The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 04/13/15

Joy Reid, Jeremy Peters, Beth Fouhy, Jonathan Allen, Manuel Roig- Franzia, Eugene O`Donnell, Pamela Meanes, Ramin Ahmadi, William Leogrande

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again
tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good
evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Rachel, it`s just an astonishing
report. There are lives at stake in the proper functioning of that

MADDOW: And they`ve been telling us all this time, don`t worry about
blowouts, we have blowout preventers that they`ve known all this time
basically do nothing to avert that threat, it`s so infuriating.

O`DONNELL: And it took this many deaths to get to this point.

MADDOW: Exactly, that`s many deaths in this many years –

O`DONNELL: Tragic, thank you –


O`DONNELL: Rachel very much –

MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence –

O`DONNELL: Thanks you –


O`DONNELL: Well, Hillary Clinton announced she`s running for president by
talking about voters. Marco Rubio announced he`s running by talking about
Marco Rubio and Hillary Clinton.

And Bill O`Reilly made an important campaign announcement tonight, he said
he`s going to be fair to Hillary Clinton.


earn your vote.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hillary crosses the Hudson(ph) –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From her home in Chappaqua, New York.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s gone off to look for America –

CLINTON: I`m running for president.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What people are going to want to hear is why she`s

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People do want to hear Hillary Clinton`s stance on
the issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clinton sees income inequality as a major problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People want somebody who is competent.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am running because I want to be a voice for women

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did someone say women everywhere?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No better way to assert your conservatism though than
bashing Hillary Clinton.

BILL O`REILLY, AUTHOR & TELEVISION HOST: We`re going to be fair to Hillary

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: We must do better than the Obama-
Clinton foreign policy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is not the woman for the White House.

O`REILLY: I don`t think gender matters one bit.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the
Washington machine.

O`REILLY: It will take a very articulated and tough-minded Republican to
defeat her.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you look at the other side, he is a bit slim
picking –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Things are about to get a lot hotter between Bush and

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I announce my candidacy for president of
the United States.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The historic meeting between the leaders of the United
States and Cuba.

OBAMA: It was a candid and fruitful conversation between me and Raul
Castro –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he hopes of a nuclear deal with Iran –

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: This is an agreement that is based on
transparency, accountability, verification.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The Ayatollah is probably right, John Kerry
is delusional.

OBAMA: Partisanship has crossed all boundaries.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t know if I have it in me, I`m scared – I`m
kidding, let`s do this.



O`DONNELL: Hillary Clinton`s video team used only two minutes 18 seconds
to state the obvious yesterday. Hillary Clinton is running for president.

The video contained only 321 words and only 92 of those were from Hillary
Clinton. No major presidential candidate in modern history has ever said
less in announcing a presidential campaign.


CLINTON: I`m getting ready to do something too. I`m running for
president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times,
but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.

Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion. So you
can do more than just get by, you can get ahead and stay ahead.

Because when families are strong, America is strong. So I`m hitting the
road to earn your vote because it`s your time and I hope you`ll join me on
this journey.


O`DONNELL: The next time voters will hear from Hillary Clinton is at a
campaign event tomorrow afternoon in Iowa where she arrived tonight after
completing the drive from her home in Chappaqua, New York, without making
any official campaign stops along the way.

Although, she might have picked up some crucial votes today in the swing
state of Ohio in this Chipotle off highway 80.

But apparently, most people at the Chipotle did not realize that a former
first lady, senator and secretary of state had just picked up a chicken
burrito bowl with guacamole and an iced tea.

On Saturday, President Obama said he thought Hillary Clinton would make an
excellent president while stopping short of an explicit endorsement and he
said it again today.


OBAMA: I think she will do great. I`ve known her for a very long time.
We had a really tough primary in 2008, and I saw firsthand how tenacious
and determined and compassionate she is when it comes to the issues facing
middle class and she was an outstanding secretary of state.

So I`m not going to do any political prognosticating, that`s your job. But
I will tell you that I think she would be an excellent president.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now for discussion is “New York Times” political
reporter and Msnbc political analyst Jeremy Peters.

Also joining us, Msnbc senior editor and host of “REPORTER`S NOTEBOOK” on
shift by Msnbc Beth Fouhy.

Also with us, chief political correspondent for and co-author of
the book “HRC”, Jonathan Allen.

Joining us from Des Moines, Iowa, Msnbc national correspondent Joy Reid.
Joy, Hillary made it to Iowa and I got to say, that was a fast drive.

Last time I drove cross-country which was decades ago, took me an awful lot
longer to get to Iowa. And what are we expecting to hear tomorrow, Joy?

JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the burrito bowl did not
deter her –

O`DONNELL: Did not –

REID: From making it all the way here to Iowa. So we are looking for
Hillary Clinton to do just what the campaign has been emphasizing, which is
to go into these small settings and have one-on-one conversations with

So the event that`s tomorrow in Monticello, was not far from (INAUDIBLE),
it is going to be at a community college. So, she`ll be talking presumably
with students and perhaps professors.

And then on Wednesday, she will be in the Des Moines area, not too far from
where I am now, and she will be talking with small business owners.

So this is all about that listening tour strategy that worked so well for
Hillary Clinton when she was running for senate in 2000 and she is
repurposing that for her presidential campaign.

O`DONNELL: The Hillary announcement did not go unnoticed by her Republican
opponents, let`s listen to what Jeb Bush had to say.


BUSH: It`s critical we change the direction our country is heading. We
must do better than the Obama-Clinton foreign policy that has damaged
relationships with our allies and embolden our enemies.

Better than their failed big government policies that grow our debt, and
stand in the way of real economic growth and prosperity. I believe it`s
conservative ideas that will renew America.


O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, I guess it`s time to get used to the phrase
Obama-Clinton foreign policy.

ANALYST: That`s exactly right.

I would just like to say for the record, I`m grateful that there were no
helicopters following Hillary Clinton along the way on her way to Iowa, or
else I fear we would have had this O.J. car-chase-like scene.

Which, thank God, didn`t happen. I do think that if you take into account
what Hillary said yesterday in her very short video as you point out, the
shortest ever in history of a modern presidential campaign.

One thing you didn`t hear was her talking about herself and her as a
candidate. And that`s one thing that you`re going to hear on and on and on
and on again.

This is not about her, it`s not about her stuff, it`s not about her
campaign, it`s about the people that have been left behind. And that`s –
imagine what we`re going to hear a lot tomorrow from her in Iowa.

O`DONNELL: Beth, I also didn`t hear anything that could get her in trouble
with any voter anywhere in America.

Especially Democratic party voters, like fast track trade authority for
President Obama, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the trade agreement they`re
working on now.

BETH FOUHY, SENIOR EDITOR, MSNBC: Yes, but you know, it`s her first day.
She`s allowed to put together a very pleasant video just to say, hi, I`m
doing this folks.

All those waiting around is over and I am in. It`s a pretty good video, so
much better than the one she did in 2008 where she was just sitting on that
couch saying basically the opposite of what she said.

It`s all about me, now let`s face it, it really is still all about her.
She`s going to try very hard as Jeremy was saying, to make the campaign
about others.

But it`s – you know, Hillary Clinton is too singular and pivotal figure in
our public life to pretend that it`s anything but not a campaign about
Hillary and a – and a referendum on her really.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, how long can she go without answering questions
about this new trade deal or for example President Obama`s Cuba policy?

I think her plan is to talk to voters, if they ask her questions as opposed
to we may as the media be the beneficiaries of listening to the answers to
those questions.

But I think you`re absolutely right. I think the unions for instance are
up in arms right now about the trade promotion authority and the TPP deal.

I think the President`s policy toward any number of countries, not just
Cuba, but also Iran right now is something that reporters would love to
hear her full thoughts on.

But I think she`s trying to avoid interactions with the press and avoid big
campaign rallies and really try to get a few people at a time.

Which is a strength of her. She did town halls as secretary of state
across the world. Sometimes with relatively belligerent audiences.

But it was something that – it was a format that she felt comfortable in
and I think that`s one of the reasons she`s started off with it this time.

O`DONNELL: Let`s look at what Rand Paul did in reaction to Hillary`s


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton represents the worst of the
Washington machine, the arrogance of power, corruption and cover-up.

Conflicts of interest and failed leadership with tragic consequences. The
Washington machine is destroying the American dream. It`s time for a new
leader and a new way – Rand Paul.


O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, Jeb Bush has to look at that Rand Paul ad and be
really thankful that he is in the race.

Because Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, those guys can just bang away at Hillary
Clinton and do whatever damage they do while Jeb gets to sound more
reasonable and softer.

To Joy –

REID: Well, you know, yes and no. But the thing is that whatever these
sort of issues about the past and you know, sort of the worst of the past
come up, Jeb Bush may not be the target of those kinds of attacks, but they
do form a glancing blow against him.

I think even when Marco Rubio – when any of these candidates talk about
dynastic or candidates of the past, well, that kind of does beg the
question whether or not Jeb Bush is included in that.

And yes, attacking Hillary Clinton is vintage strategy for the Republican
party, they`ve had like 25 years of practice doing it.

But my question would be whether or not that actually strengthens any of
them as the clear alternative to her.

And that`s not – and we haven`t heard that yet from any of those
Republican candidates.

O`DONNELL: Bill de Blasio, and mayor of New York had an interesting moment
on “Meet the Press” yesterday with Chuck Todd.

This is someone whose career – his political career is based on his work
with the Clintons. Let`s watch this.


CHUCK TODD, JOURNALIST: Are you for her now unequivocally or do you want
to wait to see if she takes your advice on moving to a more progressive

people in this country, I want to see a vision. And again, that would be
true of candidates on all levels.

It`s time to see a clear bold vision for progressive –

TODD: So you –

DE BLASIO: Economic change –

TODD: You`re not – you`re not – you`re technically not yet endorsing

DE BLASIO: No, not until I see, and again, I would say this about any
candidate, until I see an actual vision of where they want to go – I think
she is a tremendous public servant, I think she is one of the most
qualified people to ever run for this office.

And by the way, thoroughly vetted, we can say that, but we need to see the


O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, what could possibly have gone wrong for Bill de
Blasio if he had endorsed Hillary Clinton yesterday?

ALLEN: Well, she could have asked him to unendorsed her.


O`DONNELL: There`s always side, I guess

ALLEN: She`s a lot more popular in the Democratic party right now than he
is. So I think there is – look, the problem for him and for her is that,
she may not want to be married to him right now politically.

But also I think he`s making a reasonable point, which is that Hillary
Clinton hasn`t put a vision out there, so it`s harder for some folks,
particularly those on the – on the left in the Democratic party to get
behind no vision.

It`s been a problem for her in the past. I think what she`s doing and
talking to – talking to voters over the next couple of weeks and couple of
months is she`s going to come back and say that her vision is one that has
come from the people, she`s talked to now.

We all know what her policies are actually likely to be and that they`re
all pretty settled. But she will come forward and say, this is why I`m
doing it, it`s because this is what I heard in Iowa, this is what I heard
in New Hampshire and this is my vision.

O`DONNELL: So Jonathan, since you`ve actually written the book on Hillary
or one of the books on Hillary, is it conceivable to you that de Blasio is
actually in coordination with the Clinton campaign there and not stepping
forward with that quick endorsement?

ALLEN: Is it conceivable? Sure. Do I have any evidence to support that?
Absolutely not. I – look, it makes sense for Bill de Blasio to wait – to
wait a step for his own politics.

It also makes sense for the Clintons to not happen to be the first person
out there on national television endorsing her.

I think there are other people – and by the way, one of the interesting
things about the video, in stark contrast to all of the political videos
that I`ve ever seen with what you would call – or what she calls everyday

Not a single one of them gave a testimonial to her. It was so much not
about her in terms of the message that none of them said, here are my
hopes, dreams and aspirations and Hillary Clinton is the one to deliver

It was all implicit, I thought that was fascinating, an interesting aspect
of that video.

O`DONNELL: Jonathan Allen, author of “HRC”, thanks for joining us tonight,

ALLEN: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Marco Rubio says Hillary Clinton is a candidate of
the past, but Marco Rubio is the candidate of the past on Cuba policy.

He wants to reinstate the cold war against Cuba that President Obama has
officially declared to being a thing of the past.


O`DONNELL: Rand Paul`s online presidential campaign store has Rand Paul
campaign bumper stickers, a Rand Paul autographed copy of the constitution
and Rand Paul flip-flops for the beach.

But the campaign soon realized the candidate Rand Paul doesn`t want to be
associated with flip-flops.

So the campaign has renamed the flip-flops, instead of selling Rand Paul
flip-flops, the campaign website now sells Rand Paul sandals, OK?

You got that? They`re sandals. Up next, is Marco Rubio running for
president or is he really running for vice president?



RUBIO: And just yesterday, a leader from yesterday –


Began a campaign for president by promising to take us back to yesterday.
Yesterday is over.


That is why tonight, grounded by the lessons of our history, but inspired
by the promise of our future, I announce my candidacy for president of the
United States.



O`DONNELL: Well, we`re joined now by Manuel Roig-Franzia, a reporter for
“The Washington Post” and the author of the book “The Rise of Marco Rubio”.

I want to play something that Marco Rubio said today about his parents
coming to this country. Let`s listen to that.


RUBIO: When they were young, my parents had big dreams for themselves, but
because they were born into – because they were not born into wealth or
power, their future was destined to be defined by their past.

And so in 1956, they came here to America, to the one place on earth where
the aspirations of people like them could be more than just dreams.


O`DONNELL: Now, Manuel, you were actually in some sense a rewriter of that
line, because in years past, Marco Rubio had actually said that they came
much later and that they came after Castro took power.

You caught that a couple of years ago, and he`s since had to correct it.
Isn`t that the history of it?

Rubio was coming up in Florida politics, he was saying that his family had
to flee the island, it was sort of a very important way of him defining the
Cuban exile.

The – you know, dramatic family story that help define him and the records
were clear, that myself and others were able to find.

That they came in 1956 before Castro, and you know, he has made that
change, he`s also sort of changed the language that he uses to talk about

He refers to them much more frequently now as immigrants rather than

O`DONNELL: I just want to play some of the video of the way he used to say
this before he had to correct it. Let`s listen to that.


RUBIO: And my parents and grandparents came here from Cuba in `58-`59, and
I think that the direction that we`re going now, Washington D.C. would make
us more like the rest of the world and not like the exceptional nation that
my parents found when they came here from Cuba in 1959.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your father came here from Cuba –

RUBIO: My parents both did, yes –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Came here from Cuba –

RUBIO: In 1959.


O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, I got to say, I think Manuel did him a big favor by
having him work out the correction on that before he got caught in the
middle of a presidential campaign and have to work it out then.

REID: Yes, and it was pretty very significant for Marco Rubio as a
politician in Florida where he was so much defined for being a part of that
exile community with its – with all that comes with that, right?

With that fierce sort of anti-communism issue where they don`t want any
change in the Cuba politics et cetera.

But now you`re seeing Marco Rubio try to morph into a candidate who can be
broader than the Cuban-American cohort.

Of course, something like six and ten are a little bit more than six and
ten Latinos or actually of Mexican-American heritage, and so he`s got to
really broaden it out.

And there really has never been a great symmetry or much closeness between
Cuban Americans and Mexican Americans. He`s got enough to try to appeal
outside of hardcore Miami.

But the interesting thing is that while Marco Rubio has corrected the
biography, he hasn`t changed his policy stances at all.

And it`s sort of ironic that he was talking about the candidates and the
policies of the past, referring to the Clintons that – presumably protects
Jeb Bush.

But he wants to go back to the hard line and hold on to those hard line
policies that would have us never open to Cuba.

A policy that`s popular not just with Cuban Americans, with the Cubans as
we`ve seen with the recent poll.

So it`s an interesting juxtaposition. He is trying to be sort of the face
of youth of the Republican party, but his policy positions are very retro.

O`DONNELL: All right, let`s take a look at the poll standings now,
nationally, Republican primary voters, this is a “Fox News” poll.

It shows Scott Walker at the top, you got Jeb Bush running second, Ben
Carson third, Ted Cruz, after that, Huckabee, and Rand Paul way down there
in nine.

And then there is Marco Rubio down at the bottom of that pile. And Jeremy
Peters, it raises the question, he`s looking at the same poll as everyone
else is.

Does he look at this poll and think there is actually a way for him to get
up there and beat either Jeb Bush or Scott Walker?

PETERS: All right, two things. First, I think it`s a question of the poll
itself. You know, these national surveys, nationally of voters don`t mean
really all that much unless you`re asking voters just in Iowa or just in
New Hampshire.

Now that said, I think Marco Rubio knows that it`s going to be a difficult
path. He knows that everything is going to have to break just right.

Now if it does, then he has a real shot at it. But keep in mind, this is
somebody who has been told no, all his life.

My colleagues have a great story in the “New York Times” today about his –
how `no` has been an animating drive for him his entire career.

He was told he shouldn`t run for state house, he was told he shouldn`t run
for senate, and what happened? He beat the establishment candidate, he
embarrassed them.

And I think that`s part of what is driving him here. He sees the
opportunity that, once again, stick it to the establishment.

O`DONNELL: And Beth, he has to go after Jeb Bush. He has to knock out Jeb
Bush because if he does have a dream of coming in second here and getting
the vice presidential nomination, he can`t get that if it`s Jeb Bush
because you can`t have both of them from the same state.

FOUHY: Right, and Jeb Bush is his political mentor. So this is almost
like a family – a family crisis going on in Florida –


FOUHY: Now. But you know, he said something really interesting in his
announcement today where he made the point, he said, people have told me
that I ought to stay and wait in my turn, wait in line.

I don`t want to do that. He said it`s too important for America that I
don`t do that. It was rather self aggrandizing.

But I think he made an interesting point that resonates with a lot of –
sort of younger people who are sick of being told they can`t, that they`re
supposed to wait in line.

It was a very good message for this sort of younger demographic and this
young – youth-oriented message that Marco Rubio is presenting right now.

That he is the special face and he actually shares the impatience that lots
of people who are on the younger side have with waiting for their elders to
get out of the way.

He`s not going to do that.

O`DONNELL: Manuel Roig-Franzia, I`d like to hear you on this issue of Cuba
policy, where that`s the spot where Marco Rubio wants to reach back into
the past and get things back to where they were in the mid-1960s, I
suppose, just the height of the tensions.

ROIG-FRANZIA: Yes, well, there is no question Marco Rubio is a bit out of
sync with the trend line in polling about Cuba policy.

Young Cuban Americans are much more inclined now to want an opening with
Cuba, an end to the embargo. Marco Rubio has been very firm that he is
opposed to any opening.

It`s really one of the defining characteristics of his political persona.
And we will see how that plays, because I have to tell you this, even
though the polls say that people`s attitudes are changing, politicians with
hard line positions on Cuba have fared pretty done well particularly in

And Marco Rubio is pretty good at calibrating the will of the voters.

O`DONNELL: But this problem in the Republican field is that every one of
them has the same policy on this, so it`s going to be hard to distinguish

Manuel Roig-Franzia, thank you very much for joining us tonight.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, a reserve sheriff, not a real sheriff, a so-called
reserve sheriff shoots and kills a suspect while he`s being held on the
ground by real police officers.

And coming up, the President`s historic foreign policy moves on Cuba and


O`DONNELL: Today in Oklahoma, Tulsa County Reserve Deputy was charged with
second-degree manslaughter after he shot and killed a suspect during an
arrest earlier this month. NBC`s Kevin Tibbles has more.


KEVIN TIBBLES, NBC CORERSPONDENT (voice-over): Police video of a sting
operation in Oklahoma. The suspect bolts from undercover agents with the
Tulsa County Sheriff`s Office and is chased.

A scuffle is picked up by a police bodycam. According to police, one
deputy says, “Taser. Roll on your stomach now.”

But then, 44-year-old, Eric Harris, who, authorities say had an extensive
criminal record, is not tased but shot. Immediately, a voice is heard.

him. I`m sorry.

TIBBLES: Officers then subdue Harris. One kneels on his head.



TIBBLES: The man who pulled the trigger is 73-year-old, Bob Bates, an
insurance broker who volunteers as a reserve deputy.

The Sheriff`s Office says he mistakenly pulled his handgun of his taser and
fired. Harris died later.

had a less lethal device in his hand and he was going to administer a less
lethal taser probe when, in reality, he had a firearm in his hand.

TIBBLES: The Sheriff`s Office says, reserve deputies are members of the
public – doctors, bankers, even retired police officers, who receive
varying degrees of training.

Bates donated thousands of dollars in equipment. And the authorities say
his role in this operation was in a backup capacity.

ANDRE HARRIS, ERIC HARRIS` BROTHER: If he had as much training as he
supposedly had, he would definitely know a .357 from a taser.

TIBBLES: While a Sheriff`s Office investigation recommended Bates not be
charged, late today, the Tulsa County District Attorney did charge him with
second-degree manslaughter.

Kevin Tibbles, NBC News Chicago.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now is Eugene O`Donnell, Professor of Law and Police
Studies at John Jay College and a former NYPD police officer. Also joining
us from St. Louis is Pamela Meanes, President of the National Bar

Eugene, your reaction on what we just saw in that video.

aside from the individual stuff, this is a sting operation involving a
reserve deputy.

You take the Garner case, you take South Carolina, –


– the systematic failures here are amazing, how these situations are
allowed to take place, these minor offenses or these insertions of people
that shouldn`t be there.

And you wonder where are the people that are elected to oversee any of this

O`DONNELL: Seventy-three years old, I didn`t know this existed. I`m
learning about this today, that the American Law Enforcement has these
volunteers who are given all of these police powers. Los Angeles County
has –


– 400 of these. I didn`t know they had any.

EUGENE O`DONNELL: L.A.P.D. There`s lots of departments that use these.
And they`re actually integrated fully into the organization but they go
through the same academy.

This case, this guy appears to be a contributor to the sheriff, gives stuff
to the sheriff. And, obviously, it`s one thing to be standing at the
Fourth of July parade, but to be invited – I`d like to know what this
sting operation is about.

So, some of these systematic issues, also, are just really troubling.

O`DONNELL: Yes, Pamela Meanes, I find it shocking that we have these, you
know, police wannabes who just say, “Here, give me some equipment. I`ll
help you out for free,” which I can understand, you know, some budget-
conscious, to put it politely, politicians saying, “Oh, let`s get some guys
to do this for free instead of paying real police officers.”

We had this same situation but a different set of facts with the Trayvon
Martin case.

Everybody wants to be a part of law enforcement. And instead of us making
certain that those individuals that hold life and death in the palm of
their hands are individuals that are well-trained.

I`m not at all shocked that this guy was a reserve officer. What we`re
finding now, Lawrence, is that –


– cameras are exposing these systematic failures.

O`DONNELL: Let`s take a look at another angle on this shooting in Tulsa.






BATES: Oh, I shot him. I`m sorry.

HARRIS: He shot me, man. Oh, my God.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE POLICE OFFICER: He didn`t do (bleep). He didn`t do
(bleep). You hear me.

HARRIS: I`m losing my breath.



O`DONNELL: Eugene, those officers, they were holding him down even after
he`s shot. Their conduct is just as bad, without guns, as the guy who shot

EUGENE O`DONNELL: Yes. There`s no reason to believe this guy is armed at


EUGENE O`DONNELL: This is a mistake. Nobody couldn`t even claim that.
So, I don`t know what happened there in terms of them –

O`DONNELL: Yes. Pamela Meanes, I want to get to a point you`ve raised
about the shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina.

MEANES: Absolutely.

O`DONNELL: Go ahead. You`re concerned about, again, not just the
shooting. You`re concerned about the other officers involved. What is
your point about that.

MEANES: Oh, absolutely. The National Bar Association believes that
Officer Clarence Habersham, along with the other officers who may have
filed false reports, they should also be indicted.

Look, when an individual hinders, –


– by omission, the apprehension of an individual who has committed a
crime, we call that in American Justice System, “obstruction of justice.”

And that`s what we have in the Scott case. And we believe that if you take
a look at what Officer Habersham did, –


– it`s a classic case of obstruction of justice. He should be tried,
removed from the force. And any other officer that advanced at pushing out
that false story before we could find out the truth by watching the
videotape, should be held as culpable.

O`DONNELL: Eugene, we read his report on the air. It`s just a one or two-
sentence thing. And what we don`t know – and this could answer some of
what Pamela`s concerned about – we don`t know what he told investigators.

But it is entirely possible to give him the benefit of the doubt that, as
soon as investigators show up, he tells them everything that he saw, some
of which might have been very, very helpful and beyond what was in his
written report.

We don`t know whether he did or didn`t.

EUGENE O`DONNELL: We don`t. But we do know that whistleblowing in police
departments can be very, very difficult.


EUGENE O`DONNELL: And we do know police`s sworn duties generalize things
about ethics. But how many police departments would say, “If you see a
profoundly unfair, unjust illegal thing, you must come forward and we will
support you.”

Most cops would say they don`t get that kind of messaging.

O`DONNELL: Yes. They don`t. We`re going to have to break it –


O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Pamela, go ahead.

MEANES: And, Lawrence, here`s the problem though – if we wouldn`t have
had the video, and all we had were the statements and not the
investigation, we would have had a narrative that this was a traffic stop
gone bad.

And what concerns us at the National Bar Association is investigations are
often based on police reports. They`re not based on anything else.

And that`s the problem here. The police reports miss so much had we not
had the video.

O`DONNELL: And those police reports were written before they knew that
video existed. Eugene O`Donnell and Pamela Meanes, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

MEANES: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, a new book tells you –


– who smoked pot, a lot of pot, in the White House.




BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: Let`s wait and see what the deal
is. And we`ll be able to look.


O`DONNELL: That is the message Secretary of State John Kerry brought to
Capitol Hill today when he briefed House Members on the Iran Nuclear

Secretary Kerry will brief senators tomorrow before the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee markup of the Corker Bill, which would let Congress
review any final agreement reached by the Obama administration.


OBAMA: Would I prefer that Iran never had, never did have, will never have
even a single nut, bolt, anything related to nuclear power, don`t have any
nuclear scientists, don`t have any capacity to develop it.

That`d be great. But that`s not possible. That`s not achievable.

That`s not achievable through sanctions, that`s not achievable through
military means.


O`DONNELL: In a preview of what could happen if Congress is able to kill a
multi-nation deal with Iran, one of the nations involved in that deal,
Russia, today lifted a self-imposed ban on selling air defense missile
systems to Iran, which Russia stopped doing in 2010, after lobbying from
the United States and Israel.

Joining us now, Ramin Ahmadi, the Co-Founder of the Iran Human Rights
Documentation Center, and Steve Clemons, Washington Editor-at-Large for
“The Atlantic” and an MSNBC contributor.

Ramin Ahmadi, today, George Will`s column said that he believes that we
can`t prevent the spread –


– of this science endlessly, that Iran will eventually get nuclear
weapons. But the –


– delay that the Obama administration to achieve is worth it, that any
delay that`s achievable is worth it. What`s your reaction to that.

RAMIN AHMADI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I think it`s true. I think any deal
between Iran and United States, decreasing the tensions and normalizing the
relationship between the two countries is a positive development.

And it will have a positive impact inside Iran. Iranians are celebrating
it already. They see this as an opportunity for opening with the West.


And a normalized relationship means lifting of the sanctions. They feel
that that means that their economic lot is going to get better.

But we know that`s not the case. We know that the sanctions are not going
to go away overnight. And we know, even when the sanctions go away, their
economic situation will not get better.

Iran`s economic problems have very deep structural crises. And it is run,
you know, by a mafia economy, essentially in the hands of revolutionary


So, the power of rising expectations, in fact, is what will crush this
regime. People are expecting a lot at this point.

And the ceiling is rising any day. And so, what we are going to see, I
think, in the aftermath of the deal is a lot of disappointed and angry
people who are not seeing a real change their daily life.

O`DONNELL: Steve Clemons, what`s your reaction to Vladimir Putin today
deciding to start to sell a weapon system to Iran that they stopped selling
years ago.

STEVE CLEMONS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, he just stuck a thumb in our eye.
He is – you know, I think that what he did is a bit more about his ongoing
prodding of the United States on various fronts, than it is specifically
about Iran –


– and its self-defense capacity that could be used potentially around
various nuclear sites and whatnot.

But I think it`s also a very important thing for those in the G.O.P. to
remember that Russia is only one country of many that is likely to continue
to move away from the United States and the sanctions regime that we`ve
cobbled together around the world if this deal doesn`t go through.

Vladimir Putin has just given us a taste of what comes if this all falls


O`DONNELL: And, Ramin, to go back to your point that the deal, ultimately,
would be the undoing of the current regime, I just want you to underline

Your point is that expectations will run so high. We saw the reaction on
the streets of Iran, when the framework was announced, that`s so positive.

And people will expect big, quick changes in their lives and in their
lifestyles. But the economy there is too entrenched in its problems, will
not be able to delivery that quickly.

And then what happens. What kind of – what kind of power do you see being
brought against the regime because of that.

AHMADI: Well, we have to look at two different fronts. On the regime
side, you`re going to see the divisions within the regime will become more

Soft liners and hard liners within the revolutionary guards will start to
take aims at each other. And revolutionary guards, like any other military
force, is not going to settle their differences by negotiations or some
rational argument.

On the people`s front, I think what you will see is essentially people
organizing, labor taking an interest now in the engaging more in the street

And also, the overall, you know, the forces of civil society, I think, will
see a much more clear picture because they`re not used to seeing the U.S.
imperialism opposing their dictator.

O`DONNELL: Ramin Ahmadi, thank you very much for joining us tonight. And
Steve Clemons, thank you.

Coming up, President Obama meets President Castro and –


– talks to him for an hour, and makes history in the process.




OBAMA: There`s going to be an evolution, regardless of what we do inside
of Cuba. And part of my message here is the Cold War is over.

O`DONNELL: President Obama made history this weekend not only by being the
first president to declare that the Cold War with Cuba is over, but also as
the first president to meet with the President of Cuba in 59 years.

Joining us now is William Leogrande, Co-Author of “Back Channel to Cuba:
The Hidden History of Negotiations Between Washington and Havana, is a
professor at an American University.

William Leogrande, set this weekend`s events in history.

historic, as the President himself said when he began his remarks. As you
pointed out, we – no U.S. president has spoken with the Cuban President
until Obama –


– spoke to Raul Castro on December 16th, the day before they made their
famous announcement. Then they spoke again on the phone right before the

And, now, they`ve had a fairly lengthy, more than an hour-long meeting at
the summit itself, talking about the ways in which the two countries can
proceed toward a more normal relationship.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Raul Castro said about the discussion.

RAUL CASTRO, PRESIDENT, CUBA (via translator): The taste of life at the
present moment in the world, it`s very fast.

We might disagree on something today, on which we could agree tomorrow.


O`DONNELL: We might disagree on something today, on which we could agree
tomorrow. William Leogrande, I think we`re going to see many of those
things over the next couple of years.

LEOGRANDE: Well, there`s no question about it. In the discussion that
they had, we know that they talked about the steps needed to try to
normalize diplomatic relations.

There are some disagreements there but there are things that can be worked
out. But President Obama also emphasized that he`s going to continue to
talk about human rights and democracy.

And the Cubans are going to continue to talk about –


– some of the problems that they have with us. So, there are a lot of
issues that divide the two countries but, I think, both presidents have
come to the decision that they have more to gain by a policy of engagement
and coexistence with one another than retaining the policy of hostility
that`s been in place for 54 years.

O`DONNELL: And what do you make of the –


– states sponsors terrorism status that Cuba has, which could not be more
absurd. And yet, the United States still – what do you make of the pause
in the United States` movement toward getting rid of that.

LEOGRANDE: Well, I think that the President would like to see that issue
get resolved more or less at the same time that we resolve some of the
other issues standing in the way of normalizing diplomatic relations.


I don`t have any doubt that, eventually, the President is going to take
Cuba off the list. The State Department has recommended that Cuba be off
the list.

I think most independent observers don`t think it makes much sense for them
to be on it. But there are some other issues standing in the way of
normalizing diplomatic relations.

And I think that the President is hoping that –


– his decision on that will induce some flexibility on the Cuban side on
these other issues.

O`DONNELL: William Leogrande, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

LEOGRANDE: Glad to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, 50 years of stories from inside the White House,
including who were the biggest –


– pot smokers who slept in the White House.



I thought I knew everything there was to know about Lyndon Johnson, every
important thing. But you know nothing about President Johnson, unless you
know about his shower.

“The Secrets of the White House,” a new book has the good ones. That`s


Why was Lyndon Johnson obsessed with his shower at the White House. What
did the Obamas do on their first night in the White House.

From the Kennedys to the Obamas, 50 years and 10 administrations, the
stories from the people who worked at the White House – butlers, chefs,
ushers, are now being shared in a new book, “The Residence: Inside the
Private World of the White House.”

Joining us now is the author of “The Residence,” Kate Anderson Brower.
Kate, let`s go straight to the pot-smoking. Who were the biggest pot-
smokers you discovered in the White House.

sons, the three sons that were staying on the third floor. A florist told
me he would regularly have to move bongs on the third floor of the

O`DONNELL: And President Obama and Mrs. Obama, on their first night in the
White House?

BROWER: One staffer was going up to deliver some late-night papers on
their first night at the White House and found them dancing to Mary J.
Blige`s hit, “Real Love.”


And the President turned to him and said, “I bet you`ve never heard this on
this floor before, have you.” And the usher said, “No, sir, I haven`t.”

O`DONNELL: I can tell you, as one of the fiction writers who has –


– tried to imagine life in the White House and render it, this book
astonishing. And one of the great astonishments –


– in it is Lyndon Johnson. I`m going to have to read from the book for
this because it`s – I don`t know how else to describe it.

He`s complaining to Mr. West, who was the Chief Usher of the White House,
in-charge of everything, about his shower. He`s very dissatisfied with his
shower in the White House.

And, now, I`m reading from “The Residence,” I`m reading from your book –


“LBJ says to him, `Mr. West, if you can`t get that shower of mine fixed,
I`m going to have to move back to the Elms,` President Johnson said.”

“The Elms was the Johnsons` Washington D.C. mansion. And it was equipped
with a shower like nothing the staff had ever seen – water charging out of
multiple nozzles in every direction with needle-like intensity.”

“One nozzle was pointed was pointed directly at the president`s penis,
which he nicknamed “Jumbo.” Another shot right up his rear.”


Kate, the only thing I knew in there is the name for his body part. I knew
he had named –

BROWER: Right.

O`DONNELL: – in that.

BROWER: Right.

O`DONNELL: But everything else was news.


BROWER: Yes. He drove the staff really crazy. The head plumber have a
nervous breakdown over the shower.

And Lynda Bird Johnson, I interviewed her, President Johnson`s eldest
daughter, and she thanks the head plumber and said, “You know, when Daddy
was happy, we all were happy.”

And as shower was one of life`s few comforts for her father because he was
dealing with Vietnam at the time. So, the family was happy.

And these staffers really want to provide for the families they serve. And
so, they wanted to make him happy.

They did everything they could to make him happy. And they never did.

And when President Nixon came in, he took one look at it and said, “Rip it
all out.”

O`DONNELL: Kate Anderson Brower, thank you very much –

BROWER: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: – for not writing –


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