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Transcript: The Rachel Maddow Show, 4/19/21

Guests: Phillip Atiba Goff, Amy Klobuchar, Ann Simmons


Closing arguments were presented today in the Minneapolis trial of the death of George Floyd. The jury now has ceased their deliberation for the night. Former Vice President Walter Mondale has died today at the age of 93. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is interviewed about the death of Walter Mondale. Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been transferred to hospital as his health declines.


CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: Dr. Peter Hotez, author of the new book "Preventing the Next Pandemic: Vaccine Diplomacy in the Time of Anti- Science", always a pleasure, Doctor. Thank you.

That is ALL IN on this Monday 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 to you at home for joining us this hour.

It was 100 years ago this spring, a teenage boy named Dick Rowland, just a teenager, he was at grave risk of being lynched. Tulsa, Oklahoma, had defendants dragged out of the courthouse, dragged out of the jail before and lynched in the streets.

In May 1921, when Dick Rowland had been arrested in Tulsa, there was fairly good reason to believe that it was going to happen again. A local paper, "The Tulsa Tribune", published an account on May 31st 1921, that essentially accused this black teenager, Dick Rowland, of rape.

He worked as a shoe shine boy at a building in downtown Tulsa. The paper in red hot terms essentially accused him of sexually assaulting a white teenage girl who worked at an elevator operator at the building where he worked. And teenage Dick Rowland was arrested that day and after, he was arrested, a mob, apparently a large mob of white Tulsa residents started gathering at the courthouse demanding basically to get their hands on him.

And Tulsa was a bustling city at the time. A lot of business, specifically a lot of oil business was running through Tulsa and it was a segregated city. Most of the African American population in Tulsa lived in a neighboring neighborhood called Greenwood, which was a segregated black neighborhood but it was also a flourishing neighborhood. A bustling part of town and its own right, it had a -- Greenwood had hospital and schools and churches and hotels and bars and restaurants and jewelry stores and theaters, at least two different black run newspapers, a solid black professional class, a solid black economy in that neighborhood.

Greenwood also had a considerable number of African American men, some of whom were World War I veterans, who were not only concerns that young Dick Rowland was going to be lynched that day at Tulsa`s courthouse. There were also willing to take concerted action to try to prevent that from happening.

And so that day, in 1921, as the white, angry mob grew and grew at the courthouse and the sheriff tried to hold the white angry mob at bay, a contingent of armed black men from greenwood came to the courthouse to, to supplement the protection, basically, for young Dick Rowland while he was in a jail cell inside that growing mob outside was begging for his blood.

And there is more. There`s much more to be said about what happens then in the ensuing 18 hours. As we come up to the hundred year anniversary of that conflagration which is next month, May 31st, you will hear much more about what happened on May 31st into June 1st 1921.

But the long and the short of it is that there was a firefight at the courthouse, gun battle. The white population of Tulsa and ultimately surrounding areas as well decided that this was the sign that they had been waiting for, I guess, of some kind of black insurrection in Greenwood which they took as cause for both all out hysteria and all out war.

White mobs, literally thousands of white people stormed in the greenwood neighborhood in Tulsa and destroyed it. 36 blocks of the city of Tulsa, they just destroyed. And whatever the sheriff may have done to try to protect teenage Dick Rowland at the courthouse to keep him from being lynched, he did survive. They dropped all charges against him ultimately. The inquiry to what happened to that office building, that elevator, concluded that they he did nothing wrong.

But once the mob had decided that black Tulsa had to be wiped out in this confrontation, local law enforcement not only did not protect black Tulsa, they formally deputized members of the white mob. They gave out guns and ammunition to white men and told them to go get them, in the Greenwood neighborhood.

And in the Greenwood neighborhood, the hospital burned to the ground, and the school burned to the ground and the library in the churches and the hotels and the stores, and both the newspapers the white mob burned more than 1,200 private homes, more than 1,200. They looted hundreds more that did not burn.

Local law enforcement wholesale rounded up black people. Thousands of black people off the streets and out of whatever homes in buildings remained and locked them up, thousands at the local fairgrounds. They left thousands of black Tulsans interned basically at the local fairgrounds for days.

They left thousands of black Tulsans in the local fairgrounds for days. And of course when they were released, the black part of town where they lived, where they worked, had been destroyed. It looked like it had been carpet bombed in a war, thousands of families homeless. Black Tulsa burned out and destroyed.

And we still can`t say exactly how many people died. Newspaper headlines from the time tend to focus on the number of white people who were killed in the conflagrations, just ignoring the black victims.

The first histories of the attack on Greenwood, the Tulsa race massacre counted dozens of victims. Dozens of people killed.

A state commission in 2001 said the number of people murdered that day was probably more like hundreds, somewhere between 175 and 300. But we`re still figuring it out now. Honestly, we still don`t know.

In 2015, 14 years after that state commission in 2001 issued that report, a long lost manuscript was discovered in a storage unit. It was handed over to the Smithsonian, to the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which is why we can access it today. It`s a remarkable document. The manuscript was a typed eyewitness account of the Tulsa race massacre in 1921 by a man who survived it, a prominent black Tulsa lawyer named Buck Colbert Franklin.

Among other things, the Buck Franklin manuscript described turpentine firebombs, firebombs being dropped on major buildings in greenwood from above, from small planes, privately operated planes, that were brought into drop bombs on the black neighborhood. What he described was basically improvised air strikes, from private aircraft, along with the mobs on the streets. He also described machine gun fire turned loose against black civilians in Greenwood, in the streets.

Again, that manuscript was only discovered six years ago. Our understanding of what happened 100 years ago is still growing, as we close in on this 100 years centennial since it happened. But, Buck Franklin, that prominent Tulsa lawyer who`s newly discovered manuscript is at the National African American Museum now, it raises all these new terrifying prospects about the way the white mob attack that black neighborhood and black people in Tulsa hundred years ago.

Buck Franklin is not only the author of that manuscript and therefore has a place in history because of it, he was also the father of one of America`s most famous and groundbreaking historians. John Hope Franklin was his son. John Hope Franklin who got the Medal of Freedom from President Bill Clinton, who`s the president of the American Historical Association, one of the most eminent U.S. historians of all-time.

Today in Tulsa, it is the John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park, named for the son of the man who wrote that eye-opening manuscript about what happened in Tulsa. The John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in Tulsa is the city`s memorial basically to what happened in Tulsa, what happened in the Greenwood neighborhood 100 years ago next month.

And today, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland went to that part, he went to that memorial in Tulsa. In an interview with Pierre Thomas of ABC News, he had this very emotional moment.


PIERRE THOMAS, ABC NEWS REPORTER: You know, one thing, I was thinking about during your confirmation, you mentioned your grandparents, and that they fled anti-Semitism, I believe it was in Russia. And America gave them a home a safe place.

So, is it important to know a little something about being the other, about being someone who`s been discriminated against? Is that something you`ll try to use somehow in the job?

MERRICK GARLAND, ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think, my grandparents left, actually one of them left the same village that mark struggle painted the fiddler on the roof from. It`s now in Belarus, and the country took him in.

THOMAS: It still resonates with you.

GARLAND: Yeah. They protected them, at a time when other countries wouldn`t.

So, all of us in our family feel an obligation of public service, to try to protect other people in the way that the country protected us.

That`s the job of the Justice Department, to make sure equal justice under the law, for all American citizens.

THOMAS: So when you hear different groups, particularly African-Americans in this moment, calling for justice, does that make you listen a little bit deeper? Is it helpful to have that conversation --

GARLAND: Well, I think all Americans should listen deeper. I don`t think - - this is -- we`re one country. And we`re obligated to each other. We`re obligated to protect each other.

Every time you go to a tragedy like this, this is how you have to feel.


MADDOW: We`re obligated to protect each other. He said, Attorney General Merrick Garland. Very emotional remarks today at Reconciliation Park, at the memorial in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the Tulsa race massacre, one of the worst and deadly incidents that we`ve ever had as a country.

Attorney General Garland was in Oklahoma today to be able to do that emotional, remarkable interview about what happened in Tulsa. He was there in Oklahoma, and able to do that because today was also the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing on this day in 1995. A hundred sixty-eight Americans killed in a bombing conceived and executed by Terry Nichols and Timothy McVeigh, white nationalists and far right extremists who were trying to bring down the federal government, and hopefully set off a global race war in the process.

In 1995, Merrick Garland was a Justice Department prosecutor who was dispatched from Justice Department headquarters in Washington the day of the bombing to go to Oklahoma City to eventually lead the Justice Department`s investigative efforts and ultimately their prosecution of the men who did it.

Well, today, he is attorney general, Merrick Garland. And today, he spoke in Oklahoma City, at the site of the Oklahoma City Memorial, and then he went to Tulsa, where he talked about the Tulsa race massacre 100 years ago. He said, of the Tulsa race massacre today, quote: the kind of devastation that happened here, in Tulsa, is the product of the same kind of hatred that led to the bombing in Oklahoma City, in 1985.

So, it`s obviously a very busy time. The Vice President Kamala Harris gave her first major policy speech today, as vice president. She talked about the infrastructure bill. She had a great line about how the good jobs that will come from a big new building plan for infrastructure will go to women as well as men. She said, quote, after all, hard hats are unisex.

So I`m sure now, after this first big speech by Vice President Harris, we will have ten straight weeks of hysteria on Fox News about, you know, Kamala Harris says hard hats are female. Yeah. What is unisex? The Marxist plot, the Antifa, yeah.

Vice President Harris today stepping out in a way that she has yet to since being vice president with that policy speech today.

Today, President Biden had a big bipartisan meeting at the White House, with members of Congress and senators from both parties to try to talk them into doing the infrastructure bill. Today, President Biden and lots of other people in the administration all did videos and interviews and press briefings and social media, and all highlighting the fact that all adults, in the country, actually everybody over the age of 16, is now eligible to get the vaccine, in all 50 states, which is great.

President Biden tweeting out today, quote: Everyone 16 and older in America is eligible for the shot today. Go and get him folks. Go and get him.

Next week is going to mark 100 days since President Biden was sworn in, the night before that, on night 99, on Wednesday night next week, he`s going to give the joint address to Congress, which is the thing we called the State of the Union Address every year except the first year when a new president gets in.

So, it`s a busy time. There`s a lot going on, with the pandemic, and the massive vaccination effort, with this really ambitious agenda for legislation, even after the huge COVID relief bill. Even just with standing up to the new administration. Getting appointees confirmed, expecting to start confirming the first Biden judges soon.

So, there`s a lot going on. It`s a really busy time, including Attorney General Merrick Garland and the U.S. Justice Department prosecuting the January 6th mob that attacked the Capitol, and commemorating the white supremacist attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City, 26 years ago today. And talking about with the attorney general called the same hate, from the Oklahoma City bombing, that led to the massacre of black Americans in Tulsa and the destruction of that vibrant successful community, 100 years ago the spring.

Putting that in the foreground, the U.S. Justice Department, the attorney general of the United States today. And this -- the thing that looms over everything, over all of this, overall that we have done in all that we are doing, and everything about the new administration, is the shadow. Not just the legacy, not just the history, but the current ongoing catastrophe, of American racial violence.

Today, just after 4:00 p.m. local time, the jury got the case in the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer, charged with murdering George Floyd, who died after the officer now on trial, need, knelt on his neck while he was faced down and handcuffed on the street for more than nine minutes. NBC News reports that the White House actually discussed the possibility of activating National Guard troops in all 50 states. In anticipation of potential mass protest in response to whatever the jury`s verdict is going to be.

That hasn`t happened, we haven`t seen 50 state National Guard activation, but the D.C. National Guard was activated tonight. Other places may yet do the same. The National Guard already activated in Minnesota today, the governor of Minnesota also asked neighboring states, Ohio and Nebraska to please send state troopers across state lines into Minnesota to help out with law enforcement needs there.

We, of course, already had a week of angry protests in Minnesota. Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, about ten miles where the George Floyd trial has been underway. After police released body cam footage of an unarmed 20 year old black man named Daunte Wright, being shot and killed during a traffic stop by an officer, who yelled that she was going to tase him, before she instead fired her service pistol into his chest.

If you have seen that bodycam footage, of the death of Daunte Wright, you will never forget it. It is seared into you. As is, frankly, the footage of George Floyd`s death last year.

Today, in closing arguments, the prosecutor in the George Floyd trial made a deep argument, about the people who took the footage of George Floyd being killed by that police officer. The bystanders who saw this man being killed by a police officer, who yelled in pleaded for the officer to relent, who called 911 to try to get other police to come in stop this police officer from killing this man. The bystanders who took out their phones and recorded it so it means they can have it on record even if they couldn`t stop in the moment.

The defenses argued that the presence of those by standards is somehow part of the reason that George Floyd died, that the bystanders who saw what the officer was doing, they were a distraction or threat to him. And so that police officer is not a fall for killing Mr. Floyd.

In closing arguments today, the prosecution sort of turn that around. And made it all about the buy standards. And really by extension, all of us. Anyone who saw happen, who knows that it happened, but who`s been powerless to stop it or anything else like it.

The bystanders that day, is George Floyd died, we`re a group of random Americans who were at that street corner, just by chance in that moment. They saw happen, they knew it was wrong, they were pillars to stop it. But now, today, as of this afternoon, a different group of random Americans chosen as a jury, they too have now seen what happened.

And they as of today, they alone, among all of us, are the ones who actually have the power to finally take action here.


STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: At his death, he was surrounded by strangers. They were strangers, but you can`t say they didn`t care. You can`t say that. These people were randomly chosen from the community, people from the community, randomly chosen by faith. And they were coming from different places, and they were going to different places.

And they had different purposes, all of them, random members of the community. All converged by faith at one single moment in time, to witness something, to witness nine minutes and 29 seconds, of shocking abuse of authority, to watch a man die. And there was nothing they could do about it, because they were powerless.

They were utterly powerless, because even they respected the badge, even seeing this happening. They tried, they cried out at first, pointed out, hey, you can get up off him. He gave more and more desperate as they watch this go on and on and on. And there was nothing, there was nothing they could do.

All they could do, all they could do was watch and gather what they could, gather their memories. Gather their thoughts and impressions. Gather those precious recordings. And they gathered those up, and they brought them here. And they brought them here and they got up on the stand, and they testified and they bore witness to what they saw. They bore witness to this outrageous act.

And they told you about it and they gave you what they had, their thoughts, their impressions, their memories. They gave you those recording so you can see this. You can see this from every single angle. They gave that to you.

They were powerless to do anything with that. They gave it to you -- randomly selected people, from the community. You`ve got a summons in the mail. And here you are, all converged in one spot.

Now, our system, we have power. The power actually belongs to us, the people. And we give it to the government, entrust for us, to hold and to use appropriately.

Sometimes we take it back, sometimes when something is really important, we reserve those decisions for ourself. The state, we have power. We cannot convict the defendant. The judge has power, but he cannot convict the defendant.

That power, that power belongs to you. You have that power. And only you have the power, to convict the defendant, of these crimes. And in so doing, and in so doing declare that this use of force was unreasonable. It was excessive, it was grossly disproportionate.

It is not an excuse, for the shocking abuse you saw with your own eyes. And you can believe your own eyes. This case, is exactly what you thought, when you saw first, when you saw that video. It`s exactly that. You can believe your eyes.

It`s exactly what she believed. It`s exactly what you saw with your eyes, it`s exactly what you knew. It`s what she felt in your gut. It`s what you now know in your heart.

This wasn`t policing. This was murder. The defendant is guilty, of all three counts. All of them. And there`s no excuse.

Thank you.


MADDOW: Closing arguments today in the Minneapolis trial of the death of George Floyd. The jury now has this case. We`ve just been advised in the last hour that they have ceased their deliberation for the night, which means their deliberations will start again tomorrow. We don`t know how long they would deliberate for. But the whole country obviously is waiting on that verdict, for lots and lots of reasons.

Joining us now is Phillip Atiba Goff. He`s a professor of African American studies and psychology at Yale. He`s cofounder and CEO of the Center for Policing Equity.

Professor Goff, thank you so much for being here tonight. It`s really pressure to have you.


MADDOW: It strikes me that we are on tenterhooks waiting for this verdict. Before we get it though, I wonder if you think this has been either an educational or cathartic or potentially regressive moment for the country to have the whole country watching this trial for three weeks now.

GOFF: Well, it`s not the first trial like this that we have had in the United States. I mean, I`ve seen a number of folks looking at the trial and the officers who savagely beat Rodney King in the same exact marking that`s been made by defense. We have had trials of folks who have been obviously demonstrably guilty of savage acts before and the country and the world watched and see what the heck would happen.

I don`t know that there is an inflection point here unless we choose differently. I mean, I`m really struck, actually, by the way in which always, every night, you put all of the lead stories into context, but there`s so much going on. There is the fall of the U.S. stature on the international stage. There is our infrastructure crumbling, there`s our Justice Department that needs to be put back together.

But what strikes me about all of that happening around this trial, the reason why this is the shadow looming around all of it is that every piece that is broken that needs to be made whole, it was once okay. It was once something that was really good about this country, that people who lived here could be proud of, and that was the envy of the entire world, but not racism.

We`ve never gotten that right. We`ve never had a criminal legal system that treated everybody equally. So, if we had an obligation all to one another, maybe we can do that on our roads and bridges. Maybe we can do that in the Justice Department, on our foreign policy.

But the one thing we can`t have in the historical context is the only time we ever got racism right, so maybe part of the reason why we`re hoping this time is different.

MADDOW: Hearing Attorney General Garland today talking about while he was having an emotional moments thinking about his family`s own history in the United States saying in America, we have to protect each other. We have to make sure that we are all protected.

That was -- that was the reason I wanted to plague that sound, is that it just undid me. Thinking, seeing that lens and seeing that value, being articulated by the nation`s chief law enforcement officer. You know, after I had just listened to the first policy speech from our first African American national officeholder of the vice president today, and just seeing with that -- seeing through that lens into the way that all those bystanders felt so hopeless and the way people watching this trial and watching these jury deliberations and waiting for their verdict today feel impotent, feel helpless, feels cynical and feel that there is nothing that can`t be done because we can`t even imagine this working.

It`s almost like we need to invent here is hope that it could get better.

GOFF: Well, and that is why we are sitting here waiting all day. On one level, it`s absurd to have to wait. I just want to clarify, I understand that the charge here is murder but what we need thinnest was a lynching. It`s part of the reason why it`s important in a historical context. It was a public message to people that what Officer Chauvin was doing was okay and you might be next.

So part of why we`re sitting here is because of the absurdity that if there`s any suspense here at all we all watched it. But the other part is exactly that. There is no way to actually get justice for George Floyd, he`s not going to come back alive. There is also no way to get remedy for the children who had to take the stand and say yes, and my formative years, this is what I saw and I knew it was wrong and the person who had authority to take away life and liberty could not get up off a man`s neck.

There will be no remedy through this court process for anybody. There might be a measure of accountability and the fact of that would feel like something new is an indictment. It`s just an indictment for a case that we haven`t yet really put on trial. And the hope is on the other side of something like sense in this particular court case, that we will do something different for the first time on racism and punishment in this country, for the first time.

I can`t overstate it, because in all of our history we are looking for the example that makes this right. The place we can get back to and there is no going backwards find comfort. The only possible comfort is what we choose to do next.

MADDOW: Phillip Atiba Goff is a professor of African American studies and psychology at Yale University. He`s cofounder and CEO of the Center of Policing Equity.

Phillip, we`re all watching this with the same dread and anticipation tonight, thanks for helping us put it into perspective.

All right. We have eyes on Minnesota tonight as the jury deliberations have wrapped for the evening. As we have mentioned, there is national guard that has been activated in Washington, D.C. There`s also the National Guard activated over the past week in Minnesota after there have been nearly a week now of protests over the death of Daunte Wright, about ten miles away from where the George Floyd trial has been held these past three weeks.

There`s a lot going on tonight. Lots more news to get to, stay with us.


MADDOW: Some said breaking news to report to you tonight. We`re just getting word that former Vice President Walter Mondale has died today at the age of 93. Walter Mondale, "Fritz" to his friends, was, of course, vice president under President Jimmy Carter from 1977 to 1981. He made his own run for president in 1984.

He did not win that race. But Mondale may have achieved his most lasting legacy in national politics for who we chose to be his own vice presidential nominee in 1984. He picked Geraldine Ferraro to be his running mate. She was the first female vice presidential nominee on a major party ticket in U.S. history.

Again, they did not win that race in `84. Reagan won a second term and the true landslide presidential election, Mondale and Ferraro won Minnesota and D.C., and Reagan won the rest. It will be a long time before there was another woman on a major party presidential ticket in this country.

But it did happen. Geraldine Ferraro died in 2011, she never lived to see the country`s first woman vice president, but Walter Mondale did. And feel somehow fitting that one of the last people, Vice President Mondale reportedly spoke to before he died today, was his successor, Vice President Kamala Harris.

Mondale`s friend and former campaign staffer, Tom Cosgrove tells "Axios" tonight that while he and his family believed his death was imminent, after his calls yesterday with Vice President Harris and Biden, as well as Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. Mondale, quote, perked up after those calls.

Vice President Mondale, basically is credited with having remade the vice presidency, which Kamala Harris now occupies. The idea that we now take as a given, that the vice president will take on all kinds of important policy portfolios, will be in charge of key projects, will be a partner in governing with the president. That whole idea of the vice presidency, is credited as starting with Vice President Mondale. And with the constructive relationship that he had with President Carter.

Mondale was, in fact, the first vice president to have an office in the West Wing. Tonight, former President Carter put out a statement, in response to the news of Mondale`s death. It says in part, quote, Fritz Mondale provided us all with a model for public service, and private behavior. Rosalynn and I join all Americans and giving thanks for his exemplary life, and we extend our deepest condolences, to his family.

Senator Amy Klobuchar was an intern to Walter Mondale when she was in college, and he was vice president. She released a statement about him tonight, saying in part, Walter Mondale is a high bar for himself, for his entire life he kept passing and raising, it passing and raising it. He`ll be in a better place if we all follow his example. He will be sorely, sorely missed.

Senator Klobuchar, thank you so much for joining us on a very short notice, upon getting this news. I really appreciate.


You know, he -- he was an incredible public service. And I think that probably the words that best capture it are the words on the Carter Library, and he -- they were on the wall, and I was in there one day and I wrote them down and put them on a no in my purse, and kept them forever.

And it was what he said after they lost the election, and he looked back at there for years and he said, we told the truth, we obey the law, we kept the peace.

And I think that pretty much sums up Walter Mondale`s life. He was a man of incredible strength and dignity. He treated everyone with kindness. And he went from a tiny little town as a son of a minister in Ceylon, Minnesota, all the way to the second highest office in the land.

MADDOW: Those words that you just quoted, I have interviewed you over the years in lots of different occasions, and more than once you have quoted me those words. I know how important Vice President Mondale was to you. You have often described him as your mentor in politics.

Can you talk a little bit about what it was like to be an intern for him when he was vice president, but also what he was like as a mentor and why he meant so much to you.

KLOBUCHAR: Well, he spent time with the interns, which was incredible. We were just college students. He had us over for dinner at the vice president`s house.

I thought I was going to go there and do all these glamorous things in policy papers, and they had me do the furniture inventory. And I crawled over every lamp and wrote down every number. In literally years later I know two things and I tell young people these, lessons one he was honest, nothing was missing. But, two, take your first job seriously, because he gave me that first job. And now I`ve got this one as a U.S. senator of Minnesota.

He encouraged me while I worked at the law firm. He encouraged me to run for the U.S. senate. He supported me for president. He was there every step of the way.

And I think when you talked about Geraldine Ferraro, I wasn`t just me, I think every little girl, at the time, knew that anything and everything was possible, just like when Kamala was standing on that inaugural stage. And I literally still remember what Geraldine Ferraro was wearing with her red dress and her pearls.

And he did that. He asked her, he asked her to be the running mate. And he is someone that is believed that his job, after he left, office after getting defeated as you so well explained, in running for president, it didn`t and there. He saw his job as passing on the torch, to the next generation of leaders.

And so many people, when they lose political office, just kind of fade away. Not him. He was a pillar in the community. He stood up for what he always did. And that was the title of one of his books, "The Good Fight".

MADDOW: As somebody who just embodies the idea of upright decency and public service, ambition yes, but most of all solidity, decency, a life well-lived, and not an enemy in the world, Fritz Mondale, former Vice President Mondale dying tonight at the age of 90, Minnesota`s senior senator, Amy Klobuchar, I know that he meant so much to you. Thank you for being with us tonight. I know it`s a hard time, and it`s an honor to have you here.

KLOBUCHAR: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: All right. Senator Mondale I should say, before he was vice president, he was senator of Minnesota. And one of the things that I think is worth remembering at times like this is that his path, as Senator Klobuchar said, from preacher son in small town Minnesota to the vice presidency, it`s easy to sort of see the beginnings and see the engine sort of the pinnacles that he reached in public life.

But in his time as attorney general in the state of Minnesota, in his time as senator in Minnesota, he just bill brick-by-brick, a solid decent scandal-free record of accomplishment and bravery. He was a senator doing the Great Society programs, Great Society legislation of LBJ, of course.

And that meant that as a high-profile senator and leader of the time, he was key to getting so much civil rights legislation passed, so many much key environmental protections passed. The reason Jimmy Carter picked him to be his running mate among other things, was because he was a known and proven effective public servant and leader.

And as Senator Klobuchar said, even after leaving national office remained a mentor and friend and pillar both to his party and to the people of Minnesota to the very, very end.

Vice President Walter Mondale died today at the age of 93.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Every year, Russian President Vladimir Putin gives an address to the Russian legislature. Last year, he used that speech to announce proposed changes in law that will let him stay in power as president for another 16 years. He`s been there for more than 20 years already.

Well, now, he is due to address the legislature again, his yearly address is this week, Wednesday. And this week, his speech to the legislature will coincide with what are expected to be significant protests in Russia called by the opposition. They want protests on Wednesday in support of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who might right now be in the process of dying in a Russian penal colony.

Today, he was moved to a hospital or at least a TB ward, depending on who you ask, of penal colony where he is a prisoner. When he was first and president earlier this year, Navalny began losing feeling in his legs. He asked to see a doctor, but was told no. He went on a hunger strike until he was granted medical treatment.

When his wife visited him last week, he said he had difficulty speaking. He had to lie down because he was too weak to talk. Today, his doctor says his health has significantly deteriorated and that his vital signs show he is near cardiac arrest and has impaired kidneys. His doctor says of Alexei Navalny, quote, are patient could die at any moment.

This weekend, the U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. has communicated to the Russian government that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies. National Security Council says that Sullivan spoke to his Russian counterpart on the phone today. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary says that they discussed was Alexei Navalny.

But Navalny`s health is not the only thing they have to talk about. Russia, of course, has been building up what appears to be a very large troop presence on the border with our ally, Ukraine.

Today, European Union`s foreign minister said that Russia has now more than 150,000 troops massed on Ukraine`s border. I don`t know where either of these storylines is going but this is not a personality clash between two world leaders at this point. What`s going on right now feels like a ramp up to a considerable something.

The question is a ramp up to what? And what options are available to U.S. government?

Joining us now is Ann Simmons. She is Moscow bureau chief for "The Wall Street Journal".

Ms. Simmons, I know it is a O dark 30 where you are. Thank you so much for being here in the middle of the night. I really appreciate your time.


MADDOW: What do you make of the claims by supporters and family members, lawyers for Mr. Navalny that he is dying? That he is in the process of losing his life and this penal colony. Obviously, the Russian government says that he`s been lingering and this is just fearmongering and some sort of stunt.

Is there any way to independently assess the claims they`re making?

SIMMONS: Actually, there isn`t, Rachel. His allies are extremely worried about him. They said that here is on the brink of death. There are several medical doctors who went to try to see Mr. Navalny and they were denied access.

They have managed to get a hold of some medical tests from prison through Mr. Navalny`s lawyer and basically they said it shows that he is at risk of renal failure, which may lead to cardiac arrest. As you`ve mentioned, he`s experienced debilitating back pain, a numbness in his legs and hands, and some of his doctors believe that that could be a result of the poison that he suffered last year when he was poisoned by nerve agent and ended up spending 24 days intensive care unit in Germany.

MADDOW: We have seen a certain level of confrontation from the new administration in the U.S. to the Russian government about Navalny`s arrest, about his imprisonment, now about his medical treatment in prison. And Jake Sullivan, with his very bluntly worded but vague statement, blunt but vague, that there will be consequences if Mr. Navalny dies in prison.

From your reporting and from what you can observe in Russia, does that Russian government worry about international consequences if Mr. Navalny dies at their hands in prison?

SIMMONS: The Russian government has existed in fact credibly has come out and said look, the U.S. should butt out essentially. The U.S. should not get or interfere in the internal affairs of Russia. So they are really insistent that they don`t care. That we are not backing down because the U.S. has warned us about consequences.

On the other hand, however, Mr. Navalny was moved to this hospital facility within the prison system a day after Mr. Sullivan actually warned of consequences and Mr. Navalny dies in prison. So possibly, that shows that the Russian government is listening but the Kremlin has insisted that this is our affair. Mr. Navalny is a Russian citizen and we are able to do with our citizens as we wish within the framework of our laws.

MADDOW: Ann Simmons, Moscow bureau chief for "The Wall Street Journal", joining us live at an ungodly hour, Ms. Simmons, thank you very much for making time for us tonight. It`s a real honor to have you here.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

MADDOW: All right, we`ve got more ahead tonight. Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Altimeter data confirmed that Ingenuity has performed its first flight -- the first flight of a powered aircraft on another planet.


MADDOW: Look at those nerds just excited about a graph. Just kidding.

I am very excited about that graph, the altimeter data. This is fantastic. For everything else that`s bad in the world, for everything else we can`t do, people believe we can do this.

Early this morning, that team at the jet propulsion lab at NASA confirmed with this graph that, which even if you don`t know how to altimeters work you can tell what this means. They confirmed with this data that the little four-pound helicopter that traveled to Mars with the Perseverance rover, the helicopter named Ingenuity, really did just become the first powered aircraft to fly on another planet.

This is a thing that as of today, we humans can do. That we had no idea we could do before. We, humankind, figured out how to fly things on other planets. Thank you, NASA.

And now we have video of it happening. This is real video, not an animation, not a recreation. This is real video from Mars set back to us on earth. Drop the third -- yeah, thank you, so we can see it.

This is captured by a camera on the Perseverance rover that was pointed at the little copter as it lifted off and took its flight. The ingenuity helicopter went a total of ten feet up in the air. It turned and then it came straight back down in landed with a little plop and that doesn`t sound all that crazy except for the fact that the atmosphere on Mars is 100 times thinner than the atmosphere on earth, so all the physics of flying a helicopter had to be totally recalibrated.

But it worked. So now, that team at NASA has 30 Martian days to run tests and experiments with this thing before they put it back to the other science work they are playing for the rover. It`s just -- I mean, look at it. Right brothers level stuff on Mars today. Wow. Very exciting.

We`ll be right back.


MADDOW: Again just repeating the news that broke within our hour, this past hour, that former Vice President Walter Mondale, vice president to President Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale has died tonight at the age of 93, fondly remember especially in his home state of Minnesota, where he was known by everybody as Fritz. He served as attorney general of the state of Minnesota. He was a senator from Minnesota and served as vice president and was the Democratic Party`s nominee for president in 1984. He has passed tonight at the age of 93.

That`s going to do it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.


Good evening, Lawrence.