Interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton, former presidential candidate, secretary of state, U.S. senator, first lady, now novelist.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": That is "ALL IN" for this Tuesday night. We`ll be back here tomorrow night.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now.
Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very much, my friend. Much appreciated.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.
Hillary Clinton is going to be here joining us live tonight. This is going to be my first chance to interview her since before the 2020 election. I have a lot of stuff stored up to ask her.
I also have to tell you I just ripped through the political thriller she just wrote with the great author, Louise Penny. They co-wrote a political thriller. It is Hillary Clinton`s first novel. I read everything Louise Penny writes anyway. Honestly, I read their book so fast it was like somebody was timing me to get through it. So, we`ll talk a little bit about that with Secretary Clinton. We`ll talk with her a lot about what is going on in the country right now. I`m really, really looking forward to that interview.
But before we get there, I want to give you an important update tonight on a story we have been covering closely. This is a story that is more than four decades in the making. As I said, we`ve been covering it for a while now. Just because it is a through-the-looking-glass, absolutely bizarre, impossible to believe story out of Missouri. It`s related to a man named Kevin Strickland.
Kevin Strickland was 18 years old in 1978 when he was arrested in Kansas City, Missouri. He was put on trial for a triple murder he insisted he had nothing to do with.
He had an alibi. It didn`t matter. He had people who corroborated his alibi, it didn`t matter. There was no physical evidence connecting him to the crime. It didn`t matter either.
It was an all-white jury. He was 18 years old. He was convicted on all counts. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Well, today, he is 62 years old, and for the entirety of the more than two -- excuse me, more than four decades that Kevin Strickland has been behind bars he has maintained his absolute innocence of the crimes for which he was convicted.
Last year, the "Kansas City Star" -- God bless them -- did an in-depth investigation into his case. They found very extensive problems with his case, like problems you can`t believe even if you are not a lawyer, problems you can`t believe even if all you have ever see is a cop TV show. Like, for example, the two other men who were convicted of the crime, both of whom admit to having been there and part of it, they both say, yeah, we had something to do with it, but this Kevin Strickland guy had nothing to do with it.
Strickland was convicted purely on the basis of one eyewitness`s testimony. The entire case against Kevin Strickland relied on her testimony against him. The problem is she recanted that testimony, insistently and repeatedly. The single witness against him, on whose testimony the entire case against him rested, she said she had been pressured by the police to wrongfully accuse him, and she came forward with that and told people she wanted nothing more than to see him set free.
The legal group representing Kevin Strickland, the Midwest Innocence Project, they tried to use all of this to get a pardon for Mr. Strickland from Missouri`s Republican governor Mike Parson. Mike Parson refused to do anything about it, refused to have anything to do with the case at all.
Then something happened that really never happens. The prosecutor`s office that brought these charges, brought the prosecution against him back in the day, the prosecutor`s office came out and said, that prosecution that we did, that was wrong. They came forward and said that they had independently investigated this matter, reinvestigated this crime, and they found that Kevin Strickland was factually innocent of this crime for which he had been convicted. They said the case never should have been brought.
The lead prosecutor in that office in Jackson County, Missouri, came forward publicly and abjectly apologized. She said Kevin Strickland should be immediately freed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEAN PETERS BAKER, JACKSON COUNTY, MO, PROSECUTOR: I`m here advocating for Mr. Strickland`s freedom and his conviction should be vacated. Most importantly, I`m advocating that this man must be freed immediately.
My job is to protect the innocent, and often prosecutors show hubris, right. You have probably seen me show some of that from time to time, and today my job is to apologize.
It is important to recognize when the system has made wrongs, and what we did in this case was wrong.
So to Mr. Strickland, I am profoundly sorry. I am profoundly sorry for the harm that has come to you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Since that remarkable public statement, Prosecutor Jane Peters Baker who you saw there, she has been trying to fix this. We interviewed her here on the show and she told us she would fight until this was fixed.
Now, again, the Republican governor in the state could easily fix this. He could pardon Mr. Strickland, commute his sentence but he refused to do anything to fix what had gone wrong here. So, Jane Peters Bake, among others, advocated for a new law in Missouri which just, in fact, went into effect this August. That new law lets prosecutors like herself file motions in court so a judge can fix wrongful convictions like this one.
Well, it finally worked today. After 42 years and 4 months in prisons, one of the longest times served in U.S. history in what is known to be a wrongful conviction, today, Kevin Strickland went free.
The judge ruled today: The court`s confidence in Strickland`s conviction is so undermined that the conviction cannot stand. The judgment of conviction must be set aside. The state of Missouri shall immediately discharge Kevin Bernard Strickland from its custody. Thus ordered.
That was the result. Today, Kevin Strickland, here he was speaking outside the prison where he has spent the past four-plus decades. This is moments after his release.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REPORTER: Did you ever think this day was going to come? What were you thinking about, sitting in that prison?
KEVIN STRICKLAND, EXONERATED: No, I didn`t think this day was going to come. I mean not before I got this legal team, I didn`t. What I was thinking in prison today before this happened? I was actually watching a soap opera, and they -- the thing went across, news break or whatever they call them, and I just couldn`t believe what I was hearing.
REPORTER: So that`s how you learned?
STRICKLAND: That`s how I learned.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was breaking news on the television about him being freed while he was watching a soap opera inside the prison where he had spent more than four decades.
Mr. Strickland says he does not know what he is going to do next but he does have two places he would like to visit. First, he would like to see the ocean. He has never seen the ocean in person so he plans to do that. Also he wants to visit his mother`s grave. She died in August.
Despite the advanced state of the exoneration process around him at that point in August, Governor Mike Parsons of Missouri would not allow him to attend his mother`s funeral, even if he had to do so in shackles. They wouldn`t let him go to the funeral. Mr. Strickland tells "The Washington Post", if we don`t stop at the grave site first, I`m going to get out of the car and I`m going to try to make it there on my hands and knees.
Kevin Strickland freed today, a man in his 60s now. He uses a wheelchair now. Locked up since he was a teenager for something he did not do. The Midwest Innocence Project, "The Kansas City Star" and remarkably the local prosecutors office finally got him free today. We have covered that story extensively over the last few months. I want you to be sure you knew how that finally resolved today. Just incredible.
And also within a couple of hours of that happening, we also got a verdict today in another super high-profile, high-stakes trial of a very, very different kind. Charlottesville, Virginia, we have been watching this trial of nearly two dozen neo-Nazis a white supremacists and far-right groups that organized a white supremacist rally/riot in Charlottesville in 2017. This was the incident where president Trump said there were very fine people on both sides.
What this case has been is a civil case brought by plaintiffs against the neo-Nazis and white supremacists defendants. The plaintiffs are nine people injured or otherwise targeted at that event, and they wanted the defendants held liable for what occurred in Charlottesville in 2017, what these guys had organized and planned for.
Well, today after deliberating for roughly two-and-a-half days, the federal jury hearing this case, in fact, found those defendants liable. They found that the defendants must pay more than $25 million in damages to the plaintiffs. That had been the stated goal of the people who brought this case to try to basically bankrupt the neo-Nazi and white supremacist movement in this country. This will go some distance for that.
Now, the jury did deadlock on two counts. Deadlock means they couldn`t come to ooh unanimous agreement on two of the claims made by the plaintiffs in this case. Again, most of the claims here were decided in the plaintiff`s favor including $25 million in damages levied against the defendants.
The plaintiffs` lawyers today wasted no time in declaring themselves, quote, beyond thrilled with what the jury had decided, saying that justice was served today.
But they were equally quick to promise that on the two charges on which the jury deadlocked they`re going to seek a retrial for these white supremacist defendants on those two claims. This case was argued for the plaintiffs by two very high-powered attorneys, Roberta Kaplan and Karen Dunn who took it on behalf of the nonprofit group, Integrity First for America. It has been a long four-year process since the events of 2017 to bring all this to fruition. But today, they set out to do what they said they would do and what they spent all this effort, all of this deeply, deeply emotional fraught effort to get it done.
Joining us live from Charlottesville are Karen Dunn and Roberta Kaplan, the two plaintiffs` lawyers in this case.
Karen and Robbie, thank you so much for being here. I imagine you are exhausted. This has been a long trial.
ROBERTA KAPLAN, KAPLAN HECKER & FINK FOUNDING PARTNER: I think that`s fair to say, Rachel. Thanks for having us.
MADDOW: So it was something like three dozen witnesses on your side, three-and-a-half weeks of testimony up against all of these defendants, some of whom tried to pretend the case wasn`t happening and there was a default judgment against some of them. I want to ask you about all of that.
It has been such a difficult time for the plaintiffs to have to have to -- to have to get back through all of this and to explain what they went through, but it was just an incredibly hard case to bring. I wonder, now that it has come to this resolution, how satisfied you are in this verdict, how glad you are that you did this, how close this is to what you were aiming for from the beginning?
KAREN DUNN, PAUL, WEISS PARTNER: Yeah. So, Rachel, thank you for having us. We are thrilled beyond any imagination with this verdict. We came to Charlottesville to prove a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence. We proved that as to each and every defendant we brought this case against.
We came to secure compensatory and punitive damages for our plaintiffs, and we did that. We secured that today. So we couldn`t be happier with the result that we got for the plaintiffs in this case, who we just came from seeing many of them.
They are brave, they are resilient, they are relieved and they have some measure of accountability and closure from this.
MADDOW: Tell me about the impact of this large damages award, because I look at that -- that monster`s ball, that rogue`s gallery of defendants in this case, the gentlemen and the organizations that you sued. I see a lot of things when I look at them, but I don`t feel like if I picked them up by the ankles and shook them upside down $25 million would fall out. So these are very large damages findings by the jury, but what`s the likelihood that this money will actually ever be seen or a significant portion of this money will ever be seen?
KAPAN: I think, Rachel, that we should have some confidence that a good deal of that money will be seen. I think Karen and I, speaking for us, we`re dedicated to make sure it happens. More importantly, I think the jury saw and hopefully the country saw the truth of who these people are and what they did and what they believe and how incredibly dangerous it is to our society, to us having a civil society.
This was four weeks of hearing about "Mein Kampf" and Hitler and the ethno state and the race war, and we persuaded the jury of the truth, which is that these guys planned based on their hateful beliefs to com and commit violence against racial minorities and that`s what they did and they celebrated it. Now they`re going to have to pay judgment as a result.
MADDOW: When you two started working on this case, when this case started to come together, how far of a distance did you come over the course of the trial between the start of this case and now in terms of what you learned about the so-called alt-right, what you learned about the status of the white supremacist, white nationalists and, indeed, neo-Nazi movement in this country? Did you feel like your understanding grew, became more serious, more nuanced in terms of the extent of that movement and its capabilities?
DUNN: Absolutely. I mean even for people like Robbie and me who spent four years completely immersed in this, we saw with clarity for the first time some of the most dangerous parts of this movement.
First of all, we saw the meticulous planning of what went on in Charlottesville, and we really only knew I think half of it before we saw the truth told on the witness stand at trial. We saw a theme emerge. We saw that people came to plow through counterprotesters with their bodies, with shields, and finally, as everyone tragically knows, with a car. It was all versions of the same thing.
We also got an admission today from one of the defense counsel, who after the verdict told a reporter that actually they had implemented a strategy to desensitize the jury to the hateful rhetoric and violence and just the racial epithets that were used by saying them over and over and over again.
So we knew that this was a strategy, and ourselves told the jury that this was happening. But the fact that this was admitted by one of the defense counsel after the trial just lays plain what is going on here and to what degree they were trying to misrepresent the situation to the jury, who did not buy it.
MADDOW: Today the jury did find in favor of the plaintiffs on most of the counts that were before them, but they deadlocked. They were able to come to an agreement on the first two counts that were put to them, which were essentially federal racially motivated conspiracy charges.
Now, you said, Robbie, after the hearing today -- excuse me, after the proceedings today that those counts will be tried again, that you will seek to retry those defendants on those counts on which the jury deadlocked. Can you explain how that works and what you mean by that?
KAPLAN: Yes. So essentially with respect to those two counts, Rachel, it is as if they never happened. A jury, I think wanting to get home for Thanksgiving, understandably were not able to reach agreement. That gives us the opportunity to go after the defendants on those counts again.
We fully intend to consider doing so. The defendants should not rest easy to think that they are not going to be found liable, not only for state conspiracy as they were found but also for federal conspiracy.
We have spent four years, we are willing to spend another four years if it takes that time, but I don`t think it will.
MADDOW: Let me also ask you about this, I believe it is seven of these defendants who effectively tried to pretend like the proceedings weren`t happening and refused to engage with these proceedings, refused to recognize the court. One of them, I believe, is the man who is serving multiple life sentences for having driven the car into the group of counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer and wounding a dozen people.
Of those seven defendants who refused to engage, I know that -- and we reported here that the judge essentially issued a default judgment against them, and I know that the court will now act further to decide what`s the dispensation of those guys, what sort of damages they have to pay these guys who have had a default judgment issued against them.
Can you explain more of what that means? Because it is another big part of the sort of next steps here.
DUNN: Yes, absolutely. There are seven defendants against who we have entries of default, and the court is likely to be guided in its damages assessment by the jury`s verdict today, so that which obviously was substantial damages awarded, compensatory and punitives, so the court will be guided by that.
As to James Fields, the driver of the car, one extraordinary thing that happened in this verdict is that James fields was found to be part of a conspiracy with Richard Spencer, Jason Kessler, Chris Cantwell and the rest of the defendants in this case. So, the fact they said, we had nothing to do with this, we didn`t know James field, the jury found there was still a conspiracy among all of the defendants. So that is a very core part of the verdict that happened today.
MADDOW: Karen Dunn and Roberta Kaplan, two very accomplished litigators, even before you got to this moment. But if you had done nothing else in your lives except this, you guys always will be known as the attorneys that sued the Nazis and freakin won. Congratulations on this verdict. I know these are, as we have been talking about, these are in some ways first steps and there`s more to come. We will have you back to walk us through that when it happens. Good luck to you both.
KAPLAN: Thank you.
DUNN: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: All right.
In just a minute we will be joined live here by Hillary Rodham Clinton. We have a lot to ask her about, obviously. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: It has been more than a year since I was last able to interview her. Since then, we as a country have had a fairly consequential presidential election, a major violent effort to disrupt the peaceful transition of power, a losing presidential candidate who has mounted a relentless and increasingly bizarre but weirdly successful campaign to convince his followers that he secretly won the election and so maybe he`s the shadow president, we`ve had, nevertheless, an inauguration of a new president, the end of America`s longest war, the ongoing battle against COVID and, and, and, and, and, and.
So let`s talk about it. Joining us for "The Interview" is Hillary Rodham Clinton, former presidential candidate, secretary of state, U.S. senator, first lady, now novelist. Secretary Clinton has just co-written a political thriller called "State of Terror" with her friend Louise Penny.
I have read it. I`ve read it in about a day. It was like I was being chased.
I very much enjoyed it.
Secretary Clinton, it`s really good to have you here. Congratulations on the book.
HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Thanks so much, Rachel. It is great to talk to you, although I got exhausted as you were going through the last year like that.
MADDOW: You`ve been exhausted? I have been covering it here every day. Look at me. I`m actually only 14. I just look like this after this year.
CLINTON: Well, you`re holding up well under the circumstances.
MADDOW: Yeah, that`s makeup.
MADDOW: Anyway, I want -- I do want to ask you -- I did love the book. Fair -- to be fair, I read everything that Louise Penny writes and so I would have read -- I would have read it even if she hadn`t written it with you. But I am struck by the fact that this is a huge change in your life. I mean, we use this comically alongside titles to introduce you, presidential nominee, former first lady, former senator, former secretary of state, but now you`re just a novelist.
Is your life different, better, worse now that you`re in this part of your life?
CLINTON: You know what? It`s different and there`s so much that`s fascinating and good about it, and writing a novel during the pandemic with my friend Louise Penny was just a total treat. It was so much fun to have a chance to collaborate with her, to do something I`d never done before, using her extraordinary writing ability, her creativity, and my experience and some of my ideas.
I don`t think we could have done it if it hadn`t been during the pandemic, Rachel, because it was just so all-consuming, and it`s been terrific. And I love the fact that we were able to do it together and that, you know, a lot of people seem to be enjoying it. I`m thrilled they like the thriller, so to speak.
MADDOW: Well, I`m going to put up on the screen my favorite headline of a review of your book. This was from "The L.A. Times." The headline is, "Hillary Clinton`s debut crime novel" -- it`s not really a crime novel. "Hillary Clinton`s debut crime novel is actually good."
MADDOW: People did it to me when I -- when I wrote my first book. Reviews were like, hey, wait, this doesn`t suck. I mean, for me, that`s a favorite kind of review, people who are ready to hate you before they look at it. They have to begrudgingly concede that it`s good.
You must be buoyed by how -- by how well-received it`s been, even by people who were prepared because it`s you to dislike it no matter what it was.
CLINTON: Well, I`m kind of used to people, you know, underestimating me and thinking I`m something that I`m not, so I can`t say I was surprised when I got headlines like that. But I was really gratified that people actually read the book and looked at the characters and followed the story and plot line.
And so it was, it was really gratifying to have so many people say, wow, I wasn`t sure I was going to like it or not sure what I thought, but it`s a great read. And it`s been fun talking to people, you know, in this country, Canada, the U.K., literally all over Europe about it, because obviously, you know, some of it is ripped from the headlines as the cliche goes.
But it at its heart is about this incredible friendship between these two women, the secretary of state and her best friend and counselor. And they, too, are underestimated, Rachel. Nobody really expects much from either of them as they try to prevent this huge catastrophe from hitting our country.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about some of the broader political winds that are blowing right now. The book is very much situated within this. There`s a sort of -- not very, but sort of a Trump-like character who`s the president in the -- in the -- in the novel.
I know you talked about those -- those parallels, but I had a conversation on the show a few days ago with Anne Applebaum. She wrote a piece in "The Atlantic" called "The bad guys are winning."
And I knew I was going to hopefully be talking to you soon, and I wanted to ask you about that thesis, in part because I feel like I can`t tell if your outlook on these things is getting brighter or darker, with where you are in your life and where the country has been right now.
Anne Applebaum essentially says if the 20th century was the story of slow, uneven progress toward liberal democracy, the 21st century so far is the story of the reverse.
She says, you know, not only what were going on -- what`s going on in the United States is a reversal away from democracy, but we should see it as part of a global problem. She identifies in particular that the authoritarian strongman regimes around the world are helping each other, including, you know, personally supporting other corrupt leaders in their corruption and helping them evade sanctions and stuff, and it does feel both global and very hard to fight. It feels almost inexorable.
And speaking with Anne Applebaum about that, I found myself sort of in a dark place for a few days. I wanted to put that to you to find out whether you see it through a lens darkly as well, or whether you`re feeling more optimistic about strategy against it?
CLINTON: Well, Rachel, I -- I am very worried, concerned. I spent a lot of time thinking about exactly what Anne Applebaum and you and others are worried about and trying to point out, because I do think that we are facing a crisis of democracy, a crisis of legitimacy, a crisis that really goes to the heart of what the future of our country and many others around the world will be.
So I spend my time trying to figure out what we can do about it, and I am not ever going to give up because there`s just too much at stake.
But first and foremost, we have to make sure more people besides people like you, me, Anne Applebaum and others who share our concerns, see what we see. Because I think that the role of disinformation, the way that propaganda has been really weaponized and the increasing ability to manipulate people through algorithms and other forms of artificial intelligence will only make this harder to combat.
So I don`t want to be pessimistic about it because I think this is a worthy and necessary battle.
I saw you talking to my two friends, Karen Dunn and Robbie Kaplan. You know, when they took on that case against the neo-Nazis and the white supremacists coming out of Charlottesville, you know, a lot of people were sort of scratching their heads. And I remember talking to both of them, particularly Karen, whom I`ve known and she`s worked for me and I admire her greatly, about why they were doing it.
And, you know, it was very simple. Somebody had to do it. We have got to end impunity. We have to hold people accountable for their actions, particularly when those actions threaten our way of life, our rule of law, our future as a democracy.
And so, I am determined to continue to speak out, to do whatever I can. And, in fact, in the book we wrote, "State of Terror," as you know, there is a plot against the country by people who truly want to turn the clock back. They believe that the progress we`ve made on all kinds of civil rights and human rights, the cultural changes that have taken place, are so deeply threatening that they want to stage a coup.
Now, think about it, because that`s truly what is behind Trump and his enablers and those who invaded and attacked our Capitol. They don`t like the world we`re living in and they have that in common with, you know, autocratic leaders from Russia to Turkey to Hungary to Brazil and so many other places, who are driven by personal power and greed and corruption but who utilize fears about change to try to get people to hate one another and feel insecure and, therefore, be easily manipulated by demagogues and by disinformation.
MADDOW: You know, less than a week after the January 6th attack, in the second week of January, you wrote a piece in "The Washington Post" that I reread today. Among a lot of other observations you said this.
You said: It is sobering that many people were unsurprised by what occurred last week -- meaning January 6th -- particularly people of color for whom a violent mob waving Confederate flags and hanging nooses is a familiar sight in American history.
I have been thinking a lot about that recently, because -- I mean, on one hand we have what feels like an emergency going on. We have a disturbingly large part of the right promoting and excusing political violence while at the same time, they`re trying to discredit our political system and our electoral processes. That combined message from the right that politics doesn`t work and violence is okay, that is -- that`s a recipe for disaster. That is a recipe for the end of democracy.
But on the other hand, we keep talk about that as an unprecedented threat, and it -- to me, it doesn`t feel unprecedented. I mean through the lens of how people have color have lived in this democracy, the rejection of political mechanisms, you know, choosing violence instead of fair political contests, that`s the history of how people of color have been treated in this country over and over and over again. I feel like you`ve been trying to make that point aggressively.
Does understanding that, does understanding that the not-unprecedented nature of where we are help us figure out a way out of this particular mess?
CLINTON: Well, I think it points us in the direction that we go when our better angels are leading us, and that is understanding, human nature being what it is, we do need boundaries. We need guardrails. We need to have an understanding amongst this great pluralistic country of ours that if we`re all going to get ahead we all had better be much more sensitive to, understanding and empathetic toward each other, and that particularly applies to people of color, minority groups of all kinds, because we truly rise or fall together.
And we`ve had leaders who have risen to those occasions, who have certainly done their best, both to inspire us and create the right environment for us to, you know, look past our differences and find our common humanity, our common ground, and we`ve had laws passed that try to create those structures, those guardrails, those prohibitions against mistreatment of each other.
But what we`ve seen sadly in the last several years is not new in our history because it is rooted in the struggles that we`ve had going back to before our beginning, but it is, unfortunately, turbo-charged by the combination of demagogues, social media that is more interested, frankly, in profitability than the rule of law or unity, that feeds disinformation in a way that strips people to the core of their insecurities and their fears.
So, it`s not new in any way, but the way it`s being implemented is new. And it`s really hard to escape. So, the problem that we face is an old problem, but with a new twist because of technology.
And I think we`re really on the precipice, Rachel, of seeing people, particularly in the Republican Party, but not only there, who truly just want power, power to impose their views, power to exploit financial advantage, power to implement a religious point of view. We see all of that converging.
And, as you said in the very beginning of your question, this is not an American phenomenon, you know. Anne Applebaum, whom I respect greatly, has been covering this from her perch in Europe, particularly in Poland, because we see the signs of it everywhere.
You know, democracy is messy. You know, a lot of people got, oh, I think kind of frustrated looking at the messy process of legislation, and they -- they didn`t really appreciate that within a year, the Biden administration has passed two major pieces of legislation through both the House and the Senate. They passed another major piece through the House that will soon be in the Senate.
By any measure, those are extraordinary accomplishments, and they really will help many millions of Americans with health care and prescription drug prices as well as climate change and so much else.
But because of the way we are getting our information today and because of the lack of gatekeepers and people who have a historic perspective, who can help us understand what we are seeing, there is a real vulnerability in the electorate to the kind of demagoguery and disinformation that, unfortunately, the other side is really good at exploiting.
MADDOW: Well, that technological piece of it is something that I want to ask you about next. We`re going to take a quick break, if you don`t mind.
When we come back I want to ask you about that.
MADDOW: Because I feel like the U.S. government is at a point where they actually have a decision to make as to whether or not they`re going to be activists on that point or whether they`re going to let things continue to go the way they have been.
I`m super interested to hear your take on that.
We`ll be right back with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton right after this.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Back with us now is Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic presidential nominee, former secretary of state, former senator.
Secretary Clinton, thank you again for being here.
You were talking before the break about how technology, how the speed and sort of quantitative accelerant that social media has become for disinformation has given us sort of a qualitatively a new problem that we`ve never had before. That yes, we`ve had anti-democratic moments, yes, we`ve had authoritarian movements, yes, we`ve had people who choose violence over the rule of law in this country and had moved in that direction, but the disinformation in technology side of it is new.
One of the things I have been most disturbed by in the news this year was what happened with Google and Apple and the Russian government, with the Russian elections this year. The Russian government went to Google and Apple and told them to take down pro-democracy apps run by the opposition candidates in Russia. Google took down Alexei Navalny`s YouTube videos.
The Russian government threatened Apple and Google and they both caved quickly and did what Putin wanted them to do in terms of crushing dissent and crippling the opposition.
Is there a role for the U.S. government to play to stop American private companies from doing Putin`s bidding like that or for doing things like that for other authoritarian regimes around the world?
CLINTON: Well, I think there is, but let`s start first at home, Rachel. I share your concern about what happened in the Russian elections, but I think, first, we have to take necessary legislative and regulatory action to begin to regulate the way that our social media and tech companies operate.
You know, we had to have new rules for the Industrial Age at the beginning of the last century. Well, we certainly need new rules for the information age because our current laws, our framework is just not adequate for what we`re facing.
And there are a number of very good ideas about how to both apply existing laws and to fill the gaps that exist so that we can begin to try to rein in some of the abuses of the technology companies, particularly the social media companies.
In the absence of that, I really don`t know where this ends, because certainly, the example you gave is a good one. We can look around the world and see the role that Facebook and others have played in helping to foment authoritarian moments, even, unfortunately, massacres. Some even argue the genocide of the Rohingya.
There`s a lot that has to be dealt with and even answered for, but I was disappointed that Apple, which has been a very staunch supporter of independence and really taken a stand against some of the other companies was in the position you described, to give in to the pressure from the Kremlin, as well as Google.
So, we have to start with how we create a framework. We should work in concert with our friends in Europe, who are also looking at a lot of these issues to try to come up with sensible solutions that would be the equivalent of regulation in the Information Age.
I want to mention one other thing that is on the horizon that people are only beginning to pay attention to, and that`s the need to regulate the cryptocurrency markets. Because imagine the combination of social media, the algorithms that drive social media, the amassing of even larger sums of money through the control of certain cryptocurrency chains -- we`re looking at not only states such as China or Russia or others manipulating technology of all kinds to their advantage. We`re looking at non-state actors, either in concert with states or on their own, destabilizing countries, destabilizing the dollar as the reserve currency.
There are so many big questions that the Biden administration must address. I just don`t think we have much time, and, therefore, I hope from everything I`m hearing from them that that`s exactly what they`re going to try to do.
MADDOW: Let me ask you about another point of concern, real point of crisis in the Biden administration over this -- this past year. Today is, I believe, exactly 100 days since the Taliban have been in control of Afghanistan. I was thinking about it in part because the overlap in your book with "State of Terror" where the idea of the Afghan government being handed back over to the Taliban is essentially one of the threats that`s wielded by enemies of this country.
But in that 100 days since the Taliban have been in charge, it`s been, you know, a cavalcade of horrors. We learned today in terms of women in civil society in Afghanistan, women are now banned from performing in any sort of scripted TV shows or, you know, soap operas or dramas. As of now, female news anchors are being required to wear head scarves when they appear on television.
There was a report over the summer that you had chartered planes to fly highly at-risk women out of Afghanistan. I just wanted to ask you if those reports were true. And, if so, could you tell us any more about what your involvement was there and what you did?
CLINTON: Well, they are true. I worked with a group of organizations, also with the United States government and the governments of other countries, to be able to get high-risk women. And by that, I mean women who we knew would be the target of Taliban action. In some cases, they`d already been the target for assassinations, but certainly, they would be stripped of their -- their role in the outside world and returned to the home. And a lot of concern about, you know, young women who would then be forced to marry.
We had a list of about 1,000 women in that high-risk category, and these were not women who had worked directly for the United States government but they`d been in the Afghan government. They had been in the education system, in the health care system, in the media, and they had been staunch allies of the values that the United States was certainly talking about and trying to support in Afghanistan during the last 20 years.
So, an incredible consortium of concerned people and organizations raised a lot of money to charter planes.
We worked with countries to receive thousands of the women and family members.
And I have to say, Rachel, it was one of the most nerve-racking, heartbreaking times in my public life from, you know, mid-August into late September. And efforts are still continuing.
But I don`t know why anybody would be surprised. You know, when Trump agreed to the document that his own national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, called a surrender document, a surrender agreement between the Taliban and the United States, the handwriting was on the wall, because, you know, the Taliban had a -- had a very lengthy head start to be able to intimidate and coerce and extort and threaten and kill those out in the country who would stand against them.
I think the pace of the fall of the government might have been a little faster than people anticipated. But the outcome was not in doubt.
And I -- as you say in the book "State of Terror," talk about the concerns that I and many others have that there is a continuing likelihood of threats coming from Afghanistan. The Taliban would never denounce or break ties with al Qaeda. We know there is an active ISIS operation going on inside Afghanistan.
So, in addition to the grave threats to not only but -- women, but principally women, but others who were involved in trying to help the people of Afghanistan, there is a continuing need for great vigilance about possible threats coming toward us out of Afghanistan again.
MADDOW: Let me ask you one last topic about something going on here at home. Texas` abortion ban was allowed to go into effect in September. Texas essentially has made abortion all but illegal since September 1st. We could get a Supreme Court ruling on that as soon as Monday.
And then Wednesday of next week, that Mississippi abortion ban on cases is having its oral arguments before the court, and that case is explicitly designed to dismantle and get rid -- get rid of Roe.
Do you -- do you feel like this is the end in terms of American women having access to legal abortions? I mean, I was born in the same year as Roe versus Wade. I was born in 1973. These protections for American women have been in effect my whole life.
How do you explain to someone that that might be ending and the significance of that?
CLINTON: Well, I was born before then, and I know the significance because this was a very real concern, and oftentimes a terrible choice that young women in particular faced. And it`s one of the reasons why in the Roe v. Wade decision, the Supreme Court consisting primarily of justices appointed by Republican presidents before that time, you know, concluded that it was such a personal decision that went right to the heart of the autonomy and agency and independence of a woman that it certainly had to be considered a constitutional right that was connected to the right of privacy.
So through my perspective, it seems likely that if Roe is not completely overturned, it`s going to be considerably limited. The Texas law -- again, I`m a recovering lawyer, Rachel, so don`t hold me to it. But the Texas law to me seems fatally flawed with its method of enforcement. The Mississippi law may be a more direct threat.
MADDOW: Hillary Clinton -- oh, excuse me. Sorry. I didn`t mean to jump in there in a way that surprised you.
Hillary Clinton is the co-author of the new book "State of Terror", with the great author Louise Penny -- the two of them together make something that is actually quite fantastic. Secretary Clinton, it is a real pleasure. Any time that you can make time to be here, thank you in particular for being here tonight with so much going on. It`s a real pleasure to have you here.
CLINTON: Thank you.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Do you remember Armageddon? Not the biblical end times prove prophesy, but the movie. 1998 space action thriller "Armageddon"? Ring any bills?
In the movie "Armageddon," a giant asteroid is about to crash into Earth, oh no! And so the head of NASA, Billy Bob Thornton decides the only way to stop that asteroid from destroying all of human civilization on earth is Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and their lovable ragtag band of oil drillers. They`ll be flung into space so they can plant a bomb in the asteroid and thereby somehow stop it from smashing into our planet.
If you haven`t seen "Armageddon," it is exactly ridiculous as it sounds. It is one of those movies that is so terribly bad, it`s really quite good. And the reason I bring it up tonight is because tonight, Armageddon is happening. And again, I do not mean the end of days. What I mean is they`re doing it for real.
Tonight, NASA is going to use a rocket to launch a spacecraft into space that has one goal. They`re going smash the spacecraft into an asteroid at 15,000 miles an hour. The idea is to try to see by smashing this spacecraft into it, they can knock the asteroid off its course just a little bit, just in case some asteroid in the future like the one in "Armageddon" really does end up on a collision course with earth. This is their proposed test method for knocking the asteroid off course.
The mission is called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART. And the rocket they`re sending it up in is not full of handsome, swarthy oil rig workers. But if all goes well, that is going to smash into the asteroid with enough force to change its directory. Fingers crossed.
You can watch it happened if you`re so inclined. The launch is scheduled to begin at 1:20 a.m. Eastern Time tonight. NASA says their live stream starts at half hour past midnight. Okay.
That does it for us now. We`ll see you again tomorrow, depending on what happens to the asteroid.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.