'The Rachel Maddow Show' for Monday, April 6th, 2015
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Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: April 6, 2015
Guest: Joe Gerth, Ernest Moniz
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW starts right now. Good
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Welcome back. Missed
HAYES: Thank you very much. I missed you, although I liked being away.
MADDOW: I was going to say you didn`t miss me and that`s Ok. Our
friendship is strong enough to bear that. I get it.
All right. Thanks to you at home as well for you joining this hour --
whether or not you missed me.
We`ve got a big show, including the nation`s energy secretary, Ernest
Moniz, is here live tonight for "The Interview". I`m really looking
forward to that conversation. We`ve got a big show. I`m glad you`re here.
But we start tonight with this stark bottom line. There has never been a
major party candidate who`s had made a run for the presidency of the United
States while also being under criminal indictment. We have pulled off a
lot of political shenanigans in our history as a country, we have never
pulled off that particular shenanigan before. But apparently, we are about
Today, Rick PAC, the unofficial Rick Perry for president political action
committee started asking people to sign up for, see it on the left there,
this very, very scary petition, about the Obama-Clinton foreign policy and
how terrible it. Rick Perry is apparently trying to position himself as
the foreign policy Republican candidate in this race.
It started off a few weeks ago with him posting this somewhat random video
on his YouTube page, which is -- the title of the video, as you can see, is
labeled "Governor Perry discusses U.S. foreign policy." And you watch the
video, and at first glance it looks like he is doing a TV interview. This
is a TV interview with Governor Perry about foreign policy.
But if you have the patience to watch long enough, you will soon notice
there isn`t anyone interviewing him. It`s just him talking in the studio,
that he presumably rented for that purpose. But that was least in terms of
subject matter the first sign that he was going to try to be a foreign
Now, he`s got this foreign policy petition, which is honestly just a way of
collecting people`s e-mail addresses for use by his campaign. Governor
Perry today, though, also gave a speech which the Rick Perry folks bill
today as a major Rick Perry foreign policy address. He delivered this
address before a school assembly of students at the Citadel in South
Carolina, which is a military school.
Team Rick Perry, apparently lured all of the cadets at the Citadel to the
speech by offering free pizza if they came. You could not only see cadets
chowing down on pizza before Governor Perry arrived in the auditorium to
give his speech. In the official Citadel photographs from the Rick Perry
event, you can also sort of play where`s Waldo with the stray piece of
pizza that didn`t get polished off before the speech but the cadets wanted
to save for later.
Look, this guy here, look, see on the left, missed the plate. It`s OK.
It`s still good. It`s only there for one speech. You can still eat it off
the floor, right?
The only reason I spent that much time looking at such detail at the
photographs from the Citadel today is because the actual video of the Rick
Perry speech today was like gold. It was almost impossible to get ahold of
for most of the day, even though the Rick Perry folks billed this as a
major speech he was going to give. They then just didn`t provide anyone
any video of it for most of the day.
Rick Perry`s run for the presidency this year does not totally seem like it
is ready for primetime. That said, maybe it doesn`t need to be. I mean,
the expectation for Rick Perry are pretty low. He washed out spectacularly
when he ran a high-profile campaign in 2012.
His manner on the stump, I think more so now after a lot of coaching than
even in 2012, his manner on the stump can at time be cringe-worthy. I
don`t mean it in a mean way but as a point of political analysis.
Governor Perry really is trying to establish his foreign policy bona fides
in home videos that look like TV interviews, and in speeches that double as
pizza party speeches for students.
Rick Perry is not getting all that much serious attention, I think because
no one is taking him too seriously this year as a contender.
Rick Perry`s campaign team, the good folks at Rick PAC and all the rest of
them, I think in part because nobody`s taking him that seriously and not
getting a ton of attention yet, the folks in Rick Perry`s political world
so far have been pretty successful at getting the national press to ignore
this honestly truly historic thing about his candidacy, which is the fact
he is apparently going to mount a run for the presidency while he is under
indictment on multiple criminal corruption charges back home in Texas.
So far, at least, the Rick Perry folks have been able to pass off the fact
he is under indictment as a non-story, some little Texas issue that has
nothing to do with him running for president, just some -- you know,
hometown enemies pursuing small-time scores. No big story.
And that`s fine for now, right? That will probably hold as long as his
campaign consists of the kinds of hooky, small scale, not ready for
primetime stuff he`s been able to put together thousand thus far. But that
can`t last for the long run, right? I mean, once he has formally declared
as a candidate in the race everything will be scrutinized.
And so, presumably, that has got to factor in to the Rick Perry`s camp
decision as to when he formally declares he`s running for president. I`m
sure they would like to have the whole criminal indictment thing taken care
of before they take that leap. Otherwise that is by necessity going to
have to be the story of him running.
That may be why we have heard no hints from the Rick Perry partisans of
this world about when he might formally make his announcement and properly
get in to the race.
Same deal to a different degree with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
Scott Walker himself is not under indictment. But this is his former
deputy chief of staff who reported to prison in Wisconsin last week to
start serving a six-month sentence for felony misconduct while in office.
Unlike Rick Perry, Scott Walker has never been indicted, but there are
multiple criminal investigations, some open, some closed now, in to his
time as a public official. These public investigations about his time in
Wisconsin, honestly, follow him around like aluminum cans chained to his
One Scott Walker administration investigation back home in Wisconsin
resulted in prison terms for these kind gentlemen. One of them was Scott
Walker`s deputy chief of staff when he was the Milwaukee County executive.
The other is the man who Scott Walker appointed as a county official in
charge of veterans affairs. These two guys were convicted of stealing more
than $60,000 from local veterans organizations under Scott Walker`s
watchful eye and they went to prison for it.
The same criminal probe resulted also in four other Scott Walker staffers
and supporters being convicted on felony charges, including paid public
employees spending their paid public time at work, instead working on
political campaigns, which is what the other deputy chief of staff is going
to prison for as of last week.
One investigation, the one that has already resulted in prison terms for
Scott Walker staffers and appointees and supporters, that one investigation
relates to his first run for governor in 2010 when he was Milwaukee County
executive, he is trying to move up to state governor. The second Wisconsin
investigation, back home, which remains an open investigation in Wisconsin,
that one concerns Scott Walker`s run to keep his job as governor in the
face of the big recall effort against him in 2012. That ongoing
investigation is about allegations of illegal coordination between Governor
Scott Walker and supposedly independent, outside groups that spent money to
help him stay in office.
Again, like Rick Perry -- and Rick Perry`s criminal little indictment
problem, it has been pretty easy so far for the Scott Walker folks to wave
the national press off these Wisconsin stories, right, to convince national
reporters that it`s just not worth it to get in to the weeds on this state-
based stuff. It`s just hometown parochial partisan fighting, just a
politician dealing with his usual hometown enemies.
And that can fly for a while. The stuff can effectively stay off the
national radar as long as the Scott Walker campaign for president or the
Rick Perry campaign for president is just a probability rather than
something that is official and declared and underway. It will be much
harder to talk the national press out of covering those stories once these
guys are formally running for president, which has to affect their decision
about when they are going to announce they are formally running for
president. These guys want as many stray hairs tucked away, right, before
that bright light hits them in the national spotlight.
This year, so far, there`s only one guy who`s officially in the race
already. That, of course, is Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. This weekend,
Senator Cruz started to run the first presidential election campaign ad of
2016 -- I mean `15.
This ad which is religion-centric, Senator Cruz started running it this
weekend, specifically on Easter Sunday, during the FOX News broadcast of
Bill O`Reilly`s "Killing Jesus" program. It also ran in some local markets
that air the NBC show, "A.D.: The Bible Continues".
Next week, we were told expect a big announcement from Florida Senator
Marco Rubio. "I`m making a huge announcement on Monday, April 13th,"he
tweeted today. It looks like he`s going to be making his presidential
campaign announcement a week from tonight on Monday.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has bucked the tide a little bit and
signaled if he is running, he is not going to make his announcement until
late, late, until deep in to the summer. Honestly, there`s not been much
of a clamor on the right or anywhere else for a Bobby Jindal candidacy.
So, maybe the plan is to build up a hunger for his campaign before he
finally delivers and says he`s in.
For opposite reasons, that had also been the expectation about the
announcement of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. It had been
reported not long ago that Secretary Clinton might also wait until deep in
to the summer to formally launch her campaign for the presidency. And that
made sense at a certain based strategic level, right, with no serious
primary campaign to win on the Democratic side, Secretary Clinton could
just let the Republicans slug it out on the other side and stay out of it,
right? She could take time to get her act together, hone her general
election message, right?
It sort of makes sense. Don`t wade into the muck with those guys. Let
them fight it out and see what happens and who else goes to prison. Jump
in when you are ready to make the biggest impact on the general election
race. Do it on your own time. Do it on your own terms.
That`s what we had been expecting -- today that all changed. Apparently,
Hillary Clinton is now ready to get in officially at any moment. Brace
yourself. The campaign allowed it to become known that late last week,
they rent office space for the campaign in Brooklyn, New York.
Federal Election Commission says once you have done something like that,
once you`ve done something as official as that in terms of conducting your
campaign, once you`ve actually rented office space, that starts the clock
ticking and you`ve got to formally announce your campaign within 15 days.
So, the clock apparently started ticking sometime late last week. CNN
reporting today that the Clinton campaign is already started moving some
top political operatives to New York for the purpose of the campaign.
Those folks right now are working as volunteers, but, quote, "They have
been promised paychecks soon."
How soon is soon? Well, the actual timing, the date and time of her
announcement is apparently going to be a secret right up until the moment
that it happens.
Again, CNN reporting that Clinton campaign staffers, quote, "have been
instructed to be ready from Monday forward." Monday as in today, as in get
ready, it`s about to happen and you are not going to have any advanced
notice of when it is going to happen. Wow!
The next announcement we know for sure, though, will be tomorrow from
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul. Rand Paul`s full first name is
Randall. He has always insisted that it is just a happy coincidence his
favorite nickname Rand is the last name of Ayn Rand, the libertarian author
and philosopher who millions of college sophomores outgrow each year.
It maybe that he is Rand as in Ayn Rand purely by coincidence. But then,
is it also a coincidence that he Rand Paul is also going to announce his
run for the presidency tomorrow at a hotel called the Galt House?
The hero character of Ayn Rand`s book "Atlas Shrugged" is John Galt. Who
is John Galt?" The first line of the book, right? Rand, not Randall, Rand
Paul is going to be announcing he is running for president tomorrow at Galt
House, which is a very nice place, presumably there will be a nice fountain
Rand Paul will be the second Republican to officially declare that he is
running for president and he will be followed in less than a week by Marco
Rubio, maybe sooner than that by Hillary Clinton.
Come on in, everybody, the water`s fine. And now that they`re all getting
in, we will start to see how these candidates all look under the full, hot
glare of just how hot the spotlight can get in the national American press.
Joining us now is Joe Gerth, political reporter for "The Louisville
Mr. Gerth, it`s nice to see you. Thanks for joining us this evening.
JOE GERTH, THE LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL: Hey, thanks for having me.
Happy to be here.
MADDOW: I know I`m reading too much in to the Galt House thing. I have to
be. Can you tell me I`m reading too much into that?
GERTH: You are reading too much in to it. It`s -- Paul says that yes, he
was a big fan of Ayn Rand when he was younger. That she got in him in to
reading Dolsieski (ph) and others, and that he is always been a fan. It`s
a hotel in downtown Louisville where a lot of people hold events like this.
It`s a big ballroom and it`s -- logical he would choose this location.
MADDOW: If there is some sort of chocolate fountain head or if they hand
out copies of atlases or anything like that or if there is pronounced
shrugging, I expect you to come back and eat your words. But --
GERTH: I will tweet you immediately and you can invite me back on.
MADDOW: Perfect. All right.
So, with Senator Rand Paul getting in tomorrow, that makes him the second
candidate to throw his hat in to the race. When Ted Cruz jumped in, it was
a surprise. Nobody knew he was going to get in that early. This is Rand
Paul moving very early.
Do we know anything about what kind of calculation he`s making in terms of
getting in now?
GERTH: You know, he has not talked about that. But you have to think that
-- you know, he doesn`t have the power that, say, a Jeb Bush has to raise
money, and the same with Cruz. They don`t have this -- these big networks
out there that have been handed down to them. The network that Paul has
been handed by his father, Ron Paul, from his presidential run isn`t nearly
what you would see with a Bush sort of organization.
And so, he needs to get in. He needs to raise money early. That -- if
he`s got any chance at all, that`s -- I think it was fairly -- I was fairly
certain he`d jump in early, in fact.
MADDOW: Do you think this is going to be a son of Ron Paul campaign in any
structural or stylistic way? Obviously, we are seeing a lot of press about
how he is trying to distance himself from the eccentricities and weaknesses
of his father`s campaigns. How is Ron Paul going to factor into all of
GERTH: He is -- he is not his father. Don`t make that mistake. He is a
much better politician than his father. His father was much more
ideological than him.
He, as we saw with the statement on civil rights, that he made on your show
shortly after he was nominated back in 2008, when he first ran for -- I`m
sorry 2010 when he first ran for the president, he quickly walked those
back and said, no, no, that`s not me. Ron Paul would never do that.
Rand sees what he needs to do to run a race. He`s a lot smarter about what
he`s doing. He says he wasn`t going to get in this thing if he didn`t
think he could win. I don`t think his father ever thought he could win a
race he got in to.
MADDOW: Yes, that`s right. He was running for reasons other than winning,
in part to build a huge national network. It will be interesting to see
Rand Paul try to tap that.
One last question for you, Joe, and that is this quirk in Kentucky law
which says Rand Paul can`t run for reelection to the Senate and president
at the same time. He`s been trying to get that changed. What`s the status
of that in the state?
GERTH: Well, it looks like the Republicans will do a caucus for the
presidential primary, or caucus for the presidential race. It`s -- the
only race in Kentucky you can do in a caucus. It looks like they are going
to move forward with that, which solves the problem for the primary season,
because he would then only appear on the ballot as a candidate for the U.S.
The problem comes then in November because Kentucky has another quirky law.
That is that unless you die, are disabled or are ruled ineligible to run,
you can`t drop off the ticket -- off the ballot after the primary election.
If you do, your party doesn`t have the opportunity to replace you on the
So, what you would be left with is no Republican running or potentially a
Republican running only as a write-in candidate. That puts this seat at
risk if Rand somehow gets the nomination for the presidency or gets on a
Now, there I`m certain will be a suit filed at that point in which Paul
argues that Kentucky`s law that prohibits him from being on the ballot as
both Senate and presidential candidate or vice presidential candidate, is
unconstitutional. You know, that`s a -- I have some people who think the
Paul campaign could win, and that others tell me no, no. They think that
Kentucky`s law is fairly solid.
So, it`s a risk that I`m certain the Republicans here in Kentucky are kind
of concerned about.
MADDOW: Yes. That`s fascinating. This idea that if he gets the
nomination either as VP or president, they could -- Republicans could give
up a Senate seat effectively almost by default. Fascinating.
Joe Gerth, political reporter for "The Louisville Courier-Journal" -- Joe,
thanks for being here. It`s nice to see you.
GERTH: Sure, happy to.
MADDOW: All right. A lots more ahead tonight, including how refusing
service has become a lucrative cottage industry in at least a couple of
Plus, the U.S. secretary of energy joins us for "The Interview" tonight.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: OK. Some states in this great country of ours always find a way
to surprise you. North Carolina, for example, has recently shown great
creativity in coming up with shocking new ideas for what they want to do to
themselves. Their latest, almost unbelievable idea is next.
Please stay with us.
MADDOW: OK. This is the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. One of
the original eight so called public ivies, first chartered back in 1789. A
century later, they added on a school of medicine, which is now considered
to be one of the best medical schools in the whole country.
Congratulations on that, North Carolina.
One of the reasons that high-end medical school students around the nation
choose UNC for their training, if they can get in, is because if you want
to be an obstetrician or gynecologist, their OB-GYN program is considered
to be the best in the South, one of the best in the country, definitely the
best in the South.
And as part of their OB-GYN training, UNC offers a really highly regarded
fellowship in family planning. And you can see where this is going, right?
Because here`s North Carolina with this incredible educational inheritance,
what has been a world-class medical school, which includes excellent OB-GYN
training, this great family planning fellowship, but that same state, North
Carolina has recently acquired a super activist, very anti-abortion, very
conservative Republican state government.
Republican Governor Pat McCrory pledged that even though he`s a Republican
and he`s anti-abortion, he said he would not sign any new abortion
legislation as governor. He has already broken that pledge. And now, more
is on the way.
Pat McCrory and Republicans in the legislature have already passed new
regulations designed to close North Carolina clinics. And now, they are
working on legislation to limit the types of doctors who are allowed to do
abortions in the state, to triple the number of days that women have to
wait before the state would allow them to have an abortion, and they want
no more training on how to do abortions at that world-class best in the
South medical school.
No training on how to do it. No procedures performed at the hospital,
which means the North Carolina legislature and the state`s Republican
governor may be about to un-accredit, un-accredit their state`s flagship
medical residency program.
The University of North Carolina says if the Republicans in the state
legislature and the governor do this thing, if they pass this bill, it
could put their top-rated OB-GYN residency program at risk of being an
unaccredited program. Part of being an accredited medical school, you have
to offer OB-GYN residents the opportunity for hands-on abortion training as
part of their curriculum. You don`t have to do it as a resident, but you
have to have a chance to do it.
The state legislature is trying to make that impossible at UNC. Now, the
lead sponsor of the bill has a theory about this. She thinks all the
concerns are overblown. She says actually she knows better than the
medical profession and, in fact, she knows that there is no need for
anybody to ever train on this kind of procedure, in this kind of medicine,
because you know what, people can just figure it out on their own. They
can improvise when it arises.
Quote, "There are opportunities for doctors to learn this. Abortion
physicians learn from all kinds of training, spontaneous abortions, or
miscarriages, sometimes you learn how to act in an emergency situation.
There are other options."
In an emergency, you just learn how to act. Doctors will just figure it
out as the emergency unfolds. Take a number.
She also says the criticism is unwarranted. That North Carolina
Republicans seem to have plenty of time for anti-abortion legislation but
not so much for bills on the subject of, I don`t know, jobs, jobs, jobs.
She says, quote, "I`m absolutely an advocate for jobs, but we can do a lot
of things. And actually, when we can have a few more little taxpayers
born, why not?"
Yes, why not put the crown jewel of your state`s higher education system at
risk? Here`s the amazing medical school we have. Let`s make sure it`s --
this bill is still in the early stages but could come up for a committee
vote as early as Wednesday.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: When President Obama gave a State of the Union speech last year,
there was one member of his cabinet who did not attend, who was not
physically present in the chamber to hear the big speech. It was this guy,
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. He was the designated survivor last year,
which meant had the unthinkable happened on Capitol Hill that night,
Secretary Moniz would have become, bingo, Ernest Moniz, president of the
Everything is fine, though, obviously. And so, he is not, president. But
he is our nation`s energy secretary. And, yes, he knows you like his hair,
But he also happens to be the guy that knows more about the historic
framework nuclear deal we just struck with Iran than maybe anybody else in
our government. And he joins us live, next.
MADDOW: When they dropped the first atomic bomb on Earth, they did not
drop it from a plane. They instead built this 100-foot tall tower, and
they hoisted the giant thing up to the top of the hundred foot tower. They
apparently put a bunch of mattresses on the ground, of the bottom of the
tower, in case they dropped the bomb while they were trying to hoist it up
But they didn`t accidentally drop the bomb. They deliberately as they
planned to, exploded that bomb at the top of the tower, the first explosion
of it`s kind ever on earth. The Trinity Site in New Mexico, the site of
the first atomic bomb explosion. It was judged a great success.
The big portly general, Leslie Groves, Robert Oppenheimer and his fedora
there, they got it done, right? The Manhattan Project did what it was
supposed today do. It was 70 years ago this summer, July 16, 1945 when
they set off that first nuclear blast.
And then, less than a month later, they used them in war. A bomb of that
type from the Trinity test site, a plutonium-based nuke, was the one that
was dropped on Nagasaki. That was three days after a uranium based nuke
was dropped on Hiroshima.
So, the first test of an atomic weapon was July 16th. The first deployment
in war of an atomic weapon in war was August 6th, just few weeks later.
And now, every year, the Trinity test site, where humans blew up the first
atomic bomb on Earth, that site opens to the public but just for one or two
days per year, this past weekend is when it was opened for 2015.
Apparently, more people went to the Trinity test site than have ever gone
out there before.
It is way, way out there. It`s in south central New Mexico. It`s north of
El Paso, Texas. The "New York Times" reports that more than 5,000 people
went out there this Saturday for the open day at Trinity, and that`s a
record, more people heading out there 70 years head than ever before in the
history of that site. And, maybe, you know, maybe that`s because this year
is a round number anniversary for Trinity, 70 years since the first bomb
was set off there.
But I have to wonder if it`s also possible if the American people just have
nuclear explosions on the brain right now because of what`s going on in the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know that a military
strike or a series of military strikes can set back Iran`s nuclear program
for a period of time, but almost certainly will prompt Iran to rush towards
a bomb, will provide an excuse for hardliners inside of Iran to say -- this
is what happens when you don`t have a nuclear weapon, America attacks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking with "New York Times" columnist Tom
Friedman on the frame work for a deal that`s just been negotiated with
Iran, trade away the most dangerous parts of their nuclear program in
exchange for a lifting of that long-term hard core international sanctions
that have isolated that country internationally and crippled their economy.
We knew the deal was getting serious when they pushed past their first
deadline and stayed up all night working, instead of coming home. We knew
the deal was really serious when both the Iranian side and the American
side each put their own high ranking nuclear physicists at the top of the
talks. For Iran, that was Ali Akbar Salehi. For the United States, that
was Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Whatever decides Moniz and Salehi, they are both nuclear physicists and
they both went to MIT together in the 1970s. And having them personally at
the table negotiating at the highest levels maybe why the framework
document released for this deal was able to be so freaking specific, way
more specific I think than anybody expected.
Iran will drop to precisely 6,104 centrifuges, all of which will be rather
hoopty model from the 1970s called an IR-1. For 15 years, Iran will not
enrich uranium above 3.67 percent. Their total stockpile of Uranium will
be 300 kilograms, which incidentally is 97 percent less than what they`ve
got on hand right now.
So, no, there is not total specificity on when and in what sequence Iran
will get out of their sanctions, and no, there is no detailed explanation
on how it`s going to work in practice, for all these inspectors to be
allowed into Iran`s facilities and on what terms. No, this is not a done
deal yet. This is just a framework. But it is way more specific than most
people expected at this stage.
The political reaction to it is still inchoate. But the nuclear reaction
honestly is impressed. Maybe that`s what happens when the scientists help
make the deal instead of just advising the diplomats on what deal they
ought to make. It`s also particularly nice that when it comes time for the
administration to try to build support for the deal, they are in this case
able to make available to the press somebody who can confidently actually
answer all of those specific questions, even the technical questions that
we all have about this deal and what it would mean.
Joining us now for "The Interview", I`m happy to say, is our nation`s
energy secretary, Dr. Ernest Moniz.
Secretary Moniz, thank you so much for your time tonight.
ERNEST MONIZ, ENERGY SECRETARY: A pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, Iran has always maintained that the nuclear program was purely
peaceful. It wasn`t planning on building a bomb.
From what you know of their nuclear science, do you think they were
deliberately keeping open the path to a bomb? I know that you believe that
path is now closed with this deal. But do you think they were trying to
keep that path open?
MONIZ: Well, certainly we would not be in this situation were it now with
all of these sanctions on Iran if there weren`t inconsiderable suspicions
in the international community about their program`s possible military
dimensions and, of course, they have cooperated with IAEA, the
International Atomic Energy Agency, in terms of answering all of those
But as you say, the whole point of this framework today is we believe we
have blocked, or we will block when the agreement is final, both uranium
and plutonium pathways to a possible breakout scenario.
MADDOW: In terms of plutonium pathway, here is a thing that worries me,
and obviously, I`m no more -- I`m a complete layman when it comes to
nuclear issues. But Fordow is the site that they built secretly,
basically, into a mountain. I know in the framework, they don`t get to
bring fissile material there, they don`t get to run any centrifuges there.
But the centrifuges will stay there basically on ice. They say they won`t
do any reprocessing of fuel rods, which it could produce plutonium
obviously, the plutonium pathway.
I think about that site, and it`s inherent inaccessibility. And when I
imagine something going wrong there, I worry that there is still
centrifuges there. I worry that they could do R&D there that they`re
otherwise not supposed to be doing.
MONIZ: Well, the agreement would already block that pathway there. First
of all, most of the machines that would be left there would actually be
inactive. They would not be, as we say, spinning at all.
But most important, you`ve already said -- no fissile materials. So, no
uranium will cross the threshold, if you like, into Fordow. There will be
no enrichment. There`ll be no enrichment R&D. And very importantly, as is
the case throughout the agreement, there will be continuous surveillance by
the International Atomic Energy.
So, if there is any attempt to violate the agreement -- well, they would be
in breach and we would start the process of, for example, restarting
sanctions or taking other actions.
MADDOW: In terms of the investigations and continual monitoring of what
they`re doing, and there are so many different parts of this in which they
have agreed to be monitored, were you directly involved in the sort of
detailed discussion about how those inspections, that monitoring will work.
It seems to me that`s the sort of thing that could be a continuing source
of contention, small -- small types, small, or potentially escalating
fights back and forth. It seems like the devil is really in the details
MONIZ: Well, for one thing, the -- of course, again, the IAEA, which I`ve
already mentioned several times, will be in the lead in terms of those
inspections. But the agreement or the understanding already allows the
IAEA to use all of the most advanced technologies. Of course, cameras, but
also kinds of sensors, radio communications from seals, if they`re tampered
with, that will be known essentially immediately.
The -- make no mistake: all of these questions of access and transparency
to inspection are absolutely key to the agreement. And the level at which
we`ll have those inspections is unparalleled. It includes the entire
supply chain, going all of the way back to the uranium mines, all the way
through to the final facilities.
So, transparency, access is what we rely upon in addition to the physical
constraints that we have put on what they can operate and how much uranium
they can have as a working stockpile.
MADDOW: From a perspective that could be understood just by our general
viewers and by me again, a layman on the issues, one of the issues I was
curious about that I know you can answer is about the types of centrifuges
that Iran will be allowed to keep as part of this deal, about 6,000
centrifuges. But they`re only being allowed to operate this one particular
model, this IR1.
My understanding is that that`s like 40-year-old technology. Those are not
advanced centrifuges, as centrifuges god. What are those machines like
compared to the kind of machines used in the U.S. or elsewhere in the
MONIZ: Well, there is a measure of the capacity of each of these machines.
And as you say, this is first generation to perhaps be generous. The -- a
typical machine being operated in the nuclear power sector in the world
would be many tens of times more powerful.
MADDOW: Does the fact that Iran is not destroying or getting rid of its
more advanced centrifuges mean that we ought to worry about them employing
them again in the future? Was there any option to actually take those
machines away from them?
MONIZ: Well, in the very long term, it`s clear that if they want to be
able to supply fuel for nuclear reactors, they will need more powerful
machines in the long term. It was clear that being able to carry on
research and development was absolutely central if there was to be an
agreement. However, what we have done is certainly stretched out that
timeline very, very considerably.
They were operating already significant numbers of machines of the next
generation. Those facilities, that collection of machines, they`re called
cascades, will actually be taken down and put into monitored storage by the
MADDOW: Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, thanks for helping us understand
this deal. And it`s -- I have to say, it`s -- we don`t always get high-
ranking administration officials to come explain things on TV, so having
you here as energy secretary is a real honor, sir. Thanks very much for
MONIZ: Thank you.
All right. Much more ahead. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: So, one of the world`s richest companies today continued what has
been so far a very, very snake bit journey toward becoming yet more
unfathomably rich as a company. The story is something I`m sure very, very
annoying to the company in question. But from those who are observing from
the outside, it looks like an action-adventure on the high seas.
The images from this thing are crazy. It`s just started happening late
today. We`ve got the first images of it on national TV, and that story is
straight ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Royal Dutch Shell a couple of years ago made an utterly disastrous
stab at drilling for oil in the Arctic. One of their drilling rigs ran
aground and then later started to drift before really catching fire. That
was just one of them. You don`t want to know about the other one. But
Shell still very much would like to be drilling in the Arctic -- even
though they keep making it clear they have no idea how.
Last week, Shell cleared a major legal hurdle to get a second run at the
Arctic. The Interior Department reaffirmed the leases they need to do it,
which gives them the go-ahead to start preparations for trying again, and
now, Shell has its ships and drilling rigs on the way north.
One of their rigs is called the Polar Pioneer and it`s currently on its way
across the Pacific Ocean. It is headed for Seattle as a way point before
it eventually turns north and arrives in the Arctic.
Over the last few days, the Polar Pioneer, as it traveled across the
Pacific Ocean has had some company on the open sea. There`s a Greenpeace
ship called the Esperanza, which has been shadowing Shell`s polar right fro
more than 5,000 miles already. They started following it in Malaysia.
The Greenpeace folks have been tweeting pictures of the rig as they have
been following it. They`ve also been putting up photos and messages
showing themselves, the Greenpeace crew, gearing up for something. They
posted this video to YouTube without explanation that shows six crew
members from six different countries from the Greenpeace ship, they`re
suiting up with rocks and rock climbing equipment which is weird out in the
middle of the open ocean.
But then, today at dawn, about 750 miles northwest of Hawaii, we found out
what they were doing with the rock climbing gear. The six Greenpeace folks
got suited up, even more than we seen in the videos and they did this.
They boarded. They scaled the 38,000 ton Polar Pioneer drilling rig using
ropes and pulley. They set up camp under the deck and unfurled the banner
opposing drilling in the Arctic.
Greenpeace says they`re planning on hanging around as it were. Greenpeace
says they have enough supplies to last several days hanging off this
drilling rig. They also have the equipment they say to allow them to
communicate with the outside world while they are squatting on this rig in
the open ocean.
They say they do not plan to interfere with the navigation of the vessel or
with the operation of the vessel while they are up there, but they are
planning on staying.
Shell is not happy. Shell spokesman said today that the protesters boarded
this vessel illegally. The spokesman said they are jeopardizing the safety
of the crew onboard and themselves.
Shell is very motivated, for obvious reasons, to get this rig and the rest
of the fleet to the arctic as soon as possible. This is their plan for
years and they keep screwing it up.
But as of right now, as of tonight, there is also a motivated and
determined group of protesters that does not want to let that happen. And
for now, they are stuck like a barnacle on the side of Shell.
MADDOW: The Turf Protection Law. The Turf Protection Law was passed by
Congress in 1876. The Turf Protection Law had one specific purpose. It
outlawed the annual Easter egg roll on Capitol Hill. You believe it?
Congress used to host the Easter egg roll each year until the 44th Congress
in 1876 decided the kids were getting away with way too much rambunctious
inappropriate behavior and tearing up the lawn at the Capitol. And so,
Congress passed a literal, hey, you kids get off of my lawn bill.
This is before John McCain was even there. But it does show that nothing
ever changes, because these days Congress will not let children go sledding
on Capitol Hill. Back then, back in 1876, Congress would not let children
roll eggs on Capitol Hill.
Well, the reason why we have an Easter egg roll even in the face of that
law is because an old softy of a president, named Rutherford B. Hayes
decided, well, if Congress was going to kick the kids off of their lawn, he
would move the Easter egg roll to the White House lawn and let them have
the Easter egg roll there. Ever since, the Easter egg roll every Easter
time has been the leading contender for most adorable among annual White
House hosted events.
This year`s White House Easter festivities were held today. It`s a
surprisingly large event, and it goes on for a really long time. It sorts
of waves of children as far as I can tell, because what I learned about
today`s event is it was 30,000 kids in all, which seems almost unbelievable
but that`s what I have been told.
The day included not just Easter egg rolling but basketball between some
kids and some NBA players and the president. It turns out, if you are
president of the United States, you have to be careful when you say you
need a basketball, because people hear the president of the United States
"hey, I need a basketball" and this is what happens.
(VIDEO CLIP PLAYS)
MADDOW: The president needs a basketball. Everybody throw one at ail all
at once, all at the same time.
So, yes, President Obama played inadvertent dodge ball today, nearly got
pelted in the face with kids who were excited to throw him a ball. After
all, he did ask for it.
He also at one point had to calm a group of screaming unruly screaming kids
during story time. They were upset. It had nothing to do with the Iran
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: Now for, right next, let the Wild Rumpus start. They are having a
Wild Rumpus. Who can do a Wild Rumpus?
That`s some good rumpusing. I know you guys weren`t rumpusing that hard.
How are you? Can you see it?
OBAMA: Oh, no. That`s bees. It`s OK, guys. Bees are good. They won`t
land on you.
UNIDENTIFIED KID: They sting and they`re scary.
OBAMA: They won`t sting you. They will be okay. Wait, wait, wait.
OBAMA: Hold on, hold on! You guys are wild thing. You`re not supposed to
be scared of bees. Leave them alone, friend (ph).
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: For the record, there are no reports of any kids actually getting
stung. President Obama read "Where the Wild Things Are." He reads it
every year at the Easter egg roll. I have never before heard his rumpusing
sound before. Woo-hoo, hoo. Rumpusing.
It is a good thing the Easter egg roll is at the White House. I have
feeling no member of Congress is quite as good at rumpusing, as our current
president of the United States.
That does it for us tonight. We`ll see you again tomorrow.
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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