Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW
Date: January 27, 2015
Guest: John Brabender, Carol Leonnig
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC NACHOR: Good evening, Rachel.
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC ANCHOR: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
HAYES: You bet.
MADDOW: And thank to you at home for joining us this hour. Once upon a
time, the George W. Bush administration paid people to do positive new
stories about them.
It was ten years ago this month that "USA Today" broke the news that the
U.S. Education Department under George W. Bush had entered into a PR
contract that included payments of almost a quarter million dollars to this
guy to do positive stories in the news as if he were a journalist about the
Bush administration`s education policies. His name was Armstrong Williams.
He`d hosted a TV show and a radio show called "The Right Side." He was
also a syndicated columnist at the time. But when the news came out that
Armstrong Williams was getting paid by the federal government to do
positive stories about them that was a really big embarrassment for the
Bush administration. It also made Armstrong Williams very famous in a bad
way. He ended up losing all his fake journalistic gigs at the time. Ten
years down the road though now, Armstrong Williams is back. It is his
production company that created the hour long campaign video, which
purports to be a documentary about Ben Carson, Ben Carson is a doctor, Tea
Party favorite who is apparently going to run for president this year.
And you know maybe Armstrong Williams is an incredibly talented story
teller. The Department of Education thought so once upon a time. Maybe
there is a good reason to hire him Armstrong Williams to tell purportedly
factual, purportedly journalistic stories about you. That are actually
paid for propaganda. But if you did so, there is a reason you would not
necessarily put the name Armstrong Williams on something like that. It is
embarrassing, right? I mean it ought to be embarrassing to associate
yourself with the government paying for good news coverage, but Ben Carson
has done that, and the lack of shame around that sort of history also
brings us to today`s news in Indiana. Today was supposed to be a big day
of good press for the very ambitious governor of Indiana.
Mike Pence, as I say, a very ambitious guy, very much wants to have a
national profile. The Mike Pence administration in Indiana have been
planning for a very long time that today would basically be his big
breakout day for getting a big, positive national news story about Mike
Pence, the conservative leader. Today they thought he was really going to
make it on to the map. Because today is the day Mike Pence`s
administration was due to announce a deal, but they came to with the Obama
administration about how Obamacare will be implemented in that state, they
thought this would be a great news story from Mike Pence. He`s been
looking for one of those as he tries to establish a national profile,
presumably to try to build some momentum for him as the 2016 presidential
candidate. Unfortunately for Mike Pence, all of the news that he wanted to
make today was overshadowed by his own Armstrong Williams problem. This
was the headline in the "Indianapolis Star" yesterday.
Governor Mike Pence`s state run news outlet will compete with media.
A reporter at the "Indy Star" named Tom LoBianco got a hold of internal
launch documents for some things that Mike Pence was starting inside
Indiana state government, called "Just IN," Capital I, Capital In, as in
Indiana. He apparently has been in the process of starting "Just IN" as
"the state of Indiana news service.
As described in the star, it is a state-run. Taxpayer funded news outlet
that will make prewritten news stories available to Indiana media as well
as sometimes break news about his administration.
So that was the headline last night in "The Indianapolis Star." That gave
way to this cascade of headlines immediately thereafter.
Columnist, Mike Pence`s horrible idea. Another columnist, governor, killed
the Pence News agency now. Those naturally gave way to the inevitable,
next headline, Governor Pence, said to be clarifying state-run news plan.
Governor Pence now saying it`s all been one big misunderstanding. The
governor today lamenting these reports that this was intended to be a news
agency. Saying what he was actually launching was meant to be a resource,
not a news source. That is maybe what he is saying now, as he tries to
clean it up. That`s not actually what he was trying to launch, at least
according to the documents that have been published by the star. Look,
these has been frequently asked questions that were circulated internally
about Mike Pence`s new state run news agency.
Question: does "Just IN" cater to the media or to a general audience?
Answer, both. We do expect reporters to find the site useful, "Just IN"
however, will function as a news outlet in its own right.
The government of Indiana, under Governor Mike Pence, really was in the
process of launching a state-run news outlet, you know, like "Press TV" in
Iran, or "Russia Today" or the Chinese news agencies that we all turn to to
hear the good news about Beijing`s excellent air quality, but in the way of
doing that, the local press, the real local press in Indiana caught him
doing it, and now Governor Mike Pence is having to dial it back. And
because he had to spend all day today fending off questions about this
thing, and dealing with the tide of negative press that he earned himself
in the process, he managed to stop all over what was supposed to be his big
day of great national press about his Obamacare deal.
And so, yes, Indiana Governor, former congressman Mike Pence may want to be
a Republican candidate for president in 2016, so far he is not setting
himself up for that very well.
In the real world of our politics right now, though, there is a case to be
made that whether or not a guy like Mike Pence is a good candidate, is
behaving in a way that would attract voters to him, there`s a case to be
made that that doesn`t actually really matter right now, at least at the
stage of the game. Because the thing that keeps a basically anonymous,
somewhat ham-handed, pretty forgettable politician like Mike Pence, in
circulation as a potential top tier 2016 presidential candidate is nothing
about whether or not he handles things well in the state of Indiana.
The reason that he keeps circulating as a potential top to your candidate,
is because he has two very, very important friends. Hi, guys.
For the past year, you would be forgiven for thinking that Mike Pence is a
lot more famous than he is. For the number of mentions he gets in the top
tier beltway press, right? But the focus is always the same thing about
all his beltway mentions. It is not about his deal on Medicaid in Indiana,
or whether or not he is trying to start a - version of "Pravda", right?
It`s not about anything he is doing as governor. It really is about the
fact that the Koch brothers love him. It`s about the fact that his staff
and his former staff is very well placed within the Koch work of activists
and funders. Mike Pence himself gets granted individual personal audiences
with the Koch brothers when he requests them.
Now, that`s what -- to these headlines. Mike Pence`s Koch brothers`
advantage. Mike Pence heading into a private dinner featuring remarks from
David Koch, tells reporters at that sitting, how grateful he is for David
Koch and for the Koch network of activists.
Here`s "Bloomberg News": Mike Pence, a Koch favorite, mauls 2016 running
for president." Winking at 2015, Indiana Governor Mike Pence courts Koch
American politics right now is in a place and out of time where it sort of
it`s sort of being strided into top tier politicians and non-top tier
politicians. It`s fascinating. You wouldn`t expect that things get
strided (ph) along these lines.
I mean at one level, it matters whether or not you are terrible and
embarrassing, and do things that make people laugh out loud at you. Yes,
on one level that still matters. But may matter less than whether or not
you have got the support of a couple of very key funders who like you and
have liked you for a long time.
Over the last few days, there`s still been this remarkable clarification
about who is actually a contender in our politics right now and how that
gets decided. Just over the past few days, before the big East Coast
snowstorm, right? We had two nearly simultaneous events that made it very
clear. Who is making a serious run, and has a real chance, and who on the
other side is just making noise.
For a lot of category, for the just making noise category, we had an
excellent showcase in Iowa this weekend, and what unexpectedly became clear
in Iowa is that none of the people who have previously run for president
appear to be making a serious -- and threatening run for it this year. You
wouldn`t necessarily expect this before you see them in action. But the
people who have run before are all the worst, apparently, at running again.
I did not expect this until I saw some of the speeches. But honestly the
speeches were really weird and at times really, really inexplicably bad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: it`s been said, and I`m sure you`ve heard it. There
are two things you should never see. You should never see a law or a
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have seen both.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I still eat sausage.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I can attest to the fact that neither are very
pretty. And in the case of a sausage, you and I will get this in a way
nobody else in America does. But if you`re going to have some sausage, you
have got to kill some pigs.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And folks, there are a lot of people in America who
want the sausage, they just don`t want to kill any pigs. We need to do
some pig killing to get to the sausage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We need to do some - At this point in the speech, we`re like what
are we talking about here? Are we still talking about this legislation or
is this something different? "The Daily Show" lost its mind over this clip
last night, and for good reason. Mike Huckabee is one of the candidates
who in years past, Democrats have been the most worried about in terms of
his natural political skills. He may have had those skills at one point.
He doesn`t have them on display right now.
Also, sorry to do this, but former Alaska governor and vice presidential
nominee Sarah Palin, she told Politico last week that she was seriously
interested in running. Her appearance in Iowa this weekend makes it clear
that that is not a risk to the nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH PALIN: Racism, sexism, whatever, really, it`s kind of Orwellian
observing how that works, that rule of Saul Alinsky`s no doubt, that the
left employs, disgusting charges from the left that reverse them. You know
- it is they who point a finger, not really - they have triple that amount
of fingers pointing right back at them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: If you point forward, there are three fingers pointing back at
you, but you know what that leaves unexplained -- Even with all the finger-
pointing and the angry fist shaking, and the demonstrance of excitement
from people like Rick Perry, none of this in terms of people who have run
before, none of this feels like people who were going to make a serious run
for president. I mean of all the -- who might run again, look at Rick
Perry. I mean Rick Perry on paper, he still seems like the best one, in
terms of what he has got going for him. But then you see him up there,
giving these speeches and it`s like no -- no .
MADDOW: It`s really, it`s not going to be him. Somebody give him a bottle
of syrup to hug. And then today, in Texas, actually, there was another
round of headlines about Rick Perry`s criminal and felony corruption
charges. Rick Perry was charged with two felony counts of corruption in
August. Today, a judge in Texas rejected for the second time his lawyer`s
appeal to have that case dismissed, which means that the felony corruption
charges against him, I mean this case in which he has been indicted. There
is a mug shot and everything. This is going to go -- to churn on for
months yet. Even if he ultimately is exonerated in this case, it is going
to go on for a long time into the presidential campaign period.
And so Rick Perry? No. Sarah Palin? No. Mike Huckabee? No. It just
appears -- wouldn`t have expected this, but appears that on the Republican
side, none of the people who have been contenders before really seem like
they`re going to be contenders this time around.
But meanwhile, at the same time that Iowa was showcasing who is not going
to be in contention, at the same time in Palm Springs this weekend, Palm
Springs, California, the Koch brothers donor network were highlighting non-
retread candidates who have not run for president before, but who the Koch
brothers and their donor networks are taking very seriously this time
around. Mike Pence, Koch brother`s favorite, could not be there apparently
in Palm Springs this weekend, but they made sure his name circulated in all
the advanced press about who they were talking to, and who they like for
So the first time they allowed a webstream of a candidate forum from this
Koch brothers` donor event. It was three Republican senators who have not
previously run for president, but who plainly are all running this time -
Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul.
And while the noise and spectacle in Iowa got the bulk of attention, I
think, mostly just because it was funny, the Koch brother`s network
implicitly overshadowed the Iowa circus.
And they did it by taking seriously a whole different cast of characters,
and also by announcing the Koch brothers` donor network spending goals for
2016. Just for perspective, the $889 million that the Koch brothers say
their network will raise and spend on the Republican effort to take the
White House in 2016. That number that is more than twice what the
Republican Party itself raised and spent on its effort to take the White
House last time around in 2012. More than double. In any rational
universe, there is no way that somebody like Mike Pence and his abortive
state run news agency would be taken seriously as a national candidate.
There is no reason to expect a guy like that would organically bubble to
the top of people who are being considered for a national office.
But in the Republican politics right now it`s not a rational universe
necessarily. It`s these guys universe. Not the party`s and not anyone
else`s. And that explains almost more than anything who gets taken
seriously and who is floundering in a sea of (INAUDIBLE).
If they are the ones who just --makes the decisions about who gets to be in
contention. What does that say to us all, overall, about our national
decision making process, about who we get to choose from for our national
leaders. Joining us now is Republican strategist John Brabender. He was
Rick Santorum`s chief strategist during the 2012 campaign. Mr. Brabender,
it`s really nice to see you. Thanks very much for being with us.
JOHN BRABENDER, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Yeah. Actually, you haven`t had me
on forever and I just want to say, I miss these little chats.
BRABENDER: So, I appreciate the opportunity, especially after watching
that 12 minutes, certainly this should be fun.
MADDOW: Well, I miss you too!
BRABENDER: Thank you.
MADDOW: And I think I should ask as actually as a foundational question,
if you are going to work with Rick Santorum if he runs again? Or if you
plighting your with any of these guys for 2016?
BRABENDER: Yeah, and I really -- some of the other ones, but I will say
this. I`m loyal if nothing else. I have been on all of Rick`s campaigns
since 1990 when he ran and won for the House of Representatives and if Rick
so chooses to move forward, it`s highly likely that`s where I will end up.
But the good news for me right now, is there are no announced candidates,
I`m not under contract with anybody, and just like Armstrong Williams, if
you want to offer me a quarter of million dollars .
BRABENDER: I`m happy to be out to say good things about you, Rachel.
MADDOW: Let`s say that -- let`s say that Rick Santorum doesn`t run. And
so, and you have the option of jumping in to support a candidate either
because you are going to staff the campaign or just because as citizen, you
want to support somebody. How do the Koch brothers affect your decision
making process about who is viable and who is not?
BRABENDER: Yeah, I mean, personally that would not affect me at all. I
would -- Yeah, I mean if you`re going to do a presidential race, and you
have got to understand, even for a consultant it`s a great expense to do
that. Because you`re giving up a lot of other races, your time, your
family, everything else. You`d better be really like that candidate. So,
that -- that`s number one. Number two is, you look at how much authority
you are going to have within that campaign. But I will honestly say this.
It is easy to make mockery of some of these candidates by taking little
snippets of what they said.
On Saturday, but I actually think it`s the majority of them are a pretty
strong team, and if you really look at what they were trying to accomplish
on Saturday, each one came with a completely different goal and agenda and
in most cases they accomplish that.
MADDOW: What I`m interested in, as we watched the Republicans trying to
figure out the size of their field, and who counts as a top tier candidate,
is who gets to make the decision? I mean who do you watch for applause
lines in front of social conservative activist in Iowa? Do you look at
those high dollar donor events? Do you look at the beltway -- do you look
at the Beltway press? What is -- who are the relevant decision makers at
this point as we try to sort down from 20 candidates to a handful?
BRABENDER: Let`s look back at 2012, to be honest about it. Rick Santorum
ended up winning the Iowa straw poll, which we all know, right?
He actually spent less on advertising than any of the other candidates. He
had -- spent -- we spent less than a $100,000 on advertising. He actually
had his super PAC list, then less than any of the other super PACs. You
know, a lot of people say why is Iowa first? I`ll tell you why they are
first, they take it incredibly serious. They kick the tires, they take it
for test drives, they look under the hood and they drive it again. And so,
the point is, you are not going to come in and spend a lot of money and buy
Iowa, you have to earn Iowa. And so, it`s not where somebody is going to
pick and say, here is who is going to be the nominee, and I`m going to buy
that nomination. That`s an affront to people in Iowa and it does not work.
MADDOW: In terms of the big donors and the relationship with the party,
when it gets to the point of a general election, what will it mean if the
party is outspent two to one by outside forces that do whatever they want
and don`t have any internal accountability in terms of the Republican sort
BRABENDER: Yeah, I think we all agree on both sides, it is not a
particularly good thing. I can tell you from running campaigns it`s even
difficult. Because we no longer can always control the agenda or the
message. Sometimes it`s the outside groups, but presidential races are
unlike anything else. In a senator race, a governor`s race, an outside
group can dump a lot of money and it can make a huge difference. In a
presidential race, there is so much press coverage, and people get to know
the candidates so personally, that generally that outside money has much
less of an impact. Even when it`s in the quantities that you are talking
MADDOW: John Brabender, Republican strategist, I really appreciate you
being willing to talk with me about this stuff. I can`t ever get any
Republicans to come on the show, but you`ve never been anything other than
sweet and a real treat to be here. So, thank you so much.
BRABENDER: Thank you, hope to see you soon. Keep it.
MADDOW: All right. And tell Rick Santorum I said hi. All right .
MADDOW: Lots more to come tonight, including justice being served a half
century late, plus some science that involves the third floor men`s room
right outside this studio. Please, stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, can in 90 seconds, can you let two pounds of air
pressure out of 11 footballs?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What if there were ten people waiting in the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The cold snowy weather provided one big unexpected advantage
yesterday. In the state of West Virginia, when in the middle of the
afternoon, it suddenly became very advantageous that there was a lot of
snow on the ground because this happened.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This Enterprise gas pipeline erupted sending flames
hundreds of feet in the air. People on both sides of the river could see
it. And the calls began to pour into our newsroom. The explosion caused
Archer Hill Road (INAUDIBLE) to be shut down for hours with only first
responders allowed near the fire. I was able to see this fireball first
hand, thanks to a neighbor who took me on his ATV near the explosion site.
We, of course, stayed at a safe distance, but even from there, I could
smell the gushes (ph) fume, feel the heat, and here the roar of the flames.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Another day, another pipeline goes kablewy. Look at that footage.
What is going on right now with pipelines? Last weekend, it was the
Yellowstone River. 12 inch diameter oil pipeline, when it boom for
reasons that are still unexplained, and that spill dumped tens of thousands
of gallons of oil directly into the pristine Yellowstone River in Montana.
Just a few days after that spill, we learned about another pipeline, nearby
to that Montana one, this time in North Dakota, it was a three million
gallon spill of toxic petroleum and chemical brine, a byproduct of the
The previous record for a brine spill in North Dakota was a million gallons
that was nearly a decade ago, they are still cleaning that one up. This
new one is three times the size of the previous record. And nobody has any
idea how much damage it has done, and what` it`s going to take to clean it
3 million gallons. That same day we found out about another busted
pipeline, also in North Dakota, that was a smaller spill, only about
100,000 gallons of toxic chemical-laden drilling brine. And now the latest
pipeline cablowe (ph) is in West Virginia. This one was a natural gas
pipeline. Some of the other pipelines that have burst in the past couple
of weeks are older pipelines. Maybe that`s part of the reason that they
went kaput. This one that just went boom in Virginia is a brand new
pipeline. It carries natural gas from the Marcela Shell down through a
corner of West Virginia and across Ohio and eventually connects down to
Texas. But that pipeline that just blew up in West Virginia, it`s only
been in operation for a year. A year, but for some reason yesterday it
blew up and created that huge fireball.
The company that operates the pipeline is working with the federal
government to try to figure out what went wrong there, what caused this.
The local fire chief does credit the weather yesterday, the snow storm with
helping to keep that fire from being more of a problem. That said there
was no snow advantage for the last natural gas pipeline explosion that we
have this month. That one was in Mississippi, two weeks ago just before
the Yellowstone River spill, that one created a plume of smoke so big the
National Weather Service picked it up on weather radar, as if it was
weather. It was -- you know, maybe this is just how pipelines celebrate
January, but all over the country, pipelines new and old are popping up
like Roman candles. We have had five this month so far and the month is
not over. So far the only evident national response to this phenomenon is
Senate Republicans moving to jam through approval of the Keystone pipeline.
But while the senate grinds on with that procedure, with at least five
major pipeline spills and explosions already this month, the rest of the
country right now is basically wondering just how much more pipeline we
MADDOW: Look at this video from "The Boston Globe". Look at this. Look
at the front-end loader. What`s wrong with this picture?
If you`ve ever seen snow being plowed, this is not what it looks like when
snow gets plowed. And that`s because this was shot today in Scituate,
Massachusetts. And that is not just snow that`s getting plowed, that`s
snow and the sea.
Scituate not only got hit with 2 1/2 feet of snow in last night and today`s
blizzard, they also got flooded by a huge storm surge from the Atlantic
The National Guard was called in to rescue people in Scituate today. There
ever evacuations and some very real damage in Hull and in Marshfield,
The storm didn`t end up hitting New York and New Jersey as hard as had been
feared. The National Weather Service actually apologized today for
bungling that part of the forecast last night. But eastern Massachusetts,
and Cape Cod, and the islands off of Massachusetts, and coastal
Massachusetts towns like Scituate, they really did get just creamed by this
In Boston, the storm in the sixth largest snowstorm they have ever recorded
in that city.
I`ll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NARRATOR: It is that time of year. Kids will receive presidents for the
holidays. Many will be excited when they unwrap the box an find an
unmanned aircraft. Don`t fly near airports or any manned airport. Do take
a lesson before you fly. Don`t fly near people or stadiums. Do fly for
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The FAA only wants you flying drones for fun.
Also, they have to be small, you have to fly them away from people, or
airplanes, or stadiums. But it should definitely be fun. Why do you take
I should mention this is not just the FAA being folksy. Unless you get
special authorization, it is the law that you can only fly drones for fun,
for recreational purposes, and if you`re into that sort of thing,
recreational drones are easy to get.
For example, here is the Phantom Aerial quad copter drone. About foot and
a half wide, two pounds like, it`s got four propellers, a maximum
horizontal speed of 22 miles an hour. If you want, you can attach a GoPro
camera to this sort of thing, capture some sweet bird`s eye video if you
want to tie something else to it. It can handle a minor payload. This
drone, you can find everywhere, including Amazon.com.
That is apparently the same drone that a guy in Washington dc was flying
around at 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning before he flew that drone over the
fence and on to the grounds of the White House. Tada!
Shortly after 3:00 a.m., yesterday morning, a Secret Service agent on the
south grounds of the White House says he heard and spotted the drone
overhead, and reportedly passed over the White House fence, and then
whacked into a tree before crashing on to the ground and landed on the
southeast lawn of the White House.
The White House was put on temporary lockdown until Secret Service agents
examined the drone and determined it didn`t pose a threat.
About six hours later, the Secret Service got a call from a man who
apparently, coincidentally, randomly happens to works for the Geospatial
Intelligence Agency, which was a classified government intelligence agency.
That man reportedly told the Secret Service that it was him who flew the
drone into the White House. It was just a mistake. He was messing around
with his friend`s Phantom Aerial quad copter at 3:00 in the morning, when
he lost control of it near the White House grounds. He also apparently
mentioned to the secret service that he was hammered when it happened.
So far, the man has not been charged with anything. The Secret Service
appears to believe him that it was an innocent 3:00 a.m. drunken screw up.
But, of course, the question is, what if it hadn`t been? This is the
latest in a series of more or less security breaches at the grounds of the
We only just recently learned, mainly thanks to Carol Leonnig`s reporting
at "The Washington Post", of a very serious incident in 2011 in which a
gunman fired a semiautomatic gun out the side window of his car and the
bullets from his gun struck the upstairs residents of the White House. It
took days for the Secret Service to figure out that the shooting happened.
That was only after a White House housekeeper found broken glass on the
floor of the first family`s residence upstairs of the White House.
In September, an armed security contractor with an arrest record was
allowed to step on to an elevator with President Obama. During the
president`s trip to the CDC in Atlanta. That man on the elevator was not
cleared to be there. He did have a loaded gun on him at the time, while he
was riding the elevator with the president.
That same month, a man wielding a knife jumped the White House fence, ran
across the White House lawn, ran inside the White House, and made it all
the way into the East Room before he was finally tackled by a Secret
Since all of those have been brought to light, the Secret Service chief has
resigned. The agency`s top executives have been fired. The Secret Service
and White House security specifically have been reviewed by a top level
But now, we`ve got the drunken drone thing, which by all accounts was a
relatively harmless accident. What if it had been carrying a payload of
some kind? What if it had been carrying explosives, God forbid?
The White House has antiaircraft missiles, in case a full size plane poses
a threat to the White House. The White House is protected by radar that
monitors the air space over the White House.
But the drone is very little. Is there any means by which the White House
is protected from small, commercially available, soon to be ubiquitous
drones like this one, but it`s not always going to be some drunken,
regretful guy from the Geospatial Intelligence Agency. At some point, it
will be someone trying to do some harm.
Joining us now is "Washington Post" national reporter Carol Leonnig.
Carol, thanks very much for joining us. Appreciate having you here.
CAROL LEONNIG, THE WASHINGTON POST: Glad to be here, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, you wrote today that this is a problem, the prospect of a
drone posing some threat to the White House. This is something that has
gotten quite a lot of attention in the government recently. They have been
studying how to deal with this as a potential threat?
LEONNIG: Yes. And in an irony of ironies, you know, this drunk-droning
event happened Monday morning in the wee hours, roughly 3:00 in the
morning. But on Thursday, that panel of experts that you mentioned, they
were having a private briefing with lawmakers, just a few days before this
event. And they were asked, are there any other things that are serious
risks to the White House security? And drones was one of their top three
sort of worries and -- in terms of risking security at the White House,
that are unaddressed.
You know, we`re not describing the others, but the drone one is sort of out
of the bag now. You know, it got across the White House lawn, it crashed.
It led to a series of Secret Service officers running around with
flashlights. And the way they found the operator was when his friends woke
him up and he learned about the news, and he called the Secret Service to
say, that was my drone, that was my friend`s drone.
MADDOW: Well, in this accident incident because of the circumstances,
doesn`t seem so scary. You know, drunk guy plays with drone, crashes it,
loses, passes out, wakes up, checks Twitter, oh, that`s where my drone
I mean, on the one hand, It doesn`t sound like this guy in particular was a
security threat. Do we know if he`s going to get in trouble for this?
LEONNIG: Well, it sounds like his intelligence boss, the Geospatial
Intelligence Agency is a little bit concerned about somebody -- you may
remember that this federal agency does the mapping for various serious
covert operations for intelligence agencies. They`re the people who
figured out the mapping for Osama bin Laden`s secret hideout in Abbottabad,
and if this person was -- even on his off hours was flying a drone and lost
it somewhere over the White House property, they`ll have a lot of hard
questions for him.
But right now, there is no action that has been taken. We`ll see what
happens there. But you raised the really important question, Rachel, which
is what if?
The morning that I woke up on Monday, what my editor mostly wanted to know
what, is there a camera on this drone? Because a lot of people, especially
in the counterterrorism field and intelligence communities, are really
concerned about people learning the vulnerabilities of the president, the
White House, the first family through surveillance. And that`s another
risk. This could have been a weaponized item, it could have had something
really harmful on it, it could have had a small payload of explosives, but
it could just have a camera that nobody really noticed in the middle of the
night. If it hadn`t crashed, we would have to wonder would it have been
found and it`s owner been found.
MADDOW: Carol Leonnig, national reporter for "The Washington Post" --
thank you so much for your time tonight. This is a weird story, but more
worrying the longer you think about it. Thanks for helping us understand
it. I appreciate it.
LEONNIG: You bet. Thank you, Rachel.
MADDOW: All right. Coming up, science. Science, an unfortunate men`s
room on the third floor of this building, and what promises to be a high
level of experimental live chaos, just ahead.
Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUBTITLE: Today, the TRMS production staff tested a hypothesis.
All in the name of science.
That story is next.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: I`m willing to bet that you know this man -- long time congressman
from Georgia, civil rights hero. Even those who don`t agree with his
politics, Congressman John Lewis is admired and acknowledged nationwide
across the board for his courage and specifically what he sacrificed on
behalf of this country.
John Lewis, as you probably know, was one of the original Freedom Riders.
The early civil rights activists were brave enough to travel around the
country and test and break the segregation laws of the Jim Crow South.
One of their first stops, first year, 1961, was a place called Rock Hill,
South Carolina, when John Lewis and the other Freedom Riders stepped off
their bus in Rock Hill, South Carolina, they were physically attacked.
White people in Rock Hill set upon John Lewis and the other Freedom Riders
and they beat them. That happened in May 1961.
Rock Hill has recently let it be known that they`re very sorry that that
happened. Over the last few years, the town of Rock Hill, South Carolina,
invited John Lewis back to the city where he was beaten in 1961. One of
the white men who had come downtown to beat up the Freedom Riders that day,
came forward personally and apologized to John Lewis. The congressman
accepted that personal apology.
In recent years, the mayor of Rock Hill, South Carolina, has also
apologized to John Lewis for what happened to him there. They gave him the
key to the city. And John Lewis, statesman, long time congressman, John
Lewis, accepted that apology, accepted the key to the city.
Rock Hill is trying to make good on what happened there a half century ago.
Rock Hill is trying to make it right.
A few months before John Lewis and the Freedom Riders pulled into town in
1961, a group of friends from the local black college in Rock Hill, from
Friendship Junior College, they decided they would break the segregation
laws in Rock Hill in their own brave way. They decided to try to order
lunch at McCrory`s lunch counter in downtown Rock Hill. It was nine black
They sat down, as soon as they sat down, they were pounced on and dragged
away by police and arrested, for the crime of sitting at a lunch counter
while black. That group became known as the Friendship Nine, after the
school they went to, Friendship Junior College.
Today, the surviving members of that group told NBC`s Mark Potter what
happened that day at that lunch counter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLARENCE GRAHAM: I remember being grabbed up by my belt and thrown to the
floor and dragged out of the store.
MARK POTTER, NBC: By who?
GRAHAM: Police officers.
DAVID WILLIAMSON: The part that got me was when they put me in a cell and
closed that door, and they clang, you can still hear -- you can still hear
that clang, when they clang (INAUDIBLE), you know you was in there then.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: By the time of their arrest in 1961, the civil rights movement,
enough people were getting arrested in enough places all over the South
that it was actually becoming sort of a financial issue, as to whether or
not the movement could afford to spring everyone out on bail after getting
Well, the Friendship Nine, they decided that they would do it differently.
Those men decided that they would refuse to give their money to a justice
system that was treating them that way. If they got thrown into jail for
civil rights arrests, they would stay in jail, they would wait out the
sentence, jail no bail. Instead of paying bail to get out, they took 30
days on the county chain gang. They`ve been arrested for a nonviolent
peaceful sit-in. What they end up doing was 30 days hard labor.
And that self-sacrificing strategy in Rock Hill, South Carolina, became the
strategy of arrested civil rights protesters all over the country. Jail no
bail meant not paying money to the police forces that abused protesters,
and it also frankly meant embarrassment and inconvenience for the local
authorities holding and holding and holding and holding all these peaceful
protesters who refused to be bailed out. These guys changed the movement,
they changed the country.
Tomorrow, the town of Rock Hill, South Carolina, will gather the surviving
eight members of the Friendship Nine. They`ll gather them at a local
courtroom, and in that courtroom, a judge will throw out their convictions
from that lunch counter sit-in 54 years after the fact. You obviously
can`t take away the time they spent on the chain gang at hard labor, but
they can expunge their convictions. And that`s going to happen tomorrow.
The local prosecutor telling NBC, quote, "What these men did wasn`t wrong,
in fact, it was right. What they did wasn`t illegal. It was an act of
Fifty-four years late, but Rock Hill is finally getting it right.
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: Mystery -- science and mystery. Unless you`ve been living under a
rock the last week, you`re probably aware of a controversy surrounding the
New England Patriots football team, and some allegedly underinflated
The Patriots are set to face the Seahawks in the Super Bowl this Sunday.
It`s expected to be the single most watched event in the history of
television. But overshadowing the lead-up to the game has been this
question of whether or not the Patriots cheated in their last game, whether
they purposely underinflated footballs in the game they won that got them
into the Super Bowl.
There`s case to be made that an underinflated football can be easier to
throw, easier to catch, easier to run with. So, the question has been, did
the Patriots intentionally deflate footballs in order to gain an unfair
advantage in the game, they won to get into the big enchilada. The answer
so far is -- don`t know.
The NFL has been investigating the allegation since that last game, they
confirmed publicly the number of footballs used by the Patriots during the
first half of the game were, in fact, under inflated.
But the Patriots have denied any wrongdoing. The coach says he believes
his team followed all the rules. The quarterback says he has no knowledge
of any such thing taking place. The owner of the team came out last night
and said his team did nothing wrong, he looks forward to an apology when
this is all disproved.
But in the meantime, mystery, what happened?
What we know so far, or what we think we know so far, has all basically
come from anonymous leaks, from people purportedly close to the
investigation. First, anonymous league sources told ESPN last week, that
11 of the 12 Patriot footballs were underinflated, 11 of the 12 footballs.
The next big leak came yesterday when again anonymous sources told FOX
Sports that the NFL had zeroed in on a Patriots locker room attendant who
took the footballs from the referee`s locker room to, quote, "another room
at the stadium" before the start of the game.
So, that goes to opportunity, right? Eleven of 12 footballs were
underinflated sometime after the referees saw them.
The implication is that a Patriots locker room staffer took the approved
footballs that had been checked by the referees, took them from the
referees` locker room to another room and did something. Again, these are
all anonymous sources, it`s important to note that NBC News has not
But the next leak came last flight when NBC Sports reported that it was not
just any old other room in the stadium that this locker room personnel took
the footballs to, it was a bathroom, an anonymous source telling NBC sports
that the Patriots turned over surveillance footage that shows a Patriots
employee taking two big bags of footballs into a bathroom. One bag holds
the Colts footballs and one holding the Patriots footballs. That employee
spent 90 seconds in the bathroom with the footballs.
And that`s now the heart of the mystery. Is that the point? Is that the
place where the alleged deflating of the footballs took place? In the
bathroom? Over the course of 90 seconds? Could a person even deflate 11
footballs in the span of 90 seconds inside the cramped space of a single-
seater bathroom? Is that humanly possible?
I think we`re about to find out?
Hello. This is the bathroom right outside the studio.
Hi, Will. That`s the great Will Femia, Maddow show digital producer.
Will, all right. You have the footballs. I can`t hear you, but I can see
WILL FEMIA, TRMS PRODUCER: Yes, we have a pump with a gauge.
MADDOW: OK, go it.
MADDOW: You`re in this bathroom, you have 12 footballs and the pump.
You`re going to test this theory of whether a person could deflate two
pounds per square inch per pressure out of 11 footballs in the span of 90
seconds. So, we`re going to time you, are you ready to do this?
MADDOW: OK. I`m supposed to put on this referee`s jersey, but I can`t
figure out where the opening is to put it on. Just imagine.
But, Will, I`ve got a stopwatch. Are you ready? On your mark, get set --
MADDOW: OK. Now, we have tried to simulate the environment as best we
can. According to the anonymously sourced sports reporting, the Patriots
employee was inside a bathroom that contained one toilet and one sink,
which is roughly what we have here in this bathroom.
The door was able to be locked from the inside. But what actually happened
inside that bathroom is part of the mystery. If the alleged deflating did
take place in there -- I mean, did he take each football and deflate each
one and place it back in the bag? Will we have time to do that? Did he
stick the pump inside the bag and inflate -- deflate them while they were
still inside the bag? Would one method be faster than the other?
Will`s making pretty good time.
The other thing to tell you, while Will is doing this is that there are
alternate theories. I mean, if it didn`t go down like you`re seeing right
now, one guy over 90 seconds deflating 11 footballs, was there another way?
Maybe there was a mystery bag of already deflated footballs that was
stashed inside the bathroom, so the ball boy just went in and swapped the
approved footballs with the underinflated ones that had been hidden in
there, or maybe there were more people stashed inside the bathroom when the
ball boy went in.
We`ve actually mocked up what that might look like. Maybe it isn`t one guy
deflating 11 footballs. Maybe there were 10 people inside the bathroom
already and when the ball boy went in, each person just had to deflate one
football, plenty of time for that, who knows?
But seven seconds left, this scenario right here, this is one ball boy
inside the bathroom deflating each football one by one. This is the
operating theory of how it all went down.
Time`s up, time`s up.
How many did you get through, Will? Eight. Eight?
FEMIA: Eight of them.
MADDOW: Eight. And you were going pretty fast. That said you`re not a
FEMIA: I know.
MADDOW: Thank you, Will.
Fake science. Patriots are innocent -- of which I`m saying not because of
any scientific conclusion, but because I live in Massachusetts.
All right. 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.
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