'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Wednesday, January 28th, 2015
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THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
January 28, 2015
Guest: Jeffrey Rosen, Debra Nussbaum Cohen
CHRIS HAYES, "ALL IN" HOST: That is "ALL IN" for this evening.
THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now, with Rachel, who has some
news for us tonight. I`m all atwitter. I saw you on Twitter. I`m going
to go upstairs and watch.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: We do have some news. We have some news
about somebody losing their job who you won`t be able to really believe has
actually left their job. But we are able to break that story.
HAYES: You got me. Well teased.
MADDOW: All right. Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.
That story is coming up in just a few minutes on the show, somebody on
the far political right who has weathered so many political storms. It
felt like there was no chance that this person would ever lose his job. We
are able to break the news tonight that he has apparently lost his job.
You will be surprised by the circumstances that have caused that to happen.
We`ve got that story coming up later on.
But thanks for being with us for this hour. A lot happened in today`s
news. This is what it looks like when a person circled there in red is
carrying more than $30,000 in cash in a backpack. Sort of surprisingly
This guy at the time the picture was taken, he was carrying $30,500 in
stolen money in that bag. We know that, because we also have pictures of
him taken while he was in the act of stealing that money that day. Over
the course of five hours, on the night of February 19th, 2013, this
individual man went from ATM to ATM to ATM in Manhattan, and each
successive ATM machine, he withdrew thousands of dollars.
He stuffed the big stacks of $20 bills and $50 bills into his
backpack, and then he`d just move on to the ATM and do it again. He did
this for more than five hours.
That one guy stole more than $30,000, mostly in 20s, over the course
of that night.
But he was not alone. He was not the only person stealing cash from
ATM machines in Manhattan over the course of those five hours on that cold
February night. The ten arrows here on this map point to the specific ATM
machines where that one guy we just showed you, where that one guy stole
his $30,000 that night.
But you see -- there`s a lot of other little dots all over this map.
Dots on this map that don`t have the arrows on them, those are the other
ATM machines in Manhattan, where other people, his co-conspirators in this
massive heist were also at the exact same time also withdrawing stolen
money from ATM machines all over the city. It all happened that one night,
up and down Manhattan, all told on that night, February 19th, 2013. There
were 2,904 ATM machines that were all hit across New York City.
Eight guys, 2,900 ATMs, over one night. They stole $2.5 million in
cash, mostly in 20s. Some machines apparently gave them 50s.
But it turns out this was not just a coordinated scheme across New
York City that night. It was a global thing. It was a big highly
organized global plot. So, while this one guy who we just showed you, and
his friends were stealing from ATM machines in New York in their
coordinated attacks, in cities all over the world in two dozen countries
around the world, these different cells of coordinated thieves were all
doing the same thing, all at the same time, going ATM to ATM in cities in
Japan, in Canada, in Germany, in Romania, and lots of other countries, on
that one day in February. They all acted all at once.
They made 36,000 fraudulent ATM transactions around the world that
night, including the guys in New York City. All told in that one day`s
work, that global ATM heist netted more than $40 million, worldwide, all in
cash, all in one day`s work. That`s a lot of cash.
The thing about this heist that was so hard to believe at the time was
that it was a mix of very modern cyber crime, hacking into financial data
bases, stealing pre-paid ATM card numbers, there`s this sort of very
intensely technical part of this, but it was linked with old-school
stealing -- stealing physical paper money that guys had to stuff into
backpacks and run away with.
The level of organization and coordination was really impressive.
Whoever did the hacking hacked these financial institutions from which they
got the prepaid debit card numbers, and they hacked the withdrawal limits
on those cards to allow basically unlimited ATM withdrawal numbers on those
numbers. Then distributed the numbers to the international networks of
street level thieves including these doofuses in New York City who couldn`t
resist posing with their stacks of cash.
And then they unleashed all these guys like this all at once on ATMs,
all those cities, all around the globe. And the guys on the street, the
guys going to the ATMs with the backpacks, they used these fake ATM cards
with these doctored stolen numbers on them and they simultaneously hit ATMs
These guys pocketed some of the cash, they sent a cut of it to the
hackers who gave them the information, they laundered the money by buying
expensive items with the cash and either keeping the items or reselling
them. A Gucci was apparently very popular -- a bunch of Gucci boxes in the
upper right-hand side of your screen.
Gucci was popular. So was on the lower right-hand side of your screen
staging stacks of their stolen cash on some Coors Light can and putting a
baseball cap on top. Nobody said these guys were geniuses.
All told, that heist, that big global ATM heist netted just a
breathtaking amount of money, over 40 million bucks in cash. It seemed
like they were going to get away with it. This novel way of combining
cyber crime, this advanced hacking, with good old-fashioned guy stuffing
stolen cash into his pants crime, that combination looked impenetrable for
It seemed like they were going to get away with it, until they got
caught. The guys who pulled off the New York City chapter of this global
heist, the guys that hit all the ATMs around the city in one night, it was
eight guys in total, those eight guys got caught. They got caught by the
office of the U.S. attorney for the eastern district of New York. And her
name was Loretta Lynch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORETTA LYNCH, U.S. ATTORNEY FOR EASTERN DIST. OF NY: The computer
hackers steal or generate PIN numbers. In a feat of coordination, all at
the same time, send those PIN numbers to the assembled cells in different
cities all at the same time. The cells are waiting. They are standing by.
They are standing by, they are assigned ATMs.
And once they receive these PINs via e-mail or text, they become a
criminal flash mob going from machine to machine, drawing as much money as
they can before these accounts are shut down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It was Loretta Lynch`s office that cracked that global ATM
heist case. Loretta Lynch is now President Obama`s nominee to be the
attorney general of the United States.
But in her previous job, her current job as U.S. attorney for the
eastern district of New York, she has led some very high-profile and very
Her office prosecuted the most recent member of Congress to have to
resign from Congress, because he had just been indicted on federal felony
charges. Just late last month, Mr. Congressman -- I`ll break you like a
boy -- Michael Grimm pled guilty to a federal count of tax fraud and
resigned from Congress. Loretta Lynch`s office led the prosecution against
him. And yes, Michael Grimm is a Republican.
But because Loretta Lynch has been the U.S. attorney in New York, when
it comes to locking up public officials, who have a bad case of corruption,
there are a lot more Democrats to choose from than there are Republicans in
New York. And Loretta Lynch has had a great percentage on that because
what New York state grows in great numbers are Democratic public officials
who really ought to be in jail.
New York public officials prosecuted by Loretta Lynch`s office
included Democratic State Senator Pedro Espada, Jr., Democratic Assemblyman
William Boyland, Democratic State Senator John Sampson, according to
prosecutors try to infiltrate Loretta Lynch`s office by approaching one of
her attorneys and asking for the names of the cooperating witnesses against
him, so he could arrange to, quote, "take them out" -- serving state
senator that guy.
Loretta Lynch`s office is also known for leading some high-profile
terrorism cases, including the case against Najibullah Zazi. He`s the guy
that pleaded guilty to providing material support to al Qaeda and
conspiring to bomb the New York City subway system.
Her office prosecuted the guy who plotted the bottom at the Federal
Reserve in New York. They caught him in one of the controversial cases
that used an undercover FBI agent who was posing as an al Qaeda
She`s also prosecuted cases against law enforcement officials for
abusing their power. Her office has broken up drug trafficking rings. Her
office famously announced the massive immigration bust in which more than a
dozen franchise owners of 7-Eleven stores were caught using immigrants
essentially as slave labor. Loretta Lynch called that trafficking ring a
modern-day plantation system.
On public corruption, on terrorism, and all these high-profile and
complicated cases, Loretta Lynch has been a very successful and very
federal prosecutor. That`s her resume. The only way it`s controversial I
think is if you`re sort of against law and order prosecutors.
But her resume, her length -- the length of the list of her successful
prosecutions, and the types of cases that she`s prosecuted, it`s not the
sort of thing that gets a lot of political criticism.
But by and large, her resume, her track record in her current job as a
U.S. attorney, as a federal prosecutor, that is not what has been coming up
during her confirmation hearing for attorney general today, before the
newly Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee. At least that`s
not what came up too often when Republicans on the committee were leading
the question of her today.
Instead, this is sort of the flavor of what Senate Republicans on her
confirmation committee today wanted to talk about when they had questions
to ask of Loretta Lynch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: You`re not Eric Holder, are you?
LYNCH: No, I`m not, sir.
CORNYN: No one is suggesting that you are, but of course, Attorney
General Holder`s record is heavy on our minds now. And the attorney
general refers to himself as the president`s wing man, suggesting that he
is not -- does not exercise independent legal judgment as the chief law
enforcement officer for the country. You wouldn`t consider yourself to be
a political arm of the White House as attorney general, would you?
LYNCH: No, Senator, that would be a totally inappropriate view of the
position of attorney general.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Seriously, that was today. That was your Judiciary on
Republican politics fixated on the guy who`s no longer going to be attorney
Here`s what`s on top for tomorrow. Here are some of the expert
witnesses that Senate Republicans have called to appear before the
committee and comment on Loretta Lynch`s nomination to be the nation`s next
attorney general. This is her confirmation hearing for attorney general.
The Republicans have called Sharyl Attkisson who works now for the
news site by Jim DeMint`s conservative think tank Heritage Foundation. Her
journalistic beat there includes several features on how the federal
government is covering up and stone walling the Republicans` Benghazi
investigation. She`s also maybe the nation`s foremost expert on the right-
wing conspiracy theory that the Justice Department under Attorney General
Eric Holder intentionally lost guns across the border in Mexico,
specifically so those guns would be used in gun violence here, so Americans
would then be outraged by that gun violence and would finally turn against
the Second Amendment, and thus let Eric Holder take all their guns. That
is the Republican conspiracy theory about the so-called Fast and Furious
And so, Republicans have summoned expert testimony on that conspiracy
theory about Eric Holder. To weigh in on the nomination of our would-be
new attorney general of the United States, who has herself had a rather
illustrious and complicated career. I mean, they`re testifying on Fast and
Furious, not because Loretta Lynch had anything to do with Fast and
Furious, but I guess because that`s what the Republicans like to talk about
when they get the chance to talk on this committee.
The Fast and Furious false flag conspiracy theory will be followed by
the founder of the group called True the Vote. True the Vote is known to
most people for the national attention they`ve had for being a group that
creeps people out by watching them and following them when they go to vote.
When Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he was resigning as
attorney general, the woman who will be testifying tomorrow from True the
Vote said she hoped his resignation would end Eric Holder`s racialist
assault on voting rights across America, Eric Holder`s racialist assault.
In addition to those go experts, Republicans have also invited a
sheriff from Milwaukee who says he wants Eric Holder to apologize to police
departments across the country. What does that have to do with Loretta
Those are a few of the experts who will get to go to Congress tomorrow
and weigh in on whether or not we should have Loretta Lynch as the next
attorney general of the United States.
The job of attorney general is a really, really, really big, important
job. It`s a job honestly that people seem to agree Loretta Lynch is highly
qualified for. The smart money says she will most likely win confirmation
for the job. But Senate Republicans have decided that her confirmation
hearing for attorney general will serve as a platform for people who
specialize in conspiracy theories about our current attorney general.
Day two of Loretta Lynch`s confirmation hearing starts tomorrow
morning. We, of course, will be watching. But we`ll probably be watching
Joining us is Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington
University, president of the National Constitution Center.
Mr. Rosen, thanks very much for being with us.
JEFFREY ROSEN, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV. LAW SCHOOL: Thank you so much
MADDOW: So, you have watched and reported on lots of attorney general
confirmation hearings. It`s a really, big important job and these
confirmation hearings are often very dramatic. It`s a very important post.
How would you assess Loretta Lynch`s performance today in these
ROSEN: It was striking that Senator Leahy said that out of all the
attorney general confirmation hearings he`s seen, Loretta Lynch was the
most impressive. And it was also remarkable that despite all the theater
that you accurately described in your great introduction, Republicans as
well as Democrats seem essentially to concede that probably she will be
confirmed, but that she should be.
It was striking that they realized that she`s a real prosecutor. I
thought it was so helpful that you began with that complicated ATM $40
million heist case, because that`s her passion -- cyber crime, going after
the bad guys. The fact that she even engaged in immigration enforcement,
which is the lightning rod of this hearing, since the Republicans
repeatedly pressed her about whether or not she thought that President
Obama`s immigration orders were constitutional. And she in a very good
lawyerly fashion said, the Office of Legal Counsel has approved most of
these orders. It`s questioned some of them, and I think there`s strong
precedent to support most of them.
She just showed herself to be a consummate professional. She wasn`t
all the rattled by the questions that as you suggested were more about Eric
Holder, and attempt to resurrect Republican frustration with his
administration than really with her record. And by the end of it, you had
Republicans like Senator Graham saying, "if not her, who?", suggesting that
he really would vote for her pretty enthusiastically.
So, for her, it was a great day. Whether it was a great day for
public discourse, as you suggested, is another question.
MADDOW: And do you think, though, it is fair to say about the
discussion about Loretta Lynch`s qualifications for this job is essentially
a totally different discussion, happening in parallel at the same hearing
alongside, basically unrelated set of questions and discussions, and we`ll
hear witness testimony tomorrow, about Eric Holder. They`re not actually
asking her about Eric Holder`s tenure, just using him to talk about him in
an unrelated way?
ROSEN: It`s absolutely the case. If you found that frustrating
today, tomorrow will be either more frustrating or more theatrically
amusing, because the witnesses as you suggested are an absolute gallery of
Holder critics who are determined to resurrect controversies that, as you
suggested, have long been laid to rest. The inspector general`s
independent report found no basis for Sharyl Attkisson`s claims about
Operation Fast and Furious, but she`s going to resurrect them. We`re going
to hear about voter fraud, about Ferguson.
This has a lot to do about Eric Holder and nothing to do about Loretta
Lynch. And I guess it`s striking that Republican frustration with their
inability to investigate, I suppose, Holder, when the Democrats hold the
Senate is so great that now they`ve finally got the majority, they`re
determined to use this moment in the spotlight as a referendum on Holder
and not Lynch. That`s, of course, good for Lynch, because it ensures
she`ll be confirmed. But it really ensures that the important issues that,
as you suggested an attorney general deals with won`t be ventilated.
So, I was more interested in the differences between Lynch and Holder
on issues relating from NSA surveillance, to the death penalty, to
marijuana. On all of those issues, she actually suggested that she`d be to
the right of Holder. She enthusiastically embraced the death penalty. And
she said she thought it was an effective deterrent. Holder had been more
She said that she would not support the decriminalization of pot.
Holder had moved in the other direction. And on NSA surveillance, she
called it effective and constitutional. Holder had defended it but she
seemed to go a little further.
So, on all these matters, again, great for Republicans, and doesn`t
call her professionalism into question, but it does suggest she may be a
different attorney general than Holder.
And, finally, there`s this very important question that at the end of
most presidential administrations, especially in the second term, there`s
often a scandal, especially with a Republican Senate, we can ensure there
will be scandal mongering. Traditionally, presidents have liked next to
them attorney generals who really have their back, who they know well and
personally. Holder did have a relationship with Obama, Lynch does not.
So, if the scandals themselves get fast and furious, it will be
interesting to see how exactly Lynch responds.
MADDOW: And it will be fascinating just over the next days and weeks
to figure out how we`re going to learn those things about Loretta Lynch
since I think the confirmation hearings are being used for a totally
She`s a fascinating character. She`s had an amazing career. This is
going to be a really interesting political process to watch.
Jeffrey Rosen, law professor at George Washington, president of the
National Constitution Center -- it`s great to have you here. Thank you so
ROSEN: Thank you very much.
All right. There`s lots ahead, including as I mentioned at the top, a
little breaking news tonight about a very visible member of the far right
in this country, who appears to have just been fired, and for a surprising
reason. We`ve got that story coming up exclusively.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: In late September, Apple released a new fancy iPhone, and
then they proceeded to sell 74 million of them, 74 million. That means
that Apple sold nine iPhones every second of every day, for the last three
Yesterday, Apple posted the biggest quarterly earnings ever. This
fall, from October through December, Apple made more money in one quarter
than any company has ever made in the history of the earth.
Until now, the top record holders were all oil companies. But with an
$18 billion profit over one quarter, this past quarter, Apple just blew by
Gazprom, and Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon on its way to the top. They beat
ExxonMobil`s best quarterly profit by $4 billion.
Still, though, it felt like oil and gas companies are poor. They`re
just acting like it.
In the United States, there have been five major pipeline spills or
pipeline explosions just this month. What we just learned today about the
biggest one of these spills is frickin` unbelievable. And that story is
coming right up.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Do you have excellent written and verbal communication
skills? Do you have individual initiative and ability to work effectively
with diverse groups of people? Are you adaptable to the Northern Plains
If you answered yes to all of those questions, then North Dakota needs
you. North Dakota really, really needs you.
This is a job listing on the state of North Dakota`s Web site, a job
listing for a pipeline inspector. An inspector specifically for the
smaller variety of pipelines that crisscross the state transferring oil and
gas and saltwater and all other kinds of stuff related to drilling.
There are 20,000 miles of what they call gathering pipelines, these
smaller pipelines all across North Dakota, 20,000 miles. Already, state
officials expect there will be 50,000 miles of those pipelines before long.
And the total number of people currently employed by the state to
inspect those pipelines is zero.
The state has also posted a job listing for an inspector for the
state`s larger natural pipelines. That department is doing a little
better. They`ve got two inspector jobs and one of them`s filled. So, yes,
maybe it`s not that surprising to learn that one of the five pipelines that
has burst so far this month in this country, the one that spilled 3 million
gallons of toxic drilling brine near the town of Williston, North Dakota,
this month, that pipeline was never inspected. It has never had an
North Dakota`s in the midst of a drilling boom. Obviously oil and gas
companies flooding that state in recent years. And naturally, the state
has been crisscrossed with a number of pipelines large and small.
I would show you a map what that looks like, particularly the
gathering ones, the small pipelines, but those small pipelines, not the big
long-distance ones that transport oil and gas to be sold, but all the tiny
ones you need for local drilling infrastructure, state officials in North
Dakota don`t actually know where all of those ones are, because until last
year, if you were installing a smallish pipeline, you didn`t actually have
to tell anyone. Just do it yourself. Knock yourself out.
Last year, that rule changed, thanks to the North Dakota Industrial
Commission. Here they are -- the three guys who oversee the gas and oil
industry in the state. That`s Republican Governor Jack Dalrymple in the
The commission approved new rules last year that said if you install a
pipeline, you do at least have to tell the state where it is. And while
you`re at it, you have to tell the state that the pipeline is up to code,
and installed properly.
In order to tell the state that, what you have to do is submit this
affidavit. You just promise, you just check that box right there next to
where it says, the pipeline is in compliance with state rules.
That`s how they ensure everything`s safe. You just sign this form.
And you send it off to the industrial commission. I hereby swear my
pipeline is installed properly. Love, Rachel. That`s it. That`s the
The commission did also improve three inspectors to check on those
pipelines. But again, what is it? Do you have slept written and verbal
communications? Ability to work effectively with diverse groups of people?
Are you acclimatable to the Northern Plains climate? Those three positions
for inspectors have remained unfilled since last summer.
So, the new regulations went into effect in April. The four-inch
brine pipeline in Williston was installed in June. Funding for the
inspector was approved in July. And this month with no inspectors actually
hired and on the job, that pipeline which has never been inspected not even
once, that is the pipeline that ruptured and spilled 3 million gallons of
toxic saltwater brine in the worst spill of its kind in the state`s
In those April regulations, the company that operates that pipeline,
they were required to submit information to the state about what safety
mechanisms were in place, but under the rules, approved by the state, that
information is not available to the general public. So we can`t even check
to see what they said they had in place, even though all they had to do was
say it, and nobody had to verify what they said was true.
This is the sort of policy that exists right now around pipelines.
That pipeline in North Dakota, that pipeline, as I said, was one of five to
rupture or explode this month alone across the country. The latest one was
this one, Monday, in West Virginia.
And in the midst of that, in the midst of all these pipelines going
kablooey across the country, that the pipelines we`ve got, even the new
ones, are not particularly well-managed.
The United States Senate took action staying at work late tonight in
the hopes of building more pipelines. Republican Senate Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell held a vote-athon tonight for proposed amendments to the
Keystone bill, so the Senate can vote on approving the Keystone pipeline
itself tomorrow. The argument for the pipeline, of course, is that it will
create jobs, and yes, maybe it will create a handful of jobs over time.
But in North Dakota, right now, there are a handful of open jobs that
really, really, really need to be filled whether or not they force the
construction of keystone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CINDY JACOBS, TELEVANGELIST: I see someone; you literally had a child
that just died, and I speak to the spirit of death in that child in the
name of Jesus, and I command you to lead that child. I speak to the spirit
of infirmity that cause the child`s death, and I say live in Jesus` name.
Live! I see a child coughing, waking up, we saw that in Pakistan. We saw
a little boy raised from the dead just like that. God is on the move.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That is Cindy Jacobs. She`s an evangelical activist who said
she is a prophet. And that she can raise people from the dead.
On Friday night`s show, we reported on Cindy Jacobs` role in Louisiana
Governor Bobby Jindal`s presidential campaign kickoff rally this weekend in
But a funny thing has since happened to the relationship between the
lady who said she can raise people from the dead, and Bobby Jindal who says
he wants to be president.
The story is fast moving. As it turns outs, some of it just happening
tonight. But the news we have to break tonight is that beyond what just
happened to Cindy Jacobs, after we reported the news about her involvement
with Bobby Jindal`s big prayer rally, beyond Cindy Jacobs who most people
have not heard of, it is also now tonight that one of the most well-known
people on the far religious right in American politics has apparently also
just lost his job tonight for a very surprising and surprisingly mainstream
We`ve got that reporting first here, next.
MADDOW: Behold Reince Priebus. Reince Priebus is chairman of the
National Republican Party, just reelected to another term last week by a
vote of 166-2. That huge vote in his reelection as party chairman put him
on track to be the longest serving head of the National Republican Party in
the history of the National Republican Party.
So, Republicans generally think that Reince Priebus does a great job,
and that may be true. But Reince Priebus has gotten himself and the RNC
into a big mess.
Now, the basis of the story was first reported about a month ago in
"Time" magazine by Zeke Miller. But, today, it became a big problem for
the Republican Party and for Reince Priebus. And I honestly don`t know how
they`re going to get themselves out of it.
The basic story here is a Republican Party organized trip to Israel.
Reince Priebus sent out a letter to members of the RNC in late November
inviting them to go with the RNC on an expenses paid trip to Israel.
Now, going on a trip to Israel itself, not a problem. Going on this
particular trip to Israel, I think this really is going to be a problem.
One of the things from the 2012 presidential campaign that we reported
on this show with keen interest was a stadium prayer rally that Texas
Governor Rick Perry used as essentially the launch event for his
presidential campaign for 2012.
Now, the fact that he wanted to start his campaign with a prayer
rally, not itself a newsworthy thing. What was newsworthy about it was who
he organized that prayer rally with, because this is the organization that
Rick Perry did that prayer rally with.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYAN FISCHER, AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION: Counterfeit religions,
alternative religions of Christianity have no right to the free exercise of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: That`s a man named Bryan Fischer with the American Family
Association. The American Family Association is not your typical
conservative religious right organization, even for our conservative
religious right in this country, the American Family Association is pretty
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FISCHER: Islam is like the Ebola virus. It`s deadly. It`s lethal.
And all you can do with a virus like that, there`s no cure for it. I saw a
video this morning kind of exploring the performance of Beyonce at last
year`s halftime of the Super Bowl. And it`s very clear that she was using
a number of satanic symbols.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Beyonce? Satan?
That`s Bryan Fischer from the American Family Association. The
American Family Association is the group that organized Rick Perry`s prayer
rally that kicked off his presidential campaign in 2012.
That`s the same group that paid for and organized the prayer rally
that Bobby Jindal just used to apparently kick off his 2016 presidential
race this weekend, this past weekend at LSU.
So, we reported on Friday, on the views of the American Family
Association, the fact that they were underwriting this rally, and
organizing this rally for Bobby Jindal and we reported on some of the other
people participating in this event with Bobby Jindal and the American
Family Association, including Cindy Jacobs who does claim that she is a
living prophet who gets advance notice from God about terrorist attacks.
She said she can stop those terrorist attacks if she wants to. She also
claims she can raise children from the dead and says she has done so.
We reported Friday about her role in convening the Bobby Jindal prayer
event in Louisiana this past weekend. Sometimes since then, her video
inviting people to come to the Bobby Jindal prayer event that has been
taken down off the event`s Web site. People for the American Way noticed
that Cindy Jacobs had been disappeared off the group`s Web site. They
posted it about it this morning.
It turns out you can still sign with the Cindy Jacobs video if you go
through all cached versions of the Web site. But they apparently made that
video private so you`re never going to come across it unless you know to
look for it.
It turns out I guess it`s one thing to tell people you can raise
people from the dead, and to try to convince people of your status as a
living prophet on earth. It`s another thing for you then to be associated
with a campaign for the presidency of the United States.
And so, Cindy Jacobs, as of today, has been disappeared from the Bobby
Jindal presidential campaign`s online footprint. They didn`t do a very
good job of disappearing her, but as of today, it appears that they tried.
And now, the RNC, Republican National Committee, getting in bed with
the same fringe folks, the American Family Association. That has caused
another similar problem on the religious right, because of what Reince
Priebus and the RNC are doing with the American Family Association is
they`re having the American Family Association pay for and organize the
National Republican Party to send its members, members of the RNC, to go on
a trip to Israel. Israel. Even though Bryan Fischer from the American
Family Association says Jews have no right to practice the faith of Judaism
in the United States.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FISCHER: Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity
have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. Hitler
discovered that he could not get straight soldiers to be savage and brutal
and vicious enough to carry out his orders, but that homosexual soldiers
basically had no limits in the savagery and brutality they were willing to
inflict on whoever Hitler sent them after. So, he surrounded himself
virtually all of the storm troopers, the brown shirts, were male
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: He can go on about this at length. Bryan Fischer at the
American Family Association, long had this elaborate theory about how
Nazism and Holocaust wasn`t so much a German thing or a Nazi thing, it was
really a gay thing.
You know, it`s one thing to try to sell that on talk radio in
Mississippi, trying to get people to send you money for the American Family
Association, it`s another thing to take that line of reasoning, say, to
Well, today the Israeli press, specifically the newspaper "Haaretz",
reported on Reince Priebus and the RNC taking a trip to Israel, that has
been paid for by this group, that thinks that Jews don`t have a right to
practice their religion, and it wasn`t really the Nazis that did the
Holocaust, that was a gay thing.
Today, that news got its first press in Israel, and perhaps
coincidentally today, tonight, the American Family Association told us that
they are firing Bryan Fischer. Bryan Fischer has been their director of
issue analysis, the director of issue analysis for the American Family
Association forever. He`s basically quoted everywhere for years now as the
All through the Rick Perry prayer rally controversy, all through the
new Bobby Jindal controversy, all through all of the other controversies
that they have gotten into, that the American Family Association has gotten
itself into, which is very far right-wing politics over the years.
But taking the chairman of the National Republican Party and a third
of the membership of the Republican National Committee on a trip to Israel?
And the Israeli press realizing that the Republican Party of the United
States is coming to Israel as a guest of the Bryan Fischer group? Who says
that Jews have no right to practice their religion in America?
That apparently finally is a bridge too far for his long career. The
president of the American Family Association telling us tonight, that as of
day, Bryan Fischer should never be described as the director of issue
analysis for that group, he should not be quoted as a spokesman for the
group. As of today, the American Family Association tells us that Bryan
Fischer is, and I quote, "just a talk show host."
When we asked the American Family Association president what suddenly
bothers them now about Bryan Fischer that didn`t bother them all these
previous years that he`s been saying all these things, the president of the
group specifically singled out Bryan Fischer`s comments on Hitler and
homosexuality, which we highlighted on this show on Friday night. The
American Family Association now says that even though Bryan Fischer made
those remarks years ago, and has made them consistently over a period of
years, they now says, quote, "we reject that." The American Family
Association rejects that, officially as of today.
Bryan Fischer is fired as of today. As of tonight this is what you
get when you go to the American Family Association web page, the specific
web page that used to feature Bryan Fischer.
And the Republican Party, including a chairman, the chairman of the
National Republican Party and third of the RNC`s members are due to go to
Israel with that group that just fired Bryan Fischer today on a flight that
leaves on Saturday.
But here`s the ongoing problem for Reince Priebus and the National
Republican Party, I mean, aside from the judgment it shows to put the
Republican National Convention into bed with this group in the first place,
aside from that. When reporter Debra Nussbaum Cohen called the American
Family Association for their report, and the RNC, called he American Family
Association, and called the RNC today to ask about the trip that these two
groups are planning to Israel together, the American Family Association was
smart enough to not put Bryan Fischer, their spokesperson until today, on
the phone with her. After all, after today, he`s no longer a spokesman.
They did, however, put her in touch with David Lane, who is the
American Family Association guy who led the Bobby Jindal prayer rally this
weekend and who is directly organizing this event in Israel, starting on
Saturday. And he told Debra today about the basic premise of this trip
that he is leading for the National Republican Party.
What he told her for her report today is this, quote, "America was
founded by Christians, for the glory of God and the Christian faith."
Quote, "We were established as a Christian nation in the name of god and
for the advancement of the Christian faith."
If the United States is a country for Christians only and the purpose
of the United States is specifically to advance the faith of Christians,
and incidentally not Jews, how does that fly in Israel -- let alone among
American Jews, and Muslims, and anybody else who`s not Christian, anybody?
What is the Republican Party advertising about itself to be taking
this kind of a trip with this kind of a group? Do they really think the
firing of Bryan Fischer is going to end this story.
Joining us now is Debra Nussbaum Cohen. She`s a reporter for "Haaretz
Daily" and contributing editor at Forward.com.
Ms. Nussbaum Cohen, thank you very much for being here. I appreciate
DEBRA NUSSBAUM COHEN, HAARETZ: My pleasure.
MADDOW: I have to ask you about your reporting process for this
story. The American Family Association made Davis Lane available to you to
explain his premise for the trip. Did they ever put you in touch with
Bryan Fischer or any other member of the organization?
COHEN: No, and I tried for a week to get through to them and the RNC,
and got kind of strung along for a week. And finally, at that point, David
Lane was made available to me. He runs a different group. It`s called the
American Renewal Project. It`s housed in and contributions to it are
funneled through the American Family Association.
MADDOW: I think it`s -- yes, that`s important to clarify. I think
it`s fair and the American Family Association would consider them to be
essentially a subsidiary organization, given especially that they`re housed
David Lane was also the organizer of those American Family Association
prayer rallies we reported on previously.
Did the RNC give you a comment on this?
COHEN: No, they didn`t.
MADDOW: Do you know if there`s any connection between Bryan Fischer
being fired and your inquiries around this story?
COHEN: I don`t. It would be awfully nice to think so. But no, I
have no idea.
MADDOW: You gasped when I said so.
COHEN: I was surprised, because as you pointed out he`s been around
for a long time saying essentially the same thing for many years. So it
does seem surprising that at this juncture, at this moment, he would be
MADDOW: Can I ask you about the quote that David Lane gave you?
Again, he`s the organizer of this event with the RNC. And his group is
paying for a third of the members of the RNC and the chairman to go to
He told you, "America was founded for the glory of God and the
Do you have the sense that there`s any cognizance that that might be a
little oogy for a group traveling to Israel? Was he cognizant of that
context? Was he telling you this is going to be a controversial thing but
I`m willing to --
COHEN: No, look, we all live in our own bubbles in many ways. And
this is true for that community. The community that he`s part of. So, he
was -- he seemed completely unaware of how that would play in the American
MADDOW: Have you had any evident response thus far in the American-
Jewish community, from Israeli groups, in the Israeli press, more widely?
Has there been any response to this yet, or do you think it`s just sinking
COHEN: Well, the Jewish Democratic group here in the States just at
the end of the day today put out a statement calling on the RNC to no
longer go with this group, on an Israel trip funded by them. But other
than that, I think it`s beginning to roll out and we`ll see in the coming
MADDOW: Debra Nussbaum Cohen, reporter for "Haaretz Daily",
contributing editor of Forward.com -- thanks for this reporting, which
advanced the story in a very dramatic way today. Thanks for keeping us
apprise. I appreciate it.
COHEN: My pleasure.
MADDOW: All right. We`ll be right back. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Inside Rachel`s office --
MADDOW: Programming note from my office. Those are all the clothes
that I keep in my office to wear on TV. Susan calls that all the colors of
the German rainbow. Tonight, I`m going to be on the David Letterman show
on CBS, which is very exciting.
And to interrupt my usual -- I don`t know, array of gray, I`m going to
be wearing these shoes. Ta-dah! You heard it here first.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I`ve mentioned a few times on the show before that I come
from a family that is rich in nuns. That`s occasionally caused me some
trouble over the years, given some of the un-nunly subject matter we
But not tonight. Tonight, we have excellence and nationally important
nun news. That`s straight ahead.
MADDOW: Best new thing in the world. This is the Web site for a
Benedictine monastery in Arizona called Our Lady of Guadalupe. It`s run by
the sisters of St. Benedict. Their religious mission is contemplation, and
prayer and providing for the needy.
That`s one great thing already -- nuns running a beautiful retreat
from the world, doing good works, maintaining this lovely, out of the way
peaceful space for contemplation.
Right under their nice mission statement on their Web site, though, is
something that, combined with the nuns, is better than either one of these
things could be alone -- football, specifically, this weekend`s Super Bowl.
It turns out Our Lady of Guadalupe monastery is about five miles from the
stadium in Glendale where the Super Bowl will be played this year.
The nuns, it turns out, are psyched about that. The monastery`s
prioress is Sister Linda Campbell. She`s a huge football fan. A football
fan of the highest order.
When the local paper asked her about the Patriots and the deflated
football scandal, she had a ready opinion, quote, she said, "It doesn`t
make any sense that Tom Brady wouldn`t have known it when he felt it."
Sister Linda Campbell, football fan, and the sisters of St. Benedict,
they have now decided if you`re going to Glendale to watch the Super Bowl,
you can rent their monastery for your stay. For 300 bucks a night, you get
a nice bed, a bathroom you have to share, free Wi-Fi, peace and
tranquility, no alcohol, no smoking, no swearing.
The last time Phoenix hosted the Super Bowl, Sister Linda says the
girls made about $12,000 by renting out the monastery to fans. They put
that money back into the community through their work with the poor and
We asked Sister Linda today if she has any rooms available since the
game is this weekend. She said, yes, you can still get a room, as of
tonight. So, come on, football and nuns! Chaos and contemplation, best
vacation ever, best new thing in the world today.
If you need Sister Linda`s number, because you`re going to Glendale,
please let us know. She`ll look you up, as long as you don`t swear.
Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL."
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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