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'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Read the transcript to the Thursday show

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
July 10, 2014

Guest: Jon Tester, Mark Mazzetti


RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, man.

CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: You bet.

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

In one point in our nation`s recent history, a man named Rick Perry
was definitely going to be president.

At the end of President Obama`s first term, Republicans were circling.
They had that great midterm election in 2010 when the whole country went
red. They thought, you know, on the heels of that election after Obamacare
and all the rest of it, they thought they had a great chance of making
President Barack Obama a one-term president. They just needed the right
candidate to knock him off.

And in the summer of 2011, sort of circus had already started in the
Republican primary. Had Michele Bachmann running and Herman Cain and Rick
Santorum and Ron Paul, and all these other people who are not the right
guy, right? They never definitely going to be president. None of those
people were.

And that circus was under way in the summer of 2011. And Republicans
knew they had a great opportunity but knew these folks were not their
candidate so they thought they had their prayers answered, when in August
of that year, the candidate who was perfectly designed by God to defeat
Barack Obama in an election in 2012, he finally got around to announcing
that he was going to run.

And Rick Perry is good-looking, he`s got an amazing head of very
presidential hair. He had been governor of Texas for, like, 150 years. He
wears boots. He has an accent. He`s very, very conservative. Business
likes him. Social conservatives like him.

Rick Perry on paper was perfect. He was definitely going to be
president, or at least he was definitely going to be the Republican nominee
for president. The week that he announced, Gallup did a nationwide poll of
Republican voters and Republican-leaning voters, those voters picked Rick
Perry as their nominee by a mile. The number of Republican and Republican-
leading voters who picked Rick Perry as their preferred nominee for
president was 29 percent. And that may not sound like much, 29 percent,
but there were a million people in the Republican field at that point, and
with that 29 percent, Governor Perry was first by a mile.

The next closest contender was Mitt Romney who was 12 points behind
Rick Perry. The week that rick Perry announced. Rick Perry was going to
be the nominee, and he was probably going to get elected president. On
paper, he was perfect.

And then the campaign started. The first rumblings that something
might be wrong were sort of subtle, frankly. It was the first few major
debates. Nothing went terribly wrong for Rick Perry at his first four
presidential debates, but it was like he was sleeping through them.

He was boring. He was stiff. He was awkward. He had weird body
language. It didn`t seem like he particularly understood all of the
questions. He kept repeating the same things over and over again when they
were plainly not related to the things other people were talking about. He
was just unimpressive.

The governor, himself, acknowledged he wasn`t doing that great. He
told CBS News in October of that year that debates weren`t his strong suit.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS: I just try to get up every day and do my
job and, you know, debates are not my strong suit. But, you know, we get
up and do them and we just try to let people see our passion.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Oh, people would come to see his passion all right, but not
the way he wanted. In that actual moment there that we showed you when he
was walking out of the debate venue and starting to talk to the cameras
from CBS, that was kind of the actual moment that was the start of it all
falling apart because he left that debate that night. His next stop after
talking to his cameras right outside the debate was a fraternity on the
campus of Dartmouth College, the Beta Theta Pi fraternity.

He did the debate. He didn`t do very well. He told everybody,
debates aren`t my strong suit. Then he went right to the frat house,
whereupon a fraternity brother asked Governor Perry a question about states
rights.

And Governor Perry responded that he was very much in favor of states
rights. He said, quote, "It was actually the reason that we fought the
revolution in the 16th century. Was to get away from that kind of onerous
crown." The 16th century for the American Revolution.

You know, when people screw up what century it is, it`s usually that
you don`t remember if you`re talking about something that happened in the
1700s. That`s not the 17th century. That`s the 18th century.

But to talk about the American Revolution happening in the 16th --
that would be the 1500s. I mean, that was just kind of -- that was weird.
That was a weird moment.

And now looking back in retrospect, we maybe should have seen that
that was a sign that something might be wrong with this candidacy. Because
very shortly thereafter, it did become more than clear that something
really was very wrong.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to actually get you out of here right
at 9:00, so last thing -- first of all, Governor Perry, you can`t leave New
Hampshire without getting a couple of things. Essentials from New
Hampshire. First thing is, we call this -- in New Hampshire we call it
liquid gold. But you`ll put it on your pancakes and waffles and whatever
other Southern food you eat down in Texas. But this is pure maple syrup
from the state of New Hampshire.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: There has still been no explanation for what was going on
with Rick Perry at the loving up on some maple syrup speech in Manchester,
New Hampshire, during his run for president. He ended up speaking to this
group. This is a group that claims to be able to cure people of the curse
of homosexuality.

The governor appeared to definitely have a good time at that event,
but also it seemed like there was something else going on there, something
was off about the governor there. It has always been interesting to me
that that tape, that appearance by Rick Perry, when he was on the campaign
trail running for president, that did not get a ton of attention. I
actually think it`s possible that tape people felt was too embarrassing to
show.

For whatever reason, that tape never received a lot of airtime. But
not long after that sort of remarkable appearance, things really did very
publicly fall apart for Rick Perry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: And I will tell you, it`s three agencies of government when I
get there that are gone. Commerce, education, and the -- what`s the third
one there? Let`s see.

RON PAUL (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You mean five.

PERRY: OK, five. OK.

So, Commerce, Education and the --

MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: EPA.

PERRY: EPA, there you go.

MODERATOR: Seriously? Is the EPA the one you`re talking about?

PERRY: No, sir. No, sir. We were talking about the agencies of
government -- EPA needs to be rebuilt. There`s no doubt about that.

MODERATOR: But you can`t name the third one?

PERRY: The third agency of government I would do away with,
Education, the Commerce, and let`s see -- I can`t. The third one I can`t.
Sorry. Oops.

MODERATOR: What about the EPA --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: That oops, a lot of people thought the oops would be the end
of Rick Perry`s campaign for president. I mean, he came in as the front-
runner. He was supposed to be the guy who was almost a shoo-in to win the
nomination, and then, oops.

That was not the end of it, though. He didn`t drop out. Not that
long after the oops experience, Rick Perry told a group of college students
in New Hampshire that he would appreciate their votes if they were 21 years
old by November 12th.

The voting age in the United States is actually 18. And the election
was being held on November 6th.

That same day, Governor Perry went on CNN and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Washington has abused the Constitution. You go back to the --
a decade ago with Woodrow Wilson. We start, you know, the 16th Amendment
and allow for the income tax.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: You go -- you go back a decade ago to Woodrow -- Woodrow?
Woodrow Wilson was president from 1913 to 1921. So if you go back a decade
to the presidency -- I don`t know.

Then, a little bit more than a week after that, Governor Perry had a
serious conversation with a voter about our wars in Afghanistan and in
Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About the two next wars. How do you feel about
it?

PERRY: She asked about Iran, Afghanistan. And I try not to -- I try
not to make a connection between --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Iraq.

PERRY: Excuse me, Iraq. Thank you very much. That will be on the
front page of the something. Iraq.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: He was still in the presidential race at that point. He was
not yet dropping out. But the day after he talked about war in Iran, I
mean Iraq, front page of something, the day after that, he was asked about
President Obama`s nominees to the Supreme Court. He decided in that
question that he would comment specifically on Supreme Court justice --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: When you see his appointment of two -- from my perspective,
inarguably -- activist judges, whether it was -- not Montemayor --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sonia Sotomayor?

PERRY: Sotomayor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Sotomayor, darn it!

Rick Perry just did not cut it as a presidential candidate. It was
just thing after thing after thing. And when the Iowa caucuses happened on
January 3rd, he came in fifth just ahead of Michele Bachmann, just behind
Newt Gingrich and all the other guys.

This is from the guy who came into the race not that long before as
the prohibitive front-runner. On the night of those Iowa caucuses, he told
reporters basically that he was quitting the race.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: Would the voters` decision tonight in Iowa, I`ve decided to
return to Texas, assess the results of tonight`s caucus, determine whether
there`s a path forward for myself in this race.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In presidential politics, that is how you quit. You say
you`re going home to think about whether you are going to quit. That`s
quitting in presidential politics.

Then, Rick Perry kind of did it again after basically quitting the
night of the Iowa caucuses, as you saw right there, he did go home to Texas
whereupon he then announced he was running again. Because why not? He had
come in fifth in Iowa. He came in sixth in New Hampshire. He got 0.71
percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary.

But he said he was coming back into the race because he had a plan to
win in South Carolina. He did not win in South Carolina. He dropped out
for good from the presidential race two days before the primary in South
Carolina.

But that little extension of his campaign, I should mention, it did
give him another opportunity to screw just one more thing up. Just before
the South Carolina primary, he was in a debate in which he stated that
Turkey, the nation of Turkey should be kicked out of NATO because he said
it was a nation run by Islamic terrorists. Turkey.

Turkey was very angry with this, as you might imagine.

So, as Rick Perry was failing, he did manage to create a small and
inexplicable international incident where nobody had any idea what he was
talking about, but it did make everybody very angry and that ended up being
the one way that his presidential campaign made a splash. Oops.

Rick Perry was the perfect candidate on paper. In real life, Rick
Perry was a disaster. What has been fascinating to watch since then is
that Governor Rick Perry of Texas appears to have taken one lesson from his
disastrous campaign for president in 2012.

He clearly wants to run again in 2016 and he apparently looks back on
that 2012 campaign and surveys that landscape with the oops and the weird
making out with the syrup and the Supreme Court Justice Montemayor and
Turkey`s run by terrorists and the American Revolution was fought in the
1500, and you have to be 21 to vote a week and a half after the election
actually is and not remembering where the other war is, and Woodrow Wilson
was the president a decade ago.

I mean, Rick Perry looks back at that astounding landscape of his live
human performance as a presidential candidate and he has apparently decided
that none of that was the problem. He has apparently decided that this was
the one thing for him that actually was a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MODERATOR: How do you feel being criticized by a number of these
other candidates on the stage for being too soft on immigration, sir?

PERRY: Well, I feel pretty normal getting criticized by these folks,
but the fact of the matter is this -- there is nobody on this stage who has
spent more time working on border security than I have.

But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into
our state for no other reason than they`ve been brought there by no fault
of their own, I don`t think you have a heart. We need to be educating
these children because they will become a drag on our society. This was a
state issue. Texans voted on it, and I still support it greatly.

(CHEERS)

MODERATOR: Senator Santorum --

(BOOS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: So it starts off a few very loud cheers there, initially.
But then they get drowned out and went on to be a very loud and long chorus
of booing.

And that booing apparently is what Rick Perry has been stewing about
these past 2 1/2, 3 years or so when he thinks about what he wishes he
could have done differently or what he wishes he could do over about his
presidential run, because other than his new fashionable eye glasses, the
one major makeover that Governor Rick Perry has gone through since his
disastrous presidential run is that he no longer makes the mistake of
talking about immigrants or the issue of immigration without pounding his
chest.

And so, with this current real crisis on the border, which is very
much focused on Texas, that`s where this big surge of unaccompanied kids
and young families have turned up on the border, Rick Perry`s proposal to
President Obama for what ought to be done, the one thing that President
Obama says rick Perry demanded of him yesterday that`s not already being
proposed by the Obama administration, the one thing Governor Perry wants is
that he wants the National Guard sent to the border.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The governor`s one
concern that he mentioned to me was is that setting aside the supplemental,
I should go ahead and authorize having National Guard troops surge at the
border right away.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: In the face of this very real, very big crisis happening in
his state, this National Guard thing, this is the one idea that governor
rick Perry wants to be known for. Send the military. Send troops. Send
the National Guard.

It`s very important to him after what happened to him a few years ago.
It`s very important to him that he sound very tough on this issue, and, of
course, there`s nothing tougher than sending troops. Ask the cadet.

But troops and the National Guard, it should be noted, are also
completely irrelevant to this particular crisis on the border right now. I
don`t mean that in the sense like, oh, people have a difference of opinion
with the governor about the appropriate policy respond to this kind of
crisis on the border. I mean, as an empirical matter, putting troops in
armed positions on the border is irrelevant to this crisis. It would have
absolutely no effect on this crisis, because what sets this border crisis
apart is that this is not a situation in which people are sneaking across
the border.

This particular crisis is one that manifests as people walking up to
border patrol agents and surrendering themselves to them. Walking up to
border patrol agents and turning themselves in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIKP)

TV ANCHOR: Just into the Channel 5 newsroom, border patrol agents
just picked up some illegal immigrants.

TV ANCHOR: And what makes it unusual is that they gave themselves up
just as they stepped on to U.S. soil.

REPORTER: A border patrol spokesman tells us they needed those vans
because women and children were crossing this part of the river on rafts
and immediately giving themselves up.

REPORTER: Border patrol says up to 1,000 parents and children
surrender to them each day.

BORDER PATROL AGENT: We`re not having to chase them down anymore.
Like I said, they`re family units or unaccompanied children. And they come
over here, they want to get caught. They make no quarrels about being
caught.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: Governor Rick Perry of Texas is dying to have a national
comeback in politics and he apparently thinks that in order to do that, he
needs to have a do-over on seeming too soft on immigration issues. He
needs to seem super tough. So, he is calling for armed troops on the
border to deal with this problem.

What exactly would armed troops do in this situation to help? I mean,
threaten to shoot kids and moms while these kids and moms are peacefully
turning themselves in with their hands in the air?

I mean, immigration crises come in all different sorts of shapes and
sizes, but in this particular one, nobody`s chasing anybody. Nobody`s
sneaking across the border. This is not a problem that something is
unguarded and we need more guards.

These folks who are coming across in this particular crisis are
looking for border patrol agents, seeking them out and handing themselves
over. They would please like to be taken into custody.

How is having troops there going to help make that not happen?

"USA Today" editorialized on this, this morning. "The National Guard
can be of little help because for the most part these children are turning
themselves in as soon as they get to the border."

Right. And that is why nobody asks Governor Rick Perry for his
opinion on big policy matters.

But policy will have to be the way that this problem gets solved. The
president did have to meet with Governor Perry yesterday and listen to his
National Guard suggestion. Thanks, Governor.

Putting that behind him, the president today in Austin gave a rip-
snorting speech where he went after Congress in very aggressive terms for
basically not making sense on this issue, in his estimation, for trying to
find political capital in this crisis instead of just fixing this crisis.

I don`t know if he has done this before, but President Obama today
called on, honestly, the most foul-mouthed character ever played by the
actor Mark Wahlberg in order to make his point about Congress. It went
like this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There`s a great movie called "The Departed." Little violent
for kids, but there`s this scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg, yes,
they`re on a stakeout, and somehow the guy loses the guy that they`re
tracking, and Wahlberg`s all upset and, you know, yelling at the guy. The
guy looks up and says, "Who are you?" Wahlberg says, "I`m the guy doing my
job, you must be the other guy."

Sometimes I feel like saying to these guys, I`m the guy doing my job,
you must be the other guy.

(APPLAUSE)

So rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time, wastes
taxpayer money, I`ve got a better idea. Do something.

(CHEERS)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: The president has requested nearly $4 billion to basically
surge resources both at the border and throughout the systems that are
processing these kids and families for deportation and that are handling
them until they can be sent back. And there are mixed reports and fast-
changing reports out of Washington over the last 24 hours about whether or
not Republicans in Congress are going to vote for any of those resources.

Or whether they are going to follow Rick Perry`s lead instead, the
former presidential front-runner, after all, who really, really, really did
look good on paper.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The Republican Party unveiled its congressional lawsuit
against President Obama today. Republican House Speaker John Boehner has
been saying for a couple of weeks now that House Republicans were going to
file a lawsuit against the president because they object to actions he has
taken as president.

But before today, they wouldn`t say what exactly those actions were to
which they objected. Just before they released that specific information,
finally tonight, President Obama had this to say about their lawsuit at his
speech in Austin, Texas.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: There are a number of Republicans in Congress, including a
number of the Texas delegation who are mad at me for taking these actions.
They actually plan to sue me.

The truth is, even with all the actions I`ve taken this year, I`m
issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years. So --
so, it`s not clear, you know, how it is the Republicans didn`t seem to mind
when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.

Maybe it`s just me they don`t like. I don`t know. Maybe there`s some
principle out there that I haven`t discerned. That I haven`t figured out.
You know?

You hear some of them -- "sue him," "impeach him." Really?

(LAUGHTER)

Really? For what?

(CHEERS)

You`re going to sue me for doing my job? OK.

I mean, think about that. Use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my
job, while you don`t do your job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: President Obama made those remarks at about midday today,
early afternoon, calling on Congress to pass the emergency appropriation
he`s calling for to address the crisis on the border, criticizing House
Republicans for refusing to vote on immigration reform though the Senate
passed it by a huge margin. He went into this in the speech.

He was also teasing congressional Republicans as you just saw for
suing him. That was early afternoon today.

Then at 5:30 Eastern Time today, the House Republicans released the
details of that lawsuit against President Obama. Speaker John Boehner had
previously announced he`d be suing, but he wouldn`t say for what.

Well, today, they announced what they`re suing the president for is
him delaying for one year one part of the health reform law, the part that
requires employers of a certain size to provide health insurance for their
employees. House Republicans do not like that part of the law. They do
not want it to be implemented ever. But now they are suing President Obama
for not implementing it sooner, because he made the decision to do so,
himself. It`s kind of a weird moment.

But this weird moment is happening at a time when there is a
legitimate crisis. Not a made up political crisis, but a real crisis on
the Southern border specifically in Texas, and the president has put an
emergency proposal on the table right now to address it right now in
Congress. In the same Congress that just today sued the president. That
makes me not like the odds here.

But joining us now is a senator who`s in a much better position to
know what the odds really are, Senator Jon Tester of Montana, member of
both the Appropriations Committee and Homeland Security Committee.

Senator, as such, I know you were at the hearing today on the crisis
on the border and the emergency legislation to try to handle it. Thanks
for being with us tonight to help us understand what`s going on in
Washington.

SEN. JON TESTER (D), MONTANA: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: It does seem improbable to me, given congressional politics
right now, that President Obama is going to get what he`s asking for in
terms of surging resources to deal with this situation on the border. What
is your sense of it?

TESTER: Well, I`m very hopeful that we`ll be able to take his
proposal and justify it and make sure it does what it needs to do to handle
some 60,000 kids, most of them from the age of 14 to 18, on the border.

Look, we`ve got a big problem. We cannot ignore it like we`ve ignored
the Highway Trust Fund, and like we`ve ignored immigration reform, and like
we`ve ignored so many things in Congress. This is a problem that we need
to address, and the quicker we can address it, I think the more humanely we
can treat these children that are on the border and get them back to their
homeland.

Look, as a father and a grandfather, I cannot tell you what could be
going through these parents` mind as they put them on a bus or a train or
in a van to ship them north to our border. It`s got to be gut-wrenching.
We need to deal with this problem and we need to deal with it in a way that
makes sense for the American taxpayer, and for those kids that are on the
border also.

So, I am hopeful that the Senate will pass a supplemental that will
solve the problems. Look, the agencies are in front of the appropriations
committee today. They got asked some tough questions. They`re going to
give us the answers we want or there may be a problem, but I have full
confidence that they will.

I thought Jeh Johnson, in particular, and Sylvia Burwell did a great
job, and I think that we`ll get the questions answers and I think it will
go out of the Senate because we just can`t do nothing in this particular
instance.

Now, in hindsight, it would have been great if the House would have
taken up that bipartisan immigration bill that we passed a year and a half
ago, because if the speaker would have put that on the floor, and if you
put it on the floor now, I think it would pass the House of
Representatives. If that would have been done a year and a half ago, we
would not be here today talking about $3.7 billion or $4.3 billion in an
emergency supplemental.

MADDOW: In terms of House Republicans, their role in the overall
decision-making process about what gets done for us as a country right now,
President Obama yesterday, he said Governor Perry, quoting from the
president here, "Governor Perry, he suggested maybe you need to go ahead
and act and that might convince Republicans that they should go ahead and
pass the supplemental." Then the president said, "I had to remind him I`m
getting sued right now by Mr. Boehner apparently for doing ahead and acting
instead of going through Congress."

I mean, with this lawsuit moving ahead today, the House Republicans
framing their relationship with the president in literally a litigious way,
does that make things even worse or is that a reflection of how bad they
are?

TESTER: Well, it certainly doesn`t help. That`s for sure. I mean, I
think the lawsuit is silly on a number of different fronts.

But the bottom line is, politics trumps policy most the time around
here. This issue is not going to go away unless we deal with it in
Congress, and we need to deal with it in Congress and give the president
the tools that he needs, give the administration the tools that they need
to be able to solve this problem that`s on our southern border right now.

And if we don`t do that, it will be a total dereliction of duty.

MADDOW: I have to ask you, Senator, I don`t want you to name names,
because it will poison it, it will jinx it at least, but when you talk to
your Republican colleagues about this, when you see them interact with
witnesses in hearings and stuff, do you get the sense that there are some
practical impulses arising among your Republican colleagues here to try to
get this done? Are you sensing that this is being treated in a partisan
way?

Again, don`t name names. Do you feel they`re moving in a constructive
way?

TESTER: Look, there are some on the Appropriations Committee today
that treated it very partisanly. There are others that I felt wanted
answers to questions that were reasonable questions. They`re thinking
folks.

And I think -- I cannot speak for the House Republicans, but I think
there are enough Senate Republicans that want to do the right thing that
will help put this country on a path that it needs to be put on that I
think we`ll get enough votes. I may be overly optimistic, but I don`t
think so. I think that there are enough reasonable folks on both sides of
the aisle that we can get this supplemental passed. It may not be exactly
what the president has put forth, but I think it`s going to -- I think
whatever we end up with will be something that will accomplish the job that
needs to be done on the southern border.

And that is, you know, process these kids. Do it very humanely and
get them back to their homeland. I think that`s what needs to happen.
Plus, a very strong media effort in Guatemala and Honduras and El Salvador
in particular to let the parents know that if they ship their kids north,
it`s not going to be as the drug cartel have told them it`s going to be.

MADDOW: Senator Jon Tester of Montana, you`re in a position to know
how these things may go. I really appreciate you helping us understand it
tonight, sir. Thank you.

TESTER: Thanks, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thank you.

I think Senator Tester making news with that estimation of how this
thing is going to go in the Senate. I think he may be right.

We`ll have much more ahead, including a best new thing starring
Richard Nixon like you`ve never, ever heard him before.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: As a general rule when a sentence starts like this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD NIXON, FORMER PRESIDENT: Let me say something before we get
off the gay thing --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MADDOW: When a sentence starts like that, it`s a good chance you`re
going to want to hear the end of it. And when it`s former President
Richard Nixon saying that, you`re not going to want to hear the end of it,
you`re going to want it hear it on a loop.

And that tape is tonight`s best new thing in the world, and it will
blow your mind. And that is coming up.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: Over Memorial Day weekend, President Obama made a surprise
trip to Afghanistan to visit with troops. The president was joined by
country singer Brad Paisley on that trip who performed for about an hour
before the president spoke. This was an unannounced secret trip. They
always are now whenever presidents go to war zones.

But on that secret trip, something strange happened. The White House
sent out a list to news organizations of the names of U.S. officials who
were set to brief the president while he was in Afghanistan. It`s a fairly
routine thing to do on a presidential trip. Except this time that list
given to the news media included the name of the CIA`s station chief in
Kabul, Afghanistan.

That list accidentally outed the name of the highest ranking CIA spy
in that country and outed it to 6,000 reporters. That happened on Memorial
Day weekend. Terrible.

Then, last week, an employee of Germany`s intelligence agency, their
version of the CIA, was arrested inside Germany and then reportedly he
confessed to stealing German government secrets and selling them to the
CIA. The CIA had apparently cultivated an asset inside Germany`s
intelligence agency but then he got caught. When a CIA asset gets caught
and confesses, that means the CIA got caught.

And since the German government and our government are supposed to be
the best of friends, obviously, that`s going to upset Germany. Germany is
going to be upset we are in their country turning their agent and stealing
their stuff when we`re supposed to be the best of friends.

So, first, the station chief in Kabul, that`s terrible for the CIA.
Now, this in Germany -- also terrible for the CIA. But then it gets worse
because the day after that guy got arrested in Germany, President Obama
placed a call to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany. They had all sorts
of stuff to talk about. The delicate situation in Russia and Ukraine.
Germany`s role of keeping Europe and the U.S. on the same page and dealing
with Vladimir Putin, all that stuff.

But during that call the two leaders did not talk about the fact a CIA
asset had just been arrested in Germany the day before and did not talk
about that matter because nobody told President Obama that it had happened.

The CIA obviously knew that their guy had been arrested the day
before, but nobody told the White House. And so the president of the
United States blithely called the chancellor of Germany having no idea this
just happened. The CIA didn`t tell the president. Terrible, right?

But, oh, wait, there`s more. Because the Germans really are mad that
the CIA is recruiting assets inside the German government to steal German
secrets and sell them to us, right? After the intelligence agency guy was
arrested, the Germans summoned the U.S. ambassador in Germany and yelled at
him and everything.

But then right after the U.S. ambassador got summoned, got taken to
the woodshed by the German government, oh, hey, look, it happened again.
Another German, this one reportedly working in Germany`s defense department
also suspected of spying on behalf of the U.S. government. Stealing German
government secrets and selling them to us.

If it bears out, this looks like another possible CIA asset outed
inside the German government. Germany, our great ally who is now really,
really, really mad at us. Today, Germany kicked out of that country the
CIA station chief for Germany, which is the kind of thing that you might
expect an enemy to do or even a frenemy like Pakistan who did this a few
years ago. But Germany?

When President Obama started his second term, he appointed John
Brennan to be the new head of the CIA. John Brennan said he wanted the CIA
to stop focusing so much on killing people. The CIA had become basically a
branch of the military after 9/11. He said he wanted them to get back to
their real purpose as an agency which is collecting intelligence -- less
killing, more traditional spying.

Now, though, it has been one terrible story of the CIA screwing up the
basic work of spying even against our own best allies. Outing their own
people, own assets, totally failing the president by not telling the White
House what was going on, as he called other world leaders who did know what
was going on. This is terrible.

Is this a sign that that agency really is getting back to the work of
spying and they`re like an agency in transition and they`re just rusty? Or
is this just an agency that is flailing in a more typical way?

Joining us now is Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for
"The New York Times," the author of "The Way of the Knife: The CIA, A
Secret Army and a War at the Ends of the Earth", Mr. Mazzetti, thank you
very much for being with us.

MARK MAZZETTI, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Thanks for having me on.

MADDOW: I am not an expert on spy stuff except for fake spy stuff
that happens in movies and books. In the real spying world, isn`t it
unusual and sloppy to get caught spying on your own ally?

MAZZETTI: Yes, you definitely don`t want to get caught and if you do,
it`s unusual certainly to get outed publicly. Normally, if this happens,
it would be dealt with quietly. It`s really unusual for the government of
the country to make a public announcement and expel the senior-most spy in
a country.

So, what we saw today was extraordinary from the perspective of a
close ally like Germany making this public and embarrassing statement and
saying that they wanted the top American spy out.

MADDOW: So, what does that say about Germany`s decision to handle it
that way? Is this being handled by them in this unusually loud and
confrontational way because of their own domestic politics around this
issue? Or does this mean something specifically about their relationship
with us and how mad they are?

MAZZETTI: I think it`s partly domestic politics, but it also shows
that they`re really mad, and I think it`s a signal in part because they
feel like the United States doesn`t recognize how mad they really are. And
recall, this has been going on for months since the Snowden revelations
last year that the NSA was spying on Angela Merkel`s cell phone, among
other things. And this was a big deal in Germany, and I think this feeling
is that the United States didn`t appreciate this and appreciate how much of
a situation it put Merkel in.

And so, what we`re seeing -- what we saw today is not just a reaction
to what`s happened over the last week, but what`s happened over the last
several months.

MADDOW: Mark, let me ask you specifically about something you
reported for "The Times", which the president did not apparently know about
the CIA asset being arrested in Germany when he called Angela Merkel to
talk to her about different matters. I would guess that CIA Director John
Brennan or the agency more broadly is expected to keep the White House
apprised of stuff like that, anything that might have international
consequences, and obviously this does.

What does that say about what`s going on at the CIA, and what are the
consequences of that going to be here in Washington and in Langley and in
terms of how the CIA functions within our own government?

MAZZETTI: You know, it`s -- as we reported, it`s unclear why the
White House wasn`t told or at least the president wasn`t told about the
arrest. It happened at least, you know, 24 hours before President Obama
got on the phone with Merkel. You know, why it was bottled up in the CIA
where it was bottled up, you know, these are issues that are not just, you
know, low-level arrests.

When you`re talking about, as we said, a close ally, you would want to
know if you`re the president something as important as this, because the
reason he got on the phone with Merkel was to ask her to do something, and
you need to know if you`re going to ask another leader to do something, you
know, she might have leverage over you because of something happened in her
country. So, if you`re the president, you obviously want to know
everything.

MADDOW: Yes, it`s astonishing, actually. The thing about your beat
in covering intelligence matters like this and our effort to try to stay
apprised of them is we know so little of what goes on, but what we know
about what`s going on here is slightly jaw dropping.

Mark Mazzetti, national security correspondent for "The New York
Times" -- thanks, Mark. It`s nice to see you, appreciate it.

MAZZETTI: All right. Thank you.

MADDOW: Thank you.

All right. There is something coming up on the show next that has to
do with pants. And even if you have no interest in anything else in the
news today, trust me, you want to hear the thing about pants.
Even if you hate pants, you`re going to want to hear this next thing.
That`s next. Pants. Trust me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: I have long believed that this piece of presidential tape,
this Oval Office audio recording is the single greatest piece of
presidential audiotape that has ever existed. This is President Lyndon B.
Johnson ordering pants over the phone.

When I die, bury me with this tape.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT: The pockets, when you sit down
in the chair, the knife and your money comes out. So I need it at least
another inch in the pockets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

JOHNSON: Now, another thing, the crotch down where your nuts hang,
it`s always a little too tight. So when you make them up, give me an inch
that I can let out there, because they cut me. It`s like riding a wire
fence. These are almost the best I`ve had anywhere in the United States.
But when I gained a little weight, they cut me under there.

So, leave me -- you never did have much margin there. Let`s see if
you can leave me about an inch from where the zipper ends around under my -
- back to my bunghole so I can let it out there if I need to.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: The burp is the best part of the whole thing. I`ve long
believed that`s the greatest piece of presidential audiotape that has ever
surfaced. But that piece has just gotten some equally current competition
from another president.

New tapes had just been released. They are astonishing. It`s a
different president. It competes with that, and that`s the best new thing
in the world and that`s next.

Stay with us, please?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

MADDOW: The best new thing in the world. Quote, "When I got home, I
was too tired to sleep, but I rested and you were summoned in finally, and
you came, a vision, visibly plain, a goddess in human form and a perfect
form, clad only in flowing hair." Possibly the least explicit line written
in 1913 by former President Warren G. Harding.

For years before he became president, Warren Harding maintained a
secret correspondence with his mistress, Carrie Phillips. The Library of
Congress, you may have heard, scheduled to make public all of these
recently unearthed love letters later this month. Although that affair had
largely ended by the time Warren G. Harding became president, he didn`t
stop his philandering ways when he was in the White House.

He also apparently managed to maintain a whole separate affair in a
coat closet at the White House while he was president. Giddy up, Warren.

But these letters to his mistress, they are really not subtle things.
There is lots of not faithful language. It`s all very, very clear what`s
going on here.

And because of that, for a while, it seemed like the Warren Harding
really dirty love letters were going to be the big news in ex-presidents
this month. But oh, no, it`s not that, because today, "Vanity Fair"
magazine topped a new treasure trove of Richard Nixon tapes. And, yes,
there are thousands of hours of Nixon Oval Office audio recordings floating
around, but "Vanity Fair" today posted a couple of gems from Nixon audio
recordings that I do not think have been published before.

So, this is President Nixon talking with Henry Kissinger and also his
chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman. The three of them stating around waxing
philosophical about the gay. This is April 1971. I`ve got two clips to
play for you. This is the first one. The audio is a little rough at times
but just listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NIXON: Let me say something before we get off the gay thing. I don`t
want my views misunderstood. I am the most tolerant person on that anybody
in this shop. They -- they have a problem. They`re born that way. You
know that. That`s all. I think they are.

But the point is that Boy Scout leaders, YMCA leaders and others bring
them in that direction, and teachers. And if you look over the history of
societies, you will find, of course, that some of the highly intelligent
people, Oscar Wilde, Aristotle, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, all were
homosexuals. Nero, of course, was in a public way, in with a boy in Rome.

H.R. HALDEMAN, CHIEF OF STAFF: There`s a whole bunch of Roman
emperors --

NIXON: But the point is, look at that, once a society moves in that
direction, the vitality goes out of that society. Now isn`t that right,
Henry?

HENRY KISSINGER, NATL. SECURITY ADVISOR: Well --

NIXON: Do you see other change, anywhere where it doesn`t fit?

KISSINGER: That`s certainly been the case in antiquity. The Romans
were notorious -

HALDEMAN: The Greeks.

KISSINGER: -- homosexuals.

NIXON: By God, I am not going to have a situation where we pass along
a law indicating, "Well, now, kids, just go out and be gay." They can do
it. Just leave them alone.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: They can do it. Just leave them alone, but they will suck
all of the vitality out of society.

Richard Nixon proclaiming to be very tolerant -- the most tolerant in
the White House in the issue of homosexuals. But that`s not the best thing
in the world today. That best new thing in the world today is actually the
next part of that conversation where President Nixon is informed to his
utter surprise that ladies in this country occasionally swear. He did not
think that women ever swear.

And listen to his reaction when he finds out that they do. Hit it.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NIXON: I mean, you`ve got to stop at a certain point. Why is it that
the girls don`t swear? Because a man, when he swears, people can`t
tolerate a girl who is a --

HALDEMAN: Girls do swear.

NIXON: Huh? Oh, they do know? But, nevertheless, it removes
something from them. They don`t even realize it. A man drunk and a man
swears, people will tolerate, and say that`s a sign of masculinity or
something other damn thing.

We all do it. We all swear. But you show me a girl that swears and
I`ll show you an awful unattractive person. All femininity is gone. And
none of the smart girls do swear, incidentally.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: According to President Richard Nixon, none of the smart girls
swear, because it removes something from them. So, Richard Nixon is good
with the gays, even if they suck all of the vitality out of society. He`s
good with drunken men with swearing, but if there`s one thing Richard Nixon
cannot abide --

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

NIXON: But you show me a girl that swears and I`ll show you an awful
unattractive person.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

MADDOW: That judgment of humanity from Richard Nixon of all people
that is definitely the best new thing in the world today. Damn it.

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

Thanks for being with us.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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