The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 12/29/2015
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: December 29, 2015
Guest: Joy Reid, Eugene Robinson, Tom Davis, Wendy Davis, Hillary Man
Leverett, Dead Valore, Acouillahs Multeti
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: I think my favorite moment from Mr.
Harris` dispatches comes when he`s describing the notable absence from the
Obama family trip to a local shaved ice shop.
“FLOTUS” was not present, as she rarely seems to enjoy publicly eating,
frozen, garishly colored sugar water with little of the mouth appeal that
He really wrote mouth appeal. Mr. Harris for handling his pool duties with
such flair, and of flipping through this weekend`s press reports into the
highlight of the work day.
You, sir, are the best new thing in the world, and God bless you and your
reports, incredible mouth appeal. That does it for us, we will see you
Right now, it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell.
LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Melissa, the White House press corps is
going to miss Hawaii.
HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, they were having a good time.
O`DONNELL: Oh, yes, oh, it doesn`t get better than Hawaii, thank you,
HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks –
O`DONNELL: Well, it`s the end of the Republican Party as we know it,
according to my first guest who has seen it all in American politics, but
has never seen anything like Trump.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP(r), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Yes, I`m here for the Iowa stuff.
We love the Bible. That`s a – it`s the best. Madam president, can you
imagine? Oh –
STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST: Six days before Bill Clinton is set to
campaign for his wife –
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Republican frontrunner says the former president
is fair game.
TRUMP: Hillary brought up the whole thing with sexist. We`re going to go
right after the president – the ex-president.
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Does this make any sense to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
TRUMP: There was certainly a lot of abuse of women, and you look at
whether it`s Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones –
ANN LEWIS, STRATEGIST, DEMOCRATIC PARTY: This kind of wink-wink, nudge-
nudge, about a very old news.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These kind of tactics won`t work in the general
TRUMP: If I don`t win, it would have been a big, fat beautiful waste of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The anti-establishment attitude has pull, but doesn`t
TRUMP: To the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of
Cuba, OK? Just remember that.
EUGENE ROBINSON, COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Right, if you`re Republican
Party that we knew five years ago, ten years ago is not the Republican
Party that`s going to come out of this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: History will remember 2015 as the year when the Republican
Party as we knew it was destroyed by Donald Trump.
An entity called the GOP will survive, but can never be the same. That`s
not me talking every word of what I just said came from Eugene Robinson`s
column today in the “The Washington Post.”
And Eugene Robinson just happens to be with us tonight, so you will be
hearing more directly from him.
In his piece, Gene says, “Trump has given voice to the ugliness and anger
that the party spent years encouraging and exploiting.
He let the cat out of the bag and it`s hungry. The party might nominate
Trump in which case the establishment will have lost all control.
Or party leaders might somehow find a way to defeat him in which case they
will have lost the allegiance of much of the base.
In either event, the GOP we once knew is irredeemably a thing of the past.”
Tonight in Iowa, Donald Trump as usual told his audience what they want to
And this time he was actually talking about his audience.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: My crowds are the smartest people. My crowds are the smart – I
know it! I know it! These are the people. They like to say, well, you
know, they`re lower this, lower that – oh, they`re so disgusting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Here`s what we know about the crowds Trump calls the smartest
people. Sixty six percent of them believe President Obama is Muslim.
Sixty one percent of them believe President Obama is not an American
citizen. Those smartest people are very wrong about both of those things.
And those two things about the Trump audience explain the most important
things that you need to know about the rise of Donald Trump.
Joining us now, as promised, Eugene Robinson, also with us, Congressman Tom
Davis, former Republican Congressman from Virginia.
And Joy Reid, Msnbc national correspondent. OK, Gene, you have the floor,
make your –
ROBINSON: Well –
O`DONNELL: Case about how this is the end of the GOP as we know it has
ROBINSON: Well, look, my case is, we don`t know what`s going to happen in
2016, but we kind of know what happened in 2015.
We may not believe it, but we know what we saw. And what we saw was Donald
Trump, you know, driving a truck bomb into the middle of the Republican
I mean, it is – there is now a chasm between Trump`s part of the
Republican base, his 30 percent, 35 percent, whatever it is, of the
And the party establishment with a whole bunch of people kind of in the
middle trying to figure out what`s going on.
I don`t see how they put that back together and come out with the
Republican Party that we all have known for many years.
They can come out with the party, and a lot of people will be in it. And
it will decide its stance for something, and maybe will get itself back
together at some point, but it won`t be the same party.
Because I think that coalition has been exploded essentially.
O`DONNELL: Tom Davis, your reaction to Gene`s theory about the future of
TOM DAVIS, FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, as you know, I chaired the house
Republican Campaign Committee two cycles, and the parties have been
evolving for some time.
You know, states like Arkansas, West Virginia, you can go through – it
used to be rock solid Democratic at the grassroots are now solidly
And as that`s happened, you`ve had a different group of Republicans, you
know, entering into the picture, and now they tend to be dominating the
conversation in primaries throughout the country.
So, the Democratic Party is changing as well. I don`t know that I would
write the death now for the Republican Party, but I agree with Eugene, it`s
a different party.
But by introducing new players, we`ll see how this evolves once it gets
through the primaries. The one thing you have to remember is the
propensity of Americans not to re-elect a presidential party for a third
Five of the last six times since World War II, that`s been attempted, it
hasn`t happened. So, it is a long way to go in this, but certainly, Donald
Trump has introduced and caught a wave at this point.
And we don`t know how it`s going to end.
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, Gene in his column asks this question, “can you
picture the Trump legions meekly falling in line behind Jeb Bush or Senator
REID: Yes, in a word, no! And this is –
O`DONNELL: OK –
REID: One of causes of my kind of lonely Rubio skepticism over the last
year as establishment Republican after establishment Republican.
And a lot of Democrats by the way keep trying to convince me that somehow
Marco Rubio will become the nominee of the party.
And the two questions I typically ask when someone says that are, OK, which
two states in a row does he win out of the first, let`s say four or five.
And secondly, how is it that you get a party base that is dead-set against
immigration reform and for whom immigration reform is the symbol of their
own party`s fecklessness and failure.
The idea that their party elites are telling them that they must be for
immigration reform, otherwise they are simply wrong or bad people or not
smart enough to understand why this is good for the party.
That they have been lectured on immigration reform all this time and they
still say no. And how are they going to turn around and say OK, we`ve
decided, the guy we would like to go ahead and nominate and support is the
guy who did immigration reform.
I don`t get it. And so I think, yes, I think the Republican Party had an
inflection point in 2009 when they could have gone with the forces in their
Who said we need to sort of reform ourselves in terms of our demographics
in order to compete with the party that elected this first black president,
or we need to go with the forces of nihilism and rejection.
They made the choice to go with the rejectionists and that`s where they
are, they`re stuck with it.
O`DONNELL: Well, Gene, historically, the way you get that voter, that
Republican voter tonight who hates Marco Rubio to vote for Marco Rubio in
the general election are the words Hillary Clinton, or the name of whoever
the Democratic nominee is.
The Democratic nominee is always going to be worse. And so they are making
that lesser of two evils choice that they`ve made many times in the past.
They did it with Romney. And if you listen to the way Rush Limbaugh went
after Romney before Romney was the nominee, you would think it impossible
for the Rush Limbaugh audience to vote for Romney.
And Rush completely came around as he always does and went with the
nominee, the establishment nominee in this case.
ROBINSON: Yes, but I have never seen a time in any recent election, or in
any election when you had essentially more than half of Republican primary
voters saying they want a candidate who has never been elected to public
Who – and right now, I think it`s up to about two-thirds, if you put Trump
and Cruz and Carson together with Fiorina`s few votes who – you don`t want
somebody who`s never been elected to anything, or somebody who`s made a
career of alienating the Republican establishment.
In fact, it is – it is a pretty wholesale rejection of the party
leadership that the likes of which I haven`t seen before.
So, I don`t know if you – if there is an (INAUDIBLE), I don`t know if
there`s a next election we can look back on.
And furthermore, if you look at – you know, the Republican Party has won a
lot of elections on the congressional level, on the state level.
Controlled a lot of state houses, both houses of Congress, yet their
ability to be a governing coalition anywhere is to say the least
They can`t quite agree on what to do and how to do it. Immigration is just
one issue. There are lots of other issues, national security is an issue
that`s starting to divide the party.
I mean, it is – there`s going to have to be some reshaping and some
rededication to a set of principles that seem to – don`t – that seem to
not exist for the Republican Party right now.
O`DONNELL: Well, yes, Gene, the historical question that your column posed
today basically was, can we think of a time where the general election
voter in one party, Democrat or Republican, had to travel so far from where
they began in the primary to where they were going to have to go in the
general election to cast their vote?
And I thought about it for a while and I`ve ended up with 1968. When you
think of the Gene McCarthy vote, which was an anti-war, anti-LBJ, anti-
Democratic administration vote within the Democratic Party, that was the
angriest primary vote I think we`ve maybe seen in our lifetimes.
ROBINSON: Yes –
O`DONNELL: And the idea that in the general election, what they were going
to have to do was to go all the way over to Hubert Humphrey to vote for
someone who`s been part of this war machine in the White House.
That that`s where the peace vote was going to have to go, and where they
went largely. And think about what happened to Democratic primary voters
over the course of that primary.
Bobby Kennedy, possibly at the point when he was on his way to the
nomination was assassinated.
How was a Bobby Kennedy voter going to make their way all the way over to
Hubert Humphrey, but most of them did.
ROBINSON: Yes, but –
O`DONNELL: They did –
ROBINSON: Not enough of them because who won that election? I mean, you
know, the final analysis, the Democrats didn`t really succeed in putting it
all back together again in time for the election.
DAVIS: Lawrence –
ROBINSON: You know, maybe the Republicans will pull off the trick this
time. But it doesn`t feel like a year when Republicans have stayed
traditionally – do – are going to fall in line.
They seem to want to fall in love this time around.
O`DONNELL: Tom Davis, go ahead.
DAVIS: No, I was going to say, Humphrey almost closed it with that bombing
halt in the closing days.
O`DONNELL: Yes –
DAVIS: You remember, it was a three-way race –
O`DONNELL: It was very close –
DAVIS: Too, in 1968 –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
DAVIS: Making it –
ROBINSON: You`re right –
DAVIS: Even a little more complicated. But the trouble for Republicans is
that at this point, the establishment wing, and if you want to claim the
anti-establishment wing, I mean, and they`re so divided in terms of their
visions of the country, makes it very hard even with Hillary Clinton.
But Trump has introduced a whole new group into the Republican electorate.
Their tests is going to be, can they hold it together, and at the same
time, you know, hold their more moderate establishment base which has a
completely different world view.
It will be a real test at this point.
REID: Yes, and Lawrence, if I could just say, if we use the 1968 model, if
you remember that the establishment figure that was bio-engineering the
Hubert Humphrey nomination was the president of the United States who was
deciding he wasn`t going to run for re-election.
But you still had, coming – you know, out of the Lyndon Johnson White
House, a tide that continued to bind this sort of hard scrabble coalition
of Democrats together, which was that civil rights legacy.
Which was something to hold on to for liberal Democrats. For Republicans
right now, the establishment, such as it is, is an elected group and also a
group – elected group of politicians who promised them that the one thing
that they were going to do if you empowered them and gave them the
Which is that they were going to stop Barack Obama, that they were going to
defeat him. That promise was made over and over again.
But these same politicians were unable to pull that off. They were unable
to stop healthcare. They have continued in the minds of these voters to
essentially lie to those voters.
To say that they were going to give them things that they never could and
never would on social issues, on healthcare reform, on and on and on.
And so the war is against them. This is unprecedented because the war in
the base of the Republican Party is not just against Barack Obama.
It`s against the very establishment leadership of their own party.
DAVIS: It is – but Lawrence –
O`DONNELL: Go ahead, Tom –
DAVIS: You made the point at the very beginning. The out party at this
point dislikes the in so much, at the end this could unite the Republicans,
just wanting a change from the Democrats and Hillary Clinton.
The test will be, will that be enough to bring these people onboard. And a
lot of this will depend on how Trump handles this if he doesn`t get the
How are the leaders come – do they come together or not? It`s a big test.
O`DONNELL: Tom Davis, thank you very much for joining us tonight, really -
DAVIS: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: Appreciate it. Coming up, Donald Trump versus Bill Clinton.
And history is being made this week in Iran where for the first time in
almost a decade, Iran now no longer has enough enriched uranium for a
And police in Brussels make arrest in a new year`s eve terror plot that
authorities say was intended to be in the same style as the Paris attacks.
O`DONNELL: And now the latest in the fight against ISIS.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE WARREN, COLONEL, UNITED STATES ARMY: This is your headline.
Charaffe al-Mouadan, he was a Syrian-based ISIL member with a direct link
to Abdelhamid Abaaoud; the Paris attacks cell leader.
We killed him on December 24th in Syria. Al-Mouadan was actively planning
additional attacks against the west.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The U.S. military says the targeted airstrikes against ISIS in
Syria and Iraq have killed ten ISIS leaders in just the last month.
On Sunday night and Monday, the Islamic terrorists killed 52 people and
injured 124. But we have not heard one word of reaction about that from
our presidential candidates because the attacks were conducted by Boko
Haram in Nigeria.
Boko Haram used rocket-propelled grenades in the attacks, the attacks came
just days after the president of Nigeria said that the war against Boko
Haram was won and that Boko Haram was no longer capable of carrying out
A nurse at one of the three hospitals that treated the wounded said that
they were so overwhelmed with patients that many of them had to be cared
for in the maternity ward.
Needless to say, if such an Islamic terror attack had taken place anywhere
in Europe or in North America, you would be hearing a bit more about it.
In Brussels, security has been heightened after two men were arrested for
allegedly planning a series of coordinated terror attacks over the new year
Authorities say targets included the police headquarters and the grand
market, the city`s largest tourist attraction.
Authorities described the planned attacks as in the same style as the
attacks in Paris. But they have no evidence yet of a specific connection
to those attacks.
Coming up later, tonight`s last word goes to a man whose life story is
truly inspirational. He will join me here in our studio in Los Angeles.
O`DONNELL: Donald Trump continued his campaign against the Clinton who is
not running for president today on “The Today Show”.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: There was certainly a lot of abuse of women. And you look at
whether it`s Monica Lewinsky or Paula Jones or many of them, and that
certainly will be fair game, certainly if they play the woman`s card with
respect to me.
That will be fair game.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: “Washington Post” columnist Ruth Marcus finds herself for once
in agreement with Donald Trump. Her latest column`s headline, “Trump is
right: Bill Clinton`s sordid sexual history is fair game.”
Ruth Marcus writes that “Donald Trump deployed a weapon that none of
Clinton`s Democratic opponents, past or present, has dared to mention.
He played the Bill card. Bill Clinton had a successful presidency with an
ugly blot. Sexism isn`t the precise word for his predatory behavior
towards women or his inexcusable relationship with a 22-year-old intern.
Yet in the larger scheme of things, Bill Clinton`s conduct towards women is
far worse than any of the offensive things that Trump has said.
Trump has smeared women because of their looks, Clinton has preyed on them
and in a work place-setting where he was by far the superior.
That is uncomfortable for Clinton supporters, but it is unavoidably true.”
Joining us now, Hillary Clinton supporter, former Texas State Senator Wendy
Also back with us, Eugene Robinson and Joy Reid. Wendy Davis, what is your
reaction to Ruth Marcus` take on this, that what Trump is saying here about
Bill Clinton is relevant.
WENDY DAVIS, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: You know, I don`t know that
she`s saying necessarily as relevant as much as she`s saying that it`s fair
But I think, you have to go back to exactly what Donald Trump said. He
said if they play the woman card on me, this is what I`m going to do.
And it`s a tactic that he uses fairly successfully on the Republican side
of the ledger right now. Where he kind of bullies his way into quieting
the negative discourse of his opponents in the primary.
But Hillary Clinton is not going to back down to that kind of bullying.
And I think she`s going to very effectively point out some key differences
between her and him, if he does make it to the general election with regard
to their support or lack thereof for women.
He wants to roll back women`s reproductive rights. He doesn`t support
increasing the minimum wage which, of course, impacts about two-thirds of
minimum wage workers are women.
So a dramatic number of women. And he hasn`t said that he would support
equal pay for equal work. These are all things that matter deeply to women
And I know that Hillary Clinton isn`t going to back down for a second in
making sure that people understand the distinct difference between him and
her and how they will govern if they`re sitting in that Oval Office.
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Ann Lewis with the Clinton campaign said
about this today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEWIS: If Donald Trump thinks that the way to the presidency for him is to
do this kind of wink-wink, nudge-nudge, about a very old news, that
everybody already knows about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well –
LEWIS: I happen to think he`s mistaken. Hillary Clinton will not be
bullied. She will not step aside or let him get away with these comments.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joy Reid, they`d be lucky if Donald Trump was doing wink-wink,
nudge-nudge. He is –
REID: Exactly –
O`DONNELL: He is very clear and blatant about what he`s talking about.
REID: Yes, that`s about his wink-wink, nudge-nudge is a punch in the face,
right? He`s –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
REID: Basically – and I think Wendy Davis is on to something that, you
know, Republicans, whether they`re Donald Trump or not, understand that
Hillary Clinton has the potential, significant advantage with women voters
in exploiting the gender gap to its maximum advantage.
And doing potentially better with, for instance, married white women, you
know, independent women than Barack Obama did.
Which would stretch a Democratic demographic advantage that`s already
there. So, of course, it`s in the interest of Republicans to find a way to
dissuade her from pressing that advantage by running explicitly on the idea
of the aspirations of women being fulfilled through her candidacy.
So, I get it. And this attempt to bully her into not using the “woman
card”, I guess makes sense from a procedural standpoint.
But if you`re Donald Trump, if you`re the guy with his history with women,
with his record, you may not know the Clintons very well if you don`t think
that they`re going to remind everybody that will listen to them of
everything that Donald Trump has ever done.
Vis-…-vis women that could be scandalous or could be scandalized. So, you
know, I think just from a tactical point of view, he`s the wrong guy to try
O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Donald Trump said tonight at his rally and
how much he just really doesn`t like the sound of the words, madam
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Listen, madam president, can you imagine? Oh, believe me, women, if
it`s got to be a woman which I`m all in favor of some day, it shouldn`t be
It shouldn`t be Hillary. It shouldn`t be Hillary.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Eugene, he`s all in favor of a woman president some day –
DAVIS: Someday –
ROBINSON: Someday, and he can`t – and he just can`t get over the sound of
that, madam president. He can`t get that, yes –
O`DONNELL: Oh, doesn`t sound good to him –
ROBINSON: Right –
O`DONNELL: No –
ROBINSON: But he`s all in favor of it someday. I mean, you know, look,
Hillary Clinton obviously is going to press whatever advantage she has with
She`s going to use that to the max if she happens to run against Donald
Trump in the general election.
And he`ll have to deal with that, and he`ll probably deal with it in his –
in his typical sort of, you know, punch in the face way.
I – my sense is that the voters out there who are not going to vote for
Hillary Clinton because of things that Bill Clinton did in the past are
already showing up in the polls as not supporting Hillary Clinton.
I don`t think a lot of minds are going to be changed by any of this.
O`DONNELL: And Wendy Davis, the Republicans generally but Donald Trump
more than the rest of them have a big deficit in terms of the women vote.
And I don`t see what Donald Trump is doing to change anything about that?
DAVIS: He certainly isn`t doing anything to change it favorably. If
anything at all, he`s just piling on. And –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
DAVIS: You know –
O`DONNELL: Yes –
DAVIS: They`re going to be captured by their own rhetoric. There are so
much that they`re talking about in their primary debates right now that is
against the interests of women in this country.
And whoever comes out of that primary, God help them as they move forward
in the general election and try to come back to a place where they sound
reasonable about supporting the things that matter to women in this
I don`t know how they`re going to do it.
O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis and Eugene Robinson, thank you both for joining us
tonight, really appreciate it.
DAVIS: Thank you –
O`DONNELL: We have breaking news tonight. A Cleveland councilman says he
will call for negligent homicide charges in the killing of 12-year-old
Tamir Rice. It`s coming up.
O`DONNELL: History is being made this week and I don`t mean in Iowa or New
Hampshire by our presidential candidates. Yesterday, a ship set off from
Iran across the Caspian Sea carrying 25,000 pounds of Iran`s low-enriched
uranium materials. This is President Obama`s Iran deal in action.
This is a truly historic event. The deal negotiated by Secretary of State
John Kerry calls for Iran to get rid of that material and so far, anyway,
Iran`s complying with the terms of the deal.
This is history in realtime. If this deal works, it will not only
eliminate the possibility of Iran being a nuclear power, but it could be
the beginning of a change in how the United States confronts other complex
issues in the region.
Joining us now is Hillary Mann Leverett, former State Department Middle
East Specialist under President`s George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. And
she`s the CEO of STRATEGA, a consulting firm.
What`s your reaction to the progress so far under the Iran deal and that
uranium deal moving out on schedule as agreed to in the deal?
HILLARY MANN LEVERETT, CEO OF STRATEGA: It is an incredibly important step
and vital validation for President Obama`s strategy. One that he
introduced to the American public literally on the campaign trail in 2008
to distinguish himself, not just from his republican opponent, but also
from establishment democrats here in Washington.
He had been against the invasion of Iraq and he had a different way to deal
with problems. He wasn`t going to bomb his way out of them. He was going
to negotiate his way out of them. Use strategically grounded diplomatic
He did that very successfully so far with Iran and today really marks the
most concrete manifestation of the payoff for his strategy. He`s done it
in other places too. He`s done it with Cuba, he`s done it with Myanmar.
He`s even done it on big issues like climate change with China. So these
are pieces that are coming together for his strategy in a way that I think
will have historic payoff for the United States.
O`DONNELL: I`m struck by the silence of the critics of the Iran deal. And
it`s what I expected that as the deal goes into place, people will actually
silently at least accept it more and more.
But, you know, what`s happening today is something that a lot of the
critics of the deal said wouldn`t happen. They just – Iran won`t comply,
they won`t comply right from the start. And here we have that ship leaving
Iran with the 25,000 pounds of this stuff as – required by the deal, an
absolute silence from the critics.
LEVERETT: It`s really an incredible transformation in the debate, the
rhetoric here in Washington. It wasn`t just critics of the deal. Even
President Obama`s Chief Negotiator with the Iranians, Wendy Sherman, when
she first started along this road to negotiate with the Iranians, before
she had met them and it was just the idea that we would go forward, she
justified before Congress that she wouldn`t trust the Iranians because
“Deception was in their DNA,” she said. You know, really objectionable
phrase in my view.
But she went forward, she negotiated with the Iranians and she found out
what many of us who have negotiated with Iranians. I negotiated with them
for the U.S. government over Afghanistan and al-Qaeda in the wake of 9/11.
What many of us found out which is that, it`s not about trusting them.
It`s about negotiating with people who are very well-educated, very serious
about their interest and very determined to build their country and their
system, and they will deliver. They delivered for us in Afghanistan, in
al-Qaeda, right after 9/11, and they`ve now delivered it for us on the
But the transformation in the debate and the rhetoric has been stunning.
And I give President Obama and Secretary Kerry a tremendous credit for
transforming the rhetoric and giving themselves important policy options to
solve this problem.
O`DONNELL: And, Hillary, just quickly before you go, I find – I always
found this use of the word trust in the whole discussion to be
overemphasized in the sense that well, of course, it isn`t based on trust
that`s why you have all these verification procedures.
You know, we don`t trust people to pay their taxes. That`s why we have all
these income verification procedures even basically honorable people we say
well, you know, you`re going to have to prove it, show us this document.
And this deal is all about verification procedures.
LEVERETT: It is one of the most intrusive monitoring mechanisms ever
setup. It will have – monitors were in Iran beforehand. There was a kind
of, you know, misunderstanding that Iran was just going on its own,
building its nuclear program. They were always under IAE inspection, the
International Atomic Energy Monitoring Inspection.
But this will give the international monitoring inspection really intrusive
rights inside of Iran. And we will have very early warning if Iran
deviates from what they have agreed. It`s something – it`s an absolute
win-win for us.
There was never any evidence that Iran had nuclear weapons or were building
nuclear weapons despite what the critics here said.
And, you know, we`ve just – we`ve come out of a real mess. President
Obama took us off the path toward another disastrous war in the Middle
East, and we have all won for it.
O`DONNELL: Hillary Mann Leverett, thank you for joining us discussing this
history in the making. Thank you very much.
LEVERETT: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, we have breaking news, a Cleveland city councilor
says he will call for negligent homicide charges in the killing of 12-year-
old Tamir Rice.
O`DONNELL: Breaking news from Cleveland tonight. Cleveland Councilor,
Jeff Johnson, twitted, “Tomorrow that he`ll ask for a full city review and
filing of negligent homicide charges in the police shooting death of 12-
year-old Tamir Rice.”
A grand jury yesterday declined to indict the two officers involved in the
shooting. Here`s how Cleveland Prosecutor, Tim McGinty justified the
TIMOTHY MCGINTY, CUYAHOGA COUNTY PROSECUTER: By close examination,
especially of what is perhaps the most critical piece of evidence, a very
recent enhancement of the surveillance video by an expert laboratory often
relied upon by the FBI. It is now indisputable that Tamir was drawing his
gun from his waist as the police slid toward him and Officer Loehmann
exited the car.
Believing he was about to be shot was a mistaken, yet reasonable belief
given a highest risk circumstances in his police training. He had reason
to fear for his life. It would be unresponsible and unreasonable if the
law required the police officer to wait and see if the gun was real.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Dean Valore a former State and Federal
Prosecutor and Currently a Professor of Law at Cleveland State University,
Joy Reid is also back with us.
Professor, what is your reaction to this suggestion tonight by a Cleveland
City Councilor that perhaps this is a case of negligent homicide and not
should be pursued.
DEAN VALORE, FMR. COUNTY PROSECUTOR IN CLEVELAND: Well, under the Ohio
codified ordinance and revised code, for a negligent homicide charge, there
has to be a breach for a duty of care. The negligent term kicks in and the
analysis will be whether these officers had a duty of care that was
breached. Thus, they would lead to some sort of analysis of negligence
And here, the question is going to be, the analysis is going to be whether
or not the officers had a duty of care over a potential suspect an actual
suspect that they perceived at the time to be committing a crime. And its
not just an average encounter between two innocent people at the moment
that it occur it was police officers doing their job and a perceived crime
We know in hind set of course that the gun was fake and a toy. And a
tragedy definitely occurred. But that`s the analysis that they could be
concluded and will be conducted to determine whether the negligence term in
the statute really is going to take effect.
O`DONNELL: And, Joy Reid, it seems to me that the place where you might
focus the negligence is actually in the police vehicle`s approach to Tamir
Rice. That that vehicle should have hand back a couple of hundred feet in
had communication with him from distance about that weapon, about
surrendering that weapon, lying down, instead of speeding right up to him
so that there was absolutely no decision-making time available to the
officer who seems very quickly, very reflexively shot him in a way the
district attorney found to be justifiable once he was right on top of him
JOY REID, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, Lawrence, the
challenge I think would be because I think what you said is true, and you
could also make a case that the four to five minutes in which Tamir Rice
lay on the ground. He was not yet dead. He died in the hospital later,
but no aid was rendered by any of the officers who were standing over him.
It took an FBI agent who happened to be on the scene to even attempt to
render aid to the child as he was lying on the ground. You could make a
case that, you know, perhaps that there had been some even attempt to
render medical aid maybe, you know, perhaps in some miracle he could have
But the problem is that, we` seen in other cases, and I`m thinking about
the Eric Garner case, even if everything that Officers Loehmann and
Garmback did in way they approach Tamir Rice violated department policy,
violated police training, violated the way officers are told to respond to
situations where there is a person with a potential firearm.
We`ve seen that that does not necessarily result in prosecutions or this
minimal standard of finding probable cause, particularly when the
prosecutor in this case prosecutor McGinty, has telegraphed in every way
that I think he knows how, that he himself does not believe that anything
criminal was done.
And remember, a judge this summer gave a range of options of charges that
the judge believed there was probable cause to find that went all the way
down to negligence. And this prosecutor dismissed and ignored all of that
and decided that he would use a grand jury to get a result that he clearly
preferred and that he recommended to the grand jury, which was no charges
at all of any kind.
O`DONNELL: Professor, can you give us a quick guided tour of the lesser
manslaughter charges that might apply in this case.
VALORE: Sure. The manslaughter charge, voluntary manslaughter in Ohio
requires a heat of the passion type of a crime, a reactionary crime in a
fit of range. So it clearly wouldn`t apply here. There was no provocation
sufficient for a fit of rage to apply.
So involuntary manslaughter wouldn`t be applicable involuntary manslaughter
requires some sort of negligent – I`m sorry, some sort of ability to
accidentally cause the death of another, based on potentially a felony
occurring or some other crime being committed.
So if I were to be assaulting you with a baseball bat and I eventually
committed accidentally, I guess, caused your death with that assault, the
felony assault and involuntary manslaughter could be a charge that could
have been considered.
Really the two charges that I think the prosecutor potentially could have
presented and asked the grand jury to return an indictment on would have
been aggravated murder and murder. An aggravated murder on Ohio when the
victim is under 13 years old, there`s no premeditation requirement that you
have if the victim is over 13-year-old. So that would have applied where
the aggravated murder statute could have been asked for which is a life
sentence, if convicted.
Murder in itself would just be causing the death of another willfully.
And, so those two charges would have been the most common, the most common
sensical (ph) ones to have asked for.
Now, we hear the option of negligent homicide, which we know Judge Adrian
(ph) recommended and found probable cause at least for in his opinion. And
it might be considered by the local prosecutor, the municipal prosecutor.
So we`ll see what happens.
O`DONNELL: Dean Valore and Joy Reid, thank you both for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it. Thank you.
VALORE: Thank you, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, an extraordinary man with an inspirational story
that`s inspiring others and he`s doing it with the #livedit.
O`DONNELL: The “Last World Tonight” goes to someone I met on Twitter and
now you and I both are going to meet him on T.V. That`s next.
O`DONNELL: And now at “Tonight`s Last Word”, tonight the “Last Word” will
go to a man who is my dream come true.
He personifies what I`m hoping the K.I.N.D Fund can achieve.
I started kids in need of desks five years ago to build desks in Malawi
with workers working in Malawi to deliver them to schools there where the
students have never seen desks.
We then added scholarship component to the K.I.N.D Fund for girls in Malawi
to attend high school where public high school is not free and the girl`s
graduation rate is half of the boy`s graduation rate.
I told you last night Acouillahs Muteti after I discovered his tweet over
the Christmas weekend. His tweet said, “Lawrence, I admire the work you
have done with the K.I.N.D. Fund. I have witnessed classes with no desks
and dusty. I will donate #livedit”.
I clicked on his Twitter handle to learn a bit more about him. And then we
got him on the phone yesterday and learned a lot more about him. He grew
up in Kenya walking five miles a day to his primary school and he did that
barefoot. And those of you who`ve listened to me talk about life in the
African villages that I visited won`t be surprised to discover that he got
his first pair of shoes in the 9th grade.
After I told you his story last night, Kathy Schnell tweeted, “This
inspires me. We are a global family”. He #livedit. Donate to the
Dr. Acouillahs Muteti is with us tonight in our Los Angeles studio to tell
his story in his own words. Welcome, Dr.
I want to correct something, which you corrected for us immediately after
the show. Last night, I said your PhD was in Math. Your PhD, you`re
actually in education.
ACOUILLAHS MUTETI, K.I.N.D FUND DONOR: Doctorate of Education.
O`DONNELL: And you teach here in California?
MUTETI: I teach in California…
O`DONNELL: Tell us your story about what got you through primary school,
walking those five miles every day barefoot? How did you keep doing it?
So many kids drop out in that situation.
MUTETI: Persistence, and the teachers that I met and my parents. They
helped me to understand that education is everything. And therefore,
waking up and walking to school every day, I knew that that`s the only way
I was going to be able to leave that village and change my family and
O`DONNELL: And you have that challenge of – once you got through primary
school, how do you go to high school because your parents couldn`t afford
to send you to high school?
MUTETI: The key was – as you maybe aware or maybe you`re not aware that
in Kenya there are national exams. And the most important thing was to do
very well in that exam. And once you do well, there`s a chance that you`ll
get a (inaudible) which we may call a scholarship to go to high school.
O`DONNELL: Listen, we`re showing pictures you gave us of the school you
MUTETI: Yes, yes. Those are the desks as you can see as…
O`DONNELL: That`s the exterior of the school.
MUTETI: Yes, my primary school.
O`DONNELL: And so, if you hadn`t won that scholarship to go to high
school, would you still be in the village? Where do you think your life
would be now?
MUTETI: There`s a very big chance that my life would have been different.
There`s a very big chance that I will not be in the United States today.
And therefore, really getting that chance was very important. It changed
my life. My children did not have to go through what I went through.
As, I mean, and so you`re aware now, they`re with me in the United States.
And it`s through education that (inaudible) here.
O`DONNELL: And so, you then got – you went to University in Nairobi.
O`DONNELL: And you graduated there. And then how did you – when did you
come to the United States?
MUTETI: I came to the United States in June 1999. Yes. And the year
2000, I was lucky enough to get a job with Pomona (ph) High School District
where I worked since up to today.
O`DONNELL: Public school teacher here.
MUTETI: Public school, yes.
O`DONNELL: … in California teaching Math mostly?
O`DONNELL: And you`re now Dean of Student`s Affair.
MUTETI: Dean of Students in Pomona (ph) Academy.
O`DONNELL: And what is it – when you`re in these classrooms here where,
of course, you always have better supplies and better conditions. There`s
always ways to improve any school that you work in.
But you must think back to the first school that you were in, sitting on
the floor there in Kenya and think about just how different this is and how
much we take for granted here
MUTETI: I think the key that everyone think that you can always get some
more. But what the students that I`m teaching every single day or what
they have is much, much, much more than what kids in Africa or in Kenya or
in Malawi have access to.
And therefore, the only thing that I can encourage the kids that I teaches
especially down in Pomona (ph) and anywhere else in the United States is
take what you have, work hard, be persistent, and you can be whatever you
want to be.
O`DONNELL: Well, thank you for your contribution to
lastworddesks.msnbc.com. I have to get in a plug there. And you`ve
inspired so many other people to give. We`re going to be talking about the
new totals that have come in. But a couple of your kids are with us
tonight, Alfred and Naima.
Can you come over for the last minute of the show here? You know what I
think – Alfred, great to meet you. Real pleasure. Naima, nice to meet
You know, every parent is always saying to their kids, “You know, back when
I was a kid, I had it kind of tough. I had it tougher than you, you know.
We didn`t have two cars. And we didn`t” – but what about his story,
Alfred? I mean when he tells you, you`re lucky to have shoes, how does
ALFRED MUTETI, ACOUILLAHS MUTETI`S SON: I mean, every now and then you
kind of take it as a joke. But then, you know, seeing how hard he works
and, you know, continues to work, you kind of take it upon yourself to push
yourself to kind of, you know, make that, you know, the same kind of drive
as you want to have.
A. MUTETI: Yeah.
O`DONNELL: Naima, I`ve met girls your age in Malawi who are, you know,
using now the desks that we`ve gotten into those schools. And it`s always
powerful for kids in America to see that imagery because that there`s so
much that we take for granted in our schools here.
What`s it like for you to know as you always have that there is another
Long before I ever started talking about it, you knew that there`s a whole
other way, kids are going to school in this world.
NAIMA MUTETI, ACOUILLAHS MUTETI`S DAUGHTER: Yes. I`ve grew with my
parents like I`ve always known Malawi`s from Africa and that they grew up
in different conditions that I have. And I`ve always been – and I always
been appreciative of opportunities they`ve given me.
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>
Copyright 2015 CQ-Roll Call, Inc. All materials herein are protected by
United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed,
transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written
permission of CQ-Roll Call. You may not alter or remove any trademark,
copyright or other notice from copies of the content.>