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The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 02/25/15

Guests: Richard Wolffe, Howard Dean, Jeremy Peters, Beth Fouhy

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC: See you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD. Big fight, tomorrow afternoon, they`re going to take that vote on Loretta Lynch, and absolutely nobody knows what`s going to happen with that vote. Total chaos. That does it for us tonight, we`ll see you again tomorrow, now it`s time for THE LAST WORD with Lawrence O`Donnell, good evening Lawrence. LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, HOST, THE LAST WORD: Hey, Rachel, you got a minute? MADDOW: Yes -- O`DONNELL: I loved your segment with David Corn about Bill O`Reilly. The exaggerations of Bill O`Reilly. But I feel it`s my responsibility as an old boy, you know, one of these old apostrophe guys -- MADDOW: OK -- O`DONNELL: Like O`Reilly to explain the angry Irishman to you -- (LAUGHTER) To you and David Corn. The threats, when he issues that threat and he says, I`m going to come after you with everything I`ve got. What he`s got is a TV show, that`s it, that`s all he`s going to come after. Anybody with -- it`s all going to be in the safety of that studio. No one has to worry about a thrown punch or anything like that. That kind of, you know, Irish bluster is something I grew up with, and everybody relax, OK, about -- MADDOW: Should we see the bluster, the size of the bluster as inversely proportional to the size of the real threat? O`DONNELL: Oh, absolutely. MADDOW: OK -- O`DONNELL: The guys who were really scary in my neighborhood never threatened anybody -- (LAUGHTER) They just did it, Rachel, they just did it, they didn`t wait. MADDOW: Well done. Thank you for that cultural translation lines, I`ll take that to heart and sleep mattedly(ph). O`DONNELL: Thanks Rachel. MADDOW: Thanks Lawrence. O`DONNELL: Well, the stare down between Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid over the funding of the Homeland Security Department, apparently Harry Reid`s magic sunglasses made Mitch McConnell blink. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER, UNITTED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: We`re waiting for the Senate to do their job. Senate Democrats have stood in the way now for three weeks, I`m waiting for the Senate to act. The Senate has to act, I`m waiting for the Senate to pass a bill. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The standoff over DHS funding. Two hundred thousand federal workers and Homeland Security are hoping that Congressional leaders can come to their senses. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn`t the time for games. JEH JOHNSON, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, UNITED STATES: It is even absurd to be having this conversation. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three people were arrested today and charged with conspiring to help ISIS. JAMES COMEY, DIRECTOR, FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: Those people exist in every state. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the point of supporting or carrying out attacks here at home. COMEY: I have homegrown violent extremist investigations in every single state. BOEHNER: Until the Senate does something, we are in a wait-and-see mode. JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: There`s a lot to talk about. SUSAN RICE, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR, UNITED STATES: The relationship between Israel as a country and the United States as a country has always been bipartisan. KERRY: I think we`ve done more to help Israel, I have a packet of 25 pages or more. RICE: There has now been injected a degree of partisanship. It`s destructive of the fabric of the relationship. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The misery gets worse by the day from north to south. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This morning, more than 70 vehicles smashed into each other on I-95 near Bangor, Maine. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The governors of Georgia and Alabama have declared states of emergency. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Near Dallas, a school bus flipped on its side. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Millions of people are under this Winter storm warning, including citizens -- Birmingham, two below Atlanta. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So much of the nation encased in ice, you can see what it looks like in space. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two astronauts are taking a space walk. They worked to install new docking cables from the International Space Station. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is the second of three plants spacewalk to install these cables. SEN. TED CRUZ (R), TEXAS: There is no limit to human imagination. KERRY: There`s a lot to talk about. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: In a speech this morning, FBI director James Comey said, I have homegrown violent extremist investigations in every single state. Then he added this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COMEY: ISIL in particular is putting out a siren song through their slick propaganda, through social media that goes like this. Troubled soul, come to the caliphate. All right, you will live a life of glory, these are the apocalyptic end times, you will find a life of meaning here fighting for our so-called caliphate. And if you can`t come, kill somebody where you are. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: The FBI director gave that speech not far from Capitol Hill where the Republican-led Congress remained deadlocked about how to fund the Department of Homeland Security. The FBI director could not have painted a starker picture of what is at stake in Homeland Security, but the Republican leadership in Congress was not listening. Then this happened. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BILL BRATTON, POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW YORK CITY: Arrests were made when three individuals for the actions directed against the United States. Two of the individuals were seeking to fly to Syria. One was arrested at the international airport, JFK International Airport as he was getting ready to board that flight. The second individual had a later flight scheduled, he was arrested at home here in Brooklyn. A third individual who we believe helped to organize and finance the trip for the other two individuals also arrested in Jacksonville, Florida. The initial actions were effectively to go to Syria and attempt to join ISIL. This is real. This is the concern about the lone wolf inspired to act without ever going to the Mid East. Or the concern of once they get to the Mid East acquire fighting skills capabilities and then attempting to return to the country. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Those three arrests seem to do what no politician could do, unify the United States Senate. Which then voted 98 to 2 to proceed to consideration of a clean bill to fund the Homeland Security Department without a provision that has been opposed by Democrats that would nullify President Obama`s executive actions on immigration. The secretary of Homeland Security called the fight over his department`s funding absurd. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOHNSON: What we need is a fully funded Department of Homeland Security, particularly in these challenging times when we face a number of issues across the board. To even be having a conversation about a potential shutdown of Homeland Security is incredible and absurd. I am pressing my staff to stay one step ahead of our global terrorist threats. Our challenges to aviation security, staying on top of what`s happening on the southern border. If my staff is cut back to a skeleton, then that greatly inhibits our ability to do that. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining me now is MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe, also MSNBC senior editor Beth Fouhy, "New York Times" Congressional reporter and MSNBC contributor Jeremy Peters and former Vermont governor and MSNBC Political Analyst Howard Dean. Richard Wolf, a 98 to 2 vote is a rarity -- RICHARD WOLFFE, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, MSNBC.COM: Awesome -- O`DONNELL: In this modern Senate. WOLFFE: What`s happened -- O`DONNELL: And all it took was those three arrests to suddenly gel the thinking there. WOLFFE: Yes, unthinkable that Republicans will play politics with this particular budget. But also bad policy, abysmal politics. You know, this is a Republican party that has said that the President is somehow projecting a weak image of the country overseas. Imagine if this was a Democratic Congress doing this to say President Bush`s Department of Homeland Security. Dick Cheney would go out and say they`re emboldening the terrorists. They`re projecting weakness to the world. I do not understand why the party that originates it and exemplify the politics of fear when it came to terrorism and funding and funding anti-terrorist measures would go and embrace this kind of politics. Politics they know surely they`re going to lose. O`DONNELL: And Howard Dean, normally when you see these standoffs end this way, it isn`t in a 98 to 2 vote. It`s usually the party that`s been kind of creating this situation, just peels off enough votes to solve the problems and get this thing moving forward. But this was a complete flip for Republicans in the Senate. HOWARD DEAN, FORMER VERMONT GOVERNOR & POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s very interesting, it was interesting article on the hill today which basically the analysis was McConnell has a tremendous amount to lose. He could very well lose the Senate majority, and I think he`d actually probably will in 2016. The turnout will be much bigger and he`s got some seats that are at risk. The house doesn`t have anything to lose, it`s going to be very hard for us to win 30 seats there and Boehner doesn`t want to take on the right-wing nut jobs that comprise the tea party and that`s the -- that`s the problem. And so McConnell is smart, the only problem -- it`s so interesting in politics, he waited too long. This really needed to go -- come down the track a week ago because the house isn`t going to do it. And the Republicans -- and despite the 98 to 2 vote, the Republicans are all going to get the blame when the thing gets shut down and people stop getting paid. O`DONNELL: We had a really rare moment in this New York City police commissioner press conference today. It`s the first time -- I don`t know, possibly ever that in the announcement of arrests, the police commissioner took a direct shot at the politics in Washington. Let`s listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRATTON: This is not the time to engage in activities that would threaten our counterterrorism capabilities, such as have been exhibited in the movement on this case. And effectively to hold our counterterrorism agencies hostage to political machinations in D.C. This is not the time to be engaging in political rhetoric or political grandstanding. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, do you agree with Howard Dean that this might not get the deal done in the end? JEREMY PETERS, CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER, NEW YORK TIMES: I think it`s an open question right now, how many Republicans eventually go along with this plan. I do think it ends the way that we always thought it would. It would end the way that the shutdown in 2013 ended. It will end the way that crown the best fight of last December ended, and that will be with basically clean funding bill. Now, there`s this certain frustrating predictability to all of these budget fights. It`s frustrating for Democrats who wish they had people that they could work with and trust on the other side of the aisle. And frustrating for Republicans whose, you know, deep political will and desire are kind of not quite in sync with the realities of their limits of power. Which is that they do not control enough votes to override a presidential veto and they do not control the White House. O`DONNELL: And John Boehner certainly does control enough votes in the house and with Democrats in the house to get this thing passed clean. Let`s listen to one person, Mo Brooks who apparently is not going to vote for the clean version of this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. MORRIS BROOKS (R), ALABAMA: I don`t know what the speaker`s plan is going forward, but I can tell you what my position is, and my position is, and I think that there are substantial number of Republicans in the House of Representatives who agree that the United States constitution comes first. And we`re not going to abdicate our responsibilities, our oath of office, United States constitution for some kind of convenience that in turn is going to undermine national security. Illegal aliens are undermining national security. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Beth Fouhy, apparently there were no terrorism conspirator arrests in his district today. BETH FOUHY, SENIOR EDITOR, MSNBC: Oh, bummer. (LAUGHTER) O`DONNELL: Yes -- FOUHY: And maybe he would have said something quite silly, you know, I swear it`s groundhog day where 23 days past groundhog day, but actually it still feels like groundhog day. Republicans, certainly house Republicans always taking us to the brink this way. I think it really -- even with the terrorists in New York today and the rather, I think stunning display of PR, good PR by Mr. Comey, by Mr. Bratton and Jeh Johnson explaining in slightly different ways. Why what the Congress is doing is so absurd. I don`t think there`s any -- and the rest that happened today, I don`t think there`s any guarantee at all that the Republicans in the house aren`t going to just go marching forward right off that cliff. And if they probably will take it right up to the 11th hour and make them once again look like the party of shutdown. Which seems to be the only thing they know how to do. O`DONNELL: Good. But Richard, John Boehner has to decide to go off that cliff, because he can move a bill with Democratic votes, plus enough Republicans. WOLFFE: That`s right -- O`DONNELL: He could do it tomorrow. WOLFFE: Right. But why do tomorrow what you can do the next day? O`DONNELL: Oh, yes -- no -- WOLFFE: You know -- O`DONNELL: It will be last minute, but -- WOLFFE: You won`t go over -- O`DONNELL: There`s nothing stopping him from getting this deal done. WOLFFE: No, except -- I don`t understand the political calculation for him. You know, he`s appeasing one side and he knows he`s going to disappoint them. So he is looking weaker and weaker and weaker the closer he gets to the edge of the cliff. O`DONNELL: Yes, but it`s -- Howard Dean, it`s that thing that he has to go through every time with his right-wing in the house. He has to convince them that he`s tried everything and he was really on their side all the way, and only now at the last minute, now that McConnell has kind of crossed them. You know, he`ll tell all those stories to these amateur, you know, young -- our new right wingers there, who don`t understand how it works. He`ll just say, oh, you know, I really fought for you every minute, but now we got to do this or we will get blamed. DEAN: You know, I mean, it really comes down to leadership. I think a lot of leadership is showing strength and the hardest people to show strength to is your own people. Great leaders are willing to confront their own people, not just the other side, and Boehner is just not willing to do that. Now, he has done it three times before. There have been three times including a couple of government shutdowns where he went to the legislature, the Congress and the Democrats and passed a bill with -- about 135 Democrats and 135 Republicans. That`s what he`s going to have to do. Or the Republicans are simply going to take it on the chin again, and I don`t think that`s a good idea to do it twice. They -- just the brand of their party is terrible. O`DONNELL: All right, we`re going to take a break right here, we`re going to come back with more. Coming up, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said something that every African-American knows, but that no New York City police commissioner before him has ever said. He said that police have had a hand in some of the injustices that African- Americans have suffered throughout this nation`s history. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRATTON: Many of the worst facts of black history would have been impossible without police too. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BOEHNER: Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the house, however brief their appearance on the floor may be. You know who you are. (LAUGHTER) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Why do they never have to make that statement in the United States Senate? There are many high schools in America that operate with more decorum and sophistication than the United States House of Representatives. Up next, the Obama Administration now says that Speaker Boehner`s invitation to Benjamin Netanyahu is destructive. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) KERRY: We, this administration, I think we`ve done more to help Israel, I have a packet of 25 pages or more of things we`ve done on behalf of Israel. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: But that`s not good enough for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who still plans to defy the Obama administration`s wishes and deliver a speech to Congress next week from the very spot where President Obama delivered his State Of the Union address. In a breach of protocol, Republican House Speaker John Boehner as you know invited Netanyahu to speak without consulting the State Department or the White House. The Obama administration would not have approved the invitation if consulted because the speech comes within two weeks of the Israeli election. Last night, National Security Advisor Susan Rice told Charlie Rose that Netanyahu`s decision to give this speech is destructive to the relationship between the two countries. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) RICE: What has happened over the last several weeks by virtue of the invitation that was issued -- CHARLIE ROSE, TELEVISION HOST: By speaker of the house -- RICE: By the speaker and the acceptance of it by Prime Minister Netanyahu on two weeks in advance of his election is that on both sides, there has now been injected a degree of partisanship. Which is not only unfortunate -- ROSE: Yes -- RICE: I think it`s destructive of the fabric of the relationship and it`s something that -- ROSE: It`s destructive of the fabric of the relationship? RICE: Well, Charlie, take my point, it`s always been bipartisan. We need to keep it that way. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Jeremy Peters, Charlie Rose clearly knew that he had heard the key phrase of the night; the destructive to the fabric of the relationship. How is that statement going over in Congress today? PETERS: I think a lot of people -- people on both sides of the aisle, frankly, were surprised that Netanyahu would decline to meet with Democrats. Because as Susan Rice just said, this relationship has always historically been bipartisan. So there is a lot of dismay right now that Senate Democrats were snubbed. O`DONNELL: And Howard Dean, what`s your sense about attendance? I believe your Senator Bernie Sanders has said that he will not be attending and I think also Vermont`s other Senator Pat Leahy have said he won`t be attending. What do you think is going to happen? DEAN: Whether -- I mean, I don`t know, but the most interesting part about all of this is not what happens in the United States, is what`s happening in Israel. And I would love to know what the Israeli voters think of their prime minister right now as a result of this. He is now behind for the first time in the campaign. I just find this absolutely fascinating. And I wish we all, an American news media in general would pay more attention to what`s going on in Israel because that`s really how this all started. Netanyahu is using Boehner to help his own electoral situation which is two weeks away, and Boehner is using Netanyahu to make Obama look bad. Except of course now, what usually happens was when people say after he makes somebody else look bad, they end up looking pretty awful themselves and that`s what you see from John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu right now. And they can`t be well regarded in their own countries, and that`s the most fascinating part for me. WOLFFE: Lawrence, I`ve got -- I`ve got to disagree. You know, whatever missteps Netanyahu is making in his own re-election, this isn`t one of them. Israeli politics is very clear. Netanyahu can only gain by putting a finger in the eye of the Obama administration. So, you know, the Israeli politics are very clear. He is playing to that, and that`s Netanyahu`s problem, right? As an Israeli leader, normally Israelis think more strategically, he`s supremely tactical, he is thinking about his short-term politics and he doesn`t really mind that in fact he`s corroding this bipartisan support that has been in existence for decades in Washington. For the state of Israel and for successful Israeli prime minister, so -- DEAN: See, I would slightly -- WOLF: Short-term is a long term. FOUHY: But you know -- DEAN: I would slightly -- FOUHY: I wanted to say there`s -- DEAN: Disagree, let me just -- O`DONNELL: Go ahead Howard -- DEAN: Possibly perhaps -- (CROSSTALK) It`s just a half a second here. I do think -- maybe it`s the hard liners in Netanyahu`s base would like a finger in the eye of Obama. I think most Israelis are a little more mature politically. I think they can`t believe it`s a good idea to have a prime minister who is openly contemptuous over the American president. I can`t believe most Israelis think that in the long term, that`s good for Israel. O`DONNELL: Beth, go ahead. FOUHY: Yes, and what I was going to say is, those of us who follow politics remember that Mr. Netanyahu is basically part and parcel of the Mitt Romney campaign in 2012. The work together thing, Netanyahu was clearly acknowledging that he was supporting Romney`s campaign, hoping that he was going to defeat this president. So he`s already established himself as somebody who is not bipartisan, particularly when it comes to this president. But what really struck me about this whole episode today, the use of the word destructive by Susan Rice. I mean the language of diplomacy and she is essentially something of a diplomat. It`s very precise. So she used that word very knowingly, that he -- they -- she was no longer portraying him as simply an irritant or a protocol problem. That this actually threatens the relationship, I think she took it to a very different level. O`DONNELL: And that is a worry that has been voiced in the Israeli media by many observers about this. We do have a reading on the American politics of this question. There`s a poll out saying, "was Congress right to invite Netanyahu to speak?" Thirty three percent say it was the right thing to do, 63 percent say it was the wrong thing for Speaker Boehner to invite Netanyahu to speak without notifying the White House, without notifying the State Department. Jeremy Peters, what do the Republicans on the Hill think about that kind of poll? PETERS: You know, I don`t know that they believe that, that really changes things much for them. I think that they, as you said earlier, believe that it is within their right to invite Netanyahu. I think that they also see it as a way to poke Obama, which is something that they always relish doing. I do think on the Democratic side of this, what`s interesting is how few people you will ultimately see boycotting the speech. It`s a big deal that Biden is not going to be there. But by and large, I think most Democrats are going to go, they`ll be very few who skip it. And that`s because cooler heads, I think in the end prevail here. And there is still a vast majority of lawmakers who want to make this relationship bipartisan and keep it that way. WOLFFE: And Lawrence, just one other point though. Whatever we think the Republicans -- house Republican politics are like the Republican foreign policy establishment is horrified by this. O`DONNELL: Yes -- WOLFFE: What they see is Democratic houses, Democratic senates inviting foreign leaders and freelancing on foreign policy, things they would never accept. So, yes, OK, in terms of the national policy, it`s the house Republicans who cares? But in terms of the foreign policy establishment, the Republican grandees, they are not happy about this at all. DEAN: Yes, that`s true. O`DONNELL: Go ahead Howard Dean. DEAN: No, that`s absolutely right. And -- but this speaks to the split in the Republican party. The Republican, you know, sort of the wiser heads in the Republican party are still not able to control the kind of people running around who have no idea what they`re doing. And that`s the battle. And whether they can pull it together by 2016 and elect a president, I kind of doubt when you see spectacles like this. O`DONNELL: Howard Dean, Jeremy Peters, Richard Wolffe and Beth Fouhy, thank you all for joining me tonight. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. FOUHY: Thank you. O`DONNELL: Coming up, a very special look behind the scenes during the filming of "Selma", a deeply moving moment that you will not see in the Oscar nominated movie. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Yesterday, New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton went where no NYPD Police Commissioner has gone before him. He spoke publicly and honestly about the role American police and New York police in particular have played in the lives of African-Americans throughout history; the good and the bad. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRATTON: In so many ways it`s helped, black history month is American history month. As American history and the black experience are inextricable. And both are inextricable from policing. Far more often than not, it`s been a good thing. Indeed, the best sides of America`s history would have been impossible without the police. But sometimes the relationship has not been so good and refusing to acknowledge it would not only be naive, it would be reckless and irresponsible. As many of the worst parts of black history would have been impossible without police, too. Slavery, our country`s original sin, sat on a foundation codified by laws and enforced by police, by slave-catchers. Since then the stories of police and black citizens have been intertwined again and again. In the unequal nature of that relationship, it cannot and must not be denied. (END VIDEO CLIP) LAWRENCE O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANCHOR: Commissioner Bratton explained why Black History Month is an important learning opportunity for American police. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRATTON: There`s another reason why Black History Month is so important. Because if we as cops, or as a society, don`t want to fall into inaccurate stereotypes. We need to teach ourselves about slavery, about Reconstruction, about Jim Crow, and Rosewood and Tulsa`s "Black Wall Street." We need to know about unequal access to VA home loans and the GI Bill after World War II. We need to remember blockbusting, and backlashes against busing, and the whole black experience. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joining me now, Dorian Warren, host of "Nerding Out" on Shift by MSNBC and professor at Columbia University. Mark Thompson, host of Sirius XM Satellite Radio`s "Make It Plain," and of course Joy Reid, host of the "REID REPORT." Joy, your reaction to what Bill Bratton had to say. JOY REID, HOST, REID REPORT: Well, you know, it`s interesting. And it comes very shortly after James Comey, the FBI director, gave a speech. It was very similar. And I was struck by the fact that I think what he really got right and what Bratton did that I think was smart was to say we can`t just give a path to history, which too often is what a lot of Americans want. They just want a blanket pass, and they want everyone to move on. But for the African-American community, the past is present, because a lot of the bad relations with police are not something that happened 100 years ago or 200 years ago, it`s something that happened last week to their son, to their nephew, to themselves. So I think it was very smart that he did it. But I do think it`s interesting how differently those kinds of words are received when a white Bill -- white Mr. Bratton or a white Mr. Comey say it or when a black attorney general says it. It`s perceived extremely differently and I find that fascinating. O`DONNELL: Well, and Mark Thompson, nowhere in the history of American law enforcement has this kind of sensitivity been expressed before. I mean, that`s what -- I mean, a couple of small police chiefs here and there around the country with progressive attitudes have said things like this. But to begin the story of what today`s American police officers need to know about policing, to begin that with slavery? That is not something police officers want to hear generally. MARK THOMPSON, HOST, SIRIUS XM SATELLITE RADIO`S "MAKE IT PLAIN": It`s also different when a black talk show host says it. Because we talk about that history a lot. We know that history. It is startling for a big city police commissioner to acknowledge that the history of police in America began with slave catching. And then he also, in the speech, acknowledged the role of slavery in this very city. Wall Street was a slave trading port. That`s why it`s called Wall Street. That happened as well. So that was really an incredible thing for him to say. But he still later on in the speech spoke about some of the shortcomings of policing. I think this is the beginning, though. When I was in D.C., I taught a class at the D.C. Police Academy called Historical Relationship Between African-Americans and Law Enforcement. And the purpose of it was -- O`DONNELL: And where -- in that course, where did you begin? THOMPSON: With slavery. O`DONNELL: Yes. THOMPSON: It began right there. O`DONNELL: Yes. THOMPSON: And the purpose of it, as he did elude to, police should have regard and be knowledgeable of the culture of the communities they serve. So it was about respecting that history, understanding that history. One of the things we taught in the course was, you know, and that is one thing about the term riot. The connotations is riots of civilians or even African-Americans. But back in the early 1900s, a riot many times actually meant the police. It was police that were rioting against African-Americans. You can almost say what we`ve seen in the past year with all the police violence cumulatively -- not all at once but cumulatively looks like a riot. So this was very important for him to say. I hope people will embrace it. But later in the speech, and again later, I think there`s some other things that he said that still speak to a systemic problem within them policing. O`DONNELL: During one of the values of this kind of speech from him is that he is listened to by people who will never listen to Mark`s radio show, who will never listen to any -- won`t listen to anything Eric Holder says. They don`t think Eric Holder will ever say anything worth listening to. He is listened to by people who think everything he said in that speech is wrong. DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: And let`s hope that the people listening to him were his own rank-and-file officers. O`DONNELL: Yes. WARREN: Who will actually, whatever reforms come about, and we`ll talk about that, I`m sure, will actually listen to him and implement those reforms. It`s important to note, Lawrence, we wouldn`t have seen him give this speech or the FBI director, if not for the protests. THOMPSON: That`s right. WARREN: Over several months. The organizing by the activists, involved with Black Lives Matter. This would not have happened. That was a crisis created through organizing and protest that forced him and a range of other elected officials and leaders, especially law enforcement leaders, to have to address these issues. It`s remarkable, as Joy and the radio host doctor says, for him to talk about black history and the start of slavery. That was remarkable. O`DONNELL: Yes. WARREN: There are other parts of the speech where he gets history wrong. O`DONNELL: Yes. THOMPSON: Yes. O`DONNELL: You know, the -- I think it is absolutely a speech that would not have been given without the events at Ferguson. WARREN: Sorry, Mark. (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: And let`s listen to what he said about Ferguson and those issues in that speech. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRATTON: Police actions can still be a flashpoint. Ferguson, the riots that followed. In New York City, the protests and marches that followed the death of Mr. Garner in Staten Island. And everywhere. Endless debate and discussion about a deepening racial divide in this city and this country. The divide that we thought had healed, naively, or that we had not recognized how deep those divides still were. Here we are that divide is deepest and widest in neighborhoods where disparity is deepest and widest, that the distance between the people and American dreams is the farthest. And the other neighborhoods, ironically, where the police are needed the most. In New York City, every man, largely neighborhoods of color, and then the relationship with the police has sometimes been ruptured. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Joy, definitely recent events have provoked this speech now, but what I`m hearing in it is his four decades in law enforcement, an accumulation of protests that he heard in Boston, in New York, in Los Angeles, in every one of his duty stations. REID: Yes, absolutely. But I think the one thing that I think does separate what Commissioner Bratton had to say, and for instance what Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, had to say, and why they`re received so differently, he talked about the systemic problems that take place within low-income communities. And those being the precursor to the tensions between police and civilians. The issue, though, is Eric Holder experienced negative relationships with police when he was a prosecutor. O`DONNELL: Yes. REID: Getting out of a nice car and going to a movie. I think what a lot of officers don`t understand is that -- perfectly legitimate and law- abiding black citizens and brown citizens encounter police in what should be nonthreatening situation and are treated precisely the same way as if they were a suspect. And so if you have a community like Ferguson, which is a middle class community, Ferguson was not, you know, in a challenged inner city environment. This was a middle class community where people get stopped every day, so that the fees that are collected from ordinary law-abiding black citizens can fund the city. And I think that one of the things that police are going to have to get to, it`s one thing to have an abstract conversation about history, and I commend Bill Bratton for doing that. It was brave. I think Comey was brave. But when Bill de Blasio talks about the lived experience of his own child, he gets -- the police officers turn their backs on him because how dare he talk about his actual lived experience. When we get to the point where police can accept the lived experiences of actual people of color and their parents talking about their experiences then black people have something. O`DONNELL: Dorian, when we come back, I want to get to what you think he got wrong and what you -- you wish he had said. We`re going to take a break. We`re going to be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) O`DONNELL: Let`s listen to what Bill Bratton said about the future he`s hoping for. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BRATTON: The police and the people, and the black community in particular, we cannot change the past, but working together, we can change the future. We must not forget our history. We must know what we did well and learn from what did wrong, and learn from what was done wrong and move forward. All of us together. It`s ours to set right. All of us together. This is the opportunity of the age for all of us, together. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Dorian, if you could have squeezed a paragraph into a draft of the speech, what would you have added? WARREN: Well, I would have first not claimed that the drop in crime in New York City was due to specific policing tactics like stop and frisk because we know it`s sort of fallacy. Crime has dropped across the country. And it is inaccurate to suggest that in New York City crime has dropped solely because of policing practices which involved racial profiling. But then secondly, in the speech, Commissioner Bratton was talking about how critics need to face the hard truth, they misrepresent us, and false accusations of systemic brutality and injustice. Well, if you don`t recognize the legitimate complaints from the life experiences of black and brown people in the city, how can you even start to talk about a future of what policing can look like if you`re not acknowledging and you`re dismissing the actual lived experiences and systemic inequalities, systemic brutality in policing practices, which were policy. O`DONNELL: Joy, the tone set by Bratton and by Comey in those -- that speech, was surprising basically because they are creatures of the law enforcement establishment. And it`s -- and as I said at the outset, what`s so striking about it -- you`re so right. I mean, if you just change the name of who`s saying the speech. REID: Yes. O`DONNELL: If you just change the occupation in who`s saying the speech, I -- we know a lot of -- and we might not have even covered it. REID: No. Absolutely. O`DONNELL: We can just hope that there is an impact that he can effect larger than just giving a speech. REID: Yes, because it`s easy, you know, for everyone to agree that the things done in the past were horrible, that those people -- O`DONNELL: Well, just a second. It`s not easy for everyone. I`m not sure there`s a person on FOX News who -- REID: Yes. That`s -- (LAUGHTER) REID: Well, that`s just true. O`DONNELL: So there`s a whole world out there -- REID: Yes. O`DONNELL: -- who are fans of Bill Bratton, who absolutely do not agree with him. REID: But even worse than that, there is a police union that doesn`t even want to acknowledge -- O`DONNELL: Yes. REID: -- that using a chokehold, that you`re not supposed to do, that`s prohibited, is wrong. And that they -- and that there`s this belief that police are to be revered and never criticized. And then the police owe themselves -- (CROSSTALK) O`DONNELL: The only government workers who are to be revered in everything they do. REID: Yes. Exactly. O`DONNELL: Right. REID: Exactly. And so as long as police are -- even if they`ll brook this from Bill Bratton because they do maybe trust him way more than they trust Bill de Blasio, the idea that you can`t then tell police, who are public servants, who work for the taxpayer, no, no, no, you`re not allowed to put people in chokeholds. You`re not allowed to do certain practices. You have to respect the elected mayor of the city. If police unions won`t even allow that, then all the speeches in the world aren`t going to make police-community relations better. O`DONNELL: Right. Right. Mark, go ahead. THOMPSON: Well, you know, I agree with all that`s been said. He brought up policing and slavery and nothing compares to slavery. However, when we look at the current situation, stop and frisk, broken windows, slaves were innocent. Those who come under and have been apprehended by stop and frisk and broken windows are also innocent. He also said that because of the socio-economic situations that people are in, it affects their perspective. Well, 80 percent white-on-white violence, over a third of that is committed by white, but we don`t do that to whites. So we`re not infected with anything, any stereotypes when it comes white so that still needs to be addressed. O`DONNELL: We`re going to have to break it there. Dorian Warren, Mark Thompson, Joy Reid, thank you all for joining me tonight. REID: Thanks a lot. WARREN: Thank you, Lawrence. O`DONNELL: Coming up, the surprising connection to the man who now stands convicted of murdering the real "American Sniper" Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. That`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We the jury find the defendant Eddie Ray Routh guilty. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Twenty-seven-year-old Eddie Ray Routh is now serving life in prison without the possibility of parole after a jury rejected his claim that he was legally insane at the time he murdered Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield. Also rejecting that claim is Chad Littlefield`s brother Jerry, who revealed for the first on the "Today" show that he was actually one of Eddie Ray Routh`s teachers in high school. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think he was mentally ill or do you think this was all an act? JERRY RICHARDSON, CHAD LITTLEFIELD`S BROTHER: It was all an act. I taught him in high school, and that`s new out there. Everybody that knows me remembers that I worked with him. He was -- that`s just the way he was. He never grew up. He was still just opposite defiant and he had nothing wrong in the mind, except for the drug use. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Coming up, a scene from the Oscar nominated film "Selma" that you have not seen. It`s actually an outtake of what was one of the most emotional moments on the set for everyone involved in the making of "Selma." If you`ve seen the movie, you`ve got to see this. And if you haven`t seen the movie, I promise this won`t ruin anything. You`ve got to see this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Whoa, whoa. (CROSSTALK) OBAMA: You look a lot better because, you know, I don`t dye my hair. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. (LAUGHTER) OBAMA: I`m not the winner. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, it`s called the Obama. OBAMA: No, no, no, that`s natural. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) AMY POEHLER, ACTRESS: So I`m running for governor. (CHEERS) POEHLER: Andy is going to be running my campaign because he`s a super genius. He`s got a tight, compact little body like an Italian sports car. (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: That`s from last night`s wonderful series finale of "Parks and Rec," and as emotional as it was for us "Parks and Rec" lovers to watch I promise you it was much more emotional for the actors and the writers and the crew and the producers to see "Parks and Rec" the day that they wrapped the shooting on the set. It always is. Ava DuVernay has now given us a glimpse of what it was like on the set of "Selma" as the shoot was coming to an end. This is what David Oyelowo said about the first time he read the script of what was to become the Oscar nominated film "Selma." "When I read it, I just have this very visceral reaction. The only way I can describe it is that it was deeply spiritual. I really did feel God tell me, you are going to play this role." That was seven years before he played the role. "Selma" was a project languishing in development in Hollywood for years. When David Oyelowo read the script in 2007, there was no chance that he would have been cast in that role if the movie had been made that year. He had just arrived in Hollywood from England. His body of work was not substantial enough to be considered for the lead in a major motion picture and his British accent had not yet been fully tamed to the point where he could credibly delivered the mesmerizing sound of Martin Luther King, Jr. And so this, this is one of those rare instances where languishing and development hell in Hollywood was the best thing that could have happened for "Selma." The brilliant Ava DuVernay was also in no position to be offered the role of directing "Selma" in 2007. And so in effect, the script just waited for David and Ava to be ready and able to do it. Ava DuVernay shot the movie with remarkable speed, 32 days. Most major directors would take at least triple that time to achieve the production value you`ve seen on the screen and the exquisite performances that Ava DuVernay delivered. Strong bonds developed during a film shoot. The longer the shoot, the deeper the bonds. Actor to actor, director to actors, and of course, the crew. A real familial love develops. The longer the team is together, the harder it is to say goodbye. And everyone doesn`t say goodbye on the same day. Each actor is wrapped out of the movie when he or show does his or her final take of the final -- of their scene. Watching Martin Sheen wrapped out of the "West Wing" series after seven years, 154 episodes, was one of the most poignant and emotional moments of the professional lives of all of us who were there with him that night. An actor`s final moment in front of the camera is usually not one of the most dramatic scenes in the movie. The heaviest dramatic work of the film tends to occur not at the very beginning or the very end of a shoot. And the actor`s final take is usually just some sort of pickup of one small bit of a larger scene and it might require several repetitive takes before the actor hears that word "wrap." So it was with David Oyelowo in "Selma." His final shooting scene was Martin Luther King, Jr.`s acceptance speech for receiving the Nobel Prize. It was a scene that lulled a lot of other actors and extras, which meant that when it was over, David Oyelowo could hear that sweet sound that film actors rarely here. Applause. A lot of applause. Ava DuVernay posted that moment and linked to it in a tweet just before the Oscar ceremony saying, "I never shared this. I saved it for today. A special outtake of my hero. I love you, David. You are my best actor." When you watch David Oyelowo picture wrap for "Selma," you`re not watching an actor at the end of a 30-day shoot, you`re watching an actor at the end of seven years of hoping, seven years of studying everything he could possibly find about the character he was playing. You`re watching an actor at the end of seven years of work that it took to play this part, the part of a lifetime. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID OYELOWO, ACTOR, "SELMA": Together, we believe that what the illusion of supremacy has destroyed, the truth of equality can nourish. Thank you. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hold your applause. Hold your applause until I say, it`s a picture wrap on David Oyelowo. (CHEERS AND APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) O`DONNELL: Thank you to Ava DuVernay for allowing us the privilege of seeing this onset glimpse of the family of actors and artists and crew who gave us "Selma." Up next, Jose Diaz-Balart and the immigration town hall with President Obama. END