The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 11/12/15

Eugene Robinson, Bob Herbert, Ana Marie Cox, Nina Turner, April Hoagland, Becky Pierce

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: That does it for us tonight, now it`s time for THE
LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell.

presidential candidates are now using the problems at the University of
Missouri to play their usual game of racial politics.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As protests grow on campuses –

TRUMP ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: I think it`s disgusting –


TRUMP: I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people.
Trump should have been the chancellor of that university.

SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: And the case of Missouri, so I`m still
trying to figure out exactly what it is that got the president fired. What
exactly did he do or say, that was the reason why he should have resigned.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Eisenhower`s 1952, people chasing a million
immigrants. That was at the time anything but humane, how would your plan
be different?

TRUMP: Very humanely done –


TRUMP: Very important.

BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS: I mean, the stuff they did –

TRUMP: Well –

O`REILLY: Was really brutal and could –

TRUMP: Yes –

O`REILLY: Never happen today.

TRUMP: I`ve heard it both ways. I`ve heard –


TRUMP: Good reports, I`ve had –

O`REILLY: You know me –

TRUMP: Bad reports –

RUBIO: There`s only one path forward that has any chance of success
anytime in the near future. And it begins with proving to people that
illegal immigration is under control.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: Illegal immigrants are getting welfare
payments by filing fraudulent tax returns. And Marco Rubio wants to triple
this program. I don`t think there`s anything conservative about this.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: If you go to 2014, millions of Americans rose up
against President Obama`s illegal executive amnesty. Once again, I was
proud to lead that fight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You said that in order to defeat ISIS, that you would
have to go into Iraq. Does that mean boots on the ground in your view?

BEN CARSON, AUTHOR & RETIRED NEUROSURGEON: I think it would require boots
on the ground, yes. And the advantage of putting boots on the ground is
that you provide leadership.

PAUL: If you want to stay out of war, you got one choice on the Republican
side and really on either side over there. If you want – if you want to
go back to war on the Middle East, you`ll always have a Bush or a Clinton.


O`DONNELL: Some Republican presidential candidates see a political
opportunity in the troubles this week on the campus of the University of


TRUMP: I think it`s disgusting –


TRUMP: I think the two people that resigned are weak, ineffective people.
I think that when they resigned, they set something in motion that`s going
to be a disaster for the next long period of time.

They were weak, ineffective people. How we hire people like this – Trump
should have been the chancellor of that university. Believe me. There
would have been no resignations –

BARTIROMO: It`s so unfortunate, it really is –

TRUMP: Did you look at their demands? Their demands are like crazy. Their
demands that they`re –


TRUMP: The things that they`re asking for, many of those things are like


O`DONNELL: So, Trump says, Trump should have been the chancellor of that
university. And if he was the chancellor of that university, there would
be no resignations.

If there was a Trump University, there`d be no resignations. In fact,
there was a Trump University, and not just the head of Trump University,
but everyone.

I mean everyone at Trump University in effect resigned when the university
closed down after six years of taking big tuition fees in a for-profit
university from students and never granting a single degree because it was
not a real university.

We`re joined now by Eugene Robinson, Bob Herbert, Ana Marie Cox. Eugene
Robinson, to hear Donald Trump –


O`DONNELL: Telling us how things –


O`DONNELL: Should work in higher education after the New York State
Attorney General in effect shut down his operation –


O`DONNELL: Fraudulent operation of Trump University.

ROBINSON: In a year rich (INAUDIBLE) –


This is – this sets the bar high, and it is – it is ironic, he clearly
knows nothing about the Missouri protest.

And he`s using it as an occasion to spout off and to show himself as, you
know, I don`t take any stuff from anybody, I mean, which is basically his
campaign slogan.

O`DONNELL: And Bob, it seems that anywhere in our public affairs, if a
line seems to form that has black people on this side of it and other
people on the other side of it.

Republicans want – the Republican presidential candidates want you to know
they`re on whatever side the black people aren`t on.

BOB HERBERT, JOURNALIST: I have argued for many years now that the
Republican Party unfortunately had become what I call the safe house for

And it continues that way. And it continues that way in the face of
demographic changes that are really if the party continues the way it`s
going now is just going to be relegated to the dust bin of history.

O`DONNELL: And let`s listen to Ben Carson talking about this with Megyn


MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS: What they`re telling these students right now on
the Missouri campus is, if you hear speech that you find insulting, call
the cops.

You are now supposed to call the campus cops if you hear something
offensive. What are we doing to tomorrow`s generation?

CARSON: Well, we`re being a little bit too tolerant, I guess, you might
say, accepting infantile behavior. Now, I don`t care which side it comes

You know, to say that I have the right to violate your civil rights because
you`re offending me is Un-American.


O`DONNELL: Ana Marie, there`s Megyn Kelly doing her best imitation of a
Republican presidential candidate, asking a Republican presidential
candidate a softball question.

ANA MARIE COX, AUTHOR: Yes, it`s a little bit disconcerting to watch that
whole thing. Because, you know, Ben Carson of all people obviously should
be sensitive to the history here.

And that seems to be the part that everyone is ignoring. This isn`t about
just the past few weeks. That there`s a whole history at the University of

The very name of the – of the protest, the hashtag of the protest,
concerned student 1950, referring to the first year that a black student
was admitted to the university.

Is a sign that there`s a history here. It`s not just about whatever
happened, you know, in people`s news feed. And it`s the black students or
it`s the people protesting there that are aware of that history.

I think sometimes the journalists aren`t either. That this is taking place
in a context that means something. That it`s not just about being

It`s about a systematic, you know, oppression. It`s about systematic
racism and asking people to step back and look at the system and not just
these individual incidents.

O`DONNELL: And Bob, this is a campus where there`s been a swastika put up,
there`s been threatening language. We have an arrest (AUDIO GAP 00:02:02-
04) delivered to these students.

And so, yes, the campus police want to know if you`re hearing these kinds
of things.

HERBERT: Well, it`s interesting because sort of opponents of protests
would like to give the impression that, well, there`s a little bit of name
calling going on.


HERBERT: You need a little bit of a thicker skin. This has been a
terribly hostile environment for an awful lot of students for a long time.

Including, as you point out, death threats, swastikas, confederate flags on
trucks being driven around the campus –


HERBERT: And that sort of thing. I mean, this is a case of the black
students on the campus just absolutely being fed up with the way they`ve
been treated, and they`ve decided to fight back against it.

O`DONNELL: Yes, and Eugene, the Republican technique including the “Fox
News” technique –


O`DONNELL: As Megyn Kelly exhibits is to not include any of the actual
facts –


O`DONNELL: Of what anyone –


O`DONNELL: Has been –

HERBERT: Facts –

O`DONNELL: Subjected to.

ROBINSON: Republicans –


ROBINSON: Republicans this year facts, those words don`t go together in
any sentence, right?


ROBINSON: I mean, they don`t. You know, for example, they are defending -
- they defend the administrators who resigned, but in fact, they were
incompetent administrator.

There was – the President of the university system had no experience
running a university, and was in fact a businessman who was – who was
named to bring fiscal order to the university.

But, in fact, had no idea how to run an institution of higher learning, and
made mistake after mistake after mistake.

And alienated not just black students, but virtually all students,
virtually all faculty, to the point where departments of the university
were calling on him to resign before any of this broke.

So – but again, those are facts and they`re not relevant here, I guess.

O`DONNELL: And Ana Marie, Chris Christie having been demoted out of the
big debates desperately clinging to relevance has used this opportunity to
issue a threat to the Black Lives Matter Movement.

That if you want a meeting with him, he will absolutely not give a meeting.
He just wants everyone to know, you know –


He`s any tough against any black protest of any kind where –


O`DONNELL: Ever it erupts.

COX: Well, obviously, like that`s his attempt to become relevant. I don`t
– I don`t think the people of the Black Lives Matter Movement really want
a meeting with Christie.

And you know, I think the – obviously, that sort of credit, I mean, in
some ways, if we want to look for a silver lining here, I do think that
there is one in terms of the agency that is been shown by the students

And it`s not just the black students. There are other students, and one of
the more moving images of this whole incident was the image from the
football team that wasn`t just the black student athletes, but all the
athletes linking arms, standing with each other.

As your other guests have pointed out, this is not just about the black
students feeling like something is wrong. This is about the whole system
having experienced some problems about an incompetent president.

About issues that should have been addressed long ago. And I think – I –
you know, I`m a veteran and student protest myself.

I don`t think I`ve ever seen one quite as successful as this one. And I
think that they deserve credit for that.

O`DONNELL: We are joined now by phone by Nina Turner, former Ohio state
senator who is making important news tonight.

Nina Turner, we understand that you are switching from a supporter of
Hillary Clinton to now a supporter of Bernie Sanders.

Could you tell us about that?

I`m on the airplane as we speak.

I could barely hear your question. But I think you`re asking me why am I
supporting Senator Bernie Sanders?

And I`m supporting him because he is a champion for all the things that I
believe in. Because of his passion and hard work for the people.

He is certainly ahead of his time and the nation is finally catching up
with him. He`s a heartfelt man and that`s how I roll most of the time. I
go with my heart and I support what he is standing for.

O`DONNELL: But what has happened that has made you change your mind about
Hillary Clinton?

Is there any new information in this campaign that we didn`t have a few
months ago when you decided to support Hillary Clinton instead of Bernie

TURNER: Not at all, Lawrence. I think what people are forgetting is that,
you know, last year, there was no ready for anybody else.

I mean, I got in that right after my – or right after my (INAUDIBLE) last
year because I thought it was important to stand up and to get Democrats
ready. And that was out there, so nothing has happened, you know, with the
secretary at all.

She is a fine candidate, this is not about being against her. It is about
being for Senator Bernie Sanders. I had never made a formal endorsement in
this election, but I certainly was out there.

And so I was ready, but I`m still – right now.

O`DONNELL: And have you heard from the Clinton campaign about this or from
Secretary Clinton?

TURNER: No, I have not.

O`DONNELL: And have you spoken to Bernie Sanders since making this

TURNER: I have spoken with the senator, not since this announcement came
out, but I did speak with the senator about two weeks ago or so.

And had a chance to hear his message firsthand about why he is doing and
why he feels, and so the nation is ready for this kind of political

And that he is one to lead and the passion that he has is the same passion
that I have serving people who have lost hope in this country.

People who are tired of the status quo, tired of business as usual, and I`m
right with the senator on that.

So I`m going to do everything that I can, traveling this entire country to
introduce this vision of Senator Bernie Sanders in the same way that I was
introduced to him as well.

I was learning about the senator in the same way the other folks learned
about him and are learning about him –

O`DONNELL: Political observers are surprised to see someone switching from
the frontrunner who has a 20-point lead in the latest national poll to the
person in second place.

It`s unusual politics, don`t you agree?

TURNER: Well, Lawrence, they shouldn`t get it that way. Now they should
ask and not look at it that way. As I`ve said, I never endorsed.

Yes, I was supportive, but I never endorsed. And now that I know what I
know about Senator Sanders and had the chance to engage him and watch him
over these last few months, this is where I believe I need to be.

And I make decisions based on what I – where I need to be and what I think
is right and not what is necessarily politically correct. So, we`re going
to run the hard race.

The Democrats are fortunate that they have three strong candidates, but
we`re going to run this race and run it strong.

O`DONNELL: Nina Turner, thank you very much for joining us. I can hear
them just about telling you to hang up that phone on that airplane, I`m
sure –


TURNER: The doors on me, Lawrence, thank you.

O`DONNELL: Thank you, Nina Turner, thank you very much. Bob, have a quick
reaction to this and then –

HERBERT: Well, I have two – I have two thoughts. One is idealistic and
one is kind of cynical. The idealistic view is here is a woman who is just
expressing her principled view and has made an endorsement based on that

The other view, the more cynical view is, all right, what`s the politics in
the area that she previously represented?

Who is she trying to help with this? Because as you point out, it is odd to
hop from a big-time frontrunner to someone who`s trailing.

O`DONNELL: All right, quick break, we`re going to come back with more
reaction to this right after this.


O`DONNELL: Tonight, in an interview with “Abc News”, President Obama
responded to Donald Trump`s hope to remove all undocumented people in the
United States, all 11 million or 12 million of them. Let`s listen to this.


screen flashed around the world as we were dragging parents away from their

And putting them in, what? Detention centers and then systematically
sending them out. Nobody thinks that that is realistic, but more
importantly, that`s not who we are as Americans.


O`DONNELL: Coming up, how this issue is splitting the Republican
presidential candidates.


MADDOW: Good evening. We have some breaking news to bring you at this
hour. Concerns the U.S. battle against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

One of the most enduring and unsettling images from the last year of the
U.S. campaign against ISIS is the image of this ISIS fighter, knife in
hand, having just executed an American hostage.

This man has come to be known in the press as Jihadi John. He was given
that nickname by former ISIS hostages who gave him that nickname because he
was one of a group of English speaking, British-accented ISIS terrorist who
held ISIS captives in Syria.

He is the man who executed American hostage James Foley on tape, that tape
was released last August and that in part is what drew the United States
into our current military campaign against ISIS.

Jihadi John is also the man who has been seen on tape executing a number of
other foreign hostages including other Americans, not much was known about
him initially.

But earlier this year, he was identified as a British man, who was born in
Kuwait, moved to West London when he was six years old.

Had a relatively middle class upbringing there, was a graduate in computer
science from the University of Westminster in 2009.

Western hostages who have been released have recalled that when he held
them in captivity in ISIS, he was a particularly brutal captor.

Well, tonight, this breaking news is that, we are getting reports as yet,
unofficially confirmed, but we are getting reports that Jihadi John has
been targeted in a U.S. military airstrike in Syria.

This news is just coming in at this hour, we`re still awaiting for the
details. That “Nbc News” is reporting tonight that at least – according
to one U.S. senior official, Jihadi John has been targeted in a U.S.

Joining us again tonight to try to get some new details on this just
breaking news is Courtney Kube; “Nbc News” national security producer.
Courtney, what do we know about this story tonight?

Mohammed Emwazi, as you said he is known – better known as Jihadi John.

He`s known for his particularly brutal behavior against western hostages
and hostages held by ISIS. A U.S. official tells us that a U.S. drone
strike today, November 12th near Raqqah targeted Jihadi John.

What they don`t know is whether they actually got him or not. It`s one of
the enduring problems that they have with these strikes in places like
Syria where there aren`t no U.S. ground troops yet.

Is that when they – when they strike one of these targets, they don`t
know. There`s no one on the ground there who can do DNA or who can do any
kind of a battle – after-action battle assessment to find out whether
they`ve gotten him or not.

They generally have to rely on intercepts, or they have to rely on some
sort of chatter amongst ISIS after the fact. You know, talking about
whether he is dead or not, whether he`s been struck.

So we do know that they targeted him. What`s significant about that is
just the fact that he has been such an elusive figure for more than a year

He first came in the headlines in Summer of 2014 when he executed
journalist James Foley, you know, and he was this enduring figure that we
all saw with this British accent, standing there with a knife as his
victims knelt in front of him.

And so he`s been an elusive figure, someone that the U.S. has been looking
for, for more than a year now. The fact that they had actionable
intelligence to go after him today is significant.

MADDOW: Courtney, in terms of that actionable intelligence, obviously
that`s where we`re at. The official statement from the Pentagon Press
Secretary Peter Cook which has just been put out says that, “U.S. forces
conducted an airstrike in Raqqah today, November 12th, targeting Mohammed
Emwazi, also known as Jihadi John.”

We are assessing the results of tonight`s operation and we`ll provide
additional information as and where appropriate.

So we are not hearing he was killed, we are not hearing he was injured, we
are just hearing definitively that he was targeted.

Do we know anything about whether the type of information that led them to
believe they could take action against him, whatever the intelligence was.

That they saw as actionable for launching this airstrike is the same type
of information that would provide proof of life or would tell us whether or
not he was injured?

KUBE: We don`t know that. And I asked several officials tonight just as
this was breaking in the last, you know, half hour, 45 minutes, what kind
of intelligence they had and no one would disclose that.

It`s obviously – it`s obviously very sensitive. You know –


KUBE: Especially when you talk about something like intercepts, because as
soon as they disclose that that`s how they`re listening to ISIS, they`re
listening to these fighters, well, they`re going to – their intelligence
sources are going to dry out.

MADDOW: Right –

KUBE: So we don`t know that. I mean, you know, keep in mind, it`s not the
first time that they`ve had some actionable intelligence in Syria.

There was this – the – you know, attempted hostage rescue that
unfortunately they were there too late and they – the hostages were
already gone.

So, there have been other instances where they have gotten intelligence and
it has actually proven to be relatively correct. It was just in that case

So, we`re going to – this is similar to – you know, when we see
airstrikes against figures in Pakistan.

It`s the same thing. We`ll get word that they targeted someone – a senior
leader there, and then it`s some time before we hear.

And often it comes up on the internet, we`ll see chatter among – on
internet web forums where they`re talking about, you know, so and so has
been murdered.

And so it`s often that kind of thing where – we don`t actually ever get
real hard intelligence that these people have or have not been killed.

Unless they either pop-up in a video somewhere alive or we start to – we
just believe what we`re hearing on the internet from their co-fighters.

MADDOW: Courtney, in terms of the U.S. process here, obviously Jihadi
John, Mohammed Emwazi is somebody who is well known in the west.

Not just because he is an ISIS fighter, but because he is directly
implicated with video evidence provided by ISIS itself in the deaths of
American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

He is pictured in the beheading video – in other beheading videos for
other western hostages including the one for Abdul Rahman(ph), Peter

He`s also implicated in the deaths of David Haines; the British aid worker
Alan Henning, British aid worker, and Kenji Goto, who was a Japanese

Because he is directly linked to so many of those individual deaths – in
terms of the U.S. process here, do we expect that if they get confirmation
that they think they`ve got, and the U.S. officials will go to those
families first before they make some sort of official pronouncement?

KUBE: I`ve actually been told they already went to the families. That was
one of the reasons that the release of this information was delayed this

Is they wanted to make sure that there was notification of the families
prior to being released in the media. They wanted to let them know that
they had targeted him.

And again, they couldn`t tell the families that he was dead or not, but
they just wanted to let them know that they had targeted him.

MADDOW: OK, Courtney Kube, joining us tonight. National security producer
for “Nbc News”, Courtney, thank you.

KUBE: Thank you –

MADDOW: Again, this breaking news tonight. Reports tonight confirmed by
the Pentagon that there has been an airstrike in Syria targeting the ISIS
militant known as Jihadi John, Mohammad Emwazi directly implicated in the
killing of a number of western hostages including James Foley.

We do not have word on whether or not he has been killed or injured, but we
know he has been targeted. We`ll let you know more as we learn more.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does that mean boots on the ground in your view?

CARSON: I think we would require boots on the ground, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you convince the veterans, and of course the
Americans, who are going to be watching this tonight through the “Nbc”
affiliates that we should have a third war in Iraq in 25 years.

How do you convince them that this is the right thing to do?

CARSON: By explaining to them what the global Jihad movement is and what
its intentions are. We need to recognize that this is a very different
situation than what was going on in 2003.

Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda at that time were not an existential threat to
us. This is. And if we can`t recognize the difference between the two,
we`re in tough shape.


O`DONNELL: “The Washington Post” front page lead story this morning was
about disagreements within the Republican Party on foreign policy. Rand
Paul`s anti-war, anti-interventionist foreign policy is a welcome change
for some Republicans. In the National Review article today says that Rand
Paul communicates to people who are more on the side of anti-war, less
interventionist policies, that they, too can belong on the conservative
side of things if they agree on some of the other issues. Rand Paul makes
the party more inclusive.

Joining us now again, Matt Lewis, Senior Contributor to the Daily Beast,
the Daily Caller and a Columnist for the Week, Matt, in the Republican
Party, this is a new version of Republican debate to see this much
disagreement on foreign policy on a presidential debate stage.

healthy. I do. I felt the best part of that debate on Tuesday night was
Marco Rubio and Rand Paul battling. I think they both had a very good
moment. I think Rand Paul for the first time out of four debates really
doubled down on who he is and owned his kind of libertarian, anti-
interventionist foreign policy. I think Marco Rubio had really good
responses as well. And I think it`s actually very healthy that we`re
having this debate. Because look, on one hand, I think you clearly – most
Republicans would agree, America needs to be a beacon of hope.

You want a strong America in terms of foreign policy. On the other hand, I
still think looking back at the Bush years, not a lot of an appetite for
nation building. So this is a good thing about debates and about
primaries. You can hash out these ideas a little bit.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to a sample of the Rubio versus Paul part of the


MARCO RUBIO, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know that Rand is a committed
isolationist. I am not. I believe the world is a stronger and better
place. And the United States is the strongest military power in the world.

RAND PAUL, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: How is it conservative to add $1
trillion in military expenditures? You cannot be a conservative if you`re
going to keep promoting new programs and you`re not going to pay for.

RUBIO: We can`t even have an economy if we`re not safe. There are radical
Jihadists in the Middle East beheading people and crucifying Christians. I
believe the world is a safer – I don`t believe, I know the world is a
safer place when America is the strongest military power in the world.

PAUL: I don`t think we`re any safer – I do not think we`re any safer from
bankruptcy court. This is the most important thing we`re going to talk
about tonight. Can you be a conservative and be liberal on military
spending? Can you be for unlimited military spending and say I am going to
make the country safe? We need a safe country, but you know we spend more
on our military than the next ten countries combined.


O`DONNELL: Anna Marie, a real debate broke out there for a minute.

ANNA MARIE COX, DAILY BEAST COLUMNIST: It`s true. For a party that seems
to have something against philosophers, it was almost entirely a
philosophical debate. It wasn`t really about what`s actually happening.
It`s about the principle of isolationism versus the principle of America
being a global power when really – the facts on the ground, rather than
the boots on the ground are pretty complicated. And one of the things that
trouble me about what`s happening in the Republican debate, you know, among
the Republicans is that almost – I think it`s only Rand that`s against
having a no-fly zone in Syria.

Republicans seem to be pointing out who they`re against, not who they`re
for. In this particular case, they just want to be strong against Putin.
Whatever Putin is doing, they want to be against it. Whether or not it`s a
good idea doesn`t seem to matter. I think no one is really thinking
through these things. The cost of a no-fly zone, having a no-fly zone
wouldn`t actually do much about the kind of military fighting happening in
Syria, no one is asking those questions. I wish they had some welders, I
guess, in there also asking some harder questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One person who`s been kind of a welder and kind of on
the Rand Paul side of this debate is Donald Trump actually, who says if
Russia wants to wipe out ISIS, great. Let`s let them. He`s very reluctant
to this idea of sending troops anywhere, certainly back into Iraq or into
Syria. He`s kind of hands off.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to the way only the philosopher clown Donald Trump
can say that himself, which he did yesterday on Morning Joe.


militaristic person on that stage, but I also know when to do it. I love
the fact that, you know, Putin is bombing the hell out of somebody and the
people he`s bombing right now have to be ISIS to a certain extent. And
having Putin dropping bombs on ISIS a very positive thing, we don`t have to
do 100 percent of the bombing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeb Bush said that`s reckless and irresponsible.

TRUMP: I think it`s irresponsible for us to get bogged down in Syria and
maybe let`s end up World War III where we don`t even want to be in the
first place.


O`DONNELL: Matt Lewis, Trump is the closest one to Rand Paul on these
issues on the debate stage, yet he always begins it by saying I am the most
militaristic person. He`s very proud of being the biggest saber rattler of
the saber that he doesn`t want to use.

LEWIS: It`s such a weird thing to say, too, right? Normally you might say
look, I am very strong on national security. But I am militaristic, but
that`s how he talks. That`s the Donald. There are some problems on the
Republican side. We can all agree. And there`s a schism and soul
searching. But the issue on national security is healthy. In the run-up
to the war in Iraq, it seemed none (Inaudible) to go into Iraq following
9/11. But basically, everyone rallied around the flag, rallied around
George W. Bush. Not a lot of questions were asked. Here it really good
and really interesting that Republicans is really having these
disagreements. Is Russia our geopolitical foe? Is Russia our allies? Are
they helping us fight against ISIS? Should we take out Assad? All sorts
of questions and frankly, I don`t even know the answer to it. Rand Paul
and Marco Rubio both well within the acceptable umbrella of the spectrum of
what qualifies as a legitimate conservative, but diametrically opposed on
this big world view question about how we use our military.

O`DONNELL: That will have to be the last word. Matt Lewis, Anna Marie
Cox, thank you all for joining us.

Coming up, a gesture of humanity and compassion by a pair of Boston police
officers saves the life of a veteran on Veterans Day. That`s tonight`s
good news.


O`DONNELL: And now for the good news, good cop news. Boston Police
Captain Hasib Hussein was supposed to have a day off yesterday, but instead
he accepted an assignment overseeing traffic around a construction site on
Columbia Road, when an NBTA bus stopped nearby. He saw passengers running
off the bus. They told Captain Hussein there was a man on the bus with a
hatchet who was yelling that he was going to kill himself. Captain Hussein
boarded the bus, immediately boarded the bus. Here is one account of what
happened next. Hussein saw a man he judged to be around 50 in a tone
closer to a parish priest than a cop who calmly asked him, what can we do
to help?

Hussein noticed that the man was clutching the hatchet close enough to his
neck to break the skin. He said he was a veteran staying in a homeless
shelter on Court Street downtown. By the time the vet made that
declaration, Captain Hussein was joined by Boston PD Patrol Officer David
Godin who uttered the words that may well have saved one troubled vet`s
life. “Sir, I want to thank you for your service,” Godin told him.
Hussein told colleagues later David Godin essentially neutralized a very
tense situation almost immediately with those words of gratitude and

This could have gone a number of ways, and most of them looked bad. But
when he heard someone offer him a simple, sincere thank you on Veterans
Day, it seemed to drain all the tension from the moment. On a day set
aside to honor the sacrifice made on behalf of one man, one veteran felt
disconnected and lost on this Veterans Day, riding a bus heading down
Columbia Road was persuaded not to kill himself or possibly unleash his
anguish on others by a gesture of humanity and compassion conveyed by a
pair of Boston police officers.

You can read all of the account of this good news at

Coming up, the couple who lost their foster child in a Utah courtroom this
week because the judge doesn`t think same-sex couples can be good parents.


O`DONNELL: Many of you have by now probably seen the video of Linwood
Lambert being repeatedly hit by Tasers from police before he died in a
small town in Southern Virginia. The video has been shown on this network
repeatedly, including last night on this program. Other networks now have
that video, and so it`s become difficult to avoid seeing it, even if you
don`t want to see it. Friends of mine, especially black friends, have been
telling me that they`ve seen enough of this video, that it is just simply
too disturbing, too awful to watch.

One reason why we show videos like this repeatedly is that not everyone
watches television at the same time. And so each time we show it, many
people are seeing it for the first time and learning something important
from it. Joining us now, Marq Claxton, Director of the Black Law
Enforcement Alliance and a former New York City Police Officer, Marq, what
do you think is the most significant part of that video?

most significant part is right at the point where Mr. Lambert is attempting
to enter the hospital, right at the doors of the hospital, if you will,
while he is handcuffed, slamming into the doors of assistance, if you will,
and subsequently being tazed. I think that`s very telling, that one scene
of this very troubling and disturbing video is very telling.

O`DONNELL: We`re showing that right now, Marq. What do you think it is
that people should be paying attention to in this video?

CLAXTON: I think it`s important for people to – you know, police officers
we`ve gotten away from this in this country over the past several years,
have really gotten away from the tradition of policing, which is public
service, offering assistance, rendering aid, providing when necessary –
you know, the appropriate medical services, as was the case here, which
should have been given to Mr. Lambert. And they seem to revert often times
too quickly into these physical confrontations, excessive physical force,
even in the face of a person who obviously has some medical issues that
should be addressed with their assistance.

It`s just too easy now for policing and law enforcement to turn into a
physical altercation or combat situation that really escalates above and
beyond what is the professional standard.

O`DONNELL: And the interesting thing about this one, Marq is it begins
with the right decision which is they come upon this guy and they realize
this guy is not in a criminal posture. He`s in a mentally disturbed
posture, let`s take him to an emergency room. Let`s get him some
treatment. We`re showing video of him now where he was first apprehended
by the police. And they were trying to do the right thing at that point.
But on the other video that you just showed, we just showed at the
hospital, it seems like they had somebody who was handcuffed who they knew
could not run away. I just want to tell the control room, stop showing the
video. Just stop it. I don`t want to run this thing on a loop like this.

Take down the video, ok. So they have somebody who can`t run away, he`s
being stopped by the door. And it looks like – let`s do the easiest arm`s
length version of dealing with this guy at this moment. Let`s just pop him
with some Tasers.

CLAXTON: Yeah. And it`s – one thing is it`s outside of the use of those
Tasers, federal guidelines. You`re talking about a fleeing individual, not
an individual who`s actively engaged in some kind of physical combat with
the police officers. That is relevant especially nowadays because it seems
there`s a dramatic increase in the use of Tasers. But what`s also
disturbing is that you have a collective, a group of individual police
officers, all these professionals out of all of them, not one said ok,
that`s enough. Let`s stop that.

And I think that`s missing in today`s law enforcement because there needs
to be – anyone can get caught up in the emotions of a situation, but there
ought to be one of those professionals who has the ability or the capacity
or the knowledge to say hey, that`s enough. All right, that`s enough, we
got him, it`s good, and everything is all right. And then continue on
providing the service that they initially had intended to provide.

O`DONNELL: Marq, it`s a very small police department, about 28 officers.
Is training generally weaker in those smaller police departments?

CLAXTON: Generally speaking, and I am really speaking generally, yes, it
is. But there is a training issue that is occurring throughout the nation.
I`ve said this before, that until we get to the point where we`re willing
to – where we demand that there are national professional standards for
policing and there are certain things that will occur across the board,
we`ll always be faced with these conflicts of technical terms and conflict
of procedural issues, etcetera. We need national professional standards
for policing. Other professions have national standards. Law enforcement
and policing is in desperate need of national standards.

O`DONNELL: Marq Claxton, thank you for your perspective on this tonight.

Coming up, a judge orders a foster child removed from the home of a married
couple. And the only reason the judge gives is that the women, these two
women do not make a fit parental unit because they are lesbian.


O`DONNELL: On Tuesday, Utah juvenile court judge ordered the removal of an
infant girl from the foster care of a lesbian couple, April Hoagland and
Becky Pierce. The court session was closed to the public and the press and
so it has left some observers wondering about what happened, including the
Republican Governor of Utah.


GARY HERBERT, UTAH GOVERNOR: I am a little puzzled about the action down
there, personally. I expect the court and a judge to follow the law. You
may not like the law, you make not the law, but he should follow the law.
We don`t want to have activism on the bench in any way, shape, or form.


O`DONNELL: Joining us now for tonight`s Last Word are April Hoagland and
Becky Pierce. April, what was it like to be in that court session where
suddenly you lose this child?

APRIL HOAGLAND: It was heart breaking and devastating. I had to try to
keep my emotions together but it was very hard.

O`DONNELL: And Becky, did you see this coming? Was there any indication
that this was what was going to happen?

BECKY PIERCE: We knew that he didn`t like same-sex couples, but we didn`t
expect this to happen.

O`DONNELL: Is there anything in Utah law that backs up this decision?

HOAGLAND: There is not.

O`DONNELL: And so that`s the surprise that the Governor was exhibiting
when this was brought up to him, right? That he can`t see what there is in
Utah law that allows the judge to rule this way?

PIERCE: Correct.

O`DONNELL: And did you have any trouble in the initial arrangements for
this foster care?

PIERCE: No. Once we were able to get legally married, we were able to
obtain a foster care license. And that has been really smooth and easy.

O`DONNELL: And April, what about in your neighborhood, were your neighbors
hostile at all to you about this?

HOAGLAND: Oh, no, not at all. We`ve never had any sort of hostility or
discrimination in our neighborhood. This is the first time.

O`DONNELL: And Becky, why did this end up in court at this point?

PIERCE: This was just a routine hearing for the child. This actually had
nothing to do with us. It was a hearing, a normal process for the child,
and somehow this came up.

O`DONNELL: So you actually thought you were just going in for a routine
hearing, it`s normal in these kinds of situations when you have a foster
child, and it was just going to be that routine and you would go home?

PIERCE: Correct.

O`DONNELL: Did you have a lawyer with you in this situation?

PIERCE: We did not. Because we didn`t expect that we would need one.

HOAGLAND: Because we weren`t on trial.

O`DONNELL: Well, what about now? Do you intend to try to pursue this
legally and get more help?

PIERCE: Yes. We do have an attorney.

O`DONNELL: And what do you think the options are at this stage?

PIERCE: Several lawyers are working together right now and they`ve all
filed papers.

O`DONNELL: And April, how long did you have this child?

HOAGLAND: Three months in our home.

O`DONNELL: And an infant like that for three months, you get pretty
attached after about – I don`t know, maybe three minutes.

HOAGLAND: Right. It didn`t take long.

O`DONNELL: What is it like at home now without that little girl?

HOAGLAND: She`s still in our home, but she`ll be removed if the judge is
allowed by Tuesday.

O`DONNELL: Ok, so what happens in Tuesday now that determines the outcome

HOAGLAND: They cane remove the child. The judge ordered for seven days
for the child to be removed to a heterosexual home, and that`s what he

O`DONNELL: Wow. This is a tough one. What are your options to stop that
at that point, does your lawyer think you have an option?

HOAGLAND: Yes. Our lawyer has filed papers along with the representative
of DCFS and guardian ad litem.

O`DONNELL: Is there is anyone on the other side of this case other than
the judge?

HOAGLAND: No, there`s not.

O`DONNELL: So this is just really you against one judge and no law we know
of to back up that judge.

HOAGLAND: That is correct.

O`DONNELL: Well, good luck with it, it seems like the law is on your side
and you are well represented. Please come back and let us know how this
comes out.

HOAGLAND: We will, thank you very much.

O`DONNELL: April Hoagland and Becky Pierce get tonight`s last word. Chris
Hayes is up next.


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