The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Transcript 03/16/15

Guests: Cathy Scott, Erin Murphy, Perez Hilton, Chemi Shalev, Harry Enten,Josh Barro, Kiki McClean

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST: Job, and I`m not paraphrasing -- texter Anthony Weiner, so this guy is now running to join those dubious ranks and win the Michael Grimm seat. And he is campaigning on the promise that he is too old to be too gross to get this job, and I`m not paraphrasing the campaign pledge. This is his quote directly to the "New York Observer", "I am too old to know how to put a naked photograph of myself on the internet." So vote for me! Best campaign T-shirts ever. Now, it`s time for "THE LAST WORD", Ari Melber sitting in for Lawrence tonight, good evening Ari. ARI MELBER, MSNBC HOST: Good evening Rachel, a wonderful debunktion junction, thank you -- MADDOW: Cheers -- MELBER: For all of it. MADDOW: Thanks my friend. MELBER: We are just three hours away now before the people of Israel voice their opinion on Benjamin Netanyahu and whether he should stay in power. Also Hillary Clinton picking an important battle tonight with Republicans and another voice emerging on the Dolce and Gabbana controversy, Perez Hilton will join me. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A stunning, Hollywood ending. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tonight Durst is behind bars in New Orleans. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The arrest took place just hours before the dramatic inclusion of "Hbo`s" documentary "The Jinx". UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What the hell did I do? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Already acquitted of one murder charge, now charged with another. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I killed them all, of course. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is this a confession to three murders? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hours from a cliffhanger election in Israel. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stepping up the nationalist`s rhetoric -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Said today that no Palestinian state will be established under his watch. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Desperate times call for desperate measures. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Iran`s pen pal Senator Tom Cotton. JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: Somebody who`s been in the United States Senate for sixty-some days -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you planning to contact any other of our adversaries? SEN. THOMAS COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: So important that we communicated this message straight to Iran. SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MAJORITY LEADER, SENATE, UNITED STATES: I signed the letter, I don`t think it was a mistake. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m embarrassed for them. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Ferguson area man charged with shooting two cops gets his first day in court. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jeffrey Williams has admitted firing the shots -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He may have been shooting at someone other than police -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A massive cyclone pounded the small island of Vanuatu. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Locals are calling their devastated island nation, hell on earth. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With no light. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Elton John is calling for a boycott of Dolce and Gabbana. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks to some controversial comments made by the designers -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gone on to seemingly trash surrogates; gay adoption and IVF, your archaic of thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bracket fever Monday morning and -- UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: March Madness is here -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We spend some time with yours this morning. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We should do, the field of 68 is set. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seventy million brackets are expected to be filled out. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Kentucky Wildcats is the number one overall seed. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let`s go cats! UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes! (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Good evening, I`m Ari Melber, in for Lawrence O`Donnell. And we are about three hours away from sunrise in Israel when voters will go to the polls for an election that could oust one of the most controversial leaders in modern Israeli history, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. And from Tehran to Washington, leaders are closely monitoring tomorrow`s election, the results could even impact the Obama administration`s effort to close a nuclear deal with Iran this month. Security, often a key issue in Israeli elections, but Netanyahu`s harshest criticism of any diplomacy with Iran and his deteriorating relationship with President Obama have become central issues in this campaign, especially after that address to the U.S. Congress two weeks ago. Netanyahu was accused of playing politics in that speech which pivoted between thanking and imputing President Obama. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER, ISRAEL: Israel is grateful for the support of American -- of America`s people and of America`s presidents; from Harry Truman to Barack Obama. We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel, don`t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn`t turn Iran into a friend of America. To defeat ISIS and let Iran get nuclear weapons would be to win the battle but lose the war. That deal will not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them. Ladies and gentlemen, I`ve come here today to tell you we don`t have to bend the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: That speech was hotly debated in America and Israel. And while Netanyahu insisted his focus was on security there, not on politics, his campaign was soon touting the address in political ads you see there up on the screen. Joining me now to talk about this big election, Harry Enten of FivethirtyEight, Chemi Shalev, U.S. editor for the Israel newspaper "Haaretz", Dean Obeidallah of the "The Daily Beast" and Josh Barro from the "New York Times", also an Msnbc contributor. Welcome to you all, this is a big race. Chemi, let me start with you, you`ve been following this. What is Netanyahu`s closing argument, and why is this race so close for him when he called this early election? CHEMI SHALEV, EDITOR, HAARETZ: Well, I think he first of all, he miscalculated. He thought that he was going to be sort of -- that this would be an easy victory for him. And it turned out that the moment that he called this election, which by the way, nobody knows to this very day why he called them. He found out that, that sort of -- something snapped in Israeli public opinion and people were actually, a lot of people were suddenly deciding that they were quite happy to see him go. So he`s been fighting an uphill battle. He -- the last polls that we knew, he was about four seats behind, which is already on the cusp of a significant gap for his rival Isaac Herzog. But he`s been waging a very tough fight in the past four days, we don`t have any real evidence of how that`s affected. There`s anecdotal evidence that he`s been closing the gap. And what he`s been doing is that he`s been lurching to the right. That`s not what a politician usually does under these circumstances. He usually -- and even Netanyahu in his previous campaigns has first of all secured his base and then lurched to the center. But now because he`s concerned that -- first of all the center is lost to him. And second of all that he is very anxious to become the biggest party, he`s lurching to the right, he`s trying to cannibalize the other parties that are in his right wing bloc. MELBER: Right, and let me -- so on that point, let me bring in Harry on the numbers. What does this look like in a system there in Israel where you do have to form a coalition at the end of the day. HARRY ENTEN, FIVETHIRTYEIGHT: I think that`s the key question. Going in to round one, we have a pretty decent idea that Netanyahu`s party is going to finish second. Though, to be honest, with the margin of error, you know, we have four or five days since the last polls, he could come out with a plurality. But in the second face where he has to form this coalition, get the 61 seats, you know, that`s the real question going forward. And can he put those right-wing parties together and to get a few center parties and we just don`t know the answer to that yet. MELBER: And Josh, when you look at the campaigning, there are a bunch of familiar American faces, people would know who are over there. Paul Begala, advising Herzog, who is considered the more center-left challenger to Netanyahu, and Jeremy Bird who worked for Obama, famous in both his campaigns on the internet operation, a consultant for this group V-15 trying to defeat Netanyahu. And in his closing arguments, we`ve seen Bibi Netanyahu say basically number one, no Palestinian state ever, and number two there`s some sort of international conspiracy against him. JOSH BARRO, JOURNALIST: Yes, and this isn`t a new thing, you saw Clinton`s administration advisors going over there in the 1990s to advise campaigns. You`ve been seeing that from the right, where you`ve been seeing from the left is really much more of a focus on domestic issues. This obviously when we talk about the Israeli election here in the U.S., we focus a lot on Iran and security issues. But the message is from Zionist Union and from the other center in left parties have focused around the cost of housing, around the cost of food, much more domestic bread and butter concerns. And so it`s interesting to see this almost as a referendum on security policy where there isn`t that as big a debate as you might think over foreign policy as you see in the U.S. versus the focus on economic issues. MELBER: Well, Dean, that`s the part that will be familiar to American audiences who are not focused on the Israeli election, although now that it`s coming tomorrow, it`s in the news. That is the idea that there`s a conservative political effort to inject security arguments even when they may not be top of mind for all voters. DEAN OBEIDALLAH, THE DAILY BEAST: Exact. As an example of what you`re saying, the control of Israel put out a report about a month ago, saying there`s a housing crisis, and Netanyahu`s response on his Facebook page did say, the housing is an issue, but let`s talk about Iran. And the blowback was swift by people, his adversaries and people on Facebook, just the average Israelis where we had to take it down. He reminds me of Giuliani in 2008 where he just -- you know, a noun and the verb 9/11 and Joe Biden, they fund them for that. It`s also a noun and a verb in Iran with Netanyahu being tone-deaf to what it seems like in the polls where people basically want to talk about social issues in their country. MELBER: Chemi, let me play for you some new sound from President Obama in an interview "Vice Magazine" just put out today about the Republicans and their effort to undermine him on Iran. Take a listen to that. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: I`m embarrassed for them, you know, because it`s not how America does business. For them to address a letter to the Ayatollah; the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy and their basic argument to them is don`t deal with our president, because you can`t trust him to follow through on an agreement. That`s close to unprecedented. We were looking at the history to see if there was an example of it, we couldn`t find one. It damages the country. It damages our standing, it`s not productive. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: That`s American president`s frustration with the opposition party playing politics on the international stage. Netanyahu though as head of state has been accused of making the U.S.- Israeli relationship part of his political theater. Is that a fair criticism of having -- for Israeli voters? SHALEV: I think a fair criticism of him persuading voters is that even though they may not trust Obama, he`s not very high on their trustworthy list, he has mishandled relations with U.S. administration. MELBER: Bibi Netanyahu has? -- SHALEV: Bibi Netanyahu has. And I think that, that actually, ironically came to the fall as a result of his speech. I mean in the first two days after his speech to Congress, he was getting good reviews that was a, you know, dramatic scene and he was getting standing ovations. But then I think it started to hurt him, he started to see then that whatever deficiencies, say, President Obama has regarding Israel, Netanyahu has not handled the relations well, and I think that, that is one of the reasons that he began to slip in the polls. MELBER: And that goes to this right-wing -- next is Josh, the other thing I want to play from late today with Tom Cotton, actually wrote that letter to the Ayatollah before he ever got around to giving a speech on the Senate floor. People can judge those priorities however they see fit. But tonight he did give his first speech, I want to play some of it and him quoting Netanyahu. Take a listen. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COTTON: My objections to the ongoing nuclear negotiations are well-known. I`ll simply note that the deal foreshadowed by the President allowing Iran to have uranium enrichment capabilities and accepting an expiration date on any agreement. To quote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, "doesn`t block Iran`s path to the bomb, it paves Iran`s path to the bomb." (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: What do you make of that Republican echo, and will Netanyahu be quoted as much if he does lose this race tomorrow? BARRO: Well, I think the thing about the echo that should be reflecting back in Israeli politics is, the question is not so much about interfering in the U.S` internal affairs, it`s about interfering in U.S` internal affairs and not being successful at it. What Netanyahu has done here, it`s not in speeches like that from Tom Cotton gotten this letter out and really turned the Iran negotiations into more of a partisan issue than they were before in the U.S. You have substantial Democratic support in the Senate, at least in theory for a bill that would force Congressional approval over any deal with the President would broker with Iran. But as the Republicans have turned up the dial on this and partnership with Netanyahu, you`ve seen Democrats pulling away from that, saying they`re not going to provide votes to pass a bill like that until after the deadline for the President`s Iran negotiations. You`ve seen Angus King who is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, saying that the partisanship on this has made him more reluctant to support tough measures -- MELBER: Right -- BARRO: Against Iran. So, it`s not just that Netanyahu has been interfering, but as he makes Israel a part as an issue in the U.S., he actually undermines Israel`s interests in the U.S. OBEIDALLAH: So, when you were going to talk about security and you just talked about Iran, he is ignoring the Palestinian issue intentionally. In fact, until today, he`s too powered in this thing, two states, two states, he never run to two states. You remember 2009, Netanyahu was against two states. He talked about the peace offering a waste of money and a waste of time. Pressure by the Obama administration made him embrace two states. Today, he says I don`t want a Palestinian state. Like Palestinians don`t deserve self determination because it`s part of his plan. If you are an American, and you say Israel doesn`t have a right to exist, you`re called an anti-Semite. But Netanyahu could say Palestinians don`t have a right to their own state, and that`s part of politics and that`s wrong. MELBER: And Chemi, you`ve written about what significant that he is making this last-ditch plea, basically going away from a two-state solution. SHALEV: Well, I don`t want to put too much into it because he`s a politician. And believe me if things force him to re-embrace the Bar-llan speech and the two-state solution because he`ll have for example a national unity government which could happen, that could be his only option. He`ll find a way to wiggle out of the formula. But I think that for a lot of people, who never believed his 2009 speech anyway, who never thought that he actually meant to support a two-state solution. This today comes as a kind of confirmation. You see, and we told you all the time that he wasn`t serious, now he is saying it by himself. So I think it hurts him on the international stage, and we have to wait until tomorrow to see whether it hurts or helps him on the Israeli stage. MELBER: Exactly, and still start voting in a few hours, which would be tomorrow morning in Israel. Chemi and Dean, thank you for joining -- UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure -- MELBER: We`ve got Harry and Josh sticking around for more paneling. Coming up, breaking news regarding Robert Durst whose story documented in that blockbuster "Hbo" documentary, "The Jinx", an L.A. district attorney just officially charged him with first degree murder, we have a lot on that. And Elton John, now Perez Hilton, a lot to say about Dolce and Gabbana`s comments on gay adoption in IVF, and Perez will join me live. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DAVID LETTERMAN, COMEDIAN & TELEVISION HOST: Republicans want to examine Clinton`s hard drive. You know, they`re all upset with Hillary Clinton and they say we need these e-mails, and not only that, they just forget the e-mails, we want to get a look at your hard drive. And I thought well, wasn`t that the last Clinton scandal? (APPLAUSE) (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Hope Republicans just rolled out a plan though to stall the President`s attorney general nominee and inject abortion into a human trafficking bill, which is giving Hillary Clinton a chance to go on the attack. Tonight, and maybe move the conversation beyond all those e-mails. Why the former secretary of state is back on offense, that`s next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: When you are presumptively running for president, the battles you pick matter. Hillary Clinton has not started many battles during what many believe is her pre-campaign period. She did give a few Republicans a nudge for their ignorance about vaccines recently. She dialed up the pressure when some Republicans tried to undermine those Iran negotiations, an issue she knows well as America`s chief diplomat. But late today, Hillary Clinton confronted Republican domestic policy on very strong terms. Squarely addressing conservative efforts to restrict a woman`s right to choose and play politics, she says, with one of the President`s most crucial nominees right now. Clinton wrote on Twitter late today, "Congressional trifecta against women today, blocking great nominee, first African-American woman AG for longer than any AG in 30 years. Number two, playing politics with trafficking victims, number three, threatening women`s health and rights." Back with me to discuss, Harry Enten and Josh Barro, and joining us is Kiki McClean, a Democratic strategist who is a senior advisor for Hillary Clinton in 2008. Welcome everybody. Kiki, what did you think of Hillary Clinton`s statements there? KIKI MCCLEAN, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST FOR HILLARY CLINTON`S 2008 CAMPAIGN: I thought there goes Hillary Clinton; the woman who`s always been standing up for women and children. That`s been her whole life`s work, so I don`t think it`s anybody`s surprise that they`d look up and see after the kind of week we`re having, that she`d stand up and having -- have something to say about it. Particularly on all three fronts, human trafficking, a woman`s right to choose, I mean, these are the fights that she`s led for a long time. And she`s not going to be quiet when she sees a broken Congress really holding women back and -- MELBER: Let me -- MCCLEAN: Holding them down. MELBER: And let me ask you Kiki, a lot of people get frustrated when they feel like some politicians won`t call a spade a spade, even if people understand what the restrictions are. So for example, some of the politicking that goes on against women who are appointed or against people of color, sometimes isn`t directly called out by the White House or other folks. We know that. What did you make of Hillary here saying very simply, Loretta Lynch is the first African-American woman -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: Attorney General nominee, in fact and putting that out there? MCCLEAN: Well, you know, here is the beauty of it, this -- the things that she pointed to on Twitter today are really quite simple, aren`t they? They`re very clear. It didn`t take a lot of words to say it, she could do it on Twitter, and she used her voice for the things that she`s always used her voice for. And like I said before, no one should be surprised by that. When you look at human trafficking, when you look at somebody`s -- like Lynch and what that means for this country, she`s not going to just stand by, she`s always been that kind of advocate. BARRO: Well, I think what we`re seeing here that Hillary who is officially not running for president, doesn`t have a campaign officially. So what happened with the e-mail story, not only was she slow to be able to respond to it, she wasn`t out there driving the message in a particular direction, because she doesn`t have that apparatus and isn`t out there actively campaigning. So this I think is a preview of that, her saying these are issues that are important, these are issues that I want to focus on -- MCCLEAN: But that -- but that`s -- BARRO: The Democrats care about -- MCCLEAN: Not new, right? Everybody understands that these issues that she talked about today, this is not new that she`s interested in them. There`s a long record of caring about and fighting on these issues. So regardless of 2016, I think when she looked up, saw a Congress not just doing nothing, but actually standing in the way, you would have heard her voice on these things. BARRO: Well, I think these are issues that she would be talking about in the campaign. I think what we saw for the last few months was that Hillary was not talking a ton in general publicly, about -- wasn`t that engaged in the political debate, which I think is part of how she got caught, you know, unaware in that story. This is about her trying to drive the conversation, obviously these -- this is not the first time she`s spoken on these issues, but over the course for the last couple of years since she left the position of being secretary of state. She has been less directly engaged publicly in these issues, I think this is a move back toward what is likely to be a campaign. ENTEN: You know, there`s been a lot of talk over the last few weeks that Hillary Clinton is not a good politician. Well, she just went after Congress, that`s a very smart politician with congressional approval ratings hovering in the teens. And you know, we see Congress, most people don`t think that Congress has a lot of hard work to do and that they`re not working as hard as the American people. So Hillary Clinton, very smart move. This is the reason she`s the presumptive Democrat nominee, if she, you know, actually enters the race, it`s because of smart moves like this that gets her the votes. MELBER: Well, and Kiki, I don`t want to be unfair to the Republicans who are holding up this nomination, but -- MCCLEAN: Oh, heaven forbid. MELBER: Well, but it`s very hard on the facts to be fair to this kind of delay which as Hillary said, it`s 30 years, you have to fight and go back 30 years to find the president. Let me just read -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: Some of these senators who have already voted for her twice, Loretta Lynch in her prosecutorial role, Senator Shelby, Sessions, McCain, Inhofe, Crapo, Grassley, Robert, McConnell, Hatch, Collins, Carper and Enzi. We have more if you put up the other full screen of folks who voted for her once in 2010 -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: That is to say, Kiki, that these are people who are on the record supporting Loretta Lynch in her government role and have not -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: To this day come up with objections. They`re just not giving her a vote -- MCCLEAN: Here -- yes, here is the interesting thing about what the Republicans are doing with this. The vote is easy, the politics for them are hard. And so what they do is they hold a different issue hostage, because of their politics now, we`ve got a human trafficking bill, and understand I`m passionate about this. I`m involved with an organization, Polaris, on the front lines of human trafficking. They hold different issues hostage because they`re not brave enough to deal with their own politics. But your point about their record should make this vote very easy for them. And this is completely unnecessary on all three of the issues that Secretary Clinton outlined -- MELBER: Let me go to Josh on that -- MCCLEAN: In her Twitter -- BARRO: Yes -- MELBER: So on the politics, Josh, where does this lead for Republicans? BARRO: Well, the resistance to Loretta Lynch isn`t about Loretta Lynch. It`s about two things, one is A, sort of blanket opposition to anything the President does -- MCCLEAN: Right -- BARRO: And B, it`s about immigration. Republicans are very upset about the executive action on immigration, they wanted to try to hold up Homeland Security funding, found out that strategy doesn`t -- didn`t work. And because much of the -- what`s done there is done through the Justice Department, they`ve been talking about that issue and Loretta Lynch`s support for the President`s action there as a reason for holding her up. And then on the human trafficking issue, it`s -- there`s this item that was in this piece of legislation, been in there for months. Democrats apparently didn`t notice it until a few days ago, which says that funds raised into this fund to support victims of -- victims of human trafficking can`t be spent on abortion. Now there are a lot of provisions in federal law preventing federal funds - - UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure -- BARRO: On being spent on abortion. This is an extension of that debate, it`s not a new issue, it`s not a new position for Republicans or Democrats on either side of this. What was surprising was the Democrats were willing to sign on to a bill that had this provision in it restricting abortion funding. Apparently, the reason Democrats were until this week, willing to sign on to it, is they just hadn`t noticed that provision was in the bill. MELBER: Yes, and Kiki, it is true that there is a policy disagreement there that we all know about -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: On choice on abortion -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: The problem here being they`re trying to, as we said link it to Loretta Lynch. Your final thoughts -- MCCLEAN: You know, it`s not even -- it`s not even linking, right? Right now Republican leaders, their positions aren`t popular across the country. So rather than just have an honest debate about an issue on its own merits, right? They don`t go there, they try to slip it in and hide it in other things that, it`s kind of like putting a peas in the mashed potatoes, right? MELBER: And nobody likes that. Thus -- MCCLEAN: Yes -- MELBER: You want -- MCCLEAN: Exactly -- MELBER: The mashed potatoes straight up with butter, nothing else in them. Kiki McClean, Harry Enten, Josh Barro, thank you so much. Up next, one day after that bombshell finale that the "Hbo" docu series, "The Jinx", Robert Durst now charged with first degree murder, we have more on this breaking news, that`s straight ahead. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) MELBER: Breaking news tonight. The district attorney in Los Angeles announcing this evening he is formally charging Robert Durst with first degree murder. Over this weekend, New Orleans police arrested Durst for the two thousand murder of his friend Susan Berman. Now this unusual arrest comes just as Durst was thrust back into the national spotlight one night before the finale of an exhaustive six-packed documentary series probing Durst`s life, that`s when this arrest occurred. Now these film makers spent about ten years investigating him, his first wife disappearing 33 years ago, it was all for an "Hbo" series you may have heard of "The Jinx". Now, in the series finale, Durst is confronted with circumstantial but potentially damning evidence suggesting his handwriting seemed to match a letter that Berman`s killer allegedly sent to police at the time of her murder. Now Durst was unable to distinguish his own handwriting from the letter, and then after the interview, he leaves the room to use the bathroom. And this is what everyone`s talking about. He was still wearing his microphone from the interview, so the cameras were still rolling on what was an empty room. And as you are about to see, Durst can be heard talking to himself about that interview and what he apparently thought was a private moment. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ROBERT DURST, REAL ESTATE MILLIONAIRE HEIR ARRESTED FOR MURDERING SUSAN BERMAN: There it is. You`re caught. I`m having difficulty with the question. What the hell did I do. Killed them all, of course. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Joining me now is Cathy Scott, author of "Murder in Beverly Hills: The Mob-Style Execution of Susan Berman, Her Crime Boss Father and the Deadly Secret She Took to Her Grave." Karen Desoto, a former prosecutor and legal analyst for "WEEKEND TODAY" on NBC, and Erin Murphy, an NYU law professor who studied DNA evidence. Welcome to an expert panel. Cathy, what did you think of this blockbuster video here that we`re seeing. CATHY SCOTT, AUTHOR, "MURDER IN BEVERLY HILLS": It was astonishing and, I think, you know, in the long run, it`s going to turn out to be damning. You know, he thinks he can get away with murder -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- and he just caught himself up. MELBER: From observing all of the people involved in this, what did you make of the way he sounded there. What did you think of him in that moment. SCOTT: I think it was a holy moly moment for him. He realized what he`d done, and he was reacting almost immediately -- MELBER: Wow. SCOTT: -- to it. MELBER: And, Karen, how would this work -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- if a prosecutor wanted to use this now in what is a new case against him. KAREN DESOTO, NBC LEGAL ANALYST: Well, obviously, you can use the handwriting exemplars but, whether or not you can indict and arrest a person, and whether or not -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- you can convict them are two different things. So, although this is new evidence, and that`ll help get, obviously, help with the arrest or help get the indictment but, at the end of the day, is this one piece of evidence going to be the smoking gun that gets him convicted beyond a reasonable doubt. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: And, let`s start, Erin, with something you know a lot about. As a general matter, people say, well, if it`s bad news for the bad guy, we want it in the case. (LAUGHTER) Why is it, just generally, that, sometimes, this kind of evidence isn`t a good idea to be in a case. ERIN MURPHY, LAW PROFESSOR, NYU: Well, typically, the Fourth and the Fifth Amendment, which limits police`s ability to interrogate suspects or collect evidence, may come into play and prohibit evidence from being used because you`re trying to deter police misconduct. In this case, I don`t think that will be an issue because he`s a private actor. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: And to pause on that, what you`re saying is that that is to defend people`s rights. So, sometimes, the bad news doesn`t get in. MURPHY: Exactly. MELBER: Here, you think, though, it goes in. Why. MURPHY: Here, I think, it goes in, first, because these are not police officers. And it seems as though they were not working with police. They were not entangled with the police, working at the direction of the police. In today`s terms, you know, we see cases, let`s say, hackers, who hack into computers and find child pornography, or other people who, as a private actor or a private citizen, go around collecting evidence. (END VIDEO CLIP) And most courts will say, as long as you`re not working with police, the rules that apply to police, the Fourth and Fifth Amendment, don`t apply. MELBER: So, Erin, lawyer to lawyer, let me say -- (LAUGHTER) -- that you just -- you just mentioned something, working with police. Let me read to Karen something from "The New York Times" about these filmmakers. They say, Mr. Durecky, also the show`s director, struggled with whether to bring this letter they had -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- to law enforcement authorities. If they did so too soon, they have lawyers who told them, they could be considered, boom, law enforcement agents in the event of a prosecution, possibly jeopardizing the material`s admissibility. Mr. Smirling said, "We had a moral obligation and obligation to the families of the dead to see that justice was done." They began speaking to L.A. investigators in early 2013. (END VIDEO CLIP) DESOTO: Well, listen, the whole crux of this case is whether or not this is going to be a confession, this recording. And his interviews are going to be let into evidence. Are they going to be admissible. Are they not going to be admissible. Obviously, we know that the handwriting and the comparison is going to be allowed in. The more damning evidence, which is own words, his own words, him saying, you know, "I killed them all." MELBER: "I killed them all." DESOTO: Is that an excited utterance, which is going to be a hearsay exception. Is that going to be a communication, kind of similar to bugging a bathroom. Did he have a reasonable expectation of privacy. MELBER: But what you`re referring to is that, normally, that kind of thing wouldn`t be allowed in, -- DESOTO: Correct. MELBER: the hearsay, because it`d be offered as truth. And that kind of thing should be taken as testimony, Erin. MURPHY: Although the one thing I would say is that there is fairly, universally, an exception to the hearsay rule, for the statement of a party opponent. And, here, the prosecution would be introducing this evidence against the defendant. And so, pretty universally, that means it would be admissible even as an exception to hearsay. MELBER: And, Cathy, go ahead. SCOTT: Can the case as well as this is not the only evidence that they have against him. They`ve been building the case against him since Susan was killed in 2000. And they`ve got ballistics on a bullet that they can take to, you know, to the FBI to have them -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- retested, if they haven`t already done that. We don`t know what other evidence they have against him. DESOTO: Well, his own words. SCOTT: As for the letter, they had a chain of custody. DESOTO: His own words are what is going to be damning. And you can -- SCOTT: Right. DESOTO: talk about the admissibility all you want but the conversation was over. He was in a men`s bathroom, he had a reasonable expectation of privacy, and is that an unlawful, illegal interception of a wired communication. And I would have to say, it pretty much sounds like that to me. So, it`s going to be, ultimately, up to a judge. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: And you mentioned a judge, the judge who oversaw an earlier case against him, where he was found not guilty, -- DESOTO: Right. MELBER: -- was on MSNBC -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- just this evening, talking about what judges often talk about -- "Is there a case that answers this question." Because this really is extraordinary. (LAUGHTER) She suggests no. Take a listen to this. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SUSAN CRISS, JUDGE IN DURST`S 2003 MURDER TRIAL: It`s going to be real hard for him to say that he was tricked or coerced or they`ve had some expectation of privacy, or that this was taken from him any way but knowingly and voluntarily. Now, one of the odd things that I may think about this is there`s not going to be any case law on whether the admission to the confession of someone who goes into a television interview voluntarily -- (LAUGHTER) -- and admits to being a serial killer gets submitted. So, as usual, there`s no precedent for anything that happens in this case. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Apparent in the argument there would be, who care you`re in the bathroom. You knew you were mic`d. DESOTO: No. Because the conversation was over. He got up. He said, "Is the interview over?" "Yes, it`s over." He goes into a closed bathroom with nobody in that. And he`s muttering. That is not a conversation. MURPHY: I have to jump in. Because all of this would be true if the police were doing this -- were doing the action, if they were the ones recording. But this is just a private citizen recording. And even private citizens -- even police officers who engage in unlawful behavior can always violate the Constitution. DESOTO: Well, technically, nobody is recording, though. Technically, he`s talking to himself. And it would be equivalent to putting a bug in a room, which is illegal. MURPHY: To me, the more interesting question is whether this suggests there might be some questions with the authenticity of the evidence. Because we want evidence to be reliable and we want it to be what it`s supposed to be. And these are documentary filmmakers out to shape a narrative. They`ve certainly gotten a lot of press attention for this particular clip. And so, we might wonder, where`s the rest of the clip. What was said to him beforehand. Is it, in fact, -- DESOTO: And at what point did they go to the police. MURPHY: Exactly. DESOTO: At what time were they getting legal advice. At what point were they having conversations with the police to make them an agent -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- of the police department. MURPHY: That could be a critical fact. DESOTO: But, at the end of the day, do we have a smoking gun. MELBER: And so, Cathy, the other question I think people at home might wonder, that I wondered is, -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- why was he talking in the first place. (LAUGHTER) SCOTT: Well, because he`s quirky and he talks to himself. You know, he kind of gets a kick out of himself for being so quirky. And he, at other times, in one of the earlier episodes of "The Jinx," he talked to himself as well. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) He was practicing what he was going to say on camera and didn`t realize his mic was live. He`s just a quirky individual who walks around the streets and starts talking to himself. So, I think it`s a habit. (END VIDEO CLIP) But I think it`s all intentional. I think he -- and if you noticed, what he said was, you know, "You`re caught." He speaks to himself in the third person. The guy is a nut. And he`s a crazy nut. I think that it is damning. And I think it`s going to hurt him. And time will tell whether they let that in court or not, but I think they`ve got a lot more than just that. MELBER: And on that quirkiness, Erin, is there an argument to be made in court that, well, he was play-acting multiple voices, so it may not had been strictly accurate what he was saying. MURPHY: Sure. The question, I think, would be, first, does that change the inadmissibility. Is it substantially more prejudicial than probative, if what he was doing was, say, responding to the director`s prompt to practice a confession, or, "What would you say if you did confess." That might make the tape seem inauthentic and, therefore, not admissible as evidence. But if it`s just a question of him going into a bathroom and saying these things, whether he was sincere or not, that sounds like a jury question. That`s something a jury will have to decide. DESOTO: Right, exactly. MELBER: Erin Murphy and Karen Desoto in New York, and Cathy Scott in L.A., thank you all for your expertise on a fascinating that, I`m sure, we`ll be talking about again. I appreciate it. DESOTO: Thank you, Eric. MURPHY: Thank you. MELBER: Coming up, the American Sniper trial -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- captivated the nation today. Jodi Routh revealed new details to Dr. Phil in what is her first interview since her son was convicted of killing American Sniper, Chris Kyle, and Chad Littlefield. (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE MEMBER OF THE EDDIE RAY ROUTH TRIAL: We, the jury, find the defendant, Eddie Ray Routh, guilty of the felony offense of capital murder as charged in the indictment. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: It has been almost three weeks since Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of murdering -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL sniper portrayed in the film, "American Sniper," and Kyle`s friend, Chad Littlefield. Routh was sentenced to life imprison without the possibility of parole. And in her first interview since -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- the trial, Routh`s mother told Dr. Phil how Chris Kyle ended up meeting the man who killed him. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. PHIL, CBS HOST: What did you say to Chris that night. JODI ROUTH, EDDIE RAY ROUTH`S MOTHER: I said, "Chris, would you be willing to help my son. He`s a former Marine and he has PTSD and he really needs some help and we`re not getting what we need." He said, "Yes, I would be willing to help." And that was my first day in several years that I really felt like anybody even cared that Eddie got the help he needed or not. DR. PHIL: You had absolutely no idea that asking him for help, that a week later, he would murder Chris Kyle and Chad Littlefield? Of course, you had no idea. JODI ROUTH: I would have never asked if I had an idea that this could happen. DR. PHIL: What do you say to yourself about that now. JODI ROUTH: It`s a very hard feeling for me. And I know it`s not my fault. And, of course, hindsight`s 20/20. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: That`s a tough interview to watch. Up next, we have a story and an interview with Perez Hilton, who will be here to respond to Dolce & Gabbana. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDREW GARFIELD, ACTOR: So, when will it be finished. JESSIE EISENBERG, ACTOR: It won`t be finished. That`s the point, the way fashion is never finished. GARFIELD: What. EISENBERG: Fashion. Fashion is never finished. GARFIELD: You`re talking about fashion. Really, you. EISENBERG: I`m talking about the idea of it and I`m saying that it`s never finished. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: They say fashion is never finished because style is always evolving. But a big political controversy is hitting the fashion world right now. And it`s all about whether two leading designers have evolved enough. Two weeks ago, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- legendary and openly gay fashion designers, Dolce and Gabbana said they wanted to celebrate motherhood at a special runway show in Milan, featuring models and some of their children. Last week, the designers tackled motherhood in an interview with an Italian magazine, saying they oppose gay couples adopting children. Dolce added, quote, "You were born and you have a father and a mother or, at least, it should be like this. That`s why I am not convinced by chemical children, synthetic babies, wombs for rent," end quote. Many are firing back. Elton John posting online, quote, "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as synthetic. And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF, a miracle that`s allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay to fulfill their dream of having children." "Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times." He wrote, "Just like your fashions, I shall never wear Dolce & Gabbana ever again," end quote, Elton John. (END VIDEO CLIP) And with that Instagram post from him, the worlds of fashion celebrity and beyond are now taking up sides in this debate. Some even calling for a boycott. Joining me now, someone on Team Elton, celebrity blogger, Perez Hilton. His son, Mario, conceived with a donor egg and carried by a surrogate mother. Good evening. PEREZ HILTON, CELEBRITY BLOGGER: Hello. Good evening. MELBER: Let me start with something you tweeted. This has been both serious and light. But you tweeted your son`s reaction to the Dolce and Gabbana comments here -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) (VIDEO OF HILTON`S SON) (END VIDEO CLIP) And that`s already got a lot of pick-up. Can you expound. HILTON: Well, you know, unlike other people, maybe a teenager who accidentally gets pregnant, it took a lot of work for me to have my son. It took a lot of planning and it took a lot of love. And I really think that he is the biggest -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- blessing I`ve ever had in my life. And were it not for In Vitro Fertilization, you know, he would not be -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- here today. I would be blessed to have more. Adoption is also an option but, you know, they`re entitled to their opinion, as they said, and they defended with their -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- statement. But how you express your opinion is very important. You can express your point of view without doing it in a really hurtful, small- minded way. And that`s what they`ve done. They`ve offended so many people, not just gay parents but also, you know, heterosexual couples that have no other option but In Vitro. MELBER: Do you think that, well, -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- they are gay, as I mentioned in the reporting here, do you think what they said was, in some way, homophobic or anti-gay. HILTON: Absolutely. There is internalized homophobia. And just because you`re a member of a group, doesn`t mean that you`re exempt from, -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- you know, homophobia or racism. And just last week, there was that Univision journalist who was fired for comparing Michelle Obama to an ape. And he is a black Latino. You know, their comments are indicative of where they grew up and their very Catholic upbringing. But, like Elton John said, it`s not with the times. MELBER: Let me read to you a statement that -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- Stefano Gabbana made here as this evolved and sort of became a bigger discussion point, quote, "We firmly believe in democracy -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it. We talked about our way of seeing reality. But it was never our intention to judge other people`s choices. We do believe in freedom and love." (END VIDEO CLIP) Do you view that as conciliatory. And how important, do you think, the free speech piece is of this, because a lot of folks have moved a lot, in politics and in culture, on these issues. But that takes some sort of public square, some public space to debate them. HILTON: Well, I think their statement is a complete disregard to what has happened. So many couples, people, families, have said their statement -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- has been hurtful. And not once have they apologized, saying "We`re sorry." Because they`re not. And that`s fine. They`re entitled to their opinion just like John Galliano a few years ago, who was entitled to his very offensive, anti-Semitic opinions. Unlike this situation, John Galliano was fired from Dior. Dolce and Gabbana are Dolce & Gabbana. They`re not going to get fired. But, you know, now, hopefully, stylists, celebrities -- (END VIDEO CLIP) -- and just regular consumers will choose to not support their homophobia, and choose to not support them disregarding families, regardless of how the families came to be. MELBER: You make that comparison. Do you think this is as offensive as that other kind of discriminatory speech or hate speech? HILTON: As a gay man and a gay father, I do. MELBER: And what do you think then the consequences are. You have talked online as Elton John did as we showed, about, basically, a type of boycott here. What is the end game. I mean, fashion is very different than politics. In politics, you say, well, what is the goal. What is the objective, right. Is to further separate them from their company and create losses, or to have them further feel consumer pressure to change their public position? HILTON: I think the objective, you know, is really just to have the conversation, "How dare you say my family is less than." No, my family is equal to anybody else`s. All that matters is that you`re loving your child as much as possible, that you`re present, that you`re working on being the best parent possible. And these comments that Dolce and Gabbana have made aren`t any new comments. They`ve made very similar -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- comments being against same-sex marriage in 2006. The difference between 2006 and 2015 is that, thanks to social media, thanks to the re- tweet button, thanks to the hashtag, their small-minded, hateful, homophobic words coming from two gay men, have now spread around the world very quickly. And I`m thankful for that. (END VIDEO CLIP) MELBER: Perez Hilton with a message of thanks and inclusion. Thank you for joining us tonight. HILTON: Thank you. MELBER: And, coming up, the mass -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- devastation from a cyclone that hit a country that was once considered paradise on the show, "Survivor." (END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK) Mitt Romney`s son, Josh, has confirmed to the "AP" that Mitt Romney is going to step into boxing ring for a bout with Evander Holyfield. The former Republican presidential candidate is going to spar with Holyfield, who`s a five-time heavyweight boxing champ. Romney will, however, be wearing full protective gear and a tuxedo. The event is part of a fundraiser for a group in Utah called CharityVision, which supports vision restoration surgery for people with curable blindness around the world. So, it is a big risk for a good cause. Now, up next, the aftermath from Cyclone Pam. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) A massive storm hit the island nation of Vanuatu over the weekend. The category five -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) -- cyclone destroyed more than 90 percent of the buildings, according to the nation`s president, asking for international help. NBC`s Miguel Almaguer has more. (END VIDEO CLIP) MIGUEL ALMAGUER, NBC NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This island nation is in a state of emergency. And many here are in a state of shock. This picturesque harbor is now a symbol of the disaster. The death toll here is expected to climb as crew search for the missing in communities that have been washed away. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) Locals are calling their devastated island nation, "hell on earth." Boats smashed, roads washed away, power out. Homes, bridges and hospitals are destroyed. UNIDENTIFIED MALE 1: It was terrifying. It was just the whole room was just like it was raining inside. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 1: Food, no. No light. All of our gardens are destroyed by the wind. ALMAGUER: A direct hit from a category five monster storm, with winds of nearly 200 miles an hour. UNIDENTIFIED MALE 2: I`ve never seen or heard anything like that noise. It was frightening. It was supersonic. ALMAGUER: What the winds didn`t rip apart, the ocean swallowed. On outer islands, locals tell us, entire villages are washed away. Vanuatu is a poor country also known as a paradise, the setting for the reality show, "Survivor" in 2004. This weekend, Hailey and Trent Williams saw their dream honeymoon become a nightmare. TRENT WILLIAMS, ON HONEYMOON IN VANUATU: Quite a destruction there is. HAILEY WILLIAMS, ON HONEYMOON IN VANUATU: This beautiful five-star resort just -- TRENT WILLIAMS: Flattened. HAILEY WILLIAMS: -- levelled. ALMAGUER: The true death toll may not be known here for weeks. This is what search teams are up against -- a landscape that`s been ripped apart and redefined. Finding anyone in something like this would be a miracle. Tonight, the storm has passed, leaving behind one of the worst disasters to ever ravage the Pacific. What do you do now? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE 2: I don`t know. I don`t know what to do now. (END VIDEO CLIP) ALMAGUER: Neighboring nations are sending in military officials tonight to help with the relief and supply effort here. They are also scouring all of the neighboring islands to look for the missing. Now, back to you. MELBER: Thanks to Miguel -- END