The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 04/16/15

Jim Webb, Michael Kay, Ziva Branstetter, Jim Cavanaugh, David Harris, Kevin Dietz, Jim Webb

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Made being a Congressman – is from Tiffany`s,
and even – until even more than that on gourmet popcorn apparently for
campaign volunteers.

Aaron Schock made being a Congressman seem really glamorous, he made it
seem really fun. It seems like he had a ball being a member of Congress.

It will be interesting to find out how he paid for all of that. But there
does now seem to be an inverse relationship between how much fun Aaron
Schock had while in office and this opposite of fun that is piling up on
him now since he quit.

Watch this space. Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell,
thanks for being with us.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Former Senator Jim Webb is here
tonight to tell us why he`s considering a run against Hillary Clinton for
the Democratic nomination for president.

But first, we have new information tonight about the 73-year-old volunteer
deputy sheriff in Oklahoma who says he mistakenly shot and killed Eric
Harris during an arrest.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Developing news out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, the sheriff`s
office will conduct its own internal review of its deputy reserve program.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The “Tulsa World” reports this morning that Bates did
not pass a state required training –

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That volunteer reserve deputy who shot and killed a

CLARK BREWSTER, ATTORNEY: The statute says culpable negligence. I thought
the DA made a mistake.

DAN SMOLEN, ATTORNEY: How that`s not culpable? He walks up to the man with
a 357 that he`s not certified to use.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Chris Christie has wrapped up a swing through New

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it possible that your moment passed?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know, and neither do you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Carly Fiorina, she spoke this morning, taking aim at
Hillary Clinton.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hillary Clinton of course is channeling the populist
fervor of an Elizabeth Warren.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You had a tenure at Hewlett Packard that a lot of
people describe as extremely rocky. Are you really the right person to be
criticizing Hillary Clinton?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the first week that`s really had reporters
racing to cover the would-be candidates.

JON STEWART, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: You can`t blame them for chasing
the Scooby van because they might have Scooby snacks.


you know the guy, he is running –


LETTERMAN: For president?


LETTERMAN: He is stepping down from one direction and he`s going to run.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A reminder to always turn off your cellphone during
important meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aggressive on that issue as well as on the geographic
preferences –



Just let it go Mister –


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The call never bothered me anyway.


O`DONNELL: Robert Bates, the 73-year-old volunteer Reserve Deputy in
Oklahoma who shot and killed Eric Harris while Mr. Harris was being held on
the ground and arrested by other officers reportedly did not complete the
training necessary to participate in such an arrest.

And could now face additional charges in the case if prosecutors conclude
that he lied to police investigators. Mr. Bates has already been charged
with second-degree manslaughter.

In a written statement to police obtained by the “Tulsa World” newspaper
and shared with us here at THE LAST WORD.

Mr. Bates says, “I have attended numerous schools and seminars related to
drug investigations and the tactical operations associated with the
apprehension of suspects involved in drug trafficking.

I have also attended a five-day homicide investigation school in Dallas,
Texas, as well as received training by the Maricopa County, Arizona
Sheriff`s Department on response to active shooters.”

Today, the “Tulsa World” revealed that there is no record of Mr. Bates
receiving any training by the Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff`s Department
as his statement to police investigators claims.

Lisa Allen, chief media relations office for the sheriff`s office there
said they had no record of Mr. Bates attending their training.

In fact, Allen said that training is only available to members of the
Maricopa County sheriff`s office, meaning Bates would not have been

“We don`t allow out of state people to take the class”, she said. Joining
us now is Ziva Branstetter, the enterprise editor at the “Tulsa World” who
contributed to that report.

Jim Cavanaugh, the Msnbc law enforcement analyst and retired ATF agent in-
charge, and David Harris, professor at the University of Pittsburgh School
of Law.

I want to begin by saying who else we invited on the panel tonight who
declined once again. We invited the sheriff to come on tonight to explain
what`s going on in his department.

We also invited the defense lawyers for Mr. Bates, they could not make it
tonight, one of them has already appeared on the program.

Ziva, I want to get to your latest reporting about this training that he
claims to have received from Maricopa County`s – let`s see, response to
active shooter training, he said.

Now, there is one additional element to this that you found in your report
in speaking to the – to Maricopa County.

They said that there was once a time when one of their trainers went to
Texas and gave the training – gave some training in this once in Texas and
they would not have any record of who is involved in that.

there is a small window I guess, that you could say possibly he got this
training, but in his statement, he didn`t indicate that at all.

And you know, this is just sort of a smaller piece of a larger problem that
we have uncovered with the training that very reliable sources and records
we`ve reviewed show that the training was apparently falsified.

The supervisors who refused –


BRANSTETTER: To sign off on it –

O`DONNELL: This is the training – Ziva, you`re talking about the training
he is supposed to have received locally?



BRANSTETTER: To obtain this high level of reserve deputy status. And this
handgun training as well.

Yes, so he – his supervisors that were pressured to sign off on it
basically refused and were transferred is what we found from sources and
from records that we`ve reviewed.

O`DONNELL: And that was in one of your reports yesterday. The –


O`DONNELL: Department at first said that because you were using completely
anonymous sources they wouldn`t respond in any way. Now they`re saying
they`re actually conducting an investigation about all of these matters.

BRANSTETTER: Yes, they`re saying they`re conducting an internal
investigation. I don`t know how much that`s going to focus on the training
issues that we have uncovered.

We`ve been asking for records that could back up what the county says that
he got the training, someone signed off on this training.

The county says that you know, that these – this was legitimate, and so
they should just produce the records.

The sheriff has also said that some of the firearm certification document
have been lost and we haven`t had any explanation as to how that happened.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what the sheriff said about Mr. Bates training
in a radio interview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you become a reserve deputy, there`s three levels.
There is the entry level, then there is an intermediate level and an
advanced level.

Bob went out and qualified with three different weapons with an instructor

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, so he was certified with his own firearm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is certified with his own firearm –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And he`s certified with the standard issue firearm.
But the problem that we have that we`re trying to verify is, he qualified
with a young lady that was a firearms instructor.

She has left the sheriff`s office and is now a Secret Service agent. And
we`re trying to get a hold of her and talk to her about – we can`t find
the records that she supposedly turned in.


And so we`re –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Going to talk to her –


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To find out if for sure he did qualify –




O`DONNELL: Ziva, what do we know about this woman who we – is now a
Secret Service agent?

BRANSTETTER: Well, we`ve chosen not to use her name because you know, it`s
really not her fault that the sheriff dragged her into this.

But as I understand it, she left the sheriff`s office four – three, four
years ago, possibly more and the deputy – reserve deputies have to qualify
every year.

So if they lost those old records, then what – where are the new ones?

O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh –

BRANSTETTER: That`s kind of your question –

O`DONNELL: Jim Cavanaugh, your reaction to everything you`ve heard here so

we`re – as a commander in law enforcement, every commander knows that the
first time one of your agents, officers or deputies is involved in a
shooting, the first thing you have to produce is their firearms
qualification and training records going back for a few years.

Because it`s always relevant in a shooting case. So we all know that. All
departments maintain that. All agents, deputies, police officers routinely
qualify with their firearms, they have to, there`s a record kept, the
firearms instructor keep them.

There`s no cheating, it should be structured, it`s very tight, I can tell
you in the federal service it is. You have to shoot, you have to qualify
and knew you have to meet the standards constantly also in service

So I`m also just surprised that, you know, they put a reserve deputy in an
undercover drug – undercover gun buy which is an extremely dangerous

You know, in ATF, we read those things every day. But they`re tight. You
know, you got stolen guns, so people shouldn`t have guns, usually a guy who
has done his first rodeo, he`s been involved in crime before.

So they put reserve deputies out there in a known situation like that, up
front in an undercover gun sting, I think that`s kind of a bad policy as

So I think that`s all going to have to be sorted out as the sheriff moves

O`DONNELL: Mr. Bates Attorney Clark Brewster who has appeared on this
program issued a statement saying that he – that Mr. Bates was fully
certified, but he hasn`t issued – he hasn`t given anyone any copies of
those certifications.

David Harris, the additional element here to the possibility that this very
carefully written statement to the police has something deliberately false
in it, possibly relating to his certifications, that opens up the
possibility of additional charges here.

does. Now, in order to be charged with something like perjury, you`d have
to be under oath.

And there is no indication that the statement to the police was under oath.

But if he gave certifications or spoke about having certifications that he
had not actually earned, there are – there are penalties for falsely
certifying, falsely saying you qualified, things like that.

He may be looking at some additional charges indeed. The problem here in
my estimation is that he – everybody knew this guy run the sheriff`s re-
election campaign, he gave big-time gifts to the department like cars and

Who is going to call him out? It`s only because of this disaster that
happened that this is all being exposed.

And I would predict that as Miss Branstetter said, his paper moves on this
story, you`re going to get a sort of metastasizing exposure of other kinds
of problems with Mr. Bates and probably the whole deputy program.

I think Jim is right. They had no business using people on such a
dangerous mission who weren`t full police officers.

O`DONNELL: All right, Ziva, I want to go another aspect of your reporting,
and that is – and we should show this video before, which is the video
where Mr. Harris is saying he`s having trouble with his breath and then we
hear this very harsh thing said back to him about that by one of the
officers who is holding him down.

Let`s listen to this.




HARRIS: He shot me!


HARRIS: He shot me, he shot me!




HARRIS: Good – God, oh, God, oh, he shot him, I didn`t do –


HARRIS: He shot me, man, oh, my God!


HARRIS: You didn`t – you hear me?! I`m losing my breath.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: F your breath, put your hands back.


O`DONNELL: And Ziva, your reporting indicates that the officers claim to
their supervisors was we kept on his – we kept the knee on his head.

We kept holding him down like that because we didn`t know he was shot. We
didn`t hear the shot. We didn`t hear him say he was shot, but we did hear
him say something about his breath that we responded to.

BRANSTETTER: Yes, and that phrase f your breath has become kind of a
rallying cry for people who have staged protests, started Facebook pages
and really incensed a lot of people.

You know, an important thing to note here is that there`s a statement that
they didn`t hear anything. I don`t know if the officer said that.

I know the sheriff said that, the supervisor said that. They did hear
deputy Bates yelling taser, which is protocol when you`re going to fire a
taser and they got out of the way according to the Sheriff`s Department.

So they could hear that, but not several seconds later with the gunshot.
So there`s a lot of things that don`t add up. The sunglasses cam that some
of the deputies were wearing was purchased by deputy Bates.

It ran out of battery shortly after Eric Harris was shot.

O`DONNELL: Ziva Brans –

BRANSTETTER: Apparently –

O`DONNELL: Ziva Branstetter, Jim Cavanaugh, thank you very much for
joining us tonight, really appreciate it.

BRANSTETTER: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Senator Jim Webb will join us to discuss his
possible challenge to Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for


O`DONNELL: We`re next going to discuss one of the many caught-on tape
police videos this year, which shows police misconduct that we would know
nothing about were it not for that dashcam video.

The officer in this video who is seen punching the suspect 16 times has now
finally been fired from that police department. We will have a full report
on that.

Also joining us, Senator Jim Webb, former senator will tell us why he`s
considering a run for the Democratic nomination against Hillary Clinton.

We`ll find out what his position is on the Senate fast track trade
authority that is being agreed to today in a deal among senate Democrats
and senate Republicans.

We`ll see what he says about that, that`s coming up.


O`DONNELL: Michigan police officer shown beating a man after a traffic
stop has been fired from the police department there.

Dashcam video released last month shows officer William Melendez placing
57-year-old Floyd Dent in a headlock and punching him in the head 16 times
after Dent was pulled over for running a stop sign.

Floyd Dent and his attorney say that officer Melendez planted drugs in Mr.
Dent`s car at the time of his arrest.

Officer Melendez who is still employed as a part-time officer on Highland
Park, Michigan, said in a statement, “I look forward to my opportunity to
speak openly about this case.

At this time, my attorney has advised me not to comment due to ongoing open
investigations.” This was Floyd Dent`s reaction to the news.


FLOYD DENT, AUTO WORKER: Finally, he`s being held accountable for what he
done to me. And hopefully, it will follow suit with the rest of them.


O`DONNELL: Joining me now is WDIV investigative reporter Kevin Dietz who`s
been reporting on this story since the beginning.

Kevin, we`d know nothing about this were not for your reporting. And you
also have news today about an incomplete video, the booking video involved
in this case. Tell us about that.

KEVIN DIETZ, WDIV-TV: That`s right. Floyd Dent says he was humiliated
when he went to the Inkster Police Department as well.

And the attorneys for him asked for videotapes of the booking and when he
was put into the jail in Inkster.

And they sent him a video – the defense attorney say they have a video
that`s five minutes, but an investigator with the Michigan state police who
looked at the video said the real video is 25 minutes.

So Mr. Dent and his attorney are worried that the video they received was
edited somehow.

O`DONNELL: And David Harris, as we look at that video once again, this
seems to be yet another in what has become our collection of dashcam videos
and other videos this year leading to disciplinary actions against police
officers, in this case firing.

That probably would never have occurred without that video.

HARRIS: Well, you got that right. I`m telling you, you know, what`s
interesting with all the videos is they are shifting the power of the
narrative, the power to tell the story away from police and into other

You know, for the longest time, if what police said basically went. What
was in their report was the report, and if a person like Mr. Dent came
forward and said no, something else happened, Mr. Dent would never be

The video changes that. And I think that`s why we`re seeing some
accountability happening that we`re not accustomed to seeing.

And this is going to make a difference in the long run, especially if many
more departments as we expect move towards body cam video.

O`DONNELL: Kevin Dietz, your reporting on this earlier has isolated part
of that video where it may indicate that the officer planted cocaine or
somehow supports the theory that he planted cocaine.

The cocaine element of this case is still pending. Isn`t that the only
thing that`s still pending?

DIETZ: Yes, a judge who looked at the video immediately threw out the
resisting officers and the assault against Mr. Dent. The only thing left
is the cocaine charges.

And the prosecutor has asked for two more weeks to take a look at that
evidence to see if they want to drop those charges as well.

O`DONNELL: And David Harris, if the cocaine charge were to go forward and
actually go to a trial, this video, this dashcam video is going to be shown
all the way through it.

Defense attorneys obviously isolating on that particular piece of that.
It`s hard for me to see how they proceed with this prosecution.

HARRIS: Well, I agree with you, Lawrence. I don`t see it happening
either. I think they`re simply going to take their time and do the right

That`s the way I see it going, because you can`t possibly go ahead with a
prosecution knowing that, that entire encounter with the officers not just
what appears to be the planting of evidence, but the entire thing will end
up in court.

I cannot imagine that a judge or a jury would convict seeing that whole
thing. So I think the case is all but dead. It`s just waiting for the
last rites.

O`DONNELL: Kevin Dietz, thank you for your consistently and valuable
reporting on this, really appreciate it, and David Harris, thank you.

Coming up, former Democratic Senator Jim Webb will join us to talk about
his potential candidacy for president. He is just back from Iowa.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And one of the frequent things that was being said
about this campaign was that, I came to the Democratic party purely on
issues regarding the Iraq war.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I think I and a lot of people
like me had aligned themselves with the Republican party on national
security issues, but we`re always concerned about issues of economic
fairness and social justice.

So it was a natural –


So, it`s a very natural fit.


O`DONNELL: That`s Republican-turned Democrat Jim Webb at the end of his
first and only political campaign when he defeated Republican incumbent
Senator George Allen and gave the Democrats a one-seat majority in the
United States Senate.

And thus control of Congress for the final years of the Bush
administration. Now former Senator Webb is considering a second political
campaign, this time for president.

Joining me now is former Virginia Senator Jim Webb who has also served as
Assistant Secretary of Defense and Secretary of the Navy in the Reagan

Senator Webb, you`ve just visited Iowa like Hillary Clinton. What is your
timetable on making a decision about running for president?

JIM WEBB, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: By the way, as you – as you just
pointed out, the only time I`ve ever run for office, I run as a – as a
Democrat. I`m very proud to have served in the Reagan administration on
the issues that they focused on.

But I`ve been in terms of political office a Democrat. We had a good visit
in Iowa. We spent four days there, I was pretty much all over the state.

I mean, in good different parts of the state. We started off in Council
Bluffs near where I had graduated from high school across the river, just
south of Omaha, Fort (INAUDIBLE) in Omaha.

Spent a lot of time in that part of America. And we went out to different
places, spent a couple of hours in the – in the car each way, sat down to
talk with people, listen to them.

And Iowa is very important to our decision that you just asked about, and I
think – I came back from Iowa pretty enthusiastic.

O`DONNELL: Well, what – the Democrats have an announced candidate,
Hillary Clinton, why not just support her?

WEBB: I think this country is looking for leaders that they can trust.
And for people who have different kinds of backgrounds that can understand
the way that the average American is looking at a lot of these issues.

And I think I can bring that to the table to at least to the point of
discussion and we`ll see the kind of support that we can get.

O`DONNELL: Well, so, is that answer – did you just say that Hillary
Clinton is not a leader that can be trusted?

WEBB: No, I`m saying that if you look at my background, I hope people will
take a look at the different things that we`ve done.

I have spent four different periods in public service, one as a Marine in
Vietnam, one as a Committee Council in the Congress, spent five years in
the Pentagon and one as a Marine and four as a defense executive and then
six years in the Senate.

And the other periods of time, I`ve been out as a journalist, as a – as a
military planner, I have gone all over the country and particularly heavily
in east and southeast Asia.

And I would like to bring those perspectives to the national discussion.

O`DONNELL: One of the other Democrats who is also a Republican-turned
independent then turned-Democrat, Lincoln Chafee is – has – who was an
opponent of the war in Iraq and was actually the only Republican in the
Senate who voted against it at the time.

He said this about Hillary Clinton having voted for it, the Iraq war
resolution. He said to “The Washington Post”, “I don`t think anybody
should be president of the United States that made that mistake.”

Do you agree with Lincoln Chafee on that?

WEBB: My background isn`t the same as Mr. Chafee, I don`t know him well,
although I served under his father when his father was secretary of the
Navy in my last year in the Marine Corps.

I just want to talk about the views that we bring to the table and the
leadership experiences that we have and the issues that I have focused on.

If you look through many years, not just the time that I was in the Senate,
I`ve talked about issues of economic fairness, social justice.

We put criminal justice reform on the table. We brought it out of the
shadows against the advice of a lot of Democratic party operatives by the
way, who were saying I was committing political suicide by pulling that
issue out.

We focused on national security, not just the Iraq war. I`ve been doing
this all my life, I grew up in the military, I fought in a very difficult
war, I have written about it.

I was in Beirut as a journalist when the Marines were there. I was in
Afghanistan as an embedded journalist in `04. And I`ve spent time in
Foreign Relations Committee and Armed Services Committee.

So, this isn`t about Iraq to me. It`s about leadership in terms of shaping
our national security policy. When this administration talks about the
pivot to Asia, actually, we led this strengthening of our relationships in
Asia two years before President Obama was elected.

We began that when I reached the Senate. I just got back from Thailand
where the government leaders asked me to come in and talk to them about
their concern, about American relations in that part of the world and,
particularly, the bilateral relationship between our two countries.

We led the change in relations in Burma. I took the first trip into Burma,
now Myanmar, the first American leader to go to Burma in 10 years.

We opened up that country. I understand foreign policy issues in a that,
on the one hand, has been a part of my life. And, on the other, has been
an understanding of the different cultures around the world and how they
look at us.

So, it`s not just Iraq to me. And, by the way, I think one of the things
we should focusing on more heavily in our discussions is the proposed
agreement with Iran.

I think we need to take a very hard look at our position in that part of
the world and how this might affect it.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: How would you vote on the Corker Bill
that`s in the Senate now.

WEBB: Well, my view is this – and it`s been consistent over the years –
you cannot have – you should not enter into a binding international
agreement of any magnitude without the expressed consent of the Congress,
not simply the consultation but the expressed consent.


I said the same thing when President Bush entered into a strategic
framework agreement with Iraq in 2008. Without the consent of the
Congress, the Iraqi parliament had voted on that twice.

We didn`t even get to vote on it. I said that again when President
Obama went to Copenhagen in `09 and said he was going to come back with a
binding international agreement.

I was the only member of Congress who wrote him a letter, saying, “You
cannot have a binding international agreement without the consent of the
Congress.” So, this is where the focus should be. Iran is a –


– the situation with Iran is probably the most precarious situation that
we have been in, looking into the future, in many years.

We are, in effect, looking into acquiesce in the fact that Iran is going to
gain a nuclear weapon over a 10-year period. Do want to do that at a time
when Iran has become much more active in that region, from Iraq, all the
way over into these other countries.

And do we want to send that signal to the region. I think it would make
our allies in the region pretty nervous if we did that.

There have been strong arguments on both sides. I have an enormous amount
of respect for Bill Burns, Former Deputy Secretary of State, who wrote a
very good column on this.

But, I think, also the people on the other side like Henry Kissinger and
George Schultz, both Former Secretaries of State, have made very telling
comments warning us about this.

So, the only way for us to resolve this properly, I think, is for the full
debate and the expressed consent of the Congress.

O`DONNELL: One more quickly before you go, Senator. The Democrat and
Republican leaders of the Senate Finance Committee reached a deal today on
giving fast track authority to President Obama.

That would have to be voted on by the Senate and by the House of
Representatives, fast track trade negotiating authority. That would be for
the Pacific Trade Agreement that they`re working on now.

How would you vote on that in the Senate.

WEBB: Well, the difficulty we have with TPP is the same difficulty that we
have with the Iran deal. And that is that we haven`t seen details.

At least, I`m not aware that even the Congress has seen the actual details
of TPP. We were asking about this when I was in the Senate.

It`s a very complex piece of international trade – proposed international
trade agreement.

And, I think, that`s the concern that a lot of the Democrats have right
now, is even on a TP, on accelerated trade agreement, they haven`t seen the

And this is not the way the executive branch should be treating the
Congress. So, we need to see the deal. It involves varying governmental
systems and economic systems in that part of the world.

I spend a lot of time in that part of the world. I spent a lot of time in
that part of the world. And if an agreement is fair, I would move – fair
and good for us, I would move to have it go forward.

For instance, I was able to put together a letter, along with eight other
Democrats, supporting the Korean Trade Agreement. But I would be very
careful on this one until we see actually what`s in this document.

O`DONNELL: Former Senator Jim Web, thank you very much for joining us

WEBB: Thank you. Good to be with you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, the Republicans, who want their party`s nomination
for president, –


– are spending most of their time talking about the Democrat who wants the
nomination for president, Hillary Clinton.




WEBB: Iowa is very important to our decision that you just asked about.
And, I think, I came back from Iowa pretty enthusiastic.

O`DONNELL: Well, the Democrats have an announced candidate, Hillary
Clinton. Why not just support her.

WEBB: I think this country is looking for leaders that they can trust.
And for people who have different kinds of backgrounds, that can understand
the way that the average American is looking a lot on these issues.

And I think I can bring that to the table, at least to the point of
discussion, and we`ll see the kind of support that we can get.


O`DONNELL: OK, Joy Reid, was that a, “Yes, I`m running.” Is that what we
just heard.

running.” But he also sounds like he could quite neatly fit into Hillary
Clinton administration as Secretary of Defense or Secretary of State.

Quite frankly, I thought it was a very cogent, very coherent presentation,
very presidential. I think, in another year, where there weren`t so many
demographic imperatives, Jim Webb would be quite on paper.

He`s a great candidate and he sounded right. I was looking through his
positions. His positions align with the base of the Democratic Party.


I think this might not be – I think there`s so much momentum around the
idea of a woman or a Latino candidate that it would be difficult for him to
get to the front. But quite a solid guy.

O`DONNELL: He really pulled a punch on the Iraq War vote with Hillary
Clinton. I mean, I asked him about it and he just kind of, clearly,
doesn`t want to go there.

Listen to the way Lincoln Chafee, on this program, talked about the
importance and the relevance of Hillary Clinton`s vote to authorize the
Iraq War.


read about every day in the papers in the Middle East and in other areas of
the world – ISIS and what`s happening in Nigeria, and how we confront some
of these extremist insurgencies.

And we were successful in the past over the years by having good alliances
and having good American credibility. And that`s been squandered by this
bad decision.

Even though it`s a long time ago, I agree with that, back in 2002, but the
ramifications are still felt today.


O`DONNELL: And Steve Kornacki, there is no question that it`s the most
important decision Hillary Clinton made as a senator. And as Lincoln
Chafee sees it and, I think, most people at this point in the Democratic
Party see it, she made a mistake in the most important decision she made as

though. If you look at these Democrats who are looking at possibly
challenging Hillary Clinton for the nomination, the only one willing to say
that, –


– the only one willing to take a direct shot, to take multiple direct
shots at Hillary Clinton is Lincoln Chafee. Martin O`Malley, the Former
Governor of Maryland, he finally, after months of talking around it, has
come up with this line where he talks about, well, the presidency is not a
crown to be handed from one family, you know, –


– within a family. So, he`s saying that. That`s as far as he`ll go. It
was striking to me, listening to Jim Webb right there, that he wouldn`t go
down that road either.

The thing, too, about Jim Webb is he kind of – to me, he`s a very
interesting guy. I mean, this is a historian. His sense of military
history –


– he has his own background in the military. He`s a very thoughtful guy,
who, in a lot of ways, is an odd fit for elected politics.

But he also – he`s sort of a type – he`s sort of a type that Democrats
that Democrats were looking for about a decade ago.

When George W. Bush was president, when Republicans were running
Washington, when the country was at war, Democrats were looking for people
with built-in automatic military credibility who could make the case that,
“Hey, you know what, –


– I`m a military man. I`m a former Republican. I think they`ve gone too

And it was – listening to him tonight, you know, he`s laying out a very
thoughtful, sort of foreign policy, sort of national security vision in the
interview with you.

But I don`t think Democrats, they`re not hungering for it to come from him
anymore. They can listen to that from Hillary Clinton today, even despite
that vote all those years ago.

And, today, they`re satisfied with her as the messenger on that line.

BETH FOUHY, MSNBC.COM SENIOR EDITOR: And you know, Lawrence, I was going
to say everything that you said is totally right. He`s kind of not the
right guy for the moment.

He was also making these very implicit criticisms of her tenure as
Secretary of State, I think, without coming out clearly and saying so. I
mean, the vote on the war way back in 2000 to 2003 is ages ago now.

She`s had four years as the nation`s top diplomat. Presumably, she`s
learned something about foreign policy since she was a senator.

So, perhaps, she can kind of correct what she did back then by –


– virtue of the fact that she`s been out there in the world in that way.
But it sounded to me like Webb was trying to tell you that she had not
served very well.

The foreign policy that she, essentially, oversaw wasn`t anything that he
supported. And, yet, he wouldn`t quite go there with you. He`s very

REID: It could be Jim Webb preserves his options.


Because, look, if you go back and read his public statements, Jim Webb
thinks about basically what Lincoln Chafee thinks about the war, and comes
at it with an incredible, credible credibility.

He`s made some incredibly tough public statements about the war, including
that there was terrorism in Iraq because we invaded, not before we invaded.

So, he`s been very tough on Iraq but he`s preserving that option. Because,
I`m telling you, that guy could get in the cabinet.

O`DONNELL: Well, I mean, here`s that challenge, if you`re going to get the
Democratic nomination for president and your name is not Hillary Clinton, -


– you`re going to have to take all of the votes away from people who,
right now, like and are satisfied with Hillary Clinton. So, attacking
Hillary Clinton seems like an impossible way to go.

REID: Yes.

O`DONNELL: You`ll alienate these people who you`re trying to convert.

KORNACKI: And, yet, it`s the only way to go. I don`t know – I don`t
know, I mean, we could look at this honestly and say, “I`m not sure there
is a path –


REID: Right.

KORNACKI: – for any Democrat not named Hillary Clinton. The question
though, for a certain point, if you`re going to put your name on the
ballot, you`re going to be out there for the next year, you want to do well
not for your own dignity, but you finish this thing and you don`t – you
know, you don`t lose by 85 points to her or something.

And I think, at a certain point, you know, strategically, what Lincoln
Chafee is doing, to me, seems the smartest thing. There is turf out there
within the Democratic Party, where there`s, at least, some dissatisfaction
with Clinton.

You go back to the 2002 vote, that`s the oldest, that`s the most obvious.
There`s also Wall Street stuff, –

REID: Yes.

KORNACKI: – her ties to Wall Street. Lincoln Chafee got into that a
little bit last week. He has some known issues there.

He voted for the Glass-Steagall Repeal back in `99. It was her first vote
as a senator.

But, again, Lincoln Chafee, at least to me, is just playing the instinct
that, “Hey, if I`m going to run against this woman, who, 86 percent of
Democrats right now say they`re satisfied with as their candidate, I`ve got
to draw some distinctions, I`ve got to point them out to voters.”

“I can`t just stand there say my piece, have her say her piece, and let
people decide.” Because that decision has already been made on that front.

FOUHY: And Webb also said to you that, you know, “I`m progressive on
economic issues and fairness.” But, then, he really didn`t go into that at

He simply focused on foreign policy with some sort of sense, perhaps, that
this is going to be a foreign policy election. It`s never really a foreign
policy election.

I mean, he has to – he has to have a message that goes beyond this, you
know, sort of implicit criticism of the Obama foreign policy, of Hillary`s
past decisions around Iraq.

See, he didn`t make that case. He didn`t outline to you, at least, what
his economic vision is.

O`DONNELL: Very quickly before you go, Rachel Maddow has Harry Reid
tonight, saying that he`s going to force a vote on Attorney General Loretta
Lynch for attorney general.

He`s going to have to peel off about four handful of Republicans to do
that, to go against their own leader, –

REID: Right.

O`DONNELL: – procedurally, in the Senate. Is he going to be able to do

REID: Well, I think he`s got to look at the Republicans that are going to
face reelection in the next presidential year when it`s going to be tougher
for Republicans, when it`s a better cycle for Democrats.

I still am confounded by the fact that Republicans have chosen this as an
issue over a completely extraneous bill that has nothing to do with Loretta

It`s such demographics suicide that –


– I`m shocked that they don`t just give in, give them the four votes and
get it over with.

O`DONNELL: That`s the last word on it tonight.



Steve Kornacki, Beth Fouhy and Joy Reid, thank you all for joining me to

FOUHY: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, robots may never fly in the –


– plane you`re flying on but they might make your flights safer. That`s
coming up.



The man who landed a small helicopter on the Capitol lawn was charged today
with two criminal offenses –


– for operating an unregistered aircraft and violating National Defense
air space. The first charge has a maximum penalty of three years in
prison, the second charge is punishable by up to one year.

He was released today on his own recognizance and is due back in court for
a hearing on May 8th. Also, today, we have the –


– 911 call from the baggage handler, who says he fell asleep inside the
cargo hold of an Alaska Airlines flight. On the call, you can hear the man
asking the dispatcher to stop the plane.


911 OPERATOR: 911.

and I`ve called my job but I`m in this plane.

OPERATOR: You`re where?

RAMP AGENT: I`m inside a plane and I feel like it`s up moving in the air.
Flight 448. Can you please tell somebody to stop it.

OPERATOR: Where are you in a plane at.

RAMP AGENT: I`m inside this plane, Alaska Airlines Flight 448.

OPERATOR: Are you at the airport.


OPERATOR: Are you by yourself or are you with somebody.



O`DONNELL: Wow, he was lucky. Coming up, would you fly in a plane without
a pilot but controlled by a robot, –


– a robot that, some think, would be more reliable than a pilot. That`s




interpretation, as of now, as investigators is that the co-pilot, based on
some kind of voluntary abstention, refused to open the cabin door in order
to let the pilot back in.

He is the one who pressed the button that allowed the plane to begin
descending and lose altitude. We`d like to analyze it by some kind of
deliberate action and willingness to destroy this plane.


O`DONNELL: That Germanwings plane crash has raised new issues about how to
screen commercial pilots, and whether pilots are even necessary in the
cockpit now that computers are actually flying the planes most of the time.


According to an article in “The New York Times,” NASA is exploring the
possibility of moving the co-pilot out of the cockpit on commercial flights
and instead using a single-remote operator to serve as co-pilot for
multiple aircraft.


Joining us now is Michael Kay, a pilot and former senior British officer
and military strategist. Michael, when I first read this article about
pilotless planes in “The New York Times,” I just – “OK, this is crazy.”

I kept going, I went, “Oh, OK.” You`re not saying that American Airlines
is going to have an aircraft with no pilots in it but it may be that they`d
only need one person in the cockpit, and then the co-pilot would be running
this remotely from the ground, doing that job from the ground.

think – I think, really, the broader context is there are a number of
gradated progressions of automation, starting with what we see now to the
way that drones or unmanned aerial vehicles or RPS, remotely-piloted
systems, as they are called now, that are operating, doing patterning of
life intelligent over Iraq and Afghanistan on the military side.


And then to what you`re talking about, Lawrence, which is slowly removing
the –


– pilots out of the cockpit by replacing the co-pilot to ultimately
completely replacing everyone in the cockpit, the atomization, so–

O`DONNELL: For example, on cargo flights, they`re talking about – well,
on cargo, we could get rid of the pilots completely because we don`t have
nervous passengers back there, scared that there`s no pilots.

KAY: Well, you hit the nail on the head. I think, technology-wise, we`re
a lot closer to the latter end of that automization that we talked about.

But I think the big barrier here is the people down the back, the paying
passenger and the acceptance, if you like, of risk. Because the big
component here, when you`re looking at civilian aviation, is the safety

And the big question that passengers like you and me, who pay for tickets
to travel across the world, will ask ourselves are, “To what ends are the
airlines looking to automate the systems.”

Is it because they want to improve the safety of the passengers or is it
because they want to save money.

And if it`s the latter, I think people are going to be increasingly nervous
about that, especially when you look at the likes of MH-370, Germanwings,
and so on and so forth.

O`DONNELL: But beyond just the issue of money, they`re talking about the
population of pilots in the world. We`re now sending out more commercial
airliners and air freighters out there than we may end up having pilots to

KAY: Well, let`s put this into context. There are over 100,000 – 100,000
flights a day around the world. That`s a significant number of flights.

And when you look at the Germanwings scenario – I mean, in my 20 years
aviation experience, –


– I`ve never heard of anything like that happened.

O`DONNELL: But that`s the scenario where, if the co-pilot had been running
this robotically from the ground, the co-pilot on the ground could have
taken over and prevented that.

KAY: I think, yes. But, again, you know, risk is probability versus
consequence. And we`ve got to look at the probability of these events
occurring in the future, and they`re extremely unlikely.


I think we have to rewind. And, I think, what we have to do is we have to
understand where the safety components of this are going.

And if people like you and me and passengers around the world are going to
accept automated services, then it has to be as a priority in terms of the

And you look at technology – let`s rewind 60 years. You know, jet
engines, we didn`t have them, the progression of radar.

Radar is now almost obsolete because it can only see out to about 200
miles, primary radar and secondary radar that uses transponders.

ADSB, Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast system is now coming in to
effectively replace radar and be able, at traffic controls, be able to
track these airlines around the world.

Now, only just talking about being able to track an airliner across ocean
flights, that`s only just happening right now. So, I think, when we`re
looking at completely removing pilots from the cockpit, we`re talking 20,
30, 40 years down range.

And the other aspect is that automatic systems are great up until the point
something goes wrong. And I don`t believe we have the systems that can
cater for every single eventuality.

Air France 447 is a classic example. The pitot tubes, iced over. And
there was all sorts of erroneous readings in the cockpit.

Would the automated systems have been able to detect what Mother
Nature was throwing at it, override the system and do it. Humans couldn`t.

So, and I will still advocate humans over technical systems at the moment.

O`DONNELL: All right, so we`re going to keep the eyeballs in the cockpit
for now. Michael Kay, thank you –

KAY: That would be my advice.


O`DONNELL: Thank you very much for joining us tonight. Chris Hayes is up


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