The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 07/03/13
RACHEL MADDOW, HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thank you very much.
And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. When something is
written by a U.S. government official and it is a classified document,
sometimes that document is assigned kind of a freshness date. The same way
that, you know, you buy a yogurt or you buy some beef jerky that has a
label on it, that says the date at which those foods will expire.
Sometimes secret documents have a date which they expire, on which at least
they become un-secret.
Like this one, a 20-year freshness date. This was a document that was
sent on September 23rd, 2008. And it is a classified document.
But 20 years after it was sent, it`s scheduled to be a declassified
document or at least it will then become eligible for declassification.
It`s got a 20-year freshness date on it. That means for this document in
particular, we the public can expect to have to wait until 2028 to be
allowed to read this cable unless we`ve got a security clearance.
That was the plan, and then, Bradley Manning happened. This is one of
the cables that Bradley Manning took and gave to WikiLeaks and then
WikiLeaks published. So, we got to read 18 years ahead of schedule this
document, this U.S. government assessment of Egypt. It wasn`t scheduled to
be declassified until 2028, but it`s in the public domain now.
Before the giant street protests, two and a half years ago, against
the 30-year dictatorship of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. The U.S. government in
this cable that was published by WikiLeaks, they assessed what role the
Egyptian military would play when it came time for Mubarak to go. At the
time, the operating assumption in the U.S. government was that Mubarak
would try to install his son as his successor.
Would the military go along with that plan? The general assumption by
the U.S. government was yes. The military would go along with it. We
agree with the analysis that senior military officers would support
Mubarak`s son if Mubarak resigned and installed the son in the presidency.
But they said, in a messier succession scenario, it becomes more
difficult to predict the military`s actions. So, if Mubarak installs his
son to take over, the U.S. government assessed a few days ago, that the
military would be OK with that, they`d be OK with the son. So, that`s what
would happen in Egypt, right?
In a messier scenario, though, the U.S. government`s assessment was,
who knows? Well, “who knows” is where we are right now. On a day
important enough in world history that your daytime television viewing on
NBC today had to be stopped, dropped and rolled into an NBC breaking news
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re going to be my boyfriend, have you to
appreciate everything about me, my fake lashes, my extensions and you have
to be cool with.
UNIDENTIFEID MALE: No, no, no. Who told you that?
ANNOUNCER: This is an NBC News special report. Here`s Brian
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS ANCHOR: Well, good day from New York, and
we`re about to go to Cairo, and that is because over just the past few
minutes, it is now apparent Egypt appears to be in the throes of a change
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Special report today.
You know, two and a half years ago, the scenes in Tahrir Square of the
protesters who were toppling the government then, those scenes looked very
similar to the scenes of the protesters in Tahrir Square who are toppling
their government right now. This year, for whatever reason, there are more
green lasers in the square now, lighting up the square from time to time,
but you are forgiven if you are otherwise, besides the laser pointers,
seeing the similarities between the two sides of your screen here.
But although we look back at the revolution of 2011 and say that Hosni
Mubarak was pushed out of power, was deposed as a dictator by those throngs
of Egyptians in Tahrir Square and in the streets, it was not just those
throngs of Egyptians and Tahrir Square and in the streets who threw him
out. Two and a half years ago, it was the military. It was the military
who basically stayed out of the fight on the streets between Mubarak and
the protesters back then. They stayed out of the fight until at the end,
it was the military that stepped decisively to settle the issue by putting
themselves in charge and throwing Mubarak out.
We do not think of that military coup back then in 2011 as a military
coup, but the military did take over. And they didn`t just take over for a
hot second. They were in charge for a year and a half. From the moment
they deposed Mubarak, until elections were held to pick a new president.
Those elections were held a year ago this week. A year ago this week,
the new presidency, the first post-Mubarak presidency was assumed by the
Muslim Brotherhood and by their candidate, Mohamed Morsi. And after
exactly one year in office as president, unhappiness with his rule as
president of Egypt brought people back into the streets and back into
Tahrir Square to demand that he`d be deposed just like Mubarak was.
And just like two and a half years ago, the military stayed mostly out
of the fight in the streets until they didn`t, until they decided to weigh-
in against the president and on the side of the protesters who were
protesting against him. After issuing an ultimatum for the president to
find a political solution or face the military doing that for him, the
president`s time in office expired today. He (INAUDIBLE) ultimatum, and by
orders of the military he was deposed.
Once again the protests have forced the overthrow of the Egyptian
government. But once again, it is the military who has grabbed the reigns
and taken over. They say that again they will only hold power until new
democratic elections can be held and then the military says it will step
But does this just keep happening? Does this just keep happening now,
lather, rinse, repeat, right? Should we reasonably expect that a country
emerging fractiously into democracy after decades of dictatorship might
need a couple of tries at getting the whole democratic government`s thing
right? Or should we see this as a military coup, more than we saw it that
way the last time, when technically the same thing happened, but we in the
West viewed it as a popular uprising and not as some junta grabbing power.
As the world watches, Egypt again topples its own rulers. As the
world watches, and prays they get the responsive and responsible government
its people deserve, what happens next here? Is the military the force for
stability that the U.S. government wrote about in that WikiLeaks cable, the
force for stability that for years the U.S. has perceived the military to
be in Egypt.
And regardless, how can our country, how can any country now try to
support the earnest and determined people of the most populous country in
the Middle East, who once again have just thrown everything up in the air?
Joining us now live from revolutionary Cairo is NBC News correspondent
Ayman, it is great to have you here. Thank you so much for staying up
into the middle of the night with us. Within the last hour, we have
learned that Egypt`s former president, Mohamed Morsi, and most of his
presidential team, they`ve been placed under house arrest.
Do we have any expectations of what happens to him now?
AYMAN MOHYELDIN, NBC NEWS FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: We don`t. Not yet,
the military has not made clear what it plans on doing, whether or not he
will be released at least in the coming hours or days. He`s not been
charged with anything despite the fact that a lot of the protesters here
say that there are sufficient reasons to actually try him or to put him on
trial for some of the ways he has managed the country over the past year.
They say he has committed crimes and as a result, he should be put on
The military has not made any indication that his temporary house
arrest – I say temporary because that is at least the indication we`re
getting, is for any other reason than for his own personal security, and
that he`s not being released right now, just because of the security
situation and the overall climate here in the country.
But from the prospective of the Muslim Brotherhood, senior officials
I`ve been speaking to, this was a military coup. They are describing the
president now as being under house arrest in the custody of the Egyptian
MADDOW: Ayman, in terms of the Muslim Brotherhood and the supporters
of president Morsi who were certainly outnumbered in the streets but we saw
them in the streets over the past days and weeks, what are their plans.
They`re calling this a coup. Are they planning to resist in an ongoing way
that suggests further violence in Egypt?
MOHYELDIN: Well, right now, the tone that is coming out of the Muslim
Brotherhood is certainly one that is somber, albeit defiant. They say they
still have legitimacy on their side. They`re not looking at this as a
personal defeat in their own struggle, but rather a sad day for Egypt.
Now, they haven`t discussed what they plan on doing in the coming days
or in the future. There are comments that have come out of the senior
leadership of the organization, that have absolutely rejected violence,
saying that any attempts to try to portray that the Muslim Brotherhood was
going to resort to violence was simply propaganda, trying to distort all of
the good deeds that the Muslim Brotherhood has done in the course of the
So, the organization right now is trying to strike that tone. The key
question is going to be, what does the tone that is coming out of the new
leadership of the country suggest in terms of what role the Muslim
Brotherhood will play in the future.
Now, the military when they made their announcement a few days ago,
the road map they`re going to chart for this country will involve all of
Egypt`s political organizations, the key point to keep in mind is that
despite the overwhelming joy people are celebrating, the Muslim Brotherhood
is still a fabric or part of the fabric of Egyptian society. They still
have a tremendous amount of grassroots support, and certainly they will
have a seat at the table going forward.
Right now, though, they have not been very vocal about what that role
will be, and neither have we heard from the new incoming president.
MADDOW: Ayman, looking at the scenes in Tahrir Square behind you
right now, and just seeing the celebration, it is hard not to feel the
echoes of what happened there in 2011 when Mubarak was deposed and the
military played a very similar role saying they would take temporary
control to dissolve the constitution, they would only hold power until new
elections could be held.
That is the process that led to this new round of it happening all
over again, jus a year into Morsi`s term. Is there some sense that the
military and the protesters will try to approach this process differently?
What do they think they did wrong that brought everybody back into the
streets just a year after Morsi took power?
MOHYELDIN: Well, that`s a great question, there`s a few key
One, the leadership of the military itself is different this time
around. The senior officer corps that runs the Egyptian military was
different than that. That was appointed by President Mubarak. They served
under President Mubarak, but they weren`t in the same type of leadership
positions. That`s one.
Two, you have to keep in mind the driving force behind these demands
have been the revolutionary youth. Their demand for freedom has not
changed. They have endured decades of authoritarian rule. Decades of
military rules, two years of the military interim government, and now, a
short lived Islamist government.
The only thing they yearn for is a genuine shot at freedom. That is
why they went back to the streets and, certainly, that is the message that
the military learned the first time around, that they can try to manipulate
the politics of the country. They learned the hard way that these people
behind me will not simply be silenced by the gimmicks of a democracy, by
the sham of a democracy, by the sham of the democracy. They want
That`s one of the things that the Islamist President Mohamed Morsi
failed to deliver in his first year in office.
And you can see the people behind me had very little tolerance for
anything more than a year. They`ve been patient, they gave him a year.
They feel his time was running out on bringing genuine democratic reforms
to this country. That`s why they`re back into the street.
I think the underlying message that you learn from speaking to people
in Tahrir is that from now on, future Egyptian leaders, whether it`d be the
military, whether I`d be the Islamists, whether it`d be a secular liberal,
they will have to pay more attention to the streets to Tahrir Square, and
they simply cannot ignore it, you ignore it at your own peril is the lesson
that comes out of the revolutionary youth movements that we`ve been
speaking to that organized that these protests that have toppled two of the
most powerful institutions in Egyptian history, the Islamists and the
MADDOW: NBC News correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin live in Cairo at after
3:00 in the morning local time. I would say get some sleep, but given
where you are, I know that`s impossible, man. Please do stay safe. Thank
you for being with us, Ayman.
MOHYELDIN: Thank you.
MADDOW: Just a remarkable. Just a remarkable scene in Tahrir. That
was live shots that we`re showing you in terms of what`s happening in
Tahrir right now.
I should tell you that President Obama put out a statement tonight
saying he was deeply concerned that the military removed president Morsi.
President Obama calling on the army to return full authority back to a
democratically elected civilian leadership as soon as possible.
Again, this is the same process that the military went through two and
a half years ago when they were in this same position. They did turn over
authority to a democratically elected government in the form of Mohamed
Morsi who is now gone after just one year. It`s just a remarkable turn of
events, the most populous nation in the Middle East and the most
strategically important country in some ways in the entire region. Just
All right. We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: With no notice, no warning, no heads up last night,
Republicans in North Carolina took a totally unrelated bill about the
applicability of foreign law in U.S. courts and they stuck on to it – a
Republican wish list of abortion laws. That was last night, and when I say
this thing came out of nowhere, I mean out of nowhere. The Democrats in
the legislature were caught completely off guard.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ve got a state full of people out there that
don`t even know we`re down here doing this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Last night, it is true. Most people in the state of North
Carolina had no idea that Republicans in their legislature westbound
passing new regulations that are expected to shut down 35 of the 36 clinics
in the state that provide abortions.
The whole thing was unannounced. The Democrats and the prochoice side
had no one there to argue against it when it came up. But the Republicans
had apparently warned the anti-abortion side, which had all their lobbyists
on hand forewarned and ready to make their case.
So, what happened last night in North Carolina was a surprise attack.
By this morning, though, it was no longer a surprise. When word got out,
about what the Republicans were doing in North Carolina, the same ways it
went down in Texas, a sort of bat signal went out across the Tar Heels
State, people showed up at the state capitol today by the hundreds. Just a
few hours notice, people gathered outside the capitol, they waited in line
to watch the legislative debate themselves, people grabbed friends, they
made signs, they mobilized overnight.
The gallery that overlooks the floor of the Senate was filled to
capacity, it was standing room only, you had to wait in a long line to get
Outside, this ingenious bunch figured out a way to stream the
proceedings live on an iPhone and attached a speaker to the iPhone so
people who could not get inside to hear the debate live could listen in via
This woman was reportedly kicked out of the legislature f bringing in
a sign when she got in, you can see it there folded up under her left arm.
This woman was also arrested by state police, she was charged with
violating the rules of the legislative building. She spoke to two
witnesses today who said that she was chanting, and that is why police
grabbed her. But otherwise, she was not causing that much of a
If you are experiencing a case of deja news here, you can be forgiven.
This Republican ambush on abortion rights and the response that happened in
North Carolina last night and this morning, if it is reminding you of
something, something that maybe rhymes with schmexas or schmohio, North
Carolina Democrats agree. This is all the same thing happening in all
these states, all at once right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STATE SEN. MARTIN NESBITT (R), NORTH CAROLINA: We`re going to win
this debate and feel really good about yourself because you – all you big
grown up gray haired men have beat three women. I want to see what you do
with about 10,000 of them. That crowd`s going to descend on you when you
get back down here is going to know it.
STATE SEN. MIKE WOODARD (D), NORTH CAROLINA: It`s clear to me our
colleague from Texas, Senator Wendy Davis, has gotten under some people`s
skin. You couldn`t let Rick Perry get ahead of you with his follow-up
actions. And you couldn`t let John Kasich and his Ohio bill get ahead of
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Ohio Republican Governor John Kasich already signed his
omnibus abortion ban into law this week.
For Rick Perry`s bill in Texas, that fight in Texas is still going on.
They held a committee hearing last night, and into the early morning hours
of this morning. More than 1,100 people signed up to testify on that
abortion ban before that committee, but Republicans only let less than 100
of those 1,100 people speak.
They accepted no amendments or discussion from any Democrats. They
cut off the testimony after less than 100 people leaving more than 1,000
people who signed up, unable to talk. They called the vote. They rammed
it through after midnight, party line vote.
The full state assembly is expected to vote on this Texas bill next
week and it will go to the Texas Senate, which is Democrats were able to
bottle it up last night. The Democrats in the Senate keep saying that they
may have tricks up their sleeve, maybe stop it again this time.
Filibustering senator, Wendy Davis, last night on this show, saying
that the Texas Senate Democrats will not tip their hand publicly about
their strategy. If you just go on the numbers in the state assembly and
the state senate. It looks like Texas Republicans should be able to pass
their abortion ban and send it to Rick Perry to sign it, just in time for
his expected announcement that he is running for president.
In North Carolina, though, the ultimate fate of the surprise abortion
bill that was unveiled there last night with no warning, the fate of that
bill is less certain. In North Carolina, Republicans have a majority of
both houses in the legislature, and they easily advance these new
regulations today in the face of all these protesters.
But in North Carolina, there`s the little matter of governor. The
governor is a Republican, and he is an anti-abortion Republican. But last
year when he was running to become governor of North Carolina, Pat McCrory,
the candidate, pledged that he would not sign any new restrictions on
abortion in his state.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAURA LESLIE, WRAL: I you`re elected governor, what further
restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign?
Let`s start with you, Mr. McCrory.
GOV. PAT MCCRORY (R), NORTH CAROLINA: None.
LESLIE: All right.
LESLIE: Can`t really (INAUDIBLE) –
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: None. None. That was very clear.
That is what the man who is now governor said in the fall. He said,
he would sign no new restrictions on abortion right on North Carolina.
Will he keep that promise? Will he buck his own party in order to keep
If the new Republican North Carolina abortion ban passes the
legislature which would shut 35 of 36 clinics in the state, will Pat
McCrory veto it?
Today, he put out a statement criticizing not the legislation itself,
but the way the Republicans in the legislature have done it. He criticized
the surprise attack way they brought it up. North Carolina Republicans
could in theory vote on their new abortion restrictions as early as Friday,
the day after tomorrow, July 5th, when most people are enjoying their long
Independence Day weekend and not paying attention to politics.
They really could do it that way, by reconvening the Friday after the
Fourth of July. At this point, that would be shocking, but it would not be
Watch this space.
MADDOW: One more thing about the situation in North Carolina. We`ve
been covering all week, at least as we found out about it, all night we`ve
been covering the surprise last minute sneak attack on abortion rights in
But there`s something else going on in the state there right now too.
These are the 40 counties in North Carolina that are covered by the Voting
Rights Act, or that were cover by the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights
Act is struck down by the conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court
Now that the Justice Department could not function as a governor in
the state, stopping the state from implementing racist voting laws, North
Carolina Republicans are announcing they`re going ahead with a radical
restructuring of the election laws in their state.
The Voting Rights Act had stopped Republicans from going ahead with
voter ID before. So, now, they`re going ahead with that. But even beyond
voter ID, which they say they want to prevent voter fraud, beyond even
that, they also say now that they`re planning to end same day voter
registration in North Carolina. And they`re planning to end early voting
in the state of North Carolina. And they`re planning to end Sunday voting
in the state of North Carolina.
What does voting on Sunday have to do with voter fraud? Exactly
nothing, but getting rid of it and getting rid of same day registration and
requiring IDs that nobody`s ever had to show before in the state, and that
tens of thousands of registered voters do not have, that is going to make
voting a heck of a lot harder in North Carolina. But the Republicans in
the state are going for it now, they`re going for the abortion sneak attack
last night, and they are going for this radical restructuring of the
state`s election laws, because they can. Because the Supreme Court just
killed what was stopping them from doing it before.
North Carolina right now is like conservatives gone wild. You want to
know why people keep getting arrested there every Monday? The whole Moral
Monday thing? Yes, North Carolina right now is off the hook.
Watch this space.
MADDOW: OK, listen to this, this is a cockpit recording from a flight
somewhere over Austria last night. You`ll hear an Austrian air traffic
controller talking to a Bolivian pilot.
But I promise that even with that excellent mix of nationalities, you
will still be able to understand what they are saying to each other. Check
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: Foxtrot Alpha Bravo 001, good evening.
Information Whiskey (INAUDIBLE) Runway 1-6.
PILOT: Information Whiskey (INAUDIBLE). Runway 1-6, Foxtrot Alpha
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL: Do you need any assistance? Foxtrot Bravo 001,
do you need any assistance from landing?
PILOT: Not at this moment. We need to land because we are not – we
cannot get a correct indication of the fuel indication. So, as a
precaution, we need to land.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: For an English-speaking audience, it`s a useful thing that
English is the international language of aviation. That comes in handy,
when this is audio of Dutch plane enthusiastic of an Austrian air traffic
controller speaking to a Bolivian pilot. A Dutchman, an Austrian and
Bolivian, but everybody is speaking English. Neat for us.
The Foxtrot Alpha Bravo 001 that you heard requesting to clearance to
land on that tape, Foxtrot Alpha Bravo 1, FAB1, see that written on the
engine there, FAB1, that`s the official state aircraft of the president of
the Bolivia, Evo Morales. His airplane was at the center of what was quite
literally an international incident last night.
“The Associated Press” story today, it was bylined in Las Palmas, in
the Canary Islands, which is an island chain that`s part of Spain, that`s
off the west coast of Morocco.
But at the end of the article, they list all the other locations and
all the other reporters who contributed to the story, and beyond Las Palmas
in the Canary Islands, it`s also Paris, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Geneva,
Brussels, and Lisbon and the Canary Islands, off Morocco by way of Spain,
all for one story. And that`s not even mentioning the part of the story
that are about Russia and Hong Kong and the United States, and, of course,
Bolivia, the country for whom FAB1 is their presidential plane.
At this moment, Bolivia`s president is finally about to cross back
into Bolivian airspace, after this marathon journey that saw his plane
diverted and grounded and then searched by officials in Austria.
It started last night when the Bolivian president got on his plane to
leave Russia, a number of world leaders from oil producing countries were
in Russia this week for high level meetings with Putin. But when President
Morales departed Moscow last night to go home, there was apparently some
suspicion that he was trying to take back with him back to Bolivia, Edward
Snowden, the alleged NSA leaker.
Mr. Snowden has reportedly been hiding out in a Moscow airport for
over a week now. And rumors started spreading last night that Bolivia had
decided to take him in. Bolivia is one of the 20 or so countries from
which Mr. Snowden has reportedly sought asylum.
But because of those suspicions that Bolivia might take him, that they
might put him on the presidential plane and take him to South America,
while the Bolivian president`s plane was midflight heading back to South
America, the plane was abruptly denied access to airspace over Italy and
France and Portugal.
Sorry. We think you might have Mr. Snowden onboard, so find another
After circling for three hours, Bolivia`s president was ultimately
forced to land in Austria, basically because he had nowhere else to go, and
there were concerns he was going to run out of fuel. Here`s a picture of
Bolivian President Evo Morales stranded at the airport in Vienna after
essentially half of Western Europe told him not to bother trying to use
The Bolivian president was grounded in Austria for 13 hours. I think
these are some of his pilots grabbing a little shut eye as the entire
Bolivian government scrambled to try to figure out what the Sam heck was
going on. After half a day on the ground, after announcing to the world
that he had nothing to do with Edward Snowden and Snowden was not on the
plane, Bolivia`s president was finally able to take off early this morning.
And as I mentioned, he`s just now about to return back home to his native
Bolivia as you might expect is really mad. I mean, think about it,
whether you love President Obama or hate President Obama, imagine how it
would feel to you to learn that some other countries had treated our
president this way. The Bolivian government has summoned the ambassadors
from Spain and Portugal and France and Italy, summoned them to a meeting to
demand explanations for why they shut down their airspace last night.
Bolivian officials are alleging that while their president`s plane was
grounded in Vienna, the search that Austrian officials conducted of that
plane looking for Edward Snowden was an illegal search. And according to
Bolivia`s president, it wasn`t just the Austrians who searched his
Listen to this from “The Associated Press.” “While the Bolivian
presidential plane sat in predawn darkness on a tarmac in Vienna, a surreal
scene played out when Spain`s ambassador to Austria visited the airport to
meet with Morales. The Spanish ambassador asked him if they could board
the Bolivian presidential plane together. Morales said, quote, `He asked
me to go out – excuse me – he asked me to go have a coffee inside the
plane to see the plane.`”
Won`t you please join me in the cargo hold for a moment, Mr.
President? That`s where I like to drink my coffee. Couldn`t we? Mr.
Snowden, are you here? Yes.
It`s unclear what prompted all these European countries to take the
action they did last night. Whether, in fact, they were urged to do what
they did by the United States. But the blowback has been swift. The
Organization of American States of which the United States is a member is
now demanding answers from all of the European countries involved here,
Some of those European countries for their part are trying to
backtrack on the whole thing. France, for example, is now saying, oh, no,
no, no. We totally would have let you fly into our airspace. It was just
a big misunderstanding.
And the footnote, of course, to all of this – the things that remain
true in the wake of this huge international upset is this: the whereabouts
of Edward Snowden remain unclear. Oh, right, we still have no idea where
Edward Snowden is. Maybe he`s still at the Moscow airport?
Countries sometimes throw their weight around alone. Countries
sometimes throw their weight around with friends, with the allies that they
have earned and accrued overtime, allies that they have convinced to trust
Sometimes if you really need to you ask your friends to do even sort
of outrageous things as favors for you. Sometimes you have to ask your
friends to go out on a limb for you.
When you ask somebody to go out on a limb for you, it better be for a
good reason, right? At least it ought to be for something that you know
you will get because your friends went out on that limb for you. In this
case, if the United States was in fact involved here, this diplomatic
international fiasco appears to have been for thing. They still don`t have
the guy. What exactly is going on here?
Joining us now is P.J. Crowley. He`s a former assistant the secretary
and spokesman at the State Department. He`s a fellow at George Washington
Mr. Crowley, P.J., thank you very much for being with us tonight.
P.J. CROWLEY, FORMER ASST. SECRETARY, STATE DEPARTMENT: Hello,
MADDOW: What do you think happened when this Bolivian plane was
diverted over European airspace? What do you think happened here?
CROWLEY: I think some countries didn`t want to become Vladimir Putin.
Obviously, he`s the current possessor of Edward Snowden, he`s been trying
to give Snowden away, he can`t find anybody to take him.
And friends of the United States said we can`t take a chance he may be
on that airplane and then we`ll have to figure out how to navigate between
the United States government that clearly wants him back and sympathetic
publics in Europe that appreciate what Snowden has done in terms of
revealing levels of espionage that were a surprise to Europe and obviously
touching on sensitive issues of privacy in Europe.
MADDOW: Does it seem clear to you that other countries would have
acted this way out of an expectation that it was what the United States
wants rather than the U.S. overtly going to these countries and saying,
close your airspace?
CROWLEY: Well, I think there are two separate issues here. I think
countries understand that the United States wants Snowden back and before a
jury of his peers. On the other hand, if you`re suggests that the United
States in essence took over European airspace last night to hassle a
president of a country, Bolivia, I`m skeptical that that`s exactly what
MADDOW: I don`t think anybody`s trying to hassle Morales, I think he
ends up being a by stander here. It was sort of a remarkable – the
countries who did this went to a remarkable extent to do what they did. I
mean, it is one thing to deny access to your airspace for any sort of
private plane. Any sort of commercial plane, any sort of civilian
But for a head of state, is this kind of big deal?
CROWLEY: Well, sure, I think will is a professional courtesy, if you
will. It is a very unusual circumstance. I can`t remember something
similar happening in my recent memory.
MADDOW: When President Obama went out of his way last week to
essentially downplay the importance of Mr. Snowden, he said, I`m not going
to scramble jets to go get some 29-year-old hacker – this was not
scrambling jets, but this, as you note, was a really big deal.
Diplomatically, in terms of the overall message from the United States
government about its priorities in trying to apprehend this guy – is there
a mixed message problem here between what happened last night and what the
president has said?
CROWLEY: Well, I think we have to be careful. I mean, the
implication is that the United States was an actor in what happened last
night in Europe. There`s no indication to me that was the case.
If you look at the international sphere right now, the State
Department is not a very big place. You`re watching what`s happening in
Egypt. You`re watching what`s happening in Syria. You`ve got lots of
international balls in the air. You know, the future of Edward Snowden and
the flight path of Evo Morales` airplane don`t rise above the level of
other international challenges.
So, I don`t think that the United States was a direct player last
night. Clearly, the United States has communicated to countries directly
and indirectly, this is important to us. I think for that reason these
countries didn`t want to get into the middle of challenges that China has
already faced by having Snowden in Hong Kong and Putin continues to face by
having Snowden for an indefinite period sitting in one of his airports.
MADDOW: If you are right and the U.S. was not directly involved in
making this happen, the U.S. wasn`t an actor, I think they would have said
already, we weren`t an actor, we didn`t do this. But instead, they`ve been
just dodging the question all day long. And I think they`re very thankful
for the coincidence (ph) of this and the huge Egypt news and hopes that
people won`t press any further.
But I just find this story unbelievable.
Do days like this make you wish you were back there? Or make you glad
CROWLEY: Well, not at all. (INAUDIBLE) a little bit be careful,
obviously in hassling Evo Morales who prides himself as being an anti-
American antagonist, there`s a risk here of a boomerang here, that Morales
is irritated enough, he might just say, hey, I`ll accept an asylum request.
CROWLEY: And that boomerangs based on what the United States wants,
which is it wants Snowden back. He`s an intelligence asset. He`s a
valuable individual. And the United States wants him back within its own
So, that`s why I`m highly skeptical the United States was directly
involved in what happened yesterday.
MADDOW: P.J. Crowley, former assistant secretary and spokesman at the
State Department and a fellow at George Washington University – I disagree
with you on this, P.J. But we`ll find out when we finally know, but thanks
for talking to us about it tonight. I really appreciate.
CROWLEY: Fine, Rachel. I`ll owe you a dollar if I`m wrong.
MADDOW: All right. Good, excellent. I think that`s illegal, but
I`ll be right back.
MADDOW: This is a particularly interesting time in the courts right
now. Tons of the interesting stuff going on. But most of it we don`t get
to experience in real time or on tape, because mostly cameras aren`t
allowed in the courtroom.
So, like with the huge Supreme Court cases in the last few weeks, we
have audio, but we have no video. We have no still pictures either, we
just have the awesome sketches of courtroom sketch artists, who I hope will
not lose their jobs, even if people who want cameras at the Supreme Court
eventually get their way.
It`s the same deal with the amazing, ongoing, riveting trial of the
Boston mobster “Whitey” Bulger. In the Whitey Bulger trial, there are also
no cameras in the courtroom. No video. No stills. But we do get
sketches, but sometimes we get audio.
This is part of a “Whitey” Bulger jailhouse conversation about the
Triple O`s, his famous South Boston liquor store.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
WHITEY BULGER: I picked up a shotgun and aim it at them, the guy
looked up –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: See you later.
BULGER: I put one in the chamber like, and he looked up and I`m
aiming and he says to the other guy, “A bag of peanuts please.”
(END AUDIO CLIP)
MADDOW: Trials in criminal courts and civil courts are public events.
Anybody can go in and watch it in person if there`s room for you. Most
people don`t try to do that, let alone travel across the country to do
But when trials can be nationally televised, people really do watch.
I mean, the Menendez brothers trial, the O.J. Simpson Simpson trial with
Johnnie Cochran and Marcia Clark, the Casey Anthony trial, just a couple of
months ago, the Jodi Arias trial, and now, there`s the George Zimmerman
trial being televised on national TV.
George Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second degree murder in the
shooting death of Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman claims that he shot the
17-year-old Mr. Martin in self-defense. When the story first broke, much
of the debate centered around Florida`s “Stand Your Ground” law and the
intersection of race and suspicion and fear with that law. Now that the
trial is being televised, though, there`s just as much focus on the drama
much of it all. And it has had a huge it has a huge TV audience riveted
everyday of the trial.
Today, the prosecution side called the 33rd witness to the stand, a
former professor of criminal justice who had taught the defendant, George
Zimmerman back in 2011. The professor, though, is in Colorado, and the
trial is in Florida. And although you would think that Colorado to Florida
should not be an insurmountable distance to travel to be a witness in the
murder trial, for some reason, the court decided to allow this professor to
testify remotely. They had him testify by Skype. They even swore him in
But watch what happened when he started to testify.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MANTEI, PROSECUTOR: And, Professor Pleasants, the course that
you teach, is that sort of an in-classroom course or is it a different
GORDON PLEASANTS, WITNESS: No, this is a course (INAUDIBLE) we teach
it online, and requires activities by the student that`s based on the
coursework in the book.
MANTEI: I`m sorry. Would you go ahead and repeat that, starting from
PLEASANTS: Yes, the (INAUDIBLE) – is it coming across?
MANTEI: Go ahead.
PLEASANTS: OK. Could you repeat the question?
MANTEI: Thank you.
No other questions, your honor.
JUDGE DEBRA NELSON: OK. Cross?
Is that his phone?
MANTEI: It`s someone calling the destination, your honor.
(INAUDIBLE) just hit decline call.
MANTEI: That is all right.
PLEASANTS: Hold on, I –
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is now a really good chance that it would be
enjoyed (INAUDIBLE) just so you know.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: These are not his friends calling during the trial. I mean,
maybe the first time it was the friend of his, calling to ask about lunch
plans, but the second, third, tenth time. What`s happening here is a
byproduct of the fact that it is on TV. And the prosecution and the court
were too computer illiterate to know they were broadcasting to a live
television audience, all the information they needed to call in on Skype
themselves and interrupt this part of the trial.
When they put the witness on screen, on Skype, they also showed his
and their own Skype names, which are kind of the same as Skype phone
numbers. So any number of people watching the trial decided to call in to
those Skype names during the testimony, so it was whack-a-mole with the
mouse, decline, decline, decline.
So as the trial has everybody riveted, as it unfolded on live TV
today, the prosecution gave the whole real time audience a chance to screw
the trial up. In case you`re wondering why the Supreme Court is a little
shy about putting themselves on live TV, right?
That said, I have to say, this whole thing could have been avoided
with the help of a tech savvy intern, like our intern Jonathan who you can
see here calling his mom on Skype. Special note to the prosecution here,
you see you go to the settings part. You click the button that says do not
disturb and then people can`t jump in on your Skyping with mom. Or your
Skyping witness statement with the nationally televised murder trial. Do
not disturb, do not show this message again.
In courtroom drama and in life, the lesson is almost always the same
for those of us who are aging into technological obsolescence. If you`re
not going to bother to read the manual yourself, don`t fake it. Ask anyone
under age 20 and they will fix it for you.
MADDOW: This is the Washington, D.C. beltway, 64-mile stretch of
interstate highway that encircles the city. It loops all the way around
it. And the beltway is more than just a matter of geography. It is a
state of mind, inside that circumference of pink-striped Macadam, being
inside that circumference lends itself to Beltway common wisdom which
derives from the prejudice that only D.C. matters, and that most of what
matters in D.C. is personality. Power is not a structural thing, it`s
personal. Wins and losses in politics accrue the individual politicians
that way that, I dot know, magazines accrue to movie stars or something.
So, in the Beltway, the way of looking at it, President Obama alone
failed to pass gun legislation this spring, all by himself, he did it.
Technically, it was the Senate that defeated background checks, even though
90 percent of the American public and the president support them. But in
Beltway land, never mind the 46 senators who blocked that bill. It was all
President Obama`s fault. Put it on him. That`s how the Beltway thinks.
In Colorado, this week, two new gun control laws went into effect: a
ban on high-capacity ammo clips, and expanded background checks. In order
to be ready for the expanded background checks they`re going to have to
perform, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation added a dozen staff members
to their background check unit. That happened this week.
Also, Delaware – Delaware approving its own set of new gun reform
laws in the early hours of Monday morning. The new Delaware laws include
that state as well, expanding background checks.
On the six-month anniversary of Sandy Hook, Mayors Against Illegal
Guns launched a nationwide bus tour that started in Newtown. Victims of
gun violence and their families are now still traveling state by s to read
the names of Americans who have died from gun violence since December.
When the bus pulled up outside the state house in Concord, New Hampshire,
last month, this is how they were greeted.
The name the gun rights hecklers were chanting over and over again is
“Ayotte, Ayotte,” Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire who voted against
background checks in April.
New Hampshire resident John Canton (ph) attended that rally as both
the survivor of gun violence and as a grieving father. He was shot while
trying to protect his daughter from her estranged husband. The estranged
husband shot both of them. Mr. Canton survived being shot, but his
daughter did not. And this is what happened when John Cantor tried to
speak outside the new Hampshire statehouse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The names delivered are the names of young people.
Please have a little respect.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of this propaganda.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Propaganda!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m not going to leave – here are the names.
They are the names of those who have been killed by a gun in the six months
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The pro-gun hecklers would not even let the guy with the
daughter killed by gun violence speak. It got so intense that one of the
protesters ended up getting zapped with a taser and arrested. But even
with all that, John Canton kept going, as did the rest of the families who
have joined him there to speak about gun violence and to try to get state
legislators to do something about it, even if Congress won`t.
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly
also launched their own state tour this week. She used to be right-handed,
but at one of their first stops on their tour at a gun range in Nevada,
Gabby Giffords fired a gun with her left hand. Somebody who learns to
shoot a gun with their non-dominant hand after a life-threatening brain
injury is not somebody who`s looking to take your guns away. But she is
also somebody who doesn`t gives up easily in the face of a few setbacks.
Don`t believe the Beltway. Don`t believe the Beltway on this or on
anything else, but particularly on this. The fight for gun reform in this
country is not over yet. It is still being waged doggedly state by state
by state by a lot of very brave people. And in some places they are
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.”
Have a great night.
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