The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 11/05/15

Ayman Mohyeldin, Fred Ryan, Leonard Campanello, Peter Baker, Kathleen Parker, Nicholas Kristof, John Heilemann

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC: Today, the British are celebrating Guy Fawkes attempt
to blow up parliament.

Four hundred and ten years later, politicians aren`t using gun powder, but
they are still dropping political bombs.

Former President George H.W. Bush takes aim at Dick Cheney and Donald
Rumsfeld. Peter Baker, who wrote today`s “New York Times” article that lit
today`s fire will join me.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former President George H.W. Bush gives a scathing
critique of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld.

worse said about –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had objections to how Cheney had conducted his vice
presidency –

because he will be a valuable partner and a Bush administrationist.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 41st president calls the vice president iron ass.

CHENEY: And I took it as a mark of pride.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I don`t think it was meant as a compliment.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And he described them both as hard asses.

respond to that? –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rumsfeld says Bush 41 is getting up in years and
misjudges Bush 43.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Yes, that`s very regrettable to say
something like that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s suggesting that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld
have captured Bush 43.

JEB BUSH, FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: My brother is a big boy.

BUSH: And I`m the decider.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This couldn`t come at a worst possible time for Jeb

BUSH: I`m really kind of hard up about this phase of the campaign –

that they`re going through is a break or make it reset.

BUSH: I can fix it –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s – someone playing his brother`s second term
campaign slogan, W done – it up –



WAGNER: George Herbert Walker Bush has broken his silence. For years, the
former president has remained tight-lipped about his son`s time in office,
but now in a new biography, the 41st president is setting the record
straight and it is not pretty.

According to the “New York Times”, Bush 41 slams some of the key figures of
George W`s administration; Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary
Donald Rumsfeld calling them iron asses and ineffective advisors.

Here is the “Times” report on Cheney. “Mr. Bush said that Mr. Cheney had
built his own empire and asserted too much hard line influence within
George W. Bush`s White House and pushing for the use of force around the

Bush 41 was even harsher about Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. According to the
“Times”, “I think he served the President badly”, Mr. Bush said.

“I don`t like what he did and I think it hurt the President having his
iron-ass view of everything. I`ve never been that close to him anyway.

There is a lack of humility, a lack of seeing what the other guy thinks.
He`s more kick ass and take names, take numbers. I think he paid a price
for that.”

He added, “Rumsfeld was an arrogant fellow and self-assured, swagger.” But
Bush didn`t let his son off the hook, saying much of the blame for the
administration`s trouble in the Middle East ultimately rested on W`s

“He called Mr. Cheney a good man who pushed boundaries too far. The big
mistake that was made was letting Cheney bring in kind of his own State
Department”, Mr. Bush said.

“I think they overdid that, but it`s not Cheney`s fault, it`s the
President`s fault.” By that, he meant his son. “The buck stops there”,
according to the elder Bush.

Today, Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush who arguably has the most
to lose or gain from these comments had this to say about his father.


BUSH: Yes, my brother is a big boy. His administration was shaped by his
thinking, his reaction to the attack on 9/11.

I think my dad, like a lot of people that love George, want to try to
create a different narrative perhaps, just because that`s natural to do,


WAGNER: Joining us now are Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent
for the “New York Times”, he is the author of “Days of Fire: Bush and
Cheney in the White House”.

Kathleen Parker, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for “The Washington Post”
and Nicholas Kristof, a columnist for the “New York Times”.

Peter, let me start with you. The article on the front page that launched
a thousand television segments.

How does – how does Bush 41`s assessment of the power structure and George
W. Bush`s administration square with your reporting and of course your
authoritative writing in “Days of Fire”?

fact, what President Bush 41 is saying, and he`s talking to Jon Meacham
who`s written this new biography of him, “Destiny and Power” is that, you
know, Cheney was given too much license to operate.

In some ways, it`s not that different from where – his son came out by the
end of his administration.

His son was always the person who was in charge, it was always –
overstatement to say that Cheney was the puppet master.

But he definitely began to move away from Cheney by the second term. He
began to think in fact, that Cheney was taking too hawkish a view of some
of the issues that they were confronting.

George W. Bush was more willing to try diplomacy with North Korea, with
Iran, even with Syria to some extent than his vice president.

But they didn`t identify publicly the way this has. This is now kind of
exposed in a very public way, you know, sort of the roiling feeling beneath
the surface inside of Bush world.

WAGNER: Yes, and that exposure has been met with some perhaps less than
charitable reactions, Kathleen. Dick Cheney sort of alludes to the iron-
ass comments and says he took them as a compliment.

But Donald Rumsfeld has probably the least charitable reaction today which
was this statement – “Bush 41 is getting up in years and misjudges Bush 43
who I found made his own decisions.”

There are hundreds of memos on that represents advice DOD
gave the President.” Your thoughts on Rumsfeld`s reaction.

interject that I am just delighted that we can all say iron-ass on
television now.


WAGNER: So many times – all day long.

PARKER: Good, you know, Donald Rumsfeld is no Spring chicken himself. I
think he`s about 83 years old.

But what I found, my experience with people as they age and I put myself in
this category is that we become more honest with age.

And I suppose that the senior Bush would like to finally say what he thinks
and get it out there. So, I think, you know, trying to explain it a way as
the, you know, just the ditherings of this elderly gentleman is kind of –
I don`t know.

It`s not iron-ass, but it`s something like that.

WAGNER: Yes, George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush at one point concede that
he might have mellowed. And he`s talking about gay marriage when he says

But embedded in all these comments is perhaps the most damning assessment
of the George W. Bush administration when he talks about the rhetoric.

He says, “I do worry about some of the rhetoric that was out there, some of
it, his maybe, and some of it the people around him.

Hot rhetoric is pretty easy to get the headlines but it doesn`t necessarily
solve the diplomatic problem.”

And then he references the “axis of evil” and says, “I think that might be
historically proved to be not benefiting anything.” And there is, I think
the most damning assessment of a major part of the Bush administration.

think it`s not a huge surprise in that, you know, the elder Bush, he was
the consummate diplomat.

He was surrounded by James Baker and Brent Scowcroft who were two of the
most able diplomats we`ve had recently. He put together the coalition of
the first Gulf War.

And of course, Brent Scowcroft is maybe his best friend and has already
said that, you know, that Cheney who emerged as vice president is not the
Cheney I know.

I think that there are a lot of other people who are traditional
Republicans. Real politic Republicans who are not neocons, who are
completely nodding now.

I bet Condi Rice and Steve –


KRISTOF: Hadley, if they – if they were to speak their hearts, would be
agreeing with the elder Bush. And as Peter suggested, George W. Bush might
not entirely disagree.

WAGNER: Peter, the elder Bush floats an interesting hypothesis, that the
people behind Dick Cheney has changed; were Lynne Cheney, his wife, and Liz
Cheney, his daughter and I wonder what you thought about that hypothesis.

BAKER: Yes, well, it`s interesting. You know, look, both Lynne Cheney and
Liz Cheney are in fact very strong conservative voices on the political
scene as well as in the Cheney household.

And you know, some people who were advising the former Vice President over
the years said, look, the three people he trusts most in the world all have
their last name of Cheney.

So, there`s no question that they are important to him. At the same time,
he told Jon Meacham, the author here that, he thought it was wrong for
President Bush 41 to put it on Lynne and Liz, as he put it.

And let`s face it, Dick Cheney is no shrinking violet. He knows what he
thinks and what he says reflects his own points of view certainly I think
as well as perhaps the rest of the family`s.

WAGNER: Nick –

KRISTOF: You know, I mean, I can`t imagine I`m actually coming to the
defense of Cheney, but you know, I do think that there`s a point in which
this can`t – you know, ultimately this has to be blamed on President Bush


KRISTOF: It wasn`t as if Cheney hijacked the administration. There were
people – I mean, Colin Powell was there in the first term and really was a
check on Rumsfeld and on Cheney.

What happened to him? Well, President Bush fired him. And there were all
these other people in the administration; we had Paul Wolfowitz, who had
David Adenkin(ph), who had all those series of people who were collectively
engaged in talking to the administration – right, ultimately, that is –
that goes to President Bush, not Dick Cheney.

WAGNER: Kathleen, would you look at who is advising Jeb Bush in terms of
foreign policy? There is a huge amount of overlap –


WAGNER: Between the folks that worked for his brother and his father and
him, and I – and when we are talking about the Bush legacy and foreign
policy, I just wonder how much more complicated the picture continues to
get for Jeb Bush on that front –

PARKER: Well, you`re exactly right. When I first saw the list of people
he was bringing in, and including Paul Wolfowitz and others, I thought,
gosh, this is the same group of people that took us into Iraq.

And I thought, wow, is he really going to do this? And I don`t see – he
made – I don`t see Jeb Bush really working in that circle of people very

And I also think, you know, he`s – by the way, the other comment that the
father made, that 41 said, I thought was amazing, was that he said his son
was a little too bellicose.

Which is a very strong charge against his son. And I think that he would
not see bellicosity coming out of a Jeb Bush as president.

He`s simply not his brother. He doesn`t – he completely missed out on the
swagger gene, for sure, and I just – his approach would be completely

And maybe just having this line-up is merely to sort of bring him up to
speed, but then again, you know, we`ll have to see.

I think he`s really going to have to work harder and harder now to
differentiate himself from the previous two presidents.

I do wish that the senior Bush had come forward a little earlier and
consulted with the son. That`s what I think – just isn`t the Bush way.

WAGNER: Well, and that`s a really good point, Peter. That the Bush – the
Bush way thus far has been to protect their own.

And to have the elder statesman of the clan come out and say these things
would seem to be a hammer to the Bush dynasty.

BAKER: Yes, it`s interesting, Nick was right in the sentiment he expresses
here in some ways are no real surprise. I think we all sort of assumed he
had some view similar to this.

I think what`s surprising is he chose to say it, and he chose to say it to
his biographer Jon Meacham, and the reason I think is because he at this
point is 91, and he`s in the twilight of a long and storied public career.

And I think he, you know, he`s just talking to history at this point. I
think he wanted to obviously just sort of be as candid as he could.

He`s still protective of his son, even as he`s relatively harsh on Vice
President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and has some criticisms of
his son.

He is largely still supportive of him, even in Jon Meacham`s account, he
says he still backs him on the Iraq war. It`s a good thing that Saddam
Hussein is gone and that we shouldn`t compare his war to his son.

So, you know, it`s – he`s trying to find his way, and in his last case, he
can really make the history in a major way.

WAGNER: Nick, when the American public reads this, I guess I wonder how
you think it changes our collective understanding of the beginnings of that

BAKER: Well –

KRISTOF: I think –

BAKER: I think that –

KRISTOF: All right –

WAGNER: Go ahead –

KRISTOF: OK, I mean, I think it underscores the degree to which Republican
foreign policy is not a continuum.

That you had a traditional kind of real politic engagement sort of foreign
policy which Scowcroft really epitomized.

And then really after 9/11 under George W. Bush, you had this neocon, very
aggressive foreign policy.

I mean, epitomized by the statement at the time that everybody wants to go
to Baghdad, that the real men want to go on to Iran.

And that was what Cheney and Rumsfeld really encapsulated. What they –
pulled the administration in the direction in ways that enormously
undermined George W. Bush and I think the Republican Party as a whole.

WAGNER: Kathleen, when we – when we talk about Jeb`s road forward in
terms of processing all of this, given his already complicated
communication skills, what would your advice be to him?

PARKER: As to how he responds to this book, you mean?


PARKER: Yes, well, I think he`s going to have to read it really quickly
and think hard about how he does want to respond.

But I think the only – you know, his first initial reaction in saying that
his father was probably trying to create a new narrative because that`s a
natural thing to do is sort of not sufficient.

You know, I mean it`s sweet and he`s trying to let his dad off the hook a
little bit by saying, look, my dad, you know, he wants people to see his
son as having been a successful president.

But you can`t really shift – yes, you can`t shift the blame to these guys,
Cheney and Rumsfeld. And George W. Bush is the last person on the – on
the earth who would do that as he indicated in his response to the book.

Because he wants people to know – I mean, he was – as he told me, when I
went to ask him how he gets through the days with so many tough decisions
to make.

He said, proudly, well, I like making decisions. You know, so, Jeb is
going to somehow have to just – what I would tell him is to bridge.



WAGNER: Talk about what you want to talk about, though we will get to say
the phrase “iron-ass” as often –

PARKER: He`s exempt –

WAGNER: True –

PARKER: From that.

WAGNER: Peter Baker, Kathleen Parker and Nicholas Kristof, thank you all
for joining us tonight. Coming up, Jeb Bush gets candid in his one-on-one
interview with Kasie Hunt.

He opens up about his relationship with his brother and reveals whether he
blames himself for his daughter`s battle with drug addiction. Kasie Hunt
will join us.

And later, a report from Egypt where flights are set to resume to get
thousands of stranded tourists out of the country as officials there try to
calm security concerns over the Sharm el-Sheikh Airport.

And the fatal Russian flight that took off from there.


WAGNER: Tomorrow night, Rachel Maddow moderates the “FIRST IN THE SOUTH
CANDIDATES FORUM” with Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O`Malley.
It starts tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern right here on Msnbc.

Up next, could President Bush 41 slamming Dick Cheney be a boost for Jeb
Bush`s campaign?



BUSH: I think my dad, like a lot of people who love George and want to try
to create a different narrative perhaps, just because that`s natural to do,

But George would say, this is – this was under my watch, I was commander-


WAGNER: That was Jeb Bush`s response to his father`s criticism of Dick
Cheney`s and Donald Rumsfeld`s roles in the George W. Bush administration.

Criticism published in a forthcoming biography about George Bush Sr. In
his interview with Msnbc`s Kasie Hunt today, Jeb Bush was also asked about
his relationship with his brother while he was president.


for your brother when he was president?

I mean, was he calling you sometimes to ask, hey – Donald Rumsfeld was
telling me that, Dick Cheney was telling –

BUSH: No –

HUNT: Me that –

BUSH: No –

HUNT: What do you think?

BUSH: No, I wasn`t. I had total confidence in my brother`s abilities. I
might have been in his political kitchen cabinet, I would – I would – I
would call him from time to time about Florida politics, certainly wasn`t
related to the re-election.

I was fully engaged in that. And in the – and in the 2000 election, not
from a policy point of view.

HUNT: Do you feel like you`ve gained some insight as far as yourself
potentially being commander-in-chief on foreign policy because of your
brother – what your brother went through?

BUSH: Yes, look, I`m a – I`m a student of history. I have intellectual
curiosity, I have enough humility to recognize I don`t have all the

And one of the joys of inspiring to serve is, it gives you a chance to
listen and learn. And George and the team around him and how they dealt
with foreign policy, there`s a lot to learn.

There`s a lot to learn from as it relates to even the Clinton
administration or my dad`s administration.


WAGNER: The biography of the elder Bush comes as Jeb Bush attempts a
campaign reset this week and he continues to struggle in the polls.

A “Fox News” national poll released yesterday shows Donald Trump leading
with 26 percent, Ben Carson second at 23 percent and Jeb Bush at just 4

Joining us now from Sanbornville, New Hampshire is Msnbc political
correspondent Kasie Hunt. And joining us here in New York is John
Heilemann, managing editor of “Bloomberg Politics”.

John, the new slogan is “Jeb can fix it” and my guess is, this is not
exactly how he intends to fix it – talking about George W. Bush.

never a good moment when you have the Bush family dynamics being played out
in this way. It`s always been an awkward conversation for Jeb Bush.

I actually thought that today with Kasie and with others, he actually was -
- seemed more at ease actually talking about that he has almost all year.

So, that`s the bright side. You know, the dark side is that even for
Republicans who like George W. Bush, of whom there are a lot and who revere
George Herbert Walker Bush of whom there`re also a lot.

There`re still a sense that you see when you talk to voters in Iowa, New
Hampshire, that even those people say, three is too many. Two were good, I
like those two.

But a third one, I`m not so sure.

WAGNER: Kasie, give us your assessment of how Jeb handled this particular
moment. And he`s had some awkward moments on the trail when asked about
the legacy of his brother specifically on Iraq.

What did you sense in the room with him today?

HUNT: Honestly, Alex, I thought he did a better job handling those
questions today than I`ve probably seen him. This is something that he`s
wrestled with basically since he walked out on to the campaign trail.

Now, some of that`s personal, it`s about his character and the fact that he
feels as though he`s so different from his brother from a personality
perspective, from a history perspective, from the way the two of them had
interacted with their families.

The fact that he married his wife Columba Bush very young, had a little bit
of a difficult time with that.

But he struggled to explain to voters how exactly that really does make him
different and it`s also in some ways made him seem defensive.

Because he doesn`t want to have to go after his brother or his father. I
think this was an interesting moment, partly because it didn`t lump them
together – his father and his brother.

It actually split them apart and he was in the position of essentially
having to defend 43, his brother, without criticizing 41. So, it was a
little bit of a needle to thread.

And he said that to me in a later part of the interview, he said, well, I
know – you know, I don`t want to say anything bad about my dad, but I do
think that my brother is a big boy and he can handle himself.

And I just think it was one of the more nuance and thoughtful ways I`ve
seen him discuss this. It didn`t put him back on his heels the way some of
the other questions had in the past.

WAGNER: Well, there is another sort of weird needle that Jeb Bush had to
thread on the subject of Dan Quayle.

According to the reports in the book, Jeb Bush privately urged his father
to drop Dan Quayle from the ticket.

And then we learned that Donald Trump who is now running against Jeb Bush
wanted to throw his hat in the ring to be George H.W. Bush`s vice

HEILEMANN: Was an interesting time now, Alex, back in those days. There
were a lot of interesting things that were happening, you know, it`s hard
to know exactly what to say except the Trump piece of it does go to one of
the less remarkable things about Trump.

Which is that he has for a long time wanted to be doing what he`s doing
now. For all the people who say, oh, Trump, he`s a self promoter, he`s
never going to run, he`s never going to run, well, obviously he did run.

But the truth is, he got close to running in 2012, closer than people
thought. He looked to running, you know, on several occasions before that
and even as now we learn as far back as this, he was trying to get himself


HEILEMANN: On in the vice presidential slot. So, this political ambition
that Trump has is real and it`s been around for a long time.

WAGNER: Hear, I want to play that part of the interview when you asked Jeb
Bush about that contention, that he might have tried to push Dan Quayle
out. Let`s take a listen.


BUSH: I don`t remember that. In fact, I`m a huge Dan Quayle fan to this
day. I consider him a friend and I don`t – I don`t recall that being true
at all.

If my dad said it`s true, geez, I guess it`s probably –


He`s about as perfect as I can –

HUNT: He is the –

BUSH: Imagine a person –

HUNT: Greatest man alive as you say –

BUSH: He is, so that puts me in deep conflict here, but I don`t remember


WAGNER: Kasie, it`s so awkward to watch.

HUNT: Hey, he`s a big – he`s a big fan of Dan Quayle –


HUNT: What else do you want him to say?

WAGNER: What he says about –

HUNT: Although, yes –

WAGNER: Is that threading the needle or did you genuinely think he doesn`t
recall trying to oust the vice president?

HUNT: Well, in fairness to Jeb Bush, it was a long time ago. I have done
some other reporting that would suggest once this book comes out, I think
we`ll be – going to be able to get a sense of the biographer Jon Meacham`s

He obviously talked directly to George H.W. Bush about this. So, I mean,
it`s a pretty classic dodge, right, I don`t recall.


WAGNER: Speaking of the Bush –

HEILEMANN: And to be fair, there`s a lot about that time that I don`t
recall either –

WAGNER: Yes, well –

HEILEMANN: So, I had some sympathy –

WAGNER: It was – it was a certain time in American –


HUNT: Those are for other reasons, Jon –

HEILEMANN: As if – thank you, Kasie, thank you for bringing that up.

WAGNER: Only on the late night, Msnbc –


WAGNER: Programs –

HEILEMANN: That`s correct, we can talk about that –

WAGNER: We talked about that. Jeb Bush`s burn rate, if we`re talking
about the health of his campaign –


WAGNER: At this particular moment, he`s navigating what everyone
acknowledges is a tricky period. He is also spending a lot of money.


WAGNER: This is an interesting burn rate. He has spent 86 percent of the
money he raised in the third quarter, that is a lot of money, Jon

And given the polls and where they are –


WAGNER: How bullish do you think he should be about his own candidacy?

HEILEMANN: Well, I – I mean, look, I mean, he`s doing what he`s – he`s
trying to do, he`s trying to pull a Lazarus act, right?

Because the truth is that, for most people now in the Republican
establishment and Paul Singer making the decision the other day, the big
Republican (INAUDIBLE) to go with Marco Rubio explicitly said what a lot of
people in the establishment think.

Which is that they`ve now decided that Jeb Bush can`t either navigate the
nominating process or maybe win the general election on the basis of what
has not been a great – just in terms of his performance skills over the
course of the month that he`s been in the race.

He`s spent a ton of money, he`s obviously scaled back the campaign because
they were aware they were spending too much money and the burn rate was too

But the problem is now that, a lot of his donors, a lot of those people are
tapped out, the people who gave money early on. He was going to have to
look for more establishment money.

And it`s hard to imagine who the establishment bundlers are, who were
uncommitted previously to Bush, who now are going to want to get on the Jeb
Bush train.

That is going to be a pretty hard thing to find. Marco Rubio can find a
lot of those people, Ted Cruz may find some of those people, not clearly
are you going to find a lot of those people with Jeb Bush again.

People who worked with him five months ago, who now decided it`s time to be
with him, that`s going to be a pretty weird bird.

WAGNER: Kasie, to the – to the question of Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush has been
talking – was asked about Marco Rubio`s finances. This is something team
Rubio has been grappling with in the last couple of days.

How much of a threat do you get – sensed that – how much of a threat do
you think Rubio is to the Jeb Bush campaign at this particular moment?

Where are their – where are their sights set more firmly on dealing with
the Bush legacy or tackling the Rubio threat?

HUNT: It`s pretty clear, Alex, that at this point, they think that the
race in their lane, and that`s how the Bush campaign would define their
presidential campaign at this point, it`s in this establishment lane.

But the person that he needs to take down in that lane is Marco Rubio. If
you look at the others in that lane, John Kasich, they view, you know, seem
to think he came across as angry in the debate.

He had gotten a boost in New Hampshire but has fallen back in polls. Chris
Christie potentially on the verge of not even making the debate stage.

That leaves Marco Rubio, and you can see in that, whether it`s that
PowerPoint presentation that his campaign put together or the way Jeb Bush
handles these questions.

That he`s the person that they view as the one that they have to – he`s
the road block for Jeb Bush becoming the consensus establishment choice.

Now, Bush doesn`t seem to be willing to make these attacks on Marco Rubio
directly, either that or he hasn`t found it to be particularly effective.

Obviously, we saw it fall very flat on the debate stage, and since then on
the trail, he`s been reluctant to do it himself.

I asked him this question about Rubio`s finances today and he wouldn`t go
after it directly, but he did say, you have to be vetted if you`re a
presidential candidate.

So, that seems to be a signal to those groups, I`ll lie to Bush, go right
ahead, please, go after Marco Rubio.

HEILEMANN: They have always thought that Marco Rubio was the biggest
threat that they would likely face. Now, they`re looking at it from the
position of being in the underdog posture.

The biggest question in American politics now, one of them at least is,
there`s a guy – named Mike Murphy who is sitting on a lot of money, more
than a $100 million.

Who has done – I am sure some of the most thorough opposition research on
Marco Rubio that`s ever been done. When and if does Mike Murphy decide to
start to go negative on the air on Marco Rubio?

That is a big question.

WAGNER: Mike “iron-ass” Murphy.


John Heilemann and Kasie Hunt, thank you guys both for your time. Up next,
Msnbc`s Ayman Mohyeldin joins me from Cairo with new information about the
plane that some believe was blown up by ISIS.


Britain will resume flights from Sharm El Sheikh Airport tomorrow. About
20,000 British tourists have been stranded since their government suspended
flights after speculation that an ISIS-linked bomb downed a Russian
passenger jet that took off from that airport on Saturday. All 224
passengers and crew were killed.

Today British Prime Minister David Cameron and Egyptian President Abdel
Fattah el-Sisi agreed on additional security measures so that flights could
resume. British passengers will only be allowed to bring carry-on bags,
checked luggage will be transported separately.

The Egyptian and Russian government say, Britain`s speculation about the
crash plane, speculation that some U.S. officials also share, that it is
premature. And, that Britain has rushed to judgment. This afternoon
President Obama told CBS Radio, “I do not think we know yet, but it is
certainly possible there was a bomb.”

Earlier today, Egyptian President Sisi told reporters that Britain sent
teams to the airport ten months ago to check its safety and security
procedures and they were happy with the results.

NBC Foreign Correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin joins us from Cairo. Ayman,
thanks for joining me. Can you explain – can you give us any Intel on the
great divide it seems between the British assessment of what has happened
and the Egyptians?

is being very cautious in terms of describing what has happened. In fact,
even within the Egyptian government, they have been very circumspect, if
you will, to say that it is terrorism.

The civil aviation minister said that the evidence that has been gathered
so far is inconclusive as of yet to determine a specific cause. Other
ministers within the Egyptian government have come out and blatantly said
that this is not terrorism, that this is mechanical. And, there has been
some criticism towards the British Government for suspending all flights in
and out of Sharm El Sheikh heading towards London.

So, from the Egyptian perspective, right now, they are focusing their
investigation on the flight data recorder, which they have recovered; the
cockpit voice recorder, which they have also recovered but is severely
damaged and the forensic analysis of the area around the crash.

The U.S. and western and British Intelligence seems to have other sources
of Intelligence. Some have suggested that it may have been intercepted
communication amongst some militant groups or others to suggest that in
fact, this was brought down or this plane was brought down as a result of
an explosion.

So, that is at least now with the discrepancy seems. One thing that all
the parties have agreed on is that the investigation continues without any
conclusive determination, at least from what they have gathered on the
crash site and in that flight data recorder so far, Alex.

WAGNER: Ayman, what has been the coverage of the – what has the coverage
been like in Egypt and what is – how has the Egyptian public been
processing this?

MOHYELDIN: Well, it is varied from different media outlets. There are
several news organizations here in Egypt. There are some that are very
supportive of the government. There is also official state media. And,
there is no doubt about it, there are varying perspectives on it.

This is a big story in Egypt. Certainly, a big story across the region,
given the fact that the country`s president is also in London meeting with
the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. This story is getting a lot of

And, Egyptians across the board have been very suspicious, if you will, of
some of the – I guess claims that have been coming out of London and
Washington that this was brought down as a result of terrorism.

There have been some popular talk show hosts, who suggest that this is just
simply an attempt by the west to really hit Egypt`s tourism industry hard,
because Egypt relies heavily on tourism. And, again, this is being used as
an attempt by those ultra nationalists to try to show that Egypt is being
attacked by the west to really hurt its tourism industry.

But, at the same time, there are those who are raising legitimate questions
about Egypt`s security capability and others who are saying this is what
Egypt is now facing, a constant threat of terrorism in the Sinai Peninsula,
now targeting its civil aviation industry. Alex.

WAGNER: NBC`s Ayman Mohyeldin. Ayman, thanks for that update.

When we come back , Ben Carson compares his lack of political experience to
that of a signer`s of the declaration of independence, but he does not get
it quite right.




DR. BEN CARSON, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People come up to me and they
say, “But – but – but – but, you have never been elected to any public
office. You cannot possibly know how to do anything.”

But, let me tell you something. The ark was built by amateurs. The
titanic was built by professionals.



WAGNER: Dr. Ben Carson is trying to put his “Amateurs built the arc” line
in a more relevant context. Carson posted this last night on Facebook.
“Several people asks what they should tell their friend when people say, `I
like Carson, but he has no political experience.`

You are absolutely, right. I have no political experience. The current
members of congress have a combined 8,700 years of political experience.
Are we sure political experience is what we need? Every signer of the
declaration of independence had no elected office experience.”

There were 56 signers of the declaration of independence. Even setting
aside the fact they were all elected to represent their colony at the
continental congress and thus were in elective office when they signed the
declaration, even setting that aside, the claim that every signer of the
declaration of independence had no elected office experience is absolutely
not true.

Thirteen of the 56 signers did not hold elective office before being
elected to the second continental congress in 1775. But, most of them –
most of them were good old-fashioned career politicians, like Samuel Adams,
who proposed the continental congress while serving in the Massachusetts

Thomas Jefferson who drafted the declaration was elected to the Virginia
House of Burgesses in 1769. Benjamin Franklin, who helped Jefferson edit
the declaration. He was elected to the Pennsylvania assembly in 1751.
John Adams, also an editor, was elected to the Massachusetts assembly in

And, John Hancock who was elected to provincial congress of Massachusetts
before becoming president of the continental congress and the most
recognizable signature on the declaration.

Those five signers went on to become two presidents, a governor, a
lieutenant governor and the first postmaster general of the United States.
They were what you might call professional politicians.



not a moral failing, it is a disease. And, we need to understand that
folks, who have this disease can be treated and can be given the tools they
need to deal with their addiction.

People understand that it is just one bad choice sometimes if somebody
makes, one bad night. And, if you got the disposition to be an addicts,
you are going to be dealing with it the rest of your life.


WAGNER: That was Governor Chris Christie speaking with NBC`s Hallie
Jackson earlier today. Tonight in Somersworth, New Hampshire, Chris
Christie participated in a roundtable discussion on drug addiction and
recovery. This has then follows a breakout leak for the presidential
candidate after a video of him talking personally and candidly about drug
addiction went viral earlier this week.

It is no coincidence that nice discussion happened in New Hampshire, where
last year, 325 people died from opioid overdose. Opioid deaths this year
are on track to break last year`s record. Also in New Hampshire today was
Jeb Bush, who has not shied away from talking about his daughter`s past
drug addiction.

In 2002, his daughter, Noelle, was arrested for trying to illegally
purchase prescription medication. Earlier today, MSNBC`s Kasie Hunt asked
Bush if he ever blamed himself for his daughter`s battle with drugs.


JEB BUSH , (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did I blame myself. Yes, I mean,
look. That is a common thing, and you got to get over that really. I
talked to people that are going through this. This is a problem across the
country. And, I had a lot of friends whose children are struggling with

And, my first advice is, love your child with your heart and soul. Create
rules around them. Do not blame yourself. Those are the three rules that
– and it took me some time to be honest with you. Because, you know,
look, I have lived a busy life. I was governor. I was always –


BUSH: Away a lot on business prior to that. And, sure, I felt bad. But,
this happens. It happens a lot and it is kind of unknown exactly what this
mark is for someone to go beyond recreational use to addiction. Not an
easy thing. My wife and I have been engaged in all sorts of ways to try to
help people understand this. And, it is, you know, based on personal
experience. I can tell you, it is not easy.

HUNT: How do you think going through that and weathering it with your
wife, how does make you a better presidential candidate and potentially a
better president?

BUSH: Your life experience shapes how you lead, who you are. I can walk
into a crowd and if the subject comes up – which it does all the time here
about drug addiction, I can look at people`s faces and know whether they
have gone through this struggle themselves or with a loved one.

Because you can just sense the – you know, the life coming out of their
face and – even talking about it now, it hurts. There is a deep feeling.
So, understanding that gives you I think a good understanding of the plight
of a lot of people and a lot of other things, too.

Life is a struggle. It is not all the layup. I mean there are a lot of
people economically and other ways that are really struggling. To have
that personal experience, the pain of going through something that no one
wants to go through makes you sensitive to the fact that, that is the why
life works.


WAGNER: Coming up, the new way to police drug addiction that is proving to
be successful in dozens of cities across the United States. What is behind
that success? We will have firsthand accounts from two police chiefs.



WAGNER: This past June, the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department
abandoned eluding position in the war of drugs and embraced a new approach
to the country`s addiction problem. Putting drug users on the path to
recovery and not behind bars.


want to make a golden provocative statement and push that statement further
up the ladder to the legislature and say as a police department, we are
simply not going to arrest for the possession of this drug if the person
presents to the police department and asked for help.


NATHAN LAMOTHE, PROGRAM PARTICIPANT: The way I was living, I was trying to
kill myself. And, I told myself, if the Gloucester Police Station did not
get me help that night, then I was just, I was going to take care of it.



than I have heard you sound in probably the last five-plus years.


NATHAN LAMOTHE: I say it all the time. I got the strength to go to the
Gloucester Police Station from my mother, but I got the hope to stay clean
from the Gloucester Police Station while I was there.



CAMPANELLO: This is not an unsolvable issue. If law enforcement is
willing to change how we view this, then other entities had better step up
to the plate.


WAGNER: Across the country, law enforcement has indeed been willing to
change. Thirty-four police departments across nine states have been
willing to step up to the plate. We will talk with the leaders of two of
those police departments, Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan and Gloucester
Police Chief Leonard Campanello, up next.



NATHAN LAMOTHE: I thought for sure I was going to get arrested for a crime
that I did not even commit, but when I walked through the door, it was the
complete opposite.


WAGNER: That was Nathan Lamothe, just one participant in the Gloucester
Police Department Angel Initiative. Since the start of the initiative in
June, 2078 drug addicts, who turned themselves in to the Gloucester P.D.
have received treatment for their addiction.

Police stations across the county have followed Gloucester`s lead. In
Arlington, Massachusetts, the police have been going directly to the
addicts themselves, reaching out with options for substance abuse and
offering families access to the overdose reversal drug Narcan.

Joining us now our Arlington Police Chief, Fred Ryan and Gloucester Police
Chief Leonard Campanello. Thanks for joining me chiefs. Chief
Campanello, if I could I could just start with you and talk a little bit
about the success that you have had in the Angel Initiative.

know, a very good turn in terms of both police involvement in a social
crisis, a public health crisis and in doing what we do best in law
enforcement, which is serving the public, the way the public wants to be

WAGNER: Chief Ryan, I think when you talk about this being a public health
epidemic, that is not an exaggeration. And, I think most folks do not
realize that drug overdose steps are the leading cause injury-death in the
United States. That is – when we think about what is killing Americans, I
think a lot of people do not understand that drug overdose is the number
one cause.

FRED RYAN, ARLINGTON POLICE CHIEF: You know, listen, we are on track
double the number of overdoses in our community in calendar 15 as compared
to calendar 14. And, that includes the number of fatal overdoses. If that
were traffic crashes, our communities would be screaming for the police
department to take some proactive measures to prevent those deaths.

It is interesting that, you know, in Chief Campanello`s leadership and the
initiatives that have happened as a result of the Gloucester model, that we
are taking a different approach to failed drug police that has gone on for
many decades both on the national level and the state level.

And, we are taking it to the municipal level and taking it to the streets
and reaching out to a known population of addicts and getting intervention
and services to them to prevent their death, and that is resolving.

WAGNER: And, that is a really important point, Chief Campanello. This is
a change, right? This is not about having folks in incarceration or having
even an antagonistic relationship with these drug addicts. You guys are
reaching out to these folks.

CHIEF CAMPANELLO: There is a lot of moving paths to this and not to be
lost is the fact that the law enforcement is reaching out to a demographic,
where typically trust did not exist before.

And, the proof in that is that 278 people have walked through the door of
the Gloucester Police Department and not been turned away, not been
arrested, not been charged with a crime, not been solicited for
information, but instead facilitated into treatment. And, that is 278
people that may still be on the street right now, you know, using the drug
and possibly with dire consequences.

WAGNER: Chief Ryan, talk to us a little bit about what you see in the eyes
of these people when they come to you for help.

CHIEF RYAN: Well, you know, it is – there is shame, right? And , so a
huge element of what we are trying to do is address the issue of stigma
around addiction. You know, those that are suffering from addiction got
the scarlet letter that the community labels them with – their own
families labels them with the scarlet letter and they have shame and guilt.

And, the reasons are abundantly clear. When somebody is experiencing shame
and guilt and the stigma of addiction, the likelihood of their recovery is
exponentially lower. So, we are trying to, you know, set the stigma aside,
you know. Myself included, a lot of us have used the word junkie.

And, I am not ashamed to say that I have used that word, but you know,
nobody under my command will use that word again in our community or our
police department and will approach those suffering from addiction from a
healthcare approach rather than from a criminal approach.

WAGNER: Chief Campanello, the other piece of this is how it has been
funded, because this is not – Tell us a little bit about how this
initiative is being funded.

CHIEF CAMPANELLO: Well, from a police perspective, from a law enforcement
perspective, there is not a lot of money invested in this. And, it is
being funded completely out of a taxpayer base, completely out of our
budget base.

It has being funded with seized assets from drug dealers, to put it simply
federal and state money that is adjudicated after investigation against
drug deals happened, and those dealers are convicted of a crime. The
assets are turned over to municipalities that participated to the

We know from the data we have collected in the five short months that this
program has been operational that it averages for us over those 278 people
$55 a person for the police department to facilitate treatment for that
person, from drug seizure money.

To arrest that same person, it costs the taxpayer from a Tuesday night,
say, to Wednesday morning in court, about $220. So, from a cost/savings
benefit to the taxpayer, from a crime statistic base, this makes law
enforcement sense and certainly makes sense on the human level as well.

WAGNER: Yes, Chief Ryan, from a moral, epidemiological and economic point
of view, this seems to be the right method. I guess I wonder what success
are you having in convincing other police chiefs to join the movement?

CHIEF RYAN: Well, you know, we have had a lot of conversations, both Chief
Campanello and I. You know, I spoke with a major city in New Jersey today,
who are looking at our model. You know, there are there are two key models
here, the Gloucester and Arlington models.

And, whatever works – you know, this is community policing at its best.
Complex, multi-disciplinary problem and a forward thinking police
executives working together, brainstorming for what works in one city may
not work in the next city.

But, the point is, is that the conversation is changing. And, we all
recognize that we are not going to arrest our way out of this situation,
that we got to be far more sophisticated about dealing with addiction and
overdoses in our communities. And, thanks to Chief Campanello`s
leadership, that conversation is going on nationally.

WAGNER: Indeed, to never use the word junkie again represents a sea change
in how we treat and talk about addiction. Chiefs Fred Ryan and Leonard
Campanello, thanks so much for your time.

CHIEF RYAN: Thank you.


WAGNER: Chris Hayes is up next.


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