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tv   The Rachel Maddow Show  MSNBC  February 18, 2017 3:00am-4:01am PST

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and take on whatever comes next. find out how american express cards and services can help prepare you for growth at george "the animal" steel died today. if you, like me, watched wrestling in the 1980s, you will remember george "the animal" steel, right? his whole schick was that he was very hairy, he had a lot of back air. so his nickname was the animal, acted in an animalistic nature, stick his tongue out at a weird angle and make crazy googly eyes at the camera, almost made it
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out like he was half animal or half man or half having a seizure, but just really angry. george "the animal" steel was one of the great lovable wrestling bad guys and he died today at the age of 79. and 79 for a pro wrestler kind of starting to feel that's a ripe old age. a lot of the famous wrestlers of that era, the wrestlers i grew up watching when i came home from school, a lot of the wrestlers from that era have died at unsettlely young ages. china died at the age of 46. randy savage was 58 when he died. rowdy roddy piper, 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, he went by the name, the ultimate warrior. he was only 54 when he died. the ceo of world wrestling
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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 that she comes from really does have a dark side to it. the trail of dead performers that she leaves behind at the business that she ran with her husband, it's unsettling. and it keeps coming up in part because wrestling is an odd sidebar interest for this new administration. right? there's a lot of weird things about this new administration, but one of them is the wrestling connection. we've all 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. but actually, while he was having that scripted, fake fight. the featured performer in the ring who was 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.
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he was 34 years old when donald trump had that cameo fight wrestling match. he was dead two years later. adyhe t time he was 36. who knew we'd ever had a presidential administration with lots of ties to the weird, dark world of pro wrestling, but we do. when george "the animal" steel passed away today, the highest profile pro wrestler of them all, the most famous pro wrestler of this whole era, hulk hogan, paid his respects to george steel. he wrote on twitter, "george "the animal" steel, rest in peace, my brother." hulk hogan in the 1980s and 1990s was very well known as a wrestler. he was probably the highest star they had. a wrestling career can't last forever. and even though it was a huge deal in the '80s and '90s, and maub even a little further than that, he really had faded from the spotlight for a while when in 2012, he briefly became
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famous again for not wrestling, but, forgive me, for a sex tape. the website gawker, which was always sort of proudly profane, gawker does a lot of celebrity coverage and a lot of good serious journalism, too. gawker in 2012 decided to publish snippets of a tape in which hulk hogan could be seen having sex with someone who was not his wife, who was, in fact, somebody else's wife. 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. okay, it existed. hulk hogan reportedly had his personal lawyer threaten gawker and tell them they needed to take that tape down, but gawker didn't tape it down. but lucky for hulk hogan, it turns out that gawker had a very, very rich, very, very vindictive enemy who was sort of watching this hulk hogan sex tape story unfold from afar. a silicon sleep eccentric,
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conservative billionaire who had been nursing a grudge against gawker for years because of the way gawker had covered him and his personal life in his silicon valley career. and at 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 that he bankrolled was not to get gawker to take the sex tape down. it was not to get gawker to retract the story or even to apologize for the story. 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. it was not to make, you know,
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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 irretrievably. and it worked. it cost about $10 million in legal fees, but if you're a billionaire, what do you care about that. it took $10 million of his money, and it 100% worked. they get out of the jury, $140 million verdict. part of what they had originally claimed in the lawsuit was that gawker had negligently inflicted emotional stress. there's no reason to think that the hulk hogan side couldn't have prevailed on that point in their lawsuit, as well. but in a strategic moment in the case, they dropped that specific part of their claim. and as best we can tell, the reason they dropped that specific part of their complaint where they very well might have
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prevailed, they 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. so 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 thiel, silicon valley conservative billionaire, that's how he used an aging pro wrestler which, 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 published something you don't like, and in his case once
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published something about him in his personal life that he didn't want to publish. 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 thiel took on a prominent role in the donald trump presidential campaign, including speaking at the republican national convention, while gawker was in the midst of firing all of its staff and its founder was filing for personal bankruptcy. after trump won the election, peter thiel reportedly got to work helping to 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 thiel potentially floated himself as a potential supreme court nominee. oh, really, that wasark day.
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even tugh he hn't taken on a formal job title in the new administration, he did give the new president one very granular, very specific, very 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 they don't like. the lawyer's name is charles harder, and he is now representing the first lady of the united states. melania trump, in a $150 million lawsuit that she's filed against the newspaper, the "daily mail," as well as a conspiracy theorist/blogger, both of whom posted unfounded claims about melania trump claiming she had worked as an escort. there appears to be no evidence that she ever did. they published claims to the contrary. and now they're looking down the barrel of a $150 million lawsuit filed by the guy who made gawker disappear. when donald trump started
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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 stuff about fraud stuff, but that is not the case when it comes to media stuff. that is not the case when it comes to this very aggressive case filed by the first lady against this newspaper and this blog. not only did she not drop it after the election, but it appears to be pedal to the medal. but the blogger and the newspaper retracted these stories they had posted about melania trump. they both 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 really tried to figure out the system, we can't figure it out. the lawsuit against the newspaper is proceeding. and it's not just happening by remote control at a distance from the first family. i think everybody was very surprised in december when there was like a routine scheduling conference in a maryland courtroom related to this lawsuit. lawyers and the judge were
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there. they're working out like future court dates and scheduling stuff. th is noa key moment in the trial where you wod expt either the plaintiffs or the defendants to show up in person, but at that hearing in december, in maryland, in walked melania trump, in person. 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
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york times," cnn, and many more is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the american people." he posted that around 4:30 and then quickly deleted. there was this little flurry, oh, his temper got the best of him. he deleted it, took it back, got a little hot under the collar there, but cooler heads prevailed. no, 15 minutes later, he did actually post it again. this time he had to delete the word thick at the end, because he had to make space to add in more news organizations. the enemy of the american people is not just "the new york times," cnn, nbc news, and abc news and cbs news. all the enemy of the american people. and first of all, i mean, who cares what he tweets, right? yeah. you know. but on this issue, all presidents fight with the press. all presidents arguably hate the press, to certain extent.
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but there is something different here than what we have seen in the past. just in terms of the rhetoric and the tenor and the tone and the sort of viciousness of it, right? the previous low, the worst we thought it could get, what we thought was kind of the example that nobody ever wants to let it get that bad again, the worst was probably the nixon era, right? that's when vice president spiro agnew called the press the nattering nabobs of negativism. nixon himself had a famously catastrophic press conference when we had this exchange with robert pearpoint from cbs news. >> what is it about the television coverage of you in these past weeks and months that has so aroused your anger? >> don't get the impression that you rouse my anger. [ laughter ] >> i have that impression. >> one can only be angry with those he respects.
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>> 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. and it's not just the insults to the press, insults to individual reporters, calling the news media fake. it's also, you know, the way they're running their press operations in the briefing room. we got news this week 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 sort of a deliberately controversial, deliberately provocative anti-islam event that was held on the sidelines of the republican convention under this banner, gays for trump, and you might remember some of the visuals for that event were a little weird, right? all thisews media showed up and they were like, can we turn
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on these cameras? there were these big, soft corey kind of pseudo porny pictures with super pale white guys wearing trump hats but otherwise in various states of undress? kind of weird moment. the guy who took those photos is now an accredited white house correspondent. h they gave that guy a white house press pass. now reporting in a suit from the white house. some of it's funny. the ways this white house is waging war on the press, de-leg. this week, we learned that 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 cnn political coverage on cnn. he seasonaled out specific on-air commentators and berated this executive from cnn's parent
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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 for that is pending right now with the federal government. right before the election, trump himself said that under his government, that merger will never be approve. all but openly admitting at the tile, it's because he doesn't like the way that cnn covers him. so he'll use the powers of the federal government to punish them, to punish that business for that coverage. and then you summon the executive from the parent company to the white house for a dressing down and you name the commentators you don't like? it's a whole range of stuff that they're doing. everything from, you know, threatening a pretty serious abuse of power, in order to punish news organizations and shape their coverage, everything from that to the petty one-on-one bullying you see in the briefing room and these laughable efforts to delegitimatize the real press, the real news media by putting them on the same footing as, you
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know, this guy and some random pro-trump activist who skypes into the briefing room. and some of this is funny, you know? especially some of what happens in the briefing room is probably is worth it. it's probably worth enduring just so we can see melissa mccarthy do this for four years before sean spicer's head actually explodes in real life. all presidents have hated the press. and who cares? 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 press, i don't generally think that what affects us as an institution is ever the most important thing going on in the country. but remember i said a few days ago i started 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
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out not to be true all the time. watch what they're doing. with all their attention now to what they're saying to the press, what they're saying about the press, how they're taunting the press, teasing the press, deriding the press, okay. but don't just pay attention to what they're saying. it's not just talk. what watch they're doing. it's really important to notice as this administration declares its own particular war on the press that it is more than just talk this time. it's more than just the threats and the bullying and the name-calling and the complaining. whatever you think of as a journalistic enterprise, 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 ndscape to disappear that outlet, that is now operating on behalf of the white house, on behalf of the first family. in what is otherwise a
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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 the press freedom that makes our country literally what it is. right? that makes all presidents hate the press as much as they do. watch this little legal case. watch this lawyer. watch this legal strategy. because it really is more than just talk. it is something different. (vo) what if this didn't have to happen? and it's going to require a whole new level of defense. uld ? what if our car... could stop itself? in iihs front-end crash prevention testing, nobody beats the subaru impreza. not toyota. not honda. not ford. the all-new subaru impreza. more than a car, it's a subaru. or is it your allergy pills? holding you back break through your allergies.
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press? do you want to see a press who is really, really mad at the press? >> you once said that you were reading more and enjoying it less. are you still as avid a newspaper reader, magazine -- >> i remember those of us who traveled kpion the campaign, a magazine wasn't safe around you? >> i think it's invaluable, even though it may cause you some never pleasant to be reading things, frequently, that are not agreeable news. but i would say that it's an invaluable arm of the presidency, as a check, really, as 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 that mr., there's a terrific disadvantage
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not having the abrasive quality of the press applied to you daily to an administration. >> when you have -- even though we don't like it and, they didn't write it and disapprove, there isn't any doubt that we couldn't do the job at all in a free society 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 that they did not write it, even still, we could not do the job at all in a fr society without a very, very active press. you need an active press for 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
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iteration of something that we've seen in the past? or are we really on new ground? joining us now for some perspective on this is lee brenner from los angeles. thanks for joining us tonight. i really appreciate your time. >> hey, rachel. >> so we've been looking at obviously this administration, like all administrations that have come before them, yelling at the press, complaining about the press and 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 that this administration is going after the press, do you think? >> i do. i think there's a little bit more obvious outright contempt for the press. i think the twitter feed that you said today, you know, that trump said that he's just outright declaring war on the press. and you know, that's just not something that i've seep befon . >> in terms of the legal strategy we've been watching now with the first lady, using the same lawyer that peter thiel used in this very unusual suit that ended up bankrupting
3:26 am, a reporter's committee said about that verdict, the gawker verdict represents that someone with financial banking 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 that it's pretty scary that you have a billionaire who gets sort of mad and then takes a vendetta out, you know, against a news organization. that's actually kind of scary. nothing illegal about it, but scary. but i'm not sure that there's that much of a lesson from the gawker case, other tha maybe, don't get in the sex tape selling business. really, it was a pretty unusual case, and that you've got a hometown, you know, favoritism to hulk hogan. you've got a celebrity -- juries love celebrities, especially one sort of fun as hulk hogahogan.
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you've got gawker on the other side which sort of reveled in being offensive. and jurors, they don't -- it's not true that they come into court and think, oh, yeah, it's the press, first amendment, they can do whatever they want. that's no nt it. you have to explain the first amendment to them. but in the gawker case, the verdict is not precedent for anything. it's not a court of appeals decision. i don't get that excited about it. >> in terms of the melania trump case, obviously, the first lady is only a -- you know, a public figure to the extent she wants to be and she's entitled to her private life. certainly, a private life and family life, especially 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. this is a case they've made false allegations that they have since apologized and retracted. 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
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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. right? unless there's more information that comes out. and i did notice today they filed an amended complaint where they aremoved the $150 million allegation. i'm not sure what, if anything, to make about that. but i thought that was sort of interesting. i don't see it as one big legal tactic, unless we get some more information and hear perhaps there's someone else bankrolling it. that would be interesting. >> lee brenner, thanks for helping us get some perspective on this. really appreciate it. >> thanks for having me. thank you. big show ahead tonight, including what happened in our nation's capital when i really shouldn't have been sleeng, but i was sleeping and i'm sorry. don't worry, i'll make it up to you pb that's next. jon batiste has mastered new ways
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next time you have to stay late at work, remember to bring your ph test kit with you. >> this is a glass of water. and i have just put 20 drops of a ph test. and as you can see, it's turned the water rather blue. i produce carbon dioxide as i
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exha exhale. it so used to be that color, now what color it is. >> my favorite is thousand into it those staffers are. look at the staffers, oh, wait! this happened at 4:30 a.m. this morning on the floor of the united states senate. senator sheldon whitehouse of rhode island, doing a real, live science experience, showing ph and carbon die oxide and acidification. sheldon whitehouse and others held another all-nighter last night. holding the floor all night long, trying to stop or in this case, slow down the confirmation vote on the new head of the epa. and while they were at it, while setor white house was showing off his mad beaker skills, right on, well, done, senator, while that was happening, a not insignificant number of epa employees were also hard at work, all night, calling up the u.s. capitol, begging senators
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to please vote against scott pruitt to head the epa today, which is a remarkable thing for current employees of an agency to do, but they did that to try to stop scott pruitt. democrats have opposed the pruitt nomination for epa since day one. but yesterday it suddenly became a race against the clock, because a federal judge late in the day ordered scott pruitt to start turning over a whole bunch of documents. a federal judge in oklahoma ordered scott pruitt to start turning over thousands of pages of correspondents between his office and oil and gas companies from the time when he's been attorney general of 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 postpone the confirmation vote, right? postpone it, at least until everybody can take a look at these documents that the court has just ordered to be disclosed. so, wait until everybody can look and see what scott pruitt said to those oil and gas companies that he's been
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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. 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. all the senators are voting, in the first part of the alphabet, senator al franken is getting ready to cast his vote. just watch him here. put a little spot shadow around him. watch this. >> mr. donnelly miss duckworth. >> pruitt for epa? oh, boy. >> oh, boy. >> scott pruitt was confirmed today, to head the epa today by a vote of 52-46.
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the epa is about to be taken over by somebody whose mission in life really appears to be to abolish the agency he's now been put in charge of. he has spent his whole professional career drieding the epa and suing the epa. now, as of today, he is in charge of it. but you know what, interesting thing here, we're still going to get those e-mails. scott pruitt is still subject to that court order. he still, really does have to hand over 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. and so, yeah, scott pruitt is taking over as head of the epa, but that also means that scott
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pruitt will start his new job with the epa as his first big scandal already waiting for him when he walks in the door. oh, boy. >> scott pruitt for epa? oh, boy. ♪ some things are simply impossible to ignore. the strikingly designed lexus nx turbo and hybrid. the suv that dares to go beyond utility. experience amazing. or keeping a hotel's guests cuttinconnected.i to 35,000 fans... businesses count on communication, and communication counts on centurylink.
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do you get presidents day off? we don't. but a lot of people do. congress does. in fact, congress is taking the not just presidents day on monday, they're taking presidents 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. because back home, they have been sorely missed. look at this. spotted in beach mold, ohio, concerned citizens in beach mold are searching for their missing congressman, pat teabur burteab. where's teaberry? same thing in dayton, ohio. have you seen congressman
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turner? if seen, return to his direction. not seen since election when he needed our votes. in california, congressman darryl issa's constituents took out a big full-page ad in his local paper inviting him, please, to attend an emergency town hall on health care, that they have gone through the trouble of setting up for him in his district when he's off and home from washington last week. it says up at the top of the ad, paid for by a crowd funding effort from over 165 constituents of darryl issa's 49th district. and the ad has this personal note from a woman who says she's a 67-year-old single working grandmother who lives in darryl issa's district, that is just 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 grandkids' 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 darryl issa's district. and again, full-page ad in his local paper.
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they end it by inviting others to join them. quote, would you like to add your name to the petition? would you like to call representative issa and ask him to come to the town hall? then they give the phone number so other people can invite their congressmen, too. so far, darryl issa's office says, no way. there is 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 soft senator's jim wish's constituents piled into his constituent office back home in idaho this week. watch this. >> good morning. >> how are you? >> good morning. good morning. good morning. hi, there. i hope you guys all fit. good morning. >> thank you, we will. we're friendly. >> we're friendly, don't mind us. we'll fit. yeah, there's more of us.
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senator russ senator rich's office very friendly inviting them. they handed over the request in writing and it was signed by over a hundred people. no word on whether that idaho town hall will take place. but all over the country, red state, blue states, everywhere, people are making it known that they would like to meet with their member of congress while the lawmakers are home this week. and that is happening even in the reddest of states. >> i'm lots of things. i'm an educator, i'm a mother, i'm a wife. i'm not a paid protester. >> but she is a frustrated voter. >> i voted for senator graham and i voted for senator scott. and i just want my voice heard. >> and so do more than 4,000 people across south carolina. tara burnett, a school teacher, is leading a petition on, asking the two senators to hold a town hall. burnett even has a venue, the
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jim at the old oakway intermediate school. >> you pretty much work for us, the state of south carolina. you need to have open discussion and open dialogue. you need to sit down -- you need to talk to us about some of the choices that you're making. i've started e-mailing, i've started making phone calls to my senators. i did get some responses. not the responses that we were looking for. >> burnett says she doesn't care where the town hall is held in south carolina. so far, she's heard from senator scott's office. and today we reached out to both and got responses. >> senator graham says, he appreciates everyone who takes time to contact his office. senator scott's office responded by saying they will make sure he is aware of the petition and 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 another, we would like to know.
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>> that interviewed happened yesterday, in south carolina. but check this out. that schoolteacher in south carolina said she voted for lindsey graham, voted for tim scott, for two republican senators. she got 4,000 signatures on that petition, asking him for a town hall. she did that local news hit, talked to reporters. and you know what? that elementary school teacher from the northwest corner of south carolina, she apparently made it into senator tim scott's google alert, 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 brigh and early tomorrow morng in montamt. pleasant, south carolina. that is 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 they are
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senators to hold town halls next week at home in south carolina. miss burnett, thank you so much for joining us tonight. i really appreciate you taking the time. >> thank you for having me, rachel. so there's a little humor, i can see, from senator scott announcing this town hall tonight and it's 9:00 in the morni morning. it's very quick turnaround and organizing. do you feel like your work on this may have led to this town hall that he's called? >> i definitely think it's helped, get out the word that, you know, that you need to meet with the people of south carolina. you know, 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 carolina. several groups have been formed, indivisible groups throughout the state of south carolina. we've been contacting his offices. we've -- he's got three offices in the state. people have gone to all three offices of senator scott and senator graham and we've smai e-mailed, we've made phone calls, and pretty much we get nothing. and then i created the petition
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online, like you saw, and had about 4,000 signatures and then we get the e-mail today that he's going to have a town hall meeting tomorrow, which really isn't even his own town hall. it's mark sanford's town hall, and he's kind of piggybacking on that. >> that's interesting. it's on this side of the state from you? are you going to be able to make it? it's pretty far away, right? >> i'm not going to be able to make it, unfortunately. that's about a four-hour drive for me from my home and my daughter -- i'm a mother to an 8-year-old daughter and she's got a volleyball tournament tomorrow. and so, that takes precedence over that, unfortunately. >> good for you. i was that kid with the volleyball tournament and i would be there with my mom there at the time, so i hear you. a lot of the discussion around people trying to get town halls with their senators and members of congress next week, a lot of the discussion about just people trying to make contact with their members of congress right
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now, the members have said, these are paid protesters, these are organized left-wing groups, these are out of state people. clearly, you're none of those things. i wonder if you could just tell me, tell us why you decided to get involved this way? what sort of led you to this activism. i saw you say that you voted for both senator scott and senator graham? >> i sure did. i'm definitely not a paid protester. by day, i'm just an elementary school teacher and my passion is education. that's what matters to me. you know, 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, you know, that our lives end. so education matters to me. and i can't be silent anymore. but 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.
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you know, 68% of our south carolina people voted in the last election. that's a 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, you know, i just started reaching out to our senators, plain and simple. and something's obviously working. >> yeah. well, tara burnett from south carolina, who's petitioned for this town hall that's 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 understd what you did and i want to wish your daughter spectacular luck tomorrow. i have a feeling that they're going to do great. >> thank you very much, rachel. >> take care. all right. we'll be right back. stay with us. looking for balance in your digestive system?
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we've, repo been reporting the past couple of weeks about not just the deportations and roundup of immigrants of citizens across the country, but also on the community response, when those roundups have happened, people have turned out to try to report and even shield immigrants wn feral authorities have come for them. a couple of nights ago, we talked with the group organizing the here to stay pledge. the group, with united we dream, asking people to put their money where their mouth is. to pledge they will bodily show up and defend people. they will be there when raids
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and deportations happen. the here we stand people tell us right now, as of tonight, 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. check this out. 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. these are people who have agreed they want to be trained to support immigrants during federal raids and enforcement. the group hosting tonight is called casa. they say they only came up with this idea for this training two days ago, only announced this training two days ago. but look at this. this is tonight, packed, on a friday night, bystander training, to stand with immigrants in the face of federal raids in baltimore tonight. a lot going on in our country right now. the presidency has obviously changed radically and fast. but you know what, the country is also changing in response. fast.
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this regulation unfairly stigmanizs. that was republican senator, chuck grassley, of iowa this week on the floor of the senate. that bill, the stigmanizing bill is one we have reported on for the last week or so. house republicans' bill to make it easier for people who are seriously mentally ill to buy guns. senator grassley sponsored the senate version of this bill. this really is a freestanding, purpose-written bill that says people who are so mentally ill that they legally and officially cannot manage their own affairs, those people should be able to buy guns. and that is, forgive me, nuts. if only because even people like chuck grassley used to admit that this is the opposite of what we should be doing. >> the biggest problem that we have to deal with, and quite frankly, i don't think any of us really have an answer to the mental health issue. how do you get more people who have mental health problems that shouldn't have guns and under present law can't get guns, but
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you've gt ot to get their name into the database as well, passing more laws banning guns isn't going to solve the problem of mass killing. we've got to look at a 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's what we -- that was the chuck grassley approach to gun control. that was his same approach to gun control in 2013. he has apparently changed his ever-loving mind. this week, he voted yes to improv the access to guns for peop who the government says are seriously mentally ill. so did the majority of the u.s. senate. that bill passed the senate, 57-43. it's 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 priorities for doing that, you
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know, at least, is rolling back some stuff that obama did that presumably some of them agreed with before, like not giving guns to people who are seriously mentally ill. but now that they've got the chance to get rid of that, that's what they're prioritizing. now that they're fully in charge, that's what they're working on. that does it for us tonight. we'll see you again monday. msnbc live is next. good morning. i'm dara brown live in new york at msnbc headquarters. it's 7:00 a.m. in the east, 4:00 a.m. out west. here's what's happening. deadly storms sweeping across parts of the west coast. winds and rain leaving power outages and streets flooded. the latest in a live report. gearing up for a rally. president trump set to hold a campaign-style event in florida today, as he yet again tweets. this time about who he thinks is the enemy of the american people. strong message. vice president pence overseas