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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 01/13/15

Guests: Laura Haim, Maajid Nawaz, Steve Cohen, Christina Bellantoni

LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC HOST: Good evening, Rachel. John Boehner is reconsidering this whole Republican congressman use of Twitter thing, don`t you think? RACHEL MADDOW, "TRMS" HOST: Executive order from the speaker coming up stat. Thanks, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: Thanks, Rachel. Well, in just a few hours, a new edition of "Charlie Hebdo" will hit newsstands in Paris. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Victims of last week`s attacks are laid to rest. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A day of mourning and defiance as the first victims are laid to rest in funerals in Jerusalem and Paris. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The French national assembly met today for the first time since those attacks. (SINGING) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They broke out into a spontaneous rendition of the French national anthem. (SINGING) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s obviously a lot of security here. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten thousand additional French troops fan out across the country. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten thousand military troops will be deployed. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To guard national monument, Jewish schools and other sensitive targets. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paris trying to recover, yet the investigation heating up. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: French authorities say they are looking for possible accomplices in the wake of last week`s terror attacks. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accomplices still within Paris. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The day of grief was also one of resolve. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The surviving staff of "Charlie Hebdo" is preparing to release a special edition tomorrow. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three million copies will be released tomorrow. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: With the cover depicting the Prophet Muhammad holding a sign that says, "Je suis, Charlie". UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Editors said they`re not worried about the cover because people are intelligent. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): More than anything, we tried to put the drawings of those who are no longer here in the newspaper. Everyone is in this thing. (END VIDEOTAPE) O`DONNELL: In just a couple of hours, the new edition of "Charlie Hebdo" will hit news stands in France. Just one week after eight members of its staff were shot and killed in a terrorist attack, 3 million copies of "Charlie Hebdo" will be printed. New video shows Cherif and Said Kouachi in a shootout with police shortly after their attack on "Charlie Hebdo." (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (GUNFIRE) (SPEAKING FRENCH) (GUNFIRE) (SPEAKING FRENCH) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Just as the new magazine comes out, al Qaeda in North Africa vows more violence against France in a statement today. In Israel, funerals were held today for the four hostages killed at the kosher grocery store in Paris last week. In France, a funeral was held today for Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim police officer who was executed by the Kouachi brothers in the street in this video. And in Peshawar, Pakistan, 40 people attended a funeral celebration for the Kouachi brothers. The cleric who led that funeral called the terrorists, quote, "Heroes of Islam." In the French parliament, the names of each of the 17 victims were read and then the members of the government stood for a moment of silence. And then here is what happened after that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (SINGING) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining me now from Maajid Nawaz, the co-founder and chairman of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank. Maajid is a former member of an Islamist revolutionary group. Also, joining us, Laura Haim, White House correspondent for Canal Plus. Laura, a lot of emotional imagery coming out of France today. The news conference with "Charlie Hebdo`s" staff, there was crying, there was - - very careful descriptions of how they put this copy together. Then, we saw the French parliament today in their emotional assembly. Tell us what the reaction is going to be in France today, what is now today in France on Wednesday, to this new edition of "Charlie Hebdo" coming up. LAURA HAIM, CANAL PLUS: It was a day of cheers and everybody wants now to have "Charlie Hebdo." Already some people, they went to some bookstores where "Charlie Hebdo" is usually not sold and they decided to buy it for the kids, for the families, for their brothers, for their friends. It`s something to have. It`s not only a newspaper, it`s something to keep, it`s something to remember. It`s a piece of history. O`DONNELL: Maajid Nawaz, what do you think will be the reaction of -- not the extremists, who are obviously opposed to that, nay kind of things like this, but to this new cover of "Charlie Hebdo" where they show Muhammad crying actually. Is there something different in this one for Muslims who don`t take such strong offense to depictions of Muhammad? MAAJID NAWAZ, CO-FOUNDER, QUILLIAM: Thank you, Lawrence. Yet, let me start by saying anyone who says to you that Muslims take offense at this or Muslims take offense at that, what they really mean is that they, as individuals, take offense, because actually, Muslims are not a homogenous group. So, it`s absurd for anyone individual to claim on behalf of 1.5 billion, 1.6 billion people across the world, which is how many Muslims there are. So, that`s the first part. We have to recognize people don`t speak on behalf of Muslims when they claim offense in this way. Unfortunately, there will be some Muslims, not just from extremist groups, who take offense at this new image. My message to them would be, is they have to really try to understand not just freedom of speech, which is something I wish they would try to understand, but also satire and irony. And it seems to be lost on many people. "Charlie Hebdo" has been a magazine that has a long history of, in fact, satirizing xenophobic and far right groups in France, as well as every single religion, including my own religion Islam. The reason that satire usually happens is in most cases to address a very real and dangerous political value that is popular among us. In the case of "Charlie Hebdo," they addressed racism, using -- lampooning far right racist imagery and satirizing far right groups in order to address racism. They did the same with Catholicism. They did the same with -- in fact, they did the same with Israel and they did wit the Prophet Muhammad. So, my plea to those Muslims that do take offense is to consider this. That this was, in fact, an intelligent attempt to address the very prejudices that Muslims often complain about and to understand here they have some allies who were trying to speak on their behalf. Unfortunately, for religious fundamentalists, often, satire and irony is lost on them. O`DONNELL: Laura, in the French national assembly today, there was a vote to continue airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq. That vote was 488-1. What would that vote have been if it were taken two weeks ago? HAIM: Ha! It`s a very good question. It would not have been there. You would have had a lot of French deputies talking about what we should do in Iraq against ISIS, is it good to do a strike, blah, blah, blah. And it didn`t happen. Today, France is still united. And the challenge in the days ahead is going to watch if this country stays united on many issues, because this story unfortunately is not over. There are a lot of threats. People are extremely worried. People don`t know what`s going to happen. It was very emotional today as you pointed out. And again, the story is far from over and now the country wants to be united, hand by hand, shoulder by shoulder, to fight what might come next. O`DONNELL: Maajid, I`m struck by two numbers in our news. One is approximately 3.7 million people marching over the weekend in Paris, in solidarity against what happened at "Charlie Hebdo." And then in Pakistan, at this so-called funeral for the killers, about 40 people -- and what`s so interesting about that number 40, is that they were working hard and actually delaying the event a little bit to try to get more people to show up to give praise to these killers. And this is in a real Taliban stronghold where they were doing this, and that`s all they got is. There some encouragement to be taken by that number, 40? NAWAZ: You know, I`m of Pakistani origin, Lawrence, and I`m delighted the number was so small. It`s very encouraging. Let`s not forget that, in fact, while we`ve been concerned with this massacre in Paris at the "Charlie Hebdo" offices and at the kosher Jewish shop, there were 2,000, approximately 2,000 innocent civilians killed by Boko Haram in Nigeria, in that country`s largest ever massacre in its history. And before "Charlie Hebdo," of course, there were the 140 children slaughtered by Taliban extremists in Pakistan, in that very region this so- called funeral took place. So, Muslims are by and large facing the brunt of the rise of jihadist extremism along with the rest of the world. So, what this really indicates in Pakistan, in a country with over I think 240 million, the size of the population of Pakistan, only 40 people turned up. As you rightly said, Lawrence, in an area that`s known to be a stronghold for extremists, an area where they don`t fear shooting at the army and they don`t fear slaughtering children, yet only 40 people turned out. It`s indicating that more and more Muslims are becoming totally fed up with those who claim to speak on their behalf and kill and maim and murder others in the name of their religion, because they see the first victims, in fact, of jihadist extremism, as ISIL had demonstrated so well, are the people they come to control, the ones who they had dominion of, who happened to be in most cases, Muslims. O`DONNELL: Laura Haim, you`ve alerted us already on this program this week that one of the next steps that the French government will be taking, and the next votes we`ll be seeing at some point is on something that they are calling their Patriot Act. What is the progress on that? HAIM: Well, at the moment, people are still talking about it. Is it going to be against freedom, which is such a strong idea in France? People are worried. But again, really united and everybody in France wants to try to do something which is good. Nobody knows how to fight extremism at this moment. It`s a global fight. Again, people, as I pointed out, are extremely worried. What I would like to tell you is there was an amazing moment today in the French parliament. Since 1918, nobody seemed United. That happened. You saw it. And there was also the prime minister, Manuel Valls, was talking about what he wants to do to fight not only extremists, but racism and anti- Semitism in France. It was an extraordinary new moment, because it was applauded by all factions. And I think that`s the story, which is going to be important in the days ahead. O`DONNELL: Maajid Nawaz, you have two very important personal stories to tell. It`s each side of the coin. One is how you became radicalized and then how you turned away from that, and all people strategizing on how to go forward here are trying to figure out the second half of that. That is how do we get people to turn away from radicalization? Because there`s already -- and I`ll live by your estimate of what this is, there are already thousands and thousands of radicalized warriors out there in the Islamic State and beyond who are prepared to kill. How many people do we have to turn around? NAWAZ: Yes. Unfortunately, I won`t go into details on how I got out of the revolutionary group. The details of that are documented in my autobiography called "Radical". But what I would like to focus on is what`s more efficient for all of us together, Muslim and non-Muslim, the international community to stand together to do is to work on the preventative side. We`re dealing with the rise of an ideology that`s reached insurgency levels. It`s become a brand of resistance, a very attractive of resistance, and it`s unfortunately a terrorist brand, but nevertheless it`s become popular. And so, what we need to start looking at is how to debunk this brand, how to make it as unattractive, as unappealing as Soviet communism as a brand for young people has become today. That`s going to require a lot of counter-messaging. It`s gong to require what we call counter-narratives against the Islamist extremist narrative. It`s going to require debunking the conspiracy theories that they peddle in the grassroots of Muslim majority societies. It`s also going to require really addressing some of the leaders of these organizations and undermining their authority that they have. It`s a long-term strategy that`s going to require civil society resistance. For that to happen, we all need to get together as civil society and governments and start working out, especially in the European Union context, a joint strategy across the continent to start building these civil society resilience. And, unfortunately, I`ve got to say this as a Muslim, the Muslim voice in this, which is perhaps the most important, is currently woefully inadequate. There are many reasons for that. Muslims as minorities in the West feel somewhat under the spotlight. But just as we appreciate solidarity that was shown by mainstream society, likewise in such cases as this, we have to show -- we must show solidarity to mainstream society. We must reciprocate and stand shoulder to shoulder. Not just in condemnation, because, frankly, Lawrence, it`s very easy to condemn, but to challenge the ideas that lie in the base of this ideology. O`DONNELL: Maajid Nawaz, thank you both very much for joining us from London tonight. And, Laura Haim, thank you for joining us once again on this program. Coming up, Mitt Romney doesn`t believe in two strikes, you`re out. It`s going to take three strikes to get Mitt Romney out of the presidential race. And, how many people do police kill in a year? We have no idea. This country that has statistics on every single thing that we do does not count the bodies. There is one congressman who is finally trying to do something about that. He will join me later. And, religious extremism. Ultra-orthodox Puritanism is not just a problem in Islam. That`s coming up. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: "Wall Street Journal" is reporting tonight that when White House adviser John Podesta leaves the Obama administration in February, he will take a senior role in the Hillary Clinton`s presidential campaign, which, of course, is not called a presidential campaign. It`s called one of those things that not yet officially a presidential campaign. John Podesta was chief of staff in President Bill Clinton`s second term. Up next, speaking of spectacular names in presidential campaigns, Mitt Romney believes the way to beat Hillary Clinton in her second presidential campaign is a third Mitt Romney presidential campaign. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MITT ROMNEY (R), FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOVERNOR: I`m in this race because I care about Americans. I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I`ll fix it. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: When Mitt Romney told campaign donors last week that he`s thinking of running for president and that he indeed still wants to be president, he told them that his third campaign for president would focus on -- helping poor people, proving that he corrupt hi thinks he`s going to have to do something different if he wants to get a different result this time. Mitt Romney will attend the Republican National Committee`s meeting in San Diego on Friday and will create more sound bites about running for president. The only person to show more commitment to a Romney presidency than Mitt Romney is Eric Hartsburg, who tattooed the Romney 2012 campaign symbol on his face. But Mr. Hartsburg told "BuzzFeed" today that he will not support a third Romney run saying, quote, "He`s going to say something later on to mess it up. It`s going to look real good and then bam, something else. He screws it up." Mr. Hartsburg has so far had two treatments for removing the Romney tattoo. But he`s apparently going to need many more. Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones", and an MSNBC political analyst. David first broke the story about the now famous 47 percent remarks that Mitt Romney made during that campaign. Also joining me is Kasie Hunt, political correspondent for MSNBC. She covered Mitt Romney`s 2012 campaign. Kasie, so, what does Mitt Romney have to say this weekend when he goes out there to add more fuel to this thing? He can`t just say that I`m thinking about it or yes, I want to be. Is it time for him to announce a PAC or something like Jeb Bush has already done? KASIE HUNT, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I don`t know that they`re that far along yet, Lawrence, but he`s going to have to explain why it is that this time would be different. I think that`s already the question that`s bubbling up as we started to talk about this. And you haven`t exactly seen a landslide of support for Mitt Romney. It`s not as though people are out there saying, if Mitt Romney does this, I`m 100 percent going to be on board. If anything, it`s the opposite. I was up on Capitol Hill today talking to some of his longest time supporters, Senator Kelly Ayotte being one of them, not really to jump on there yet. Even Paul Ryan, in an interview with NBC News, wouldn`t commit, although his staff say it`s because he`s in charge of a fund at the RNC that prohibits him from jumping in. But I think he -- you know, the questions are going to be there at this meeting, and I think there is going to be a lot of skepticism and I would be on the lookout for some pretty tough blind quotes. (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: David Corn, this is shaping up to be a lot of fun. Is there anything that we can do to encourage them all to get in there? Mitt Romney, we do need Chris Christie in there, because there`s just a series of spectacular campaign collapses ahead. DAVID CORN, MOTHER JONES: Well, it seems like there`s still a lot of room left on the Romney bandwagon. Those spaces are not filling up, so people -- there`s a lot of room to jump on. I don`t know, Lawrence, Perhaps we can page a promise not to release any derogatory information or tapes until later in the year so everyone gets their shot at jumping in themselves. What you have, particularly people are relishing, those of us in the political media world, not voters out there, I don`t think they care yet, is this showdown between Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney. It`s like dynasty versus dynasty. You can just imagine all the awkward conversations in country clubs and corporate boardrooms across this great land of ours. How to decide which establishment center pragmatic candidate, who is willing to flip-flop on principles to get elected. I mean, it`s a very difficult choice. My heart goes out to Republican establishment figures and donors who have to make this very, very hard decision. O`DONNELL: Kasie Hunt, on the donors, with Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney in there, is there any room for Chris Christie? Is he going to the same donors who will be pledged to one or two of those candidates? HUNT: Christie`s camp is convinced they are, but they`re pooling from the same pool of people. That`s I think David is hitting on this. That`s why Chris Christie is starting to look like he`s a little behind the ball from Mitt Romney and from Jeb Bush. I think you saw Jeb`s early moves start to goad if anything Mitt Romney into moving more quickly. It seems as though Christie`s team isn`t prepared to do that. They`re sort of taking it the way they said they plan to. He`s going to wait until the governors he worked to elect are sworn in before he makes any official moves. But if this continues to evolve, I think the question is going to be, do Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush duke it out over here and create a lane for Chris Christie or do they crowd him out? O`DONNELL: I really need Chris Christie to get in. Because my prediction is he`s the first one to flame out. He`s going to do worse than Rudy Giuliani if he gets on this thing. So, we can never prove that if he doesn`t get in. CORN: That`s true, but we may not get the chance because he may not be able to get in until he gets the green light from a federal investigator who is still looking at not just the bridge-gate and pay-to-play issues in New Jersey. But you see Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney`s statements causing some edginess among potential candidates. Tonight, Rand Paul is out with an interview in "Politico" basically saying, look at me, look at me, remember me? I`m still here. I`m still here. So, I think everyone is kind of speeding up. But the absurd thing here, and we`re all participating in this, it`s all about the donors. You know, the donors, the pre-primary primary for rich people, who they`re getting, who is lining up with them. We`ve seen lots of instances in the past where candidates who are preferable to donors flame out, as you say, early on. And there`s no reason to believe that Mitt Romney, you know, third time around, or Jeb Bush first time around, will appeal to the real energy in the Republican Party, which are those Tea Party voters who are still out there looking for someone to bash whoever the next Democratic nominee is going to be. O`DONNELL: But Mitt Romney`s strongest point right now is that when you include him in these polls, he`s usually at the top of those polls of all the Republican candidates by a very significant margin, including Jeb Bush. So, I am officially not counting Mitt Romney out here. I`m counting out Chris Christie, OK? You can mark me down for that. HUNT: You should ask Rudy Giuliani how that went for him. O`DONNELL: Right. We`re going to have see how this one goes. David Corn and Kasie Hunt, thank you very much for joining me tonight. Coming up, police use of deadly force. It is now time to start counting the bodies. Something we`ve never done. And the latest on a bartender`s alleged plot. This is stunning and weird and there`s an arrest tonight. An alleged plot to poison House Speaker John Boehner. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: In the "Spotlight" tonight, "Counting the Bodies." Last week, a coroner`s jury in Montana ruled that Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison was justified when he shot and killed an unarmed man during a traffic stop back in April. The coroner`s jury decision serves as a recommendation to the district attorney`s office, which then has final say on that case. Officer Morrison said he thought the man was armed. The shooting was caught on the officer`s dash cam and was shown to the jury. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OFFICER GRANT MORRISON, MONTANA POLICE: Hands up. All four of you, hands up. What were you doing. Why are you moving your hands around so much. You`re making me nervous, man. Who are you. RICHARD RAMIREZ, SHOT DEAD BY OFFICER MORRISON: Richard. MORRISON: Richard? All of you, put your (bleep) hands up right now on top of the seats. RAMIREZ: Yes, officer. Richard Ramirez here. Can we step it up. MORRISON: Hands up. Hands on the (bleep) -- get your hands up or I`m going to shoot you. I will shoot you. Hands up. (GUNFIRE) Hands up. Hands up. I will shoot you again. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: He did not shoot him again, but he has already killed him. The jury was also shown a dash cam video of Officer Morrison breaking down in tears after that shooting. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MORRISON: I thought he was going to pull a gun. UNIDENTIFIED POLICE OFFICER: Maybe he was. Maybe he was. (SOBBING) Jesus, Grant. You survived. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That was the second time that Officer Morrison killed someone. In 2013, he shot and killed a man who had a BB gun. From stories like this and from the image we get on TV cop shows and movies, we might not realize that most police officers in America serve their entire careers without ever using their firearms in any way. Most police officers never kill anyone. Most police officers never shoot at anyone. Most police officers never shoot at anyone. And most police officers are never shot at. They never see or hear gunfire in the line of duty in their entire careers. That is the norm. Now, I would like to tell you exactly how many police officers do fire their guns in a typical year. I`d like to tell you exactly how many people they kill, but I can`t. Because we don`t count the bodies. In 21st Century America, which keeps precise statistics on virtually everything we do as a society and as individuals, we have no idea how many people are killed by police. And we have never known. It is one of the basic law enforcement facts we need in order to evaluate how police use and abuse their power of deadly force. With the limited statistical picture we have, all indications are, and have always been, that most killings by police are justified. But it is very clear that not all of them are. The power to kill is the most awesome power that any government worker could possibly have. We have given that power to police and then we have refused to monitor it. Joining me now, the congressman who wants to know how police are using their awesome power to use deadly force, Congressman Steve Cohen from Tennessee. Thank you very much for joining us tonight, Congressman Cohen. And thank you very much for this bill you`re introducing to try to get this data. This is data that I personally have been trying to get for 30 years since I first started writing about this subject. Tell us what your bill would obtain. REP. STEVE COHEN (D), TENNESSEE: It would require all police departments, law enforcement agencies, to give to the Justice Department for collection -- the demographics of both the victim of lethal force used by law enforcement officers and the demographics of the officer and the deadly force policies of the departments, any force less than lethal that was used by the officer, and the justification that the officer and the department head for the use of that deadly force, so we can have a clear picture on what`s happened, and if there are skewed, racial or other demographic aspects of the victims and the perpetrators. O`DONNELL: You know, as I said, I`ve been trying to get at this number for just about 30 years, a little more than that. I wrote a book back then called "Deadly Force." And I had to do my own criminology, my own kind of social studies to find out what this number is. And the way we`re doing it then, the few of us who are trying to get it, is literally just press clips, literally just stories in newspapers. And this is pre-Internet, so it was a very primitive method of trying to get it. And the number we were zeroing in on back then was about 600 a year. In the methods that they`re using now that include much more sophisticated use of the Internet in order to get at this number, it`s starting to sound like the number of these killings may be up around a thousand, and might be more than that. The number of police killed has always been much, much less than that. As you know, it`s less than a hundred now. It has gone down a lot over the years. But it seems to me this is just a very basic tool in order to get just a rough idea of how this awesome power is being used. COHEN: And there was a law in 1992 that`s never been followed. And it said that the Justice Department need to collect evidence on excessive force. And there was never a good definition of excessive force. And often - - the departments often felt that whatever force they use was not excessive. And they made, I think, the determination that it was self-defense or that it was in the pursuit of -- just defending somebody else. And, maybe, in the limited circumstances that you can use deadly force to apprehend a fleeing felon, that that was justified, so it wasn`t excessive. My bill says clearly, "lethal force used." And the determination of excessive is not one that would make it subjective on the part of the department. And we need to know that. I just saw the film, "Selma" tonight, a very, very emotional film, and a film that sets America in a setting that`s not so good. And it was not good. Jimmy Lee Jackson`s shooting. There have been murders over the years, and those murders still are part of the psyche of America and psyche of people, particularly African-Americans and liberal folks, who remember those type shootings that have gone all over the years by law enforcement. And not just in the south -- many in the south but it`s not just a southern problem. And as Lyndon Johnson said in a speech about that, it`s not just a southern problem, it`s an American problem. And the excessive use of force is an American problem. O`DONNELL: Congressman Cohen, we have that image of that building behind you, the Capital, tonight where, as you know, many congressmen, over the years, have been outraged for many different reasons about things that IRS agents do. None of them involving killings by IRS agents. And here, this most awesome power that any government worker can have, the use of deadly force. And it`s very hard to find members of congress who actually care about the use of that power. COHEN: Particularly on the other side of the aisle. O`DONNELL: Yes. COHEN: And I know we want to come together in some Kumbaya moment but there are big differences in the Democrats and the Republicans and what their priorities are. And the other side of the aisle if probably our money. It`s IRS and it`s money. And it`s not about human life. And human life, whether it`s funding the NIH to find cures and treatments for disease, or whether it`s getting figures and putting limitations on the use of deadly force by departments or individuals who use it excessively are the most important thing government can do. Because the difference life and death is the most important thing in our existence, in our life, and as government officials, not how much money we have and if we can keep that money for ourselves. O`DONNELL: Congressman Cohen, quickly before you go, the reason why no one has introduced a bill like this is because they fear the politics of it, including Democrats. They fear anything that, in any way, might antagonize police. As we`ve seen here in New York City having problems like that. They fear that kind of politics. COHEN: Well, there`s a lot of that fear. There are strong members, generally in the Congressional Black Caucus and in the Progressive Caucus, who do have concern. John Conyers and Bobby Scott have concern, have a bill. They passed a bill, not the same level and depth as mine, but they had concerns, too. And then there`s John Lewis who`s a saint. As I watched "Selma," I thought what a blessing I`ve had to get to know John Lewis, a true saint in the United States of America, who has served in Congress 28 years. As I mentioned saints, a great civil rights icon, Julian Von, is going to celebrate her 75th birthday tomorrow. And I think everybody needs to wish him a happy birthday. O`DONNELL: Yes, you`re absolutely right about John Conyers. He`s been on this for decades. And, Steve Cohen, thank you very much for joining us tonight. COHEN: You`re welcome. Good to be here. O`DONNELL: In the "Rewrite" tonight, guess which religious newspaper refused to include a picture of Angela Merkel in the Solidarity March in Paris. Ultra-orthodox puritanism is inn tonight`s "Rewrite." (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Investigators are trying to figure out why it took an hour to get more than 200 people out of a Washington, D.C. metro train that was filled with smoke from a fire at the L`Enfant Station. NBC`s Tom Costello has the story. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is everyone OK. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PASSENGER: No. TOM COSTELLO, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Inside a D.C. Subway car, fear and panic as smoke first filled the tunnel, then the train itself. UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRAIN OPERATOR (via P.A. system): Please stay calm. Please stay calm. COSTELLO: A train operator urged calm but, inside, hundreds of passengers struggled to breathe, choking on thick acidic smoke. Soon, some passed out. UNIDENTIFIED MALE PASSENGER: We need a medic. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PASSENGER: Make a hole, make a hole, make a hole. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PASSENGER: Does he need water? COSTELLO: It happened at Washington`s L`Enfant Plaza Metro Station just as the evening rush hour was getting underway. UNIDENTIFIED MALE PASSENGER: There`s a lot of smoke and people could barely breathe. No electricity, no visibility and all. COSTELLO: Firefighters waited before going down to the tracks to be sure the electric rail had been shut off. In all, more than 80 people sent area hospitals for smoke inhalation. One passenger, a woman, never made it out alive. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE PASSENGER: It was pitch black, smoke everywhere. They kept everybody up. COSTELLO (on camera): Fire or smoke on a subway is every commuter`s nightmare. Survival can depend on knowing the train`s emergency phones and exits, listening to instructions, and never touching an electrified rail. (voice-over): Washington`s Subway System has been under intense scrutiny after nine people were killed, 70 injured, in a crash six years ago. Since then, several workers have been killed on the job. The NTSB says Monday`s incident was likely caused by an electrical arc on the third rail. (on camera): The full NTSB investigation could take months. Those passengers were told to stay inside the train because it was safer than getting out on the train tracks. But part of the investigation will look at why it took firefighters so long to get down to them. As yet again, the D.C. Metro System is under scrutiny. Lawrence? O`DONNELL: Thanks, Tom. The "Rewrite" is next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REZA ASLAN, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA RIVERSIDE: There`s no question that there has been a kind of virus that has spread throughout the Muslim world. A virus of ultra-orthodox puritanism. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: But ultra-orthodox puritanism is not confined to the Muslim world. In our ancient organized religions -- Judaism, Catholicism and Islam, women are now and always have been second-class citizens. Catholicism does not allow women to become priests. Ultra-orthodox Judaism shares the extreme puritanism that Reza Aslan just described as a virus that has spread throughout the Muslim world. One ultra-orthodox Jewish newspaper, HaMebaser, faced a difficult challenge in covering Sunday`s -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- March of World Leaders in Paris with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the front row. The problem for the newspaper, which has never published a photo of any woman doing anything, is that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was right there in the front row between the President of France and Mahmoud Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority. And so, the newspaper photoshopped Angela Merkel right out of the picture, as well as the female mayor of Paris. Here is the accurate photograph -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the center, Angela Merkel is third on his left, the mayor of Paris is third on his right, with the blue scarf. And here is the photograph with the women chopped out completely. There is a screenshot from the HaMebaser newspaper, first reported by a Hebrew language Web site. The more enlightened Israeli media was horrified. The Walla Web site wrote, "The paper didn`t blur out Merkel`s image or white it out but completely reedited the photograph and moved the images of the participants around, so that you could never tell that Merkel was ever there." Allison Kaplan Sommer, writing in Haaretz, said, "It is rather embarrassing when at a time when that the western world is rallying against manifestations of religious extremism, our extremists managed to take the stage." She said, the cropped photograph is, quote, "infuriating and shocking," and that, "it is an attempt to deny the fact that in the wider world beyond the ultra-orthodox Jewish community, women do stand on the world stage and shape events." Rabbi Eliyahu Fink wrote, "If they don`t want to see women, just blur or cover her face. Why make it seem like a woman was not even there. It`s not about gawking at women or sexual arousal. Rather, it is an attempt to excise women from the public sphere completely." "They are not protecting women from leering men or men from illicit thoughts. They are telling their community that women have no place in society outside the home." Many Israeli commentators noted that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was shown in the photograph that removed all women. The newspaper that made the women disappear from that photograph was founded in 2009. (END VIDEO CLIP) So, it never had to face the Decision of how to cover Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) And we have a winner in the 2016 California Senate race. Well, I mean, we actually have an announcement. The California Attorney General Kamala Harris is the first Democrat to officially declare that she will run for Barbara Boxer`s Senate seat bash What boxer`s senate seat when Senator Boxer retires next year. And, of course, she`s going to win. Up next, this is real. Well, I mean, it`s nutty but it`s real -- the plot to poison John Boehner. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) A former Ohio Country Club bartender with a history of mental illness has been indicted on a charge of threatening to murder the Speaker of the House John Boehner. According to the criminal complaint, 44-year-old, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- Michael Hoyt, called 911 on October 29th last year. When an officer arrived at Michael Hoyt`s residence, he told the officer that he had been fired from his job as a bartender at the Wetherington Country Club, in which Speaker Boehner is a member and, quote, "did not have time to put something in John Boehner`s drink." Joining me now is Christina Bellantoni, Editor-In-Chief of "Roll Call." Christina, sounds absolutely nutty, sounds like a bad episode of a bad TV show. But this is a federal criminal indictment from a grand jury. FBI has been involved in this investigation. And I`m sure, if they had found out information about John Hinckley before he took a shot at Ronald Reagan, he would have sounded pretty crazy like this, too. CHRISTINA BELLANTONI, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ROLL CALL: Sure. And the authorities, essentially, are saying that this man could be released and has had access to live information about the Speaker`s whereabouts, about people -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- that he knows. He was able to contact John Boehner`s wife and have an e-mail exchange with her. And he clearly has a motivation. He believes that Speaker Boehner had him fired from his job. He also believe that the Speaker is responsible for the Ebola virus. So, they concluded that this person is enough of a risk, that they considered it a serious. And, you know, this is a very nutty, wild complaint. There`s all kinds of bizarre details in it and things that they found at his home. But this is something that people should take seriously. (END VIDEO CLIP) There are a lot of threats against Members of Congress than we`ve seen. Some of those play out in very tragic scenarios, you know, probably, most recently, with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. O`DONNELL: Yes. They found an automatic weapon at his home, some ammunition, apparently not a lot. He told the officer who arrived that night that he is Jesus Christ. So, clearly, all the evidence indicates seriously mentally disturbed. And you never know whether someone like this is just talking, and talking crazy talk -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- or is capable of taking action. BELLANTONI: Yes. And that`s why they treat everything seriously until they think that it`s not. And you`ll even remember during the Healthcare debate, they had so many different instances where maybe there was a brick thrown through a window at a member of Congress` office, or there was potentially bullets that have been shot through the campaign office for Eric Cantor down in Richmond, Virginia. And so, you know, there are a lot of nutty people out there and people that do crazy things. And so, they have to look into this. And, you know, this person made very clear that he has an ax to grind against the Speaker. And the Speaker, for his part, thanks the authorities and, you know, he really appreciates that they are keeping us all safe. O`DONNELL: And his mother was worried about him. She said she removed an assault rifle from his home. Christina Bellantoni, thank you very much for joining us tonight. Chris Hayes is up next. END