The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 1/5/2016

Guests:
Wendy Davis, Tim Pawlenty, Jana Riess, Asra Nomani, LaVoy Finicum, Tony Dokoupil, Dannel Malloy
Transcript:

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: January 5, 2016
Guest: Wendy Davis, Tim Pawlenty, Jana Riess, Asra Nomani, LaVoy Finicum,
Tony Dokoupil, Dannel Malloy

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: Now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence
O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey Rachel, great opening segment
tonight. I mean great, comparing George Wallace and Donald Trump.

Just amazing video that you lined up there. I couldn`t take my eyes off
it. Just –

MADDOW: Thank you –

O`DONNELL: Fantastic –

MADDOW: Very much. My script ended up basically upside down and backwards
in the teleprompter, so I had to wing it a little bit, but the tapes speaks
for itself.

O`DONNELL: I couldn`t tell.

MADDOW: Yay!

(CROSSTALK)

Thank you my friend, thanks –

O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. Ted Cruz says he doesn`t want a fight with
Donald Trump, but Donald Trump is going to start the day tomorrow with an
old, familiar Trump attack line.

This time, Trump will be questioning Ted Cruz`s citizenship.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, TRUMP ORGANIZATIONS & FOUNDER, TRUMP
ENTERTAINMENT RESORTS: We had a big breaking story a few minutes ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump took a huge swipe at Ted Cruz.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Raising the subject of whether Ted Cruz can legally be
elected president, because he was born in Canada.

SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: Well, I tweeted out a response, it was a link to
Fonzi jumping the shark, and I think I`m going to let my response stick
with that tweet.

LESTER HOLT, JOURNALIST: Is this a sign that Trump sees Cruz as a real
threat here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why does he do whatever he does?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Trump shows no signs of stopping his attacks on both
Hillary and Bill Clinton.

TRUMP: It`s fair game when they attack me, I`m going to attack them –

HILLARY CLINTON, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: He can say whatever he wants
to say.

TRUMP: I can be the worst person in the world, I`m not leaving.

CARLY FIORINA, FORMER BUSINESS EXECUTIVE: Donald Trump reminds me of the
Kim Kardashian of politics. They`re both famous for being famous.

KIM KARDASHIAN, TELEVISION PERSONALITY: I would be annoyed, too.

TRUMP: I love my people!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Sixty one percent of Donald Trump supporters believe the Trump
lie that President Obama is not a natural born citizen of the United States
of America, and therefore an illegitimate president.

Barack Obama was, of course, born in the United States in Honolulu, Ted
Cruz was not born in the United States, and Donald Trump finally seems to
have noticed that.

Now that Ted Cruz is ahead of Trump in polls in Iowa, Ted Cruz was born in
Canada to a mother with U.S. citizenship.

Ted Cruz`s father at the time was not a U.S. citizen. Donald Trump now
says that could mean that Ted Cruz is not a natural born citizen as the
constitution requires as one of the qualifications to be president.

Donald Trump said that in an interview with “The Washington Post” today,
and again in an exclusive interview that will air tomorrow in full on this
network on “MORNING JOE”.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me ask you something about Ted. I actually – I –
there`s a legal mind on the conservative side that has been saying that he
has concerns that Ted Cruz may not be qualified to be president of the
United States, may not meet the qualifications –

TRUMP: Because of where he was born?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because of where he was born. This is something
obviously you talked about before with Barack Obama.

It`s something that I suspect we`re going to be hearing more about in the
next couple of weeks. Is there any validity to those claims?

TRUMP: Well, I mean, honestly, I hope it`s not the case. I hope that`s
not going to be a problem for him.

But I`ve been hearing a lot about it, and you`ve been hearing, and I guess
everybody is talking about it now that he`s doing better.

And I think that they are looking at it. And it`s a problem for him and
it`s a problem obviously for the Republicans, because if the Democrats –
let`s assume he got the nomination and the Democrats bring suit.

The suit takes two to three years to solve. So, how do you run? So, it`s
certainly a concern, I guess for the party. But I hope that`s not the
case.

I`m not involved in that. But a lot of people are bringing it up,
absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Here`s the way Donald Trump talked about this issue just a few
months ago when he was running ahead of Ted Cruz in Iowa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you still think he`s ineligible to be president
because he was born in Canada?

TRUMP: No, I – from what I understand, everything is fine. I hear that
it was checked out by every attorney and every which way, and I understand
Ted is in fine shape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Yes, Ted is in fine shape. Tonight, Ted Cruz said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CRUZ: I tweeted out a response to Donald Trump`s raising questions about
my natural born citizenship. It was a link to Fonzi jumping the shark, and
I think I`m going to let my response stick with that tweet.

And I do it because –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Senator Cruz –

CRUZ: The best way to respond to this kind of attack is to laugh it off
and to move on –

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remarkably –

CRUZ: To the issues that matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: And this is the tweet that Ted Cruz is referring to – “my
response to Donald Trump, calling into question my natural born
citizenship.

He then includes a video from “Happy Days” which gives us the perfect
excuse to show Fonzi jumping the shark one more time.”

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There he goes!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: In a new national poll, Nbc poll, a weekly tracking poll,
Donald Trump has just about double the support that Ted Cruz has.

Donald Trump is at 35 percent, Ted Cruz is at 18 percent, Marco Rubio, 13
percent, Ben Carson, 9 percent, Jeb Bush is at 6 percent, Chris Christie is
at 4 percent.

Joining us now Tim Pawlenty; former Republican governor of Minnesota who
ran for president in 2012 campaign, and Wendy Davis, former member of the
Texas State Senate.

Wendy Davis, has this question of Cruz`s citizenship come up during his
political career in Texas?

WENDY DAVIS, FORMER UNITED STATES SENATOR: No, it really hasn`t come up.
And I think it`s awfully clever the way that Donald Trump is bringing the
issue forward.

It`s been really interesting to watch the way Cruz and Trump deal with each
other. They sort of dance around each other, neither coming too hard with
their hits at the other one.

And I think that`s because they understand that they share a great deal of
similar support. And each of them is hoping that they`ll be there to scoop
up the other one`s supporters when whomever it is of the two fails.

O`DONNELL: Tim Pawlenty, we`ve actually never had a nominee from a major
party with the birth situation that Ted Cruz has.

The closest we came was John McCain who was born outside of the country
while his father was on duty with the Navy. But both of his parents were
American citizens at the time. So, it`s not an exact mirror.

And the United States Senate was concerned enough about the issue for John
McCain that they actually unanimously passed a resolution in 2008 saying
that they considered him a natural born citizen under the terms of the
constitution.

I am not sure that this Senate would do the same thing for Ted Cruz –

DAVIS: Yes –

(LAUGHTER)

TIM PAWLENTY, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, first of all, I think the
biggest problem that Trump has is that the source that he loves the most,
himself, has already said –

O`DONNELL: Yes –

PAWLENTY: This isn`t a problem.

O`DONNELL: Oh, that`s –

PAWLENTY: This is –

O`DONNELL: Never a problem for Donald, you know that.

PAWLENTY: But even if you want to get past that grand source, then you
have the issue of all the leading scholars and at least some lower courts
in a glancing fashion have looked at this and said, if your parent, your
mom or your dad is an American citizen, you are a natural-born citizen,
regardless of the place of birth with a few caveats.

So, Ted Cruz`s mom was obviously a U.S. citizen, he was born in Canada –
probably not an issue, but it should be noted, never really been addressed
by the U.S. Supreme Court square on this, Lawrence.

But I don`t think it`s something that is going to stick. It`s just Donald
Trump casting a seed of doubt against something he himself said wasn`t an
issue three months ago, four months ago.

O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to Hallie Jackson talking to Ted Cruz about the
way things are going with Donald Trump now.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HALLIE JACKSON, NBC NEWS: At what point do you start to draw those
distinctions with Donald Trump?

CRUZ: Listen, I like Donald Trump, I like Ben Carson, I like Marco Rubio,
I like all the –

JACKSON: Yes –

CRUZ: Candidates running. They`re good people. I consider them friends
of mine.

JACKSON: Even when they question why evangelicals don`t come from Cuba?

CRUZ: Politicians behave a certain way when they panic. And they engage
in attacks, they engage in personal attacks. That`s human nature. I
understand that.

I`m not going to get drawn into that muck.

(CROSSTALK)

I`m going to keep – I`m going to keep the focus on the issues that matter.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Wendy, you`ve been watching Ted Cruz longer than we have in
Texas, but it is just fun to watch a guy sit there and say very clearly,
Donald Trump is panicking, and then Hallie says to him, so Trump is
panicking?

And he goes – oh, I`m not going to talk about that. And he just said it.
He just said what he said – he`s not going to talk about it.

DAVIS: Exactly, it`s very clever. And he has thrown that kind of mud
himself. He certainly did that in his race for the U.S. Senate against our
then sitting lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.

I think what he is trying to portray right now is the confidence of someone
who believes that he`s on the upswing, and exhibiting a confidence that he
hopes is going to be something that affects voters to believe, this guy is
our guy.

He`s the guy who can do it. He`s trying very hard to stay on the good side
of all of the other candidates, not to be the victim of their attacks right
now.

And I think it`s a very smooth and clever way for him to operate, given the
upswing that he`s been on in the last couple of weeks.

So, as you pointed out in this recent poll, it showed Donald Trump breaking
away from him once again.

O`DONNELL: When you`re looking at what may be the long road to the
nomination in the Republican Party, I think one of the most important polls
we`ve seen yet has just come out in California.

This is the field poll, it`s the most respected poll in California
politics. Has Ted Cruz at the front of the pack there with 25, Donald
Trump at 23, Marco Rubio down at 13, then Ben Carson, 9, Rand Paul, 6, Jeb
Bush, 4, and so on.

But Tim Pawlenty, to see Ted Cruz out in front in California, which is far
down the calendar and is the biggest delegate prize you can get in this
whole thing.

That`s a very impressive standing for Ted Cruz at this point in time, given
he hasn`t campaigned a day in California.

PAWLENTY: And then I think even more to the point, Lawrence, if either of
those candidates were to implode or start to, you know, deteriorate in
their support, the Trump supporters obviously aren`t going to remain in
establishment candidate, nor are the Cruz supporters going to go to
remaining establishment candidates.

So, if you aggregate the Cruz and Trump vote in California in that poll,
it`s basically 50 percent. And if you`ve got one or two other candidates
still in the pack, 50 percent probably wins that race.

So, you`re facing a situation where notwithstanding their perceived
weaknesses, as general election candidates, Cruz or Trump nomination is
certainly plausible at this point.

O`DONNELL: And now Ted Cruz is trying to get to the right of Donald Trump
on immigration and southern border issues.

I`m not sure that that`s possible, but here`s his try. Let`s take a look
at how he handled this on this video.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Both of you and Donald Trump are really strong on
immigration. But he supports deporting all illegal immigrants. Are you
willing to say the same?

CRUZ: Absolutely, yes, we should enforce the law. We should enforce the
law.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK –

CRUZ: And in fact, look, there`s a difference. He`s advocated allowing
folks to come back in and become citizens, I oppose that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Wendy, I don`t know if you could see the screen on that where
we had subtitles there. But it was hard to understand.

But it`s basically Cruz saying that he`s going to be tougher in enforcing
the law than Donald Trump has already claimed he will be.

But, so there, he`s countering what have been some of Marco Rubio`s
accusations about him being soft on this issue in the past.

But trying – it doesn`t seem to me that there`s going to be much chance of
him getting to the right of Donald Trump on this.

DAVIS: I don`t think there is really a dime`s worth of difference between
his position on this issue and Donald Trump. So, for that matter, most of
the Republican candidates on this particular issue.

What I do find fascinating is that no one from the group of Republican
nominees right now has challenged either Cruz or Rubio on this issue of the
very special treatment that Cubans receive in the immigration system in the
United States.

The wet foot-dry-foot. Where once that foot touches American soil, Cubans
are given a very special route to citizenship in this country.

Amnesty, if you will, which they say, of course, that they stand in
opposition to. So, as Cuban born – or, excuse me, Cuban lineage citizens
themselves, it`s very interesting to note that they`ve not been pushed on
this question.

And I am interested to see if this is a place that Donald Trump will go
with Cruz.

O`DONNELL: Wendy Davis and Tim Pawlenty, thank you very much for joining
us tonight, really appreciate it.

PAWLENTY: Thank you, Lawrence.

O`DONNELL: Thank you.

DAVIS: Thank you.

O`DONNELL: You can see the entire Donald Trump interview tomorrow on
“MORNING JOE”. Coming up, a live report from Oregon where those armed
insurgents are in a standoff in a federal building with police and federal
authorities.

And why the Mormon church has issued a statement denouncing them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: Nikki Haley`s march to the Republican vice presidential
nomination seems to be continuing just fine.

The governor of South Carolina has been chosen to give this year`s rebuttal
to President Obama`s State of the Union address to Congress.

That`s next Tuesday night. Up next, we have breaking news now in Oregon
where that standoff is occurring. Heavy equipment is being moved into the
scene.

We have a live report next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: The FBI is considering its next move now that a standoff with
armed insurgents on federal land in rural Oregon has stretched to over four
days.

In the last hour or so, there`s been a lot of activity around that area
surrounding that federal building. For the latest, we`re joined now by
Msnbc national reporter Tony Dokoupil live in Princeton, Oregon.

Tony, what is the latest there?

TONY DOKOUPIL, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Well, Lawrence, just this
afternoon, the situation here seemed to be calming down.

Ammon Bundy, the leader of the occupation suggested that if the locals
don`t want him here, he may go home. But after dark, all that changed in a
radical way and it`s become much more tense.

And in an impromptu press conference, Ammon Bundy came out and Lavoy
Finnikan(ph), one of his colleagues here in the occupation also emerged and
they – well, what they reported is not confirmable yet with the FBI or
with authorities.

But it does give you insight into their mindset. As they understand it,
there have been five warrants issued for their arrests, for Ammon`s arrests
or his brother`s arrest, Lavoy Finnikan`s(ph) arrest.

And they don`t plan to accept those warrants and they don`t plan to go
quietly. So over my shoulder is a man under a blue tarp sitting in a
rocking chair with a rifle over his lap.

I interviewed him under that tarp just a few moments ago, and he said, I
refuse to –

O`DONNELL: Can we – Tony, can we – can we get a better camera shot of
that? Can your camera –

DOKOUPIL: We might – we might be able to. Can you –

O`DONNELL: It`s more important to see that than to see you at this moment.
If we could go maybe –

DOKOUPIL: Yes, for sure –

O`DONNELL: Closer on it. So, there`s a guy under that tarp there –

DOKOUPIL: There`s a 55-year-old rancher from Arizona named Lavoy
Finnikan(ph). He`s got 11 children, he`s Mormon and he came here because
he`s upset about federal control of vast stretches of land in the west.

He says that there`s a warrant out for his arrest. We can`t confirm that,
but that`s what he says and he does not plan to accept that warrant, he
does not plan to come – to go peaceably if the police come.

He says he`s not going to pull a gun on them, but if a gun is drawn on him,
he`s going to point back. And he loves – he quotes, loves freedom too
much to ever be in a cell.

And then the second development, you might hear the rumbling of engines.
Those are two pieces of heavy earth, moving equipment.

There`s a bulldozer and there`s an earth grader, or a road grader. They`re
about 25 feet to my right.

I asked the driver of the bulldozer what are you doing with this equipment?
Which is federal equipment, by the way?

And he said protection. You need protection to shoot. So these guys are
prepared for what they see as a coming – as a raid, a federal raid.

And again, that is their mentality. It`s a very – it`s much a siege
mentality. We`re working to confirm what the FBI`s actions are, what the
FBI is preparing to do at this moment.

But I can tell you that the sense here is very tense. There`s a fire that
has been built just over my shoulder to the right here.

And there`s a guard station that`s going to be open all night. These guys
feel like anything could happen, and we`re going to be monitoring it
because this just entered a very unpredictable, very volatile new chapter.

O`DONNELL: So Tony, you said that heavy equipment there, the earth mover
is federal equipment, but the rebels, as they – as we would think of it,
are operating that equipment?

DOKOUPIL: Yes, they are operating that equipment. They claim –

O`DONNELL: Where did they get it? And how did they get it there?

DOKOUPIL: They got it from the – about 500 yards down this road, there is
a gathering of buildings, a visitors center for this Wildlife Refuge here,
and that`s where the occupants have taken over a position.

And they say they didn`t break in. They say they found a stack of keys
which is highly doubtful. And they also say they found a stack of keys for
these pieces of equipment, which were parked down near the buildings.

These are federal pieces of equipment. They might have been hot wired,
maybe they really did find keys.

But you know, it`s an extension of Ammon Bundy and his colleagues really
doing what they want with federal property.

And daring the FBI or any other federal force to come in and do something
about it. You have to remember, Lawrence, in 2014, Cliven Bundy; Ammon`s
father, the leader here.

He stared down federal agents who came to take his cattle. And the federal
agents blinked, they backed down. Cliven Bundy still owes them a million
dollars in back grazing fees.

Has not been paid, and it remains to be seen if this will have a different
outcome with the FBI or federal agents will again back down or if it`s
going to be different.

O`DONNELL: Tony, what access do they have to food?

DOKOUPIL: Well, they had limited access, dwindling access. And we were
here all day long and we didn`t see any provision shipments come in –
there`s some yelling over my shoulder here –

O`DONNELL: Let`s get that camera in on him –

DOKOUPIL: I`m not sure why? –

O`DONNELL: Who`s under – who is coming out of the tarp. Let`s take a
look at him –

DOKOUPIL: That`s Lavoy Finnikan(ph) right there. I don`t know if we can
get a shot at him.

O`DONNELL: Can we see the weapon he has?

DOKOUPIL: The weapon is under the blanket.

O`DONNELL: Under the blanket, I see –

DOKOUPIL: The rifle is over his lap.

O`DONNELL: Yes –

DOKOUPIL: And he`s in high spirits. He says his children are grown, and
if it`s his time to go –

O`DONNELL: So, Tony, everything –

DOKOUPIL: It`s his time to go –

O`DONNELL: Everything he says to you implies that he will shoot and murder
any federal agent who approaches him with a gun or the weapon aimed at him.

But his language seems very carefully tailored to not specifically say
those words. That`s someone who`s sitting there planning to murder federal
agents.

DOKOUPIL: I don`t think he would say murder federal agents, but he`s
somebody who is not planning to move from that position, and if guns are
drawn on him, he will draw a gun back and if shots are fired, he intends to
shoot back.

O`DONNELL: But he –

DOKOUPIL: That`s his position –

O`DONNELL: But no one is going to fire a shot at him. Federal agents will
not fire a shot at him. He has said to you, that he will not go to prison
and he`s holding a gun saying, I will not go to prison if people come here
to take me to prison.

DOKOUPIL: That is what he is saying, absolutely. And, you know, the
presentation here, Ammon Bundy and the other demonstrators, what they`re
saying publicly is, we are peaceable, we don`t mean to cause any kind of
violence.

But you have to keep in mind that in essence, what they`ve done is taken
someone`s seat or occupied someone`s home.

This is the federal government`s property. Those are federal buildings.
So, it`s a bit disingenuous to say, you know, we don`t want to fight.

Well, you`re sitting in somebody`s space and you`re daring them to come
back. So, not wanting a fight and taking those actions are not really
compatible.

O`DONNELL: Yes, it sounds like they`re trying to play street corner lawyer
there, and be a little bit legalistic about this. Tony, stand by, we`re
going to come back to you –

DOKOUPIL: Absolutely –

O`DONNELL: We`re going to come back to you if anything more develops
there. Joined now by Jana Riess; she`s a senior columnist for the
“Religion News Service”.

Jana, the Mormon church was forced – or chose to issue a statement today
denouncing these people. Why is that – what is the Mormon component of
what we`re watching there?

JANA RIESS, RELIGION NEWS SERVICE: Yes, you`re right. Yesterday, the
church issued a statement that strongly condemned, and that was the
language used – these actions by the militia terrorists.

A big question about nomenclature even right now, how we are to refer to
them.

And the church is clearly trying to distance itself from what it sees as
extremists who do not represent the faith.

O`DONNELL: And the – is – you know, we`ve seen Republican presidential
candidates constantly harping on this notion of extreme Islamic terrorism.

Are we seeing some form of extremist Mormon terrorism here? What would we
call this? To what extent are they basing what they`re doing in their –

RIESS: I think –

O`DONNELL: In their scripture?

RIESS: You know, this is such a tiny minority of Mormons, that to apply
that extremist label to Mormonism in general feels unfair to many Mormons.

I imagine that it feels just as unfair to many Muslims when the vast
majority of Muslims are peace-loving people. This is how it feels to have
that stereotype applied.

And I tell you, it does not feel good.

O`DONNELL: But one of them there – one of the people there is calling
himself Captain Moroni. Which is a – Moroni is taken directly from Mormon
teachings.

They – this seems to me to be exactly what you hear Muslims around the
world saying ISIS does, that they take pieces of the faith and they twist
them into a shape that has nothing to do with the way Muslims are living
today.

RIESS: I think that that`s a very accurate thing to say. The Book of
Mormon is being appropriated in some very creative ways that most Mormons
would not agree with to justify this kind of violence.

There is definitely violence in the Book of Mormon, just as there is
violence in the Bible, and there`s violence in the Quran.

There`s violence in these stories in the Book of Mormon. But that violence
is not glorified and it`s certainly not prescribed as a manner of living.

So, for them to call upon this scriptural example of Captain Moroni is I
think, some – one of the things that the church finds troubling.

And in this statement yesterday, the church said two times that there is no
scriptural justification for violence.

O`DONNELL: You`re sharing a screen here with a man who is sitting under a
tarp that you heard us talk about before.

He has a weapon there that he very clearly intends to use only to resist
arrest by federal agents. And it seems, based (AUDIO GAP 00:02:04-06) he
is doing there under that tarp right now.

RIESS: You know, people believe that their religion justifies them to do a
lot of things that are fairly heinous. And in my mind, this sounds like a
situation is brewing that could be a tragedy.

And it is still possible to avert this situation. There is no
justification in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for taking
your private arms and seizing a government building, or setting fire to
property or not paying your taxes.

The 12th article of faith of Mormonism says that we will obey the law in
the nations in which we live. And you know, as a Mormon, I believe that
there`re probably times in history when the 12th article of faith should be
set aside.

If, you know, there were an oppressive regime, absolutely. We would want
to stand up. If there were systematic oppression of human beings, we would
want to stand up.

But this is not one of those times.

O`DONNELL: Jana Riess, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Tony
Dokoupil is talking to that guy right now, I think we can get a shot of him
on our screen and we`ll see if we can get anything to come back to there.

If he has any comments that Tony can bring us up to date on. We`ll be
right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Kuwait is the latest Saudi Arabia ally to downgrade ties with
Iran saying today that has recalled its ambassadors. Saudi Arabia,
Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates all cut or downgraded
diplomatic ties with Iran this week after protesters set fire to the Saudi
Arabian embassy in Tehran following Saudi Arabia`s execution of a prominent
Shiite cleric. Today, Saudi Arabia`s foreign minister said this:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ADEL BIN AHMED AL-JUBEIR, SAUDI FOREIGN MINISTER: What will it take to
resolve? Very simple. Iran should back off. They should stop being
aggressive. They should stop interfering in the affairs of their
neighbors. They should stop supporting terrorism. Is not that what all of
us around the world want?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Asra Nomani, Co-Founder of the Muslim Reform
Movement and author of “Standing Alone: An American Woman`s Struggle for
the Soul of Islam.” Asra, what is your reaction to what the Saudi foreign
minister just said?

ASRA NOMANI, CO-FOUNDER, MUSLIM REFORM MOVEMENT: i would say that he
should look in the mirror and say those exact same words to himself and the
leaders of the government of Saudi Arabia. For the last 40 years, the
government of Saudi Arabia has exported to the world an ideology of Islam
that has wreaked havoc in the world. It has fed terrorist groups from
Sudan to Malaysia and Indonesia.

It has caused the killings of people in San Bernardino, California. And,
these Arab countries that are standing with the government of Saudi Arabia
are standing on the incorrect side of history. We as Muslims in the Muslim
reform movement are part of the resistance. We refuse to accept to this
ideology that the government of Saudi Arabia has put forward.

And, this is not for us, a sectarian battle. This is a battle about our
faith. And, what I find so remarkable is that a leader of the government
of Saudi Arabia can have so much denial about the monster that they have
unleashed into the world. They have to take responsibility and end this
tragedy of the Islam that they practice.

O`DONNELL: Asra, the Saudis executed a Shiite cleric solely for things he
has said and things he has said in opposition to their regime. They had to
know what the reaction would be in Iran.

NOMANI: And, around the world, Lawrence. I mean people are condemning
this execution throughout the world. I am seeing from Muslims expression
of condemnation against Saudi Arabia that I have never before seen. I am
seeing people finally standing up to this dynasty that claims to have
stairway to heaven.

And, in fact, what they represent is a very, very dangerous ideology. And,
so, when they murdered that cleric, what they did was continue an entire
decades-long track record of punishment, of bloggers, poets, women, civil
society activists that simply want human rights and freedom.

And, you know, we really have to look deep in our hearts as Americans and
as citizens of the world. The people of this world stood up against
slavery in the south, the white supremacist in apartheid South Africa.
And, my native India, Mahatma Gandhi stood up against the British.

This is an ethical dilemma of our generation right now. The Saudi
Government is not practicing the right interpretation of Islam for our
world today. We need to challenge their ideas of violence intolerance,
sexism, misogyny, and we have to do it with real moral courage.

O`DONNELL: Asra Nomani, thank you very much for joining us tonight.

NOMANI: Thank you so much.

O`DONNELL: Coming up, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy will join us to
discuss President Obama`s action today on gun violence.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We are going back live to Princeton, Oregon now to National
MSNBC Reporter, Tony Dokoupil. He is there with that man who is guarding
the insurgence camp there. And, under that brown blanket is a riffle. I
think you can see the rifle butt coming out of the blanket. Tony, what is
the situation there now?

TONY DOKOUPIL, MSNBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lawrence, I am here with
LaVoy Finicum. He is a 55-year-old rancher from Arizona. Father of 11.
And, he says he believes there is a warrant out for his arrest and he does
not anticipate respecting that warrant. He got a gun here under the
blanket. And LaVoy, why do not you tell us what your plan is?

LAVOY FINICUM, ARMED OREGON PROTESTER: Well, first of all, let us get a
little bit of things out here in front. The information may or may not be
accurate, but it appeared to be highly credible that five warrants were
issued for our arrest for me for Ammon Bundy, for Ryan Bundy.

And, I am not sure for the other two – by the FBI, federal warrants. And,
so, if that is true, if to that is the case, I do not want the FBI federal
agents to have to go running around in the dark kicking in doors looking
for me, OK? I want them to know exactly where I am at.

DOKOUPIL: So, if they come here with an arrest warrant and they try to put
cuffs on you, what is your plan?

FINICUM: well, they are not going to just come up with a guy holding a
rifle and put cuffs on him, OK? They are not going to do that.

DOKOUPIL: What do you think they are going to do and what do you prepare
to do?

FINICUM: Well, I hope that they go home. That is what I hope they do.

DOKOUPIL: Let us presume that they are not. Let us presume that – if
there is not already a warrant out for your arrest, you are breaking the
law occupying this federal property. So, perhaps, at some point there
certainly be a warrant. When that warrant comes down, when that arrest
comes, what do you intend to do in response?

FINICUM: I have been raised in the country all my life. I love dearly to
feel the wind on my face, to see the sunrise, to see the moon in the night.
I have no intention of spending any of my days in a concrete box.

And, so, whatever days, and I believe that there will be many, and
hopefully prosperous days to come, I will spend them riding my horses,
trying to take care of my cows. And, that is what I will do but I will not
spend it in a box.

DOKOUPIL: So, to avoid getting in that box, you are ready to do what?

FINICUM: You guys have so many hypothetical questions.

DOKOUPIL: If they come here and try to arrest you, they point a gun at
you, they try to put cuffs on you, how far are you willing to take this?

FINICUM: Well, do not point a gun at me. You do not point a gun at
somebody unless you are going to shoot them. That is the first thing your
thought is do not point guns at people. And, so, I am telling them right
now, do not point guns at me.

DOKOUPIL: So, you are prepared to die. Better dead than in a cell.

FINICUM: Absolutely. Would you like to be in a cell? Nobody wants to
live their life in a cell. Absolutely, I am not going to live my life in a
cell.

DOKOUPIL: So, you are out here prepared to die over what principle
exactly?

FINICUM: It is about our country. It is about federalism. It is about
the government closest to people governs best. And, what has happened is
the powers in the government have been – those powers have been brought
back up into a centralized government.

And, so the counties and the states, those things that were dealt at county
levels and state levels are now so regulated by the federal levels that our
freedoms and our ability to have contact with the representatives on a one-
on-one, face to face basis is gone. It is gone.

I have sat down with my county sheriff face to face. I have sat double
play with my county commissioner face to face and, you know, John McCain,
he is not going to sit down with me face to face. And, if he does, he will
promise me lots of thing, but he will not be able to change anything. That
does not happen.

Let the states manage and govern the things that pertain to the state. Let
the counties manage and govern the things pertaining to the counties. And,
let the federal government go back to managing and pertaining to protecting
our borders and defending our nation.

That is what they need to do. Keep calmer regular and a few narrowly other
defined things that the constitution lays down. Let us just go back to
that. I believe in our government. OK?

DOKOUPIL: There is a man over our shoulder here with a bulletproof vest on
and assault rifle. And, there are two pieces of construction equipment
that have been moved. The people who move them say they are for
protection. They are something to shoot behind. How well armed and how
well prepared are you in there?

FINICUM: I do not know what they are doing back there. I had the tarp
over my head when they were moving that stuff up. So, I do not know what
they are doing, what their choices are going to be. Their choices must be
their own. But, obviously, this is my choice. And, so, I will deal with
what I am doing and what choices I ever make. I cannot speak for them.

DOKOUPIL: You got a family?

FINICUM: I do.

DOKOUPIL: Have you said goodbye to them. Have you told them to prepare?

FINICUM: No, I have not told them to prepare. I just told them that I
love them and, you know, I spent a lot of time with my family. I tried not
to neglect them as I have raised them up from children. I spent a lot of
time doing things with them, making them a priority in my life.

And, so my youngest is 17. She is a little firecracker. And, she will be
able to handle the cows and stuff if I come home sooner or later or do not
come home. They are capable children. They are very refined. I have two
son-in-laws and a son.

And, another person in the military. I have three of my children in the
military. And, they are – one is studying to be a doctor, and one is an
accountant. You know, these are good kids.

DOKOUPIL: You know, there are people who are watching this, who are going
to say to themselves, “This man is a terrorist, who occupied someone else`s
property, and who got a death wish.” Evidently, that is one of your fans?

FINICUM: That is a good man.

DOKOUPIL: There are people, who are watching this who would say to
themselves, you are a terrorist. You have occupied land that is not your
own and you got a death wish that has gone over your lap and you are asking
for it.

FINICUM: I have no death wish. I love life. I have 20 grand kids.
Actually, 19 and two on the way. OK?

DOKOUPIL: OK. 19 and two in a way. You got something to live with.

FINICUM: I got something to live for.

DOKOUPIL: But, you are prepared to die?

FINICUM: I am prepared to defend freedom. OK?

DOKOUPIL: Lawrence, that is the best word here. Back to you.

O`DONNELL: Tony – Tony, could you just ask him what his reaction is to
the Mormon Church condemning his actions there.

DOKOUPIL: Yes. LaVoy, what is your reaction to the Mormon Church – you
are a Mormon, condemning your actions here and the actions of your
colleagues.

FINICUM: Again, I want to make this very clear that this in no way is
condoned by the church. I am not speaking for the church. I do not
represent the church. These actions must rest squarely upon my own
shoulders and mine alone.

DOKOUPIL: All right, Lawrence. Back to you.

O`DONNELL: Tony Dokoupil, thank you very much. We will be right back.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We have breaking news from North Korea tonight. About an hour
ago, there were reports from geological agencies around the world
indicating an earthquake had been detected in North Korea that measured a
magnitude of 5.1.

There were suspicions that it could have been a nuclear test. And, just
moments ago, North Korea announced that it was the result of a hydrogen
bomb test. It was a surprise announcement by North Korea. North Korea
said that the hydrogen bomb test was a success. This is the fourth nuclear
bomb test conducted by North Korea.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VALERIE JARRETT, SENIOR ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OBAMA: The day that we
traveled up to Newtown, two days, after that massacre was the worst day of
his presidency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Today, during his announcement of his executive action on guns,
President Obama`s normally flawless composure cracked when he talked about
those first graders, who were massacred in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, U.S. PRESIDENT: Our inalienable right to life, and liberty
and the pursuit of happiness, those rights were stripped from college kids
in Blacksburg and Santa Barbara and from high schoolers in Columbine.

And, from first graders in Newtown. First graders. And, from every
family, who never imagined that their loved one would be taken from our
lives by a bullet from a gun. Every time, I think about those kids, it
gets me mad. And , by the way, it happens on the streets of Chicago every
day.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy was at the White House today.
He will get tonight`s “Last Word,” next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

O`DONNELL: We are joined by Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy who was at the
president`s event today at the White House. Governor, what is it like to
be there on this day, where once again the president invoked what happened
in your state to those first graders.

GOV. DANNEL MALLOY, (D) CONNECTICUT: Well, yes, you know, Lawrence, it
was really quite an event. The president has layed it all on the line. If
congress cannot do it, he is going to do even more than he has done
already. He was speaking to the parents of the kids from Newtown, and
parents and spouses who have lost their loved ones in these mass shootings
that have happened time and time again.

You know, I had to tell folks one time in Sandy Hook what had transpired
and that they would not be united. He has had to comfort many families
over the seven years that he has served. And, I think there is a sense of
frustration and anger and, yes, grief. And, he showed it. The tears were
real. Quite, frankly, there were a lot of tears in the east room today
when he was talking.

O`DONNELL: Let us listen to what the president said about the action that
was taken in Connecticut after the massacre of those first graders.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Anybody in the business of selling firearms must get a license and
conduct background check or be subject to criminal prosecutions. Does not
matter whether you are doing it over the internet or the gun show, it is
not where you do, but what you do.

We know that background checks make a difference. After Connecticut passed
a law requiring background checks and gun safety courses, gun deaths
decreased by 40 percent. 40 percent.

(AUDIENCE APPLAUDING)

And, the evidence tells us that in states that require background checks,
law abiding Americans do not find it any harder to purchase guns
whatsoever. Their guns have not been confiscated. Their rights have not
been infringed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

O`DONNELL: Governor Malloy, so, there was the president using Connecticut
as an example today.

MALLOY: Yes, and a good example, I think. We know what works in America.
We know that requiring background checks works. We know that requiring
permits work and training courses work. We know how to make America safer.
And, we are not – Connecticut is not the safest place in the world, but we
are a lot safer than some of the states that have almost no rules.

I mean, the idea that in southern states along the I-95 corridor up and
down the east coast, we see guns coming up from those states all the time.
We can trace guns used in crimes and whether it is in Bridgeport or New
Haven or Philadelphia or New York or Washington, we frequently know where
those guns have come from or where they were last sold or changed hands.

We need to close these loopholes. We need to make America safer. No one
should be buying guns on the internet to escape a background check.
Terrorists should not be in our country able to buy guns without a
background check. I mean terrorists and people on the watch list should
not be able to buy guns without a hearing.

If they can – you know, if we are wrong about that their status, then in
Connecticut, they would get a hearing and fairly rapidly. And, if it needs
to be even more rapid, send it to the courts. But, let us not sell guns to
people who should not have them. If we take that simple step, we will make
America a lot safer. And, if other states would join Connecticut, we would
make Connecticut safer.

O`DONNELL: Governor, the NRA`s initial reaction to this was a little
unusual for them. They kind of ridiculed it and said, “Oh, you know, after
all this time, this is all he is doing?” And, they basically said, “This
is nothing.” But, of course, they are still opposed to it, even though
they say this will not significantly impede anyone`s ownership of guns.

MALLOY: Yes. There is something special about the NRA. They once were
for background checks and now they are not. They dictate to the industry
that you will not be involved in making guns safer. They have been behind
campaigns to close shops that sell safer technologies.

You know, they have gone all in and all out and in many cases they have
won. But, in places like Connecticut and New York and Delaware and
elsewhere, they are not winning the way that they won in the past. And,
people have got to stand up. And, I think that was the message that the
president was trying to share with Americans.

We do not have to accept this. We do not have to accept 30,000 deaths a
year. We do not have to accept the fact that 400,000 people have died as a
result of guns since 9/11. It does not make sense. And, we can make
America, my state, all of our states, safer with some simple rules that are
not designed to take anyone`s gun away, but simply to make our country a
safer place for law abiding citizens.

O`DONNELL: Governor Dan Malloy, thank you very much for joining us
tonight. I really appreciate it and appreciate you telling us what it was
like at the White House today. I really appreciate it.

MALLOY: Thank you. Thank you.

O`DONNELL: Chris Hayes is up next.

END

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