tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC October 20, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT
tomorrow at 10 a.m. eastern for more "a.m. joy." rach rach rachel maddow starts right now. >> good evening, joy. get some sleep. >> i'm going to listen to you on the radio. >> appreciate it. happy friday. as per usual because it's friday and this is our life now, there's a lot of news, including some late-breaking news tonight. tonight a federal appeals court has ordered the trump administration to at least change the way it has been treating a 17-year-old girl who is in federal custody and who wants to have an abortion. the girl is being held under the refugee resettlement office, part of the health and human services agency. the president appointed an official to run that office who didn't seem like a great fit when he was announced. again, this is the office of refugee resettlement.
the official that president trump picked to run the office of refugee resettlement has no experience in refugees or resettlement of anyone. what he has done is he's a very prolific anti-abortion activist. and even within that movement, he's known as a real hardliner. he's argued forcibly it is not enough for the pro-life movement to just try to make abortion illegal in the united states. he argues the pro-life movement should also be opposed to birth control. now, why someone with a passion for that particular issue should be put in charge of resettlement with no experience in that field, anybody's guess. but that choice by the trump administration has turned out to be a consequential thing for a lot of individual young women whose lives are very much now subject to that one official's directive. court filings in conjunction with this case about this one 17-year-old show that as of march of this year, hhs believed
that they had 38 pregnant girls who were being held by this agency. according to the lawsuit over this individual case, the head of this federal office, the guy who is in charge of the office of refugee resettlement, he directed employees underneath him in his agency to tell girls' parents about their pregnancies against the girls' will. he's directed federal employees to physically take girls to christian counseling centers in texas so anti-abortion activists at those counseling centers could try to talk them out of having abortions. and at least in this latest jane doe case, it appears this federal agency under his control has been physically holding this girl in the child immigrant facility where she's being confined. and even though kids in those facilities have a right to see doctors and get medical care, obviously they have to, right, under the close supervision of the guy who's running that agency, this pregnant 17-year-old, they've apparently
just been refusing not just to take her to a doctor so she can have this procedure, they've been refusing to allow anybody else, like an attorney or anybody to take her to the doctor so she can't go. she filed her own declaration with the court in which she said, quote, i feel like they are trying to coerce me to carry my pregnancy to term. so on wednesday this week federal court ordered the government to stop doing that. ordered the government to get out of the way by tomorrow and let the girl have this procedure. now tonight the appeals court has given the trump administration another week and a half to see if they can find somebody who the trump administration approves up who the government will then designate to take this girl out of the child facility to have the abortion done. if that seems like a job this agency might not perform with much enthusiasm, keep in mind
here the time frame here matters. the longer they hold on to her and block this girl from being able to get this legal, voluntary, constitutionally medical procedures that she has the means to pay for, i mean, the longer they wait, less likely it is she's going to be legally able to get one. she's being held by the federal government in texas. texas bans abortions at 20 weeks. so tick tock for this teen-age girl. depending on what happens with further appeals in this case, depending on what hhs chooses to do here about this girl, it looks like the anti-abortion activist who trump appointed to run the office of refugee resettlement, looks like he may succeed by forcing this girl to give birth by blocking her ability to is he a doctor to end the pregnancy until it is too late for her to do so. there were protests today outside the hhs building in d.c., people protesting on behalf of this young woman, that
she should be atloud hallowed tn abortion if she wants one. this woman does have the right to do it. she's in the united states, right? but watch the space on this one. there's the critical matter of what's going to happen to this one teen-ager, but this may also be -- this case may also be the best public window into what we've got into what might be happening much more quietly, which may very well be dozens of teen-age girls in the same circumstances. as of march, hhs believed there were nearly 40 teen-age girls who were pregnant who were under the supervision of this office. and at least in the case of this girl, about whom this case is being fought, her doctor visits really are being blocked by an anti-abortion activist who somehow got in job that gave him the kind of personal individual control over women's lives and bodies that he previously could have only dreamed about as an anti-abortion activist. the official in question here,
his name is scott lloyd. he's the director of the office of refugee resettlement. but this case to keep an eye on has been filed under the name jane doe, minor j.d. for that pregnant teen-ager. >> tonight we're also watching puerto rico, at exactly one month since hurricane maria madeland fall. electric power is still out and remarkably that is a statistic that is still getting worse. the proportion of people without pow -- excuse me, with power was 21%. today it is 12%. it went from 21% with power to 12% with power between yesterday and today. today parts of the capital city of san juan went dark. and roughly a million american citizens on the island of puerto rico are still without running water. and as these intolerable circumstances have stretched on for weeks now, we have been
continuing to report on the mortal threat that is no longer posed by the storm itself, which is long gone. now what people have to survive is the ongoing circumstances on this island. and the phenomenally inadequate federal government response there. chief among the failures, obviously is the inability to get people safe drinking water. people can survive without food longer than they can survive without water. but the dire lack of potable water has forced these american citizens for a month now to do what they got to do, improvise their own access to water however they can. that's what led to repeated reports of people tapping wells at super fund sites, people drinking from creeks and streams and rivers, people collecting rain water and water from gutters. today the death poll in puerto rico rose to 49. the latest death is attributed to a disease that you get from having to rely on open air water
sources that have also been contaminated by animals. when the first two deaths from leptosporosis were announced officials said there were four adgsal cases they were investigating. today the state epidemiologist said the number of cases they're investigating as of today has jumped. it was four. it's now 74. hurricanes don't give you lepto spirosis. famed recovery after a hurricane,s that what gives you leptospirossis. we don't know how much of these potential 74 cases are fatalities or are people who have been successfully treated
or people currently in treatment but 74 cases being investigated is a very alarming number if you are worried about the prospect that puerto rico is evolving from a natural disaster into a public health catastrophe. we'll is more on that, including specific details with the way the trump administration responded to hurricane harvey in texas versus the way they are responding to hurricane maria in puerto rico. >> and today has been a day of surreal fallout. john kelly yesterday gave those very emotional remarks about how he was notified about the death in combat of his son. in that emotional context, he defended president trump for the president's condolence calls that he placed to military families recently.
but then john kelly from the same polandium went into an extended and apparently prepared just pitiless critique of a democratic congresswoman wilson from south florida. she had been physically with the family of sergeant ladavid johnson, she was with his widow when she took the call. in that conversation president trump used language, intentionally or not, that the family found disrespectful and hurtful. john kelly yesterday criticized congresswoman wilson for having been on that call. now, that was an unusual line of attack from the white house chief of staff because that decision to have congresswoman wilson on the call, that was a decision made by sergeant johnson's widow and she seems like someone who doesn't need to be attacked by anyone right now.
john kelly then also criticized the congresswoman at length for comments he said she made at an fib ceremony in 2015, kmeents remembered and he and many other people felt quite distasteful at the time and yet said nothing about the pres. the attorney general general appeared to be speaking from notes. that made up a significant bulk of the total remarks he made yesterday. and he was speaking from the white house podium. but what john kelly said about congresswoman wilson, the remarks he attributed to her were not anything that she said. this event that he was recounting was not that long ago, it was only 2015, it was a public event, there were cameras there, there's tape of her full remarks. the tape shows her asking law enforcement personnel to stand
up so she can lead the room in thanking them. it shows her getting a standing ovation at the end of her remarks. if shows her speaking of the death of the fbi agents, whose building was being renamed. john kelly accused her of having gotten up at that event and saying nothing about the agents and bragged about getting funding for and she absolutely did talk at length about those agents. and she got their names right. he got their names wrong yesterday. confronted with that, confronted with the tape of her remarks today, which absolutely contradicted what the white house chief of staff the white house spokeswoman said today there would be no apology, that general california anybody
looking for the white house or the chief of staff to be would be behaving at a manner that was, quote, highlyly inappropriate. she said that would be going after general kelly, getting into a debate with a four star marine general rahal and highly in. >> what he said about congresswoman fed reeka wilson was absolutely untrue. that's the srt in. >> this is a different time. what started this week of fighting and drama and lying on this very frustrate issue was the president still about the deadliest combat incident of the presidency this are in.
it was an ambush attack care were but so far no group has claimed tonight. >> to talk about the attack the president quite vocally is interested in getting credit for eliminating isis. so that doesn't fet well in how we also reported last night that the trump administration just yes, sir yp enraenled and bewildered the government of the neighboring country chad. when it comes to the fight against islam being militancy big chunks of molly and nigeria. and in that part of africa, the
group. . apparently ignored vehement fro tests from the u.s. defense department and the u.s. state department and at the end of last month, inexplicably they listed chad on the new travel ban. the associated press reported yesterday that one of the reasons they might have put chod on the lits and chad reason out of -- they made their announ announceme announcement of tept 24th.
inall experts in the peeled joint government in,the following wook, tad started moving. the week after that, the week after chad started pulling its troops out frnls for reporting me last night, which is fine. i didn't know you cared. but the upset over my reporting that last night doesn't mean that anything i reported wasn't true. everything i reported was true. now, this doesn't -- this also doesn't mean that chad withdrawing their troops was necessarily the cause of what happened to those u.s. troops who were am bshd. that ambush is being described
by the bent been how it was that they had no idea what was coming and they were so well prepared for that. if you are looking at the central domestic mystery here, which is why didn't the president even acknowledge those deaths in the worst combat casualties of his pred. he was asked today on bf if you are interested in the central mystery of why the president is so reluctant to talk about that. or take questions on that. well, it really is true. his administration just took what is widely believe to be inexplicable and called it a,
quote, "ive intelligence failure." that was supportedly i know a way to get eyes on the ground when things went bad. and there was no ribl sfrshl alongside the bent gone investigation of what happened. the fbi has now joined the investigation. now, that is not unheard of in a military incident -- has the authority to take over the investigation from the pentagon but it has not yet downso. >> so it's friday. there's a lot going on.
i feel like a lot of the news stories that breck today are, the service members' body had not been recovered for prp prp the white house is now attacking for having a having wounted in his present augs to him. his funeral is tomorrow in flamt. o owe. >> we may also learn more about the preliminary results of the investigation into this matter, which of involve, so expect that story in particular to develop over the weekend. but here's one last thing in terms of what has gone on this yeek in the news. when we look back on this week, despite all of the insane news that happened this week, we may
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bombed out. it's a small village right next to the airport in kandahar. this was early on in the war. one aide worker said what was left of the town looked like the surface of the moon. you see this little boy sitting in the remains of his house. this american aide worker wanted to help people in the village to rebuild. to rebuild they were going to need stone foundations for the houses. turns out the guy who was supposed to give her the stone didn't want to give it to her because he wanted her to buy cement, his cement.
>> the only thing is we promised this village that we would rebuild this village the way it was before and it was stones. >> that mountain has to be saved on using for cement from his [ bleep ] factory. he's cornering the market completely and he's the governor and the part owner of this new cement factory. he's using his governmental power to protect that monopoly. >> the governor owns that cement factory and the government proclaims you shall use cement to rebuild. guess where you're buying it from. the angry woman in that clip is sarah chase. angry and articulate. she was the paris correspondent
for npr. in 2001 she went to pakistan and afghanistan to cover the start of the war there. by 2002 she decided to leave journalism and try to help and rebuild kandahar. she worked for a karzai family connected ngo for a time, opened a factory making soap and cosmetics. how does a random, solo white lady survive in kandahar when people aren't able to leave their homes there? first rule, doesn't dress like an afghan woman, dress like an afghan guy. also, be sarah choice.
what sarah choice ended up becoming through all of that was one of the world's leading experts on corruption. her central argument which she learned in afghanistan and all over the world is that you can't get security now and then thereafter take care of the governor's issues and the corruption problems. corruption turns out to be like a really bad, bad, bad virus. it's easy to get and it's hard to kill. but if you're a country, once you've got it, once you've got a bad case of corruption, it not only sap as country of its ability to thrive, it accelerates some of the most dangerous things on earth, radicalism, conflict, unbridgeable division. she literally wrote the book on it "thieves of state." she's here tonight because she's just written something else. three days after president trump was inaugurated, ethics watch dog group crew filed a lawsuit
saying he is breaking the law and this week sarah chase submitted a brief that the dangers of him taking foreign payments go way beyond classlessness and go beyond what is seen as a violation of the emoluments clause of the united states. first they raise the expespecte that foreign gives will influence presidential policy, and they invite clepto democratdemocra cratic practices and engage in a style of rule that's antithetical to
democracies, whether they're nominal democracys such as uae, these are criminalized kle kleptocracies. it's one thing to hear some schmuck on tv to hear that. a person in her position knows of what she speaks. joining us is sarah chase. she's the author of "thieves of state," why corruption threatens national security. thank you for being here. >> great to be here. >> i am unnerved by seeing your collection of works on kleptocracies being something you see as directly relevant to american politics.
i find it unnerving. >> i do, too. it's been a kind of slow motion nightmare to watch sort of the plays that we've been seeing since january 20th because i almost feel like i know which one is coming next. it's like it so familiar but it familiar from honduras, from azerbaijan, from afghanistan. >> you go through the president's business involvement in various country, like the ones i just mentioned, indonesia, philippines, uae and you say essentially these governments are corrupt in a way what we americans should able to understand. they're far away countries, we can understand this and see this when it happens in other places. in order to be doing business in those countries, you have to be participating in their graft. >> that's right. and it's not just graft. it's not just a collection of venal things that a bunch of different people do. in fact, what these governments do is kind of weave a network.
and in different chris itountris going to be more fighttightly w or less tightly woven but these are metworks thnetworks that st sectors we keep in our mind, which are private sector and public sectors. but in these networks, they overlap. sometimes they're identical. in azerbaijan, the president's family owns 11 banks. >> so they own the financial sector. >> but in others, they're a little bit more distinct. so i make a law that's a sweetheart deal for electricity generated by a certain kind of electricity plant by like biomass, let's say. and then i get shares in the biomass company. so you have this constant
exchange and the criminal sector is almost always woven in, too. in afghanistan that guy who what he was saying but stone is going to be too expensive for you, you want to have cement, it's cheaper, he was running most of the opium in southern afghanistan at that time. so you have this overlap and you simply cannot do business in especially i would say three sectors always come up, energy, let's do the next one high-nd real esta -- energy, banking and high-end real estate. you can't be in those three sectors in these countries without either being a member of the network or engaging in this kind of exchange. >> and why is that dangerous to us as americans rather than just being a potential legal liability for the president and his businesses or just something
hey, you every talk to anybody about your money? yeah, i got some financial guidance a while ago. how'd that go? he kept spelling my name with an 'i' but it's bryan with a 'y.' yeah, since birth. that drives me crazy. yes. it's on all your email. yes. they should know this? yeah. the guy was my brother-in-law. that's ridiculous. well, i happen to know some people. do they listen? what? they're amazing listeners. nice. guidance from professionals who take their time to get to know you.
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♪ we can now use a blood sample to detect lung cancer. if we can do that, imagine what we can do for asthma. and if we can stop seizures in epilepsy patients with a small pacemaker for the brain, imagine what we can do for multiple sclerosis, even migraines. if we can use patients' genes to predict heart disease in their families, imagine what we can do for the conditions that affect us all. imagine what we can do for you. this week a big lawsuit against the president. got an important federal court hearing. the president's lawyers want it dis dismissed. the ethics watch dogs suing him say he should be held account
his business entities are doing lots of business with foreign ent tr entities and that's illegal. the basis of your argument is the president is involvement with clept democratic regimes in terms of his own business practices around the world. why is that not something personally bad about him or potentially criminal about his business, why is that dangerous for us as a country? >> so when the president of the united states is in business with a regime like that, that's like a stamp of approval. it doesn't matter what u.s. policy might be about corruption overseas. so then what happens is people subjected to systemic corruption react by going to extremes. we've been seeing it for the last, you know, five, ten years. we've seen them join extremist groups like boko haram, like the taliban, the islamic state. we've seen them have revolutions
in ways that have made the world a lot less secure. but for me what's most important is suddenly these practices start to get kind of brushed off, like well, that's just how you do business. not only over there. remember this is the president of the united states doing business in these ways. so it's reinforcing, it's a stamp of approval on these practices. once you say it's okay to do it in indonesia and, by the way, it's the president of the united states's organization that's doing it in indonesia, then you're kind of saying it's okay for americans. i'm afraid that these practices will come to ineffefebinfect th states of america. we were to break away from the venality of the british government. it was one of the main rationals, not the only one but
tyranny. it was also we don't want to be venal and corrupt, sub onning the members of congress. so the very pretext of even having a united states of america becomes undermined. if in your living in afghanistan for nearly a decade, in your study of kleptocracies around the world, who they benefit, who they hurt, what kind of radicalism and division they cause, did you learn anything about how countries who are on the precipice of corruption, how you can fend it off? >> it has to be institutional. it's tempting to say if you could only have a knight in shining armor, only have an individual but sometimes it does
take a conforming individual at the top but often it will take some fairly sweeping measures at least at the beginning to sort of show that you're serious. but i think we can look to our own history, right? if you go back to the gilded age, it took a couple of decades but then it took a really serious set of reforms. so what we've been watching are norms, ways that we expected government officials to behave, but that weren't law, right? and they've been slipping -- this didn't start on january 20th. the kind of overlap that we now see in this country between private sector interests, particularly, you know, energy, defense contracting, banking, b
pharma and the health industry, but there are still things that we expected officials to do, things like release your tax returns, things like don't hire lobbyists to actually regulate the industries that they were lobbying on behalf of. y ki-- we kind of took those fo granted. it clear to me in this country, we are going to need a series of reforms that are going to have to be made in law and not just in practice. >> that doesn't just count on sort of shame and public embarrassment being the corrective. >> that's right. >> sarah chayes, one of the most people i've interviewed over the years, really happy to you have back here tonight. >> great to see you. >> it's really good to see you. >> we'll be right back. stay with us.
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go ahead, spoil yourself. the es and es hybrid. experience amazing. this summer the senate judiciary committee conformed a woman to be u.s. attorney, a woman named jesse liu. there was one very interesting detail. in march and april of 2017 i attended formal interviews of the justice department and interviewed with representatives of the white house counsel's office and then i met the president. you what now? that caught everybody's attention because a candidate for u.s. attorney, candidate for federal prosecutor meeting with the president before he nominates her? that's weird. it's not illegal but that's definitely weird. now this week politico reports that the president has also met with two other potential candidates for the role of u.s. attorney, one who is a potential
candidate for the eastern district of new york, which is based in brooklyn, one who is reportedly a potential candidate for the southern district of new york, which is manhattan. the southern district of new york has jurisdiction over basically the whole financial world and it also has geographic reach that includes trump tower, hq for the president's business dealings, home base for the trump campaign and the trump transition. so it's a weird thing for a president to meet with potential nominees to be federal prosecutors to be u.s. tor attorneys. but when you look at the ones, we know president trump has met with. they'd be in charge of prosecuting crimes in washington, d.c. and in manhattan and brooklyn. very much the president's home turf in politics and business, places where he might conceivably have skin in the game, meaning if any federally prosecutable crimes arose in connection with the president's businesses or families or campaigns or transitions, it
would be the attorneys to try those cases and those are the ones he's meeting with personally? it is not illegal. the president is among his legal rights to meet with them. but it's unheard of. preet bharara said this week it is neither normal nor advisable for the president to have done this and he is in a position to know which he speaks. another person to be in a position to know of what he speaks, a person in a position to talk to a bunch of u.s. attorneys about this joins us next. jimmy's gotten used to his whole room smelling like sweaty odors.
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in his long testy hearing at the judiciary committee this week, trch jeff sessions asked a question about the new unusual reports that the president taking personal meetings himself with several candidates for u.s. attorney jobs. now, presidents don't usually meet with potential u.s. attorneys. most presidents and the justice department tend to take care to keep law enforcement away from anything that looks like a politician's influence. so why is president trump taking these personal meetings? here's how the attorney general responded. >> i'm not sure i remember whether he had interviewed for new york but if you say so i assume so. and he has the right to but for sure because he has to make an appointment and i assume that
everybody would understand that. >> see the attorney general's not particularly concerned about any untoward appearances in this matter. joining us now is barbara mcquaid from michigan, a contributor. barbara, thank you for being here. thank you for joining us. >> nice to see you. >> thank you. i am not a lawyer and i'm -- i know people who are lawyers and i know people who have worked in federal prosecutor's offices but i still can't quite figure out if it's a big deal president is meeting with potential federal attorneys. is it clear that this an unprecedented thing? >> yeah. it's not illegal but it's definitely unheard of. you know, i happen to be in washington this week for a conference of former u.s. attorneys, u.s. attorneys from democratic administrations and republican administrations. so i've been asking around whether anyone ever met with or interviewed by the president who apointed them and the answer is
without exception, no. it is highly unusual. >> what's concerning about it? it is not illegal as you say but it seems to be something breaking with precedent. when's the reason that a president typically wouldn't do this? >> well, it's important to keep in mind that these are appointments very different from other appointments like the president's cabinet. prosecutors are -- it's very important that they be independent and that they not only be independent but the appearance of independence. in fact, there's a policy memo that prevents u.s. attorneys from having direct communication with the white house. only the highest levels of the department of justice are even allowed to communicate and that is to preserve that independence so that the public has confidence that prosecutors are acting on facts and law and not political motivations. >> there are reports that the people who the president has chosen to speak to are from two districts in new york affecting places where he has business interest, brooklyn and manhattan offices and d.c. district attorney and that's quite relevant given his current job
is and also some unconfirmed the reports the president may have taken personal interest and who would be the attorney general in florida. is there particular interest in the president seeking out who's looking at criminal matters where he has his interests? >> well, i think it's an especially red flag looking at people in the jurisdictions where he does business, he lives, associates live, washington, d.c., new york and florida. saying to interview everyone i appoint to every position or every u.s. attorney, that might still seem odd and improper but focusing on the districts raises a particular red flag. >> barbara mcquaid, thank you. helpful to have you here tonight. >> thank you, rachel. >> all right. we'll be back.
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i tabut with my back paines, i couldn't sleep and get up in time. then i found aleve pm. aleve pm is the only one to combine a safe sleep aid plus the 12 hour pain relieving strength of aleve. i'm back. aleve pm for a better am. whether or not you watch baseball the rest of the year, everybody becomes a baseball fan in october. houston tonight, the yankees playing the astros for the chance of the world series. game six. games one and two played in houston. and whether or not you care about baseball generally speaking it is a great and remarkable american news story that these games have been played in houston because houston got slammed by hurricane harvey on august 25th. in the wake of the storm historic flooding in houston.
major league baseball did have to move a series of games because of houston's ballpark not being in play. but now less than two months after harvey, houston has recovered to the point where they can host these big national sporting events and have that not be the main thing to talk about the whole time and that's real progress and at least thanks to robustness of the response from the federal government when it came to texas. 338,000 texans without power after the storm. and the days after harvey, 5,300 power workers from outside the region all converged on coastal texas the to get electricity back on for almost everyone within two weeks. and that's awesome. and when you compare that to what we have seen in puerto rico, it is not a subtle difference. in texas, thousands of repair workers rushed in. in puerto rico, a few hundred elect call workers from outside the island arrived to help. everything's bigger in texas, right? coming to response, that's a
terrible truth about when's happened in puerto rico and the need in puerto rico has turned out to be much, much greater. the power outage in texas was one tenth the size of the power outage in puerto rico yet texas had thousands of people there to get the lights back on. the power grid is decimated in puerto rico. nearly 3.5 million americans in darkness for a month. past 24 hours, it's gotten worse. yesterday 21% of the island had power. tonight 12% of the island has power. and the death toll continues the rise. number of americans dying from infections is going up. president's giving themselves a 10 out of 10. not a question of whether or not we can do more. clearly, we can. we just showed what we can do. other places like houston saw it. just for whatever reason not puerto rico, at least not yet. not one month in. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again on monday when my guest