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Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 02/15/15

Guests: Marcus Mabry, Molly O`Toole, Julian Zelizer, Katon Dawson, BarbaraLee, Dominica Davis, Peter Keldorff, Seema Iyer, Monifa Bandele, CherrellBrown, Julian Salazar, Marquez Claxton, Samantha Jenkins, Michael-JohnVoss, Dave Zirin, Caroline Clarke

DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC GUEST ANCHOR: This morning, my question. Are we seeing the return of the debtor`s prison? Plus the FBI director`s very frank talk about policing and race, and the cost of war. But first, the latest on the deadly terror attack. Good morning. I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa Harris-Perry. First this morning, we want to bring you on update on the shootings yesterday in Copenhagen. The first shooting targeted a freedom of speech event featuring a cartoonist who has depicted and mocked the Prophet Muhammad. One person attending the event was killed and three police officers were injured. The second shooting targeted a Jewish synagogue. One man providing security was killed. Two police officers were wounded. The prime minister of Denmark spoke earlier today outside the synagogue. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) HELLE THORNING-SCHMIDT, PRIME MINISTER OF DENMARK: Our thoughts goes to his family. We are with them today, but our thoughts goes to the whole of the Jewish community today. They belong in Denmark. They are a strong part of our community and we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Danish police say the person suspected of carrying out these attacks was killed after exchanging fire with authorities. Joining me now on the phone from Copenhagen, Denmark, is Peter Keldorff, a reporter at the Danish Broadcast Corporation. Peter, what do we know about the identity of the suspect? PETER KELDORFF, REPORTER, DANISH BROADCAST CORPORATION (via telephone): The police have told us this afternoon that they know the name of the man that they killed this morning and, as you said, they suspect is the attacker from the two attacks. And they told us that our intelligence agency knew the man in advance. He was on their radar as our chief of intelligence told us. So our intelligence agency knew the man in advance and they know now the name of him, but they don`t want to reveal it to the press and to the public. That`s what we know for now. WARREN: And do police believe the suspect was the only person involved or are they looking for more? KELDORFF: They are for sure looking for more. Right now as we speak, there has been a mass arrest at an internet cafe in the same area in the city where the man was shot and killed last night, this morning, so for sure they are looking for more. But on the other hand they told at the press briefing earlier today that they don`t think there are others working with him. They are keeping their cards pretty close, the police, of course. So we don`t know what`s up and down in this, but of course, they are looking for more. As we speak, as I told you, a mass arrest is going on in the same area where he was killed. WARREN: Peter Keldorff in Copenhagen, thank you. Now we turn to another international story with implications here at home. President Obama this week asked Congress to authorize his war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but the truth is the war began months ago. Three American service members have lost their lives in missions supporting the war. The loss of a human life is immeasurable. While there are many ways to measure the costs of war, the most basic comes down to money and the financial figures we can analyze are mounting. The United States has already spent $1.5 billion in its campaign against ISIS, according to the Pentagon. We are spending an average of $8.4 million every day. For some perspective, the war in Afghanistan cost the U.S. $212 million a day. Together, the past 13 years of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere have cost $1.6 trillion. This war is much cheaper. So-called smart bombs cost $40,000 each. Every hour of flying time for a fighter jet is about $10,000, and the U.S. has launched more than 5,000 air strikes so it`s not pennies, but ground wars are vastly more expensive. In Afghanistan, the U.S. spent more than $1 million per year for every soldier on the ground. Compared to that, the operation against ISIS is a war on the cheap. And that is perhaps why the president is so confident in public and congressional support of this new war known as "Operation Inherent Resolve." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I`m optimistic that it can win strong bipartisan support and that we can show our troops and the world that Americans are united in this mission. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Joining me now, Marcus Mabry, editor-at-large for "The New York Times," Katon Dawson, National Republican consultant and former South Carolina GOP chair, Molly O`Toole, politics reporter for Defense One, and Julian Zelizer, professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and author of "The Fierce Urgency of Now, Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and The Battle for the Great Society." Thank you all for joining us today. Marcus, I want to start with you because the public appears to be in favor of the president`s actions against ISIS. Does the financial cost factor into public opinion on war? MARCUS MABRY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": It will. It does, it does. Historically it has. In this case of course -- WARREN: Should it? MABRY: Without a doubt the most tragic cost of any war is loss of human life on both sides. Certainly I think Americans feel it keenly, certainly Americans whose families serve feel it keenly. One problem fortunately or unfortunately is that more and more American families don`t have a service member in their family. So I think fewer and fewer of us are attuned to those costs, but those are the most tragic costs. Economically speaking, the American public generally supports a war, as far as from an economic point of view, as long as we`re in good economic times. We happen to be lucky enough to be headed into what seems like a sustained economic recovery, so when it comes to this war I don`t think there`s going to be a problem. The other fact is because we don`t have boots on the ground and right now there`s no political will to have boots on the ground, it`s a lot easier for the American people to stomach the war. WARREN: On this point I want to bring up the poll data. For war authorization, 54 percent say yes, 32 percent say no. This is an NBC News/Marist poll, but in terms of ground troops, 26 percent support large number of troops on the ground, 40 percent support limited number of troops, only about a quarter supports no troops on the ground so it`s interesting that there is support for sending actual people. MABRY: I think if you actually have boots on the ground, I think those numbers would get much worse quickly. The idea is one thing, but doing it is different. WARREN: Molly, I want to ask you, does cost factor in for members of Congress and how will it in any way factor into Congressional hearings on authorization for the use of military force? MOLLY O`TOOLE, DEFENSE ONE: I don`t think that`s what we see or what we hear. We see a lot of the kind of chest-thumping sort of rhetoric, but really the members of Congress are the ones who have to make these considerations about costs. They are the ones in charge of appropriations, authorization bills. WARREN: Power of the purse. O`TOOLE: Exactly. As we`ve seen with the Islamic State fight and the global war on terror for the past 13 years, the only real power for oversight that Congress has, I mean the war against the Islamic State has been going on for six months without Congress weighing in is that power of the purse. Now, politically they are loathe to be seen as not giving the military what they need in order to be successful. So while they are the ones that are in charge of getting these bills passed that would grant funds to the Department of Defense, what you see publicly is not going to become these back door discussions about costs. They`re very in tune to what the public thinks politically. WARREN: Julian, tell us how past presidents have dealt with the cost of war. JULIAN ZELIZER, PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Until World War II they tried to deal with them so they would sell savings bonds where they would raise taxes and dealt explicitly with the moneys as did Congress. Recently we don`t do that. We fund it through deficit spending and borrow. So people don`t feel the effects and Congress has a little leeway, but eventually the costs are known not through taxes, but the deficit rises, other programs start to feel it and that`s where legislators are unhappy. So right now, it all seems easy. The question is what happens if this expands and accelerates and what`s the trade-off that will be necessary. WARREN: Katon, how if at all does cost factor into what stance the 2016 presidential candidates will take? KATON DAWSON, FORMER SOUTH CAROLINA GOP CHAIR: It will have nothing to do with this. You`re already watching the Republican candidates wanting to increase defense spending. You`re never going to lose on defense, especially in a state like South Carolina. Move to Iowa and Nevada. I think one of the things to see in the polling that I do is these beheadings and murders have changed the public opinion, especially of the young lady. And I make note that they didn`t show that one. And that -- that`s been one of the most unifying thing I see at the diner between Republicans and Democrats is they now understand who this enemy is. They don`t understand the scope of it, but they understand we`re going to have to lead. For once this is an unusual president to be asking for these powers. Some of my guys tell me he`s not asking for enough, because the public talks about it now. You know, Marcus, when it gets down to people talking about it at the restaurants and the fear and you feel the fear, the money will come second, politics will come first. WARREN: Marcus, I want to come back to you because you started with this. We hear the president and other congressional leaders saying over and over no ground troops, that this is not going to be a ground war in any way. Should we believe them? MABRY: Sure, right now. For now you can believe them. The reality is we don`t know what`s going to happen going forward. This is going to be a very long struggle, an intractable struggle. Many people argue you can look back to the struggle for Iraq and before Iraq and say this is all part of the same struggle. On left and right, Democrats and Republicans, there`s an interesting debate happening over that issue. About but the fact is look at Copenhagen over the weekend. This is truly a global struggle and a global war. How you carry it out and what means remains to be seen. But I find it hard to believe that somewhere in the world you won`t need ground troops. WARREN: More on the war and the cost of war when we come back, but before we go to break we want to provide an update on winter storm, Neptune, as it barrels down on New England bringing heavy snow and blizzard conditions. This is what Boston looks like this morning. Crews are trying to dig out, while the area could see another foot of snow before the day is done. Hundreds of flights out of Logan Airport have been cancelled this morning and people are being urged to stay off the roads. This storm is a triple threat, snow, high winds and bitter windchills, all in an area still struggling to recover from earlier snowstorms. NBC meteorologist, Dominica Davis, is here with the latest on the blizzard`s timeline. Dominica, is today the worst of it for New England? DOMINICA DAVIS, NBC METEOROLOGIST: It absolutely is going to be. It`s not so much the snow, although they have had plenty of that. The snow is winding down, but the blizzard warning will stay in effect and that`s because the winds and cold will be the extreme conditions today. Here`s a look the at our blizzard warnings. They go up and down the coast going from Massachusetts all the way up to Maine and that will go right through the overnight. And that is because with winds gusting as high as what could be 60, 70 miles per hour, blowing and drifting snow will be -- will be the case throughout the day, which means visibility could be down to zero, making for blizzard conditions. So here`s a look at Doppler radar. Good news because we`re seeing the snow machine wind down. That is great. Parts of Boston have picked up 19 inches with this new storm that has come in since Saturday, still looking at heavy snow bands through south eastern Massachusetts. Other than that really the snow is leaving. It`s the cold and the winds, though, that will be picking up. Here`s where we`re looking at extreme winds. Right along the coast where we have blizzard warnings, 60 to 70 miles per hour through the afternoon and tonight, 50 miles per hour from New York further south. So the whole northeast is in on these strong winds. So everybody from Maine all the way down to D.C., you will see some very gusty winds for today, windchills 31 in Boston. It`s 43 -- I should say wind gusts, 43 miles per hour in Philadelphia. And look at these windchills, this is dangerous cold. We will see some of the coldest air of the season tonight and tomorrow morning. Could be the coldest air we`ve had in a decade. WARREN: NBC meteorologist, Dominica Davis, thank you. Stay right there, we`re going to talk to the only member of Congress to vote no on the 2001 authorization of military force, Representative Barbara Lee and her peace bill, after the break. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: President Obama says he doesn`t even really need Congress to sign off on his military campaign against ISIS. According to the White House, the president has all the legal authority he needs, thanks to a vote Congress took more than 13 years ago. On September 18th, 2001, Congress authorized the president to, quote, "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of military force. In fact, only one member of Congress voted against it. She joins us right now. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Democrat of California, joins us live from Berkeley. Good morning, Congresswoman. REPRESENTATIVE BARBARA LEE (D), CALIFORNIA: Good morning. WARREN: Thirteen years ago you said you were afraid that our use of force might spiral out of control. I want to ask you, is that what you see now happening with the president`s campaign against ISIS? LEE: It`s unfortunate that the resolution I voted against really does allow for a state of perpetual war. I think this is critically important, without any president coming back to Congress. That 2001 resolution served as the basis for the 2002 resolution, which was the resolution to authorize the use of force against Iraq. And here we are again now engaged in military action without repealing actually that first resolution. And so I`m worried, frankly, that the 2001 policy is going to stay in place until we repeal it and that it will set the stage for the continuation of military operations throughout the world really without congressional input, debate or authorities. WARREN: Let me just follow up and clarify here. You don`t think it`s enough that the president wants to repeal the 2002 authorization for the use of force, which we know was a justification for the 2003 Iraq war, you want him to also -- you want Congress to also repeal the 2001 authorization of the use of force as well? LEE: Absolutely. I`ve had legislation to do that for many, many years now because if you have a policy in place that allows for endless war and that allows the authorization to go to war any time, any place, anywhere, then you`re really defeating your purpose coming to Congress with a resolution that has not actually included repealing that first one. We need to fast forward to today and the war that we`re engaged in at this moment and not use any legal basis as the 2001 resolution for the continuation of that war. We need to debate a clean authorization. We need it to be debated with regard to repealing the 2001 so that we can actually bring forward now the American people`s views on going to war in this day and time. WARREN: So speaking of debate, Congresswoman Lee, President Obama said this about the upcoming debate in Congress. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESIDENT OBAMA: In the days and weeks ahead, we`ll continue to work closely with leaders of Congress on both sides of the aisle. I believe this resolution can grow even stronger with the thoughtful and dignified debate that this moment demands. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: So, Congresswoman, how do members of Congress have that dignified debate? And what questions do you think must be asked? LEE: Sure. I`m really proud and pleased that the president has brought forth this resolution. I hope the speaker will allow us to bring it forth to debate and discuss on the floor. Of course, we`re six months into this war and in many ways this resolution, you know, moves us forward because we are engaged in military action. But I believe that we need to look at all of the options. I have a resolution, HJ Res-30, which does not take military action off the table nor forecloses military action, but it lays out a comprehensive approach so that we can really deal with the underlying causes and really dismantle and degrade ISIS. Many have said, many military experts, even the president has said there`s no military solution only to this very horrible and horrific terrorist organization in terms of dismantling them. And so we need to look at a comprehensive approach. We need to make sure that we address all of the revenue streams, the oil revenue streams that funds ISIL, we need to look at the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria. We need to look at the underlying sectarian and ethnic tensions. And so there are many, many issues that have to be addressed to ensure our only national security and help move forward in the Middle East where we can really disable and dismantle this very terrible organization. So we need to have a debate, but we need to debate all of the options, not only the military options. WARREN: Thank you. Thank you very much to Congresswoman Barbara Lee in Berkeley, California. Still to come, new poll results just released this morning reveal much about the class of 2016 and three very key states. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: President Obama was not shy this week about putting the war against ISIS directly in the 2016 spotlight. Here he is explaining why his authorization for the use of force would expire in three years. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRESIDENT OBAMA: Congress should revisit the issue at the beginning of the next president`s term. It`s conceivable that the mission is completed earlier, it`s conceivable that after deliberation, debate and evaluation that there are additional tasks to be carried out in this area. And the people`s representatives with a new president should be able to have that discussion. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: OK, Marcus, I saw your eyebrow raised there. How would this affect the 2016 race? MABRY: I couldn`t help but be affected by the president saying it`s conceivable this will be completed in the short time. No. It`s not conceivable to anybody. This is a long struggle. The next president will definitely have to deal with it. As Katon was saying earlier, the Republican field is all on one side of the issue. In the primaries, it will be interesting to see is there a race to see who can be toughest on this issue. WARREN: I want to bring in Senator Ted Cruz`s statement about this and get you to respond, Katon, because he wants to make it more specifically about Islam. Let me read what he said this week. "Congress should strengthen the AUMF by making sure the president is committed to clear objectives and a specific plan to accomplish these goals. That should begin by clearly defining the enemy as radical Islamic terrorists. We will not be able to win the war against radical Islamic terrorism as long as our commander in chief refuses to recognize who it is that we are fighting." Is he right? DAWSON: Ted Cruz is the spokesman for Ted Cruz. That being said in itself, you know, to a point he is, it`s good politics for him right now. It`s red meat stuff. It`s what the president is probably trying to do. Nobody is fooling themselves who this enemy is anymore. I don`t think we have to guess who they are, we see it every night. So at the end of the day -- reasonable I guess in three years with a reasonable person. But this is going to be pontificated the entire time along with defense spending. ZELIZER: I think all the candidates need to be careful, though. While the drums of war will sound appealing in campaign rhetoric and some of it rational, some of it from fear, two things. Iraq still looms large and I think the public maybe in the polls -- WARREN: The polls right now. ZELIZER: I don`t think there`s a huge appetite for a big war right now. And that`s important. And, you know, the second issue is there`s a lot of divisions in both parties that are right beneath the surface within the GOP, among the Democrats with war reauthorization. Any candidate who makes the wrong step dealing with this can bring those rights out and find themselves in a minefield. The economy is still big. Certainly the Democrats are not going to want to shift to war time footing and forget middle class issues are what a lot of Democrats are asking for. WARREN: Let`s hear from one other potential GOP candidate about war, going to war. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SENATOR MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I would say that there is a pretty simple authorization he could ask for and it would read one sentence. And that is we authorize the president to defeat and destroy ISIL, period. And that`s, I think, what we need to do. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: So -- DAWSON: Pretty smart. WARREN: Is that all we need to do? DAWSON: Fairly smart. Certainly Congress is a little deeper than that. I go back to what he said. I remember in 2008 looking at Bush`s poll numbers and looking how war weary the Republican voter was. You know, and that was -- even when we had John McCain, a war hero, but that was -- and you`re right. We`ve got a long time between now and then. This is a political football but there`s a double side to it. MABRY: What Rubio says is certainly smarter than what Cruz said. A war against ISIL, ISIL may have multiple addresses, but it`s not good addresses. A war against radical Islam, what`s the address for that, it`s everywhere. WARREN: Let me get Molly in. Boys, boys, boys, let me get Molly in here because the president says he already has authorization and this can be confusing for some people. He has authorization, but he`s asking Congress for authorization. Why is he doing this and what does it gain him politically? O`TOOLE: I`m pretty skeptical of his argument that he put forth last week and what they have said that they`re relying on the -- his powers as commander-in-chief, they`re relying on the 2001 and 2002 AUMF so they don`t need Congress` support, but they`d like Congress` support because they`d like to show a united front. I think to some extent there is a legitimacy issue here. Obama himself said he wanted to refine and repeal the 2001 AUFM. He wanted to repeal the 2002 AUMF, and then they shift their position saying they`re relying on it. So Obama is a constitutional law scholar. He basically won office against Hillary Clinton because he could force her to own her vote for the 2002 AUMF so I think there`s a legitimacy issue, but I think it`s more political than anything. A lot of Republican critics but a lot of members of Congress can sit back and say we don`t know what the president`s strategy is. Now, if he forces them to own, to share some of the burden politically of the fight by forcing them to take a vote publicly, I think that that gives him some support as well, in particular if it doesn`t go as planned. WARREN: Still to come, new polling on presidential hopefuls. Up next, when the hits just keep coming, retracting the latest in a series of snowstorms pounding the region of the U.S. still struggling to dig out. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Snow, on top of snow on top of snow. That`s what folks in parts of New England are dealing with this morning as a new winter storm moves through. The area has already been hit with nearly three weeks` worth of record-crushing snowfall and much of it is still on the ground due to a prolonged cold snap. Add to that a sharp drop in temperatures and dangerously low windchills. Joining me from Boston is MSNBC`s Adam Reese. Adam, in what way has this latest snow event just compounded the misery? We`re having some technical problems. Adam, can you hear me? ADAM REESE, MSNBC: I`m not hearing you. WARREN: Adam is not hearing us. He`s in the snowmobile. REESE: I can`t hear. WARREN: Adam, tell us -- tell us what`s happening in Boston, if you can. REESE: I don`t hear. I`m not hearing you. WARREN: Adam, can you hear us yet? I think the cold freeze is chilling the microphone for Adam. We`re going to come back to him later, but up next, $100,000 a plate fundraisers, just how deep do the pockets run among the class of 2016? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Despite all the posturing and guessing about the potential GOP presidential candidates, the field is wide open. You don`t have to take our word for it, though. In a new NBC News/Marist poll, in three states there are three different frontrunners. In Iowa, if the state`s caucus were held today, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee would edge out former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. According to the poll, if the New Hampshire primary were held today, Jeb Bush would come out on top ahead of Walker and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul. And in South Carolina, native son Senator Lindsey Graham tops that crowded field, yes, before even any formal declarations. The GOP presidential race is shaping up to be a close one. Seven different Republicans get double-digit support in at least one of the states. In the race for campaign funds, one potential candidate is pulling way, way ahead. According to "The Washington Post" Jeb Bush is far outpacing his would be rivals and his two political committees are on pace to amass tens of millions of dollars by earl spring. According to "The Post," the former Florida governor`s overwhelming dominance in the race has come at a speed that has impressed long-time Republican money players who say wealthy party backers have rapidly migrated to Bush since Mitt Romney decided against another White House run two weeks ago. When we say wealthy, we mean really, really wealthy, like 1 percent wealthy. At a New York fundraiser last week, about 25 supporters paid a minimum of $100,000 each. It is one of six events for the similar price tag being hosted by Bush`s political action committees. But as the campaign donations pour in, will voters also follow the money? Back at the table to talk cash and the campaign trail, Marcus Mabry, editor-at-large for "The New York Times," Katon Dawson, National Republican consultant, Molly O`Toole, politics reporter for the "Defense One," and Julian Zelizer, professor at Princeton University. Katon, I`ve got to come to you first, of course. At this stage of the game, tell us how important it is to be winning the money race and not the polling race. DAWSON: It`s always important to win the money race, ask Barack Obama. It`s always important to have cash on hand and the ability, but the numbers are what they are today, 18 percent is 18 percent. Mind you 36 percent probably wins you a lot of primaries because most of these primaries aren`t convoluted runoff elections. It`s the guy who gets the most votes out of 14 ends up winning probably the most delegates, certainly in South Carolina and going back to the other states. So my point is it`s early in the race, it`s like NASCAR, they`re swapping paint but never discredit the bush financial expert. WARREN: But the Bush`s money making machine scare off Mitt Romney and is it going to scare off others? DAWSON: I`m not sure it`s going to scare off, there`s going to be about five people that can afford to run for president, as far as the Republican side, five. The rest will have a good time in the debate and there will be some surprises. Everybody catches lightning in a bottle in the Republican primary for a while. When you catch it, you catch it on the outside, the front side and the back side from everybody else. Ambassadorships are out there, it`s a given, he did a great job. Mitt Romney is gone, he took care of that. So we`ll see. WARREN: Marcus, Jeb Bush sounded like a populist recently in Detroit where he said the recovery has been happening everywhere but in the family paycheck. How does he reconcile $100,000 for a plate for a dinner with connecting with middle class and working class families? MABRY: Well, I think we in the media are terribly unfair to politicians. I rarely say this. WARREN: Isn`t that our job? MABRY: We are unfair to politicians. It was so much to have dinner, how can he have that much a person? It costs so much to run for office in America. Whether you`re running for dog catcher is expensive. Running for president is ridiculous. We`re going to have a billion dollar race again. It`s disgusting if you want to have a democracy that you can buy an office this much. That`s shameful. But that`s not Jeb Bush`s fault. That`s all our fault, that`s society`s fault, so that`s a problem. We cannot call the guy out for that. What I`m interested in and the earlier question, I don`t think Mitt Romney was scared off by anybody`s money. I don`t think Mitt Romney is scared of money. He can buy the election himself with his own money without emptying his bank account. So that`s not the issue. What Jeb Bush is trying to do is scare off everybody else with the money. Mitt Romney was scared by the fact that he would have been humiliated again probably and the Republican faithful were saying that so that was an issue. Mrs. Romney certainly didn`t want to run. The issue for Jeb is to scare off everybody else exempt for the four other people who will have the money to be competitive in this race. ZELIZER: Everyone takes money at this point. Both parties take it and you can be wealthy personally and be progressive. Franklin Roosevelt was very wealthy and he`s the most progressive president. The question is what are the Republican policies? Where are they taking the money from, and some would argue they are not sympathetic to policies that will help working class Americans. WARREN: Let me ask you on this in terms of policy. Jeb just released his reformed conservative vision and it sounds a bit familiar. Remember compassionate conservatism that his brother trotted out as his philosophy. What do we know about reform conservatism? ZELIZER: A lot of Republicans are actually bringing that up. It worked for George W. Bush. It actually was important in the 2000 campaign and I don`t think Democrats should take it too lightly. A lot of people feel Democrats have not done a good job dealing with some of these core economic issues. I do believe Republicans in the elections can make a play. There is a disconnect with where Republican policies are, with tax cuts and with economic assistance and where these poverty arguments have been coming from. O`TOOLE: Right. I do think that the compassionate conservatism, this sort of reformed conservatism, however you want to give that name to it. I do think it could be compelling. Obviously the Republicans have suffered in the last few elections from a policy standpoint, also in terms of social issues, in terms of the diversity and how they can appeal to the minority groups of voters who are only going to play a larger and larger role. That`s going to be even bigger in 2016 than it was in 2012, than it was in 2008. I do think what Bush represents in terms of this reformed conservatism. He also has more moderate stances when it comes to things like immigration. And that`s going to be really key to winning over some of those voters that have been lost to the Republican Party for the past several elections. MABRY: You`re talking about the general election campaign. Before you get to run for president, you`ve got to win that primary. I`m not sure those voters will be as enthusiastic about this populist kind of notion of the middle class being left behind as they would be about other economic messages so I`ll be interested to know about that. WARREN: Let me ask all of you. Is it a good or bad thing that there is no front runner in the GOP field? It seems like an open field. But I`m also curious who you think will be the first to flame out. DAWSON: Go ask all the frontrunners from the last two how it felt to be frontrunner. Hillary Clinton. Ask how they felt -- MABRY: She`s not running yet. WARREN: By the way, she`s at the top of the polls in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. ZELIZER: I actually think it`s a good thing for the party. I think the party uses these primaries sometimes to have a more vibrant and robust debate about what they should be and put more ideas on it. But we do have to remember that fundamentals matter. Back to Jeb Bush raising a lot of money, in the long term I think that`s still a big story. Once you hit the actual season, if you don`t have the kind of money to compete, he`s going to wipe people away. And so I do think the debate is good, but we have to keep our eye on that fundraising. DAWSON: You`re right on it because the calendars are very different. Both moved the conventions up the calendar. It`s about a 28 to 35-day race. Whoever has money t to jump on Super Tuesday first, most of them won`t after they get through South Carolina. WARREN: I want to point out that Governor Bush`s mom, Barbara Bush, has changed her mind. She wouldn`t mind another Bush in the White House. All right, coming up, the political punch lines 40 years in the making, but first, here`s a look at what happened when "Saturday Night Live" cast member, Keenan Thompson met the real rev. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming right up, we`re going to be talking about something, just stay tuned for it. Coming back from a commercial. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`ll be right back. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keenan Thomas. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Keenan Thompson. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Reverend Sharpton. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: The news that Jon Stewart is retiring soon as host of Comedy Central`s "The Daily Show" shook up many fans of smart funny hilarious political commentary. Another show was proving that politics is indeed a laughing matter. Tonight "Saturday Night Live" will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a big three and a half hour primetime special on NBC. Some of its most celebrated cast members will be there, including Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, Dana Carvey and many others who gave us some of the most enduring political impersonations. Here are some of our favorites from over the years. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I don`t win, I will continue to run in the primaries, even if there are none, and now for my second announcement. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, Mr. Hussein, the venom of the American cobra spits far and true. Not spitting yet, wouldn`t be prudent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s your name, sweetheart? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her name is Shakira. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shakira, that means African princess, doesn`t it? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why, yes! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she certainly is beautiful enough to be a princess. Say, are you going to finish these fries? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m the president of the United States and I need a straight answer. Am I going to get the spy plane back? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that diplomacy should be the cornerstone of any foreign policy. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I can see Russia from my house. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, America, I know you`re not in love with me anymore, but I want you to know that my heart still beats for you and I can prove it. I`m so in love with you that was fun, right? So do you want that or this -- (END VIDEOTAPE) WARREN: All right, so Julian, tell us how has political humor affected politicians over time? ZELIZER: Well, there`s been the humor that politicians themselves deliver, some like Ronald Reagan have used it very effectively to cut opponents like Jimmy Carter or Walter Mondale, one joke in a debate often just puts them under. But then you`ve had shows like "Saturday Night Live" which have been effective. Gerald Ford, his portrayal by Chevy Chase as a Klutz, even though he was a football player and an athlete had an impact on how we thought about it. Many others, the George W. Bush one was very devastating in terms of how people perceived his intelligence. WARREN: And it reminds me of the Al Gore impersonations of 2000, the lockbox. ZELIZER: And those bled into the campaign as did the Sarah Palin. That`s a new, amazing phenomenon where they`re almost indistinguishable who we`re talking about, Tina Fey or Sarah Palin. WARREN: Katon, you advise lots of politicians. What advice would you give to someone who finds him or herself the butt of the late night comedy circuit, the butt of jokes? DAWSON: You`re in a real bad place, man. And politicians nowadays understand there`s a 24-hour news cycle. There`s stuff that catches everything they say. That`s where they all get caught. That`s who flames out first. They make the mistakes, they get comfortable. Jokes work, especially self-depreciating jokes work and they really work on the stump. But when you become the narrative of a show like "Saturday Night Live" with the tremendous audience it has and the ability to run clips and clips again, it`s not a real good day for the guys who work for you. MABRY: Sarah Palin more than anybody, she`s got to -- she felt it more than anyone. I was watching an HBO documentary of her game change on that book and how much Sarah Palin -- the real Sarah Palin and Tina Fey melded together is really clear in that documentary so-called. Because I can`t imagine Sarah Palin thinks it is. But Tina Fey was kind of the most endearing part of Sarah Palin during that campaign, which is kind of sad. WARREN: So Molly, do politicians worry about their comedy critics as much as their news critics? O`TOOLE: I definitely think that they do. We`re sad that Jon Stewart is going off the air, but for a while that`s where a lot of Americans were getting their news. So I think they are more attuned. I think it will play into 2016 even more than it has in the past in era of social media, I think people are very, very attuned to that. I think they have to learn to laugh at themselves. We want to think of politicians as being very smart people with all the ideas, but also very down to earth people that we can relate to so I think you have to laugh. WARREN: I think we recently saw President Obama having fun in a Buzzfeed video encouraging people to sign up for the ACA. How important is it for a president to have a sense of humor? ZELIZER: I think it`s very effective. It`s a good way to go after another candidate without appearing nasty and mean. Reagan was under attack in the 1980s for being too old and he had this famous too old for Walter Mondale. He said I won`t use my opponent`s age against him, his inexperience and youth. That was a very effective line. He did the same with Jimmy Carter back in 1980. Carter gives this long speech about health care and Reagan just goes there you go again and he killed it. So I think you can use humor well, but it can also help you with the problem that you`re talking about. In an age of soft news, humor is the news and you need to respond. WARREN: Let me follow up with you, Julian, specifically as our presidential historian. Who do you think were our most naturally funny presidents and why? ZELIZER: Lyndon Johnson was very funny on the phone. He tells stories, he tells jokes. He can crack you up. I do think Reagan publicly and George W. Bush actually could be pretty funny when they wanted to respond to some of their critics. And then some were unintentionally funny. Gerald Ford became in quintessential case, someone who didn`t mean to be funny as Al Gore was, but was just fodder for the humorist. WARREN: Is there no going back to -- it`s 40 years since "Saturday Night Live." Is there no going back? We`re in an era that this is just the business of politics, of having to respond to impersonations and comedy critics? DAWSON: The air has changed. Everybody has the world in their pocket now and we all have the list now to get there. It`s changed. It`s not as much fun as it used to be. You know, those things mattered, but when you get with politicians and all the mics are off, they`re all pretty funny. They wouldn`t be there if they didn`t have the charisma level, but it is a dangerous part of a campaign. It`s the danger place to be to try to go -- especially a politician who really isn`t funny and tries to be. It is just a real kill. MABRY: And it didn`t work with Palin. WARREN: Well, we can talk about this for the next hour. Thank you to Marcus Mabry, Katon Dawson and Molly O`Toole. Julian will be back in the next hour. Be sure to watch the "Saturday Night Live" special tonight on NBC starting at 8:00/7:00 Central. Coming up next, frank talk from the FBI director on race and policing and the big controversy shaking up Little League Baseball. More nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Welcome back. I`m Dorian Warren in for Melissa Harris-Perry. Right now we want to bring you the very latest on the shootings yesterday in Copenhagen that are being described by Danish authorities as a terror attack. The first shooting targeted an event featuring cartoonist who has caricature the Prophet Muhammad. One person attending the event was killed and three police officers injured. The second targeted a Jewish synagogue. One man providing security for -- was killed. Two police officers were wounded. Danish police now say the person suspected of carrying out these attacks was killed in a shootout with authorities. Joining me now on the phone from Copenhagen, Denmark is Peter Keldorff, a reporter at the Danish Broadcast Corporation. Peter, who exactly was this gunman? PETER KELDORFF, REPORTER, DANISH BROADCAST CORPORATION (on the phone): We don`t know for sure yet. The police are not telling much. What we know is that our -- the Danish Intelligence Agency and the police have told that they knew this man in advance. They are not saying anything specific about him. They don`t want to reveal his name, they told us we know his ID but at this point in the investigation we do not want to tell his name. They are carrying out several operations within the city of Copenhagen right now towards an internet cafe. Several reports about many arrests right now and also earlier today in the area where the first attack happened yesterday, there was also a big police operation earlier today. And the police are just not generally talking that much about it, especially who this guy might be. WARREN: This seems very similar to the attacks in Paris on "Charlie Hebdo" and then the kosher supermarket. Is there any evidence of a connection? KELDORFF: At this point there`s no hard evidence, but the police and the agency -- intelligence agency has said that this looks like the same style of attack as in Paris. It`s the same pattern. And also politicians, Danish politicians and as I said the police and the agency -- intelligence agency has said this looks and could be an attack that had the same pattern as the thing that happened in France. First you attack a cartoonist who has drawn the Prophet Muhammad and then afterwards you go towards a Jewish -- in this case it was a synagogue and Jewish temple. WARREN: And what can you tell us about the context in Denmark in which these shootings happened? Was this something the Danish people expected to happen? KELDORFF: Expected is a hard word. I would go more with fear. But yes, you`re right, the Danish population has been feared, has been expected that this might happen. Denmark has had issues with drawings of Muhammad. It was originally ten years ago the Danish newspaper Jyllands Posten that first made the first drawings of the Prophet Muhammad and after that had several threats towards the newspaper. Danish embassies burned down ten, eight, nine, ten years ago, so yes, this has been within the knowing of the population that it was more or less bound to happen at some point, people are feeling here. WARREN: Peter Keldorff in Copenhagen, thank you. Now we turn to a key issue here at home, policing and race. This week the impassioned pleas of the racial justice movement that has demanded recognition and response to the problems of policing of communities in color were joined by an unexpected new voice, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On Thursday, FBI Director James B. Comey delivered a speech at Georgetown University on race and law enforcement that was remarkable as much for its candor as its unconventionality. Comey speech marked the first time the director of the FBI has spoken so openly and directly about race and the police and it was a moment that carried with it the weight of the bureau`s own fraught history with race, a fact that Comey acknowledged in his address. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: There is a reason that I require all new agents and analysts to study the FBI`s interaction with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And to visit his memorial in Washington as part of their training. And there is a reason I keep on my desk a copy of Attorney General Robert Kennedy`s approval of J. Edgar Hoover`s request to wiretap Dr. King. It is a single page. The entire application is five sentences long. It is without fact or substance. And is predicated on the naked assertion that there is, quote, "communist influence in the racial situation." The reason I do those things is to ensure that we remember our mistakes and that we learn from them. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Among those lessons were a series of heart truths Comey said he had to face including the ways people can be misinformed by deeply and grained beliefs and how apparently we can all learn a little something about that from singing puppets. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: Much research points to the widespread existence of unconscious bias. Many people in our white majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face. In fact we all, white and black, carry various biases around with us. I am reminded of the song from the Broadway hit Avenue Q "Everyone`s a Little Bit Racist." (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Comey went on to describe how that bias can form the basis of racial profiling by the police. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: The two young black men on one side of the street looked like so many others that officer has locked up. Two white men on the other side of the street, even in the same clothes, do not. The officer does not make the same association about the two white guys. Whether that officer is white or black. And that drives different behavior. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: He called on law enforcement to not only recognize how their biases inform their behavior but to employ empathy as a way to change it. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: Those of us in law enforcement must redouble our efforts to resist bias and prejudice. We must better understand the people we serve and protect by trying to know deep in our gut what it feels like to be a law- abiding young black man walking down the street and encountering law enforcement. We must understand how that young man may see us. We must resist the lazy shortcuts of cynicism and approach him with respect and decency. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Comey concluded with a policy proposal that he said would be a first step in understanding the scope of police bias in communities of color. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: How can we address concerns about use of force? How can we address concerns about officer-involved shootings if we do not have a reliable grasp on the demographic and the circumstances of those incidents? We simply must improve the way we collect and analyze data to see the true nature of what`s happening in our communities. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Director Comey`s call for more data would address the FBI`s challenges in gathering a comprehensive accounting of police shootings from local law enforcement, but numbers don`t stop bullets. And this week communities of color that have never stopped keeping count of the lives that have been lost or threatened by police violence have continued to add more numbers to their tally. Thirty five-year-old Antonio Zambrano Montes, shot and killed Tuesday by police in Washington after he allegedly threw rocks at them. Fifteen-year-old Jamar Nicholson shot in the back by a Los Angeles police officer while he was standing next to a friend who was holding a toy gun. Fifty seven-year-old Sureshbhai Patel who had traveled from India to visit his son in Alabama and he was left partially paralyzed when a police officer slammed him to the ground. A response to a 911 call in which the caller identified Patel as, quote, "a skinny black guy" who he had never seen before walking in the neighborhood. So, while Director Comey speech brought an end to the silence from FBI leadership on race and policing, it`s clear that the effort needed to effect meaningful change has only just begun. Joining me now is Seema Iyer, host of The Docket on Shift by MSNBC and a criminal and civil rights Attorney Monifa Bandele -- excuse me Monifa, Communities for Police Reform. Cherrell Brown, community organizer for Justice League NYC and Julian Salazar, a professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. And joining me from Columbia, South Carolina, is Marquez Claxton, director of the Black Law Enforcement Alliance and a retired NYPD detective. And I want to start with you, Seema. Because other than the fact that it`s important that the FBI director said these things, Comey really didn`t bring anything new to the discussion. We`ve heard critiques from Attorney General Eric Holder, we`ve heard this same critics from New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, so what`s the significance of any this speech? SEEMA IYER, HOST, "THE DOCKET" ON SHIFT MSNBC: For me not much. There is a judge in New York Supreme Court and he says people should not get credit for doing their jobs. And part of his job is recognize his community, the people he serves and the reality. You shouldn`t give him so much credit. And just because you make a speech doesn`t change what`s actually happening in those communities. That needs to be implemented. WARREN: Okay. So speaking of implemented and solutions, I want to play sound of one of the solutions Comey proposed in his speech and get you to respond. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: Let me be transparent about my affection for cops. When you dial 911, whether you are white or black, the cops come. And they come quickly. And they come quickly, whether they are white or black. That`s what cops do. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: So that was -- we were really looking for sound of my brother`s keeper. And so, he says in his speech and I want to get you to respond to this Cherrell. The truth is, what really needs fixing is something only a few like President Obama are willing to speak about perhaps because it`s so daunting task, through the my brother`s keeper initiative, the President is addressing the disproportionate challenges faced by young men of color. Does this make sense in a speech about the tensions between law enforcement and the communities they serve? CHERRELL BROWN, COMMUNITY ORGANIZER, JUSTICE LEAGUE NYC: Well, I believe personally that my brother`s keeper is a myopican scope. You`re taking all of these resources in Obama`s key program around race and applying it to half the community. Black and brown girls are also called extraditionary including transwomen. So I think that it doesn`t reach far enough. And I`m afraid that we`re going to get really excited about embracing this respectability politics. You can come from a good home, you can have a good job, and be educated and still be racially profiled by the police. We saw this with Henry Louis Gates a few years ago. WARREN: So, Marquez, I want to come to you. Because Comey concluded with the need for more data. And I want to ask you, is the policy solution he proposed proportionate to the scope of the problems laid out? And frankly, what if any influence that the FBI have in changing policing policies and local departments? MARQUEZ CLAXTON, BLACK LAW ENFORCEMENT ALLIANCE: The FBI has significant influence and sway on local policing issues and efforts. And I think Director Comey`s comments were substantive and as yet to seen whether they`ll be significant and as far as implementing some measures to really proactively engage and shift into focus of policing in the country. Let`s be clear about something. Many activists, many individuals around the country have been screaming for criminal justice reform. What Director Comey did and before him Attorney General Eric Holder and even President Obama did was laid out a platform for not just reform, but actual criminal justice reconstruction, which goes much further then. And I think if there is a clear -- clear evidence that there is a need for not just reform but reconstruction based on the comments by Comey and the realities faced by so many people across the nation. WARREN: So we earlier played video of a 911 call. Not video of the call but of Comey saying, hey, when people call 911 the cops come. But if you - - and that`s good if you live in a high crime neighborhood. We`re happy to see police. But as we`ve seen with the case of Mr. Patel in Alabama, a 911 call does not end well for people of color. What should we make of that statement from the FBI director? MONIFA BANDELE, COMMUNITIES UNITED FOR POLICE REFORM: Well, I`m glad you pointed that out because just last week I was sending time with the family of Kenneth Chamberlin who was a retired military person whose 911 was called when his alert went off, medical alert went off and he ended up being shot and killed by the police up in Westchester, New York. And this is just one story and the stories go on and on and on. And the thing that I was listening to when I heard the FBI director`s speech, some of it was what he was talking about but one thing missing to me, which is what is going to be the policy around accountability and justice? We can keep doing a lot of training and we can get data to analyze the problem and we can even put in place policies that will kind of shift things moving forward, but right now Akai Gurley, his family got indictment but it`s not going to bring him back, will they get justice? Will they get accountability? And I think that`s the fifth if you talked about four hard questions to discuss. I think the fifth hard piece is, how are we going to hold police officers accountable? WARREN: Right. BANDELE: He talked about there is no more of an epidemic of racial bias in police officers than there are with academics and artists. Well, none of my college professors carried firearms, so I think this is a critical imperative piece here that accountability and justice also be put in place. WARREN: So, Marquez, I want to get you back in here quickly. The FBI has had a hard time attracting black agents and has actually seen a decline from 5.6 percent in 1997 to 4.7 percent in 2012 in terms of African- American special agents and the director himself said it`s difficult luring potential candidates away from the private sector to work for government. Thoughts on those numbers. CLAXTON: Listen, there are agencies across the nation who claim to have the same difficulty attracting minority or black employees, and in fact what we have to examine is whether there is an actual will to attract those employees, those black into law enforcement. But let`s be clear about something. It is not necessarily change the dynamic that we`re facing here throughout the nation, it`s not the complexion of the force but the climate within the force, the rules, the regulations, you know, the culture that is within the particular agency. So merely changing the complexion will not have significant impact if the rules or the application of the rules remain the same. So we should place less emphasis, although I support increasing representation and diversifying whatever law enforcement we`re talking about, we have to be honest about it and say until we change the climate, until we once again reconstruct the criminal justice system, we`ll face the same issues and the same problems with different complected people. WARREN: Thank you to Marquez Claxton in Columbia, South Carolina. Up next, more details are beginning to emerge about the officer indicted in the shooting death of Akai Gurley. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KEN THOMPSON, BROOKLYN DISTRICT ATTORNEY: After the shot was fired, they could hear people running away. And then this delay for four minutes. And then when they went down the stairs and saw him laying there, the evidence will show that they did not render medical assistance to Mr. Gurley. As they were trained to do in the police academy. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: That was Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson on the evidence he presented to a grand jury that on Wednesday, he handed up a six-count indictment against an Officer Peter Liang for the shooting death of 28- year-old Akai Gurley in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project last November. And Seema, I want to come to you first because we`ve seen the recent decisions from juries not to indict in the shootings of Eric Garner and Michael Brown, the reluctance of these grand juries to indict police officers. What was different in this case? IYER: He didn`t testify. I think that was a very compelling factor. And full disclosure, I actually represent Akai Gurley`s brother, completely unrelated matter. But I think because he didn`t testify, there was no alternative explanation. I understand his attorney`s decision not to. His hand was on the gun. His finger pulled the trigger. And since the 1990s they have changed the guns` pressure so you need more pressure to pull the trigger and all of these factors contributed to him not testifying. I think if he testified he may not have been indicted for manslaughter but still indicted for the criminally negligent homicide. WARREN: Cherrell, I want to ask you, given the lack of indictments in the previous shooting cases, does this moment feel like justice in any way? BROWN: It doesn`t, because we know that indictments don`t equate to justice. We saw this with Amadou Diallo, we saw this with Sean Bell, we saw this with Ramarley Graham (ph). Unfortunately the bar is set so low and convictions seem so far-fetched that indictments feel like some sort of justice. We know that that`s not the case. Out of nearly 180 NYPD-related shootings, I think four of those came to an indictment, one conviction and no served time. So if history is to believe, I don`t think that justice will be served in this case either. WARREN: Monifa, I want to play more sound from D.A. Thompson. Let`s take a listen. BANDELE: Okay. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMPSON: The police commissioner said that it`s discretionary for an officer to pull out his gun while do on a vertical patrol based on the circumstances. But what the evidence showed in this case is that this police officer put his finger on the trigger of his gun and fired that gun into a darkened stairwell when there was no threat. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: Darkened stairwells in the housing projects that have led to other unarmed teenagers as well as police officers being killed during these vertical patrols, as they called them. I`m wondering here in addition to policing practices, does this case also point to a need to revisit public housing policies around safety and lighting, basic as use of lighting in these developments. BANDELE: Yes, all those issues need to be addressed but still at the end of the day when the police officer is patrolling this housing project, it is to protect and serve all of the residents of that project. How can you possibly protect the residents of a building if you`re walking up and down in the staircase with your hand on the trigger? You actually have every man, woman, child, grandparent in danger in that housing project. So, you know, it really calls to question what -- you know, what the ultimate goal is of the way that the housing projects are being policed. And I think that the other piece, you know, I wanted to go back to the indictment briefly, is that Ken Thompson wanted an indictment. And I think that when we look back at the transcript from the grand jury proceedings in Ferguson, in St. Louis County, it`s clear that the prosecutor may or may not have wanted an indictment. IYER: Absolutely. BANDELE: You know, as many of us who have sat and served on grand juries, indictments are not something that are far and few between, only when you`re talking about police officers. So Ken Thompson wanted an indictment and I think that`s why we got it. WARREN: Seema, I saw you chomping at the bit. I want to get Julian -- IYER: Well, I was just agreeing with everything she`s saying but I also do want to point out, I do go to east New York a lot and I have been to the pink houses and it is so unbelievably dangerous and scary, one of the worst areas. It is almost barren and it is so -- it`s like a war zone. And I think that`s a great point that you brought up the lighting, because I go to different projects where there are lit stairwells at night during the day so I think that`s a great point. WARREN: So, I want to -- this is important. So Salt, which is a South Asian advocacy group has issued a list of demand sue the police in response to the police violence in Alabama against Mr. Patel and among them disclose current training procedures that respect to communicating and interacting with limited English proficient and immigrant members of the community. Implement trainings for all police officers to more effectively respond to immigrants and LEP individuals. Cherrell, very quickly, what do we think about how police communicate with the communities they serve? BROWN: I think that`s what`s really interesting about this case in Alabama is that still at the heart of it is anti-blackness. Right? The call was made to the officer because the person described Mr. Patel as a skinny black man. And then the officer came under the premise that this was a black man that he was apprehending. Of course not being able to communicate played a role in that. I think that`s really important that we think about how we train police to interact with communities that they can`t communicate with effectively. Really quickly on the patrol issue, vertical patrolling, it`s akin to broken windows policing. Right? And I think that if the city is worried about the crime or violence that may occur due to subpar conditions, then maybe we should address those conditions rather than criminalizing and surveillance -- the people that live in these conditions. Right? WARREN: Julian, I wanted to get you in but we`ve got to go, unfortunately. Seema is sticking around. Thank you to Monifa Bandele, Cherrell Brown and Julian Salazar. Before we take a break, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg weighed in on the issue of race during a one-on-one interview with an MSNBC Reporter Irin Carmon. Here is some of their conversation. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) IRIN CARMON, MSNBC REPORTER: I`m wondering how you see the current state of race relations in our country. RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: People who think you can wave a magic wand and the legacy of the past will be over are blind. CARMON: Should we be worried that all of those great achievements of the civil rights movement are being rolled back? GINSBURG: Some day we will go back to having the kind of legislature that we should, where members, whatever party they belong to, want to make the thing work. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: You can see more of Irin`s interview with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the "Rachel Maddow Show" tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Up next, blizzard conditions bearing down on Boston. And still to come, they were outlawed before the civil war but new lawsuits alleged modern day debtors prisons are here in the U.S. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: New England might have grown accustomed to record snow this winter but this weekend`s storm could be more dangerous than the previous three storms. Areas like Boston could see less snow but the winds are worse and the temperatures are extremely low. Residents are bracing for whiteout conditions and potential power outages. Joining me now from Boston, Massachusetts -- joining is MSNBC`s Adam Reiss. Adam, have you seen many people outside braving the elements? ADAM REISS, MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Very few, Dorian, other than us. Really a few people shoveling, a few people want to take it all in. It is beautiful. But other than that, really not a lot of people. Good morning from a snowy Boston, Dorian. The winter storm just ended about an hour ago. The blizzard-like conditions. Twelve inches of snow here in the city. Take a look outside. I want you to look at this street. We`re in the Back Bay, and 12 inches on top of these cars, 18 inches up north from here and it`s really -- we`ve had thunders now early this morning. Actual lightning during the snowstorm. It`s like a ghost town here in the Back Bay. The National Guard has come out helping people shovel out. Three thousand pieces from the D.O.T., I`m going to ask Kevin to stop here for a minute. I`m going to get out. I just want to show you this street. This is Marlboro Street. We`re here in the Back Bay, and just to give you a sense Dorian of what this is like, these are not just snow mounds, these are actual cars that are covered here. So, again, like I told you, we had maybe 80 inches from three weeks of snowstorms. Now on top of it 12 inches. These cars are basically bury and who knows how long it will take to get all these cars out. Now, the governor said that he wants people to stay at home, stay safe and stay warm and stay out of this. It is beautiful but the roads are very slippery and it`s best if you stay home until all this shoveling can be done, the plows come through and clear this out -- Dorian. WARREN: Thank you, Adam. I`m glad we can hear you this time. And thanks for that action and showing us all about the snow in Boston. Next, jailed for weeks for failure to pay minor fines. The new lawsuits against two cities in Missouri accused of profiting off of poverty. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Debtors prisons, you might think they`re a relative of the past after all the United States outlawed them nearly 200 years ago. But two new lawsuits filed in Missouri last Sunday claim that jails in the towns of Jennings and Ferguson are essentially modern-day debtors` prisons holding citizens who can`t afford to pay their traffic tickets or fines for other minor violations. When Ferguson erupted in racial unrest following the shooting death of Michael Brown, protesters pointed to the court system as one cause of their anger. And in reading about this new lawsuit, it`s not difficult to see why. Samantha Jenkins, who is the lead plaintiff in this suit against Jennings said she was put on a payment plan when she could not afford to pay her traffic tickets. But when she missed one of those payments, she was promptly put in jail. Her lawsuit says Jenkins along with others in the suit were held indefinitely and not provided with attorneys. It goes on to say that police and jail officials arbitrarily changed the amount of fines owed. To make matters worse, the conditions of the jails themselves were allegedly awful. Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III denied the charges saying in part we believe this lawsuit is disturbing because it contains allegations that are not based on objective facts. There has been no response from the city of Jennings. Samantha Jenkins joins me from St. Louis, Missouri, along with her lawyer, Michael-John Voss of ArchCity Defenders. Good morning to you both. MICHAEL-JOHN VOSS, ARCHCITY DEFENDERS: Good morning, Dorian. SAMANTHA JENKINS, LEAD PLAINTIFF SUING JENNINGS: Good morning. WARREN: Mr. Voss, can you give us a bit more detail on what your clients are alleging happened to them and how did traffic tickets lead to jail time? VOSS: Yes. So our organization, ArchCity Defenders, is a nonprofit law firm in St. Louis. We`re working with equal justice under law in the St. Louis University law clinics in the suit. What we`re alleging basically is that these municipalities are incarcerating individuals because of their inability to pay off debt owed to the city from these unpaid traffic tickets and outstanding fines. And our suit is alleging -- it`s something that`s occurring throughout the nation actually, whether in Montgomery, Alabama, or in Georgia or in Washington State that there is a practice and pattern of incarcerating poor people and predominantly people in communities of color because of outstanding debt that they owe to those municipalities. And that`s what we`re alleging in our suit. Go ahead. WARREN: And clearly, this disproportionately affects those who can least afford it, NPR says it creates a cycle of poverty. VOSS: That`s correct. WARREN: So among other things -- it`s partly a cycle of poverty, but it`s also about the description in this suit of the conditions in the jails. Among other things the cells were overcrowded, prisoners didn`t receive regular showers or even tooth brushes. And they were forced to live and sleep in filthy conditions. And Miss Jenkins, I want to ask you, what was the jail like when you were there? JENKINS: Jennings jail was very horrible to me. It was overcrowded. They have -- the women`s cell has eight -- it bed eight womens, but a lot of times, like the last time I was there at Jennings, it holds eight women but we had like 15 or 16. So, therefore, they had like seven to eight women on the floor with their mats. They run out of spots on the floor to lay their mats. We have two tables in the women`s cell that we eat our breakfast, lunch and dinner on and the women at night have to put their mat on top of the tables that they eat on, they sleep on and we get up in the morning and have to eat at the same table. In the middle of the night while you`re trying to go to the restroom, you have to step over eight, nine bodies to make it to the restroom. We wasn`t allowed toothbrush and toothpaste. The last time I stayed in Jennings, I stayed there approximately over two weeks and I never had a toothbrush or toothpaste to brush my teeth with. We was allowed to take showers, but the showers was very disgusting. You have paint peelings all on the floor. We have no shower curtain. At the time that we take showers, the men COs was allowed to come back while we were taking showers. The only cover-up was the sheet to our bed. We was only able to have one blanket, thin blanket and it`s freezing cold in Jennings. If we asked the COs for an extra blanket, we wasn`t allowed. If we got an extra blanket from a prisoner that was leaving, they would take it away from us. WARREN: Mr. Voss, I want to ask you especially about the fact that cities like Ferguson are making a lot of money from this practice. Our city defenders reports that Ferguson collected $2.6 million in court fines and fees last year, making it the city`s second biggest source of income. Tell us quickly why this is so problematic. VOSS: Well, it`s about a distrust between the community and its government. If we go back to the events of August 9th and the kind of questions as to why there was so much outrage about the shooting death of Michael Brown, what you have in place is a pattern and practice where low income individuals and the residents in the community of color there were being basically harassed with low-level traffic violations by the police and then they were being incarcerated because of their inability to pay. And that pattern and practice has gone on upwards of 40 to 50 years. And therefore, the community itself had such a distrust from the city, when the city was telling them just to be calm and wait, we`re going to do an investigation. There was definitely that trust that you would expect to be there had been eroded, and so therefore you have this huge dynamic that has manifested through looking just at the numbers like you said. The $2.6 million that it brace through its court filing cost, the second largest source of income for that municipality. You have also the fact that Ferguson has a population of 21,000 people but has 33,000 outstanding arrest warrants. That`s 3.6 arrest warrants outstanding for household in the city of Ferguson. Jennings has 2.1 outstanding arrest warrants for people in the city of Jennings. So what you have is a disparity there, a very clear disparity that`s impacting predominantly minorities and people of color. For example the fact that -- WARREN: Mr. Voss, unfortunately we`re out of time but I want to thank you and Samantha Jenkins very much for joining us from St. Louis, Missouri, this morning. And here in New York, thank you to Seema Iyer. Don`t Miss Seema`s show "THE DOCKET" on Shift by MSNBC live on Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern and also don`t miss nerding out on Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. Eastern. Up next, the controversy surrounding the little league team stripped of its national title. Why there may be more to the story. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: Last summer I was filled with hometown pride when Chicago-based little league team Jackie Robinson West became the first all African- American team to win the national championship. Baseball has struggled to attract African-American players and fans, so the JRW team gained national attention. Praise for their sportsmanship, they were even invited to the White House by President Obama. But now the story has taken a very disappointing turn. Following an investigation, Little League International has stripped the players of Jackie Robinson west of their title and all their wins. The reason, coaches allegedly falsified boundary maps and recruited players outside their district. It may seem a straightforward if depressing story, another case of the adults ruining it for the kids. But according to my next guest, there`s much more to the story. Dave Zirin, sports editor from The Nation Magazine joins me now from Washington. And Dave, what can you tell me about how gentrification factors in here? DAVE ZIRIN, SPORTS EDITOR, THE NATION MAGAZINE: Well, gentrification is the reality for our cities around the country. And baseball does not go well with gentrification because before gentrification you have disinvestment. And that`s been the story of the south side of Chicago. You have dilapidated fields, you have parents on the team who are subject to eviction, subject to displacement, and even one of the kids on the team dealt with homelessness. So the idea of talking about boundaries when you`re talking about an urban team, I mean, is almost like a grotesque joke compared to the typical teams in Little League International which come from suburban backgrounds. Now, what defines the suburbs? Land, baseball diamonds, space, infrastructure, boys and girls clubs, places so kids can actually learn baseball. The reason why baseball is dying in urban areas is precisely because of disinvestment and gentrification. That`s what made Jackie Robinson West such a remarkable story, and they`re paying for the fact that the boundaries of urban baseball are just, frankly, more fungible than suburban baseball. This whole thing is a catastrophe to me. WARREN: So, Dave, let me ask you this. So talk to us about what you think would lead to coaches recruiting outside their district and specifically is this something that`s widespread in little league sports? ZIRIN: Well, it`s so interesting. First, let`s start with that last one. The people who basically, quote-unquote, "turned Jackie Robinson West in was from nearby Evergreen Park," which is a suburban district. WARREN: Majority white, if I`m not mistaken. ZIRIN: Yes. Yes. Very white and actually it`s very disturbing because in Evergreen Park, that`s a place where if you live on the south side of Chicago, it`s known as a center of racial profiling, harassment by police, et cetera. Evergreen Park play Jackie Robinson West, guess what the final score was. It was something like 42 to three. So Evergreen Park, which has, by the way, also been accused of recruiting out of boundary ironically, people have come forward in the last week and said that they`re the ones who were caught being down drivers` licenses of cars and they reported it to Little League International. A little leaguer international should have figured this out before this even started, before the words even started, not waited six months to then take it away from these kids. Remember, these are children that we`re talking about. And once again, I have to say this. The idea of this team being investigated so thoroughly by Little League International when teams go through this whole process and never get investigated with the same kind of scrutiny, I mean it smacks of a double standard and it smacks of Little League International frankly wanting to have their cake and eat it too, which means that they will celebrate and even monetize the fact that you have this historic all-black team winning the Little League World Series, but then they`ll also give them that extra dollop of scrutiny that other teams are not subject to. WARREN: Dave, you mentioned the kids and the players. I want to ask you, how have the players reacted to having their title taken away? ZIRIN: Actually I was on the radio this morning with the mother of one of the children, and she spoke about it at length. I mean there`s a lot of support in the community saying you guys are still the champions, but you also have a lot of crying kids. You have a lot -- and everyone -- it`s so disgusting as you hear all these people saying on social media, whatever, let these kids learn the lesson that cheaters don`t prosper. They`re actually learning a very different lesson. They`re learning we can be the best on the field but it`s actually an unleveled playing field because we can succeed, but guess what, the team from Nevada that we beat actually now they`re the new champions. And I read this report that the team from Nevada, they heard that they were granted the title and a lot of the kids and parents were celebrating like, yay, we`re the real champs. What kind of lesson does that teach? What kind of lesson that that teach that if you lose to an all-black team from the south side of Chicago, don`t worry because big Little League International will step in and make it all right for you six months later. WARREN: Thank you very much to Dave Zirin in Washington, D.C. Up next, imagine digging into your family history to learn you`re related to music royalty. One woman`s incredible discovery, after the break! (COMMERCIAL BREAK) WARREN: On this day, exactly 50 years ago we lost a musical great, singer Nat King Cole. Cole made a splash in the music world with hits like nature boy and "Unforgettable" and made history by being the first African- American entertainer to host a variety TV show, "The Nat King Cole Show" on NBC. The jazz musician`s iconic voice has transcended generations and touched millions, including a woman named Caroline Clarke who annoyingly had a special connection to Cole. Clark was adopted as a new born baby. She didn`t seek information about her birth parents until she started a family of her own and want a more information about her family`s medical history. She discovered her grandfather was no other but the music legend Nat King Cole. Since meeting her birth family, Clark has written a memoir called "Postcards from Cookie," which is just been released in paperback and describes her reunion with her birth mother, Carol Cookie Cole. The book details Clark is experienced discovering, meeting, and ultimately befriending her long lost relatives. The author of "Postcards from Cookie," Caroline Clarke joins me now. Thank you so much. CAROLINE CLARKE, AUTHOR, "POSTCARDS FROM COOKIE": Thank you. WARREN: And I was just as I was saying in the break, I was captivated last night reading your book. And I want you to tell us how you happen to discover your biological parents at age 37. CLARKE: You know, it was a series of just completely unforeseen, unexpected things. I went looking for medical information as you said, it was the only thing I knew I was entitled to and you know, that sort of the one frustration every adoptee has that you go the first question the doctor ask is about your medical history and it gets to really be frustrating not having that answer. So, the social worker said, you know, would you like a social history as well? And I thought, you know, what`s there to know? I knew very little about my birth family but anything is worth finding out. Well, she had a seven-page report and she began reading it and she described my birth mother physically which I have never known what she looked like, she detailed we had both been English majors in college. You know, million little things. But the big things that stood out was that she painted a picture of the family of the time I was born. They was clearly very wealthy. There were five children and it was a unique setup. My birth mother was 20 years older than twin sisters. I knew one of those sisters and so -- WARREN: You just happen to know one of them? CLARKE: Well, you know, it turns out that her youngest sister was a dear friend of mine since college. And because I knew the family, I had met everyone except my birth mother. And because I knew them, I just recognized them without any names or geography, you know, it stood out. I mean, you know? WARREN: So, let me ask you this, your adoptive parents were receptive to you reaching out to cookie. How did that help you in this process? CLARKE: It was absolutely key. I don`t think, you know, I always felt I was very lucky and where I was supposed to be. My mother who raised me could not bear children. The only way they were going to have children was to adopt. So, it wasn`t that I wasn`t curious, every adoptee was curious but I was really happy and felt very, very lucky. I think even an added sense of appreciation because I knew I could have had something very different. So, if my parents hadn`t been receptive, encouraging even, I don`t even know that I would have -- that I would have taken it farther. Although, I have to say, the revelation that I had this connection, that I had a friend who turned out was my aunt, to not go ahead and make that call would have taken, you know, incredible restraint that I`m not sure I would have had. WARREN: So, what is the process of meeting your birth family taught you about the adoption process over all? And how do you think cultural perceptions of adoption have changed over the years? CLARKE: You know, it`s interesting because obviously there are many ways to create a family now that didn`t exist when I was born. And adoption although it`s been around forever, I think there is this sort of lingering stigma attached to it. And today when you have fertility treatments and you have surrogacy and you have so many alternatives to create a family, you know, adoption can kind of get last place in that. And that is something that bothers me. Because obviously, it was the best thing to ever happen to me. With all the joy and wonder of meeting Cookie and everything that having this other family has added to my life. WARREN: Right. CLARKE: None of that would have happened if I didn`t have the life I already had. And adoption gets a tough rap. We only hear about it when it goes very wrong, which is actually very rare given the frequency. So there just have to be more good stories out there. WARREN: I have so many questions for you but we`re out of time. But I encourage everybody to read the book, Caroline Clark, thank you so very much for joining us. CLARKE: Thank you. WARREN: Please, please, check out her book. "Postcards from Cookie" out now in paperback. That`s our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. Melissa will be back next weekend. She was off this weekend celebrating her baby daughter AJ`s first birthday, happy birthday to AJ Perry. And tune in to MSNBC on Thursdays, there are some show called nerding out, apparently join me at 11:00 a.m. Thursdays and now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Hi, Alex. ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": Our favorite nerd, thank you so much, Dorian. I appreciate that. Everyone, Denmark the day after, still on high alert. I`ll talk with a member of the House Intelligence Committee about the threat to soft targets in the U.S. like that cafe overseas. Game of drones within the past few hours, the FAA released its new rules for commercial drones, there`s one key point that might put a damper on the concept in the U.S. So, who is the greatest not ready for prime time player ever? There`s a new list ranking every single one of them just in time for SNL`s 40th anniversary tonight. Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END