and they submit them to a variety of oversight agencies.  And we were able to by looking at these forms and triangulating them basically with other forms from other areas within the Department of Homeland Security able to confirm that these cases, these children, indeed, did make these allegations. 

MADDOW:  And, Jacob, I want to talk to you about a whole bunch of different parts of this, but in that last incident report that I described, the one that described what appears to be an alleged sexual assault.  There is this notation on this incident report that says explicitly that this incident was not investigated.  Do we have any more information on that? 

Obviously because that involves a minor child and an allegation of what it would appear to be sexual assault against a federal official in uniform, where the way she describes it there would have been other witnesses who could have potentially corroborated this story.  One would expect that there would be some sort of duty to report.  It is surprising to see a notation that this was not investigated. 

Have you been able to get anything further from the government on this incident in particular? 

SOBOROFF:  Yes, a couple of things I wanted to say about this particular case, Rachel.  The tragedy of this case is that this young girl lived inside HHS custody with this story for quite some time before the story came forward.  She went into HHS custody, if you look at the documents weeks earlier, she ultimately came forward and gave the record. 

And we`ve gone to CBP.  We`d asked them -- had been hours that we asked them and gone by with no response.  If you don`t mind, guy the email in minutes before we came on the show. 

MADDOW:  Please. 

SOBOROFF:  I want to read to you what CBP said about this particular incident. 

They said: U.S. Customs and Border Protection treats those in our custody with dignity and respect and provides multiple avenues to report any allegations of misconduct.  The allegations do not align with common practice at our facilities and will be fully investigated. 

Here is the part about the sexual assaults -- assault, I should say.  It`s important to note that the allegation of sexual assault is already under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security`s Office of Inspector General. 

MADDOW:  Hmm. 

SOBOROFF:  And now, I suppose on the one hand that`s reassuring, but on the other hand you`ve already raised the critical point.  They`ve known about this for quite some time.  They`ve kept this under wraps and it wasn`t like this happened yesterday. 

They know where it happened.  They know who is being alleged to be the perpetrator in this incident and still nothing from the Department of Homeland Security, beyond what we`ve just gotten. 

MADDOW:  And, again, the timing here is that this girl in early June, so a little bit more than a month ago, told a case worker for Health and Human Services that when she was in homeland security custody previously in April, which for what it`s worth is before she turned 16 years old.  She describes in detail what she says was essentially a sexual assault by an officer, by a uniformed officer.  It took place in front of other people. 

This statement that you just got from Customs and Border Patrol saying this is under investigation by the inspector general office at Homeland Security, that`s -- that`s the first reference we`ve ever seen to a potential sexual assault by a staff member, at least this particular one being investigated, right?  We`ve never heard before from the government that this was being looked at. 

SOBOROFF:  As far as I know, that`s correct, Rachel. 

And the other thing that is puzzling to me about this response, we put forward and you read many serious allegations against border patrol agents at the Yuma border patrol station, including retaliation by border patrol officers to people literally protesting for clean food and clean water.  They mentioned nothing about that.  They mentioned nothing about the inspector general looking into that incident or any of the other dozens of reports that we told them that we`ve obtained. 

MADDOW:  Wow.  And the only confirmation we get that any of it`s being looked at, I should mention, comes in response to a reporter calling them and asking them questions about this. 

Jacob, thanks for helping us get to the bottom of this story, helping us follow up on those leads that we got.  I know you`re going to stay on this and I hope you`ll keep us apprised so we can update our viewers as well. 

SOBOROFF:  Absolutely, Rachel.  Thanks so much. 

MADDOW:  MSNBC correspondent Jacob Soboroff. 

All right.  Lots more to come here tonight.  As you might have heard, the captain of the U.S. women`s soccer team, Megan Rapinoe, is going to be here live in just a moment.  I know. 

Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  She was 6 years old when the U.S. national team won the inaugural women`s World Cup in 1991.  She was 6.  She was 14 when they won their second World Cup title eight years later in a dramatic penalty shootout.  That was the one epitomized by Brandi Chastain and what was at that time the most iconic photo of female sports celebration ever. 

It was seven years after that when Megan Rapinoe made her debut for the U.S. national team in 2006 at the tender age of 21.  Her World Cup debut came five years later in 2011 when she gained instant mega celebrity for assisting on the possibly most dramatic goal in U.S. women`s World Cup history. 

Rapinoe`s last -- look at that!  God, it still kills me.  Rapinoe`s last 122nd minute cross to Abby Wambach who headed it in to tie Brazil in a game the U.S. would go on to win, ecstasy for American fans, for American soccer, for everybody alive and breathing and able to watch that game. 

The U.S. did not win the final that year.  But now, superstar Megan Rapinoe returned to the U.S. where she did everything possible off the field to promote American soccer, including having to suffer through some dumb cable news/fans who could barely spit out a question. 

In 2015, Megan Rapinoe got her first World Cup win as the U.S. team beat Japan.  That kind of world-changing victory brought with it the opportunity to talk seriously about the inequities between how U.S. soccer treats its male and its very well-accomplished female players. 


MEGAN RAPINOE, WOMEN`S WORLD CUP CHAMPION:  I mean, we know that we`ve accomplished something amazing.  We won the World Cup.  That was the whole goal. 

But I think just a much bigger picture, now we can say, you know, 25 million people watched the game.  We`re selling out these stadiums.  We have a victory tour.  We`re not going to be playing in small stadiums for that. 

And we`re making money now.  We`re making money for sponsors.  We`re making money for our federation.  We`re making money for FIFA. 

And that just pushes us, you know, into that conversation and allows us to have a strong argument when we do want more money, because we do deserve to have more money. 


MADDOW:  That was 2015 after they just won the World Cup that time.

Three months prior to the kickoff of this year`s World Cup, Megan Rapinoe, along with 27 other members of the U.S. national team, was a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.  That gender discrimination suit accused the federation of paying female players less than their male counterparts on the men`s national team, despite having the same job responsibilities and despite having had far more success on the field.  I mean, the U.S. has one fantastic world leading national soccer team.  It also has a men`s team. 

But the two sides in that dispute from that lawsuit are about to enter mediation.  And then of course it was time for her to do the rest of her talking on the field.  Megan Rapinoe already a household name heading into the World Cup among those who follow U.S. soccer. 

But then, you know, turning on Rapinoe`s two goals in a decisive quarterfinal victory over the hosts, France, culminating in an iconic goal celebration that accompanied 1,000 headlines and now, honestly, after what just happened in the World Cup, she is probably right now the most famous American on the globe. 


ANNOUNCER:  Goal!  U.S. wins. 


MADDOW:  After the final whistle declared the U.S. women a record four-time World Cup champions, chants of "equal pay, equal pay" reverberated throughout the stadium in Lyon. 

Now as the new celebrity of a different kind and poster child for women`s soccer, Megan Rapinoe is taking it on herself to help push the women`s game forward in every possible way. 


RAPINOE:  It`s pretty special to have that total transcendent moment, outside of sport, outside of soccer, outside of anything, it`s like this is so much bigger than just what`s happening on the field and the fans were right there lockstep with us.  We didn`t, you know, do the lawsuit and everything just because the World Cup was coming up, but, you know, we understand what kind of stage we`re on.  We`re very aware of the attention that we have, the platform that we have, and we are extremely aware of the power of winning and performing and doing so in the style that we always do. 


MADDOW:  Megan Rapinoe has won the World Cup twice.  She`s won the Golden Boot as top goal scorer.  She`s won the Golden Ball as the tournament`s best player. 

What`s next? 

Joining us for the interview is U.S. team captain, Megan Rapinoe. 

Megan, congratulations. 

RAPINOE:  Hello.  Hi. 

MADDOW:  It`s great to see you. 

RAPINOE:  Thank you for having me on again. 

MADDOW:  This is what you do -- you win the World Cup and you come to THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW.

RAPINOE:  It`s just what happens.  This is it.

MADDOW:  How have the last few days been for you?  Have you slept? 

RAPINOE:  I slept a little bit.  Not much.  Got about an hour on the plane ride home.  Got a couple hours last night.

But I think I`m just on such a high, I can`t sleep.  The adrenaline, the nerves, just all of it, it`s such an exciting moment for us right now. 

MADDOW:  So how do you -- do you all have, like, a plan as a group about how you deal with the platform that you have now, the celebration, the way you`re going to cope with the fame and the attention and everything? 


MADDOW:  Do you guys talk about that in advance or does everybody deal with it their own way? 

RAPINOE:  We kind of do and we don`t.  I think that we have such a close group and we`re around each other so much, conversations are happening all the time.  We`re certainly much more organized and together this time around than we were last time around.  We will get into mediation obviously after the World Cup, but I think at this moment everyone is like, this is - - yes, it`s happening.  And we certainly know how to take advantage of these fun moments. 

MADDOW:  In terms of your leadership on the team, you`ve now -- you are the only woman who have ever started in three World Cup finals, is that right? 

RAPINOE:  I don`t know.  Is that a thing? 

MADDOW:  I think that`s a thing.  Yes. 

You`re obviously team captain, veteran, you just turned 34, people are talking about you not only for your impact on the game but for the longevity of your impact on the game.  Where do you feel like you are in terms of your career? 

RAPINOE:  Definitely at the later stage as opposed to at the beginning stage.  I just turned 34, a couple of days before the final, actually.  So, I mean, I`m pretty realistic about that. 

I want to keep playing.  I don`t have any plans to retire right now, but I`m still hurting from the game.  So I feel like my age is catching me a little bit more than it used to. 

MADDOW:  One of the reasons that I feel like your career is of national interest, not just for you as an athlete but for you as an American is because over the years, I feel like watching you just as a fan, I feel like you have become more and more comfortable and more and more articulate in terms of using the platform that you`ve got to say what you think ought to be happening in the world. 

You seem more calm, more capable, more eloquent than ever, and it seems like that gets better over time.  And so, that makes me want you to do this forever. 

I mean, obviously I want you to do this forever as a fan, but I also feel like you -- you`re really good at talking when you need to talk and saying things that need to be said.  I wonder how deliberately you`ve approached that or if it`s just the process of maturing? 

RAPINOE:  I think a little bit of both.  I try to be as educated as I can.  I think that helps when you get in front of the camera and you`re in a moment and you`re like, what the hell am I supposed to say? 

So I try to keep up with things.  Watch THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW, of course.  Keep myself woke. 

I think, honestly, a lot of it comes just from my gut and from my heart.  I`m quite off the cuff, but I`m also very thoughtful and understand and take a lot of pride and take very seriously the platform that we have and understanding, you know, where my voice goes when I say things and trying to use those things for good and trying to challenge people and constantly bring the conversation and make people think and, you know, constantly re- evaluate where we are in the world. 

Are we doing enough?  Are we good enough?  Can we be better?  And I think the answer to those questions is always yes. 

So I feel like for me -- I feel a responsibility to do this.  I`m privileged to be a famous person and to be on this team and to be who I am, and if I just stay silent, it seems awfully selfish. 

MADDOW:  One of the things that I felt, again, just as a fan, when the president started criticizing you and attacking you is that I was mad at him because I felt like he was going to rattle you when you needed to be very focused on soccer for the country.  You did not seem rattled by that.  I can`t imagine that it`s not distracting, though, that it doesn`t take up some of your focus, some of your worry time, some of what you might otherwise be devoting to your craft. 

RAPINOE:  Uh-huh.  I don`t get into my mentions a lot.  I`m not huge on Twitter.  I`m more of an Instagram person. 

So I feel like I`m not in that flow a lot.  Obviously, I hear about it and I, of course, heard about the president`s tweets, and it did, it took a minute, it took some focus for sure.  It happened kind of at a good time.  We had just played a game and then had a little time before the next game.  Obviously it was before the France game, a very big one. 

We have an incredible media team that travels with us everywhere, you know, family and friends and my agents and everyone, I think just really mobilized and rallied around me like what do you need, how can we address this?  And I think the way that we did it, we addressed it immediately in the press conference.  Just said it right out, I`m not sorry for what I said, I stand by everything, and that was kind of it, and then I sort of made everyone go back to what we were actually doing, which was trying to win the World Cup. 

MADDOW:  And in terms of what that controversy was about.  At that moment in the press conference you said, like, I`m going to get this done right here. 


MADDOW:  And, no, I`m not going to take questions on that.  We`re going to talk about soccer.  Sort of took control of the room. 

On that subject with which you had the conflict with the president, though, have you been invited to the White House? 

RAPINOE:  Not publicly and not to my knowledge and certainly not in the way that everyone else is invited to the White House or not invited to the White House.  So, to my knowledge, we have not.  I don`t know if there is stuff going on behind the scenes, but obviously, the first interaction that we had was very public and it`s very silent now. 

MADDOW:  All right.  We`ll be right back with Megan Rapinoe. 

I want to talk to you about the mediation that`s forthcoming and what else is coming up down the pike for you.  I`m still so nervous.  We`ll be right back. 


MADDOW:  Joining us once again is two-time World Cup winner U.S. national team captain, Megan Rapinoe. 

Megan, thank you for staying with us. 

When you were here four years ago after winning the World Cup the last time, we talked about the equal pay issue and about the gender disparity in terms of how U.S. soccer treats men and women, and I wanted to play that clip from your 2015 interview because I want people to know that this isn`t a new thing that you just started working on now. 

Tell me how that fight has changed. 

RAPINOE:  Well, I think it has changed dramatically now.  I mean, I think, to be honest, all over the world, I even had a brief conversation with Gianni Infantino, the FIFA president, after the game. 

I think everyone realizes now, it`s like, OK, it`s time for the next step.  It`s time to work together to get this to a better place, be collaborative.  The conversation is not about equal pay anymore.  It`s everybody. 

It`s like, if you`re not down with equal pay at this point or equality or whatever it is, like, you`re so far out of reality and the conversation that we can`t even go there.  I think it`s time to move to the next phase, and I think everybody wants that.  Nobody wants this contentious fight all of the time. 

I don`t want to fight with my bosses all the time.  We don`t want to constantly be doing this.  We don`t want to file lawsuits.  We don`t want to, you know, constantly have that sort of animosity and, you know, exchanging blows in one way or another.  We`d much prefer to just move forward because we know that the path forward and where we go from here makes it better for everyone. 

MADDOW:  So, you`re expressing optimism that you`ve sort of won the argument but you haven`t yet won the fight. 


MADDOW:  That you`ve persuaded everybody that you should get this, but it`s now a question of effectuating it. 

RAPINOE:  Yes, definitely.  I think that, you know, our team and really our side, we`re really like how do we move forward and be collaborative with this?  I think that we have been very outspoken. 

The federation has put a lot of resources and money and support behind the team, and I think they do deserve credit for that when we talk about all the other federations in the world, but just because you`re better than someone who is bad doesn`t mean necessarily that you`re good, and I think that we`ve proven in sort of every metric that we`ve come up against that the conversation needs to move to the next piece.  How do we do that together? 

We need everybody to do it together.  We need the federation.  We need FIFA.  We need all the confederations around the world and players to be on the same page because everybody`s input is valuable in moving this conversation forward. 

MADDOW:  It was striking to see in the moments immediately following the final whistle, you get that "USA, USA" chant, but "equal pay, equal pay" along that same cadence.  I think fans want to know what they can do to support that fight. 

RAPINOE:  Fans can come to games.  Obviously, the national team games will be a hot ticket.  But we have nine teams in the NWSL.  You can go for our league games.  You can support that way. 

You can buy players` jerseys.  You can lend your support in that way.  You can tell your friends about it.  You can become season ticket holders. 

I think in terms of that, that`s the easiest way for fans to get involved. 

MADDOW:  Uh-huh.  In terms of what happens next for you, you`re very, very famous now.  You`ve been --

RAPINOE:  I know. 

MADDOW:  In a way that as I mentioned I think you`ve shown incredible poise.  In terms of handling the tension that you`ve gotten and making sure that things are still on your own terms.  I wonder if you have any thoughts about what comes next for you in terms of the kind of impact that you want to have, both on the sport and in the country.  Public Policy Polling literally did a poll today. 

RAPINOE:  Oh, no. 

MADDOW:  Which was you versus Trump in a presidential contest and you beat him by a point.  So, I mean, I don`t think you`re going to announce that you`re running for president. 

RAPINOE:  Yes.  No, I`m not. 

MADDOW:  But what is ahead for you? 

RAPINOE:  My girlfriend actually just said, you need to be careful.  They`re going to ask you to run for president.  You need to slow your roll. 

MADDOW:  I`m not asking you to run, just suggesting that others are polling on it. 

RAPINOE:  They`re saying, people are saying it. 


RAPINOE:  I don`t know, to be honest.  I think things have changed dramatically in these, you know, just these couple of days. 

MADDOW:  Yes. 

RAPINOE:  I`m excited to kind of dig in and see really where I can take this.  I think that I`ve been kind of wanting that for a number of years and how do we -- how do we bring it out of just sports and out of soccer and out of the things that we have been doing and that I`ve been doing into something way bigger? 

And I think sort of the same as the equal pay argument, I kind of want to stop just talking about things and, like, how do we put things in action?  How do we help?  What do we do?  What`s the best way to get people mobilized, whether that`s in voting or just getting people more educated and more plugged in to what`s happening in our politics and in our lives?

And I think I`m ready for that, like, next thing.  I want to be more impactful.  I feel like the money where the mouth is the best way to go and trying to, yes, I guess leverage this moment but also understand there is something so much more. 

MADDOW:  I think the country is ready for you. 


MADDOW:  Megan Rapinoe, it`s an incredible honor to have you here.  We should mention that this is not a replica. 


MADDOW:  This is the actual World Cup trophy. 

RAPINOE:  This is her -- 


RAPINOE:  -- in all her glory. 

MADDOW:  It`s great to have you here.  Congratulations.  Come back soon.

RAPINOE:  Thank you.  Yes, of course. 

MADDOW:  Megan Rapinoe is the co-captain of the World Cup champion U.S. national women`s soccer team, as if you needed me to say that. 

We`ll be right back. 


MADDOW:  We got word today through federal court filings that were unsealed in Washington that it appears that Trump national security adviser Mike Flynn may be starting to uncooperate with prosecutors.  Mike Flynn pled guilty and entered into a plea agreement that required his cooperation more than a year ago, but now Flynn is being newly described by prosecutors as a conspirator in another criminal case.  He will no longer be testifying for the prosecution in that case. 

And the judge who is about to sentence Mike Flynn supposedly on the basis of how good he`s been cooperating with prosecutors, that judge is now demanding an explanation for what is going on with Flynn and what is changing with regard to his relationship with the U.S. government.  Whatever is happening with Flynn, we do expect some clarification to -- to his sentencing judge at least by the end of the day tomorrow.  We think that those filings may be public-facing, so by this time tomorrow night, we may have more clarity on whatever is going on with Flynn, but it feels like his case is blowing up. 

I mentioned it sort of feels like the news is being shot out of a cannon today.  I should also tell you today the Judiciary Committee in the House announced plans to issue subpoenas, new subpoenas to a dozen people named as witnesses in the Mueller report including the president`s son-in-law Jared Kushner, also former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, also former White House chief of staff John Kelly, not to mention David Pecker from the "National Enquirer."  Those subpoenas due to be approved by the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday of this week. 

And in addition to all that, Robert Mueller himself as of this point, he is still due to testify publicly, testify in open-door hearings next week in Congress, although that now seems to have sort of at least a cloud looming behind it, if not a question mark.  The Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr in particular are now starting to make noises that maybe William Barr doesn`t want that Mueller testimony to happen.  Barr has started suggesting that he and the Justice Department would be happy to help Robert Mueller defy that congressional subpoena if he wants to.  Hint, hint. 

That news just breaking as "The Wall Street Journal" was first to report tonight on which two of Mueller`s prosecutors are also being summoned to testify in addition to Mueller himself if, in fact, that testimony still happens next week. 

Congress did get testimony today from one interesting witness from the Mueller report, Felix Sater, a longtime Trump associate who worked on the Trump Tower Moscow project during the campaign with Michael Cohen.  Felix Sater testified today behind closed doors to House Intelligence Committee.  But after he left, the committee released a sort of extraordinary statement that said in part, quote, while we do not typically comment on closed interviews, Mr. Sater has not fully cooperated with the committee, and he will remain under subpoena until he does so.  Intriguing. 

And on top of all of that, we also got word today that Christopher Steele, the former British spy behind the dossier about Donald Trump`s ties to Russia, Christopher Steele was interviewed for 16 hours last month by investigators with the office of the justice department`s inspector general.  Whatever Christopher Steele told them, reportedly, the inspector general found it credible enough to extend his investigation into how the FBI handled its 2016 investigation of the Trump campaign`s ties to Russia.  All of that today. 

I know it feels like it should be summer vacation right now, but developments in all of those cases and investigations are basically coming a mile a minute, and it looks like it is going to continue to be a very busy week on all of those fronts.  Stay sharp. 

More to come.  Stay with us. 


MADDOW:  That does it for us tonight.  I will see you again tomorrow when our guest for the interview here is going to be Senator Bernie Sanders.  His first interview on the show since he launched his 2020 presidential campaign. 

Then, the following day on Thursday, we are going to have another presidential contender, California Senator Kamala Harris is going to be here as well. 

Megan Rapinoe tonight.  Bernie Sanders tomorrow.  Kamala Harris the -- stressing myself out. 


Good evening, Lawrence.

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