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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 10/19/21

Guests: Bennie Thompson, Rosalind Helderman

Summary

The January 6 committee unanimously voted to advance Steve Bannon criminal contempt referral to full House. Interview with Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS). FBI raided homes linked to Russian oligarch and Putin associate Oleg Deripaska.

Transcript

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: But again, I could bang my head against a wall all day over that if that`s what it`s going to be. I am slightly encouraged, I guess, by the rest of that. We will have you back as this continues. John Podesta, thank you.

JOHN PODESTA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Look, the planet needs us to get it done. We have to use every tool we can to drive this thing forward.

HAYES: That is "ALL IN" on this Tuesday night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.

Good evening, Rachel.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you, my friend. Much appreciated.

And thanks for joining us this hour.

Boy, has this been a weird news day. We woke up to surprise news this morning that the FBI was raiding a mansion in Washington, D.C., a mansion apparently owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, or at least by concerns close to him.

Oleg Deripaska had, of course, a starring role in the Mueller report and in the whole Russian scandal when the Trump campaign, for example, was inexplicably sending secret internal polling data to a Russian intelligence officer while Russia was intervening in that election to try to help Trump win. Both Mueller and the Senate intelligence committee said that the intended recipient of that secret material inside Russia was this guy Oleg Deripaska.

Now, that`s why his name is familiar when you saw the news that the FBI was raiding his home today. We don`t know why the FBI raided his home in D.C. and another place that he owns in New York City. But, boy, do I have questions about that. We will try to get some answers on that tonight. Again, that was surprise news today though.

This afternoon we also got some surprise news that a sitting Republican member of Congress has just been indicted on multiple felony charges. It`s Republican Congressman Jeff Fortenberry. He has been in Congress since 2005. He was charged by a federal grand jury with three felony counts that related to allegations it that he accepted illegal foreign campaign contributions in the 2016 election, and then, according to prosecutors, he covered it up and lied to investigators about it.

This is a public corruption prosecution by the Justice Department. Congressman Fortenberry is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in federal court in California. That`s a remarkable story in itself.

And it`s sort of a theme. Fortenberry`s indictment today coming about halfway through the federal trial of a man named Lev Parnas, a former associate of Rudy Giuliani, who lobbied really devastating allegations against Giuliani and President Trump and William Barr, among others, in terms of what he said was their knowledge of and involvement in this scheme this Ukraine that led to Trump`s first impeachment. Mr. Parnas is himself on trial right now in federal court in Manhattan for allegedly funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal foreign campaign contributions to Republican campaigns in 2016, including campaigns that benefitted former President Trump.

So, like I said, it`s starting to feel like we are having a theme day in the news. But now, tonight, there is breaking news out of Congress. Just in the last hour or so, the committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6th has taken the first steps to hold Trump advisor Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. This means they are starting the process that could potentially end in Bannon being criminally prosecuted.

Now, last month, this committee subpoenaed Steve Bannon for documents and testimony, as part of their investigation into the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters on January 6th. Bannon said almost immediately he would not cooperate with the subpoena. He would neither turn over documents or cooperate with the demand for testimony.

In response to that refusal from Bannon, the committee investigating the attack took action. There are seven Democrats on this committee investigating the January 6th attack, seven Democrats and two Republicans. All of those committee members were present for the vote tonight and the vote tonight was unanimous. It was a 9-0 vote in support of holding Mr. Bannon in contempt.

Now, what happens next is that there will be a vote on the matter in the full House. Just before we got on the air, just moments ago, the House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that that vote in the full house will happen the day after tomorrow, on Thursday. If, as probably expected, the majority of the House votes in favor of holding Steve Bannon in contempt, what happens then is the matter gets referred to the Justice Department for prosecution.

It will actually be up to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., to decide whether or not to bring a federal contempt prosecution again Bannon. But the House will decide on Thursday whether to recommend that, to refer that essentially to that prosecutor.

[21:05:05]

If the prosecutor decides to bring a prosecution against Bannon, that will not be the first time the Justice Department has prosecuted someone for defying a congressional subpoena, but it`s a rare thing. It has been a while since this has happen. The last time the Justice Department indicted somebody in circumstances like this was 1983 when a Reagan administration official refused to testify to Congress about her management of the EPA`s superfund sites. There were all sorts of allegations about mismanagement and the politicization of the superfund inside the EPA. She was subpoenaed to testify and hand over documents. She refused.

When the house voted that year in 1983 on whether the House should recommend to the Justice Department that the official be prosecuted for contempt of Congress, the vote in the house that year was unanimous. The vote was 413-0.

Once the Justice Department got that unanimous referral from the House to prosecute her, the D.C. U.S. attorney`s office moved quickly. They pretty much immediately convened a grand jury and within eight days that have vote in the House, the grand jury, in fact, handed down an indictment of that Reagan administration official. So, she was put on trial, but then in the end, surprise -- the grand jury, excuse me, the jury in her trial acquitted her.

She was found not guilty of criminal contempt of Congress, and that was the last time it was tried. 1983. This is not a thing the Justice Department does often. It`s been almost 40 years since the last time they took a run at it.

But they don`t have to reinvent the wheel. The president is there. It`s just very rarely used.

Meanwhile, just to up the drama, former President Donald Trump sued the January 6th investigation and the National Archives yesterday in an attempt to stop the committee from obtaining Trump White House documents and other records that the committee has subpoenaed as parts of its investigation into the attack on the Capitol.

Trump is not only asking a federal judge to block the request for records, full stop. He is asking to prevent the national archives from -- he is asking that the National Archives should be prevented from turning these documents over to the committee, and also asking the court to tell the National Archives, to identify all documents from Trump`s time in the White House that could be considered conceivably relevant to this request, and Trump wants its own lawyers to have time to review every one of these documents at their leisure before they decide whether or not to turn them over to Congress.

And you understand why he`s asking for that in that way. But, bottom line, he is asking for a process that could, of course, take years. And it remains to be seen whether or not Trump will have luck in the courts here, trying to block these documents from his time in the White House to being handed over to the investigation.

Mr. Bannon tried to glom on to that lawsuit. Bannon`s lawyers sent this letter to the January 6th committee yesterday saying that in light of this new lawsuit by Trump, Bannon would like to ask the January 6th investigation to delay its vote tonight on whether or not to hold him in contempt. He wanted a delay of a week as to whether or not Bannon would be held in contempt.

He wanted that week delay while his lawyers, quote, assess the impact of this pending litigation, pending lawsuit from Trump. The January 6th committee promptly replied to Mr. Bannon`s request saying, no, hard pass, quote, no grounds exist for any adjournment or other delay and your request is denied. Took Chairman Bennie Thompson one paragraph to make that clear.

The White House Counsel`s Office, this is interesting, White House Counsel`s Office, so this not part of Congress, this is counsel`s office that advises President Biden inside the White House, counsel`s office then sent Mr. Bannon a letter of their own, telling Mr. Bannon that the White House is, quote, not aware of any basis for your refusal to appear for a deposition, either legal or otherwise.

Bannon has tried to claim that he can refuse the subpoena on the basis of Trump asserting executive privilege. The White House reminding Mr. Bannon today that only the sitting president can assert executive privilege and in this case President Biden is not doing so.

Ahead of tonight`s vote, the January 6th Committee released a report outlining the ways in which Bannon is delinquent in his response to their subpoena and also why it`s in the public interest that he reply. The report says, in part, quote, Mr. Bannon`s testimony and document production are critical to the select committee`s investigation.

Among other topics, the committee seeks facts that explain why the events of January 6th turned violent. Statements publicly made by Mr. Bannon on January 5th suggest that he had some foreknowledge about extreme events that would occur the next day.

[21:10:05]

Information in Bannon`s possession is essential to putting other witnesses` testimony and production into appropriate context and to ensuring the select committee can fully and expeditiously complete its work.

So the committee recommends that Steve Bannon shall be in contempt for failure to comply with a congressional subpoena. That was the recommendation in the repot last night. Tonight, just about an hour ago, the committee took the vote, unanimously agreed with that recommendation. They have now taken the first step in holding Bannon in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with this investigation.

The entire proceeding in the committee tonight was fast. It was under half an hour. And it had a very solemn cloud over it, perhaps more solemn than I would have expected in this circumstance.

I`ll show you what I mean. This was the chairman of the January 6th investigation, Congressman Bennie Thompson, bringing the special meeting into session tonight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): Let me start by saying that it gives me no joy that I have been forced to call this meeting. I think my colleagues feel the same way. Expectation of this committee is that all witnesses will cooperate with our investigation. Witnesses, who have been subpoenaed, have a legal obligation to do so.

And when you think about what we are investigating, a violent attack on a seat of our democracy, perpetrated by fellow citizens on our Constitution, an attempt to stop the certification of an election. It`s shocking to me, shocking that anyone would not do anything in their power to assist our investigation.

While we don`t know all the facts, we do know that there was a powerful push to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election. Americans have been and continue to be lied to about that. We know that ultimately, there was a violent attack that interfered with the peaceful transfer of power from one president to another.

We know that lies about the outcome of that election haven`t gone away. And now, we have a key witness whose flat-out refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena and cooperate with our investigation.

The rule of law remains under attack right now. If there are no accountability for these abuses, if there are different sets of rules for different types of people, then our democracy is in serious trouble.

As chair of this committee, I won`t allow further harm to the rule of law in the course of our work. Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Mr. Bannon will comply with our investigation or he will face the consequences.

That is Mississippi congressman and chairman of the January 6th select committee, Congressman Bennie Thompson.

Congressman Thompson joins us live right now.

Sir, thank you very much for joining us tonight. I know this a big and busy night.

THOMPSON: Thank you very much for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: So your committee voted unanimously, 9-0, tonight to hold Mr. Bannon in contempt. We understand the next stop is the vote in the full House, which we just learned will happen the day after tomorrow, on Thursday.

What do you expect from that vote? Do you expect that any Republicans, for example, over the two on your committee, might join Democrats in voting to hold Mr. Bannon in contempt?

THOMPSON: Well, Rachel, we are hoping so. As you know, in is an opportunity for the house to express its displeasure with what Mr. Bannon is trying to do. He is actually trying to thwart the process of democracy. What we have going for us is an opportunity to set the record straight. I hope my Republican colleagues will join us.

It is unfortunate that people saw what happened play out on January 6th before their very eyes and now all of a sudden people are trying to make a mockery. Oh, it didn`t happen, we have to wait. We need more time.

This is not it. We are looking forward to going to rules committee tomorrow, Rachel, and, obviously, a vote by the full House on Thursday. And then it will go to the speaker for her to send it to the District of Columbia for their processing.

[21:15:03]

MADDOW: Do you have any indication from the Justice Department? Has there been any discussions already with the Justice Department about how they might handle this criminal contempt referral? It`s been nearly 40 years since they brought a prosecution on these grounds.

THOMPSON: Well, we have intentionally not talked to the Justice Department about it. We understand the process. We`ll go forward with it. It`s our expectation that once the Justice Department gets it, they will expedite the consideration.

It`s quite clear. We have, as a committee, the authority to issue subpoenas. We did. He chose to ignore it, and now we are following the process that`s outlined to us by law, and it`s our expectation that a Justice Department will move expeditiously in presenting this to a grand jury for Mr. Bannon`s indictment.

You know, we take seriously the work of the committee. We have not only subpoenaed Mr. Bannon, but a number of other people. Others up to this point, they are engaged with the committee.

We are getting material. We are having discussions with their lawyers. But he`s just totally ignored the process, and basically, for whatever reason, he is still trying to follow Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is not president. He can sue all he wants to, but, you know, at the end of the day his intimidations through lawsuits won`t get him anywhere with our committee because we`ve firmly believe that we are on sound footing.

MADDOW: In terms of the substance of what you want to hear from Mr. Bannon, I was interested to read that very detailed, very substantive report recommending this vote tonight, that your committee took, talking specifically about needing to decision concern why it was that the events of January 6th turned violent, Mr. Bannon having things to answer for in that regard in terms of his foreknowledge of how events would go that day. Bannon told his listeners on his podcast thing the day before the rally on January 5th, he said, quote, it`s not going to happen like you think it`s going to happen. It`s going to be extraordinarily different and all I can say is strap in.

Is it essentially your contention that comments like those from Mr. Bannon prove that he had some foreknowledge of how serious the events of the next day might be or indeed potentially how violent they`d be?

THOMPSON: Oh, there is no question in the minds of the committee. We believe that Mr. Bannon clearly was one of the persons encouraging the insurrection to happen. So what we have to do is get him before us in a deposition, answer the questions. He needs to tell us what he was doing in the Willard Hotel the evening before the insurrection. He needs to tell us what was he doing at the White House, if he was there. We need know who he was communicating with as well as who is financing his operation.

You do understand that Mr. Bannon was pardoned by Donald Trump for stealing money from people who wanted to build a wall on the southern border. So he doesn`t come with clean hands to start with. So this was an opportunity for Steve Bannon to clear the air as to just what kind of a person he is.

But he chose to be the person that he is, to flaunt the law and he thinks that he can get over, get beyond that. But, you know, Congress spoke loudly and strongly by putting this committee together. We take our work seriously. And Steve Bannon and no other individual will take the law in their own hands. This committee will do its job.

MADDOW: Mr. Chairman, one last question before I let you go. It`s a bigger picture question about this.

You have been at this work diligently and with a real sense of urgency. I mean, part of what`s going on here is some of the people that you have approached for documents and testimony are trying to drag this out, obviously, trying to make this take as long as possible, delays, obviously, one the best distraction tactics that targets of investigations and even witnesses to investigations can use and you have been overt and very clear about the fact that you are not going to be delayed and you are not going to be diverted from this.

Given the concerted nature of thundershower work thus far, can I ask you if you feel like thus far you have learned things that surprise you?

[21:20:05]

You have, obviously, you are not ready to report what you found, not ready to tell the country what the results of your investigation are, but as far as it`s gone thus far, have you learned things that surprised you, have you learned things that the rest of us don`t know about how those events came together and what kind of a risk we were in as a country?

THOMPSON: Well, we absolutely have. Obviously, I can`t tell you, Rachel. But we have thousands of pages of information that we have been supplied, our attorneys are going over it. Our researchers are going over it. Our committee is briefed on a daily basis as to what information is forthcoming.

And so in the pursuit of getting to the facts, we have to have access to Department of Defense records, White House records, Homeland Security, department of interior records, all of those records we are in the process of getting. We are making sure that the people who took out the permits for the park.

We want to know why would people bring bear spray to a peaceful march? Why would people bring bulletproof vest to a march if you didn`t come for a purpose other than something peaceful?

And so, we want to know who financed it. We want to know who chartered the buses. We want to know who chartered the airplanes and we will track the money. We have people on staff who have dedicated to finding out who financed the people who came to Washington and then what they did on January 6th.

They broke the law, and right now, the Justice Department is prosecuting a number of people. But I assure you, at the end of the day, the public will be shocked to know how close we came to losing our democracy if those insurrectionists had succeeded.

MADDOW: Congressman Bennie Thompson of the great state of Mississippi, chairman of the January 6th Select Committee -- Mr. Chairman, thank you for taking time to be here tonight. I know these next couple of days will be busy and intense. Thanks for helping us understand.

THOMPSON: Thank you for having me.

MADDOW: Again, the January 6th committee voting unanimously tonight to refer former Trump advisor Steve Bannon for criminal contempt of Congress prosecution. House will vote on that we just found out, the house will vote on that, full house, on Thursday.

At that point, if they vote, if a majority of the House votes to refer Bannon, that will be handed over to the U.S. attorney`s office in D.C. for potential prosecution there. That hasn`t in 40 years in terms of a Justice Department prosecution like this, but that`s the road we`re on.

Much more ahead here tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:27:06]

MADDOW: Ghost story time! It`s that time of year. Ever listen to old radio dramas? "Dragnet" is really, really, really good. "Gunsmoke," turns out, is fantastic. There is one detective series called "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar," where he`s the man with the action-packed expense account. That`s mine and Susan`s favorite to listen to together.

Johnny Dollar is in the series. He is an insurance investigator. The reason he has an action-packed expense account is because the stories are told through the itemized list of expenses he files with his employer, the insurance company, for each case he investigates for them. Sort of a nutty premise for a drama, but for whatever reason, it totally works on the radio. I love those old radio dramas, radio plays.

For sheer scare value though, which is important this time of year, you can`t beat the Orson Welles classic from the 1930s called "The Shadow." I am going to play you the audio snippet of how every episode of "The Shadow" started. I heard it a gillion time.

I think I`ve heard every episode of the shadow. I still find it actually scary every time I hear it.

(AUDIO CLIP LAYS)

MADDOW: The shadow knows! With the evil laugh. The two evil laughs. That`s the problem. He comes back.

The premise of "The Shadow" was that -- it was a little bit different in the books and detective magazines stories than it was in the radio play. But in the radio play, it`s pretty simple. There`s this handsome, wealthy but oddly standoffish young man, young man about town. He is called Lamont Cranston.

Lamont Cranston was sort of irresistible to women. And interestingly, he always finds himself on the outskirts of interesting murders and other crimes. But the secret of Lamont Cranston, the plot of the shadow, Cranston could bamboozle people. He had some weirdo cult ability that he had learned in his travels oversees that allowed him to read other people`s minds. He knew what they were thinking.

He can also basically hypnotize them so they couldn`t see him. He had the power of invisibility, which he could use through his, like, mind powers. And it was very scary. You could tell from the way the thing opens with the evil laugh, the shadow knows, is actually a spooky, scary thing.

But Lamont Cranston for all this spookiness and scariness, and his scary powers, he used his powers for good. He would use his ability to hypnotize people and become invisible, he would use that to scare the bejesus out of criminals and ultimately to solve crimes.

So there were these detective stories and novels in "Shadow" series. Orson Welles played Lamont Cranston in the scary radio show. And it`s great. If you ever have a chance to listen to it, you absolutely should.

But the man who came up with the characters and wrote the series "The Shadow" was a man named Walter Gibson. And Walter Gibson, legend has it, lived in a haunted house in New York City. A haunted house on a crooked little street in Greenwich Village, a street with a funny name, called Gay Street, but not for that reason.

Mr. Gibson, at one point, said that he dream up the Lamont Cranston character while he lived there because the place was so spooky, it made it easy to imagine a man that could float through doorways and calls and disappear in a puff of smoke. It was the inspiration for the scary character Lamont Cranston in "The Shadow."

That three-story townhouse on Gay Street in New York City has since become a stop on the New York City ghost tour because, you know, people like a ghost story and you`ve got to put something on the tour. This house was a former speakeasy called "The Pirate`s Den." It was reportedly the former home of a New York City mayor named Jimmy Walker, was a real dandy and he reportedly housed his mistress there for years.

The house was apparently home to the Howdy Doody guy, the puppeteer Frank Paris. Although I don`t think there are any allegations of Howdy Doody haunting the place. That would be the most freaking terrifying to me.

But the ghost story about that place is that successive owners of that townhouse at 12 Gay Street in New York City has apparently reported hearing weird thumps and hearing weird and inexplicable noises and seeing weird ghostly apparitions, including a man in a top hat who would appear in the window or around the corner and nobody could quite figure out who he was or where he was going.

And again this is just a ghost story. This is just a legend. It`s kind of a New York City legend.

When this townhouse went on the market in October of 2009, "The New York Daily News", one of the great New York tabloids, said, quote, the historic Gay Street property on the Connor of Waverly Place is rumored to be inhabited by a restless spirit who walks the creaking floorboards at night. Legend has it that a man in top hat and tails has been spot inside the building.

One neighbor telling "The New York Daily News" she had seen mysterious faces appear in with windows of the building and heard noises. She told the paper, there are ghosths in all of these buildings. It just happens. It`s very spiritual.

Another neighbor who lived across the street told the paper, quote, I wouldn`t go in there right now. It`s legendary that ghosts live there. That place would be like moving into "The Shining". The shining! The shadow. All very spooky, right?

Today, that same house, that exact same house on Gay Street in New York city got a spooky new development in it`s spooky history because today that house was raided by the FBI. Simultaneously today and without warning, that supposedly haunted house on Gay Street in New York city and a huge mansion on embassy road in Washington, D.C., both properties were raided today by the FBI.

Now, both of these properties are owned by or at least associated with a man named Oleg Deripaska. Deripaska is a Russian owing garbage can, once the richest man in Russia. For years he has been denied visas to visit the United States because the U.S. said were his purported ties to the Russian mafia.

Deripaska was also formerly sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2018 with six other Russian oligarchs as punishment for, quote, Russian`s malign worldwide activities. Oleg Deripaska and the other billionaire Russians who were sanctioned in that order were accused of using what appeared to be, you know, sort of purportedly their private or commercial interests to actually act on behalf of the Russian government, to actually carry out activities on behalf of the Kremlin and on behalf of Russian President Vladimir Putin including messing with Western democracies at the Kremlin`s direction.

Those sanctions were imposed in 2018. Deripaska sued to have the sanctions against him dropped. A federal judge earlier this year throughout Deripaska`s lawsuit and kept the sanctions in place. In the midst of that case, the Treasury Department wrote to Deripaska and told him the sanctions were still warranted in part because of recent allegations that Deripaska was money-laundering on a grand scale for Vladimir Putin personally. Effectively, that Putin was hiding some vast personal fortune by running it through Deripaska`s companies with Deripaska`s knowing it.

[21:35:07]

That said, if Oleg Deripaska`s name rings a bell at all, it`s likely because of the Russia investigation. He was the linchpin in that investigation, in the Mueller report, in the Senate Intelligence Committee`s investigation, he was the linchpin of the most serious allegations about Trump and the Trump campaign`s involvement with Russia while Russia was messing in our election in 2016 to help get Trump elected president.

In fact, one of the spookiest revelations of that scandal was when we learned in March of 2017 just weeks after Trump was sworn in that before Paul Manafort had been hired out of obscurity to come back from overseas and run Trump`s presidential campaign in 2016, before Manafort did that, he had been on a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract in which this guy, Deripaska, paid him to promote the interests of the Kremlin learned around the world. Oh, when did that contract end?

The Senate Intelligence Committee and the Mueller report documented how before Manafort ran the Trump campaign, Deripaska bankrolled pro-Putin, pro-Kremlin political parties in other countries, including Ukraine and basically hired Manafort to run those interests before Manafort arrived from overseas to start running the Trump campaign, Deripaska had bankrolled efforts to disrupt elections in countries like Montenegro to promote the Kremlin`s interests with help from Manafort, who was working with him in those efforts.

But then Manafort started working on the Trump campaign. And once he was running the Trump campaign, he had all these bizarre interactions with Deripaska. He repeatedly offered Deripaska private briefings on what was going on in the campaign, why does the Russian oligarch need to be briefed on what is going on inside a Republican presidential campaign?

Mueller`s investigators in the Senate Intelligence Committee described in detail how man tort for the while he was running the Trump campaign met repeatedly with a Russian intelligence officer and on multiple occasions Manafort arranged to send that Russian intelligence officer private sensitive internal campaign materials from the Trump campaign and the understanding that those materials would be passed on to Deripaska.

Again, why does a Russian oligarch need to see non-public, private sensitive campaign information in the middle of Russia interfering in our election to help Trump and why is a Russian intelligence officer the conduit for that information from Trump`s campaign chairman? The Senate intelligence committee in their investigation bluntly described Deripaska like this. They said, quote, Oleg Deripaska is one of the Kremlin`s most significant malign influence operatives. He has close ties to the Russian intelligence services and has been involved in the targeting of foreign elections. That`s Deripaska.

And now today, he had his place in D.C., his big mansion in D.C. and townhouse in Greenwich Village in New York raided by the FBI. Why? No idea.

But because all good ghost stories have eerie twists at the end, where you don`t quite know how serious they are, we also get this great detail, local reporting on the FBI raids today of who Deripaska`s neighbors are at these properties. Both of them.

Apparently, his next door neighbor at the mansion in D.C. that got raided today, his neighbor there right next door is Kellyanne Conway from the Trump White House and her fascinating, never Trump stuff conservative husband George Conway. George and Kellyanne Conway live right next door to Oleg Deripaska. Mr. Conway telling NBC News today while the FBI raid was underway, he had never seen his neighbor Oleg at the house. Nevertheless, he came over to check out what was going on with the FBI raid.

At the townhouse in New York, the one that got raided this morning, the haunted one on Gay Street in New York City, one of Oleg`s neighbors, across the street neighbor, is a totally different figure in Trump world and the Russia scandal.

Do you remember that Trump`s long-time advisor Roger Stone was convicted of, among other things, witness intimidation? There was a sort of lurid series of allegations, what you might remember is that Roger Stone, according to prosecutors threatened to steal the dog of a man he knew, a man who had testimony to offer about Roger Stone and the Trump campaign, making contact with WikiLeaks when WikiLeaks was distributing all the material that Russian intelligence had hacked during the election.

The man who was that witness to what was going on between Roger Stone and the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks, the man whose dog Roger Stone threatened to steal as a way to stop the guy from testifying in the Russia investigation, a New Yorker named Randy Credico, he is the man who for two decades at least lived across the street from that haunted house on Gay Street in New York City.

[21:40:10]

He, in fact, is the guy, he, in fact, is the neighbor who told "The Daily News" in the day, in 2009, no one would want no move into that house. Everybody knew that house is haunted. It would be like moving into "The Shining".

That neighbor across the street happens to be a guy who had a starring role in the Russia investigation as well.

So, Oleg Deripaska has consistently denied working on behalf of the Kremlin in any of its malign activities. Deripaska`s spokesperson said he doesn`t own these properties that got raided. He said the properties belong to Deripaska`s relatives and he has nothing to do with them.

I should tell you just for context here that "Bloomberg News" reported late last year that European authorities had warned the U.S. government that Deripaska was evading sanctions by still in effect running his company and by essentially putting his assets in the name of his relatives while he really controlled all of those assets himself.

So, to hear Deripaska`s spokesman say, uh-oh, these aren`t his properties, they are his relatives` properties, that rhymes with other allegations against Deripaska.

That kind of alleged subterfuge by Deripaska, accused means of evading the sanctions led to an interesting vote in the Congress in 2019. The Congress, both the House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in 2019 on a resolution that would have blocked the Trump administration from easing up on the sanctions against Deripaska and his companies. Trump administration wanted to ease up on those sanctions markedly and Congress voted that the Trump administration should not do that.

That said, despite a big majority vote in the House and a majority vote in the Senate, it was Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who made sure that failed, made sure that that resolution was blocked by a Senate FBI. So, in fact, the Trump administration was able to ease the sanctions on Deripaska, even though most of Congress wanted them not to. That is how Mitch McConnell got the nickname Moscow Mitch. It emerged aren`t the time of that vote, that Deripaska has dangled to Mitch McConnell they might build a big new factory in Mitch McConnell`s home state and McConnell took those otherwise unthinkable steps in the Senate to protect Deripaska and ease the sanctions on him.

Listen, we don`t know what the FBI raided these homes for today. The FBI is not talking. Neither is the prosecutors` office in the southern district of New York, which is apparently where the court orders came from for these raids today. So we don`t know yet.

I mean, who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, right? We`ll do our best to figure it out. But who knows? Wa-ha-ha!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[21:47:10]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSALIND HELDERMAN, THE WASHINGTON POST: In 2006, a home went on the market in Washington, D.C., a big beautiful grand home, and it sold for $15 million. It was one of the most expensive home sales in the history of Washington. At the time of the sale it was a D.C. mystery. Who bought this house? Well now we know. It was purchased by an LLC, a limited liability corporation in Delaware, but the man behind that LLC we can now reveal is Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire.

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MADDOW: Reporter Rosalind Helderman breaking the news in 2017 that mansion in the heart of D.C. near Embassy Row, a half a mile from the vice president`s residence, was tied to Oleg Deripaska, one of the oligarch`s most closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Deripaska suspected by the U.S. of having ties to Russian organized crime. That was enough to deny him a visa to visit this country for years.

He was sanctioned by the Treasury Department a couple of years ago. Of course, he was a key figure in the Russia investigation because of his ties to both Putin and Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort.

Well, today, Deripaska`s mansion in D.C. was raided by the FBI along with another of his properties in Manhattan.

Joining us is Rosalind Helderman, "Washington Post" political investigations reporter.

Ms. Helderman, it`s nice of you to make time to be here. Thanks so much.

HELDERMAN: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: Do we know anything about what investigation these raids might have been a part of?

HELDERMAN: You know, as you mentioned, we really don`t. All we know is that they are a part of an ongoing criminal investigation based out of New York. The statement put out by Mr. Deripaska`s representative in Moscow today suggested that it might be a dispute over his adherence to the sanctions that were imposed on him in 2018.

But we don`t have any confirmation of that from the U.S. side, and we do know that federal investigators have had interest in him and his business dealings for a long, long time in all kinds of areas. So we really at this point don`t know exactly what the raids are about.

MADDOW: There had been public reporting mentioned today in "The New York Times," among other places, Deripaska was under investigation or at least was a person of interest to other federal prosecutors in New York and Brooklyn in the Eastern District of New York. This is apparently something that is derived from the Southern District of New York, prosecutors there.

Do we have any inkling as to whether or not any of those reported investigations of Mr. Deripaska, any of that interest by prosecutors was related will to the Russia investigation or is this likely economic matters and things related to the imposition of those sanctions?

HELDERMAN: We genuinely don`t know when sanctions were imposed on him. The language at the Treasury Department, that they used suggested he has been involved in all kinds of illegal activities unrelated to those matters, money-laundering, racketeering, all sorts of things, and, of course, he has denied all of that. He`s also been long rumored to have tied to Russian organized crime, which he has vigorous and repeatedly denied.

[21:50:23]

So whether this investigation has to do with that or with sanctions of something else, we just kind of at this point are in the dark on.

MADDODW: Do we know if Mr. Deripaska lived at either of these properties?

HELDERMAN: I don`t think he did. I know more about the Washington home, which as you mentioned, we sort of fresh revealed had links to him in 2017. At that time, I did a lot of reporting of talking to neighbors, you mentioned the Conways live next door. His neighbor across the street at that time was Vernon Jordan, the long time advisor to Bill Clinton. So, it`s very prominent street. And the neighbor said they had never seen him.

He did sort of sweep into town when he was able to get a visa to come to the United States. He apparently directed extremely extensive renovations at that mansion but I don`t think he ever actually lived there nor I don`t believe in the New York home.

MADDOW: Rosalind Helderman, "Washington Post" political investigations reporter, this is such an intriguing story that eventually we`ll get the story out. Only feels like on the first steps of it now. Thanks for helping us understand tonight.

HELDERMAN: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.

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MADDOW: Happy strike-tober. In this area of workers and employees having more leverage over their employers than they`re used to and more appetite to use that leverage. We`ve been watching major strikes and labor actions break out all over the country. In California and Oregon this week, we`re waiting to see at least 24,000 health care workers inside the Kaiser Health System are going to go out on strike.

In Michigan and Pennsylvania, Nebraska and Tennessee, it`s 1,400 workers at the Kellogg`s cereal company who are striking, are going into the third week of the strike.

One of the highest profile labor actions right now involves about 10,000 employees, 10,000 workers at 14 different John Deere plants. This is the largest strike of American private sector workers in the last couple years. Today will be day number six on the picket line for John Deere employees.

And tomorrow, on day seven, U.S. agriculture secretary, former Iowa governor, Tom Vilsack, is planning to visit the picket line at the John Deere plant north of Des Moines in Iowa. This, of course, is a big gesture of support for the striking workers from the White House from the Biden administration. It would be really interesting to see how this plays tomorrow and whether that translates into even more nationwide support for what those workers are standing up for.

Watch this space.

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MADDOW: I`ve been advised I`m actually late for my planned grand slam at Fenway Park tonight. So, I got to go right away. I`ll see you again tomorrow.

Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".

Good evening, Lawrence.