CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: As always, you can find it wherever you get your podcasts and don`t forget to rate and review while you are there.
That is ALL IN for this evening. A special edition of "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW" starts now.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: I would like to welcome you to Benson, Arizona. Benson, Arizona has about 5,000 people. It`s the home of Kartchner Cavern State Park. Kartchner Cavern State Park, which is like a big cave complex you can go see. It looks very cool, doesn`t it?
I`m kind of claustrophobic. I`m not sure if I can totally handle it, but that`s cool. Benson, Arizona, calls itself the gateway to Cochise County, Arizona. It was founded as a rail terminal for Southern Pacific Railroad in the late 1800. It still has a lot of pride in being a rail depot and in its railroad history.
If you go to the website for the Benson, Arizona, visitor center, as you are poking around on their website, you will note if you look closely that the cursor for your computer mouse has turned into a little locomotive engine -- look -- as you were scrolling around the site you no longer have like a little arrow or whatever. It`s a little train. It`s very cool.
And if you go in person to the Benson, Arizona visitor center, there, you can operate a real model train around 96 feet of track. You can use that controllers in the control room and it`s got a camera on the front of it, very cool, right? So, lots to recommend it. Benson, Arizona, a lovely looking little place, again population around 5,000 people.
The owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team wants to build a new housing development in Benson, Arizona, which would be 28,000 homes. Think about that for a second. There are 5,000 people there now, but they want to put 28,000 houses into that town, plus golf courses -- golf courses plural -- multiple golf courses, plus the 28,000 houses.
And although Benson, Arizona, is in a lovely little corner of that state, in Cochise County, Arizona, it`s not like the most lush place on earth, right? For example, you think about what`s necessary to keep a golf course, let alone multiple golf courses watered and green -- I mean, this is the desert plains of Arizona.
Water is more valuable than the views. Water is more valuable than the open space. Water is more valuable then even the cool state park tourist attractions with the caves and the rollicking history of southwestern rail depots. You know, water is everything.
Where`s the water going to come from to support 28,000 homes and multiple golf courses in a sleepy little town that right now has just 5,000 people in it?
Nevertheless, the Arizona Diamondbacks owner who was a big Republican Party donor, he has wanted to build this huge development in Benson, Arizona, for a long time. The problem is the likely environmental impact of putting 28,000 houses plus multiple golf courses in this part of the state, and in this little corner of the country that as a matter of common sense just might not be able to biologically sustain something like that.
I mean, the worry about this development in particular has been that it would so tax the groundwater in that area of the desert plains that it would considerably shrink the nearby precious San Pedro River. And if you did that to the San Pedro River, that would have an impact on all sorts of environmental concerns including a whole bunch of threatened and endangered species which are protected by the federal government.
And part of the reason we know about those worries surrounding that proposed housing development and golf development, part of the reason we know about it is that in October of 2016, a month before the 2016 presidential election, the field supervisor for Arizona at the Fish and Wildlife Service made a decision about this gigantic proposed housing and golf development in Benson, Arizona. This development that was being pursued by the guy who owns that Major League Baseball team.
The field supervisor at the Fish and Wildlife Service announced his decision which was basically that this whole proposal was going to need a lot more detailed environmental scrutiny before it could go ahead, before it could get anywhere near receiving the necessary permits that would allow the developer to build this absolutely gigantic thing out there in the desert. The field supervisor`s quote was based on -- the field supervisor`s -- the report was based on the science, based on the protocols of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
But his bottom line was pretty simple. Quote: Direct and indirect effects to threatened and endangered species are reasonably certain to occur and so, we need more scrutiny before we`re going to allow this to happen.
So, that was October 2016. Then, a funny thing happened the following month, which was November 2016, and that is that Donald Trump won the presidential election in November 2016.
And that Arizona Diamondbacks owner who wants to pile these 28,000 homes and multiple golf courses into little Benson, Arizona, it turns out he gave quite a lot of money to support the Trump presidential effort. He was named for example as an official sponsor of the camouflage and cufflinks fundraiser, which was timed to coincide with the Trump inaugural.
That camo and cufflinks event, hats and boots welcome, it was originally supposed to be hosted by President Trump`s two eldest sons. That was before ethics officials noticed that that technically was selling access to the president and his family in exchange for money and so maybe Don Jr. and Eric shouldn`t come to that event. But the Arizona diamondbacks guy, that was fine.
Now, this decision in Arizona about the little town of Benson and the mammoth proposed housing development that would something like to pull the size of the town plus all the golf courses -- I mean, when Trump was elected, remember, this was done. The month before Trump got elected, there was a decision made that there was going to have to be lots more environmental scrutiny, lots more looking at this before any permit would be proceeded toward, right?
And this was a decision to make about land in Arizona, and the Fish and Wildlife Service which is part of the Interior Department. They weighed in at the field supervisor level. They got a decision. They`re going to need to do months more scrutiny, lots more assessment about the environmental impact of this thing. The federal government has made its decision.
But not long after Trump was sworn in in the summer of a summer of 2017, a number of things happen to change the course of events, and this has been pieced together by some really brilliant journalism, starting with the "Arizona Daily Star" and their work -- their initial work on this very good work on this was picked up and advanced ultimately by the "Associated Press" at the national level and then CNN has also done some additional very good work advancing this story themselves.
And what we have learned from all that very good reporting is that in August 2017, the number two guy in the Interior Department under Trump, a guy named David Bernhardt, he had been an oil company and mining company lobbyist who Trump gave the number two job at the Interior Department. In August 2017, we now know that he, David Bernhardt, took a secret meeting at a Montana hunting lodge with the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks with this major Trump donor who wanted to build that big development in Arizona.
And I say this was a secret meeting because David Bernhardt is the number two official in this federal agency, so his calendar you know the list of people who he meets with as a matter of public record, it`s subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
This particular meeting though when he met the Diamondbacks owner at this hunting lodge, that was left off his official calendar. Nevertheless, thank you, journalism, it was turned up that that meeting took place. The company run by the Diamondbacks owner ultimately confirmed that yes the meeting happened.
They have also admitted that what they talked about at that meeting was, of course, that big housing development and golf course development that this guy wanted to build in Benson, Arizona, the one where he had just been told right before the election that it wasn`t going to happen that more environmental work needed to be done before he gets you could get the permit to go ahead because the scientists and the federal government looked at it and said, you know, there really might not be enough water there to do this. You could really end up screwing that whole part of the state, that old part of the country if you do it.
He`d already received the "no" from the federal government, gives tons of money to support Trump, takes a secret meeting with the number-two guy Trump`s Interior Department. That meeting takes place the summer of 2017, at a hunting lodge in Montana, it`s left off the calendar of the number two guy at the Interior Department. They talked about the development.
Then, wouldn`t you know it, what happens next is that the field supervisor in Arizona for the Fish and Wildlife Service, the guy who had made the determination that there couldn`t be a permit for this big development, there were big environmental concerns that needed to be sorted out, he got himself an alarming phone call.
According to "The Arizona Daily Star", that Fish and Wildlife supervisor says he got a call from Interior Department headquarters, somebody who he knew who worked at the D.C. headquarters of the agency, a lawyer at the agency, told him that she had received word from a higher-up at the agency that he needed to change his stance on the permit for that development, quote, if he knew what was good for him.
It would later emerge as reporters from CNN and the "Arizona Daily Star" put this together, that right before that call and right after that call, the lawyer at the Interior Department who called the field supervisor in Arizona and told he needed to change his mind on that permit, right before her call and right after her call, she personally was paid a visit by David Bernhardt, by the number two official at the whole agency, the guy who had taken the secret meeting with the Trump donor who wanted that development and wanted his permit to do it.
So, that lawyer at the Interior Department gets paid a visit by the number- two guy in the agency. Right after that visit she gets from him that day, right after, she picks up the phone and calls the field supervisor in Arizona and tells him, hey, someone high up at the agency wants you to change this or else. Then after she places that call to the field supervisor guy, then once again she checks back in with Bernhardt meets with him again.
Back home in Arizona, the field supervisor who got the call who found himself in the middle of all this, he ultimately went to the local press to explain what had gone down and what was so wrong about it. He told "The Daily Star" that he, quote, got rolled. He said that the political pressure that he experienced in this instance was the first he ever experienced in 34 years with the federal government, including 29 years with the Wildlife Service under five different presidents going back to President George H.W. Bush.
This is not business as usual. This has never been done before in his career, but it happened now that Trumps in office happened now that David Bernhardt`s at the head of the Interior Department. Under that kind of pressure, something he had never experienced before, that supervisor from the Fish and Wildlife Service, he did reverse his previous call to instead say, OK, maybe the permits are OK. He was told to do that and he did so.
Soon thereafter, he resigned from the service and soon after that, he started talking to the local press to basically confess and to explain what happened.
David Bernhardt, the number two official at the Interior Department, the guy who seems to have engineered this pressure or been involved in this pressure on behalf of this big Trump donor, he has since been promoted to run the whole Department of the Interior. He is no longer than number two guy at the agency. He`s now in the cabinet as secretary of the interior.
See, there was an opening for him to take that job because the previous Trump secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, remember he had to resign after it emerged that he was under criminal investigation for his own corruption scandals while running Trump`s Interior Department.
So, he had to go because of the criminal investigations into his corruption, that`s how Bernhardt got kicked upstairs into the cabinet secretary job he now enjoys. Only the best people.
Well, now, David Bernhardt`s actions around little Benson, Arizona, and this major Trump donor who wants his development there and screw the river, screw the science, I want it, now, David Bernhardt`s actions in this little this little after-school special, right, like which could be kind titled corruption for dummies. This little tableau vivant explaining how the Trump administration is more than happy to mess up basically anyone and anything as long as it helps their friends and donors.
This little paragon of how corruption works, now, David Bernhardt`s actions are being investigated by Congress, by the House Committee on Natural Resources, which is the oversight committee in this part of the federal government. It is chaired by Congressman Raul Grijalva, who is from Arizona and who knows these things and who has proclaimed himself to be mystified as to why the number two official at the Interior Department might have been interested and personally involved in the permitting decisions on this one land deal in Arizona if it wasn`t just to help out a Trump donor with something hugely remunerative that he otherwise should have been blocked from doing for the good of the country.
And now, that same official, now Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, the oil company and mining company lobbyist who President Trump entrusted to shepherd America`s public lands, he has now just announced plans to move a whole big swath of his agency, to move the Bureau of Land Management out of Interior Department headquarters, out of Washington. Specifically, he`s just announced that he`s telling the employees of that agency that they need to move out of D.C. and into western Colorado, right near his hometown. It should be a boom for that part of.
I mean, this is the part of the Interior Department that oversees the use of federal lands. Presumably, employees of that agency will now be given the same ultimatum that was just given to all the scientists at USDA, right? Never mind the hardships.
An employee who`s struggling with MS and dealing with serious medical treatment issues for MS was told that is not a hardship that would be considered to keep that employee off the roster of those who were moving. An employee who`s in the middle of chemotherapy was told by USDA that that was not a hardship that would result in the agency taking that person, taking that scientist off the list of people who are being forcibly moved or you move your job.
They`re doing that with the scientists at the USDA right now. Now, they are trying it with the Bureau of Land Management under Interior Secretary David Bernhardt who is also now under investigation by Congress for appearing to intervene to reverse the permitting process for a big land development in little Benson, Arizona, on behalf of a major Trump donor who he met with secretly and off-the-books.
And Congressman Raul Grijalva and his committee are on that. They are on that -- this David Bernhardt scandal and this Arizona Diamondbacks owner Trump donor, housing development scandal. They`re on it. They are investigating. And on the USDA, and the destruction of the science function of that agency, Democrats in Congress particularly in the Senate have been pounding away on that too.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-MI): You basically gave 547 employees 30 days to decide if they were going to move halfway across the country and take their families. This is not relocation. It`s a demolition.
SEN. BOB CASEY (D-PA): Catherine Green is unable to relocate to Kansas City. Catherine Green expects most of the institutional knowledge on organic agriculture will be lost when she is forced to retire.
STABENOW: For what? It`s still unclear to me what problem the USDA is trying to solve with this move.
SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): Do you truly believe that you`re not going to lose significant expertise in areas of research agricultural research, Dr. Hutchinson, with this move?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Of course, they know they`re going to lose specific expertise. Of course they do. That`s the point. Hollow out these agencies.
As Senator Stabenow put it, let`s demolish these agencies. These agencies do inconvenient things. They do science.
To the extent that the country`s outrage and horror is being deliberately stoked right now by the president to keep us focused on his outrageous behavior because he thinks that`s good for him, because he thinks that`s better for him politically than if we`re talking about anything else. I will just say, now more than ever, you know, watch what they do, not what they say. Now more than ever, there`s a lot of news out there and there`s a lot of stuff the Trump administration is not only doing. In some cases, they`re getting caught for it.
Do not play requests. Do not be manipulated. Watch what they do. Ignore what they say.
I mean, we`re going to look back one day at this time in this presidency and be astonished at what they were doing. We will all want to answer for what we were doing too and the fact that we were paying attention, and not always to what they wanted us to.
Lots to come tonight. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, who are your friends and who are your enemies?
TRUMP: So I`ve learned a lot, I have to tell you. I mean, part of the book we`re going to -- I`m going to be writing a book, I don`t know why I`m even on the show except we want to get you good ratings. I said to Faith, I said to Faith, we`re going to get some major, major ratings. And you are, you`re going to get big ratings.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell the rest of the story though.
TRUMP: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw you at the show at "Celebrity Chef" dinner here in New York.
TRUMP: And what a kiss.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You kissed me on the lips in front of the paparazzi and I said, that`ll cost you, I`m booking you on the show.
TRUMP: I know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: True story, correct?
TRUMP: The kiss was so good, and it was so open and nice. She is a fabulous woman.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So open and nice?
TRUMP: And her husband, her husband is a handsome devil, I`ll tell you, he`s a good guy, but I think he had his back turned at the time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
TRUMP: So, we had a good time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That was the man who is now president of the United States bragging in 1992 to a studio audience about the nice open kiss -- I think he means open mouthed kiss, that he unexpectedly planted on a married woman while her husband`s back was turned. That interview aired on a syndicated daytime talk show called "A Closer Look".
That was hosted by a longtime news anchor and reporter named Faith Daniels.
That back and forth we just aired that bit about Trump`s sneaking up on Faith Daniels and kissing her when she at least expected it, that was not a one-off sort of creepy comment in an otherwise run-of-the-mill interview. That`s basically what the whole thing was like.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are seeing in the company of lots of beautiful women, Donald.
TRUMP: I like beautiful and you`re very beautiful. This is really beautiful.
I really do sleep well and I think --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t lie awake at night and chew your nails and worry about this.
TRUMP: No. And some people some people have an ability that they really don`t worry about things too much. I would say that I have that ability. If I did, I probably would have been in a corner with my thumb in my mouth and just going, you know, mommy, take me home, I want to go home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you certainly are going now (ph). We saw evidence of that.
TRUMP: No. Somebody else`s thumb in my mouth.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Could you ever see yourself pulling a Perot?
TRUMP: I don`t necessarily think so. I mean, I`m so controversial, I love beautiful women, I love going out with beautiful women, and I love women in general, and people would say, oh, that`s a horrible thing. You know, somebody would say, what would they say if you said you love women, I`d say I agree.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In your case, I mean, we`ve already gone through all the scandals, there`d be nothing left uncovered.
TRUMP: Well, you might be right, you might be right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You have a question you`d like to ask the Donald?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, if you can have your choice, who would be one person you`d date?
TRUMP: Wow. How about --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The three most beautiful women --
TRUMP: Well, how about Lady Di? That would be an interesting one. She`s going to be available.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s married.
TRUMP: Why not?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be it, that`s your choice? What kind of women do you like?
TRUMP: I think my choice might be you. Look at the legs on her, boy --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would be safe that you take beauty over brains?
TRUMP: No, no, no. I like beauty coupled with brains. I do like -- I mean, I prefer a beautiful woman to a non-beautiful woman and I know that`s discriminatory I know people will say how horrible, he`s a horrible human being to say that.
But I`ll tell you what, men raise your hands, does anybody disagree with me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Anybody disagree with me? Yes, I know that`s discriminatory. Come on, men.
In the lead-up to that interview, the team at "A Closer Look" actually sent one of their camera crews to Mar-a-Lago to shoot a profile piece on Trump that preceded that interview, showing a -- showcasing his life as a newly divorced man, having just split from his wife Ivana.
In the footage, a lot of the women here apparently were cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills. Turns out they were in town for a game against the Miami Dolphins. Trump is the host of the party. There`s footage of him at one point, grabbing one woman by her waist and then later patting her on the rear end.
But one of the reasons this footage is appearing now, one of the reasons that MSNBC dug it up all these years later is because one of the guests who can be seen in this footage is Jeffrey Epstein, the same Jeffrey Epstein who just this past week was charged on charged in federal court on child sex trafficking charges. That`s Epstein there in the jeans shirt.
In this newly uncovered tape, Trump is seen personally welcoming Epstein and some other guests as they arrived at the party. Later, Trump and Epstein are seen on camera sort of gawking at the women on the dance floor. Trump appears to tell Jeffrey Epstein, look at her back there, she`s hot. Then thereafter, Trump whispers something into Epstein`s ear that causes Epstein two to double over and laughter while they keep looking at the women.
And it would be one thing if there was just this one newly rediscovered piece of tape showing our current president ogling women with a man who is now a convicted sex offender who`s on trial on very serious sex trafficking charges. But there is more.
In the same year that Donald Trump hosted that party, a Florida businessman says he was tasked with organizing an exclusive calendar girl competition at Mar-a-Lago. That organizer told "The New York Times" that he was surprised to learn that there were only two extra guests who were invited to attend a party with the more than two dozen girls who were in the competition. It was the 28 girls, 28 women from the competition and only two other people at the whole party, Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein.
Over the past few weeks, pictures have emerged of Donald Trump and Jeffrey Epstein hanging out at Mar-a-Lago. Here`s them in 1997. Here`s them in the year 2000.
In this later photo, you see Donald Trump standing alongside Melania who was his girlfriend at the time and would become his wife next to them are Jeffrey Epstein and a British socialite who now stands accused by several of Epstein`s alleged victims of having recruited the underage girls who were basically groomed to have sex with Epstein. She has denied any wrongdoing.
There`s also "The New York Magazine" profile of Jeffrey Epstein from 2002, in which Donald Trump talks about what great pals they are and how great Jeffrey Epstein is as a buddy.
Quote: I`ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy. He`s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffery enjoys his social life.
"Golf Magazine" has also published an article recounting the time that Epstein showed up late for a ride on Trump`s private plane. Epstein`s infamous black book, essentially a rolodex of all his contacts, shows no fewer than different ways he had to get in contact with Donald Trump, 15 different numbers he had for Trump and people who worked for Trump that could put him in touch with him.
And then there are the more serious allegations connecting the two men. In a deposition in a 2010 lawsuit that accused him of child trafficking, Epstein declined to answer a question about his relationship with Trump and whether they had ever socialized together, quote, in the presence of females under the age of 18. When Epstein was asked about that, this is how he responded, quote: Though I`d like to answer that question, at least today, I`m going to have to assert my Fifth, Sixth, 23rd and 14th Amendment rights.
In 2016, an anonymous woman sued Donald Trump, alleging that she was 13 years old when Trump raped her at a party hosted by Epstein. That lawsuit was later dropped just before the election. Trump denied doing anything wrong.
All of that has been hanging out there in the public record for years, but it was catapulted back into our consciousness last week when federal prosecutors charged Epstein with sex trafficking charges in federal court in New York. And now, anybody with ties to Epstein, Epstein may be freaking out a little.
Prosecutors made it abundantly clear that their case is, in their words, only getting stronger. Quote: After seven days of this case being public following months of a covert investigation, the evidence is already significantly stronger and getting stronger every single day, many individuals identifying themselves as victims and witnesses have contacted the government and we are in process of receiving and corroborating this additional evidence.
There is a general sense that the blood pressure in the White House has been running higher than normal since Epstein was arrested, and it is not possible to know if this is just the new crazy, this is just newly how it is, or if it`s a deliberate effort to try to distract from something, right? Could this be the president hitting the panic button to distract from something else that is coming down the pike?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Some people have an ability that they really don`t worry about things too much. I would say that I have that ability. If I did, I probably would have been in a corner with my thumb in my mouth and just going, you know, mommy, take me home, I want to go home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, you certainly are going now. We saw evidence of that.
TRUMP: No. Somebody else`s thumb in my mouth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Dateline: St. Petersburg. April 25th, 1903, this report has been taken across the border for transmission in order to escape the censor.
Quote: The anti-Jewish riots in Kishinev are worse than the censor will permit to publish. There was a well laid out plan for the general massacre of Jews on the day following the Russian Easter. The mob was led by priests and the general cry of "kill the Jews" was taken up all over the city. The Jews were taken wholly unaware and were slaughtered like sheep. The dead number in 120 and they injured about 500. The scenes of horror attending this massacre are beyond description.
It was 1903, and a report from what is now Moldova which back then was part of the Russian empire, what happened that day was not a one-off. Deadly organized anti-Semitic attacks were happening all over tsarist Russia at the time. They were called pogroms. They ripped through city after city, killing thousands of people, forcing thousands more to flee for their lives.
One of the people who escaped the pogroms of that time was a man named Wolf Lee Glosser. G-L-O-S-S-E-R. He lived in a dirt floor shack in the country we now call Belarus. Not long ago, his great-grandson told the story of their families escape from the pogroms.
Quote: Glosser fled a village where his forebears had lived for centuries and took his chances in America. He`s set foot on Ellis Island on January 7th, 1903, with eight dollars to his name. Though fluent in Polish, Russian and Yiddish, he understood no English.
The Glosser family started a business selling goods from a horse and buggy. Eventually, they opened up their own haberdashery, and then a whole chain of supermarkets and department stores that ultimately was listed on the stock exchange.
Quote: In the span of some 80 years, this family emerged from poverty in a hostile country to become a prosperous, educated clan of merchants, scholars, professionals and most important, American citizens.
The reason we know about Mr. Glosser and about the generations of his family who have gone on to thrive in America is because that family history was published last year as an op-ed but it was basically an open letter from the uncle in that family to his own nephew. The nephew being White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, architect of some of the president`s most draconian, anti-immigrant policies like the Muslim ban, like the family separation policy that results in babies being taken away from their parents.
Stephen Miller`s own uncle called Stephen Miller an immigration hypocrite whose policy ideas would have wiped out their own family.
Well, now, Stephen Miller has cooked up a new idea for immigration policy in the Trump administration. Politico.com reporting that Mr. Miller is now leading a new effort to try to make it the Trump administration`s new policy to stop all refugees from being allowed into this country, not reducing the number of refugees or making it harder for refugees to come here. They`re talking about ending the practice of people receiving refuge in America, full stop.
That is Stephen Miller`s big new idea for trying to end as much immigration, legal or otherwise, that he can into this country, even if his own path to becoming an advisor to the American president, to becoming an American at all started in a dirt floor shack in Belarus and a man who fled terror and came to Ellis Island with eight dollars in his pocket, which is how Stephen Miller got here in the first place.
And Stephen Miller`s uncle joins us next. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Dr. David Glosser says it`s been a while since he has spoken to his nephew but this did probably get his attention. Quote: Stephen Miller is an immigration hypocrite. I know because I`m his uncle.
Dr. Glosser wrote this open letter of sorts about his nephew last summer. Now that Stephen Miller`s big new idea is to stop refugees from entering this country at all and now that we have had a renewed national convulsion over the conditions in which asylum seekers and immigrants are being held, we asked Dr. Glosser if he might want to come in and talk about this matter again.
Dr. Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist and he`s coming to the studio tonight to be here.
Thank you so much for being here. It`s a pleasure to have you here.
DAVID GLOSSER, STEPHEN MILLER`S UNCLE: Good to be here, Rachel. What should we talk about?
MADDOW: Well, did you ever get a response from your nephew after that, after you first spoke out about this last year.
GLOSSER: No, I`m a persona incommunicado.
You were so strong in your telling of not only your personal criticism of the Trump administration`s policies, but about how it relates to your family and what it would mean for Stephen Miller. I imagine that you thought you could maybe touch his heart, because otherwise, the need to make it personal must have just been difficult and painful.
GLOSSER: Listen, I think people understand the cruelties are being enacted, but people don`t respond much to lists of statistics. I think what people respond to is a story, a personal story. What hope I had of my nephew being touched by his own history, and it was not very high to start with, he`s made his entire career and his entire personas built on this particular issue.
What I hope to do is I hope to raise other people who have the same history I do, and which I suspect you do too frankly, all these people have come into this country, we should -- the question is why did I -- isn`t really why did I write this piece, why isn`t everybody writing this piece?
MADDOW: There is renewed national concern right now over the treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers, particularly kids being held on the border.
MADDOW: Obviously, those -- some of those stories are devastating, but I imagine it may be heartening to you to see renewed concern, to see the investigative work happening to see people protesting, to see people holding vigils.
GLOSSER: People care as it turns out. Once you -- once you break it away from the idea of their being thousands and thousands of people are being damaged and injured and hurt, break it down to individual people in the individual cases, it touches people and people will stand up and do the right thing. If they have the -- if they have the central moral values and I know what to do, they`ll do it.
MADDOW: I wonder, given your family connections to Mr. Miller and his identified role as the sort of draconian leader of the most hard line policies here, I wonder what you make of what appears to be the political calculation by presumably your nephew, definitely by the Trump administration as a whole, that harshness toward immigrants, that deliberate cruelty toward immigrants, that terrible conditions which immigrants are being held redounds to the president`s political benefit?
GLOSSER: Well, let`s break it down to the simple political calculus as it has recently come to the attention the United States Supreme Court with regard to voter suppression action taken by the Republican Party. The Republican Party has made the observation as have demographers that within the next 20 or 40 years, the United States will go from being a white majority country to being a white plurality country.
So, it makes -- as it turns out the people, who are not predominantly of European background are less likely to vote for Republicans than for Democrats. This, of course, makes it problematic for them if they anticipate remaining in positions of power in order to advance their particular agenda. Accordingly, it is not worthwhile for them to allow people into the country or to allow people to gain citizenship who may not be members of their party in the future.
This is not very hard to figure out and it kind of all boils down to that.
MADDOW: But the part of it that I find hard just to stomach just viscerally is the idea that you would not just be trying to deny the numbers in terms of immigrants who would eventually get citizenship and the right to vote, but that you would somehow galvanized native born American citizens and specifically white Americans, to excite them to vote for people who are being deliberatively and performatively cruel towards non- white people, that it would sort of tap some sort of latent racist, hate- mongering among a white population that might make a -- to elect a Republican president.
GLOSSER: What`s equally repugnant is the assumption apparently among the - - among the Trump -- the Trump administration that somehow the majority of white Americans are racists. But I don`t believe that to be the case. But that being perhaps their own personal motivations. They may project that belief on to other people who do not share those feelings.
Mr. Trump obviously owns that brand. He`s proud of it. He`s not ashamed of it. He doesn`t know the word shame means.
The last time I`m old enough to remember, you probably are not, the last time that a major presidential candidate ran on an overtly racist platform was George Wallace back in 1968.
GLOSSER: I thought we had somehow as a nation grown beyond that and repudiated it. But now we see that Mr. Trump and his minions have legitimized race hatred as a means of sustaining and gaining political power and influence, which by the way is not a really very new phenomenon in this country either or in other European countries.
MADDOW: Dr. David Glosser is a retired neuropsychologist. He`s the uncle of Stephen Miller, White House adviser. Sir, thank you for coming in. I really appreciate it. I know it`s not an easy thing to talk about. Thanks.
GLOSSER: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Pick a place anywhere in the country, all you need to know is the state to start. Pick somewhere you`re familiar with or where you live now or where you grew up, start with the state.
Let`s say, South Carolina, then add the county, let`s say for our purposes here, Charleston County. You put those in, just click submit, and then, look, this amazing new tool shows you which distributors were getting pills from opioid manufacturers and distributing them in your county. It also shows you which manufacturers were also shipping pills to those distributors in your county.
But then look at the next column, pharmacies. You can also go drugstore by drugstore, individual drugstores.
And if you want to know how many pills they`re distributing, you can literally go store by store by store, drugstore by drugstore, pharmacy by pharmacy. And if you want to know how to make sense of the number of pills being distributed store by store, here`s an easy distillation of it -- how many highly addictive opioid pain pills were these companies and distributors pushing into your town through these individual drug stores and pharmacies?
From this database, you can tell the number of pain pills per person per year were being distributed into your county. And you can do this right now through the website of "The Washington Post". You can do this for any county in the country.
And the reason you can do this now is because it turns out there is a database of every single opioid pill legally sold in this country, every pill, down to the one. It`s a list maintained by the DEA. It tracks every pill from the drug manufacturers, to the distributors, to the individual pharmacies all across the country. And it exists so the DEA can supposedly track suspicious sales.
Well, the big pharmaceutical companies and distributors are required to report each transaction involving an opioid pain pill to the DEA, and that`s how this database exists. But who has access to this database? It has always been kept secret. It`s always been kept hidden from the public view -- until now.
A team of intrepid reporters from "The Washington Post" and from "The Gazette Mail" in Charleston, West Virginia, have been trying to get access to this database for a couple of years now. "The Post" initially filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the database. It was denied. The government did not want the database made public.
But perhaps more importantly the drug companies really, really didn`t want it made public. They repeatedly told the courts as people tried to pry this information loose that if this information about what pills went where was made public, that might give their competitors might give the other drug companies an advantage in the marketplace. Yes, the competitors might find out where the hungriest most addicted markets were, that`s valuable information, you know how many pills you can sell in some of these little towns, we can`t let that information out there.
So, the drug companies have to submit information that ends up in the database, but then the database is kept secret. These reporters were trying to get the database made publicly available, made public to them in their newspapers. They kept getting rebuffed in the courts on this, but "The Washington Post" and "The Gazette Mail" ultimately saw a window in Ohio, with a federal judge who`s been overseeing the single largest civil action in U.S. history, which is about opioids. It`s a case that has consolidated about different cases all brought by state and local governments against the big pharmaceutical companies that make and sell these pills.
That federal judge in Ohio had previously allowed some of the plaintiffs in that case, some of the cities and towns to themselves access some of the data from this big, important, mind-blowing database. And -- but it was under a protective order, so that even though they could see it for their own purposes, they couldn`t tell anybody about what they could find there.
In a legal proceeding, that`s what`s known as a good place to start. And so, the good folks of "The Washington Post" and the "Gazette Mail" tried to build on that and they filed to intervene in that case, saying, listen, if you can let these localities see this stuff under a protective order, we as news organizations and through us the public, we should be able to get access to this database, too.
And initially, that federal judge told those journalists no. But the newspapers didn`t accept that answer. They appealed the judge`s ruling. Lawyers for "The Post" argued that this information served a public need to know, it would serve the public interest in understanding and fighting the opioid crisis to actually know which manufacturers and which distributors sent how many drugs, we`re in which drug -- which drugstores sold them.
Ultimately, it was a federal appeals court that agreed with the news organizations on this and ruled in their favor. Quote: The data will aid us in understanding the full enormity of the opioid epidemic and might thereby aid us in ending it.
And with that, six years of data from this massive database tracking every single opioid pill sold in America, was made available to the public. And "The Post" made this widget on their Website that allows you to access it in this incredibly convenient way. And that`s why you can now get this individual data for any place in the country, just pop it in put in the state first and then the county next, and it is amazing to scroll around and do it. If you picked the county where you know and you click on that, you will recognize the pharmacies that pop up in that third column.
And now that we have access to that database for the first, thanks to those reporters and their legal intervention here, we can all now see for the first time what`s been going on down to the individual pill. As "The Post" puts it, quote: The number of pills the companies sold during the seven year time frame here are staggering, far exceeding what has previously been disclosed in limited court filings and news stories.
Yes, far exceeding what we knew was out there. I wonder why they never wanted anybody to see this database, huh? Turns out -- turns out you might not want the country to know that you`re shipping out more than 12 billion highly addictive pain pills in a year, 12 billion pills to a country with only 320 million people in it. Yes, I probably wouldn`t want anybody downloading that data either.
So, what "The Post" has been able to get their hands on is data from 2006 to 2012. That`s the seven-year period. What the report that`s all that the reporters were able to get out of the courts for now. One of the amazing things here is that so many more billions of pills were being shipped out than anybody knew about, but also, it got worse and worse and worse over time.
Again, this is a seven-year period starting in 2016. And over those seven years, from 2006 to 2012 is the opioid crisis lit the country on fire, right? And the death rate started skyrocketing and the country started freaking out about it. Over the course of those seven years from 2006 to 2012, well a hundred thousand Americans were killed by these drugs in that period, we can now tell they kept upping the number they were shipping every year.
In 2006, they were at 8.4 billion pills. By 2012, they were up more than 50 percent from that, at 12.6 billions pills. By 2012, that mean they were shipping at an average of 36 highly addicted pain pills for every man, woman, and child, and baby in the United States.
And now, you can check the see if your county was on par with that or maybe doing better than that, good for you, or maybe you`re one of the counties where the companies went whole hog. Again, just for context here, the per person average as of 2012 was that they were shipping out 36 pills for every man, woman, and child in the country, 36. In Norton, Virginia, which is the smallest city in Virginia, up in the mountains, basically just a small town, up there, they weren`t shipping 36 pills per person. They were shipping 306 pills per person over the course of just one year. It`s astonishing.
The other thing that`s amazing about this database, though, is it doesn`t tell us how many pills we are shipping overall and to where and how they went up and up and up each year, as the country got more and more addicted. They also tell us what the companies knew about their own behavior, because this is what they knew they were doing. This is their own data that they plugged into this database.
So, they knew. So, this company, SpecGX, knew that they were shipping 4.7 million highly addictive fills that year into Norton, Virginia, into a town of 4,000 people -- 4.7 million pills?
Walmart knew that it alone was distributing 3.4 million highly addictive pills that year into a town of 4,000 people. Quote: The database reveals what each company knew about the number of pills it was shipping and dispensing and precisely when they were aware of these volumes year by year, town by town. In case after case, the companies allowed the drugs to reach the streets of communities, large and small, despite persistent red flags that those pills were being sold in apparent violation of federal law and diverted to a black market.
"The Post" has been reporting out the details of what they are learning from this database that they had pried loose from the government. They`ve also, to their credit, released it now for everybody to see and to search for your own community. You just click on your state, click on your county, see the exact number of pills per person that have been unleashed on your community during this time period.
It`s just a remarkable tool. We`ve got it for seven years. Hopefully, we`ll get it for every year.
A lot of powerful companies wanted to keep this secret, but now we all have access to it, thanks to these journalists who kept fighting, who didn`t take no for an answer. Thanks to "The Washington Post" and West Virginia`s "Charleston Gazette Mail".
I don`t know if you love your local paper or you hate your local paper, if you hadn`t it read it in so long, you don`t remember, but regardless, do it anyway. Subscribe to your local paper. Your country needs you to. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END