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Brown's family reacts and other headlines

11/26/14 07:50AM

Michael Brown's mom reacts to Darren Wilson's first public comments. (

Brown family condemns broken system. (The Hill)

St. Louis cancels its Thanksgiving Day parade. (KSDK)

Black Friday gun buys test background check system. (AP)

Court denies Arizona request to block driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. (Washington Post)

Pres. Obama threatens to veto $440 billion tax deal. (NY Times)

Supreme Court to review EPA mercury emission rules. (USA Today)

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Prosecutor impugns witnesses in Ferguson case

Prosecutor impugns witnesses in Ferguson case

11/26/14 12:38AM

Rachel Maddow outlines other potential legal cases that may yet be brought in the death of Michael Brown, and points out how St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch discredited the witnesses in the case while announcing the grand jury ruling. watch

Ahead on the 11/25/14 Maddow

11/25/14 08:14PM

Tonight's guests:

  • Daryl Parks, Michael Brown's family attorney
  • Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC's "PoliticsNation" and President of the National Action Network

Check back soon for a preview of tonight's show

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Tuesday's Mini-Report, 11.25.14

11/25/14 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:
* From 700 troops to 2,200: "Gov. Jay Nixon of Missouri ordered more National Guard troops into the embattled city of Ferguson on Tuesday to keep order on the second night after a grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager."
* More out of Ferguson: "Lawyers for [Michael Brown's] family harshly criticized the grand jury process and the handling of the case by county prosecutor Robert McCulloch, saying McCulloch had a 'symbiotic relationship' with local police that had tainted his impartiality. "
* White House: "President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder met Tuesday to talk over how to respond to the riots in Ferguson, and  Eric Schultz, a spokesman for the White House, said Holder will  be visiting more cities and communities to discuss 'best practices' as well as 'identifying challenges we still have to work with.'"
* ISIS: "Islamic State activists on Twitter are using the Ferguson protests to encourage its supporters to carry out attacks in the United States."
* Ohio: "Surveillance video is 'very clear on what took place' at a Cleveland playground when a rookie police officer fatally shot a 12-year-old boy brandishing a fake gun, police said Monday. Tamir Rice was shot twice in the torso Saturday afternoon and died at a hospital Sunday morning."
* Iran: "The day after a deadline for concluding a nuclear agreement was extended for seven months, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, delivered his first remarks on the negotiations, saying that the West had failed to bring Iran 'to its knees.'"
* Nigeria: "Two suicide bombers, at least one of them a woman, blew themselves up on Tuesday at a crowded market in this northeast Nigerian city, killing dozens of shoppers and merchants including some who witnesses said were decapitated by the explosions."
* Important: "France suspended the delivery of a warship to Russia on Tuesday, after months of speculation about what would be the biggest arms sale ever by a NATO country to the Kremlin."
* And speaking of countries tired of Putin's antics: "Wedged hard against Russia's northwestern border, peaceable Finland has long gone out of its way to avoid prodding the nuclear-armed bear next door. But now the bear is provoking Finland, repeatedly guiding military planes into Finnish airspace and deploying submarines and helicopters to chase after Finnish research vessels in international waters."
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., joined by other New York area-lawmakers affected by Superstorm Sandy, at the Capitol in Washington, early Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013.

Peter King's most over-the-top suggestion ever

11/25/14 03:22PM

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has developed a reputation for making unusual recommendations, but Politico reports today on the Republican congressman's most over-the-top suggestion ever.
Rep. Peter King has a suggestion for the White House in dealing with the latest developments in Ferguson -- invite Officer Darren Wilson over.
"I think it would be very helpful if President Obama went and met with the police officer, or invited him to the White House and said, 'You've gone through four months of smear and slander, and the least we can do is tell you that it's unfortunate that it happened and thank you for doing your job,'" the New York Republican told Fox Business on Tuesday.
I found this extremely hard to believe, but there really is a video of King making these exact comments.
In the same interview, the New York Republican complained about President Obama's comments last night. King said he'd hoped the president would have said "one good word about Officer Wilson, who has gone through all this."
Just so we're clear, King didn't seem to be kidding.
Indeed, the Long Island lawmaker has done a remarkable job in recent months, offering his unique perspective on a whole range of issues:
Two men stand on the plaza of the U.S. Capitol Building as storm clouds fill the sky, June 13, 2013 in Washington, DC.

The right selectively sees political norms as important

11/25/14 12:48PM

The Republican argument against President Obama's executive actions on immigration has generally focused on process: they shy away from the policy argument, instead insisting that the White House went about creating this policy in an offensive, and potentially unconstitutional, way.
To put it mildly, the GOP's pitch hasn't gone well, with the constitutional argument unraveling altogether. But what about the notion of political norms? Perhaps Obama's actions were technically legal, but they exceeded what's generally acceptable under American traditions?
We talked briefly last week about the Republican abandonment of political norms, including during the debt-ceiling crisis in 2011, but Brian Beutler fleshed this out in persuasive detail yesterday.
[T]he big glaring exception in all this, and the one that really underscores the argument that an abiding concern for traditions doesn't really drive conservative opposition to Obama's deportation relief, is the weaponization of the debt limit.
There, the precedent, and the danger to the constitutional order, was actually quite clear. Republicans in 2011 (and again, to less effect, in 2013) attempted to leverage their control over half of the legislature, to impose their substantive preferences on a Democratic president and the majority party in the Senate by using the threat economic calamity as a bargaining chip. To borrow from the right today, we had a situation in which the speaker of the House tried to usurp the Senate's agenda-setting power and the president's plenary power to determine which laws to sign and which to veto, by laying out an unprecedented choice between a right-wing vision without popular support, and default on the national debt.
The gambit had no place in the American tradition. At least since the Civil War, the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis was the first time a major U.S. political party abandoned the policymaking process, declaring that it would crash the American economy on purpose unless its demands were met. It was effectively an example of political violence, and though Republicans broke no laws, their tactic was a striking betrayal of American norms.
At the time, few on the right raised any concerns at all about process or lawmakers' willingness to act outside political traditions -- conservatives weighed policy and electoral considerations, but little else.
And there's no reason to stop there.

Tuesday's Campaign Round-Up, 11.25.14

11/25/14 12:00PM

Today's installment of campaign-related news items that won't necessarily generate a post of their own, but may be of interest to political observers:
* With two weeks remaining in Louisiana's U.S. Senate runoff, the Senate's only two African-American members were both in the Pelican State over the weekend, backing their allies. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) was in Louisiana campaigning in support of incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu (D), while Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) was there to back Rep. Bill Cassidy (R). The runoff is Dec. 6.
* The finalists to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention have been reduced to just three cities: New York, Philadelphia, and Columbus, Ohio. Two other cities, Phoenix and Birmingham, were removed from consideration yesterday.
* We learned last week about Republican campaigns using coded tweets to distribute poll results to allies, apparently to circumvent election laws. Yesterday, the American Democracy Legal Fund filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, alleging that the National Republican Congressional Committee, the American Action Network and American Crossroads "broke federal rules that prohibit coordination between campaign committees and outside groups."
* To the surprise of no one, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) will take the reins at the Republican Governors Association, succeeding New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Haslam benefited from the fact that none of the other GOP governors seemed to want the job.
* In Arizona yesterday, "The attorney for Rep. Ron Barber's (D-Az.) campaign on Monday filed a lawsuit with a federal district court seeking to force two counties in Arizona to count the 133 ballots the campaign says were legally cast but have been erroneously disqualified."
Activists rally for immigration reform in front of the U.S. Capitol, Oct. 23, 2013.

'This is the most unified we have seen Latino public opinion'

11/25/14 11:15AM

Just a week after the 2014 midterms, a Pew Research Center report found that nearly half of Latinos (47%) said there probably won't be much of a difference between President Obama and congressional Republicans when it comes to immigration policy.
Quite a bit has changed over the last two weeks. Adrian Carrasquillo reported yesterday on new survey data that shows "Latino voters have Obama's back again."
That's according to a new poll by Latino Decisions, for and Mi Familia Vota, the first of Latino voters since Obama announced sweeping executive actions, given to BuzzFeed News ahead of its announcement on Monday.
The poll found that 89% of Latino voters support Obama's decision to give temporary legal status to nearly five million undocumented immigrants. That level of support surprised Latino Decisions co-founder Matt Barreto, who noted the figure is higher than initial support of the president's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which protected undocumented youth brought to the country as children from deportation and allowed them to receive work permits.
"This is the most unified we have seen Latino public opinion on any issue," Barreto told BuzzFeed News. "DACA registered 84%, this is even higher. The White House was smart to put this step to protect parents -- almost nobody in the Latino community is going to say they don't support a policy to keep parents and children together."
The poll was conducted Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of last week. President Obama unveiled his new policy on Thursday night.
Of particular interest was the partisan breakdown.
A picture shows the damage inside the burnt US consulate building in Benghazi on Sept. 13, 2012, following an attack on the building late on September 11 in which the US ambassador to Libya and three other US nationals were killed.

When even 'definitive' isn't enough for the House GOP

11/25/14 10:46AM

Towards the end of the House Intelligence Committee's report on the 2012 attack in Benghazi, the document notes that the panel's findings were the result of two years of "intensive investigation," which included careful review of thousands of pages of materials, 20 events and hearings, and extensive interviews.
"The report," the Republican-led Committee concluded, "is therefore meant to serve as the definitive House statement on the Intelligence Community's activities before, during and after the tragic events that caused the deaths of four brave Americans."
And yet, even now, the House Republican leadership just doesn't care.
House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Monday he will re-appoint Rep. Trey Gowdy as chairman of the Select Committee on the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya in the 114th Congress.
"On September 11, 2012, four Americans were killed in a brutal terrorist attack in Libya. Two years later, the American people still have far too many questions about what happened that night -- and why," Boehner said in a statement.
To date, Boehner, who didn't want the Select Committee in the first place, has failed to identify even one of these questions that has not already been answered.
Several Senate Republicans don't care, either.
Senate Republican leaders are under pressure from GOP lawmakers with presidential ambitions to join the House in investigating the 2012 Benghazi attack.
Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), three young rising conservative stars who are weighing 2016 bids, say the Senate should participate in a joint investigation with the House.
This really is getting embarrassing.
The Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, Arlington County, Virginia.

Lieberman won't replace Hagel, but who will?

11/25/14 10:00AM

Effective trolling of political rivals is a fine art, requiring a delicate touch. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) apparently prefers a more ham-fisted approach.
Sen. Ted Cruz has an idea for a new Defense secretary that the incoming Senate Armed Services chairman would love.
The Texas Republican on Monday floated the name of former Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, the independent Democrat from Connecticut, to replace Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon.
In a statement, the right-wing Texan argued, "One strong option would be former Senator Joe Lieberman, a member of the President's own party with deep experience and unshakable commitment to the security of the United States. I urge the President to give him full and fair consideration for this critical position."
To be sure, the Senate Armed Services, which will consider President Obama's next nominee, will be chaired by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who would certainly be thrilled to confirm Lieberman. But given that Lieberman disagrees with the White House and the Democratic mainstream on practically every possible aspect of foreign policy and national security, I'm fairly certain the president would sooner pick me to lead the Defense Department than the Connecticut independent.
But if Lieberman won't make the short list, who will? Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) always seems to find his name under consideration when posts like these open up, but the Democratic senator sounded "emphatic" yesterday when he said he isn't interested in the post.
And though Obama is always capable of surprising people -- Loretta Lynch's A.G. nomination was not widely predicted -- there are two names who appear to be the leading contenders to lead the Pentagon.