The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 08/20/14
RACHEL MADDOW, THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks,
man. And, thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. As we have for
the last 10 days, we are keeping an eye on the streets of downtown
Ferguson, Missouri right now, where protests, of course, have been held
every night for 11 straight nights since the police shooting of an unarmed
black teenager in that town last Saturday. As you know, last night`s
protest there where peaceful until basically midnight. At which point
things took a turn, nearly 50 people ended up being arrested after midnight
in Ferguson last night, after what had been a fairly calm evening. The
night before last night it was in 47 arrests, it was 78 arrest and two
people injured by gunfire the night before last. Today Ferguson saw a
historic visit from the serving U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, that
made for a pretty dramatic and fast moving day in Ferguson. That happened
on the same day that a local grand jury started considering evidence as to
whether or not the police officer who shot Michael Brown should be charged
with a crime for that shooting.
So, there`s still tonight a lot to see in Ferguson, and a lot to report
from Ferguson, Missouri and we will have all of that coming up, including
multiple live reports from the scene in downtown Ferguson starting in just
a moment tonight. But before we get to that news from Ferguson, today was
also a day of angry reaction, and denunciation by the president of the
United States, by the vice president of the United States and by leaders
around the globe in reaction to the actions of Islamic militants operating
in Iraq and Syria, the militant group which yesterday murdered an American
journalist in cold blood. They beheaded him on camera, and then uploaded
the video of the killing so it could be scene world wide. Today the family
of that American journalist, the parents of Jim Foley, remarkably, they
were able to make a public statement today to answer questions about the
loss of their son. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have a message for the people behind Jim`s
JOHN FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY`S FATHER: We beg compassion and mercy of Jim`s
captors, for Steven Sotloff and for the other captors. We just beg mercy.
They never hurt anybody. They were trying to help. And there`s no reason
for this slaughter.
DIANE FOLEY, JAMES FOLEY`S MOTHER: Jim was just innocent and they knew it,
they knew that Jim was just a symbol for our country.
MR. FOLEY: It`s difficult to find solace at this point in time but we know
Jim is free, he`s finally free. And we know he`s in God`s hands. And we
know he`s in heaven. So, we`re so proud of him, we have to be happy for
MRS. FOLEY: We`re the ones that…
MR. FOLEY: We need the courage to continue without him. Jim was an
inspiration for us and for so many others. So, we miss his courage and
love, his determination, his laugh, his smile.
MRS. FOLEY: He brought so much joy into this family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: It`s the mother and father of journalist Jim Foley speaking today
along with one of Jim`s brothers in front of their home in Rochester, New
Hampshire. Jim Foley was an accomplished journalist, he was writing for the
Global Post in Boston at the time of his abduction in Syria two years ago.
Today the editor of the Global Post did an interview with NBC News`s Andrea
Mitchell. And he told her for the first time that Global Post had had some
communication with Jim Foley`s kidnappers. And at one point it had seemed
like they might be receptive to a negotiation to free Jim Foley. The editor
also told Andrea that after the U.S. started bombing ISIS positions in Iraq
this month, the militant group got in touch with Jim Foley`s family again,
to tell them that they were still holding him and that because of those air
strikes they were going to execute their son.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC NEWS REPORTER: Is ISIS even open to any kind of
PHILIP BALBONI, GLOBALPOST CEO AND COFOUNDER: Well, we`ve had communication
with the captors. And there was a – at one time a receptivity to a
negotiation that would lead to a release. It`s impossible to say, because
the kidnappers cease to communicate with us, with the family, so I don`t
know what their plans are now. We know what they`ve done, and we have to
believe that they`re more than capable of doing this again.
MITCHELL: Did they cease to communicate when the bombings started?
BALBONI: There was – we`ve not release this, but there was one
communication after the bombing began that went to the family that stated
that Jim would be executed and we hoped and prayed that it would not. And
we did everything we could ourselves to communicate back to them that Jim
was just an innocent journalist who loved the Syrian people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The CEO of Global Post, which is where Jim Foley was working before
he was abducted in Syria two years ago, and then ultimately beheaded by
ISIS militants in a video that was released yesterday. The CEO of Global
Post told Andrea Mitchell that there had been some communications with the
group holding Jim Foley during his time in captivity, and horribly that the
group had sent a communication this month when the U.S. started bombing
ISIS targets in Iraq, the group saying that they would kill Jim Foley
because of those air strikes and they did. We obviously are not going to
show the video that the terrorist group released. Doing something like this
on camera, like similar groups did with Wall Street Journal Reporter Daniel
Pearl in 2002 in Pakistan and with American Nicholas Berg in 2004 in Iraq,
and frankly, many other times since.
The reason these militant groups do this on camera is to make it into more
than just a murder, right? To terrorize and propagandize and extort what
they hope will be a global audience for this murder, if they can just make
enough people watch it, if they can just make it horrific enough, if they
can just light this snuff film just right, it they can add just the right
soundtrack, and just the right terrifying verbiage to go with the visuals
of their murders, that they hope we`ll all watch. They`ll we`ll never be
able to forget. There`s good reason to not give them what they want. And to
not help them disseminate the images of them killing people, which they so
want the world to see. I mean, in part its decency, right? In part it is
not rewarding their behavior and there by incentivizing more of it. But in
part, it is a news judgment, right? In part of this, the news value of
these snuff films of these tapes. If there is no additional news value that
can be gained, no additional information that can be gained from seeing
them commit the actual murder rather than just being told that`s what the
tape describes, then there is no reason for any news organization to
actually show the tape. That`s why it was disgusting that the New York Post
today showed an image on their front cover of the knife being pressed into
Jim Foley`s throat.
That`s why NBC and MSNBC and other responsible news organizations have not
done anything like that, and why no responsible news organization should,
in my opinion. That said, an individual and very specific element of the
murder tape that was released yesterday, did become newsworthy today. It`s
a detail that would not have been disseminated in a news context before
this, but it is now very much part of the news of this incident and of
understanding how the international community is going to respond to this,
because today, the prime minister of Great Britain, David Cameron rushed
back to London in the middle of his vacation and started convening
emergency meetings on Iraq and Syria within the British government, and he
did that because intelligence sources in Britain are very worried that the
sound of the voice of the man who kills Jim Foley in this ISIS video,
they`re very worried that the sound of that man`s voice specifically,
indicates that he is British. That he`s from London. In the video, the man
speaks in English with a distinct London accent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is James Wright Foley, an American citizen from
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: On the strength of their suspicions about that accent – and again,
they are just suspicions` that this point, no American sources are
confirming that the accent has been conclusively identified as any one
thing. But on a basis of the British suspicions about that man accent,
David Cameron, prime minister of Great Britain today, rushed back to London
to convene what`s being treated as an emergency response in that nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Prime minister, is this what it appears to be? Which a
British citizen has beheaded an American citizen. And are you or the
security have set (ph) any closer to knowing who carried this evil act out?
DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Well first of all, let me condemn
completely the barbaric and brutal act that has taken place. Let`s be clear
what this act is, it is an act of murder. And murder without any
justification. Now, we have not identified the individual responsible on
the video. But from what we`ve seen, it looks increasingly likely that it
is a British citizen. That this is deeply shocking, but we know that far
too many British citizens have traveled to Iraq and traveled Syria, to take
part in extremism and violence. And what we must do is redouble all our
efforts to stop people going, to take away the passports of those
contemplating travel, to arrest and prosecute those that take part in this
extremism and violence, to take extremism – extremist material off the
internet and do everything we can to keep our people safe, and that is what
this government will do.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: British Prime Minister David Cameron today saying – said
specifically from what we`ve seen, it looks increasingly likely that it is
a British citizen, that the ISIS militant who killed US Journalist Jim
Foley in the terrorist video released yesterday, this beheading video, the
prime minister said it is looking increasingly likely that that man is a
British citizen. And for Britain, you see this in the British press. And
the British response that you see, that this has caused some existential
anguish about how a British citizen could do something like this, how a
Britain could be part of something like this. But more concretely, there is
now the question of whether or not ISIS militants with British passports
could freely enter not just Britain but the whole of the European Union?
Could they bring this home?
The head of Scotland Yard told reporters last week, that about 500 British
citizens are thought to have joined to the fighting in Syria, many of them
with the most militant groups including ISIS. The equivalent number for
Americans is thought to be less than a hundred, it`s thought to be several
dozen. The prospect of European and American battlefield trained militants
coming back from Syria to mound ISIS style attacks at home is something
that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder last month called more frightening
than anything he has seen as attorney general. Well, today as Britain
grappled with the fact that this murder may have been committed by one of
their own and as Jim Foley`s family was willing to show some of their grief
publicly, and publicly pray for mercy for yet another American journalist
who`s being held by the same group and also threatened by the same group,
Steven Sotloff. As all that happened today, President Obama personally made
some of the starkest and most damning remarks he has ever made as president
about anything. Denouncing ISIS and what happened to Jim Foley in terms –
so blunt diverge today on biblical.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: A group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century,
let`s be clear about ISIL, they have rampaged across cities and villages,
killing innocent unarmed civilians in cowardly acts of violence. They
abduct women and children and subject them to torture and rape and slavery.
ISIL speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and
no faith teaches people to massacre innocence. No just God would stand for
what they did yesterday, and what they do every single day. ISIL has no
ideology of any value that human beings…
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: President Obama speaking today in Massachusetts, the president went
on to say that, although ISIS may claim out of expediency that they are at
war with the United States or the west. The fact is, the president said
they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless
slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of
civilized behavior, very strong remarks today from President Obama. Then
speaking today in Connecticut, Vice President Biden made a similar and
similarly impassioned case. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Our hearts go
out to the Foley family. It is difficult to lose someone in any
circumstances, but the sheer savagery and brutality of the method used by
so-called ISIL I-S-I-L, some prefer as ISIS, has been – has exceeded –
anyway, it`s just as – it`s shocked the whole world. It`s because of
people like Jim, Jim Foley who had the courage – talking to press people,
they know this better than anybody, the press that`s here. It takes an
incredible amount of physical courage to do the job your colleagues do
overseas. This is not something that you go in and assess that like a walk
in the park. So many, so many journalists put their lives on the line every
single day to bring the truth to the world and the truth to the country. In
always a trait phrase, we all mourn Jim`s loss, but this is one of those
cases where you don`t have to ever know a single journalist, you didn`t
have to know Jim Foley, you didn`t have to know anything other than. This
was a man who was doing a job, hurting no one who was victimized by one of
the most outrageous groups of individuals that I`ve encountered in my
entire career. And our hearts go out to his family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Vice President Joe Biden speaking today at Goodwin College in
Connecticut, soon thereafter, the Pentagon announced and the White House
confirmed that earlier this summer President Obama had ordered a secret
mission by U.S. special operations troops to go to try to find the
hostages, to go inside Syria, to try find and rescue U.S. hostages there,
presumably including Jim Foley, although they`re not being that specific
with names. Obviously the raid was not successful, the statement says that
although U.S. troops did go in and put boots on the ground in Syria, the
hostages were not where they thought they would be. Statement from the
Pentagon says, quote, the U.S. government uses the full breadth of our
military intelligence and diplomatic capability – capabilities to bring
people home whenever we can, the United States will not tolerate the
abduction of our people and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of
our citizens and to hold their captors accountable To hold their counters
accountable – their captors accountable.
The murder of Journalist Jim Foley, the threat to murder journalist Steven
Sotloff, these angry words today from the president, these emotional words
says from the vice president, the treatment of this as an emergency in
Britain, our closest ally. This is getting close to a tidal wave of
momentum on this subject. President Obama started air strikes against ISIS
targets on August 8th, since then there have been at least 84 separate U.S.
air strikes against ISIS targets just this month. The Washington post asked
an unnamed U.S. official today whether the U.S. would consider suspending
these air strikes as the ISIS militants demanded in the beheading video and
they threatened anther journalist with the same faith unless the air-
strikes stop. The reply from this unnamed US official was absolutely not.
Quote, the only question is if we do more. And in fact, since the execution
video was released, and that demand by ISIS was made that President Obama
stop the air strikes or else, since that ISIS video came out yesterday, the
United States has launched more than a dozen additional air strikes against
ISIS today, 14, at least, just today. The U.S. military also announced
today that they`re thinking about sending yet more U.S. troops into Iraq.
And other 300, maybe? In addition to the nearly 1,000 American troops that
have already been sent back into Iraq this summer. On days like this the
pressure toward war can seem almost unbearable. And the pressure comes from
all different directions.
Not just from the, always hawks of the world, who always want more war no
matter what facts are on the ground. But the fact remains that this
militant group ISIS, more than anything, wants to be fighting the U.S.
military in Iraq and Syria, they want the U.S. military in another war in
the Middle East, and they want it more than they want anything else. And
that explains their tactics toward the U.S. when you think they would be
more focused on the Assad regime in Syria and the government in Baghdad.
Now, they`re focused on the U.S. and they want us there more than they want
anything. Does the U.S. want that too? Fighting ISIS? U.S. troops fighting
ISIS in Iraq, maybe in Syria too? Even if you don`t consider the deployment
of U.S. troops back to Iraq which started this past July. Even if you don`t
– sorry this passage (inaudible) – even if you don`t consider that to
have been the start of U.S. military operations in Iraq again, even if you
take the White House line on that and believe them when they say that those
additional troops weren`t really the start of any military operations, the
U.S. didn`t really start hostilities in Iraq again, until President Obama
ordered those air strikes on August 8th.
Even if you just take the White House line on that, which is arguable, that
at least starting on August 8th, there`s a ticking constitutional clock
that says the U.S. congress must make a call here. The U.S. congress must
debate whether or not we want this war. The U.S. congress must debate and
vote on whether to authorize these hostilities in Iraq within 60 days of
them starting at the latest on August 8th. If it starts on August 8th we
are already 12 days in to that 60 day clock. Amid this surge of disgust
against ISIS, and this murder and the videotape of this murder, and the 14
additional air strikes today. The United States congress constitutionally
must debate and decide on what we do next. What`s happening here now is
turning into war. Congress must decide if that is what we`re doing or if
that is not what we`re doing. There`s no hiding from this any more, this is
the responsibility that they cannot constitutionally shirk.
MADDOW: And now for something completely different. Look at this, this is
the weather channel – weather tracker radar, storm tracker radar in the
vicinity of Ferguson, Missouri right now. Ferguson, Missouri, obviously,
the nation`s eyes have been focused there for the past 11 days, the protest
there nightly, the community response to the killing of an unarmed young
man there last Saturday. We have been watching to see how protests are
tonight particularly after the attorney general visited today. But right
now there`s heavy weather closing right in on downtown Ferguson, Missouri.
That may very well affect what`s going on there tonight. Stay with us.
MADDOW: And a historic visit, the nations first African-American Attorney
General, Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson, Missouri today.
The nations top law enforcement officer spent 11 – spent day 11 of the
crisis there, talking to people all over town, talking about the police
killing of an unarmed teenager a week and a half ago, Michael brown. Mr.
Holder spoke to students individually at a local community college. He met
with community leaders in the region. He also met privately with the family
of Michael Brown. Officials did not allow press into that private meeting
or release any pictures of it afterwards, but this was a very busy day for
the U.S. attorney general in Ferguson, just seems like he wanted to cover a
ton of ground while he was there. You could see him at a local diner called
Drake`s Place. Apparently the chicken wings and the tilapia both come very
highly recommended at Drake`s Place, if you`re in the neighborhood. General
Holder shook hand after hand after at Drake`s Place, and he have just sat
down for a talk with the locals when of all the gin joints in the world,
wouldn`t you know it? Who walks in? But, hey, that guy, Captain Ron
Johnson, a highway patrol leader who has brought Ferguson if not in measure
peace, at least a resident voice of human understanding from the ranks of
law enforcement. The two men met today in Drake`s Place.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: My man.
RON JOHNSON, MISSOURI HIGHWAY CAPTAIN: How are you doing, sir?
HOLDER: You are the man.
JOHNSON: We`re trying to make it better, just trying to make it better.
MADDOW: The press could not hear all of the conversation between them,
because some of what Eric Holder said to Captain Johnson he whispered to
him. He clearly did not mean for the world to hear it. In the part that we
could hear, the two men talked about how the community Ferguson is ready
for peace, ready for outside – outsiders agitating in the streets to go
home, we learned that in the midst of his around the clockwork on the
streets of Ferguson. Captain Johnson forgot his own wedding anniversary.
HOLDER: Keep up the good work.
JOHNSON: All right. Thank you, sir.
HOLDER: And (inaudible) rest.
JOHNSON: I will.
HOLDER: All right?
JOHNSON: I will.
HOLDER: I`m going to check with your wife and see if you`re doing that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Happy anniversary, Captain Johnson. After that meeting at Drake`s
Place, the attorney general went out for yet another local meeting, he went
to the local field office of the FBI to meet with agents who have been
canvassing door to door in Ferguson looking for witnesses, looking for
evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown, into which the federal
government has now launched an independent investigation. In terms of how
this story continues to play out, in terms of consequences or changes in
policing or policy, this stop at the FBI today may turn out to be the most
significant part of Eric Holder`s very long day in Missouri. The attorney
general has pledged the resources of the justice department and the FBI to
investigate not just the individual police shooting of Michael Brown, but
as we learned late last night, Eric Holder and the justice department are
also reportedly considering whether to investigate the overall practices of
the Ferguson police department when it comes to civil rights.
The New York Times reporting late last night that the Justice Department
(NO AUDIO) and they started it after reports that Ferguson police allegedly
beat a man in 2009 incidentally an innocent man not the man they were
looking for, and then they charged the man they beat up with destruction of
property, because the man bled on their uniforms. That 2009 case is still
working its way through the courts. But it may have inspired the potential
broader federal investigation of policing in Ferguson, Missouri.
(Inaudible) does gives the attorney general of the United State the power
to investigate local police departments and to sue them if he believes they
have pattern of violating citizen`s rights. Congress started working on
that law after the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991, by
the time President Clinton signed it into law in 1994, that new power for
the Justice Department was tucked inside a broader bill that we more often
remember now as the assault weapons ban. But that part of the assault
weapons ban, it did give the U.S. attorney general the power to take on the
police departments and sue them in order to force them to reform.
In the 20 years since that law took effect, it`s been used by different
administrations to different degrees. The Obama administration has been
notably active in using the power of that law to try to end policing that
it believes is discriminatory or unconstitutional. In the first five years
of this administration, the Justice Department nearly doubled the number of
investigations of this kind from the five year period prior to when they
took office under the previous president. The Justice Department started 15
cases of this kind in President Obama`s first term. They`re now actually
asking for nine new attorneys and 11 new staff members so they can expand
these efforts. The Justice Department is currently enforcing what it calls
a record number of agreements with law enforcement agencies around the
country to reform their departments. These are all towns, and cities and
states where the Justice Department has stepped in and said we think you
have a pattern of violating citizen`s rights, and here`s how you are going
to fix that. In April, the Justice Department attorney sent a 40 page
letter to the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico about the police department
there. The letter said, they have reviewed 20 fatal shootings by
Albuquerque officers and found that most of those shootings, quote, were
unconstitutional. The letter says we will continue to work collaboratively
However if we cannot reach an appropriate resolution, the law authorizes
the Department Of Justice to file a civil lawsuit to illuminate the pattern
or practice of police misconduct. So basically, the Justice Department is
telling the city of Albuquerque, listen, you can cooperate in terms of
reforming your department and stop shooting people so much or we will sue
you to force you to do it. The Justice Department has that power. Two days
after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri last weekend.
Local Congressman William Lacy Clay wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric
Holder asking him to please come take a look at Ferguson. Congressman Clay
cited that exact same provision of that law, the one signed by President
Clinton and put to such frequent use under the Obama administration, and
now, reportedly, the Justice Department is considering that kind of a broad
review under those powers. And again, we do not know yet how wide a net
Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department will cast now in
Ferguson, Missouri, but the attorney general himself did show up and walk
the streets of Ferguson today, and he did say quite directly that people in
Ferguson should know that their federal government is very much involved.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC HOLDER, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY GENERAL: Our investigation is different
from that which the state is doing. We`re looking for violations of
federal, criminal civil rights statues which is different from what the
local investigation is. But we have brought a substantial number of people
here, of agents here, who`ve done a great job in the canvassing that they
did over the past weekend, they continued to follow leads so that we can do
a thorough and a fair job in making a determination about what happened on
August the 9th. My hope also is that, through the trip that I`m making out
here today, and by stressing the importance of, and the way in which this
investigation is going, that hopefully we`ll have a calming influence on
the area. People know that a federal thorough investigation is being done,
being manned by these very capable people. My hope is that that will have
give people some degree of confidence that the appropriate things are being
done by their federal government.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Attorney General Eric Holder today in Ferguson, Missouri. Joining
us now is Mike Jones, he`s a senior policy advisor for the St. Louis County
Executive Charlie Dooley. Mr. Jones is a former chief of staff to the mayor
of St. Louis, he`s a former deputy mayor for development, and he currently
sits on the state board of education, Mike Jones has lived in and served
St. Louis county his entire life. As a due to the huge thunderstorm that is
now hitting the Ferguson area, Mr. Jones unexpectedly is joining us by
phone. Mr. Jones, thanks very much for being willing to do that, thanks for
being with us.
MIKE JONES, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR TO ST. LOUIS CO. EXECUTIVE: No problem
MADDOW: Yeah. That`s exactly right and you think it happened. Let me ask
you about this remarks we just played from Attorney General Eric Holder he
said, he hoped his visit would have a calming influence on the area. He
hoped that, the work being done, him explaining the work being done at the
federal level would give people some degree of confidence that the
appropriate things are being done. Is his hope well placed? Do you think
that will be the effect of his visit today?
JONES: Well, obviously, the attorney general showing up on behalf of the
United States government sends a message first of all to Michael Brown`s
family, the residents, and citizens of the area that there will be strong
oversight and the opportunity to see justice done in this matter will
actually happen. I think it also is created another opportunity for us in
St. Louis to actually begin looking at the relationship between the police
department and communities of color throughout the metropolitan area. We`ve
had some meetings this morning with Justice Department officials to talk
about this opportunity for training, better communication, changing the
culture of policing throughout St. Louis county. So, we think it`s an
extraordinary opportunity to move this region, this county to another
MADDOW: If what happened in Ferguson has already started those local and
regional discussions, that you just described, talking about policing in a
broader way, the relationship of the police to the communities they serve,
does that make it less important that the federal government does a broader
review of the Ferguson police department? I mean, they do have the power to
come in and put Ferguson PD essentially under federal investigation on
civil rights grounds? Do you think that`s a moot issue if it`s being
handled now locally?
JONES: No, I don`t think it`s a moot issue at all. Thomas Jefferson said
we`re entitled amongst life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The one
thing he said is extremely important, and governments instituted among men
to ensure those rights. So, I think the federal government has always been
the guarantee, the guarantee of individual rights particularly for
communities that have less power and less privilege. And I think their
efforts on behalf of Michael Brown and his family, and looking specifically
at the issues related to Ferguson alone for it (ph).
MADDOW: Mike Jones senior policy adviser to the St. Louis County Executives
Charlie Dooley. As wicked thunderstorms roll through the Ferguson area, Mr.
Jones, we`re going to get you back, where we can put your face on TV, in a
way that we can see that it moves. We`ll have you back when the weather
clears. We`re happy to have you tonight. Thanks for being with us.
JONES: Thank you, Rachel, pleasure being with you.
MADDOW: A pleasure. My colleague Chris Hayes is going to join us next live
on the soggy streets of Ferguson. Please stay with us.
MADDOW: As we have been watching some heavy weather roll through the
Ferguson Missouri area tonight. I want to now bring in our friend Chris
Hayes, who`s been on the ground in Ferguson for nearly a week now doing
some pretty incredible work both for his own show and for the whole
network. Chris, thanks very much for being with us.
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC ANCHOR: My pleasure, Rachel.
MADDOW: So, let me ask you, first of all, about where you think we are in
the trajectory about the intensity of feeling and the relationship between
people in the streets and police in downtown.
HAYES: So, last night was – there were some very tense moment at around
two in the morning. Police going into the crowd and snatching people,
there`s this infamous Youtube video of a police officer threatening to kill
someone and then giving his name as an expletive when challenge on it. That
aside and those tactics aside, last night was a night that did not end in
tear gas which was, kind of, a huge breakthrough in terms of police tactics
and terms of how to walk away from the night. And tonight we`re seeing just
a much, much calmer seen out here. It`s began to rain here which is driven
people of, there was a little bit of intensity just about 20 minutes ago.
Woman showing up with a sign supporting Officer Dan Wilson, backed up the
crowd very riled up. There was a, kind of, rush toward her a moment of very
intense tension. And then she was spirited away and the rain came down. And
that has totally changed the dynamic. All in all, the atmosphere on the
ground all day even before the evening here in Ferguson has been just much
less palpably tense and intense than it has been basically since I got
MADDOW: What about the visit of Attorney General Eric holder today, when
you`re looking at these things from outside, sometimes the presence of a
very high profile figure like that can seem like an overwhelming presence
on the ground, but when you`re talking to people either who are interested
in protesting her out in the street or just when you`re doing interviews
for your show, meeting with people about the overall circumstance in
Ferguson – is the presence of Attorney General Eric Holder a big deal in
terms of how this is going to unfold.
HAYES: Hugely big deal. I mean, it`s funny, time after time after time that
I`ve talked to residents here and protesters and people on some on the
street, they have cited the Department of Justice, FBI investigation, the
civil rights investigation as this kind of back stop. As something they
trust in an environment where they frankly don`t have very much trust at
all of the Local County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch. They can hear some folks
behind us swapping up and down now, a little bit of a crowd assembling as
the rain cappers off (ph), but yes. And his visit today was a big deal. I
mean, I talked to someone on my show before who was in that meeting, and
you know, there`s just something remarkable about the fact that the – you
know, the highest law enforcement officer in the land is a black man who
can talk about the experience of getting pulled over by a police officer in
New Jersey as a young man, and the fear he felt. And the air of suspicion
that he felt hung over him. And having someone who is in charge of law
enforcement, articulate that feeling means a huge amount to people here.
MADDOW: We`ve seen that in a way with Captain Johnson talking about
particularly his own experience and his son`s experience in the way he
looks at his son, the way that a lot of police officers look at young black
men. And he`s identified with them through very different eyes. I mean,
that sort of empathy has ended up being – having big material consequences
as far as we can tell. I have to ask you about something we saw happen, and
I saw happen to you, but we haven`t talked about since, which was a few
nights ago, when you got some rocks lobbed at you. You`ve seen –
obviously, you were unhurt, you seem just as surprised at it as anything,
what do folks on the street think about this intense presence of media and
TV cameras and bright lights and your staging ground there. What`s the
reaction and relationship like?
HAYES: It`s interesting, it`s really interesting. So, there`s diverse
opinions. There`s a lot of people who come up and thank us, they thank us
for being here. Particularly at the beginning, thank you for being here,
thank you for covering this. I had people coming up to me (inaudible) live
stand, afterwards saying, I`m sorry they threw rocks at you. I`m going to
stand here and make sure they don`t throw rocks at you. So, there`s a lot
of people are grateful. There are a lot people who are angry with the
media, and the police I think, I heard they are pretty angry at the media.
They think we`re instigating. They think people are performing for the
cameras and there`s local folks who are angry at the media, too. They think
they`re not giving the protesters account of thinks. They think that the
media has been choose and pathetic. So, the police – so, the media has
become a kind of target of anger. On the hole I found that African-American
residents at Ferguson I`ve talked to have been grateful for the media
coverage. We`re talking to some residents today who are from a different
part of Ferguson, who are, you know, in a staging area with the friends of
the city of Ferguson, a newly organized group that is distributing I heart
Ferg t-shirts and friends at the city Ferguson. And the view there was much
more negative about the media, but basically, the media had come to town
and kind of riled people up. And it wasn`t showing the Ferguson that they
knew and love. It`s a testament to the fact that something can be happening
from you two miles from where you live, a mile from where you live to a
community that you just have no idea about. And that`s probably where I
live in Brooklyn frankly, it`s probably true (inaudible). But in some ways,
outsider media has brought that to light in a way that`s just glad for a
lot of folks.
MADDOW: Chris, I have to tell you, usually in a moment like this I would
say like watch out for more rocks or watch out for tear gas. At this point
I actually felt like I have to tell you to watch out for lightning, too,
which I`m watching strike behind you.
HAYES: Yes, that`s right.
MADDOW: Be careful of all those things. You`ve been doing great work and we
need you back some day.
HAYES: We will.
MADDOW: Thanks, Chris. Appreciate it.
HAYES: Thanks, Rachel.
MADDOW: What Chris was just talking about there about the police officer,
lots of people saw video today, threatening to kill protesters, and saying
his name was a variety of expletives when asked what his name was. There`s
actually been an important development on that case and that officer, and
that incident and that`s straight ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Meanwhile, former governor Bob McDonnell of Virginia not wearing a
Rolex watch took the stand today in his own defense in Virginia in his
mammoth federal corruption trial, turns out the Bob McDonnell defense is
really something else. And that story is ahead.
MADDOW: OK. Here are two visuals that each would have been impossible to
predict at this time last year. This is visual one, Texas Governor Rick
Perry, mugshot edition. Governor Perry indicted on Friday, then booked on
two felony counts of abuse of power haste night in Texas. Governor Perry
will be arraigned in court this coming Friday, the day after tomorrow. And
today we learned that Rick Perry has officially entered a plea of not
guilty on those two felony charges. So, that`s indicted republican governor
visual one. This would be indicted republican governor visual two. Former
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell walking out of court today in Richmond
after taking the witness stand in his own public corruption trial. Bob
McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, are facing 14 felony counts of public
corruption. The trial started last month in Virginia after three weeks of
culling witnesses for the prosecution. On Thursday of last week, the
prosecution in the case rested and now this week the McDonnell defense has
started. We have been told that Governor McDonnell was himself going to
take the stand at some point. Today, turned out to be the day, Governor
McDonnell was on the stand for about two hours today and at least. So far,
his lawyers really are mounting a defense to these corruption charges that
is based on the claim that Bob McDonnell has a terrible marriage. That`s
the defense. You may remember during opening statements in these trial, the
Bob McDonnell defense team put out these salacious details about how
McDonnell marriage had fallen apart and Maureen McDonnell had a crush on
this wealthy businessman who these two are accused of performing official
state business for in exchange for a lot of cash and gifts. The defense
team telegraphed that this was coming. But sure enough, now that the
defense has started, the defense really is all about not only how terrible
the McDonnell marriage is, but how much many people dislike and think
poorly of the governor`s wife. Yesterday, Bob McDonnell`s sister took the
stand to talk about what she said were two different sides of Maureen
McDonnell. She said she was often manipulative and unpredictable. Today, a
defense witness testified that Maureen McDonnell was possibly suffering
from some mental illness. When Bob McDonnell himself finally took the
stand, he testified about how even on day one, even on the day that he was
elected governor of Virginia, he could tell that his wife wasn`t going to
be able to handle it well, quote, I could tell she was not as happy as I
was. McDonnell said, she was yelling at me about something, suggesting that
it might have been about what she was s going to wear. Later in his
testimony, Governor McDonnell said that he was ready to become governor,
when he was elected but he said that his wife did not feel ready to enter
that phase of life with him. And so, they accepted $165,000 worth of gifts
and loans from a wealthy businessman? I mean, what`s the – apparently,
this is a really expensive, really experienced defense team and they
somehow, therefore must be planning to connect these dots and make us
believe that bad marriage and wife people don`t like equals not corrupt,
and shouldn`t go to prison. But this bad marriage defense really is the
defense that they have started on. That is the substance of the Governor
Bob McDonnell of Virginia defense to corruption charges thus far. And the
defense starts back up with Bob McDonnell on the stand again at 10:00
tomorrow morning in Richmond, Virginia. Amazing, watch this phase.
MADDOW: Earlier in the show, Chris Hayes I spoke – speaking from downtown
Ferguson mentioned that last night, late last night during protests in
Ferguson, there had been a particularly ugly incident in which a local
police officer, just absolutely lost it on some protesters. A person
happened to be live streaming that incident when it happened. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Gun raised, gun raised.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: My hands are up, bro.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Hands up.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: (BLEEP)! (BLEEP)!
UNIDETIFIED MALE: You`re going to kill him.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: He`s trying to kill him.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Get back.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: What`s your name, sir?
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Go (BLEEP) yourself!
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Your name is go (BLEEP) yourself? Hello officer go
UNIDETIFIED MALE: Officer go UNIDETIFIED MALE: yourself is trying to kill
UNIDETIFIED MALE: I hope you guys are watching this.
UNIDETIFIED MALE: He had to be told by another officer.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
MADDOW: This officer was aiming his rifle in people`s faces, threatening to
kill them, telling them to go bleep themselves when they asked for his
name, but then, you can also see another officer step in and point office
go bleep yourself gun down toward the ground and then officer then walked
that basically out of control officer away from the crowd that he was
exchanging insults with. This afternoon, the St. Louis County police
department released a statement about that incident, and said this. Last
nigh, (inaudible) before midnight, an incident occurred where in the St.
Ann police officer, pointed a semiautomatic assault rifle at a peaceful
protester after a verbal exchange. At this time, a St. Louis County police
sergeant walked over and took action, forcing the officer to lower the
weapon and escorting him away from the area. The unified command strongly
feels these actions are inappropriate and not indicative of what the
officers, who report daily to keep the peace – not indicative of the
officers who report daily to keep the peace. The St. Ann police officer
involved in the incident has been relieved of duty and suspended
indefinitely. That`s the statement from the St. Louis County police today.
So, those are remarkable turn of event (inaudible) the officer go bleep
yourself incident last night, that officer not back on the streets tonight
and it sounds like he won`t be back any time soon, an indefinite suspension
announced by the department.
But tonight, like last night, around this time, things appear to be even
more calm on the streets of Ferguson. We do know that things can change at
a moment`s notice in this tender box town. But, of course, we hope it all
stays peaceful and safe.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL.” Thanks for
being with us tonight.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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