The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/08/14
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Chris. Thanks, my friend.
CHRIS HAYES, “ALL IN” HOST: You bet.
MADDOW: And thanks to you at home for joining us this morning.
Last year, a reporter named Charlie Savage at “The New York Times,”
he got the results of a Freedom of Information Act request that he had
filed a long time before. It was a freedom of information act request he
filed with the FBI.
FBI agents are sort of mega cops, right? They work for the federal
government, not for any local jurisdiction. They investigate violations of
federal law. They track down people who are suspected of breaking federal
They investigate. They do intelligence work. They do
counterintelligence work, which means they try to catch other countries`
spies who are operating in the United States. A big part of what they do
is to go after public corruption. They try to bust crooked politicians.
FBI agents do a lot of different things. But a lot of what they do
is a variant of policing. And as such, they are legally authorized to use
force in carrying out their duties. FBI agents are issued guns by the FBI.
But when in the course of their duties, an FBI agent uses his or her
gun to kill someone, there`s this interesting question about who
investigates that kind of shooting? I mean, theoretically, any time
someone gets shot and killed somewhere in America, the local prosecutor,
wherever that happened, can and should investigate that killing.
But when it is a federal law enforcement officer who did the killing,
local prosecutors don`t go there. I mean, there`s, you know, rare once in
a blue moon exception to that. If you get rid of that rounding error,
basically, the answer is no. The local authorities don`t investigate when
an agent from the FBI kills someone in the line of duty. Instead, the FBI,
this federal agency, investigates itself when one of its own agents uses
And the Freedom of Information Act request that Charlie Savage
finally got fulfilled last summer was about the results of those
investigations of themselves that the FBI did when one of its agents killed
It turns out between 1993 and 2011, there were 80 incidents in which
FBI agents shot and wounded someone. Over the same time period, there were
70 incidents when FBI agents shot and killed someone. So, from 1993 to
2011, it`s a period of 18 years, there were 150 incidents in which FBI
agents shot and killed or shot and wounded someone. And the FBI
investigated every single one of those shootings and those killings through
its own internal rigorous, self-review process.
And through that internal rigorous self-review process, the FBI
shooting incident review board determined that every single one of those
150 shootings was a good shoot. Every single one of them was justified.
So, that`s the feds. That`s the FBI.
There`s a lot of concern around the country right now that local
prosecutors let local police officers get away with killing people way too
frequently and way too easily. And when there`s upset and worry about
local policing going wrong, local policing being unaccountable, the
political instinct that kicks in is to bring in a higher authority, right?
To try to supersede whatever patterns and prejudices and baggage might
exist at the local level and instead ask the federal government to try to
come in and fix whatever is wrong at the local level.
Well, in the case of law enforcement officers killing people with
impunity, with impunity that is uncanny if it isn`t systematic. Well if
that`s the problem, the feds maybe aren`t the solution to that. The feds
don`t offer a reassuring example of how to do that better when comes to
their own federal law enforcement experience.
This summer, this summer, as the FBI declared itself faultless in yet
another high-profile shooting, this summer, a year after Charlie Savage
first published that devastating data about the FBI clearing itself in 100
percent of cases that it reviewed, this past summer, we also reported on
another agency that`s also a federal agency which has 50 percent more armed
agents than the FBI does. It`s an agency that has doubled in size in the
past decade. It`s the Border Patrol, a huge fast-growing agency with lots
of armed officers, who are entitled to use force as part of their duties.
So, these guys are also federal.
But Border Patrol takes it a step further than even the FBI in the
case of shootings on the job. Border Patrol not only investigates
themselves, when one of their officers kills someone or shoots someone.
They also just don`t tell anybody when it happens. They don`t report it
publicly when their officers shoot and kill someone. There`s no public
data about that.
So, you can, you know, try to piece it together from complaints you
might be able to find or maybe there`s a news report every once in a while
about a Border Patrol officer shoot shooting somebody or killing somebody
but there`s no systematic public information about those officers killing
anyone. The agency just doesn`t release that data.
Those are the feds. If they are supposed to be the gold standard
that local police should look up to in terms of accountability for hurting
people and killing people, if they are supposed the gold standard, then we
need a new gold standard.
Protests continued throughout this past weekend about police killing
people, particularly police killing African-Americans basically with
impunity. Protests are continuing also tonight. Protesters in New York
City tonight, quite a lot of them actually staged a rather big die-in and
protest outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn tonight.
Inside the Barclays Center tonight, Prince William and Duchess Kate
Middleton were in attendance to watch the Brooklyn Nets play the Cleveland
Before the game started tonight, the Cavaliers star player, basically
the king of the NBA, LeBron James, brought the outside protesters message
on to the court tonight. He wore an “I can`t breathe” t-shirt during warm-
ups. Several other players on the Cavaliers also wore similar shirts
This past weekend, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose also wore
an “I can`t breathe” t-shirt during pre-game warm-ups, as did Detroit Lions
running back Reggie Bush. His sort of home made. It`s written there with
a marker on the front of his blue shirt.
Protests are under way right now in Washington, D.C. Some D.C.
protesters staged another die-in tonight. Other D.C. protesters tonight
marched through the streets, chanting, “We`re young, we`re strong, we`re
marching all night long” – as you can see, blocking traffic in downtown
Protests also underway tonight again in Berkeley and in Oakland, in
Northern California. In Berkeley and Oakland this weekend, protests did
turn violent. There was not just rowdy protests but some violence and
looting – both among protesters and between protesters and police both
Saturday and Sunday night in the Bay Area.
In the midst of these continuing protests, today, “The New York Daily
News” published this. The “New York Daily News” published their own
report, their own statistics about police killing people in New York City
specifically, starting 15 years ago, started with the killing of Amadou
Diallo, who was innocent and unarmed but police shot at him 41 times and
killed him while they were looking for someone else. Since that high-
profile police killing 15 years ago in 1999, according to the “New York
Daily News” today by their tabulation, New York City police officers have
killed at least 179 people over 15 years. This is only people killed by
on-duty police officers.
And certainly a lot of these killings are unimpeachable circumstances
from the point of view of the cops. Like that case in October when this
apparently crazed man wielding a hatchet launched a completely unprovoked
attack on four rookie police officers who are just standing on a street
corner in New York. You remember that story. That assailant with the ax
was killed by those police officers who he attacked but not before he
grievously wounded a couple of them. That man is among the 179 deaths
attributed to police actions over the past 15 years.
So, some of these circumstances obviously are very different than
others. But in more than a quarter of the killings by police in America`s
largest city over the past 15 years, in more than a quarter of them, the
assailant was unarmed, like Amadou Diallo. Like an army veteran named Shem
Walker who told a man to get off his grandma`s stoop in the tough
neighborhood that he lived in, in Brooklyn.
The man he told to get off the stoop said no. They argued. It
turned into a fist fight and the man who had been sitting on the stoop
pulled out a gun and shot Shem Walker three times and killed him. The guy
who wouldn`t get off the stoop turns out was an undercover police officer.
Shem Walker is dead. Nobody was ever prosecuted in that case.
What this “Daily News” investigation has found is that basically no
one is ever prosecuted in these cases, almost never. Over 15 years, 179
people killed by police officers in just one city, out of 179 people
killed, a grand total of three of those killings resulted in an indictment
by local prosecutors. And precisely one case was there a conviction of a
police officer for killing somebody in the line of duty. And in that one
case where there was a conviction, the officer served no jail time. The
conviction was for negligent homicide in that case. The sentence was
probation and a few hundred hours of community service.
So, in 15 years, 179 killings, one successful prosecution by local
prosecutors, zero jail time. So, yes, people are upset. Of those 179
people killed by police in the cases where the race of the person killed is
known, 86 percent were reportedly black or Hispanic, 86 percent, one
conviction over 179 deaths. Zero jail time.
Today in Cleveland, the mother of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who was
killed by police while he played with an air soft pellet gun at a local rec
center, the whole interaction between the boy and the police who shot him
was less than three seconds. Less than three seconds between when the
police pulled up and when that boy was dead.
Today in Cleveland, his mother spoke publicly for the first time
since her son was killed on November 22nd. Now, for context here in terms
of understanding what she says, the family, mother who is speaking here,
she lived just across the street from the park where her son was killed.
He had been at the park she says, along with his 14-year-old sister.
Remember the boy who was killed was 12 years old. He`d been at the
park with his 14-year-old sister. His mother ran to the park as soon as
she heard what happened.
Listen to her explain.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAMARIA RICE, SHOOTING VICTIM TAMIR RICE`S MOTHER: My name is
Samaria Rice, and on November 22nd, about 3:30 p.m., reminding you that I
stay right across the street from the recreation center, two little boys
came and knocked on my door and said the police just shot your son twice in
the stomach. As I was trying to get through to my son, the police told me
to calm down or they will put me in the back of the police car.
I noticed the police are just standing around and they wasn`t doing
anything. And again, I arrived the same time the ambulance did.
So again, I just noticed them. They wasn`t doing anything. My
daughter was screaming for me and my son, I really couldn`t get to him
because he was a little bit across the walkway.
So, after I couldn`t get to him and they told me to calm down, they
gave me an ultimatum of whether I stay with the 14-year-old or do I go with
the 12-year-old. This is what they told me. So, of course, I went with
the 12-year-old and they made me sit in the front of the ambulance truck
like I was a passenger.
REPORTER: Mr. Rice, what would you consider a just outcome of the
case on behalf of your son?
RICE: To answer your question, I`m actually looking for a
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: “I`m actually looking for a conviction,” she says. That
would be a very rare occurrence in this country if it happens.
I would love to tell you exactly how rare it is, but as a country, we
don`t count killings by police in any systematic way. Some police
departments do keep those numbers themselves. Some departments keep them
and report them to the FBI. Some do neither.
I mean, when the “New York Daily News” compiled their data today
about police killings over the past 15 years, they had to couch all their
reporting in terms of it being at least that many killed and as best as
they can tell in terms of what happened, because even the biggest police
department in the country, the NYPD, will not release its internal
statistics about how many people their officers kill. And they don`t
report it to the feds either.
The police killing people in this country is not really defined as a
problem in this country. So, we don`t bother to collect or release any
data that might show how big a problem it is, or whether it`s a worse
problem in some parts of the country than in others.
When 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot in Cleveland, the Justice
Department announced soon after an agree to partially take over that local
police department to install federal monitors in Cleveland for a police
department so broken that they once sent 62 police vehicles to chase one
speeding car and then fired 179 bullets into that car to kill the two
unarmed people who were inside it. Speeding in Cleveland.
This is the same police department that hired the officer who killed
12-year-old Tamir Rice within three seconds of first encountering him
despite the fact that he was fired from his previous job at a suburban
police department for being inherently unsuited to police work and
according to his previous supervisors, basically unable to control himself,
specifically around firearms.
Cleveland hired a guy whose personnel record said that because they
had no policy of reading previous personnel files for anyone they were
considering hiring to be a Cleveland cop. They didn`t have a policy of
looking at that kind of stuff.
And so, yes, the federal government will step in and intervene in the
administration of Cleveland`s police force. They`ll do it for the second
time in a decade. And maybe that will help. But there`s no reason to
think that federal intervention is magic. Ask anybody who has ever been
shot by an FBI agent.
Today, the attorney general of New York state proposed something that
would be a significant change. It would be at least a systemic kind of
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today proposed that when police
officers kill an unarmed civilian in New York, such a case should not be
handled by local prosecutors. Incidents like that should be treated
basically as special circumstances for prosecution. They should be handed
up as a matter of course to the state to investigate and prosecute. Cases
like that should go to his office, to the office of the state attorney
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think this would do
– go a long way towards restoring public confidence which right now is
shot. The public and this crosses racial lines, ideological lines, public
confidence in our system of investigating and prosecuting police
misconduct, particularly when unarmed civilians are killed by the police.
It must be addressed.
It`s not that I don`t believe my colleagues, the district attorneys,
are completely committed to integrity of the process. This is something to
restore public confidence because, again, the appearance of justice has to
be restored. A sense of equal justice under the law and disinterested
prosecutor. I would be very disappointed with all of the energy of the
protests we come away with nothing in way of reforming.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman talking to Ronan
Farrow today explaining this request he`s made to New York state`s
governor, request for an executive order that would put his office, his
attorney general`s office in charge at the state level whenever an unarmed
civilian is killed by police in the state of New York.
Is that the right reform? Wisconsin has just started trying
something kind of like this as a landmark new state law. But no state has
done exactly this. Would it work? Would be it a real change? Is this
Stay with us.
MADDOW: At this time last week, there was essentially a mass
conservative freak out when five members of the St. Louis Rams football
team entered the stadium for their game last week with their hands up.
Hands up in the air – making the “hands up, don`t shoot” gesture that
we`ve seen so commonly at the protests in and about Ferguson, Missouri.
That was last Sunday.
Will there be a similar freak out starting right about now because
this was the scene just a short time ago tonight at the Brooklyn Nets
basketball game? That is the king of the NBA, LeBron James, warming up for
tonight`s game against the Nets, in an “I can`t breathe” t-shirt, a
reference to the final words of Eric Garner who died as a result of a
police chokehold in Staten Island.
Will we now get conservative freak out round two over this or is
LeBron James too big to pick on?
We`ll be right back.
MADDOW: For yet another night, protests continue around the country
against the police killing of citizens, in part with immunity, right?
Earlier this evening in Brooklyn, New York, protesters staged a die-
in outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn where tonight, Prince William
and Duchess Kate Middleton were among those watching the Brooklyn-Nets
We`ve seen demonstrations today and tonight in Washington, D.C.,
Oakland, California, even Anchorage, Alaska. Protests don`t seem to be
wrapping up anytime soon.
This is an aerial shot of what appears to be large-scale protests in
the streets of Berkeley, California, where there was some violence both in
terms of looting and between protesters and between protesters and police
Joining us now is Eric Adams. He retired as a captain in the NYPD
after serving 22 years on the force. He`s co-founder of 100 Blacks in Law
Enforcement Who Care, former state senator in New York. This year, Eric
Adams became the top elected official in Brooklyn. He`s the borough
Mr. Adams, thanks for being here tonight.
ERIC ADAMS, BROOKLYN, NY BOROUGH PRESIDENT: Thank you so much.
MADDOW: Looking at those protesters in the streets of Brooklyn
tonight outside the Barclays Center and what appears to be a real sustained
effort here to keep this fight going on in the streets, as well as in the
discussion, do you feel like it`s leading toward anything constructive?
ADAMS: I`m extremely excited. You know, my entire career in the
police department, I pushed for this. I was demonized for talking about we
need systemic changes.
And now, this is my life labor I`m seeing materialize and the
diversity. These are the grandchildren of the civil rights movement.
Black, white, different ethnicities, difficult cultures that are saying
they want change.
They aren`t fighting against the police department. They are
fighting against the past. They want the future to be a brighter future.
MADDOW: Can you talk about what you wrote about recently in a
national op-ed? You wrote about your decision to become a police officer
despite, or maybe because of circumstances that you happened to you when
you were a teenager. You were arrested and were treated very badly by
police, abused by police and that was part of your decision to join the
ADAMS: Yes, it`s about reconciliation. You know, you reconcile with
people but also have to reconcile with yourself and people saw that, why
did I seem like a man possessed around, you know, abuse in law enforcement.
Because the demon was within me and I had to deal with that demon of
how I was treated as a 15-year-old child. You look at law enforcement to
be this symbol of strength in America and then to be brutalized in such a
manner. You walk away with – you know, have to be part of the change.
MADDOW: We heard the announcements there, at least the request today
from New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. He`s written to
Governor Cuomo and said that at least as a temporary measure, at least
until the law can be changed, he`d like an executive order from Governor
Cuomo that would let the state attorney general`s office become the
investigating agency, instead of local prosecutors, whenever police kill an
Do you support that? Do you think it`s smart?
ADAMS: Excellent idea because elected officials will always tell you
what they`re going to do because we`re hoping to kick the can down the
road. Eric Schneiderman is saying before we talk about what we`re going to
do and more powers we need, let`s utilize the powers that we have now.
The governor can do this instantly. That`s been done before. This
is a great opportunity to say to the local district attorneys, listen, this
is not an indictment on you. This is not an indictment on the people who
serve on the grand jury. But we`re clear, there`s a problem on when it`s
time to look after a beat cop that went rogue.
We know you can do it with the average citizen robs a store, but
you`re having a problem across the country when it times to deal with an
officer and his actions.
MADDOW: Do you think that New York is likely to go that direction?
Do you feel the desire for change and reform in New York is strong enough
and being stressed constructively enough that you think something will
happen? Are you optimistic?
ADAMS: This is unbelievable what we`re seeing right now.
Particularly for those of us who were always tempted to move this issue
forward. When you have men on the basketball court doing this, you are
going to have judges on the Supreme Court finally looking at, we can do
We`re better at a country than what we`re seeing now, and I`m
optimistic. We have been living in this drunkenness of police abuse. Now
is the time to take the steps toward sobriety. One step at a time.
MADDOW: Brooklyn borough president, co-founder of the 100 Blacks on
Law Enforcement Who Care, former NYPD captain, Eric Adams – thank you so
much for being here.
ADAMS: Thank you.
MADDOW: Thanks. Great to have you here.
All right. We got lots more ahead, including a milestone in American
politics that seemed laugh-out-loud impossible about 50 years ago.
Stay with us.
MADDOW: Tonight, the head of the ACLU, the head of the national ACLU
has just published this op-ed in “The New York Times.” It`s going to be in
tomorrow morning`s paper.
It calls for president – we have a picture of the op-ed there? I
can hold it up if we don`t have a picture of it. This op-ed, there we go.
The op-ed calls for President Obama to issue a pardon to former
President George W. Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney and other
senior Bush administration officials for overseeing torture as a U.S.
policy for years. Quote, “The spectacle of the president`s granting
pardons to torturers still makes my stomach turn”, he said, “but doing so
may be the only way to ensure that the American government never tortures
again. Pardons would make clear that crimes were committed.”
Again, this is the head of the national UCLA calling tonight for
President George W. Bush to be pardoned by President Obama over the issue
of torture. That`s provocative.
We`ve got more on that story ahead. Stay with us.
MADDOW: So, hey, the war in Afghanistan ended today. What you are
looking at is a ceremony held in an airfield in Kabul. U.S. and NATO
troops folded the coalition flags in a small choreographed ceremony and
that marked the formal end of the U.S. and NATO combat mission in
Afghanistan after more than 13 years. America`s longest ever war is now
over. By which I mean, it`s going to continue for a bunch more years.
This is one of those days where something that would otherwise be a
huge freaking deal, right? The formal end of a giant war was essentially
greeted with, eh, because the headline didn`t at all match the fine print.
Even though the U.S. combat mission technically ended today and this
ceremony was proof of that, the current U.S. plan is for more than 10,000
American troops to stay in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, for
another decade or even longer, according to the security agreement we have
signed. There were going to be 9,800 left indefinitely. Now they say it
will be more than 10,000. The troops were going to have no further combat
missions on the ground, but now they still may engage in combat missions
and there`s no date for them to come home.
So, yes. Basically, they are changing the name from “Operation
Enduring Freedom” to then new one, “Operation Resolute Support.” But
there`s a reason why even though the U.S. marked the formal end of that
long part of the long war today, it didn`t warrant a passing mention an the
White House Web site today.
Today was the day in the news where the presidency of Barack Obama
was clearly the one that had to take the baton from the previous presidency
of George W. Bash. America`s longest war in Afghanistan started in year
one of the George W. Bush administration. Yes, today it got a new name but
it`s still going strong.
There was also this headline today about the slow progress of finding
countries to accept prisoners who were taken by the last administration
with no real plan for what to do with them. They were never charged. They
were just stuffed into warehousing in Cuba.
Six prisoners just got sent to Uruguay. They`d all been at
Guantanamo since 2002. None of them had ever been charged. They were
recommended for release by the U.S. government way back in 2009. It has
taken another five years to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops
necessary to actually move them out.
It`s gone under the radar but the Obama administration in the last
few weeks has quietly picked up the pace in terms of transferring guys out
of Guantanamo. At the beginning of last month, one prisoner was
transferred to Kuwait. A few weeks later, four Yemenis and a Tunisian were
transferred to Georgia and Slovakia. A few days after that, another
prisoner was transferred to Saudi Arabia.
And now today, we have the six prisoners who have been sent to
Uruguay. And this, of course, is a scandal to the extent that people are
paying attention even though the Bush administration transferred hundreds
of prisoners out of Guantanamo.
But this is also something the president has been working on since
literally the first day of his presidency, when he signed that executive
order that called for the closure of Guantanamo. Guantanamo is still open,
of course. It`s slowly emptying out handful by handful. But it`s dragging
And if you need one more piece of today`s news, continuing to be the
cleanup of the more poorly thought out aspects of the George W. Bush
administration, there`s also this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NEWS: Good evening.
U.S. embassies and facilities around the world are preparing for
possible violence within the next 24 hours, because of the intentional
release of a report detailing the torture of terrorism suspects by the CIA
under the banner of the war on terror and in the wake of 9/11. This is not
a leak. This is a prepared document, 600 pages in length, released by the
Democrats who still control the Senate Intelligence Committee, who believe
that once this evidence is out for the world to see, the U.S. will never
again use torture as a means of interrogation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: Tomorrow, after months of wrangling between the Senate and
the CIA, the U.S. Senate is going to officially released big portions of
their exhaustive into torture carried out by the CIA during the George W.
Bush administration. Torture authorized as policy in Washington, executed
in the field by CIA officers and contractors.
The Senate Intelligence Committee spent years investigating this
issue, and they put together a 6,000-page report that we are told will lay
out a disturbing detail what sort of techniques were used an American-held
prisoners. It will also reportedly conclude that these methods were not
effective at gaining usable intelligence. It will also reportedly conclude
that some intelligence officials lied to or misled the White House and
Congress for years about what the agency did.
There`s been some question as to whether the Obama administration
would let this report be released, President Obama himself, though, earlier
this year sort of cut to the chase there, endorsed releasing the report and
explained why he thinks the report needs to come out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the immediate
aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot
of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things
that were contrary to our values.
When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques,
techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe
were torture, we crossed a line. And that needs to be – that needs to be
understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility
for that so that hopefully we don`t do it again in the future.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: We tortured some folks.
Again, we`re told to expect a 600-page summary of this multi-thousand
page report to be released tomorrow afternoon. This is a big deal. The
U.S. military has put thousands of U.S. Marines on alert throughout the
Middle East to prepare for possible repercussions.
Joining us now is Jonathan Landay, national security correspondent
for McClatchy Newspapers.
Mr. Landay, thanks very much fore being here. It`s a pleasure to
have you here.
JONATHAN LANDAY, MCCLATCHY NEWSPAPERS: My pleasure to be here.
MADDOW: So, this – the release of this report has been debated for
not months, years. Lots of arguments around redactions, about whether or
not the report should exist and what should be made public. What new
information are we likely to learn tomorrow when this 600-page summary is
LANDAY: We know what the main conclusions are. You yourself have
But I think what is going to come out in this executive summary that
we`re going to hopefully see tomorrow are some of the more gritty,
disturbing details of the procedures that were used on scores of detainees
at secret black sites overseas.
MADDOW: Will there be names of individuals who did these things,
names of policymakers who signed off on them?
LANDAY: No. In fact, some of the fight over the redactions were
about redacting pseudonyms of pseudonyms. In other words, there were fake
names of – used to cover up fake names of people, but according to the
administration and the intelligence community, if you took one of these
fake names and you used the information surrounding it throughout the
report, you could or somebody could detect the real identity of CIA covert
officers who were involved in the program.
Of course, the other part of the battle over in redactions was the
administration and the intelligence community`s contentions that there was
information in this report that would anger and jeopardize foreign
governments who were also – who cooperated in the program.
MADDOW: In terms of the expected fallout here, I have to say, I
don`t know if this is an answerable question, but I`ll put to you anyway –
it seems it is not a secret, at least it`s not a secret to the president of
the United States speaking publicly that some of what the United States did
after 9/11 was torture. That`s a known fact. It`s been described.
We`ve actually had a lot of pretty hairy details described by various
means over the years. That isn`t a secret.
If there isn`t any identifying information about who done it, let
alone some legal strategy to bring people to justice for having done this
illegal thing, arguably illegal thing, why is there an expectation or why
is the fear being raised that this report is going to land like such a shot
heard around the world?
LANDAY: Well, we`re going to have to wait and see. You know, it`s
speculation, obviously. There are some people who believe that the
concerns that are being voiced about possible violent repercussions are
overreacting and, of course, you have former President Bush, former Vice
President Cheney, current and former CIA officials and others who are
contending that the committee got it wrong. That the most important key
conclusions of the report that the use of these procedures did not produce
significant intelligence, did not win the cooperation of those who were
subjected to these procedures, that the CIA misled various parts of the
government, including the White House and Congress, is all wrong.
That in fact, these procedures produced intelligence that was
significant and led to the thwarting of plots against the United States,
terrorist plots against the United States, and led the CIA to the arrest of
some pretty significant players and al Qaeda.
MADDOW: Jonathan Landay, national security correspondent from
McClatchy Newspapers – thanks very much for helping us understand what to
expect for tomorrow, John. I appreciate it.
LANDAY: My pleasure, my pleasure.
MADDOW: The argument over this, this has been going on for years in
terms of people arguing about whether this could come out. This is not
about trying anybody for torture. This is not about bringing – you know,
naming and shaming people. This is not about exposing people who did this
so that the world can take their revenge or something.
Everybody involved in this study, everybody involved in this policy,
everybody who was exposed in this report will continue to be anonymous as
they are now.
But the right is telling us to freak out about this report that comes
out tomorrow. We`ll see when it comes out. It should be about 600 pages.
We`ll keep you posted. Stay with us.
MADDOW: Key factor in the most important story in Washington right
now. Key factor, I swear. It`s not supposed to bounce. I`ve been working
on this all day. I still suck. It`s important, though, I swear. Damn it.
Oh, that`s better with the green ones.
MADDOW: OK, check this out.
1930, the political map of darn near everything in the American
South. Blue, blue, blue. Not liberal. But with complete Democratic
control. The governors, the U.S. senators, statehouses. That`s the
American South in 1930.
OK. Give me 1940. Right. Blue. Still blue. Completely blue. The
entire thing from Texas to North Carolina.
1950, please? Thank you very much. The whole thing again. Every
governorship, statehouse. Democrats had a lock on the South.
Here we have 1960. Yes, copper blue, Selsun blue, blue velvet. You
can have any color you want as long as it`s blue, because Democrats
controlled the South, the solid South, solidly.
Then came 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson, a Southern Democrat,
signed the Civil Rights Act even though he knew at the time it would cost
his Democratic Party their hold on the Old Confederacy. He predicted that
in 1964 and he was correct.
Nate Cohen at “The New York Times” charted this the other day. The
flat line here at 100 percent shows Democratic control in the South. The
governorships, the U.S. Senate seats, both the statehouses, democrats had
them all until the 1960s.
Then in the mid-1960s, when President Johnson passed the civil rights
act, Democrats started losing ground. Little at first then a little more
and then a lot more. Somewhere right around here. This November, last
month, Democrat Kay Hagan lost her Senate seat in North Carolina. Mark
Pryor lost his in Arkansas, and that left one Southern Democrat – and that
one Democratic holder of a big statewide office anywhere in the U.S. South.
That one last southern Democrat was Mary Landrieu. The year Mary
Landrieu got that seat in the first place, Southern Democrats could still
win elections. Bill Clinton won his second term that year. He`d come up
as a Democratic governor. His Vice President Al Gore followed his dad into
government from the state of Tennessee.
Mary Landrieu got elected in those years and then held on through
eight years of George W. Bash, through Republican waves and Democratic
waves. The south voted against Barack Obama twice. But Louisiana still
picked Mary Landrieu. Mary Landrieu won in 2008 by six points, even as
Barack Obama lost her state by 19 points that year.
If you look back at exit polling from her various races over the
years, you could see that Mary Landrieu would get most of the African-
American vote, a huge proportion of the African-American vote and about a
third of the white vote. That`s how Mary Landrieu won. That`s how she
managed to stay ahead of this really trend line for Democrats in the South.
Get most of the black vote and get a third of the white vote.
Now, Louisiana does a lot of things differently from the rest of the
country. They have parishes instead of counties, right? They have drive-
through daiquiri shops, which everybody should have, but nobody does, but
them. Louisiana does things differently.
One of the quirks of Louisiana politics is they have an all in,
everybody against everybody election in the first round instead of party
primaries. They call it a jungle primary. And in the jungle primary this
November, that gave us an x-ray as to how Mary Landrieu was doing before
this weekend`s runoff.
Turns out her support among white voters had disappeared. She was
used to getting a third of the white vote but in November that was down to
– look – 18 percent. She had become basically just another Democrat who
couldn`t win in the South.
You know, we can debate why this is. Should Mary Landrieu have run
more on the Obama record? Did she waste her time on the Keystone pipeline,
touting herself as a supporter of that and calling for a vote on her
opponent`s bill to approve it? Right?
Was there no good way for her to run this year with Democrats in
exile across the Southern states? Did national Democrats let her down?
Has the Democratic ground game in the South turned to dust? What could
Mary Landrieu do in trying to remain the last southern Democrat in the
And whenever that would cost Democrats in terms of principle or
treasure to try to keep her as the last one blue dot in the South, would it
have been worth it?
Whatever the answers are, the results on Saturday, the result this
weekend is that Mary Landrieu got skunked in her runoff election. She lost
her Senate seat by 12 points.
The state that gave her three terms in a row picked a Republican this
time instead. Bill Cassidy will now become the first Republican to hold
that Louisiana Senate seat in 132 years.
The old solid South Democratic version is gone. The new solid South
is totally, solidly Republican. And in Louisiana this weekend, it was all
over, but the shouts of victory and just the briefest pause for the
reflection on defeat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU (D), LOUISIANA: If you want to spend your life in
a worthy cause, choose something that takes longer than your life to
achieve, and then you know it`s worth fighting for.
SEN.-ELECT BILL CASSIDY (D), LOUISIANA: God bless you, God bless
Louisiana, God bless the United States of America. Thank you once again.
(END VIDEO CLIPS)
MADDOW: If you`re interested in getting in touch with your member of
Congress, there are a few straightforward methods to choose from. You
could give their office a call. You can shoot them an e-mail. You can send
them a letter. If you`re old school or if you`re the pope, you could send
Members of Congress are occasionally responsive to a tweet and are
pretty used to hearing from people by online petition. If you`re feeling
pushy, you could show up in person as part of a protest or sit in.
But there`s one surefire way of getting noticed without leaving the
comfort of home – sending your member of Congress purposely awkward
objects in large numbers. About years ago, conservative activists had a
campaign of sending tea bags to Congress, to demonstrate Tea Party
sympathies. The influx of tea bags into the mail system was a strange
enough phenomenon to cause some upset and some logistical difficulties in
the congressional offices that were so inundated.
Couple years ago, some activists decided to send certain
conservative congressmen little knitted or crocheted uteruses. As in,
here`s a uterus for you, now stay out of mine.
So, this is the last week before this Congress packs up for the
holidays and for the year and for good. And if they don`t pass a spending
bill before they go on Thursday, the U.S. government will shut down.
Republican leadership says they don`t want a shut down, but the Republican
base of the Republican Party really wants one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The Democrats have been
shellacked, and the Republicans are running around like a fool (ph), saying
American people are not going to like them if they shut down the
government, is absurd. Barack Obama`s approvals in the `30s. This isn`t
about a government shutdown. This is about two elections in which the
people of this country are begging the Republican people to stop this man.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: The point is that (INAUDIBLE) won in spite
of the shutdown not because of the shutdown?
LIMBAUGH: What does it matter? They won. The point is, this is a
trick. I think the shutdown, you know what?
Here`s what it really means, Chris. The Republicans want what Obama
wants on immigration. And they are using the government shutdown as an
excuse to not stop him because the truth of the matter is, they agree with
it. Romney agrees with it. Jeb Bush agrees with it. Chamber of Commerce
agrees with it.
Obviously, the Republican establishment doesn`t want to stop
President Obama on comprehensive immigration reform.
WALLACE: Do you think John Boehner and Mitch McConnell agree with
LIMBAUGH: And very conveniently, here`s this government shutdown.
Oh, we can`t act, we can`t, because they`ll blame us for shutting down the
government. They`re going to be mad us for shutting down the government.
I think it`s absurd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADDOW: The base of the Republican Party really wants a government
shutdown. And they think the leadership, the establishment leadership,
Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, they are Obama lovers if they don`t have
the stones to go ahead and shut it down like the people demand. So, now,
talk radio and specifically conservative blogs are asking angry
conservatives to please mail to John Boehner`s office, some balls, maybe
racquetballs, balls in a can.
This is the specific balls that the “Red State” blog has linked to
for people to click through to arrange their balls` delivery to Speaker
Boehner`s office. The most recent product review from Bob says, “I just
sent a pair and a spare to John Boehner`s office.”
That said, Bob`s review is right next to one that doesn`t seem
promising in terms of its political impact. The next one says, “My dog
eats the fur off the yellow tennis balls, but these are so much better.”
So, in terms of whether or not angry conservatives sending balls
through the mail to John Boehner, whether they`re going to succeed at
stopping the Republicans in the House from funding the government, we don`t
yet know. We did reach out to John Boehner`s office in Springfield, Ohio,
today, as well as to the speaker`s spokesperson in D.C. to find out, we`ve
yet to hear back. We will update you as soon as we know whether Speaker
Boehner has received the balls, and if so, how many?
But tick-tock in terms of keeping the lights on. House Republicans
still have to figure what they want to vote on. Their earliest plan for
when to vote is Wednesday. Government funding runs out on Thursday. The
Senate would still need to pass it after the House.
If the Senate is up against the wall, we all know that just one
senator who won`t stop talking can gum up the whole works and in this case,
shut down the whole government again.
So, tick-tock. It`s racquetball stunt-o`clock in Washington, and the
shut down happens on Thursday unless the Republicans have to figure out how
to shut up their own conservative base again. Watch this space.
Now, it`s time for “THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL”.
Good evening, Lawrence.
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
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