tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC May 24, 2016 6:00pm-7:01pm PDT
filmmakers alise steinberg and josh creeken, "weiner," a modern look at modern campaigning, see a lot of things about the way a modern campaign works. great work, thank you for coming. friday night i got into my cubicle and everybody was meeting en masse to go get on the subway and race off to go see "weiner" together. >> it's really good. >> it's really good, well done, thanks. thanks for joining us this hour. so let's say you work for a state. a lot of people do. let's say you have one of a zillion different jobs you can have while working for state government. so like you are a clerk in the state court system. or you're an intake nurse at a state mental health facility. you're the i.t. guy at the board of elections. you work for the state parks service. say you are one of the several hundred thousand people who are employed by a state like new
york. as an employee of the state of new york you get paid your salary, you get your benefits. you also pay into your retirement fund. and this happens in states and cities all across the country. in a state as big as new york, that retirement fund that all the state employees pay into, it's a giant freaking pool of money. it's a ton of money when you've got that many employees paying into it for that long. and yes, as an individual employee, eventually when you retire you will get to pull down your little piece of that giant piece of money. but on a day-to-day basis it's just a huge pile of money that the state technically is looking after on behalf of its workers until they retire and they want to claim back their retirement money. when states have a big giant pool of money like that, which is technically their employees', but they're babysitting it, turns out they don't just leave it sitting there. they don't put it in a lock box as it were. they don't put it in a bank account. they invest it.
and that system, that plan that lots of states use for their pension funds for this retirement money that sits in a big pile, that has led to corruption and scams all across the country. in a state as big and as corrupt as new york is, though, the scale of the scam in this particular state has been breathtaking. right now the current governor of new york andrew cuomo, he was attorney general, in 2009 one of his blockbuster corruption cases he pursued as attorney general was a case for a particular wall street firm, managed to get itself $250 million out of that giant pool of money for the firm to invest. and it wasn't a big firm. but they got this huge amount of money. they got a quarter billion dollars of this public money from the state to manage and invest on behalf of the state's workers. now naturally those kinds of
arrangements are really sweet deal for a wall street firm. they bear none of the risk themselves of the investment, and they get to skim millions of dollars off the top in fees for themselves. the more money they get to invest, the bigger their fees. these guys get $250 million, they made bank. it's a huge scam. it happens everywhere, all over the country. that's the legal part. the illegal part and the part that andrew cuomo prosecuted as attorney general is how this one particular firm in new york managed to persuade the state that their firm should be trusted with this quarter billion dollars. turns out it had something to do with this place. this is the king david. it's the king david hotel in jerusalem. just a huge, imposing local landmark. in addition to being a very, very swank hotel, it overlooks the whole old city of jerusalem. real landmark.
turns out the state official who is in charge of deciding what to do with new york's multi-billion dollar pile of money, the guy who was in charge of deciding where to invest it, who would get a piece of that, turns out conveniently enough he'd had a lifelong desire to stay at the king david hotel overlooking old jerusalem. and so that proconfessed desire by the guy in charge of this giant pool of money, it presented a really, really excellent, really illegal opportunity for one new york city wall street guy. the wall street guy later acknowledged in court that he made the king david hotel trip happen. he ponied up about $75,000 to send that new york state official and his family on an all-expenses paid luxury vacation at the king david hotel in jerusalem. first-class airfare, luxury hotel suites at the hotel, a helicopter tour of jerusalem, a car and driver for his time, a
full-time security detail for the trip. that was his bribe. the attorney general's word, not mine, his bribe for the new york state comptroller and his family. that's the bribe that he paid the comptroller. all expenses paid luxury trip. in addition, the deputy comptroller apparently also needed a little taken care of. the same wall street guy admitted in court to coming up with a fake tony sproprano styl job for the comptroller's brother to the tune of almost $400,000. another bribe. apparently was not just the comptroller and the deputy comptroller who needed taken care of. it was the comptroller's chief of staff who needed taken care of as well. the same wall street guy admitted in court to paying over $100,000 not to the chief of staff himself but to the chief of staff's girlfriend. and his girlfriend's family. she was an actress and a model and a singer, apparently very
nice. she was going out with the chief of staff for the new york state comptroll comptroller. cha-ching! add it up. ultimately turns out that one wall street guy paid bribes of about $1 million in order to get what his firm wanted. in order to get some of that big pile of public money pumped through his firm. and although it sounds like a lot of money, paying a million dollars to get that business, turns out it was a super good deal. because yes, he admitted in court to paying $1 million in bribes. but in fact those state officials gave his firm in exchange $250 million to manage. that's what got pumped through his firm. that individual wall street guy who paid the bribes, his cut alone of that $250 million that got pumped through his firm? he personally got $18 million from the deal. that was his fee apparently for
managing the money. for taking such good care of that public resource and investing it so wisely and prudently. so yeah, spending $1 million on bribes is prove lagat unless it gets you $18 million you get to put in your pocket. and so andrew cuomo busted that up. ended up going on from the attorney general's office to be governor of new york state. the comptroller who ran that office, the comptroller who was in charge of doling out the state money, who so loved the king david hotel, the comptroller ended up going to prison along with at least one other person in his office. but it's interesting. the guy from wall street who paid the bribes, he did plead guilty to doing it. he pled guilty to a felony charge of rewarding official misconduct. but turns out he personally never had to do any prison time.
because in addition to ripping off the people of new york so outrageously and paying $1 million in totally prove lagat bribes to all these people in this one office in order to get his hands on all that filthy lucre so his firm and he could benefit, in addition to being the guy who paid all those bribes, turns out he was a weasel. when he pled guilty he agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, thus escaping jail time for paying the bribes while ensuring the people who accepted his bribes, they were the ones who would go to jail without him. nice work if you can get it. and that guy was just named the vice chair of the donald trump victory fund for the republican national committee. where do they find these guys? it's not like i scrolled through a big long list of people on this committee in order to come up with this one creep who pled guilty to a $1 million bribe, ripping off the state of new york, no.
national republican party released the names of the trump victory fund, this half of this page, committed to raise the necessary funds for donald trump to win the presidency. a handful of names on this list. oh my god they're amazing. one of them is the wall street guy who admitted paying the million-dollar bribes in that story. that's just one of them. you want another one? let's go back to the very start of the george w. bush administration. one of the fun facts about new jersey governor chris christie's political career is the story of how he got his start in big-time republican politics. chris christie of course is now the governor of new jersey. he's the most prominent endorser in the nation of donald trump. he's been put in charge of organizing donald trump's transition effort if trump is elected president in november. chris christie is considered a leading contender for donald trump's vice presidential running mate. if he doesn't turn up on the list of unindicted coconspirators. chris christie ran his own
presidential campaign this year. but the way that chris christie ascended to the top tier in republican national politics was by being a federal prosecutor. in 2001 the brand-new republican president george w. bush named this sort of previously unknown guy, chris christie in new jersey, to be u.s. attorney in new jersey. to be federal prosecutor in that state. at the time chris christie had zero prosecutorial experience. he had almost zero experience in a courtroom. he had zero, zero, zero experience in law enforcement. his great qualification for that plum job was that he had raised a lot of money for george w. bush. chris christie had been a george w. bush bundler. and that is the entire reason why he got that u.s. attorney job which ended up launching his political career. and all presidents in the modern era, maybe all presidents of all-time, they've doled out what
you might think are pretty high-level jobs, particularly at the start of their administration, to people who aren't necessarily qualified for those jobs, but who did raise a lot of money for the guy who just got elected president. all presidents do it. george w. bush though took it to a new level. he did it with federal prosecutor jobs like with chris christie, even though those particular jobs had not always been previously seen as political party favors. a more typical party favor job was being ambassador somewhere. under president george w. bush, even ambassador jobs got way more embarrassing than they usually are. >> to the 16 ambassadors bush has named so far, none is a career diplomat. ten are big contributors. donating more than $2 million total to the bush campaign. the inaugural and the florida recount. getting the plum paris embassy, san francisco investor howard leach. $389,000 to the bush campaign and inaugural. more than $1 million to the gop over the last ten years.
doesn't even speak french. >> if you go to a country and don't have the language, you're really starting way behind. >> he doesn't even speak french. when george w. bush was elected president in 2000, he appointed as his ambassador to france a man who does not speak french. but who had given him a lot of money. his name is howard leach. howard leach has also just been named a presidential trustee of the trump victory fund of the republican national committee. this is not a long list but this is an amazing list. you want one more? here is donald trump speaking in south carolina in february. >> i'm the only politician that's not getting money. all these guys like cruz is getting tremendous amounts of money from oil and all these different -- jeb bush, woody johnson from johnson & johnson is his campaign finance chairman. woody will totally control what happens. you think the drug industry is
going to be hurt by jeb bush when woody johnson is the head of his committee raising funds for him? >> donald trump in february trashing a man named woody johnson for his leading role raising money for jeb bush's presidential campaign. mr. trump saying publicly woody johnson would then obviously control the jeb bush administration and its policy agenda because he would have bankrolled the effort to make it possible. he was basically corruption incarnate. today woody johnson was announced as another vice chair of the trump victory fund at the republican national committee. oh, i could go on, there's so many of them. but this was all announced by the republican national committee today. the brain trust that's going to be in charge of electing donald trump to be president. everybody from the french ambassador who didn't speak french to the king david hotel bribery guy who pled guilty to a felony. there's a coal industry billionaire, there's another billionaire who bankrolled scott walker's effort to destroy unions and union right in the
state of wisconsin. a nice, tight group. in fact, it is a very tight group. this is the small list of people that they announced today are going to be essentially running trump's finances. running trump's fund-raising operation. in their announcement about this small group today rnc said they're in the process of actively recruiting finance chairs for trump in all 50 states. apparently they're still recruiting because they don't already have people running the trump campaign in all 50 states. but that effort is getting under way. they are starting the effort of shoveling money to him. after a primary campaign in which mr. trump never failed to mention at every single campaign stop that he was self-funding his own campaign. that he was taking donations from no one. after a primary campaign in which he set himself apart from all the other candidates for president this year in large part by insisting that this financial thing was how he was different that he couldn't be bought, he would not take money from anywhere or anyone. that is no longer true about his campaign. donald trump tonight is
headlining a fund-raiser for himself and the rnc in albuquerque, new mexico. it is $10,000 a plate. tomorrow he will be headlining another fund-raiser in los angeles at the home of the guy who bought michael jackson's neverland ranch after the unpleasantness involving mr. jackson and his legal woes. that one i think will be a sliding scale, $25,000 to $50,000 a head. mr. trump is definitely no long area self-funding candidate. he just raises money from rich people like all the other candidates do. his whole brand-new campaign fund-raising operation, including all the victory fund folks who are announced today, is being overseen by this guy. or i should say the guy who owns the $26 million mansion in l.a. which when this footage was shot was being marched upon by angry foreclosed california homeowners. after this man and a bunch of other billionaires bought the scraps of a bank that had gone bust in the financial collapse,
had taxpayers bail them out to the tune of $13 billion, and then themselves profited handsomely as they threw 35,000 california families out of their homes by foreclosing on the mortgages that these billionaire guys had bought for pennies on the dollar. when the trump campaign announced it was hiring a national finance -- as their national finance chairman steven minuchin, we ran a feature on minuchin's history as one of the most famous cartoon villain vultures of the financial collapse up to and including protesters finding out where he lived in his $26 million mansion and marching on his home in order to try to guilt him, stop him from foreclosing on them as he made billions off their misery. he's the national campaign finance chair for trump. trump has decided to keep him. he's running the whole trump finance operation. and today that operation in all its glory springs to life. watch your wallet.
i know what you're thinking. hey, middle-aged, slightly pot-bellied, white lesbian on my tv box at 9:00 p.m. eastern, hey, isn't it tuesday? isn't it a tuesday in may in an even-numbered year divisible by 4? yes, it is. and that means you're right, today is a primary day. today is primary day in washington state. where they did the whole thing by mail. and with special ballot drop boxes. if you did not remember to mail your ballot in time. but polls close tonight, postmarked ballots will no longer be accepted in washington state as of 11:00 p.m. eastern time tonight. and yes, this is the place to watch those returns. chris matthews is going to be here with live coverage of those results on a late-night west coast primary edition of "hardball." our special election coverage starts tonight after lawrence o'donnell's show at 11:00 p.m. eastern.
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have. and i will come after your daily beast and everybody else that you possibly know. so i'm warning you, tread very f'ing lightly because what i'm going to do to you is going to be f'ing disgusting. you understand me? you write a story that has mr. trump's name in it with the word "rape" and i'm going to mess your life up for as long as you're on this frickin' planet." that story by "the daily beast" recounted an allegedly violent incident involving donald trump and his then-wife ivana trump in 1989. the incident was detailed in a 1993 book called "lost tycoon: the many lives of donald j. trump." the book recounted a deposition from the ivana and donald trump divorce in the early '90s in which ivana trump did use the word "rape" to describe what had happened one night during their marriage. the book depicted her as the victim of a "violent assault" saying she felt violated by her experience. for the record, after that story appeared last summer, ivana
trump basically disavowed that central claim. she said the story was "without merit." but it did lead to donald trump's lawyer warning that what he would do to anybody reporting on that allegation would be, and i quote, "f'ing disgusting." now in that set-to with "the daily beast" donald trump's lawyer michael cohen also told those reporters that it is not legally possible for a person to rape his or her spouse. he said, "of course, understand that by the very definition you can't rape your spouse. you cannot rape your spouse. and there's very clear case law." there is not very clear case law. that was total bull pucky. you can rape your spouse. but that was not just some guy spouting off at a bar, right? that's donald trump's lawyer. and he still is donald trump's lawyer. and today that same lawyer was on cnn making allegations about bill clinton's sexual history
and hillary clinton's allegedly personal role in making it all somehow worse as bill clinton's wife. >> what's the joke about the allegations that he had -- >> i'll tell you. >> improper relations with women, ruined women's lives, had his wife go after them? >> the person who called all of them the worst was hillary clinton. the great enabler. he's a little hint for them. donald trump is this uber billionaire real estate developer, possibly the greatest negotiator in the history of this planet. he'll never come out with his first offer in real estate right off the bat. meaning if she thinks that this is bad, right, this is nothing. he's not coming out with his strong from day number one. >> remember, this is the same guy who to "the daily beast" said, tread very f'ing lightly because what i'm going to do to you is going to be f'ing disgusting, i'm going to mess up your life for as long as you're
on this planet. same guy. now he's on to this part of the story. the trump campaign is launching a coordinated effort with the candidate himself, with his lawyer who you just saw, with his best friends in the media, and in terms of paid campaign materials including a new instagram video featuring the voices of two of
bill clinton's accusers from the 1990s, which was released by the trump campaign yesterday. >> very nervous. no woman should be subjected to it. it was an insult. >> he starts to bite on my top lip. i try to pull away from him. >> that video released by the trump campaign after an interview a few days ago with a fox news host named sean hannity in which the candidate himself took the accusations further than even his very eager host was initially willing to go. >> what about what clinton's done? how big an issue should that be?
i looked at "the new york times." are they going to interview paula jones? are they going to interview kathleen willie? in one case it's about exposure, another groping, fondling, touching against a woman's will -- >> and rape. >> one of the new pacss supporting donald trump is called the rape accountability project for education pac, an acronym chosen because it spells out r.a.p.e.p.a.c. they've hired one of the bill who accused bill clinton of sexual misconduct in the 1990s. this is now on. we were told if donald trump was the nominee this was going to happen. this is how they would run against hillary clinton. but it's now no longer a possibility. this is now on. it's a whole campaign effort from team trump. >> we're essentially talking about the fact that we have a war on women being waged by the democrats. at least against the republicans. that's the accusation.
and yet we have the person who is the lead of that fight on the part of the democrats is in fact a person who could not control the sexual predation that went on in her own home. >> that is how the trump campaign is running donald trump for president. that's what he has to offer the nation. the clinton campaign has said this is the gutter, they are not getting in the gutter, they will not respond to this they will not go there. but donald trump and his whole campaign in an organized way is there. the trump campaign is no longer floating this line of attack as something they might try. they're running with it full bore, all aspects of the campaign. you'd think opening up this line of attack, this kind of attack, would also inherently open up donald trump's whole past. because there are decades-old allegations against him as well. when bill clinton came under withering public scrutiny in the 1990s donald trump himself remarked at the time that he himself, had he been a politician, he could never
withstand that kind of scrutiny. >> once you run for president -- did you ever think about that? >> people want me to. >> what about you? >> i don't like it. imagine how controversial i'd be. you think about him with the women, how about me with the women? >> how about me with the women. donald trump speaking with chris matthews in 1998. but now, if it is going to be clinton versus donald trump in 2016, this is the way that donald trump has decided to run. the trump campaign and the trump organization have threatened to go totally nuclear on anybody who hits them on this stuff in donald trump's own life like the donald trump lawyer telling that reporter at "the daily beast." i'm warning you tread f'ing lightly because what i'm going to do to you is going to be f'ing disgusting. that's the way they want to fight it. obviously if ewe in a fight like this you'd want it to be one-sided. you'd want to be the one launching these sort of mud missiles, right? you'd want to be launching them and you'd want people to be too scared to launch back at you. you'd want it totally one-sided.
you'd want it to be that way. when you're the target? the way hillary clinton is the target right now? why would the clinton campaign agree those are going to be the terms of
this fight, that this is going to be a one-sided fight? this is almost unbelievably ugly stuff. does it require an answer? your insurance company won't replace the full value of your totaled new car. the guy says, "you picked the wrong insurance plan." no, i picked the wrong insurance company. with new car replacement, we'll replace the full value of your car plus depreciation.
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the bernie sanders campaign told us last week that they intended to buy ads after all in california. we've also been told that in the full-on sprint to the california primary on june 7th the clinton campaign did not intend to spend money on ads in california unless the sanders campaign jumped in first. today the sanders campaign jumped in first. >> what choice do californians have in this election? the biggest one of all. you have
the power to choose a new direction for the democratic party. to break the back of a corrupt system of campaign finance that keeps a rigged economy in place. to stand up to wall street and make the wealthy pay their fair share. to fight for due tuition-free colleges and universities. california, it's a long way to washington, but you can send
them a message they can't ignore. i'm bernie sanders and
i approve this message. >> a new direction for the democratic party. that's the new bernie sanders ad which is running in california. that's notable for the content of its ad which you saw. also notable for its existence. there's a real open question right now as to what kind of financial resources the bernie sanders campaign still has. especially when they need now to be competing in a big expensive state like california. just for perspective sake, even though california wasn't in the crucial last spot in the calendar in 2008, it was a super tuesday state in 2008, even so, barack obama and hillary clinton both spent about $6 million on tv time in california in that race eight years ago. california is a hugely expensive state to run in because it's so big that you really do have to run on tv and because the tv time is so expensive. the sanders campaign was known to have less than $6 million on hand in total at the start of this month. so there was some thinking that he couldn't run any california
ads even if he wanted to. apparently though we now know they've got the scratch. because here's the ad and the sanders campaign says it's spending about $1.5 million to run it in l.a., san francisco and sacramento. there's no word yet on whether this ad buy today from senator sanders will mean the clinton campaign will respond in kind. the two candidates both campaigned in riverside, california, today and tonight. actually just a couple of miles apart from one another. but while the sanders campaign today released its new ad touting a new direction for the democratic party, the clinton campaign released this today against donald trump. >> this is an economy that can't find the bottom of bad news. >> ten years of saving, completely gone. vanished. >> the biggest crash of household wealth that we've ever had in the united states.
>> i sort of hope that happens. because then people like me would go in and buy. if there is a bubble burst as they call it, you know, you could make a lot of money. >> we don't know if the clinton campaign is going to be doing tv advertising to run against bernie sanders in california. we do know that this appears to be the first large-scale coordinated all-in effort by the clinton campaign against donald trump. joining us now to talk about this latest strategy is the national spokesman for the hillary clinton campaign brian pallen, nice to see you. >> thank you for having me. >> am i right this is the first all hands on deck trump-focused effort? >> more or less. i thought that this was an important moment to highlight. i think that it sort of puts the lie to this idea that donald trump is on the side of the working class. there's been no shortage of attention on all the divisive statements he's made. i think the fact that he's in over his head on foreign policy is well documented. but i think he got a free ride during the republican primary on this idea he's running as a
populist, especially on trade issues, that he somehow represents the working person. i think from his tax plans to his opposition to a minimum wage increase to the way he's conducted his business affairs, there's plenty of reason to question that. >> it's interesting the way he responded to this ad from you guys today, by basically saying, yeah, i'm a businessman, i make money where ever i can in a bad market i can make a ton of money, we need more thinking like that in politics, people who make the bev a bad situation. he doesn't appear shy about what you think is going to be embarrassing to him. >> that's right. to me this comment is worse than the 47% comment that was such a groundswell in the 2012 campaign with mitt romney. because it's not just showing sort of that he detests working-class people, but he's actually relishing the idea of profiting off of people's misfortunes, people who were having foreclosures happen to them. yet he didn't react as if it was a gaffe, he didn't attempt to make take it back. if he had the political press
corps would have been quick to say, that was objectively a bad day for donald trump. instead because he peddles this narrative, yeah, i meant to say that, and in fact that's what i'm going to put that approach to work on behalf of the american people. people are second-guessing themselves and wondering, maybe being greedy is good in 2016. and our theory of the case is, no, greed is not good. just because you're shamelessly greedy, it's still not good. >> it does seem i can follow this through line through different points of contention. on taxes there's the issue whether or not he's going to disclose his taxes. but he's also already bragging about how little he pays in taxes. >> yes. >> how smart he's been about evading taxes. he's very proud of that. he's proud about the number of times he's used bankruptcy law in order to make more money for his companies. he's proud about the fact that he's offshored manufacturing jobs for his clothing lines because that's a way to make more money and he knows how to do that. his rejoineder is the same. yeah, and i've made a ton of doing it, i'm a winner, i know
how to work the system so i can shut down those loopholes but also don't you want somebody this conniving working on behalf of this country? his rejoineder does have appeal if you like the idea of him as a winner that would make our country great again. >> this has caused them to say, how are you going to deal with this? up is down, black is white. he can brag he pays zero in taxes and his poll numbers go up. that worked in a republican primary, he gained a plurality of support because he told people what they wanted to hear in terms of repealing to people's worst instincts in terms of misogyny, bigotry, condoning violence at his rallies. when you appeal to that segment of the electorate they're going to forgive statements like about taxes where he's bragging about paying nothing in taxes. general election is a different story. independent voters are not going to take well to this. i think a lot of people that are commentating about the campaign to come are drawing the wrong lessons from the primary and
applying them to the general election. i think people's initial instinct was right, it will be in the general election, when it comes to independent voters. >> on the issue how the trump campaign is comporting yourself they're already full bore in terms of bringing up sex scandals from the 1990s and attacking hillary clinton on the basis of her husband's personal misbehavior. they're not shy about this at all. they appear to be gearing and up they appear to be making this a central part of how they're going to run against her. i know that your campaign position is basically, we're not getting in that particular gutter, we're not going to respond. are you really just going to let him run free on that for six months? >> we don't actually fear that this is resonating with the voters in any way. i think that the lesson that he drew from the republican primary was that he could bully his way around and put fear into his opponents, chris christie, marco rubio, jeb bush. and he felled them one after another by essentially playing mind games with them, trying to get under their skin. oozing this may did cheechismo .
i think he's going to use the same tactics, bully hillary clinton into making a mistake or backpedaling or shying away from him, being passive. hillary clinton has shown from the beginning of the launch of donald trump's campaign that she's not going to be shy about calling him out. unlike the republicans who couldn't challenge him on any policy questions, she's been ferocious about challenging him on his plan to do mass deportations, his opposition to pay equity, his opposition to a minimum wage increase. we are not turning the other cheek when we refuse to get into the gutter with donald trump, we're taking it to him every day, including today, spotlighting his heinous statements in support of rooting for a bursting of the house being bubble. we are taking the case to him as you heard today. with the symphony of surrogates across the country today drawing attention to some of his biggest misstatements. so we're not going to be relenting in that. people shouldn't mistake that, our refusal to get in the gutter and litigate these be a sushd
allegations about vince foster that have been investigated five times two decades ago. you shouldn't mistake that as thinking that means we're being passive in the face of donald trump's absurd approach to this campaign. >> brian fallon, national spokesman for the hillary clinton campaign. it's a shame you haven't been here on set with me before, please come back. >> absolutely, thanks for having me. >> it will just get worse from here, i promise. i take picture. it's my job and it's also my passion. but with my back pain i couldn't sleep... so i couldn't get up in time. then i found aleve pm. aleve pm is the only one to combine a sleep aid plus the 12-hour strength of aleve... for pain relief that can last into the morning. and now... i'm back. aleve pm for a better am. for over 100 years like kraftha, delicious natural cheese you learn a lot about people's tastes. honey, what do you want for dinner tonight? oh, whatever you're making.
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works here? the idea is that people are supposed to run out of the black and white lock lip tick scary city on the right, they're supposed to run to the left toward the green, toward the full color of the world outside that scary city. the billboard-type sign that's falling down in the black and white region next to the isis flag, what that says is "the islamic state, the state of raqqah, checkpoint." the writing on the top on the left-hand side says, "this is the time that you've been waiting for for a long time. it's time to leave raqqah." raqqah is the city in syria that was captured by isis three years ago. it's isis' stronghold, de facto capital for the islamic state in that part of the middle east. when the u.s. started dropping leaflets in raqqah we got a look at those leaflets quickly. we knew the u.s. was dropping these but we didn't know why. obviously they're telling civilians to flee that city, telling them it's time to go. was that a legitimate warning of
a big military offensive that was about to happen against raqqah? or was this just a psy-op, psychological propaganda operation to worry isis, to unsettle them and get them nervous? in the press anonymous pentagon officials said it was just propaganda, they said they were messing with isis, and no big operation was actually planned. but now today it's apparently on. rebel groups including the ones supported ostensibly by u.s. military training, they've apparently joined up with a huge number of cuedish forces, 25,000 to 30,000 kurdish troops, to start what appears to be a large-scale military offensive against isis' capital city in raqqah, in syria. today those forces are reportedly still 30 to 40 miles north of the city of raqqah. but they're reportedly headed in and they've been knocking isis forces out of small towns along the way as they go. so apparently this leaflet wasn't kidding. the fight for raqqah, what isis
claims is its capital city, that fight is apparently on. and simultaneously the other fight that is on is the fight for fallujah. the name fallujah has a lot of resonance resonance here in the united states because of the huge number of mostly u.s. marines who were killed and wounded fighting in the early days of the iraq war, some of the fearest house-to-house fighting the u.s. military has been in since vietnam. fallujah is about 40 miles west of baghdad. it was the first iraqi city captured by isis in iraq, even before isis declared itself to be a caliphate isis has been occupying fallujah for two and a half years, since january, 2014, it's the longest-held territory in iraq. and the fight is apparently on in fallujah now, too. the fight to take back that city from isis got under way yesterday. the defensive is being carried out in large part by iraqi forces and also by shiite militias that are backed by iran. and that's a little bit of an issue for the united states
military, the involvement of the iranian-trained militias explains why american forces in part are not taking a direct role in this fight in fallujah. the u.s. military does have some artillery units at a base west of fallujah, they have offered up apache helicopter gunships for the fight in fallujah. the iraqis haven't taken them up on that but iraqi forces in these iranian-trained and iranian-armied militias, at this point therm reportedly surrounded fallujah and they are firing into it. so these fights are both happening at once now. these are two big fights now under way simultaneously right now against two totally key places held by isis. one started yesterday in iraq in fallujah, one started today in syria, in raqqah, in what appears to be a major assault on isis' hometown, the capital of their caliphate. these are big fights, big offensives for two big important isis-held cities. what do these mean for our war against isis? were they planned to kick off in
hitting isis right where they live, right now simultaneously. inge us now is courtney couby, thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> these are two big offensives, sfj the longest isis-held city in iraq. raqqah is obviously their capital in syria. did we expect both of them would have major military offensives to take them back at the same time? >> that's surprising. there's been a very different impetus for each one. so fallujah you've seen recently there have been a number of very high profile very deadly attacks against baghdad in recent weeks. the iraqis believe that those have been planned and carried out based from fallujah. so it's been a new incentive for them go in and finally root out. they have not actually entered fallujah yet. they're still continuing to strike it from outside the city whereas raqqah, raqqah, the
battle hasn't actually begun there. it's really the beginning of the beginning of them going into raqqah. so these thousands of syrian democratic forces, syrian arab coalitions, syrian kurds, they're moving south from the north towards raqqah but they have miles and miles to go, 30 to 40 miles. it's going to be a very slow march to raqqah to actually retake the city. >> courtney, do u.s. officials believe the size of these offenses and the way they are structured are likely to be successful in terms of how dug in isis is in these places and we what we know about how they might defend these two places? are these two fights going to push them out? >> i think we'll see especially in fallujah a lot like what we saw in ramadi, where isis created booby traps everywhere. they booby trapped everything they could in that city and you saw ramadi was virtually destroyed, much of the city, by air strikes, by fighting. i think we will see something similar to that in fallujah, they are very dug in there.
p there are civilians still in the area. one of the reasons that there's been early warning on is this is they're hoping isis flee and it won't be as big a battle as we saw in ramadi. >> courtney kube, thank you very much for being here, appreciate it. >> thank you. >> stay with us, we'll be right back. i had a wonderful time tonight. me too! call me tomorrow? i'm gonna send a vague text in a couple of days, that leaves you confused about my level of interest. i'll wait a full two days before responding. perfect! we're never gonna see each other again, will we? no-no. wouldn't it be great if everyone said what they meant? the citi double cash card does. it lets you earn double cash back. 1% when you buy and 1% as you pay. the citi double cash card. double means doubl
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donald trump's rally tomorrow. >> no, i will not. >> what's your reason? tell us why? >> you know, i'm really busy. >> [ laughter ] the chair of the republican governor's association is really busy. she'd previously said she would also be too busy to attend the republican convention this summer until someone reminded her that she has to go because she's chair of the republican governor's association. so she will have to go to cleveland but she does not have to come out of hiding while donald trump is in her town. not yet, at least. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> i know why you're not going to the donald trump thing tomorrow night. >> i can come up with a number of reasons. >> it's because you're really busy. you're not going. >> very important hairs that need watching. that's right. >> thank you, rachel. >> thanks, lawrence. >> polls will be closing in washington state an hour from now. we will have live coverage of the results of the republican primary there tonight. i waspe