tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 28, 2018 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
and you can tell the degree of worry up there that this is a dangerous man. they don't know what he's going to do. and the fact that there is nobody around him who can stop him, they're more and more worried about leaving him in office. some of these are patriots, but also, they don't want to be keeping him in office if he is really destroying the party or the country. >> all right. elizabeth drew, thank you for joining me. great pleasure. that is "all in" for this evening. "the rachel maddow show" starts right now with joy reid in for rachel. good evening, joy. >> thank you, chris. good evening. have a great one. thanks to you at home for joining us. rachel has the night off, but she will be back next week. well, welcome to day seven of the government shutdown. and with new year's eve just around the corner, there seems to be remarkably little urgency on capitol hill about ending the stalemate and reopening the government. in fact, there was barely any noticeable activity on capitol hill today. nbc news reported today that vice president mike pence told democratic senator chuck schumer the white house would climb way
down from trump's bravado and settle for half of the $5 billion donald trump had been demanding for his precious border wall. that was last saturday. and there have been no new offers from either side since. in a few minutes, we'll be talking with congresswoman pramila jayapal and what democrats will do about trump's actions at the border at large, an issue on which jayapal has become a leading progressive voice. they have an ambitious agenda planned, including getting the government operating again, introducing new anti-corruption and voting rights legislation, and jumpstarting investigations into the trump administration the republicans have not been all that interested in when they were in charge. but one thing democrats did not expect to have to deal with on day one is a house seat that is still contested because of an election marred by alleged fraud.
it's a situation for which there is no clear playbook, and today we got confirmation that the house will not have its full complement of 435 members when the new congress is sworn in. it will only have 434. now, you've likely heard something by now about the craziness in north carolina's 9th congressional district. it's a race that had been called for the republican, a race in which the democrat in fact conceded the day after the election. republican mark harris had defeated the gop incumbent in the primary and then went on to win the general election by 905 votes over the democrat, dan mccready. a week later harris tweeted out this photo from the capitol, the incoming congressional class. there he is towards the back, looking all happy. it seemed like a done deal. but when it came time for the north carolina state board of elections to certify the results of that race, it voted unanimously not to certify north carolina's district 9. the nine-member state board made up of four democrats, four
republicans, and one unaffiliated member, they all voted not to certify this race, which was a surprise to pretty much everybody. and the reason they refused to certify it was the apparent tomfoolery that went on with the absentee mail-in ballots in the race in one county in particular, with an unusually high number of absentee ballots being requested and an unusually high percentage of those ballots never being returned. and of those that were returned, an unusually high number of those going for mark harris, the republican. the north carolina democratic party submitted to the state elections board several affidavits from black voters in that county, many of them elderly, saying that people came to their homes and collected their absentee ballots, in some cases offering to fill out the ballots for them. for instance, one woman swore in her affidavit that a woman came to her house saying she was collecting people's absentee ballots in the area. quote, i filled out two names on the ballot for sheriff and for board of education.
she stated the others were not important. i gave her the ballot, and she said she would finish it herself. i signed the ballot and she left. it was not sealed up at the time. the guy allegedly at the center of these shenanigans is named mcrae dallas. he was personally hired by republican candidate mark harris. what's amazing is that dowless was at the center of an alleged mail-in ballot scam in 2016. he even got on "this american life" about it. state elections officials even referred mcrae dowless and his ballot scam to federal prosecutors after the 2016 election, but it doesn't appear anything ever came of it. and as all of this began to come out after last month's election, what had looked like a razor-thin victory for an upstart republican in north carolina's 9th district has become a giant mess, going all the way back to the primary. people also started raising questions about mark harris' narrow victory there.
so the north carolina elections board opened an investigation. that board has the power to order a new election if they decide that's what's needed. and the board ultimately scheduled a public hearing on the allegations for january 11th. but here's the thing about the north carolina board of elections. when north carolina voters ousted the state's republican governor in 2016 and elected a democrat, roy cooper, the republican legislature pulled a surprise move to try and strip the incoming democratic governor of his powers. it's a play being tried by republicans in other states where democrats won statewide this year. but north carolina republicans were kind of the pioneers of this strategy back in 2016. democrat gets elected governor, take away power from the governor's office. one place republicans took away his power by creating a new
board of elections that would have less control over than his predecessor. ever since they did that at the end of 2016, cooper and the legislature have been battling in court over whether that new gop-created elections board is constitutional. and the upshot of this court battle over republicans' democracy-defying power grab two years ago is just now, today, a court ordered the state elections board dissolved. so, right in the middle of this investigation into this still up in the air congressional race, less than a week before the new congress convenes in washington, as of noon today, there is no more north carolina state board of elections. and as that board goes up in smoke, the position of mark harris and the north carolina republican party appears to have solidified into outright opposition to any further investigation. even though earlier this month they were expressing concern about fraud and saying they were open to a new election, today north carolina republicans are demanding that mark harris be seated in the new congress next week, saying that he was duly elected, and that there will never be a new election.
well, governor cooper announced today he will appoint an interim board of elections to continue the 9th district investigations, republicans said that they would refuse to participate. which prompted cooper to send this letter to the chair of the state republican party today saying, basically, you can't tell me what to do. quote, the governor's lawyer writes "the governor will not be impeded from exercising his duties under the constitution to take care that the laws are faithfully executed. the governor will also not permit your obstructionist tactics to stall an ongoing investigation. one is compelled to conclude that you are withholding your nominations and encouraging people not to serve, solely for the purpose of impeding and obstructing the 9th congressional district investigation." maybe they were hoping if they created enough chaos and got the elections stopped and doubled down on their candidate, then seating mark harris would seem like a foregone, inevitable
conclusion. well, that is not what's happening. >> if mr. harris is not certified as the duly, fairly, legally elected member, we would certainly oppose his seating. as i understand it, that verification has not come. in fact, republican leaders in north carolina have said that there is substantial question as to the validity of the outcome of the general election. that's in court now, as you know. >> right. >> we'll see what the court does, but it is clear, apparently from all sides, that there was fraud committed by certain participants in the administration of the election. under those circumstances, we ought to have a new election for the general election, not the primary. the primary was not contested, but for the general election. >> that was steny hoyer of maryland, who will be the majority leader in the house in just a few days, confirming that congress will not seat mark
harris when the new congress convenes, which means the incoming freshman class in congress will be one member short. he was so close. joining us now is michael bitser, a politics professor at catawba college, a preeminent expert on how things work in north carolina. professor bitser, thanks for joining us tonight. >> it's my pleasure. thank you. >> so, let's go back and let's start with, what is the prevailing legal framework here? is there is a provision in north carolina state law that would set the parameters for and the conditions where you would have to have a new election? >> well, we do have a general statute that did lay out the process by which a state board of elections could decide to call a new election. there were four criteria, and everybody was looking at the fourth criteria, regarding the number of irregularities that potentially could taint the election outcome.
didn't say anything necessarily about whether the irregularities would overturn the previous decision and the votes in the majority, but now we're kind of operating in legal no-man's land. some would argue that the governor's power to fill vacancies does exist and that he would be able to create this interim state board of elections that would carry on until january 31st when the new board, which was voted yesterday by an override of his veto would go into effect. republicans in the legislature contend there is no state board of elections because the previous law, the statute, was struck down as unconstitutional. so we're kind of in uncharted legal territory. both sides are going to be making their arguments, and i think we're just going to have to watch and see what the dominoes are in terms of, does the governor go ahead and
appoint five new members, and how do the republicans react? >> if governor cooper just went ahead and made the appointment, what could republicans do about it? if they're refusing to participate in the board, and the governor says, well, i'm going to use my executive authority to see that the laws are faithfully executed, what could republicans in the legislature even do about it? >> well, that's a good question. i don't think we quite know. there have been threats of lawsuits filed. this whole fiasco has been legally bound. the courts have been interjected into this process. so i would not be surprised if we didn't end up before another three-judge panel in regards to a potential interim board. the legislature can always come back into session and try and, you know, establish an interim board or some kind of contingency before the official board takes control at the end of january. again, we're just kind of waiting to see who plays the next part in this game and how
does everybody respond. another actor in all this, as you've mentioned, is the u.s. house of representatives. they may ultimately have the final say in all of this. >> right. and so let's talk about that for a moment. it's already been made clear by steny hoyer, the incoming majority member, they're not going to seat harris. that's not going to happen. so, what would happen? could the congress order its own investigation and then let's say they find there was election fraud, then what? >> well, then you have basically a two-tier process going on. we've got an investigation going on, and we think we're going to have a hearing on january 11th. that's open for discussion and debate because we don't technically have from some points of view a state board of elections to oversee that hearing. the u.s. house, through the house administration committee, could conceivably start their own investigation, seek the records, seek the documents that the state board has already gathered through its
professional staff and hold their own hearings and inquiry into it. now, representative steny hoyer did indicate that he would only go for a general election, but the state statute here in north carolina says filling a vacancy for a u.s. house election would require a new primary as well. and that's a battle line that you see both democrats and republicans arguing over as well. so, there are so many moving parts and layers to this that i don't think we quite legally know where things are going to play out until more movement is done by somebody at some point. >> wow. i think this technically qualifies as a hot mess. michael bitzer, professor and leading analyst for this fascinating north carolina store/hot mess. thank you very much. appreciate your time. >> my pleasure. >> thank you. and still ahead, a new year does not always mean a fresh start. more on that ahead. stay with us. ♪
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i'm asking you to promise that there won't be another death under your watch. >> you have my commitment to ensure that all of our detention centers take good care of those in our care. >> after the death of 7-year-old jakelin caal while in custody this month, kirstjen nielsen promised that migrant detention centers would take good care of the people being held in them. initial reports say jakelin caal died of exhaustion and dehydration while in custody. border protection saying she had not had water or food for days before crossing into the u.s. jakelin's father had firmly disputed that claim. we still do not know what happened to her. her body arrived for burial in her home country of guatemala on christmas eve. that same day, another child died in the care of u.s. customs and border protection. he was 8 years old. his name was felipe gomez-alonso.
in the timeline of the days and hours leading up to felipe's death, border patrol said he was treated for a cold hours before he died in a new mexico hospital. according to a statement last night from the medical investigators' office in new mexico, the boy didn't just have a cold, he had the flu when he died. this has been a morally wrenching year for american border policy, with family separations and attempts to limit asylum applications. the specter of something called denaturalization. this month, the deaths of two children while in the custody of the u.s. meanwhile, in official washington, today marked day seven of a shutdown that now appears certain to continue into the new year. republicans insist the shutdown, which, to be clear, they could end any time they wanted to since they still control the entire federal government until january, is over donald trump's demand that american taxpayers pony up to fund the border wall that he promised his supporters on the campaign trail, telling them mexico would pay for it. but the question for the country
may be larger than the corner that donald trump has backed himself and his party into on the idea of a southern border wall. in a very personal essay published this month, pramila jayapal writes, quote, imagine a country with immigration laws that actually work. we would know who was in the country, and they would not be hiding in the shadows. they'd be getting to know their neighbors, investing in houses and cars and becoming quintessential americans. in our country's history, immigration has never been just about policy. it has always about been who we are and what we are willing to stand up for. joining us now is congresswoman pramila jayapal, a democrat on the immigration and border security for the house subcomittee. congresswoman jayapal, thanks for being here. >> thanks, joy. >> you wrote a new moral imagination on immigration. it was very compelling. you start with a story about your own family sending you to this country from india at 16 years of age. you sort of tell that personal story to walk people through
what most people should know already about what immigration means to the country. when you talk to people in your district about this issue, is that still the place from which people discuss immigration, where you were, about the personal family connections? >> well, i think the thing is that everybody does want to be reminded of and often does remember what that personal story is for them, whether it was this generation or the last generation or two generations ago, or whether it's the neighbors that they know or the kids that they're friends with, you know. those kinds of personal stories. but the problem is, donald trump keeps making it a political football. and we know that the immigration system is broken. it has been broken. it needs to be fixed. and, you know, politicians on both sides of the aisle frankly for quite some time have not been willing to do what it takes politically to fix this system. so we have this outdated system which has not been fixed since
the 1990s, was the last time some small tweak was made to it. and meanwhile, we're benefits from the labor and the contributions of immigrants, and being hypocritical and saying we don't want immigrants and they're somehow a threat to our country. so, all of that makes for a complicated situation. this president has done something that no other president has done, and that is vilified, you know, racialized, discriminated in a way that is unprecedented. and yet in spite of that, joy, the thing that gives me some comfort is that the majority of americans still believe immigration is good for this country. if we could get people to really understanding the complexity, fix the system, we really would have something that i think most americans want, but it needs leadership from the white house, and we're not going to get that from this president. that's clear. he just wants to keep this out there as a political issue and use it to fire up his base. >> yeah. you make a very good point, that before 1921, the only immigration laws that existed were ones that restricted
chinese immigration, and that most people who say, well, my parents came in legally, there was no legal framework. you just came in as long as you didn't meet some sort of moral turpitude problem, you could get in. >> no, that's exactly right. >> let's talk about what democrats would like to see done in terms of immigration reform, now that democrats will at least have the house. what in your view should democrats try to pass? and could anything the democrats pass make it through the senate in your view? >> well, i think the first thing is, we have to lay out a vision, because we're not going to be able to get the broadest comprehensive reform that we want with this president and with the republican-controlled senate. but that doesn't mean we can't lay out the vision for what real immigration reform looks like. then we take a couple of key steps, pass a real d.r.e.a.m. act, not some minimized d.r.e.a.m. act, but a real clean d.r.e.a.m. act, pass protections
for temporary protected status folks, make sure that we address these enforcement issues that have gone out of control, cruel, inhumane system that we have, really reel back on the enforcement, and tie dollars to accountability. we can't have kids dying in our care. that's just outrageous. so, those are some of the things that we'll have to do. but at the same time, i wrote that piece because i want every 2020 presidential candidate and the democratic party to really embrace immigration the way we need to, push for a vision that is big, broad, and really addresses these root causes and stops allowing immigrants to be political footballs. >> yeah, indeed. there is a "washington post" article dated november 12th that donald trump considered firing homeland security secretary kirstjen nielsen. you have been very tough in questioning her. do you think she should be fired over these deaths of children? >> i do. >> you do? >> i think she should resign. i think i was just stunned at her hearing. i was really outraged. she told untruth after untruth. she got very touchy when we called it a lie. so i'm now calling it an
untruth. but she kept repeating that there was no family separation policy. and, joy, you covered this. you know exactly what happened with the separation of families. she got four pinocchios from the fact checkers for saying that. she just insisted over and over again on saying things that weren't true. and she had really no answer when we asked her how many deaths have there been in dhs custody. she couldn't answer that question. and then she tried to tell me that they were going to make sure there were no other deaths. and right after that, felipe alonso-gonzalez died, the 8-year-old that just died, the second child to die, and finally she is now saying, well, we're going to make sure there is complete medical screening. but let's be clear that this is about profit and it's about politics. politics, because they want to make it seem like there is some sort of a crisis at the southern border when it's only a manufactured crisis by this administration, and profit, because these private detention
companies are taking billions of dollars in order to lock people up and provide substandard care. and, so, it's really a couple of things going on here. she does not deserve to be secretary of homeland security. different reasons probably than donald trump thinks that, but she doesn't. we need a different homeland security secretary. >> congresswoman pramila jayapal, democrat of washington state, i hope everyone will read your piece. thank you very much for being here tonight. >> thank you, joy. still ahead tonight, a theme song for your nightmares. ♪ nope, not that one. stay with us. [ playing "jaws" theme ]
well, you know it's time to pay attention to what's going on in washington when the news gets its own theme song. ♪ ♪ >> watergate senate hearings. >> watergate senate hearings, so dramatic. they began on may 17th, 1973. they were broadcast live on national television. that first day, there was a ton of public interest to watch the biggest political scandal of the
history, in the history of the country unfolding from the comfort of your very own living room. when the first witness took the stand, it didn't exactly start off with a bang. not even a little pop. it started with this guy. his name is robert odell. he was only 29 years old. he told the committee that he was the director of administration for nixon's re-election committee, but really, he was just the office manager. "the washington post" wrote that day that he looked, quote, baby-faced with an accountant's manner and a dull gray-striped suit he will still look right in when he is 60. the guy in charge of ordering the office supplies became the very first person to testify in the senate watergate hearings. he was a total unknown, but he had quite a story to tell. >> i saw mr. liddy, as i testified at the trial, and he asked me where the paper shredder was. >> what, what? >> the paper shredder. >> all right.
>> the paper shredder, which is the very famous big paper shredder. >> was there a big paper shredder and a little baby paper shredder, too? >> pardon? >> was there more than one? >> yes, sir. >> and he asked where the big paper shredder was? >> yes. >> did you ask why he wanted to know? >> no. i didn't. i said, it's in there. >> did he have anything with him? >> not at that time. he later came out and said, how do you work it? and i said, you press the button. and then later on, i saw him with a pile of papers perhaps a foot high. >> you press the button. robert odle may not have been the most important guy in the room over at nixon's re-election campaign, because of where he was and what he saw, he was able to lay the groundwork for the senate's watergate investigation. he walked the senate through this complicated chart of how the president's re-election committee worked, the ins and outs of the operation, all the
details, down to the paper shredder. when the senate's watergate committee started their work, it was 29-year-old robert odle who ended up becoming the first building block in the case against president richard nixon, one that ultimately contributed to the takedown of a sitting president. sometimes this is how these things start, not with a crooked cabinet member or a trove of hidden documents, but with a low-level staffer in an ill-fitting suit with a view of the paper shredder. we as a nation, of course, are living through a new kind of presidential scandal, one with fewer shredders and more russian back channels. the trump/russia investigation has already swallowed up a campaign chairman, a deputy campaign chairman, a national security adviser, and the president's personal lawyer, but remember how this whole thing started? it didn't start with the president. it didn't start with any of his marquee advisers. it started with this guy. a totally unknown campaign adviser whose secret meetings with a russian professor caught the attention of the fbi. it was because of george papadopoulos that the fbi
started a counterintelligence investigation into the trump campaign. the trump/russia investigation started more than two years ago, and if you look back to where it started, lordy, are we in for a long way -- we are a long way from home. hold that thought. it's time for our lowest prices of the season on
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the new capital one savor card. earn 4% cash back on dining and 4% on entertainment. now when you go out, you cash in. what's in your wallet? if special counsel robert mueller can be summed up by one hollywood film, it would probably be "a quiet place." did you see that movie? it's the one where if you speak the aliens come out and get you. robert mueller, no words and definitely no leaks, which means we're left to piece together what's really going on inside the russia investigation like a giant game of clue. but every once in a while, we get a little hint, and sometimes those clues contain, shall we say, more information than we wanted, like yesterday when we learned that in gathering evidence against a russian company, mueller collected somebody's, gulp, nude selfie. okay, i'm so sorry. would you like some brain bleach or perhaps one of those flashy
things from "men in black." we don't know whose naked selfie that is, and that's probably for the best, but it is possible we'll get an answer to that question in the new year, whether we want it or not, along with answers to a bunch of other much more important legal mysteries that mueller knows the answer to and that we do not, at least not yet. joining us now are joyce vance, former u.s. attorney from alabama, and frank figluzzi, former adviser for counterintelligence at the fbi. there are tons of questions i want to get to with each of you. i won't ask you about the nude selfie because i like you both and i don't want you to have to think about that. yesterday we had this big bombshell story in mcclatchy indicating that robert mueller may have actual evidence that cohen, at least his cell phone, was in prague, even though he insists up to yesterday that he wasn't. what do you make of that?
>> well, we've been saying all along, joy, that mueller knows so much more, and he knows so much more than we know, in large part because he has access to classified information, to include what's called in the intelligence community, signals intelligence. now, this report claims that some eastern european country may have shared with us their cell phone records that they've captured. but here is something more on the theme that mueller knows so much more. understand that if this alleged meeting occurred, and it involved russian officials, it's quite likely that mueller has more than just a cell phone ping. he may even have the content of the conversation because those russian officials might be covered in terms of electronic wiretaps. so this is just the tip of the iceberg on this topic. with regard to whether cohen was there or not, there are so many variations of this theme to include cohen not being there but his phone being there, which could even lead to a clandestine covert communication phone that he handed to someone to deal
with the russians with, and all kinds of variables between that, and he was planted right there. >> yeah. it is incredibly intriguing. joyce vance, let's go to the second bucket of information. that's mike flynn. michael flynn is also mentioned in the dossier, the steele dossier, which reads sort of like a spy novel when you now go through it and you think about all of the sort of things that it brings together. but one theme of it is that various high-level members of the trump team, at least per the christopher steele memo, were having these interactions both to further the cause of getting dirt on hillary clinton and helping donald trump be elected, but then also to try to cover that up, to make sure that no one found out about it. we know that michael flynn has had at least 19 interviews with the special counsel, that he is being completely cooperative to the point where they're recommending no jail time. is it possible that's what the special counsel wants him for, to provide an overall narrative that ties together all of these weird contacts with the russians, the wikileaks, and puts it all together sort of in one narrative?
>> you know, flynn is bound to be a rich source of information, joy, because he had so much access to the president during the campaign. i think he was billed as being the trump whisperer, the guy who was around in the dark moments, and he would have seen and heard a lot and had firsthand conversations with the president. so it's entirely likely that flynn would be the person who could explain the answer to one of those big questions that we've all puzzled about, why is it that virtually everybody who is involved with trump at a high level had contacts with russians and then went on to lie about them, whether it was in senate confirmation hearings, jeff sessions, or on background clearance papers like jared kushner. this is really a mystery that mueller would have been i think very focused on getting an answer to, to find out if there was some sort of insignificant answer or whether the answer went to the core of the question that rosenstein charged him with looking into, whether or not the campaign was involved in a conspiracy with russia to have an impact on the outcome of the
election. so flynn is certainly a high value witness who can help answer some of these unknown questions, at least unknown to us and the public at this point. >> indeed, frank, you were former assistant director for counterintelligence from the fbi. wouldn't you assume that the former head of the defense intelligence agency would know that it's a crime to lie to the fbi? what does it say to you that somebody as high-level as general michael flynn would take a chance on lying to fbi agents? >> so, he made a calculation in his head that getting caught lying to the fbi was somehow less risky to him than actually telling the truth that he was meeting with russians. that intrigues me greatly, because that means he said, you know what? i'll take the hit with a possible federal offense because i can't possibly expose what i know about my dealings with russia. and joyce was right on with this, and let's add even another layer beyond russia. don't forget that flynn has
contacts and was doing questionable things with other nations, including turkey and that he was running buddies with jared kushner, who also has intriguing relations with other countries beyond russia. so i'm beginning to wonder whether flynn's value also includes what he knows and could tell mueller about jared kushner. >> to say nothing of don jr., who there is a lots of talk and worry about what happens next if he gets drawn in. last question, this mystery case that we've been talking about on this show a lot, look for some sort of answer from the chief justice on whether they'll take it, this mysterious foreign company that's saying it can't be questioned, what do you make of this? >> you know, this case is such a frustrating issue at the moment. we don't even know for certain that it's part of the mueller investigation, although it seems very likely that it is. the posture that it's at right now is that presumably the applicant, the individual or
corporation that mueller is trying to get information from is trying to stay some action that the lower courts took against them, holding them in contempt of court for not complying with the order that they turn over information to mueller's team. and so now that's in front of the supreme court. the supreme court had initially stayed that penalty from being in place until the issue could be heard substantively. there was a brief that was filed a little bit early tonight, but that's not on the substantive merits of the case. it's just on this issue of staying the contempt. all that to say, this is really interesting to lawyers. not very interesting or illuminating for anybody else yet, but we do expect to get an order from the court pretty quickly on the merits of this stay issue, and then we'll have to wait a lot longer for an ultimate decision. >> yeah. something tells me that before this year is out, that theme song from "jaws" is going to seem more and more appropriate if you're team trump. joyce vance, and frank
figliuzzi, former assistant director for counterintelligence at the fbi, thank you both very much. i appreciate it. all right. we'll be right back. bring the tree. ford f-150 best-in-class payload. best-in-class towing. built for the holidays. hurry! it's the final days to get 0% financing for 72 months on ford f-150. see your ford dealer today. - with tripadvisor finding the right hotel at the lowest price is as easy as dates, deals, done. going on a work trip? dates, deals, done. destination wedding?
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in september, 1984, orange county, california, welcomed a special visitor. the president of the united states made a swing through his home state of california to officially kick off his general election campaign a mere two months before election day. notice that i said two months, not the endless campaigns we have now. but it was during that trip, during ronald reagan's big,
triumphant california rally, that he uttered the phrase that became emblematic of the conservative oc ever since. >> like i've always said, orange county, that's where they -- that's where the good republicans go before they die. >> california conservatives did not have much, but at least they had orange county. indeed, dating back to the goldwater era, orange county remained a republican stronghold inside an increasingly deep blue state. that is, until last month, when all seven congressional districts in orange county went blue for the first time since the 1930s. this year, not only did ruby red orange county turn blue, but democrats took control of the governorship, every state office, and both houses of the state legislature, by a mile. in january, san francisco congresswoman and former first woman speaker of the house nancy pelosi will once again be handed the gavel. democrats are not just winning nearly all the elections in california, california democrats
have become the tip of the spear for the resistance against donald trump and his administration. right now, california has 44 active lawsuits pending against the trump administration on everything from the affordable care act to protections for d.r.e.a.m.ers to environmental regulations. california's governor-elect gavin newsom has been outspoken in his criticism of the president, calling the threat to shut down the border, quote, irresponsible, irrational, and absurd. and now california have taken it one step further. california has moved up its presidential primary. lately, voters in california have held their primary elections in june. they're one of the last states to vote in a presidential primary leaving cali voters often to feel like an afterthought. but not anymore. they've moved it up officially to march 3rd, which means california begins early voting at the same time that other
traditionally early states will also be voting. now, this is huge deal for california. it means that presidential candidates will have to decide whether they want to try to compete in california earlier than usual to get the support of california's huge delegation, but it also means candidates are going to have some make some hard choices. campaigning in california is expensive. it can cost at least $5 million for a candidate to compete there, a number that might exclude a number of candidates who can't afford it and might stretch the resources of candidates who are also trying to get an early win in one of the crucial early states. it also means having name recognition in california can go a very long way in terms of presidential ambitions. and for the first time, one of the most racially diverse states in the country and one of the largest will have an outsized impact on who gets the democratic nomination. california is about to make its mark, so what does that mean for 2020 and the democratic party? for that we turn to jason
johnson, political editor at the root and professor of politics and journalism. hey, jason. >> glad to be here. >> let's start going through california. so, california, first of all i think for a lot of people who have been annoyed that iowa and new hampshire have so much power, 37% white, asian-americans are 15.2%. african-americans are 6.5%. so it's a very diverse state. >> right. >> so, in that sense, how does that change the dynamic for that primary? >> well, what it does is it makes you as a candidate if you're running in 2020 with the 50 million people who are going to be running, they have an opportunity to demonstrate i can connect with these different people early on. they don't have to necessarily say, i can show it in nevada,
they can say, look, i can speak to latinos, central americans, immigrants. but the problem is it's really expensive if you have any money to do so, and the other issue is the money will dry up faster. now that california is part of super tuesday, if you don't win one of those three states -- >> it could literally be over by march 3rd. this is march 3rd. this is super tuesday. you have to compete in alabama, california, massachusetts, north carolina, oklahoma, tennessee, texas, vermont, and virginia. if you can't play in the two big states you're done. >> not only are you done but this is horrible move by the democratic party. i think the dnc president perez should have said something about this. i know states all want to be important, but what it's going to do is curtail what should be a long fought process. you don't want to have the democratic nominee by march. you want this to be a long, competitive competition. so i think californians, they want to have influence on who ends up getting the job but that influence may come too soon and it's not beneficial. >> it's all good until you get a john edwards and he's a nominee
and then he implodes. i sense this clemency for a death row inmate whose case is very contested, and she needs help on that criminal justice sort of situation. but now this is a state where she has name i.d. as long as the current governor doesn't run, or incoming governor, this helps her, right? >> it does help her but it's not an automatic, right? you aren't guaranteed to win your state, and really what's going to happen is the winner of california is going to be one of the people who's won one of the first four states. >> you can't raise money. >> she won't be able to raise money. so i think this puts more pressure on her because she can't sit there and say i can back load this. >> i've got to say one name that raised a lot of money in two
states, california and texas, beto. jason johnson. that's not a prediction, that's just a fact. thank you so much for being here. still ahead tonight, a trip to the trns theater. so grab your junior mints. we'll wait right here for you. ♪ ♪ (volunteer) hey. (old man) come on in. (volunteer) you taught me the rules.
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cameras are not allowed in federal court, neither are electronic devices including smartphones, which makes it extremely difficult to report what is going on inside. but who was allowed inside the courtroom, and whose talents brought us reports, transcripts, and, yes, pictures from those important hearings are unsung heroes of 2018. the court reporters and courtroom artists who supply all those transcripts and sketches. now, rachel absolutely loves and i do mean loves to read these courtroom hearing transcripts, and she's become quite the expert at reading multiple roles. transcript theater. >> you ready, i'm just going to start right in. tonight, we obtained portions of of the transcript from manafort's arraignment today. i should warn you in advance there's also a little argument about sex and her personal diary. i swear it's relevant. this is not middle school.
i can't take his cell phone. did you really make me leave my important judge meeting this morning to make we watch a video of your client lip-syncing beauty and the beast? yes, your honor. are you sure? the judge is like, have i ever done that? the one prosecutor goes gulp, the one in the back of the room goes, yeah, your honor, you really did. and she goes, when? >> she likes reading those transcripts on-air so much that every time there's been a hearing to one of the cases tied to the russia investigation the first order of business on the show has been to get the transcript ordered and the sketches, stat. the this gets them on tight deadlines, hours of hearings delivered. i mean, look at the talent. rachel and the entire trms staff would be lost without these guys. so, thank you, sketch artists and court reporters for making this possible this past year. "the rachel maddow show" salutes you.
rachel will be back next week, but next friday i have something exciting coming up. a very special town hall with nancy pelosi, friday, january 4th at 10:00 p.m. don't miss it. >> two things, joy. one positive about you and one positive about rachel. >> let's do it. >> i'll start with rachel. as someone who used to read a lot of court transcripts i have never seen them have more urgency even though they are just the facts than what you just described in the process and obviously a lot of people working hard on it. >> she gives them life. >> she gives them life which gives us life. point number two, i am so excited to see what you're going to do with what will be all accounts be speaker pelosi in the town hall and a lot of stuff happens. but this is if not the first time and it will be the first week that donald trump has ever had to deal with divided