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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 8/8/22

Guests: Jackie Alemany, Chuck Schumer, Elaine Luria, David Rohde


Boxes of documents are seized by the FBI at Trump`s Mar-a-Lago. Interview with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Interview with Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA).


ALICIA MENENDEZ, MSNBC HOST: That is "ALL IN" on this Monday night, this big Monday night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Hi, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Hi, Alicia. Thank you so much.

This is a big night for all of us here. It`s been great to have you here for the 8:00 hour. Thank you.

MENENDEZ: Thank you.

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

Tomorrow is the day you`re going to want to buy a physical copy of the newspaper. You`re going to want to buy it and fold it carefully, maybe put it an archival paper or parchment if you don`t have that. Just put it someday. You might -- depending how saucy you`re feeling you might want to note perhaps in archival ink in the margin of tomorrow`s paper, note, anniversary of Richard Nixon`s resignation as president. People will get a kick out of that some years down the road.

I mean, the reason you might buy tomorrow`s paper is if the world doesn`t collapse into ash by then, your grandkids` grandkids someday are going to look at that old physical newspaper you were able to save from August 9, 2022, and they are going to goggle at the thought of what your life must have been like. They`re going to goggle at what it must have been like for you to see this happening in your lifetime, for the time in American history knowing how idea how it would play out.

Nothing like this has ever happened before, and we don`t know how it ends. Tonight`s news that the FBI has raided the home of the immediate past president of the United States, it feels both astonishing and sort of inevitable in equal measure. Before Republican Donald J. Trump we`ve never had a president impeached twice in a single term. We`ve never had members of the president`s own party, vote not only to impeach him but to convict him and remove him from office and bar him from ever serving in office again.

We`ve never before had a president reject the elections the election that did remove him from his office. We`ve never before had a president summon his followers to a violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol to try to stop the transfer of power to his successor. We had never before had a president who was known to tear up official government documents, whose chief of staff is reported to have burned government documents in a white house fireplace, which would be the most lurid document destruction we`ve ever heard of in any presidential administration were it not for the fact that the former president himself has been repeatedly credibly accused of flushing government documents down a variety of nearby toilets. So even the burning them in the White House fireplace detail is frankly trumped.

This is a former president who unlike any other former president in the United States is under active criminal investigation in multiple venues. He`s under active criminal investigation in the state of Georgia. His lawyers are reportedly negotiating already with the Justice Department in Washington. Witnesses before a federal criminal grand jury have reportedly been asked about his former actions.

The reason the former president was not at his Florida home for today`s FBI raid is because perhaps he was in New York City in preparation for what we`re expecting to be a sworn deposition from him very soon, in a New York attorney general probe investigating him on multiple allegations of serious fraud.

That`s a lot of firsts already. But today, the former president, Donald Trump, was the subject of an FBI raid on his home in south Florida. And historically, sort of -- you know, it can`t be overstated. I do think it is worth pausing and reflecting on the fact today we do not know where this leads, we do not know where this ends.

That this is a president who recently in recent months has told some of his most rabid followers not only that he`s still the rightful president of the United States and has been forced out in some sort of unlawful pooch, but he`s promised his followers will take to the streets in unprecedented numbers for demonstrations the country has never seen before. We don`t know where this will lead in legal terms, in historic terms, where this will lead in terms of the former president and his supporters. And that is a moment that is worth appreciating.

In terms of us being as a historical nexus, it is amazing what we have been through with this guy. We have no idea where it goes from here. But today this nexus where we are in the most practical simple terms what we know is this: we know that federal law enforcement authorities would have had to go to a judge and bring to that judge a request for a search warrant.


In order to get a search warrant for the judge, the authorities would have had to tell the judge where they wanted to search and what they wanted to search for. And they would have had to demonstrate to the judge probable cause that at that location they wanted to search they would find evidence that a crime was committed, a federal crime, a specific federal crime, which they would have to spell out in detail to the judge.

The judge would have be satisfied in the specificity of the request in terms of it location and what they were looking for and in the assertion that there`s probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime would be found at that location. If the judge was so satisfied, the judge would then agree to sign and authorize the warrant, which could then be executed by the FBI within 14 days.

We know that just as a categorical matter in terms of what today`s news implies about what`s led to this point.

Now, Kelly O`Donnell reports for NBC News tonight that after the warrant was obtained but before it was served the FBI notified the secret service today they were going to come to Mar-a-Lago today, this morning, in order to execute this search warrant. Former President Trump himself tonight confirmed in an online statement that the raid had taken place. He noted in this statement that he felt aggrieved, I guess you`d call it, by the search.

More interestingly, he also noted the execution of the search warrant had included the FBI breaking into his safe. Depending on the terms of a search warrant one would expect that a search warrant of this nature might include everything to be found at the property, everything related to the potential crime that the authorities had to assert probable cause about, so therefore breaking into a safe wouldn`t be that much more serious an act than the rest of the search itself. But he has volunteered. Quote, they even broke into my safe. So at least if he we believe his word, we know that was part of it. I mean such is the nature of this very unique former president that he is literally hard to narrow down the potential federal crimes, which potential federal investigation this might pertain to. It`s not like you hear a raid on Donald Trump`s house and you think oh, that investigation. You have to narrow it down.

The former president is at least potentially implicated in a criminal investigation into sending forged sets of fake electors to the Electoral College to keep him in power. There`s a federal grand jury looking at that. He`s also potentially implicated in another federal grand jury investigations into efforts to use the Justice Department itself to overthrow the election results from 2020 and keep him in power, a second federal grand jury is reportedly looking at that.

He`s also potentially implicated in another federal grand jury investigation. This one first reported in May by "The New York Times" into the alleged serious mishandling of classified information by the former president. Now, "The Times" was the first to report the existence of the federal grand jury investigation into this matter, but it was "the Washington Post" that first to report six months ago in February that Trump had taken boxes and boxes and boxes of government documents and materials with him to south Florida to his house, club, hotel thing called Mar-a- Lago.

"The Post" reported, again, back in February that many of the documents that he took with him to Mar-a-Lago were definitely and unequivocally classified.

Now, that`s important because there are criminal penalties that attach to mishandling or allowing unauthorized access to classified government documents. People get in trouble for mishandling classified government documents all the time. "The Washington Post" reporting team was first to report on how highly classified some of these documents were that Trump took with him to Mar-a-Lago. I mean, a classified document is a classified document. And criminal penalties sort of therein attached just by the fact that something is classified.

But Jackie Alemany and her colleagues at "The Post" were first to report at some of these documents he took were really, really classified. And we know that in part because the National Archives subsequently had to go retrieve them and make an inventory what they found. Some of these documents were so classified they couldn`t even list them in an inventory. They couldn`t describe what documents they were if the inventory itself was going to be an unclassified document.

Here`s the headline from Jackie Alemany and her colleague Hamburger from February 25th of this year. Quote, some records taken by Trump are so sensitive they may not be described in public. Quote, some of the presidential records recovered from former president Donald Trump`s residence at Mar-a-Lago are so sensitive they may not be able to be described in forthcoming inventory reports in an unclassified way.


According to two people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic there are records at the very highest levels of classification including some that can be viewed by only a small number of government officials.

Quote, there are records that only a very few have clearances to review. The documents are so sensitive that officials may not be able to describe them in an unclassified way, according to the two people who spoke to "The Washington Post."

So in other words, one of the federal grand juries looking into former president Donald Trump has been looking into this issue of potentially mishandling classified information. The existence of the federal grand jury looking into that as a potential criminal platter was first reported in May by "The New York Times."

But "The Washington Post" reported back in February that what he took to Mar-a-Lago, these boxes and boxes and boxes of documents, which the National Archives tried for a long time to get back before they were finally able to get them from him, this is apparently such -- some of this at least is stuff of such high classification that not only can you and I not know the content of these documents, we can`t know any of the words that are in the document, you can`t know about the existence of the document. You can`t have the type of document it is described to you unless you have a very high level government clearance. It`s that classified. That`s what he took to, like, the golf course, the golf club whatever it is, the supper club, whatever it is, his gold thing in south Florida.

"The New York Times" is reporting tonight that it is the classified documents investigation that led to today`s FBI raid, that led to the execution of the search warrant at the former president`s property. It was Jackie Alemany and her colleagues at "The Post" that first reported the existence of this problem and its seriousness. As we continue to follow this breaking news story tonight, it is a remarkable advance in this story that the FBI is taking public facing steps in this investigation. We`ve known this investigation was under way for several months, them executing this search warrant today in South Florida has all sorts of implications as to the seriousness of this matter. In broad historical terms today will always be the day that you and I and all of us learned that a former president of the United States had been raided by the FBI.

Joining us now is Jackie Alemany, investigations reporter for "The Washington Post."

Ms. Alemany, thank you for being with us tonight. This feels like maybe not full circle but quite a ways around the ark from your initial reporting.


MADDOW: I know you and your colleagues have been continuing to report this story. You were first to break the news of this scandal six months ago. What do you understand about the latest here, about the scope of the FBI`s action and what it says about this investigation as a whole?

ALEMANY: Yeah, Rachel, we`re trying to get new details right now. And what we`ve heard so far is that which the former president confirmed himself is that the FBI did raid the premises today. This is an especially news worthy development, though, because obviously six months ago we reported that the national archives had sent people down to Mar-a-Lago to recover about 15 boxes worth of documents, classified information and various mementos, things, records that belong to the American people from former President Trump.

The FBI revisiting him today indicates that there might have been documents that have yet to have been recovered. We have no reporting yet on what exactly might have been taken, what FBI agents were looking for. But some new reporting that we do have is that the inventory that was turned over to the FBI of those 15 boxes was actually 100 pages long, and that was only of the unclassified information, unclassified items that were improperly taken. Although, if you asked any archivist, they would say that information is just as important to our historic record as some of the classified information that was taken.

We have a source telling us that if you quantified the unclassified version of the classified inventory, which would be a separate inventory from the list of unclassified items, that it would be around 3 pages long. But the source added that volume is just one way to quantify the damage that might have been done and that even just one page or one portion of a top secret or classified item that might have been improperly archived could do very grave damage to national security of the U.S.

MADDOW: Let me make sure that I understand this. So the National Archives was able to retrieve about 15 boxes of material from Mar-a-Lago already.


They then produced two different inventories of that material that they recovered, and he handed it to the FBI, a 100-page inventory of just the unclassified material that was improperly taken and a 3-page inventory of the classified material that was taken. And the National Archives made that inventory and gave it to the FBI, is that right?

ALEMANY: That`s right. We don`t actually know how many inventories exist overall, but we do know of at least two unclassified inventories. One of the unclassified items, and then the classified version of the classified items because even describing classified items can sometimes -- needs to be classified. And these are rough estimates around 100 pages worth of items.

We actually have some descriptors of some of the unclassified items, things like birthday dinner menu was taken, schedules, calendars, speeches, agendas, talking points. We`re still digging into this, again every minute getting text messages and new intel just as we speak. But it`s helping at least, you know, understand the full scope of what the FBI could be looking for here.

MADDOW: I don`t want to keep you. I know this is a story you`re actively working on right now, and I promise I`ll not keep you too long so you can look at all those texts and advance your work with your colleagues.

But I do -- I do want to make sure I understand what we know about this in terms of the National Archives and what they`ve done already. Did the national archives have a fight with Trump over some of these things he did not believe were improperly taken, he thought he had a right to?

Was it hard to get stuff back from him? Is that perhaps the origin of any things that were held back? That sort of a conflict of origin, things held back by him that the FBI was looking to retrieve today?

ALEMANY: That is a really good question. And clearly, we`ve been reading a reporting, extremely closely because six months ago when we first broke this story, the reason why it actually became an issue was because the National Archives as they do for the public record is they go through all of the documents from a presidency, put it all together, make sure it`s very clearly organized.

And during that process, which takes decades, they`re still at times these archivists are going back to former presidencies in the `70s and the `80s is when they find new historic records that need to be preserved correctly. What they realized when they were going through the Trump White House`s record is that there were documents that were missing that were publicly known and fairly infamous, had gained a notoriety throughout the course of the Trump presidency including, for example, that letter from Kim Jong-un, the north Korean dictator that famously wrote former President Trump a letter while he was in office, that it was missing from the records.

And that prompted them to get in touch with Trump`s counsel that was representing him post-presidency to say, hey, guys, we`re missing a bunch of records, do you have them? There was then back and forth that was fairly extended. I`m not quite sure -- not quite remembering the time period, but this is a president that left the White House in January, and these records were not retrieved until the beginning of this year. So there was some extensive back and forth, and the former president was very reticent about giving up some of these documents.

And the volume of 15 boxes alone is -- was quite an astonishing number at the time. And that was in that back and forth an agreement that the former president would continue to hand over documents as they found them.

MADDOW: Jackie Alemany, investigations reporter for "The Washington post." again, I know you`re in the middle of ongoing reporting on this story, which of course you and your colleagues helped break in the first place. Call us back in the course of this hour as you learn more. Obviously, we`re going to be covering this as closely as we possibly can. Thank you.

ALEMANY: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right, I want to bring now into the conversation, Chuck Rosenberg. He`s a former U.S. attorney, former FBI official and a person I immediately get in touch to make sure I`ve got the legal part of this at least under my belt and I can complain it in a way that`s going to make sense to other non-lawyers such as myself.

Chuck, my friend, thank you for being with us tonight.

CHUCK ROSENBERG, MSNBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, thank you for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: First, let me get your top line reaction to this raid. Tell me if I`ve said anything thus far that doesn`t strike you as correct in the way these procedures work. Tell me about what you think about the seriousness of this.

ROSENBERG: So your explanation at the opening of your show was spot on. I`m not sure why you need me.


I will say this it`s astonishing. Just step back for a moment and recognize that the Department of Justice went to a federal judge and got a search warrant for the home of a former president. I mean, putting aside what`s in the affidavit, putting aside what crime they specified, putting all that aside this is not something -- is this is an understatement, that happens lightly at the United States department of justice.

And then one thing I would add, you made this point but I want to sort of amplify it, Rachel. Two branches of government are involved in a search warrant. The executive branch, the FBI and the Department of Justice have asked permission, and the judicial branch which grants permission. So this is not some FBI agent off by herself seeking to search a former president`s home. Highly scrutinized, the most affidavit in the history of the department of justice and then approval by a federal judge.

MADDOW: Chuck, I started making calls and texting people as soon as the news broke tonight. And in addition to yourself I spoke to another former very high ranking DOJ official who told me a couple of things I just wanted to run by you. And this is a person not comfortable being identified publicly but was willing to let me characterize their remarks in terms of framing their understanding of what happened here.

And the first comment I got from this person drives a little bit of what you just said, that Attorney General Merrick Garland himself would have had to approve this personally. And the official I spoke with also pointed out that Attorney General Garland approving this as a search rather than as a subpoena may be significant in that it may mean that the attorney general was convinced that these documents in question were at risk of being destroyed or were potentially at risk of being disseminated to third parties which would further aggravate, worsen the crime here in terms of mishandling classified information.

What do you think about that aspect of this?

ROSENBERG: Makes sense to me. First of all, Rachel, subpoena and a search warrant aren`t mutually exclusive. You could execute a search warrant and simultaneously hand the person a subpoena for the same records, meaning regardless of where they are, we want them back. And that we want them back piece is so important to my other point, to the question you just asked.

We want them back means we want them back regardless of how we get them. And if we have to get a search warrant to get them back, so be it. If you don`t trust the person with a subpoena because a subpoena simply says, hey, Rachel, here`s a subpoena for your stuff. When you get around to it or at least by the date that the grand jury is meeting, give us the stuff.

There`s initial trust, right, you may be under investigation but we`re allowing you to give it to us on your timetable. That doesn`t happen in a search warrant. We need this stuff, we want this stuff. The fact this stuff is out there can do grave damage to the national security of the United States. We`re not just going to ask you for it. We`re going to take it. So that`s a very big deal.

So subpoenas and search warrants are not mutually exclusive, but a search warrant is the most serious way that the Department of Justice and the FBI can get back something that it needs or wants. And again, has to be authorized by a federal judge. It`s a very big deal.

MADDOW: And, Chuck, if -- if "The New York Times" reporting is correct that this is about the classified documents, the alleged classified -- excuse me, alleged mishandling of classified documents reported by "The Washington Post," reported as a grand jury matter by "The New York Times" back in May. If that is the basis for this search warrant, number one, if the search warrant turns up evidence of other crimes, what happens to that information? Is that also equally sort of in the possession and usable by the Justice Department?

But also, is it unusual that for the specific crime of mishandling classified information you would see a tactic as aggressive as a search warrant as opposed to just a subpoena, you would see a raid of this magnitude, you would see a former president not afforded, you know, informal deference for choice of needs. Mishandling of information does get prosecuted, but does it get prosecuted in ways like this?

ROSENBERG: Yes and yes. So, mishandling classified information, retaining classified information, at its worst transmitting classified information with the intent to harm the national security of the United States, all those are felonies. All those are crimes, some more serious than others.

But if you don`t trust someone to give you the stuff, then the way you get it back is through a search warrant. That`s what`s so astonishing here. The former president of the United States couldn`t be trusted to be return it, couldn`t be trust it to return it simply with a subpoena.

And so to your earlier point Merrick Garland who had to be involved in this -- it`s just -- it would be remarkable if he were not -- had to sign-off on a search warrant to go take the stuff.

Listen, I`ve handled very classified information, highly classified matters. Lots of stuff in the federal government are over-classified, but they are crown jewels. And if those crown jewels get out and in the wrong hands they can do grave damage to the national security of the United States.

And so if you don`t just someone to return it, Rachel, what do you do? You ask a federal judge for permission to go take it.

MADDOW: Chuck, if -- I mention that in the case of this former president it almost feels hyperbolic to say but I mean it literally, when hearing about the raids by the FBI on his home, you don`t automatically know which federal grand jury investigation it might pertain to because he does appear to be potentially implicated in multiple investigations of multiple potential crimes -- at least three of which are under separate grand jury investigations that have been reported in the press.

Given that, given the January 6th adjacent investigations, for example, if this search warrant was effectuated about the classified documents investigation but it turned up material related to other matters for which the president is potentially under federal investigation as well, are those considered to be properly collected by the Justice Department? Do those have to be handed back? Is that sort of fair game if they come across things that aren`t -- that`s evidence of crimes that weren`t the crime that they went the federal judge to get this warrant for today?

ROSENBERG: Yeah, it`s a great question. And I apologize to you for making you ask me twice. I failed to answer it previously. So, yes, if you are lawfully present in the home and you are because a judge authorized the search warrant and you`re lawfully taking documents because it`s listed in the search warrant as being potential evidence of the crime that you`re investigating, then sure it`s all fair game. There are a number of doctrines that apply once you`re lawfully in a home.

Now, this is an outlandish example but if they saw a sawed-off shotgun or meth on the kitchen table in distribution amounts, you can seize it because it`s in plain view. But more reasonably and more rationally if you find other documents that lead you to other investigations or avenues and they`re lawfully seized by lawfully present agents, yes, Rachel, fair game.

MADDOW: Chuck Rosenberg, former senior FBI official and Justice Department official -- Chuck, thank you very much for your time this evening -- invaluable as always but particularly tonight on this historic night. Thank you.

ROSENBERG: My pleasure.

MADDOW: When this news broke tonight one of the other people I immediately wanted to speak with is a colleague who is on vacation. I, however, am I a cool and unusual colleague who decided I would pursue her anyway even though she`s not supposed to be working tonight simply because I must hear her reaction to this news.

She is Nicolle Wallace, the host of "DEADLINE: WHITE HOUSE", my friend and a person being very kind to me taking this call even though you`re not supposed to be working tonight.

Nicolle, thank you.

NICOLLE WALLACE, MSNBC HOST, "DEADLINE: WHITE HOUSE" (via telephone): Well, it is an act of God you are anchoring tonight. I think I speak for all of us. I`m very glad that you are. You know, just building on what Chuck Rosenberg said, I mean, the crown jewel of our democracy is the transfer of power. And the Electoral count act is a law, too. So is obstructing an official proceeding.

And I think the tsunami of questions far outweigh the revelations on a night like tonight. But I think what we know now is that the preciousness with which we thought Merrick Garland or Lisa Monaco viewed the next president may be a mirage, may not be real. They viewed the potential criminal act or crimes that have been committed by the possession of classified materials at Mar-a-Lago to be blind the fact the home at which those classified documents may be squirreled away or the safe is in the next president`s home.

We may just be learning the very first things we will know from now forward. As your first words tonight made clear we`ve never done this before, but we may be learning the very first things to know about how Merrick Garland and Lisa Monaco view potential crimes committed by an ex- American president.

MADDOW: What do you think will happen on the right in response to this news? We`ve seen this statement from former president Trump today helpfully confirming the FBI raid occurred, which made life a lot easier for a lot of news organizations trying to confirm the initial reporting at that time.


But also lashing out and using all his specific and typical and repetitive words about how aggrieved he is by these efforts to hold him accountable and investigate him for various things. He has threatened in the past if any prosecutor anywhere took any sort of act towards him, meaning toward inviting him, that his supporters -- he would expect his supporters in the street for protests and demonstrations of a size that the country had never seen before.

What do you think the reaction will be here? And how important is tonight versus what happens next?

WALLACE: You know, I was thinking about Steven Ayers, you and I sat through his testimony. He`s an insurrectionist turned January Select Committee public witness who I think was an important window into how brazenly Trump and his media allies, people like Tucker Carlson, feed lies to the base. But I would hope some of the people who may be on the fence in that endeavor would look like at the Bill Barr, you know, defying and laughing and making a mockery out of Trump`s lies and nonsense, calling them B.S., over and over again.

Everyone close to Trump knows he`s a liar. They`re acutely aware of his penchant for mishandling classified information. Trump has been mishandling classified information and you covered it at the time since Lavrov wormed his way back into the oval office in 2013 I believe. I believe amount national security advisor were either witness to it or tried to stop it or stem it.

But if that is the crime for which there was probable cause to seek a search warrant, then we have our first window into how potential crimes by the ex-president are viewed by this Justice Department.

MADDOW: Nicolle Wallace, the host of "DEADLINE: WHITE HOUSE" but not right now because she`s on vacation and not working except I pried her out of it, airs weeknights at 4:00 p.m. Eastern -- Nicolle, back to your vacation. Thank you for joining me. In such a short notice, I apologize.

WALLACE: Thank you, my friend.

MADDOW: All right. I`m going to take a very quick break here. I also need to tell you when we come back from his quick break, we`re going to talk with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. We want to get his reaction to all this and talk with him about the things he`s been working on, the world changing stuff he`s been working on in the last few days.

It`s a big night. Stay with us. Lots to come.



MADDOW: As we continue to follow the breaking news out of south Florida tonight where the home of former President Donald Trump has just been raided by the FBI, we have the leader of the United States Senate standing by to speak with us. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York the leader of the Senate Democrats, the Senate majority leader. He`s about to join us tonight fresh off a marathon overnight session of the Senate in which he and his Democrat colleagues passed what`s being described the most important and far reaching legislation since the affordable care act, since Obamacare 12 years ago.

It was a year ago this week that senator Schumer led passage of the big Biden infrastructure bill. But the Bill Schumer and the Democrats just passed this weekend dwarves even that. What they just passed the biggest climate legislation ever.

Also in the first 30 years of trying the Democrats passed a bill to let Medicare negotiate drug prices. They`ve also got spending caps so nobody on Medicare will pay more than $2,000 a year on prescription drugs. It also caps insulin prices on people on Medicare, too. It would have capped insulin prices for everybody, but Republicans blocked that, which is astonishing.

But this huge bill called the Inflation Reduction Act, it`s the latest in a string of wins for senator Schumer and the Democrats and the Biden administration on top of the really good jobs news in recent days, on top of the steady now sustained drop in gas prices, on top of the huge counter terrorism strike killing the head of al Qaeda. Just in the last six weeks in Congress, this Congress passed the first bipartisan gun reform in decades, also a huge bill on our competitiveness with China and veterans health bill Republicans initially tried to block, the one about burn pit exposure. Plus, they got through approving Finland and Sweden to join NATO, with only minor Republican shenanigans on that one.

It`s what "The New York Times" calls an extraordinarily productive run for Congress. The CHIPS Act, the China competitiveness bill, that`ll be signed by President Biden tomorrow. The burn pits bill signed by President Biden the day after that on Wednesday. The huge, huge climate and health bill the Senate passed this weekend will pass the House on Friday and President Biden will sign that one, too, right afterwards. It`s just a remarkable flurry of productivity and action on long held priorities.

And it all is hitting alongside this just jaw dropping, unprecedented news tonight that the home of the immediate former president, former Republican president Donald Trump, his home has just been raided by the FBI. Everything happens all at once.

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York joins us now live to talk about all of it.

Sir, thank you so much for being with us tonight. I really appreciate you making the time.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): Hi, Rachel. It`s good to be back. It`s been a while.

MADDOW: It has been. And you`re back under circumstances I could not have previously imagined. I need to get your reaction tonight at the start to this news from south Florida tonight that the FBI has -- has searched the home of the former president.


SCHUMER: Yeah, well, I know nothing about it other than what I`ve read like everybody else, so I think it`s wise for me to withhold comment until we learn more.

MADDOW: I appreciate that. I do have to tell you that one of your not colleagues but another congressional leader, the House Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy, just made a statement online about the FBI executing the search warrant at the former president`s home. He said when Republicans take back the House, they will conduct immediate oversight of this department.

And then he says this, quote: Attorney General Garland, preserve your documents and clear your calendar. Effectively, threatening Attorney General Garland in response to the FBI having executed this search warrant tonight. I know you don`t want to talk about the substances of the matter at Mar-a-Lago, but I do want to ask your reaction to what Mr. McCarthy has said.

SCHUMER: Look, I think -- none of us know the facts and any comments are premature.

MADDOW: OK, I appreciate it. And I will not press you on it because I understand you`re discipline enough and it would be futile.

SCHUMER: I think it would.

MADDOW: Let me ask you about what I just laid out real quickly about this string of accomplishments that you have managed to pull off in the United States Senate. This bill, the Inflation Reduction Act you were able to pass over the weekend, it is being called the largest, most significant legislation since the Affordable Care Act.

Do you think it is that big a deal? Do you see it in those terms?

SCHUMER: I do. Some have even compared it to things in the `60s, but it`s huge. And, look, for years, decades, Congress said we were going to do something about climate change, nothing happened. We were going to goal after the pharmaceutical industry and lower the cost of prescription drugs. Nothing happened. We were going to go after individuals who didn`t pay their fair of taxes, nothing happened.

And now, all of these things, plus 9 million jobs, plus real deficit reduction, $300 billion is happening all at once. It`s an amazing accomplishment, and particularly in light of the fact we have a 50-50 Senate running from Bernie Sanders to Joe Manchin. We get no help from Republicans on these issues. They`re intransigent.

So, it`s really something, I -- my colleagues stuck together, every one of us because we needed to get something done. It doesn`t have everything we wanted. It doesn`t have everything I want, but if you ask the American people, do you -- are you anguishing and just concerned that Congress is gridlocked and can`t get anything done? Well, these six weeks have brushed that away.

And I`ll make one more comment, Rachel, about how it might affect things. People are now realizing the Republican Party is becoming a MAGA Trump Republican Party. The Dobbs decision on choice and the Supreme Court decisions on guns and on environment, the January 6th hearings, the right- wing rhetoric that comes out of so many mainstream, formerly mainstream Republican politicians, they don`t like them. But they were wondering, well, if we give the Democrats power after November, keep the House Democratic, increase the number of seats in the Senate, will the Democrats be able to get anything done?

I think the last six weeks with all the bills you mentioned and particularly this recent bill answered with a resounding, yes, Democrats can get things done, in a bipartisan way when Republicans will work with us or pressured to work with us, but on our own if we have to.

MADDOW: Did you learn something through this process, again, particularly on this bill you just were able to pass this weekend about sort of unlocking the -- unlocking the lock that has been Senator Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Sinema of Arizona. Those two senators in particular have taken on sort of outsized roles both in the public -- both in terms of public attention but also in terms of the ability to decide what legislation moves forward and what doesn`t just because of their willingness to stand with Republicans on some things or at least not always stand with their Democratic colleagues.


MADDOW: Do you feel like you`ve learned more about how to work with them in ways that keep them on-side with you?

SCHUMER: Well, you know, the bottom line is that in a 50-50 Senate any one senator can block things. But if you have to keep going at it and finding ways to come together in a way that affects the American people.

Look, Joe Manchin and I disagree on climate, but this bill will reduce -- this proposal when it becomes law is the most massive change in fighting global warming that we`ve had. It will reduce the amount of carbon that goes into the atmosphere by 2030 by 40 percent. Now the original BBB was better, but 45 percent, so it`s very close.

I`ll tell you one thing I`ve learned. It`s a lesson my dad taught me. My dad passed away in November, but he`s still with me. He had worked his whole life in a junky little exterminating business. He hated it. Never complained, never resented people who got better breaks than him.

But he taught me one thing, that if you work hard at something, when you`re doing the right thing and you persist the way he put it, God will reward, you, you`ll succeed. We had a lot of dead ends in this process, but we kept persisting and persisting and persisting, and look what we`ve achieved, something, really, really fine.

So my message, persist, don`t give up, try to find that common ground, keep your principles, but make sure that you never give up.

MADDOW: Given the breaking news tonight, sir, I feel like I need to ask you about something I feel like we can sort of see looming on the horizon. And we are starting to see very far-right Trump supporting members of the other party -- of the Republican Party talk about things like going after the Justice Department, going after the FBI, defunding or getting rid of the Justice Department, getting rid of the FBI.

We`re seeing high profile ambitious Republican governors go after individual prosecutors for not wanting to prosecute things the way that governors want them prosecuted in their states.

With the FBI raiding the president`s house today at Mar-a-Lago -- and I know you don`t want to talk about that in substance, it seems clear -- I think it seems obvious to both of us we`re about to enter into a new and intense area of the Republicans and Trump-supporting Republicans really waging war on law enforcement and especially on the idea of federal law enforcement.

And I wonder if you`ve been thinking strategically about that, about defending those institutions, defending that part of the executive branch that enforces federal law fence the sort of politicized attacks that are coming their way?

SCHUMER: Yeah, look, what`s happened, and you put it well, Rachel, is a large chunk of the Republicans. Not all of them but a large chunk have become what I call MAGA Republicans, Trump Republicans with little respect for rule of law, with little respect for the balance of power of institutions, frankly with little respect for truth itself. I mean when a third of all people and majority of Republicans now believe the election was stolen, when there`s no evidence to that effect, that`s proof of that.

The good news on that front is it`s hurting them. In just speaking in terms of preventing them of getting power in the house or increasing in the Senate and in the House, the number -- the numbers in all of our elections is looking very, very good in both our incumbents and our challengers.

And that is, I think, because the American people are smelling that this Republican Party, the MAGA Republican Party is not the old Republican Party which may have been conservative, may have been pro-business, may have not been very good on climate issues but at least had some respect for democracy and rule of law.

I think they`re going to pay a price for this in the election, and I think Democrats should use it as an issue that the rule of law, that protection of democracy is a key issue here. And we better watch out if we give Republicans power in either the House or the Senate. And I think that`s going to be successful along with the issues we`re talking about, the accomplishments that we were talking about on climate and on drugs and on closing loopholes and on job creation.

You know, we`re going to go back. I mean, this is one smaller thing. It`s not exactly on your topic. They blocked a $35 price for insulin for non- Medicare people. We`re going to come back and make them vote on that again. When they get taken over on the extremes whether on democracy or issues of making peoples lives better or reducing their costs, they`re going to lose out. I still have faith if we are vigilant, if we persist, if we don`t give up or throw up our hands it`s going to backfire on them. And I believe it will.

MADDOW: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, fresh off a remarkable string of wins in the Senate on gun reform, on veterans health care, on China and competitiveness, on health care, on climate -- sorry, I know it`s been a heck of a run. Thanks for being with us to talk about it. Appreciate it.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Rachel. Thank you. I very much enjoy being on your show as always.

MADDOW: Thank you.

All right, we are going to take one more quick break tonight. When we come back, we`re going to get reaction live from a member of the January 6th investigation. To this breaking news we`re continuing to cover tonight, the FBI`s search of Donald Trump`s home in south Florida, the Mar-a-Lago estate.

We`ll be right back. Stay with us.



MADDOW: We`re continuing to follow this breaking news tonight from former President Donald Trump`s home in south Florida where the FBI today executed a search warrant. A source familiar with the matter tells NBC News this evening that it is the Trump team`s understanding that the investigation is related to the transfer of documents from the White House to Mar-a-Lago after the Trump presidency was over. That same source also confirming to NBC news tonight that boxes of documents were seized by FBI agents as part of today`s search.

One senior U.S. official is also now confirming to NBC news that the FBI was present at Mar-a-Lago today, quote, for the majority of the day. And also further confirming that the matter does indeed involve government records and the National Archives.

At the start of this hour, I mentioned it was sort of hard to narrow down which federal grand jury investigation might have led to the FBI raiding the former president`s home. We do not have multiple sources, sort of from multiple directions confirming what "The New York Times" is first to report, that the investigation in question that led to the execution of this search warrant today does relate to the alleged mishandling of classified documents by the former president, something first reported in detail by "The Washington Post," which starting six months ago reported that not only have the National Archives recovered boxes and boxes of material Trump had improperly taken from the White House, but some of that material was not only highly classified, it was so highly classified that even its existence could not be described in an unclassified setting.


Joining us now is Virginia Democratic Congresswoman Elaine Luria. She`s a member of the January 6th investigation in the House of Representatives.

Congresswoman Luria, thanks for making time tonight. I appreciate it.

REP. ELAINE LURIA (D-VA): Thank you.

MADDOW: Let me first start by asking your reaction to this news about the search of the former president`s home. And let me ask you if you know anything more about this than we`ve been able to report yet this evening?

LURIA: Well, Rachel, I`ll start out by saying as a member of the committee, I know nothing more. I`m not directly involved in DOJ`s process of ongoing investigations. So I`m learning. I`ve actually learned new details as you continue to report in the last hour.

My immediate reaction is the Trump -- in his statement, President Trump has said nothing like this has ever happened before. It truly is unprecedented, but it`s unprecedented because this is in reaction to an unprecedented presidency.

We have never been seen a president who sought to overturn the election, fake electors, put pressure on the vice president, summon a mob to D.C. The list is so long. We don`t need to summarize I`m sure your viewers are well aware of all of those facts.

Even today more things. We see torn up pieces of paper in a toilet, another reporting of one of his aides saying he had eaten documents. Chairman of the Joint Chief Milley`s comments about things that happened at the last administration.

So, you know, unprecedented response is required to these unprecedented actions that where we need to have accountability.

MADDOW: I hear you and I understand when you say that the January 6th investigation that you are part of in the house and the Justice Department`s actions are separate and you`ve got no special insight into their actions, certainly, no foreknowledge of any of their actions.

But I wonder if I can ask you if there is a working relationship, a functional working relationship between the Justice Department as they pursue what appear to be multiple federal grand jury investigations involving the president, some of which that pertain to his efforts to stay in power after he lost the election and your own investigation.

I know there`s been some tension or at least some statements by the Justice Department expressing frustration that they have needs that you might be able to meet if you were able to give them more of your materials.

Is that relationship constructive enough now that if they turned up material in this search warrant, in executing the search warrant today that`s relevant to your investigation that you`ll eventually get it?

LURIA: Well, Rachel, again, they`re separate investigations. We do not have insight into what one or multiple grand juries are doing, whether investigations are happening. For example, in Georgia. There`s a lot of investigations going on earlier on.

And we`re negotiating with Department of Justice in order to potentially facilitate some of the investigations that they have ongoing. But that is really all still a work in progress, and I think the two dynamic fast moving investigations happening in parallel, it`s a complicated thing to synchronize, but we want people to be held accountable. We want justice to be served, and we`re working towards our role as a committee and as a congressional committee at the same time.

MADDOW: Congresswoman Elaine Luria, member of the January 6th investigation -- Congresswoman, thank you for your time tonight. I appreciate you joining us on short notice.

LURIA: Thank you.

MADDOW: Joining us now is David Rhode. He`s a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter. He`s now executive editor for

David, thanks for making time to be here tonight. I was really glad when I heard you might be able to join us.


MADDOW: So you`ve had great sourcing inside the Justice Department over the last few years, and I just wanted to ask if -- if any of your reporting in recent months, in recent weeks on this classified documents investigation suggested that it was leading towards some dramatic action like this FBI raid today?

Is it your sense from your reporting that this investigation is very serious, that this action today is some indication about where the investigation might be going?

ROHDE: So the raid is a surprise to me, but a government investigator told me that they felt that the clearest case against Donald Trump was this mishandling of documents, that it was 15 boxes, as Jackie Alemany explained earlier, that Trump was warned not to take these documents.

If you remember and ironically this was the same type of investigation Hillary Clinton faced, was she intentionally mishandling classified information? And the case I have for the case Trump mishandling potentially classified information is even stronger because he was told not to take these records but he took them to Florida.

So I think that is the focus of the -- you know, of the search, and that is the most likely -- if there is going to be a criminal charge, that appears to be the clearest one.

MADDOW: David, just as a follow-up to that, is it your sense that then pursuing this with a search warrant rather than just sending a subpoena, telling Trump that he needs to collect these deep documents and send them in indicates a certain level of urgency or aggressiveness in terms of how fast they`re moving and how they`re approaching this?

ROHDE: It`s very aggressive. There is a sense of urgency. There is evidence every day that he is destroying documents, pictures of documents in toilets that came out this morning. This is an incredibly serious step.

I believe that Merrick Garland approve this himself, he will be investigated by Kevin McCarthy as we reported earlier. So, we are a new and very dangerous stage. But all the Justice Department people I`ve been speaking to from a book I`ve been working on saying that have been incredibly careful, that they would only act if they had crystal clear evidence. They don`t want to be political.

This is going to be perceived as political by, you know, half of the country. So it`s a monumental development and, you know, we`ll see if their evidence holds up in court, but it`s just a shocking series of events tonight.

MADDOW: Given what`s going on at the U.S. Justice Department right now. We are blessed that David Rohde, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and executive editor for is working on a book that`s what`s happening at the Justice Department. I thank you for that, sir. David thank you for joining us tonight

ROHDE: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. That`s going to do it for me for now. Ali Velshi is going to be here tomorrow.

But don`t go anywhere because right now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.