The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell, Transcript 9/23/2016
Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL
Date: September 23, 2016
Guest: Mark Claxton, Paul Butler, Jon Favreau, Jeff Jackson, Phillip
Atiba, Kurt Eichenwald
RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: That does it for our coverage this hour
tonight, we will see you again on Monday. Now, it`s time for the LAST WORD
with Lawrence O`Donnell. Good evening, Lawrence.
[22:00:41] LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. Thank
you very much.
MADDOW: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: I will see you on debate night.
O`DONNELL: Thank you. Well, Kurt Eichenwald has something to add to the
debate, Monday night. He will join us tonight with his latest
investigative piece for Newsweek about Donald Trump showing that Donald
Trump might have committed perjury. Also, Jon Favreau, who was President
Obama`s chief speechwriter and worked with him on debate prep, will take us
inside the agonies of the debate prep process, and just how crazy it drove
Jon Favreau, and to a certain extent, President Obama.
But first, our focus remains on Charlotte tonight, where a new video of the
police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott was released, raising new questions
about police conduct at the scene of that shooting. Tonight in Charlotte,
protesters are still asking police to release the video of the killing of
Keith Lamont Scott, the police video that shows that he was shot and killed
by Charlotte Police on Tuesday. They were joined in that request today by
Hillary Clinton, who said, “Charlotte should release the police video,
without delay.” Hillary Clinton announced earlier today that she would go
to Charlotte on Sunday, the day before the first presidential debate. The
Trump campaign announced that he planned to go to Charlotte on Tuesday,
then the Mayor of Charlotte said, she thought it would be better, better
for the city if the candidates could delay their trips to Charlotte. And
just moments ago, Hillary Clinton`s campaign issued this statement, after
further discussion with community leaders, “We have decided to postpone
Sunday`s trip as to not impact the city`s resources. She will plan to
visit Charlotte next Sunday, provided circumstances allow.” New video of
the shooting was released today, by Mr. Scott`s wife, who was on the scene
when the shooting took place, and she recorded that video then. We will
analyze that video in a moment.
But first, at the White House today, in the middle of remarks celebrating
the opening of the National Museum of African-American History and Culture,
President Obama said this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, UNITED STATES PRESIDENT: And so, part of the reason that I`m
so happy the museum is opening this weekend is because it allows all of us
as Americans to put our current circumstances in a historical context. My
hope is that, as people are seeing what`s happened in Tulsa or Charlotte on
television, and perhaps are less familiar with not only the history of the
African-American experience, but also how recent some of these challenges
have been, upon visiting the museum may step back and say, I understand. I
sympathize, I empathize. I can see why folks might feel angry and I want
to be part of the solution, as opposed to resisting change. My hope is
that black folks watching those same images on television and then seeing
the history represented at this museum, can say to themselves, the
struggles we`re going through today are connected to the past, and yet all
that progress we`ve made, tells me that I cannot and will not sink into
despair, because if we join hands, and if we do things right, if we
maintain our dignity, and we continue to appeal to the better angels of
this nation, progress will be made.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: The video recorded by Mrs. Scott was recorded under difficult
circumstances, where she was trying desperately to communicate with the
police and her husband at the same time. She was moving during some of the
video, running during some of the video. The video does not show the
shooting, but you can hear the shots fired. It is a deeply disturbing
video, made by a woman who was recording the worst experience of her life.
Here is that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAKEYIA SCOTT, KEITH LAMONT SCOTT`S WIFE: Don`t shoot him. Don`t shoot
him. He has no weapon. He has no weapon. Don`t shoot him. Don`t shoot
him. Don`t shoot him. He didn`t do anything.
POLICE OFFICER: Drop the gun. Drop the gun.
MRS. SCOTTT: He doesn`t have a gun. He has a TBI. He`s not going to do
anything to you guys. He just took his medicine.
POLICE OFFICER: Drop the gun.
MRS. SCOTT: Keith, don`t let them break the windows, come on out the car.
POLICE OFFICER: Drop the gun.
MRS. SCOTT: Keith, don`t do it.
POLICE OFFICER: Drop the gun.
MRS. SCOTT: Keith, get out the car. Keith, Keith, don`t you do it, don`t
you do it.
Keith, Keith, Keith, don`t you do it. Did you shoot him? Did you shoot
him? Did you shoot him? He better not be – dead. He better not be –
dead. I know that – much. I know that much, he better not be dead. I`m
not going to come near you. I`m going to record you. I`m not coming near
you. I`m going to record you. He better be alive because I – he better
be alive, how about that? Yes, we – over here at 50 – 9453 Lexington
Court. He`s the police officer that shot my husband and he better live.
He better live, because he didn`t do nothing to them. He got – ain`t
nobody touched nobody so they all good. I know he better live. I know he
better live. How about that? I`m not coming to you guys, but he better
live, he better live. Y`all hear this and you see this, right? He better
live. He better live. I swear he better live. Don`t shoot him. Don`t
shoot him. He has no – he better – live. He better live. Where is –
he better – live, and I can`t even leave the damn – I ain`t going
nowhere. I`m going to stay in the same damn spot. What`s up Keith? Did
y`all call the police? I mean, did you call the ambulance?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: That video has been studied all day today, beside an image that
a witness gave to our affiliate, WCNC, and that according to Charlotte
Police source, shows the handgun that Mr. Scott had, shows that handgun on
the pavement near his feet. The new video being studied today shows an
image that is different from that. The new video does not show anything on
the pavement there, in that spot. Can we get those two shots up there
beside each other on the screen at the same time? You don`t have it, all
right. Do we have the other video? There it is. Those are the shots I
want. Now, get MSNBC move it out of the corner there. It`s clogging up
the shot. So, we see there, it in that shot that was released to a local
TV, circled what the police said is a gun. You look at the same position
on the pavement in the other shot, and you don`t see any gun there, in that
same position, in relation to the white blur on the left shot, that white
blur is the feet. So we will – we`ll come back to some of that imagery to
study more of this. And yet, another video was released today, late today.
It was posted by the Charlotte observer. This video, taken from another
witness with a slightly different angle on the situation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they still put the handcuffs on him. He ain`t
moving. They`re going to take his pants down.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Mark Claxton, the director of the Black Law
Enforcement Alliance and a retired NYPD detective. Also with us, Paul
Butler, a professor of Law at Georgetown University, a former federal
prosecutor, and Jim Cavanaugh, MSNBC law enforcement analyst, he`s a
retired ATF special agent, a former hostage negotiator for the ATF. Jim
Cavanaugh, I know you`ve been studying that first video that we got today,
pretty much frame by frame today. What do you see in that?
JIM CAVANAUGH, MSNBC LAW ENFORCEMNT ANALYST: Well, the first thing you
see, Lawrence, I think it goes to trying to get inside what Mr. Scott`s
experience and certainly we want to talk about what the police are
experiencing later, but Mr. Scott`s experiencing, he`s not facing the cars
arriving, the unmarked police cars, and they arrived first. And, you know,
can you imagine, you`re not committing a crime, you`re not doing anything
wrong, you`re just sitting there waiting for someone and these unmarked
vehicles pull up behind you. And, you know, maybe you think you`re being
robbed. So, possibly he`s confused, what`s going on here. And it may
explain some of the reasons why he might have got out with a gun and then
the officers see that. So, it takes the marked car – the marked car
doesn`t arrive first. It looks like the unmarked cars arrived first, and
then you see the marked unit arrive with a uniformed officer gets out. So,
that`s a few seconds into it. It doesn`t all happen, you know, with the
marked car in the front. So it looks like there`s a van and a - and
another unmarked SUV.
O`DONNELL: And we have – Jim, we have a – we have a shot up on the
screen now that, in your analysis, you identified that for us as it looks
like a police officer holding a gun, with a gun extended toward Mr. Scott.
CAVANAUGH: Right, Lawrence. That`s about 27 seconds into the NBC video
that the family provided to Gabe, there. It`s about 27 seconds, and you
can see the marked cars arriving, and that one plain clothes officers
advancing toward Mr. Scott`s truck. It just gives you a clear shot, a sort
of the timeline of how it`s moving, and he moves toward the vehicle.
O`DONNELL: And let`s go to this question of a gun, a gun found at the
scene, or a gun identified on the pavement. What are you – what do you
see in the video that helps us with that information?
CAVANAUGH: Well, you know, the first thing that surfaced was you had a lot
- a series of facts, she had witnesses at the scene, told police they saw a
gun in Mr. Scott`s hand. Of course, you have the officers say that. What
we believe from what the chief is saying, the gun was recovered, and you
hear on the iPhone video, repeated commands to drop the gun, and you see
one red-shirted officer who`s right next to the truck, right next to the
passenger side of the truck and he is very close. So, these officers are
all pretty close to Mr. Scott. The gunshots ring out, and Mr. Scott comes
in and kicks the gun – I`m sorry, the red-shirted officer comes toward Mr.
Scott, and what you can see, is he kicks the gun back with his foot. He
kind of moves it away from Mr. Scott, you know, one of the first things you
do in these shooting instances is you`re trying to get the gun, not in
arm`s reach anywhere where a person who had the gun could pick it up and
either kill himself or shoot you, so it`s all has moved away pretty
routine. That takes precedence over crime scene preservation, first thing
is safety. So the officer moves the gun back. I believe that –
O`DONNELL: I just want to say – I just want to – Jim, I just want to
help the audience at home. We`ve isolated the shot you`re talking about
where you think you`re seeing the officer move the gun with his foot. And
as we go in close on that shot, it is impossible to tell whether that`s a
gun or not. The presumption of what we`re talking about here is as you`re
presuming based on what we`re looking at in that frame that that`s a gun.
CAVANAUGH: No, exactly right. I will tell you we can`t tell from this
shot that that`s a gu,n but we`re taking the totality of circumstances.
And then if you watch the officer`s behavior there, he puts his left foot
next to the gun. In subsequent frames you can see the object just peeking
out a little bit. And he - and he has that left foot planted there like
it`s in concrete. He doesn`t move it. Later, when the crime scene tape
was up, there`s the photograph of the gun that we saw a couple of days ago
that came from local media. Laying on the gun, I think you showed it early
in the beginning of the show, laying there in a still shot. Well, by then
O`DONNELL: We`ve got a bad shot of it up there right now, which I wish we
could zoom in on. But you`re saying on that shot that where we just
circled the foot, that on the left foot –
O`DONNELL: – you see a protuberance of some kind, coming out behind the
shoe a little bit, there`s a little bit of black coming out behind the shoe
there, I think we`ve got a better shot of it there.
CAVANAUGH: Right. And when you see the –
O`DONNELL: And that`s what you`re thinking might be the gun, Jim.
CAVANAUGH: Yeah, I`m thinking he`s guarding the gun, that`s what we would
do at a shooting scene, you know, because we don`t want anybody to take it
away or move it or pick it up and the officer straddles the gun and they –
only, later, when the shot was released that shows the gun clearly laying
there, that red shirted officer is over Mr. Scott, and crime scene tape is
up. So once the crime scene tape is up, he can move away, he moves toward
to help Mr. Scott, and the gun is clearly shown. I think when you see the
shadows of the trees, the movement of the officer, I think it`s all
consistent that that is likely the gun and Mr. Scott did in fact have a
O`DONNELL: OK. Professor Butler, I don`t see this as clearly as Jim does
when he looks at this, and the two different images we have of the
pavement, the still images, there`s no gun visible in the earlier image
taken by Mrs. Scott. And then there`s a gun where, as far as my eyes can
tell, there wasn`t one in the later image taken that the police say, is a
photograph of the gun. It`s all even with the movement of the gun, that`s
a little bit disturbing to me, too, because the exact placement of a gun
that someone has used in a crime scene is crucial to reestablishing
everybody`s movements within the crime scene and the idea that it could be
kicked around and moved around and that position changed before a police
photographer was there to photograph its exact location, would also be very
troubling. But you`ve dealt with this as a prosecutor, dealing with chain
of custody of a weapon, like this, exactly who`s touched it, who`s moved
it, who`s done what with it. What would that feel like to you having that
evidence brought to you as a prosecutor?
PAUL BUTLER, PROFESSOR OF LAW AT GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Can you imagine
the opening statement in a case where you`re trying to think about what
happened, and a defense attorney is going to say, we have a magical,
floating gun. It goes from apparently being in Mr. Scott`s hands to –
then being on the ground and then floating from here to there. Give me a
break. You know, the other information, the other evidence that I see in
this videotape, undermines confidence in the police and the integrity of
their investigation. So, you know, when you know that a case is going to
be possibly criminal, a public interest, because the police have killed a
man, you are very concerned about evidence. There`s a chain of custody
that`s about preserving the integrity of the evidence. So here, the police
did not observe that chain of custody. They did not follow protocol. They
had no threat from Mr. Scott. He was laying, dying on the ground or dead
on the ground and they put him in handcuffs as he lay dying. And so,
again, I`m just not prepared, given the lack of accountability and the lack
of transparency of this investigation so far, to give any benefit of the
doubt to the police.
O`DONNELL: Mark Claxton, your reaction to what we`ve been looking at.
MARK CLAXTON, DIRECTOR OF THE BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: Yeah, I
agree with much of what Paul indicated there, and I think Jim gave an
excellent, you know, scenario, the possibilities in working that out, but I
think, especially when you`re securing a firearm at a crime scene, a
firearm involved offense, the police officers usually and shouldn`t be that
cavalier with the gun. Yes, the primary focus should be on safety, but, as
a police officer, and I`ve been in that situation, where you have to secure
a firearm, immediately you want to obtain possession of that firearm,
because you can articulate later on to crime scene investigators, et
cetera, where that particular item was, but you want to secure that firearm
for safety reasons. You may want to clear that firearm. It really depends
on the circumstance, but you definitely, I know I wouldn`t, and I`ve never
seen it done that way, where you would position the firearm back and forth
with your foot, et cetera.
O`DONNELL: All right. We`re going to have to leave it there for tonight.
And I think what we`ve highlighted is, why we are so eager to see the rest
of the available video here, police video, dash cam video. The angles
we`re using tonight are not great. Once we see the rest of it, we`ll be
able to have a much stronger view of what it is we`ve really able to see in
there. Jim Cavanaugh, Paul Butler, Mark Claxton, thank you all for joining
us tonight, really appreciate it.
BUTLER: Thank you.
BUTLER: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: We are continuing to monitor the situation in Charlotte,
there`s live shots of the situation there. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: We`re continuing to monitor the situation in Charlotte, where a
midnight curfew is in effect again tonight. Monday is the first
Presidential Debate. The nominees will undoubtedly be asked about policing
and the situation in Charlotte. Jon Favreau who helped President Obama in
debate prep will join us next.
O`DONNELL: With Hillary Clinton calling for the release of the Charlotte
Police video, showing the killing of Keith Lamont Scott. And her planned
trip to Charlotte which is now planned for next Sunday, the situation in
Charlotte is sure to come up in the first Presidential Debate, Monday
night. Debate prep is tough enough for candidates trying to memorize
policy, positions and talking points but how can debate prep adapt to fast-
moving news stories like what`s been happening in Charlotte. We`re joined
now by Jon Favreau who worked closely with President Obama on debate prep
and served as his chief speech writer from 2005 and December 2013 in the
White House. He`s the co-host of the podcast, Keepin` It 1600. Jon, so
you have – were you in a debate prep situation where news like this that
was this hot was breaking, days before the debate?
JON FAVREAU, OBAMA`S CHIEF SPEECHWRITER: Not quite as hot as this, but
when we were in debate prep between the Denver debate and the Hobster
debate in 2012. New facts were still coming out about Benghazi. And so
that was sort of a development, and it happened a couple weeks before, but
it was a developing situation.
O`DONNELL: How do you adapt to something like this? What`s going on there
is not exactly central to the presidency the way Benghazi is in foreign
FAVREAU: I mean, it`s part of the preparation for being president, right?
FAVREAU: You have to handle a whole bunch of different things at once.
And so, there`s a bunch of people in debate prep but then there`s people in
the White House or in the campaign that are still feeding new information
and facts and updating you, and you have to be prepared to answer questions
on anything that it comes up.
O`DONNELL: On Monday night, I know where you`re going to be – you are
going to be drinking heavily in a Marriott bar, which is where you were,
you now confess in your piece today.
FAVREAU: I was.
O`DONNELL: Before the debate where you thought the Obama presidency might
FAVREAU: Crash before my eyes.
O`DONNELL: Because in the reelection campaign, the first debate, everyone
remembers was scored as a bad performance for President Obama and you
remember some people got quite hysterical about it. But even you thought -
FAVREAU: I did.
O`DONNELL: – he could`ve done a lot better.
O`DONNELL: And partially it`s because he hated debates.
O`DONNELL: Right? Tell us about that.
FAVREAU: He just – he hates the artifice of debates, right?
FAVREAU: Because he looks at the debate like a normal person might, which
is, someone`s going to argue something, I`m going to respond with facts and
reason, and that`s not really what a debate is.
FAVREAU: It`s two minutes to sort of deliver your message, your contrast
message against your opponent, you know, get a few one liners in there, and
it`s much different, it`s very phony.
O`DONNELL: Elizabeth Drew wrote a great piece, I thought, this week,
saying that debates have absolutely nothing - the debate skills have
nothing to do with governing, and she mentioned how JFK had great debate
skills. None of that was used when he was heading off the Cuban missile
crisis. She says the actual governing, the job of the presidency requires
thoughtfulness, calm, deliberation, listening to advisers, figuring out the
best options. None of that`s on display in the debate stage.
FAVREAU: It`s all performative. You know, it`s a total – and especially
if you have been president, and you have been there four years governing,
and you have to get back into fighting shape for a debate, it`s even more
difficult, because you have to do this sort of phony dog and pony show.
O`DONNELL: Well, it – I would think psychologically, it changes
dramatically because in 2008, when he`s going into a debate, he`s going
into show, I can do this.
O`DONNELL: Now, four years later, he has a right to feel, I`ve shown I can
do this. So he starts off, I would think, as any incumbent would, in a
kind of psychologically defensive posture, and why are you asking me this?
FAVREAU: Yeah, and especially because you`re trying to defend your record
for the last four years.
FAVREAU: But that keeps you in the past, and an election has to be about
the future and a choice between two people. And so you have to keep
pushing everything towards the choice in the election and not relegate your
O`DONNELL: And so you found a way – in your piece, you described, you
found a way to get the president reoriented for the second debate by using
the things he had been saying but changing the tone of it, just sort of
shaping the corners of it a little bit.
FAVREAU: Well, I mean, I`ve learned this from speech writing, but the
president, he doesn`t – he doesn`t like one-liners. He doesn`t like sort
of - he, you know, he writes a lot of speeches himself. So, for debate
prep, instead of giving him a bunch of zingers, we all looked at some of
his debate prep mock performances, and some of the better answers there, we
then took those, shaped them and gave them back to him, sort of, from time
O`DONNELL: All right. Now, we need – we need to clarify something for
O`DONNELL: Because I don`t know what your experience is, but I find that
Twitter`s sense of humor, is minimal, unless you are officially,
professionally a comedian. They don`t know it`s a joke.
FAVREAU: This is a joke?
O`DONNELL: So you tweeted that you are going to come on this program.
O`DONNELL: And endorse Ted Cruz, which I know is a joke. But I`d like to
get your reaction to the Ted Cruz endorsement today of Donald Trump.
FAVREAU: Lyin` Ted. Lyin` Ted went for Donald Trump. No, I mean, look, I
think – I think you can recover from being loathe. I don`t think you can
recover from being a joke. And what Ted Cruz did today is – he just, sort
of – he was going to be the principled, conscious guy, and he decided to
throw it all out for this – for this endorsement. He – I mean, not only
was it unprincipled, it was also not that politically smart, so I`d – it`s
O`DONNELL: All right. So, you`re not endorsing Ted Cruz.
FAVREAU: I am not endorsing Ted Cruz.
O`DONNELL: OK. Great, great. We got that straightened out. Jon Favreau,
thank you very much for joining us tonight.
FAVREAU: Thanks for having me, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: You can watch Monday`s first Presidential Debate, right here on
MSNBC, starting at 9 p.m. Eastern. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNEL,: We are just under 90 minutes away from the midnight curfew that
goes into effect for the second night in a row in Charlotte, North
Carolina, where demonstrators are protesting the police shooting, death of
Keith Scott. MSNBC national reporter, Trymaine Lee joins us now live from
Charlotte. And Trymaine, is this going to be a so-called soft curfew,
where if you`re out after midnight, as long as you`re not break any laws,
the police will be OK with that?
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC NATIONAL REPORTER: Hey, Lawrence, from our
understanding, it will be a soft curfew again from 12:00 to 6:00, same as
last night. The police chief has said, as long as there`s no problem, as
long as there`s no violence, he will allow those people who are out
protesting to continue to do so. All night long, we`ve had a strong group
of about 300 or 400 marchers, protesting throughout the entire city. Not
any clashes with the police like we saw last night with the rubber bullets
and pepper spray. It`s been largely peaceful. And at one point, the
protesters did try to take over the highway, but they were met by the
police in riot gear who just kind of marched behind them and pushed them –
not physically pushed them, but, like, guided them towards an exit. Again,
a peaceful night. Again, kind of a show of force, though. There are
hundreds of protesters out here. Police have kind of kept a low profile.
They`ve blocked off certain streets. You can still hear the helicopter
above, but overall, a quiet peaceful night. Again, this soft curfew is in
effect, things can change, depending on how things play out, but again, if
last night`s any indication of what we`ve seen tonight, perhaps we`ll get
another peaceful night, Lawrence.
O`DONNELL: Trymaine Lee, thank you very much for that report. Thank you.
Coming up, a North Carolina State Senator who supports the protesters`
requests that police video be released.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BARNETT, JUSTICE AND CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Someone got shot in this
city. And holding onto the video does not make things better. Truth of
the matter is, it actually made it worse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Today, the Mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Roberts, urged the
police to complete their investigation as quickly as possible so that the
police could then release that video as quickly as possible. Here`s what
the police chief said about that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KERR PUTNEY, CHARLOTTE POLICE CHIEF: It`s a matter of when, and it`s a
matter of sequence. If I were to put it out indiscriminately, and it
doesn`t give you good context, it can inflame the situation and make it
even worse. It will exacerbate the backlash. It will increase the
distrust. So, that is where discernment, judgment and reasonableness have
to come in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: Joining us now, Jeff Jackson. He`s a North Carolina State
Senator, represents part of charlotte. Also with us, Professor Phillip
Atiba Goff of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. And Senator
Jackson, it was odd to hear the police chief saying that this video, if it
was released, would make the situation worse. I`m not sure if he meant to
say it that way, but that would imply that there`s something incriminating
on that video.
JEFF JACKSON, NORTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: Well, I think that`s a fair
point, but let me just say about our chief. In general, we love our chief.
He has done a tremendous job facing this exact issue. He hasn`t been our
chief for long, but as soon as he came on, he decided to be proactive about
this. He went into the communities in Charlotte that are traditionally
distrustful of police, and he took a really proactive approach. Now, it`s
time for us to admit that the video in question is in fact a public record.
It was produced with body cameras that taxpayers paid for. Here in
Mecklenburg, the county of Charlotte, we spent $7 million to outfit our
officers with these body cameras. The video that produced does belong to
us, the taxpayers. It is a public record. And now, that the investigation
now that we`ve heard that they`ve identified all of the key witnesses,
which means they`ve taken statements from all of the key witnesses.
They`ve done the DNA evidence, they`ve done the fingerprint evidence, what
we need to hear from our chief or the State Bureau of Investigation, which
also has authority here, is we are going to get to see the video. And I`m
not saying it needs to be today or tomorrow, but what we`ve heard so far
is, “Trust us, you`ll see it someday.” And in wide of the intense public
interest, that answer is not sufficient.
O`DONNELL: And Professor Goff, one of the things we heard from the chief
the other day, was he was sensitive to Mr. Scott`s family about this, and
didn`t want them to have to go through seeing this kind of imagery repeated
on television, but here, Mr. Scott`s family has released a video that was
in their possession. So clearly, that`s not an issue. What is our
experience nationally in terms of, in these situations, when video is
released, is there a record? Is there a case they can point to, where they
say, “Look, here`s the case, where when the video was released, it made the
situation much, much worse?”
PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF, PROFESSOR AT JOHN JAY COLLEGE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE:
Well, I mean, I don`t think that there`s enough evidence for us to do a
good close empirical study. But I do think there`s enough evidence from
this week that says we`re talking about charlotte and we`re not talking
about Tulsa, where we had a video, and it was all available fairly
immediately. I think we also know from controlled lab studies, from field
studies that transparency in law enforcement helps community, when
community is having a hard time trusting. So, I think that we`ve got
scientific principle behind us, we have anecdote from previously. I think
that when the chief is saying in this case, without the context, it would.
I`m wondering what the context is that`s going to make it better. What
context do you wrap around a video that`s going to make it better for a
community in terms of receiving it. So, yeah, I don`t think that there`s a
strong argument to be made if you say you want to protect the family, and
the family is releasing a video. And then you want to say you want to
protect the process, and yet now, we`ve got two videos that people are
looking at, it`s already very confusing, and there`s not an offer of, this
is the context that we`re waiting for.
O`DONNELL: And Senator Jackson, after October 1st, it`s going to be even
more difficult to get a video like this released since there`s a new law in
your state now.
O`DONNELL: That basically hides these videos for as long as - and for -
and basically, an undetermined amount of time.
JACKSON: You`re right. That law goes into effect in one week. Now, what
I think is very interesting is that the police chief here in Charlotte
strongly opposed that law when we were considering it. He said, “This
gives police chiefs too much power,” and he said, “Human nature is, I`m not
going to release a video if I`m worried how it`s going to, you know, put
things – and how I`m going to appear, and how my police officers are going
to appear.” He was very honest when that bill was under consideration.
And now, I think those words are coming back to haunt him a little bit,
because as the investigation is - as we`re moving through it, and now we
have another video released, I think some of the arguments for not
releasing the video are going away, and it`s starting to look more and more
to the general public, like, the only reason they`re not releasing the
video is because they`re afraid of the light in which it will put our
O`DONNELL: Professor Goff, with your experience studying these cases
around the country, if you could – if you could advise the police chief on
the next three steps, say, from this point forward, what would those be,
including in terms of crowd control at night, with protesters.
GOFF: So, my first three recommendations would be, first, to release the
video. Second, to release the video. And then third, probably, to release
the video. What we - what we understand in terms of the police
department`s interests is there should be at least two interests here.
One, in terms of the reputation, and really, the safety and integrity of a
process towards an officer, but two, public safety has to be in the
interest of the department. And we have to hear from protest after protest
after protest that part of what they`re protesting for is the ability to
trust that law enforcement shares their values and has their back. So, if
you`re able to release the video, you can go then go out and march in the
daytime along with the protesters, saying, “Hey, this is an epidemic that`s
gone in terms of a crisis of legitimacy and trust in law enforcement that`s
gone on nationally, and we want to be part of the solution. That`s what`s
been working in cities that are going uncovered, because unfortunately, we
have to cover the most, sort of, explosive situation right away. But
that`s what leaders in law enforcement have been doing all over the
country, is joining with protesters. So, I think there`s an opportunity
here to turn this around. I think unfortunately, once people have their
heels dug in, and they`ve staked out positions. It`s really hard to feel
like you can change your mind without completely losing face.
O`DONNELL: Senator Jackson and Professor Goff, thank you both for joining
us tonight. I appreciate it.
JACKSON: Thank you.
GOFF: Thank you.
O`DONNELL: Coming up, Kurt Eichenwald is here with his latest
investigative piece for Newsweek about Donald Trump. This one includes the
possibility that Donald Trump committed perjury.
O`DONNELL: Anyone want to bet on whether Donald Trump will lie in Monday
night`s debate? Of course not, no one wants to bet on that, because the
only thing to bet on is how many times Donald Trump will lie, and what he
will lie about. In the latest Kurt Eichenwald investigative piece about
Donald Trump for Newsweek, he has revealed a lie that could be perjury.
And something about that came up in one of the Republican Primary Debates.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JEB BUSH, FORMER GOVERNOR OF FLORIDA: The one guy that had some special
interest that I know of, that tried to get me to change my views on
something that was generous and gave me money was Donald Trump. He wanted
casino gambling in Florida.
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did not.
BUSH: Yes, you did.
TRUMP: Totally false. I would have got –
BUSH: You wanted it and you didn`t get it because I was opposed to casino
gambling before –
TRUMP: I promise I would have gotten it.
BUSH: – during and after. And that`s not - I`m not going to be bought by
TRUMP: I promise, if I wanted it, I would have gotten it.
BUSH: No way then.
TRUMP: Believe me.
BUSH: Nope. Not even possible.
TRUMP: I know people. I know my people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O`DONNELL: If what Donald Trump said in that debate is true, then,
according to Kurt Eichenwald`s reporting, Donald Trump committed perjury if
when under oath, he said the opposite. No, he did say the opposite, in a
lawsuit in a civil case. Trump was asked under oath, “Did you yourself do
anything to obtain any of the details with respect to the Florida gaming
environment? What approvals were needed and so forth?” Donald Trump said,
“A little bit. I actually spoke with Governor-Elect Bush. I had a big
fundraiser for Governor-Elect Bush, and I think it was his most successful
fund raiser. The most successful that he had up until that point, that was
in Trump Tower in New York on 5th Avenue.” Then the lawyer said, “You knew
Governor Bush, Jeb Bush, at that time, was opposed to expansion of gaming
in Florida, didn`t you?” Trump, “I thought that he could be convinced,
otherwise.” Lawyer, “But you didn`t changed his mind about his anti-gaming
stance, did you?” Trump, “Well, I never really had that much of an
Joining us now, Kurt Eichenwald, senior writer for “Newsweek.” Kurt, this
seems like a very ripe question for the debate on Monday. You know, which
of these things is true, especially since this is a follow-up to something
Trump said in a previous debate.
KURT EICHENWALD, SENIOR WRITER FOR NEWSWEEK: Well, it certainly is. And,
you know, it points out the real problem here. People think that Donald
Trump just, you know, just lies to get out of something. But really, if
you look at this, each story has in it the, him trying to say, “Hey, I
didn`t fail. It wasn`t my fault. You know, I would have gotten what I
wanted if I wanted it.” The end of that testimony, the under oath
testimony, is he`s saying, “Well, I would have gotten it, except I was
cheated by this guy I`m suing.” And so, you know, he changes his story
depending on which story makes him seem like he`ll never lose unless
someone cheats him.
O`DONNELL: Having studied this, as you have, Kurt, what is you - what is
your judgement about which statement is true? That Donald Trump did not
try to get a casino gambling in Florida, or Donald Trump did try to get
casino gambling in Florida?
EICHENWALD: Well, if we take Mr. Trump at his word, both. I mean -
O`DONNELL: Yeah, yeah. Right.
EICHENWALD: The problem – the problem here is, you know, I could – I
could martial evidence for each one. And unfortunately, you`re in a
situation where, OK, there is evidence that he perjured himself, and that
certainly, you know, if he gets elected, that needs to be investigated.
You know, the republicans have made it very -
O`DONNELL: And exhibit A, and he perjured himself is actually that
videotape from the republican debate.
EICHENWALD: Absolutely. And, you know, the republicans made it very clear
in the Clinton administration that they believe perjury is an - even if
they spot an affair is an impeachable offense. Well, this is trump
perjuring himself, if that`s what he`s doing, but so - for – so we can`t
money money. It`s much worse. And so, you know, the republics have to
stand back and say, we have a a guy who either perjured himself or stood up
in the Ronald Raegan library, looked us all in the eye and flat-out lied.
O`DONNELL: Kurt Eichenwald, we`re going to have to leave it there for
tonight. Thank you very much for joining us, really appreciate it.
EICHENWALD: Thanks for having me.
O`DONNELL: We`ll have a live report from Charlotte, coming up next.
O`DONNELL: A midnight curfew in Charlotte goes into effect just over an
hour from now. NBC news correspondent Ron Mott joins us now live from
Charlotte. Ron, what`s the situation where you are?
RON MOTT, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Good evening, Lawrence. Well, we`re outside
the police department, and there is a very large group here. They have
settled here for about two or three, maybe five minutes now. Not real sure
what their plan is after this. We know we`ve got the curfew in effect in
about two hours` time. Actually, in one hour`s time. I guess at midnight.
Not real sure what`s going to happen after midnight. Now last night, the
police were very cautious in how they move people along after the midnight,
essentially allowing them to continue to march, just as long as they`re
peaceful. We heard some messages here from the people speaking with blow
horns to remain peaceful tonight and that to stay together, black and
white, young and old. This is a very diverse crowd out here tonight. They
have, of course, shouted that they would like to see the tapes, release the
tapes is what they`ve said. And it`s interesting that they finished the
night here at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. The case is now
officially in the hands of the State Bureau of Investigation in the capital
city, Raleigh. Lawrence, back to you.
O`DONNELL: NBC`s Ron Mott. Thank you very much, Ron. I really appreciate
it. We`ll be right back.
O`DONNELL: For the first time in 100 years, an important Ohio newspaper,
The Cincinnati Enquirer has decided to endorse a democrat for president.
The last democrat The Cincinnati Enquirer endorsed was President Woodrow
Wilson in his 1916 re-election campaign. The editorial`s headline now
simply says “It has to be Hillary Clinton.” The editorial said, “There is
only one choice when we elect a president in November, Hillary Clinton.
Our country needs calm, thoughtful leadership to deal with the challenges
we face at home and abroad. We need a leader who will bring out the best
in all Americans, not the worst. The editorial said this about a favorite
republican talking point, Benghazi, said, “Yes, mistakes were made in
Benghazi, but the incident was never the diabolical conspiracy that
republicans wanted us to believe, and Clinton was absolved of blame after
lengthy investigations.” On Donald Trump, the editorial simply said,
“Trump is a clear and present danger to our country.” The biggest
newspaper in the biggest state also endorsed Hillary Clinton today. The
Los Angeles Times editorial said, “Electing trump could be catastrophic for
That`s tonight`s LAST WORD. MSNBC`s live coverage continues now with Ari
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