tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC February 17, 2017 6:00pm-7:01pm PST
seder, thank you for joining us to close out this week. that's "all in," the rachel maddow show starts right now. good evening. >> have a great weekend my friend. thanks at home for joining us at this hour. nice to have you with us on a friday night. george "the animal" steele died today. if you, like me, watched wrestling in the 1980s, you will remember george "the animal" steele. his whole this stick whtick was he was hairy, he would act in an animalistic manner, he would tear things up with his teeth, he'd stick his tongue out at a weird angle and make crazy eyes at the camera. it made it out like he was almost -- half animal after man or like maybe half having a seizure but just angry. george "the animal" steele. one of the great lovable wrestling bad guys. and he died today at the age of
79. 79 for for a pro-wrestler, that is a ripe old age. a lot of the famous wrestlers that i grew up watching when i came home from elementary school on tv, a lot of those wrestlers have died in recent years at unsetingly young ages. one of the most recognizable female wrestlers, chyna, rowdy roddy piper, remember him? he was one of the great characters of wrestling, he died in 2015, he was only 61. there was a wrestler i remember who was sort of a strange character in terms of his character, the way he played scripts and wrestling. he went by the name the ultimate warrior. he was only 54 when he died. the ceo of world wrestling entertainment, linda mcmahon was just confirmed to a cabinet position in the trump administration. and who knows, linda mcmahon may turn out to be a great chief of
the small business administration but the business she comes from does have a dark side to it. the trail of dead performers she leaves behind at the business she ran with her husband is unsettling and it keeps coming up in part because wrestling is an odd side par interest for this new administration. there's a lot of weird things about this new administration but one is the wrestling correction, we've seen the crazy tape, the man who's now the president of the united states having a big fake fight on the side of the ring at a big pro-wrestling match, right? actually, while he was having that sipted fake fight, the featured performer in the ring, just finishing his wrestling match, that guy there, that was the guy who was 34 years old at the time. he went by the name umaga. he was 34 years old when donald trump had that cameo fight in the middle of his wrestling match. he was dead less than two years later. dead by the time he was 36.
so who knew we'd ever have a presidential administration with lots of ties to the weird dark world of pro-wrestling? but we do. when george "the animal" steele, passed away today, the highest profile pro-wrestler of them all, the most fame poous pro-wrestler of this whole era hulk hogan paid his respects to george steele, he wrote on twitter "george "the animal steele" rest in peace, my brother." hulk hogan in the 1980s and 1990s was well known as a wrestler. he was probably the highest-profile star they had. i don't know how you quantify that. but that's how it seemed to me as a skid. but a wrestling career can't last forever and even though he was a huge deal in the '80s and '90s, maybe even a little further than that, he had faded from the spotlight for a while when in 2012 he briefly became famous again for not wrestling but, forgive me, for a sex tape.
the web site gawker, which was proudly pro fine, they did a lot of celebrity coverage and good serious journalism but gawker in 2012 desided to publish snippets of a tapenhich hulk hogan could be seen having sex with someone who was not his wife who was, in fact, somebody else's wife and no, i'm not going to show you images from the tape, you can use your imagination or not, i don't know if you've eaten. it existed. hulk hogan had his personal lawyer threaten gawker and tell them they needed to take that tape down but gawker didn't take it down. but then lucky for hulk hogan it turned out that gawker had a very, very rich, -- vindictive enemy who was watching this sex tape story unfold from afar. a silicon valley eccentric conservative billionaire who had been nursing a grudge against gawker for years because of the way gawker covered him and his personal life in his silicon valley career and that eccentric
conservative billionaire secretly arranged to bankroll a legal fight against gawker on behalf of this previously famous wrestler with now the minorly famous sex tape. i don't know if he was a wrestling fan, too. i don't know if he had any particular affection for hulk hogan but what he ended up bankrolling was not a typical, you know, celebrity/public figure complaint against a publication. the point of that lawsuit he bankrolled was not to get gawker to take the sex tape down. it was not to get gawker to retract the story or apologize, the point of the lawsuit wasn't even to get gawker to pay. the point of that lawsuit, the whole structure of this novel legal strategy they came up with for going after gawker in that case, the whole point of it, was not to make gawker pay, not to make gawker feel financial pain. the point of it was to make gawker disappear as a publication. not to punish them, not to get compensation or apology for hulk
hogan, it was to make that publication go out of business permanently and irretrvably. and it worked. it cost about 10 million dollars in legal fees but if you're a billionaire, what do you care? it took ten million of his dollars, it took three and a half years, it 100% worked. they sued gawker in a florida courtroom for $100 million. they got out of the injury a $140 million verdict. part of what they had originally claimed in the lawsuit was that gawker had nepgligently inflictd emotional stress. there's no reason the hogan side couldn't have prevailed in their lawsuit but at a strategic moment in the case they dropped that specific part of their claim and as best as we can tell the reason they dropped that specific part of their claim where they very well might have prevailed, that i dropped it because had they prevailed on that point gawker's insurance would have kicked in. gawker's insurance would have had to pay the settlement had
that been the grounds on which the lawsuit was decided. rather than do that and get the settlement they dropped that claim from the lawsuit so gawker's insurance company was off the hook. gawker's insurance company wouldn't have to pay and then they proceeded with the lawsuit on the rest of the grounds and gawker itself had to pay out of its own pocket. and that is how peter teal, silicon valley conservative billionaire, that's how he used an aging pro-wrestler who, as far as we know, he had never met, to secretly develop a novel legal strategy specifically designed for the american court system. not just to punish or harass publications that printed stuff you don't like but rather to eliminate publications that publish something that you don't like and that in his case once published something about him and his personal life that he didn't want to be published. he figured out how to disappear them as his revenge. that verdict in the hulk hogan
case, that was almost a year ago. gawker, indeed, as designed, went bankrupt, disappeared off the face of the earth last year. in the meantime, last year, peter teal took on a prominent role in the donald trump presidential campaign including speaking at the republican national convention while gawker was literally in the midst of firing all of its staff and its founder was filing for personal bankruptcy. after trump won the election, peter teal reportedly got to work helping staff up the new administration and helping organize meetings for the new president and the tech community, his old allies in silicon valley, at one point peter teal floated himself as a supreme court nominee.heil floaa supreme court nominee. even though he hasn't taken on a formal job title in the new administration, he gave the new president one granular very specific human gift. he gave him his lawyer.
he gave the president that lawyer who he used to disappear gawker, the one he used to invent this novel aggressive litigation strategy by which deep pocketed legal aggressors can sue out of existence, a publication that they don't like. the lawyers name is charles harter and he is now representing the first lady of the united states, melania trump, in a $150 million lawsuit that she's filed against a newspaper the "daily mail" as well as a conspiracy theorist/blogger both of whom posted unfounded claims about melania trump claiming she worked as an escort. there appears to be no evidence she did, they published claims to the contrary and they're looking down the barrel of a $150 million lawsuit filed by the guy who made gawker disappear. when donald trump started settling the fraud cases against him and his businesses before the inauguration, i think a lot of people assumed that was a signal the trump family would give up their various personal lawsuits now that they were
ascending to the white house. that may be the case about fraud stuff but not the case when it comes to media stuff. not the case when it comes to this aggressive case filed by the first lady against this newspaper and blog. not only did she not drop it after the election but it appears to be pedal to the medal. the blogger and the newspaper retracked the stories they posted about melania trump, they issued not just retractions but apologies for those stories. but still she persisted with the lawsuit. the blogger part of it has now been settled for an undisclosed sum. we tried to figure out the sum, we can't. the lawsuit against the newspaper is proceeding and it's not just sort of happening by remote control at a distance from the first family. i think everybody was surprised in december when there was a routine scheduling conference in a maryland courtroom lrelated t this lawsuit. lawyers and the judge were there working out future court dates, this is not a key moment in the trial where you would expect either the plaintiffs or defendants to show up in person
but at that hearing in december in maryland in walked melania trump in rson. the incoming first lady. she appeared in person at that low-level court hearing in this case apparently to show her personal commitment to seeing this case through. the venue for that trial has now been moved from maryland to new york so now the first lady will presumably find it even easier to attend in person to this $150 million lawsuit she is pursuing with this very particular lawyer who has done this before and there is one less news outlet in the world because of it. at about 4:30 this afternoon, the president tweeted this. "the fake news media, failing "new york times," cnn, nbc news and many more, is not my enemy. it is the enemy of the american people. sick." he posted that around 4:30 then quickly deleted it. there was a flurry of news interest. oh, temper got the best of him
but he realized that was too far. he realized you can't say stuff like that in a country with the first amendment. he deleted it, took it back. got a little hot under the collar there but cooler heads prevailed. yeah, no, 15 minutes later he posted it again. this time he had to delete the word "sick" at the end because he had to make space to add in the names of more news organizations. so now the ernar enemy of the an people is not just "new york times," cnn, and nbc, now it's abc news and cbs news, all the enemy of the american people. first of all, who dares what he tweets, right? at one level. but on this issue all presidents fight with the press. all presidents arguably hate the press to a certain extent but there is something different here than what we have seen in the past. just in terms of the rhetoric and tenor and tone and the
viciousness of it. the previous low, the worst we thought it could get, the worst was probably the nixon era when vice president spiro agnew called the press the mattering nay kn nabobs s of negativism. and nixon had his own view points. here is his answer. >> what is it these past months about the television press that has so improwaroused your anger? >> don't get the impression you aroused my anger. [ laughter ] >> reporter: i have that impression. >> one can only be angry with those he respects. >> that was previously thought of as kind of the lowest, right? the most direct public attack on
the legitimacy of the american press by an american president. that was the bar before today but now the press is the enemy of the american people. it's not just the insults to the press, insults to individual reporters, calling the news media fake, it's also the way they're running their press operations in the briefing room. we got news this week, for example, that the administration has started giving white house press credentials to random pro-trump blogs. do you remember during the republican national convention there was a deliberately controversial, deliberately provocative anti-islam event held in the sidelines of the republican convention under the banner "gays for trump"? and you might remember some of the visuals for that event were a little weird. like they got this news media to show up and people are like "can we turn on our cameras?" because there were these big soft core pseudo foreigny pictures of super pale blond
white guys wearing trump hats in various states of undress. literally the guy who took those photos is now an accredited white house correspondent. they gave that guy a white house press pass from a very pro-trump white ring belong. the aryan trump twink photo guy now reporting from the white house. some of it is funny. the way the white house the waging war on the press, trying to delegitimize the press, a full range of ridiculous stuff like that to serious stuff. this week we learned the president's son-in-law also his senior adviser summoned a time warner executive to the white house so he could complain to him about political coverage on cnn. the president's son-in-law singled out specific on-air commentators and berated this executive from cnn's parent company time warner about the content of cnn's coverage and his issues with it. that same parent company of cnn, they have a big merger they want
to do with at&t, permission is pending with the federal government. right before the election trump himself said under his government that merger will never be approved. all but openly admitting at the time it's because he doesn't like the way cnn covers him so he'll used the powers of the federal government to punish them. to punish that business for their coverage. and then you summon the executive of the part company for a dressing down and name the commentators you don't like? it's a whole range of stuff they're doing. everything from threatening a serious abuse of power in order to punish news organizations and shape their coverage, everything from that to the petty one-on-one bullying that you see in the briefing room and laughable efforts to delegitimize the press, the real news media by putting them on the same footing as this guy and life zet and some random pro-trump activist who skypes into the briefing room. and some of this is funny.
especially some of what happens in the briefing room is probably worth enduring just so we can see melissa mccarthy do this for four years before sean spicer's head explodes in real life. all presidents have hated the press and who cares? right? i think journalists by and large are tough. i think people expect politicians to hate the press. i think americans by and large appreciate the first amendment and how important it is to have a free press. in general i am wired to not worry about this too much. as a member of the bresz i don't generally think what affects us as an institution is ever the most important thing going on in the country. but remember i side a few days ago i was looking at the administration as a silent movie. like don't listen to what they're saying, especially if they're saying stuff that turns out not to be true all the time? focus less on what they're saying, watch what they are doing. with all of the attention to what they are saying to the press, what they are saying about the press, how they are
teasing the press, deriding the press, treating the press, okay. don't just pay attention to what they're saying. it's not just talk. watcwhat they're doing. it's important to notice as this administration declares its particular war on the press that it's more than just talk, it's more than just the threats and bullying and complaining. whatever you think of gawker.com as a journalistic enterprise. gawker.com does not exist anymore because of a tailored billionaire legal strategy that made them go away and that strategy and literally that strategist and the lawyer he used to affect that change on the american journalistic landscape to disappear that outlet, that's operating on behalf of the white house and the first family and what is otherwise a low profile case that doesn't feel like the most important thing in the world until some day they decide to build on that track record of disappearing publications,
disappearing newspapers, disappearing their critics in the press and thereby disappearing press freedom that makes our country literally what it is. that makes all presidents hate the press as much they do. watch this little legal case. watch this lawyer. watch this legal strategy because it is more than just talk. it's something different. and it's going to require a whole new level of defense. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. they offer free cancellation, in case i decide to go from kid-friendly to kid-free. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah
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less. are you still as avid a newspaper reader, magazine -- i remember those of us who traveled with you on the campaign a magazine wasn't safe around you. >> no, no, i think it's invaluable even though it may cause you some -- it's never pleasant to be reading things frequently that are not agreeable news but i would say it's an invaluable arm of the presidency as a check, really, on what's going on in administration and more things come to my attention that cause me concern or give me information so i would think mr. kruschev, operating a totalitarian system, which has many advantages of being able to move in secret and all the rest, there's a tremendous disadvantage of not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily to an administration. when you have -- even though we never like it and even though we
don't -- even though we wish they didn't write it, even though we disapprove, there still is -- there isn't any doubt that we couldn't do the job at all in a freeociety without a very, very active press. >> president kennedy gave that interview in 1962 after getting a lot of bad press following the bay of pigs disaster. he was so mad about it he sat down for a totally reasonable interview with nbc news and made the case that even though sometimes we wish they did not write it, even still, we could not do the job at fall a free society without a very, very active press. you need an active press for a democracy to thrive. that's what differentiates us from a totalitarian system. that sort of used to be the standard for an angry president going off on the press. that standard clearly now has changed. are we just looking at a ruder iteration of something we've seen in the past or are we really on new ground? joining us now for perspective is lee brenner, an attorney at the kelly dry law firm in los
angeles. he's chair of their media and entertainment group. mr. brenner, thanks for joining us tonight. appreciate your time. >> hey, rachel. >> we've been looking at obviously this administration, like all administrations that have come before them, yelling at the press, complaining about the press, saying the press doesn't give them a fair shake. is there something materially different, not just tonally different but materially different in terms of the way this administration is going after the press, do you think? >> i do. i think there's more obvious outright contempt for the press. i mean the twitter feed that you said today, that trump said, he's just outright declaring war on the press and that's not something i've seen before. >> in terms of the legal strategy that we've been watching with the first lady now using the same lawyer that peter theil used in this very unusual suit that ended up bankrupting gawker.com, there was somebody from -- reporters committee for freedom of the press said about that verdict "the gawker verdict
represents that someone with fincl backing can effectively eliminate a media organization in this country now." is it fair to see that as the lesson of what happened with that gawker case? >> i don't think that's the lesson of the gawker case. i agree it's scary that you have a billionaire who gets sort of mad and takes a vendetta out against a news organization. that's kind of scary. nothing illegal about it but scary. but i'm not sure there's that much of a lesson from the gawker case other than maybe don't get in the sex tape selling business. really it was a pretty unusual case in that you've got a hometown favoritism to hulk hogan, you've got a celebrity, juries love celebrities, especially one as fun as hulk hogan, you have gawker on the side which revelled in being offensive and jurors, you know, they don't -- it's not true that they come into court and think, oh, yeah, it's the press, first
amendment, that's great, they can do whatever they want. you have to explain the first amendment to them. in the gawker case, the verdict is not precedent for anything, it's not a court of appeal decision. i don't get that excited about it. >> in terms of the melania trump case, obviously the first lady is only a public figure to the extent she wants to be and she's entitled to her private life, it's certainly a private life and family life because she's decided to stay away from washington but this case she's brought against the "daily mail," this isn't a sex tape case. they've made false allegations that they have retracted and apologized for but a retraction is enough, they're trying to get $150 million out of this newspaper. do you see it as a totally separate thing from what happened with the gawker approach? >> is this a case where you can see what kind of legal path it might go down? >> i do. i think it's different. i don't see it as a uniform legal tactic yet unless there's
more information that comes out. i did notice they filed an amended complaint where they removed the $150 million allegation. i'm not sure what to make about th that. but i don't see it as a big legal tactic unlesse get information and we hear there's someone else bankrolling it. that would be interesting. >> lee brenner chairman of the kelly dry media group, thanks for getting perspective on this. appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. >> big show ahead tonight including in our nation's cap capital when i shouldn't have been sleeping but i was sleeping. sorry. don't worry, i'll make it up to you, that's next. aaaahh!! ooohh!! uh! holy mackerel. wow. nice. strength and style. which one's your favorite? come home with me! it's truck month! find your tag for an average total value over $11,000 on chevy silverado all star editions
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next time you have to stay late to work remember to bring your p.h. test kit with you. >> this is a glass of water and i have just put 20 drops of a p.h. test and as you can see it's turned the water rather blue. i produced carbon dioxide as i exhale. so it used to match that color. do you remember? now look what color it matches. >> my favorite thing about that is how into it the staffers are. the staffers are like holy dang! that water was blue and he turned it green! did he do that? what's the trick? wait! look at the staffers.
oh, wait! this happened at 4:30 a.m. at the floor of the united states senate. senator sheldon white house of rhode island doing a real life science experiment showing p.h. and carbon dxide and acidification. sheldon white house and other democratic senators pulled another all nighter in the u.s. senate. democrats holding the floor all night long last night trying to stop more to this case actually to slow down the confirmation vote on the new head of the epa and while they were at it, while senator whitehouse was showing off his mad beaker skills, well done, senator, while that was happening a not insignificant number of epa employees were hard at work all night calling up the u.s. capitol begging senators to vote against scott pruitt to head the epa today which is a remarkable thing for current employees of abagency to do but they did that to try to stop scott pruitt.
democrats have opposed the pruitt nomination for epa since day one. yesterday it became a race against the clock because a federal judge late in the day ordered scott pruitt to start turning over a bunch of documents. a federal judge yesterday in oklahoma ordered scott pruitt to start turning over thousands of pages of correspondence between his office and oil and gas companies from the time when he's been attorney general of oklaho oklahoma. that court order came down yesterday, less than 24 hours before the senate was scheduled to vote on him to be the head of the epa. because of that, senate democrats tried to postpo postp confirmation vote until everybody can look at the documents the court has just ordered to be disclosed. wait until everybody can look and see what scott pruitt said to the oil and gas companies that he's been illegally trying to keep secret for two years. can't we just wait until we see those documents since they're about to come out? senate republicans said no.
we're not waiting so after that long night with the 4:30 a.m. science experiment and the court order and the all nighter, senate republicans nevertheless called the vote on scott pruitt and then something funny happened in the vote. watch this. they're taking the roll call. they're taking the roll call, they do it alphabetically so senators are voting. senator al franken is getting ready to cast his vote and just watch him here. we put a spot shadow around him. watch this. >> mr. donnelly, ms. duckworth? >> so pruitt for epa? oh, boy. >> oh, boy. scott pruitt was confirmed today to head the epa by a vote of 52-46. the epa is about to be taken over by somebody whose mission is n life really appears to be to abolish the agency he's now been put in charge of.
he's spent his whole professional career deriding the epa and suing the epa. now as of today he is in charge of it. but you know what? interesti ining thing here, we' still going to get those e-mails. scott pruitt is still subject to that court order. he still really does have to hand other hundreds of those e-mails between his office and oil and gas companies. has to hand over hundreds of them by tuesday. has to hand over thousands more over the next ten days. for whatever reason he has been illegally withholding those thousands of e-mails that document his relationship and his communications with the oil and gas industry which, of course, he'll now be dealing with directly as our new epa administrator so, yeah, scott pruitt is taking over as head of the epa but that means scott pruitt will start his brand new job at the epa with his first big scandal already waiting for him when he walks in the door. ooh, boy. >> so pruitt for epa? oh, boy.
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♪ the market.redict but through good times and bad... ...at t. rowe price... ...we've helped our investors stay confident for over 75 years. call us or your advisor. t. rowe price. invest with confidence. do you get president's day off? we don't. but a lot of people do. congress does. in fact, congress is taking not just president's day on monday, they're taking president's week. this is what they call district days, they're taking the whole week off next week to go home to their constituents, check in with the district. and you know what? just in time, back home they have been sorely missed.
look at this, spotted in bee beechwold, searching for pat tiberi. same thing in ohio. have you seen representative mike turner? please return to his district. in california, darrell issa's constituents took out a full page ad in his local paper inviting him, please, to attend an emergency town hall on health care they have gone through the trouble of setting up for him in his district. it says paid for by a crowd funding effort from darrell i a issa's district. a woman says she's a 67-year-old single working grandmother. she says before the affordable
care act she had been uninsured for 24 years. now she has insurance because of the affordable care act, she is worried about herself, she's worried about her grand kids' future if her health care gets taken away. she puts her picture on the ad. she signs it by name and then below her name there's 200 other people in congressman darrell issa's district and, again, full-page ad in his local paper. they end it by inviting others to join them. "would you like to add your time the petition? would you like to call representative issa and ask him to come to the town hall?" they give the phone number so other people can invite their congressman, too. so far, darrell issa's office says no way. there's no way, he is not going to meet with his constituents next week when he is home in his district. but i think they are going to keep asking. meanwhile, in idaho, idaho, about 50 of senator jim risch's constituents piled into his constituent post office back home in idaho this week.
watch this. >> good morning. >> how are you? >> good morning. good morning. >> hi there. >> i hope you guys all fit. good morning. >> we will. >> good morning. >> we're friendly. don't mind us. we'll fit. yeah, there's more of us. we're still coming. senator risch's staffers very politely welcoming those folks and then they politely listened and agreed to pass on the request that senator risch should hold a town hall with his constituents back home in idaho and then they handed over their request in writing and it was signed by over a thousand people. no word yet on whether that idaho town hall will actually take place but all over the country, red states, blue states, everywhere, people are making it known they would please like to meet with their member of congress while the lawmakers are home this week and that's happening in the reddest of states. >> lots of things. i'm an educator, i'm a mother, i'm a wife. i'm not a paid protester. >> reporter: but she is a
frustrated voter. >> i voted for senator graham, i voted for senator scott and i want my voice heard. >> reporter: so do more than 4,000 people across south caroli carolina. tara burnett is leading a petition on change.org asking the two senators to hold a town hall. burnett even has a venue -- the gym at the old oakway intermediate school. >> you pretty much work for us, the state of south carolina. you need to have open discussion. you need to have open dialogue. you need to talk to us about some of the choices you're making. i started e-mailing. i started making phone calls to my senators. i did get some responses. not the responses that we were looking for. >> reporter: burnett said she doesn't care where the town hall s held in south carolina. she's heard from senator scott's office. today we reached out to both and got responses. senator graham's office says he appreciates every citizen who takes time to contact his
office. his office provided links so people could contact him. senator scott's office responded by saying they will make sure he is aware of the petition about that he visits all 46 counties in south carolina every year. >> tell us, the people of south carolina, that you are going to meet with us or you aren't going to meet with us. one way or the other we would like to know. >> that interview happened yesterday in south carolina. check this out. that school teacher in south carolina says she voted for lindsey graham, voted for tim scott, voted for her two republican senators. she got 4,000 signatures on that petition asking them for a town hall. she did that local news hit, did local news appearances, talked to reporters, and you know what? that elementary schoolteacher from the northwest corner of south carolina, she apparently made it into senator tim scott's google alerts because look at this. senator tim scott posted tonight that he will be holding a town hall event. get this. he announced it tonight. he's holding it tomorrow morning.
oh, it's going to be bright and early tomorrow morning in mt. pleasant, south carolina, three hours away from where tara burnett lives but, boy, that's something. pressure works. joining us now is tara burnett, a schoolteacher from south carolina, she started this petition to get her senators to hold town halls next week at home in south carolina. ms. burnett, thank you so much for joining us, appreciate you making the time. >> thank you for having me, rachel. >> it's -- there's a little humor that i can see from senator scott announcing this town hall tonight and it's 9:00 in the morning tomorrow. it's very quick turnaround, very quick organizing. do you feel like your work on this may have led to this town hall? >> i think it's helped get out the word that you need to meet with the people of south carolina. we've been -- over the past month we've been trying to get in contact with both of them and have pretty much been ignored from the state of south carol a
carolina. several indivisible groups have been formed throughout the state of south carolina. we've been contacting his offices. he's got three offices in this state. people have gone to all fly offices of senator scott and senator graham. we've e-mailed, we've made phone calls and pretty much we get nothing. and then i created the petition online and had about the 4,000 signatures and we get the e-mail today that he's going to have a town hall meeting tomorrow which isn't his own town hall, it's mark sanford's town hall and he's piggybacking on that. >> that's interesting. it's on the other side of the state from you. are you going to be able to make it? it's far away, right? >> i'm not going to be able to make it unfortunately. that's about a four-hour drive from mefully from my home. i'm a mother to an eight-year-old daughter and she has a volleyball tournament
tomorrow so that takes preceden precedence. >> i was that kid with the volleyball tournament and i needed my mom there. i hear you. let me just -- a lot of the discussion around people trying to get town halls with their senators and members of congress next week, discussion about people trying to make contact with their members of congress right now. members have said these are paid protesters, these are organized lev left wing group. they're out-of-state people. clearly you're none of those things. i wonder if you could tell us why you decided to get involved. what led you to this activism. i saw you say that you voted for senator scott and senator graham. >> i sure did. i'm definitely not a paid protester. by day i'm an elementary schoolteacher and i -- any passion is education. that's what matters to me. one of my favorite quotes is by martin luther king, jr., the day
we become silent about the things that matter is the day that our lives end. and so education matters to me and i can't be silent anymore. other people across the state, health care matters to them. gun control matters to them. everybody has issues that matter to them and the state of south carolina cannot be silent anymore. 68% of our south carolina people voted in the last election. that's high turnout, i believe. we're politically active in the state of south carolina so we've got to become more involved in our state and i just started reaching out to our senators plain and simple and something is obviously working. >> well, tara burnett from south carolina whose petition for this town hall as got over 4,000 signatures and now there's a town hall even if it is all the way on the other side of the state tomorrow. thank you for helping us understand what you did and i
want to wish your daughter spectacular luck tomorrow. i have a feeling they're going to do great. >> thank you very much, rachel. >> we'll be right back. stay with us. microsoft and its partners are using smart traps to capture mosquitoes and sequence their dna to fight disease. there are over 100 million pieces of dna in every sample. with the microsoft cloud, we can analyze the data faster than ever before. if we can detect new viruses before they spread, we may someday prevent outbreaks before they begin.
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federal authorities have come for them. a couple of nights ago, we talked to the group organizing the here to stay pledge, those who say they will support immigrant and refugees against the trump station, asking people who feel that way to pledge that they will bodily show up and defend people. they will show support. they will be there when round-ups and raids and deportations happen. right now over 30,000 people have signed up and taken that here we stand pledge, that they will physically show up for immigrants in their communities. but tonight, here's something else. this is not here we stand exactly but it's kind of the same idea. these people met tonight in baltimore, maryland, for what they're calling bystander training. they have agreed they want to be trained to support immigrants during federal raids and
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stigmatizing is not funny but stigmonizing might actually be funny. >> this regulation unfairly stigmonizes people with disabilities. if the regulation is not repealed, it will allow the agency to very -- >> stigmonizing. this regulation unfairly stigmonizes. that's senator chuck grassley. that bill was one we had reported on. making it easier for people who are seriously mentally ill to buy guns. this is a bill that says that people who are so mentally ill that they legally and physically cannot manage their affairs, those people should be able to
buy guns. and that is, forgive me, nuts. even people like chuck grassley used to admit this is the opposite of what we should be doing. >> theiggest problem we have to deal with and quite frankly i don't think any of us have an answer to the mental health issue. you got to get their name into the database as well, passing more laws banning guns, isn't going to solve the problem a mass killing. we got to look at the bigger picture as well and then you get back to this mental health issue. >> senator chuck grassley in 2013 calling mental health issues the biggest problem we have to deal with when it comes to guns. it's not guns that are the problem. it's mentally ill people that have guns. that was his sane approach to gun control in 2013. he has apparently changed his ever loving mind.
this week he voted yes to improve his access to guns. so did the majority of the u.s. senate. the bill is now sitting on the president's desk for him to sign or veto. think he'll sign it? republicans started the year saying they're going to use their new power in d.c. to roll back as much as president obama's agenda as they could. we now know one of their first priority is rolling back some stuff that obama did that presumably some of them agreed with, like presumably not giving guns to people who are mentally ill. now that they're fully in charge, that's what they're working on. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word," ari melber sitting in for lawrence o'donnell tonight. >> good evening. donald trump is back and