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The Rachel Maddow Show, Transcript 12/29/2015

Guests: Dan Kildee, Kimbriell Kelly, Michael Nutter

Show: THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW Date: December 29, 2015 Guest: Dan Kildee, Kimbriell Kelly, Michael Nutter


HAYES: You bet.

HARRIS-PERRY: And thanks for being a talk show host and not a police officer. I watched that segment.

Thanks to you at home for joining us this hour. Rachel has the night off.

But we have important news tonight about the shocking story of national importance that Rachel has been covering closely. The story of Flint, Michigan, and how its drinking water end up contaminated with toxic amounts of lead.

And the lead is not just in the water of Flint, Michigan. It is in the babies and the schoolchildren of Flint. Lead is devastating to the human body and children builds up swiftly in kidneys and bones and livers and brains and the effects are irreversible.

In just a matter of months, the children and babies of Flint, Michigan, became two to three times more likely to show elevated levels of lead in their bodies. And this is coming after the state of Michigan allowed Flint to change the source of its drinking water without taking precautions.

This is the story of an EPA whistleblower who reported on high levels of lead in Flint only to have the government of Michigan brand him, quote, "a rogue employee". It`s the story of a local doctor who proved that Flint kids were getting sick from drinking the lead in their new water, only to have the government of Michigan tell reporters that she had, quote, "spliced and diced" the numbers and that she was wrong.

It`s the story of the McArthur Genius Award-winning drinking water expert from Virginia Tech who dropped everything this summer and drove 15 hours straight to Flint, Michigan, so that he could test the water himself and who found high lead levels in Flint`s new water, only to have the state dismiss him as basically a traveling huckster.

It`s the story of the new mayor of Flint who took the drastic step this month of declaring a state of emergency in her city saying the town and the kids need help, need it urgently and if they are going to recover from what`s been done to them.

And it is most definitely the story off Michigan Governor Rick Snyder who was the boss of the state appointed emergency managers in Flint and who was the boss of the state environmental agency that bungled and botched its way to a full-blown national crisis. The same agency that told the public, there`s no broad problem with the water in Flint. And that everyone should just relax.

The science of what went so wrong in Flint is actually easy enough to understand. Flint had been getting its water pumped from Detroit. It`s about an hour`s drive away. So, to save money, Flint`s state appointed emergency manager decided to stop buying Great Lakes water from Detroit and instead start sourcing the drinking water from the local Flint River.

Then in April 2014, they made the switch. Lots of places get their drinking water from rivers. It`s not inherently more dangerous, but river water does tend to be saltier than lake water. And thus, it tends to be more corrosive. You`re supposed to treat the river water so it doesn`t corrode the pipes because if it corrodes the pipes, then it will cause them to leach out the lead that`s holding them together.

People who end up drinking the lead, it will make them sick. In the case of children in particular, it can permanently lower their IQs, contribute to emotional and behavioral problems that follow them the rest of their lives.

But don`t worry, you can avoid all that if you just treat the river water properly to prevent corrosion. That is what the state of Michigan did not do. Governor Rick Snyder`s administration let Flint make the switch without the essential safeguards. Then, the Snyder administration ignored the early warning signs and let the moms and dads and babies of Flint keep on drinking that water for months.

But even with Michigan newspapers and Michigan public radio and the Michigan chapter of the ACLU all spilling this news nonstop, it`s not been clear how far Governor Snyder is willing to go to clean up from this mess his administration has made. It was enough that Rachel on this show addressed Governor Snyder directly.

Watch this.


RACHEL MADDOW, HOST, TRMS: Governor, the water of Flint, Michigan has been poisoned. And this -- let me say here for a second, I think the resistance to this being seen as a national story is because people think of lead as being a long-term infrastructure problem, like, ah, things went bad in that old city that needs work.

This is like -- if you want to make an analogy to personal health, this is not like something finally coming due after you`ve had bad diet and no exercise for 20 years. This is the personal health equivalent of having been shot. This is not something that went bad over a long period of time. This is they flipped a switch to turn off one spigot last April and turn on a different spigot and the spigot they turned on poisoned the kids.

The kids of Flint, Michigan, have been poisoned by a policy decision, all at once. The town has been poisoned -- under your watch, Governor. Through the actions and inactions of people who report to you and the people who you appointed.

The emergency manager who signed that international order to get ready for drinking from the river, he reported directly to Governor Snyder and to no one else. The emergency manager who sold the pipeline that should have been the escape hatch, he reported directly to Governor Snyder and no one else. The agency that did not tell Flint how to do this safely and that ignored the fast rising lead levels in the Flint`s water and disparages first the whistleblower and then the professor and then the local doctor who all tried to help, that agency reported to and continues to report only to Rick Snyder, the governor of Michigan.


HARRIS-PERRY: Clear enough? The science of how Flint, Michigan, came to have its water in its kids poisoned is clear. The state failed to take the precautions it should have taken, but the politics of what happens now, the politics of how much help Flint gets and who gets held accountable for what happened, that part is not so obvious.

Over the past few days, Governor Snyder has addressed the Flint water crisis directly and pointedly. Last week, he told a local TV station his greatest challenge this year was, quote, "Flint with their water situation."

This morning, we saw the headline with Governor Snyder listing the Flint water crisis as his biggest disappointment of 2015. And then late today, the story took a turn, because late today, a bipartisan task force commissioned by Governor Snyder made a preliminary report in a letter that task force, told the governor that the state`s own environmental agency bears the primary responsibility for what went wrong. The task force members say they have more work left to do but they told the governor in boldfaced type that responsibility and accountability cannot wait.

And late today, Governor Snyder cited that letter as he announced the resignation of the director of the environmental agency that failed to protect Flint`s water. Then, the spokesperson for that agency, the one who told the public to relax about Flint`s water, he also resigned.

And it seems it`s not over yet. Governor Snyder says there will be more news yet to come. In a statement posted this afternoon, the governor says, quote, "Changes in leadership and staff are not enough." He`s directing state agencies to work with the outside scientist who have tried to help Flint, the same scientist the state disparaged just weeks ago.

The governor had been telling us he sent the Michigan state police to meet with Flint about an emergency response. Now, he says he himself called Flint`s new mayor and plans to meet with her so they can talk about the ways the state can offer more assistance.

And the governor himself apologized, quote, "I want the Flint community to know how very sorry I am that this happened."

So, that`s big news on this outrage of a story from Michigan. Resignations, promises of change and apology from the governor, big, big news.

But meanwhile, the children of Flint, Michigan are poisoned, poisoned because of choices made by city officials who were not elected by the people of Flint, but instead were installed by Governor Snyder.

So, we know he`s sorry. We know who`s resigned. What we don`t know is what the governor is willing to do to fix this problem that his administration caused.

Does Flint get the help it needs to make sure the pipes carrying its water are not leeching anymore lead into sippy cups and baby bottles and drinking glasses? Will Governor Snyder be held personally accountable? Will there be a federal response? Will the families and children of Flint be OK?

Joining us now is Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint, Michigan.

Congressman, thank you for joining us tonight.


HARRIS-PERRY: So, tell me, do you see these resignations and this apology from Governor Snyder as some sort of turning point?

KILDEE: Well, it`s certainly acknowledgement of responsibility which is a step in the right direction, but whether people resign, are fired, or apologized, that all may be appropriate. But what is necessary is that the governor take action now to make sure that the effect that this lead has had on these children can be mitigated.

There are things that can be done to overcome to offset, perhaps not to overcome but to offset the effect of lead. And the governor needs to step up and make it right by getting these kids the nutritional support that will minimize the effect of lead or at least mitigate the effect of lead on their future. The kind of educational support, early childhood education, for example, can in part offset the developmental challenges that come with lead exposure.

There are lots of other things that he can do. But it has to be more than just holding people accountable by having them resign, or making an apology. These are people. This is my hometown. These are people whose futures can have been negatively affected by this terrible mistake made by the state government and they need to do, the state need to do everything that they possibly can do to make it right for the people of Flint. They can`t fix it completely. They can`t undo it.

But they can do what they can do. And it has to be much more than just an apology and much more than people losing their jobs.

HARRIS-PERRY: So talk to me a little bit about these families about your hometown. You know, obviously, the month of December, we`ve been in holiday season. People are home cooking. You think how many times you turn on the tap to do everything from wash the dishes to prepare the meals.

And I just kept wondering if you`re meeting families and if they`re talking to you as their representative about what they`re facing in this moment.

KILDEE: Well, I go home every weekend and hear about it all the time from people. They`re worried about their kids. They`re worried about whether this lead exposure will be yet another hurdle that these kids in Flint, Michigan have to overcome in order to try to make their way in life.

I mean, the city has already had a lot of struggles. We`ve lost 90 percent of our manufacturing jobs, half of the population. It`s a very poor city.

So, in many ways, these kids have had the bad luck of being born in the wrong zip code and now through an act of the state government have yet another hurdle to overcome.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, I want to ask you about that zip code thing for a second. Just to point out it`s both about these individual families, but also, obviously, zip codes are also about housing and property values.

KILDEE: Right.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, everything that you`ve talked about here in terms of the challenges that Flint as a city was already facing, now with this -- I mean, so if I am a family and want to get out, what`s the possibility of being able to sell my house, for example, right now?

KILDEE: Well, property values have fallen. We had the housing crisis across the country. The housing prices in Flint had completely collapsed before that and went even further as a result of the housing crisis.

So, this is why this crisis while it clearly affects the health of these kids and the governor should step up and do something about that, it also hurts the already really damaged reputation of this community. I mean, how can we rebuild ourselves if we are known as a city that can`t even deliver safe drinking water to its children?

So, while I think the state needs to act to offset the problem that be it caused, it also needs to look at the secondary effect of all this. We need help regrowing our economy. And the state now has an even greater moral responsibility, not just to deal with the health, not just to deal with the infrastructure, both are really critical, but to help us rebuild our city by making sure we have all the help possible to overcome yet another big problem that the state government really put on the city of Flint which already has been struggling.

HARRIS-PERRY: Congressman Dan Kildee of Flint, Michigan, we appreciate your time tonight. I know that Rachel is going to stay on the story. So, expect more calls from this show.

KILDEE: Thank you very much.

HARRIS-PERRY: Coming up, Donald Trump on a plane. No, really. Donald Trump kind of made some news today on a plane today in Omaha, Nebraska. More on that.

Stay with us.


HARRIS-PERRY: Breaking news we`re just getting in at this hour about a magnitude 4.3 earthquake that just truck in California. The earthquake had an epicenter just east of Los Angeles. And it was reportedly felt across the region.

There are no reports of fatalities or injuries. But according to "The L.A. Times," there have been four earthquakes in the area of magnitude 3.0 or greater just in the last ten days.

We`re going to keep an eye on the situation there and bring you more as it develops.


HARRIS-PERRY: Last night, one of the presidential hopefuls had one of those humbling moments that can only happen on the campaign trail.

Democratic candidate Martin O`Malley held an event in Iowa and only one person showed up. His name was Kenneth. And Martin O`Malley, former mayor of Baltimore and former governor of Maryland spent an entire hour chatting with Kenneth about the issues.

At the end, Kenneth was still not ready to commit. Iowa voters, they take their responsibilities seriously.

But, listen, there was a big snowstorm in Iowa yesterday. Many presidential candidates just canceled their events. Martin O`Malley soldiers through all of his planned stops despite the weather.

It`s not like Martin O`Malley is Rick Santorum who attracted just one supporter at an Iowa event in June when it was definitely not snowing. Governor O`Malley was joined by five people at earlier event yesterday and 12 at another.

And, honestly, if you can get almost 20 people to brave snow and icy roads to see you, well, that might be a win in Iowa.

The Iowa caucuses are just 34 days away. And there are kind of convoluted several hour process held on a weeknight in the dead of winter. Supporters can be a bigger asset there than high poll numbers, which is not to say that anyone expects Martin O`Malley to win Iowa, but on the Republican side of the presidential campaign, this has become a central question. Do the candidates who are doing best in the polls have the infrastructure on the ground to actually pull off wins in the early contests?

Donald Trump was asked about this earlier this evening at a press conference that he held on board his plane before an Iowa rally.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, as you know, and even if you look tonight despite the bad weather, the place is packed. They just had it on television. They showed it`s packed. And we get by far the biggest crowds.

Now, will they show up for caucus? I think the answer is yes. As you know, we have Sam Clovis and we have Chuck Laudner and they have incredible people under them. But you know, we`re going to see what happens on February 1st.

I really think all of those people and maybe even friends of theirs that weren`t at the rallies or the speeches, I really think they`re going to come out and caucus and we`re going to have a very good victory. But, you know, we`re going to have to see.


HARRIS-PERRY: There have been mixed reports about Donald Trump`s ground game in Iowa and New Hampshire. "The New York Times" noted last week his campaign appears to have no pollsters, no advertising team and no research or voter contact operations.

Though we just found out Mr. Trump did get access to the RNC`s enormous voter lists, which gives his campaign data on more than 200 million people.

If Donald Trump doesn`t have a good ground game and if the old rules of presidential campaigning still apply, it`s possible he could suffer a sudden collapse once people actually start voting. This has been an election season in which all the old rules seemed to have gone out the window.

Jeb Bush has spent more than $38 million on ads to languish in the single digits. Donald Trump, he has dominated the polls for months and he`s not run a single TV ad. But that may be about to change.


TRUMP: I`ll be spending a minimum of $2 million a week and perhaps substantially more than that.

REPORTER: Jeb has spent $40 million, and you --

TRUMP: He hasn`t spent $40 million. He`s wasted $40 million. There`s a big difference. Jeb has wasted $40 million.


TRUMP: So I`m going to be doing big ads in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina. And they`re going to be very substantial and I think they`re very well done. I`ve seen the first two or three of them. We`re very proud of them.

I don`t think I need to spend anything and I`m very proud of the fact that I`ve spent the least and have the best result. In other words, I spent here.

If you look at a guy like Bush, he actually spent $59 million and he`s nowhere. And others likewise have spent millions of dollars and they`re nowhere. If anybody goes after me, I will spend a lot of money against the people that go after me.


HARRIS-PERRY: Donald Trump has said before that he was going to start running ads. The ads never appeared. But if we are going to get $2 million a week income Trump TV ads, then we are entering a new phase of this election season.

Joining us now is MSNBC political correspondent Kasie Hunt.

It is so nice to have you right here with us tonight.

KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Lovely to be here, Melissa. Thanks for having me.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, Donald Trump is not wrong, that he has managed perhaps the best free media presidential campaign in modern history. But what would -- what would the ads look like from him?

HUNT: That`s still an open question at this point. I think the main question is he going to run biographical spots? I mean, if we were looking at this as a normal campaign, we would divide it up into, hey, am I selling myself or am I trying to contrast with other candidates. I think attack ads from Donald Trump have the potential to be brutal. We`ve seen just Donald Trump`s free media attacks, as you called them, be pretty effective already.

So, I think an actual paid TV spot could potentially be deadly.

HARRIS-PERRY: A lot is being made of this idea of a ground game. We started with the kind of Iowa snow. I`m reminded Iowa unlike New Hampshire, it`s in part about turnout but also about what happens in those school gymnasiums in those spaces. Trump`s supporters are the kind of people who strike me as good caucusers.

HUNT: I think that it`s an open question. I would remind you, Republican caucuses are a little bit different in Iowa than Democratic ones. So, they still, once they`re in the room, they listen to a speech from somebody from the campaign, and then they actually vote by secret ballot. The Democrats have a little bit of a different process.

HARRIS-PERRY: As in like pep rally, yes.

HUNT: More like that, exactly.

That`s exactly what the Trump campaign is trying to do. I was out in Cedar Rapids with the Trump campaign a couple weeks ago. They have their volunteers going into the gymnasiums and the release strength is the rallies.

The scale of these rallies is in some ways unprecedented. They`re not wrong when they say they have thousands of people available to them. The problem is that many of them are new to this process and it can be an intimidating process. And it takes a lot of effort. You have to get out of your house on a probably cold, maybe snowy blizzarding February night, go down to the school gym, sit there and listen to all this stuff.

So, they`re going kind of row by row, they have these volunteers saying, hey, this is what it means to be a caucus captain. This is what it means to show up to caucus at all. The voters that I talked to, most of them -- one woman said the last person she voted for in a caucus was Jimmy Carter.


HUNT: That`s the scale of effort that the Trump campaign is looking at.

And these other Republican campaigns know that he`s going to bring new voters into this process. They`re making that assumption. The question is, how many. They don`t know. It could be in the thousands, it could be overwhelming. But it also could be many, many fewer. And that`s the Trump campaign`s hurdle here.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, this is a fascinating idea to me, that the draw you have new voters would be coming in here on the Republican side.

I mean, we heard from Mr. Trump this week, a critique of President Clinton, of Bill Clinton. But typically when we think about somebody who attracts new voters, those who haven`t showed up before, it has happened in general elections around Democrats. Is this kind of conservative populism something relatively new for the party, for the Republican Party?

HUNT: I think in some ways, it`s a combination of that populism you talk about. It`s also part celebrity. I mean, you run into people at these rallies who say, oh my friend called, I`m a Rubio supporter, but he said, hey, you want to see Donald Trump? Of course, I want to go see Donald Trump. Who doesn`t want to go see that?

HARRIS-PERRY: Somebody at the rally said they were a Rubio supporter. Come on.

HUNT: In Iowa, you can find people like that.

Yes, no, it happens. You know, I`m not sure that this is the same -- some people impaired this to Barack Obama in 2008 in Iowa because people talk how he brought so many new people in. I think that some of the our sources say in some ways Ted Cruz`s campaign might be more like Obama`s, might be more on point because what Cruz`s campaign is trying to do is really activate conservative base voters who have maybe fallen out of the process. And that`s something that the Obama campaign did very effectively in 2008.

I think a lot of people showing up for Trump haven`t been engaged in politics before, and I think, you know, we`re seeing that across the board, whether it`s people who are watching these debates there at sky high numbers. You know, people who are tuning. I mean, anecdotally, you go out to lunch and people at the table two tables over are talking about Donald Trump. That just didn`t happen in 2012.

HARRIS-PERRY: I mean -- and again, that`s part of why he`s accurate in that assessment that he has not had to spend money and yet has that level of kind of discourse around his campaign.

Kasie Hunt, MSNBC political correspondent, here, live, it`s great. New York City.

HUNT: Thanks, Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: Much more ahead tonight including what I guarantee you is the greatest piece of archive tape that you have seen in a very long time. Stay with us.


HARRIS-PERRY: You`re probably used to seeing this kind of thing all the time. A presidential press conference, not really just any old press conference at the White House. There`s a certain level of prestige and decorum that goes along with being a member of the White House press corps.

There`s the occasional shout at a question or abrupt response but, generally, there is a sense of kind of orderliness during these kinds of events.

But sometimes when they`re on the road, it`s a different story all together. Watch this because it`s kind of amazing.


JOHN PALMER, NBC NEWS: More than 50 cars were in the motorcade that brought President Carter into downtown Belgrade. A flatbed truck carrying press pool 20, American reporters and photographers was in front, in fact, too far in front. At times, cameramen couldn`t seen see the president`s car, much less take a pictures of it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pull that down. Pull it down now. You pull this truck down.

PALMER: Despite the urging of White House aide Rick Moore, the driver continued to roar along at top speed, preferring to heed the advice of an overzealous security agent in the cab of the truck who didn`t like the idea of photographers getting very close to the heads of state.

Then there was another problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don`t go to the polls. We go to the tombs.

PALMER: The truck was supposed to go directly to Tito`s tomb rather than to the presidential palace where the driver was heading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down, everybody down. No, no, no.

PALMER: Again, a breakdown in communication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, no, we don`t, no, no. We go to the tomb.

PALMER: Press pool 20 finally made it to its destination. Or almost.

John Palmer, NBC News, somewhere near the presidential party in Belgrade.


HARRIS-PERRY: Well, another White House reporter has just given NBC`s John Palmer a run for his money. That`s ahead.


HARRIS-PERRY: In a Chicago courtroom today, the police officer who shot to death 17-year-old Laquan McDonald pled not guilty. Jason Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder last month, just hours before the release of a dashcam video that shows the veteran officer shooting him McDonald 16 times.

But even as we approach the beginning of that trial, it`s clear at least for now, there will not be a trial for the officers who shot Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old fatally shot by Cleveland police outside of the city rec center.

The grand jury`s decision not to indict the officers involved in the shooting prompted outrage and protests and gut-wrenching memorials. It`s also highlighted what feels like this sense of helplessness among those desperate for accountability.

Yesterday, activists turned to Cleveland Cavaliers all-star LeBron James for help, using the #NoJusticeNoLeBron, they`re asking James to put his season on hold to lead a collective sit-out until the Department of Justice, quote, "imprisons the police officers involved in the Tamir Rice shooting."

Tamir`s death, along with that of Laquan McDonald, are just two of the police involved shootings that have risen to national prominence this year. But they are just two stories among hundreds.

According to data compiled by "The Washington Post," close to 1,000 people were shot and killed by police officers in 2015, at least 82 of those people have been killed in the last 30 days.

If you look over the data, over the last decade, it`s even more staggering. Thousands have been fatally shot by on duty officers. But as "The Washington Post" also points out, few of those law enforcement officials ever end up prosecuted.

As of this past April, only 54 officers were charged in the last decade. "Washington Post" also found that in the cases that have already been decided, the majority of officers were not convicted. In fact, even when they were convicted or pled guilty, they tended to get little time behind bars on average, four years and sometimes only weeks. Why?

To help me answer that, my next guest. Kimbriell Kelly is an investigative reporter for "The Washington Post."

Ms. Kelly, thank you so much for being here.


HARRIS-PERRY: So talk to me a little bit about this "Washington Post" series and the data that you all have collected. What led to this decision to chronicle these police shootings?

KELLY: What started this was essentially last year with the death of Michael Brown. Essentially, we decided to look at that case because people were saying that because of a white officer was killing an African- American, you know, was this a pattern? And so, we decided to take a look at all the shootings.

What that case also did was bring to the forefront a lot of the holes that were in the data-keeping in terms of fatal police shootings which are kept by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. And so, we undertook a year long investigation where we essentially counted every single fatal police shooting and we ended up finding out there were nearly a thousand this year which was nearly twice as many as the FBI had reported.

HARRIS-PERRY: For me, this is such a critical idea that simply data collection constitutes almost an activism or at least of kind of journalism that we often don`t have an opportunity to see, right, where you go and actually find the answers to these central questions.

How different is the world if we think there are a thousand people shot and killed by police than 500?

KELLY: Well, I think it`s a lot different. What you have is, now the FBI taking a look at our numbers and saying, you know what? We need to look at how we aggregate our data. And so, for 2017, they`re saying we`re going to look at not only the number of fatal shootings, we`re going to look at more granular data.

And that granular data should be able to tell us what really the breadth and scope of not only police shootings are across the country but the use of force. And that`s something we don`t know right now.

HARRIS-PERRY: So the other piece, I think that is so critical in the reporting and writing that you`ve done has to do with when there is a shooting and when there actually is an indictment in and a trial, how infrequently police officers are in fact held accountable in the sense of actually getting time.

What is that about -- what is happening in that moment?

KELLY: Well, it`s kind of interesting because you sometimes you know, you see a sigh of relief from communities protesting when there isn`t an indictment. When there is an indictment, people are excited because they say justice is going to be served.

But what we found during our first investigation early this year was that even though there was a prosecution in most cases, the cases ended up in an acquittal. The charges were dropped or the cases were all-out dismissed. And so, like you mentioned with our numbers, even with a prosecution, even if the grand jury came back and said, we are going to try this case, we have found that when those cases go to a jury, when those cases are decided by a judge, that the resolution is still the same -- an acquittal, a dismissal or charges being dropped.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, those numbers, that data, that reality, I want us to hold that in our mind and then listen for a moment to the father of the 19- year-old who was shot by Chicago police over the weekend.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My son was laying there, and he was still alive and moving. And no one, no one at all assisted him at any time while he was there. And at which point I looked back and saw Ms. Jones laying there and once again, yelled, screamed as loud as I can. Someone get an ambulance. Someone get someone to help my son!


HARRIS-PERRY: Given what you know, what do you think is likely to happen?

KELLY: Given what we know and like I say, we`ve spent the last year at "The Washington Post" looking at what happens when these cases are prosecuted, the Department of Justice has decided they`re going to come into Chicago and they`re going to investigate.

What we found is these investigations generally take about a year to a year and a half, 18 months. So, we`re talking about you know, looking at findings about what may or may not be happening in Chicago potentially in 2017.

And that`s when the findings could get released in terms of what the patterns if there are patterns or practices of constitutional violations there. After that, you know, the hard part starts. You know, usually there are four, five, sometimes ten-year agreements with the Department of Justice to try to turn that department around.

And those agreements usually start with policy changes with new training and with recordkeeping because in many of these cases you find that departments just aren`t keeping track of these use of force or excessive uses of force.

So, what you are going to see in the future, it`s going to be a long road and take awhile before you might actually see some change within these departments.

HARRIS-PERRY: Kimbriell Kelly, an investigative reporter for "The Washington Post", and a reminder for me today of the value of empirical evidence -- Ms. Kelly, thank you for your time tonight.

KELLY: Thank you, Melissa.

HARRIS-PERRY: OK, there`s much more to come tonight, including a very much needed best new thing in the world.

We`ll be right back.


HARRIS-PERRY: Good news for the folks in our graphics department. That long list of Republican candidates running for president has just gotten a little bit shorter. You`ll recall back in September, Rick Perry was the first one to drop out of the race followed by Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham.

And now, the latest candidate to drop out in the middle of the holiday season, George Pataki. Blink, you would have missed him.

Tonight in an ad that aired in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, he announced he is suspending his campaign.

He was certainly one of the more experienced candidates in the Republican field at least in terms of political leadership. He`s a former mayor and state legislature and, of course, a three-term governor for the state of New York.

Unfortunately for him, his extensive political experience did not translate into the electability. Not only that, but his dropping out signals a recurring theme on the Republican side of the race.

With George Pataki now out, this means that of the top six most politically experienced Republican candidates, five are poof, gone, out before anyone has even cast a single vote. Isn`t politics something?



MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: Roughly 58,000 veterans are experiencing homelessness in America today. A number that fortunately, has fallen sharply in the past few years, but whatever the number, these brave men and women have served this country with courage and grace, too many of them have come home only to fight a new battle, a battle to keep a roof over their head.


HARRIS-PERRY: OK. How about a good news story to round out the year? The slip that you just saw was first lady Michelle Obama in June of last year announcing a brand new White House initiative to fight homelessness among veterans.

Michelle Obama, our first lady, and Vice President Biden`s wife Dr. Jill Biden have teamed up over the years for a variety of issues to help veterans. And this is an ambitious plan to say no American veteran should be left homeless on the streets in any American city.

It was called the mayor`s challenge to end veteran homelessness and it was a call to action to mayors and county leaders and governors across the country to commit to ending veteran homelessness by the end of this year, 2015.

More than 800 city and county officials signed onto the challenge and it`s gotten some real results. Last month, the state of Virginia became the first state in the nation to effectively end veteran homelessness. They provided housing for every homeless veteran in the state who wanted it. Cities like Mobile, Alabama, have done the same thing and New Orleans, Houston and Las Vegas.

And now one more American city can be added to the list, the city of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced this month that Philadelphia has effectively ended veteran homelessness in that city. The number of homeless veterans in the state of Pennsylvania skyrocketed between `09 and 2013, and the problem is particularly acute in the state`s largest city of Philadelphia, but now, according to state officials, about 1,400 former homeless veterans have been placed in permanent housing.

So, right now, in the city of Philadelphia, every veteran who wants a permanent home has one. The task of housing all these veterans was not an easy one. The mayor says that a coalition of agencies called Philly Vets Home helped carry out the process which determined eligibility through the V.A. and a permanent housing plan for them using financial resources provided by the federal government.

Mayor Nutter was among the 800 city and county officials who accepted President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama`s challenge to end veteran homelessness by the end of this year. And well, he did it. He made the announcement earlier this month, standing alongside Julian Castro, President Obama`s secretary of housing and urban development. This achievement comes at the tail end of Mayor Nutter`s time in office. He`s just wrapping up his second and final term.

Joining us now for the interviewer is Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia.

Mr. Mayor, thanks for your time tonight.

MAYOR MICHAEL NUTTER (D), PHILADELPHIA: Thanks, Melissa. Thank you very, very much.

And this work is some of the most important work that I will have ever done in my 20-plus years in public office. We`re very, very proud that Philadelphia joins the ranks of the many cities that you mentioned earlier. It was great to have Secretary Castro in Philadelphia.

And a couple days before that, I actually saw President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House at the Christmas party with my mom, and first lady could not have been more excited. She already knew the news. And was really, really happy about it. But we`re excited here in Philadelphia.

HARRIS-PERRY: So, we were talking last night on the show about the idea of moon shots, of setting a setting a designated deliverable goal and going for it. And here you`ve actually achieved it, right? You`re walking around on the moon of ending veteran homelessness in Philadelphia.

How important is that way of doing business for our big social problems?

NUTTER: Well, it`s critical. First of all, you have to set goals and they should be ambitious, not unrealistic, but they should be ambitious. You know, with a stretch to try to achieve them.

And when the first lady, Michelle Obama and the second lady, Dr. Jill Biden, made this announcement, I immediately said we have to be a part of this effort. First and foremost, as I heard the clip, the first lady said these men and women have served our nation, served it well, they allow us to do the things that we do and sometimes even take for granted because of their service.

And now face a challenge when they get back home that in many instances they can`t even have a roof over their head.

So, Marie Nahikian, our director of the office of support of housing, she and Kelvin Jeremiah, the Public Housing Authority, have teamed up and as you said, the Philly Vets Home Coalition, they got to work. And I was very, very clear with them. We`re part of this challenge, we`re going to meet this challenge. We`re going to do this by the end of the year.

But they deserve the credit for making this happen. And I could not be more proud.

HARRIS-PERRY: So you have only a few days left as mayor in the city of Philadelphia.


HARRIS-PERRY: But, sir, you`re --

NUTTER: Unfortunately, yes.

HARRIS-PERRY: But you`re not even 60 years old. You have lots of moon shots left in you. What is next?

NUTTER: Well, you know, we have achieved a number of things in Philadelphia. You know, Philly is a big city, fifth largest city in the United States of America. President Obama appointed to My Brother`s Keepers Alliance advisory committee and I`m going to continue on my work there.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and I created Cities United, Anthony Smith is director there, focused on stopping violence in the African-American community, men and boys. And so, that is the kind of work that I want to continue right here in Philadelphia, but also raise many of these issues to a national level.

Philadelphia is currently the largest city in America with an African- American mayor. And I`m very proud to be the mayor of my home town. But, you know, the charter says I have to go, so I have to work on.

But the work continues. And whether in elected office or not, this is my passion, this is my commitment, this is my focus. And so, making sure that President Obama`s work, My Brother`s Keeper, continues here in Philadelphia. Very, very important to me.

And the groups that are working on this effort to uplift our men and boys of color in Philadelphia, but cities all across the United States of America. And so, I`ll take a little bit of a break. The inauguration is next Monday, handoff the baton to the mayor elect. And then I`ll take a little bit of a break and then come right back out with important work that I care passionately about and how I`m going to spend my time continuing to move forward.

The president`s agenda, continuing to make sure that the Democratic National Convention, which is in Philadelphia next summer, I worked on that with our team, make sure that`s successful. And then, I`ll be involved in presidential politics as well.

So, there will be more than enough for me to do for me to do. But my focus, my passion is about this city and cities across the country, working with, again, former mayors like, you know, Doug Palmer and Shirley Franklin and Wellington Webb and so many others.

So, there`s work to be done. And I`m proud of what we`ve been able to accomplish, but there`s still more to take place in Philadelphia, in cities all across the United States of America.

HARRIS-PERRY: Mayor Nutter, I appreciate that you took your mom to the White House Christmas party. I also appreciate --

NUTTER: She was pretty excited.

HARRIS-PERRY: I also appreciate that you point out that it`s Dr. Biden and First Lady Obama who set this up. I`m excited about your work with men and boys of color, but just don`t forget the lady, sir. Girls as well.

NUTTER: No. Well, actually at our MBK summit just last week, I announced in that summit working with the White House, we`re going to actually incorporate much of the work of the women and girls council from the White House in our work here in Philadelphia. It really is about family and bringing all of these folks together.

So, we`re paying attention to the women and girls as well.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. As Anna Julia Cooper said, not the boys less, just the girls more.

Michael Nutter, the mayor of Philadelphia, best of luck in your remaining days in office.

NUTTER: Absolutely.

HARRIS-PERRY: And up next, we have the best new thing in the world. Stay tuned.


HARRIS-PERRY: I`m going to borrow a favorite segment of Rachel`s, because today, we have a best new thing in the world. Are you ready? Here we go.

When President Obama or any president for that speaks, the video of him that you generally see is what we called the pool cam. So, instead of every network and newspaper website setting up their own cameras at these events, they share the pool camera. It`s kind of an efficient solution to providing access for so many people and organizations.

And, similarly, the press corps covering the president also has a pool report. So instead of every single outlet having a reporter follow the president`s every move, there`s a rotating group of reporters who take turns writing the pool report. That report is then distributed to all of the news outlets to be used in their coverage.

Here`s an example of a report from the day of President Obama`s leaving for family vacation. "Marine One was wheeled up for Joint Base Andrew at 5:24 p.m. POTUS walked across the South Lawn, with Sasha Obama and the first lady walked a few yards behind with Malia." You know, not exactly riveting.

But that is the kind of stuff you get from pool reports and this is what it`s like working in the White House press corps.

This weekend, however, while covering the first family`s trip to Hawaii, Gardiner Harris from "The New York Times" attempted to turn the mundane into the magnificent. And my God did he succeed.

Here`s a selection from one of his first reports of the day describing the scene. "The water is aquamarine, but the sky is decidedly gray. Think `Miami Vice` and that great wordless scene with Phil Collins` `In the Air Tonight` playing in the background as Crockett and Tubs drive through the night to confront the bad guys."

Ten points for the "Miami Vice" reference and it was just getting started. In describing the president`s trip to the beach, he veered into a personal story.

"But beyond the break, the ocean snarls into a sapphire blue, the kind of dark forbidding color that speaks of great depth and sharp teeth." "Your pooler," this is him talking about himself, "swam into those depth depths early this morning under a nearly full moon. About a mile out, the hotel key in your pooler`s briefs oddly folded by a freak wave created a pinch that felt like a creature`s jaws."

I think my favorite moment from Mr. Harris` dispatches comes when he`s describing the notable absence from the Obama family trip to a local shaved ice shop. Quote, "FLOTUS was not present, as she rarely seems to enjoy public eating frozen garishly colored sugar water with little of the mouth appeal that cream brings."

He really wrote mouth appeal. Mr. Harris, for handling his pool duties with such flair, and flipping through this weekend`s press reports into the highlight of the work day -- you, sir, are the best new thing in the world. And God bless you and your reports` incredible mouth appeal.

That does it for us. We`ll see you again tomorrow.

Right now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O`DONNELL".