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The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at 9:00 Eastern on MSNBC. At this hour, the Senate appears to be back on track to pass the one point nine trillion dollar covid relief bill after what was a weird long delay today. Senate Democratic leaders apparently now have reached a deal with West Virginia conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. He had been holding out over a provision to extend unemployment benefits, but an agreement announced within the last hour seems to have brought to an end what had been a nine hour long stalemate in the Senate as Democrats and Republicans yanked on Manhattan's arms to try to pull him in either direction to get him to sign on to their respective proposals.


Bottom line, nothing much changes from earlier in the day. I don't know why this took nine hours. The resolution is apparently that the relief deal will result in three hundred dollars a month boost, three week boost to unemployment benefits, and that will be extended through the beginning of September, September 6th. That's pretty much the way things were going to be as of this morning. There are some tweaks in terms of the taxability of those benefits, but really it seems like very small changes for a nine hour delay.


Nevertheless, they seem to have broken through. We'll keep an eye on this and bring you more as news develops. We are expecting the session to stay in the Senate, to stay in session as they continue to fight these things out. The Capitol building, where all these senators are negotiating and voting all night tonight, is still surrounded by thousands of National Guard troops, as it has been since the US Capitol attack on January 6th. And even now, two months later, there are moments from the attack on the Capitol that still stick with you, certain rioters, certain things that they did on camera and on tape that gets seared into your brain once you've seen them.


This is one of those moments a man in a very distinctive Stars and Stripes jacket with Trump emblazoned in big letters in the back. See the guy in the red flag jacket there. He steps up toward the Capitol Police guarding the doorway. He unloads a fire extinguisher at them at close range. And when the fire extinguisher appears to run out, he then chucks the fire extinguisher itself at the police. The police officers are under siege. He checks it out, I'm as hard as he can.


There have been over three hundred arrests connected to the capital attack on January six, but that guy is not among them. He's still at large despite that violent, deliberate attack on Capitol Police officers that day. That is caught on tape. But we now know who that guy is for sure, thanks to reporters Ryan Riley and Jesselyn Cook at the Huffington Post. They reached him by phone and got him to confirm. Yeah, that was me. And today they published a story revealing who he is and how they found him with the help of a remarkable amateur citizen detective.


They also revealed that that amateur detective who tracked this guy down has been trying to alert the FBI to this guy's identity and his whereabouts for over a month without any discernible results from the FBI side. It's an amazing story of how this unfolded. It starts with with Amy. Here's how they describe, quote, Amy, a woman living in a rural area out west who in her free time joined the Sedition Hunters Network, an online sleuthing community seeking to identify the hundreds of Trump supporters who rioted at the Capitol.


Amy is a pseudonym. She chose to protect her privacy while those writers are storming the Capitol. Quote, Amy was home sick thousands of miles away. She'd contracted covid-19 and was getting restless while recovering in isolation after watching in horror as the insurrection unfolded. She decided to use some of her time in quarantine, poring over footage from the attack and trying to track down individual rioters. She worked with the group Capitol Hunters as they tried to mine through a seemingly endless flow of photos and videos, assigning hashtags and memorable nicknames basically to various persons of interest to try to bring some order to the chaos.


She went through every single clip pulled from the right wing social media website Parler. She kept going through videos and photos of the attack. Soon, the hashtag Florida flag jacket drew Amy's attention. She recalled, quote, I got locked on to this guy and the jacket because the jacket is so unique. This guy, quote, wasn't very incognito. His already distinctive jacket was embroidered with Trump on the front and back, and his Florida for Trump had offered a pretty strong hint about what was his home state.


Then another online investigator found a video of the Florida flag jacket guy from later in the day on January six. And in that video, he speaks to a journalist who is filming him live as cops pushed the mob back from the Capitol grounds. And that video he showed, he holds up his shirt to show off a big bruise on his stomach, apparently from a crowd control ammunition fired by police. Then he looks straight into the camera and identifies himself.


Robert Palmer from Clearwater, Florida. Amy felt like she had nailed it. She sent in a tip to the FBI and then Huffington Post reports, quote, She waited and waited and waited. And that's when Ryan Riley and Justin Cook reporters got involved in this story, Amy sent her tip about Florida flak jacket guy Robert Palmer to them at the Huffington Post, and they were able to verify his identity through a search of public records and social media accounts.


And then they called him, quote, reached by phone late on Thursday afternoon. Palmer confirmed he was at the Capitol on January 6th, then gave the live stream interview. He claimed he'd done nothing to justify being struck with that police munition and that the Biden administration was trying to vilify the patriots who were involved in the riot. Palmer continued, quote, I'm just going about it and letting them make the mistakes that they want and ruin the country as they want.


And I'm just trying to live my life right now. He added that the jacket he wore wasn't anything I had made special. I just bought it in a store. Mr Palmer seemed to grow increasingly anxious as the call continued, quote, I'm just going to just leave it like that. I'm not getting myself any not deeper because I didn't do anything wrong. But I'm I'm not involving myself anymore. He hung up on Huffington Post, asked him about the fire extinguisher.


Yes, a fire extinguisher that he threw at the police. I bet he did.


And this, in fact, is not the first capital attacker's capital attacker that these reporters at Huff Po have tracked down. A week ago, they published a remarkable story identifying a man seen on video, tasering a D.C. metropolitan officer in the neck. They identified him as Daniel Joseph Rodriguez. D.J. Rodriguez from Fontana, California, California. That police officer, Mike Fantome for now excuse me, has memorably described his experience of being beaten and tasered by the capital mob.


He was tasered enough that he suffered a mild heart attack. But Daniel Rodriguez, the guy that Huff Po identified as being one of his attackers, one of the people who tasered him, is still at large. We know what his name is and where he is and have evidence that he did it still at large. Ryan Riley and Justin Cook Report, quote, The FBI received tips about Rodriguez last month, including one from a man he assaulted on video at a Los Angeles area rally.


But it wasn't until hours after a huff and puff post interview to the bureau for this story that the tipster heard from an FBI special agent with questions specifically about a man named Danny Rodriguez.


So what's going on here? I mean, the FBI, we've seen as they have put out all these requests for information on Capitol writers, these ongoing posts by the FBI, Washington field office and the FBI full stop, they keep posting these images and zoomed in cropped photos on individual rioters and attackers, asking the public, do you know who this person is? They really do that. Every day is very visually striking notices when they put them out even today.


Today, FBI, Washington field office put out more of these today. These were these were just from today. This was yesterday, the FBI is seeking information from the public about people involved in various assaults on federal officers on January 6th. This was the day before that new photo. The FBI is seeking information from the public and listen, actually, right now, you watching at home, if you recognize any of these people, the FBI really would like to hear from you.


But it's worth asking questions now as to what exactly the FBI is going to do with that information once they get it. Because in a few high profile cases, it seems like these very credible tips and this journalistic work hasn't produced a law enforcement response. Robert Palmer, Florida flak jacket guy who is on video spraying a fire extinguisher at police officers and then hurling it at them. He's still at large. And as far as we can tell from this latest reporting, the FBI still has not gone to talk to him.


And he is one of the people who the FBI put out calls for information on. Like he's one of the people who the FBI put out one of these notices about. He's got a number and the FBI database in terms of which bad guy they're looking for. He's number two. Forty six. And still after Amy, the tipster with that W after she sent this info to the FBI over a month ago and even after the Huffington Post published this great reporting today, he is still at large and still considered by them to be a no.


Hey, guy number two. Forty six has been identified and he says it's him and we know where he lives and what his name is. It wouldn't be that hard to find now is phenomenal reporting and it is this fascinating phenomenon of people who are civilians, you know, Brandos, random people who are crowdsourcing that effort to try to find the people who committed serious crimes, particularly violent crimes on January six, that the capital attack. But why are tipster Amy and Ryan Riley and Jocelyn Cook from Huff Po all over the sky?


But law enforcement isn't. Questions, questions like that is frankly, why it seems to me, both wrong and weird now that the Justice Department isn't regularly briefing the public anymore on arrests and prosecutions and progress in the January 6th investigation.


Remember, immediately after the the capital attack, we were waiting for some sort of public law enforcement briefing and didn't get one for days. Then for a few days running, we got briefings from the US attorney at the DC US Attorney's Office about arrests and people. They were seeking potential charges they were going to face. But that's been a long time now. They haven't brief the public since January. Twenty six. And there is turnover of an unusual kind in that office that is running the January 20, the January 6th investigation, the US attorney's office in D.C. that was such a troubled office where Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr, installed all of his staffers in positions to replace people who were otherwise basically normal Justice Department personnel.


They use that D.C. US attorney's office to get all of Donald Trump's friends out of trouble and to go after Donald Trump's enemies, at least until this week. That US attorney's office and the January 6th investigation was still being run by a former personal aide to Bill Barr, who had been installed in that office under bizarre circumstances until the Biden administration took the unusual step just this week of installing their own acting US attorney in that office. So they don't have to wait until they nominate and confirm a permanent US attorney attorney that they can have their own guy running the place.


As of now, the D.C. U.S. attorney's office has behaved in very recent history in a way that requires some public explanation in terms of weird political, politically driven interference in the law enforcement responsibilities of that office. But that is also the office that's handling the January 6th investigation. And we are now not getting any public explanation of anything from that office about what's going on with the January 6th investigation. We haven't heard anything from them for over a month now.


And listen, there's a there's a lot there's a lot that's wrong in federal law enforcement and that the Justice Department in particular with the legacy that Bill Barr left there, the Trump administration's Justice Department is a small is a smoking hulk, and it's going to take repair and it's going to take accountability to figure out all the things that went wrong there and to fix them. I mean, just just today, the Associated Press is reporting that one of the many messes that awaits Biden's attorney general nominee, Merrick Garland, once he's confirmed, is what he's going to do about the federal criminal investigation into Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.


Because the Trump Justice Department last year, as we first reported, quashed a search warrant for Giuliani's communications that had been sought by federal prosecutors in the southern district of New York. Main Justice Trump appointees quashed that and said, no, you cannot get that search warrant. The investigation of Giuliani apparently remains open.


Prosecutors remain interested in pursuing him. How does main justice clean up the fact that Trump appointees blocked it in the past? There also remains the open question of how that U.S. attorney in Georgia got forced out by the White House after the election when he reportedly rebuffed Trump White House demands that he bring bogus voter fraud charges to try to support Trump's efforts to overthrow the election in Georgia. They forced his resignation after demanding that he bring bogus voter fraud charges. That seems like something we shouldn't just let go.


There's the fact that one of the senior Trump political appointees in the Justice Department apparently offered that he would tell the state of Georgia that they had to void their election results and declared Donald Trump to be the winner as part of a bid he was making that Donald Trump supported to install that guy as attorney general. They tried to install him as attorney general. It was only staved off at the last moment by a mass resignation threat from everybody else left in the department.


Wait a minute. That all happened and not that long ago. And the Merrick Garland nomination has so far been held up by Senate Republicans. So we don't know how long it's going to take to get him in there and we don't know how he's going to behave once he isn't there. Boy, is that a mess. That office and the senior levels of the Justice Department interfering in that office, I mean, that is a disaster that we are underestimating the cost of and the complexity of in terms of how that is going to be healed and held and made.


Right by the nexus, though, where those things come together in the U.S. attorney's office. That's where the January 6th investigation is happening to. How much is that overall mess with Bill Barr's treatment of the Justice Department? How much does that making it harder for the Justice Department to execute the January 6th investigation effectively investigation effectively? Because we know there are people at large who have been accused of committing some of the most violent acts that day, who have been found by online investigators and journalists who the FBI hasn't gotten around to yet.


That doesn't seem right. There's developments around January 6th, even just today, Congressman Eric Swalwell of California today sued Donald Trump for inciting the capital riot. Congressman Swalwell is also suing Donald Trump Jr. and Rudy Giuliani and Alabama Congressman Mo Brooks for their roles, he says. And inciting that riot. Swalwell is suing all of these people under an old civil rights law that was originally passed to try to combat violent threats against lawmakers from the Klan. Congressman Swalwell, if this sounds familiar, he's the second member of Congress to sue Trump for the capital attack under that law.


The first case was brought by Mississippi Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson. So there are now two cases brought against Trump under that same civil rights statute. Congressman Swallow's lawsuit also alleges that Trump and his associates broke several other local Washington, D.C. laws when they incited that riot, including an anti terrorism law. So there's now those two civil suits against the president around January 6th, either or both of which may lead to, among other things, discovery, which might allow the courts to turn up more evidence about people at the political level who were involved in the events that led to the violence that day.


Also tonight, just before we got on the air, we got news concerning how lawmakers might try to address some of the security concerns that stem from the attack. Less than two weeks after the attack happened, Speaker Pelosi announced that retired Lieutenant General Russel Honore, who led the military relief efforts during Hurricane Katrina, he would lead a top to bottom review of the security failures that took place at the Capitol that day. Well, The New York Times tonight has obtained a copy of that report.


They posted it online just tonight before we got on the air. And it recommends, among other things, the establishment of a standing quick reaction force at the Capitol to respond to immediate security threats. They want to change the process to allow Capitol Police to activate that kind of a unit or to more quickly call up the National Guard general honoris report. Also, according to the Times, recommends adding more than eight hundred US Capitol Police officers to the force not only to help protect members of Congress in Congress while they're in D.C., but also in their home districts as well.


They want the recommendation is also that the Capitol should have a a essentially retractable barrier, a retractable fence installed around the US Capitol complex, which they could open or shut like like the walkway over a moat, I guess, depending on the threat level. There's a lot of things happening even just in the past twenty four hours to try to get accountability and to try to make things right after what happened on January 6th. But one of the most unnerving parts of all of this is the fact that the effort to try to track down the people who stormed the Capitol that day appears to be led in part by journalists and random civilian Internet sleuths, doing this in their spare time, finding some of the people accused of some of the worst things themselves because our nation's top law enforcement agencies haven't gotten around to it.


Even with all the help they are getting from those journalists and those amateurs, as inspiring as it might be about this kind of journalism and those amateurs and their detective work, it's not actually how this is supposed to go. Joining us now is Huff Post senior justice reporter Ryan Riley, who reporting on this is just been remarkable over these last few weeks. And it's nice to see you. Thanks for being here. Thanks for having me. First, let me give you a chance to correct me if I explained any of that wrong, I know you and your colleagues have done a lot of deep diving and you've had a lot of interesting interactions with members of the public have been doing this work basically as freelancers that I misconstrue any of that, or did I basically get it right?


No, not at all.


I think you laid it out pretty well. In terms of the disappointment about the FBI not finding these people faster than you did and not finding these people once you've even published for public facing reporting about them, how do you how do you how do you view that the disconnect between the FBI apparently seeking these people and then not going out and getting them once you and your colleagues and some intrepid amateurs have been able to find them? You know, I've covered the bureau for a long time, and I think one thing that I'm constantly reminding myself of within these past couple of months is that it's a bureau that's made up of normal people and citizens.


And as much as it has the sort of pop culture idea of it being this sort of really great crime fighting force, which it is certainly would be the most respected law enforcement organization in the United States. But it still is made of humans and it's this giant bureaucracy and it doesn't have necessarily the technological capabilities that even just amateurs can do on their own outside. If you just think about the logistics of this, for example, you're imagining a lot of this is happening via email, right?


They have somewhat of an internal system or an IBM system and communicate within the bureau. But it's not what you can sort of do with these hashtags and just organizing it. And I mean, if you just look at the scope of this, this is it's enormous. I mean, we're talking about literally hundreds of thousands of tips to sort through. And how do you classify that information and what sort of buckets does it go in and what sort of ones you leave out and put behind and which ones you concentrate on and say this is something that we really need to look at quickly.


Because even just as an example, when the tips that we've got and trying to sort through those, we've had to figure out, OK, which ones are we going to say we really need to focus on this and which ones are we going to have to leave by the wayside? And the FBI has to sort of do the same thing and identify the people who, you know, who had a lot of violence or the people who are easiest to grab.


So you sort of have these two buckets at once and you have to sort of figure out what path they're going to go down. But, you know, I think it is really frustrating for these citizens to put in a ton of work and have just been looking at this every day to be able to say, OK, well, I gave this tip a month ago and I haven't heard anything back yet. But that's frustrating. You know, it sort of feels like that idea if you threw something down a well and never and never heard about it again or it feels like, you know, you put in a job application and never heard back and you're just sort of sitting around waiting, you know, I've identified this person, what's happening, what's going on behind the scenes.


But because of the FBI protocols, it makes them difficult to for them to communicate with the public about what exactly is happening. Mm hmm. Although you and your colleagues reporting on this stuff and putting it on the front page of Huffington Post makes it much easier for everybody to find these folks, even if they're not able to sort through even the high quality tips that they're getting. Do you do you feel like the slow transition at the Department of Justice and there's been an unusual transition at the US attorney's office, which is where the Justice Department part of this is is being centered.


Do you feel like that transition and maybe the awkwardness of that transition might be part of the sort of bottleneck here, might be might be slowing up or otherwise hampering these efforts? Yeah, I mean, we did see a lot of we did see a number of career departures from within the US attorney's office in D.C., sort of in that controversial period, obviously, during the Trump administration. So you would have to sort of figure out exactly if that had any impact on the day to day.


But, you know, there are also some if you look even back even further, what the Trump administration was doing earlier and they made these the most comparable case to this, I think, is that 20 arrests, which were basically during Trump's inauguration, a number of sort of anti fascist protesters were arrested and in sort of in mass and settled. And essentially what should have happened at the Capitol on on January six, because you had all these people who were in violation of the law.


But during that first case, during the Trump inauguration, it was a bunch of people who were out in the street who were wearing similar clothing and just really got the book thrown at them. And the Justice Department really struck out with those cases. So I think now, you know, they're really making sure that they have their ducks lined up in a row when they're bringing these these charges forward. And it's know it's a properly good hurdle to to have in place.


Right. Because, you know, if you're arresting someone and you're charging them, that's that's their name forever. Right. This is going to be forever associated with anyone they bring charges against. They obviously want to make sure you have your your ducks lined up in a row. But I mean, it is a lot of it is a lot of work. And it's just something that they're really going to really having a lot of trouble, I think, sort of just organizing that chaos.


And that's where these online sleuths come in and are sort of able to put those pieces together in a way that, you know, overwhelmed the bureaucrats might not be able to and make those connections. It's just a matter of getting those those connections to the attention of the FBI. And sometimes it takes a journalist and a media inquiry to say, hey, what's what's going on with this tip? I mean, that's that's not only us two. We've seen a lot of local news reports that a lot of these cases are built off of essentially where someone, you know, went back home and talked to their local TV station and all of a sudden there's a criminal case against them.


Might take a month later, but it's built on that interview that they did with the local news. So the media's playing is playing a big role here. And additionally, you know, the media was assaulted at this event. There are a number of people on that FBI list who went after reporters. And that's something that, you know, that is being looked at by the FBI as well. Huffington Post senior justice reporter Ryan Reilly, thank you for your time tonight and thank you and your colleagues for this really incredible reporting.


It is a strange place to have to learn about the identity of these folks when the FBI is seeking them. But it's beautiful work. Brian, thanks very much for your time.


Thanks for having me. All right. Much more ahead tonight. Stay with us. He crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge for the last time and a horse drawn carriage, the road was painted with rose petals in his honor. Fifty, fifty five years prior, that same road held a good portion of his blood when John Lewis and other civil rights leaders were attacked and beaten by police while trying to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge on March 7th. Nineteen sixty five, John Lewis was nearly beaten to death.


He and the other marchers were trying to go from Selma, Alabama, to the state capitol more than 50 miles away for voting rights for equal access to the ballot box when Congressman Lewis died last year. Mourners lined the streets to watch that horse drawn carriage take him on his final passage across that bridge in Selma because watching John Lewis joining with John Lewis to cross that bridge has become an American hallmark. It's its thing. Congressman Lewis, over the course of his life, led more than 600 other marches across that bridge.


They held a commemoration there every year to mark that Bloody Sunday in March. Nineteen sixty five when that voting rights march was attacked this year. It'll be the first of those commemorations without John Lewis. At this year's commemoration, because of the pandemic, people will not walk together over the bridge, they will process over the bridge in cars, they will lay a wreath on the bridge. And Congressman Lewis's honor, that will be Selma, Alabama, this weekend.


Fifty six years. Fifty sixth anniversary of that violent police attack on Americans protesting peacefully for their right to vote. In Georgia, though, the state John Lewis represented in Congress for more than three decades, Georgia right now is locked in its own modern day crackdown on the right to vote. Joining us now to talk about it is Andrea Young. She's executive director of the ACLU of Georgia. She was also, I have to tell you, at one of those famous walks across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis and with Martin Luther King Jr.


, this one here, which was held just two weeks after Bloody Sunday. She was 10 years old at the time. She was there with her her with her dead. Civil rights leader.


Andrew Young is young. It's a real honor to have you here with us tonight. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me, Rachel. The voting rights battle is is joined again. It seems like we have never really ended this war. Can you just tell us so all our listeners understand what you're contending with in in Georgia right now? Yes, so as you know, five million people voted successfully in our last election. Nevertheless, we faced a number of anti voter bills in this legislature.


So on Monday, we're coming up on a day where we'll find out how many of these anti voter bills are going to continue to be live in the legislature. One has already passed a bill that would basically attacks every single way that people vote in attacks, early voting attacks, same day voting, and it attacks both by name and where we're looking at six others that are on the calendar now from the Georgia Senate that would do further damage to access to the ballot.


Do you anticipate that these bills, that these curbs on voting rights will will pass the legislature, they will be signed into law and ultimately this is going to be a litigation fight that these are going to end up in court? Or do you think that there is enough alarm and enough pushback that some of these may get stopped either in the legislature or at the level of the state house and the governor's office before they before they become law? Well, Rachel, we are pushing back with everything that we can.


My staff is every day at the Capitol, 7:00 a.m. hearings, analyzing every bill, educating every legislator, our member, ACLU members, or calling thousands of them. And so we are providing we have seen some success and pushing back. We know that actually all of these measures were put in place by Republican governors, Republican secretary of state, secretaries of state, and they were all fine until five million people were successful in using them to elect the candidates of their choice.


So, of course, we're nonpartisan. We are all we always will look at the litigation options, but we are fighting. We plan to fight right to midnight on the last day this weekend, the All-Star Game coming into town with LeBron James I know is raising up this issue. And, of course, what happens in Georgia is of national importance. Because of people like Raphael Warnock and Joseloff and Rafael Warnock would be up again in two years. Andrew Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, right in the middle of it, and what is going to be a knockdown, drag out fight there over these issues?


Thank you. Come back soon. It's good to have you here. Thank you. Great to be here. All right. We'll be right back. Stay with us. History was made today for the dumbest possible reason today in the Senate. They have been trying to pass the covid relief bill. Earlier in the day, you might have seen headlines about the fact that the Senate took a vote on Senator Bernie Sanders, his proposal to raise the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour.


Now, that failed. All Republicans voted against it and incredibly, eight Democrats voted against it as well. News in its own right. But after that, they started arguing in the Senate amongst themselves. They all started arguing with Joe Manchin about unemployment benefits and the covid relief bill. And they argued over that for nine hours. They ultimately landed somewhere, which is very, very close to where they started. But they had nine hours of fighting about it.


Turns out in that time, they never technically gaveled shut the vote on Bernie Sanders, this minimum wage thing, which means accidentally, we just had the official longest vote in Senate history by mistake for nine hours for no reason. Congratulations. As for the final passage of this bill, we've been expecting it sometime this weekend with this pointless nine hour delay. It's unclear when we're going to see this thing getting passed. But watch this space. He was from Wichita, Kansas.


There's a high school, a Catholic high school in Wichita, Kansas, that's named after him to this day and this photo is on display at that high school. In the foreground of the photo, you can see you have these two American soldiers helping, a third helping a wounded man who's got, as you can see, he's got his hands up in his face, both into fists and the soldier on the left side of the photo who's helping him.


You can see helping carry the wounded man with his left arm and in his right hand, he's holding his rifle. You also see another soldier in the background, his rifle as well. But look at the soldier that's helping the wounded man on the right side of the photograph. He is helping the wounded man. He is out there on the battlefield with all of them. But if you look closely, you can see that he's not carrying a gun.


And it's not just that he has one and you can't see it because of the way the photos framed. He is, in fact, unarmed on that battlefield. And if you look at his helmet, you can see why you see the cross there in front. He's an Army chaplain. He's a captain in the Army serving here in the Korean War. He's an Army chaplain. He's a Catholic priest. His name is Amal Coupon Father Al Capone. And his unit was overrun by Chinese forces in fierce fighting in the Korean War in November nineteen fifty.


The White House would later say an accommodation chaplain. Kapaun calmly walked through withering enemy fire in order to provide comfort and medical aid to his comrades. His unit took so many casualties and their position was so hopeless as they were surrounded by Chinese troops that the men in the unit who were not wounded and who were able bodied enough to be able to move, they were ordered to retreat to avoid being captured. And Chaplain Kapaun was able bodied. He was not wounded, but he elected instead to stay with the wounded men.


And he and all of them were all taken, captured take all taken captive. They were marched for days on end. They were ultimately held for months in subzero conditions. And while starving, part of what they were they were fed was birdseed. The men who survived the ordeal later would fight for years, for decades to have Chaplain Kapaun awarded the Medal of Honor, the highest military honor we have as a country, because of what they said he did to protect and Buie, all of the other prisoners to try to keep them alive through that terrible winter of nineteen fifty in nineteen fifty one while they were all prisoners.


He did everything from salvaging bits of tin roofing materials and then reshaping them into cooking pots so the men could use those makeshift cooking pots to boil their water so they wouldn't get dysentery. He stole food, he forged food and distributed among the prisoners any prisoners who were found to be hoarding food. He persuaded them to share it. He washed men's clothes. He let a sunrise mass on on Easter morning, March twenty fifth, nineteen fifty one. All of these things, his comrades, his fellow prisoners that he did to keep them all going, the soldiers he served with and was held prisoners with, they said he saved the lives of hundreds of men.


And Chaplain Kapone himself didn't make it. He died in the prison camp May nineteen fifty one. The Army says he died of exhaustion and possibly heart failure. He was all of thirty five years old, died in May. Nineteen fifty one more than forty years later, in nineteen ninety three, Pope John Paul the second declared a coupon shopping coupon to be a servant of God, which is a nice compliment for any believer. But when the Pope bestows that name on you, it means that you have taken the first step to potentially being canonized, to potentially being declared a saint by the Catholic Church.


That was nineteen ninety three. Twenty years after that, in twenty thirteen, President Obama held a White House ceremony to in fact award Chaplin upon the Medal of Honor. This year, we mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Korean War, the time when thousands of our prisoners of war finally came home after years of starvation and hardship and in some cases, torture. And among the homecomings, one stood out. A group of our WS emerged carrying a large wooden crucifix nearly four feet tall, had spent months on it, secretly collecting firewood, carving it the cross and the body using radio wire for a crown of thorns.


It was a tribute to their friend, their chaplain, their fellow prisoner who had touched their souls and saved their lives. Father Amol. I was twenty 13, eight years ago upon being awarded the Medal of Honor of sixty two years after he died in that prison camp. Well, today, today, seven years after he died in that prison camp today, the US Army announced that his remains have been located. He has been found a statement today from Army Chief of Staff James McConville, quote, The Defense MIA Accounting Agency announces today that Korean War Medal of Honor recipient, Army Chaplain Emil Joseph Kapaun, has been accounted for 70 years after his death.


Now, I am not a good enough Catholic to know how the canonization process really works in practice. I don't know if they will ever confer official sainthood upon him, but nationally, our country's highest honor is one that he has already received. And now, all these decades later, he has been found today. Today, the same pope who put Father Kapaun potentially on the path to sainthood, Pope John Paul, the second in the year, two thousand when he was seventy nine years old.


Pope John Paul. The second announced plans that he was going to become the first pope ever in history to travel to Iraq. Iraq is the site of some of the oldest Christian civilizations on Earth. And in the year 2000, when Pope John Paul planned to visit, there were only about a million and a half Christians left in Iraq. But Christian communities there had found a way to survive. They were very, very resilient. Iraq is full of ancient holy sites for Christianity.


There's a place called the plain of or you are here, which is quite close to Abu Ghraib prison. Actually, it's believed to be the birthplace of Abraham. Abraham, of course, is revered by Christians and Muslims and Jews alike. But in the year 2000, John Paul the second made plans to visit. He said he would be the first pope ever to visit Iraq to visit Iraq's beleaguered Christian communities and to visit Iraq's holy sites. Saddam Hussein was still the dictator in Iraq in two thousand.


And ultimately that trip did not happen because Saddam Hussein said no, he blocked it so that trip didn't happen. Three years later, of course, in 2003, the United States invaded Iraq, which set off a wave after wave of catastrophe and apocalyptic sectarian fighting. The beleaguered community of Iraqi Christians that had been about one and a half million strong before we invaded. It's now today down to somewhere between two hundred and five hundred thousand. And it is not hard to understand why in the later years of the Islamic State in Iraq, ISIS, they actually used Christian churches in Iraq as firing ranges.


In twenty ten, al-Qaida in Iraq launched an attack during mass at a church in Baghdad called Our Lady of Salvation. They used grenades and bullets and suicide vests. They killed fifty eight people in the church in that attack, including two priests. There's a memorial mural painted on the blast walls outside the church now showing all fifty eight of the people who were killed that day. There's also a mural right next to that on those same blast walls showing Francis, who is now, of course, the Catholic pope.


Well, today, Francis came to Iraq. His two predecessors said pope as pope had both tried to come to Iraq, had both tried to be the first pope to visit Iraq. Neither of them was able to do it. Pope Francis has not traveled anywhere in the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic. His first trip anywhere was here, was here to Iraq. And today he visited that church where all those dozens of Christians were massacred in twenty ten.


Tomorrow, he will visit the birthplace of Abraham, where he will host an interfaith meeting of Christians and Jews and Muslims, again, all of whom revere Abraham in equal measure. Pope Francis will meet with the senior cleric of Shiite Islam in Iraq. Iraq is the first Shiite majority country he's ever visited. Ayatollah Ali al Sistani is seen as a moderating force in Iraq. He's the sort of chief cleric of Shiite Islam in Iraq. He's reclusive. He doesn't leave his home in Najaf.


He does not meet visiting dignitaries no matter where they're from, except for the pope is making an exception. They will meet tomorrow, which is an important thing. Pope Francis will visit Mosul, which used to be a home, used to be home to a community of fifty thousand Christians. Now there's only about two thousand of them left. He'll perform an outdoor mass on Sunday in Erbil in northern Iraq, which, of course, has just been in the news recently as it has been targeted by multiple rocket attacks.


But he's there. He's going to do an outdoor mass. He said, quote, I come as a penitent, asking forgiveness of heaven and my brothers and sisters for so much destruction and cruelty. These two events in the news in the same day, they're not connected all that much, but they are a reminder, I think, to sort of stay ready, to be aware of the fact that things that seem impossible can one day just happen. I mean, impossibly difficult things sometimes untangle and it's never easy or uncomplicated when it happens.


These Gordian knot that gets severed with a sword. The things that have to be untangled. I mean, the pope's visit to Iraq is complicated. Among other things, by covid worries, crowds are unavoidably turning out to see them even as they have tried to plan things to keep people apart and away. The pope himself is vaccinated. He wears a mask in public. He's importantly said that refusing the vaccine, if you can get it, is wrong.


He's described it as suicidal, which, of course, is a grave sin in the Catholic Church. He has promoted vaccines, promoted masks, promoted compassion for those living with covid. That said, Iraqis don't have the choice to refuse the vaccine. There's almost zero vaccine access in that country at all with not much hope for it on the horizon. It's complicated. The accounting for Father Kapaun likewise is incredible after 70 years, 70 years since his death.


It's incredible. And it is also unconscionable that it took 70 years to recover him. It's never simple. And things that seem impossible seem that way because they are so hard to fix, because they are so hard to find a way through, but sometimes, sometimes twice in a day, an impossible thing breaks open and becomes real, becomes fact, becomes today's news. And for me in the news, days like that are an absolute cure for the million stick in the mud.


Nothing is going to get better vote a rama days that that come in between days like this. Sometimes the impossible really does just happen to be ready. We'll be right back. OK, this is something that I learned today that I just think that you should know, too, I can't quite believe it. I am assured that it is true, but I want you to know about it. This might come in handy in your life at some point.


So just learn this right now and then file it away every once in a while. In the TV news business, you have to go somewhere random. Basically no notice to go cover a story on the scene. And then after you've done that over the course of your day, you then have to produce a TV show that night. And the TV show may or may not include that story. You were out in the field working on. It may or may not be for that night's show.


It's a it's a fun thing. It can also be a little hectic and a little difficult. It often means you end up producing a show out of some cobbled together random workspace that wasn't designed for what we do, that wasn't designed for making TV shows. Luckily, our company has a whole bunch of really, really impressive people who are devoted to making that happen, people who can McGyver any space to do the job. And one of those McGyver types who I have worked with since my very earliest days at this company, it's a sort of magician, incredibly capable field I.T. guy named Dan Dan Peterson.


And Dan just got married. And true to the spirit of every shoot I have ever done with him, this is the thing you need to know. He did it in the place. I never would have guessed you could do that thing. Dan got married at Taco Bell in Las Vegas. This is Dan on the left, and his now has been two on their wedding day at a Taco Bell in Las Vegas, which is the thing you can do, file this information away.


If it was anybody else, I wouldn't believe it. But, you know, doing things in unexpected places is Dan's specialty. Most stuff, you guys, just in case you ever need to know this, if you need to get married and you need to go to Taco Bell, you can get married and go to Taco Bell accommodation. That's going to do it for us tonight. Happy Friday. I will see you again on Monday.


The Rachel Maddow Show weeknights at nine Eastern on MSNBC.