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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 3/5/2021

Guest: Ryan Reilly, Andrea Young�


Interview with "Huff Post" senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly.

Interview with Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, "ALL IN": That is "ALL IN" on this Friday night.

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good evening, Rachel.


And thanks to you at home for joining us. Happy to have you here.

At this hour, the Senate appears to be back on track to pass the $1.9

trillion COVID relief bill after what was a weird long delay.

Senate Democratic leaders apparently have reached a deal with West Virginia

conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. He had been holding out over a

provision to extend unemployment benefits. But an agreement announced

within the last hour seems to have brought to an end what had been a nine-

hour-long stalemate in the Senate as Democrats and Republicans yanked on

Manchin`s arms to try to pull him in either direction to get him to sign on

to their respective proposals.

Bottom line, nothing much changes from earlier in the day. I don`t know why

this took nine hours. The resolution is apparently that the COVID relief

deal will result in $300 a month boost -- $300 a week boost to unemployment

benefits and that will be extended through the beginning of September,

September 6th. That`s pretty much the way things were going to be as of

this morning be there are some tweaks in terms of the taxability of these

benefits. It seems like small changes for a nine-hour delay.

Nevertheless, they seem to have broken through. We`ll keep an eye on this

and bring you more as news develops. We are expecting the session -- the

Senate to stay in session as they continue to fight these things out. The

Capitol building where all these senators are negotiating and voting

tonight is still surrounded by thousands of National Guard troops as it has

been since the U.S. Capitol attack on January 6th.

Even now, two months later, there are moments from the attack on the

Capitol that still stick with you. Certain rioters, certain things that

they did on camera, on tape, that get seared into your brain once you`ve

seen them. This is one of those moments.

A man in a very distinctive stars and stripes jacket with "Trump"

emblazoned in big letters on the back, flag jacket there. He steps up

toward the Capitol police guarding the doorway. He unloads a fire

extinguisher at them at close range. And when the fire extinguisher appears

to run out, he then chucks the fire extinguisher itself at the police. The

police officers are under siege. He chucks it at them as hard as he can.

There have been over 300 arrests connected to the Capitol attack on January

6th but that guy is not among them. He`s still at large despite that

violent, deliberate attack on Capitol police officers that day that is

caught on tape. But we now know who that guy is for sure. Thanks to

reporters Ryan Reilly and Jesselyn Cook at ""Huffington Post." They reached

him at phone and got him to confirm, yeah, that was me.

Today they published a story revealing who he is and how they found him

with the help of a remarkable amateur citizen detective. They also revealed

that that amateur detective who tracked this guy down has been trying to

alert the FBI to this guy`s identity and his whereabouts for over a month

without any discernible results from the FBI side. It`s an amazing story of

how this unfolded. It starts with Amy. Here`s how they describe her.

Quote, Amy, a woman living in a rural area out west who in her free time

joined the Sedition Hunters network, an online sleuthing community seeking

to identify the hundreds of Trump support hoarse rioted at the Capitol. Amy

is a pseudonym she chose to protect her privacy. While those rioters were

storming the Capitol, quote, Amy was homesick. She`d contracted COVID-19

and was getting restless while recovering in isolation.

After watching in horror as the insurrection unfolded, she decided to use

her time in quarantine poring over footage from the attack and trying to

track down individual rioters. She worked with Capitol hunters as they

tried to mine through a seemingly endless flow of photos and videos

assigning hashtags and memorable nicknames to various persons of interest

to try to bring order to chaos.

She went through every clip pulled from the right-wing social media website

Parler. She kept going through videos and photos of the attack. Soon, the

#Floridaflagjacket drew Amy`s attention. She recalled, quote, I got locked

on to this guy and the jacket because the jacket is so unique.

This guy quote wasn`t very incognito. He`s already distinctive jacket was

embroidered with Trump on the front and back and his Florida for Trump hat

offered a strong hint about what was his home state.

Now, another online investigator found a video of the Florida flag jacket

guy from later in the day on January 6th. In that video, he speaks to a

journalist who`s filming him live as cops pushed the mob back. In that

video, he holds up his shirt to show off a big bruise on his stomach

apparently from a crowd control munition fired by police.

Then he looks straight into the camera and identifies himself. Robert

Palmer from Clearwater, Florida.

Amy felt like she had nailed it. She sent in a tip to the FBI. And then

"Huffington Post" reports, quote, she waited, and waited. And waited.

And that`s when Ryan Reilly and Jesselyn Cook, reporters, got involved in

the story. Amy sent her tip about Florida flag jacket guy, Robert Palmer,

to them at "Huffington Post." They were able to verify his identity through

public records and social media accounts.

And then they called him. Quote, reached by phone late Thursday afternoon,

Palmer confirmed he was at the Capitol on January 6th and gave the

livestream interview. He claimed he`d done nothing to justify being struck

with that police condition and that the Biden administration was trying to

vilify the patriots who were involved in the riot.

Palmer continued, quote, I`m just going about it and letting them make the

mistakes that they want and ruin the country as they want and I`m trying to

live my life right now. He added the jacket he wore quote wasn`t anything I

had made special. I just bought it in a store.

Mr. Palmer seemed to grow increasingly anxious as the call continued,

quote: I`m just going to just leave it like that, I`m not getting myself

any -- not deeper because I didn`t do anything wrong but I`m not involving

myself anymore.

Quote: He hung up when "Huffington Post" asked about the fire extinguisher.

Yeah, the fire extinguisher he threw at the police. I bet he did.

And this, in fact, is not the first Capitol attacker these reporters at

"HuffPo" have tracked down. A week ago, they published a remarkable story

identifying a man seen on video tasering a D.C. metropolitan officer in the

neck. Identified as Daniel Joseph Rodriguez, D.J. Rodriguez, from Fontana,


That police officer, Mike Fanone, has memorably described his experience

being beaten and tasered by the Capitol mob. He was tasered enough he

suffered a mild heart attack.

But Daniel Rodriguez, the guy that "HuffPo" identified as being one of his

attackers, one of the people who tased him, is still at large. We know what

his name and is where he is. And have evidence that he did it. Still at


Ryan Reilly and Jesselyn Cook report, quote: The FBI received tips about

Rodriguez last month, including one from a man he assaulted on video at a

Los Angeles-area rally. It wasn`t until hours after a "Huff Post" interview

to the bureau for this story a tipster heard from a FBI special agent for

questions specifically about a man named Danny Rodriguez.

So what`s going on here? I mean, the FBI, we have seen as they have put out

all these requests for information on Capitol rioters, these ongoing posts

by the FBI Washington field office and the FBI full stop, they keep posting

these images and zoomed-in, cropped photos on individual rioters and

attackers, asking the public, do you know who this person is? They really

do that every day. It`s very visually striking notices when they put them

out, even today.

Today, FBI Washington field office put out more of these today. These were

just from today. This was yesterday. The FBI seeking information from the

public about people involved in various assaults on federal officers on

January 6th.

This was the day before that. New photo. FBI seeking information from the


And listen, actually right now, you watching at home, if you recognize any

of these people, the FBI really would like to hear from you. But it`s worth

asking questions now as to what exactly the FBI is going to do with that

information once they get it. Because in a few high-profile cases, it seems

like these very credible tips and this journal stick work hasn`t produced a

law enforcement response.

Robert Palmer, Florida flag jacket guy, who is on video spraying a fire

extinguisher at police officers and then hurling it at them, he`s still at

large. And as far as we can tell from this latest reporting, the FBI still

has not gone and talked to him. And he`s one of the people who the FBI put

out calls for information on.

Like -- he`s one of the people who the FBI put out one of these notices

about. He`s got a number in the FBI database in terms of which bad guy

they`re looking for, number 246. And still after Amy, the tipster with

COVID out west, after she sent this info to the FBI over a month ago, and

even after "The Huffington Post" published this great reporting today, he

is fill at large and still considered by them to be a number.

Hey, guy number 246 has been identified. And he says it`s him. And we know

where he lives and what his name is. He wouldn`t be that hard to find now.

It`s phenomenal reporting. And it is this fascinating phenomenon of

civilians, random people, who are crowd sourcing an effort to try to find

people who committed serious crimes, particularly violent crimes on January

6th at the Capitol attack. Why are tipster Amy and Ryan Reilly and Jesselyn

Cook from "HuffPo" all over this guy, but law enforcement isn`t?

Questions. Questions like that is frankly why it seems to me both wrong and

weird now that the Justice Department isn`t regularly briefing the public

anymore on arrests and prosecutions and progress in the January 6th

investigation. Remember immediately after the Capitol attack, we were

waiting for some sort of public law enforcement briefing and didn`t get one

for days. For a few days running we got briefings from the U.S. attorney at

the D.C. U.S. attorney`s office about arrests and people they were seeking,

potential charges they were going to face.

But that`s been a long time now. They haven`t briefed the public since

January 26th. And there is turnover of an unusual kind in that office that

is running the January 6th investigation.

The U.S. attorney`s office in D.C., that was such a troubled office, right,

where Trump Attorney General Bill Barr installed all of his staffers in

positions to replace people who were otherwise basically normal justice

department personnel. They used that D.C. U.S. attorney`s office to get all

of Donald Trump`s friends out of trouble, to go after Donald Trump`s


At least until this week, that U.S. attorney`s office and the January 6th

investigation was still being run by a former personal aide to Bill Barr

who had been installed in that office under bizarre circumstances, until

the Biden administration took the unusual step just this week of installing

their own acting U.S. attorney in that office so they don`t have to wait

until they nominate and confirm a permanent U.S. attorney there. They can

have their own guy running the place as of now.

D.C. U.S. attorney`s office has behaved in very recent history in a way

that requires some public explanation in terms of weird politically driven

interference in the law enforcement responsibilities of that office. But

that is also the office that`s handling the January 6th investigation, and

we are now not getting any public explanation of anything from that office

about what`s going on with the January 6th investigation. We haven`t heard

anything from them for over a month now.

Listen, there`s a lot. There`s a lot that`s wrong in federal law

enforcement and at the Justice Department with the legacy Bill Barr left

there. The Trump administration`s Justice Department is a smoking hulk. And

it`s going to take repair and it`s going to take accountability to figure

out all the things that went wrong and to fix them.

Just today, the "Associated Press" is reporting one of the many messes that

awaits Biden`s Attorney General nominee Merrick Garland once confirmed is

what he`s going to do about the federal criminal investigation into Trump

attorney Rudy Giuliani, because the Trump Justice Department last year, as

we first reported, quashed a search warrant for Giuliani`s communications

sought by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. Main

Justice, Trump appointees, quashed that and said, no, you cannot get that

search warrant.

The investigation of Giuliani remains open, prosecutors remain interested

in pursuing him. How does Main Justice clean up the fact that Trump

appointees blocked it in the past?

There also remains the open question of how that U.S. attorney in Georgia

got forced out by the White House after the election when he reportedly

rebuffed Trump White House demands that he bring bogus voter fraud charges

to try to support Trump`s efforts to overthrow the election in Georgia?

They forced his resignation after demanding that he bring bogus voter fraud

charges. That seems like something we shouldn`t just let go.

There`s the fact that one of the senior Trump political appointees in the

Justice Department apparently offered he would tell the state of Georgia

they had to void their election results and declare Donald Trump to be the

winner as part of a bid he was making that Donald Trump supported, to

install that guy as attorney general. They tried to install him as attorney

general. It was only staved off at the last moment by a mass resignation

threat from everybody else left in the department.

Wait a minute. That all happened, and not that long ago. And the Merrick

Garland nomination has so far been held up by Senate Republicans, so we

don`t know how long it`s going to take to get him in there. We don`t know

how he`s going to behave once he is in there. Boy is that a mess.

That office and the senior levels of the Justice Department interfering in

that office, that is a disaster that we are underestimating the cost of and

the complexity of in terms of how that is going to be healed and held and

made right. The nexus, though, where those things come together in the D.C.

U.S. attorney`s office, that`s where the January 6th investigation is

happening, too.

How much that is overall mess with Bill Barr`s treatment of the Justice

Department, how much is that making it harder for the Justice Department to

execute the January 6th investigation effectively, because we know there

are people at large who have been accused of committing some of the most

violent acts that day who have been found by online investigators and

journalists, who the FBI hasn`t gotten around to yet. That doesn`t seem


There`s developments around January 6th even just today. Congressman Eric

Swalwell of California today sued Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol

riot. Congressman Swalwell is suing Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani and

Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks for their roles he says in inciting that


Swalwell is suing under a civil rights law originally passed to try to

combat threats from the Klan. Congressman Swalwell, if he sounds familiar,

he`s the second member of Congress to sue Trump for the attack under that

law. The first case brought by Mississippi Congressman Betty Thompson. Now

two cases brought against Trump under that same civil rights statute.

Congressman Swalwell`s lawsuit also alleges that Trump and his associates

broke several other local Washington, D.C. laws when they incited that

riot, including an anti-terrorism law. So, there`s now those two civil

suits against the president around January 6th. Either/or both of which may

lead to among other things discovery which might allow the courts to turn

up more evidence about people at the political level who were involved in

the events that led to the violence that day.

Also tonight, just before we got on the air, news concerning how lawmakers

might try to address some of the security concerns that stem from the

attack. Less than two weeks after the attack happened, Speaker Pelosi

announced retired Lieutenant General Russell Honore who led relief efforts

during Hurricane Katrina, he would lead a top to bottom-review of security

failures at the Capitol that day. "The New York Times" has obtained a copy

of that report, posted it online.

It recommends among other things the establishment of a standing quick-

reaction force at the Capitol to respond to immediate security threats.

They want to change the process to allow Capitol police to activate that

kind of a unit or to more quickly call up the National Guard.

General Honore`s report according to "The Times" recommends adding over 800

U.S. Capitol police officers to the force. Not only to help protect members

of Congress in Congress while they`re in D.C., also in their home districts

as well. They want -- the recommendation is also the Capitol should have a

-- essentially retractable barrier, a retractable fence installed around

the U.S. Capitol complex which they could open or shut, like the walkway

over a moat, I guess, depending on the threat level.

There`s a lot of the things happening even just in the past 24 hours to try

to get accountability and try to make things right after what happened on

January 6th. But one of the most unnerving parts of all this is the fact

that the effort to try to track down the people who stormed the Capitol

that day appears to be led in part by journalists and random civilian

Internet sleuths doing this in their spare time. Finding some of the people

accused of some of the worst things themselves, because our nation`s top

law enforcement agencies haven`t gotten around to it, even with all the

help they are getting from those journalists and those amateurs.

As inspiring as it might be about this kind of journalism and those

amateurs and their detective work, it`s not actually how this is supposed

to go.

Joining us is now "Huff Post" senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly, whose

reporting on this has been remarkable these last few weeks.

Ryan, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for being here.



MADDOW: First, let me give you a chance to correct me if I explained any of

that wrong. I know you and your colleagues have done a lot of deep diving

and you`ve had a lot of interesting interactions with members of the public

who have been doing this work basically as freelancers. Did I misconstrue

any of that? Or did I basically get it right?

REILLY: No, not at all. I think you laid it out pretty well.

MADDOW: In terms of the disappointment about the FBI not finding these

people faster than you did and not finding these people once you`ve even

published public-facing reporting about them, how -- how do you view that,

the disconnect between the FBI apparently seeking these people and then not

going out and getting them once you and your colleagues and some intrepid

amateurs have been able to find them?

REILLY: You know, I`ve covered the bureau for a long time. I think one

thing I`m constantly reminding myself of within these past couple of

months, is that, you know, it`s a bureau made up of normal people and

citizens. As much as it has a pop culture idea of it being this sort of

really great crime-fighting force, which it is, you know, certainly being

the most respected law enforcement organization in the United States.

But it`s still made of humans. It`s this giant bureaucracy. And it doesn`t

have necessarily the technological capabilities that even just amateurs can

do on their own outside. You just think about the logistics of this, for

example. You`re imagining a lot of this is happening via email, right? They

have somewhat of an internal system, sort of IM system, communicate within

the bureau.

But it`s not what you can sort of do with these hashtags and organizing it.

I mean, if you just look at the scope of this. It`s enormous. We`re talking

about literally hundreds of thousands of tips to sort through and how do

you classify that information, and what sort of buckets does it go in, and

what sort of ones do you leave out, put behind, which ones do you

concentrate on and say, this is something we really need to look at


Because even just as an example, the tips that we`ve gotten, trying to sort

through those, we`ve had to figure out, which ones are we going to say we

really need to focus on this, which ones are we going to have to leave by

the wayside? The FBI has to do the same thing, identify the people who had

a lot of violence or the people who are easiest to grab, so you sort of

have these two buckets at once. You have to figure out what path here going

to go down.

But, you know, I think it is really frustrating for these citizen sleuths

who have put in a ton of work, who have been looking at this every day, to

be able to say, okay, I gave this tip a month ago, I haven`t heard anything

back yet. That`s frustrating. It sort of feels like that idea, if you threw

something down a well and never heard about it again, or it feels like you

put in a job application and never heard back.

You`re sort of sitting around waiting. I`ve identified this person, what`s

happening? What`s going on behind the scenes? Because of the FBI protocols

it makes it difficult for them to communicate with the public about what

exactly is happening.

MADDOW: Uh-huh, although -- you and your colleagues reporting on this stuff

and putting it on the front page at "Huffington Post" makes it much easier

for everybody to find these folks. Even if they`re not able to sort through

the high-quality tips they`re getting.

Ryan, do you feel like the slow transition at the Department of Justice,

and there`s been an unusual transition at the D.C. U.S. attorney`s office,

which is where the Justice Department part of this is being centered -- do

you feel like that transition and maybe the awkwardness of that transition

might be part of the sort of bottleneck here, might be slowing up or

otherwise hampering these efforts?

REILLY: Yeah, I mean, we did see a lot of -- we did see a number of career

departures from within the U.S. attorney`s office in D.C., sort of in that

controversial period, obviously during the Trump administration. So you

have to sort of figure out exactly if that had any impact on the day to


But you know, there are also some -- if you look back even further, what

the Trump administration was doing earlier, the most comparable case to

this I think is the J-20 arrests. Basically during Trump`s inauguration, a

number of anti-fascist protesters were arrested sort of en masse, kettled,

essentially what should have happened at the Capitol on January 6th,

because you had all these people in violation of the law.

But during that first case, during the Trump inauguration, it was a bunch

of people who were out on the street who are wearing similar clothing and

just really got the book thrown at them. The Justice Department really

struck out with those cases. So, I think now, you know, they`re making sure

that they have their ducks in a row when they`re bringing these charges


It`s a properly good hurdle to have in place, right? If you`re arresting

someone and you`re charging them, that`s their name forever, right? This is

going to be forever associated with anyone they bring charges against.

Obviously, you want to make sure you have your ducks lined up in a row.

But it is a lot of work, and it`s just something that they`re really going

to -- they`re really having a lot of trouble, I think, sort of organizing

that chaos. And that`s where these online sleuths come in and are sort of

able to put those pieces together in a way that overwhelmed bureaucrats

might not be able to and make those connections. It`s just a matter of

getting those connections to the attention of the FBI.

And sometimes it takes a journalist and a media inquiry to say, hey, what`s

going on with this tip? That`s not only us, we`ve seen a lot of local news

reports that a lot of these cases are built off of, essentially, where

someone went back home and talked to their local TV station, and all of a

sudden, you know, there`s a criminal case against them. Might take a month

later but it`s built on that interview they did with the local news.

So, the media`s playing a big role here. And additionally, the media was

assaulted at this event. There are a number of people on that FBI list who

went after reporters. And that`s something that is being look at by the FBI

as well.

MADDOW: "Huffington Post" senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly, thank you

for your time tonight. Thank you and your colleagues for this really

incredible reporting. It is a strange place to have to learn about the

identity of these folks when the FBI is seeking them. But it`s beautiful


Ryan, thanks very much for your time.

REILLY: Thanks for having me.

MADDOW: All right, much more ahead tonight. Stay with us.


MADDOW: He crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge for the last time in the horse-

drawn carriage. The road was painted with rose petals in his honor. Fifty-

five years prior, that same road held a good portion of his blood, when

John Lewis and others were attacked and beaten by police while trying to

cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7, 1965. John Lewis was nearly

beaten to death.

He and other marchers trying to go from Selma, Alabama, to the state

capital more than 50 miles away for voting rights, for equal access to the

ballot box.

When Congressman Lewis died last year, mourners lined the streets to watch

that horse-drawn carriage take him on his final passage as cross that

bridge in Selma, because John Lewis -- joining with John Lewis to cross

that bridge has become an American hallmark. It`s a thing.

Congressman Lewis over the course of his life led more than 600 other

marches across that bridge. They held a commemoration there every year to

mark that Bloody Sunday in March 1965 when that voting rights march was

attacked. This year, it will be the first of those commemorations without

John Lewis.

At this year`s commemoration, because of the pandemic, people will not walk

together over the bridge. They will process over the bridge in cars. They

will lay a wreath on the bridge in Congressman Lewis` honor.

That will be Selma, Alabama, this weekend, 56 years, 56 anniversaries of

that violent police attack on Americans protesting peacefully for their

right to vote.

In Georgia, though, the state John Lewis represented in Congress for more

than three decades, Georgia right now is locked in its own modern-day

crackdown on the right to vote.

Joining us now to talk about it is Andrea Young. She`s executive director

of the ACLU of Georgia. She was also, I have to tell you, at one of those

famous walks across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis, and with

Martin Luther King, Jr.

This one here, which is held just two weeks after Bloody Sunday, she was 10

years old at the time. She was there with her dad, civil rights leader

Andrew Young.

Ms. Young, it`s real honor to have you here with us tonight. Thank you so



you so much for having me, Rachel.

MADDOW: The voting rights battle is joined again. It seems like we have

never really ended this war. Can you just tell us so all our listeners

understand what you`re contending with in Georgia right now?

YOUNG: Yes. So, as you know, 5 million people voted successfully in our

last election. Nevertheless, we face a tsunami of anti-voter bills in this

legislature. So, on Monday, we`re coming up on crossover day where we`ll

find out how many of these anti-voter bills are going to continue to be

live in our legislature. One has already passed, a bill that would -- that

basically attacks every single way that people vote.

It attacks early voting, it attacks same-day voting, it attacks vote by

mail. And we`re looking at six others that are on the calendar now from the

Georgia Senate that would do further damage to access to the ballot.

MADDOW: Do you anticipate that these bills, that these curbs on voting

rights, will pass the legislature, they will be signed into law, and

ultimately this is going to be a little fight, that these are going to end

up in court? Or do you think there is enough alarm and enough pushback that

some of these may get stopped either in the legislature or at the level of

the statehouse and the governor`s office before they become law?

YOUNG: Well, Rachel, we are pushing back with everything that we can. My

staff is every day at the Capitol, 7:00 a.m. hearings, analyzing every

bill, educating every legislator, our ACLU members are calling, thousands

of them.

And so, we (AUDIO GAP) we are seeing some success in pushing back. We know

that actually all of these measures were put in place by Republican

governors, Republican secretaries of state. And they were all fine until 5

million people were successfully using them to elect the candidates of

their choice.

So, of course, ACLU, we are nonpartisan. We always will look at the

litigation options. But we are fighting. We plan to fight right through

midnight on (INAUDIBLE) the last day.

This weekend, the all-star game is coming into town. LeBron James I know is

raising up this issue. What happens in Georgia is of national importance

because of how people like Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, and Raphael

Warnock will be up again in two years.

MADDOW: Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, right in

the middle of it and what is going to be a knock down, drag out fight there

over these issues, thank you. Come back soon. It`s good to have you here.

YOUNG: Thank you. Great to be here.

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


MADDOW: History was made today for the dumbest possible reason. Today in

the Senate, they have been trying to pass the COVID relief bill. Earlier in

the day, you might have seen headlines about the fact that the Senate took

a vote on Senator Bernie Sanders` proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15

an hour. Now, that failed. All Republicans voted against it, and incredibly

eight Democrats voted against it as well, news in its own right.

But after that, they started arguing in the Senate amongst themselves, they

started arguing with Joe Manchin, about unemployment benefits in the COVID

relief bill. They argued over that for nine hours. They ultimately blended

somewhere, which is very, very close to where they started, but they had

nine hours of fighting about it.

It turns out in that time they never technically gaveled shut the vote on

Bernie Sanders` minimum wage thing, which means accidentally we just had

the official longest vote in Senate history by mistake for nine hours for

no reason. Congratulations.

As for the final passage of this bill, we`ve been expecting it sometime

this weekend. With this pointless nine-hour delay, it`s unclear when

they`re going to see this thing getting passed. But watch this space.


MADDOW: He was from Wichita, Kansas. There`s a high school, a Catholic high

school in Wichita, Kansas, named after him to this day. And this photo is

on display at that high school.

In the foreground of the photo, you can see you have these two American

soldiers helping a third, helping a wounded man who`s got his hands up at

his face balled into fists. The soldier on the left side of the photo who`s

helping carry the wounded man with his left arm, in his right hand holding

his rifle.

You see another soldier in the background, his rifle as well. But look at

the soldier helping the wounded man on the right side of the photograph. He

is helping the wounded man. He is out there on the battlefield with all of


If you look closely, you can see that he`s not carrying a gun. It`s not

just that he has one and you can`t see it because of the way the photo`s

framed. He is, in fact, unarmed on that battlefield.

And if you look at his helmet, you can see why. You see the cross there in

front? He is an army chaplain. He`s a captain in the army serving here in

the Korean War, army chaplain, he`s a Catholic priest. He is name is Emil

Kapaun, Father Emil J. Kapaun. And his unit was overrun by Chinese forces

in fierce fighting in the Korean War in November 1950.

The White House would later say in a commendation, Chaplain Kapaun calmly

walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical

aid to his comrades. His unit took so many casualties and their position

was so hopeless as they were surrounded by Chinese troops that the men in

the unit who were not wounded and who were able-bodied enough to be able to

move, they were ordered to retreat to avoid being captured.

And Chaplain Kapaun was able-bodied, he was not wounded, but he elected

instead to stay with the wounded men. And he and all of them were all taken

captive. They were marched for days on end. They were ultimately held for

months in subzero conditions and while starving. Part of what they were fed

was bird seed.

The men who survived the ordeal later would fight for years, for decades,

to have Chaplain Kapaun awarded the medal of honor, the highest award we

have in this country, because of what they said he did to protect and buoy

all of the other prisoners to try to keep them alive through that terrible

winter of 1950 and 1951 while they were prisoners.

He did everything from salvaging bits of tin roofing materials and then

reshaping them into cooking pots so the men could use those makeshift

cooking pots to boil their water so they wouldn`t get dysentery. He stole

food, he foraged food and distributed it among the prisoners. Any prisoners

found to be hoarding food, he persuaded them to share it. He washed men`s


He led a sunrise mass on Easter morning, March 25th, 1951. All these

things, his comrades, his fellow prisoners said he did to keep them all

going. The soldiers he served with and held prisoner with, they said he

saved the lives of hundreds of men.

And Chaplain Kapaun himself didn`t make it. He died in the prison camp in

May 1951. The Army says he died of exhaustion and possibly heart failure.

He was all of 35 years old. He died in May 1951.

More than 40 years later, in 1993, Pope John Paul II declared Emil Kapaun,

Chaplain Kapaun, to be a servant of God, which as nice compliment for any

believer. When the pope bestows that name on you, it means you have taken

the first step to potentially being canonized, potentially being declared a

saint by the Catholic Church. That was 1993.

Twenty years after that, in 2013, President Obama held a White House

ceremony to in fact award Chaplain Kapaun the Medal of Honor.


BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT: This year, we mark the 60th anniversary of

the end of the Korean War, a time when thousands of our prisoners of war

finally came home after years of starvation and hardship and in some cases


And among the homecomings, one stood out. A group of our POWs emerged

carrying a large wooden crucifix nearly four feet tall. They had spent

months on it, secretly collecting firewood, carving it, the cross and the

body, using radio wire for a crown of thorns.

It was a tribute to their friend, their chaplain, their fellow prisoner who

had touched their souls and saved their lives, Father Emil Kapaun.


MADDOW: That was 2013, eight years ago. Father Kapaun being awarded the

Medal of Honor almost 62 years after he died in that prison camp.

Well, today, today, 70 years after he died in that prison camp, today the

U.S. army Announced that his remains have been located. He has been found.

A statement today from Army Chief of Staff James C. McConville. Quote: The

Defense POW/MIA accounting agency announces today Korean War Medal of Honor

recipient, Army Chaplain Emil Joseph Kapaun, has been accounted for.

Seventy years after his death.

Now, I am not a good enough Catholic to know how the canonization process

really works in practice. I don`t know if they will ever confer official

sainthood upon him. But nationally, our country`s highest honor is one that

he has already received. And now, all these decades later, he has been

found today, today.

The same pope who put Father Kapaun potentially on the path to sainthood,

Pope John Paul II, in the year 2000 when he was 79 years old, Pope John

Paul II announced plans he was going to become the first pope ever in

history to travel to Iraq. Iraq is the site of some of the oldest Christian

civilizations on earth. And in the year 2000, when Pope John Paul planned

to visit, there were only about 1.5 million Christians left in Iraq.

But Christian communities there had found a way to survive. They were very,

very resilient. Iraq is full of ancient holy sites for Christianity.

There`s the plain of Ur, which is quite close to Abu Ghraib prison,

actually. It`s believed to be the birth place of Abraham.

Abraham, of course, is revered by Christians and Muslims and Jews alike.

But in the year 2000, John Paul II made plans to visit. He said, he would

be the first pope ever to visit Iraq, visit Iraq`s beleaguered Christian

communities and to visit Iraq`s holy sites.

Saddam Hussein was the dictator in 2000, and ultimately, that trip did not

happen because Saddam Hussein said no, he blocked it. So that trip didn`t

happen. Three years, of course, in 2003, the United States invaded Iraq

which set off wave after wave of catastrophe and apocalyptic sectarian


The beleaguered community of Iraqi Christians that had been about 1.5

million strong before we invaded, it`s now down to somewhere between

200,000 and 500,000, and it is not hard to understand why. In the later

years of the Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS, they actually used Christian

churches in Iraq as firing ranges.

In 2010, al Qaeda in Iraq launched an attack during mass at a church in

Baghdad, a church called Our Lady of Salvation. They used grenades and

bullets and suicide vests. They killed 58 people in the church in that

attack including two priests. There`s a memorial mural painted on the blast

walls showed all 58 people killed that day.

There`s also a mural right next to that showing Francis, who is now, of

course, the Catholic pope. Well, today, Francis came to Iraq. His two

predecessors as pope had both tried to come to Iraq, had both tried to be

the first pope to ever visit Iraq. Neither of them was able to do it.

Pope Francis has not travelled anywhere in the year because of the

coronavirus pandemic. His first trip anywhere was here, was here to Iraq.

And today, he visited that church where dozens of Christians were massacred

in 2010.

Tomorrow, he will visit Ur, the birthplace of Abraham, where he will host

an interfaith meeting of Christians and Jews and Muslims, again, all of

whom revere Abraham in equal measure. Pope Francis will meet with the

senior cleric of Shiite Islam in Iraq.

Iraq is the first Shiite majority country he`s ever visited. Ayatollah Ali

al-Sistani is seen as a moderating force in Iraq. He`s the sort of chief

cleric of Shiite Islam in Iraq. He`s reclusive, doesn`t leave his home,

does not meet visiting dignitaries no matter where they`re from except for

the pope. He is making an exception. They will meet tomorrow, which is an

important thing.

Pope Francis will visit Mosul, which used to be a home, used to be home to

a community of 50,000 Christians. Now, there`s only about 2,000 of them

left. He`ll perform an outdoor mass on Sunday in Irbil in northern Iraq,

which, of course, has just been in the news recently, as it has been

targeted by multiple rocket attacks.

But he`s there. He`s going to do an outdoor mass. He said, quote, I come as

a penitent asking forgiveness of Heaven and my brothers and sisters for so

much destruction and cruelty.

These two events in the news in the same day, they`re not connected all

that much, but they are a reminder, I think, to sort of stay ready, to be

aware of the fact that things that seem impossible can one day just happen.

I mean, impossibly difficult things sometimes untangle and it`s never easy

or uncomplicated when it happens. These aren`t knots that get severed with

a sword. They`re things that need to be untangled.

I mean, the pope`s visit is complicated. Among other things by COVID

worries, right? Crowds are unavoidably turning out to see him, even as they

have tried to plan things to keep people apart and away.

The pope himself has been vaccinated. He wears a mask in public. He`s

importantly said that refusing the vaccine if you can get it is wrong. He`s

described it as suicidal, which, of course, is a grave sin in the church.

He`s promoted vaccines, promoted masks, promoted compassion for those

living with COVID.

That said, Iraqis don`t have the choice to refuse the vaccine. There`s zero

vaccine access in that country with not much hope for it on the horizon.

It`s complicated.

The accounting for Father Kapaun likewise is incredible. After 70 years, 70

years since his death, it`s incredible. And it is also unconscionable that

it took 70 years to recover him.

It`s never simple. And things that seem impossible seem that way because

they are so hard to fix, because they are so hard to find a way through.

But sometimes -- sometimes twice in a day, an impossible thing breaks open,

becomes real, becomes fact, becomes today`s news.

And for me in the news, days like that are an absolute cure for the million

stick in the mud nothing is going to better vote-a-rama days that come in

between days like this.

Sometimes the impossible really does just happen. Be ready.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Okay. This is something that I learned today that I just think that

you should know too. I can`t quite believe it. I am assured that it is

true, but I want you to know about it. This might come in handy at your

life in some point. So, just learn this right now and file it away.

Every once in a while, in the TV news business, you have to go somewhere

random on no notice to go cover a story on the scene. And then after you`ve

done that over the course of your day, you then have to produce a TV show

that night and the TV show may or may not include the story you were out in

the field working on. It may or may not be for that night`s show.

It`s a fun thing. It could also be hectic or difficult. It also means you

end up producing a show out of cobbled together random workspace that

wasn`t designed for what we do, that wasn`t designed for making TV shows.

Luckily, our company has a whole bunch of really, really impressive people

who are devoted to making that happen, people who can MacGyver any space to

do that job. And o of these MacGyver types is a magician incredibly capable

field IT guy named Dan -- Dan Peterson.

And Dan just got married. And true to the spirit of every shoot I have ever

done with him, this is the thing you need to know, he did it in a place I

never would have guessed you would do that thing. Dan got married at Taco

Bell in Las Vegas. This is Dan on the left and his now husband Jitu on

their wedding day at a Taco Bell in Las Vegas, which is a thing you can do,

file this information away.

If it was anybody else, doing things in unexpected places is Dan`s

specialty. Mazel tov, you guys. Just in case you ever need to know this, if

you need to get married and you need to go to Taco Cell, you can get

married and go to Taco Bell. They`re a combination.

That`s going to do it for us tonight. Happy Friday. I will see you again on


Now it is time for "THE LAST WORD" where our friend Ali Velshi is in for

Lawrence tonight. Good night.




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